Maria Can’t Stop Wearing These Not-So-Wide Leg Jeans

Okay, so, remember when, almost exactly one year ago, I wanted to try this pair of big, baggy jeans? You probably don’t, but that’s totally fine. Turns out I did try them on and they did not look good. As much as I loved the wide silhouette and long length, I was swimming in these jeans — even …

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How To Stop Overspending During The Holidays

With unemployment at historic lows, rising wages and consumer confidence have hit an 18-year-high. Consumers are understandably in good cheer and ready to go out and spend this holiday season.

But for you, the thrill of the deal can quickly turn in to despair over the debt if you go overboard with your holiday gift giving.

Here’s how to keep your budget in check during the holiday shopping season.


If there’s one thing that I hope people ask for, and get, this Christmas, it’s discipline. All the budgeting “tips and tricks” in the world won’t help you if you can’t control yourself. Yet, relying on willpower alone won’t be enough to get the job done. You need a system.

Here’s what I suggest:


  1. Build a Budget– This sounds simple, but on one likes to do this. You have to go into shopping season with a set amount that you’re committed to not outspend. When you do this, be sure to include ALL of your costs such as wrapping, shipping, travel, etc.
  2. Save All Year– You do realize that Christmas happens at the same time every year, right? So why do you seem so surprised when Black Friday rolls around and you haven’t set aside any money for gifts?

Americans are expected to spend $ 1000 on average during the holiday shopping season.  That’s $ 80/month or $ 20.00/week you should save in advance.

3Create a Separate Account – Don’t keep your “gift” money in the same account as your “bill” money. Open a free checking account or put money onto a prepaid debit card that will only be used for your holiday shopping. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

Never Use Credit – Buying something on sale, but using credit to do so and paying the minimum each month totally defeats the purpose of getting the deal in the first place. Only use your credit card if you’re getting points or rewards and you’re going to pay it off in full when the bill comes.


In that case, it’s time to think about generating some extra cash. Luckily, since there’s so much spending going on during the holiday season, there should be lots of opportunities to do this.

For example you can:

Convert Old Gift Cards – Check your wallet for unused or partially used gift cards. Use the balance for gifts, or use a site like to convert those balances to cash.

Sell Your Junk! – Go through your garage and your closet to find things that still have tags or haven’t been used in a while.  Sell these things on eBay, Poshmark, etc.

Donate Items – Donate the things you can’t sell to Goodwill, etc.  You’ll get the advantage of the tax deduction, which may put extra cash in your pocket at tax time.


Look, you have to take charge and set the expectations up front.

With Your Kids – This is a great time to discuss needs vs. wants and priorities with your kids.  They may not be able to get everything they want, so give them a say in what is most important to them.

With Your Family – Perhaps set up a Secret Santa gift exchange where each family member only has to buy one gift. Try or Elfster to set up your exchange.

With Yourself – Buying great presents won’t make you a better friend, spouse or parent. Have a real discussion about what the most important people in your life really want, and you might find that it may not cost you anything at all.






Life & Style – Black America Web


It’s OK to Stop Saving Money If You’re Doing One of These 6 Things

At 7, your goal was to save enough money so you could buy that new toy all the kids were raving about.

At 18, you just wanted to scrape up enough to stock up on ramen for the week.

At 23, your cohorts started talking about emergency funds, and you thought, “OK, I probably need a little nest egg of my own, too.”

At 27, you started counting down to retirement — only about 40 years away… Better start saving now.

And you’re still saving.

You’ve basically been saving money your entire life. Is there ever a time you’ll be able to stop saving money? Perhaps even — gasp — spend it?

Short answer: Yes!

6 Times It’s OK to Stop Saving Your Money

We’ll forever encourage people to save their pennies, but, depending on your financial situation, sometimes it’s OK to stop saving, even just for a little while. Come on; you’ve earned it, right?

Breathe a sigh of relief. It’s OK to stop saving money if you’re…

1. Investing in Causes You Care About

Hand of person holding light bulb

Once you have a nice rainy day fund saved, investing can be a great way to grow your money. In a way, you’re still saving money — but know risk is always associated with investing.

You’ll want to make sure you’re using your hard-saved money to support companies you actually believe in — their morals and values. You probably wouldn’t want to invest in a company that’s destroying our oceans or cheating the system.

Impact investing is a simple fix. It adds a new layer of transparency to investing. Take Swell Investing, an SEC-registered investment adviser committed to supporting sustainable companies.

Its Impact 400 portfolio features companies whose products and services align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It considers everything from gender equality to ending poverty to clean energy.

You can start with just $ 50 and invest in this or other portfolios committed to clean water, zero waste, renewable energy or disease eradication, to name a few. Plus, you’ll get a $ 50 bonus with the code PENNY after making your initial investment.

Swell doesn’t have any trading fees, price tiers or expense ratios. It charges a 0.75% annual fee — that’s about the cost of one coffee ($ 3.75) per year if you invest $ 500.

Disclosure: We have a financial relationship with Swell Investing LLC and will be compensated if consumers apply for an account and/or fund an account with Swell through links in our content. However, the analysis and opinions expressed here are our own.

2. Signing up for Life Insurance

If you have a dependent or two, you’ll want to think about life insurance. Sure, it’ll cost you a monthly fee, but it’ll help ensure your family will be financially sound if (goodness forbid) anything happens to you.

Plus, finding life insurance doesn’t have to be the complicated, research-intensive experience you might expect. Some newcomers in the industry are updating the old model.

Ethos can get you term life insurance in less than 10 minutes — with no medical exam — for coverage up to $ 1 million. Ethos offers a digital application, and customer service is available if you have questions.

It partners with a major life insurance carrier to quickly offer policies as low as $ 6 a month. It’s helped thousands of folks access term life insurance, including independent contractors who use Uber, Postmates, TaskRabbit and other gig apps.

So even if you have to take $ 6 out of your savings each month, life insurance could be worth it — for that peace of mind.

3. Paying off Your Credit Card Debt

TPH photo editor, Alexa Vincent, in various scenes showing credit card debt, consolidation and bankruptcy on August 14, 2018.

A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. That can make paying off your debt feel like this never-ending cycle — and can even cost you thousands of extra dollars over time.

If you have a nice savings cushion, it could be beneficial to pause your savings for a couple of months and pay off your debt more quickly to alleviate the pain of tacked-on interest.

See if you can make your debt a little more manageable first by consolidating or refinancing with a personal loan.

A good resource is online lending platform Upstart, which can help you find a loan without relying on only your conventional credit score.

Unlike traditional underwriting models that use only the common FICO scoring model, Upstart’s technology looks at factors like your education and employment history to determine your creditworthiness (though it does require a 620 credit score).

It can help you borrow up to $ 50,000, potentially with better terms (e.g. lower interest or lower monthly payments) than traditional lenders. If managing many different bills and credit lines is a hassle, you can also use an Upstart loan to streamline all of your loans into one.

4. Preparing for a Happy Retirement

Because you’re already into saving, you probably have a 401(k). Kudos for that, but is it doing what you need it to?

Chances are, your 401(k) could be doing a lot better. Take control with help from Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that can optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you and keep it speeding toward retirement.

It just takes a few minutes to get a free 401(k) analysis that will show you whether your investments are allocated properly and whether you’re losing money paying hidden investment fees. It’ll even tell you just how much more money your account could earn by the time you want to retire.

After that, if you sign up, it’s just $ 10 per month to have Blooom monitor and maximize your 401(k). Bonus: Penny Hoarders get the first month free with the code PNNYHRD.

Think of Blooom like a mechanic constantly fine-tuning your car’s engine so it gives you the best possible performance and gas mileage. Except it’s your 401(k) — and your future.

5. Treating Yourself With a Reward

woman carrying shopping bags

You know how most healthy people talk about the importance of cheat days? To let yourself indulge — just a little. The same goes for personal finance. You can be as budget abiding as you want, but you have to leave a little bit of wiggle room to treat yourself.

If you haven’t gotten a pedicure in at least a decade, escaped city limits for a weekend away from the kids or splurged on a new gadget, then maybe it’s time. But please do so responsibly.

Make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck with these tools:

  • Ibotta: With Ibotta, you can bank cash back when you make an Amazon purchase, sign up for Hulu, book your next vacation or even order groceries through Shipt. Plus, if you sign up now, you’ll snag a $ 10 bonus when you claim your first cash-back offer.
  • Paribus: This tool gets you money back for your online purchases. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.
  • When you’re spending money, always, always be sure to keep tabs on your budget to make sure you’re not overspending. If you don’t yet have one, the Empower app is a powerful budgeting tool that can help you figure out how you’re spending your money and develop a budgeting plan to keep you on track.

6. Buying a Home

Perhaps for the past few years, you’ve been saving for a down payment. That’s great! Now, you’re ready to buy your first home.

In those first couple of months of homeownership, though, don’t feel bad if you have to pause your savings. Expect a lot of expenses to pop up: closing costs, real estate agent commission, property taxes, homeowners insurance, last-minute repairs — just to name a few.

Get all of that taken care of as you settle into your new abode. After a few months, once you’re getting back into the swing of things and are coasting along with your monthly mortgage payments, you can start saving again.

Time to Resume…

Sure, depending on your financial health, there are certain life events, investments and money moves you can justify pausing your savings for. But the break can’t last forever — you’ll need to resume your savings at some point.

After all, you never know when you’ll need the savings. That newest and hottest toy of the season could hit the shelves any minute.

Carson Kohler ( is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’ll forever be saving money.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Michelle Obama got painfully real about women “having it all” during the New York stop of her Becoming book tour

Michelle Obama got painfully real about women “having it all” during the New York stop of her Becoming book tour

Michelle Obama got painfully real about women “having it all” during the New York stop of her <em>Becoming</em> book tour

Michelle Obama is currently touring the U.S. to talk about her new memoir, Becoming. In the book, she writes openly and honestly about everything from her struggles with fertility to attending marriage counseling to how to find a Barack Obama of your own. So it’s no surprise that when I attended the first New York stop of her Becoming book tour, I was completely blown away by her words and stories.

On Saturday, December 1st, our forever First Lady stopped by the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The event was moderated by Elizabeth Alexander, a poet, essayist, playwright, and longtime friend of Obama’s. You may recognize Alexander as the woman who recited the poem “Praise Song for the Day” (which she wrote) at President Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

Throughout the night, Obama also dropped a lot of wisdom about parenting, vulnerability, and the importance of female friendships. She also opened up about the struggles of being a working mom, saying that years ago, there was a time when she was balancing a full-time job as a lawyer with raising her daughters Sasha and Malia. And during that time, her husband was often out of town in Washington, D.C., campaigning, or traveling for work.

In a very candid moment, Obama got super real about how women still can’t “have it all.”

“Marriage still ain’t equal, y’all. It ain’t equal. And I tell women that it’s not equal—that whole ‘so you can have it all’? Nope, not at the same time. That’s a lie. And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that shit doesn’t work all the time. … I’m back. I thought we were at home, y’all. I was gettin’ real comfortable up in here. But I’m back now. But sometimes, that STUFF doesn’t work. So oftentimes, it’s not equal, and you feel a bit resentful about it. And so then it’s time to go to marriage counseling.”

Crown Publishing Group
available at Amazon | $ 19.50

Obama also spoke at length about her parents, Marian and the late Fraser Robinson, and the values they instilled in her at a young age.

“I had a childhood with parents who didn’t have a lot in the way of money, but they had a lot in the way of value and character and love and stability and consistency. And I want parents to understand that I became who I am not because my parents were networked or college educated or had a lot of money or knew a lot of stuff about things that they thought we needed to know. They gave us absolutely what we needed, which was love and trust and the values that they came here with. And THAT’S what kids need. That will get them through.”

In a more serious moment, Obama spoke about the dangers of being a woman in today’s world.

“The world is dangerous, sadly, for women. I want us to just kinda sit with that for a minute, because it’s usually men who make it dangerous for us. And it doesn’t always look like physical abuse. It doesn’t always look the same. It’s those little cuts. Those little negative comments. It’s somebody, when you’re walking down the street and some man looks at you and makes a comment about you, as if you wanted…that’s a cut. That’s a slice into a woman’s self-esteem, when somebody talks down to them. If you talk down to women at all, and a woman is in earshot of what you’re saying, that’s a cut to her. And then the cuts get deeper, because there’s abuse and there’s rape. There’s sexual assault. There’s all this that we’re hearing. The world is unsafe for women, and I want our men to understand that about what role they’re playing to make us feel safe or unsafe. But I grew up in safety and security. I grew up where I trusted men to take care of me. And I think that that gave me a level of strength that carries me through to this day.”

Obama also spoke about attending marriage counseling with her husband.

“What I learned in counseling was that I was responsible for my own happiness. And that was part of my frustration. I expected my husband now to not only just be my partner, but to fill me up in ways that were my responsibility. Counseling helped me to sort of take a step back and look at, ‘How do I take control of my own happiness within our marriage?’ And how to prioritize myself. Because that’s what we do as women. We’re so busy puttin’ everyone else before us. And then we burn out. We’re like, fourth on our list, or fifth on our list.”

Obama thanked her girlfriends for their friendship and reminded women to lean on each other, not turn against each other.

“Sometimes we can’t do this alone, and we shouldn’t have to. I relied on my girlfriends to get me through one of the hardest eight years of my life. … We have to remember to be that for each other. We have to be each other’s light. We cannot get into that catty stuff. We have to find a way to continue to lift other women up in our worlds and in our lives as much as possible, you all. It is the only reason why I’m breathing. I couldn’t have gotten through raising my kids with a husband traveling without my girls.”

Above all else, Obama hoped to inspire everyone to become who they’re meant to be.

She reminded the audience that it’s okay to be open up and be vulnerable.

“My hope is that this book will inspire everyone to tap into their own journeys of becoming and to share those stories with one another.”

Becoming is available wherever books are sold.

The post Michelle Obama got painfully real about women “having it all” during the New York stop of her <em>Becoming</em> book tour appeared first on HelloGiggles.



With this $25 gadget, Amazon will finally get you to stop scoffing at the idea of a ‘smart home’

Amazon's smart plug lets you easily control lights, appliances and other gadgets by voice or with your phone no matter where you are. CNBC will walk you through how to set up and use the Amazon smart plug. It's very easy.


Shop the latest electronics deals direct from Samsung

Trump Tells GM to Open Ohio Plant and Stop Output in China

General Motors plans to cut up to 14,800 jobs and end production at certain plants, marking the auto maker’s first significant downsizing since bankruptcy as it tries to adjust to lower demand for passenger cars. President Trump said GM should stop making cars in China and make them in the U.S. instead, in an exclusive WSJ interview. US Business


UK’s largest housebuilder calls on lawmakers to move forward with Brexit and stop the uncertainty

Brexit uncertainty is "unhelpful" for those seeking to buy a home, the CEO of the U.K.'s largest housebuilder by volume told CNBC Thursday.
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Amazon denies report it asked police to stop worker strike in Spain

Amazon on Friday found itself swatting down reports that it tried to recruit local police to put down a Black Friday strike in Spain. The Spanish publication El Confidencial reported that Amazon requested police to enter their warehouse outside Madrid to keep workers from striking and ensure productivity. The news outlet cited Spanish police sources…
Business | New York Post


Kim Woodburn reveals I’m A Celeb crew in camp lurk in the bushes ready to stop snake attacks

I’M A Celebrity has employed “hundreds” of security staff to crawl through the bush and stop venomous snakes reaching stars in camp.

Kim Woodburn, 76, appeared in the show in 2009 along with Katie Price and winner Gino D’Acampo, and said they felt safe when they spotted snake hunters on their rounds.

Kim Woodburn has shared her expert knowledge of the Im A Celerbity camp
Kim Woodburn has revealed the I'm A Celeb stars will be protected in the wild by 'hundreds' of security
Kim Woodburn has revealed the I’m A Celeb stars will be protected in the wild by ‘hundreds’ of security
Rex Features

Skilled handlers jumped into action if a celeb was in danger, as Kim exclusively told The Sun: “You don’t see anybody when you’re there, but there are hundreds of security people throughout the jungle in camouflage equipment

“On your way to that dunny that stinks to high heaven, you might see one in the bushes.

“They are there because if you see a snake, or anything you think is frightening you shout “snake!” and you know that they are in that spot in a second.”

The likes of Fleur East, Emily Atack and Sair Khan signed up this year and have been shut off from the world.

I'm A Celeb
Katie Price starred in the same series as Kim back in 2009
The 76-year-old star said teams of people scour the bush around camp to clear the area of snakes
The 76-year-old star said teams of people scour the bush around camp to clear the area of snakes
Rex Features
The telly favourite has assured fans the stars are safe from venomous predators

Kim said they’ll soon get used to being blanked by crew members too, as the production team is banned from speaking to them.

She added: “The only other time you would see anybody is when they tell you to come up to the bushes and you’ll find a couple of chaps in camouflage and they want to change your battery.

“You turn round, he doesn’t say a word. You say thank you, he doesn’t say thank you back, and down you walk.”

Kim’s insight comes after former I’m A Celeb runner up Jake Quickenden said the staff fear getting sacked if they open their mouths.

Love I’m A Celeb? Play our new game The Jungle now – win daily prizes and a holiday worth £5K

Emily Atack
Fleur East, Emily Atack, Anne Hegerty, Rita Simons and James McVey
Rex Features
Emily Atack
Jake is pals with Emily Atack and Fleur East and predicted how they’ll fair in the jungle
Rex Features
Fleur East
Fleur’s pal says she’ll struggle with the lack of food but will get on well with the campmates
Rex Features

He said the novelty of sleeping in the jungle is about to wear off as the conditions become dire, telling The Sun: “People start getting hungry, then if it rains people start getting moody.

“Even when you walk into trials the cameramen don’t speak to you. You are that shut off from the world.

“I remember asking one of them ‘Do you know what the Man United score was at the weekend?’ and they said ‘Jake we’re not allowed to speak to you.’

A black ringed mangrove snake. Australia has seen a high number of snakes because of unusually wet weather

“One of them was eating a Tic Tac and I said, ‘Mate, I couldn’t have a Tic Tac could I?’ And he was like ‘ I can’t give you a Tic Tac I’ll get sacked.’

“I said, ‘you’ll get sacked over a tic tac?’ All I wanted was a different taste in my mouth. My mouth was dry for the whole time. You’re not drinking cold water, it’s always hot because you’re boiling it.

“My wee was like golden syrup by the end of it.”

Listen to new podcast Jungle VIP, talkRADIO’s cheeky, no-holds-barred take on the action Down Under. Hosted by Jamie East with daily guests, including former campmates and celeb reality TV fans the gang will dish the dirt on the REAL behind-the-scenes gossip. Read more here.

TV and Showbiz – latest celebrity news, gossip, photos, TV and film reviews | The Sun


Can we all stop unfairly judging The Princess Switch please?

Before you form your opinion, consider this…

The Princess Switch

The Christmas countdown is officially on, and with the cold weather setting in and Yule logs and mince pies coming into the shops, we’re feeling more festive than ever.

Now all we need is a new Christmas film to obsess over with a mug of mulled wine, and last week, that is exactly what we got – thank you, Netflix.

The Princess Switch, released last Friday, is this year’s answer to A Christmas Prince, and let’s just say it doesn’t disappoint.

Vanessa Hudgens plays the two leads in this Parent Trap esque flick, involving a European Duchess switching places with an ordinary baker from Chicago, who looks identical to her, just one week before Christmas. Inevitably they fall in love with each other’s partners, want each other’s lives and somehow everything ties together perfectly in the end.

The Princess Switch


I’m not going to lie, there are a few gaping plot holes and I can’t pretend that I understood everything. Why didn’t Stacy report that her blender had been sabotaged and get a new one? Why was the strange old man that kept popping up everywhere to deliver wise quotes never explained? And HOW did the butler Frank De Luca survive that almighty fall off the bridge?

And yet, I loved it.

The film has proved to be pretty divisive, but in this writer’s opinion, it’s all pretty unfair.

There’s no point in comparing it to an Academy award winning film because it never pretended to be one – it’s set in a make-believe European country and packed with cliché quotes about Christmas wishes, orphans wanting to be princesses (Hello Princess Diaries 2), fake snow ball fights and makeover musical montage scenes.

Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s the perfect winter film – especially if you’re an over-worked stressed out millennial who just wants to switch off and feel festive.

Sure, if you’re a film buff whose highlight of Christmas is dissecting the artistic camera work of It’s A Wonderful Life, then give this a miss. But if you tend to like films that score less than a 6.3/10 on IMDb and you feel like putting your feet up, this is a must-see.

Here’s why The Princess Switch is well worth a watch…

1. Lady Margaret Delacourt’s wardrobe:

The Duchess of Montenaro is impeccably dressed, and the scene where Stacy explores her wardrobe for the first time rivals Carrie Bradshaw‘s SATC big wardrobe reveal. We’re talking Blair Warldorf style berets, Camilla Mendes esque mini skirts and some serious Jackie O inspired tailoring. And don’t even get us started on the red and gold ballgown that she wore to the royal dance – that is reason enough to watch.

2. Robin Soans’ multiple cameos

The big unanswered question from The Princess Switch has to be the identity of the wise old man (played by Robin Soans), who turned up everywhere (even within the palace walls) to deliver some much needed Christmas wisdom. We assume of course that he is a sort of modern day fairy godmother, but still – why doesn’t the character have anything better to do?! How does he know everything?! And did he literally follow Stacy all the way from New York? There are so many questions and we really would have liked some reassurance Netflix. That being said, he did save the day on numerous occasions so we’ll let it slide.

3. Kevin the baker’s bod

Kevin the baker! Who knew that body was hiding under your apron? Well, Lady Margaret does now, but it’s safe to say we were all surprised and understandably, it is of course a highlight.

4. The hilarious British accents

Somehow the accents in the mythical European country of Belgravia (yes, Belgravia!!) are English, same with the country of Montenaro, where Duchess Margaret Delacourt comes from. Get ready for some very clipped old school Mary Poppins style accents. Let’s just say it’s in the same league as Gossip Girl‘s Lord Marcus Beaton.

5. That moment of Inception

In one particular scene, Lady Margaret posing as Stacy and Kevin from The Princess Switch sit down to watch a Christmas film, scrolling past A Christmas Inheritance, before landing on A Christmas Prince. Yes, really. The characters in a Netflix original Christmas film just watched another Netflix original Christmas film. What is real life? We don’t know anymore.

6. The Meghan Markle effect

Did anyone else think that Stacy as Lady Margaret had elements of Meghan Markle about her? A feminist royal who wanted to have a hands-on approach in terms of official events, and despite being a high profile princess-to-be, insisted on being heard, not just seen. Just saying – we loved the millennial references.

7. The references to other chick flicks

One thing that has really got viewers talking is the inspiration from other romantic comedies. There’s a dancing in a fairy-lit canopy scene that is almost identical to A Cinderella Story, a Parent Trap esque hair cutting scene and even a moment that mirrors a Princess Diaries 2 scene where an orphanage of children get to be princesses for the day. One scene that excited viewers the most however was when Kevin gave Margaret a locket, looking a lot like a High School Musical 2 scene (also starring Vanessa), where Troy gave Gabriella a necklace. Basically, The Princess Switch is an amalgamation of every single romantic comedy you’ve ever seen, and if that’s not reason enough to watch it, we don’t know what is.

Be right back – off to watch this again.

The post Can we all stop unfairly judging The Princess Switch please? appeared first on Marie Claire.

Marie Claire


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A ‘smart’ toilet could stop us from flushing away our most valuable health information, says doctor

Both doctors and patients could benefit if we figure out a way to stop flushing away some of our most vital health information, argues Dr. Sameer Berry, a third-year resident physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Health and Science


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Glamour to stop monthly print editions in 2019

Glamour magazine has become the latest print title to hit the rocks at Condé Nast. Editor-in-chief Samantha Barry said Tuesday that the magazine will cease regular monthly print editions next year and concentrate on digital products, with maybe one or two special issues a year. The decision comes a year after Condé Nast artistic director…
Media | New York Post


When Will Lawmakers Stop Surveilling Women’s Bodies?

Women claimed an outsized voice last week in the first national elections since the #MeToo movement went viral—but we have a long way to go in reclaiming our bodies.

Lorie Shaull / Creative Commons

A record number of women ran for political office this year, and a record number will be seated in Congress, but the numbers of women in political office are still depressingly low. Internationally, the U.S. ranked 104th for female representation before the midterms, and the latest elections are just a nudge up. Women will still fill less than a quarter of the seats come 2019, and only nine governors will be female.

Gender parity in politics matters—because our rights and our bodies are on the line. An insidiary and often unnoticed rise in the surveillance and control over women’s bodies is happening right here and now. Some of the strategies are familiar; others are creative and even absurd.

A recent story from Tanzania about the expulsion of pregnant girls from school—a practice recently revived from the 1960s—might be read with curiosity, but seem remote, to those of us living in the U.S. After all, girls here aren’t taken from class and made to pee in a jar for compulsory pregnancy tests twice a year. But several weeks ago, the Virginia prison system did ban visitors from using tampons.

You read that correctly: The state of Virginia wanted to make it so that visitors to prisons in the state revealed to be using a tampon by a body-scan machine would be turned away, and their future visitation privileges “reviewed.” Prison officials claimed this was part of an effort to reduce fatal overdoses from drugs smuggled into prisons. The ACLU and other advocacy groups disagreed, and pressured the prison system to reverse course. Their intervention allowed women to escape this latest surveillance, but some effects remain. The body scans of visitors will still reveal tampon use—which remains intrusive, not to mention creepy.

Women these days are engaged in a constant game of whack-a-mole against attacks on their reproductive rights and health. As women candidates scored victories in the midterms, Alabama voters approved a measure to recognize the rights of the unborn—laying the groundwork for an outright abortion ban if the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, now more at risk than ever, was ever be overturned.

Vigilance, it seems, is now required to simply hold on to rights that we thought were already secure. Take, for example, the contraception wars—which many of us felt were settled in the 1960s and 70s, but, then, suddenly weren’t. Rush Limbaugh called law student Sandra Fluke a slut for advocating for contraceptive coverage during debates over the Affordable Care Act, and it was only an opening performance of what was yet to comer. Soon thereafter, employers stated they were willing to cover birth control pills for health reasons, but not to avoid pregnancy—and that to determine the difference, women would have to explain themselves.

Nicole Mone Arteaga was denied access to critical care in June by a Walgreens’ pharmacist in Arizona, who refused to fill a prescription needed to manage the miscarriage of her very-much-wanted pregnancy. He was able to do so because an Arizona “conscience” statute permits pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, abortion medication and drugs that prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum. Arteaga later said that, after explaining in front of her seven-year-old child and five nearby customers that the fetus she was carrying had failed to develop, she left without the prescription “in tears, ashamed and feeling humiliated by a man who knows nothing of my struggles but feels it is his right to deny medication prescribed to me by my doctor.”

Arizona is not the only state where women like Arteaga aren’t in control of their bodies. The list of intrusive regulations nationwide goes on and on, as does the fight to stop them. But with each one of these proposed policies the goalpost of what might become normalized is moved—even if they’re staved off in legislative session or the courts intervene to protect women’s bodies.

In the name of women’s “right to know,” North Carolina requires physicians to display and describe the results of a mandatory ultrasound before an abortion, which requires a vaginal probe in many cases—and claimed it was enough that a patient who didn’t enjoy the process could avert her eyes or cover her ears to make do. A court reviewing the law sympathized with the patient lying “half-naked or disrobed on her back,” but ultimately struck the law down because it infringed on the physician’s rights; the requirement was “quintessential compelled speech,” “forc[ing] physicians to say things they otherwise would not say,” even though the compulsion experienced by the physicians inevitably pales in comparison to that experienced by the patients. Today, similar “speech and display” ultrasound laws remain in effect in Louisiana, Texas and Wisconsin.

Virginia’s tampon ban was not defended as a means to limit contraband for the sake of prison control—it was defined as an effort to save prisoner’s lives. Really? Instead of beginning with the vagina, perhaps we could try adequate medical care staffing and emergency response, or drug and mental health treatment programs.

Nature makes it hard enough for girls and women to consistently exercise comfortable control over their bodies: we have periods, we get pregnant, we lose wanted pregnancies. It isn’t fair, just or right that we must also continue to face down boys and men each day who assert their own prerogatives over our bodies—and it’s scary that the government increasingly, incrementally and, under the guise of apparently noble but ultimately shallow justifications, is also attempting to take more and more control over our decisions and our destinies.

It’s clear now more than ever that our constitutional rights are an imperfect shield—one around which intrusive laws can peer, poke and prod. The midterms were a strong first step toward taking back our power to decide and determine our own futures—but we must be ready to vote, mobilize, run for office and pack up our pink hats and posters until we’re certain that our bodily integrity is safe.

Lois Shepherd is Professor of Law, Professor of Public Health Sciences, the Wallenborn Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Co-Director of Studies in Reproductive Ethics and Justice at the University of Virginia. She is a Public Voices Fellow with the Op-Ed Project.

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The post When Will Lawmakers Stop Surveilling Women’s Bodies? appeared first on Ms. Magazine Blog.

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3 siblings killed in car crash at school bus stop

ABC News

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Stop Throwing Shade on Gray Hair

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Three months ago, I went gray at 23 years old. Tired of the extra attention that comes with being blond—and over being asked if I “had more fun” at every party for the rest of time—I wanted a new color that communicated seriousness. So one night, I leaned over my bathroom sink and drenched my strands with pastel gray dye.

My friends declared the look “rad” and “super cute” on Instagram. But in real life, while commuting or waiting in grocery store checkout lines, I earned outright glares from women of a certain vintage.  

On the third day of my blue rinse period, a confused stranger blurted, “Did you do that on purpose?” Having spent time, energy, and money hiding her gray, she couldn’t fathom why I didn’t appreciate my natural hue.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Daily Beast — Fashion


259 people have died taking selfies – but that won’t stop anyone from taking risks to get that perfect snap

Vanity is killing us.

A man in Maryland narrowly avoided death Sunday after falling into the Potomac River while trying to snap a selfie in front of wild floodwaters. He was thankfully saved by onlookers, but accidents and deaths by selfie are far from rare.

Last month, an Italian teen fell off…

Life Style – New York Daily News


Inside Facebook’s ‘war room,’ where the company is fighting to stop election manipulation

Facebook's roughly 900-square-foot room, which it recently showed to journalists, is a visual representation of the company's commitment to dramatically improving communication and security ahead of the U.S. midterms.


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Prince’s Estate Demands Trump Stop Playing His Music At Rallies

At a rally in Mississippi, Trump played Prince‘s iconic 1984 song “Purple Rain.” Prince’s estate was not here for it.

“The Prince Estate has never given permission to President Trump or The White House to use Prince’s songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately,” Prince’s estate said in a statement via Jeremiah Freed, also known as Dr. Funkenberry.

Here is a video below of the song being played at the Trump rally:

While Prince was certainly a political artist, he often talked about race, poverty and faith in his music. He was not associated with a particular political party, and as a Jehovah’s Witness, he was also open about never voting.

In 2009, Prince told Tavis Smiley about President Barack Obama, “Well, I don’t vote. I’ve don’t have nothing to do with it. I’ve got no dog in that race.”

He continued, “The reason why is that I’m one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and we’ve never voted. That’s not to say I don’t think … President Obama is a very smart individual and he seems like he means well. Prophecy is what we all have to go by now.”

In 2015, Prince played a private concert for Obama in the White House’s East Room before shows in Washington, D.C.

In 1990, Prince gave $ 2,000 to Minnesota Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, who was a Republican. Boschwitz’s campaign director said at the time, “It’s safe to assume that Rudy is not familiar with Prince’s work.”

Boschwitz lost to Democrat Paul Wellstone in the 1990 campaign.

Well, let’s hope other people will be voting in droves on November 6.





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Prince’s estate wants Trump to stop playing his music at rallies

Add Prince to the list of musicians whose songs President Trump doesn’t have permission to play at his events.

Prince’s estate requested in a statement that Trump and the White House not play the Purple One’s music moving forward after “Purple Rain” was used at a recent event in Mississippi.


/entertainment – New York Daily News


How to stop scammers from hijacking your hard drive

To keep your computer safe from this scam and others, industry pros — including NYU professor and tech expert Damon McCoy; Ben Demonte, a managing director of cyber security at risk-assessment firm Kroll; and Kevin Haley, a director of Symantec’s Security Technology and Response division — advise a few simple precautions. Think before you click….
Technology News & Reviews | New York Post


Trump signs bills to help patients stop overpaying for drugs

President Donald Trump has signed into law two bills that would allow pharmacists to tell consumers when paying cash would be cheaper than using insurance
ABC News: Health

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN: -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News


Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!


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A limousine failed to stop at an intersection and struck a parked vehicle, State Police say

At least 20 people were killed in a traffic accident in upstate New York on Saturday, New York State Police said Sunday. The two-car crash happened shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday in Schoharie, town supervisor Alan Tavenner said in a statement. One of the vehicles involved was a limo, CNN affiliate WTEN reported. The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted Sunday morning that it is sending a team to investigate. – RSS Channel – HP Hero

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN: -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News


Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!


Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

A bunch of birds in Minnesota won’t stop getting drunk, and it’s becoming a problem

drunk birds

Most of us know what it’s like to have one too many adult beverages. We tend to mess things up, fall down, and cause problems in a variety of ways. When birds get drunk, they apparently do the exact same thing, and Minnesota residents are experiencing it firsthand.

As CBS Minnesota reports, the town of Gilbert is dealing with an influx of inebriated birds due to an early frost. The birds, which get drunk on fermented berries, are becoming something of a nuisance and have even caught the attention of local law enforcement.

Continue reading…

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A bunch of birds in Minnesota won’t stop getting drunk, and it’s becoming a problem originally appeared on on Thu, 4 Oct 2018 at 23:34:26 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



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