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Refinery29

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    When many of us think about things that bring us "joy," we think about sleep, puppies, chocolate, Netflix, or Marie Kondo’s viral organizing method — not necessarily exercise. Exercise usually makes us think about working out, which makes us think about planks, mean trainers, sweat, sore muscles, smelly gyms, and people grunting at nobody in particular in the weight room.

    It’s not your fault if this is how you currently feel about exercise. If you grew up in the era of diet culture, fitness trackers, and calorie-counting, you might be under the impression that working out is just penance for poor eating choices, and if you’re not suffering it doesn’t "count" as exercise. This, combined with incessant messaging that the arrival of a new year is an opportunity to finally reach a certain number on the scale, creates the perfect storm for you to embark on a grueling workout regime only to abandon it a few weeks later.

    That's why, starting on Jan. 1, Refinery29 will be exploring the concept of "joyful movement" over the course of three weeks. It's a workout philosophy that focuses on physical activities and ways of moving your body that make you happy. Some researchers have defined joyful movement as activity that encourages a positive experience, body awareness, and challenges. Other body positive advocates and intuitive eating experts have simply labeled it the opposite of exercising for weight loss. But "joyful movement" means something different to everyone, because we all have different things that bring us joy.

    Chances are you can think of at least a handful of activities that are enjoyable to you, such as dancing, hiking, practicing yoga, or jump roping. The problem is we’ve all been conditioned to believe that these types of activities don’t “count” as exercise, because they’re fun, can take place outside of the gym, and don’t feel like a struggle.

    But, according to the most recent guidelines on physical activity for adults laid out by the Journal of the American Medical Association, every little bit of movement throughout the day — from chasing your dog at the park to doing chair stretches at work — counts toward your recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week.

    Reframing your typical workouts or daily activities as actions that nurture your body, rather than ones that break it down, is easier said than done. And sure, walking into your local gym or signing up for a pricey boutique fitness class might be an easy way to get started, but if you don’t truly enjoy these pursuits, you’re unlikely to stick to them.

    Yes, you’ll find indoor cycling and boxing classes in our suggestions, but you’ll also find rope, trampoline jumping, and a big relaxing stretch — things that you probably did in your childhood and that made you really happy. So with this 21-day plan, we hope to help you prioritize movement, change your relationship to exercise, and find joy as you challenge yourself to reach your goals.

    Joyful Movement is part of Clean Slate, Refinery29’s 21-day course filled with new ways to think about food, exercise, and stress relief. Sign up here to get nutritious recipes, fun physical activities, and some suggestions to beat stress that don’t require meditation.

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    Welcome to Clean Slate, Refinery29’s 21-day course filled with new ways to think about food, exercise, and stress relief. Sign up here to get nutritious recipes, fun physical activities, and some suggestions to beat stress that don’t require meditation. How does food mix with psychiatry and mental health? I’m an Indiana farm boy turned New York City psychiatrist. Growing and preserving food was central to my life growing up, as my folks and I managed our farm and forest. Eating well has always been important to me, but nutrition isn’t emphasized in medical school. Twenty years ago I was a vegetarian, who ate mostly low-fat foods, tofu-pups, and SnackWell cookies. But when I moved to NYC for my residency at Columbia University, the science between omega-3 fats and brain health really intrigued me. I started introducing fish into my diet, and learning more about the research that connected illnesses, such as depression and dementia, to our food choices.

    My first job out of residency was at a community mental health clinic in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan treating patients with severe mental illnesses. Weight gain was a side effect of many of the medications I prescribed to them. While these medicines are often helpful for hallucinations, mania, and depression, many of my patients were unhappy about gaining weight. I started to see that I really was missing some crucial knowledge around nutrition.

    Psychiatrists ask a lot of specific questions to evaluate patients, but one day it struck me: We never ask our patients what they eat.

    As funny as it sounds, we don't talk about food in medicine and mental health, even though we talk about the compounds in food — omega-3 fats, b-vitamins, magnesium — a lot. Things really shifted for me when I realized food presented an incredible opportunity for patient empowerment and added a delicious method in my clinical toolbox, along with psychotherapy, medications, and other lifestyle interventions such as exercise, to help people.

    It became part of my mission to understand how food affects mood, and to bring that information to physicians and patients alike. Because of this, I’ve spent a lot of my medical career as a psychiatrist focused on food and learning how to prescribe it. Using food in my practice allows me to help patients decrease their risk of brain illnesses, such as depression and dementia, while also helping them feel better physically.

    In my clinical practice in psychiatry, food has become one of my favorite medicines for the brain and mind. The foundation of health is food, especially when it comes to how nourishment impacts our brain health and overall wellness.

    The Science:

    The rumble of scientific evidence supporting the impact of nutrition on brain health is now growing into a roar. In 2017, the first studies of the Mediterranean diet as an intervention to treat and help prevent depression were published, and it proved what I had been finding in my practice. Participants who ate what I like to call “Brain Food” — whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, lean meats, and seafood — reduced their symptoms of depression. A similar study, the HELFIMED trial, which ran over the course of three months, showed comparable results and proved that people can also change their eating habits pretty quickly. Moving away from foods associated with the Standard American Diet — empty carbohydrates, refined starches, and highly processed foods — and incorporating “Brain Foods” helped decrease participants depression scores by 45%.

    Our Approach:

    So let's talk Brain Food 101. First, consider the idea that your brain is made of food. All the molecules in our brain, all the carbon, nitrogen, zinc, and magnesium come from food. When you look at the end of your fork ask yourself, is this what I want to put in my brain?

    Foods that are high in nutrients such as long-chain omega-3 fats, zinc, magnesium, B12, iron, vitamin E, and folate are foods that I want fueling my brain. Having high levels of these nutrients in our bodies is linked to preventing and treating depression.

    There’s also increasing data that certain foods and nutrients help our brain grow and recover from injury. Neuroplasticity means that your brain is constantly growing and evolving and new connections are being made. Certain nutrients, such as zinc, long-chain omega-3 fats, and certain phytonutrients (like resveratrol), induce more of a hormone called BDNF or Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, which controls neuroplasticity.

    If we look at traditional diets — the diets our grandparents and their parents consumed — we see that they’re superior for health. Diets based on whole foods, simple cooking, and seasonal variety are highly protective for the brain. These principles can be found in Mediterranean, Japanese, and Norwegian dietary patterns. And what do they all have in common? They’re all plant-based, absent of highly processed foods and empty calories, and encourage regular seafood and more mindful meat consumption.

    There’s also the fundamental notion that food really connects us. In the above mentioned regions, people also eat with each other, are social around food, grow their own foods, or know the people who have grown their foods. It’s all connected. And nothing in my clinical experience helps people feel happier or healthier than being connected and part of a community. And that's really what the brain does, the brain is an organ of connection, and what connects us like food does?

    We aren’t interested in fad diets or trends, but rather sustainable ways of eating that are also joyful!

    So what can you do if you don’t live in the Mediterranean countryside? Based on our clinical experience and the robust evidence for nutrition as an intervention for depression, we work with patients to help them find a dietary pattern that works for them. We aren’t interested in fad diets or trends, but rather sustainable ways of eating that are also joyful!

    I’m a farm boy and a New Yorker, so I certainly believe food is meant to be enjoyed! Dietary patterns, unlike restrictive diets, allow for flexibility because it’s not about scrutinizing everything you eat — for sure, eat the birthday cake! It’s about the overall pattern of your eating. Are you eating fish at least twice per week? Are you making sure to eat a variety of plants everyday? Do you include plant proteins such as lentils and beans? Fad diets and extreme dietary plans often cause folks to lose a sense of trust in themselves and their bodies. If we have to consult with experts about everything we eat, we must not know what’s good for us. This sort of dependency and loss of trust in our own ability to choose our nourishment is detrimental. My goal is to help you and my patients find a way of eating that feels good and makes sense.

    Leafy greens, a rainbow of fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, meat, seafood, legumes, and fermented foods are the categories we focus on. We choose to look at food in categories to avoid the nit picking that can be so common when talking about diets. Do you need to eat kale? No. Try arugula or spinach. There’s no one size fits all meal plan and we want to encourage people to really enjoy their food.

    Finding healthy eating patterns that are good for you and make you feel good — both physically and mentally — is also about starting small and getting creative with the foods you love and that are accessible to you.

    Finding healthy eating patterns that are good for you and make you feel good — both physically and mentally — is also about starting small and getting creative with the foods you love and that are accessible to you. For example, one of my favorite meals is spaghetti and meatballs (and not the gluten-free kind). In order to make this healthier, I add some carrots to the meatballs, or sometimes, I even sub out the meat for lentils. This wasn’t a hard switch on my time or my palette.

    I also make sure I’m using grass-fed beef and use tons of veggies in my sauce. If you want, swap out your regular pasta for a gluten-free variety or try zucchini noodles. By doing all of this, I’ve increased the nutrient density of my meal. So, instead of telling myself, “Don't eat spaghetti and meatballs!” I’ve created something that can be a part of my daily dietary plan. It’s these types of swaps and tweaks that I suggest to my patients, and now you.

    There's this notion that food needs to be this demon, and we have to control all of our urges and cravings. I don't like fear-based models when it comes to how we should all be eating. I like joy-based models. And while many people like to talk about supplements, I see them as an “insurance policy” for eating poorly. Targeted supplementation makes sense if you have a deficiency, but you should be able to get all of your vitamins from your diet and there’s no substitute for eating a brain-healthy diet.

    Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower by Dr. Drew Ramsey (Harper Wave, 2016)

    My hope is that you’ll at least one thing here that resonates with you, and that you can integrate at your next meal. As the new year approaches, consider that your food can both have a positive impact on your mood, and be joyful. Instead of trying the diet dejour, feed your brain with nutrient dense foods like the ones I’ve provided from my book, Eat Complete, for Refinery29’s Clean Slate program starting on Jan. 1.

    To help get you started, here are some of the foods I recommend patients add to their dietary staples:

    Leafy Greens: When you use leafy greens as a base, you swap out a lot of the empty carbohydrates you get from things such as pastas or breads. They are also incredibly nutrient dense. Nutrient density is a measure of how many nutrients are in each calorie. The more nutrients per calorie, the more nutrient dense.

    In a recent study by Tufts University, older adults who ate about one-and-a-half servings of green leafy vegetables per day had the cognitive functioning of people roughly 11 years younger than those who ate little or no leafy greens.

    Rainbow Veggies: The colors in food signal medicine because natural pigments in food have different health-promoting molecules; lycopene is red and carotenoids are orange, and they’re both linked to a lower risk of dementia.

    We often refer to these phytonutrients as “antioxidants,” but they are much more than that. They send powerful signals to our DNA that help quell inflammation and promote resilience at the cellular level. Some compounds in plants even promote the growth of new brain cells by promoting the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The fiber from plants is also essential for good gut health, and we’re learning that a healthy microbiome can help our mental health.

    Simply put, more colors on your plate means a bigger, better brain. Researchers at Harvard found that having higher levels of carotenoids in the blood is correlated with a more optimistic outlook. More rainbows also equal more smiles.

    Fermented Foods: There's such a focus on and such a hype around probiotic supplements. Really the best data about how to take care of your gut and your microbiome tells us to eat more plants and fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, miso, kimchi, and sauerkraut. We want more of those in our diets because those natural fermented foods are alive, as opposed to probiotics, which advertise the CFUs (colony forming units) at the time of packaging, not when you’re consuming them.

    Seafood: Many eaters struggle with seafood. I get it. I didn’t eat seafood for years, but as a young doctor I learned about how omega-3 fats function in the body and quickly started integrating more seafood into my diet.

    The average American should decrease their red and processed meat intake. One great way to do that is to replace meat with some seafood — wild salmon or wild shrimp. Mussels and oysters are some of my favorites because they’re so nutrient dense.

    Legumes: People don't know this: The top antioxidant-containing food is not the blueberry. It's the small red bean. Traditional Mediterranean diets, Portuguese diets, you just see beans in there, even in the stews with the meats like feijoada. It's a great dish where again you have the flavorfulness of the meat, but it's not all meat.

    These are just some of the food categories I focus on in my practice and why they are important to brain health, because as a psychiatrist, I truly believe that brain health is the foundation of good mental health.

    Dr. Drew Ramsey is the author of Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health (Harper Wave, 2016). He is also the creator of Eat To Beat Depression.

    Welcome to Clean Slate, Refinery29’s 21-day course filled with new ways to think about food, exercise, and stress relief. Sign up here to get nutritious recipes, fun physical activities, and some suggestions to beat stress that don’t require meditation.

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    With another nine months to go before her 18th birthday, Kaia Gerber is already a teeny-tiny tattoo connoisseur. In October, the 17-year-old model showed off a minimalist tattoo that reads "Jordan," her middle name, on her inner arm. Days later, fans spotted an outline of a miniature spaceship on her inner thigh. And in November, celebrity tattoo artist JonBoy posted a photo of Gerber's wrist with "I know " scrawled in cursive across the side.

    Now, Gerber appears to be showing off her fourth new tattoo — that we know of, at least. In a photo Gerber posted to her Instagram on Wednesday, you can see her chilling poolside in a bucket hat and bikini (consider us envious) with some fresh ink on her ribcage.

    While Gerber clearly favors dainty designs, this tattoo appears to be her biggest yet — even though we have yet to figure out what it is exactly. Is that an angel wing? A side-view of an open clam? A dragon? A bird? Instagram's zoom feature continues to fail us. What we do know is that Gerber — who is still under the legal age limit to get a tattoo in most states — would likely need the approval of one of her famous parents, Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber, to get inked. (Technically, California law prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from getting a tattoo, regardless of parental consent.)

    While the design (and meaning) of the tattoo remains a mystery for now, it could very well be in honor of another family member. Back in February, her brother, Presley Gerber, got "Kaia" tattooed onto his arm. With a love for tattoos clearly running in the family, perhaps this new ink is an ode to him in return.

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    It's the last week of December, and hopefully that means you have your OOO auto-reply on and are currently sunk into your couch, burritoed in a fuzzy blanket with no plans of moving. This universal lull is about the time the antsy Type A inside of us all itches to start goal-setting for 2019, but before you start spending all your Visa gift cards on notebooks, try taking a moment to reflect on the year that's quickly coming to a close.

    That reflection doesn't have to be a headache, trying to parse out your top-10 takeaways (though that might be cathartic, too). Instead, think back on the big moments that pushed culture forward this year, and consider how those positive strides — in widespread inclusivity, humanitarianism, and representation — bled into your own life. Because if you donated to the California relief efforts in the wake of the devastating wildfires, or are currently wearing a foundation that has more than 40 shade offerings, it means you felt the ripple effects, too.

    Ahead, we've broken down the 12 biggest, most groundbreaking beauty moments that went down over the past twelve months. They'll bring on the good vibes, and might even help kickstart your own resolutions — but only after you've settled on the perfect monthly planner, of course.

    Cornrows Hit Fashion Week In A Big Way

    Fashion Month has a reputation for promoting a narrow beauty ideal. But this year, instead of holding our breath and praying we don't see any flagrant examples of cultural appropriation walking down the runway, we had something to celebrate: natural hair and protective styles, on the right models. R29 beauty writer Aimee Simeon wrote of the presence of cornrows during Fashion Month, "It was empowering and refreshing to see an accurate representation of Black culture, instead of a caricature, on the world's biggest stages."

    More Makeup Brands Met The Fenty Foundation Mark

    Last year, Rihanna and Fenty Beauty made 40+ foundation shades a benchmark, and raised the bar for other makeup brands to follow suit in 2018. Not only did we see strides in the mass market — with CoverGirl launching its most inclusive foundation range to date — but prestige brands stepped up their inclusivity as well. Marc Jacobs' Shameless campaign was particularly notable, with the casting of 29 models of various skin tones and ethnicities to promote the brand's newest foundation.

    Photo: Courtesy of Marc Jacobs Beauty.

    CoverGirl Made Animal Protection A Priority

    This November, CoverGirl announced its commitment to cruelty-free beauty, picking up a Leaping Bunny Certification. The designation means that any product with a 'CoverGirl' label will only contain cruelty-free products and ingredients (including those provided by the company’s suppliers), according to standards set forth by certifier Cruelty Free International. The trailblazing initiative makes the brand the first mass-market label to take such a strong stance on animal protection, which will hopefully encourage other companies to jump on board.

    K-Beauty Made Strides Towards Inclusivity

    In years past, K-Beauty has been at the forefront of skin-care innovation — but it hasn't always been a retail market driving the movement towards inclusivity. But 2018 showed a more representational K-Beauty market, with a movement to rectify the limitations in shade options for the signature makeup-skin-care hybrids — tinted moisturizer, CC cream, and BB Cream — by expanding the color range to encompass medium and deep skin tones. Buzzy K-Beauty brands like Julep and Kaja are championing the change.

    Consumers Shopped The Beauty Brands That Contest Chemicals

    This year's Google search report — a compilation of 2018's trendiest beauty brands — showed us that BeautyCounter was the #1 most-searched beauty label. Here's why that matters: Considering BeautyCounter's straightforward mission of delivering safe, non-toxic, effective makeup and skin-care products, it shows us that shoppers are trending toward cleaner and more transparent product options. Not only does the company ban the use of 1,500-plus controversial chemicals in its own lineup — like this mineral-mist sunscreen — it's also actively lobbying for change across the industry.

    Celebs Embraced Body Hair On The Red Carpet

    We still have some work to do in terms of indoctrinating body-hair acceptance into the culture at large, but 2018 saw some strides. Amandla Stenberg showed off her armpit hair on the red carpet — à la Julia Roberts circa 1999 — and Madonna's daughter Lourdes Leon went unshaven to this year's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund (a truly high-brow affair), both proving that body hair really is NBD.

    Photo: John Phillips/Getty Images.

    Real Stretch Marks & Cellulite Landed On Ad Campaigns

    In October, Kim Kardashian 's latest KKW Beauty campaign drummed up a ton of buzz thanks to its sheer nakedness. To promote the new perfume, Kim sprinkled her social-media feed with nude images of real women of various sizes and shapes, showing stretch marks and belly rolls. Albeit slightly controversial, the novel campaign helped in advancing the conversation around body inclusivity in the beauty space.

    Beauty Brands Donated Proceeds To Wildfire Relief Efforts

    The wildfires that blazed through California this year were disastrous — the deadliest in the state's history — and beauty brands stepped up to aid in the relief. Specifically, everyone's favorite makeup sponge, BeautyBlender, helped those in need by donating and matching all proceeds from sales made on the brand's digital retail platform to The California Community Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund.

    ... & Encouraged Political Activism

    Not only did Dr. Sandra Lee (the founder of SLMD skincare and the Dr. Pimple Popper) spark a whole new genre of guilty-pleasure entertainment this year — with her hit TV series uniting popaholics everywhere — she also used her growing platform to encourage her followers to exercise their right to vote. To promote political participation on midterm election day, Dr. Lee announced that she would be gifting a free SLMD moisturizer (which normally retails $30) to anyone who snapped a poll selfie.

    "Gender-Neutral" Became More Than Just A Buzzword

    For the past, oh, hundred years, beauty campaigns have targeted women exclusively. But in 2018, we saw a rise in the gender-neutral beauty space — which led to the launch of non-binary makeup brands like Fluide Beauty, bringing the power of makeup to people who identify by an orientation other than a cisgendered woman.

    Photo: Courtesy of LEE O'CONNOR FOR FLUIDE.

    Our Favorite Direct-To-Consumer Brands Hit Retail

    Just when we thought that our favorite mass beauty retailers — namely, Ulta and Sephora — couldn't get any better, the already-stocked shelves got a revamp in 2018. Charlotte Tilbury, which was once only available in the UK and at prestige beauty counters launched at Sephora, and Ulta Beauty launched Kylie Cosmetics in retail stores across America, giving fans their first opportunity to sample both Pillow Talk and every shade of lip kit IRL.

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    Name a more iconic winter duo than Lenny Kravitz and his giant scarf...we'll wait. The iconic photo of the singer strolling down a city street wearing a colossal scarf exudes excess and the memes it inspired will live on forever. Oversized sweaters are exaggerated, low-key dramatic, and most of all comfortable to the core. And since winter is coming — as you've likely heard a Game of Thrones fan declare at some point in the past few weeks — we took a page from Lenny's book and went on the hunt for some big-time knits.

    The comfort of a roomy sweater is undeniable. Whether it's hand-knit from your grandma or the product of some weekend retail therapy, everyone should consider hunkering down in a wearable tent of snuggly softness. Plus, nothing looks better when you're curled up by a warm fire with a cup of hot cocoa — not that we'd suggest any pre-orchestrated "in the moment" Instagram captures for your upcoming ski trip trip — if it happens, so be it. So, let's get down to the knitty gritty and check out 29 of the most comfy oversized sweaters worth being meme-ified on your next winter outing.

    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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    Happy New Year, Stargazers. Whether you’re single or coupled up, 2019 will be overflowing with romantic energy. Venus — the planet of love and pleasure — is direct all year long which means that you’ll experience her vibrant vibe as she passes through the all twelve houses of the zodiac, and makes a second trip through four. But that doesn’t mean all will be calm and majestic because Jupiter, the planet of luck squares against Neptune three times this year, which might encourage you to set unrealistic expectations in your relationships. You’ll want to watch out for January 13, June 16, and September 21. If you can resist the temptation to set those lofty goals for your partners, Jupiter will inspire everyone while he inhabits his own sign of Sagittarius until December 3. It’s a great year to travel and potentially have a romantic rendezvous in a different country.

    Meanwhile, Uranus will help some of us overcome relationship obstacles by bringing clarity to situations that might be a little confusing. And if you’re worried about misunderstandings, you should know that there are three Mercury retrogrades this year. Remember to move slowly and communicate carefully on the following days: March 5 -28, July 7 - 31, and October 31 - November 20.

    Ahead, you’ll find a little romantic advice for every sign. Get ready for a year filled with love!

    Aries

    Single or attached, you’ll find that your romantic life is a whirlwind. Single Aries may find that their options are overwhelming, but it’s a great year to explore options. Aries who are in partnerships will have a difficult time keeping their focus. Lucky Jupiter, your planet of travel, will spend most of 2019 in Sagittarius nudging you to get out and see the world. Uranus, the planet of change will be leaving your sign on March 7, helping you to build a stronger sense of self. This slow-moving planet has been in your first house for the past seven years, redefining your image and self-perception. You know who you are, and almost nothing is more attractive than that! But let’s backtrack to January 20. Your fifth house will host a lunar eclipse in Leo, bringing singles an opportunity to link up with a special someone. If you’re in a relationship, it’s possible that you could welcome a new member to your family. Your fifth house rules children, and eclipses tend to rock our worlds.

    Taurus

    You’ll be embracing yourself and your potential this spring when Uranus enters your first house on March 7. If you’re in a relationship, your partner may not recognize you over the next seven years. If you’re single, you’ll explore all of the different sides of yourself, and come out the other end more comfortable in your skin than ever before. If you’re looking for a partner, they will need to be satisfied with your strong ambition! Pluto, your planetary ruler of love, works with taskmaster planet Saturn to assist you with responsibility in your romantic relationships. You need to care for your partner as much as they care for you. Be careful of letting yourself fall into a rut, and seek out new ways to delight your partner. Singles should seek our intellectual stimulation when searching for their special someone. Lucky Jupiter conjoins with your ruling planet Venus twice this year. The first date to remember for a dreamy date night is January 22 when both planets are in adventurous Sagittarius. Mark down November 24 in your calendar as well when Venus and Jupiter make magic again.

    Gemini

    Are you ready to rake in the love, Gemini? Jupiter is spending eleven months of the year in your seventh house of relationships. He brings luck wherever he goes, and as your personal planet of love, he’s going to kick things up a notch for both single and partnered Geminis. If you’re in a relationship, you could find yourself taking the next big step this year! Venus, the planet of beauty and charm will also be lending a cosmic hand to help you glow up: She’s moving direct all year so that you can dazzle your love interests, especially from June 8 to July 3 when she inhabits your sign. On March 31, Mars enters your sign enhancing your energy and confidence. He’ll stay there until May 15, helping singles to put themselves out into the dating pool. Balance confidence with vulnerability and you could find yourself entering a loving partnership! On September 28th, a new moon in Libra will open up your fifth house. The fifth house rules creativity, children and true love. Single Geminis could meet a great match, while partnered Geminis planning for children could have the opportunity to expand their family. Mars will get back into the mix on October 3 when he enters your fifth house, which governs pleasure and creativity. You’ll have a laser focus on your romantic relationships until the 19th of November while he stays there.

    Cancer

    You’ve got some rules about love, Cancer. This is partially because strict Saturn is your planetary ruler of all things romantic. He stays in your seventh house of love until December 21, creating boundaries for you. Partnered Cancers may have a difficult time getting comfortable at home. Single Cancers may put up too many walls before letting anyone in. The eclipses of January 20 in Leo and July 16 in Capricorn will impact those of you with partners. Each day will help you to eliminate aspects of your relationships that aren’t serving you. If you have a hard time explaining your side of the story, Mercury and Mars will collaborate to help you from June 14 to 19. Partnered Cancers will have an easier time clarifying precisely what they need. Single Cancers will be able to set ground rules with anyone who tries to toy with their hearts. Come March 7, Uranus enters your eleventh house of friendship, and this is great news for single Cancers. As your social circle opens, so will your options. For the next seven years, you’ll have the chance to meet people who challenge and compliment you.

    Leo

    Both single and partnered Leos will need their love interests and partners to keep pace with them this year. Uranus, Leo’s personal planet of love will move from the ninth house of rebirth into their tenth house of honors and career. Throughout the next seven years, changes at work will be of paramount importance. When fame is brought into the mix, Leo can’t help but pine for the spotlight. It would go against their nature to refuse it! Enjoy the ride, as Jupiter inhabits your fifth house of pleasure until early December. While you’re occupied with your plans to take over the world, don’t forget to get outside and pursue love! Venus and Jupiter will conjoin in adventurous Sagittarius on January 22. Both single and attached Leos should venture outside in the pursuit of romance. Plan a rendezvous to warm your heart and memories.

    Virgo

    A solar eclipse in Capricorn on January 5 or 6 (depending on where you live) could help you to make some stark realizations about your love life, Virgo. Neptune, your personal planet of love is living it up in your seventh house of relationships. When looking for a connection, you need to tune into Neptune's dreamy qualities. Seek out people who hold a zest for life and a search for deeper meaning. The nature of Neptune is one of intuition — if you’re single and looking for someone to complete you, they shouldn’t be broken down into a list of pros and cons. If you’re in a relationship, lucky Jupiter will help you build a strong foundation at home while he travels through your first house. Build your relationship by nesting, and improving on your living space. Saturn will enter your fifth house this year, making any item on your to-do list a joy to cross out. The fifth house rules true love and entertainment. So if you’re single, invite your dates over to your home. If you’re happiest when you’re getting organized, you might be able to find a great new place to move into with your partner.

    Libra

    Jupiter helps you to make your intentions clear to potential partners while he moves through your third house of communication until early December. Both single and partnered Libras will find that their partners will be dazzled by their humor and conversations. On March 7, you could find yourself exploring a more sexually adventurous side when Uranus moves into your eighth house of regeneration and sex. Experimentation is how we find out what we like! Try a little bit of everything with your partners and make sure you have a safe word over the next seven years. The planet of transformation has previously spent his past seven years in your seventh house of relationships. As soon as he moves out of this house, you’ll feel more stable in your romantic partnerships.

    Scorpio

    Venus your love planet moves direct all year, and she’s moving fast. Single Scorpios may find that they are continually changing their romantic focus as she passes through the twelve houses and then four more again before 2020 arrives. Partnered Scorpios will feel similarly, but it will keep the love life exciting! On March 7th, Uranus, the planet of transformation will move from your sixth house of health into your seventh house of relationships. As you notice that your well being improves over the year, challenges and changes arrive in your relationships. It’s nothing that you can’t handle! Uranus also rules your home and family life, so try to think of the events that will take place over the next seven years as an evolution of your soul.

    Sagittarius

    You’ve got luck on your side this year, Sagittarius! Jupiter, your ruling planet, will lend his beautiful energy to all areas of your life as he rides through his sign and your first house. He’ll stay there until early December. If you’re in a relationship, you’ll want to share the joy of travel with your partner. Make sure that you plan ahead and take them with you wherever you go so that you can look back on your shared experiences with fondness. Thanks to Jupiter’s positive vibes, single Sags could meet someone while abroad! Mercury, your personal planet of love goes retrograde three times this year from March 5 to 28, July 7 to 31, and October 31 to November 20. If you’re planning a getaway, make sure to avoid these dates for less than spectacular travel snafus. Venus and Jupiter will conjoin twice this year in your own sign on January 22 and November 24. This movement will give you that special something that the objects of your affection will find hard to resist. Uranus, the planetary ruler of transformation, will leave your fifth house of true love on March 7th, helping to relax your romantic endeavors.

    Capricorn

    Your relationships will be influenced by more than a few movements this year, Capricorn. 2019 will be more about personal change with regard to love. Your planetary ruler of love will undergo three solar and two lunar eclipses. The first of the bunch arrives as a partial solar eclipse on January 5-6 (depending on where you live) in your own sign and in your eighth house. It will take place between your ruling planet Saturn, and Pluto, the planet of transformation. If you’re in a relationship, talk to your partner about their finances so that no surprises arrive. Our first lunar eclipse begins on January 20th - 21 (depending on where you live) during the full moon in Leo. This eclipse also inhabits your 8th house, bringing any matters of debts that your partner needs to take care of to the surface again. The second solar eclipse shows up on July 2nd in Cancer for the third trip in your sixth house. This will affect partnered Capricorns and their significant other’s finances. On July 16, a partial lunar eclipse arrives in your sign shake up your romantic relationship and friendships. Feel free to cut ties when absolutely necessary. Our last eclipse comes on December 26 with a total eclipse in your sign. Uranus, the planet of innovation will be moving into your fifth house of creativity, true love and children on March 7th. The next seven years will hold its share of surprises for you regarding the expansion of your family and love interests! Singles, be on your guard as you never know who could end up being a partner for life. In a relationship and thinking about kids? You may end with an unexpected addition.

    Aquarius

    We’ve got five eclipses coming up in 2019, Aquarius. These will help you realize how you need to move forward, and conclude aspects of your romantic relationships. Your personal planet of love is the sun, and when his light is obscured, you will need to make decisions about how you want to help your love life move forward. On January 5, the solar eclipse in Capricorn will occur in your twelth house of spirituality and unconscious. If you’re single, you may have some profound realizations around this date that you can no longer ignore. Prioritize your beliefs and move forward to find deeper self-satisfaction. If you’re looking to find a new partner, you must become a whole person first. On January 20, the lunar eclipse in Leo will help both single and partnered Aqua’s face some facts relating to both current and potential partners. This lunar eclipse occurs in your seventh house of love. You may butt heads over how many hours you put in at the office since the moon is your planetary ruler of career. Uranus arrives in your 4th house of home and family in early March. He's shaking up your living conditions and closest relationships for the next seven years. These changes can affect how open you are to both giving and receiving love. Keep your heart light by remembering to roll with the punches.

    Pisces

    2019 will hold few dramas for you, as your seventh house of love is only occupied by Mercury, your personal planet of love. The fastest moving planet will retrograde three times this year, and you’ll notice that it’s a little harder to make plans. Don’t fret! Mercury conjoins with your planetary ruler Neptune from March 24 to 31. This will help singles to meet more potential partners that jive with their sensitive souls. Uranus, the planet of transformative change moves into your third house of communication on March 7, introducing new ways to connect with others. He will help you revamp the way that you make yourself heard for the next seven years. Be open to it! The Mercury retrograde of July 7 to the 31 could be a more emotional time. The messenger planet moves backward through fellow water sign Cancer from July 19 to August 11. You’ll be back to full power when Mercury gains direct speed in your seventh house from August 23 to September 22. Live it up and enjoy your summer with your partner or a few new faces! The third retrograde of the year happens from October 31 to November 20, in your ninth house of travel and adventure. Although your love planet is retrograde, you could find yourself wanting to get away from the daily grind and spice things up overseas.

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    Elite bargain hunters know that the best time for holiday shopping isn't the month before or even the night before the big celebration, it's in the days after. Wait to indulge in Halloween candy until November 1st, and you'll be enjoying the sweet, sweet taste of a discount. Postpone your Valentine's Day plans for the 15th, and you'll be swimming in half-off chocolates and roses.

    And it's especially true for the days following Christmas, when retailers slash prices and announce massive end-of-year sales for cult brands — Kylie Cosmetics included. From now until December 28, Kylie fanatics can enjoy up to 40% off Lip Kits, limited-edition eye shadow palettes, brushes and more. When you spend over $100, you can also get a makeup bag as a perk for spending your holiday cash. What more could a girl lounging around in pajamas ask for?

    Find the discounted items we're stocking up on, ahead.

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

    If buying all 13 discounted Lip Kits is out of your budget, pick up this set with six mini colors to sample before you splurge on the full-size.



    Kylie Cosmetics Birthday | Hello 21 Mini Lip Set, $21.6, available at Kylie Cosmetics

    Everything you need for a sun-kissed face lives in this Koko Collection palette, which is even more attractive at nearly half-off its original price.



    Kylie Cosmetics Koko Kollection Face Palette, $24, available at Kylie Cosmetics

    The Jordy Lip Kit is on sale, meaning it's only right to get one for you and your bestie.



    Kylie Cosmetics Jordy | Velvet Lip Kit, $16.2, available at Kylie Cosmetics

    We don't necessarily need another eyeshadow palette, but the wintry colors in this kit practically scream NYE.



    Kylie Cosmetics Eye of the Storm | Kyshadow, $24, available at Kylie Cosmetics

    Come for the glitzy holiday packaging, stay for the creamy peachy-pink shade that looks good in any season.



    Kylie Cosmetics Kissmas | Matte Lip Kit, $21.75, available at Kylie Cosmetics

    If your face is still dull from the eight hour flight home, this highlighting powder will help restore your pre-travel glow.



    Kylie Cosmetics Chocolate Cherry | Kylighter, $13.2, available at Kylie Cosmetics

    Paired with a punchy coral palette, you might even convince people you spent your winter break in Ibiza versus Illinois.



    Kylie Cosmetics Hot and Bothered | Blush, $12, available at Kylie Cosmetics

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    Democratic Sen. Heidi HeitkampPhoto: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call.

    One of the issues North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp fought to address during her time in Congress was the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the United States. Her legislation, Savanna's Act, would improve federal response to the crisis and provide support to tribes, without requiring additional federal funding. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate in November, but was stalled and allowed to expire by retiring Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, as his swan song before leaving Congress.

    After losing her re-election bid, Heitkamp won't be back in the Senate when the 116th Congress comes into session in January. But it looks like one of her final acts as senator was to make sure a colleague will carry on her mission to help Indigenous peoples. HuffPo reports that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski plans to resurrect Savanna's Act and push for it to be passed. "I’ve committed to Sen. Heitkamp that this priority that she has helped to advance, I am going to encourage every step of the way, aggressively and early,” Murkowski told reporters, according to audio obtained by HuffPo. “I’m looking for partners. I’ve already talked to Sen. [Maria] Cantwell, she’s willing to join up with me.”

    The legislation is named after Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a 22-year-old woman and member of the Spirit Lake tribe who was kidnapped and brutally murdered in Fargo, ND last year. She was eight months pregnant at the time of her death. The case is part of a broader crisis of violence against Indigenous women, which is not discussed enough. About 84% of Native women report experiencing violence in their lifetime — including 56% of women who've faced sexual violence and 55% who've been victims of intimate partner violence. In some counties, Indigenous women are also killed at 10 times the national average.

    At its core, the bill improves communication between between federal, state, local and tribal officials. Some of its requirements would be to strengthen data collection on violence against Native women and require these stats are reported to Congress; improve tribes' access to databases containing information about federal crimes; and create standardized protocols for responding to cases of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples.

    Heitkamp's goal was for the federal government to develop a better response to the crisis of violence against Indigenous women. Hopefully, Murkowski will gather enough political will to protect one of the most vulnerable populations in the country.

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    For the past few years, I’ve drawn out intricate vision boards on New Year’s Day (I tend to stay away from ‘resolutions ’) mapping out all of the things I aspire towards — from outlining a list of all of the places I intend to travel to, to health goals, to career and financially-related intentions — for the next year.

    This is the time of year when it’s hard not to take mental stock of what’s happened over the past twelve months — what’s gone well and what’s gone awry. And indeed, many of us use this time off from work to think about how to make changes in the next twelve. If you, too, have started thinking about your career goals for 2019, a great way to start is by setting a few concrete intentions that you’re certain, with a modicum of effort, you can achieve.

    We’ve put together a list of simple goals for setting — and getting closer to — your career goals in 2019. From negotiating new offers or raises, to getting to work on time, these goals will help you get started on your own goal-setting for next year. Read on to get started.

    Don’t Eat Lunch At Your Desk

    Sometimes, it’s hard to pry yourself away from your computer or desk — even when it’s time for a much-deserved lunch break.

    And while eating lunch at your desk can sometimes feel like a necessary move, it actually involves a lot of potential negative impacts that you may not realize: From sore joints, to long-term health effects (you really should be getting up to walk around a few times an hour). What’s more is that sitting at a desk for eight hours straight without taking a break can make you foggy-headed and less productive.

    So in 2019, don’t be a hero: Take at least 15 or 20 minutes at lunch to walk around, do a quick meditation, and eat a healthy meal before getting back to your desk to plod away the remainder of the afternoon.

    illustrated by Tristan Offit.

    Negotiate All New Offers

    Negotiation has rightfully become an increasingly popular goal (we all want that raise, right?), and it’s something you should continue to think about in 2019. From negotiating salary offers, to bonuses, to raises, getting into the habit of viewing money discussions with employers as conversations — not a pre-established rules.

    Next year, consider setting a goal for yourself to negotiate, no matter what. This may look different for everyone: Maybe you’re a freelancer and want to negotiate your rates with your clients, or maybe you’re looking to ask for a raise this year and want to make sure you go back and forth about it before accepting.

    Whatever it is, setting the intention of asking for more in 2019 is a great way to start boosting your self confidence and flexing your negotiation muscles so that, in years to come, asking for more money will be a cinch.

    illustrated by Tristan Offit.

    Make A Monthly Coffee Date With Someone You Admire

    Networking can sometimes feel like a chore. Some events are awkward, forced, or straight up boring. And, for introverts and people with social anxiety, it requires even more effort.

    One way to break out of some of the more rigid forms of networking is to take matters into your own hands. Each of us probably has a shortlist of people in our field or industry whose work we admire. (If you don’t, you should make that list ASAP!) A great way to make sure you’re making connections, gaining skills, and getting some mentorship is to simply reach out to some of these people with a genuine note of appreciation and an ask to connect.

    In 2019, consider making a goal to reach out to one person a month and set up a coffee date or meeting. This way, you’ll have a more relaxed, intimate opportunity to learn from someone without having to schmooze with a room full of people.

    illustrated by Tristan Offit.

    Go After Opportunities You Don’t Feel Fully Qualified For

    Ever heard the statistic: Men apply for jobs when they meet 60% of the qualifications, but women only do if they meet 100% of them? Well, if you haven't, it's a thing.

    Women often struggle with putting themselves out there for jobs they are not fully qualified for, which of course stems back to a long-winded history of being discriminated at work. But here's the good news: You don't have to continue this legacy.

    Often, we limit ourselves by setting restrictions on the things we can and cannot do, whether it's convincing ourselves that we need a degree for "that job," or that a job isn't worth applying for because we don't meet all of the job listing's requirements. For 2019, it's time to cast off these self-limiting beliefs. Consider setting a goal for yourself to apply to a certain amount of jobs you may not feel like the perfect candidate for, but that you're likely capable of succeeding at. See what happens. No matter what, it could be a great confidence-booster.

    illustrated by Tristan Offit.

    Attend Regular Professional Development Classes Or Events

    It's all too easy to get stuck in our daily responsibilities and tasks. Sometimes, we forget how important it is to gain new skills for longterm success.

    If you're considering breaking out of a current industry or role, or perhaps reaching for some of those jobs you may not feel completely ready for, one great way to build confidence is by setting a goal to take classes or attend lectures and professional development events. Whether it's taking a class once a year, quarterly, or monthly, make sure you're setting a goal that's reasonable and attainable for your schedule and bandwidth.

    One caveat: Make sure you don't let yourself get stuck in the learning or researching phase. If you have a goal — professional or otherwise — that you want to go after, bear in mind that you may not ever feel fully, 100% ready to take the leap. But, by arming yourself with some tangible, technical skills, preparing to branch out and try new things, or ask for that promotion, could be that much easier. If anything, you're showing your current employer how proactive you are at making sure you're growing in the ways you want.

    illustrated by Tristan Offit.

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    This morning, the world woke up to what some felt was a rude change in their Instagram's feed: A horizontal tap-through instead of the vertical scroll we all know and love. And users immediately wanted to know how to undo it.

    In an in-platform pop-up explaining the feature, Instagram announced that it was rolling out a new way to explore posts where users could now tap from left to right, rather scrolling up and down, the way that you watch Instagram Stories.

    The change rolled out across the world, and Twitter exploded. Users were, to put it lightly, unhappy with the update. In a matter of hours, however, the feature appeared to have disappeared, and feeds were back to normal.

    In an official statement, Instagram told Refinery29: “Due to a bug, some users saw a change to the way their feed appears today. We quickly fixed the issue and feed is back to normal. We apologize for any confusion.”

    Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, also responded to users on Twitter, admitting the rollout was only meant to be a small test but went much broader than anticipated. This morning, Instagram is reassuring its users that it's not planning to change the beloved Feed in such a significant way in the near future. And if you are still seeing the changed interface on your Feed, restart your app and you should see the normal Feed again.

    But now that we can breathe a sigh of relief, let us admire some of the best reactions.

    This story is breaking, we'll continue to update as we learn more.

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    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 part-time writer working in publishing who makes $33 per hour (around $108,000 per year when combined with her husband's income) and spends some of her money this week on a snow globe.

    Occupation: Writer
    Industry: Publishing
    Age: 38
    Location: Cleveland, OH
    My Income: $33/hour (~$36,000/year)
    My Husband's Income: $30/hour (~$72,000/year)
    My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,400 (I work part-time — 20 to 30 hours per week.)
    My Husband's Paycheck Amount (2x/month): ~ $2,700

    Monthly Expenses
    Mortgage: $560
    Electric: $106
    Gas: $84
    Water: $33
    Sewer: $45
    Child Care Expenses: $85 per day, 1-2 days a week
    Internet: $67
    Cell Phones: $118 (for both of us)
    Netflix: $15
    Amazon Prime: $0 (We use my mom's account. Thanks, Mom!)
    Piano Lessons: $25 per week (for my seven-year-old daughter)
    Dance Lessons: $42 (for my four-year-old daughter)
    New York Times Subscription: $15
    Charitable Donations: $70
    Church Donation: $20 per week
    401(k): 30% per paycheck (Our employers match is 5%)

    Annual Expenses
    Property Taxes: $5,500
    Home Insurance: $800
    Car Insurance: $840
    Health Insurance: $4,300
    529 College Fund: $6,000 ($2,000 per daughter. We already have $73,000 saved.)
    Washington Post Subscription: $99

    Day One

    8:30 a.m. — I head downstairs where my husband, T., and our three daughters, M. (age 10), B., (age 7), and L. (age 4) are watching Elf on the Shelf videos on YouTube. Our elf just arrived yesterday.

    10:30 a.m. — We head to church where we have to drop B. off at PSR class (that's basically kid's Catholic religion class). I don't usually eat before mass, but today I have a brownie (we baked a bunch last night) and a glass of iced tea lemonade.

    12 p.m. — After church, we always eat lunch at Qdoba. We order a burrito bowl, a quesadilla kids meal, chips, and queso. Kids eat free on Sundays, and I have coupons on my Qdoba app. $14.13

    1 p.m. — Back at home, T. watches half the Browns game, the girls clean their rooms, and I order $345 in Target gifts cards as Christmas presents because they're 10% off today. $315

    2 p.m. — I chat with Apple online about my mother-in-law's iPad. The battery keeps dying and apparently it will cost $100 for a new one. I'll have to stop by the Apple Store after work one day to take care of this in person.

    3 p.m. — T. and I play Twister with the girls for a little bit, and then I clean the second floor of the house. We used to have a pay someone $90 to clean our house every two weeks, but that was before we moved to this 2,300 square-foot home four years ago. Since then, we've been doing a lot of remodeling and it seems silly to have someone clean while projects are ongoing. I've been thinking about having someone back once we're more settled though. My kids are slowly accumulating a layer of dust.

    4:15 p.m. — I take a quick break to drink a Sparkling Ice and eat a brownie. Okay, two brownies.

    4:45 p.m. — We leave for a Santa Claus event downtown and have dinner at Wahlburgers. I've never been before, so I try the smoked bacon mac 'n cheese. It's pretty disappointing. Someone needs to get Marky Mark to take time from his busy pants-dropping schedule to figure out this soupy pasta. $40

    6:40 p.m. — It's finally time to visit Santa. We prepaid for this whole holiday adventure a few weeks ago. I got a discount through a moms' group I belong to, but it was still $131 for the five of us. We've done this for the last several years, and the kids still enjoy it so I suppose it's worth it. They get to privately meet with Santa and talk to him and tell him what they want for Christmas. We have always told them that Santa only gets them one present (the rest of their presents come from us), so whatever they ask for during this visit is their "Santa present."

    7:30 p.m. — When we see Santa, it turns out that we know him. (Santa! I know him!) He is my husband's former high school teacher and a really nice man. So then we have to buy the photos of the girls with him, of course! The kids also pick out some small toys in the gift shop. $32.36

    9:30 p.m. — Back at home, the kids are finally asleep and I can crawl into bed myself and relax with a glass of iced tea lemonade and another brownie. I was lucky enough to snag a copy of Michelle Obama's new book from the library, so I read that until I fall asleep.

    Daily Total: $401.49

    Day Two

    7 a.m. — Alarm goes off, but I stay in bed. My husband takes M. to band practice. He's also going to take our car in for service. It stalled on me this weekend and I haven't driven it since.

    7:40 a.m. — The phone rings. The car stalled again as T. was driving it, so he doesn't think it will make it to the repair shop by his office. He's bringing the car back home and I'm going to be stuck with it. Crap. I call my mom and dad who live 10 minutes away. Luckily, I can borrow my mom's car for the day and my dad can help me get the car to a repair shop up the street from us. Crisis averted.

    8:40 a.m. — I get B. on the bus. My dad, L., and I drop off the car and then we hang out with my parents for a while at their house. I hope there's nothing seriously wrong with the car, especially since it's over 10 years old. My mom tells me that she would just buy a new car if it were her. That is definitely something she would do, but I hate being rushed into major financial decisions.

    10 a.m. — Back at home, I have to check in with work. I need to do some new writing, process paperwork, and work on some rewrites. Hopefully I can get it all done by the time L. needs to leave for preschool. I have a dentist appointment at noon and I want to leave a little early to pick up some cookies for the folks in the dental office as a Christmas thank you to them for being so good to our family.

    11:45 a.m. — We get to preschool, and L. is in tears. I've been so busy all morning I've hardly had a minute for her, but she still goes into class like a champ.

    12:10 a.m. — Arrive 10 minutes late for my dentist appointment after stopping to pick up cookies at a bakery on the way. Luckily I have gorgeous teeth, so all is forgiven. $15

    1 p.m. — After my cleaning and exam, I grab a handful of Tootsie Rolls from the bowl at the front desk at the dentist's and head home. I work on cleaning up the kitchen and living room and then make lunch — sausage ravioli with olive oil and iced tea lemonade to drink. I also finish my rewrites and send them off to my boss for approval.

    2:20 p.m. — I pick up L. from preschool and we stop by McDonald's for a Happy Meal. It works by bringing the promised happiness. $3.97

    5 p.m. — M. and B. get off the bus after school. B. has piano lessons, so I help M. and L. with their homework while calling the repair shop to check on the car. Apparently, they need to keep it one more day. Luckily, my mom can loan me her car again tomorrow. Moms are the best.

    6:30 p.m. — My husband comes home from work and takes M. to PSR. While he's out, he also stops to get his haircut at Great Clips with a $3 off coupon ($14). (Yeah, it's a cheap haircut, but he looks gorgeous no matter what.) He grabs a few groceries ($14.68) on the way home, too. $28.68

    9 p.m. — Once the kids finally go to bed, I take a shower. When I get out, T. is preparing for some training classes he'll be teaching the rest of the week at work. He also mentions that the Santa we saw last night has offered to stop by our house and visit with our kids on Christmas Eve. My heart just grew three sizes.

    9:45 p.m. — I realize I didn't eat anything for dinner, so I grab some peanut butter trail mix and an iced tea lemonade to take up to bed with me. I read more about the formative years of Michelle Obama while I crank up my electric blanket, finish my snack, and then nod off to sleep.

    Daily Total: $47.65

    Day Three

    7 a.m. — My alarm rings and I glance over my schedule for the day. It's a bit hectic, since T. has already left for work and I've got to get three kids to three different places and then myself into the office.

    8 a.m. — I finally get out of bed and get M. on the bus. I get breakfast for the younger girls and pack a lunch for B. Then, I take a shower while they get dressed for school on their own.

    8:45 a.m. — B. gets on the bus and I drop off L. at the babysitter's. She's only watching the kids for five days in December because I'm taking off some time around the holidays, so I write her a check for the whole month today.

    9 a.m. — On my way to work, I listen to My Favorite Murder and drink a black raspberry Sparkling Ice. At work, my rewrites from yesterday are partially approved. Yay! But one still needs work. I also see that I have a $10 gift certificate sitting on my desk as a reward for winning a little contest we had last week. Have I mentioned that my job is the best? I spend the morning Googling memes (work-related) and working on new options for the rewrite.

    11:40 a.m. — I walk over to the Apple Store to figure out the battery situation on my mother-in-law's iPad. The guy there tells me the battery is garbage and they will replace it for $100, or we can trade this one in for $65 and then upgrade her to a new one. She's 80-years-old and mostly plays Candy Crush, so it's not like she needs the latest and greatest technology, but if we're spending $100 anyway, maybe she wants an iPad that wasn't made in 2013. I tell him I'll talk to her about it.

    12 p.m. — I pop into Bath & Body Works to grab some lotions. There's a buy-two-get-one-free deal and the lady at the counter gives me a coupon for some Christmas lotion, too. The four bottles I buy will probably last me two years. $35.64

    12:15 p.m. — I need something for lunch, so I head over to Liquid Planet. I get the peanut Thai rice bowl and a mango berry smoothie and then walk back to work. $12.90

    1 p.m. — I finally get approval on that rewrite. Huzzah! I spend the rest of the day focusing on paperwork. I even squeeze in a few quick PTA emails to help out another mom at B.'s school.

    4:15 p.m. — T. is picking up the girls, but I leave work a bit early so I can meet him to pick up the car from the repair shop. I listen to the Binge Mode: Harry Potter podcast on the way home and get really engrossed in their discussion of "The Tale of the Three Brothers."

    5 p.m. — T. and I meet at the repair shop. Apparently, they were able to clean out a bunch of stuff inside the car's engine, and it's starting much better now. I tell T. we should probably start researching new car options so we don't wind up in a situation where we're forced to buy a new car if this one dies on us. He agrees because, after 15 years of marriage, he knows I'm always right. $150.15

    5:30 p.m. — We get gas in our car ($20) and my mom's car ($25.97) and then return her car to her house. $45.97

    6:30 p.m. — We drop off B. at Girl Scouts, where she will earn her science badge. At home, I make pierogies and broccoli for dinner. T. and I debrief about the day and he calls his mom to ask what she wants to do about the iPad. She's fine with just keeping the old model and upgrading the battery.

    9 p.m. — With the kids finally in bed, I relax with my iced tea lemonade. T. and I watch Merry Kissmas on Netflix. It's unspeakably idiotic. I go to sleep very happy.

    Daily Total: $244.66

    Day Four

    7 a.m. — T. doesn't have work today, so he takes M. to band practice in the morning and I get the younger girls ready for the day.

    8:40 a.m. — B. gets on her bus and then I get dressed. L. has her first dance class today, so she wears an old pink leotard we have in our costume trunk.

    10:30 a.m. — L. crushes her dance class, so we sign her up for weekly lessons. It's $42 per month (which is now part of our regular expenses) but there's also a $20 registration fee. $20

    10:45 a.m. — We run to the grocery store to buy a gift card ($10) and a book of stamps ($10) for the giving tree at church. We also need a snack for L.'s preschool class. This week they are learning about the letter G, so we pick up gingerbread people ($6.57). T. buys three more books of stamps ($30) for home, too. $56.57

    11 a.m. — We run over to McDonald's for a quick lunch and use some coupons. T. and I both get Big Macs and split large fries. L. gets a Happy Meal. $12.07

    11:50 a.m. — We eat quickly and then drop off L. at school. On the way home, we fill up the gas tank in our car. $19.63

    12:30 p.m. — At home, we order groceries online. Aside from meeting my husband and bringing home my children, online grocery shopping is the best thing that's ever happened to me. I hate shopping in stores. We spend about 15 minutes online selecting a whole cartload of food for breakfasts, school lunches, and dinners, and then we're done. We'll pick up everything in a few hours.

    1 p.m. — We decided a few weeks back to get a landline at home so our daughters would have a phone in the house if they needed to call us. It increased our internet bill from $65 to $68 per month, so it was a cheaper option than a third cell phone, which we also considered. The phone modem has arrived in the mail, and I'm installing it myself to avoid the $75 installation fee. I run into an issue and have to call tech support. The guy on the phone is super nice and accidentally lowers our bill to $67 a month, but it turns out we do need a coaxial cable splitter.

    1:30 p.m. — T. and I drive to the nearest cable company store and pick up a splitter kit. (It's free.) In the car, we discuss the stock market, a potential recession, and property taxes. The romance never ends! We pick up L. from preschool on our way home.

    2:30 p.m. — Back at home, I hook up the splitter for the landline. It works! We've officially arrived in 1987. I open a bunch of delivery packages that have been piling up, including some snow tubes I bought for our post-Christmas getaway. We are surprising the kids with a weekend trip to a lodge in an Ohio state park. We used credit card points to pay for our hotel, so it technically didn't cost us anything.

    3 p.m. — I also open an HDMI cable I ordered from Amazon. Now I can hook up our new Blu-ray player from Target I got on Black Friday for $65.

    4:30 p.m. — I pick up the groceries. $172.21

    5 p.m. — I put away the groceries while the kids work on homework and play Wii games. Eventually, I make some Hamburger Helper with a "twist" (per the box) by throwing in some vegetables. It's pretty good.

    8 p.m. — Kids go to bed early tonight, and I help T. sort a mountain of laundry while we listen to his Morning Joe podcast.

    8:30 p.m. — T. gets ready for his class tomorrow while I prepare for work by checking emails and starting some more writing. When I'm too tired, I put away my laptop and drift off to sleep.

    Daily Total: $280.48

    Day Five

    8 a.m. — I get out of bed, put the girls on their buses, get myself ready for work, and drive L. to the babysitter's house.

    10 a.m. — At work, I duck into a meeting late. Oops. Afterwards, I drink a cherry lime Sparkling Ice and look over the writing I did last night to see if there's anything I can turn in today.

    12 p.m. — I run out to grab a Cuban sandwich with a side of tater tots for lunch. I've never had a Cuban before, and it's pretty tasty. I eat at my desk while I polish up my writing. $7.78

    1 p.m. — The rest of the afternoon is spent bouncing from meeting to meeting. Everyone has been so great since I moved from full-time to part-time work five years ago. I am really lucky to have coworkers who make balancing work and life a little bit easier.

    4 p.m. — I book it out of work and head back to the Apple Store. The Genius Bar guy tells me the iPad battery's maximum capacity is 8%, and that this was probably caused by a malfunctioning battery. Unfortunately, I still have to pay $100 plus tax to replace it because my octogenarian mother-in-law didn't realize that the battery capacity was failing and therefore didn't bring it in within the warranty period. I make a mental note to complain to Apple later. $106.92

    5 p.m. — Back at home, T. and I chat about our days while the kids do their thing. His classes are going very well. I wrote some pretty okay stuff today. I warm up leftover Hamburger Helper for dinner for those who want it.

    8 p.m. — I glance at my phone and notice that some of the ladies from my moms' club are talking about our annual holiday dinner tonight. I have it on the calendar for tomorrow night. Crap. It started at 7 p.m. and now I'm in my pajamas eating Hamburger Helper, which is annoying, since I prepaid $20 to attend. T. tells me to go anyway, but I'm already in pajama mode.

    9 p.m. — The children are nestled all snug in their beds and I get T. to help me look over their Christmas lists. I'm unsure if I'm spending too much — about $175 to $200 per child. I have an Excel spreadsheet of every gift I buy for Christmas, which tells me I'm on track to spend about $1,200 on Christmas presents this year for everyone — kids, family, friends, teachers, etc. We're buying for almost 30 people. T. and I usually don't exchange gifts because we don't really need anything.

    9:30 p.m. — I end up ordering my daughters' "Santa presents" on Amazon. I get some headphones for M., a snow globe for B., and some Disney Doorables for L. I add a few more presents to the order, too. $126.73

    10 p.m. — I sip on a can of Sparkling Ice and catch up on a little work before drifting off to dreamland myself.

    Daily Total: $241.43

    Day Six

    7:30 a.m. — T. has to leave for work early today, so I have to take M. to band practice. I get all three girls in the car and we head towards school.

    8 a.m. — Back at home, B. gets ready for school. L. and I will probably lounge around in pajamas today, since she doesn't have preschool and I don't need to head into the office.

    10:30 a.m. — I spend some time updating our Mint account and see that our net worth is over $900,000. I keep hoping it will cross the $1 million mark, because it seems like it would feel neat to be millionaires. I assume it's the same feeling Scrooge McDuck gets when he swims in that room full of gold coins.

    11 a.m. — L. keeps asking to go to McDonald's, but I put her off because I just bought a fridge full of fabulous groceries. I end up getting her to eat some yogurt instead. Afterwards, I take a shower and get dressed for the day — if you call a fluffy sweater and leggings dressed.

    12:30 p.m. — A friend from my moms' club stops over to drop off a stack of donations for a charity event I am planning. I secretly love organizing fundraiser events and this one is shaping up pretty decently. We've already had local businesses donate some hotel stays and theater tickets and gift cards. Cleveland is very generous.

    1:30 p.m. — I realize I haven't eaten anything yet, so I grab a bunch of walnuts and a Sparkling Ice. (Yes, I recognize I'm a terrible eater.) L. asks me to play carnival and beauty salon with her, so we do that for a while, too.

    2:30 p.m. — I need to tackle some actual work, so I take out my laptop and start on that.

    4 p.m. — The girls get off the bus and T. gets home from work soon after. We all get ready to head out for my niece's 16th birthday dinner. I grab a birthday card from my greeting card stash and we stop and buy a gift card on the way to dinner. $40

    5:30 p.m. — At dinner, I order a flatbread B.L.T. and my brother-in-law pays for all of us in honor of his daughter, the birthday girl.

    7 p.m. — We head home and the girls decide to have a sleepover in M.'s room. All is calm and I'm able to finish up some work stuff with my laptop before bed.

    Daily Total: $40

    Day Seven

    8 a.m. — Saturday mornings are for lying in bed, but the girls are up and wandering about. My sister-in-law and I have decided to take our kids to see Ralph Breaks the Internet this morning, so I'll need to get up at some point.

    11:30 a.m. — We leave the house a little early to buy eight boxes of movie candy ($8.29). I have a voucher for a free movie ticket and then I buy three more for the girls at the theater ($22.50). My sister-in-law and nephew get their own tickets. I buy a large popcorn with a free refill for all of us to share ($8.37). I drink a Sparkling Ice and eat Milk Duds and popcorn for my breakfast/lunch combo. $39.16

    2:30 p.m. — After the movie (which is super cute), we head home and the girls help me do some online Christmas shopping. We are exchanging gifts with the kids who live next door, so we pick out some presents on the Target website. $50.62

    3 p.m. — I order some more gift cards on Amazon as Christmas gifts. I also notice that I am so very close to finishing my Christmas shopping spreadsheet. Powers of organization don't fail me now! $75

    6 p.m. — The girls and I watch a couple episodes of Doctor Who because we all love the new lady Doctor. T. gets home from work and I make pierogies and veggies for dinner.

    7 p.m. — After dinner, T. reads over my diary entries and has lots of suggestions for improving them. I tell him I'll take them under advisement. Once the girls go to bed, we watch The Holiday Calendar on Netflix and I drink yet another Sparkling Ice. The movie is much better than expected, which is always the ideal way to end a day.

    Daily Total: $164.78

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

    The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here. Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs

    Have you been working for at least 8 years and seen your salary increase or fluctuate? If so, fill out this form for a chance to be featured on our Salary Story series!

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    The gifts have been opened, the wrapping paper has been put away, and now we're officially ready to count down to the new year, pop open the champagne, and wear that sparkly dress that's been sitting in our closet since September.

    But before we let the holiday season go, brands are giving us an excuse to linger in the joyful spirit for just a little longer with some of the biggest sales of the entire year. And joining the party this week is Sephora, with an after-Christmas sale special of 20% off already marked-down items. All Beauty Insiders have to do is enter the code "TWENTYOFF" when they make a purchase in store or online through January 1st.

    So, if you're looking to treat yourself after all that holiday stress or want to cash in on that Sephora gift card from grandma, here's your chance to save big. From skin-care sets to best-selling lipsticks, there are hundreds of items on sale, with some even 50% to 70% off with the extra discount. Find our top picks, 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.

    Didn't go on vacation during the holiday break? Fake it 'til you make it with this Chrissy Teigen x Becca glow kit that has everything you need to look like you just walked off a direct flight from Turks and Caicos. Who has to know?



    Becca Glow Kitchen Kit - Becca x Chrissy Teigen, $29, available at Sephora

    If you're looking to revamp your lip color collection, now's the perfect opportunity because Bite's best-selling lipstick are 50% off (make that 70% once you enter that extra "TWENTYOFF"). You'll want to snag these fast as the shades are flying off the shelves faster than the holiday leftovers in the fridge.



    Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipstick, $12, available at Sephora

    With five cheery makeup brushes inspired by flamingos and pineapples, this Tarte set will put a smile on your face every morning — yes, even the Tuesday after New Year's Eve.



    Tarte Let's Flamingle Brush Set, $25, available at Sephora

    We couldn't stop talking about this mascara in 2018 — so much so, that we named it a Beauty Innovator Award winner in November. And we have good news: This travel-sized version is on sale for less than your next Uber ride.



    Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara, $10, available at Sephora

    Fake eyelashes were huge in 2018, and even made it to Google's top-trending beauty searches of the entire year. Keep the momentum going into 2019 with this set of eight false eyelash strips, which also includes the much-needed lash glue.



    Sephora Collection #MOOD false lash vault, $30, available at Sephora

    If the winter cold is taking a toll on your hair, bring it back to life with this innovative, hydrating hair mask that you spray on in the shower. Softer strands without the mess? Count us in.



    IGK Prenup Instant Spray Hair Mask, $15, available at Sephora

    Stuck in a makeup rut? Start the new year with this celestial set of eyeshadows. From shimmery pinks to metallic emeralds, you'll won't run out of smoky eye ideas until next year.



    Urban Decay Elements Eyeshadow Palette, $26, available at Sephora

    From summer damage to monthly appointments with your colorist, it's likely that your hair has gone through it over the last couple of months. That's where bonding treatments, like this on-sale Alterna shampoo and conditioner, come in.



    caviar Anti-Aging Bond Repair Duo, $43, available at Sephora

    Everything you need to battle dry winter skin is in this Kiehl's set: hand cream, body lotion, body polish, and a dry body oil. It should make winter just a little more manageable.



    Kiehl's Head-To-Toe Hydrators, $48, available at Sephora

    Haven't mastered the cat-eye yet? Neither have we, which is why we asked the pros for their help. But to make things even easier, Beautyblender created a tool that helps you create the perfect straight edge, and it's marked down right now for less than $10.



    Beautyblender liner.designer pro, $8, available at Sephora

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    Actress, singer, and dancer Nia Sioux is accustomed to being in front of the camera, but when it comes to the Streamys — also known as the Oscars of Youtube — even she has some firsts. Sioux wasn't just walking the red carpet, she was also interviewing celebrities. To help her feel confident, her team whipped up a sophisticated combination of an edgy Self Portrait dress, a burnt red lip, and her first red carpet updo, topped off with lashes and some body glow. Watch the video above to see Sioux and her team get ready in 180 VR.

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    If you’ve read even a handful of R29’s Money Diaries, then you know how much more there is to learn from someone’s daily spending than just the cost of their morning green juice. The real lessons lie in the larger details of the diarists' lives — their jobs, their interests, their social habits — and how money fits into each of those. It’s these things that let us see a little bit of ourselves in the diaries and think about the role money plays in our own lives.

    Take, for instance, self-employed diarists. Whether you’re currently out there hustling on your own or are thinking of one day leaving your 9-to-5 to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams, there’s so much that can be gleaned from the spending habits of others who are already at it — from how to handle inconsistent pay to adequately valuing your time.

    That’s why, in partnership with Intuit, maker of the money management tools every self-employed person needs in their arsenal, we checked back in with some of our favorite entrepreneurial diarists and dug deeper into what it’s really like to run your own business. Ahead, find out what’s changed since their diaries were published, key lessons they've learned, and their best advice for those also looking to go out on their own.

    A Week In New York City On A $34,800 Income
    This New York-based diarist wrote about her work as a freelance writer, web developer, and bar waitress, which involved negotiating rates with clients, occasionally working out of a friend’s loft space, and pouring lots and lots of tequila shots.

    Can you give us an update on your business since your diary was published?
    “A lot has changed! I've made a ton of progress in my writing and finally feel like I've given the dream to become a writer a chance to develop — although I’m still not making a ton of money from freelance writing. On the other hand, my web developing has taken off and I'm getting requests weekly (who knew all you needed were some good references!). I now charge 30% more than my previous hourly rate, which helps offset the costs of a coding course I began taking to bump up my skill set.

    “In September, I made $1,100 and in October I made $1,300 from web developing, whereas I was making no more than $800 per month before. I still waitress, too; my income there is pretty much the same as when I wrote my diary.”

    What was the biggest lesson you learned from tracking your spending for a week? Were you able to think about your business in a new way?
    “Tracking my spending made me triple my [work] efforts because I realized that while I feel like I'm struggling and feel like I'm making so many sacrifices, I do reap some benefits from my boyfriend. I didn't realize how much my boyfriend subsidized my lifestyle for the sake of my alternative employment — even if he isn't paying my bills. A nice dinner on his tab may not seem like a lot, but in actuality, an ‘escape’ from the money-pinching meal hacks one night a week helps me reset mentally to feel rejuvenated and not feel defeated or have FOMO all the time, but it isn’t something I could afford to do for myself.

    “I began to see my business as a way to prove to myself and my boyfriend that I'm not abusing him picking up the financial burden for our dates or adventures by half-assing my own means to an income. That realization made me take coding courses and really kick things into high gear, so we both can look at my business accomplishments and be able to say ‘it all paid off,’ without him ever feeling like I was just on a joyride while he was picking up the tab.”

    Illustrated by Vero Romero.

    What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome being self-employed?
    “There are two that I’ve equally struggled with. First, it's extremely difficult to have inconsistent income — especially when it comes to my student loans. When I had a great September, I tossed all of that extra money towards my student debt, but then I didn't get another project for a week and didn't know if any other work was going to come in. I was strapped for cash and asked myself, Did I just screw up? I should've kept some money. Luckily, I ended up having a great October as well, but the anxiety is always there and that's when I wish I just took home a salary every other week. I now know to prioritize an emergency fund because work is NOT guaranteed. I recently opened a high-yield savings account where I plan to keep at least three months of expenses; once that's built up, I'll feel a lot more at peace with the inconsistent nature of my income."

    What’s been your greatest business accomplishment thus far?
    “Being referred! No longer do I have to wait for a random job — clients have told their friends and family about me, and that's why my income increased so much. I also began giving clients I've completed projects for my [direct] email address, so when they do refer me, I don't have to pay a middle man, since most freelancing programs take a sizeable percentage off your earnings. I also learned there's no shame in asking to be referred — I used to be shy about it, but now I realize it's the best way to get new clients.”

    Where do you hope to grow your business in the future?
    “I left [my full-time finance job] to write, not to develop websites, but web developing is proving to be very lucrative and lets me exercise my creative muscles by adding copy or making content recommendations. Once I have a few more projects under my belt, I plan to create a website, showcase a few case studies, and offer web development and copywriting as a package deal. A friend and I have been casually talking about teaming up to create our own digital agency, so maybe sometime down the line that'll happen.”

    What advice do you have for other women looking to become self-employed?
    “Once you gain control of your prices and are able to pass on projects that pay too little, network with other women and share your rates with each other to ensure you're not undervaluing yourself. I have a shared Google Sheet with other women who freelance on various platforms, and we all share our different projects, what they entailed, and what our rates were. On multiple occasions, those women made me realize I needed to up my rates or that I needed to decline a project altogether because it just wasn't reasonable. They also taught me to value my time — just because $400 is a lot doesn't mean it's enough for the project at hand, and there's no way to make those calls without a network of peers to discuss with.”

    A Week In Missoula, MT, On An $18,000 Salary
    This diarist, a freelance graphic designer living in Montana, wrote about enjoying her flexible work schedule, procrastinating in coffee shops, and what it’s like juggling projects for multiple clients at once.

    Can you give us an update on your business since your diary was published?
    “I've had a few other projects come my way, mostly through friends, including a regular 10-hour-per-week gig editing photos. It's not the most fun, but it fills in the gaps and keeps me in a work mentality.”

    What was the biggest lesson you learned from tracking your spending for a week? Were you able to think about your business in a new way?
    “The biggest lesson I got from tracking my spending and time is that I'm rather careless with both! I got a lot of flack for coming off as lazy, but a few other freelancers understood I was in between projects and that's what this lifestyle is like sometimes. Yes, I could always be doing something to further my business, and I absolutely 100% want to improve in this area, but I also need time to recharge. Even though I enjoy my work and am very lucky to work for myself, I don't live to work. My Money Diary experience taught me to have more balance — to take my work more seriously and be humble but still watch TV all morning if I can and want to.”

    What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome being self-employed?
    “Besides money insecurity, there's a lot of comparing yourself to other freelancers — whether it's the number of projects or how interesting the projects seem. Working with small clients with limited budgets doesn't always allow me to be as creative as I could be, but I'm happy to be helping small businesses get more awareness and present themselves more beautifully. I've also struggled to take the work I do seriously and not joke about it being a hobby. Recognizing my skills and value is an ongoing journey.”

    Illustrated by Vero Romero.

    What’s been your greatest business accomplishment thus far?
    “Managing the business side of things has been a big shift for me. It sounds obvious, but being prompt with emails or sending a response to confirm I understood something is not something I would have done a few years ago. I always prided myself on being able to take a project and run with it and not be what I thought was a ‘nuisance.’ I've learned that being communicative is not being a nuisance, and it will make everyone happier in the end.”

    Where do you hope to grow your business in the future?
    “I'd like to continue to work with small colleges to attract prospective students. I'd also like to work for environmental and social causes I support. In the immediate future, I hope to add one or two more steady clients (ideally schools) to do promotional materials for, and then I'll add other one-off projects that stretch my skill set into the mix.”

    What advice do you have for other women looking to become self-employed?
    “Take your time and be gentle with yourself. Try to have a large financial cushion when you make the leap. Burnout is real, so give yourself a few extra days when scheduling projects — you can always send work in early! And know that you've made it to this point for a reason, you know what you're doing, and, if not, you have the skills to figure it out.”

    Illustrated by Vero Romero.

    A Week In New York City On A $115,000 Salary
    This hospitality entrepreneur based in New York wrote about what it’s like to work with friends, ask for a raise, and share a workspace.

    Can you give us an update on your business since your diary was published?
    “Drawing up to its first anniversary, my business has finally evolved into a more defined shape. The main revenue center started to generate steady cash flows, but not all projects went down the expected paths — some promising ideas died in the cradle at no small cost. My young team gets frustrated, but cheering up is the only way to carry on for the journey ahead. We are reminded that entrepreneurship is a bumpy road.”

    What was the biggest lesson you learned from tracking your spending for a week? Were you able to think about your business in a new way?
    “I always keep a personal book, so the numbers from the particular week I tracked for Refinery29 did not surprise me. However, journalizing my detailed thoughts around each spending decision exposed how I sometimes expensed a disproportionate amount of mental energy on insignificant savings. I learned the lesson that there is only so much you can save — that I’d much sooner become a millionaire by investing the energy to explore additional revenue sources than counting every penny.”

    What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome being self-employed?
    “Time management and self-discipline. There is a strong temptation to procrastinate when you are free to utilize your time any way you want.”

    Illustrated by Vero Romero.

    What’s been your greatest business accomplishment thus far?
    “This is my first year to assume the identity of an employer, and I am proud to provide for my employees. It’s exceptionally empowering to have created something that brings people together.”

    Where do you hope to grow your business in the future?
    “Due to the nature of my business, we will be restricted to the local market for the near future.”

    What advice do you have for other women looking to become self-employed?
    “It’ll always feel like a leap of faith, because nobody can ever be fully prepared for the unknown. If you believe this is right for you, make the move and take it!”

    *These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

    Illustrated by Vero Romero.

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    Nearly two years after leaving the White House, Michelle and Barack Obama still hold the hearts of the American people. A new Gallup poll released Thursday found that the former first couple are the most admired woman and man in the country.

    Michelle, who is currently promoting her bestselling memoir Becoming, dethroned former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for the first time in 17 years. Clinton — who's also been in the public eye as first lady, U.S. senator, Secretary of State, and two-time presidential candidate — had held the title of most admired woman for 16 years in a row and 22 times overall, more than anyone else in the history of the poll.

    This year, however, Michelle captured the attention of the country with her book and tour, leading to her winning by a significant margin, holding about 15% to Oprah Winfrey's 5%. Clinton and first lady Melania Trump tied third with 4%.

    Meanwhile, former president Barack Obama won the title for the 11th consecutive year, with 19%. He was followed by President Donald Trump, who got 13%. Former president George W. Bush and Pope Francis tied in third place with 2%. According to Gallup, this is only the 13th time in history the incumbent president has not been the most admired man in the United States.

    Gallup has been conducting its annual survey since 1946. (The only year it didn't take place was 1976.) Americans across the nation are asked an open-ended question: Name the man and woman, living anywhere in the world, whom you admire the most.

    The Obamas semi-retired to private life after leaving the White House, but became active during the midterm elections and beyond. Michelle's memoir in particular was a hit with the public, quickly rising to be the most sold hardcover book of this year.

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    Ivanka's schedule has not been made public, so each week, we will do our best to cover the public events and forums she attends, the meetings she has with lawmakers and government officials, and her social media presence.

    After a big week in Washington, which included the passing of the biggest overhaul to the criminal justice system in decades, Ivanka laid low for the holiday. But not so low that the Daily Mail couldn't find her at Mar-a-Lago.

    Tuesday, December 25

    • On Christmas Day, paparazzi spotted Ivanka and Jared walking hand-in-hand at Mar-a-Lago, the Trump family estate in Palm Beach. As the government shutdown continued, she was seen strolling in a visor hat and sundress. Jared and Ivanka "made no attempt to keep a low profile," reported the Daily Mail. She was also seen out for a jog on Christmas morning, as Donald and Melania were back in D.C. Donald Jr. and his five kids, their own three kids, as well as Barron Trump, reportedly joined Jared and Ivanka in Florida.

    Wednesday, December 26

    • Predictably, Jared and Ivanka were slammed on social media for brazenly vacationing in Mar-a-Lago as government workers lost pay due to the shutdown — the two are federal employees and all. "Nepotism is so much fun!" said one Twitter user. "Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner traveling during the Trump shutdown means Secret Service agents who are not currently receiving paychecks missed Christmas with their families so they could escort wealthy nepotists with no conception of public service," tweeted Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, who had resigned in protest. President Trump continues to refuse to authorize funding for the federal government until Congress caves to his demand for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

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    If you follow Kim Kardashian West on any form of social media, you know that her daughter North West is obsessed with makeup. From role-playing as her mom's makeup artist to sweeping powder on mannequin heads, there's nary a weekend that goes by where we don't see five-year-old North puttering around with some new KKW Beauty product in hand.

    As Kardashian West told Refinery29 earlier this month, "I already know North is into makeup for sure. She had friends over this weekend and some of her girlfriends came and they were just all in her room, giving themselves makeovers."

    But where there are kids and makeup there will also be mommy shamers — and they came for Kardashian West this week when she uploaded pictures from the family's Christmas party featuring five-year-old North in bright red lipstick. "Nice pic but why does your baby girl have on lipstick?" one wrote. Another said, "Make up on a little girl..why tho?"

    View this post on Instagram

    Merry Christmas 🎄

    A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

    While those criticisms flooded in, Kardashian West tackled the controversy head on, explaining that North picked out the shade herself. "She picked it though! It’s a special occasion!" Kardashian West wrote on Twitter.

    She then hinted that the color may actually be from an upcoming makeup launch, which would make North KKW Beauty's youngest celeb ambassador.

    While Kardashian West's stance on her daughter wearing makeup certainly differs from some, she did tell us that North has her own set of makeup rules she has to follow. "I don't think she should wear lashes or too dark of a lipstick," Kardashian West says. "I want her to express herself, but I want her to be appropriate, too."

    To Kardashian West, that red lip wasn't too dark or inappropriate at all, but rather a fitting red for a Christmas Eve party — not to mention, head-to-toe Prada.

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    On December 23, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth tied the knot in what appears to have been a Nicholas Sparks-level intimate ceremony at Cyrus's home. The former onscreen lovers (they costarred in The Last Song) took to social media this week to share (and confirm) their wedded bliss with the world, including a video of Miley getting down to "Uptown Funk" at the wedding.

    The power couple first got engaged in 2012, then broke up in 2013, and then reunited in 2016. Two years later, they are husband and wife. And while we aren't sure if they signed a prenup, we know one thing for certain — they both bring a lot of money to the table.

    Miley Cyrus has been a household name pretty much since 2006, when she sprang onto the scene as Hannah Montana in the eponymous Disney sitcom. She starred on the show for five years (and reportedly earned $15,000 per episode), which led to a Hannah Montana movie in which she also starred, and a world concert tour. USA Today reports that the Hannah Montana world tour earned $54 million, with the concert documentaries grossing $64 million.

    Since then, nine of Cyrus's songs have hit the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 list, including bangers like "The Climb," "Party in the U.S.A.," "Malibu," and "Wrecking Ball," which hit number one. Cyrus has earned MTV Awards, Teen Choice Awards, VMAs, and more, and has also been nominated for a Grammy. Her more "edgy" post- Hannah Montana albums, including Bangerz ( remember the twerking?) , along with their tours reportedly grossed her a cool $62.9 million.

    Cyrus is also into properties: She owns a $5.8 million Tennessee farmhouse, a $3.9 million home in Studio City, CA, and a $2.5 million Malibu home next to Hemsworth's, which tragically burned in the recent California wildfires. But she's also been generous with her money: In 2014, she founded the Happy Hippie Foundation, which serves homeless and LGBTQ youth in Los Angeles. And she's no stranger to TV — Cyrus has been a judge on The Voice since 2016.

    All in all, Celebrity Net Worth values the 26-year-old at $160 million.

    As for her hubby Liam, he got his start on the soap opera Neighbours, following in the footsteps of his brother Luke (the eldest of The Hemsworth Brothers Trinity), who also acted on the show. Next came The Last Song, which put him on the map in the U.S. (and in our hearts). But his biggest break came as Gale in The Hunger Games franchise, which reportedly earned nearly $3 billion in box offices worldwide. So it's safe to say he earned a good chunk of change for that role.

    In 2014, the 28-year-old bought a $6.8 million Malibu home. People reports that the couple intended to wed in their Malibu home, but had to move their nuptials to Cyrus's Tennessee pad as a result of the destruction from the recent California wildfires. Celebrity Net Worth values Hemsworth at $16 million.

    So together, the newlyweds have $176 million with Miley as the breadwinner of this household. You know what they say: "Mix it all together and you know that it's the best of both worlds."

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    It's T-minus 4 days until the end of the year, which means it's officially time to sit back and reflect on the joy and chaos that was 2018 — including this morning's Instagram feed scare.

    And what better way is there than by looking and posting your most popular Instagram posts of the year? Rather than sifting through your grid and manually choosing highlights to post, you can use the Top Nine app to create a collage of your nine most-liked photos of the year that you've been seeing all over your feed from your friends. Because if it's not on your Insta grid, did it really happen?

    To get your top-nine grid, first download the free Top Nine app, or go to the website. Then, all you have to do is enter your Instagram handle and an email, and the app will generate a downloadable collage (as well as email it to you), which you can then save and post to your Instagram grid or Story. If your account is private, you'll be prompted to log in with your Instagram email and password in order to grant third-party access to the app.

    In addition to the grid, Top Nine tells you the number of likes you received in total over the year and also gives you the option to have your photos printed on phone cases, canvases, pillows, tote bags, and more. (Hello, last minute holiday gifts.) Similar to Top Nine is Best Nine, another app curating top-nine Insta collages.

    If you'd rather pick and choose which photos you want to showcase, you can always go the DIY route with a photo-editing app like PicsArt or display your picks using Instagram's slideshow feature.

    Of course, you can also creep on the top-nine Instagrams of any public account you desire. (This is a rabbit hole. You've been warned.) For example, I just checked out Kylie Jenner's top nine and was unsurprised to find that her most popular posts of the year were of her daughter, Stormi, which then propelled me down a Stormi/Kylie rabbit hole. Also, the app tells me she got 1.8 billion likes this year. For reference, I got 1,000. Happy top-nine hunting!

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    Remember when Selena Gomez arrived at the 2017 American Music Awards with a brand new platinum blonde bob? In a matter of hours, the superstar had traded in her signature, deep brunette color for a shade of rooty, icy white that was eventually dubbed "Nirvana blonde." Twitter was clogged with tweets and your local salon's phone was blowing up because, suddenly, everyone wanted to bleach their hair — and expected to do so overnight. Turns out, going that blonde isn't as simple as it seems.

    Still, we get the misconception. With stars like Gomez, Khloé Kardashian, Solange, Zoë Kravitz, Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff, Lucy Liu, Leighton Meester, Karlie Kloss, and Lady Gaga hopping from dark to blonde quicker than you can blink an eye, it seems that the process is a lot easier than it looks. Of course, if you've ever followed in their footsteps, you know that it definitely is not. It requires hours in a salon chair, hundreds of dollars, bottles of purple shampoo, and getting used to seeing strands of broken hair coating your floors on a regular basis.

    In reality, Gomez's new platinum bob took nine hours to complete. Celebrity hairstylists Riawna Capri and Nikki Lee from Nine Zero One salon revealed on Instagram that the singer's stellar new color was the result of a painstakingly-long process — and, celebrity or not, you should expect the same when looking for similar results. Still, that shouldn't deter you. If you have the itch to go platinum (we’re talking Ansel-Elgort -courtside-at-a-Knicks-game platinum), then go for it. Sure, it's a lot of work, but there's a reason why so many people love the experience — if only for a few months.

    We consulted Hollywood hair color experts — Kristin Ess, Aura Friedman, and Rita Hazan — to find out everything the average person needs to know before going platinum. Their insider tips, ahead.

    Is there anyone who shouldn't go platinum?
    The best thing to keep in mind is your hair type and texture. If you have naturally dry or fragile hair, or if you've chemically treated your strands with perms or relaxers, then forcing it to cook underneath bleach and heat will most likely contribute to fast damage, says Hazan. If your hair is healthy and not prone to breakage, then find a good colorist (this isn’t something you’ll want to buy off Groupon or do at home) and book a consultation to discuss your expectations and the most realistic results, then go home and sleep on it before jumping in.

    Will I feel different with platinum hair?
    Going blonde — any blonde — is a big life change. Roxie Darling, NYC hair colorist, put it best: “Dramatically changing your color is life-changing. As a platinum blonde, you become a beacon. People's eyes are drawn to light, so you can expect people to be more attracted to you."

    How many rounds of bleach will it take to get platinum hair?
    There are several ways to take someone platinum, so the consult is key. Some colorists, like Friedman, prefer to take most clients platinum in one round of bleach. (That means the peroxide mix won’t touch the same piece of hair more than once.) If your hair has naturally red or orange undertones, a colorist might paint your hair over two to three appointments to lift the color evenly. And others, like Ess, prefer micro-highlighting the hair in a longer, more precise process to avoid flat results.

    Still, how your colorist bleaches your hair depends on a few variables, like the volume developer, the bleaching agents, how thick or fine your hair is, and whether or not they use a bond-strengthening product, like Olaplex (but more on that later). All of this will ultimately gauge how long the bleach stays on your hair, how many rounds of bleach you'll need, and how many appointments it could take.

    My hair isn’t the silvery platinum I want. Why?
    Everyone’s hair is different, which means you won’t know how well your hair color will lift until you get the bleach on it. If you leave the salon after the first appointment and aren’t Daenerys-Targaryen white yet, then your colorist will likely recommend you come back in about a month (no sooner to avoid damage) for another round of bleaching. “This will require much less processing than the first time," says Ess. "But don’t go more than four weeks before your second appointment in order to avoid getting yellow-y, blonde bands. If the root gets too long you run the risk of inconsistent processing.”

    Photo: SAV/GC Images.

    Will my hair break?
    Yes, chances are good you will have at least a little breakage. Ess always tells her clients to be prepared for some, but hope for minimal damage. "I just like to be realistic and it’s always a great surprise if there’s no breakage when you’re done," she explains. "When you’re trying to get that much pigment out of the hair, typically you can expect at least a little, no matter how much bond-building or pre-deep conditioning you do to prep the hair.”

    I keep hearing about Olaplex — what is it and do I need it?
    The more you bleach your hair, the more the hair’s protein bonds break down. If you hear the name Olaplex it’s probably your colorist referring to Olaplex’s in-salon system that, essentially, glues broken protein bonds back together to make the bleaching process a bit safer on the hair shaft.

    However, not every colorists uses Olaplex or its many bond-repairing alternatives. The use of Olaplex No. 1 can slow down the cooking process of the bleach, potentially leaving you in the chair a lot longer or affecting your final color. But ask if it's something you're interested in trying.

    Will my colorist tone my hair?
    Yes, toner manipulates the color of the blonde to suit your skin tone and hair texture. It’s also the portion of the coloring process that could include a gloss (tinted or clear) to enhance shine or create a smudged, shadow root to soften the overall look.

    How long will it take to bleach my hair?
    Your coloring appointment will definitely vary on how quickly your natural color lifts underneath the bleach, the condition of your hair, and whether or not it’s bleached already. A color appointment, from root touch-up to a full process, could take anywhere between two to ten hours — or more.

    Photo: Mireya Acierto/Getty Images.

    How often should I book a root touch-up appointment after I go platinum?
    “Book an appointment with your colorist every five to seven weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows," says Friedman. "Coming too soon or too late can result in overlapping and breakage.” However, if your hair grows fast or slow, this could take you to four or eight weeks — timing your appointments will have a slight learning curve.

    Should I wash my hair before my appointment?
    No, but check with your colorist for exact timing — some prefer a client shampoos 24 hours before and others say up to 72 or more. However, as a rule of thumb, avoid washing your hair for a day or so before a color appointment. This allows your hair's natural oils to build up on the scalp, which helps create a barrier to protect your skin from the bleach.

    Does the bleach burn as bad as people say?
    Depending on your scalp's sensitivity and the last time you shampooed your hair, it's possible for the bleach to burn pretty bad — or feel fine. Some say it's unbearable and some say it's no biggie, so communicate with your colorist and prepare for at least a little stinging.

    How soon can I wash my hair after bleaching it?
    Wait between three to seven days, at least, so the natural oils on the scalp will build up, protecting it from going brittle and drying out.

    Photo: Bauer-Griffin/GC Images.

    Can I use Olaplex at home?
    Yes, you can buy Olaplex No. 3 for at-home use. Essentially, it's the retail-friendly version of the in-salon formula. It rebuilds broken bonds and protects hair from future damage prior to the next color appointment. Want to go a step further? Olaplex now makes its own shampoo and conditioner. If you're not looking to splurge on Olaplex, there are alternative, bond-rebuilding systems you can use at home.

    Should I be using a weekly hair mask?
    Yes, in fact, Friedman even suggests swapping out your regular conditioner altogether for a deep conditioning mask instead. “A mask is going to be much more concentrated and nourishing," she explains. "Clients only need a small amount of this instead of a handful of regular conditioner. Leave on for at least five minutes after cleansing the hair, or hang out with it for a few hours at home for extra conditioning." Here are some of our favorite hair masks for every budget.

    What other hair product swaps will I need to make?
    First things first: Get a purple shampoo. If you notice your hair turning a little orange or red, wash it with a tinted shampoo or hair mask to instantly correct the brassy color. Friedman also suggests using a cleansing milk instead of shampoo after your first platinum appointment. “A detergent- and sulfate-free product will clean hair of any excess dirt, oil, and product without leaving it overly stripped and dry like normal shampoo does,” she explains. “Make sure to distribute this product evenly over the scalp as it does not produce as many suds as a regular shampoo.” Friedman also says to keep in mind how you wash your hair. For example, use the palm of your hands instead of your fingertips to gently massage the scalp.

    Are there other products I can swap into my routine that will reduce frizz and breakage?
    You'll need a comb or brush that won't tug while detangling since hair is most prone to breakage when wet. Regular bath towels can cause frizz, so Friedman suggests using a microfiber hair towel, like the Aquis Hair Towel — or just use an old, soft T-shirt. “It’s important not to scrub or be aggressive with towel drying, as this will cause breakage," she explains.

    Photo: Robert Kamau/GC Images.

    How long can I realistically keep my platinum hair without risking permanent damage?
    “Realistically, you can stay platinum for a year,” Hazan says. Going platinum long-term is never a good idea because it can be very damaging. Hazan suggests if you are going to stay platinum for years, consider keeping your hair regularly trimmed into a shorter style to avoid excessive breakage.

    How do you I know if it’s time to cut my losses?
    If you’ve been bleaching your hair for years, you might notice strands appearing translucent — this means the shaft is weakened and dangerously close to breaking off. Got a lot of those? It’s time to call your colorist for a color overhaul.

    I’m ready to quit a life of platinum hair — now what?
    Good news: It’s much easier to go darker than it is to go lighter. However, it will take a few sessions. Why? Continuous bleaching causes the hair to become extremely porous and lack moisture retention, that’s why anyone who dyes their hair with demi-permanent glosses, like pink, purple, or blue, will have to visit their colorist for frequent touch-ups. In short, the hair shaft is so bloated it doesn’t hold moisture or color all that well. Because of this, Hazan recommends using a semi-permanent dye to cover platinum because it’s much less harsh on hair that’s already in such a fragile state and it tends to last longer on bleached hair.

    Photo: Marc Piasecki/GC Images.

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