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Refinery29
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    With all the engagements, creative baby names, and Twitter debates, it seems like a lot is going on in the world of entertainment right now. But speedy unions and social media arguments aside, it seems that Hollywood has something else brewing — and it's following in the footsteps of Mexico's World Cup players. That's right: Just about everyone is going blonde right now.

    Sure, the look will always be popular, but it really started trending again just days before 2018 when stars like Halsey and Serena Williams went under the bleach bowl. And although the tennis superstar might be back to brown already, the momentum has continued well into summer. Check out the latest stars to jump aboard the trend, ahead.

    Demi Lovato

    With the European leg of her Tell Me You Love Me tour coming to an end, Demi decided to use her time off to make some new changes. The hair chameleon dyed her hair a drastically light color with the help of stylists Amber Maynard Bolt and Anthony Holguin at Nine Zero One salon.

    Instagram Stories/Demi Lovato

    Pete Davidson

    Tattoos aren't the only thing solidifying Pete and Ariana Grande's love. The comedian recently got a blonde hair transformation and Ari gave her fiancé the seal of approval on Instagram.

    Photo: Robert Kamau/GC Images..

    LaLa Anthony

    We're used to the Power actress with brunette locks, but her platinum hue is just as beautiful. A purple shampoo is key for fighting brassy tones, whether you've dyed your own hair or are rocking extensions.

    @lala

    Zayn Malik

    While we don't know what to expect next from Zayn's relationship with Gigi Hadid, we know we can look forward to more of his 2018 dye job.

    @zayn

    Amber Rose

    In November, Amber Rose told Us Weekly that she wanted to grow her hair long enough to make a ponytail... but that she'd be staying blonde. Months later, she's sticking to her word.

    @amberrose

    Charlie Puth

    Charlie had fans doing a double take at the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards when he hit the red carpet with platinum blonde hair. The singer has darkened his hair up a bit since, but still remains on the blonder side.

    @charlieputh

    Sophie Turner

    Major life changes — like being engaged to a Jonas brother — calls for major hair changes. The Game of Thrones actress and fiancée of Joe traded in her dyed blonde hair for an even lighter, icy blonde.

    @sophiet

    Rihanna

    The makeup mogul nonchalantly debuted a long blonde wig with the lace visible on her forehead on Instagram. While she hasn't shown us the final look, we know she'll slay per usual.

    Lily Allen

    Lily proves that she doesn't need her usual pastel pink hair to stand out. The singer stunned when she went for a more classic look for for Paris Couture Week, attending the Chanel show with blonde hair.

    @lilyallen

    Rita Ora

    After debuting a fiery red, Rita Ora went back to her signature blonde last month. Pro tip: You'll need a good deep conditioner to make this kind of change less damaging at home.

    @ritaora

    Lucy Liu

    The Charlie's Angel has maintained her long, black signature hair for years, but recently dropped a bomb when she went blonde for the Obie Awards. Making the debut even more epic, Lucy captioned her new hair photo, "Flip it and reverse it" — the best use of the Missy Elliot lyric.

    Photo: Jamie McCarthy/WireImage..

    Ashley Tisdale

    The actress traded in her brunette ombré for an even lighter hue with the help of celebrity hair colorist Justin Anderson. If you want to go blonde, but dread the regrowth of your dark roots, dying your hair lighter but keeping your roots visible is the perfect combo for low-maintenance.

    @ashleytisdale

    Solange Knowles

    If there is one person who's been owning blonde hair in 2018, it's Solange. Trying out different lengths and protective styles with her new hair color, she proves that the look works on any look you can dream up.

    Photo: Mireya Acierto/Getty Images..

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    Sunscreen lotions — albeit totally necessary — can be a menace. The constant reapplication, that greasy feeling, the subsequent breakouts, and that lingering smell all day are inevitabilities when you're trying to protect your skin when out in the sun.

    Thankfully, there is a way to protect your skin that doesn't involve any of the above: powder sunscreens. Made from highly refined minerals, these powders offer a high level of broad-spectrum protection, according to dermatologist Annie Chiu, MD. Most SPF powders are comprised of titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and iron oxide particles — the same ingredients you will find in many traditional SPF lotions. "The iron oxide and titanium dioxide particles are large molecular structures that help block infrared rays and keep skin cool," Dr. Chiu says. The powder creates a physical block over top of your skin, shielding it from UV rays by not allowing them to penetrate through.

    In addition, Dr. Chiu says powders have particles that vary in size, which means they can fill in any "gaps" and provide more complete protection. "I often see that around the nose or by the hairline can be missed by creams or lotion SPF coverage, but powders can easily be blended into these areas," she says.

    We were skeptical at first — if the powder just sits on top of your skin instead of absorbing into it, how does it not just wipe off the minute you walk outside or touch your face? "A well-made, high-integrity mineral powder sunscreen will stay in place because of the particle size," says Dr. Chiu. She adds that the skin's natural oils also help it adhere to the skin. That said, she recommends that you should still reapply every two to three hours, or after swimming or sweating. She also notes that because the powder sits on top of your skin, it's important to make sure your other skin care products are completely dry and absorbed into the skin before you apply your powder. Otherwise, your protection may not be as effective.

    Now, you may have heard some chatter recently about SPF powders posing a health risk due to inhalation. Says Dr. Chiu: "There was some concern in the media that nanoparticles were of such a small size they could be absorbed into the skin or inhaled and cause problems down the line. Most cosmetic companies sheer their sunscreen particles into various sizes that are well above the nanoparticle range, to not penetrate the skin or be dangerous if inhaled."

    We're big fans of SPF powders because they make sunscreen protection so damn easy. You don't need to wait around for it to absorb in order to be effective, you can apply it multiple times throughout the day without getting greasy or messing up your makeup, and it is super-portable so you can pop one in your purse and know that you always have sun protection handy.

    Since you're now seriously familiar with the beauty of powder sunscreen, we've gone ahead and rounded up 11 of our faves for your browsing pleasure. Stock up now, people — those UV rays mean business.

    Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 30, $50.00, available at Colorescience.

    Jane Iredale Powder-Me-SPF Dry Sunscreen, $47.00, available at Jane Iredale.

    Peter Thomas Roth Oily Problem Skin Instant Mineral Powder SPF 30, $30.00, available at Sephora.

    Susan Posnick Brush On Block SPF 30 Mineral Powder Sunscreen, $32.00, available at Susan Posnick.

    Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Airbrushing Loose Powder SPF 30, $13.99, available at Ulta Beauty.

    Sweat Cosmetics Twist-Brush + Translucent Mineral Powder SPF 30, $42.00, available at Sweat Cosmetics.

    ILIA Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20, $30.00, available at Net-A-Porter.

    Supergoop 100% Mineral Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45, $30.00, available at Sephora.

    Tarte Tarteguard Mineral Powder Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $28.00, available at Sephora.

    Derma E Sun Protection Mineral Face Powder by Ash Deleon SPF 30, $21.95, available at Ulta Beauty.

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    I Tried To Make My Entire Beauty Routine Plastic-Free — Here's What Happened

    14 Masks That Will Make Your Skin Look Better Overnight

    How To Take Care Of Sensitive Skin, According To Top Derms


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    At the beginning of this year, I tried food shopping without plastic. It was difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Six months later, I’m still making an effort to use markets more, and choose non-plastic options at the supermarket when I can. But what my zero-waste week really highlighted most was how much our everyday lives are wrapped up — quite literally — in plastic.

    Our beauty and hygiene routines are one of the best examples of this. My bathroom shelves — and extra storage in my bedroom — are lined with lotions and potions, the majority of which are housed in plastic bottles, many of which are single use.

    On a wider scale, the beauty industry is one of the worst culprits when it comes to ocean- damaging plastic. We may have woken up to the destructive effects of microbeads, but the beauty world is still riddled with products causing pollution problems. Face wipes take over 100 years to biodegrade, and make up 93% of the material in the fatbergs clogging up our sewers. Glitter, essentially just tiny microplastics, is ending up in our oceans and killing wildlife, and we’ve seen the tragic image of the seahorse clutching a Q-tip often enough to know that cotton buds are not eco-friendly. Similarly, most of the personal hygiene and beauty products available in our shops are packaged in plastic — unsurprising, when it’s so cheap and convenient.

    However, change is afoot, with a number of new brands offering plastic-free solutions and existing brands switching up their packaging methods. To see how viable it would be to remove plastic from my beauty routine, I tried it for one week. This is how it went.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF ELIZABETH BENNETT

    Day One

    I’m working from home this week, but contrary to popular belief, I do get showered and dressed every day. (Well, nearly.) I’ve swapped my usual shower stuff (shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner) for solid and plastic-free alternatives from naked-packaging pioneers Lush. Ideally I would artfully place these in some overpriced Anthropologie dishes around the bathtub, but when you live in a shared house and are low on space, this isn’t an option. Instead, I stuff them in a spare Tupperware box in the corner. I don’t tend to use foaming shower gels as I have sensitive skin, so I have no qualms about bar soap, but it’s definitely a little bit more of a hassle to use than simply squeezing a liquid out of a bottle.

    Same goes for the shampoo and conditioner bars, which are slippery and make a bit of a mess when wet. I’m impressed with the results, though, and find my hair to be just as clean and conditioned. That said, I’m lucky because my hair is pretty well-behaved; for those with thicker or more complex hair needs, these bars might not do the job.

    Skin care is a different story. To keep it short, my skin type is super sensitive and combination. I have eczema on and off, but recently my main issue has been dealing with breakouts and controlling shine again after coming off the pill (the joy of hormones). I keep my regimen pretty minimal, and while I love trying new products, what works for me is keeping it streamlined. Luckily, this fits well with going plastic-free.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF ELIZABETH BENNETT

    First up I give cult-favorite French brand Gallinée’s Cleansing Bar a try. Designed for sensitive skin, this is soap-free and rich in probiotics; it quickly melts into a milky consistency and leaves skin feeling clean but nourished. I then follow up with a few drops of an old favorite, Vanderohe’s No.1 Nourishing Face Serum. This does-it-all serum is pricy, but a little goes a long way, and the packaging is completely plastic-free. For lip balm, I use BYBI’s Babe Balm, in a tube made from sugar cane. I love this product, and it’s a great one to have in the plastic-free arsenal as it’s a multitasker — ideal for flaky patches, cuticles, and even as an eyeshadow base.

    For deodorant I use Aesop’s Herbal Roll-On — not entirely plastic-free, but the bottle is glass and the lid is recyclable plastic so much better than my usual Dove. On the downside, it’s ten times the price. The packaging is definitely shelfie-worthy and I love the scent — a classic botanical blend — but I’m intrigued to see if it’s effective in the current sweaty weather.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF ELIZABETH BENNETT

    I brush my teeth with a Humble Co. Toothbrush and Lush’s Limelight Toothy Tabs. Toothbrushes are one of the worst culprits of single-use plastic but this bamboo brush will biodegrade in six months. This swap is so seamless, it makes me wonder why I hadn't switched earlier. The toothpaste tabs are trickier: Unlike normal toothpaste, you bite one to create a foam in your mouth, then brush your teeth. Strange at first... but they do leave your mouth feeling fresh. Plus, they come in recycled plastic bottles or metal tins.

    Day Two

    I spent another day working at home, but I'm off to the pub tonight so I put on a bit of makeup. I start with the RMS Un-Cover Concealer, an old favorite of mine that happens to be packaged in glass. This is great for evening out skin tone and covering redness, but not so much for major breakouts. For my eyeshadow, mascara, and bronzer I use Kjaer Weis. This brand is really leading the way with its anti-plastic ethos; all of the products come in chic metal packaging that you can buy refills for.

    I’m impressed by the eyeshadow and mascara, but the bronzer is a bit disappointing — the color payoff really isn’t there. For brushes I use Eco Tools, which are made from recycled bamboo, recycled aluminum, and some recycled plastic. These are just as good as my Real Techniques ones, and are an easy (and no more expensive) switch.

    What this challenge has made me realize pretty quickly is that the majority of plastic-free options are from naturally formulated brands. It's understandable, really, but I think there’s definitely a growing number of people who want to reduce their plastic consumption but don’t necessarily want to use 100% natural products.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF ELIZABETH BENNETT

    I would normally take my makeup off with micellar water and cotton pads before cleansing with a flannel, but with cotton pads being non-biodegradable I need an alternative. I double-cleanse both times using a flannel, first with the Gallinée Cleansing Bar and then Tata Harper's Regenerating Cleanser. Using both together successfully removes makeup and cleanses my skin, but using a washcloth to remove stubborn eye makeup is annoying. I google biodegradable cotton pads and place an order.

    Day Three

    I'm out and about in town for meetings today and realize I don’t have a plastic-free SPF product. Because most of the zero-waste beauty brands I've been using are natural-focused, finding a high-factor, full-spectrum SPF for this category is difficult. In fact, even after an expensive search I couldn’t find anything to fit the bill. For the time being I resort to using my usual from The Body Shop.

    Day Four

    PHOTO COURTESY OF ELIZABETH BENNETT

    My solid-bar showering routine is going well, but I do find that as the bars disintegrate they become messier to use. I’m pleased to find that one of my go-to products, Pai’s Gentle Genius Body Wash, comes in plastic-free packaging — 100% biodegradable sugar cane bioplastic, at that. It shows that there are ways brands can do their part without changing the user’s experience, or forcing them to seek it out for themselves.

    Day Five

    I make another plastic-free slip-up and realize I don't have a razor alternative — I normally use a Venus razor with changeable heads. This is one step better than disposable razors, as you just have to replace the blades, but I realize in the future I would be better off buying a safety razor. It's certainly an investment, but it'll be worth it in the long run.

    Day Six

    We're in the middle of a heat wave and I plan to spend all day in the park. Unfortunately, this means reverting back to my old deodorant, because the Aesop one isn’t going to cut it. I take my makeup off using the new biodegradable cotton pads and the Garnier micellar water I have. Garnier has a partnership with TerraCycle, which means that all their non-aerosol packaging can be recycled. I use the Gallinée bar as a second cleanse and follow up with the Vanderohe serum — my skin seems to be really liking this simple combo.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF ELIZABETH BENNETT

    Day Seven

    Despite the hot weather, I finish the weekend with a bath and add a few drops of one of my much-loved bath oils to the tub. The Neal’s Yard Soothing Bath Oil is a sleep-inducing lavender-based blend and is housed in a glass bottle that can be turned into a great vase when finished.

    What I Learned

    Much like I discovered with my waste-free food experiment, implementing a zero-waste beauty routine is more expensive and more hassle. The choice of plastic-free beauty products is certainly improving, but you do have to go out of your way to find them. Most are online or through special retailers so it’s not as simple as popping into the drugstore or throwing things in your basket at the supermarket. Products tend to be pricier, too, and while many will save you money in the long term (like the razor or refillable makeup compacts), it’s an investment upfront.

    The easiest swaps for me were definitely the solid shower bars. They're a little messy, but it’s worth it, considering they use no packaging whatsoever. With skin care and makeup I’m always going to be picky, and while the choice of products with plastic-free packaging is growing, options are still relatively limited. But with the awareness of plastic pollution spreading, hopefully this means more beauty brands will think twice about their environmental impact and use more planet-friendly packaging — and give us all more options for saving the earth without sacrificing our existing routines.

    This story was originally published on Refinery29 UK.

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    Dealing with acne can feel like a never-ending cycle: As soon as one breakout disappears, a new one seems to pop up in its place. What can be even more disheartening, though, is investing in a fancy (read: $$$) skin-care routine only to come up short — in both results and in change. Because let's be real, for those with acne-prone skin, you already know that the struggle is real.

    That's why we've rounded up our favorite Target skin-care buys that'll help heal your worst acne woes, saving you the time and money it takes to get your most efficient routine together. From an alcohol-free toner infused with hydrating rose water to oil-controlling charcoal dots that'll zap zits overnight, here are seven of our favorite acne-fighting beauty buys. Oh, and did we mention that not one of these items is over $14? So while dealing with acne can be a pain (literally), finding a solution doesn't have to be.

    Skip that K-beauty double cleanse (we're looking at you, oil-based formulas), and clear up pores with a gently exfoliating face wash instead, like this citrusy option from Neutrogena. With invigorating grapefruit extracts, pore-penetrating salicylic acid, and complexion-brightening vitamin C, this foaming scrub not only helps wash away dead skin cells and excess sebum, but it also smooths skin's surface without leaving it feeling tight or dry.

    Neutrogena, $7.99, available at Target

    You say tomato, we say anti-inflammatory, free-radical-fighting antioxidant. Pop one of these powerful dots directly onto a pimple overnight, and wake up with a dramatically diminished bump in the a.m. Packed with ingredients like charcoal to vacuum up pores and tomato extract to control oil production and protect against pollutants, these targeted stick-ons are like magical healing bandaids. So while you might look like a work of contemporary art going to bed covered in red and black dots, your skin is in for a total renaissance come morning.

    Yes To, $8.99, available at Target

    Anyone with super-sensitive skin will love this ultra-soothing organic toner. Infused with calming rose water and witch hazel extract (a natural astringent), this restorative mist helps reduce redness and clear out impurities, all while leaving your skin feeling (somehow, impossibly) more plump and well nourished afterwards. It's worth mentioning, too, that the spray bottle makes for super hygienic application.

    Thayers, $10.95, available at Target

    Leave your blotting papers at home — you won't be needing them after using this weightless, oil-banishing mist in the morning. The water-based, silicone-free primer from e.l.f. contains hydrating cucumber and vitamins B and E to refresh skin and prep pores for an all-day matte finish post makeup.

    e.l.f, $8, available at Target

    What's better than clearing current breakouts while simultaneously preventing future ones? Nothing, TBH. That's why this no-fuss, multipurpose moisturizer from Clean & Clear is one of our top-shelf essentials. Its selling point? It features 0.5% salicylic acid for that satisfying deep cleanse and oil-free hydrators for a baby-soft finish.

    Clean & Clear, $4.99, available at Target

    A skin-care conundrum: Can you clear up acne and maintain a natural glow at the same time? The trick is finding an oil-free serum — like this lightweight option from Pacifica — that'll give you a burst of hydration but won't ever cross the line from glowy to greasy. Apply a pea-size amount of the hyaluronic- and pineapple-extract-packed formula before makeup and you'll be able to feel your skin thank you. Another thing to feel good about? It's 100% vegan and cruelty free.

    Pacifica, $13.99, available at Target

    This restorative gel treatment is a major power player in the acne-fighting arena. Unlike a spot treatment, you apply this topical gel in a thin layer all over your face to banish blemishes and revive skin's overall tone and texture. (You can thank the prescription-strength retinoid for that.) And for a product so powerful, it's still gentle enough to use every day. Add this drugstore gem to your nighttime regimen to KO your skin's toughest (even cystic) components.

    Differin, $11.19, available at Target

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    As honest as we all want to be about our financial situations, sometimes a little white lie creeps in every now and then: Maybe you can't afford that dinner your friends are going to, and it's less embarrassing to say you have the flu. Or, maybe you slightly exaggerate your paycheck to friends in either direction, so no one knows you're the worst paid — or even highest paid — of the bunch.

    Talking about money is awkward, and no one gets it right 100% of the time. But it's easier to learn from those mistakes when you reflect on them. So, we asked our readers: What's the biggest money lie you've ever told?

    The biggest lie I've ever told about my spending habits...

    "My husband and I make over $120,000 a year and have over $40,000 in savings, but I always tell coworkers 'sorry, I'm broke' when they want to get lunch. I don't want to spend $10 on a sandwich when I can eat the one I brought from home! It just feels silly to me." —Becca, 24

    "I spend a good amount of money on things like food, drinkware, and stationery, so I take the price tags off the things I buy before I go home, just in case my mom asks how much something is. And the answer is always 'mahal' ('expensive' in Tagalog), so she knows better than to ask again." —Aines, 27

    "My mom told me to buy a piece of salmon for dinner. I went to the local market, which is high quality but very expensive. I told the guy at the fish counter that I wanted a piece of salmon and pointed at the first one I saw, without checking the price. After he picked it up and weighed it, I realized it was wild and freshly caught — one piece for $30!!!!! He had already wrapped it up for me, so I just went ahead and paid for it. I later told my mom that it was 'too expensive' without mentioning a price. If she checked her credit card statement, my plan was just to tell her I bought some other stuff along with the salmon." —Liza, 21

    "How much I spent while studying abroad. I supported myself through college, and having experiences abroad was important to me. Some people may view the expenses I incurred as absurd — it really was a lot. But I firmly believe that the experience was transformative, and it was my decision to make. " —Andrea, 22

    The biggest lie I've ever told about loans and debt...

    "Student loans are really embarrassing to me. I have about $130,000 in student loans and when people ask, I just say I have a lot. My mom doesn’t even know how much. My husband is the only one. I say that I have about $100,000, and even that makes people feel bad for me. I just chalk it up to having a bachelor's and two master's degrees. " —Rebekah, 28

    "My parents paid for my entire education, so I have no student loans. But I feel very awkward around my friends who complain about their loans, so I lie and agree with them that paying back loans is the worst. " —Julia, 25

    "How much credit card debt I had — when I first met my now husband (who has never had credit card debt), I told him a significantly lower number. I paid it off before we got married." —Samantha, 29

    "Not disclosed my debt (to friends/family), which at the time was around $40,000." —Brooke, 29

    The biggest lie I've ever told when it comes to paying for housing...

    "My lucky and fortunate boyfriend owns our $1.2 million apartment and I live rent-free, but I tell everyone we rent our place from an out-of-state landlord for $3,500 a month. This sounds better, considering we're only 24, and I don't want other people to feel uncomfortable about it, especially if they look up the price." —Sarah, 24

    "I told my parents the money they were giving me for our down payment wasn’t going towards debt, but I ended up having to use some of it to pay down debt, otherwise I wouldn’t have qualified for my mortgage. " —Candice, 35

    The biggest lie I've ever told about receiving or giving family financial assistance...

    "That we didn't have the money to 'loan' a relative who had 'borrowed' from us twice before and never paid back." —Courtney, 31

    "My in-laws asked to borrow a large sum of money to pay for an attorney for my brother-in-law regarding custody of his child with the child’s mother. We didn't agree with the circumstances, and said we didn’t have the money. To be honest, we had great concern about their ability to pay it back." —Vivi, 36

    "I lie about my parents helping me pay for everything while I'm living at home. I quit my corporate job and moved home to start my own business a couple of months ago. I used all of my savings (and then some) for the costs of setting up an LLC, advertising, getting a space ready, and more. My friends think I do everything on my own, and at this point I feel like I can't let them know the truth, because none of them get financial help from their parents. One of my friend's parents even charge him rent for living in their home. I'm in a completely different situation and trying my best to gather enough money so that I can be financially independent, because I not only feel guilty for lying, I also need my parents to stop watching all of my spending habits so closely. I feel like I'm 14 again. " —Emily, 23

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    The number of stories from Black models who are turned away from runway castings continues to grow, as do accounts of models who are confirmed for shows, but don't actually end up walking. That’s why we celebrate firsts — like Louis Vuitton having a Black model open its spring 2018 show for the first time in its 163-year history, or Comme des Garçons casting Black models for the first time ever, or the fact that last February’s Fashion Month saw the most models of color walk (as did this past couture season). It reminds us that, albeit slowly, the fashion industry is making a real effort to be more diverse and inclusive — it also makes us more conscious of when brands get (or don’t get) something right.

    When a casting director tells you they don’t want any Afros or women of color...you STILL show them just how powerful you are. YOU. CANT. BREAK. US!! ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• #naturalhairdaily #luvyourmane #teamnatural #blackgirlsrock #brownskinbeauty #queen #blackqueen #4cnaturalhair #4bhair #melaninpoppin #MelaninSummer #flawless #darkskin #Darkskinwomen #blackgirlsrock #womanism #blackwomen #essence #instafashion #melanin #darkskinblackgirls #blackqueen #thedarkerthebetter #blackwomenbelike #curls #Afro #brownskingirls @blackwomenarepoppin @blackslayingit @darkskin.blackgirls #swimsuit #sunkissed #kinkycurly #swimsuit #swimwear #miamiswimweek

    A post shared by JOIA TALBOTT 💋 (@joiajohn) on

    On Monday, we saw the dark side of modeling, when Racked reported that Black models had been turned away from Miami Swim Week castings. Though the article did not explicitly name which brand was responsible, it did include first-hand accounts from multiple models, including Joia Talbott. “They told us they didn’t want any more Black models and that afros were a no-no,” one model said in a video posted to Facebook. “They was definitely not feeling my afro at all, so I didn’t stand a chance, right? Wow. We’re ready to go back to L.A., where we’re appreciated, and we book.”

    After reaching out to several agencies and models who worked with Miami Fashion Week, Refinery29 confirmed that the brand in question was California-based label KYA Swim. Designed by Kylie Genesoto, the line is known for its reversible swimwear and has fans like celebrity hair stylist and OUAI founder Jen Atkin. Of her experience, Talbott recalls that its casting director pointed at her afro and said: “your hair — no!” At the time, she said she respected the decision on behalf of the brand. “Everyone hasn’t caught onto our natural beauty yet, and you can’t blame them,” Talbott tells Refinery29. “You want what you want, fine.” But it was when the casting director reportedly said “no more dark skin” that Talbott became upset. The model stresses that her anger isn’t because she didn’t get cast in the show; it’s because of how the casting director spoke to her. “People are saying on social media that this is the nature of the business and I’m just mad that I didn’t get chosen,” she explains. “That’s not it at all. You get told no every day in this industry.”

    Talbott isn’t alone in her sentiments. Model Kate Citron tells Refinery29 that she has a great relationship with Miami Swim Week and its brands (excluding KYA Swim). “I want to defend Black models, but I am also going to protect my clients as well as myself,” she notes, adding that she believes this particular designer/brand deserves blame for having a narrow-minded view on equality. She continued: “Whether it was for our skin tone or because we genuinely 'didn’t fit the look,' what the designer was looking for remains a mystery."

    Another Black model, who goes by Claire B, says that when she showed up at the casting, she was told KYA Swim was only looking for short white models with blonde hair. Like Talbott and Citron, she notes that she wasn’t offended by the casting choice (“It’s okay not to fit the client’s criteria”). “I don’t think Miami Swim Week is discriminating against anyone,” Claire B stresses. “I think it’s KYA Swim.”

    Model Fig O’Reilly (who is a full-time coder for NASA when she isn't modeling) also attended the KYA Swim casting and says one thing she’s noticed since she started modeling five years ago is something of a blame game: agencies blame their clients, who then blame their customers. “I’m not particularly sure who started it, I just know that it has to end,” she says.

    Ladies leave ya man at home 🦋💘💎

    A post shared by F I G O ' R E I L L Y 🌹 (@figoreilly) on

    After speaking with multiple models, we reached out to KYA Swim for comment and were provided with the following statement: “Everyone at KYA Swim is deeply disturbed by the allegations brought by Joia Talbott and other models about the casting event at Miami Swim Week,” a spokesperson for the brand said. “KYA Swim is proud of its record of diversity and we are in the midst of looking into the events of last Thursday to review the actions of the production company in charge of the casting call.”

    If KYA Swim really has a record of diversity, it isn’t reflected in its Miami Swim Week shows, nor is it reflected on its website or social media platforms. In 2018, a brand should consider its online presence, particularly its Instagram account, as a reflection of not just a company’s ethos, but its targeted demographic. At the time of publishing, KYA Swim’s Instagram feed shows no more than five Black women (including stars like Gabrielle Union and Simone Biles) since 2017.

    It feels easy to pass the blame when these things happen, but the reality is: These things do happen and they’re still happening. But, at the same time, it should be acknowledged that most shows at Miami Swim Week featured a diverse lineup of models — and people should be talking about that, too. What happened at KYA Swim’s casting call should not be tolerated, but it also reminds us that a push for a more inclusive industry can only be successful when all designers are on board.

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    On Thursday, Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America released the official lineup for its annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition. And it's good.

    For those who may not be familiar with the program, the Fund is a high-stakes search for America's next big ready-to-wear designer. Think of it as not a race, nor its own sport, but a type of ready-to-wear tournament that has the power to influence the industry in a big way. It's responsible for launching names like Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, and more. And, since its inception, it has granted over $5.9 million to over 35 companies. Throughout the next few months, the 10 finalists will compete for a grand prize of $400,000 and a yearlong mentorship by CFDA designers and executives. Last year's winner was gender neutral, rule-breaking New York brand Telfar.

    This year's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalists are: Batsheva (Batsheva Hay), Bode (Emily Adams Bode), Christian Cowan (Christian Cowan), Hunting Season (Danielle Corona), Jonathan Cohen (Jonathan Cohen and Sarah Leff), Luar (Raul Lopez), Matthew Adams Dolan (Matthew Adams Dolan), Pyer Moss (Kerby Jean-Raymond), Rebecca de Ravenel (Rebecca de Ravenel), and Scosha (Scosha Woolridge). The designers were chosen by a committee of judges made up of Vogue staffers and industry professionals that includes Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, Andrew Rosen, Mark Holgate, Nicole Phelps, Roopal Patel, Jeffrey Kalinsky, Eva Chen, and Joseph Altuzarra (2011's winner).

    Of this year's list, Wintour said, "This year’s ten finalists will more than ably follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before them. They’re not only talented, they’re engaged with a rapidly changing world, reflecting a whole new set of values and beliefs about what fashion can and should be." CFDA president and CEO Steven Kolb echoed her statement, underscoring how big of an opportunity the Fund is for young designers: "For the past 15 years, the CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund has transformed American fashion by creating a path for emerging designers to find success in the business of fashion. The program has had global impact and inspired other fashion capitals to put a focus on emerging talent."

    The next few months will see the designers working harder than ever before, going over their collections with the judges in their respective studios, and on November 5, two runners up and a winner will be announced. The runners up will receive $150,000 each, including mentorships. See you at the finish line!

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    Age ain't nothin' but a number, or so says Yusra Siddiqui, a precocious New York teen whose refreshing take on collegiate style (which provides plenty of inspiration for our "grown-up" wardrobes, too) made her an instant follow when we came across her on social media recently. While looking to the youth for the next big thing is nothing new, what's often left out is the part where we give proper credit where credit is due. But not this time, as we recognize and laud two Gen Z'ers and local college students who abandoned the stereotypical campus uniform of nondescript leggings and a Uni tee in favor of their own unique aesthetic. There's Yusra, who honors her Pakistani heritage while also incorporating elements of athleisure and vintage into her everyday outfits, and Rachelle Vinberg, the ringleader of all-girl skateboarding group Skate Kitchen, who nails the gender-neutral, laid-back look necessary to hit kick flips and rail grinds on the way to class.

    Jump ahead to see these young women show off the next wave of back-to-school trends with items from H&M 's newest collection, while waxing poetic on how they're spending their summer and recharging for the semester ahead. From this side of the table, being a student in 2018 looks pretty rad.

    Rachelle Vinberg, 19, Brooklyn College

    What have you been up to this summer?
    "I've been traveling around skating and premiering the new movie I filmed last summer, Skate Kitchen. Everyone's really liked it so far. We've been to London, Taipei, Chicago, San Francisco, and Austin. L.A. is coming up, and we'll be touring through September."

    Whoa! How did you get involved with that?
    "Well I've been skating since I was 12, and my friend Nina and I made our own crew called Skate Kitchen. We made an Instagram for it, and it just became our thing."

    I imagine your style choices have to be functional and comfortable so you can move freely while skateboarding. Are there any no-gos when it comes to dressing for that?
    "There’s no way I’m going to skate in skinny jeans."

    What does the ideal skate outfit look like then?
    "Baggy jeans, a cropped T-shirt that I probably cut myself, thick white socks, and skate shoes. You can't skate in anything other than sneakers or you'll break your ankle."

    Does your style change from that when you're dressing for class?
    "Not at all. I bring my board with me every single day. I'd say my style is pretty laid-back; I don’t know how to dress up. I gravitate towards menswear because it’s more comfortable — we used to look at what the guys wore but now they're making more gender-neutral stuff we can wear."

    You have quite the following on Instagram. Has social media impacted your style choices at all?
    "There's exposure to a bunch of different styles all the time. I definitely get inspired from that and incorporate what I see into my own style."

    What trend or silhouette are you feeling for back to school?
    "Yellow for sure. It's just a bright color like the sun, the morning rising. It's like starting something new. It’s a happy color."

    How are you able to balance your social life and this huge passion project as a full-time student?
    "That’s definitely hard. This past spring, I tried to put all of my classes on two days and do shoots on the other days. Time management is something I'm still learning."

    What do you hope to do after school?
    "I don’t know what I want to do, like a lot of other 19-year-olds. I'm studying film but I'm still figuring it out."

    Yusra Siddiqui, 19, LIM College

    How are you spending your summer break?
    "I've had internships nonstop since high school, working at NYLON, for bridal designer Jenny Yoo, and for a PR and marketing firm in NYC. I've been exhausting myself. So this is my first summer not working. As much as I love my career path, it was especially important to give myself a break and recharge. I try to have moments of self care every day. And I've been traveling a bit, too."

    What are some of the recent trips you've taken?
    "I went to Guatemala in January, California a few months ago, and Chicago and Dallas this summer, so a lot of domestic trips as of late. I'm hoping to go to Pakistan this year — it's where my parents grew up."

    Does your style shift when you travel?
    "Oh yeah, it's super weather dependent. I also do research on places I want to go because I'm a very detailed itinerary person. That way I can feel the vibe of a place and match my style to where I’m going. When I’m traveling, I love learning from other people. In Guatemala for instance, color is a huge thing. I tried to learn from their heritage and it helped me style everything in a more colorful way."

    What elements are important to you in creating a great outfit?
    "Comfort is key, especially as a college student. In high school I wore crazy things like heels, but now I always wear sneakers. I try to keep it as editorial as possible though, mixing athleisure with vintage pieces. I never want to be wasteful, so when I shop I always imagine all the ways I can wear [something] before buying it."

    How would you describe your go-to outfit for class?
    "Easy: an ankle-length dress and Nike Air Forces."

    You make dressing modestly look so effortless and chic. Is that something you make a conscious effort to do?
    "Modest dressing is definitely a little tricky because I have to put a lot of thought into each look to ensure I hit all the points: It covers, it’s comfy, and it’s chic. Sometimes it’s hard to hit all three, but it comes down to constant brainstorming and style researching. My faith has always been extremely important to me and is worth the extra time it takes to put an outfit together. I want someone to see me and know what I stand for, as I have always seen clothing as a way to reflect my personality."

    Has social media impacted your style at all?
    "When you open Instagram, everyone's posting their outfits and doing what they want. So what I've taken from that is you should wear what you want and not worry what other people think of you."

    What fall trends are you excited to test out once school is back in session?
    "Pops of prints and color. Last year was all about neutrals, so I'm excited to try new patterns this semester."

    What’s the hardest thing about being a student in 2018?
    "Some people don’t take you seriously if you say you're in college. I've worked hard and have had a ton of internships, but some people just see me as a teenager. It's just an age though — your experience is what matters. This generation is the one that's going to be the future. If you shut us down now, what do you expect to come from us when we're older?"

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    Even in the crazy world of Hollywood, Amanda Seyfried is a true enigma. While other A-listers constantly step out to shock and awe, bleaching their hair on Monday and reverting back to brown for the weekend (hello, headlines), Seyfried's steadfast, signature look often falls just below our radar — but it shouldn't.

    Between her carefully tousled waves or the subtle makeup tricks she uses to enhance her blue eyes, Seyfried is a lesson in knowing what works for you — and leaning into it hard. In fact, she regularly relies on five key tricks to keep herself looking glowing.

    In honor of tomorrow's premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, we're taking a moment to round up the trends that the actress wears so well. Check them out, ahead.

    Old Hollywood Waves

    Rivaling Kate Middleton in shine, Seyfried's long blonde hair is regularly styled into loose, glossy waves, deep-parted to the side, and spilling over one shoulder. Major Rapunzel-meets-Old Hollywood vibes.

    Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images.

    In her years as a red carpet regular, Seyfried's never veered far from her signature long layers — much to her chagrin. "I would love to chop the fuck out of my hair," the actress revealed in a 2014 interview with Allure. "I want to chop it to my shoulders, and then I want bangs," she continued, adding that her beauty contracts keep her from going through with it. "But I don't think Clé de Peau would be into anything super drastic of a change. And I really respect them."

    Photo: Jun Sato/Getty Images.

    Peachy Pink Lips

    In the same interview, Seyfried admitted that she loves her naturally plump lips, preferring to put a subtle emphasis on her pout instead of her eyes. "I see a lot of women plumping their lips and I think, Thank God I was born with them, because I'd probably want to do that same," she says. "It's kind of striking."

    Photo: Paul Zimmerman/WireImage.

    Seyfried's go-to makeup artist, Pati Dubroff, tends to keep Seyfried's lips natural looking, with a soft, peachy pink color that has a slightly glossy finish.

    Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

    Matching Shadow

    To pick up on Seyfried's signature eyeshadow look, you have to have an eye for detail. Though the length of her hair stays long, the blonde color varies slightly between bright golden highlights and grown-out roots, and depending on her of-the-moment hair shade, she finds a eyeshadow tone to match. Here, we see that her sunny blonde curls pair perfectly with her sparkly bronze shadow.

    Photo: Frazer Harrison/FilmMagic.

    And when her hair goes darker at the roots, she plays with deeper, cooler shadow shades to pull the look together.

    Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images.

    Orange-Red lips

    If Seyfried dramatizes one element of her beauty look, it's always her lips. She'll define them with a bright, glossy red color — which proves dramatic against her fair complexion and light eyes.

    Photo: Barry King/FilmMagic.

    Red lipstick is a mainstay in Hollywood, but unlike the blue-based reds may actresses love, Seyfried sticks to an orange-based hue for a brighter, eye-catching result.

    Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic.

    Fair brows

    While many stars have embraced a darker, thicker look as the bushy brow trend's gained traction, Seyfried's maintained her lighter, more defined shape. To keep her arches from disappearing into her forehead, the actress has said she uses the Clé de Peau Beauté Eyebrow And Eyeliner Compact, but keeps a soft touch as to not overfill her eyebrows and make them look penciled on.

    Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.

    Seyfried's natural arches are soft and subtle, which puts all the emphasis on her big eyes.

    Photo: Walter McBride/Corbis/Getty Images.

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    Where there's a male politician behaving like a sexist buffoon, there's a woman getting ready to beat him.

    Rep. Jason Lewis, a Republican congressman from Minnesota, has a long history of making misogynistic comments on the radio — earning himself the nickname "Minnesota's Mini-Trump."

    CNN reviewed several months of audio from his Jason Lewis Show, a syndicated program he hosted from 2009 to 2014, and found him lamenting that he can't call women "sluts," arguing that young women who care about birth control aren't human beings and don't have brains, and saying that women vote with their emotions.

    So it's completely unsurprising that a Democratic woman is running against him this November — and has a good chance of beating him, too. Angie Craig, a healthcare executive, lost very narrowly to him in Minnesota's 2nd District in 2016, and according to CNN he is considered one of the "most endangered" House Republicans in the midterm election.

    After Rush Limbaugh called graduate student and reproductive-rights activist Sandra Fluke a slut back in February 2012 (we hate to drag you back to that scandal, but here we go), Lewis was angry that you can't just call a woman that word whenever you feel like it.

    "Well, the thing is, can we call anybody a slut? This is what begs the question. Take this woman out of it, take Rush out of it for a moment," Lewis said in a March 2012 episode of his show. "Does a woman now have the right to behave — and I know there's a double standard between the way men chase women and running and running around... But it used to be that women were held to a little bit of a higher standard. We required modesty from women. Now, are we beyond those days where a woman can behave as a slut, but you can't call her a slut?"

    Several times, he also said women don't vote with their brains because they care about reproductive rights. "[W]hen [you're] reliably almost a knee-jerk Democrat vote — is birth control really that important to you ladies?" he said in a November 2012 episode. "Is that really the most important thing that you get your condoms for free? Now you've gotten Madonna, you know, running around in slutty outfits and Sandra Fluke telling everybody, 'I'm not going to pay a dime for my diaphragm.' Is that really what's important to women? I can't believe that."

    Lewis' campaign defended his comments, saying his job was "to be provocative while on the radio."

    Craig released a statement in response to his offensive comments: "I am deeply disappointed by Rep. Jason Lewis' remarks about women and the example they provide to the young men of our nation, including my four sons. Our children are looking up to our nation's leaders and we must do better. I grew up surrounded by two strong women — my mother and my grandmother — I know what women can accomplish. My mom raised me and my siblings with the help of my grandmother who worked into her 70s to help our family. In Congress, I will fight like hell to make sure that women have the respect and opportunities they deserve so all of our families can thrive."

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    Tracee Ellis Ross has lived more lives in her 45 years than the rest of us combined. She's the daughter of Diana, so there's that. She was an Ivy college girl, a theater kid, a model, and a magazine editor. And then, of course, you've got her stellar acting career on the big and small screens. But there's one more job that we'd respectfully like Ross to pursue: beauty influencer.

    The woman's already got an Instagram feed chock-full of gems, from R-rated face roller hacks to hilarious nose waxing guides. Between her natural beauty and killer sense of humor, she'd definitely have a loyal subscriber on our end. See some of Ross' funniest (and most useful) tips, ahead.

    Ross isn't the first person to think of using a facial device as a vibrator — but it doesn't make her morning musing any less entertaining.

    Photo: Via @traceeellisross.

    "I haven't felt this way in a while," Ross laughs, as hairstylist Johnnie Sapong massages her scalp. "I'm gonna turn this off, because it's getting private."

    Photo: Via @traceeellisross.

    Thinking about getting your nose hairs waxed? Watch this first.

    Photo: Via @traceeellisross.

    When Ross didn't have time for a trim, her hairstylist Araxi Lindsey curled a few strands of hair to fake the length. Come for the free hair tips, stay for Ross' hilarious narration.

    Photo: Via @traceeellisross.

    What's better than one depuffing tool? Two. "Every swipe, I get younger," she marveled. "43, 42, 41... 18, 17, 15. Guys, I am like 12!"

    Photo: Via @traceeellisross.

    Ross is proof of what a no-heat routine can do for you. She's so proud of her long, full hair (without any pieces) that she swings it around for proof.

    Photo: Via @traceeellisross.

    And when her curls are freshly washed, it's way easier to comb through them, too.

    Photo: Via @traceeellisross.

    The beauty loves to experiment with protective styles, too. She even found a way to make her under-wig cornrows wearable. (Okay, okay... she can wear anything and look good, but still.)

    Photo: Via @traceeellisross.

    Ok, we lied: There is one more career we think Ross should pursue: esthetician. Check out that facial massage!

    Photo: Via @traceeellisross.

    Leave it to Ross to make an activity as mundane as blotting your lips fill us with uncontrollable laughter. Can you imagine life inside her makeup trailer?

    Photo: Via @traceeellisross.

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    In the game of playing hard-to-get, money is the clear winner. Not surprisingly, it remains the number one cause of break ups amongst U.S. couples. Yet even though we know this, many of us still avoid money talks with our S.O.s — after all, it can be awkward and uncomfortable at best.

    I remember one of my first money conversations with my husband: It was my 21st birthday and some friends and I were flying to California to celebrate. My husband (who was then my boyfriend), flat-out refused to come. Pissed, I confronted him and demanded to know why. Calmly, he explained that flying cross-country wasn’t an expense he could afford and that we’d never really discussed it together.

    The thing is, he was right. It was an important moment in our relationship — a realization that we couldn’t take each others’ finances for granted.

    From then on, money came more into focus for us as a couple, and that experience was the start of many others. It came up when buying plane tickets to maintain our long-distance relationship. It surfaced when we moved in together, and again when realized we had different spending habits. It manifested itself through fears we didn’t even realize we had until we got our first joint credit card — on my credit. Each of these stories made me wonder if other couples struggled through the same challenges.

    Those experiences led me to found Zeta last year, a tool that helps young couples master money together. Through a combination of technology and advice, we give couples the ability to track, manage and master their finances together. Over the past 5 years, I’ve talked to hundreds of couples and coached many of them on how to navigate their shared finances.

    I’ve heard it all: from couples who are hiding accounts from each other because they’re scared of their debt, to two-somes who are totally crushing their goals. I’ve met a couple who created 23 accounts to organize their finances, and others with just one account and less than $100 in it. There are also couples who are hacking the credit card points game (a tricky practice known as “churning”), to those navigating prenups and negotiating their first home. This research has taught me a lot about what works, what doesn’t work, and where couples get into hot water.

    But talking about money doesn’t have to be so uncomfortable. I took the insights I learned after talking to so many couples and used them to write the 20 questions below. These questions are less about digging up dirt on each other and more about finding a fun, easy way to start (or continue) your money conversations.

    Fun fact: couples who have regular money conversations report being twice as happy as those who don’t. Who doesn’t want to laugh more and worry less? Have fun and tell me all about your experience in the comments.

    SETUP :

    1. Grab your partner, your favorite drink and find a comfy spot for an uninterrupted conversation. I highly recommend you put your phones away and sugar is always optional.

    2. Read each question out loud and take turns answering it with your SO.

    3. The questions are broken into three sections, representing different stages of our lives. Each section should take no more than 15 minutes.

    4. If any of the questions feel too heavy, skip them! It’s less important to answer everything and more important to just get the conversation started.

    With money, the past does predict the future. Understanding each others’ money histories let’s you build empathy for each other and identify experiences that impacted your outlook on money.

    What’s your first money memory?

    Did you know how much your parents earned when you were a child?

    Did your family have a budget? How did you feel about it?

    Did you get an allowance as a child? What did you do with it?

    Did your parents fight about money?

    What money habits did your parents practice? How did you feel about those habits?

    The future is about understanding how your money past has manifested itself today. It’s about understanding why you make the decisions you do and less about finding each others balance sheets (though you’re welcome to share those if you’re ready).

    What drives your financial decisions?

    If you won $1 million today, what would you do with the money?

    What’s one money-habit that you admire about me?

    If I lost $100 on something and didn’t tell you, would you be upset with me? How about $1,000?

    What scares you about money?

    What do you wish you knew more about?

    What would it take for you to feel happy about money?

    What does having money mean to you?

    What are you comfortable telling me about your money? Any debts that are important to know?

    Knowing what we’re working towards helps us build a shared vision and chip away at it together. No matter if your current situation is good or bad, the future has the ability to inspire and motivate us to reach our goals.

    What are you working towards? What dreams do you have (1 year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years)?

    What do you want to leave behind (for kids or others)?

    Do you expect to get any inheritance from your family?

    What would you want to happen to your money if you died?

    Do you expect to support your parents or other loved ones in the future?

    For more tools on personal finance for couples, check out some awesome resources here. Want more? Listen to The Money Date podcast I host with my husband where we talk to everyday couples about their stories of managing money together.

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    Nothing short of a miracle would save Janet and Victor Morales.

    The couple’s life was turned upside down after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last September. Their beachfront restaurant El K’rajo, once a popular neighborhood staple of the Piñones region of Loiza, was entirely destroyed. Most of the roof was gone. Six feet of sand got inside the building. And all appliances and furniture? Those were entirely damaged by the saltwater.

    “Maria devastated the island and our personal life,” Janet told me during an interview in the spring. “When it hit the restaurant and destroyed it, it was like losing everything.”

    Trying to rebuild was a nightmare: Filing insurance claims in an island with no electricity or internet service was damn near impossible and companies took a long time to pay the couple back; construction materials were either hard to find or got more expensive as everyone tried to fix the wreckage; and with no business, they saw their savings disappear.

    It also didn’t help that the first floor of their house in the eastern town of Fajardo flooded after the storm and that they spent nearly five months without power, barely finding food in the supermarket.

    Friday marks ten months since the historic hurricane struck Puerto Rico. The Category 4 phenomenon, devastated the U.S. territory on September 20 — just on the heels of Hurricane Irma, then a Category 5 storm that also hit parts of the island.

    We all know what happened next: hundreds of thousands were without water or electricity for months, some even to this day; people in the island faced food shortages and a lack of medical resources, a mental health crisis brewed, and there were thousands of storm-related deaths. And that’s without taking into account the massive exodus of Puerto Ricans who were forced to leave their homes in search of a better life.

    The Morales, who have been married for 10 years, decided to stay despite having family stateside. They were holding on tightly to the Puerto Rican notion of echar pa’lante – move forward — despite all the challenges.

    “It was a dark chapter,” Victor said. “Nevertheless, we slowly took matters into our own hands. We lost the restaurant’s signs? Janet painted one in a wall. I googled how to fix refrigeration systems and I did it myself.”

    Janet added: “Everything we could save up, we would. Our children Cynthia and Naldo came to help us. And sometimes our family would send us money to help out, too.”

    But all the couple had built came crashing down when la marejada came. As a massive northeaster pummeled the East Coast, large swells made their way down to Puerto Rico on March 5. Most parts of Piñones were washed out — including El K’rajo.

    “Four feet of saltwater, five feet of sand. All the equipment was damaged once again,” Victor said. “It was like, What are we going to do now? ” It was back to square one for the Morales. But this time, they had absolutely no cash and were about to lose their house, too. Then, the phone rang.

    A representative of Paramount Network's Bar Rescue called Victor earlier this year to tell him the show could feature El K'rajo in an episode and that host Jon Taffer was interested in helping the family. The Morales were understandably shocked. (Laughing, Janet told me she asked Victor if he had "smoked" anything.) In late April, the Bar Rescue crew flew down to Puerto Rico to commence the rebuilding of El K'rajo. A few days after, I followed.

    Taffer, who lived in Puerto Rico as a child, told me he felt it was his duty to help the family. "I didn't speak Spanish so my memories of Puerto Rico weren't words. They were feelings," he said. "These people have struggled so much. With this family and community, I think we can make a difference. They had all the qualities we want to rescue."

    This time around, there was no yelling on set. At least, not the kind Taffer engages in when owners are not listening to him during the filming of his show, which brings viewers the staple fixer-upper drama mixed with tough love reality shows are known for. The special, airing Sunday, will be different.

    The coastal town of Loiza, where El K'rajo is located, has historically been low-income and was one of the hardest hit during Hurricane Maria. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Loizeños were among the residents with the most needs. Months after Maria, recovery has still been slow.

    Part of the Bar Rescue endeavor in the island included rebuilding a community center, a basketball court, and a Little League baseball field in the neighborhood that sits about half-a-mile from the restaurant. The show went all out bringing stars to collaborate with their efforts: the Real Housewives of New York 's Bethenny Frankel, Puerto Rican athletes J.J. Barea and Bernie Williams, actor Luis Guzmán, and even entrepreneur Mark Cuban.

    "People are still suffering, people are losing their homes, people don't have jobs. So it's important for me as a person who has a following and is a public figure to continue to create awareness," Frankel, who assisted the initial hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and has continued her work since, told me.

    Host Jon Taffer and former MLB player Bernie Williams with the Morales family at the community's baseball field.Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Network.

    For Guzmán, who was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City, the visit was deeply personal. Like many other boricuas in the diaspora, it took Guzmán weeks to be able to communicate with his father and brother in the island.

    "This type of phenomenon is one that happens once in a lifetime. It impacted people spiritually, emotionally — it was something really hard for our people," he said.

    Guzmán added: "We need to be here to show our support for these communities. There's still so much more help needed in the island. Even though this might feel like a small thing, it's still valuable."

    The first thing Janet did when we sat down for an interview and I introduced myself as a Puerto Rican journalist was to ask if my loved ones were okay. Her “ ¿Y tu familia? ¿Están bien? ” would have been polite in most cases. In post-Maria Puerto Rico, however, the question is a charged one.

    After catching them up — my parents were without power until December, we were blessed that the house is fine, everything is okay gracias a Dios — Janet let out a sigh of relief and her face lit up with gratitude. I would quickly discover she is the type of person who would try to help others in need even when on the verge of losing everything.

    We were all standing under the sweltering Puerto Rican sun when it was time to show the big reveal of the community center and the surrounding areas. As the blindfolds came down, the entire Morales family had tears in their eyes.

    For Janet, it was an "out of this world" feeling. She beamed as she listed all the repairs the crew did: the painting jobs in each place, the new swings for the community center's backyard, the baseball field's new kitchen so the teams can sell frituras or Puerto Rican street food.

    "That the community is blessed through us fills our hearts," she said.

    Community leader Juan París Clemente told me that the spaces renovated by the Bar Rescue crew are among the most important for the residents. "These are places para congregarse," he told me, referring to the act of assembly and community that is so deeply entrenched in Puerto Rican culture.

    As we left the neighborhood, two Little League teams started to play.

    Victor and Janet's daughter Cynthia helping out at the newly renovated bar.Photo Courtesy of Paramount Network.

    I will not spoil the Morales' reaction to finally seeing their renovated restaurant, but know that there were a lot of tears. Victor told me than the place looked even better than he imagined, saying he felt as if he had won the lottery.

    The couple emphasized over and over how lucky they felt than their journey to recover the family business had included the community they love so much.

    But they also recognized that Puerto Rico is still a long way from recovering fully from the impact of Maria. Still, they had the same pa'lante attitude that had gotten them through perhaps one of the darkest periods in their lives.

    "Puerto Ricans, we're not quitters," Janet said. "We won't give up."

    Bar Rescue: Operation Puerto Rico premieres on Sunday, July 22 at 10pm ET/PT on Paramount Network.

    Travel for the author was provided by BACARDÍ Rum and Paramount Network for the purpose of writing this story.

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    Global fashion search platform Lyst has revealed it's quarterly trend report, naming the most coveted brands and products of the season and breaking down the data behind the shopping habits of more than five million shoppers.

    You might remember last year's report when Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga stole the top spot from Gucci. This time, though, designer Alessandro Michele's eccentricity came back fighting, and the Italian designer nabbed the lead. In fact, the brand's popularity shows no signs of letting up, with both the women's and men's most-wanted products being Gucci accessories — the GG Logo Belt, seen on everyone from Alexa Chung to Tiffany Hsu, for women, and the Stripe Slides, the poolside summer staple, for men. According to Lyst, the brand drives more than one million global searches per month.

    But there's some good news for those of us who can't quite afford the most popular — and most expensive — pieces each season: FILA's Disruptor II sneaker, a leader in the rising tide of the 'ugly' shoe, retails for a more reasonable $65 and comes in at number two for the women's hottest products. And that isn't the only divisive item to appear in the top 10: Prada's nylon fanny pack came in at number four, while Balenciaga's gem-embellished platform Crocs came in last. Closely following are pieces that reflect the boom in logomania, like a Gucci logo-print swimsuit (third) and the Off-White industrial belt (sixth). This, too, can be seen in Gen Z's interest in Fendi and its reinvented FF 'Zucca' monogram — searches for both new and pre-owned pieces from the brand have gone up significantly this quarter.

    While the royals may not spring to mind when we think of the world's hottest brands, their influence is undeniable. Clare Waight Keller’s revamped Givenchy is up six places after dressing Meghan Markle for her wedding, while contemporary brand Goat, which also dresses the Duchess of Sussex, has a piece at number nine with its blue Whitney dress.

    In terms of sportswear labels, Nike is the only one to secure a spot in the report, climbing 11 places to number nine, beating Prada. Perhaps its recent collaboration with Vogue editor Anna Wintour boosted real fashion credibility, but, of course, athleisure is still reigning supreme on both the runways and streets of Fashion Month.

    While Lyst's quarterly reports certainly shine a light on the trends, brands, designers, and pieces that we're searching for each season, there is very little that can't be predicted in them. So while we may not know what will be dominating come Q3, we do know what's happening right now. Ahead, shop the 10 It items of the moment.

    Chanel Lambskin Espadrilles, $725.00, available in Chanel stores.

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    We teamed up with Intuit to find out more about how Yacobovsky stays motivated when running her ultra-successful business — from how she uses QuickBooks and Mint to make things run smoothly in both her professional and personal lives to the importance of creating something that not only looks cool but also feels accessible. Check out the video above for more.

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    Thigh chafing, sticky feet, sweaty pit stains; these are just some of the annoyances we have to endure in hot weather. Which is why when our eyes catch a glimpse of predicted 85+ temperatures, it's impossible to even know what to wear. If you're going to sweat in everything, it almost feels like it doesn't even matter. But there are a few solutions to prevent summer from turning you into a human puddle.

    First, there are the classic tips: wear light colors, stay away from heavy materials, try men's deodorant for a change. But we're providing some lesser known options, like investing in a Grade A multipurpose towel or taking a spin at side-snap jeans. You don't have to forget your love of summer just because the July humidity has decided to wreak its annual havoc on the world. These smart dressing tips will keep you on your feet until you land in front of an open storefront blasting A/C.

    There’s a lot of product out there, some would say too much. No doubt this has left you with an overwhelming set of questions about the latest must-haves. Luckily we’ve got answers. At Refinery29 we are here to help you navigate this epic world of stuff. All of our editorial market is independently selected and curated by the team. But if you buy something we link to on our site Refinery29 may earn commission.

    Perforations are your best friend in a summer. A knit dress like this will take you from happy hour to vacation all without breaking much of a sweat.

    Mango, $99.99, available at Mango

    Bike shorts, who? While that trend has been the name of the game, we're leaning more towards long athletic shorts that are both breezy and combat any dreaded heat-induced thigh chafing.

    ASOS, $29, available at ASOS

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    Protect yourself from harmful rays and keep cool with this sporty, breathable cap.

    NFL New Era Oakland Raiders NFL Training Grey 9Twenty Adjustable Cap, $30.00, available at New Era.

    A good multipurpose beach towel goes a long way in the summer. You can use it as a cover-up, lounge on it by the pool, or make it an impromptu picnic blanket. Don't skimp on investing in a quality option this year.

    Eau Club, $45, available at Eau Club

    These stretchy kick flares have the best secret: They're made of 28% lycra and are highly resistant to heat and chlorine. Slip these on post-swim to combat the sun rays and the warm weather while still looking chic.

    Rendl, $151.66, available at Rendl

    Our little summer secret? Off-the-shoulder everything. It keeps sweaty armpit stains at bay that would otherwise be visible with tight-fitted arms.

    Kitri, $182, available at Kitri

    Speaking of towels, try your hand at the ultimate sweat wicking footwear: terrycloth sandals. Made up with an espadrille sole and a medium-density foam sole, you'll never want to take these outdoor-friendly shoes off.

    Mara & Mine, $250, available at Mara & Mine

    These snap-buttons jeans let you customize how much leg to flaunt for optimal breathability.

    3x1, $425, available at 3x1

    Skip the back sweat that comes with lugging around a backpack or tote bag around all day. A cute mini bags helps to reenforce the idea of minimizing your life while maximizing your level of literal cool.

    Pop & Suki, $235, available at Pop & Suki

    White before Labor Day is an old school idea with good reason. The light hue helps reflect off light to keep you cool and collected in even the most intense heat.

    Where Mountains Meet, $495, available at Where Mountains Meet

    Leave the denim cut-offs at home. Instead, opt for a pair of cotton shorts that'll keep you feeling light all day long.

    Ganni, $125, available at Ganni

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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 recruiter working in tech who makes $85,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on donuts from Krispy Kreme.

    Occupation: Recruiter
    Industry: Tech
    Age: 25
    Location: San Francisco, CA
    Salary: $85,000
    Paycheck Amount (4x/month): ~$1,250

    Monthly Expenses
    Rent: $1,250
    Student Loan Payment: $250 (I transferred to a four-year university and came out with only $15,000 in debt.)
    Health Insurance: $0 (I'm on my parents' plan until I turn 26 and get kicked off.)
    Phone Bill: $140
    Credit Card: $50-100
    Target Red Card: $30-100
    Spotify: $9.99
    ICloud Storage: $0.99
    Netflix: $7.99
    Equinox Membership: $205 with company discount (I know, it's bad.)
    Curology: $10

    Day One

    9:30 a.m. — I awake begrudgingly to the sound of my alarm. I'm heading back to my hometown this weekend to celebrate my sister's 20th birthday and graduation from her medical assisting program, and need to meet my dad at the BART station in Fremont to get a ride home. I pack a small bag and prepare to work from the car for part of the day — never fun, but I don't have much of a choice. My boyfriend is sweet enough to drive me to the station (about an hour south of SF), which is so much better than taking BART there alone with my backpack and duffle bag.

    11:45 a.m. — My dad is chronically late and shows up to the Fremont station 40 minutes later than we had agreed on. (Thankfully, I knew that he'd be late and planned accordingly.) I'm starving and need coffee, so we head over to a local Starbucks and grab a coffee for him and a flat white for me, then walk next door to Noah's Bagels and pick up breakfast sandwiches. We crack up over a cat on a leash sitting on a table inside with its family. Kind of gross, but quite a laugh. Everything totally hits the spot. I pay. $18

    1:30 p.m. — We're finally home! Traffic on Highway 1 is notoriously awful, even on Friday afternoons. I rarely get to come home for weekend trips, so I really cherish being able to see my family. My two younger sisters still live at home, so it's definitely a full house when I visit. I spend the afternoon sipping iced tea and snacking on Goldfish, paying bills, and working from my laptop. It's a gorgeous day and I wish I were on the beach instead, but alas, work calls.

    6:30 p.m. — Phew, finally done with work. I peruse furniture online — I've been hunting for a new bookshelf for my room, since the one I've owned for almost two years is too small and doesn't hold all my books. I find a leaning five-tiered shelf at Urban Outfitters that's perfect, and decide to go for it. I pick up a new clothing rack, too — also something sorely needed (I bought my current one secondhand and it's falling apart). Urban now allows for payment installments, and I leap at the opportunity. Interior design is my downfall, sigh. $74.06

    7:15 p.m. — My parents' house has a great little patio overlooking the neighborhood, and I sit out there and chat with with my dad while having a glass of chardonnay.

    8:15 p.m. — I have a serious burrito problem, and decide to visit my favorite local taqueria to grab a vegetarian burrito (just beans, cheese, rice, and sour cream). I cruise around to the beach as the sun sets in my old beat up Volkswagen that I drove prior to college. (It's pushing 250,000 miles.) The nostalgia vibes are strong. $7.50

    9 p.m. — Home again! My sisters are both out with their boyfriends, so I spend time enjoying more chardonnay and chatting with my parents on the patio. (My parents and I love chardonnay.) It's so nice out, and my dad put up string lights. There's a family of skunks living underneath my parent's deck, and they decide to come out and say hello — we narrowly avoid getting sprayed. We eventually come back inside and enjoy a slice of apricot pie from a local farm — it's, as expected, wonderful. After my parents head to bed, I hang out in the living room and read Money Diaries. I eventually make it to my room and end up watching the new Season of Riverdale until 3 a.m.…Whoops.

    Daily Total: $99.56

    Day Two

    12:30 p.m. — I somehow manage to sleep in until 1 p.m. and am awoken by my mother frantically urging me to get up and help her prepare for my sister's birthday party. I have a certain penchant for cleaning/organizing, so, after wolfing down a blueberry muffin, I spend the next two hours cleaning up the house, decorating, and putting out snacks. My mom tends to go EXTREMELY over the top when we're entertaining, and has bought enough food for probably 50 people (there are ~25 people coming). Two hours later, the house is spotless, and I hurry to shower and get ready — the party starts at 4, and I haven't had a chance to buy my sister a gift and card yet.

    3:30 p.m. — I shower, take my pills (I'm currently on birth control, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft — I struggle with anxiety and depression and they have really helped stabilize my mood), blow-dry my hair, straighten it, and do my makeup. I hop in the car and drive to Ulta to pick up gifts. I initially had planned to go downtown to my favorite boutique, but there's just not enough time. I buy my sister a fun unicorn eyeshadow palette and get my other sister a Philosophy gift set. Her birthday was a few months ago and I never got around to getting her anything, and I figured that she'd most likely be salty about me buying a gift for our other sister and not her, too. Family pettiness, gotta love it. $89.93

    4 p.m. — I pick up craft beer, gift bags, and birthday cards from Safeway before heading back home. The party is in full swing and a lot of our extended family has shown up. Family parties are always slightly awkward, but that's what wine is for. (Kidding...sort of.) I down a few beers and gulf down the lasagna and garlic bread my mom prepared. It's fantastic. $34.42

    10 p.m. — Everyone's gone home, and I retreat to my room to chill out. I end up letting my 17-year-old cat hang out on my bed for about 20 minutes…HUGE MISTAKE. I'm extremely allergic to cats and immediately regret the decision, as much as I love my old kitty. My nose ends up stuffed up for the entire night, and my eyes itch and water. WHY, GENETICS, WHY? I end up staying up super late again watching Riverdale — I'm so addicted to Season 2. I pass out just after 3 a.m.

    Daily Total: $124.35

    Day Three

    12 p.m. — I end up waking up super late again. As much of a luxury this is, I'm gonna be so screwed for the coming work week. I shower and head to the kitchen, where I graze on toast and leftover party food.

    1 p.m. — My sister is talking with my parents about her financial options for buying her first legit car. It sparks a bit of anxiety in me — even though I'm the oldest child, went to a top college, and have a great job, I'm by far the worst with money out of my siblings, and it sometimes makes me feel inferior. On top of that, my sister selfishly opted out of helping with party prep yesterday in lieu of getting a bikini wax, and she gave me grief this morning about her missing makeup brush. I immediately get defensive, since I haven't touched a thing of hers this weekend. It drives me nuts and it's beyond frustrating to me that my sister and I seem to be fundamentally incapable of cohabitation.

    2 p.m. — I'm supposed to meet up with a hometown friend this afternoon, but she hasn't texted me back yet. She's notoriously flaky, but given my own flaky habits, I don't trip about it too much. I decide to help clean up the aftermath of last night's party. The house is a disaster zone and my mom is taking a much deserved trip to the movies, so I take the initiative to clean the place up. My parents are so wonderful and have done so much for me, so whenever I come back home, I try to do as much as I can to make their lives easier.

    5 p.m. — The house is finally clean! My dad and I tag-teamed (well, he vacuumed) to get everything looking spotless. Can't wait for my mom to see. I'm exhausted, and treat myself to a couple Riverdale episodes and YouTube browsing. I pig out on Chex Mix and chocolate leftover from the party.

    8:45 p.m. — My friend ends up getting back to me and we agree to meet up at one of my favorite bars downtown at around 9. We're both chronically late; I show up around 9:20 and she doesn't arrive until 9:40, putting us in somewhat of a time crunch, which in turn sparks my anxiety. My boyfriend has agreed to come pick me up so I don't have to go back to the city on Monday morning with my dad. It's beyond sweet of my him to come all the way from the city to pick me up, and I don't want to make him wait around for me, but I have a gut feeling that it's going to happen. My friend and I each order two cocktails (this place has the best cocktails) and share a plate of truffle fries. She's a single mom and our lives are incredibly different, but we love catching up from time to time. We worked together at a local coffee shop years ago and have remained friends since.

    10:45 p.m. — Trying to wrap up at the bar; the service is really subpar tonight and we wait forever for our second round of drinks to arrive and to receive the final check. I pay and then rush home, since I'm running late. My boyfriend is understandably annoyed, but we smooth things over pretty quickly. We spend the drive home chatting about work and life and end up having a heart-to-heart about our relationship. It's rocky at times. He has lingering insecurities from past relationships and fears that I'll leave him. He's somewhat more serious about the relationship than I am and sometimes it scares me, but I'm all about taking one day at a time and not stressing too much about what the future will entail. We finally get back to the city at around 1 a.m. and scarf down leftover lasagna and garlic bread from my sister's party before passing out. My boyfriend has been begging to try my mom's cooking, and I couldn't say no to bringing along leftovers for him. $72

    Daily Total: $72

    Day Four

    6:45 a.m. — Monday! I'm feeling particularly groggy this morning and want nothing more than to lie in bed all day with my boyfriend. I'm lucky to have pretty flexible work hours, so I sleep in until 9 and eventually make it out of the house. My boyfriend drives me to work and I do my makeup in the car. (I've mastered the art of doing makeup in a moving vehicle.) I have a call at 10 a.m. and arrive at work with just enough time to log into my computer and get things set up for the call. I do 20 to 30 calls with candidates per week, and sometimes yo girl is not in the mood to put on a phone voice. Thankfully, my first two calls go really well and I'm feeling good about the day. I help myself to two cups of coffee with half and half but skip out on breakfast, though my company provides us with all the breakfast essentials, which I'm so thankful for.

    12 p.m. — Lunchtime! My company caters lunch every day, and it's so nice for cutting costs. I make myself a salad of mixed greens, quinoa, roasted potatoes, roasted pork loin, cucumbers, and vinaigrette dressing. It hits the spot and I feel pumped to finish out the day strong. After lunch, I head to the kitchen and grab a Dasani sparkling water and a Kind bar to snack on later. I head back to my desk and stubbornly avoid the nearly 30 unanswered emails in my inbox. UGH, Monday's. On the bright side, my calls have been excellent overall today.

    7 p.m. — I finally leave work. What. A. Day. I ended up staying half an hour later than I'd planned because one of my colleagues wanted to chat about a position she's applied into. I'm exhausted, but manage to lug myself to the gym. I recently joined Equinox, which is so expensive, but the facilities are great and the proximity couldn't be better. (It's a two-minute walk from my office.) I'm feeling particularly bloated and meh, so my workout is sort of half-assed. Oh well, something is better than nothing at all! By the time I shower and change, it's half past 8. I hop on BART, start the trek home, and jam the new Kanye and Kid Cudi album, Kids See Ghosts. I wasn't the biggest fan of his other recent project, ye, but I am FEELING this record. I've been a huge Kanye fan since 8th grade, but lately I've been so disappointed in not only his music, but his very public (apparent) descent into madness.

    9 p.m. — Getting home takes a lot longer than expected due to an error in my bus schedule app that results in me waiting around for a bus that is never going to come. GAH. I end up calling an Uber Pool ($8.86) and head to my favorite neighborhood taqueria. I order my favorite burrito (beans, rice, sour cream, cheese) plus a carne asada taco ($12). $20.86

    9:30 p.m. — Back at home once again! I'm finally able to relax and change into comfy clothes. My boyfriend wants to stay over, but I really just want to be alone tonight (a girl needs some alone time, ya know?). I binge-watch a bunch of depressing videos (about poverty in America and education spending cuts) and am feeling not great about the world. I also have to borrow $150 from my boyfriend because I haven't budgeted properly for this week. I'm absolutely terrible with my money and need to make a change, stat. He doesn't mind loaning me money, but I already owe him several hundred dollars and I can't seem to break this habit. What a way to end a Monday. I end up (as feared) staying up until 3 a.m. again and hate that I let myself switch up my sleep schedule. I have to be at the office by 9 a.m. tomorrow for a meeting, and I'm not looking forward to only getting five hours of sleep.

    Daily Total: $20.86

    Day Five

    8 a.m. — Rise and shine! I feel shockingly more well-rested than I had expected to. I didn't drink last night, and I'm sure that helped, but I wake up a little sweaty, which is unpleasant. I force myself to get up — this meeting is important and it's not going to be a good look if I'm late. My commute usually takes ~35 minutes, but this morning it takes 45. Thankfully, I make it on time.

    9:30 a.m. — I head to the kitchen and grab coffee, water, a bowl of berries, and avocado toast on wheat bread with a sliced hard-boiled egg and Tapatio sauce on top. I swear this combo cures anything.

    12 p.m. — Lunch. It's Mexican food today, which I normally get really excited about, but I've been overloading on Mexican food lately. Still, I ain't mad about it. I grab a cup of tortilla soup, a small burrito bowl (I mixed everything up myself), and an iced tea from the kitchenette on my floor. I head back to my desk and make a mental note to make a new working playlist at some point. I've been listening to the same ambient/classical/jazz playlist forever and it's starting to get old.

    5:45 p.m. — Ready to leave work! My close friend who works with me is going out of town this weekend, so we decide to have a lady date. We BART to the Mission district (I use my card that has preloaded money on it) and take a quick look inside Tartine Bakery. It's easily the most famous bakery in the city, and somehow I've never been. I grab a lemon bar for later ($7 including a tip). We decide on Pizzeria Delfina for dinner and order two appetizers, pizza, and a bottle of wine. We split the bill ($71 for my half). Everything is absolutely amazing, and it's worth every penny. She invites me over to her place to hang out for a bit, so we grab another bottle of wine to share at her place and she graciously gives me a bunch of clothes she doesn't want anymore — score! $78

    9:30 p.m. — Back home again. My boyfriend comes over and brings with him yet more wine. Oh my. We attempt to watch The Dark Knight (this is night #3 of trying to finish it), but of course I pass out after 10 minutes.

    Daily Total: $78

    Day Six

    6:30 a.m. — I'm awoken by my boyfriend kissing me goodbye. He's leaving early to drive for Lyft. He works so hard and ends up making pretty good money — I'm really proud of him. I set my alarm for 9 a.m. and doze off again.

    9:15 a.m. — I begrudgingly wake up with a pounding headache (curse you, wine!). I regret my lack of control last night and take a few Advil to appease the headache. I decide to work from home today, as I don't have any meetings I need to be on camera for today. The day slugs by; I have 10 calls with candidates, and it's just a lot. I take a break to chat with one of my new roommates in the living room (I live in a nine-bedroom place) and order coffee, a hash brown, and two breakfast sandwiches from McDonald's from Uber Eats. $18.50

    12 p.m. — I'm having a bad sugar craving and end up ordering donut holes from Krispy Kreme from Uber Eats. $13.86

    2:30 p.m. — I get an email telling me that my new clothing rack has been delivered! I'm quite challenged when it comes to putting things together, but I manage to assemble it without too much trouble. It looks amazing in my room, and I gladly recycle my crappy old one. I get other great news — my best friend and I have secured tattoo appointments in L.A. next weekend with an amazing artist. It'll be both of our first tattoos, and I think getting them together by the same artist is going to be so special. We've been friends for nearly 20 years. I'm nervous about the permanence of tattoos due to my mild OCD, but I trust that I'm in a place in my life where I can handle something like this.

    4:30 p.m. — I'm done with all my calls for the day — phew! One of my last candidates hit me with really difficult questions about the business, and I'm wiped out. I spill coffee on my sheets and decide to just wash all my bedding. I'm supposed to go to a birthday dinner tonight with some coworkers but I'm really not in the mood to drink and socialize, so I cancel and just hang out at my place.

    8 p.m. — I'm getting hungry again, so I order a spicy tuna roll, a deep-fried California roll, and a Diet Coke from a local sushi place on Doordash. I hang out and enjoy the sushi while watching try-on hauls on YouTube. I'm a massive YouTube nerd and spend a not-okay amount of time watching YouTube. $26.10

    11 p.m. — My boyfriend asks to come over, and I oblige. He brings over burritos. I'm not hungry, but I'll have dinner for tomorrow night set up! He also brings over wine, but it's Moscato, which I hate (way too sweet for my taste). I end up having a glass anyway, and finally finish The Dark Knight. I'm getting sleepy but I force myself to retreat to the bathroom to do my nightly routine. I remove my makeup with micellar water, spritz rose water toner on my face, and apply pure hyaluronic acid to my face and neck. I finished by slapping on my Olay Regenerist night cream and call it a night.

    Daily Total: $58.46

    Day Seven

    8:30 a.m. — Rise and shine! Need to get into the office. I feel like I hardly got anything done yesterday; working from home is nice, but my productivity almost always gets cut in half. I head out the door at 9:10 hop on the bus. I almost always do my makeup on the bus — not sure if that makes me trashy or resourceful. (I love my sleep!) I use Revlon ColorStay foundation, Taste concealer, NYX setting powder, Bobbi Brown lipstick, MAC highlighter, Bare Minerals blush, Maybelline eyebrow gel, L'Oreal Telescopic liquid eyeliner, and Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara. Traffic isn't so bad today, and I get to the office within about 30 minutes, yay! I had planned to come in early today, as I'm taking a short day to get my hair colored later, but I'll just make up the hours over the weekend.

    9:45 a.m. — I head to the kitchen and grab coffee, ice water, and a cup of strawberries. Yay for berry season! I have a 10 a.m. meeting that I'm not prepped for and my mentor essentially slaps me on the wrist for it. Ugh. This has been somewhat of an off week for me and I need to shake off this funk. Time to grind.

    12:45 p.m. — Lunchtime. I'm getting everything done and it feels good. Lunch isn't looking great today, so I head up to another floor in my building to make a sandwich at our deli bar. I'm obsessed with sandwiches, but some may call my taste boring. I make a turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich on sourdough with mayo, dijon, and lettuce. I grab a sparkling water and a bag of truffle chips back to my desk and chow down.

    3:15 p.m. — I leave work early and head to the salon my roommate works at. She's an amazing colorist and will do my hair for free because she's an angel. As sweet as that is, I won't let her work for hours on my extremely thick hair for free. Tomorrow is payday, and I make a mental note to Venmo her at least $150. I do a little work on my laptop while she puts the foil in, and my boyfriend and I start fighting via text about a party I'm going to on Saturday night. Some former roommates are throwing a housewarming and he's offended that I haven't invited him to come with me. I tend to be extremely independent and like my alone time, and he loves to spend as much time together as possible. I'm starting to see how this may end up being a dealbreaker someday. I love him, but he occasionally gets insecure about our relationship and acts out. I'm trying not to let it get to me, but I feel myself getting anxious.

    7:45 p.m. — Finally done! My roommate does an incredible job — I'm blonde and she's always trying to get my color brighter. The hair really lifted well this session. I make it to BART and realize that my Clipper Card is nearly empty, so I put $13 on it and ride the train back home. When I arrive at my station, I see that the bus isn't coming for nearly 20 minutes, but since I'm only about a 15-minute walk from home, I decide to skip out on the bus and walk. The fresh air is really nice, but I'm wearing heeled booties and my feet are absolutely killing me by the time I get home. $13

    8:30 p.m. — I stop by one of the liquor stores near my apartment building and pick up a bottle of malbec for my lovely roomie, a bottle of chardonnay for myself, a bottle of lemonade, two Kinder bars ,and a bag of gummy worms. $33.67

    Daily Total: $46.67

    If you are experiencing anxiety or depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.

    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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    In addition to our Money Diaries, we're looking for people who want to talk to us about the following topics for other stories on Refinery29:

    1. Have you ever been in a job you couldn’t stand but couldn’t quit? Did you write an elaborate quitting fantasy in your mind to pass the time? Maybe you’d finally tell your boss your honest opinion. Perhaps, you daydreamed of finally calling out your co-worker who takes credit for your ideas. If this is you, we want to hear from you! Email us here to share your most elaborate quitting fantasy and how you actually quit.

    2. If you decided a spur of the moment trip the court house was more your vibe than a traditional wedding, we want to hear your story. More specifically, how much did eloping cost you? We all know that today’s weddings can range from a sweet, backyard ceremony all the way to costing than a law degree. Tell us why you chose to elope for a chance to be featured on the site.

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    With over 20 different set-ups shot over the course of two days, it's clear that creating Ariana Grande's "God Is A Woman" music video was a demanding process for everyone involved. But there's one shot that's more hypnotizing than the rest, which is probably why it comes right in the beginning. We're talking about the scene with Grande swirling around in a tub of purple paint that looks an awful lot like a vulva.

    The design makes us think of iconic painter Georgia O'Keeffe — and the yonic vibes couldn't be more apt given the song's message — so we were left with some big questions. Namely, how did this scene come together? And better yet, who created it?! We asked the painter behind it all, Alexa Meade, for all the details — and she told us everything.

    Most famous for her unique technique and style of turning real people into two-dimensional paintings, Meade has worked with a variety of brands and celebs before meeting Grande. But her experience on the set of "God Is A Woman" is one she won't likely forget anytime soon. "It was a dream," she tells us. And how couldn't it be? Being asked by director Dave Meyers to create an avant garde image for Grande's most-anticipated single off her upcoming album, Sweetener, is nothing short of huge. Of course, she nailed it — so much so, there's likely going to be a Lush bath bomb created to replicate the moment.

    We asked Meade exactly how she covered Grande in purple paint without it looking like a hot mess in water, her inspiration behind the femme-powered imagery, and how damn long the whole thing took to complete. Her answers, below.

    Refinery29: How did you get involved with the "God Is A Woman" music video?
    Alexa Meade: "Dave saw a collaboration I did with Sheila Vand in 2012 where I painted her in a bathtub of milk. He was interested and asked how to incorporate my work into this music video. It ended up fitting because of all the rich imagery, so having Ariana lying in a bath that feels like a Georgia O'Keeffe painting made sense."

    So, it was inspired by O'Keeffe?
    "The inspiration came from different paintings, but the one Ariana quickly responded to was from 1923 called Grey Lines with Black, Blue and Yellow. She really liked the subtle purple, periwinkle shades. I think that's what her new hair was kind of inspired by."

    Exactly how did you paint the water she's in?
    "That is a tough question. We initially came up with the idea of creating this giant stencil that would lay down on the surface of the water then sink to the bottom, allowing the paint to float up and out, coming off the stencil. For the first take, that worked. But for the second take, we realized, it would involve another 20 minutes of time to re-create the stencil again. It was essentially this giant wire, metal-frame apparatus that we covered in absorbent material, soaked in paint. It took four people to carry it. We had to dip it around Ariana's body, hold it for a moment, then let it submerge so the paint would create those lines. So, me, Sheila, and my three assistants ended up running laps around the pool squirting paint onto the water instead."

    That sounds like... a lot.
    "It was enormous. It was a really large pool..."

    As big as it looks on camera?
    "I think they extended the edges to beyond the 16x9 ratio, but yeah."

    How long did the entire process take?
    "I was told about the music video about two weeks in advance. My assistants, Sheila, and I were working about 15-hour days leading up to the shoot because there were so many problems to solve, like how to get her hair to look good in this water. The problem with hair in water is that some will sink, some will float. It's unbecoming. So, I talked to her hairstylist Josh Liu and I braided a rope that would attach to her hair and painted it to match the water. Then, it took about 20 to 30 minutes to shoot the whole thing."

    A post shared by Ashley K Holm (@ash_kholm) on

    What was the body painting process like?
    "It was about 40 minutes to paint her entire body with the waterproof paint. I knew I wanted the colors to be purples and dark blues, so they wouldn't exactly match the paint in the pool. I wanted them to be similar, but not exact. I mostly worked with colors that were going to contrast well against her skin tone since some parts of her skin would be showing."

    A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on

    Then you painted her face?
    "I did her full body then when I went to paint her face, I told her makeup artist Ashley [Holm] because she was responsible for the more traditional face makeup, like her eyeliner. Ariana actually painted her own lips. It was her idea to paint them baby blue with hints of pink for some depth. She was a pro with a paint brush and palette."

    A post shared by Alexa Meade (@alexameadeart) on

    Would you say this was one of the most challenging projects you've ever had?
    "Yeah, being able to pull off a large painting on a liquid surface fast... you have no choice but to make it work. But it was a dream working with Dave, who really gets artists and knows how to bring musicians and people together to create this vision."

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    It's pretty impressive how quickly we've racked up an extensive sandal collection considering it's only mid-July. By now, you've broken in a trusty slip-on, taken the leap on those sparkly Birkenstocks, and maybe even tried a lace-up gladiator. But, there's one go-to sandal that's been there through all the come-and-go trends — and some of Instagram's most stylish ladies are staying loyal to it. Remember the chunky black sandal?

    In the same way a combat boot has become the ultimate — and most versatile — winter shoes, a thick black sandal has the same relationship with summer; pair it with a summer dress and you'll strike that perfect bit of contrast that gives you some serious style cred, comfort, and, not to mention, a few extra inches. As much as we're pushing square-toe sandals and PVC pieces, we can't deny the allure of an item we know will never go out of style.

    See the chunky black sandals winning the hearts of editors, bloggers, and stylists (and shop similar options) ahead.

    Ideal for days on-the-go.

    White dress feeling a little too precious? Ground it with some classic Birkenstocks.

    The perfect answer to some ruffled gingham.

    Wear them from the street to the beach.

    Biker shorts have met their match.

    Get legs for days with a pair of flatforms.

    Céline flatform sandal, available at Céline.

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    Once every few weeks our Instagram feeds explode with influencers and celebrities suddenly all wearing the same brand. The latest to pass through our phones is Italy-based swim label Reina Olga, which has been spotted on the likes of Kourtney Kardashian, Olivia Culpo, Brooke Hogan, and a whole host of micro and macro influencers. Its lightweight, almost terrycloth-looking monokinis and form-fitting mini dresses have become unmistakable alongside beach settings and clear blue waters.

    Reina Olga falls into the growing camp of well-known swim brands that seem to have figured out what makes Instagram's elite tick. From scoop neck, side-boob bearing one-pieces in pastel shades to itty-bitty string bikinis in varied animal prints, the label's pieces are regulars on Instagram's Discover page. Oone look at its website and it's immediately clear that the sister duo behind the brand, Guia and Isotta Cleps, knows their audience — and knows how to achieve that "influencer" look.

    While shopping around Reina Olga, you'll encounter product descriptions in all caps that read "The most flattering bikini bottoms, makes your legs look longer, you [sic] butt look firmer and hug it on [sic] that way that's juuuuust right." To the Cleps' credit, though, they've made their brand somewhat inclusive with a "One Size Fits Most" collection; curvier influencers like Solmaz Saberi have shown there's adequate stretch in the fit, but don't expect the XS-M sizing to fit anyone above a 10 or 12. Based on the regularity of their Instagram tags, however, that doesn't seem to be slowing down any growth.

    So if there's a new swim brand bandwagon you should be hopping on, this is it. For a look at the pieces you can buy straight from the celebrity source, click ahead.

    Kourtney Kardashian

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    Rocky Barnes

    Solmaz Saberi

    Barbara di Creddo

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    Brooke Hogan

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