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    Update: Two more women have come forward to accuse Sen. Al Franken of touching them inappropriately, bringing the total of women who have made accusations against him to four.

    Both women spoke to HuffPo on the condition of anonymity, and both told stories of Franken groping them. The first accused him of groping her during a photo op at a campaign event in 2007, while the second said he cupped her behind at a 2008 fundraiser and then suggested they "visit the bathroom together."

    In a statement, Franken told HuffPo, "“It’s difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events.” Further, Franken said, "I can categorically say that I did not proposition anyone to join me in any bathroom."

    Update, November 20, 2017: A second woman has accused Sen. Al Franken of groping her, saying it happened while they posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair.

    Lindsay Menz, 33, said she and her husband met Franken at the fair in 2010, two years after he was elected. She said that when her husband was about to take a picture of her and Franken, the senator squeezed her buttocks.

    "It wasn't around my waist. It wasn't around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt," she told CNN. "I was like, oh my God, what's happening."

    In a statement to CNN, Franken said he didn't remember taking a photo with Menz, but that he felt "badly" about the way she felt after their interaction.

    "I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don't remember taking this picture," Franken said. "I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected."

    This is the first time Franken has been accused of inappropriately touching someone while in office. He currently faces a potential investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee in the wake of the allegations brought by Leeann Tweeden, who said Franken groped her and kissed her forcibly in 2006.

    This story was originally published on November 16, 2017, at 11:50 a.m. It has since been updated.

    The TV host and sports broadcaster who accused Sen. Al Franken of kissing and groping her without consent in 2006 said she accepts his apology.

    "The apology, sure, I accept it, yes. People make mistakes and of course he knew he made a mistake," Leeann Tweeden said at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. "So, yes, I do accept that apology. There's no reason why I shouldn't."

    She added that Congress should decide whether there should be an ethics investigation into Franken's behavior. "People make mistakes. I’m not calling for him to step down. That’s not my place to say that," she said. However, she said that could change if more women come forward with allegations against the senator.

    In an essay published on 790 KBAC on Thursday, Tweeden wrote that Franken assaulted her during a USO tour to the Middle East. She was one of several entertainers on the tour and Franken, then a comedian, was the headliner.

    Tweeden said that while rehearsing for a skit in which she was supposed to kiss Franken, he "mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth." She wrote that it made her feel violated, since she hadn't consented to being kissed, and that she spent the rest of the trip avoiding him.

    She said that after the tour wrapped, she fell asleep at one point during the 36-hour-long trip back to Los Angeles. It wasn't until she was back home, she said, that she saw a picture of Franken pretending to grope her breasts while she was asleep.

    "I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep," she wrote. "I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?"

    Tweeden said she decided to come forward after all these years because she was inspired by Rep. Jackie Speier's story on how she was assaulted by a superior when she was a young congressional aide. If Speier could speak up, so could she.

    "I want to have the same effect on them that Congresswoman Jackie Speier had on me," Tweeden wrote. "I want them, and all the other victims of sexual assault, to be able to speak out immediately, and not keep their stories — and their anger — locked up inside for years, or decades."

    Franken, a Saturday Night Live alum who was elected as the Junior U.S. Senator from Minnesota two years after the incident allegedly took place, reacted to Tweeden's essay in a statement Thursday morning.

    "I certainly don't remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann," he said. "As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn't. I shouldn't have done it."

    On Thursday afternoon, Franken released a lengthier statement in which he apologized again to Tweeden and said he is open to being investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee.

    “I respect women. I don't respect men who don't," he said. "And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed."

    If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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    In our dizzying 24/7 world, sometimes the greatest luxury of all is not having a damn thing to do. Once the turkey-shaped gravy boat has been put away, ideally you're left with a good, long stretch of zero obligations to get you into the holiday spirit and remind you just how thankful you are for Netflix, blankets, and wine.

    But no matter how physically inactive you choose to be this long weekend (no judgment), remember this: Doing nothing can actually be kind of productive. All you need to do is get yourself some beauty products that do all the work while you lie around.

    Ahead, a hair mask you don’t have to worry about getting on the couch cushions during your tryptophan -induced post-turkey nap, a transformative body scrub, and more lazy, low-effort products that will make the absolute most of your beauty rest. So sit back and relax — and hey, maybe even consider picking up a book. (We like these.)

    Perhaps the most couch potato-friendly hair treatment to ever exist, this deep-conditioning mask takes strengthening, shine-enhancing ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and panthenol and whips them all up into a thick mousse that's meant to be distributed throughout dry hair. Thanks to the unique texture, you can leave this mask on for hours — or even overnight — without it ruining your great-aunt's pillowcases or dripping down the back of your neck.

    R+Co, $29, available at R+Co

    Speaking of stuff you can (and should) wear to bed, this deeply hydrating mask works best when used overnight. By that logic, the longer you sleep, the more time the botanical extracts have to rejuvenate your stressed-out skin and restore your glow — as if you needed another reason to use the holiday weekend to make up for that sleep debt you've been accumulating.

    Tata Harper, $115, available at Nordstrom

    The directions on this very aesthetically pleasing jar of "hair medicine" recommend that the thick, nourishing potion inside — a blend of deeply hydrating oils, plant essences, and a touch of smoky-smelling, spiritual palo santo for good measure — be left on dry or towel-dried hair and scalp for at least an hour.

    La Tierra Sagrada, $44, available at Credo

    The cult-favorite foot-peeling treatment is the perfect thing to do when you have nowhere to be — just pull on the plastic baggies filled with liquid, top 'em off with your fuzziest socks, and let the 17 types of natural exfoliating extracts work their magic for an hour or two. You'll reap the ridiculously satisfying benefits in about a week, when all the dead skin starts peeling off in sheets.

    Baby Foot, $25, available at Ulta Beauty

    An invisible patch that sucks up even the reddest, angriest zits sounds like a very nice invention that only exists in a futuristic fever dream — but they're real, and available for purchase in packs of 24. The dots are meant to be worn overnight to give the hydrocolloid ample opportunity to absorb the bad stuff, but any extended period of time will do. Like, say, the 10 hours and 20 minutes it takes to watch the first four Harry Potter movies back to back.

    CosRx, $6, available at Ulta Beauty

    Calling anything that's not a spa "spa-like" is a stretch, but this body scrub is the closest you'll get to legit luxury within the confines of your own (or your parents') home. Work a generous amount of the mineral-rich mud into dry skin from head to toe, then let it sit for around 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water. It's like a mud bath, but all you need is access to a shower and some time to kill. (Being flexible helps, too, for those hard-to-reach areas.)

    African Botanics, $65, available at DermStore

    Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!

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    A former sports doctor accused of molesting at least 125 girls and young women while he worked for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University pleaded guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault and will face at least 25 years in prison.

    Larry Nassar, 54, admitted to digitally penetrating seven girls, mostly under the guise of treatment at his Lansing-area home and a campus clinic, between 1998 and 2015.

    "For all those involved ... I'm so horribly sorry that this was like a match that turned into a forest fire out of control," he said in a courtroom packed with tearful accusers and others. "I pray the rosary every day for forgiveness. I want them to heal. I want the community to heal."

    Nassar, who lost his physician's license in April, admitted his conduct had no legitimate medical purpose and that he did not have the girls' consent. The 125 girls and young women who have filed reports of abuse with campus police will be able to speak at his Jan. 12 sentencing.

    The plea deal in Ingham County calls for a minimum prison sentence of 25 years, but the judge could set the minimum sentence as high as 40 years. Nassar is expected to also plead guilty Nov. 29 in neighboring Eaton County — the location of an elite gymnastics club — resolving state prosecutors' charges against him. Separately, he is scheduled to be sentenced next month in federal court for possessing child pornography.

    Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Gabby Douglas are among the women who have publicly said they were among Nassar's victims.

    "You used your position of trust ... in the most vile way to abuse children," Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar after his plea. "I agree that now is a time of healing, but it may take them a lifetime of healing while you spend your lifetime behind bars thinking about what you did in taking away their childhood."

    She called the victims "superheroes for all of America, because this is an epidemic."

    They had testified that Nassar molested them with his hands, sometimes when a parent was present in the room, while they sought help for gymnastics injuries. Several accusers were angry with his apology.

    "The fact that he just thinks, 'Oh, I pleaded guilty and now you guys can start healing' is ridiculous to me. I don't think he truly understands how many people are hurting and how bad people are hurting over this," said Lindsey Lemke, a Michigan State gymnast.

    The criminal cases against Nassar followed reports last year in The Indianapolis Star about how USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, mishandled complaints about sexual misconduct involving the doctor and coaches. Women and girls said the stories inspired them to step forward with detailed allegations of abuse.

    Many of the accusers have sued Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

    "We are more than a year from my police report. Our abuser has pled guilty, but MSU, USAG and the USOC, you have yet to take responsibility for what happened on your watch," said victim Rachael Denhollander. She said officials kept Nassar in power for decades after ignoring repeated reports of sexual assaults and brushing off the victims as being unable to tell the difference between a medical exam and a sexual violation.

    John Manly, an attorney for 105 accusers, said the three institutions "miserably failed children," and he likened what happened with Nassar to the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University. He criticized an internal review at Michigan State and called for an investigation of university officials by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, whose office is prosecuting Nassar.

    Women's gymnastics coach Kathie Klages resigned earlier this year, but others remain on the job.

    "We've never been given the documents either in litigation or anywhere else to show who knew what when," said Manly, who added that Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon should resign if she does not release an internal report about the scandal.

    He also said USA Gymnastics officials should be investigated — possibly by an FBI task force — citing laws that require people in certain professions to report suspected child abuse to children's protective services.

    USA Gymnastics said in a statement that it was "very sorry that any athlete was harmed by Larry Nassar" and that it fired Nassar and reported him to the FBI after first learning of concerns in 2015. Manly said the organization never informed Michigan State, however, which had investigated a complaint in 2014 only to clear Nassar.

    Michigan State spokesman Jason Cody said the university "unequivocally denies" accusations that it covered up misconduct by school administrators. He disclosed for the first time that university police and the FBI conducted a joint investigation earlier this year to determine if any school employees besides Nassar committed crimes.

    The results were sent to the U.S. attorney for western Michigan, and "we have no reason to believe that any criminal conduct was found," Cody said in a statement.

    "Michigan State University continues to be shocked and appalled by Larry Nassar's now-admitted criminal conduct," he said. "Any suggestion that the university covered up this conduct is simply false."

    In a statement, U.S. Olympic Committee spokesperson Mark Jones said the organization is "disgusted that these acts occurred, heartbroken for the victims" and "proud of their courage for confronting this tragedy."

    Jones also thanked "law enforcement personnel for ensuring (Nassar) is never able to abuse young women again."

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    Exploring family is intensely personal to a photographer. And yet, after her last family-focussed project La Casa Rosa, Italian photographer Bea de Giacomo has decided to tackle it again.

    Linea Alba is named for the fibrous line that runs down our abdomen. The line that becomes more pronounced as the belly stretches during pregnancy. It ends up looking like a seam that's been drawn, right down the middle.

    Linea Alba features de Giacomo's sister. The focus is on her heavily pregnant belly. "Through my research, especially through the portrait," she tells us, "I restore new connections between me and my family."

    "During this intimate and private moment, the nature of my relationship with them evolves and finds new meanings."

    The result is beautiful and ethereal. The pictures are real, unapologetic and decidedly powerful. "In Linea Alba," says de Giacomo, "I explored with her the relationship between her transformed body and the space, and at the same time I started to bond with her son."

    Photographed by Bea De Giacomo.
    Photographed by Bea De Giacomo.
    Photographed by Bea De Giacomo.
    Photographed by Bea De Giacomo.
    Photographed by Bea De Giacomo.
    Photographed by Bea De Giacomo.

    Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.

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    Plug "skin type" into Google's search bar, and you'll get over 30 million results claiming to help you navigate yours. Most of these articles will give you the stereotypical rundown: Oily skin types should reach for oil-free moisturizers! Dry skin loves balm! But by now, you likely already know that a one-size-fits-all routine isn't going to solve all your skin woes. What's more, the same routine usually doesn't work year-round — shifts in weather, climate, and environment all influence what your complexion needs, too.

    Most of us at Refinery29 change up our routines seasonally. In the winter, combination types might add an exfoliating serum to the mix, while drier people might reach for a heavier oil. Ahead, see what our staffers — all with different skin needs — slather on when the temps drop.

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    Alix Tunell, Senior Beauty Editor
    Skin Type: Normal bordering on dry

    "In the winter, it's a miracle if I don't have a flake of dry skin threatening to peel off my nose at any moment and I'm not covering up what looks like a rosacea flare-up on my cheeks, so I look for super-hydrators rich in reparative antioxidants."

    "This creamy cleanser was a finalist in our Beauty Innovator Awards for three reasons: It's as gentle on sensitive skin as it gets, removes all makeup in one go, and comes in a never-ending bottle. I've been using it for months now and there's no sign I'm anywhere near running out."

    La Roche-Posay, $14.99, available at Ulta Beauty

    "I'm not totally sold on eye cream as a necessary step (I usually just tap the serums and moisturizers I use on the rest of my face around my eyes), but lately, the area is feeling particularly dry and tight after cleansing. I keep this rich cream in the fridge and apply it every night — the coolness soothes after a long day of screens and the rich formula makes everything feel supple instantly."

    Fresh, $165, available at Sephora

    "I can't get enough of this new skin-care line by Dr. Maryam Zamani, an oculoplastic surgeon based in London. This vitamin C serum smells pretty funky, I'll admit, but it's the first thing I've found that significantly lessens the melasma around my eyes, in addition to making my skin brighter and clearer overall. I'd use it head-to-toe if it didn't cost almost $400."

    MZ Skin, $390, available at Bergdorf Goodman

    "Moisturizing ceramides, redness-reducing willowherb extract, anti-aging retinol... there's really nothing I need in a night cream that isn't in here."

    Zo Skin Health, $106, available at Zo Skin Health

    Khalea Underwood, Beauty Writer
    Skin Type: Combination

    "To be frank, I'm the biggest scaredy-cat when it comes to switching up my skin-care routine. I've spent way too much money and time reversing the damages, so when I've found things that work, I've stuck with them. The products I use in the winter are tried-and-true favorites that never let me down."

    "My coworkers are probably sick of me talking about Urban Skin Rx, but it really is that good. I use their Even Tone Cleansing Bar year-round, especially in the winter when the colder air makes my skin look uneven."

    Urban Skin RX, $28, available at Urban Skin RX

    "I always dig brightening serums with hydrating hyaluronic acid. Dr. Barbara Strum's fast-absorbing selection specifically for darker skin tones kills two birds with one stone."

    "Tatcha's Water Cream is my saving grace. I used it a lot during the summer because it's so light and airy, but still seeps into my skin and locks in the moisture in seconds."

    Tatcha, $68, available at Sephora

    Cat Quinn, Beauty Director
    Skin Type: Combination, acne-prone

    "When the weather gets colder, my acne goes haywire. So my routine is about treating the flare-ups without drying the crap out of my already dry skin. "

    "I'm a huge fan of double-cleansing — ever since I started doing it earlier this year, I've seen a significant difference in my acne-prone skin. I don't think you necessarily need to splurge on one, but this beautiful blend of camellia and rice bran oils makes washing your face in the winter a treat."

    Tatcha, $48, available at Tatcha

    "This 2017 Beauty Innovator Award winner obliterates makeup and oil, and has a calming eucalyptus scent that relieves the Sunday scaries."

    Ole Henriksen, $25, available at Sephora

    "I started using this back in February, and since then, the persistent acne on my cheeks has largely disappeared. I am continuing to use it into winter a) because my acne still flares up hormonally and b) the retinoid formula also fights fine lines and wrinkles."

    Differin, $28.99, available at Ulta Beauty

    "When temps drop, the dry half of my combination skin tends to go into overdrive. I alternate between this and Differin to replenish my parched winter skin."

    Renée Rouleau, $42.5, available at Renée Rouleau

    "I have now gone through three jars of this cream and can't quit it. The light-as-air texture deeply hydrates my skin, without feeling greasy or clogged. My skin looks brighter and clearer when I use it; when I stop, well, I don't want to talk about it."

    Sisley Paris, $195, available at Nordstrom

    "I call these my magic packets. Whenever I have an acne flare-up, redness, or dry patches, I smooth this on my face before bed and wake up with significantly better-looking skin."

    Derm Institute, $120, available at Bloomingdale's

    Kelsey Castañon, Beauty News Editor
    Skin Type: Combination & Sensitive

    "My already-sensitive skin has a major 'tude in the winter — going from red and angry to dry and flaky in a matter of hours. So the products I use have to be soothing and hydrating, but can't be too heavy or else I'll break out."

    "Considering my deep-rooted obsession with mascara, I go through makeup wipes faster than any other beauty product. One of my favorites is this gentle version from Garnier, which whisks away even my longest-wearing mascara."

    Garnier, $6.99, available at Ulta Beauty

    "I love a good foaming cleanser, but historically these types of formulas leave my skin dry as a kale chip. Not so with La Roche! It’s made with teensy micelles, which make it ideal for my sensitive skin, but also serves up a side of hydrating glycerin with its suds."

    La Roche-Posay, $18, available at La Roche-Posay

    "If you were to ask me a few months ago which skin-care step you can probably skip, I’d have said toner — hands down. But Renée made a believer out of me with this one. Not only does it smell like liquid heaven, it also feels more substantial than your average toner (and is a lot more hydrating, too)."

    Renée Rouleau, $42.5, available at Renée Rouleau

    "This time every year, my skin basically feels like it’s sending out an SOS to the world all winter long. It’s flaky, red, and angry as hell. So this season, I decided to start on a hyaluronic acid serum a few months early to keep it hydrated and fight the unfortunate symptoms before they happen. PCA’s iteration has been my cold-weather knight in shining bottle."

    PCA Skin, $115, available at DermStore

    "There’s a very simple explanation as to why I always reach for this SkinCeuticals gem every winter: There is NO other cream on the market that feels as luxurious, calming, and deeply moisturizing — it's like giving your skin a big, warm bear hug."

    SkinCeuticals, $127, available at SkinCeuticals

    Brianna Arps, Beauty Production Assistant
    Skin Type: Oily

    "Winter has always been tricky for me. While I'm normally super oily and spend most of the year battling breakouts, the cold, dry air often causes flaky patches and even a few extra pimples due to my skin's moisture imbalance. Therefore, my approach to skin care is more simple than complicated. The main goal is to cleanse and hydrate properly without doing too much, and to limit my use of harsh ingredients."

    "Although I have oily, acne-prone skin, during the winter I try to stay away from harsh products because they only end up causing dryness and further irritation. Right now, I'm a fan of this calming foam cleanser made with green tea. It lathers nicely without leaving a slimy film, but the best part is that it doesn't leave my skin feeling tight."

    Innisfree, $9, available at Innisfree

    "Used as a toner, this stuff helps me get every last bit of gunk off my face before I layer on any moisturizer. The formula is amazing and leaves me refreshed — not sticky, dry, or uncomfortable."

    Garnier, $8.99, available at Ulta Beauty

    "I've been using this since the summer, and I'll be restocking soon — it's just that good. As the name suggests, it's like an instant splash of moisture to your face. I really love it because the product absorbs quickly and doesn't suffocate my skin, which holds true even after I've added my Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen into the mix."

    Dr. Jart+, $36, available at Sephora

    "A friend recently recommended that I start using this scrub to prevent dull, dry skin. Made with Tahitian coconut shells and premium coconut oil, it has done wonders thus far to keep me glowing."

    Kopari Beauty, $38, available at Sephora

    "I'd much rather use creams instead of lotions during fall and winter because they seem to last way longer. One of my favorite drugstore buys is Nivea's classic Crème. Warning: It's really thick, so be cautious not to use too much. Just a dab will do the trick or you'll be rubbing the product in for what seems like forever."

    Nivea, $7.49, available at Target

    "I have full lips that seem to freak out at the slightest sign of changing weather. To keep them supple and flake-free, I rely on Carmex's Original Clickstick Lip Balm. I buy it in a pack of three, so I keep one at home, one at work, and one in my purse at all times. "

    Carmex, $2.69, available at Target

    Rachel Krause, Beauty Writer
    Skin Type: Sensitive, Acne-Prone

    "My M.O. is always about placating my highly reactive skin with gentle (and lately, essential oil-free) formulas that keep me as balanced as possible — and keep my skin clear of breakouts, too."

    "I always use an oil cleanser to take off my makeup before I go to bed, but I’ve never been loyal to any one brand or formula. They’re all pretty much the same — or so I thought. Since I started using this one, I suddenly find myself looking forward to washing my face. It’s a weird thing to get excited about, but after every use I’m left with smooth, clean, remarkably soft skin that feels balanced without a trace of makeup left behind, so I can skip the second part of the double-cleanse technique entirely. Does it smell vaguely of salad dressing? Yes, but it’s a very small price to pay."

    Marie Veronique, $40, available at Marie Veronique

    "I once read that it takes three seconds for your skin to start losing moisture after you wash your face, which makes applying a toner or essence right away absolutely crucial. I sincerely doubt that it’s true, but it really stuck with me regardless, so I dry off my face with a towel and then splash on a quarter-sized amount of this antioxidant-rich anti-aging formula — which basically contains nothing except green tea that’s been aged naturally for 100 days — as quickly as humanly possible. I swear it makes my skin look clear and virtually poreless in a way no other product has, which makes the absurd price tag seem almost justifiable. Almost."

    Amorepacific, $145, available at Sephora

    "I’ve yet to find a face scrub that doesn’t drive my reactive skin to the brink of disaster, so I am all about the chemical exfoliants. This best-selling serum is one of the best out there: It packs in both AHAs and BHAs in the form of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic acids, and seems to fend off breakouts and dark spots as well as diminish fine lines and enlarged pores, all without ever making my skin feel dry or irritated. I’ll mix a couple pumps with the B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel or Virgin Marula Oil, depending on how much extra moisture I need."

    Drunk Elephant, $90, available at DermStore

    "Hand to God, I literally wake up with clearer, brighter skin every time I use this fatty acid-based oil. Needless to say, I’ve started using it every night, which leaves me with both healthy, radiant skin and constant anxiety about how quickly I might run out. The star ingredient in this rich formula, and probably the component most to thank for the viscous, slightly waxy texture? Cholesterol. Terrible for your heart, but turns out it’s excellent for locking in moisture and keeping skin in its plumpest, most hydrated state — without clogging pores or causing breakouts."

    Marie Veronique, $95, available at Marie Veronique

    Megan Decker, Beauty Production Assistant
    Skin-type: Normal to Dry

    "With the drier air and gustier winds, the moisture is sucked out of my skin as soon as I step out the door. So for me, it's all about amping up exfoliation for faster skin cell turnover, and doubling up on hydrating oils so I can regain some brightness."

    "In the winter, when it feels like all the moisture is sucked out of my skin, I like to use a cream-based makeup remover over anything with alcohol that's stripping. This lotion-y cleanser is soft on my skin, smells like roses, and works to melt the makeup right off."

    Avène, $20, available at Net-A-Porter

    "I worry about acne spot treatments because so many are drying and leave my skin red and flaky, but this Sunday Riley oil is an acne-fighting powerhouse. The salicylic acid helps to treat blackheads and budding pimples, while the cucumber seed oil and licorice make it both hydrating and brightening — my skin drinks it right up."

    Sunday Riley, $40, available at Sephora

    "I started using this hyaluronic acid serum when the weather suddenly turned cold and dry. I use it in the morning and it gives my skin a little plumping before I put on my gel moisturizer. I think any hyaluronic acid product would probably work for me, but I like how this one comes in a huge bottle and doesn't have any added fragrance."

    SkinMedica, $104.99, available at Jet

    "I wanted to try this mask after reading an incredible review of it, and man, it did not disappoint. I apply a pump of the gel to slightly damp skin before I got to bed and when I wake up, my dull skin is bright and dewy. I don't use it daily — just when I need a pick-me-up — mostly because it's pricey and I want to make it last as long as possible."

    Allies Of Skin, $120, available at Net-A-Porter

    Mi-Anne Chan, Beauty Writer
    Skin Type: Oily/Combination

    "I always say my skin is a bit of an oxymoron — oily but dry, flaky yet acne-prone. Since I have to combat dryness, oil, and acne, I'm judicial about the types of ingredients I use. Come winter, I switch to lightweight, hydrating serums and moisturizers that feature ingredients like hyaluronic acid while using retinol to combat acne and scarring."

    "I knew I'd like this cleanser the moment I saw the words 'honey' and 'enzymes' on the bottle. It cleanses gently and has antibacterial and exfoliating qualities. It also smells amazing, which helps make cold winter mornings a little bit more bearable."

    Kát Rudu, $45, available at Kat Rudu

    "I have an on again, off again relationship with prescription retinol. If I weren't so lazy, I'd get it from my dermatologist year-round, but alas, it's too much of a hassle so I've been on the hunt for an OTC fix. This one comes close. It doesn't give me the drastic results that a more powerful retinol product would, but my skin is noticeably smoother and less congested because of it."

    Paula's Choice, $52, available at Paula's Choice

    "When the temps drop (and the heater in my building turns on), my skin freaks out. My lips become shriveled prunes, the skin around my nose starts flaking off — it's a mess. That's why I like to slather on a hyaluronic acid-rich serum or moisturizer before going in with a heavier moisturizer. This one has been a favorite of mine for years. It's so lightweight it could almost be a serum, but it contains powerful hydrators like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides. And all for 16 bucks a pop!"

    CeraVe, $15.49, available at Ulta Beauty

    "I love facial oils. They're the final layer of my skin-care routine. This one contains a blend of jojoba oil, avocado oil, prickly pear seed oil, and vitamin E that never leaves my skin feeling greasy."

    Peet Rivko, $56, available at Peet Rivko

    "I have oily, acne-prone skin, so masks of the clay variety tend to be my favorites. I have dozens of different clay masks in my collection, but this one from Chantecaille has been my go-to. Unlike many clay masks, this one isn't drying at all, thanks to the rose flower water and honey in the formula."

    Chantecaille, $82, available at Nordstrom

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    This story was originally published on January 12, 2017.

    Right before Christmas of last year, I posted a personal essay called "I May Never Find Love — & That Has To Be Okay " about how I’m slowly, but surely, getting over my fear of dying alone. I never thought I’d get the response that I did. Hundreds of you took to the comments, pouring your hearts out about your own vulnerabilities and fears. I had people blowing up my DMs on Instagram and Twitter, sliding into my Facebook messages, and sending me email after email.

    I read every single comment. And then I ugly-cried in my pajamas while pacing my apartment, gobsmacked by the beauty of it all. Then I read every single comment again. And that’s when I saw a theme appear: SO many of us feel alone because we’re the only single people in our friend group. It was something I saw commenters lament over and over again. There were dozens of women who claimed to feel alienated because their girlfriends were either in relationships or married.

    It’s a feeling I know well. I have pretty much always been the token single girl among my friends. I entertain my coupled pals with tales of my Tinder dates, freely flirt with bartenders to get faster drinks for the group, and confidently show up to parties solo all the time. Most of the time, it’s great. But there are moments when it totally sucks: Like this past New Year’s eve, when I was at a party with all the twosomes and the clock struck midnight. Everyone around me started kissing, while I was left there awkwardly clutching my champagne until they unlocked lips. That stung a little.

    The comments got me thinking: If there are so many single women out there with so many of the same fears and vulnerabilities, why aren’t we all getting drunk together and spilling our guts to one another? Why are we in a never-ending, vicious cycle of feeling alienated and alone because everyone around us is coupled up? Are we masochists, or just a little misguided?

    I started thinking of my own experiences. The friend group I spend the majority of my time with lately is composed mainly of couples. In fact, up until a few months ago, I was the only single person in a sea of twosomes. It really happened by accident. I made a friend who soon found herself a boyfriend with whom I also got along, and through him I was introduced to the rest of the group. They all happened to be in relationships. Happens every day, right?

    But then, an unwelcome thought bubbled up: I've chosen to be the only single person in my group because it’s safe. When I’m out with couples, I don’t actively seek out single men to talk to, and single dudes don’t actively hit on me. It’s like I’m being protected by a wall of twosomes. When I’m out with another single straight woman, I feel like it’s obvious that we’re on our own. It’s like I’m wearing a neon sign: "Currently looking for someone to give me orgasms three times a week and eat dim sum on my couch while watching Scientology documentaries. Please come up to me and offer me red wine."

    I avoid single girls because they remind me of me, and I don’t necessarily like myself all the time when I’m single

    My father has a theory that he’s picked up in his reading that I believe in very much: We avoid people who share similar unpleasant traits with ourselves, because it’s like looking in a mirror. I avoid single women because they remind me of me, and I don’t necessarily like myself all of the time when I’m single. Sitting next to a solo friend at a bar is like being in the scariest echo chamber of all time. We talk about how hopeless our situations are and we start to spiral. "I’m going to die alone!" we’ll cry. "If I don’t have a date to this wedding, I’m not going." Misery does love company, you know.

    Surrounding myself with couples allows me to ignore these negative thoughts. It sometimes goes in the opposite direction, when the duos are overly positive about my dating life, which is frustrating. But it beats the hell out of realizing that the guy you’ve been flirting with on Bumble has been feeding the same lines to your bestie on The League. (This is a real-life thing that happened to me.)

    The worst truth, though — the truth I hate to admit to myself — is that I see other women as competition. I see them as a yardstick to measure myself against. The bartender offered to buy me my next round, not her. So I win. The investment banker types at the other end of the party are staring at her, not me. So what is wrong with me? It’s a screwed up way of thinking, but it’s a line of thinking I feel as if I've basically been trained to follow, based on society's expectations of women.

    Now this might just be my experience. But seeing as so many commenters expressed the same feelings of alienation and fear, I’m willing to bet there are some of you reading this who know, deep down, that this is why you’re feeling alone in your singledom. And what I’ve realized is that these feelings have very little to do with other people, and everything to do with me and my own insecurities.

    From now on, I’m attempting to change my view on other single women. I'm going to make an effort to reach out to the ladies in my life who aren't coupled-up, instead of pushing them away. You all aren’t my competition — you’re my glorious support system. You’re mirror images of strength and perseverance, not desperation and loneliness. And in you, I see dozens of people who I can turn to when I’m feeling super shitty about myself. As much as I love my coupled-up gals, there’s certain situations you’re better at helping in, simply because we’re in this together.

    Don’t you feel better already?

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    After being raised on a steady diet of Disney movies, I expected to meet someone and fall passionately in love — but wound up collapsing under the pressures of modern dating. Luckily, I eventually realized that there's no "right" way to date, and that I need to find happiness within myself, no partner needed. It’s Not You is where I write to calm the voices in my head — and hear from all of you. Follow me on Twitter, on Instagram, or email me at maria.delrusso@refinery29.com.

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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 project manager who makes $52,500 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on a large order of Jack in the Box curly fries.

    Occupation: Project Manager
    Industry: Science/Biotech
    Age: 28
    Location: Oakland, CA
    Salary: $52,500 for working 30 hours per week. I requested a part-time schedule so that I could focus on my side project, Project Tater Tot.
    Paycheck (2x/month): $1,198 after health insurance, HSA, and Roth are deducted

    Monthly Expenses
    Housing: $650. I rent the living room of a one-bedroom apartment. My one roommate uses the room and he pays for all the utilities and bills. I was worried about privacy, but it hasn't been an issue and I lucked out with this place.
    Loan Payments: None. I'm grateful to have graduated with scholarships, grants, and my parents paying the remainder.

    All Other Monthly Expenses
    Cell Phone: $21
    Gym Membership: $79
    Car Insurance: $45. (I pay $270 every six months.)
    Health Insurance: $24. I pay partial because I'm not full-time. I don't actually know how they got this number; my company puts $108 into my HSA because I chose the high-deductible plan which is cheaper for them, so they put the extra money into my HSA.
    HSA: $83, my contribution
    Roth: $939. The company matches 4% (or $375). I used to do a mix of 401(k) and Roth, but I'll be making more when I go full-time. (I don't know what I'm doing.)
    Investments: $910. I auto-deposit this into pre-selected Vanguard funds, in two installments. I only started investing a few months ago and previously held all my savings in a savings account. I save a lot because I don't know what my future self will want, but I know I'll need money to make it happen. I plan to use some of it for Project Tater Tot. I have $97,000 in investments, $45,000 in retirement, and $7,000 in savings.

    Day One

    6:30 a.m. — It's been two days since the fires in Sonoma and Napa Counties started. I wake up and check the fire map. Some sections have grown but the largest ones have stalled a little. I'm a little relieved, there are also no new fires near us. I read all the news and check websites for volunteer needs. I know a lot of people who live in Santa Rosa and Napa, and my friends have a messaging group to update each other on our situations. I drove up last night to stay with my boyfriend in Petaluma. I check my work email, but everything is okay for now.

    7:30 a.m. — My boyfriend gets back from work and surprises me with breakfast burritos in bed; he is so sweet. He starts work at 7, but came back because a bunch of jobs were canceled (construction) and he wanted to volunteer today.

    8:40 a.m. — We get to the volunteer center early; they open at 9. We registered online yesterday, and now fill out a health form and sit around until we get called for an interview. They ask about our health, ability to work 12-hour shifts, and what kind of volunteering we'd like to do. Then we wait for a group training at 11. It's a long time to wait and I wish I'd brought a book! We see a bunch of staff from my boyfriend's climbing gym. All the younger folks in the room are trying to crack jokes and be silly, myself included. It's nice because otherwise we'd be sitting in a room worried about the fires. There is a good mix of people of all ages in the room waiting.

    10:30 a.m. — We run out to get a veggie patty sub to split from Subway for lunch later. Everything goes in except pickles and pepperoncini. I love pickled things, but only in isolation. I pay, since he bought our burritos yesterday. $7.93

    12 p.m. — I find the group training presentation useful but my boyfriend thinks it's pretty common sense. Oh well; we get laminated name tags at the end and a link to volunteering opportunities at different shelters. We sign up for the next shift at 12:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Santa Rosa.

    12:50 p.m. — There has been an outpouring of donations and volunteers in the area, so they tell us we might be sitting around a bit. Undeterred, we go off to try to help. We bounce around helping serve food and cleaning chairs, doors, rails, etc., but everywhere is well staffed and we feel a bit useless. We do see the donation section overflowing, and decide to get to work helping to sort clothing into different sections. After wearing masks for a few hours (since we're working outside), I tell my boyfriend that I've gained an intimate understanding of how my breath smells now. He replies that he loves me. (I love him too.) A few people come by to get clothes and we help them out. We listen to their stories, as much or as little as they want to share. Interacting with the folks affected makes it feel so worthwhile. I used to want to be a counselor growing up, and this makes me think I should do more regular volunteering.

    6:30 p.m. — We leave a little early; there seem to be plenty of volunteers and we've sorted the majority of the clothing donations, so we don't feel bad. My boyfriend tells me he wants to get chili from Amy's Drive-Thru and animal fries from In-N-Out (they are next door to each other) to combine into the ultimate chili cheese fries. We discuss it, but laziness wins out and he agrees to just get chili cheese fries from Amy's. $4.66

    8 p.m. — When we get back to his place, we eat it with all the leftovers we have and watch American Dad. Leftovers include half a burrito, roasted veggies, black bean burger mash, and smoky baba ganoush with crackers. (I cooked the last three and he bought the burrito.)

    9 p.m. — My boyfriend's parents tell us we'll be hosting evacuee friends tonight, and we help clean a little. They're bringing cats with them but there's already a refugee kitty in the computer room; the outdoor shed is prepped for the new cats though, so they won't need to be in the same space. I debate going home or staying over tonight. Instead of deciding, we cuddle up for the next few hours, and pass out early, before 10 p.m.

    Daily Total: $12.59

    Day Two

    6:05 a.m. — I wake up feeling very tired, and check all the updates again: news, friends, fire map. I also check my work; nothing new. Everything is okay, the Napa fire has grown a lot, but thankfully not in the direction of town. I try to go back to sleep but I can't for the next hour. At some point, I fall asleep.

    10 a.m. — Omg, I wake up and it's 10. How did that happen?! I decide not to volunteer today and focus on resting and getting a bunch of work done. Before leaving, I snack on tomatoes that are about to go bad and baba ganoush. Petaluma was sent a warning notice this morning, which wasn't an evacuation zone, but which we took to mean, “Get a bag ready in case a fire starts somewhere near you.”

    11 a.m. — It's smoky everywhere, but as I stop for gas in Novato, I can see that the sky to the east is distinctly orange. $41

    11:30 a.m. — A quick stop at the 99 Ranch Market (big Asian market) because it's on the way. I decide to grab some yam greens, small head of Napa cabbage, sesame mochi balls, and a big bag of Calbee seaweed chips. I've never tried the last two, but they're on sale and I like snacks when I'm stressed. Also, grab a fresh-baked pork sung and green onion bun ($1.75) from the bakery next to the store. I haven't had pork sung (I call it pork floss) in years and so I'm curious if I still like it. I do. It's nicely salty and savory and just what I want for my drive home. $9.04

    12 p.m. — I check on the status of everything once I get home. (I am constantly checking so I'll stop mentioning it.) There's not much I can do right now, so I start working. I'm luckily at a bit of a lull in my main work project and nothing crazy or time sensitive is happening this week. My workplace, based in Petaluma, sent out a notice that they'll be paying full wages for this week while the site is closed because of safety and air quality concerns, which I think is nice. Work feels really weird, like I shouldn't be doing normal activities while the world is literally on fire around me. Email is eerily quiet, and it feels like I'm sending out emails into the void since some of the people I work with are not working right now. Why am I working? Should I be volunteering right now? I feel conflicted. I eat a lot of chips and then sesame mochi balls. I also submit 16 hours of sick time for this week, since I haven't been productive this week.

    3 p.m. — I start texting my friends who are in the fire-affected cities to see if they want to come over for dinner this weekend. I've got a few takers, so I'm excited to see them and give them hugs.

    6:30 p.m. — I am very tempted to make ramen for dinner. The things is, I love ramen, but my body doesn't. I do want greens, so I stick with the plan and make a soup with the yam greens and Napa cabbage. Something about the hot savory broth and silky green leaves is comforting and fills me up with goodness. I make a huge pot, and eat a huge bowl.

    9 p.m. — Damn, I have missed the past two days of my pill; this is unfortunate. I must also report that I finished the bag of chips.

    Daily Total: $50.04

    Day Three

    7 a.m. — I'm out and at the gym for climbing with my friend. My friend is very stressed about work, but venting and hard climbs make us both feel great. I also find out some good news about the fires, which have gone from being around 3% contained to 18%-24% contained. It's a relief to hear that there is progress.

    9:30 a.m. — When I get home, I start work and eat breakfast: soup and an open-faced sandwich with black bean patty and vegan cheese melted all over it.

    12:40 p.m. — I snack on a piece of toast with vegan butter. I'm planning to volunteer for the overnight shift tonight, but haven't decided on Napa or Petaluma. My boyfriend says he's down to help, so Petaluma it is. I read an article about a man and his wife surviving the fire in a pool, only to have his wife die in his arms. I burst into tears; the perks of working remotely.

    2:15 p.m. — Lunchtime is the same leftovers. I don't mind.

    5 p.m. — I'm done with work but I forgot about the rush hour traffic and need to wait it out a bit before I leave. I bring my sleeping bag just in case. $5 bridge toll on my FasTrak account. $5

    7:10 p.m. — When I get to the shelter, most of the volunteer work is with donations. There are so many, it almost seems like too many. We make gigantic piles of diapers sorted by size; there's also work unloading donations from cars; and always work sorting and organizing donations. A supervisor tells me that since the Coast Guard is here, it's better for them to do the overnight shifts instead of volunteers. As it becomes dark, it's heartening to see so many folks hustling late. Some parents have brought their elementary school children, who are kicking butt.

    9:15 p.m. — By this time, most of the work is done; I head to my boyfriend's place to crash.

    Daily Total: $5

    Day Four

    9:15 a.m. — We sleep in because we're a little too tired to do the breakfast shift, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

    10:15 a.m. — So many more people volunteer when it's daytime! There is tons to do. It's mostly physical, moving stuff everywhere, but much better than staying in one spot folding clothes.

    12:30 p.m. — We grab free food at the shelter that will go bad if people don't eat it: bagels, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, salad, and mashed potatoes.

    3:30 p.m. — On the way back to Oakland, I grab groceries for the dinner tonight: two cans chickpeas, yogurt, parsley, cilantro, plums, lemon, limes, corn meal, onions, and wine. It's later than I anticipated when we start cooking; my roommate is also cooking for a party tonight so it's a lively scene. I take a shot of whisky because cooking while buzzed is really fun. The air seems good right now so we open the windows for fresh air. It's the first time we've opened the windows since the fire started. $24.93

    6:15 p.m. — Some friends come over, and we have a good time chatting and eating dinner. I was expecting more people to show up but it works out well with a few people. We somehow manage to finish most of the food I made (probably because we all continue to munch at the dinner table as the night goes on). Dinner tonight is roasted spiced cauliflower, falafel with an herby yogurt sauce, and polenta.

    9:45 p.m. — Our friends head home and there are hugs all around. We clean up and relax until it's time for bed.

    Daily Total: $24.93

    Day Five

    9:15 a.m. — Sleeping in is so nice. I'm not sure why I'm sleeping so much these days.

    11:30 a.m. — We're going for a hike in the Redwoods. One of the major perks of living in Oakland is that you're generally only a 10-minute drive away from hiking trails and serious forests. It smells like eucalyptus and redwoods so we hike without respirators.

    1 p.m. — Back at the house, I start working on Project Tater Tot and eat a snack of yogurt with lemon curd.

    2 p.m. — Time for a plum and reheated polenta. I add more bouillon, salt, and a bit of miso, then pour it into a cake pan so I can chill it for later.

    3:30 p.m. — I find a group and conference for women in clean tech and sustainability — the membership costs about $150, and the conference is roughly $100. I don't go to any events, but I feel like I should start looking into professional and grassroots communities. I pass on buying anything for now.

    4 p.m. — We take a stroll and grab slices of pizza at Arizmendi (fennel, bell peppers, feta, other deliciousness on top), and then decide to also try a slice at Lanesplitter (pesto, olives, tomatoes) before going to see Bladerunner. Boyfriend buys the tickets ($12) since I bought the pizza. $11

    7:45 p.m. — Bladerunner was amazing! It's one of those movies that puts me in a contemplative and mischievous zone after. We walk around a bit in the area before we walk home. I read a little bit of a new book ( A Personal Matter) and then pack up to go back to my boyfriend's place. I always feel like I carry too many bags for a simple overnight trip. I always bring work stuff, project work stuff, a change of clothes, and homemade food so I won't have to buy anything. Bridge toll again. $5

    10:30 p.m. — We're both energized but can't stay out too late because there's work tomorrow, so we decide to go inhale junk food. He gets animal fries from In-N-Out and I get curly fries from Jack in the Box. I honestly don't like the In-N-Out fries very much and I haven't had curly fries in years. Sooo good. $3.23

    Daily Total: $19.23

    Day Six

    9:30 a.m. — Head into the office, which feels very normal even though we've been out for a week. The water cooler talk, as expected, is all about the fire and how we've been affected. On the way to work, I take a longer look at my hair, which I thought was in good shape; in reality, it is dying at the ends. I'm seriously overdue for a haircut so I make an appointment when I get to work. It's been a year and a half, and I cringe about having to explain the state of my hair to my hairdresser later.

    10:30 a.m. — I eat the yogurt and granola that I brought from home and a plum an hour later. There's also nut mix around the office. Mmm, cashews.

    1:45 p.m. — For lunch, there's a bunch of leftover cheese pizza in the work fridge which I know will get thrown out if people don't partake. Free food! (Even though I do feel a bit of pizza overload coming on.) I get into a good groove after lunch and it's a productive day. I chat with a friend at the company about a new role I would possibly take on in a few months. I'm always conflicted between wanting to pursue my Tater Tot Project and my professional career at this company. For now, I feel lucky that I'm able to do both, but I know that if I don't push for career opportunities at my company, I won't get them (when you tell people you want to work part-time, they know you're half out the door).

    5:15 p.m. — Head over to chop off some dead hair! It's $30 and I give $9 tip (exactly how much cash I have left). She's really nice and says my hair damage isn't too bad (phew), and proceeds to give me the quickest haircut I've ever had. I get in and out in under 20 minutes. $39

    6:15 p.m. — Oh no, my hair is flaring out because it's about shoulder length, which I hate. When she asked if I want layers, I said, “Uh, sure. Why not?” Wrong choice. Why did I do this to myself? I visit my boyfriend before I head home. He does not understand why I'm grumpy about my hair or why I spend five minutes staring in the mirror.

    7:20 p.m. — He offers me chicken curry to go with my polenta, which I happily eat for dinner. We listen to an interesting NPR Fresh Air episode about the importance of sleep. By this point, I'm done being upset about my hair. There's nothing I can do about it since my goal other than grow it out.

    8:40 p.m. — My boyfriend convinces me to stay a bit longer instead of leaving, so I start working on Project Tater Tot while he reads and makes weird noises on the foam roller. I get in a good two hours of work, hang out a bit, then make the drive home. I am SO happy to be in my own bed, and look forward to staying put for a few days, having some alone time, and getting some work done.

    Daily Total: $39

    Day Seven

    8:45 a.m. — I cannot make myself go to the gym in the morning unless I'm meeting someone. So I sleep in until my first meeting starts. I like my job, there's a lot of odds and ends I take care of today, before I do more technical work. It can be hard for people with a bachelor's degree in science to get more interesting jobs, and I think project management is something to keep in mind if it sounds interesting to you.

    10:20 a.m. — I make crispy seasoned bean curd, a fried egg, yam greens and Hong Kong noodles with oyster sauce and sesame oil for breakfast. I drink the rest of my soup too. I eat a plum an hour later.

    1:45 p.m. — For lunch, I add different seasonings to my polenta to change it up and eat a polenta bowl with garlic, parmesan, and a boatload of fresh parsley. My fridge is out of vegetables, so I'll have to make a trip later today. My friend left me a small green tea ice cream encased in chocolate waffle. I try it and it's really good. I've never had the chocolate and green tea combination before, I tentatively like it.

    3 p.m. — Snack on yogurt with lemon curd.

    5 p.m. — I do a 20-minute cardio kickboxing workout at home after work is done. I feel disproportionately proud of myself.

    6:30 p.m. — I decide to walk to the closest grocery store because I only need veggies. It's nice to get out of the house and keeps me sane. As it turns out, this store is really expensive; I hone in on the sale stuff and grab three zucchinis, two carrots, and a pint of Straus cookies and cream ice cream, which is my current obsession. For dinner, I make pan-fried tofu slices with a Vietnamese marinade, a bunch of veggies (onions, carrot, zucchini), and use some leftover polenta. I share dinner with my roommate, and he shares the cherry kompot (Russian fruit drink) he made. It's really refreshing. I'm happy I've got enough leftovers for the next three meals. $7.84

    9 p.m. — I read a few chapters of my new book and mess around on the internet for a while. I do a little bit of research on training classes that would be helpful for my project and might also be helpful for my job. I wonder if I can convince them to pay for it...

    10 p.m. — Ice cream break. I wonder if someone who wanted some of the pint would be able to tell that I seek out the cookie bits.

    Daily Total: $7.84

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

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    While most women still take their husband's surname after they marry, various alternatives have become more popular in recent years. Husbands take their wives' surnames, some couples combine their surnames and, of course, women are increasingly shunning the practice altogether and keeping their own names.

    While this subversion of the marital tradition is a positive choice for many women, it could affect how people perceive their husband. According to a new study, men whose wives don't take their surname are seen as disempowered and less masculine by their peers, while the women are considered high-status, powerful, ambitious and assertive.

    Researchers from the University of Nevada carried out three studies, asking U.K. and U.S.-based undergraduates to fill out an online survey in which they were asked to imagine a hypothetical scenario where a heterosexual woman kept her name after marrying. They then had to describe what they thought of the husband's personality.

    In the first two studies, the husbands whose wives kept their surnames were considered to be less powerful in the relationship and were described with "terms that are counter to the gender-typical personality traits and power framework used for men."

    "A woman's marital surname choice, therefore, has implications for perceptions of her husband's instrumentality, expressivity, and the distribution of power in the relationship," said Rachael Robnett, the study's lead author. "Our findings indicate that people extrapolate from marital surname choices to make more general inferences about a couple's gender-typed personality traits."

    This perception isn't universal, however, with people who cling on to traditional gender roles and "hostile sexists" having particularly strong opinions about men whose wives retain their surnames and negative reactions to women who violate gender norms.

    Robnett said this was just the latest study to point towards a link between traditions in heterosexual romantic relationships and power structures benefiting men. "The marital surname tradition is more than just a tradition. It reflects subtle gender-role norms and ideologies that often remain unquestioned despite privileging men."

    Nevertheless, taking a man's surname remains popular – even among young women. A YouGov poll last year found that most women (59%) would like to take their spouse's surname, with just 2% more men wanting them to do so. Surprisingly, given the push against outdated gender norms among younger women, they were just as likely as older women to want to give up their name for their husband's.

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    Kim Kardashian West is acting on a promise she made on Twitter this week to a sex trafficking survivor convicted of murder, People reports.

    Kardashian West promised to send her attorneys to assist Cyntoia Brown, a Tennesse woman who was tried as an adult for a murder she committed at 16, in 2004. She was found guilty of killing Johnny Mitchell Allen, a 43-year-old man who paid her to have sex with him. Brown is now 29 and serving a 60 year sentence, with no possibility of parole until she serves 51 of those years.

    At her trial, Brown admitted to shooting Allen after they had intercourse. Her attorneys presented evidence that she suffered from physical, sexual, and verbal abuse and was a third generation survivor of abuse. Brown testified that she was regularly beaten, choked, dragged, raped, and threatened at gunpoint in her home while growing up, Newsweek reports.

    The Tennessean reported in 2016 that her case inspired a change in the state's law — now, only people aged 18 and up can be charged with prostitution, while persons under the legal age of consent are considered victims of sex trafficking.

    Kardashian West's attorney, Shawn Holley, confirmed to The Blast that she had instructed him to "find a way to help these women." Holley said the legal team has a call on Friday, November 24, to begin discussions with Brown's team about how they could help. Brown's case gained notoriety again this week, with tweets about it flying from multiple celebrities.

    The justice system is so backwards!!! This is completely insane #freecyntoiabrown

    A post shared by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne) on

    In addition, Holley confirmed to The Blast that Kardashian West had instructed him to work with the legal team of 62-year-old Alice Johnson, who is serving a life sentence for her first time, non-violent drug conviction. In 2016, Johnson wrote an op-ed for CNN in which she asked then President Obama to commute the sentence of 231 other non-violent first time offenders.

    "We have already contacted Alice Johnson and her team of lawyers who are now actively trying to find ways to facilitate her release," Holley said.

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    It's not easy for caffeine fiends to hear about the potential negative effects of coffee, so it's just as well that java seems to be increasingly gaining the blessing of scientists.

    Researchers now claim we may be able to enjoy even more of the good stuff each day than we thought. According to a new analysis of 220 existing coffee studies, published in the BMJ, drinking up to four cups may have substantial health benefits.

    The research, led by scientists from the University of Southampton, suggests that the overall benefits of drinking coffee outweigh the risks. Coffee drinkers were less at risk of liver disease, diabetes, dementia and some cancers and were less likely to die from stroke.

    The strongest benefits were found in people who drank around three to four cups a day, who, according to one study, had a 17% reduced chance of death from all causes. Even those who drank up to seven cups still seemed to benefit from their caffeine habit, enjoying a 10% reduced chance. However, the benefits aren't universal, with women who are pregnant or who have a higher risk of suffering bone fractures advised against drinking too much coffee.

    The study supports the NHS's caffeine recommendations, which say non-pregnant adults can have up to 400mg of caffeine per day. That equates to four mugs of instant coffee (at 100mg per mug), around three cups of filter coffee (at 140mg per cup) or just over five cups of tea (at 75mg per mug).

    While the research doesn't definitively prove that coffee brings the aforementioned benefits, as it was based on observational data, the scientists said the findings back up other recent studies and reviews of coffee's impact on the body.

    "Factors such as age, whether people smoked or not and how much exercise they took could all have had an effect," Professor Paul Roderick, co-author of the study, told the BBC, but his conclusion was very much pro-coffee. "There is a balance of risks in life, and the benefits of moderate consumption of coffee seem to outweigh the risks." As if we needed an excuse for another coffee-shop run.

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    Who wasn't utterly enamored of hair accessories at the height of Blair Waldorf's TV reign? Suddenly, the pieces you'd always ignored at your local Claire's felt special and elegant — like you could transform into a Park Ave princess simply by slipping on a $10 silk headband. Now, off-duty models and style stars are reviving the schoolgirl trend, and we're betting this time, it won't go away so quickly.

    According to Pinterestand Kendall Jenner — hair accessories like headbands and barrettes are en vogue once again. The trendy site recently reported that searches for holiday hair accessories are up more than 400% over the last year. Considering party season is officially upon us, we couldn't think of a better time to resurrect our favorite beauty trend of nearly a decade ago, so we rounded up the chicest hair wraps, ribbons, and bows to turn an otherwise boring hairstyle into something special.

    Click ahead to check out the accessories that'll make you the Queen B of the ball (or, you know, your office's ugly sweater happy hour).

    Let this be the year you turn up the dramatics — even just a little bit. If you want to stand out and make a statement, you can trust that this veiled headband will do the trick.

    Jennifer Behr, $182, available at Jennifer Behr

    If you weren't able to snag Taylor Swift's snake merch when Reputation dropped, here's your chance to rock the serpent trend.

    Jennifer Behr, $225, available at Jennifer Behr

    Yes, you can get the exact hair pin celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend used in Rachel McAdams' textured updo at the Academy Awards.

    Elizabeth and James, $150, available at Saks Fifth Avenue

    Haven't heard? Scrunchies are back in a big way this year and make those plain black elastics look like chumps in comparison.

    Anthropologie, $18, available at Anthropologie

    Headbands don't look like they did in 2006. This velvet and beaded blend of color is the one thing you need to spice up that LBD.

    Anthropologie, $48, available at Anthropologie

    Tiaras aren't just for TLC shows and weddings. This ribbon option looks elegant and boho-chic weaved throughout a mess of beachy waves.

    Anthropologie, $48, available at Anthropologie

    Choosing to opt out of the galaxy freckle trend might be the smart choice for your parents' holiday party. But that doesn't mean you have to leave the moon and stars behind completely.

    Jennifer Behr, $298, available at Jennifer Behr

    A simple velvet ribbon dresses up any boring ponytail.

    Jennifer Behr, $128, available at Jennifer Behr

    Whether you do a single or scatter in multiple, these pearl-adorned pins add sparkle to your style. We like them poking out from a big bun.

    Chloe + Isabel, $34, available at Chloe + Isabel

    These barrettes, designed by Lauren Conrad, are the secret for taking your second-day hair from meh to magical.

    LC Lauren Conrad, $18, available at Kohls

    Wrap this ribbon around an updo — or wind it through a tousled braid — for a soft addition to a structured style.

    Kitsch, $16, available at Kitsch

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    You have to be in the right frame of mind before sitting down to comprehend what Whitney Wolfe, the founder of Bumble, has achieved so far in her career. Because not only is she the CEO of the US's fastest-growing dating app with over 22 million users worldwide and counting, she’s also 28 years old. And, her recent Italian wedding to Michael Herd, a restaurateur who's also in the oil and gas business, even warranted a lengthy feature and whole gallery’s worth of images in Vogue.

    Wolfe, who also happens to be on the current cover of Forbes magazine and included on its esteemed 30 Under 30 list, is credited with having changed the dating game by letting women make the first move.

    Famously, she was inspired to start her feminist company after a scarring experience as one of the co-founders of Tinder, which remains the world’s most downloaded dating app. Wolfe sued the company for sexual harassment in 2014 and alleged that she’d been discriminated against while working there. She claimed her ex-boss and former boyfriend, Justin Mateen had sent her abusive texts and called her a “whore” after she ended their relationship, while another co-founder was purported to have said that having a female co-founder made the company "seem like a joke." The case was settled without admission of wrongdoing for an undisclosed sum.

    Following the ordeal, which sent her into "a deep depression," it’s no wonder Wolfe decided to take a different tack in her next venture – by focusing on women. In so doing, she has gained the ultimate revenge in an already saturated market. Bumble is now Tinder’s closest competitor and is quickly catching up, with faster year-on-year growth.

    Given all that Wolfe has achieved at such a young age, you wouldn’t blame anyone for feeling trepidation before meeting her. But in person, Wolfe's refreshing candor and concern for the people around her are disarming, immediately putting you at ease. Refinery29 sat down with the barnstorming entrepreneur to talk self-care, overcoming rejection and her company's recent foray into networking, Bumble Bizz.

    On dealing with sexists in the workplace

    "When we were building Bumble Bizz, a lot of people told me they were glad because they were being solicited through LinkedIn by guys saying things like, 'Professionally speaking, you’re really beautiful.' That’s not professional. This happens a lot — I get those messages. Even if they’re not necessarily inappropriate in an inflammatory sense, they'll say stuff like, 'Hi, I saw you on Bumble and just thought I’d reach out to you here.' No, that’s not how this works, don’t do that.

    "My advice would be to just ignore messages like that. Don’t engage with bullies or harassers. Telling them off is great if that gives you peace of mind, but it’s just not worth your time to engage with those people. Bumble is great because women have to make the first move so you’re protected, it’s secure, you aren't being bombarded by messages in dating or in the professional realm."

    On attending to fragile male egos

    "When the woman makes the first move, there’s a whole psychology behind it. If you look at traditional male-to-female connecting, men have been given the role since day one to go after women and chase them down. Given that role and expectation, they’re obviously going to get turned down at some point because if you’re always doing something, you’re not always going to succeed at it. They’re going to be rejected.

    "While women have been trained to play hard to get, to be demure, we’re telling men to be aggressive and go after her. But in order for him to get here, he has to figure out how to push through rejection and unfortunately, when someone experiences rejection, it can breed aggression and aggressive behavior. It makes you insecure. I’ve been rejected before and it made me insecure and there have been times in the past when I’ve said something mean as a result. It’s just a natural human instinct to be like, 'I didn’t like you anyway.' Even after a simple rejection, like not getting into a certain school, someone might say, 'Oh, I didn’t want to go there anyway.' Yeah, you did, but it didn’t work out. So when it comes to love and romance, especially hiding behind a profile screen, men become aggressive. The nice thing is, if a woman is making the first move, that dynamic evens out."

    I’ve been in a place in my life where I’ve had no confidence, no self-respect, zero self-worth and it was really easy to hurt my feelings. Then when you rebuild some of that, you become stronger.

    On making the first move

    "Personalised lines are the best. We ran a study comparing people who just said 'hey' and those who said 'hey' with a first name, and that made such a difference because it was obvious the person was talking to them specifically and not just anyone. We’re building conversation starters into the app soon and I can’t give you too much detail, but we’re playing with a few ideas, such as the most popular conversation starters of the day, and stuff like that."

    On dealing with rejection

    "Don’t take it personally. Every human on earth has their own personal preference. It’s okay – you cannot expect every single thing to go exactly the way you want it to, people are so different from each other and it’s okay to let certain things work and certain things not work. It's about finding confidence within and feeling secure, regardless of what people around you do.

    "But this is easier said than done, which is why I want to build a company that encourages empowerment, confidence, and respect because when you have self-respect, it’s really hard to get you down. I’ve been in a place in my life where I’ve had no confidence, no self-respect, zero self-worth, and it was really easy to hurt my feelings, anything would trigger me to be sad. Then when you rebuild some of that, you become stronger."

    On picking yourself up after getting knocked down

    "First of all, you have to realize that things are bigger than just you. That’s what I had to do. I had to think: all this stuff that is hurting my feelings, making me depressed, sad or anxious, this is bigger than just me and every time I feel this way, there are millions of women around the world who probably feel this way, too. Once you make it bigger than yourself and strive to do something to make a change for others, it will rebuild you. I know a lot of women who have been in abusive relationships and they healed by helping other women going through that. See if you can lend an ear, help or support to others going through something similar."

    On ageism in the workplace (and why profiles on Bumble Bizz don't contain a user's age)

    "I’ve never experienced it myself, but unfortunately a lot of women I’ve spoken to have. They've got married or are in abusive relationships and are now in their 40s or 50s and they may want to get back in to the workplace or be trying to rebuild their lives but they’re scared and thinking, 'Who’s going to hire me when there’s a 22-year-old, fresh out of university with all these skills?' They feel at a disadvantage. I wanted to alleviate the assumption that employers are only looking for 20 to 25-year-olds. It works the other way, too – some people assume you have to be in your 40s to have any experience but maybe the 20-year-old has just as much savvy and skill."

    On being the CEO of the US’s fastest-growing dating app in her 20s

    "I try not to let my age affect how I run the company, other than ensuring it means I have a good understanding of what women my age are going through. I think it’s been a huge help because I can tell you what it felt like to be a 25-year-old three years ago, and I can relate to this young dating scene. And now I’m transcending that – I just got married – and am thinking about family, so these things are now in my mind, which changes how you think about the older demographic. It reminds me that I need to be thinking about women in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s but that I also need to be paying attention to what the 19-year-olds are doing. Age is so important because, in terms of culture and in terms of marketing, it does define what people are interested in."

    On the pressure to carry on achieving after so much early success

    "It’s all relative. What I perceive as what I’ve achieved might be different to what someone else thinks I’ve achieved. I don’t measure achievements by 'I did this or that by this age.' I measure it by the impact we’re having. It’s inspiring and exciting. A German woman told me just this morning that it’s still taboo for women there to make the first move and that excites me because it means we still have so much left to achieve."

    On leading a family-friendly business

    "We’ve hired a lot of women with children recently and it’s given me a lot of perspective on just how hard it is to be a working mom. I have so much respect for the men and women with kids that it's made me think about it more than I would have a year or two ago. I wasn’t thinking about the mom market before because it didn’t touch me. Now, we let our employees bring their children to work, we let them leave early to go do school pick-ups or drop-offs and then they get back online later. We’re a very mother-friendly workplace – we have a pumping room for new moms. We try to take care of people so they can balance their lives. I’m not good at practicing this in my own life, I’m trying to get better, but you have to have balance."

    Photo: Kristen Kilpatrick

    On the possibility of adapting Bumble for parents in the future

    "Absolutely [we would introduce new features for parents]. They’re not so much my ideas at this stage, they’re team members’ ideas – the mothers and fathers on the team often say, 'I wish this or that existed.' They’re not wild about anything else on the market right now, so maybe that's something we’ll think about down the road."

    On striking the perfect work-life balance

    "We like [that Bumble allows users to flick between dating, socializing and networking] because we want to mimic real life. We don't want to separate it to a point where it feels unnatural. If you walk into a bar, for example, there will be lots of different connections taking place – people on work meetings, groups of friends, new mums talking to each other, romantic relationships taking place. In your phone you're getting messages from people you work with, people you went to school with, people you might be romantically interested in. This is what makes up your life. I don’t believe it’s healthy to separate them so much. We think that if you're connecting in an empowered way, it’s ok for them all to live together.

    "The nice thing about Bumble Bizz is, it’s not necessarily work, it’s networking and just getting to know each other. It’s not stuffy and serious, it’s fun. You could be like, 'Hey, oh you’re a journalist too, I love that magazine, let’s get a coffee and talk about what we love and don’t love.' Or you might be tired and want to talk to someone who can relate to your particular work problems."

    I know how bad it made me feel when I was going through dark times and I would read about all these 'boss girls' and successful tech people. They sounded so perfect and I thought, 'This will never be me.'

    On reports that she wakes up at two-hour intervals every night to check her emails

    "I’ve tried to do it less but it still happens a lot. I’m trying to get my sleep under control. I’m doing Headspace and I’m trying to sleep with my phone charging on the other side of the room. I get so nervous [putting it on airplane mode] because there are a lot of things that can go wrong and I’m very close to my loved ones and I like to always have contact."

    On striking a balance between presenting the real you and the optimum version of you on social media

    "This is a huge topic in our office right now. Mental health is so important and we think the pressure to be perfect is making us all crazy and sad. But it’s hard because, on the other hand, when you’re meeting new people you want to put the best foot forward.

    "We’re working through this conflict right now as a business, too. Do we team up with an empowered beauty brand and encourage users to go makeup-free in their profile pictures to raise money for charity? There are so many different things we can do. Just be yourself, whether you’re dressed up to the nines or in your comfy workout clothes; be whoever you want to be."

    On being open about her own struggles with stress and mental health

    "I do [feel a responsibility to be open]. I like being honest and I know how bad it made me feel when I was going through dark times and I would read about all these 'boss girls' and successful tech people. They sounded so perfect and I thought, This will never be me because I have all these problems. I think it’s healthy and important [to be open and honest]. We have an audience of 22 to 23 millions users now – that’s a lot of people and as the CEO, it’s my responsibility to ensure that both my team and our users feel healthy and happy."

    On dealing with work stress

    "If you can give me the answer [to how to deal with it], I’d be really grateful! I don’t [deal with it]. I’m struggling. I have panic attacks. I have horrible anxiety. I have really, really good days where I feel on top of the world, I’m on inbox zero and feel like a machine, and then there are times when I think I can’t do this anymore and it’s ok to feel that way. Not everything is going to be easy and when you just accept and embrace that, it becomes easier."

    On her self-care rituals for staying grounded

    "I try to put the phone down throughout the day – even just for 20 minutes at a time – and get some stuff done and think about something else. I’m trying to read more and spend more mealtimes with no phone. With my husband, I try to leave my phone in the car at least two to three times a week if we go out to dinner, or leave it upstairs in the bedroom while we cook."

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    On Thanksgiving Day, Uma Thurman had a message for everyone, including Harvey Weinstein. The actress took to her Instagram to make a bold statement — literally wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving except for Weinstein. In the caption of her post, she writes, "Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! (Except you Harvey, and all your wicked conspirators - I'm glad it's going slowly - you don't deserve a bullet) - stay tuned Uma Thurman."

    More importantly, she confirmed that she is part of the #metoo movement.

    Earlier this month, Thurman's herself alluded to experiencing violence along with the growing number of Hollywood actors coming forward and speaking out about the sexual harassment and violence they endured for years. In a video during the previews of her latest project, The Parisian Woman, she said that she wasn't ready to speak out just yet. Instead, she simply says, "When I'm ready, I'll have something to say."

    Thurman has worked with Weinstein on seven films throughout her career, including the wildly popular films Kill Bill, Vol. 1 and 2 and Pulp Fiction. Time will tell if Thurman reveals more as other actors come forward as well, but if her rage is anything like the hints of it that we've we've seen so far, she's going to have a lot to say indeed.

    This cryptic message isn't the only news that the actress has announced as of late. Earlier this week, news also broke of her officially left the CAA as her agency, where Thurman was a client for two years. It's unclear whether her leaving of the CAA is related to the accusations of harassment by Weinstein and others.

    For almost two months now, we've been hearing constant news of Hollywood names linked to sexual harassment and violence. Even though it's Thanksgiving weekend, that doesn't mean that we've heard the last of it.

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    We've been obsessing over Katy Perry's exquisitely-extra beauty game since 2010's psychedelic Candyland-themed music video, "California Gurls." An innovator who's always understood the power of a good beauty transformation, the 33-year-old Bon Appétit singer has rocked everything from the universe's most awkward-looking headgear to softly subversive lavender locks.

    But while Perry's experimentation with rainbow-streaked ponytails and classic cat-eye liner has come a long way since her fresh-faced days (way back in 2002!), she's also never been shy about the power of a bold new haircu t to help a girl connect with her most vulnerable, genuine feelings. It's easy to see her truly contagious love for all things beauty, captured in the musician-turned-makeup mogul's signature Covergirl black lipsticks. Perry's over-the-top glam moments, whether they're featured on a red carpet or in that nightmarishly trippy music video, have always left us wanting more.

    In celebration of Katy Perry's fearless approach to all things makeup, we're recreating three of her most iconic beauty moments. First stop on this outrageously colorful journey? A glance back at her breakout I Kissed A Girl phase — when cotton candy colors fused with her girly-punk aesthetic (and those perfectly sculpted brows, of course). Flash forward to the 2015 Grammy Awards, where Perry debuted the purple curls that are making us crave a pastel, lilac 'do all over again.

    Press play above to catch this entire, glitter-soaked romp through Katy's incredible evolution as one of the music industry's out-of-the-box beauty stars. (And watch out, because it's definitely going to make you want to play with every super-saturated or sparkle-covered hue in your makeup bag.) Spoiler: The resemblance in this one is so eerily on-point it even makes our model do a shocked double take. Katy, is that you?

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    After I left my nursing career behind, my fascination with psychology and criminal behavior led me to seek out a job within the prison service. It took a while to find something in my preferred area, but finally, a job opened up.

    I was so nervous about the interview that I very nearly drove on past the prison, deciding I couldn’t do it. However, I gave myself a stern talking-to and went in. There, I was faced with a group of much younger, more qualified and experienced people all waiting to go through the interview process, which didn't do much to calm my nerves but, to my amazement, I was successful and secured the position of psychological assistant.

    And so, in 2010 I began my role in a male, category C prison which housed around 750 inmates, including a vulnerable prisoner unit mainly for sex offenders, serving a variety of sentences. Their crimes ranged from drug-related offenses to burglary, rape, and murder. If I’m honest, I had little clue about what to expect – the only knowledge I had came from TV shows, and they certainly didn’t prepare me for what lay ahead.

    Walking through the prison grounds on my first day was a nerve-racking experience. But I was with a colleague, and she had the keys to let us through the many large gates to get to the psychology department. After my induction week, however, I was handed a set of my own keys and no longer had someone to hold my hand. My first walk through the prison alone was a day I won’t forget in a hurry. It was unnerving. I timed it badly, getting to work just as the prisoners piled out of the living blocks to go to their activities – and found myself at a gate with about 20 men jostling around me, all wanting to be let through. My hands shook as I asked each of them for their movement slips to check the reason for them moving through the grounds. They tutted, getting agitated with my slowness. I felt sick. But I managed, and it didn’t take long before it became less scary.

    My first ever contact with a prisoner will always be a standout memory for me. It was a man my age who had been convicted of a young woman’s murder some years before. As part of his assessment for an offending behavior programme, I listened as he described how he’d met, raped, and strangled the woman, then dumped her body. The way he detailed what he’d done was shocking to hear. The calmness in his voice still haunts me. It was the first time it hit me that a murderer could look 'normal.' He was good-looking, not scary, and I remember thinking if I’d met him outside of prison during a night out, I’d have thought nothing of talking to him. That had a lasting impact – the whole interview challenged my preconceived notions and the stereotypes I harbored. Afterwards, I thought it was probably a good way of introducing me to working with offenders – being thrown right into it.

    After attending training, and following some changes in the psychology department, my role became Offender Behavior Program Facilitator. As part of this role, I assessed prisoners for their eligibility and suitability to undertake a particular program of rehabilitation, conducted initial interviews with them to find out their willingness to participate, then delivered the six-week program (at the time it was TSP – The Thinking Skills Program). I always read up about the prisoner I was due to work with and I knew what their crimes were prior to meeting them. This was not always helpful – it’s inevitable that you build a picture of what you think that man will be like and sometimes they are not as you imagined. One younger man had stabbed a 17-year-old (the age of one of my sons at the time) and, after reading his file, I was unsure whether I could see him. I did, and I ended up working very well with him. In person he was so different from what I'd anticipated. Learning about his background and upbringing enabled me to see past the crime. That worked both ways, though; occasionally an offender didn’t seem so bad on paper but was intimidating in person.

    Along with another facilitator, I delivered the set program to groups of 11 prisoners at a time. We each had key participants and these were the ones we worked more closely with to reduce their risks of reoffending. I worked in a one-to-one setting with these prisoners and they had at least four individual sessions each throughout the program. During the sessions, they were encouraged to identify their personal risk factors and would discuss their crime and how they planned on managing the risks associated with their offending in the future. Prisoners often felt more comfortable disclosing specifics of their crime to their facilitator, rather than a whole group of people.

    Hearing offenders talk about their crime could be challenging – in particular, those relating to sex offenses. I found the one-to-one sessions intense and listening to details of offenses often put my skills to the test. I really had to concentrate to shut out seeing the offenses in my head as they detailed them. I learned to detach myself somewhat from the victims of the crimes, as this was the only way for me to cope with some of the hideous things I was told. My role was to work well with the offender and build a rapport, so if I thought too much about what the victims went through, it made that even more challenging. I did find it difficult to shut off sometimes, and suffered from disturbing thoughts after I got home from work, particularly when trying to sleep. One offender was very open about how he’d had sexual activity with a child, going into detail about what he’d done and how he’d done it. This offense played on my mind a lot. Having children myself made me more sensitive to hearing him talk about his crime and as soon as I was away from work, I’d find myself crying. Working with sex offenders did have an impact on me; I was probably overprotective of my teenage daughter, as my fears of what might happen to her were always heightened.

    After a particularly challenging time, both personally and professionally, I decided to leave the prison. Over the three years, the job had taken its toll on me, and I realized I’d begun to allow my personal feelings to get in the way of working effectively with the offenders. I found I was getting into arguments on occasion – for example with some of the more disruptive members of the group, who refused to take any responsibility for their behavior.

    Even now, four years after leaving the prison service, I’m still less trusting of people in general as a result of what I read about and heard. Looking back, there were many aspects of the job I enjoyed. It was rewarding at times, there was never a dull moment and I learned a lot about psychology and criminal behavior. The team I worked with were amazing and we remain good friends. Even knowing how the job affected me, I wouldn’t change my decision to work there.

    Sam Carrington’s novel, Bad Sister, is available now in paperback, digital and audio.

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    TLWL Borrowed Routines

    When it comes to daily self-care routines, everyone has their own style. One person might hear their alarm, hit snooze once or twice (okay, maybe three times), and roll out of bed to apply only the essentials (like a dewy foundation and her go-to deodorant) before running out the door, while another might wake up early and promptly start her 10-step beauty routine — while sipping on her morning turmeric tea, of course. While, sure, there's no right way to go about your morning, R29's very own Lucie Fink wanted to see how the people closest to her lived their best lives and whether she should be turning their daily ways into habits of her own. Check out the video, and tell us what you'd like Lucie to give a try in the comments section below.

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    Hashtags like #ad and #spon have become increasingly common on social media. Is that a fashion blogger just going about her normal day with a good “detox” tea — or is it just an(other) #ad?

    Instagram has been tightening up its rules regarding advertising on the platform, which is good. But in a world where social-media profiles — from makeup artists to graphic designers, food bloggers and cosmetic-surgery clinics, doctors, beauticians and beyond — are being used more and more as visual CVs, is it ever going to be possible to regulate everything?

    One area where this is particularly dangerous is in the cosmetic-surgery industry. In fact, a recent study out of Northwestern University found that the majority of providers who market their aesthetic-surgery services on Instagram are not board-certified plastic surgeons.

    According to the report, fewer than 18% of all the posts advertising cosmetic surgery on Instagram were placed by legit plastic surgeons; many of the procedures were offered by other types of physicians, as well as barbers, dentists, and at least one hair salon. What’s more, posts from other providers were found to be a lot more visible than those from certified cosmetic surgeons, who were more likely to use less search-friendly terms like #augmentationmammoplasty, as opposed to #boobjob.

    “The confusing marketing on social media is putting people at risk,” wrote senior study author Clark Schierle, MD, PhD, FACS. “There have been many recent reports of patient harm and deaths resulting from inexperienced providers offering services outside of their area of expertise.”

    The thing is, finding your surgeon on Instagram isn’t necessarily the problem — it’s what you do after that.

    Indeed, news stories abound of cosmetic-surgery horrors that result in irreversible damage to the patient's face or body — and, in some extreme cases, even death. 30-year-old Siobhan Phelan of the UK nearly lost her entire upper lip after an unlicensed cosmetician botched her procedure; The Sun reported that she had paid just £125, or around $165, after spotting an ad on Facebook. Prices usually start at double that. Meanwhile, in New York, a 31-year-old mother of two died after receiving butt-enhancement injections, which she reportedly received in a residential apartment building.

    “Although there are possible risks related to all surgeries, the risks are greater when visiting an unregistered or unlicensed surgeon, or a clinic facility abroad,” explains a representative from London-based cosmetic-surgery clinic Mya. “Likely risks would be infection or undesirable results, to name a few. Plus, unlicensed surgeons would also not provide comprehensive aftercare, so if anything were to go wrong, you would have to pay for further surgery from another provider.”

    The thing is, finding your surgeon on Instagram isn’t necessarily the problem — it’s what you do after that. There are plenty of properly certified doctors who use the social-media platform to advertise their services. After all, in 2017, it would be weirder not to have a social media presence.

    As 28-year-old Melissa* from London tells Refinery29: “Cosmetic surgery is all results and process-based, so you want to be able to see ‘step by steps,' the before and after, and end results. Instagram is a great visual portfolio for that."

    “I had been thinking about getting Botox for a while, and Instagram became my go-to for research and verifying results from various cosmetic surgeons,” she says.“I would often be served images or videos in my Discover feed that made me feel confident that I wanted to move forward with it.”

    Indeed, for many, it's precisely the ease, simplicity, and straightforwardness of Instagram that proves so appealing. 29-year-old Emma*, who says she's currently saving up for a number of procedures, told us, "It’s a before and after; I am the before, and it’s showing me that I can be the after."

    In this world of seemingly instant gratification, selfie culture, and Kardashian-esque "perfection," the temptation can be hard to ignore. Especially when those "after" images and ads come up mid-scroll.

    These aspirational images can absolutely influence whether someone wants to get work done in the first place, as well as who they choose to wield the knife. (A 2015 study found that 40% of patients said social media strongly influenced their choice of doctor.) Melissa found her surgeon through the Instagram of one of the stars of British reality show Love Island. “Having seen Olivia on the show and on Instagram, I thought she looked gorgeous," she says. "Then I saw that her cosmetic surgeon did the treatment, I wanted in the price bracket I wanted, and thought I would like to move forward with her."

    On my account I only use the original, untouched images, so patients can see a true representation of my work.

    UK-based cosmetic doctor Dr. Tijion Esho is a reality star in his own right: He has over 20,000 followers and stars on E4's Body Fixers. Speaking from his own experience, Dr. Esho emphasizes the importance of posting responsibly. “On my account I only use the original, untouched images, so patients can see a true representation of my work," he says. "I have seen many accounts where images have been altered using Instagram filters and apps, which give potential clients unrealistic expectations of the results which can be achieved.”

    “I also regularly share posts that explain procedures, including what can go wrong. This is important, as some accounts can trivialize procedures, leading to the patient not being prepared for the possible outcomes before booking their treatment,” Dr. Esho adds.

    Considering that the average age for those seeking cosmetic surgery has dropped dramatically over recent years, and the age restrictions on Instagram are limited to 13+, it’s particularly important to increase awareness and education of the dangers, and ensure that prospective patients do their due diligence in researching both the person and the clinic behind the marketing.

    “Any cosmetic or plastic-surgery social-media accounts advertising based on price should be seen as a red flag,” says the representative from Mya. “Low prices and time-limited offers — which are against UK marketing regulations for cosmetic surgery — should be clear signs of untrustworthy providers.”

    You just can't overestimate the importance of doing your research. Anyone who's considering plastic surgery should ensure they do some serious recon as opposed to a cursory Instagram stalk; looking at the pictures is not enough. After all, cosmetic surgery is for life, not just for a selfie — despite what our scrolling habits might suggest.

    *Names have been changed. This story originally appeared on Refinery29's UK site.

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    It's officially the holiday season, and the Girl Scouts have an important reminder: Girls don't owe anyone hugs, even on a special occasion. While parents might think it's polite to instruct their daughters to hug relatives they haven't seen recently or who gave them a gift, the group explained in a blog post that girls need to learn from an early age that they don't owe anyone physical contact.

    "Give your girl the space to decide when and how she wants to show affection," the posts says.

    Girl Scout developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald explained that what children learn from a young age sticks with them, which is why it's so important to teach girls that they're in charge of their own bodies.

    "The notion of consent may seem very grown-up and like something that doesn’t pertain to children," Dr. Archibald said in the post, "but the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older." She added, "Plus, sadly, we know that some adults prey on children, and teaching your daughter about consent early on can help her understand her rights, know when lines are being crossed, and when to go to you for help."

    Within the current national dialogue about sexual harassment and assault, it's worth also examining how society trains girls to think about their bodies in relation to others. Teaching young girls about consent — and that it applies to all types of physical contact — will help ensure that they know they don't owe anyone physical affection as an adult.

    As the Girls Scouts pointed out, there are plenty of other ways to show you appreciate someone's nice gesture besides giving them a hug. Let girls decide for themselves.

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    These days, people are DIY-ing just about everything — from jewelry to furniture and even skin-care products. It's become so popular that a recent article even dubbed Millennials "Generation DIY." I'm a proud Generation DIY-er myself, but despite my love of learning, I've mostly avoided the makeup realm. Whipping up face and hair masks in the kitchen, I can do — but creating a mascara or lipstick that actually looks good and lasts through the work day? The whole thing seems incredibly intimidating.

    So, in the spirit of challenging myself, I decided to try 5 days of only wearing makeup I made myself, following YouTube tutorials and recipes I found on Refinery29. First, I created my very own Lucie Lip Kit, a dupe modeled after one of my favorite lip products, the Kylie Lip Kit. I also discovered a surprising ingredient to fill in my brows (because, as many people out there can relate, I can't leave the house without doing my brows).

    The biggest challenge, though, might have been making my own eyeliner. Typically, I err on the side of caution when it comes to eyeliner and opt for basic black or brown shades. Recently, however, I've been inspired by the graphic, colorful eyeliner looks floating around the internet (and on the likes of a certain Mi-Anne Chan), so I decided to mix my own blue liner and swap out my typical black cat-eye. And you know what? It might just become my new go-to.

    So what did I learn? Well, it is actually quite easy to make your own makeup — I rarely used exact measurements and all the products turned out fairly wearable. Most importantly, however, I realized how much fun it is to play with color and swatches, and try out a new look for the first time. Watch my experiment above, and let me know what you think in the comments below.

    Editors' Note: Some of the ingredients used, including lavender oil, might be irritating to some skin types. Always do a patch test first or talk to your dermatologist before attempting a DIY makeup recipe.

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    Any Target shopper knows they will inevitably walk out with more than they intended to get every time they step foot in the store, and Britney Rager was no different. Except instead of a cart full of nail polish, coffee mugs, and picture frames, the 23-year-old found a husband in Target.

    Rager took a job as a cashier at Target to save up for a post-college move and quickly developed a crush on her coworker, Taylor Ray. "He made me laugh a lot — he’s probably the funniest person I’ve ever met," Rager told The Way We Met. "He quickly became my favorite co-worker, and even one of my closest friends."

    However, Rager, who was 23 years old didn't see romance in the future when she learned her crush was 18 and had just graduated high school, not college. Nevertheless, they remained friends, and Rager invited Ray to her house for a party, where (after some alcohol was consumed) he told her: "We’re going to get married one day."

    If you’re reading this, chances are you know what it’s like to walk into Target planning to purchase a few things, and then walking out with a million items you don’t need — except for the one item you came in for. Before you know it, you’re in a complete daze with a receipt down to your ankles. Britney Rager is one woman who’s quite familiar leaving Target with more than she ever expected. In 2012, she walked into the department store and hit the bull’s-eye (no pun intended). Britney had just graduated college and was saving up to move to California, where she could put her BA in Theater to good use. As soon as she graduated, she hit the ground running and applied for jobs everywhere she could. The first place to call her back was Target, offering her a position as a cashier— to which she gladly accepted. After a couple of weeks on the job, another new cashier was hired, and he started working at the register right next to her. His name was Taylor Ray, and, naturally, the two spent a lot of their down time chatting with each other. + “He’s probably the funniest person I’ve ever met. He quickly became my favorite co-worker, and even one of my closest friends. A lot of my friends moved away after college, so it was really nice having Taylor’s companionship.” -Britney + One of the first things they discovered they had in common was they both “just graduated.” However, Britney automatically assumed Taylor meant college, and never even thought to ask. She was completely shocked when she later found out that what he had meant was he only just graduated high school. Britney was disappointed because she had just started to develop feelings for Taylor. Now it felt like a romance between them was no longer possible. Britney was 23 at the time, while Taylor was only 18. Even though he was mature for his age, Britney couldn’t wrap her head around their age difference. But as the story goes, we make plans, and god laughs...and so does target. (For full story: click the link in my bio!)

    A post shared by The Way We Met (@thewaywemet) on

    His drunken proclamation turned out to be true, and the couple got engaged two years later. They just celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary Nov. 11. Rager and Ray are now 28 and 23, and though neither works at Target anymore, they certainly have a soft spot for the store. And their love story goes to show that sometimes the heart and the brain have different plans.

    "It took us a really long time to admit we wanted to be together because of our age gap, but now I realize how trivial that is in the grand scheme of things," Rager said. "I didn’t choose to fall in love with someone younger, it just happened."

    Rager and Ray are also proof that you can meet an awesome person anywhere — even Target. (Not that any of us ever doubted Target has anything and everything we could ever need.)

    They aren't the only one who found love at the store, either. Someone commented on the post that they also met their husband while they both worked at Target. "We married two years after meeting and have been married for 11 years now," Instagram user @ danell_will wrote. "Target will always be my favorite place to shop."

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