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Refinery29

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    The story of GingerNutz, the Bornean orangutan at the center of Michael Roberts and Grace Coddington's series of illustrated books, is a heartwarming tale of what the fashion industry could be like if we all took ourselves a little less seriously. Sure, she's a monkey — but, even in the toughest of places, like Paris Fashion Week, the setting of their second installment, GingerNutz Takes Paris — she's as qualified as any other model trying to make a name for herself in the business. But how GingerNutz was born is a tale just as charming as the fashion icon herself.

    It goes like this: A few years ago, when Coddington's birthday was on the horizon, her best pal of more than 30 years, longtime Vanity Fair fashion director and journalist Roberts, drew an invitation for her that depicted the legendary Vogue editor as a chic, orange-haired orangutan. "She didn't get the invitation because the people around Grace — talking for Grace rather than talking to her — thought that she'd be completely offended," Roberts says. "So my invitation got trashed. But months later, I sent Grace an email with it and she replied immediately saying how much she loved it and asked why I didn't develop this character."

    Later, the duo's first book, GingerNutz, hit bookstores everywhere. The story of the orangutan supermodel taking the fashion industry by storm actually did just that. Now, in its sequel, and inspired by the events of Coddington's life, the model-cum-stylist-cum-editor still doesn't mind the simian comparison. In fact, they share the same unfazed outlook on life: "She is me," she tells Refinery29. She recalls a quirky one-liner that Roberts, who also ghostwrote Coddington's memoir, once quipped to her: "Fashion editors — even a monkey can do it."

    While that may be true (sorry, Anna and co.), GingerNutz is indeed a reflection of Coddington on the inside and out. They share the same ubiquitous, citrusy mane, yes, but they also share a deep love for clothes. Like Coddington, GingerNutz is unassuming and a natural-born talent. Roberts sums it up best: "GingerNutz is quite innocent. She was found in the jungle and she became a model and then she embarks on this journey into fashion," he explains to Refinery29. "She truly just loves fashion. There's no cynicism there. And then she gets to wear these beautiful clothes and she's thrilled to be sent to Paris and book major modeling jobs there, much in the way Grace did in her life. Grace has an affinity with fashion, and it's very different from the commercial and cynical, branded crap that you get today."

    GingerNutz's charms are a perfect respite from our current social-media-saturated age, Coddington and Roberts agree. "It's very touching in terms of not being involved in the world of Instagram and Facebook and all that. It would not have the same charm," Roberts says.

    Ahead, we compiled some of our favorite illustrations by Roberts from the book. Don't worry, there are plenty more looks where these came from. So, without further ado — and as the story goes: Vive la GingerNutz!

    GingerNutz Takes Paris by MW Editions ($27.50) is out now, via ARTBOOK.

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    It's the middle of December, holiday shopping is in full swing, and you've crossed off just about every person on your list: You bought your Virgo best friend a jade roller (she's serious about self-care in 2019), a matching silk eye mask and pillowcase for your mom, and a decorative soap set for your work wife. So, you've got the ladies in your life covered, but what about the men?

    Brainstorming gift ideas for your dad, brother, and roommate's boyfriend (he's your Secret Santa recipient — congrats!) can be easy... or it can be really hard. For example, if he's a stickler for taming his beard and goes as far as to carry around a miniature comb to do exactly that, then his gift is relatively easy to find. But if you suspect he hasn't washed his face in six months, then shopping for grooming necessities might prove to be more difficult than you anticipated.

    Luckily, we've rounded up the gift sets that will satisfy every guy on your list — no matter the extent of his grooming routine. Ahead, 13 grooming beauty gifts to please everyone.

    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.

    Even if he's read GQ maybe once in his life, the man in your life will appreciate this grooming gift set that gives back. With 20% of the retail sales going to the Global Fund in support of (RED), this sulfate-free cleanser, body wash, shampoo, and deodorant will give you both warm and fuzzy feelings — and give him a new morning routine.



    Baxter of California Baxter of California Showe(RED) Kit, $52, available at Amazon

    Does he love Clint Eastwood, True Grit, and sipping on room-temperature whiskey? If the answer is yes, he'll appreciate this skin-care set that comes in a burlap sack stamped with a logo that looks like the kind of cowboy outlaw he always dreamt of being.



    Rebels Refinery the essential rebels kit, $40, available at Rebels Refinery

    A facial grooming kit so luxurious, he'll think he's actually in Italy getting a hot shave.



    Proraso Proraso X Billykirk Gentleman's Kit, $185, available at Saks Fifth Avenue

    For the brother who isn't handling cuffing season too well, there's this musky aroma that is the closest thing he'll ever get to bottling up pheromones. Men and women alike swear by the sexy and downright intoxicating scent.



    Kiehl's Musk Eau de Toilette Spray/1.7oz., $42.5, available at Saks Fifth Avenue

    The smell of vodka might remind you of college dive bars (and, if you add cranberry juice, sorority mixers), but when bottled in chic, travel-friendly jars, the scent is a lot more pleasant than you'd think. Spiked with cardamom, coriander, rhubarb, and lily of the valley, this fragrance is both heady and refreshing.



    Kilian Vodka on the Rocks Travel Spray Set, $195, available at Sephora

    There's no nice way to say that your man wakes up with morning breath, but there is this Aesop gift set that makes admitting the truth a little less brutal — and kind of chic. The three-piece kit includes mouthwash, toilet bowl drops, and room spray so your bathroom can smell like peppermint and expensive essential oils instead of plaque buildup and poop.



    Aesop The Familiar Horizon, $90, available at Aesop

    A face mask that isn't just effective, but also entertaining, is your boyfriend's dream come true. Instantly hydrating and brightening, this foil mask lets him know when it's done working: After about 20 minutes, his body heat will activate a warming sensation in the mask that alerts him that it's time to remove and admire the results.



    Barber Pro Skin Renewing Foil Mask Duo, $17, available at Nordstrom

    Know a guy who prefers his natural scent over a department store-cologne? This body kit's bergamot and lime scent lingers long after he steps out of the shower, but is just subtle enough that it won't send him into a coughing fit.



    (Malin + Goetz) Body Essentials Set, $52, available at Nordstrom

    Hot tools that make life easier aren't reserved for any one gender. Somewhere between a regular hair brush and blowdryer, this tool dries, shapes, and volumizes hair — fast.



    Esquire Grooming Online Only The Hand Brush Hair Dryer, $124.8, available at Ulta Beauty

    November might be over, but that doesn't mean every guy removed his facial scruff. If he plans on keeping his beard intact for the next 365 days, think about gifting him this hydrating beard wash, boar-bristle brush, and control cream.



    Billy Jealousy Beard Envy Kit, $25, available at Ulta Beauty

    Want him to really step up his grooming game in 2019? Consider giving him this House 99 set of essentials, including face wash, moisturizer, hair/body wash, and shaving cream. Oh, he's still hesitant about taking care of himself at the most basic level? Just let him know these products are David Beckham -approved.



    HOUSE 99 BY DAVID BECKHAM House Essentials Set, $45, available at Ulta Beauty

    This simple — yet absolutely necessary — toolkit gently reminds him that trimming his toenails every once in a while isn't a crime.



    Revlon Men's Series Grooming Kit, $19.98, available at Ulta Beauty

    We're not entirely sure who wants to wash their hair with real beer, but we're confident this brew-inspired hair-care line will satisfy the most stubborn man on your list.



    Redken Online Only Brews Kit, $36, available at Ulta Beauty

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    The phrase "It's all in the details" never rings more true than during the holidays. Sure, you could probably get away with just a chic Le Smoking suit or LBD and look fly at that Champagne soirée you RSVP'd to this weekend, but it's the last-minute additions — a velvet bow clipped in your hair or a glitzy pair of earrings — that'll truly transform your outfit from a look to a lewk.

    To help you achieve the latter, we partnered with Prada to round up some of our absolute favorite finishing touches that are both super fun to wear and festive — from a pair of crystal-adorned, patent-leather mules to a sultry must-have fragrance. Talk about a cherry on top, amiright?

    A sequined, cheetah-print bag complete with slinky tassels? Love x 1,000!



    Attico Full Sequins Leopard Pouch Bag, $520, available at Moda Operandi

    If only we could adorn every piece of our wardrobe with party-ready crystals. Alas, we ain't got time for that, so these mules will do.



    Miista Claudine Black Glossed Leather Mules, $305, available at Miista

    This Prada Candy EDP is housed in a bottle that's just as gorgeous as the formula inside. Featuring warm notes of white musk, caramel, and benzoin, it's a fragrance that'll match any holiday-party look — regardless of whether you're all about amping up the glam or opting for a slightly more understated, chic look this season.



    Prada Candy Eau de Parfum, $122, available at Macy's

    These earrings are fire — and they'll surely spice up your go-to LBD.



    Roxanne Assoulin Gold-Tone Swarovski Crystal Clip Earrings, $180, available at Net-A-Porter

    If a velvet hair bow is good enough for our favorite Upper East Sider — who's been known to frequent the Met steps — then it's good enough for us. Xoxo, R29.



    House Of Lafayette Velvet Bow Hair Clip, $68, available at MatchesFashion.com

    Why wear boring black gloves when you can rock these festive ones?



    Eugenia Kim Sloane Pom-Pom & Cashmere Gloves, $195, available at Saks Fifth Avenue

    This scarf will both keep you warm and give that simple wool coat some personality. Remember what they say about first impressions.



    Heurueh Long & Skinny Faux Fur Scarf, $118, available at Shopbop

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    Sometimes, the gift you thought was absolutely perfect doesn't go over so well. Sure, your giftee may seem happy, but, deep down, you know your present was a total dud, and they'll be exchanging it for something they actually want before that gift receipt expires. Well, we're letting you in on a little holiday-gifting secret; there are items that will work for everyone on your list.

    Maybe, you're not 100% sure what to get the random coworker you drew for this year's Secret Santa or the aunt who is impossible to shop for. It happens. We found 22 fool-proof picks for all the people in your life you've got a big question mark next to. We also included a handy list of dos and don'ts to help steer you in the right direction. Sound good? Let's get started.

    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.

    DON'T pick up the first thing you see at Hallmark.

    DO take into account your giftee's interests with a themed calendar. Pro tip for frazzled souls: Buy one for 2019, not 2018.



    Rifle Paper Co 2019 World Traveler Calendar, $26, available at Saks Fifth AvenuePhoto Courtesy of Amazon.

    DON'T buy fine jewelry unless you've got ironclad knowledge about the person's taste — or they've bookmarked something specific for you to shop.

    DO be personal. But, not too personal. A customized necklace is an easy (and cute) gift.



    Brook & York Sofia Spaced Name Necklace, $160, available at Brook & YorkPhoto Courtesy of Net-a-Porter.

    DON'T try to guess someone's style with an out-of-the-box fashion gift.

    DO give the gift of warmth with a cozy accessory that goes with everything.



    Auxiliary Banff Scarf Narrow, $78, available at AritziaPhoto Courtesy of Aritzia.

    DON'T insult someone with a beauty treatment that might be taken the wrong way.

    DO give out dad hats left and right, because everyone has bad hair days sometimes.



    Acne Studios Baseball Cap, $110, available at Acne StudiosPhoto Courtesy of Acne Studios.

    DON'T think too seasonal when you're gift shopping — red and green only look fun and festive for so long.

    DO give gifts that can actually be used year round.



    Béis Travel Luggage Tag & Passport Holder Set, $25, available at NordstromPhoto Courtesy of Nordstrom.

    DON'T waste money on a gift set that'll go right to the garbage.

    DO get one that'll be a life-saver this winter.



    C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve, Mentha Lip Shine and My Favorite Lip Balm, $22.5, available at Net-A-PorterPhoto Courtesy of Net-a-Porter.

    DON'T let your friends keep wearing their beat up sneakers from their days tailgating in college.

    DO treat them to a new pair that will go with everything.



    Koio Capri Creme, $248, available at KoioPhoto Courtesy of Koio.

    DON'T regift those eccentrically colored gloves grandma gave you last year at this year's Secret Santa.

    DO take people's needs into account. These texting-enabled gloves have convenient slits on the thumbs and index fingers. Because, why should the cold keep your friends from staying in touch?



    Urban Outfitters Cashmere Mitten, $19.5, available at Urban OutfittersPhoto Courtesy of Urban Outfitters.

    DON'T buy lingerie for people who aren't your significant other.

    DO shop for a playful sleep mask instead. It's something people don't always think to buy for themselves.



    Morgan Lane Cat Mask, $110, available at ShopbopPhoto Courtesy of Shopbop.

    DON'T buy meaningless presents that carry no meaning.

    DO shop while simultaneously supporting the causes that need it most, like art from this site where proceeds go to organizations that have been threatened since Trump came into office.



    Wildfang x Refinery29 She Voted Tote, $10, available at WildfangPhoto Courtesy of Wildfang.

    DON'T fall back on another candle or more chocolates.

    DO scope out the giftee's phone size and surprise them with a brand new case.



    & Other Stories Watercolour iPhone 7 Case, $9, available at & Other StoriesPhoto Courtesy of & Other Stories.

    DON'T try to buy a framed print for the host if you don't know them that well.

    DO arrive to the dinner party with a chic set of coasters that's sure to fit any personality.



    Thirstystone Thirstystone Marble Coasters Set of 4, $13.99, available at TargetPhoto Courtesy of Target.

    DON'T buy any hat that's not one-size-fits-all.

    DO scout out a beanie with a little character. Make sure it's super-soft, too.



    Lola Hats Braces Heavy Knit Beanie Hat, $188, available at MatchesFashion.comPhoto Courtesy of Matches Fashion.

    DON'T dump a ton of money on an unnecessary gadget.

    DO give any phone-obsessed friend a change of pace with a fun instant camera.



    Polaroid Originals Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 VF, $99.99, available at AmazonPhoto Courtesy of Amazon.

    DON'T call up Dunder Mifflin and order your "favorite" aunt five reams of paper.

    DO select a notebook with a fun, personal sentiment. Even if she's, well, not your favorite aunt.



    Evelyne van den Broek Spark Notebook, $14.99, available at Society 6Photo Courtesy of Society 6.

    DON'T give any gifts that take up way too much space in anyone's closet.

    DO give a stylish present that takes up minimal real estate (mostly because they'll be using it so much).



    Kara Money Shred Pinch Wristlet, $295, available at KaraPhoto Courtesy of Kara.

    DON'T buy generic socks.

    DO find patterns that'll look cute styled with ankle boots.



    Ganni Classon Dot Socks, $11.99, available at Need SupplyPhoto Courtesy of Need Supply.

    DON'T give hand-me-downs to someone that's not your younger sister.

    DO give a fun graphic tee, because everyone loves a good throwback.



    Rhude Museum-Print T-Shirt, $143, available at FarfetchPhoto Courtesy of Farfetch.

    DON'T shy away from shades.

    DO keep them sleek and classic, and include the gift receipt for easy exchanging. If you ask us, no one can ever have too many sunglasses.



    Le Specs Damn Sunglasses, $59, available at Revolve

    DON'T buy fine art for someone whose taste you aren't familiar with.

    DO opt for an artfully printed scarf, instead — it's a safer bet, and they can either wear it or frame it.



    Oh Seven Days Hannah Print Scarf, $45, available at Oh Seven DaysPhoto Courtesy of Oh Seven Days.

    DON'T let anyone's feet go cold this winter.

    DO be the one who gifts fluffy-as-can-be slippers that no one will want to take off.



    Sleeper Cream Shearling Slippers, $390, available at SleeperPhoto Courtesy of Sleeper.

    DON'T just give money in a card to someone you don't know that well.

    DO give a classic wallet that anyone will appreciate.



    Delfonics Quitterie Card Case, $15, available at East DanePhoto Courtesy of East Dane.

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    Think about how often you find yourself power-walking through the automatic sliding doors of a Walmart, your closest Target, or the Duane Reade on your block. The drugstore is the first place you go when you need paper towels or you're running low on shampoo, and before you know it, the cold air of the freezer is tickling your hand as you reach in for a carton of Ben & Jerry's Half Baked, because Monday really kicked your ass. Really, it's a trap.

    And this season, that struggle of walking into a store for two things and leaving with 10 is going to be even tougher, because every store is filling shelves with some sweet holiday stocking stuffers. So, you can pop in for toothpaste and exit with the perfect gift for anyone on your nice list. Plus, the prices are so low you won't feel any buyer's remorse.

    Ahead, check out the best affordable gift sets at the drugstore — from a good hair day in a box to a box of Maybelline mascara — all wrapped and ready to go.

    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.

    The Love Beauty & Planet in-shower essentials set makes the perfect gift for anyone on your list — because honestly, who doesn't want every step of their bathing routine to smell like breathing in a bouquet of fresh-cut roses?



    Love Beauty and Planet Love, Beauty & Planet Gift Set Murumuru Butter & Rose, $15, available at walgreens.com

    This season, four of our favorite hair brands — Love Beauty and Planet, Dove, Tresemmè, and Nexxus — have joined forces to deliver a custom beauty box at an incredible price point: under $10. Inside the box you'll find a Love Beauty and Planet shampoo and conditioner duo, a can of Dove dry shampoo, hairspray by Tresemmé, two hydrating hair masks by Nexxus, and $10 worth of coupons. Basically, it's the closest you can get to gifting a good hair day... and who doesn't want that?



    Walmart Best of Hair 6-Pc Gift Set , $9.88, available at Walmart

    You can't go wrong gifting a single tube of classic Maybelline mascara, but four different best-selling formulas in one cute pink box... that's going above and beyond.



    Maybelline Maybelline Mini Mascara Holiday Kit Black, $14.99, available at walgreens.com

    You know that friend who always complains about not being able to find a good nude matte lipstick? This gift set is for her.



    Cherry Chree Cherry Chree Nude Lips Matte Liquid Lipstick Set, $4.88, available at Walmart

    Good Chemistry is a new fragrance brand to hit the shelves of Target, and what better way to test out the goods than with a holiday kit featuring its three premiere scents in rollerball form?



    Good Chemistry Good Chemistry Rollerball Fragrance Gift Set, $14.99, available at Target

    I need new makeup brushes; you need new makeup brushes. Chances are, anyone you're shopping for could also use new brushes and would appreciate this set of fresh tools complete with a storage case.



    Eco Tools Ecotools Airbrush Complexion Kit Makeup Brush Set, $12.98, available at Walmart

    Hair products can get pricey when your curls look their bounciest after you layer on about five products, including a conditioning mask, a styler, and a moisturizing spritz. With this box, you get all three pieces of the perfect hair routine for just $9.



    Cantu Cantu Winter Curl and Treat Holiday Set, $9.88, available at Walmart

    This Physicians Formula set is stocked with a mix of skin-care and makeup goodies, including a vitamin C brightening serum, an illuminating primer, a pink pearlescent highlighter, liquid lipstick, and a tube of mascara.



    Physicians Formula Physicians Formula Essential Minis, $14.88, available at Walmart

    If you're gifting someone early in the holiday season, give them something that will be useful for all the parties to come, like this Kristin Ess box with a long-lasting hairspray and some sparkly glitter pins.



    Kristin Ess Temporary Rose Gold Tint + Celestial Bobby Pins, $14, available at Target

    Let's face it: We all need hand cream this time of year. This trio has a different scent to store on your bedside table, by the kitchen sink, and at your desk.



    Burt's Bees Hand Cream Trio with Shea Butter 3 Tubes, $12.99, available at Target

    This season is busy, so you might not have time to hit the brow bar. The next best thing is a stocked at-home brow kit filled with spoolies, pencils, and brow powder. At $4, you can gift one, and keep a second for yourself.



    e.l.f. Cosmetics e.l.f. Cosmetics Holiday 2 Piece Eyebrow Gift Set, $4.88, available at Walmart

    You truly can't go wrong with gifting this kit, which includes a cream lipstick, metallic liquid lipstick, a 9-pan eyeshadow palette, a rose gold highlighter, a sheer shadow primer, and a chrome pink makeup bag. Give the box as a full set, or take it apart to use the pieces as individual stocking stuffers.



    Hard Candy Hard Candy Holiday Makeup Gift Set, All That Rose Gold, $9.88, available at Walmart

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    "Windswept hair," as the advertisers would have it, is tousled (whatever that means) with a shine that never looks greasy — even though it hasn't been washed in days. It looks like it would be as soft as velvet to the touch. But in reality , our hair looks more like we've been fiddling with some wiring with soaking-wet hands after we've walked two blocks in a winter breeze. (Fun fact: Not everyone's locks dry to perfection when exposed to the elements.)

    In fact, our hair is staticky (blame our favorite winter beanie), tangled, and just plain dry from September to February when we overexpose it to scratchy wool fabrics, bleach, stale plane air, heat, and hot tools, yet we expect it to bounce back after each shampoo. So what to do when a blow-dry leaves it looking dull, or a good comb-out still leaves it flat?

    First, don't freak out. There are plenty of solutions to get your hair back on track — the majority of which can be tried and tested sink-side. Here's the hair repair drill, 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.

    Pre-Shampoo Treatment

    Consider this a Chapstick for your hair. You dab it on to the areas that need moisture and leave it on for as long as you'd like, even overnight. Wash it out with shampoo and voila — easy hydration.



    Kristin Ess Anytime Anywhere Recovery Balm, $14, available at Target

    Scalp Scrub

    You should be holding your hair routine to the same high standard that you do your skin care. With that in mind, you should scrub your scalp the same way that you exfoliate your face. That's where this sugar scrub comes in. Apply to your roots before you shampoo once a week to get rid of flakes and product buildup.



    Ouai Scalp & Body Scrub, $38, available at Sephora

    — PAID —

    Reparative Blowdry Foam

    Think of this foam like a recovery drink following an especially exhausting spin class — it'll bring back tons of nourishment to tired, stressed-out hair after one too many hot-tool touch ups. Made with mango butter and vitamin-rich aloe vera, the formula targets the most damaged areas for stronger strands that can hold their own against even your highest, tightest ponytails.



    Sexy Hair Sexy Hair Active Recovery Repairing Blow Dry Foam, $18.95, available at Ulta Beauty

    Hair Masks

    For dry, brittle tresses, a hair mask is a good place to start. Unlike a conditioner, masks provide deeper, more intense hydration. Apply this this mask after you shampoo and leave on for an episode of The Handmaid's Tale. For even better results, pop on a shower cap and cover with a hot towel.



    Garnier Damage Repairing Treat 1 Minute Hair Mask , $4.49, available at Garnier

    At Home Hair Treatments

    In a pinch? Fret not: You can make a nourishing mask at home, as Alex Brownsell, co-founder of London cult salon Bleach, shows us.

    All you'll need are the following ingredients:
    2 eggs
    1/2 an avocado
    4 tbsps of mayonnaise

    Mash the avocado, whisk the eggs, add four spoons of mayo, and mix together. Apply generously to pre-shampooed hair as a conditioner and cover with a shower cap. Leave for 30 minutes. Rinse well with lukewarm water.

    The protein in the eggs will hydrate your hair, while the the vinegar, soybean oil, and lemon juice in the mayo adds shine and locks in moisture. Meanwhile, the fatty acids in avocado also hydrate your hair.

    Leave-In Conditioner

    A leave-in treatment, like this one, is ideal for people with chronically dry hair. Apply all over to damp hair and comb, or lightly coat dry hair and don't rinse. Your hair's texture will immediately feel entirely different.



    Kiehl's Magic Elixir Hair Restructuring Concentrate, $20, available at Saks Fifth Avenue

    Moisture is a must when taking care of your curls, and when the temperature drops, they deserve extra attention as they face the harsh drying effects of winter weather. Turn to leave-ins, like this avocado oil-rich formula, to retain natural moisture and leave hair silky.



    Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave–In Defining Crème, $20, available at Sephora

    Hair Oil

    If you aren't using oil on your hair, then what are you waiting for? Apply a pea- to quarter-sized amount through lengths and ends of towel-dried hair (more if your hair is thick, less if it's thin) and let your hair dry naturally; the oil will help smooth frizz and calm dry ends. This option works like a charm and smells amazing.



    Davines Oi Oil Absolute Beautifying Potion, $48.44, available at Walmart

    Bond-Building Treatments

    Bond-building treatments, like Olaplex, can help restore strength to processed hair. They are typically applied in three steps at the salon, and can undo damage caused by dyeing and styling. Your options: Either have it applied as part of your cut and color, or purchase Step 3 and use it at home twice a week as a leave-in treatment.



    Olaplex Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3, $28, available at Sephora

    Put Down The Heat

    This may be hard to hear, but if you really want to replenish your hair, you will need to retire your flat irons and curling wands. If that's just not an option, then don't think about using them without a heat defense spray like this one. It creates a thermal shield around delicate hair follicles to help ward off more damage.



    Moroccanoil Protect & Prevent Spray, $13, available at Sephora

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    As President Donald Trump’s current Chief of Staff, John Kelly, prepares to vacate his post by the end of the year, a new report has emerged alleging that First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, might have played key roles in steering him towards the exit.

    Kelly is just the latest in a long line of Trump administration officials to abruptly depart from the White House, and his sparring with various other members of the president’s inner circle was never exactly a secret. But according to the Washington Post, Kelly’s downfall might have come directly in response to his soured relationship with Ivanka and Jared, both of whom currently serve as senior advisors to the president.

    A retired four-star Marine Corps general, Kelly was brought on in July 2017 to replace former Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff, and had been tasked with the unenviable job of trying to rein in the president’s more impish impulses. Those bad habits notoriously included late-night tweetstorms and long stretches of time spent watching Fox News morning shows — tendencies that Kelly reportedly tried to combat by instituting a top-down structure within a chaotic White House so that Trump would be better incentivized to focus on policy-making.

    But not long after his tenure as Chief of Staff began, Kelly reportedly became frustrated by how easily other members of the administration could bypass that newly-established chain of command in order to grab the president’s ear — including, notably, Kushner. Privately, Kelly had previously expressed concern that Kushner appeared to have "free range to function outside his lane," and had also told well-placed sources that Ivanka appeared to be "playing government," according to CNN.

    The New York Times reported that Kelly is "furious" at the pair and that he kept notes "about Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump and the things that they had done or requested, which he conspicuously left on his desk in view of his staff."

    Despite Kelly telling the Times in a November 2017 interview that there was, "honestly never a time when I contemplated getting rid of Jared and Ivanka,” the couple reportedly began to regard his continued presence in the White House "as a hurdle to their father's success and as antagonistic to their continued presence." Rumors of an increasingly uncomfortable relationship between the parties continued to swirl until last weekend, when President Trump officially announced the retired general’s departure.

    "John Kelly will be leaving,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Saturday. “I don't know if I can say 'retiring.'"

    Although we may never know for sure what finally ended Kelly’s tenure as Chief of Staff, at least one thing seems clear: No matter how many high-ranking officials depart from the Trump administration, Jared and Ivanka — as long as President Trump has any say in the matter — are likely to stick around for the foreseeable future.

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    For as long as I can remember, I've considered myself one of the lucky ones as far as the side effects of winter are concerned. From about November through March (or April, depending on when the last blizzard of the season decides to blow through New York at the eleventh hour), my friends and family suffer from dry, flaky lips, while I do not. A matter of luck, or a favorable genetic mutation? Who's to say.

    Then, something changed. Perhaps it's the artificial indoor heat in the office or the fact that time (and karma) has caught up with me, but either way, this year was the first year my lips began to crack beyond repair.

    To paint you an unpleasant picture, my dehydrated lips have appeared to molt, day in and day out, to no relief. Although I've tried a lot of heavy-duty lip balms and salves to treat the damage, none of my attempts have worked — until Milk Makeup's Kush Lip Balm came along.

    I wasn't expecting the latest launch from the buzzy brand, which officially hits Milk Makeup and Sephora.com today, to solve my winter woes; in fact, I swiped on the green-tinted balm without putting much thought into it at all — I just needed something on my lips at that moment. But it quickly became the only formula that stopped my lips from their afternoon flaking process. A few hours passed and I noticed my lips weren't only hydrated, but actually soft to the touch and totally flake-free. It's now been over a week, and I haven't seen a single flake so far.

    But how? The Kush Lip Balm — an extension of the brand's popular Kush line that already includes a mascara and brow gel — utilizes one ingredient that apparently is the key to saving chapped lips: hemp oil. Milk Makeup refers to it as hemp-derived cannabis oil (or cannabis sativa seed oil), but it's oil harvested from the seeds of the hemp plant nonetheless. In other words, it won't get you high, but it will deeply condition whatever surface you put it on since it's rich in proteins and antioxidants.

    Of course, hemp seed oil isn't the only ingredient the balm uses to save chapped skin; it's accompanied by a number of other moisturizing ingredients, like coconut and olive oil, along with shea, cocoa, moringa and mango butters, to soothe and hydrate. Oh, and don't worry: The balm looks green in the tube, but leaves a clear, glossy finish on the lips.

    My only remaining question: When does the body lotion version come out? I think we could all use that right about now.

    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.

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    As much as we love reading our horoscopes, we recognize that they can't be correct 100% of the time. More often than not, a horoscope paints a beautiful — but abstract — image of one possible outcome for our lives. On one hand, that can make it really frustrating when you read a horoscope that repeatedly doesn't "get" you. On the other, a horoscope that ends up nailing the following week or month can feel all the more special.

    Even if the event that your horoscope predicted was less-than-great, it still feels pretty cool when the cosmos seems to be in perfect sync with your life. And, between the series of eclipses and utter barrage of retrogrades we endured this year, we're willing to bet that more than a few of you felt particularly seen by your horoscope in this year of wild astrological activity.

    Here, members of the R29 community and those of the astro communities on Reddit share their most accurate horoscope readings from the past year. Share your own in the comments section.

    "In late July/early August (Leo season!), there were multiple retrogrades and eclipses happening, so I knew it was a tumultuous time where things could be totally unpredictable and even disastrous. Mars was retrograde, Neptune was retrograde, and so was the comet Chiron. On July 26, Mercury retrograde began, and I was told that my whole team at work was being laid off that same day. Not a great birthday season for me. Luckily, the October 24 full moon in Taurus, which promised satisfaction and comfort, brought me to an exciting new job."

    -Abbey, Leo

    "The first thing mentioned in my (Sagittarius) horoscope was a big social event around 3/31. Thinking back, I went clubbing for the first time in a WHILE on 3/30."

    -Reddit user wilhelminarose, Sagittarius

    "Last June, a horoscope gave me the guts to ask for a raise because it said I was worth it. But I feel like my horoscope made me do it... Gemini season means everything to me."

    -Ally, Gemini

    "Work got hectic as soon as the [Venus] retrograde clock struck October 5. It’s been crazy. I guess Venus Rx is saying something needs to change."

    -Reddit user tyedyeddeepfried, Taurus

    "Last October, mine told me that something's going to happen with the boy you like, because it's time. And I was like, 'Wow, yes.' And that was the month that something happened! Maybe it doesn't predict as much as it just puts things into perspective for me."

    -Sara, Leo

    "During Venus's shadow in September, I started seeing someone. But he worked on the elections and basically said he would be 'unavailable' until Nov 6 (Election Day), which is almost the entire duration of Venus's Rx. So as an astrologer, I was like, 'Ha. Nice one, Venus.'"

    "But what was to come was an agonizing October of re-evaluating my value, worth, and priorities in love — and what I ended up concluding what that this guy was actually garbage for me because he really wasn't treating me well at all (I firmly believe that even if you are busy, when you like someone for real, you can make time for a phone call at least, come on — red flag), and I was attaching to someone who was unavailable. So I really rumbled and reckoned with my tendency to do that, and all the triggers and debris and resentments from lovers past.

    "So by the time the sun rose on November 6, I was like, 'I don't even want to hear from this dude.' Venus really worked on me big time. There's no non-cheesy way to say this, but I feel very empowered."

    -Reddit user millymichelle, Aquarius

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    When it comes to our holiday wish lists, most years we find ourselves inspired by the wise words of Aaron Carter's 2000 hit cover of "I Want Candy." Every time a friend or family member asks us what we want for our holiday gift, we repeat the song's straightforward chorus. If you have someone in your life who approaches their holiday requests with this same somewhat unhelpful tactic, you might need a little help figuring out exactly what kind of sweet treat will have them happily finishing the song with, "All I want is your candy!" the way Carter intended it. Don't worry: There are plenty of options.

    Ahead, you'll find 13 different treats that double as great gifts for every kind of candy lover in your life. There's gourmet chocolate if your looking to splurge, limited edition holiday-themed sweets for the festive people on your list, and candy gift boxes for those who like a little variety when it comes to snacking.

    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.

    For the Hello Kitty-obsessed.



    Sugarfina Hello Kitty’s Sweet Retreat 8-Piece Candy Bento Box, $68, available at Sugarfina

    For a fan of the classics.



    See's Candies Large Gold Fancy, $49.75, available at See's Candies

    For the friend that needs a full-sized bag of sweets in their stocking.



    M&M's M&M's Christmas Hot Cocoa, $3.19, available at Target

    For anyone who isn't afraid of a little glitter.



    Dylan's Candy Bar Glitter Christmas Wreath, $40, available at Dylan's Candy Bar

    For the person who can never choose between candy or cookies.



    Ghiradelli Christmas Milk Chocolate Toffee & Cookie Crunch, $4.49, available at Target

    For the loved one looking for Instagram likes.



    MarieBelle Holiday Ganache 4-Piece Box, $17, available at MarieBelle

    For that friend who is sometimes sour but makes up for it by being sweet.



    Spangler Sour Patch Kids Assorted Flavor Candy Cane, $4.5, available at Amazon

    For the fantasy lover.



    Squish Candies Holiday Magic - Mini Gift Box, $8, available at Squish Candies

    For the friend that needs to chillax.



    Lord Jones Limited Edition High CBD All Natural Holiday Gumdrops, $50, available at Lord Jones

    For your pal with a sparkling personality.



    Lolli and Pops Holiday Glitz Gift Box, $65, available at Lolli and Pops

    For the Trader Joe's-obsessed shopper.

    Trader Joe’s Belgian Truffle Ballotin Box, $3.49, available at Trader Joe's.

    For your bestie that thinks cherry is the best flavor even if you disagree.



    Godiva Santa Baby Trinket with Chocolate Cherry Cordials, $27, available at Godiva

    For the Nailed It! fan.



    Jacques Torres Chocolate Holiday Specialty Edition - Happy Holidays, $29, available at Jacques Torres Chocolate

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    There are a few things that you can depend on sex to completely ruin every once in a while: your sheets, your clothes, your friendships, and, most definitely, your makeup.

    Now that we've covered the best sex-proof lipsticks, looking to adult film actresses for their expertise on the matter, the natural next step was to find out their picks for sex-proof mascaras. Because really, if there's one thing that always ends up smudged post-coitus, it's this shit. Ever looked in the mirror after a hookup to see straight-up raccoon eyes? We're with you.

    While some adult actresses admitted to preferring a messier look while filming (fair!), others gave us the lowdown on the ones that can really last through anything. To our surprise, plenty of their picks are readily available at a drugstore — and, of course, Too Faced's Better Than Sex was a favorite, too.

    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.

    Sinn Sage, adult film actress

    "Benefit's BADgal Bang and They're Real give really great definition and lash separation — which I love — and they lengthen as well. It's great for a bolder, wet look."



    Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara, $25, available at Ulta Beauty

    "Better Than Sex is for a more natural, toned-down mascara. It makes lashes nice and feathery, separates them, and looks fantastic. I prefer the smaller, deluxe-sized version to the full-size version. The full-size one collects too much product on the wand and it comes out clumpy — it's weird."



    Too Faced Travel Size Better Than Sex Mascara, $12, available at Ulta Beauty

    Silvia Saige, adult film actress

    "Revlon's Volume and Length Magnified Mascara doesn't smudge at all, allowing me to thoroughly enjoy a scene without panda eyes. Also, Too Faced's Better Than Sex mascara is great! Maybe not quite 'better than sex,' but it makes the sex I do stress-free. Great makeup is always a bonus when I'm filming."



    Revlon Volume + Length Magnified Mascara, $8.49, available at Ulta Beauty

    Angie Peek, adult film makeup artist

    "I use waterproof mascara and honestly just get whatever's cheap like Maybelline Great Lash or L’Oréal Carbon Black."



    Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara, $3.99, available at Ulta Beauty

    Lindsey Leigh, adult film actress

    "I apply three coats of Lash Paradise to lengthen and thicken. Upside is it makes my lashes look fake and doesn’t smear, looks good in the morning, doesn’t stain pillows, and it’s cheap. Downside is I have to buy it monthly."



    L'Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara, $6.99, available at Ulta Beauty

    Sofia Rose, adult film actress

    "Personally, I have lash extensions — but this works best."



    Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Waterproof Mascara, $8.49, available at Ulta Beauty

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    Football has always had a reputation for being a boys' club — a sport for male athletes, covered by male analysts, watched by male fans. But the reality is, women are not only passionate football fans, they’re also becoming more and more involved on the professional side of the sport as commentators, analysts, reporters, and administrators, shattering stereotypes that one of the most exciting sports doesn’t have a place for them. This is especially true of college football, a game that’s known to inspire particular passion and traditions among its fans.

    According to Nielsen data, 41% of the viewers watching the College Football Playoff at home last season were women. And it’s easy to see what’s appealing about the game — not only is there the general camaraderie of fandom, but the structure of the College Football Playoff means that every game in the regular season counts (aka: the stakes are high). Chloe, a Notre Dame fan, says CFP has a huge effect on her. “College football is the only sport I get emotionally invested in,” she says. “It has the power to change my mood.” Lauren, a Northwestern fan, says she and her family “watch it Saturday after Saturday because we can’t not.”

    Still, as much as women show interest in the game, being a female college-football fan often means having your place in the fandom put to the test. “It means explaining to a lot of people why I like football, and [whether] I really understand all the rules (yes, I do),” says Meghan, another Notre Dame fan. Chloe echoes this sentiment: “My knowledge about the game [is] questioned all the time, and there’s a lot of unnecessary explaining.”

    There’s also a perception — one that many female sports fans can likely relate to — that if a woman likes a sport, she’s only doing it for show. “Some guys I have hung out with tend to think I'm doing it to impress them,” Meghan says. “I feel a real responsibility to stay educated about the game and not just be someone who is a fan of football to be cool or popular.”

    It's almost like a sports logo erases my gender for a moment...It allows me to act uninhibited and feel whatever I want to feel, without the often-accompanying rebuke that women get for being ‘emotional.’

    The truth is, college football can be a cathartic outlet for women. “[It] allows me to express the kinds of emotions that are normally barred for women — aggression, passion, and yes, sometimes anger,” says Lauren. “It's almost like a sports logo erases my gender for a moment...It allows me to act uninhibited and feel whatever I want to feel, without the often-accompanying rebuke that women get for being ‘emotional.’”

    Courtesy of ESPN Images.

    While there’s been a surge of women holding professional jobs in the world of college football, perhaps unsurprisingly, the stereotypes linger for them as well. “I think honestly it’s getting better, but you still get that, ‘The reason why you’re here is because they needed a woman for this show,’” says Maria Taylor, reporter and host for ESPN.

    Courtesy of ESPN Images.

    Laura Rutledge, also a reporter and host for ESPN, says that when fans doubt her knowledge of the sport on the basis of her gender, it only deepens her resolve. “I work every day to make sure I’m the most prepared and I’m coming to the table with more knowledge than anybody else,” she says. “I think that’s the best way to arm yourself.”

    For Paola Boivin, who has been covering sports for more than 20 years and is an Arizona Sports Hall of Fame inductee and the second woman in history to work on the CFP selection committee, it comes down to sheer, undeniable passion. “It’s sort of mind-boggling to me that some people still think that you have to have a certain chromosome to be able to understand college football or football in general,” Boivin says. “We have the passion that anybody else would have, and it sort of astounds me that, in this day and age, some people still don’t think that’s realistic.”

    Courtesy of ESPN Images.

    It isn’t lost on the female pros that their forward-facing roles in college football inspire a greater sense of community for the women watching at home. Taylor recounts a time when she was feeling low-energy one Michigan game day, and a male analyst approached her to share how meaningful she was to his daughter. “He was like, ‘All she wants to do is be you when she grows up, and she’s so thankful to see you on TV, and it’s just great to have you.’ And I’m like, You know what? I have enough energy to do this game. It’s about the girl that’s at home that can turn on the TV and find any type of strength in seeing me there — I gotta be that.”

    It’s about the girl that’s at home that can turn on the TV and find any type of strength in seeing me there — I gotta be that.

    Taylor also mentors college athletes as part of the Winning Edge Leadership Academy, which allows women to shadow her on the field, hopefully growing the pool of women who can later pursue jobs like hers. “I want to be their reflection, because I’m a woman,” she says. “But I also want to be a window to their future, have them looking out and believing something greater for their life, or have this strong belief in what they’re capable of doing in the future.”

    Despite the challenges they face, it’s clear that the sense of community among women in college football is stronger than anything else. Christian, a Clemson fan, says that seeing more and more women enjoying the game “means equality, setting aside the thought of it just being a manly sport.”

    Though college football is about so much more than gender, the women involved — on both the fan and professional sides — are working to extinguish any lingering ideas that women aren’t an integral part of the sport and its surrounding communities. “Everywhere that there’s a nook or cranny that can be filled with a woman’s voice in college football, we’re finding ways to fill that,” Taylor says. “We realize that female fans are out there, and they love college football.”

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    With just a few weeks left until the end of 2018, this is the time year when you might need to do a little financial damage control. According to a study by the National Retail Federation, consumers spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday season — and for some, this can mean waltzing into the New Year with a pocket full of debt.

    But before you go selling your Christmas gifts for cash, there are life hacks you can implement to combat the holiday season's inevitably hefty price tag. Step one: Consider doing a zero dollar day, a.k.a. 24 straight hours without spending a penny. Daunting, yes, but totally doable. And we're here to tell you how to do it.

    While it's not as easy as hiding your wallet for a day (although, that would certainly help), with the right preparations in place, zero dollar days can be your saving grace this holiday season.

    Think about your bottom line

    First things first, figure out how much you typically spend in a day. Of course, doing a zero dollar day is great, but it's even more meaningful when you realize that you're saving $40 that you would typically spend on any given weekday. And keep in mind that just because you're doing a zero dollar day, doesn't mean you can spend double what you normally would the next day and call it even. The point of doing a zero dollar day is to help your bottom line, not to help you feel less guilty about splurging later.

    In preparation, Alison Norris, CFP and Advice Strategist at SoFi, suggests doing a deep dive into your last three months of spending. (This is a good exercise even if you don't do a zero dollar day.) From there, break everything out into categories (food, entertainment, beauty, etc.), and ask yourself which expenses you can live without. This will help you paint a clearer picture of the areas where you need to curb spending and be especially cognizant on your zero dollar day.

    SoFi member Bonnie, who recently challenged herself to #NoSpendNovember, adds: "It's important to think about your budget as a whole.... I look at my typical spending — if I normally spend $700 a month on groceries and dining out, then this works out to about $23/day. And that means five zero dollar days should drop my overall spending for the month to $585. If I don't accomplish this, they aren't truly zero dollar days!"

    Avoid over-buying at the grocery store

    Food is the expense most likely to foil your zero dollar day. According to a 2017 survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, food accounts for nearly 13% of total spending in the average American household. The problem is, we don't always spend money on food wisely. According to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the average American household throws out $1,800 worth of food over the course of a single year.

    So how does one go about prepping for a zero dollar day when it comes to food?

    According to Norris, the first step is to make what you already have on hand work for you. That means opening your fridge and pantry and reacquainting yourself with the stuff you forgot you bought (as long as it hasn't expired). Maybe you tossed a few packs of ramen into your cart on a whim during a shopping trip a few months ago, or maybe you have a few cans of tuna that will make for a quick and easy lunch on crackers. Not only will this help mitigate food waste — it will help you save.

    Once you know what you're working with, make a plan — meal prepping is key. And if you need a few items to fill in the gaps, head out to the grocery store — just as long as it's in advance of your zero dollar day.

    Bonnie says that frequently cooking with a Crock-Pot has helped her on zero dollar days: "It allows me to purchase a cheaper cut of meat, because it still cooks beautifully in its own juices. Then I add a mix of dried spices and whatever random unused vegetables I have. It turns into a great dish that can be served on its own, in tortillas, or on top of rice or potatoes. I can usually make a Crock-Pot meal for under $20 that's delicious and will last me 6+ meals. And if I'm missing an ingredient, I search online for substitutes I may have lying around."

    (That's $3 a meal, FYI.)

    Norris also notes the importance of bringing a water bottle with you wherever you go on your zero dollar day so that you won't be tempted to pay for a drink.

    Remember, it's all about the little things

    Norris recommends using physical reminders to help you stay focused on your savings goals. That might mean a motivational Post-it note on your mirror to greet you when you wake up in the morning, or a picture on your computer's desktop of the dream home you're saving up for. When you remind yourself of why you're eating a sad desk salad instead of going out for poke bowls with your coworkers, it's easier to stick to your goal.

    Of course, life gets in the way sometimes and can throw a wrench in your spending when you least expect it — or budget for it. So it's important to get a handle on what you do have control over while you can. If you're planning a zero dollar day make sure it doesn't coincide with when your rent or monthly gas bill is due.

    Beyond food, you'll want to do some other preparation. If your gas tank is nearing empty or you're on the last day of your unlimited MetroCard, make sure you top it off before your zero dollar day begins. Same goes for your toiletries and laundry (if you don't have your own washer and dryer). Make sure you're good on toothpaste and clean underwear (seriously!) so that you don't have to spend anything on the day of. This is just as much an exercise in organizing your expenses (and filtering out needs versus wants) as it is in saving.

    Also, if you do find yourself dealing with an unexpected expense in the middle of a zero dollar day, don't use that as an excuse to chuck the whole experiment. Pay the bill, and then recommit yourself to finishing the day without spending any more money.

    Make it social

    Bonnie admits that zero dollar days can be tough, especially when it comes to maintaining relationships. "It's hard to miss out on a social engagement because you're budgeting. Be up front with people [about your limitations] so they know and aren't pushy. "

    One of the best ways to avoid awkwardness is to get your friends and family involved in your zero dollar day. Plus, when you pool all your resources together, you might wind up with a dinner more exciting than just plain PB&Js. Assign a different task to each person (as long as no one has to shell out any cash), and voila — an all-expenses-paid girls' night in for the books!

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    There's no stopping Michelle Obama now. The former first lady, whose memoir Becoming quickly rose to be the most sold hardcover book of 2018, is extending her tour well into next year.

    “I’ve been so humbled by the response to the tour thus far and the overwhelming interest we’ve received from so many communities we weren’t able to visit this year,” Obama exclusively told People. “That’s why I’m thrilled that we’re able to expand our conversations to these new settings and wider audiences. I can’t wait to continue the discussions that have been so meaningful for me and, I hope, for so many others.”

    Obama announced Tuesday that she's adding 21 new tour dates in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Some of the cities include Portland, OR; Phoenix, AZ; Austin and Houston, TX; Atlanta, GA; and Nashville, TN. The tour will also take the former first lady to Denmark, Sweden, France, and the U.K. (For more information on the tour, you can visit the book's website.)

    Becoming has also sold more than three million copies in the U.S. and Canada alone.

    Ever since the memoir's release, Obama has been praised for taking readers with her on an intimate journey about her life. She has been candid about everything from how her daughters Malia and Sasha were conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF)  to how she feels President Donald Trump put her family at risk by peddling the debunked conspiracy theory that her husband, former President Barack Obama, wasn't born in the United States. On tour, Obama has also been candid about the challenges she's faced as a Black woman in America. Earlier this month, she was frank about the unrealistic expectations society pushes on working women, particularly those who are mothers. "That whole 'so you can have it all.' Nope, not at the same time," Obama said. "That’s a lie. And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that shit doesn’t work all the time."

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    The first time I remember being struck by a actress’ performance was while watching Gone With The Wind when I was 8 years old. Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara leapt off my living room TV screen, a woman who could just as easily cut your face off out of spite as she could seduce you into oblivion. She was ambitious, and cunning, and sometimes heartless. But she was also fiercely loyal, and ready sacrifice for those she loved.

    In the years since, I’ve come to grapple with the many mitigating factors that make Gone With The Wind a complicated film to watch, but that memory of watching a woman drive a narrative, and rooting for her, not despite, but because of her complexity, is one that has shaped my understanding of film in a fundamental way.

    And yet, it’s still an all-too rare occurrence. According to a 2017 study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion initiative, only 34 out of the 100 top films in 2016 depicted a female lead, or co-lead. Of those women, only three were from an underrepresented group, and only 8 were over 45. The study also found that out of 900 films with balanced casts boasting a total of 39,788 speaking roles, only 31.4% were women.

    In that context, it’s all the more important to celebrate the characters we do have. And in a surprise twist, generally trash year 2018 has given rise to some of the most fascinating women characters in a long time, thanks to some powerful portrayals by Hollywood’s leading and supporting actresses. So, whether you’re looking to relive a great moment, or figure out what movie is worth your time, scroll through for a look at some of the best female (but also just best) performances of the year.

    Ladies first!

    If Beale Street Could Talk

    Barry Jenkins' beautiful adaptation of James Baldwin's 1974 book features two of this year's most impressive performances.

    KiKi Layne

    Who she plays: Tish Rivers, a young woman who's boyfriend is falsely accused of rape.

    Why she's great: Newcomer Layne's narration is one of the highlights of the film. She carefully gives weight to the powerful, lyrical words she's wielding, turning text into magic. As Tish, she's both soft and determined, a woman who has known a great love, and has to fight to keep it.

    Regina King

    Who she plays: Sharon Rivers, Tish's mom.

    Why she's great: King's most searing scene is entirely silent. As a mother forced to watch her daughter suffer as a result of a devastating injustice, her eyes do the work for her. (But when she does speak, watch out.) It's a performance that contains a multitude of emotions: great love, rage at circumstances beyond her control, poise and grace in the face of hardship and pride in her family. Give her all the awards!

    The Favourite

    Yorgos Lanthimos’ mildly surrealist period piece gives us a unique (and admirable) problem: three complex, wildly interesting and compelling female characters, all of which could technically be considered a lead. So, rather than pit them against each other, let’s celebrate them all.

    Olivia Colman

    Who she plays: Queen Anne of England

    Why she’s so good: Colman skillfully vacillates between manic ebullience and tragic sadness. This is a character that could easily fall into caricature, but Colman gives her emotional depth that keeps us firmly in her camp throughout the film. She’s the real favorite.

    Rachel Weisz

    Who she plays: Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (Favorite #1, and trying to stay that way)

    Why she’s so good: Weisz plays Sarah as a viper: alluring, dangerous, and venomously witty. But she’s also a woman who has used her intellect and skills to wield immense power in a world that does everything to deny her that right. What’s not to love?

    Emma Stone

    Who she plays: Abigail Hill (Favorite #2, and ready to usurp Sarah’s spot)

    Why she’s so good: Emma Stone is funny! Like, really funny! Her impeccable comedic timing is on full display as Abigail claws her way into the stratosphere of 18th century English society.

    Read our review of The Favourite.


    Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

    Who she plays: Lee Israel, a has-been celebrity biographer turned literary forger.

    Why she’s so good: Lee Israel was the worst human being on the planet, but in McCarthy’s hands, she’s also the most compelling. Behind each acerbic zinger lurks a great unspoken disappointment, a wish that was never fulfilled. The makeup and wig may get her closer to looking like the 50-year-old Israel, but it’s McCarthy’s careful body language that makes her believable. You won’t want to root for her, but you will.

    Read our review of Can You Ever Forgive Me?.

    Read our interview with Melissa McCarthy.

    Regina Hall in Support The Girls

    Who she plays: Lisa, general manager of a Hooters-like establishment.

    Why she’s so good: I will never not be mad at how poorly Support the Girls (now available on DVD) was marketed. From the trailer, you’d think it was some kind of raunchy comedy, with Hall as slapstick in chief. But she plays Lisa as a matriarch, in the true sense of the word. She’s motherly, and tender, but also tough and fiercely protective. And though she’s the one her employees look up to, she’s got no one to lay her own troubles on. The result is a subtle, often funny, but also bracing performance that showcases all of Hall’s strengths.

    Read our review of Support The Girls.

    Cynthia Erivo in Bad Times At The El Royale

    Who she plays: Darlene Sweet, a singer on her way to a gig in Reno before she gets caught up in the drama at the El Royale.

    Why she’s great: Aside from smashing a whiskey bottle on Jeff Bridges head? Erivo shines because she’s bold. She doesn’t retreat from her big name co-stars, but meets them head on, claiming her space, and carving out a role that’s as defined as her biceps. (It helps that her rendition of “This Old Heart Of Mine” is as absolute barn-raiser.)

    Read our review of Bad Times At The El Royale here.

    Listen to our interview with Cynthia Erivo here.

    Amandla Stenberg in The Hate U Give

    Who she plays: Starr Carter, a teenage girl who sees her friend gunned down by the police

    Why she’s so good: YA heroines are tough to portray honestly, because they’re usually a collection of Defining Characteristics that convey a message to the reader. But Stenberg’s performance transcends the film’s underlying big ideas. Starr feels like a real person, a young woman grappling with dual identities, and serious trauma, but also one who laughs with her friends, flirts with boys and enjoys her family’s company. She’s multifaceted, and complex, and that makes her struggle hit squarely home.

    Read our review of The Hate U Give.

    Widows

    Everyone is good in Widows! Steve McQueen’s heist movie is an impressive feat of casting, with major star-power. Still, even among the very best, two names stand out.

    Viola Davis

    Who she plays: Veronica Rawlings, widow of professional robber Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson).

    Why she’s great: Can anyone deliver a rousing speech like Viola Davis? When she says “Because no one thinks we have the balls to pull this off,” I think I actually opened my mouth to cheer. But what makes this role special is not Veronica’s strength, but her weaknesses. Davis gives voice to the women who thought they had it all, only to realize that they have to start all over again — and come out even stronger than before.

    Elizabeth Debicki

    Who she plays: Alice, who’s husband, Florek (Jon Bernthal), died along with the other robber-spouses

    Why she’s great: Not many actresses can share a scene with Viola Davis and shine, but damn if Debicki doesn’t steal hers. Of all the women in the film, Alice has the most complete transformation— she starts out as a victim, prey to men’s whims and moods; but by the end, she’s carved out a place for herself as a self-sufficient woman. She makes a friend, she learns to drive, she wears a cozy knit instead of a bodycon dress that’s glued to her curves — those may seem like little things, but Debicki has made us understand that to Alice, they mean the world.

    Read our review of Widows.

    Want to know more about the ending? Check out our explainer.

    Rosamund Pike in Private War

    Who she plays: Foreign correspondent Marie Colvin

    Why she’s so good: Rosamund Pike shrunk a centimeter and a half while playing the intrepid war correspondent Marie Colvin in A Private War. For Pike, it wasn’t enough to adopt Colvin’s deep rasp. She also had to contort her body to Colvin’s slight hunch, her wry expressions, her eye patch. The stakes, after all, were high: A Private War is a tribute to a singular woman and her unfathomable kind of bravery. After decades reporting on war atrocities for London's Sunday Times, Marie Colvin perished in Homs, Syria in 2012. Pike did Colvin's lifetime of fearlessness justice and, in the process, created a career-defining role.

    Read our interview with Rosamund Pike.

    Michelle Yeoh in Crazy Rich Asians

    Who she plays:Eleanor Young — show some respect!

    Why she’s great: The evil mom who wants to keep her child from the one he/she loves is a role that could easily be phoned in. But Yeoh lets us peek behind Eleanor’s fiercely glamorous facade, revealing a woman who’s suffered her own indignities, and is terrified of losing her son.

    Read our review of Crazy Rich Asians here.

    Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Kindergarten Teacher

    Who she plays: Lisa Spinelli, a Staten Island kindergarten teacher who becomes obsessed with one of her toddler students.

    Why she’s great: Gyllenhaal has said that she views Lisa’s actions as the consequences of “starving a brilliant woman’s mind,” and that’s how she plays her: as a woman desperate to feel special, to be heard. We’re never quite sure if Jimmy (Parker Sevak) is actually a prodigy, or if she’s pinning her own failed expectations on him, and that’s down to Gyllenhaal’s deft acting.

    Read our review of The Kindergarten Teacher here.

    Dominique Fishback in Night Comes On

    Who she plays: Angel LaMere, a young woman hell-bent on getting revenge on her father for killing her mother

    Why she’s so good: Fishback’s performances are a slow burn. You can’t quite pinpoint when it happens, but there you are, hooked. It happened with Darlene on The Deuce, and again with Angel in Jordana Spiro’s intricate directorial debut. Fishback is intense, single-minded, and focused, squeezing a tight lid on her hopes for what could have been.

    Read our review of Night Comes On.

    Keira Knightley in Colette

    Who she plays: Early 20th century French novelist Colette Willy

    Why she’s so good: Keira Knightley’s penchant for period dramas may seem amusing to some, but joke’s on them — she rules the genre. As Colette, she traces an emancipatory arc from a woman mesmerized by her husband’s charming veneer to a commanding artist in her own right. It’s a role that would always have been Knightley’s to play, but the actress feels like she’s reached a new level of confidence and maturity in her acting that matches Colette’s own journey. Plus, no one wears a chic costume like Keira Knightley.

    Read our review of Colette.

    Read our interview with Keira Knightley.

    Carey Mulligan in Wildlife

    Who she plays: Jeanette Brinson, a wife and mother struggling to find herself in 1960 Montana.

    Why she’s so good: Playing a bored housewife is rarely gratifying, but Mulligan breathes new life into what has long been a stale trope. Jeanette’s not particularly likeable, but she’s mesmerizing — even her son can’t look away as she alternatively fawns over her lover, and just as quickly scorns his every action. She’s a woman with regrets, who had no options, and who suddenly finds she would really like to have some.

    Read our review of Wildlife.

    Read our interview with Carey Mulligan.

    Watch a clip of her amazing performance.

    Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born

    Who she plays: Ally — the one, the only, the legend.

    Why she’s so good: I mean, where to begin? The character of the eponymous star is notoriously difficult to cast. She’s got to be, well, a star, but she also has to be believable as a nobody who hasn’t made it yet. She can’t be a glorious diva from the start, but we have to know that she can be one. Gaga nails the sweet nexus spot of stardom required, giving a vulnerable and electric performance that literally sends chills down your spine.

    Read our review of A Star Is Born.

    Mary, Queen of Scots

    Like The Favourite, it’s difficult to isolate a lead in Mary, Queen of Scots. As the title suggests, Mary is the main focus, but the film makes clear that her story is wholly incomplete without her cousin Queen Elizabeth.

    Saoirse Ronan

    Who she plays: Mary, Queen of Scots

    Why she’s so good: The only thing most people know about Mary is how she died. But Ronan’s performance celebrates the life of a woman largely forgotten by history, giving her hopes, desires, and calm, confident poise. The actress goes through every single emotion in the film’s two-hour run time, including a close-up orgasm, and the heaving cries of childbirth.

    Margot Robbie

    Who she plays: Queen Elizabeth I

    Why she’s so good: We’ve seen many Queen Elizabeths over the years, from Cate Blanchett to Helen Mirren. But Robbie’s version focuses on Elizabeth the woman, rather than a ruler in relation to the men around her. Robbie hones in on her character’s insecurities, which makes her regal transformation at the end even more impressive to behold.

    Read our review of Mary, Queen of Scots.


    Yalitza Aparicio in Roma

    Who she plays: Cleo, a nanny and housekeeper working for a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico.

    Why she’s so good: Aparicio had never acted before auditioning for this role, a fact that continues to boggle the mind. The depth of emotion she manages to convey with small gestures and wordless looks is what makes Cleo a character you don’t just root for, but invest in. Her heartbreaks are your own; her successes make you smile; and any indignities she’s made to suffer feel like personal attacks. One scene in particular (which I won’t spoil here) should be enough to earn her a nomination.

    Read our review of Roma.

    Toni Collette in Hereditary

    Who she plays: Annie, a mother grappling with earth-shattering grief

    Why she’s so good: Collette is eerily unsettling as Annie. Sometimes she’s blank, almost despondent; while other times she’s downright hilarious, even as she’s explaining that she once tried to light her kids on fire in her sleep. There may be supernatural forces at work behind the scenes, but the true horror is lurking within Annie herself.

    Confused about the ending? Check out our explainer.

    Elsie Fischer in Eighth Grade

    Who she plays: Kayla, a young vlogger navigating her last week of middle school

    Why she’s so good: I still have trouble believing that the opening scene Eighth Grade is scripted. Fisher’s delivery is so natural, so unforced, that it seems impossible that she wouldn’t have just spontaneously come up with it. And that’s the beauty of her performance. It feels raw, and real, and will make anyone remember the excruciating torture that is 14.

    Read our review of Eighth Grade.

    Read our interview with Elsie Fisher.

    Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween

    Who she plays: Laurie Strode — First Final Girl Turned Ultimate Final Woman

    Why she’s so good: It was a role 40 years in the making. Back in 1978, Curtis was an unknown 20-year-old with zero film credits when she was cast as Laurie – a smart, likable, mild and guileless babysitter turned fierce sole survivor (a.k.a. Final Girl) against a psychopathic killer, Michael Myers in the first Halloween. It kick-started her career (as a scream queen and beyond), the slasher genre and the Halloween franchise. But it was this year’s 11th film in that series, in which Curtis reprised the role for the fifth time, that unlocked something profoundly new, raw, and real about Laurie Strode: Laurie is a survivor of unresolved trauma, whose psychic scars have warped and shrunken her emotionally and spiritually. Her rematch with her bogeyman Michael – a mythic version of the predators lurking the world over – flipped the script forever (see the record-breaking box office records, too), and this Hollywood veteran pulled off the most honest and revelatory performance of her career.

    Kathryn Hahn in Private Life

    Who she plays: Rachel, a New York City based woman faced with yet another daunting round of IVF.

    Why she’s so good: Take it from Jonah Hill, newest member of the cult of Kathryn Hahn: "Kathryn Hahn is my favorite actress.” Same, Jonah. Same. Hahn is a chameleon, able to juggle a thousand emotions at once, and look great doing it. She’s highly relatable, but also infinitely better than any of us. Private Life gives her the space to shine. Rachel is a woman who feels betrayed by her body, and by the feminist ideology that told her she could have it all: the successful career as a playwright, a great artsy marriage in the East Village, and when she was ready, a kid. Turns out, things are a little more complicated than that, and Hahn gives every step of her emotional journey an exquisitely flawed, human face.

    Read our interview with director Tamara Jenkins.

    Elvire Emanuelle in First Match

    Who she plays: Monique, a teenage aspiring wrestler who proves she can best the boys at their own game.

    Why she’s great: Newcomer Emanuelle gives a deeply personal performance as a young woman desperate for her father’s approval, even as she realizes that their relationship might not be worth saving. It’s also a role that requires intense physicality, as she literally wrestles grown men to the ground, ensuring her place in their world.

    Read our review of First Match here.

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    Last night saw the great and the good of the fashion set descend on London's Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the best of the industry at the annual Fashion Awards. The ceremony, hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall and model-activist Alek Wek, was a sparkling affair held in partnership with Swarovski. So, who took home the prestigious accolades this year? Let's get right into it.

    Richard Quinn picked up the award for British Emerging Talent Womenswear just 11 months after his buzzworthy London Fashion Week debut, which saw Anna Wintour and HRH The Queen sit front row at his show. Quinn has championed arts education since his emergence on the scene, with the audience of his spring 2019 show made up of GCSE and A-level art students from the London state school he attended, along with print students from Central Saint Martins.

    From one royal-approved designer to the next: the British Designer of the Year Womenswear award was presented to Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy by none other than Meghan Markle, whose appearance at the awards was a surprise to everyone – including the designer. The Duchess of Sussex gave a touching speech about the importance of supporting designers who not only make beautiful clothes but who represent your values, too. "When I met her for the first time 11 months ago, I knew that we'd be working very closely together," she said before announcing Keller as the winner.

    It was a great night for strong women with innovative visions, as Miuccia Prada was given the Outstanding Achievement Award by director Steve McQueen and actress Uma Thurman, honoring the designer's great contributions to the industry. Joining previous winners Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, and Donatella Versace, the award celebrates Prada's extraordinary career, from her position as Prada's creative director for the past 40 years to her unconventional eye and ability to transcend seasonal trends. "We are thrilled to honor Miuccia Prada for being an incredible design maverick and for spearheading the evolution of the Prada group from a family business to a global brand," said Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council.

    Another incredible female fashion figure to be awarded was Dame Vivienne Westwood, who was presented with the Swarovski Award for Positive Change by model Jerry Hall. "She has led the way championing humanitarian and environmental issues, making her one of the most respected designers in the fashion industry and a great inspiration to us all," Rush said of Westwood. "Her most recent campaign has led more businesses in the fashion industry in the UK to 'Switch to Green Energy' and she continues to inspire many more to do the same."

    With the pressing conversation around sustainability in fashion, it felt fitting that the Special Recognition Award for Innovation went to a brand holding the industry responsible for its environmental impact: Parley for the Oceans. The label, founded by Cyrill Gutsch, highlights the devastation plastic wreaks on our oceans by collaborating with designers like Nike and Stella McCartney to reinvent the way fashion is produced and consumed.

    Gucci was recognized as Brand of the Year, with the award accepted by creative director Alessandro Michele, while its president and CEO, Marco Bizzarri, won Business Leader for the third year in a row.

    Gurls Talk founder Adwoa Aboah was nominated once again for Model of the Year (she picked up the award last year, wearing a shimmering Michael Halpern dress) alongside Bella Hadid, but Kaia Gerber collected the award, thanking her supermodel mother Cindy Crawford, who was in attendance with her.

    Photographer duo Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott were presented with the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator by Kate Moss and Penélope Cruz. The accolade celebrates fashion's most innovative players – past winners include makeup maestro Pat McGrath, photographer Nick Knight, and the late professor of fashion design, Louise Wilson – and over their 25 years in the business, Mert and Marcus have helped shape the image of brands like Calvin Klein, Givenchy, and Miu Miu.

    Dior Homme designer Kim Jones was named the Fashion Awards' 2018 Trailblazer, while Virgil Abloh not only won the Urban Luxe award for Off-White but presented Samuel Ross for A-COLD-WALL* with the British Emerging Talent Menswear Award. Much-lauded designer Pierpaolo Piccioli won the big Designer of the Year award, for his work at Valentino, Craig Green took home British Designer of the Year Menswear, and Demna Gvasalia won Accessories Designer of the Year for Balenciaga.

    The full list of winners:

    Designer of the Year
    Alessandro Michele for Gucci
    Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy
    Kim Jones for Dior Homme
    Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino [WINNER]
    Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton

    British Designer of the Year Womenswear
    Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy [WINNER]
    Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson
    Roksanda Ilinčić for ROKSANDA
    Simone Rocha for Simone Rocha
    Victoria Beckham for VICTORIA BECKHAM

    British Designer of the Year Menswear
    Craig Green for CRAIG GREEN [WINNER]
    Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson
    Kim Jones for Dior Homme
    Martine Rose for Martine Rose
    Riccardo Tisci for Burberry

    Brand of the Year
    Balenciaga
    Burberry
    Gucci [WINNER]
    Off-White
    Prada

    Accessories Designer of the Year
    Alessandro Michele for Gucci
    Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga [WINNER]
    Jonathan Anderson for LOEWE
    Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior
    Miuccia Prada for Prada

    Urban Luxe
    Alyx
    Marine Serre
    Off-White [WINNER]
    Palace
    Supreme

    British Emerging Talent Womenswear
    Matty Bovan for Matty Bovan
    Natalia Alaverdian for A.W.A.K.E.
    Rejina Pyo for REJINA PYO
    Richard Quinn for Richard Quinn [WINNER]
    Sofia Prantera for ARIES

    British Emerging Talent Menswear
    Ben Cottrell & Matthew Dainty for COTTWEILER
    Eden Loweth & Tom Barratt for ART SCHOOL
    Kiko Kostadinov for Kiko Kostadinov
    Phoebe English for PHOEBE ENGLISH
    Samuel Ross for A-COLD-WALL* [WINNER]

    Model of the Year
    Adut Akech
    Adwoa Aboah
    Bella Hadid
    Kaia Gerber [WINNER]
    Winnie Harlow

    Business Leader
    Jonathan Akeroyd for VERSACE
    José Neves for FARFETCH
    Marco Bizzarri for Gucci [WINNER]
    Marco Gobbetti for Burberry
    Michael Burke for Louis Vuitton

    2018 Trailblazer
    Kim Jones

    Outstanding Achievement Award
    Miuccia Prada

    Isabella Blow Award
    Mert & Marcus

    Special Recognition Award for Innovation
    Parley for the Oceans

    Swarovski Award for Positive Change
    Dame Vivienne Westwood

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    Last night, the fashion crowd congregated once again at London's Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the Fashion Awards.

    While the glamorous affair honors the industry's most innovative and exciting movers and shakers, what better way to celebrate fashion's coolest and most iconic designers than by wearing them on the red carpet?

    From Molly Goddard in her own Quality Street-esque creation to Alexa Chung in a crushed velvet number, ahead we've rounded up the best looks of the night.

    Molly Goddard wearing her own frothy festive getup.

    Kaia Gerber, winner of the Model of the Year award.

    British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, who presented Virgil Abloh with the Urban Luxe award for Off-White, wore Dilara Findikoglu.

    Presenter for the night Alek Wek wore custom Emilia Wickstead. Look at that bow!

    Alexa Chung wore a mustard velvet and lace dress by her own label.

    Munroe Bergdorf wore a black two-piece suit and gold headpiece.

    Kendall Jenner was statuesque in a gold gown.

    Victoria and David Beckham wearing her own designs.

    Erin O'Connor looked magnificent in this velvet caped piece.

    Georgia May Jagger wore hot pink Mulberry.

    Model Lara Stone wore a tuxedo-style black dress.

    Penélope Cruz presented Mert & Marcus with the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator in a jewelled dress alongside Kate Moss.

    Alessandro Michele, who accepted Gucci's Brand of the Year award.

    Carey Mulligan looked radiant in this polka dot chiffon dress.

    Vivienne Westwood, who was awarded the Swarovski Award for Positive Change, and Andreas Kronthaler.

    Jourdan Dunn looking suitably glamorous in 16Arlington.

    Kate Moss in head-to-toe aquamarine.

    Neelam Gill in a mirror-ball mini.

    French model Cindy Bruna in a feathered gown.

    Suki Waterhouse in scalloped pastel Mulberry.

    Model Fran Summers looked a vision in froufrou Valentino.

    Uma Thurman presented Miuccia Prada with the Outstanding Achievement Award and wore a velvet and crystal number.

    Model and VS Angel Leomie Anderson in chevron sequins.

    Designer Roksanda Ilinčić wore her own fuchsia dress.

    'Lil Miquela wearing a co-ord by Richard Quinn, who won the British Emerging Talent Womenswear award.

    Model of the Year nominee Adut Akech was radiant in gold.

    Lana del Rey wore Gucci to present Alessandro Michele with the award for Brand of the Year.

    Model Edie Campbell wore a Bowie-esque suit.

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    Commercially speaking, 2018 wasn’t a great year for the representation of women in music. Once again, the top 10s – Spotify, Billboard and the like – are dominated by men. But some of the most interesting, most boundary-pushing, and best music of this year came from women. In our opinion, women made all the best albums this year; from Ariana Grande, who made the best album of her career thus far, to Cardi B, whose star shone brighter than any man in rap, to Camila Cabello, whose solo debut surpassed expectations. These are the ten best albums of 2018.

    10. Camila Cabello Camila

    Latin music continued its upward swing in 2018, and Camila Cabello successfully integrated Cuban and reggaeton into her post-Fifth Harmony coming-out with a confessional, singer-songwriter aesthetic. Cabello mixes up the templates that brought so much success to Carly Simon, Celia Cruz, and Pharrell into a modern style all her own. And let’s not overlook that after the most famous group from The X Factor, One Direction, failed to produce any solo hits that stormed the charts in the way Cabello has; she has proven herself to be an unexpected champion. Looks like going her own way really paid off.

    9. Brandi Carlile By The Way, I Forgive You

    What does the real American think in the age of Trump? There’s no one better to ask than Brandi Carlile. She’s a gay woman, a mother, and now a multiple-Grammy nominee who dropped an album full of American folktales early in the year. From examining the war on opioids with painful intimacy on “Sugarfoot” to addressing the marginalization of bodies and people in “The Joke,” Carlile has proven herself to be the voice and the witness we all need in a very dark hour indeed.

    8. Mitski Be the Cowboy

    Indie rock doesn’t have a long history of making stars out of women, and when it does, it’s quick to tear them down and diminish their contributions (we’re looking your way Cat Power and Santigold). Mitski created an album with those ideas in mind, though her eyes were on society as a whole rather than one genre of music. After being hailed a darling, she wrote a slew of songs featuring women characters who are fully in control of and at the center of their stories. Loneliness and power collide in songs that are detached yet personal. On it, life is horrible and deliriously wonderful, all within the matter of a few bars. In a word, it’s real.

    7. Robyn Honey

    Robyn’s much-anticipated follow-up to 2010 masterpiece Body Talk was the undisputed critical darling of the year, but it’s also a fascinating archeological project for pop fanatics. As she’s been working on it since 2014, it follows a major shift in pop music production preferences over the last four years. It also details a significant breakup with her romantic partner and their reconciliation. Combined, Honey documents an evolution that is both musical and psychological. That’s the very definition of heightened pop; once again, Robyn manages to elevate the genre, finding the art in the form.

    6. A Star Is Born Soundtrack

    Rarely does a soundtrack album of original songs stand up on its own without the picture; but it’s also rare that a performer and songwriter of Lady Gaga’s caliber is writing and singing the thing. 2018’s biggest tearjerker movie brought us not only the surprisingly good debut of vocalist Bradley Cooper, amazing songwriting by Lukas Nelson, and exciting production by Dave Cobb, but some deeply emotional songs from Lady Gaga all written as her character, Ally. Some songs, like “Shallow,” “Always Remember Us This Way” and “Maybe It’s Time” are such superb examples of songwriting they could exist without the film. But to get that punch in the gut that “I’ll Never Love Again” brings, you have to go on the journey of Ally and Jackson.

    5. Lykke Li so sad so sexy

    There is always some new frontier for Lykke Li to explore, and with her latest, she comes out of the valley of sadness that nearly swallowed her last two LPs. That’s partly thanks to her significant other, and the producer of this album, Jeff Bhasker (Miguel, Rihanna) who finds a way to lead her closer to the hip-hop influences she’s played with but never been able to fully embrace. She’s still less than satisfied, examining all the cracks in her relationship, but this time Li with a very different method of vocal delivery, and music, one more indebted to late ‘90s and early ‘00s rap. It’s an unexpected turn and a clever way to examine some very adult problems.

    4. Ariana Grande Sweetener

    Expectations were high for Grande’s fourth LP, and she rose to the challenge and then some. Grande elevates her game, working closely on many tracks with Pharrell, stating an intention to go somewhere new musically. Rather than creating sad laments after the life-changing trauma of the Manchester terrorist bombing at her concert, Grande welcomes in the light with all the optimism she can muster. Not only does she tap into the cultural zeitgeist by singing and writing songs about her high-profile (and ultimately short-lived) relationship with Pete Davidson, but she reinforces her stance on feminism and a dash of her signature silliness. “Thank U, Next ” was the little extra hit that could, proving Grande found her sweet spot in 2018.

    3. Cardi B Invasion of Privacy

    No one has had a bigger year than Cardi B. And her swagger on Invasion sounds like she knew it was coming. In a year when rap’s ascendency into the mainstream was 99% male, it’s nice to see a distinctly feminine point of view come through. While her crossover moment with “I Like It” was a big softer, she kept it hard with her original crossover hit, “Bodak Yellow.” Cardi’s irrepressible and larger-than-life comes through on every track, setting a new standard for what a successful woman in rap looks and acts like.

    2. Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour

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    1. Janelle Monae Dirty Computer

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    0 0

    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 video producer working in digital media who makes $57,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on cupcakes.

    Occupation: Video Producer
    Industry: Digital Media
    Age: 24
    Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
    Salary: $57,000
    Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,782.58
    Pet Sitting Income: $150-$250/month

    Monthly Expenses
    Rent: $400 to my parents
    Student Loan Payment: $200
    Car Insurance: $120
    Car Payment: $0 (I purchased my car in cash.)
    Adobe Premiere/Photoshop: $21
    Phone: $50 (My mom pays the bill, but I contribute monthly.)
    Gym Membership: $10
    Savings: An average of $2,000 a month into my personal savings account, my 401(k), or my investment accounts
    Health Insurance: $0 (I'm on my parents' plan for one more year. My job doesn't offer benefit. *Cries*)

    Annual Expenses
    Amazon Prime: $119 (My parents pay for Netflix, my sister pays Hulu, and we share all three.)

    Day One

    10:30 a.m. — I wake up to the sound of an alarm, and as I roll over to hit my phone, I remember I never set one last night. The noise is coming from my dad's cell phone ringing downstairs. My dad and I both work from home; it's…interesting. I moved back home when I took my current job to save money, and it's getting old real fast. I throw on warmer clothes and grab my keys. The wind is whipping outside this morning, and I don't feel like walking the one block to my neighbor's house. In addition to my job, I pet sit on the side for about eight different families. This week I have to feed my neighbor's cat twice a day, and it brings me in an extra $100.

    11:45 a.m. — I get back home and open the fridge to look for breakfast. There's a tiny piece of my grandmother's spinach quiche left, so I warm that up and eat it as I watch the fall finale of This Is Us.

    12:30 p.m. — Every few months I like to pay off a bit more of my student loans. Today, I make an additional payment of $300. I could easily pay my student loans off in one go but...I'd rather not. $300

    2:30 p.m. — I try to do some work, but I can't unless my talent responds back to me, which they are terrible at doing. I browse the internet as I wait for them. I get hungry and heat up leftovers from last night's dinner: baked chicken, rice, vegetables, and stuffing.

    6 p.m. — My entire day was spent in front of my computer ripping my hair out because the talent is so unresponsive. I will never understand what the big deal is to post a damn picture on Instagram when you're getting paid to do so. I leave and head to my grandma's house with my dad, since my mom is working late. Every night at 6, we go to her house down the street for dinner. She's a fantastic cook. Afterwards, I head back to my neighbor's house to feed the cat. I don't go to the gym today because a two-hour episode of Survivor is on tonight. Some things are more important. I bake cookies and watch Survivor, then lay in my bed on my phone until 1 a.m. Oops!

    Daily Total: $300

    Day Two

    8 a.m. — I curse my body that it woke me up this early. I'm so tired that I have a headache. I lay in bed until 11, then get up and go feed the neighbor's cat. I'm starving, so I drive down the road to the grocery store to buy Smartfood popcorn, multigrain chips, a roll for my lunch, mozzarella cheese, chocolate-covered pretzels, muffins, and shaving cream. It comes to $21 exactly. By the time I get home, I'm not hungry anymore. $21

    2 p.m. — I finally get my appetite back and make a turkey sandwich with the roll I bought this morning and open up the bag of popcorn. I have to eat fast, though, because I have a work video chat at 2:30.

    5 p.m. — When I do have work to do, I get stressed very easily. Going from corporate America to…whatever this is, is tough. I finally get the talent to post their mandatory Instagram photos and head to Big Lots to get one of them a twin mattress and box spring for a set she's building. It costs $212.61, but she Venmos me back immediately. I drive it over to her house and unload it into her basement for her.

    6:30 p.m. — I head to Sneaker King to pick up the Uggs I had on hold there for my mom's Christmas gift. She's always wanted a pair but won't get them for herself, and now that I'm making good money, I'll treat her. The store is having a 10% off sale, woohoo! $143.97

    7:30 p.m. — My dad brought me home spaghetti and meatballs from my grandma's tonight. I heat up a plate and eat it as we watch Jersey Shore, my dad's favorite show. Then I go to bed extremely late again, around 1:30.

    Daily Total: $164.97

    Day Three

    11:30 a.m. — I roll out of bed and immediately get dressed in my gym attire. First stop: feed the neighbor's cat. After hitting the gym for an hour, I go across the street to the grocery store to get two gallons of milk, mayo for my dad, and turkey. $12.60

    2 p.m. — I get home from the store and make my sandwich, pair it with some Smartfood popcorn (boy, that stuff is ADDICTING) and munch on it as I watch a rerun of Friends. After that, I hope in the shower.

    4 p.m. — I spend the majority of the rest of the day putting out fires at work. The stress exhausts me. I text my friend to see if she wants to get a drink tonight. She says she'll let me know, but that's always code for "no," so I don't get my hopes up.

    7 p.m. — My dad calls and asks me to make a reservation at a local pizza bar tonight for five: my mom, dad, cousin, cousin's mom, and me. Guess we're going out to eat tonight! We all order pizza and wine. My dad pays for everyone. I never hear from my friend about going out tonight, so I go to bed around 1:30.

    Daily Total: $12.60

    Day Four

    8:30 a.m. — I had to set my alarm this morning to get up early — I have to actually do work today. I eat a muffin as I do my makeup and my dad yells at me to eat an egg instead. Shut up, dad. I leave at 10, feed the neighbor's cat, and head to a convenience store I've never been to before to pick up a package that was supposed to be delivered to the talent I work for before heading to her house.

    11 a.m. — Her bodyguard arrives, and we all pile in his car and head to a mall in Jersey. She's having a meet-and-greet today and I'm helping film it for a video. Five-hundred fans show up, and she's happy she got to meet all of them in the short two-hour window. One guy even freaked out when he saw me; it was weird. During the meet-and-greet, she asks me to go grab her Dunkin'. I don't ask her to reimburse me because it's only $3.28. We leave the mall at 3:30 and head back. $3.28

    7 p.m. — I'm starving when I get home, and I don't want to wait for dinner, so I eat the rest of the Smartfood popcorn I have left. My friend tells me that Bath & Body Works is having a sale today where all three-wick candles are $8.95. I grab my keys and head to the mall.

    8:30 p.m. — The only candle left smells like Abercrombie cologne. I pass on the deal and browse American Eagle, where I run into an old schoolmate from elementary school. We catch up, and I buy a sweater and a scrunchie for 50% off. On my way home, I stop at the neighbor's to feed the cat for the last time this week. $28.34

    Daily Total: $31.62

    Day Five

    10:30 a.m. — I wake up and rush to get dressed. My dad and I go to church, and then we head to a local diner for brunch. I order a short stack of pancakes and home fries. Dad picks up the bill.

    1 p.m. — I get home and put in a load of laundry before spending a few hours deep-cleaning my bathroom and helping my dad move my grandma's mattress for her. Afterward, we go home and watch the Giants game. They win in overtime! Yeah, babyyyy!

    6:30 p.m. — My grandma and mom are gone all day, so my dad goes to the store and gets a pre-made chicken for us for dinner. We eat it with some veggies as we watch more football.

    8 p.m. — I browse Target online for wine stoppers, a gift idea for my dad this year. I see that they're having a special today of 10%-off gift cards, and you can even buy them online! I shop at Target all the time, and I figure that I might as well prepay to save some money. I purchase a $100 gift card for $90 and opt to send it to my phone. #TreatYoSelf. $90

    11 p.m. — I hop on the phone to help my coworker upload this week's video.

    Daily Total: $90

    Day Six

    10 a.m. — I wake up and do some more laundry, eat a muffin for breakfast again, and watch Life-Size 2.

    3 p.m. — I'm starting a new therapist today. I think mental health is important, and I feel no shame in going to one. It helps to have someone to talk to. She's very nice, and we set another appointment for two weeks from now. The sessions will cost me $70 each until I meet my deductible, and then they will be free! I truly dread the day I turn 26. $70

    5 p.m. — We premiere a new video. We're excited about this one, and it goes well!

    7 p.m. — My grandma isn't cooking tonight, so I make some pasta with Alfredo sauce and add the leftover chicken from last night. I was going to get takeout, but I figured I'd use up what we have already and save some money. After dinner, I have a call with one of the talent and a discussion about the video we just uploaded. I spend the rest of the night in bed watching a movie.

    Daily Total: $70

    Day Seven

    10 a.m. — I wake up and don't even get out of bed until 11:30. We don't have anything for breakfast, so I just heat up leftover pasta from last night and eat it. I answer some emails and help coordinate some brand deals for the talent. I have errands to run today for work, but I'm struggling to get myself going.

    2:30 p.m. — I finally leave the house and go to a local bakery to inquire about ordering cupcakes for an event this weekend. While there, I get two cupcakes to go for $5. I eat one in the car and save the other for later. $5

    3 p.m. — I then head to Target and stop for gas on the way. The pump won't take my card, so I have to go pre-pay inside. I put $20 worth in my tank. $20

    4 p.m. — At Target I get things I need for work: address labels, some Sharpies, cute stickers to seal envelopes with, and an extra cartridge of black ink. While at Target, I see that the TV show Black Mirror created a game based off of their episode “Nosedive.” It's my dad's favorite episode, and I think that the game could be a cute gift for Christmas. I also have a 10% off coupon for it, score! I pick up a toiletry item I also need and head to check out. Then I ring up the things I got for work and put them on the company Amex. Remember that gift card I bought the other day? Yeah. It doesn't work. So I put my purchase on my debit card and set a reminder to call customer service later tonight. $26.06

    6 p.m. — Dinner at Grandma's! She made my favorite: cornflake chicken with rice and veggies. I spend the rest of my night making the address labels for work and putting them on the cards to mail out. I finish around midnight and head to bed.

    Daily Total: $51.06

    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.

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    November ended, but December's brought with it an entirely new lineup of simmering holiday sales. As we countdown to the new year, we'll still be able to steadily snag discounts on everything from gifting goods to fashion finds and big home buys. And for the next few weeks, we've got Wayfair’s 12 Days of Deals sale high on our shop-list.

    The extensive home site is currently offering up to 70% off (in addition to a slew of closeout steals) on a wide range of furniture and decor goods through December 13 — with dedicated daily deals on specialty categories like top vacuums and kitchen brands. To stay on top of the best buys as they roll out, we'll be sifting through the top-reviewed goods every 24-hours throughout the sale's 12-day run. Scroll ahead to shop today's batch of home must-haves for well under full price and with well over 4-star ratings.

    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.

    Good: Hand-Braided Area Rug
    Deal: 28% Off
    This beautifully designed and best-selling area rug is hand-braided from natural jute fibers.

    Reviews: 4.9 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    "A power packed beautiful rug. My living room looks enriched with its countryside vintage jute guise. I am very impressed with the overall look thus giving 5 stars."



    Laurel Foundry Highwood Jute Hand-Braided Natural Area Rug, $70.98, available at Wayfair

    Good: Luxe Down-Alternative Blanket
    Deal: 69% Off
    This hypoallergenic blanket is woven from polyester with a soft satin border — and is engineered to provide premium snuggles during all seasons.

    Reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    Ranging from, "This is a luxurious feeling blanket that exceeds my expectation. It is softer than I thought it would be from the description." to, "This is exactly what I'd hoped it would be. Very soft and comfortable. Washes well and looks neat and clean. The blanket is lightweight but still warm. Works well as a blanket or can be used as a bedspread with the comforter folded at the bottom of the bed."



    Three Posts Landsdale Luxury Down Alternative Blanket, $32.11, available at Wayfair

    Good: Minimalist Nesting Tables
    Deal: 57% Off
    Use this set of oak nesting tables as a stylish and small-space friendly accent inside of your space.

    Reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    "As described. Looks exactly like the photo shows. Great quality."



    George Oliver Drewry Bentwood 2 Piece Nesting Tables, $149.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: Memory Foam Mattress
    Deal: 49% Off
    Crafted with certified hybrid memory foam, this top-rated mattress is designed to relieve pressure for premium sleep support — it also comes complete with a 10-year warranty.

    Reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    Ranging from, "The 12" Foam Mattress is both comfortable to sleep on -- and a perfect fit for a platform bed." to, "Best night sleep that I have had in a while!"



    Wayfair Sleep 12" Firm Memory Foam Mattress, $280.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: Big Armchair
    Deal: 42% Off
    Craft a cozy yet stylish reading nook inside your space with this modern, butter yellow armchair.

    Reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    "Chair is big and firm. No trouble with delivery or attaching feet. Very impressed with quality. Would recommend and also would purchase again! I fit in the chair with a three and a five year old on each side."



    TOV Furniture Sullivan Armchair, $389.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: Monochromatic Table Lamp
    Deal: 24% Off
    This soft, sculptural table lamp is crafted out of a glazed ceramic with a rippled textural finish.

    Reviews: 4.4 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    "A great household basic that we’re really enjoying. The shade and lamp are almost identical in color so it is a monochrome look that will coordinate well with most décor. "



    Wrought Studio Mcknight Table Lamp (Set of 2), $75, available at Wayfair

    Good: Memory Foam Pillow
    Deal: 77% Off
    Sink headfirst into memory foam this season with an affordable, top-rated pillow purchase.

    Reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    "THE most comfortable pillow I've ever slept on."



    Alwyn Home Memory Foam Pillow, $19.97, available at Wayfair

    Good: Multifunctional Sofa
    Deal: 55% Off
    This stylish MCM sofa can be folded back and cleverly converted into a futon for extra sleeping space.

    Reviews: 4.3 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    "For the price, this is definitely a 5 star couch. I am more than happy with my purchase. The design is great and very chic."



    Langley Street Cobbs Convertible Sofa, $238.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: Woven Area Rug
    Deal: 82% Off
    This rich blue and stain resistant area rug is machine-woven in Turkey with a durable 10% polypropylene blend.

    Reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    Ranging from, "It's soft, beautiful and exactly what we were looking for in our new apartment." to, "This rug is absolutely gorgeous...I put it down in my living room and it just popped."



    Langley Street Melvin Woven Area Rug (5' x 7'6''), $79.18, available at Wayfair

    Good: Cozy Throw Pillow
    Deal: 53% Off
    One of the coziest throw pillows with ever did see.

    Reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    Ranging from, "These pillows are super soft and very luxurious. They have a wonderful three-dimensional texture." to, "These pillows add the perfect amount of texture to any bedding set. They are true to color and very tall and sturdy-worth the cost for sure!"



    Laurel Foundry Colmars Throw Pillow, $27.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: All-Season Comforter
    Deal: 36% Off
    Bless your bed with an all-season, down-alternative comforter that's crafted with a plush baffle box design and smooth piped edging.

    Reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    "Other comforters are too small and leave way too much extra fabric on the duvet cover.. but this stretches from end to end to end. And I like the way it fills the duvet cover so it always looks a little more fluffy, not so life-less like my other down comforters. Would highly recommend!"



    Alwyn Home All Season Down Alternative Comforter, $60.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: Multi-Storage System
    Deal: 50% Off
    A stylish dual-purpose home buy at its best — this hall tree serves as an entryway bench, coat rack, and 5-shelf storage system.

    Reviews: 4.9 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    Ranging from,"This fits beautifully without being overbearing in the space....and it serves every function we need it to. I was able to assemble it by myself without an issue." to, "Easy to assemble. Very sturdy. A nice blend in style between contemporary, industrial and classic."



    Williston Forge Robinette 68" Angled Side Hall Tree, $174.02, available at Wayfair

    Good: Faux Sheepskin Rug
    Deal: 63% Off
    Hygge up your bare floors this winter with a rug that is the closest we'll get to walking on clouds.

    Reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    Ranging from, "Excellent quality, beautiful rug!" and "So soft and fits my bedroom perfectly. Love the shape, size and texture." to, "For the price this rug is amazing. Super thick and soft."



    Mercury Row Bigby Hand-Tufted Faux Sheepskin Natural Area Rug, $139.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: Stylish Server Storage
    Deal: 36% Off
    This mid-century modern style piece is a stylish mix between an entertainment console, kitchen storage unit, and bar cart.

    Reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    Ranging from, "Great value for the cost." to, "We love our server! It looks like just the photo. It's very sturdy, and well-made."



    Mercury Row Rogerson Contemporary Server, $234.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: Plush Mattress Topper
    Deal: 78%
    When you don't have the funds to spring for a new mattress, try upgrading your bed with a plush topper instead.

    Reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    "Its like sleeping on a new mattress."



    The Twillery Co. Trahan 3" Down Alternative Polyester Mattress Topper, $58.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: Sherpa Throw Blanket
    Deal: 28% Off
    Soften your winter space with a cloud-like sherpa blanket made from cozy faux fur.

    Reviews: 4.8 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    "The large size of this blanket is HUGE and a good deal for the price. You can wrap you self all up in it and be completely cozy. SO soft and plush and luxurious."



    Willa Arlo Interiors Basile Faux Fur with Sherpa Throw Blanket, $48.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: Ceramic & Wood Table Lamp
    Deal: 53% Off
    Spruce up a side table or nightstand with this smooth, glossy, and modern lamp made from a ceramic and wood base..

    Reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    Ranging from, "Ordered 2 for living room and they are beautiful, love them." to, "Love it, the wood can tie in the natural color of other furniture in the room."



    DwellStudio Wallin Table Lamp, $77.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: MCM Night Stand
    Deal: 37% Off
    This mid-century modern nightstand is constructed with smooth white and wood paneling and rose gold, powder-coated handles.

    Reviews: 4.4 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    Ranging from, "Dresser is beautiful..." to, "We love it! We are very satisfied with the quality. Its sturdy and looks nice."



    George Oliver Vitiello 2 Drawer Nightstand, $161.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: Wooden Nesting Tables
    Deal: 6% Off
    Make the most of your small space with this trio of rustic-chic wooden nesting tables.

    Reviews: 4.4 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    Ranging from, "Perfect sized tables." to, "Love these, the L shape leg fits under your furniture for space saving and for easy relocating in front or to the side of the chair."



    Mercury Row Cetus 3 Piece Nesting Tables, $94.99, available at Wayfair

    Good: Classic Platform Bed
    Deal: 47% Off
    Pull your sleep space together in classic style with the clean lines of this upholstered, platform bed.

    Reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars on Wayfair
    "This bed was perfect! I put this bed together in. 1 hour all by myself. There were only 5 steps! I had a platform bed before and this one is lower than expected but still I'm in LOVE with it. Great quality product and it looks AWESOME. It's exactly what I wanted."



    Charlton Home Brookby Upholstered Platform Bed , $211.57, available at Wayfair

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