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Refinery29
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    Labor Day is fast approaching, which means it's only a matter of time before the end-of-summer blues start to hit us. In our opinion, the best remedy is as much pool, beach, or outdoor time as we can squeeze in before we're back in bulky sweaters drinking pumpkin spice lattes. But as much as we want to fill the remaining days of summer, it's also very easy to damage your hair doing so. The elements can do a number on healthy hair, no matter your type or texture, while chlorine can dry hair out, fade color, and cause breakage.

    To prevent damage ahead of fall we spoke to professional hairstylists and colorists for tips on how to keep hair healthy as you take on all the summer activities that you can. It turns out that the key lies mostly in prevention. With a little know-how — and a few essential products — you’ll be able to enjoy every bonfire, pool party, and BBQ that's left in 2018.

    Read on for 12 tips on how to protect your strands as you bask in what's left of summer.

    Start Fresh

    No matter how many hair-care products you have in your arsenal, according to celebrity hairstylists and cofounders of Los Angeles-based Nine Zero One Salon Nikki Lee and Riawna Capri, protecting your strands starts with keeping hair free of buildup. This can be done with a rinse or a shower filter, and is important to consider in the summer when hair can attract more buildup, thanks to pool and ocean water.

    “I recommend the Raindrops filtration system year-round, but especially during the summer,” says Lee. “If you start with a clean canvas, your hair is more likely to survive the summer elements. This one filters out unwanted minerals like iron, chlorine, and rust, that can build up in your hair. It also increases pH balance to give you a marvelous mane.”



    Raindrops Raindrops Luxe - Filter with Shower Head bundle, $120, available at Raindrops 901

    Steel Yourself With Salad Dressing

    Okay, not actual salad dressing, but kind of close. “Start by doing an apple cider vinegar rinse,” says Capri. (In addition to going great with arugula, the acid balances your scalp’s pH, stimulates growth, and seals cuticles, among offering other hair-health benefits.) dpHUE’s formula blends nutrient-rich apple-cider vinegar with argan oil and aloe vera, gently removing impurities without stripping your scalp of its natural oils.



    dpHUE ACV, $32, available at dpHUE

    Detox Your Strands

    For a DIY solution to scalp buildup, try this easy home remedy: “Mix a half cup of sparkling water, half cup of apple-cider vinegar, and juice from a quarter of a lemon into a spray bottle,” says Kattia Solano, hairstylist and founder of New York-based Butterfly Studio Salon. “Apply to dry hair from roots to ends [until] it's fully saturated. Massage into your scalp for a few minutes as it absorbs, then rinse thoroughly. Follow up with a clarifying shampoo and, if desired, your favorite hair mask. Keep the DIY theme going by adding a natural fruit, nut, or vegetable oil for an additional moisture boost.”



    Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, $6.99, available at Amazon

    Protect Your Hair Before Taking A Dip

    Fun fact: Color-treated, highlighted, bleached, and naturally light locks require more upkeep — especially during pool season. “Chlorine can wreck your hair by drying it out and, if you’re blond, by leaving it green,” says Solano. “To cut down on the amount of chlorinated water your hair absorbs, first coat your strands with a silicone-based product (John Frieda’s Frizz Ease Extra Strength Hair Serum is amazing), which works to keep chemicals from penetrating hair.” No products on hand? “Wetting your hair with tap or bottled water before you jump in the pool also helps,” says Solano.



    John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength Hair Serum, $11.99, available at Ulta Beauty

    Multitask At The Pool

    "Hanging in the pool or at the ocean are great opportunities to treat your hair," says celebrity colorist Amber Maynard. "Just smooth a mask through your hair, pull it into a bun, and then go swimming." With its active ingredients like plant-based proteins and cupuacu butter, this affordable option makes for the perfect beach bag addition.



    Garnier Damage Eraser Strength Reconstructing Butter Hair Mask, $4.94, available at Walmart

    Your Hair Needs SPF, Too!

    After you’ve slathered sunscreen all over your body, don’t forget to apply some on your colored strands too. “Putting sunblock on your hair protects against fading,” says Garnier stylist Tommy Buckett. “There are a few products on the market that can be misted or sprayed onto wet or dry hair to protect color.” Sun Bum’s UV-protecting spray-on formula is perfect for tossing into your beach bag, but in a pinch, Buckett says you can rely on regular old cream sunscreen.



    Sun Bum Beach Formula 3 In 1 Leave In Treatment, $14.99, available at Ulta Beauty

    Remove Chlorine The Right Way

    Post-pool party, you’ll want to remove any chlorine residue lingering in your hair. If a simple rinse with water doesn’t cut it for you, Butterfly Studio Salon hairstylist Jennifer Penny suggests using a vitamin-C spray: “Vitamin C, specifically ascorbic acid, neutralizes chlorine. There are several sprays formulated to specifically remove the residue left by pool water on your hair and skin. You can even make your own by mixing vitamin-C crystals and water.”



    SwimSpray Chlorine Removal Spray , $10.6, available at Amazon

    Prevent Dry Locks

    No summer is complete without a few beach sessions, but drying saltwater can take its toll on your strands. By injecting hair with intense moisture first, you’ll help prevent brittle locks and breakage. “Saturate hair in a conditioner or oil beforehand,” suggests Penny. “Secure in a topknot or braided style to prevent tangles. This is a great time to use those hotel conditioners you have lying around.” Another alternative is Davines’ lightweight oil, a formula made with breathable silicone that protects strands and antioxidant-rich roucou oil.



    Davines OI Oil , $44, available at Amazon

    Make No-Heat Styling Your Friend

    Despite your best precautions, a long day under the sun can bake your strands. To quickly revive your hairstyle for evening, Solano suggests twisting hair into a knot and securing with a chopstick. You can do this on damp hair or hair with a bit of grit from the beach; just mist with water first!

    “I prefer chopsticks over ponytail holders because they never leave marks in your hair and hold the style,” she says. Leave the updo in place for anywhere between 20 minutes and all evening, then release the knot for increased volume and movement. Though any old pair of chopsticks will do, France Luxe’s version is the perfect combination of fashion and function.



    France Luxe Hair France Luxe Hair Stick Pair, $28, available at France Luxe

    If You Must Blowdry, Opt For Ions

    Instead of adding more heat to your hair during the summer, ditch the hot tools whenever possible. “Give your styling tools a vacation and focus on healthy shampoo and conditioning habits,” says Head & Shoulders celebrity stylist Sunnie Brook Jones. “However, if you are going to use tools, make sure they’re ionic so they compress the cuticle and create a smooth, glass-like surface on the hair.” Our suggestion? For those willing to pay a premium, Drybar’s portable ionic dryer works efficiently and looks great on your bathroom counter.



    DryBar Buttercup Blow-Dryer, $195, available at DryBar

    Pick A Richer Leave-In

    To condition strands in the summer without weighing them down and leaving a greasy finish, coconut oil’s the key — just make sure it’s diluted with water. “Apply coconut oil on the ends to add shine and protein back into your hair and fight frizz,” says Jones. “To use, mix the oil with warm water in a spray bottle and spray on after showering.” Coconut also makes a great beach or pool hair mask: Just wet hair with plain water, apply a bit of oil, and pull hair into a braid or bun.



    Kopari Beauty Organic Coconut Melt, $38, available at Sephora

    Soothe Your Scalp

    If all else fails and you still wind up with a sunburned scalp, hasten the healing process by following these steps: “Use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo with cool water, followed by a natural conditioner,” says Kuen Rameson, founder of hair-care line Gloss Moderne. “Avoid using your blowdryer or any heating tools until the scalp has healed. Blot, don’t rub, with a soft towel. You can also apply aloe vera to soothe and moisturize burnt areas.” Gloss Moderne’s shampoo is made without sulfates, which can potentially dry out your hair — the last thing a sunburned scalp needs! And next time? Wear a hat!



    Gloss Moderne Clean Luxury Shampoo, $48, available at Gloss Moderne

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    One of the best aspects of traveling is bringing home tokens that mark the trip — be it handmade sandals or the perfect vintage T-shirt. In fact, travel is often the best way to justify an all-out shopping spree. And as far as shopping capitals go, Bangkok is one of the world’s best. From sprawling mega-malls that feel like cities in themselves to vintage shops tucked behind street-food carts to charming boutiques touting popular Thai designers, Bangkok has a shopping vibe that is entirely its own.

    If you’ve always wanted to explore the city but didn’t know quite where to begin, we’ve got you covered. In partnership with Korean Air, which offers convenient flights to Bangkok via Seoul, South Korea, we’re bringing you the very best shops that give fashion-conscious travelers a true taste of the city. And while Thailand might be a bit of a trek from the U.S., you can kill time during the flight by curling up with a blanket, a glass of wine from Korean Air’s in-flight collection, and one of many movies on your personal TV. You’ll even get free slippers. Hit the ground refreshed and ready to shop at these top Bangkok boutiques.

    EmQuartier

    Mall culture is deeply ingrained in the Bangkok shopping scene, but EmQuartier is more than just your average mall. A luxury liner of upscale shopping (complete with an IMAX theater, waterfalls, a climbing wall, a swimming pool, and even sleeping pods), the mall is comprised of three zones: the Glass Quartier with high-end fashion and beauty brands, the Helix Quartier, packed with food and beverage options, and the Waterfall Quartier, which houses more than 60 Thai fashion brands.

    The Waterfall Quartier will be your stop. Make sure to stop into Sendada*, founded by Thai designer Chanita Preechawitayakul, who fuses vintage vibes with sophistication and femininity. Next, hit Disaya, which boasts bold and colorful geometric and animal prints. Lastly, don’t miss Tutti, which focuses on elegantly understated dresses made with lace and chiffon.

    EmQuartier, 637 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand; +66-2-269-1000.

    Designed by Tristan Offit.

    Siam Center

    Another Bangkok institution, Siam Center is a hub of art, fashion, technology, and entertainment — it’s also home to more than 200 international and Thai brands, including lots of local designers. And while you can certainly snag your favorite international labels here, the real discoveries are to be found at the tinier boutiques. Embrace the eccentric at Wonder Anatomie, which offers abstract prints and unexpected materials (the store itself is also a head-turner, with a ceiling designed to look like skeletal remains). Then, wander over to Pony Stone for a mashup of trends, from ripped T-shirts and destroyed jeans to everything denim and fur to sequins and slits.

    Siam Center, 979 Rama 1 Road, Bangkok, Thailand; +66-02-658-1000.

    Designed by Tristan Offit.

    (un)Fashion Vintage

    Part vintage store, part cafe, (un)Fashion Vintage is the place to go if you’re looking for quality vintage leather. You’ll find a well-curated selection of bags and shoes (sourced from Europe, North America, and Asia) popping off of shelves, overflowing out of baskets, and literally hanging from the ceilings. The shop also offers one of the best cups of coffee in town inside its bright and cozy café, where you can post up on a cushion-lined bench and take stock of all your incredible new leather finds.

    (un)Fashion Vintage, Ekkamai Soi 10, Bangkok, Thailand; +66-2-726-9592.

    Designed by Tristan Offit.

    Open House

    Think of Open House as a coworking space meets a small village of shopping and dining. Perched 164 feet above Bangkok in the Central Embassy complex, the space features restaurants, bars, galleries, pop-ups, and workspaces. While everything there is worth exploring, make sure you hit the Open House Bookshop by Hardcover, specializing in rare and out-of-print books. Open House’s Art Tower is also a must for any aspiring artist, offering unique tools and materials. And don’t miss the Design Shop, which houses a collection of curated products by local artists, like ceramics, jewelry, and wooden pieces.

    Open House, Level 6, Central Embassy, 1031 Ploenchit Road, Bangkok, Thailand; +66-2-119-7777.

    Designed by Tristan Offit.

    Ecotopia

    The name says it all. Located on the fourth floor of Siam Discovery, a newer shopping center where each floor is dedicated to one area of specialty, Ecotopia is a treasure trove of all things eco-friendly. Here, you’ll find Thai-made products that are all environmentally friendly — from clothes to cosmetics to fresh produce to stationery.

    Ecotopia, 989 Rama I Road, Bangkok, Thailand; +66-2-658-1000.

    Designed by Tristan Offit.

    Terminal 21

    Take a trip around the world at this unique concept store, where each floor is named after a different international city. Though the shops don’t necessarily reflect said destinations, each floor does boast the corresponding cuisine. While most floors house international brands, in the Istanbul section, you'll find one-of-a-kind vendor-style shops that are unique to Bangkok, including Vara, a high-quality leather fashion house. You’re here for one of the shop’s bags, which are both practical and stylish (they’re also available in over 15 different styles and all different colors, so there’s truly something for everyone). Our favorite is the “Naked” bag, a bucket bag with drawstrings that’s easy to throw all your daily necessities into.

    Terminal 21, 88 Soi Sukhumvit 19, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand; +66-02-108-0888.

    Designed by Tristan Offit.

    The Trapeze Swingers

    This vintage hideaway tucked amid street-food stalls, bars, and backpacker hotels is a place you’ll want to take your time in. Make your way through the two stories of clothing, accessories, handbags, and even vinyl to uncover some of the more unique vintage pieces the city has to offer.

    The Trapeze Swingers, 15 Chana Songkhram Alley, Bangkok, Thailand; +66-86-332-1045.

    Designed by Tristan Offit.

    Camp BKK

    Parked right in the heart of one of the busiest sections of the city, Camp BKK is full of reasonably priced womenswear designers and is a favorite amongst Bangkok-based twenty- and thirtysomethings. Here, you’ll find everything from lightweight dresses and jumpsuits to colorful sunglasses and sandals.

    Camp BKK, Siam Square Soi 5, Bangkok, Thailand; +66-2-252-2334.

    Designed by Tristan Offit.

    Thonglor Art Village

    Tucked away from the throngs of overcrowded shopping neighborhoods, the Thonglor district is a vintage shopper’s treasure chest. The Art Village in particular is home to some of the city’s best vintage dresses, jewelry, bags, and decor, spread between two very full rooms. Make sure to first browse the entrance rack, where everything is priced at 100 Thai baht (a little over $3).

    Thonglor Art Village, 353/1 Sukhumvit Rd, Bangkok, Thailand; +66-85-145-4691.

    Designed by Tristan Offit.

    Want to see more of Bangkok? Watch this video revealing the best of what the city has to offer — in just 60 seconds.

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    You can always tell when summer is winding down. Your off-the-grid weekends out of town turn into catch-up brunches with your girls right around the corner; your cold-brew addiction makes way for the seasonal return of the hot latte; and, seemingly overnight, the temps on your weather app look a heck of a lot different, which means one thing — your closet needs a refresh, too. But let's be real: It's easier said than done. Between your mega collection of coats and the boxes and boxes of sweaters you have piling up in storage, it can feel slightly overwhelming figuring out exactly where to begin. Our advice? Start with denim and build from there.

    Jeans are responsible for so many of our favorite outfits — and being able to comfortably layer again (read: without sweating to death) brings the wardrobe hero even more top of mind. So with the latest fits from Aéropostale 's new fall lineup, we’re showing off how you can use denim to unlock your ultimate autumn aesthetic. Think: straight-leg fits with frayed edges, wear-with-everything faded jackets, and easy chambray tops you can rock all weekend long, whatever the weather. Oh, and did we mention that not one of these items is over $60? So on top of being versatile, comfortable, and ready to move, they’re jeans your wallet will thank you for, too. Presenting your foolproof fall denim guide, straight ahead.

    Let’s talk blue jeans, baby — specifically, skinny jeans. While the ever-popular style goes with pretty much anything, it can oftentimes feel too restrictive, requiring that awkward wiggle-dance to squeeze into in the morning. (You know the one.) That’s why we’re rallying around stretch fabrics this season, giving you one less thing to worry about when hustling from back-to-back meetings straight into happy hour. For a crisp-air ensemble, throw on flexible jeggings frayed in front for an easy vintage vibe, paired with a bohemian blouse and suede ankle boots braided at the edges to tie it all together. For more of an off-duty look, opt for exposed-knee skinnies, a sleeveless statement tee, and worn-in sneakers to jump right into weekend-warrior mode. Museum hopping, anyone?

    When it comes to rocking denim up top, fear not the Canadian tuxedo. Embrace the jean-on-jean look head on, but with one tiny caveat: no two styles of the same wash. Pair a faded, light jacket (worn up a size or two for a laid-back effect) with medium-wash, slightly destroyed jeans for a much fresher approach — a mono-fabric look that won’t totally overwhelm you. Finish it off with a Western-inspired lace-up tank and your comfiest pair of black and white kicks. And for the days when the weather still hasn’t quite made up its mind about cooling down or not, a chambray top will be your best friend. Wear it open in front and cuffed at the sleeves over a simple white tank and billowing floral shorts — you'll be able to tie it around your waist or button it up as you (and your AC situation) see fit. Now with these denim ideas at your disposal, go make some room in your dresser, because you're really gonna need it.

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    In tonight's episode of Refinery29's late-night talk show After After Party, host Sonia Denis and the panel (Caroline Sinders, Matt Rogers, and Marcia Belsky) break down social media vigilantism and discuss Trump’s newest hate train against reality star-turned-sellout, Omarosa.

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    There's nothing inherently alluring about magnesium. The ingredient wasn't even on our minds until we spotted Jordyn Woods (Kylie Jenner's BFF and model) getting an A-list facial boasting magnesium as a hero ingredient. Turns out, it may just be the trendy new ingredient you should be adding to your skin-care routine, especially if you're looking to balance combination skin.

    Any doctor will tell you that magnesium is more popular as an oral treatment to rebalance your digestive system than a topical spot treatment. You can find the laxative milk of magnesia in any grocery store or drugstore. Still, that doesn't mean there isn't potential for it to help your skin. "The best way to absorb it is internally, rather than externally," explains Ido Magal, herbalist and founder of Lavido. " When you use magnesium internally, it helps with almost 300 different processes in the body." But, even then, Magal agrees that in a non-direct way, it could also have an effect on the skin. "Use magnesium topically and a very small amount of it absorbs through the body without going through the digestive system," he tell us. The effect: reduced inflammation.

    "Magnesium protects the skin from free radical damage, inflammation, and it's necessary for the enzymes that regulate cell turnover and repair," Patricia Wexler, MD, a New York-based dermatologist explains. "A lot of people end up using it topically for the treatment of acne and acne rosacea." Wexler says it can help with skin that is red, severely dry, and itchy.

    Still, not every thrilling new skin-care launch features the anti-inflammatory hero just yet. And esthetician Renée Rouleau tells us that there are a few different forms of magnesium to keep an eye out for: magnesium hydroxide (found in milk of magnesia), magnesium PCA, and magnesium carbonate. Rouleau says magnesium PCA acts as a humectant so it can help attract more moisture to the skin as it works. Right now you can find the ingredient in products like Glossier's Super Glow and REN's Atlantic Kelp Wash. And magnesium carbonate is a mineral salt and best used for its absorbent qualities and talent for balancing the pH in your skin. In fact, Rouleau includes it in her Night Time Spot Lotion to dry out pustular blemishes.

    Only in 2018 could the same ingredient that makes you run for the bathroom also get your skin in its best shape yet...

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    If you haven't heard, we're in for some planetary mayhem at the end of summer. Already we've dealt with at least three short-lived retrogrades, but we're also in the midst of Saturn's backspin until early September. 'Til then, we're encouraged to look before we leap and avoid any rash behavior. While some may focus that energy on their careers and relationships, we'll be putting our conscientious decision-making into our nails.

    If we can't control the direction in which the planets seem to be spinning, at least we can control what kind of nail art decorates our fingertips. With summer Fridays ending sooner than we'd like to admit, we need something to look forward to for fall. Why not make that our manicures? We're ditching the predictable wine-red autumnal polish for something special, kind of funky, and totally unique.

    Need some inspiration before booking that nail appointment? Check out our fall manicure plans ahead.

    “I am in love with all the '60s vibes this fall, and I want to copy these retro floral nails immediately. My grandma actually had a skirt with this exact print on it in the '60s, and I'm praying it's somewhere in my parents' attic for my ultimate matchy-matchy moment." — Cat Quinn, Beauty Director

    "I love the idea of taking the dainty jewelry trend down to your nails with matching gold and pearl designs. It's minimalist, yet maximalist, and so damn cool." — Quinn

    "I'm super into the modern art trend for nails, and I'm in love with this minimal, abstract design that uses negative space. Then again, I don't have Portia Doubleday 's lovely, long nails to use as a canvas." — Rachel Lubitz, Senior Beauty Writer

    "I look at these nails and all I can think about is how long these colors and patterns took to create. Still, that doesn't stop me from desperately wanting them. Guess I have to go to Ukraine, where the nail artist lives, to get them." — Lubitz

    “I’ve always wanted to own a massive geode or two — not the kind they sell at, like, Urban Outfitters, but the really legit ones that go for thousands of dollars in rocks and minerals galleries in New Mexico and come with backstories and certificates of authenticity and shit. At this stage of my life I don’t foresee myself having the disposable income I’d need to purchase them without skipping rent for a few months, but hey, geode nails are cool, too.” — Rachel Krause, Senior Beauty Writer

    “There’s nothing like a good mismatched manicure to get you in the mood for a dizzying end to a planetary retrograde, right?” — Samantha Sasso, Beauty Writer

    “I hate to be the person who just wants nude nails all season, but there’s something about this specific shade of a muted leathery brown that I find so sexy for fall. Now, all I need to do is put some Miracle-Gro on my gel-destroyed nails…” — Sasso

    “The ‘80s have been making a resurgence via our haircuts, styles, and makeup, but it’s about time it hit our manicures. These colorful designs scream Saved by the Bell (first season, obviously) — and I can’t say I hate it.” — Sasso

    “Yellow is one of my least favorite colors, but I cannot stop saving images of sunny negative space manicures right now. There's something fresh and modern about the color, especially when done as a swoop or half-dip …” — Lexy Lebsack, Senior Beauty Editor

    “I mean, tell me this isn't the cutest manicure you've seen this summer?!” — Lebsack

    “I'm also really feeling this French manicure done by nail artist Alicia Torello with not one, but two colors. Plus, the grow-out process is so much easier than a solid shade, which makes justifying the cost of intricate art that much easier.” — Lebsack

    “My grandmother recently gave me an Evil Eye necklace as a gift and I've fallen in love — not only with the message (to ward of evil spirits and bad luck), but with the design. I have a feeling if I bring my Evil Eye to life through my mani, it'll bring even more good vibes. And who doesn't need more of those?" — Thatiana Diaz, Beauty Writer

    “These squiggly lines are everywhere lately. And while this specific design from Chillhouse is inspired by Keith Haring's pop and graffiti art, it's hard to deny that the trend is growing. By fall, I'm betting this creative and playful design catches on." – Diaz

    "This floral nail art reminds me of being 12 years old when I asked my mom to take me to the salon just before our family vacation, but that doesn't make it any less cool for my 23-year-old self (who still really loves flowers on her fingertips)." — Megan Decker, Beauty Assistant

    "Despite the fact that I've seen this everywhere, I'm still obsessed with Violette's minimalist studded manicure. The lack of color underneath the tiny gemstones makes the nails chic and edgy as opposed to cheesy and bedazzled." — Decker

    "Between vacations and summer parties, I can't be bothered with regular nail appointments. That's why I try to stick to negative space manicures because I can go weeks without a salon trip. This look from Paintbox has really bold colors, which I always end up getting around August because I want to squeeze every neon nail opportunity out of summer." — Jessica Cruel, Deputy Beauty Director

    "I'm all about minimal nail designs. Lines, curves, and clean graphics are all my go-tos. This manicure looks like waves from one angle and flames from another. Either way, it's hot." — Cruel

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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 scientist working in academia who makes $63,648 per year ($174,648 combined with her husband) and spends some of her money this week on polarized sunglasses.

    Occupation: Scientist
    Industry: Academia
    Age: 31
    Location: Seattle, WA
    My Salary: $63,648
    My Husband's Salary: ~$111,000
    My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,771
    My Husband's Paycheck Amount (Weekly): $1,371

    Monthly Expenses
    Rent: $3,103 for our two-bedroom apartment
    HSA: $179
    Dependent Care FSA: $416
    Nanny: $1,400 (We share a nanny four days a week with another family who also has a 10-month-old.)
    Charity: $670
    Biweekly Cleaner: $360
    Utilities: ~$260
    Phones: $100
    Internet: $60
    ICloud Storage & Apple Music: $13
    Netflix: $11
    Additional Savings: $300 (includes our kiddo's 529 college savings fund)

    Annual Expenses
    Nanny Taxes, Worker's Comp & Payroll Service Fee: ~$5,000
    Renter's Insurance, Better World Club & Bicycle Insurance: ~$500
    Amazon Prime: $131
    Vehicle Tab Renewal: ~$100 (We share one car — an old minivan owned by my father. He pays for the insurance and we pay for the tabs.)
    App Subscriptions: $69
    Out-Of-State Townhouse: We own and rent a townhouse. The mortgage is $460 and the rent is $750, but we come close to breaking even after taxes, utilities, and maintenance. We're in the process of putting it up for sale.

    Day One

    6:50 a.m. — My husband, M.'s, quiet alarm and my baby's cheerful "blahs" over the monitor arrive almost simultaneously. I linger in bed for 10 minutes and then launch into my morning routine: nursing, entertaining the baby while I shower, and diaper changes. I head downstairs for a breakfast of yogurt, granola, and fruit M. prepped last night. This morning is mango, blackberry, cherry, strawberry, and banana, an impressive variety that he got from the grocery store yesterday after work. He also bought the good orange juice, so I have a glass. The baby plays on the floor while I eat.

    8:45 a.m. — I load the kiddo and our stuff onto my longtail cargo e-bike and begin my commute. We go to our nanny share first. I hand over a happy baby, two bottles of milk, and a to-go mini breakfast (similar fruit selection) and lunch (grilled veggies from yesterday's dinner). I continue to work. I'm thrilled to have my new e-bike, because it's much more pleasant than taking the bus, and it's faster too.

    9:40 a.m. — After drop-off, I stop for a latte near work. I recently got a prepaid card (buy 10, get 2 free), so I use that.

    9:50 a.m. — I've already got a couple things on my plate I need to tackle this morning, so I dive right in. The nanny texts to say the baby wasn't super into breakfast, but that's okay.

    11:45 a.m. — Pumping time. I take my laptop with me into the windowless telecon room I've informally reserved. My insurance paid for a breast pump, but I'm glad I bought a second identical one to keep at work. I'm not pumping at home much anymore, but this way I can carry bottles back and forth instead of lugging the whole pump "just in case."

    1:40 p.m. — Last night, I set a reminder to order a framed photo gift for M.'s birthday next week. Supposedly I can earn airline miles and save $40 if I do the transaction properly. I choose a recent vacation photo of him with our kiddo and decide not to pay for expedited shipping, even though it will arrive after his actual birthday. I could probably save money if I ordered a print and frame separately, but I don't have time for that right now, and this one will look very nice. $90.26

    2 p.m. — I'm quite hungry, and finally get around to eating lunch! It's leftovers from last night's dinner: a grilled salmon quinoa bowl with tzatziki sauce from a local meal kit/CSA box. I eat it cold because that's easier than deciding which parts to microwave, and I have a meeting in, uh, 15 minutes. I'm still eating as my meeting gets underway, but nobody seems to mind.

    3:50 p.m. — Pumping time again. I recently transitioned from three to two daily pumping sessions at work. It's much easier and seems to be working, but I have to stick to my schedule and try not to overlap with important meetings. Speaking of which, I'm feeling really drained after two meetings and still have an important task to finish before I can call it a day. I forgot to take a picture of the baby this morning for my tracking app, but it looks like it's nap time now. That sure sounds nice.

    5:20 p.m. — I was strongly considering going to Starbucks for Frappuccino Happy Hour, but I don't have any time left. I miss when they used to have week-long happy hours. M. is currently picking up the baby and will be home starting dinner soon, so I need to leave shortly. I'm wiped.

    7:05 p.m. — I stayed at work much later than I meant to, but I'm finally home. M. cooked up amazing Peruvian chicken with rice, avocado, cherry tomato, cucumber, and cilantro sauce, and he and the baby are already eating when I walk in. This is the second of four meals from the box that was delivered on Tuesday.

    8 p.m. — Nursing and bedtime for the baby. Then I begin my evening tidy-and-prep-for-tomorrow routine with the hopes of getting to spend an hour watching Netflix or reading with M. before my head hits the pillow.

    11:10 p.m. — Success (Netflix)! Although it's a bit later than ideal for lights out. And now, sleep.

    Daily Total: $90.26

    Day Two

    6:45 a.m. — Today, one of our two cats decides to be the alarm clock. Seriously, cat? I lie in bed for a few minutes, but the baby is clearly awake so I soon launch into nursing, playing, showering, changing, and getting my things packed up — the usual. M. is out the door by 7:30 while I'm still nursing.

    8:50 a.m. — My in-laws arrive to take care of the baby. It's a wonderful Friday arrangement for all parties. We chat while I eat breakfast and the kiddo plays. We recently acquired a yellow balloon from a neighbor's birthday party, which is a big hit. Breakfast is my usual yogurt, granola, and fruit combo with a glass of orange juice. I'm headed to work by 9:20 a.m., but not before snagging a free latte with the push of a button from the espresso machine in my apartment complex lobby.

    10 a.m. — My annual performance review starts the day, which goes fine, and then a colleague arrives from out of town to work with me immediately after.

    11:55 a.m. — How is it almost noon! Need to pump! I say I'm going to work on some things while pumping, but I'm just not in the right headspace today.

    12:35 p.m. — Friday means pizza for lunch! It costs $1/slice for students and $3/slice for everyone else. I brought a small portion of pasta with the intention of eating it with two slices of pizza, but who am I kidding, I am getting three of these suckers: jalapeño pesto, margherita, and spinach with sun dried tomato. I pay for myself and my colleague's two slices. $15

    3:55 p.m. — Did somebody say pumping time? I've been working pretty hard and could use a snack too, so maybe pasta leftovers weren't a bad idea after all. I heat up my small serving of fusilli with green chile alfredo and dig in while my pump does its thing.

    6:44 p.m. — How have I managed to stay at work LONGER than yesterday? I've certainly missed family dinner, but it feels good to wrap up what I'm working on for once instead of rushing out the door. I bike home quickly because it's well past rush hour.

    8:40 p.m. — Finally dinnertime. The baby was happy to see me but quickly became cranky and tired, so we basically started nursing and bedtime as soon as I got home. M. reheats rotisserie chicken and serves it with a cucumber salad with tomato and avocado, similar to yesterday's meal. I heat up leftover rice and add cilantro sauce to tie it together. I guess the chicken means he did another grocery run, but it also means I can have a hard cider, and it sounds like he and his parents had a good dinner with the baby. $41.90

    9:20 p.m. — We move to the sofa to watch Netflix. I sample a few pieces of chocolate popcorn we were recently gifted, but it's not quite what I'm after.

    10:45 p.m. — I'm exhausted but still parked on the sofa. I remember our nanny sent home a sleep sack for washing that the baby has nearly grown out of. I meant to order another one in a larger size this morning, but didn't have a free hand while nursing for long enough to find exactly what I wanted. Before going to bed, I order a sleep sack (in a fun spaceship pattern!), diaper pail refills, and chapstick on Amazon. $75.15

    11:23 p.m. — The baby is awake! M. goes to in to see what's up. Often after bedtime we'll hear a couple noises, but this is more disruption than usual. I am a food source and therefore not the first line of defense. His intervention appears successful, so we cross our fingers and try to go to sleep.

    Daily Total: $132.05

    Day Three

    7:02 a.m. — The baby woke a few more times overnight, but midnight ibuprofen seemed to help. Probably teething. M. spent at least an hour in the kiddo's room. He probably got less sleep than me, but morning definitely feels too early today. Babies don't know about weekends.

    8:30 a.m. — It's a divide and conquer kind of morning. Our two cats need their annual checkup and shots, but we don't particularly want to bring a baby to the vet. I dart between messing with my hair post-shower and scooping protesting felines into carriers, and then M. is off with the cats and I am left sans breakfast (but mostly clean and dressed!) with a baby to entertain. We walk to the nearby coffee shop and get a latte, day-old $1 muffin, and a mediocre breakfast sandwich with egg, feta, and spinach. The baby enjoys nibbles of food in the stroller and makes friends with fellow patrons. $10.14

    9:47 a.m. — After a short walk around the park, we head home for the baby's nap. M. and the cats get home, and both cats are well. $223.10

    12:24 p.m. — The baby is up and has nursed. We dig into simple cheese quesadillas with a side of nachos (carbs and cheese, anyone?) prepared by M. before heading to meet friends at a state park for a short hike. We planned to get there between 12:30 and 1 p.m., but the baby slept until nearly noon, and we all have to eat. Thankfully, our friends are flexible. We load the trusty old minivan and head out shortly after 1. On the way out the door, one of the arms on my sunglasses breaks off in the middle, so I guess I'm wearing broken sunglasses today.

    1:50 p.m. — We find our friends at the state park, but we learned en route we would have to pay $10 for parking. I'm annoyed we don't have the $30 annual pass we bought when I renewed the van's tabs. (It was mailed to my dad, and he never sent it along.) It didn't occur to me to check if parking was free, and it feels like just one more thing to keep track of. There's a car show happening at the park, so it's extra tricky to figure out where to go, and there's even more stinky exhaust than usual. I set most of this aside, though, and we head off on a lovely walk. We're rewarded with a lake view and stop to let the baby wiggle around and get some pictures. $10

    3:10 p.m. — We load the kiddo back in M.'s hiking backpack only to find one unhappy baby. When we stop again for a diaper check, mystery is solved! The baby is still tired and unhappy after this multi-wipe trailside situation, but M. takes off up the trail, which eventually results in a nap. We all get back to the parking lot sooner than necessary, and meander to a shaded area with picnic tables to continue chatting. The kiddo eventually wakes up, nurses, and is content to sit on the grass and grab things for a bit. It's good for all of us to spend time in nature with friends.

    5:10 p.m. — As we load up the van to drive home, we find a discarded annual parking pass that's perfectly good! I don't know why I was so irked by spending $10 earlier! This annual pass is good for a few months longer than the one I should have had, so it's a win.

    6:45 p.m. — M. makes spaghetti for dinner, the third of four box meals. It has fresh tomato sauce, basil, and garlic scapes. The garlic scapes are like sad, stingy-garlic-flavored green beans, and I am not a fan. It's not his fault. At least the baby is into it.

    11:11 p.m. — Baby bedtime went off without a hitch, and we manage to watch an episode of TV on Netflix after. We don't always watch TV, but when we do, we watch one episode a night because we don't have time for anything more than that.

    Daily Total: $243.24

    Day Four

    7:30 a.m. — I did technically wake up around 7 a.m. to a single cry, but then the baby let us sleep in. Best baby ever! We mix it up today and have breakfast before I shower. M. makes delicious sandwiches with croissants his parents left us. They have egg, arugula, tomato, and cream cheese. The baby likes the tomato best. I linger over my glass of orange juice and realize I had better hurry up and shower.

    9:45 a.m. — We leave for church a little later than is ideal, but this one's on me. I love living close enough to a church that we can walk.

    10:05 a.m. — Church is also running late, so we arrive just as the service is about to start. I often help with music, but I decide not to today since we have a different pianist than usual. It's good to see friends, the baby loves the music, and M. speaks briefly about signing up for automatic giving during the announcements. Our church's free weekday breakfasts have been highlighted in the Sunday paper in a story about homelessness. We all wish the publicity could happen under happier circumstances.

    11:43 a.m. — Finally, baby naptime on the walk home. Church collides with the kiddo's nap, so we're always pushing it early or late. M. finishes walking the sleeping baby home while I stop to get new sunglasses. I spend what feels like forever trying on every pair of polarized sunglasses at the drugstore, and finally pick ones that are just okay. $16.50

    12:15 p.m. — We love Sunday brunch, but it isn't always compatible with naptime. As a compromise, we often get delicious biscuit and egg sandwiches to go. Today, though, I go to Five Guys since it's right by the drugstore. I order a grilled veggie sandwich for me (minus mushrooms, plus jalapeños) and a burger with grilled onions and ketchup for M. We split a small fries. I'm tempted to buy a shake, but they are huge and sugary, so I skip it. $16.04

    2:25 p.m. — We decide to go to the zoo, since we have annual passes and it's close. Driving is out because parking is limited and expensive, and while the bus is a fine option, it can be slow. I push for biking, even though it means we can't bring the stroller, and M. reluctantly agrees. He pays $10 in credit so he can rent an e-assist Lime bike, because getting to the zoo is pretty uphill. We agree it's annoying that you have to buy credit in advance and can't pay-as-you-go anymore. At the zoo, we hit up the indoor air conditioned kiddo play zone, stop at a shaded seating area to offer the baby a snack (the butternut squash squeeze pouch is NOT a hit), and visit the penguin exhibit. $10

    3:45 p.m. — We need to head back home for the baby to take a second nap. M. winds up taking the bus (with his free bus pass from work) since his bike isn't there anymore, but arrives home much later than the kiddo and me. The baby is napping by 4 p.m. — not bad for a Sunday!

    6:20 p.m. — M. agrees to make dinner and watch the baby while I go get groceries for the week. I buy a large block of cheddar, a wedge of Swiss, half a pound each of deli turkey and havarti, loads of Greek yogurt, orange juice, tortillas, frozen peaches, frozen acai pouches, peanut butter puffs, baby cereal puff snacks, three bags of granola, a southwest salad kit, mangos, a red onion, a bunch of green onions, cherry tomatoes I can't resist, apricots, a block of tofu, green beans, and red bell peppers. $144.41

    6:30 p.m. — M. texts me to say the baby tried to eat cat food while he was cooking. Things got a little delayed...apparently post-cat-food-exploit the baby repeatedly asked for milk with sign language, so he stopped cooking to prepare a small bottle even though I'd recently nursed. Never a dull moment!

    7:15 p.m. — Finally, lentil salad for dinner, the final of four box meals. It has chard, pea pods, radishes, feta, and more of those darn garlic scapes, but the baby isn't hungry since there were solid food snacks after the surprise bottle. We agree the lentil salad is a bit boring and bland, but it'll make acceptable lunch leftovers.

    7:40 p.m. — M. leaves for a scheduled 8 p.m. haircut he can walk to. The barber shop is open late and I'm doing bedtime anyway, so it's the best time. $43.20

    8:50 p.m. — Lots of prep to do for Monday morning when the nanny share is at our house! We vacuum, set up a Pack 'n Play and a second high chair, do dishes, wipe down surfaces, put laundry away (there is never not laundry), gather toys from everywhere, and reset minimal baby-proofing, since the other baby is a big crawler.

    9:40 p.m. — We start watching Netflix later than ideal, but M. picked up pints from my favorite ice cream shop on his way home! He's happy, too, because he got a flavor he loves that's only available this month. $23.12

    11:22 p.m. — Finally lights out!

    Daily Total: $253.27

    Day Five

    6:32 a.m. — The baby thinks about waking up, but ultimately lets me snooze until 7:15. M. leaves quietly in the car around 7 to hit the gym before work. After nursing and showering, I enjoy yogurt with blackberry, mango, cherry, and granola, plus a glass of orange juice, while the baby plays.

    8:52 a.m. — I greet our nanny, who takes over watching the baby pulling every book off the bookshelf. I remind her how to keep the house cool with strategic window opening/closing and the upstairs A/C, since today's high is over 85. About 10 minutes later, the other baby arrives for the day.

    9:17 a.m. — Free latte on the way out the door. I used my own milk today, which tastes better than the powdered milk in the machine, but only works when I want it iced.

    9:50 a.m. — I have to spend a good chunk of the morning rebooting and getting my computer to stop thinking it's out of disk space. For a six-year-old Macbook Pro, it's doing pretty darn great. My work will supposedly buy me a new computer, but I keep waiting for the specs to improve enough to take the plunge, and I'm not keen to reinstall all my stuff.

    12:35 p.m. — Free lunch from work! Every other Monday, we get to place an online order for lunch from a local restaurant to eat during a group meeting. I dig into a tasty southwest quinoa salad bowl complete with black beans, roasted corn, chicken, cheese, tortilla chiplets, avocado, and cilantro-lime dressing. I added a chocolate chip cookie to my order (because free!), but it's rather disappointing. I eat it anyway.

    5:20 p.m. — I head home to make a mac and cheese bake for dinner (maybe not the smartest for a hot day, but oh well?) while M. takes the kiddo to parent and child aquatics. I hope this makes up for me staying at work too late several days last week, even though M. said he didn't mind. I suppose I do handle the mornings and all things breastmilk, but I swear he does just about everything else! He even washes the milk bottles and pump parts every evening because he is the best.

    6:45 p.m. — M. and baby are back from swimming and have taken a quick rinse-off together. We switch roles so I can nurse. I've managed to get the noodles cooked, cheese shredded, green onions chopped, and other ingredients measured and ready to go.

    7:05 p.m. — My brilliant dinner plan is taking longer than expected. M. is still waiting for the roux to thicken. We trade roles back; I throw a southwest salad kit together and dice tomatoes once the pasta is in the oven so M. and baby can eat something by 7:30. The pasta comes out okay, but it's almost too cheesy. (I didn't think that was a thing?!) We cool a small portion down in the freezer for the baby and it is promptly devoured... and smeared everywhere.

    7:55 p.m. — M. gives the baby an express cheese-removal bath since they just had a shower before dinner, and then it's my turn for nursing and bedtime. M. goes back downstairs to begin cleaning up the baby chaos from the day and the disaster kitchen we co-created.

    8:40 p.m. — The baby is exhausted and goes to sleep easily. When I check our shared calendars and online accounts, I see there was supposed to be an auto-debit today for our nanny's Q2 worker's compensation, but it hasn't happened. It is tedious to keep track of when money should disappear from our checking accounts and frustrating when it doesn't occur on schedule. M. looks into this while I finish cleaning up. By the time we're done, we're both pretty grumpy, and it's bedtime.

    11:07 p.m. — Lights out.

    Daily Total: $0

    Day Six

    6:50 a.m. — I wake up halfway to M.'s alarm and roll back over, willing the baby to continue sleeping. It sounds like I'm out of luck, so I get up, but then the monitor gets quiet again. I wind up getting as many things staged for the day as possible before I have to go wake the baby at 7:35(!).

    8:50 a.m. — The other family's dad arrives early with his baby, so we chat while I finish breakfast and the babies start playing. Our nanny arrives a few minutes later. Both she and the other dad have mentioned the homeless encampment that recently popped up a block away. They are concerned about safety, dogs, and proximity to the nearby preschool and park. I point out that homeless folks don't have anywhere else to go and say I haven't had any issues walking by with or without my baby in tow. I'd like to unpack this more, but we all need to get our days started, so we disperse.

    9:22 a.m. — After getting free espresso to go with my iced milk, I bike by the homeless encampment and see it has grown. There appear to be several folks from the city and/or police there. I expect the folks camping will be evicted by the end of the day. I wish I had time or money to throw at this problem. We do support the free breakfast program run by our church, but it doesn't feel like enough.

    9:48 a.m. — My morning is off to a rough start when my officemate and a colleague are already having a loud telecon in my office when I arrive. I put on headphones and try to get in the zone, but there are too many little tasks dragging my attention in different directions. I almost forget about our morning meeting. I'm glad I finished reviewing a document yesterday for a colleague who happens to be arriving for a visit today.

    12 p.m. — Running behind on pumping, but the baby's day started late too, so maybe it's secretly my way of staying in sync? Yeah, right. I forgot to take a baby picture this morning. I check our budgets online and still don't see the mysterious worker's comp charge, even though our account with the state is supposedly current.

    12:52 p.m. — Lunchtime! I heat up a half-portion of leftover mac and cheese (yum!) and eat the half sandwich I prepared last night. It has peppered turkey, havarti cheese, sliced cherry tomatoes, the last bits of some sad arugula, and tzatziki sauce. Not bad, but a little soggy from the sauce.

    3:43 p.m. — It's apparent that I'm not going to have a very productive day today. I tried most of my tricks, including actually standing at my sit-stand desk and opening my window. It's chilly with the window closed, but the noise from the construction site next door annoys my officemate if I leave it open.

    3:50 p.m. — Pumping time, and I'm missing the cookie social right outside because my officemate shut the door! I snag a cookie and say hi to a couple folks before heading back into the pumping room.

    5 p.m. — I need to leave a little early today to head to a friend's birthday party. It's at a brewery in an area I'm less familiar with, but there's no time like the present to learn the city's bike routes. M. plans to drive home from work, pick up the baby, and drive to meet us, but he's going to have a heck of a time doing all that during rush hour. I'm excited because I've heard good things about this brewery. They have a kid play area, other good friends should be there, and a tasty food truck is on the schedule.

    6:20 p.m. — I've already eaten my delicious fish and chips and started in on my beer flight by the time M. and the baby arrive. They're all smiles now, but that was not true in the car. Traffic was awful and parking is pricey ($14.70). I've already gotten to socialize, so I help the kiddo eat dinner and play. I spend $18.75 for a flight plus a regular pour, and $31.82 for two orders of fish and chips and a cup of fish chowder. $65.27

    7:15 p.m. — We head home, me via bike and M. with the baby in the van. I would usually prefer to take the kiddo with me, but I'm not as familiar with the bike route home and my phone says the drive will only be 18 minutes, whereas the bike ride will be 35 minutes. Sure enough, the homeless encampment isn't there anymore. I wonder where they will sleep tonight.

    8:50 p.m. — The kiddo is asleep and I...have food poisoning?! This is awful. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say last time I was moaning on the toilet my water had broken and it was 3 a.m. This is about the same level of pleasantness. Thankfully, it is incredibly short-lived in comparison. I think it must be the fish chowder, since thankfully nobody else is having problems. I'm glad it waited to hit until after I biked home, nursed, and put the baby to bed.

    9:45 p.m. — I have a small glass of apple juice downstairs and chat with M. before we get ready for bed. I am happy to feel human again, but I am also so very done. We're asleep by 11:15.

    Daily Total: $65.27

    Day Seven

    6:50 a.m. — Even though M. didn't set his alarm, he's up and showering. I roll over until the baby does a long rumbling "aaaaaahhhhhhhh" over the monitor to let me know it is indeed morning. I'm low-energy and probably dehydrated, but slept okay. The morning proceeds slowly, but M. is around since he works from home most Wednesdays. I request eggs, peanut butter toast, fruit, and apple juice for breakfast, and he happily obliges. He even cleans up the cat barf. Today also happens to be his birthday. He is the best.

    9:05 a.m. — M. helps me load the kiddo on my bike. When I pull into the other family's garage, the door to the house is locked and my key doesn't work, so I have to knock. I can already tell it's going to be another hot day. I get my usual latte (iced!) with my punchcard and arrive at work a bit before 10. I'm not sure if my stomach is up for a latte, but the caffeine is a plus. I have a telecon soon, so I'm not going to get much else done with my morning.

    12:21 p.m. — As I'm finishing pumping, I see an email from the CSA/meal kit company we sometimes order from. I have to order by tonight if we want to get a box next Tuesday. Some of the meals are vague (what is a "glow bowl"?) but I decide to go for it, since we didn't get one this week. And I'm a sucker for fish tacos. I wish it were easier to mix and match meals, since I don't eat red meat and many of the boxes routinely include beef or pork. $85

    12:30 p.m. — I realize I'm missing a lunch chat that started at noon because my telecon went long and I've been dawdling in the pumping room. Ack! This chat was only finalized yesterday, though, and I've had my telecon, pumping, and a 1 p.m. meeting all scheduled for a while. Sometimes you can't do all the things.

    12:49 p.m. — The lunch I brought (half lentil salad, half mac and cheese) sounds incredibly unappealing, so I guess I'm going to my meeting running on coffee and water. The meeting goes well and we get a concrete set of proposals drafted. I learn that the chat I missed earlier covered a topic I'm already pretty familiar with, so that's a relief.

    2:22 p.m. — I get lunch from a Vietnamese fast casual place after the meeting, and then I'm back in my office slowly nibbling my rice/salad chicken bowl with all the veggie toppings. $10.17

    2:40 p.m. — I get an email that says a long out-of-stock $200 rear grab-bar component I really want for my bike is going to be available at 9 a.m. tomorrow. I know they will sell out almost immediately, so I'm trying to figure out how I can buy something at 9 a.m. on a Thursday. It's one of the most inconvenient times possible, because M. has to be at work and I am usually en route to nanny share drop-off.

    4 p.m. — Pump-o-clock! Should have started earlier, because we're going out tonight for M.'s birthday with his family. That means I'll need to nurse around 6-6:30 so I'm not uncomfortable when we get back after bedtime, and so the baby doesn't drink a huge quantity of frozen milk. My life is a series of reverse-chronological optimization exercises that always run behind schedule. I never have time to pee.

    5:06 p.m. — I quickly check our finances before heading home. I got paid today, so I transfer $2,000 into our joint checking account. I see the worker's comp premium for our nanny finally cleared and I got reimbursed for a work lunch from nearly a month ago due to a receipt mixup. Better late than never!

    7:02 p.m. — To nobody's surprise, we are late getting out the door. The baby nursed well, though, our nanny arrived on time to babysit, and I took a moment to throw on a dress instead of the clothes I'd biked and worked in all day. The restaurant is a bit too far from home to walk, and neither of us are up for biking, so I drive. M.'s family is thrilled to see us.

    8:39 p.m. — We watch the sunset as we enjoy the last bits of our meal and continue chatting. I've had a glass of prosecco, part of a mojito, delicious bread and butter, a halibut entree with squash and potatoes, and a glass of white wine. Soon I dig into strawberries and cream with a ginger snap cookie. What a luxury to sit, eat, drink, and converse for hours, with a view of the water! I spot Venus in the wake of the sunset and watch paddle-boarders and boats drift about.

    9:58 p.m. — No wonder I'm yawning, it's nearly 10 p.m., and we told the nanny we expected to be back by now. I text her to let her know we are on our way. M.'s family graciously picks up the tab. Back home, M. pays the nanny $60, I pump, and we tidy up before calling it a night.

    Daily Total: $95.17

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    I've never really liked massages. Because of my scoliosis, my neck and back pain run deep — deeper, I think, than any pair of hands can reach — and, as far as beauty treatments go, I'd rather have blackheads forced out of my nose while my eyes well up with tears during a hardcore facial than a slippery, supposedly "relaxing" full-body rubdown.

    But just because 99.9% of massages don't satisfy my needs doesn't mean I'm closed off to accepting new treatments with the potential to change my mind. That's how I found that rare .1%, a massage I don't just tolerate, but enjoy. Best of all, it just so happens to be French.

    Meet Caudalie 's Vinoslim Firming Treatment... and try not to immediately judge it by its name. Anything advertised as "slimming" is an instant red flag, as it should be. But this isn't about a trendy L.A. juice cleanse or a new non-invasive procedure that promises to melt belly fat in just six 30-minute sessions, because those things are mostly bullshit. What I'm talking about is a massage — and an uncomfortable one, at that, favored by chic French women who get this sort of thing done on a regular basis.

    Esthetician Daphne Coulmance, who works out of the Caudalia spa here in New York, tells me that, in France, everyone gets treatments like the Vinoslim. The experience itself is simple, and not nearly as relaxing as what you'd expect from a typical massage, nor does it purport to be. The "massage" is actually a palpating rolling technique that treats your skin like raw pizza dough, and it forces you to breathe faster than a brand-new member of Bhagwan.

    In theory, the rapid squeezing of the skin makes sense. This is a body-contouring technique that's been around for years — the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery even recommends treatments similar to the Vinoslim as a non-surgical alternative to reducing stress marks and cellulite (if that's what you're into). The deep pressure is temporary, but the effects are longer-lasting the more often you get the treatment. Not only does it help boost circulation, break down cellulite, relieve stress, and contour the body, it also promotes lymphatic drainage, which just so happens to be the trendiest term in skin care at the moment.

    Take it all with a grain of salt, but if you're familiar with gua sha (the skin-scraping trend all over Instagram), you may have heard of the idea that you can drain the "toxins" out of your body — specifically, your lymph nodes. Like small nets that filter through all the fluid that runs through your lymphatic system, nodes trap bacteria and viruses. Take Care founder and L.A.-based esthetician Sadie Adams tells me that when those nodes are blocked or clogged — kind of like your pores — shit can hit the fan in the form of breakouts, rashes, cellulite, and, in extreme cases, lymphedema. In other words, good circulation throughout your lymphatic system (a.k.a. fluid drainage) promotes healthy and glowing skin.

    That same school of thought can be applied to the entire body — hence why I've been convinced that uncomfortable massaging like the Vinoslim is the only treatment I'm willing to get. It may not heal my back spasms, but it certainly makes me feel better than a 45-minute Pilates reformer class. In fact, Coulmance says that's what brings French women back over and over again: You just feel healthier once it's over. Like the relieved, decompressed sensation you get after a long car ride when you've finally pulled over to the rest stop to pee, but way more chic, Vinoslim will make you want to stare at yourself naked for a few moments while you sip your mandatory cup of organic herbal tea (replacing those drained fluids is key post-massage). At least, that's what I did.

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    When the new DevaCurl Super Stretch cream launched on social media, my group chat lit up with questions. The primary concern: Will this work on our hair?

    It’s a question I’ve asked many times since I went natural 11 years ago. If a product doesn’t live up to its hype, I have to endure a week of bad hair days (which is a total waste of the hours it takes me to style). On the flip side, there's nothing like that feeling when you try something new and your twist-out is bomb — like Lion King -level length and volume, BOMB.

    With a name like Super Stretch, the brand is clearly targeting the main frustration for women with natural hair: shrinkage. Take my 4B hair for example. If I let my hair air dry without any product, it will look like the close-cropped Afro that my dad has been wearing since the ‘70s. But when I straighten my hair, it’s down to my collarbone. It’s a cruel optical illusion.

    My entire styling routine is built to avoid this shrink up, so anything that promises to elongate my curls has me curious (but skeptical). The Super Stretch cream smells like a coconut smoothie, and it’s got all the ingredients you would expect from a product meant for Afro hair types: aloe for moisture, coconut oil for shine, and shea butter to seal it all in and give the product weight. The texture is somewhere between a gel and a cream, but it's not sticky. It actually feels a lot like a body lotion, but for your hair.

    I styled my hair using the L.O.C. method. On damp hair, I smoothed on a leave-in, then an oil, and finished up with this cream. For every one-inch section, I used about a silver dollar-sized dollop. Immediately after layering on this thick gel-cream, I could see my hair clumping together in bouncy, defined ringlets. I considered letting my hair air dry for a wash-and-go look but stuck to my signature twist-out for maximum stretch. The next day when I unraveled my hair, it was soft, not crunchy like with some gels. And as for length gains, my hair was hovering around my shoulders the next day. I even got enough hang time for a proper hair flip.

    I sent my "after" photo out to the group chat, and got so many thumbs-up emojis that I can safely assume all my curl-friends (who have pretty different hair textures) will be trying this out soon.

    DevaCurl Super Stretch Coconut Curl Elongator, $30, available at Sephora.

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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.

    Want even more Money Diaries, plus $$$ advice from a kick-ass, all-female team of financial advisors, and tips on how to save more than $500? Pick up our new book: Money Diaries! Order here!

    Today: a flight attendant who makes $50,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a new Apple Watch band.

    Occupation: Flight Attendant
    Industry: Aviation
    Age: 27
    Location: NYC
    Salary: $50,000
    Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $990 (varies depending on my hours)

    Monthly Expenses
    Rent: $900 for my room in a two-bedroom apartment
    Student Loan Payment: $0 (Thanks to scholarships.)
    Hulu & Spotify: $12.99
    Cable: $0 (Thanks, Mom and Dad.)
    Health/Dental Insurance: $40
    Gym: $10
    Phone: $75
    Savings: $100
    Donation To Girls Club Of Lower East Side: $25 (I know it's not much, but hey, it's something.)

    Annual Expenses
    Amazon Prime: $99/year

    Day One

    7 a.m. — Today is my day off, which is much needed. My schedule is insane, and it's rare that I have time for myself. I made plans with a friend today, so I get up early to go to the gym for some cardio beforehand. When I get home, I shower and wash my hair. I need to buy a new hair mask — I'm currently transitioning to curly hair after YEARS of heat damage, so my hair needs all the TLC it can get. I get ready to go outside while watching Cheaters on VH1 (don't judge me) and get so caught up that I'm late. I power walk to a coffee shop nearby and pick up a large iced latte with oat milk to try something new ($5.50). I honestly can't taste the difference between oat and soy milk, so I probably won't be trying it again. I take the subway using my preloaded card while reading Tell Me Lies — so far, so good. NYC is having a heat wave, and I made the horrible mistake of not bringing water with me, so I go buy some ($2). $7.50

    12 p.m. — I meet up with my friend, and we catch up while heading to Madewell. We get there and all the summer stuff is on sale (YASS), so I get shorts and a top ($75). I have to buy as much summer clothing as I can, since I'm planning to go to the Dominican Republic for the holidays. We walk to Strand, and my friend recommends I pick up Meet Me in the Bathroom. I check the back and all I see is The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, and The Yeah Yeahs, and I'm sold. I use a Strand gift card my sister gifted me. $75

    5 p.m. — After all the shopping, we head over to Liquiteria for smoothies. I get the Mudslide and a green juice to take home ($22). I check my work email and see I've been assigned to cover for a coworker on an 8 a.m. flight to Madrid tomorrow, and then I have back-to-back flights after that. I need as much sleep as I can get, so I say goodbye to my friend and a request a Lyft home ASAP ($14). I forgot to stop by Sephora to pick up a hair mask, so when I get home I order the Bridgeo Repair Don't Despair mask plus a Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask for my face ($90). I set my alarm and go to sleep. $126

    Daily Total: $208.50

    Day Two

    5 a.m. — I wake up, shower, and get ready. My coffee starts brewing while I put on my makeup. As part of the cabin crew, I have to wear "natural makeup" and can only have red or nude nail polish. (It's a bit sexist, no?) I grab my bag and a yogurt and pour my coffee into my thermos. I request a Lyft — the airline covers it when I'm covering for someone, so I expense it. My Lyft arrives and I eat my yogurt in the car while listening to a new podcast — "Why Won't You Date Me?" It's hilarious and relatable.

    8 a.m. — I get to JFK and quickly get a latte from Starbucks ($7). People think that as a flight attendant you get to see the world, which is true, but you're also working, so you may hop off an eight-hour flight just to sleep and hop on another one in the morning. When we board the flight to Madrid, I notice an elderly lady looking very freaked out, so I walk over to her and talk to her to calm her down a bit. She's anxious because her daughter is a few rows behind and she is terrified of planes. I talk to the passenger next to her daughter into a seat swap for free drinks, and he agrees. Yes! $7

    3 p.m. — I'm in Madrid and I hop on the free shuttle to the hotel for some much needed sleep. I'll be on a flight back to JFK tomorrow morning, so I have a few hours here. I call my parents and my mom tells me she is buying new glasses — I love that she's getting new glasses so much that I Venmo her $100 to put towards them. I'm exhausted, so I take a nap. $100

    7 p.m. — I wake up and see that I have 50 messages from the group chat I have with coworkers. Apparently we're all meeting up in the city for drinks. I tend to be an introvert, but I've been trying to put myself out there, so I get ready and go. We meet up and I have two beers. It's all great until someone asks why I don't have a boyfriend. I don't understand why that's a necessary question. Isn't that rude? I leave and hop on the metro. When I get to my room, I fall asleep. $13

    Daily Total: $120

    Day Three

    8 p.m. — Work was draining, and the people on my flight to NYC weren't exactly the friendliest, since the flight was delayed. I understand, but it's not my fault. I get to my apartment door and I see my Sephora package. I'm starving and waaaay too tired to cook, so I order Malaysian food ($17.18). I shower, throw on comfy PJs, and turn on the A/C. When my food arrives I watch Random Acts of Flyness on HBO. It's soooooo good, so I just set my DVR to record all future episodes. $17.18

    12 a.m. — My sleeping schedule is horrible, so I'm wide awake and trying to read to fall asleep. I take a break and check my Instagram, where I keep seeing nonstop ads for the Quip toothbrush. I decide to just give in — they have a "limited edition" pink brush, so of course I get it, along with refills ($46.09). I'm still wide awake, so before I buy anymore crap, I take melatonin and then voila! I'm fast asleep. $46.09

    Daily Total: $63.27

    Day Four

    10 a.m. — I wake up super sick, which has been happening a lot since I started working this job. While I'm getting ready, I vomit. I email my boss, and take the day off. I wipe off the fancy clown paint I had already applied on my face and change back into my PJs. I make tea and listen to Grimes while lying in my death bed. I also browse Amazon and buy a new black band for my Apple watch. $10.99

    1 p.m. — I just requested the rest of the week off. I'm physically drained, and my body needs the rest. This month has taken a toll on me, and I've only had one day off. Even though I'm sick, I gather all my laundry and drop it off at the laundromat ($22). I then walk over to Walgreens to get NyQuil and a six-pack of La Croix ($15). $37

    6 p.m. — Since I'm too sick to go out, I decide to rent a movie. Molly's Game is the $0.99 movie of the week on iTunes, so I check it out. It's insane — I just keep saying "omg" aloud. I wish I knew it was a book before I saw the movie! After it's over, I start to plan out a trip to London for my birthday and eventually doze off with my computer on top of me. $0.99

    Daily Total: $48.98

    Day Five

    9 a.m. — I walk over to a coffee shop and have an espresso ($3). I have a driving lesson today, and it's pouring. I was born and raised in Manhattan, so I never really cared about learning how to drive until three years ago. I got my permit and now I'm practicing for my road test. I bombed it last time because of my anxiety, so hopefully it goes well this time. My driving instructor notices my Arctic Monkeys t-shirt, and it turns out she's a fan too. We just talk about them while I drive around so I'm at ease for this lesson. $3

    11:30 a.m. — I go to my doctor, and on top of having a cold, my iron is low. She gives me her recommendations and I leave ($30 copay). My friends text me about meeting up at a bar in Queens. Even though I feel like crap, I rarely see my friends, and now that I have the rest of the week off, I should try to take advantage of it, so I say yes. Plus, I love Queens. I go to the salon and get a blowout ($30 plus $10 tip). $70

    6 p.m. — I cleaned my apartment, and now I'm ready. I walk over to the subway, pay $2.75 for my ride, and start my trek to Long Island City. I meet up with my coworkers and drink gin and tonics. My friend's boyfriend mentions he has some blow and offers me some, but I pass because I'm not trying to wake up my anxiety while I'm having fun. At the end of the night, my friend puts the tab on her card and I give her $55 for my drinks and fries. $57.75

    11 p.m. — I take the train home ($2.75). I shower and sit in bed checking my email and the news. I'm still hungry, so I have a bagel with cream cheese. Then I get back into bed and order a pair of pants from Frank And Oak that I've been wanting ($79.50). $82.25

    Daily Total: $213

    Day Six

    1 p.m. — I sleep in and wake up feeling rested and better. I check my email and I have to do training hours again. Every year I have to do a certain amount of training, and it's a whole day affair. All the good slots are taken, so I'm stuck taking the 7 a.m. on Monday slot. I walk over to the nail salon and get an SNS manicure ($35 plus $5 tip). This is the only manicure that actually lasts for me without chipping. (I think gel manicures are a scam.) $40

    5:30 p.m. — I start working on my graduate school essay. I'm applying for a program I've been extensively researching for a year. All the typing makes me hungry, so I make a quesadilla. I see an ad for Sorry To Bother You on TV, and it looks interesting, so I buy a ticket to go see it on my next day off, which will be next week. If you got to the movies during a weekday before noon, tickets at this theater are $6. $6

    Daily Total: $46

    Day Seven

    9 a.m. — I wake up and decide to be more active today to prepare my body for work tomorrow. I like active workouts that involve dancing, but classes in NYC are ridiculously expensive. Still, I decide to splurge on a Body By Simone class just to see what the hype is about. $35

    1 p.m. — I LOVED IT. After class I have noodle legs and limp my way into Gregory's to pick up coffee for my apartment. I try something new — the Luzmilda from Costa Rica. I have the app, so I get $5 off, plus a free iced coffee because of a deal they're having ($16). I walk home, shower, and try out my new face mask. It feels like my face is burning, so I wash it off and make a mental note to return it. I read Meet Me In the Bathroom. $16

    9 p.m. — I finish the book!! I love reading interviews of bands that I loved listening to while in high school and still do today. Now I need to find a new book to read. I order some ramen ($12) and RVSP for a upcoming show at House Of Vans. While waiting for my food, I pack and get ready for work in six hours. I gobble my ramen and go to sleep. This wasn't a usual week for me, so I savored it, and I'm glad I did, because my next day off won't be for another week. $12

    Daily Total: $63

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

    The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.

    Have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following themes:

    Your Spending In Your State: We want to run one Money Diary from a different state each week. Want to rep your state? Submit here!

    In addition to our regular Money Diaries, we're looking for Money Diaries from teachers! If you are a teacher (especially in Arizona, Colorado, West Virginia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Dakota, or Kentucky), we want to hear from you! Submit here.

    Are you a recent college graduate? We're looking for your insight! If you have graduated within the last two years we want to hear about how you’re managing finances and balancing your career expectations. Submit here for a chance to be featured in an upcoming piece on post-graduation finances.

    Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs

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    In Refinery29's Sweet Digs, we take a look inside the sometimes small, sometimes spacious homes of millennial women. Today, musician Yuna shows off her one-bedroom apartment in the heart of Los Angeles.

    In any major city, finding a gem of a rental is either about money or luck. For musician Yuna, it was the latter that led her to a one-bedroom in the heart of Los Angeles.

    "I was on the same street looking at another apartment but it was so disappointing," she tells Refinery29. "I walked past my building and it was so beautiful and they were leasing a 1-bedroom apartment. Right after I saw the space, the landlord was going to show the apartment to another person. I saw her parked her car, and that was it, I asked for the lease contract — I was not going to let anyone else have it."

    Her $2,000 one-bedroom in the heart of Los Angeles has been her home for 3 years, and her first home with her husband. And while most of the furniture is secondhand, Yuna did splurge on one West Elm dresser — "I just wanted something nice from West Elm for once!"

    Watch the video above (and click and drag the video to see a full 360-degree view) to see Yuna's colorful, eclectic home. "I don't go out a lot, I'm a homebody, so I try to keep my space as cozy as possible," Yuna says. "I like to be creative so I need my space to be as inspiring as possible." It definitely shows.

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    Director Jon M. Chu knew exactly how he wanted Crazy Rich Asians to end. He wanted the moment to be specific to the characters while speaking to a larger context. Chu knew there was only one song that would capture that moment, a song he fell in love with in college: “Yellow” by Coldplay.

    “We’re going to own that term,” Chu told The Hollywood Reporter. Initially, Warner Bros. was concerned the song’s title would be controversial due to the word’s negative connotation as an ethnic slur. “If we’re going to be called yellow, we’re going to make it beautiful.” But at first, it didn’t look like Chu’s intended soundtrack would be possible.

    Coldplay turned down the request. No official explanation has been offered, but some outlets have speculated that it may be due to past criticism of the band for previously appropriating Asian culture.

    Undeterred, Chu wrote to the band directly because, after trying a few other tracks, he knew that the scene would not be complete without that exact song. “I know it’s a bit strange, but my whole life I’ve had a complicated relationship with the color yellow,” Chu began his letter. “For the first time in my life, it described the color in the most beautiful, magical ways I had ever heard: the color of the stars, her skin, the love. It was an incredible image of attraction and aspiration that it made me rethink my own self image.”

    Within 24 hours of writing the letter, Coldplay had changed their minds. Chu had the song re-recorded in Chinese by USC Freshman and for Voice contestant Katherine Ho to further meld both cultures into the song.

    Rihanna’s “Stay” was considered as well as several songs by Sia, but they weren’t right, reports HuffPost. “We tried so many other songs,” said Chu. “but everything was about the love story and not about the bigger context of who we are.” For Chu, it wasn’t just about the love story or the specific characters. It was about an opportunity to represent an underrepresented ethnicity. The chance has not come along often. Crazy Rich Asians is the first entirely westernized Asian cast feature film taken on by a studio in over 25 years.

    Now, the movie ends as Chu had always intended it, set to the song that made him rethink and love his own identity.

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    There is only one rule of makeup, which is that there are none. You do you, however and whatever that may be. Foundation diehard? Allow us to direct you to our favorite ones. More the fiercely fresh-faced type? Here's the skin-care routine that will make you glow, with or without makeup. We don't subscribe to the narrative that either one is better, or braver than the other.

    That said, we've noticed a recent uptick in celebrities who have been jumping on the no-makeup train — led by the patron saint of cosmetics-free complexions, Alicia Keys. But that's not to say all of Hollywood is kicking its eyeshadows to the curb. Plenty of celebs still sport bold beauty looks on occasion, and also have their moments of free-facing it. Not only does it keep us guessing, it also shows us all the ways we can use makeup to enhance or highlight our features.

    Ahead, check out some of our favorite celebs with and without makeup. It's not brave, it's not a reason to gossip, it's not revolutionary — it's just makeup.

    Rihanna
    As the founder of one of the most innovative beauty brands ever, it's no surprise Rihanna rocks graphic white liner like a total pro.

    Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images..

    But that doesn't mean she won't strip away the lashes and liner on her day off. Sure, her 2018 motto is "more is more," but for now, less is looking pretty damn good, too.

    Lily Collins
    Our queen of retro beauty, you'll never spot Collins on a red carpet without the eyeshadow trend of the week on her lids.

    Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.

    But when she's off-duty and at home, you can bet she's basking in her post-facial, no-makeup glow.

    Yara Shahidi
    Sure, she makes every red carpet worth watching for her bold eye choices and curly bobs...

    Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.

    But as a fresh-faced 18-year-old, it's this radiant glow she might just wear best.

    Tracee Ellis Ross
    Whether it's the Oscars, the Golden Globes, or the Emmys, Ross always shows up serving head-to-toe glamour.

    Photo: Jon Kopaloff/WireImage.

    But in her downtime, you'll find her looking just as beautiful with nothing more than a little SPF on.

    Christina Aguilera
    Nearly as identifiable as her legendary falsetto, Aguilera's red lipstick and winged eyeliner have been a huge part of her signature look for the last 20 years.

    So when people got wind of her Paper Magazine cover story — in which Aguilera is bare-faced with her freckles peeking through — we all did a double take. The consensus: beautiful (no matter what they say).

    Gal Gadot
    Even before landing the fitting role of Revlon global ambassador, Gadot earned a permanent spot as our red lip hero.

    Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.

    To the surprise of no one, Wonder Woman is just as powerful without her concealer as she is with her lasso.

    Leighton Meester
    Historically speaking, Meester has never been one to get as glammed up as the characters she plays on TV — but that doesn't mean she doesn't know when to bring the bold.

    Photo: Mireya Acierto/Getty Images.

    If anyone could convince you to forego the foundation today, it's her. That's what we call a glow.

    Nathalie Emmanuel
    This Game of Thrones actress is often the focus of our bold lip infatuation — and when she pairs hers with a bold set of eyebrows, she can do no wrong.

    Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images.

    Getting a glimpse at Emmanuel without a stitch of Westeros makeup is rare, but the sight has triggered the sudden urge to hunt down her dermatologist. Can you blame us?

    Tyra Banks
    It's safe to say Banks is pretty familiar with makeup — she even has her own cosmetics line, called Tyra Beauty — and has perfected countless looks throughout her career as a model, businesswoman, and TV host.

    Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.

    One thing's for certain: Her signature smize isn't going anywhere, makeup or no makeup. While on vacation in Cape Cod, Banks shared a shot of bare skin, beachy curls, and a smirk.

    @tyrabanks

    Julianne Hough
    The dancer-slash-actress-slash-singer is known for her barefaced selfies almost as much as she is for her glam red carpet looks — and she looks equally flawless in both.

    Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.

    Hough's honeymoon with husband Brooks Laich isn't the only thing worth swooning over — her sun-kissed skin, DGAF ponytail, and bold brows are #goals, too.

    @juleshough

    Jennifer Lopez
    Over the years, Jenny from the block has perfected the red carpet formula: chiseled cheekbones, smoky eyes, and a polished manicure.

    Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic.

    But on Instagram, J. Lo often shows off a dewy, bare complexion with fierce brows — and it's just as good.

    Gabrielle Union
    With the launch of her hair-care line, Gabrielle Union is quickly becoming the beauty guru we've been waiting for.

    When the star posted a no-makeup selfie and our jaws dropped. Those freckles! Is it just us or have they been hidden on every red carpet?

    Photo: Via @gabunion/Instagram.

    Sofia Vergara
    The actress is known for going all-out on the red carpet. Barrel curls, bold lips, false lashes — the Modern Family star has done it all.

    Photo: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock.

    But Vergara isn't afraid to show her bare face to the world — even if she's home sick with a fever. The star may have been under the weather when this selfie was taken, but she still looks radiant as ever.

    Madonna
    Whether or not you grew up watching her "Material Girl" music video, you're probably still well-aware that she is known for her makeup theatrics — both on and offstage.

    Photo: James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock.

    The braids, the sunlight, and fresh face — all of it has us doing a double take. Is that Mother of Dragons or Madonna? Either way, she looks good.

    Heidi Klum
    The model, who loves to express herself with makeup, posted a side-by-side selfie to show her fans her gorgeously bare pre-Grammys face (seriously, how can we get that glow?) versus her red carpet-ready smoky eye and pink flush.

    Photo via Instagram/@heidiklum

    Adriana Lima
    For almost two decades (!) we've been amazed by this Victoria's Secret Angel's beauty looks — and have a feeling that sentiment will hold true for years to come.

    Photo: Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images.

    We've seen Lima boxing sans makeup all the time, but her this snap of her celebrating the holidays back home in Brazil feels extra-low key.

    Photo: Via @adrianalima/Instagram.

    Kesha
    Throughout her singing career, she has made a name for herself as a boundary-pushing beauty icon (especially when it comes to glitter. Kesha loves glitter).

    Photo: JB Lacroix/Getty Images.

    But underneath all the shimmer, Kesha has the prettiest set of freckles we never knew existed.

    Photo: Via @iiswhoiis/Instagram.

    Alicia Keys
    Keys has worn some glam makeup looks throughout her career — like this one. Then, she publicly declared that she was done with makeup. "I don’t want to cover up anymore," she said. "Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing."

    Photo: Lars Niki/Corbis/Getty Images.

    The singer has stayed true to her word, rocking only a messy topknot and bare (and glowing, we might add) skin since.

    Photo: C Flanigan/FilmMagic.

    Gwyneth Paltrow
    A Hollywood veteran — with an acting career that spans more than two decades — Paltrow is no stranger to the makeup chair. In her daily life, she usually opts for a natural, bronze-y look.

    Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images.

    In celebration of her 44th birthday, the actress uploaded this #nomakeupselfie to Instagram. She told us she's been inspired by the no-makeup movement, saying that she likes the message behind it: This is me. This is what I look like. This is where I am in time, and I embrace it.

    Photo: Via @gwynethpaltrow/Instagram.

    Kim Kardashian
    Ah, the queen of contour. Between the K-clan's line of hair and makeup products and her countless headline-garnering looks, Kardashian has certainly made a name for herself in the beauty biz. Are we surprised her daily routine is comprised of a casual 25 products?

    Photo: Michael Stewart/WireImage.

    That's why, when Kardashian stepped out for the Balenciaga fashion show in Paris without a stitch of makeup on, the entire internet sort of lost it.

    Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images.

    Chrissy Teigen
    She's our long-standing favorite person to follow on Twitter and we love the model's unfiltered approach to everything in life — her beauty routine included.

    Photo: Angela Weiss/Getty Images.

    In quite possibly the cutest picture to ever grace the world, Teigen shared this moment with baby Luna — with matching baby-soft, makeup-free skin to boot.

    Photo: Via @chrissyteigen/Instagram.

    Laverne Cox
    When it comes to beauty, Cox is our hero. (And not just because she slays a red carpet like no other.)

    Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.

    In an Instagram post, she wrote: "As an actress and a woman, I love being able to transform, to switch up my look when I want to with wigs, weaves, and bundles aplenty. I love this, too. It's about choices and options." Amen.

    Photo: @lavernecox/Instagram.

    Zendaya
    In the last two years, the singer, actress, and dancer has won over our hearts with her willingness to take beauty risks — including doing her own makeup for red carpet events.

    Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan.

    What's even better, though, is how she strips down from the glam — and claps back at haters who, well, hate. When user @JaeBasstv recently tweeted that he was "hurt" by how different Zendaya looks without makeup, she quickly responded with a flawless makeup-free selfie, saying, "Terrifying honestly..."

    Photo: @Zendaya/Twitter.

    Amy Schumer
    America's favorite funny girl isn't afraid to have real beauty conversations — in her own comedic way. To wit: her brilliant music video "Girl, You Don't Need Makeup."

    Photo: George Pimentel/WireImage.

    And she doesn't — and neither does anybody else.

    Photo: Via @amyschumer/Instagram.

    Kylie Jenner
    Known for her statement-making beauty looks (like countless hair and lip transformations), Jenner has quickly become the face of Insta-famous makeup.

    Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images.

    In an Instagram post, a fresh-faced Jenner revealed her bare skin — adorable freckles and all — proving that she is just as beautiful sans contour.

    Photo: Via @kyliejenner/Instagram.

    Beyoncé
    In terms of hair and makeup (and, actually, everything else, ever), Queen B can do no wrong. Even other celebrities geek out in her presence, so we'll just leave it at that.

    Photo: David Becker/Getty Images.

    Okay, okay, technically Bey is wearing some makeup here, but she did ditch all her other products — mascara, eyeliner, shadow — for a super-striking look that lets her gorgeous skin shine.

    Photo: Via @beyonce/Instagram.

    Adele
    The singer is as known for her signature cat-eye as she is for her gut-wrenching lyrics and a voice that could make angels cry.

    Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage.

    But Adele can easily ditch the statement eyeliner — and all other makeup — for Instagram. And we dig it, big time.

    Photo: Via @adele/Instagram.

    Gwen Stefani
    We flip out every time the pop star ditches her classic red lip — and totally lost our shit when she launched a makeup collaboration with Urban Decay — so, yeah, you could say she's a beauty icon.

    Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.

    She snapped her own #wokeuplikethis moment, and now we just have one question: What moisturizer do you use, girl?

    Photo: @gwenstefani/Instagram.

    Katie Holmes
    She is someone who always exudes natural beauty — and her makeup and fashion choices often give off that girl-next-door vibe, whether she's dolled up or dressed down.

    Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images.

    If her latest Instagram posts within the past few weeks are any indication, we'd guess that Holmes isn't afraid of a bare-faced selfie. And people are loving it: One user wrote, "More beautiful without makeup – you cannot improve already-genuine beauty."

    Photo: Via @katieholmes212/Instagram.

    Priyanka Chopra
    Chopra isn't only the proud owner of a belly-button ring: She's also our reigning queen of monochrome makeup, polished hair, and summery lip shades.

    Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images.

    This rare makeup-free side of the star is just as gorgeous.

    Demi Lovato
    Lovato is always glowing, whether she's appearing on the red carpet or sharing one of her many barefaced selfies.

    Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.

    The singer's latest no-makeup selfie reveals exactly how Lovato looks while sunbathing on the beach, freckles and all. We just have one question: Who's her dermatologist — and how do we make an appointment?

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    Sayonara, summer! We’re already looking to next season thanks to Topshop's collaboration with the sequin-laden British designer Michael Halpern, announced today. The most-hyped designer of London Fashion Week ’s fall 2018 schedule back in February, Halpern’s aesthetic has party season sewn-up, from high-impact prints to disco-dancing shapes.

    Halpern's collections ooze glamour, so we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the 28-piece line, available at Topshop stores globally and online from early November. In the teaser video below, among the signature structured busts and skin-tight trousers, we spy a sparkly bucket hat, hinting at a more casual take on the designer’s aesthetic. With prices starting at $68, it looks like we can all get in on the Studio 54 drama.

    “I think it’s fabulous that as a younger brand we’re able to work with Topshop, making the type of clothing we do for the main Halpern collection in an accessible way, so more people can really feel the glamour,” founder and creative director Halpern explains. “I want the whole world to feel as glam as possible, and this type of collaboration is a fantastic way to accomplish that.”

    The New York-born designer graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2016 and has garnered a huge fanbase in London thanks to his debut in February 2017. His designs have been worn by the likes of Adwoa Aboah, Lupita Nyong’o, Marion Cotillard, Diane Kruger, and Amal Clooney, and his eye for entrancing sequins won him the 2017 British Emerging Talent Award for Womenswear at the Fashion Awards.

    “We are thrilled to collaborate with Michael; especially at such an exciting time in his career,” Anthony Cuthbertson, Global Design Director at Topshop & Topman, said. “Our capsule embodies the disco spirit and signature feminine silhouettes he is renowned for; we can’t wait to bring the world of Halpern to Topshop with styles that will no doubt kick-start the partywear season.”

    With ‘neon velvet separates, printed two-pieces, sequin-adorned jumpsuits, and iridescent camouflage print mini dresses,’ expect a collection brimming with ‘70s disco fever. Anyone with '90s fatigue will be happy about that.

    The 28-piece collection will be available in selected Topshop stores globally and online at www.topshop.com early November 2018.

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    Christina Grant, a Black hand model, has gotten used to seeing images of herself that have been digitally altered. “I have seen my hand lightened in post[-production] to the point where I thought, ‘Wait, that doesn’t look like me,’” she tells Refinery29. Over the course of her career, she’s worked with about 15 different beauty brands and knows firsthand how a shot can be doctored to get the effect a brand is looking for — sometimes even before the shot is taken. “I remember one time on set, the makeup artist put all of this makeup on my hand, which is normal sometimes, but she made my hand three shades darker. I asked her if she was going to blend it out, but she said she was done.”

    Beauty photographer and makeup artist Hayley Kassel is also familiar with the lengths some brands go to for perfect campaign images. Things get especially murky when beauty brands don’t make the products that suit the skin tones of the models they hire. “Sometimes a brand doesn’t have a particular model’s exact shade of foundation,” says Kassel. “So they end up Photoshopping [her] skin tone. Honestly, it confuses the hell out of me. I feel like some brands think the people won't notice, but we do, and we care.”

    "I have seen my hand lightened in post[-production] to the point where I thought, 'Wait, that doesn’t look like me.'"

    It’s an issue that’s become especially prevalent in a post-Fenty era. As brands race to develop new foundations, or add shades to existing lines, swatches — images that show the full extent of a brand’s shade range by painting product directly onto the skin have become the name of the game in an increasingly e-commerce driven world. It’s one of the many ways these companies can try to prove their new inclusive products are legit (years of mistrust aren’t erased overnight). Get them right, and the brand will be a hit before the products are even unpacked at Ulta. Get them wrong, and you might end up like StyleNanda, Becca Cosmetics, and Il Makiage, three brands who have been accused of Photoshopping swatches of their products recently.

    “Swatches really become the only way someone can accurately guesstimate what shades to purchase when shopping online,” says Ofunne Amaka, founder of @Cocoaswatches, an Instagram account and mobile app that showcases swatches on underrepresented skin tones. “Swatches are especially important for women of color and people of color who often aren’t able to find their shades in stores.”

    Even if a brand does have a great shade range, it can get skewered on social media for a Photoshop fail. Tweaking skin tones or lazily superimposing computer-made swatches over a model’s arm undercuts the admirable efforts brands are making in product and shade development. Companies are rendering their own product swatches useless with excessive — and often offensive — photo editing.

    Earlier this summer, StyleNanda was called out for showcasing its nail polish on a hand that appeared “blackfaced.” The brand didn’t reply to our requests for comment. However, the team did apologize on Instagram for the questionable swatches and removed the image from its social media feed. But this was just the first in a string of incidents.

    In the case of Becca Cosmetics, the brand posted a now-deleted Instagram photo of the new 24-shade Skin Love Weightless Blur Foundation swatched on four different arms. It seemed as if the models’ skin had been altered in order to check off the light, medium, dark, and deep skin tone boxes. The resulting effect looked fake, and nobody on Twitter or Instagram was buying it.

    A post shared by Mai (@ohmeohmai) on

    "So did Becca Cosmetics really refuse to hire black women for these swatches? They just edited a white hand darker?" Twitter user @xfarahalyx asked, before going on to add, "Sometimes, I wonder if these people have actually met a Black or brown person in their lives." Users on Instagram, including beauty blogger Mai Thy Ly, were equally confused. “Most people don’t have palms that are the same color as the rest of their arms,” she wrote in the caption of a repost of Becca Cosmetics’ now deleted image. “This is Photoshopped as heck and it is shameful that you’re trying to promote your ‘inclusive’ foundation range but can’t even bother to hire real models for the swatches.”

    Courtesy of Becca Cosmetics

    When we reached out to Becca Cosmetics, the brand directed us to its Instagram statement which is, for now, its last word on the matter. In a post featuring a new swatch photo (right), Becca Cosmetics asserts that it did in fact hire four different models for its original shoot. Becca also acknowledges that “the way we adjusted the image missed the mark” and maintains that the brand is “committed to showcasing the lightest to the deepest skin tones and hiring inclusive models for our campaigns.”

    Fledgling brand Il Makiage got called out for a similar incident. In its case, the swatch photo featured four arms of different skin tones wearing an array of 50 foundation shades (yes, the brand one-upped Fenty Beauty). Commenters called foul, saying that the hands weren’t from actual models of color. Co-founder Shiran Holtzman Erel says that’s not the case: “The models used were four diverse women, including an African-American woman,” she told Refinery29 over email. “The only digital alterations performed were in order to differentiate between the shades to help shoppers choose accurately.” So in this case, it wasn’t the hands that got touched up, but the foundation colors themselves.

    We’ve got a shade for everyone. 50 😱 to be exact, b. #WokeUpLikeThis

    A post shared by IL MAKIAGE (@ilmakiage) on

    By making it a point to hire models of color, both brands prove they’re backing claims of inclusivity with behind-the-scenes choices, but that doesn’t completely dismiss the shady swatches. When we followed up with Ly, the blogger, over email about Becca Cosmetics’ statement, she held her ground. “The Becca swatches might be due to the use of makeup vs. Photoshop, but the issue still stands,” she writes. “It’s pandering and deceitful to recognize the buying power of people of color without ensuring that they meet the needs of their customers.”

    It’s not necessarily shocking that Photoshop was involved in these social media images. Post-production editing is regularly used on makeup and skin-care campaigns to get rid of a pimple, erase a smudge, or whiten teeth before finalizing an ad. Beautiful images are the goal, after all. Osase Emokpae, creator of @BrownGirlFriendly, an Instagram account that showcases new beauty launches on deep skin tones, understands the delicate balance brands are facing. “Brands have it in their best interest to create the most visually appealing photos and swatches for their promotional material,” she says. “I absolutely expect to see a brand’s swatches looking almost too perfect, but I don’t really mind because I understand that it’s meant to look as enticing as possible.”

    “It’s pandering and deceitful to recognize the buying power of people of color without ensuring that they meet the needs of their customers.”

    But along with beautiful images, brands are responsible for supporting their customers with useful — and truthful — information. Emokpae is quick to point out that inaccurate swatches are bad for everyone. “No matter who you are, from the very fair to the deepest dark, we all have the same question: Will this product look good on me? That can’t be answered without accurate representation.”

    Courtesy of Osase Emokpae

    Where brands fall short in authenticity, Instagram bloggers like Amaka and Emokpae pick up the slack. Both women have built their social media followings around swatches for darker skin tones, and thousands of followers check in for their content when a new launch hits. The whole purpose of these swatches is to help women find shades that work; whereas brands are always hoping to sell more product.

    For Emokpae an image can take hours to create, and post-production isn’t priority. “I always post video of my swatches so people can see them in action and know that they’re actually legit,” she says. “It’s a very time-intensive process for me. I’m not paid to do any of it, which sucks because countless times, people have thought my swatches and product photos are official images from the brand or that they look better than what the brand has produced.”

    Until we can be sure that the swatches brands offer are free of retouching, we’ll be turning to bloggers and influencers who don’t stand to gain financially from jumping on the inclusivity train. “It's more than just giving us a 40-shade foundation line and going back to your regularly scheduled program,” says Amaka. “True diversity and inclusion require a holistic approach. You can tell when a true effort is being made and when it's not.”

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    I was eight years old when I fell in love with magazines. The glossy pages, slightly sticky and heavily scented perfume samples, and the supermodels in insanely decadent haute couture designs drew me in from the very start. But even as a kid, I noticed something missing: people who looked like me and the women in my life. Aside from Essence, I rarely saw women of color.

    There's always been a myth that brown faces don't sell copies. Even if you've got a big, buzzy project out, all priority seems to go to the A-listers with the long, blonde or brown hair and fair skin. According to Fashionista, only 31.3% of 2017's major magazine covers (including Allure, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and Elle) featured people of color. Which is progress from the late '90s, but there's still a lot of work to be done.

    Thankfully, we're happy to report that the tide is changing. It's not uncommon to see natural hair, dark skin, and curvy bodies peering up at you from your local bookstore or the airport today. Each cover is hard proof that the industry's standards of beauty are finally changing, which gives the next generation something to look forward to. See all of the latest brown and Black 2018 cover stars, ahead.

    As The Cut 's Fall Fashion cover star, Tessa Thompson serves up a variety of beautiful braided looks. Our favorite of the styles — courtesy of celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway — is a waist-grazing look that features an embellished headpiece by Gucci.

    @thecut

    "When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell. Clearly that has been proven a myth," Beyoncé tells Vogue for its September issue. "Not only is an African American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first-ever Vogue cover shot by an African American photographer [Tyler Mitchell]."

    @beyonce

    Bey isn't the only one making editorial history. Rihanna became the first Black woman to grace the cover of British Vogue 's September issue in its 102-year history.

    @badgalriri

    What could be better than Zendaya giving us '60s vibes for Marie Claire 's September issue? Well, knowing that Janet Mock interviewed her for the cover story. "It’s important to have a conversation where we are opening the door to our peers and more Black women who don’t necessarily look like us," Zendaya tells Mock.

    @zendaya

    The first Emmy-winning actor of Asian descent gets up close and personal for the September issue of British GQ, telling his followers, "Let’s shake things up."

    @britishgq

    Tracee Ellis Ross has been slaying the cover game this year—including this one for Elle Canada's September 2018 issue—and we're here for all of it. More Tracee please.

    @traceeellisross

    GQ Style is revamping its entire look (logo and design) in the fall fashion issue, and the team chose none other than Tyler the Creator as the cover star.

    @gqstyle

    Kanye West appears on Harper's BAZAAR 's fifth annual ICONS edition—titled BAZAAR ICONS 2018: The First Families of Music—alongside two of his three children, North and Saint.

    @harpersbazaarus

    Tiffany Haddish brought color and curls to the September cover of Glamour. "I’m your typical chick from the hood. And as ratchet as I might talk, or people might think I carry myself, I am making a living portraying myself," she tells the magazine.

    @luxurylaw

    Jaden Smith, named one of Time magazine’s most influential teens more than once, was an excellent choice for Dazed 's autumn issue.

    @dazed

    “Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me, as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are," Lupita Nyong’o tells PORTER magazine as their September cover star.

    @portermagazine

    “Everyone doesn't look the same way, so the world needs to be trained to see beauty differently," Priyanka Chopra said in her Allure cover story.

    Photo: Via @heymichellelee.

    Model Paloma Elsesser called her Vogue Arabia cover (alongside Ashley Graham) an "incredible honor."

    Photo: Via @ashleygraham.

    Kendrick Lamar, who won a Pulitzer Prize for DAMN, said in his Vanity Fair cover story that this is only the beginning for him. "It just motivates me to do more. I don’t want to get complacent."

    Photo: Via @vanityfair.

    Jameela Jamil told the Vera staff that she didn't want her pics Photoshopped... and she looks damn good, too. "Hi squishy legs and normal 32-year-old knees," she captioned on Twitter.

    Photo: Via @jameelajamilofficial.

    "No perm in it," Nikki Nelms, who styled Janelle Monáe's hair, wrote.

    Photo: Via @allure.

    How does Janet Jackson manage to always look flawless?! Hopefully, she spills her secrets in Essence.

    Photo: Via @essence.

    Camila Cabello's messy waves and glowy makeup are hotter than Havana.

    Photo: Via @cosmopolitan.

    Believe it or not, but Nicki Minaj's hair was 59 inches long for her Elle shoot.

    Photo: Via @elleusa.

    Tracee Ellis Ross looks more and more like her mom each year — and who'd complain about that?!

    Photo: Via @traceeellisross.

    Boy, does Serena Williams know her way around a good curl.

    Photo: Via @bazaaruk.

    Danai Gurira looks insanely powerful on Women's Health...

    Photo: Via @danaigurira.

    ... and simultaneously graceful on her Ebony cover.

    Photo: Via @danaigurira.

    Winnie Harlow's glittery liner and perfectly-matte red lip are what dreams are made of.

    Photo: Via @graziauk.

    Of course, Pharrell was the very best choice for L'Uomo Vogue 's relaunch.

    Photo: Via @luomovogue.

    "When you truly understand the humanness of queerness, there are no rules to this shit," Kehlani said.

    Photo: Via @papermagazine.

    Hi, mom and dad.

    Photo: Via @rollingstone.

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    The first few months after Liuba Grechen Shirley launched her congressional bid for New York's 2nd District were spent in a blur of calls. The 37-year-old Democrat needed to raise at least $100,000 to be taken seriously as a candidate.

    So she picked up the phone and started contacting everyone she knew, as first-time candidates often do. But unlike other people running for office this election cycle, Grechen Shirley's calls were made while nursing her baby boy and caring for her rambunctious daughter, then one and three years old.

    It was quite the juggling act, but she knew it was her duty.

    "It’s not easy to run for office with two babies. It wasn’t something I thought I could do," she told Refinery29. "My children were my biggest hesitation. But in the end, they’re the reason I decided to run because I want a more safe and equitable world for them to grow up in."

    Few mothers of young children run for office because of the stigma associated with it and because, frankly, it's almost an impossible task. Even fewer are representatives in Congress. Only 10 women, including Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, have given birth while serving in the House. In early April, Sen. Tammy Duckworth became the first woman in history to give birth while in the Senate. The rules of the chamber had to be changed to accommodate the new mother: Children were not permitted in the Senate floor, but a new policy passed because of Duckworth's baby girl will allow lawmakers to bring their children to work until the age of one.

    Grechen Shirley is deeply aware of the lack of representation of young mothers in Capitol Hill.

    "We’re missing out on that critical voice in Congress," she said. "We’re missing out on the voice of the people who know what it’s like not to have access to paid family leave; that know what it’s like not to be able to find affordable, quality child care; we need that know what it’s like to rely on CHIP to cover their children’s healthcare. If we had those people in office, we wouldn’t have a Congress that let funding for CHIP lapse."

    Grechen Shirley, who has called Long Island home all her life, is the granddaughter of Russian immigrants and the daughter of a single mom. She studied politics and Russian at New York University, followed by an MBA with specializations in Management, Economics, and Social Innovation from NYU’s Stern School of Business. Like so many other young women in her generation, she has student loans. (At the moment, she is paying $1,000 per month.) Before running for office, she has a career working with nonprofit groups focused on global economic development and human rights.

    Republican Rep. Peter King, the incumbent Grechen Shirley is challenging, has been in office for thirteen terms — basically since she was 12. He hasn’t had a serious opponent since he took office. In fact, when Grechen Shirley debates him in September, it will be his first debate in eight years.

    Grechen Shirley argues that King hasn’t had Long Islanders’ interests at heart: He voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and in favor of the Republican tax bill; he opposes a woman’s right to choose an abortion, even in cases of rape and incest; and he was a staunch supporter of President Trump’s travel ban.

    "I’ve had enough of having a representative who doesn’t stand up for his constituents," she said.

    Her path towards being a candidate began with her dabbling in activism immediately following the 2016 presidential election. In January 2017, she started the New York’s 2nd District Democrats, drawing inspiration from the grassroots organization Indivisible. The group went on to have about 3,000 members across the district in just a few months. Grechen Shirley never thought of running for office,

    "I kept waiting for the right person to come along to run against Peter King," she said. "And I eventually realized I was that person."

    Grechen Shirley officially launched her congressional bid last October. Part of her platform includes enacting universal healthcare and paid family leave policies, protecting reproductive rights, increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, gun safety measures such as closing the domestic violence loophole, and cutting taxes for the middle class.

    Liuba Grechen Shirley and her familyPhoto Courtesy of Liuba Grechen Shirley.

    Before becoming the Democratic nominee after June’s primary, Grechen Shirley made news when she petitioned the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to allow her to use a portion of her campaign funds to pay for child care. Prior to running for office, she used to work from home and was the full-time caregiver of her children.

    For the first few of months of her campaign, she would stay home with her kids until 3:30pm. That’s when her mom would take over after finishing teaching at a nearby public school so Grechen Shirley could go out to knock doors and do campaign events. But then, her son broke his leg in January and was put in a body cast. The family realized that if they wanted to continue with the campaign, they needed help. They eventually hired a part-time babysitter, paying her $22 an hour for about 20 hours per week. But it was financially straining.

    "There was no way for us to give up a year-and-a-half of our life with no salary and also pay our student loans, our mortgage, our taxes, and the cost of child care," she said. "It was impossible for me. We didn’t have enough money left to cover [it]."

    The average cost of child care in the U.S. can go up to $9,500 per year, according to the New America Foundation. In some states, including New York, it's higher: Paying for one year of child care can be as or more expensive than paying for one year of college tuition.

    This financial burden can severely limit whose voices get represented in Congress: As of 2015, the median net worth for representatives was $900,000 and for senators it was $3.2 million. In contrast, the average American household's net wealth was around $80,000.

    The FEC ended up ruling in Grechen Shirley’s favor. The decision, which changed the game for candidates seeking federal office, also paved the way for other mothers at the state and local level to petition their respective governing bodies to allow them to campaign funds to cover their child care expenses.

    "Using a portion of my campaign funds for child care was critical for me to be able to run," she said. "It was a bipartisan, unanimous decision. It’s an important way to break down barriers and make sure that we have more parents of young children, more people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in office."

    Most women running for office will tell you about the gender-based criticism that gets thrown their way. But the shaming Grechen Shirley has faced as a mom since launching her campaign is a particular brand of ugly.

    "I’ve been told I’m a bad mother. I’ve been told that she’s using her children as political props," she said. "Meanwhile, if a man brings his children with him [to a campaign event] or has them in a campaign ad, he’s considered more responsible."

    She added: "My children are not political props, they’re my whole world. I’m doing this for them."

    Come November, it’s still unclear whether Grechen Shirley will be able to dethrone the Republican incumbent. (According to FiveThirtyEight’s most recent forecast, she has about a 19% chance of winning.) But still, her visibility as a congressional candidate who also happens to be the mother of young children has opened the door for other parents to follow in her footsteps.

    "The more we normalize parents of young children and working [class] people running for office, the more representative our country will be," she said. "[Most of our representatives] don’t understand how the policies they enact affect our lives. We need people in office who understand these issues because we live them every day."

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    There comes a point in life when blindly tossing everything into a tote bag just doesn't cut it anymore. After all, no one wants to be that person; the one holding up the line digging for your credit cart under piles of slightly used lipsticks. We've all been there but it still makes us cringe. And while mini bags may have replaced oversized totes in terms of trends we're buying, they're unrealistic when it comes to making it through an entire day with only the contents that can squeeze into a 3" x 3" bag. So what's the compromise?

    Well, there's this thing we like to call a "grown-up" wallet. Its doesn't contain any reward cards from every coffee shop you've ever visited. There's no overabundance of ATM receipts shoved behind post-its reminding you to call so-and-s0 back a year too late. Its simply a utilitarian accessory for cash, cards, and your Metrocard which you'll be able to locate lickety-split. The days of angry commuters snarling under their breathe at you before you're able to buy your morning coffee are officially over. And since wallets are notorious for being, well, a bit drab, we thought we'd round up some designer styles via Jet.com that are anything but boring.

    So, before you have to endure another day of rummaging through your tote for a crumpled-up single or your never-there-when-you-need-it office keycard, take a peak at the 15 wallets ahead. See, growing up isn't so bad.

    There is a lot of product out there — some would say too much. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team, but if you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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    In May, when Kickstarter named Meredith Graves, a former journalist who founded the punk band Perfect Pussy, its new Director of Music, Graves went one place to announce the news: Twitter.

    But this was not just any announcement. It was a “some personal news” kind of announcement.

    “Every child dreams of the day they can grow up and start a tweet with ‘some personal news…’ !!!” Graves tweeted.

    Those three little words have become indicative of the “big announcement” post. It's a construction that might be taken at face value when spoken in person but has taken on a whole new, elevated meaning on social media. Sometimes used to introduce babies or marriages, though more often used to share new jobs and promotions, “some personal news” has rapidly grown in popularity becoming one of the most well-known insider phrases, and, in some cases, inside joke, on Twitter today. On a platform that has been full of negativity and misinformation of late, it has also become one of the rare, welcome signals that what you’re about to read is good news or, at the very least, news that will make you laugh. Circa 2009, you might have shared this information on Facebook. But nowadays, Twitter is the far timelier and relevant alternative: A place where you know your message will reach your peers, both professional and social.

    Illustrated by Abbie Winters 

    A Twitter search for “some personal news” shows that the phrase started showing up in tweets from public accounts in 2010. For the most part, users — primarily those working in media — directed followers offsite, to a blog post (a blog!) where the job announcement or other personal news was explored in depth. In 2012, author and political activist Donna Brazile put the phrase to sarcastic use, foreshadowing some of its current purpose as a satirical vehicle. It wasn’t until 2013 that “some personal news” became a regular, even expected way to not only announce a new job, but also react to the mundane with irony. According to Twitter data, use of the phrase has steadily increased every year since 2010 and tripled in use over the past five years.

    Its most obvious predecessor was “So, I wrote a thing” a phrase that devolved into mockery sometime around 2014 and, by 2016, turned into highbrow humor pieces in The New Yorker and Reductress. Saying “So, I wrote a thing” was the humblebrag equivalent of saying, “I wrote something that I think is incredibly wonderful and I am a genius who would appreciate if you would click on this link and revel in my extremely intelligent work.” At least that wordier alternative was straightforward in its snobbery. The understated manner of “So, I wrote a thing” turned it into a phrase that was reviled for its lack of self-awareness, like that friend who got an A+ but says they didn’t do that well.

    Illustrated by Abbie Winters 

    Currently, “some personal news” straddles the line between the literal and ironic. While it is still frequently used to announce job changes, it can also be used to hyperbolic effect. Take Abby Tannenbaum who used the phrase last week when she announced she was going to Sweetgreen for dinner. This hardly qualified as "news" for Tannenbaum, a digital strategist living in D.C., who told Refinery29 she goes to the salad shop approximately five days a week. But with "some personal news" attached it was suddenly funny, in an almost exclusive way that only a Twitter audience familiar with the phrase can comprehend.

    Lately, it seems like it’s hard to scroll past even 15 posts without hitting a “some personal news” tweet. This frequency may be a direct result of Twitter’s decision to launch threads last December, which made it easier for people to string together thoughts about leaving a current job, or tell the full story of “some personal news” in one go. (Farewell, blog posts of yore.) As with any phrase, overuse threatens to ruin the joke, or even the effectiveness of the message when it is delivered seriously.

    “[It’s] definitely overused,” says Kami Mattioli, a digital marketer in New York who used the phrase in irony last month in a tweet about her fake website. “Every time someone uses it, particularly on Twitter, I roll my eyes.”

    Though Mattioli says she prefers the sarcastic uses to the literal, “even that is getting tired.”

    Illustrated by Abbie Winters 

    Even if it is overused, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still appreciated. In the same way that it's hard to scroll past 15 tweets without hitting "some personal news," it's near impossible to scroll past even five tweets without coming across bad news. In this scenario, most people would take the repetitive positivity associated with the former any day of the week.

    “I love it — regardless of what people attach to the phrase, I always find myself smiling,” Rishi Magia, a creative director in Brooklyn who recently used the phrase, to viral effect, to announce the adoption of his new rescue pup, Henry. “I feel like ‘some personal news’ has, as the kids say, the range. I’m going to enjoy it before the next bizarre Twitter thing comes along.”

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    There's a lot of thought that goes into getting a tattoo: Which artist should you trust? What design do you want? Where will you get inked? More difficult than thinking up a solo piece of body art, though, is getting a matching one with your significant other. Because if a relationship is going to last forever — it better look pretty damn good, right? Luckily, there are ways to ensure your couple tattoo looks cool enough to stand the test of time.

    First, check out some celebrity BFFs and S.O.s for matching ink inspiration. Plenty of A-listers are covered in tribute tattoos to the people they love. Then, make your way to Instagram. Skip over the matching initials, ring-finger bands, or anything else that feels too cliché. Instead, look for minimalic designs and simple artwork that you'll love regardless if the relationship doesn't last.

    Or, you can click the slides ahead — because we just did all the non-cheesy couple tattoo work for you.

    Jay-Z and Beyoncé know best: Getting a tattoo instead of a wedding band was once the cool thing to do. Now, this fun twist on the trend is what we're looking for in 2018.

    Whether it's the day you first met or the day you proposed, this subtle tribute to your relationship is cute without being cheesy.

    Two halves of one... fish? This piece of artwork is subtly sentimental and loaded with color.

    The forearm is the place to ink your latest minimal design — so why not do it with your S.O.?

    The only love that's stronger than the one you have for each other is the one you have for your pets.

    To commemorate your combined love of art or that your first date obviously took place at the MoMA.

    For moments you want to say your love is infinite without sounding like a '90s rom-com.

    Opt out of the fancy jewelry and choose a stacked knuckle design.

    At first glance, it looks like a bunch of squiggles — only those close to you (or lucky enough to get that close) will know it's two your faces entwined into one.

    Take this as proof your superhuman worlds can collide without losing any of your own power.

    Getting a tattoo in each other's handwriting is the modern way of saying, "I love you."

    How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days had a love fern, but it definitely looks cooler in tattoo form.

    Eyes are the windows to the soul — that, or you and your S.O. share a similar appreciation for mascara.

    Sometimes, simple is better. Three dots, three syllables, three words: I love you.

    Even if your new daughter isn't named Stormi and you're not an offspring of the Jenner family, you still can use Kylie and Travis Scott's dainty butterfly as some relationship ink inspo.

    Do you and your S.O. relate more to Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson? Perfect, because they also have several matching tattoos. The best: "Reborn" inked down the side of their thumbs. Although it's more of an homage to one of Davidson's favorite songs by Kid Cudi, the sentiment alone is enough for us to copy.

    A lot of people say that when you really fall in love, you and your partner become one. In this case, so do your tattoos.

    Getting a tattoo with your partner is an exciting date idea to replace your weekly dinner and a movie this month.

    Coordinating sun and moon tattoos is one way to mark which of you is a morning person — and which of you is most certainly not.

    Getting someone else's name inked on your body should be done with caution. Still, when it's in this beautiful script text, how can you resist?

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