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Heather Rainbow Is the Face of Anti-MLM TikTok—She Talks to Skyelyfe About the Dangerous Business Models of Arbonne, Monat and More

January 12, 2021

MLMs are much of a foreign concept here in L.A., but chances are you’ve encountered a “Boss Babe” (as their team members call themselves) on Facebook at some point, likely in the form of a former classmate or religious peer—claiming to own a “small business.” The worst MLMs are many of the ones you’re most familiar with (namely in the beauty industry). But you probably don’t realize they actually operate through a pyramid scheme business model that scams anyone who isn’t at the very top.

Before we get into the depths of multi-level marketing, let’s talk first about what drew me to this phony albeit fascinating facet of work. Growing up, I think we can all say we’ve been subjected at one time or anther to a Tupperware, makeup or sex toy party. The host boasts a night of wine and champagne, mingling, hors d’oeuvres and even free gifts! Sure, you feel slightly obligated to buy something, but it’s usually something you can use, so why not? Never did I realize the darkness and destruction associated with these seemingly harmless gatherings.

Years following one of those parties, I was actually approached by none other than Ian Ziering, who attempted to recruit me to Team 90210, his own group that falls under the much larger umbrella of Nu Skin, a luxury MLM that sells skincare and devices. His team is chockfull of—you guessed it—naïve Beverly Hills, 90210 devotees swayed to join out of pure fandom. He pegged me as potentially one of them.

I met Ian briefly at an event in 2017. He was there with his then-wife and none other than Tori Spelling and her entire brood. Being the self-proclaimed biggest 90210 fan who ever lived, it was exciting seeing the two former stars not only still pals, but also just casually chatting it up with attendees at this low-key Sunday event on the rooftop of a Miracle Mile apartment complex. No one (including the girl who invited me) had any real clue what this event set out to do. There were signs that seemingly promoted “Tori’s Beauty Box,” but there were no such boxes or details in sight. Oh well, there was wine and some snacking, so what did I care?

I snapped my obligatory shot sandwiched between Tori and Ian (see embarrassing grin below), told them I was a fan and didn’t think much else of it. Ian suggested I give his wife my info so we could connect about me reviewing “Tori’s Beauty Box” for the website I wrote for at the time. We exchanged emails and I went on my merry way.

The next day, I shot Ian’s wife a note—and to my surprise, she replied immediately: “What’s your phone number? Ian wants to give you a call about something. He’ll explain.” I didn’t realize we needed a full-blown phone call to discuss the contents of “Tori’s Beauty Box,” but alas I obliged. Who was I to turn down Steve Sanders, amirite?

What followed was an hour-long sales pitch—all while I was in the middle of my work day. Ian tried to convince me how easy it would be to sell an everyday necessity like toothpaste, and how I could join his exclusive Team 90210, and have access to him directly at all times. I could recruit my friends and “make money!” I was shook. So… guess there’s no “Tori’s Beauty Box” after all! When I finally got off the call and said “I’d consider it” (syke), I walked out of the conference room at my office, looking like I’d just seen a ghost. My coworkers were shocked by everything that transpired.

With the exception of telling my closest friends about my bizarre experience, I largely put the encounter out of my mind. Needless to say, I never joined Ian’s coveted Team 90210 clique, but I’m sure it’s a swingin’ time. It wasn’t until two years later, after watching Vice‘s detailed documentary on LuLaRoe leggings, that I really got invested in MLM culture. It’s an extremely fascinating world, and this doc is a must-watch.

Fast-forward to fall 2020, and I stumbled upon the TikTok account of college student, Heather Rainbow (yes, that’s her real last name). As the unofficial face of Anti-MLM TikTok, Heather breaks down every MLM’s business model, debunks all of their so-called perks and takes a stand against anyone who tries to counter her well-researched facts. Raised in an evangelical household, Heather regularly explains to her 100k followers why religion and MLMs go hand-in-hand.

@heather.elise.rainbow

Comment the other bossbabe phrases that you see on social media! ##antimlm ##pyramidscheme

♬ original sound – heather elise

Since liberating herself from her mother’s conservative practices, Heather has gone on to educate people so they don’t fall into the same traps as many of her peers growing up. Heather’s wealth of research and knowledge is so astounding that she even caught The Atlantic and Newsweek‘s attention. She was quoted in both, once TikTok announced a policy in December banning content that “depicts or promotes Ponzi, multi-level marketing, or pyramid schemes.”

I reached out to Heather, curious to learn more about how she got this deep into studying MLMs. She dished to skyelyfe on literally everything you need to know about this toxic culture, how to avoid being a victim and the worst MLMs out there. Keep reading for what she has to say!

skyelyfe: For those who don’t know, what’s an MLM, why are they so commonly joined, and what’s the issue with them? 

Heather Rainbow: An MLM, or a multi-level marketing company, is a company which uses a business model involving three key things: A product to sell, an incentive to recruit, and a multi-tiered compensation plan. Every single MLM out there has these basic features. They are so commonly joined because of No. 2: an incentive to recruit.

Every MLM compensation plan factors in some kind of incentive, usually monetary, to add new people into the company. This is often framed as an “opportunity” on social media posts trying to rope people in. Of course, this leads to the question, what’s wrong with that? Well, of course selling for commission is totally fine, but the recruitment aspect is what makes these companies so comparable to pyramid schemes.

A pyramid scheme is a model in which no product is sold (but as shown in legal proceedings with MLMs, the line is more blurred than just the presence of a physical product). Recruitment would be the sole money-making opportunity in this scenario. Unfortunately, MLMs are extremely comparable to this model, making them, in my opinion, unethical.

It is essentially impossible to make a living wage in an MLM without recruiting and adding new people into the company, so the selling aspect is much less important than the recruitment aspect. If an individual makes more money by recruiting than by selling, there is a significant issue in the business model. 

SL: Known as a “scam” by many outsiders, what keeps people invested in these so-called “businesses”—especially if they’re not making money?

HR: A couple key things go into this. First of all, the life portrayed on social media by MLM participants. Monat, Itworks, Arbonne, all these distributors and many more are known for displaying a lavish lifestyle in their posts to make the “opportunity” seem legit. Ultimately people believe what they want to be true, so an old friend sliding in your DMs because they want to help you make money when you’re in a tight spot can seem like an amazing opportunity, when in reality they have ulterior motives.

Another key factor in keeping people invested in MLMs is the sunk cost fallacy. Once you’ve sunk money into something, it’s only human to do absolutely anything to get that money back, especially if you have an upline telling you it’s possible if you only try hard enough. This fallacy essentially creates a bias toward the opportunity, telling you that you have to continue this MLM since you already threw money in. 

SL: Tell us about your educational and professional background. And how did you transition into becoming the face of anti-MLM culture on TikTok?

HR: I’m a junior in college right now, and I’m a pre-med student studying chemistry and math. This of course is totally unrelated to the legal and ethical aspects of MLMs, which are kind of a separate interest of mine that I started researching around the beginning of the pandemic. I’d always sensed something off about these companies, and growing up in a small town in a religious circle, they were extremely prevalent and normalized.

After seeing the companies spike in popularity and use the pandemic to their advantage via social media, I fell into a massive research rabbit hole where I uncovered the truth about this business model and the real ways it’s hurt people. I started making TikToks, and I was shocked by the positive feedback I got and how interested people were in knowing more. And the rest is history! 

SL: Do you feel like you’ve helped anyone through your platform? Or do you feel like none of the people deep in MLM culture are able to see your point of view?

HR: I’m so honored every time I receive a comment or a DM saying I helped someone get out of their MLM. I’ve had people in various MLMs—Monat, Arbonne, Younique, tell me they started rethinking their practices after seeing my videos break down the compensation plans and legal problems. It really is my greatest accomplishment to know I helped someone out there. Of course, there are people who’ll never understand what I’m trying to do, and will always see me as a negative hater, but such is life. I wish them the best, although sometimes it’s hard not to get sassy with them. I try to see them as a victim of the company they’re participating in. 

SL: Moving on from the business aspect, let’s get into the majority of products sold by MLM distributors—or what do they call themselves? Are these products ever high-quality? Or are they actually a scam, too? 

HR: Distributors, consultants, market partners—these are all words they use to describe themselves, although I, of course, think salespeople is the most accurate. Quality of product often comes down to a matter of opinion. Some products I feel very strongly negatively about, like the Kangen water filter that costs thousands of dollars, as well as ketones from Pruvit, and shakes from Beachbody.

Personally, with my knowledge of science and the human body, I think all these things are a massive waste of money. But of course, some people swear by them. I do think some sellers are genuine with their love for the product, and I wouldn’t want to call them all liars. But I do think they’re extremely biased and the placebo effect is extremely real. I know some people that genuinely enjoy Senegence lipstick or Monat hairspray, and I don’t fault them for that, although I wish they would support a more ethical business model with their purchases. 

SL: What are some of the most commonly known MLMs that people in L.A., for example, probably don’t realize are such?

HR: Being from a small town, I see a lot of smaller MLMs that maybe aren’t as pervasive in larger cities. These could include Zyia, Senegence, Paparazzi, Vantel pearls, et cetera. And even larger MLMs like Mary Kay, Pampered Chef and LulaRoe are way more prevalent here, from what I have observed. Everyone knowns someone in an MLM. 

SL: Going off of that, why are MLMs far less common in metropolitan cities like L.A.? Generally, who is your typical MLM salesperson, and why?

HR: There are many answers to this question, and it’s really an interesting one to think about. MLMs are often joined by stay-at-home moms wanting to make an extra income while spending time with their kids. This type of family, with a father working and a mom staying at home with the kids, is extremely common where I grew up. The conservative, “traditional” family is so often the target of these companies, because the “mom guilt” card is incredibly effective. Don’t you want more time with your kids? Don’t you want to provide for your family? These are all sentiments expressed by MLM recruiters. These families definitely exist in cities too, but being from a small town, I know just how important that structure can be to many people here.

Unfortunately, MLM money is thrown at the republican party as well, and the link between republicans, conservative evangelicals and MLMs is undeniable. As I like to say, spreading the gospel is remarkably like spreading the “good news” of an MLM. All these factors contribute to MLMs spreading like wildfire in small-town churches and families. 

SL: When celebrities (like Ian Ziering, for example) join MLMs, how does his “business” experience differ from that of a regular person? 

HR: Ah, celebrities in MLMs. These figures are often touted as success stories by MLMers, and they add credibility to the company’s name. For example, Blac Chyna joined Monat this year, and the distributors screamed it from the rooftops. Jenna Boyd from Atypical is near the top of Rodan + Fields. One of the major contributing factors to being successful in an MLM is a social media following, or better yet, a fan base. This makes it incredibly easy to skyrocket up the ranks, generating huge profit. People will do anything to talk to their favorite celebrity, or even any celebrity, and that includes joining a multi-level marketing company.

These opportunities can be hugely profitable for anyone with a built-in following, as recruiting will be laughably easy. This is unfair and unethical to say the least. People do enjoy Nu Skin products, although personally I see them as incredibly overpriced, and I find it hard to believe these products are the source of Ian Ziering’s good skin.   

SL: Are any MLMs better or worse than others? Or are they all pretty much the same?

HR: Even those within the Anti-MLM community have varying opinions on this. Some MLMs like Tupperware or Pampered Chef have extremely loyal customers who genuinely love the product, and these are seen as less predatory than other such companies. Unfortunately, I still see these companies as unethical due to the recruiting nature of the business model, although I’m not judging anyone for purchasing. Because the three key things that make up an MLM, as I mentioned earlier, include an inherently unethical recruiting model, I do not support or buy from any of them. 

SL: Is there anything else you want to share on this matter? And what else can you tell us about your life outside of TikTok? 

HR: Thank you so much for asking me to share! I’m always happy to talk about the ethics around MLMs and how we as consumers should be aware of what’s going on in the background. My goal is to educate those who vaguely know what MLMs are and maybe sense that something is off, but aren’t armed with the specific information to understand why. Remember that when someone is asking you to join, they are likely going to make money directly from your buy-in purchase.

On my platform, I also like to discuss my experience leaving evangelical Christianity and being homeschooled almost my entire life. I’m thrilled to have grown a social media following from talking about issues that are important to me. Aside from TikTok, I love being a woman in STEM, I love powerlifting and I love being a barista!

Now that we’ve got scammy skincare out of the way, let’s get into the good stuff with a review of Nudestix’s Nudeskin skincare line, HERE!

Music Featured

15 Songs You Never Knew You Needed This Winter

December 18, 2020

Over the last several years (and, of course, presently through stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic), I’ve dug far and wide to find beautiful melodies that extend the radio or New Music Friday. This year is no exception. Enter: the best winter playlist.

As chilly months loom ahead, I figure a peaceful selection of relatively unknown songs can not only ease people through their workdays as background music, but also pique their curiosity when it comes to unfamiliar sounds.

woman with hoop earrings has apple headphones in while she sits casually at a coffee shop, listening to music
(via Unsplash)

Winter is a spiritual, cleansing season of renewal, and I think the soundtrack of the time needs to match that energy. There may be some classics that hit home for you, personally, but hopefully I can introduce you to some future new favorites.

The 15 songs in the playlist below set a special tone for me. Nothing complements the scent-ual experience of your favorite winter candle burning blissfully, quite like the perfect melody playing in background.

Scroll below for the best winter playlist, featuring 15 personal favorites you probably haven’t heard. From LAUREL to Hortlax Cobra, Harri Agnel and more, these tunes will hopefully help you seek solace in these unprecedented times.

Staying true to the mellow musical mood, click HERE for 10 introspective albums to listen to during the cold days ahead.

Beauty Featured

What the Heck Is the Brow Lamination Trend That’s All Over Social Media? An Expert Explains

December 14, 2020

If beauty trends pop up your Instagram Discover page or TikTok FYP, there’s no doubt you’ve stumbled upon videos or images of shiny, slicked-up brows. As the result of a process known as brow lamination, these otherwise unruly brows stay in place, thanks to a noninvasive microblading alternative.

@paigeywillett

Okurrr I’m obsessed, go see my girl Chantelle at Hive Hair in Victoria!! ##browlamination ##fridaythe13th ##imaboss ##driftaway

♬ Supalonely (feat. Gus Dapperton) – BENEE

Brow lamination first drew mainstream attention in 2019, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that it really took off. With consumers on their phones nonstop and more open to going about things the DIY way, more innovative trends are popping up everywhere. Even so, all the visuals in the world still had me confused.

Prior to becoming informed, the only thing I associated with lamination was grade school. Here to teach me a thing or two was Kenna Murray, National Lash Stylist Trainer at Amazing Lash Studio. The company initially known for lash extensions—with L.A. locations in Sherman Oaks and Marina del Rey—recently launched its own line of brow products and services known as Raise Some Brows. Brow lamination services are part of their new launch.

Keep reading for Kenna’s explanation of everything you need to know about brow lamination.

skyelyfe: What is brow lamination, and how does it work?

Kenna Murray: Brow lamination straightens and smoothes fine or thinning brows, giving you a thicker and texturized look you’ll love. The Amazing Lash Studio brow lamination service is a three-step process, starting with a lifting cream that moves the brow hairs into a desired position. Next, we apply a neutralizing cream to hold the brows in their shape. And finally, the last step is applying a keratin hydration to combat any potential dryness.

The overall service normally takes 45 minutes. At the end of the service, licensed stylists provide guests with a brow trim for perfectly shaped brows that can last up to six weeks. Pricing varies.

SL: Is it for everyone? What brow type will see the most success from this service?

KM: Unlike other brow services, lamination is truly for everyone. It’s a versatile service, so you can customize how you’d like your brows to look. Some like the glam of a full-brow-brushed-upwards look, while some opt for the tail of their brows to flow with their natural hair growth.

SL: Once you get your brows laminated, what’s the best way to care for them until your next service?

KM: Typically, brow lamination will last about six weeks. Our brow hair sheds like all other hair; therefore, it depends on how quickly or slowly your brow hair goes through its shedding cycle. In order to get six weeks of beautiful brows, we recommend not getting your brows wet for at least 24 hours after your lamination and avoid applying makeup to the brows or the area around the brows. We also recommend not working out for 24 – 48 hours to avoid sweat coming into contact with your brows. Also, it’s best to avoid products that include retinols or acids for about 72 hours after lamination. After that time period, you can go back to treating them as normal.

In addition to the new brow lamination, waxing and tinting services, Amazing Lash Studio just launched its new Raise Some Brows retail products, which are available at participating locations. After a brow lamination, I recommend using the brand’s Precise Brow Pencil. This two-sided wonder has a pencil on one end to draw in hairs, and a spoolie on the other end to blend and primp your brows. Also, to enhance your overall eye look you can use our Eyebrow Pomade for a flawless and long-lasting look. 

SL: Is this something you can do at home? And if so, is it risky in any way?

KM: Brow lamination isn’t something I recommend doing at home. Laminating your brows requires the application of different types of chemicals that if not done correctly can have a negative implication to your skin and eyebrows. At Amazing Lash Studio locations, stylists are licensed and trained to perform this service for you. Now more than ever, I think we all agree we could use more self-love and self-care.

For more on social media beauty trends, click HERE for the five best and worst affordable skincare brands, according to TikTok!

Beauty Featured

SERUMKIND Just Launched a Concentrated Chaga Mushroom Serum Designed With Your Dry, Winter Skin in Mind

December 2, 2020

While cold, winter air may be soothing to the soul, the same can’t be said for our faces. The next few months will put our skin at peak dryness, and we’ll therefore need specialized skincare products to combat the issue. You’re probably unfamiliar with chaga serum, but I’m here to explain why this may be the answer to your winter woes.

Since launching only a year ago, the brand SERUMKIND has found its place by formulating a handful of single-care serum solutions with rare ingredients found all over the world. Their latest development? A Chaga Charging Drop, just in time for winter.

I was invited to test this highly concentrated chaga serum during its virtual launch, so keep reading for everything you need to know!

1. Chaga Is a Nutrient-Dense Mushroom Found in Siberia

Siberian Chaga Mushrooms are superfoods that contain more nutrients than any other mushroom. They can survive temperatures of under 45 degrees, and people have used them for centuries to boost immunity. When it comes to skincare, the mushrooms contain beta-glucans that help improve the skin’s elasticity and enhance epidermal hydration. As you can see below, these are no average mushrooms.

2. The Chaga Charging Drop Contains 500,000ppm of Chaga Mushroom

Also known as Inonotus Obliquus Extract, the contents of this chaga serum recharges, nourishes and hydrates the skin. It’s a highly concentrated formula, so a little will go a long way in this $55 glass tube. But as celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg pointed out during the launch, the consistency doesn’t get sticky despite how it may appear in its packaging. Though due to its thick formula, Jamie suggests using it as an overnight serum to wake up looking especially hydrated.

serum skincare drips from woman's hands
(Photo courtesy of SERUMKIND)

3. The Serum Can Be Combined With Other Chaga Products for Greater Effect

To coincide with the launch of the Chaga Charging Drop, SERUMKIND also released its first beauty supplement: Chaga Charging Powder ($37). The formula—which comes in a box of 25 powder sticks—can be consumed in the form of a tea or yogurt topping, or can be used by combining the Chaga Charging Drop in the following ways:

Chaga Wash-Off Mask: For a hydrating mask, mix equal parts Chaga Charging Powder with our Chaga Charging Drop and apply all over face as a mask.

Chaga Sugar Scrub: Exfoliate away dead skin cells by combining one packet of Chaga Charging Powder with one tablespoon of brown sugar and one dropper of Chaga Charging Drop.

SERUMKIND just launched its highly concentrated Chaga Charging Drop, a Siberian chaga mushroom serum made to hydrate dry, winter skin. Here's everything you need to know!
(Photo courtesy of SERUMKIND)

For additional new skincare launches we stand by, click HERE for a full review of NUDESTIX’s NUDESKIN line.

Beauty Featured

Dry Brushing Isn’t Just for the Body—An Expert Explains Why You Should Do It to Your Face

November 17, 2020

Dry brushing your face may sound like a foreign concept—it did to me until recently.

Last week, I received a mailer from Daily Concepts, which included their brand new Daily Facial Dry Brush ($20). At first glance, I thought it was another body brush, but after looking closer I realized I wasn’t previously familiar with a product like this.

(Instagram via @dailyconcepts)

By now, wellness gurus know that dry brushing the body helps exfoliate dead cells from the skin surface and enhances blood flow. The drier the brush and skin, the more friction is increased to better exfoliate. As for dry brushing the face? Well, I imagine it has similar benefits.

Eager to learn more, I reached out to Daily Concepts’ founder, Emilio Smeke. Below, the skincare expert explains the benefits of dry brushing your face, and how to do it effectively.

skyelyfe: What, exactly, is a dry brush for the face?

Emilio Smeke: It’s a soft divide that will drain the lymphatic system starting in all the pathways we have in our face. It also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles by exfoliating dead skin cells and stimulating circulation.

(Instagram via @threetideswellness)

SL: How does a dry face brush differ from a dry body brush?

ES: They’re similar in their performance, yet really different in the level of abrasiveness of its components, making the facial a delicate brush that won’t be harsh on your skin.

SL: Is a dry face brush for everyone?

ES: If you have any breakouts or irritated, broken or sunburned skin, then this definitely should not be used. But in general, this is designed for all skin types.

(Instagram via @dailyconcepts)

SL: How do you properly use one?

ES: We’ve created a step-by-step process:

Step 1: Stroke along your lymphatic pathways

Step 2: Stroke downward along jawline

Step 3: Brush upwards along your cheeks

Step 4: Stroke around your eyes

Step 5: Brush forehead/nose downward

Step 6: Brush cheeks downward

Step 7: Brush neck downward

How to clean: Sprinkle cornstarch or clay powder and massage gently into bristles

If you’re looking for info on other new skincare products, HERE‘s my review of Nudestix’s skincare line, Nudeskin.

Lifestyle Featured

Expert Shares the 6 Things You Must Get Rid of When Decluttering

October 6, 2020

Some people stick to traditional spring cleaning, but I’m personally a huge proponent of doing it during autumn. There are always more things to get rid of when decluttering towards the end of the year than during Q2.

So yes, currently, as temps drop and leaves fall, I’m at peace going through endless drawers and closets filled with what I once thought I couldn’t part with. It’s the most freeing feeling, and I’m thisclose to being where I want to be with my environmental energy.

Whether during spring, fall or any season at all, getting rid of lingering belongings is always a good idea. That’s why I reached out to Decluttering for Dummies author, Jane Stoller. While doing this is important, like any other big project, it’s a daunting, time-consuming task.

“We’re busy—when we come home, we’re too tired or overwhelmed to even think about decluttering,” Jane tells skyelyfe. “I hope to change that mindset gradually, and not only show that decluttering is fun but it can be incorporated into your daily routine naturally. Though, nowadays we’re all working from home and many have made time to declutter!” 

Kicking off a round up of decluttering is much like starting anything else.

“Ease into it the same way you would when starting a new exercise routine,” Jane explains. “Schedule daily or weekly decluttering into your calendar to hold yourself accountable and beat the overwhelming feelings. The goal is that decluttering will happen naturally once you make this process a habit.” 

Keep reading for Jane’s list of six things to get rid of when decluttering.

(via Unsplash)

1. Anything That Steals Your Energy

This is the time to get real. Look at each space in your home and workspaces and dig deep. They may look okay on the surface, but I want you to really acknowledge where disasters lie. Hidden drawers, piled magazines from three years ago, or antique furniture you can’t get rid of, haven’t used for years, but definitely steals your energy each time you have to dust its intricate details. Get real with yourself. Allow the energy you feel when you enter rooms and go towards each item to help you. 

2. Most of What’s Packed Away in Closets or Other Storage Spaces

Anything taking up space is therefore taking up precious real estate. There are some common items that many of us store at home and they never see the light of day, or, we even have a separate off-site storage unit (and we shouldn’t be paying for it).  

Furniture 

Furniture should be used, not stored. If you don’t use it, why are you keeping it?

Electronics 

By the time you find them, they’re either too old, are no longer relevant, or have been ruined by dust or the elements. Technology moves fast, so don’t store electronics. 

Old Travel Bags

Not a week goes by that I don’t see an ad for the latest new travel bag or suitcase that’s lighter, more functional, has wireless charging, you name it! Holding onto old suitcases and travel bags is unnecessary. Keep your travel items up-to-date if you travel frequently—and if you don’t travel, then why do you have these in the first place? Plus, airlines are getting stricter with weight and sizes, so traveling with your old huge and heavy suitcases probably isn’t the best idea.

Photos 

It always bothers me when photos are stored in attics because no one can ever see them! Photos are meant to be viewed, especially if you took the time to print them. They should be taken care of, not stuffed in a box where they’re likely getting ruined. 

Packing Material and Empty Boxes 

Get rid of these ASAP.

3. Photos of Your Ex (and Their Items)

This is definitely in the past! Memories and items, especially from past loved ones, are precious, and I completely respect that and want you to keep whatever brings you the most happiness. The key is to be selective in what you keep. Going through your sentimental items should be a joy, and the more selective you are about how much you keep, the better the process will be. 

4. Anything That Can’t Be Used

While we know that trash is the most obvious clutter, everyone’s definition of “trash” can also be different. As the saying goes, “One’s man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” But a rule of thumb is anything broken or expired that cannot be donated should be quickly decluttered. 

5. Paper 

If it’s a document you need, scan it and upload it to the Cloud or any online drive of your own preference. Recycle all of your loose papers and shift to a digital mindset going forward.

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Ever thought about going paperless but were't sure where to start? Well, I have a F-R-E-E training for you coming this Sunday, August 23rd at 4pm ET! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In this 1-hour training I am going to share my TOP 8 SECRETS for going and staying paperless! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Knowing the ‘paperless secrets’ helped…⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Jeri clear over 12 feet of shelving by transferring her information to one digital app 📲⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Teri declutter her physical space, and find time to do more of what she loves, which is sewing 🤗⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Linda instantly pull up medical information on her phone, which was helpful when her pet had a medical emergency 🐕⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And Lis get ready for tax season 4 months EARLY 🎉⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ … Think of what these will do for YOU! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What I teach in this training are the foundational principles that you MUST know to have paperless success. (And they’re probably NOT what you think they are).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’d love to have you join me LIVE on ➡️ Sunday, August 23rd at 4 pm ET.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Learn my secrets and get ready to go paperless by registering for this FREE TRAINING by clicking the link in my bio! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ps- What's your biggest challenge with simplifying and going paperless? Tell us below and then I can talk about it LIVE on Sunday!

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6. Multiples

Rethink buying in bulk in the first place. On the same theme of determining how much you should keep, I encourage you to change your mindset and keep only one of something where you have many, and make it count. Hanging onto multiples or bulk-saving will not make your items more special.

Especially bathroom products! I think being prepared for anything is important, from earthquakes to having spare toothpaste so you don’t have to run to the store at midnight. However, I don’t agree with storing multiples of all your bathroom products and certainly not more than one extra of each. If you’re at Costco and you see your exact moisturizer on sale in a set of 20, think twice. Will they expire before you’re even ready to use them? Will you switch moisturizers next month? Will your skin type change? Are you willing to give up your precious real estate in the bathroom for these to sit for possibly years?

Now that you know what things to get rid of when decluttering, click HERE for expert tips on how to take the best #OOTD selfies.

Beauty Featured

The 5 Best and Worst Affordable Skincare Brands, According to TikTok

September 24, 2020

TikTok is a treasure trove of beauty tutorials, reviews, tips and tricks. I downloaded the app thinking I had a good hold on makeup and skincare, only to realize my sorely limited knowledge. Little did I know I’d quickly uncover the best and worst affordable skincare, which is frequently covered on the stimulating platform.

TikTok brings us the likes of resident skincare guru Hyram, who dominates the app. Other influential aficionados in the space include JC Dombrowski, Dr. Shah (@dermdoctor) Charlotte Palermino (@charlotteparler) and Young Yuh (@yayayayoung). I’ve impressively learned more about skincare during my short time on the platform than during the course of my life.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Hyram (@skincarebyhyram) on

These experts’ massive followings swear by their actions: micellar water is always a yes, whereas makeup wipes are always a no. But to get into it a little deeper, I’ve rounded up a list of what the TikTok experts generally classify as the best and worst affordable skincare brands on the market.

Keep reading to find out!

(via Unsplash)

5 Best:

CeraVe: Leading the pack of best and worst affordable skincare brands is CeraVe. A drugstore staple, the brand is known for its generous supply and effective ingredients. Like many, I quickly brushed their products to the side, due to lackluster packaging. But if the experts sway my desire to experiment, I’ll look into fan favorites, the Hydrating Cleanser and Moisturising Cream. The brand’s products are frequently sold out, and have been proven to work wonders on the skin. CeraVe is truly the all-star in the TikTok skincare space.

@skincarebyhyram

bruh the GLOW 🤩 ##duet with @uglyboimiguel ##skincarebyhyram ##glowup

♬ Spongebob – DrumCorpsKat

First Aid Beauty: This brand is heralded by the experts as a go-to for sensitive skin. But additionally, it’s touted for its antioxidant-rich sunscreen, which blends seamlessly. Hence its name, the clean beauty brand is also known for targeting specific skincare woes, including Keratosis pilaris (KP), eczema and acne.

@mellluuuu

This stuff is amazing!!!! HIGHLY recommend!!! 😍😭 @skincarebyhyram ##skincarebyhyram ##firstaidbeauty ##niacinamide ##fyp ##skincare ##dermatology ##skin

♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 夕依

La Roche-Posay: With such a fancy name and sleek packaging to boot, I’m always shocked to see La Roche-Posay posted up in CVS. The French skincare brand boasts an array of effective and affordable products geared toward sensitive skin. Derms swear by this brand, and its popularity is more evident than ever on TikTok.

@selenatepepa1

Obsessed✨ What should I try next?? ##larocheposay laroche ##skincare ##target ##skincareroutine ##oilyskintips ##fyp

♬ Breathe – What’s That’s Supposed To Be About Baby – Years & Years

The Ordinary: I’ve always abided by the saying, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” And in the case of The Ordinary, it may just defy the odds. It’s one of the most remarkably priced brands at Sephora, chock-full of effective ingredients and a wide array of products for varying skin types. To top it all off, its packaging, albeit simple, is sleek and professional. The Ordinary—most renown on TikTok for its AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solutionkeeps its products focused on prime active ingredients (like niacinamide and zinc, for example) and ditches the fancy frills.

@yayayayoung

A quick AHA+BHA “how to” with my tips! ##skincare ##beauty ##theordinary ##ahabha ##exfoliation ##fyp ##foryoupage

♬ original sound – yayayayoung

The Inkey List: Taking cues from The Ordinary, brand new The Inkey List is another ridiculously affordable skincare brand at Sephora. Known to include your standard buzzy ingredients (hyaluronic acid, retinol and collagen, to name a few), they’ve also released innovative formulas previously unknown to the common consumer: Polyglutamic Acid, Multi-Biotic Moisturizer and Heptapeptide Serum.

@whatsonvisface

Hyram inspired me! This routine by @theinkeylist is only $42. Check out their recipe builder to make your own! ##learnontiktok ##tiktokpartner ##ad

♬ original sound – whatsonvisface

5 Worst:

St. Ives: If you live by the “any press is good press” motto, St. Ives can thank TikTok for making it one of the most talked-about skincare brands on the app (even if it happens to be a best and worst affordable skincare list). St. Ives is the butt of every joke in these 15-second videos, but nevertheless, it has gained relevancy. Roasted for its ridiculously high concentration of fragrance, its harmful scrubs (which have been proven to cause tears in the skin), and the brand’s recommendation to exfoliate every single day, using St. Ives in your skincare routine is considered the ultimate no-no by the experts.

@akoniphoenix

Just don’t do it! 😅 @dermdoctor & @skincarebyhyram DON’T recommend! ##stives ##skincare ##poc

♬ FEEL THE GROOVE – Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by St. Ives (@stivesskin) on

Clean & Clear: While I’ve never been a Clean & Clear user, it’s definitely synonymous with my childhood and acne commercials I saw every day as a kid. Having been around for so long, you’d think the company would have their formulas down by now—but according to the skincare experts, such is not the case. Clean & Clear’s products contain heavy concentrations of fragrance and other harmful ingredients for the skin, including alcohol and menthol. Also, in cases where beneficial ingredients are included, they’re often counteracted with other ingredients that make them either harmful or obsolete.

@skincare.noob

they won’t be missed🤢🤢 ##skincare ##badskincare ##cleanandclear##neutrogena ##teatree ##foryou ##foryoupage ##fyp ##theordinary ##hyramapproved ##cerave

♬ original sound – caleb

Bioré: Who doesn’t love a good peel-off mask or nose strip? Watching gunk seep out of your skin is oddly satisfying. It isn’t, however, actually doing anything for you. While yes, you may see a temporary removal of blackheads from a Bioré nose strip, these strips do absolutely nothing to treat or reduce blackheads longterm. Pore strips aside, many of the brand’s formulas are advertised as fitting “for all skin types,” when, in fact, they’ve been proven to cause redness, breakouts and excess oil production when used on dry or sensitive skin.

@skincarebyhyram

Great routine! 🤩 Use ##skincarebyhyram so I can react to yours 🥰 ##duet with @sammcgraww

♬ original sound – Sam McGraw

Thayer’s: Thayer’s is up there with St. Ives in the TikTok skincare space. Just about every expert swears against it, insisting that tannins-infused witch hazel is unacceptable on the face, no matter your skin type. Thayer’s is known for its array of witch hazel products, which have gained popularity based on their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But their high concentration of alcohol only causes the skin to produce more oil and trigger more breakouts. Steer clear at all costs!

@careclarkbsn

##dermatology ##dermatologynurse ##witchhazeltoner ##myskincaresecret ##myskincaretip ##productreview ##budgetskincare ##ulta ##witchhazel

♬ euphoria s1e1 OST – devyn

Mario Bedescu: When I think of this brand, Urban Outfitters immediately comes to mind. Trendy and affordable, it never dawned on me that experts deem Mario Bedescu one of the most hated-upon skincare brands. In fact, the company settled a class action lawsuit in 2013 for failing to disclose the inclusion of strong steroids in at least two of their products. Generally speaking, the brand’s ingredients lists are misleading and cheaply made.

@skincarebyhyram

He will be missed 😔🙏 ##duet with @no_no_care_ ##skincarebyhyram

♬ Cyber Sex – Doja Cat

 

 

For more skincare content, HERE are some of the newest CBD-infused beauty products we recommend trying!

Angelenos Featured

4 TikTokers to Follow If You Want a Glimpse Into Daily Life in L.A.

August 11, 2020

We’ve grown incredibly attached to TikTok during quarantine. Specifically, we’ve developed a close bond with some Los Angeles TikTokers.

Their content covers everything we love and loathe about the city we call home. From their personal adventures to the most scene-y L.A. destinations to the inside scoop on the people who live here, these local TikTokers do not hold back.

So, if you’ve ever wanted a real glimpse into L.A. life, the three TikTokers below are who you need to follow.

Girl getting her photo taken at a restaurant
via Unsplash

1. @itsmetinx

Tinx is the whole reason we even got the idea for this roundup, so we have to give a huge shoutout to her. As the self-proclaimed “oldest girl on TikTok” who lives in Los Angeles, she may be our favorite of all the TikTokers in our town. We love watching her daily trips to Erewhon and fancy dinners at the trendiest L.A. hotspots—all through her microvlogs, which we absolutely need more of. Tinx also dishes on the latest celebrity gossip in a way that’s refreshingly insightful. So follow her ASAP, because she’s about as real as it gets in L.A. (for better or worse!).

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masking for a friend

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2. @blazedandglazed

Macy Eleni is here to be “your digital hype woman” through her L.A. TikToks. Though her encouraging words of wisdom aren’t specific to Angelenos, she offers other content that is. Other than pulling you out of a slump with her positivity, she also shares the best thrift store stores, finds, and more in the L.A. area. If you’re into thrifting at all, she’s the girl to follow. Your next vintage shopping experience will be the best one yet after you follow her tips.

3. @taliatalksalot

This is arguably one of the most accurate @’s out there. Talia talks a lot, it’s true, but it’s so worth it. She isn’t afraid to share her unbiased opinions about the most popular L.A. restaurants and roast some iconic L.A. Instagram spots. You don’t really know anything about The City of Angels until you hear Talia’s take on it. Her accuracy about the city’s locations (*cough* The Valley) will give you insight you didn’t know you needed. L.A. isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but Talia could tell you that.

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Abroad has yet to change me

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4. @misohungry

Whether you’re a self-proclaimed L.A. foodie or you just really like drooling over well-shot food videos, this is the account you need to follow. These TikToks will take your tastebuds (and eyes) on a digital journey everywhere from Echo Park (and all of the Eastside), to Koreatown, The Valley and even Long Beach and more. Misohungry provides the inside scoop on the best foodie deals, secret date spot ideas and truly the best visuals we’ve never seen when it comes to cuisine. She also doesn’t hold back when it comes to what she’s willing to try. One day it’s vegan, the next day it’s Korean BBQ. You just never know what you’ll get when you follow!

These aren’t the only TikTokers we’re obsessed with. Need some more to follow? We recommended checking out THESE TikTokers over 25 who are totally nailing the app!

Music Featured

Skyelyfe’s Quarantine Soundtrack, Featuring All New Songs Since Lockdown

July 7, 2020

Since lockdown, there’s clearly been much more spare time to dig through new music press releases and Spotify playlists. So, naturally, I’ve been adding and subtracting to my “April 2020” ever since.

As of today, I decided to officially change the name to “Quarantine Turn-Up” and post this overdue list of songs. This has literally been the soundtrack to everything I’ve done in the last four months.

If this song is on the list, that means it made it through all the ups and downs leading to this publish date. I will continue to update the list as the months of quarantine continue, so feel free to continue checking back for new tunes.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CB-hqDGoY25/

For now, here are almost 30 brand new songs that make up the soundtrack to my quarantine experience. From The Magician and Aluna, to Kaskade and even some Migos and Tyga, scroll below for your listening pleasure.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3fBzMt2QAo9PjVgLErqJWq?si=mo1o3qyvQgic-zqSlsvp6A

 

Lifestyle Featured

Relationship Expert Explains the Longterm Effects of Quarantining With Your Significant Other

July 7, 2020

Quarantine and social distancing has done a number on every relationship (romantic or otherwise)—but more than ever, couples who just started dating, or who didn’t necessarily plan on living together just yet have been put to the test.

When lockdown demands first came into play, not only were people quick to cohabitate unexpectedly, but even longtime couples were given their own set of hurdles. Adapting to being with someone literally 24/7 is challenging for anyone, especially depending on the demands of work, allotted living space and individual lifestyle.

More than three months into social distancing and people are reflecting on where their relationship stands. For better or worse, is how you dealt with your partner amid quarantine an indicator of where you stand longterm? We reached out to Dr. Terri Orbuch (aka The Love Doctor®), a professor at Oakland University in Michigan, who explains what the outcome of your quarantine means for your relationship. Keep reading for what she had to say.

(via Unsplash)


skyelyfe: What kind of relationships thrive in quarantine conditions with their partner?
 

Terri Orbuch: There are relationships that were already distressed or not doing well before quarantine. When these distressed relationships are stressed from things outside the relationship—like the coronavirus pandemic, this stress can exacerbate the issues and problems. Also, when distressed relationships are stressed, the stress makes it more difficult to connect with each other, less likely to see the positives in each other and the relationship, and less likely have empathy and understanding for the other partner. However, people who were in relationships that weren’t already distressed—those relationships can survive and even thrive if they do some simple strategies.

SL: What are keys to making these situations work effectively?

TO: A) Share your anxieties, concerns and fears with each other. Whether you’re living together or not, you can share your concerns with each other, because otherwise, the anxieties fester inside of you, and then work on your physical health. Don’t talk about the fears nonstop 24/7, but instead set a specific time to share.

B) Accept that you and your partner may have different reactions to the stress and quarantine. One of you may watch the news all the time, the other partner may not. These differences in how you handle or react to the situation don’t mean that your relationship is in trouble or should end. These differences are common to all romantic relationships.

C) Find fun activities to do together. These are very challenging times, but couples who do fun things together are more likely to thrive. Take a virtual cooking class online together, start a puzzle together, play board games, do an exercise class together online. Or if you’re not living together, make regular virtual dates where you do something you both enjoy together (e.g., take a virtual tour of the local zoo, play Pictionary, watch a movie “together” on Netflix.

D) Give each other space. It’s important in any romantic relationship that each of you have time, space and privacy from one another, particularly now. Don’t say “I need space” because it sends confusing signals. Instead: “I need some time to do X this afternoon”. Enjoy your space and don’t feel guilty.

(via Unsplash)

SL: What does it mean if you and someone you truly love aren’t cohabitating effectively amid quarantine? 


TO: It’s challenging to live with your partner 24/7 amidst quarantine. Most couples have never spent this much time together, just the two of you, with no other distractions or people. This is a very different time. It takes great patience, understanding, empathy and understanding that relationship challenges are inevitable, no matter how much you truly love each other! Remember to share, accept, find fun activities to do together, and give each other space.

SL: What are some ways to take a break from your partner amid quarantine if you’re cohabitating? 

TO: You can walk outside separately. You can read a book in your room or on a couch. You can listen to a podcast, watch a movie, exercise, do an online course, or FaceTime with your friend—separately. It’s okay to take a break from each other, even if you’re living [in a small space].

Lifestyle Featured

The 5 Best TikTok Practices for Growing Your Business or Personal Brand

June 9, 2020

TikTok is easily the only platform where you can have zero followers, post once and still get massive amounts of attention.

This makes it a treasure trove of possibilities when it comes to growing your business or building your personal brand.

Scroll below for the best tips on how to harness this mighty app’s power, as told by marketing platform Later’s resident TikTok expert Taylor Loren.

(via Unsplash)

1. Leverage Their User Base

TikTok now has over 800 million active users. That’s right on par with Instagram’s active user base which is just under 1 billion. It’s important to note that TikTok prioritizes entertainment and authenticity over commerce—a stark distinction from Instagram. Users are looking for creators who are passionate, inspired and funny. Participating in things like TikTok challengers are fun yet incredibly strategic ways to creatively increase brand awareness. It’ll help boost your account, get more users to check out your content and increase your potential of landing on many users’ “For You” pages.

2. Know What Sets the App Apart

Another major distinction between TikTok and Instagram is that it’s more about the content of the video rather than how pretty it looks. When users first open the app, they’re immediately taken to their “For You” page, an area with content specifically tailored to their interests based on previously watched and liked videos. Most of the content featured here is actually from people they don’t already follow, making it a valuable tool when it comes to building brand awareness. It’s super critical to make this distinction as it determines what kind of content you should focus on pushing out. There’s less pressure in terms of aesthetic, but unfiltered videos should be kept short, sweet and have a clever angle. 

3. Create Fun, Short and Eye-Catching Content

TikTok is overflowing with effects and editing features that are incredibly easy to use. Never underestimate the value of eye-catching text as it helps users understand what you’re doing, who you are and why they shouldn’t scroll past your video. Another essential tip is avoiding the right side and bottom of the screen when adding text since they’re covered by the share icon and caption. These may seem like simple things, but those are sometimes the most overlooked. Initiating TikTok duets are also a great way to engage with other popular accounts and the perfect way to step out of your comfort zone.

4. Switch to a FREE TikTok Pro Account

If you haven’t already, definitely consider upgrading to a TikTok Pro account. This will give you access to analytics tools that’ll help you gain a better understanding of how your content performs. Use these tools to assess what content you should focus on, find your audience and ask yourself what trends are relatable to your brand. And as we noted, it’s completely free!

5. Know How the Algorithm Works

Trust us when we tell you the discover page is your new BFF. It’s majorly helpful in uncovering the latest trends and hashtags that are used for optimal audience-targeting, aka getting on more users’ “For You” pages. Because your main goal is to be featured on as many as possible, it’s important to contribute the kind of content that other users are interacting with most.

Hone in on your niche from there and you’ll eventually find an audience that likes and shares the same types of videos as you. Using specific trending sounds, songs, effects or combos of these also aid you in gaining TikTok success. The platform truly rewards users who are making the most of their features and actively engaging on the platform, so it’s also an excellent idea to post frequently.

Angelenos Featured

5 Ways to Show Support for L.A.’s Black Community If You Don’t Feel Comfortable Protesting

June 3, 2020

We’re living in unprecedented times of uncertainty, but more importantly, times of beautiful and powerful change

Although we at skyelyfe never condone violence, we see this as a time for the world to truly usher in greater levels of awareness, social justice, peace and harmony on this earth. It’s difficult to see the light when it feels like darkness is closely around us, but we’re here to tell you to keep the faith. Darker energies what’s been hidden in the shadows are now being brought to the surface for healing as the planet is flooded with light. Transformation is uncomfortable and it’s easy to get pulled into pessimism, but now it’s more important than ever to remember where we’re going. 

The black community of Los Angeles is facing major challenges, but if you don’t feel comfortable protesting, there are still ways for you to champion this cause. Scroll through below for a few fun and easy ways to provide assistance.

(via Unsplash)

Participate in Los Angeles Brand Valfré‘s NAACP Fundraiser

Rebellious and fiery L.A.-based clothing and accessory brand Valfré is standing in solidarity with the black community by donating 100% of the proceeds from orders placed within the next 24 hours to NAACP Legal Defense. This civil rights organization provides assistance to people of color that can’t otherwise afford legal counsel. Valfré has plenty of adorable items to choose from and you’ll be backing movements for change and social justice in the process.

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The Madeline Backpacks ❤️🖤💛 #valfre

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Donate to the People’s City Council Freedom Fund

The People’s City Council has a top priority of voicing the concerns of the people of L.A. They’ll aid with bail fines, medical fees, and legal assistance for protestors and community medics during this time through a GoFundMe that you can contribute to HERE. Excitingly enough, the fund has reached almost two million dollars! Help them further reach their goal by donating and sharing on social media.

Donate to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles

Show your support for the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter, who has dedicated themselves to organizing non-violent protests and compiling demands to help the black community, which has been severely impacted by coronavirus. Their vision, drive and passion for building a just and free society is something we deeply resonate with and admire. Donate to their chapter and cause HERE.

Order Food from L.A. Businesses Supporting Black Causes

Provide even more support for NAACP, Black Lives Matter and the ACLU by hitting some of your favorite local food joints. Many restaurants are giving a portion of their current proceeds (others donating 100 percent of them) to these causes, making it easier than ever for you to indirectly be of service to these organizations. To name a few, Highland Park’s Block Party, vegan Cuban pop-up Señoreata and Offshore Tea will dynamically contribute to these valiant causes.

Order From and Support Black-Owned Businesses Directly

Indirect support is always great, but make even more of an impact by ordering from black-owned businesses directly. Shoutout to incredible food writer Kat Hong for putting together and sharing a Google spreadsheet of restaurants owned by people of color in L.A. The list is broken down by area, Instagram, website and phone number, and can be shared on all social platforms. Grab some takeout from these places, be sure to tip generously and share the spreadsheet with friends and fam!

Lifestyle Featured

Hello Sunshine’s Zoe Fairbourn Shares 5 Ways to Manifest Your Dream Career

May 5, 2020

Creating and manifesting your ideal career takes practice, perseverance and, most importantly, dedication.

Many of us feel restless and want to take concrete steps toward our dreams, but the current health situation requires us to have much more patience than usual. Luckily, in the meantime, The XX Project’s Thriving During Crisis series has been helping us cope by providing weekly webinars that are both engaging and valuable.

This week’s speaker, Zoe Fairbourn, head of partnerships for Hello Sunshine (founded by Reese Witherspoon), spoke about what you can do to create your ideal position and future, even in uncertain times. Scroll below for her tips.

(via Unsplash)

Look For a Niche

One of the most important things you can do for your professional growth is ask where you can truly make an impact. Finding the right position for you can be tough, but start by asking yourself what strong qualities you posses and how you can make a difference with them. Once you narrow that down, it will guide you in calibrating to the right field and niche for those skills.

Ask For What You Want

This piece of advice applies if you’re currently looking for work or unhappy in your current job and seeking a greater challenge. Asking for what you want seems like such a simple task, but many people forget that it’s most often what will illuminate the path forward for you. Reaching out to your network, cold emailing or asking for advice on LinkedIn can get you much further than you ever imagined.

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Find joy in the little things today. 🔑

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Know What You Don’t Want

The key to discovering your dream career comes from knowing what you don’t want to manifest most of all. It may seem counterproductive, but this actually opens the door to more inspiration on what you are looking to build. What don’t you like about your current team, boss or position? Knowing your own personal dealbreakers can cause major light bulb moments on where you’re looking to put your energy, passion and efforts.

Find an Industry, Role or Company You’re Passionate About

If you’ve been laid off or are using this time to contemplate a completely new direction in your career, start by writing down your personal passions. This is a perfect jumping-off point to then research industries, roles or companies you’d love to be a part of, using your skillset to pursue a new avenue.

You Can Learn Something From Everyone on the Job

Challenging coworkers and bosses can test your patience like no other, but remember that there’s something to be learned from everyone on the job. Your most valuable position isn’t always your dream one, but the one with more difficult energy surrounding it. Learning to deal with unpleasant people and situations is an important lesson to overcome before stepping into your dream career. Keep the perspective by remembering that you’re only growing better, stronger and sharper from these experiences.

Lifestyle Featured

L.A. Job Recruiters Share 5 Ways to Turn Your Layoff Into Your Next Major Career Move

April 14, 2020

We’ve discussed the of impact of coronavirus on mental, spiritual and physical health, but what should you do if your work is also in jeopardy or you’ve already lost your job?

Getting laid-off can be a traumatizing experience on its own, but now it’s even more challenging with the added layer of market uncertainty that comes with a pandemic. Luckily, the Los Angeles career experts at Eleven Recruiting held a webinar last week offering advice to those whose careers have been halted by coronavirus.

Scroll below for their top five tips to turning your job casualty into your next major career move.

1. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Although this may seem like basic, even elementary advice at this point, it’s still extremely important. Keeping your resume up-to-date and revamping your LinkedIn may just be what lands you the job. If you have certain special skills you’d like to highlight on your profile, see if a few friends are willing to endorse you for them. It can make a world of a difference.

2. Add Highlights to Your Resume

We know by now that hiring managers are looking at thousands of resumes per day, each for only about 10 seconds. Adding a “Highlights” section is a considerable way to set yourself apart from the crowd. This can include everything from your strongest skills (campaign building, influencer marketing, etc.) to a summarized version of any meaningful and relevant career accomplishments.

3. Find Out What Skills Are in Demand

Because we now have more downtime than ever before, make use of it by researching what skills and career experience are in high-demand right now. Making yourself more marketable is the key to landing an interview for any position. A few skills Eleven Recruiting mentioned as a hot commodity are writing, editing, graphic design and web development.

4. Utilize LinkedIn’s Certification Program

In case you didn’t know, LinkedIn also offers one-month free trial access to their certification and higher education programs. Now’s an excellent time to take advantage of these opportunities to further your training in areas including management and software development. There’s also the option to learn Photoshop, WordPress and more.

5. Create an Organized Spreadsheet With Leads and Application Statuses

This may not seem like the most important aspect to focus on, but staying organized and proactive during the job search is absolutely crucial. How many times have you lost track of the applications you’ve sent out or if you’ve already applied to a position? Keeping a spreadsheet will help keep you on track, while feeling accomplished for all the energy you’ve invested in your overall career advancement.

Lifestyle Featured

My Friend Set Me Up on a Blind FaceTime Date—Here’s What Happened

April 8, 2020

Remember when swiping to find your soulmate was a foreign concept? Welp! That’s way old news.

Enter: dating in the era of social distancing. As the coronavirus has everyone quarantined, we’re becoming much more resourceful with how we “get acquainted” with people. It’s like we’re all adults living (hopefully only temporarily) as teens, refusing to communicate by any means other than video chat—dating included.

Woman on FaceTime with string lights surrounding phone
(via Unsplash)

I had my debut bout with the 2020 era of digital dating on the first official weeknight of isolation. A happily married friend of mine has a flowing pool of singles she knows through a variety of avenues. She’s set me up on dates with her friends before—ones in which she eyed as potential matches. This time, however, she said from the get-go this wasn’t someone she necessarily saw me running off into the sunset with. More time on her hands means more energy to arrange things like this apparently, and she thought it would be fun to set some of her friends up on very random FaceTime dates.

After a little bit of thought, I agreed to it. Honestly, what do I have to lose? There aren’t really any ways to meet new people at this very moment, and, for lack of a better word: YOLO. Next thing I knew, my friend sent me *Evan’s phone number, along with a reminder to dress accordingly” and “have fun with it!” I chuckled. Thanks, coach!

Evan’s number had a 503 area code, which was perfect because I went to school at the University of Oregon, so if all else failed, I could ask about… living in Oregon? Boring. But anyway, I made it through my typical WFH office day, but had angst all throughout. I texted a couple girlfriends about my jitters, while nervously getting ready (trying to look nice, but not too nice). Time was ticking. Cue the stress.

On top of that, I did Whole 30 all of March, so there’d be no White Claw to help ease tensions. When 7:29 approached on my phone, I totally felt like I was calling a potential employer for a job interview. I’ve gotta be exactly on time, I thought.

The scariest part of this experience is those three insanely long seconds where it says “Connecting…”—you have so many thoughts running through your head. What will he look like? How should I hold the phone? Should my hair be in front of my ears or behind? Can he see my stray greys through the screen? It’s also important to note that I despise video chats and avoid them at all costs. With the exception of an occasional mandatory work Zoom, you’ll rarely spot me sitting in on these now-common gatherings.

At long last, our faces both made their way to the screen. I was greeted with a jolly, “Hi!” in that “I-know-this-is-awkward-but-here-we-are” tone. While yes, indeed awkward, Evan seemed gentlemanly and could hold a conversation. We shared some laughs, but as FaceTime would have it, sometimes responses and reactions are delayed or have weird echoes. Additional awkwardness.

girl poses with white phone at home with pomeranian dog
(via Pexels)

There’s really only so much you can do on these first-time FaceTime dates. Especially sober. And you really only get a pixelated, headshot-version of the person you’re talking to. Our convo didn’t hit any lulls, but after a while, we both wanted to get to the rest of our evenings. Before I knew it, an hour had gone by. I was shocked! We ended with a lighthearted mutual agreement to hop in the kitchen and whip up a home-cooked meal—one we each sent to each other via text when finished.

I was so relieved when the call was over. Not because of anything he did, but because these things are scary and uncomfortable. Body language is 55% of communication, so there was a lot left undetermined without it. That said, the discomfort was just what I needed. Sometimes (a lot of the time), my nerves get the best of me and I play things too safe.

In case you’re wondering, we agreed we’d meet for a drink in person once we’re set free from quarantine. To be honest, as my friend predicted, I don’t think Evan and I will be a romantic match—but, meeting someone for drinks who I don’t have a lot in common with will be that much-needed step out of my comfort zone!

*name has been changed to protect privacy

Music Featured

Skyelyfe’s 20 Best Songs of the 2010s, Ranked

December 11, 2019

(via Unsplash)

When it comes to selecting a personal “best” song, there’s so much more that goes into it than how far it charted on the Billboard Top 40. In fact, that doesn’t play a role to me at all.

What matters is how I felt about the song during its prime, if I feel the same way about the song now, if it had a legitimate “moment” in my life and if it brought some kind of unique sound or formula to the table. With each of these factors in mind, I’ve spent literally all of 2019 jotting down all my most monumental songs of the decade in a notebook as I thought of them.

With 10 years to account for, obviously a slew of songs came to mind. And while I’d have to say music basically died after 2014, the earlier years of the decade brought some of the most iconic songs of all time. Keep reading for skyelyfe’s 20 best songs of the 2010s, ranked. *Note: I left out all remixes even though some were absolutely amazing.

20. ‘Wide Awake’ – Katy Perry (2012)

While probably the last single you think of when you look back on Katy Perry’s iconic Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection album, “Wide Awake” was not only a powerful ballad from the characteristically gimmicky singer, but also one that came out during a trying time in my personal life when I felt like the world was crashing down on me and I was trying to recover from a rough patch. I found the song to be therapeutic in many ways, and I highly respect that this is a detour from much of the singer’s other work.

19. ‘Ice Tray’ – Quality Control, Quavo, Lil Yachty (2017)

This is simply the quintessential song you want to hear on a night out. I can’t tell you how many times I danced to this after-hours. The dark, pulsating track even managed to make Joe Budden relevant again for a hot sec. Had the song come out earlier in the decade, it would have made an even bigger impact, but it definitely holds a special place as one of the best of the latter years.

(via YouTube)

18. ‘I Met You’ – Anna Lunoe + Flume (2012)

2012 was such a year for electronic music. The genre expanded in so many ways, and I was absolutely obsessed with this track. I remember playing this and No. 17 interchangeably nonstop all throughout my work days that year. I very much miss this musical moment.

17. ‘All My Life’ – Gigamesh f./ Jana Nyberg (2012)

Much like the aforementioned track, this was on my Spotify rotation nonstop in 2012—so much so that the app listed it as my most listened to song of that year (not shocking!). Still when I hear it to this day, I don’t like it any less.

(via YouTube)

16. ‘The North’ – Summer Heart (2011)

Summer Heart seemingly came out of nowhere, and this song is hands down one of the most beautifully melodic tracks I’ve ever heard. Not to be fooled by the artist’s name, this song had every bit of a solemn fall vibe, accompanying the season swimmingly that year.

15. ‘Dreaming’ – The Knocks (2014)

The Knocks stole my heart in 2014, and I’ve seen them live countless times since. Their infectious energy lights up a stage, and I truly can’t think of a livelier duo. “Dreaming” is every bit the upbeat track that got me on my feet in 2014 (even when the year got me down).

(via YouTube)

14. ‘Nocturne’ – Wild Nothing (2012)

Seriously bless Wild Nothing. They were my most listened to act of 2012 on Spotify, and have truly never let me down since. They encapsulate everything I could possibly want in a band, with their light, dreamy alt. rock melodies. I can seriously listen to “Nocturne” (and its album of the same name) forever. Just thinking about it makes me happy.

13. ‘Silhouettes’ – Avicii (2012)

Avicii’s tragic death last year was by far one of the most impactful and saddening. Not only a legendary trendsetter in electronic music, the Swedish DJ didn’t seem to have a bad bone in his body (at least from what we know). On top of it all, he created some forever memorable tracks, including what I consider his most underrated, “Silhouettes.” This song takes me back to his then-signature sound when he first hit the scene with “Levels” in 2011. RIP, Avicii.

(via YouTube)

12. ‘Operate’ – ASTR (2013)

Short-lived electronic R&B duo ASTR was an act I found from my old-school favorite indie music blog BitCandy, and I instantly fell in love with them. They disbanded after 2015, but in their time together, Zoe Silverman and Adam Pallin released two insanely outstanding EPs that will forever hold a place in my heart. “Operate” was the first single they released, and therefore the most legendary. I got my entire group of friends hooked, and therefore they definitely made a large dent in my musical memories of the decade.

11. ‘L.A. Lights’ – Grum (2010)

There’s no song like this one (or like the album Heartbeats) on this list. In a shocking move, Grum (aka Graeme Shepherd) went from a retro synth sound to joining the Anjunabeats label going full-force trance. Prior to his musical transition, he released “L.A. Lights,” a beautiful melody that felt ever so fitting to my many late nights under the… L.A. lights.

10. ‘I Get the Bag’ – Gucci Mane f./ Migos (2017)

Out of what was one of the most atrocious years in hip-hop (hip-pop?) came “I Get the Bag,” the Metro Boomin-produced track that made me give Migos a fair chance (I wasn’t big on “Bad and Boujee”). As a longtime fan of Gucci, he absolutely delivers here, on what was one of the best rap songs of the latter part of the decade.

9. ‘Your Love Is My Drug’ – Ke$ha (2010)

And this is where we cue the tears! 2010 was such a magical year for music, and Ke$ha (with then-dollar sign) was a huge proponent of that. Her album Animal came out on the very first day of the decade, setting the precedent for what was probably the best year of my life. This song, album, era brings back so many memories. I know the singer’s in a much healthier, better place now, following her horrifying experience with Dr. Luke, but there’s no denying her songs from the early 2010s will never compare to anything present.

(via YouTube)

8. ‘In the Morning’ – ZHU + Kaskade (2016)

This was my No. 1 song of 2016, and there’s no doubt in my mind why. I only knew like one song by ZHU at this point, but the collab with Kaskade was perfectly executed into melodic bliss, setting the tone for not just my Coachella vibe that year, but for the year as a whole.

7. ‘Slow Love’ – MØ (2014)

I found MØ on the brink of her No Mythologies to Follow album release, and it was a game changer. The unique style of songs is solid from head to toe, and Slow Love sounds like nothing else I’ve heard from her (or any other artist for that matter). According to Spotify, it was my most listened to song of 2014, and according to my blog, the song and the album were both my No. 1 picks of that year.

6. ‘Skin’ – Rihanna (2010)

Name a sexier song of this decade—I’ll wait. Rihanna took her provocative nature to new heights with this dark, alluring melody and bold lyrics to match. While definitely one of her most underrated songs of all-time, it’s hands down one of the best (especially if you were around to improvise an accompanying music video with my group of friends).

5. ‘Loyal’ – Chris Brown f./ Lil Wayne + Tyga (2013)

This classic came out at the very end of 2013, but definitely made its mark the following year. Between the video and Nic Nac beats’ music production, this trio of artists nailed it on what became the party anthem of 2014, in an otherwise lackluster year of hip-hop.

(via YouTube)

4. ‘What’s My Name?’ – Rihanna f./ Drake (2010)

Whenever these 2010 songs come up, I get super nostalgic. I literally remember exactly where I was and how I felt at the peak of these tracks. Rihanna’s Loud album was a surefire favorite of that year, and this was without question the best song that came from it. Major fall/winter vibes I will absolutely never forget.

3. ‘Super Bass’ – Nicki Minaj (2011)

Ah, simpler times. “Super Bass” epitomizes the old-school, inspiring, happy-go-lucky vibe Nicki Minaj’s music brought the world when she first stepped on the scene. Her Pink Friday album felt so pure, and to this day, no “love song” in the hip-hop genre has topped “Super Bass.” Every bit upbeat and sweet, even in my crazy year known as 2011, this song helped keep me sane.

(via YouTube)

2. ‘Ayo’ – Chris Brown f./ Tyga (2015)

This song needs no introduction. If you’ve ever been in an Uber with me, at a house party or in my living room, then you’re no stranger to this Nic Nac beats-produced track. As my most-played song of the whole decade, it absolutely deserves this No. 2 ranking.

1. ‘Teenage Dream’ – Katy Perry (2010)

And now, for the ultimate tearjerker… talk about the good ol’ days! “Teenage Dream” epitomizes carefree bliss and everything light that pop represented early in the decade. It’s easy to forget Katy Perry released one of the best pop albums of all-time, and I think I speak for everyone reading this that no pop song (or Katy Perry song, for that matter) will ever compare to this one.

(via YouTube)

Listen to the entire playlist below (and come back next week for my top 20 honorable mentions of the decade):

[divider_flat]

Food Featured

How You Act When You Drink Alcohol, Based on Your Zodiac Sign

December 4, 2019

When you don’t want to completely blame it on the alcohol, call out the cosmos as the culprit instead!

Drunk actions are definitely sober thoughts, and nothing brings it out more than your astrological makeup. Whether you’re a feisty fire sign or seriously in-your-feelings water sign, read on below for what kind of drunk you are, based on your zodiac sign.

(Valfré via Instagram)

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Fire, passion and strength are traits you bring into your every day life, Aries, but when adding alcohol to this fabulous cocktail, it can bring out a bit of aggression. Of course, you never mean to hurt anyone, but your feisty nature can make or break a night out if you’re not careful. Chug your tequila sodas with some water now and then. It’ll ease the burn inside and out.

(Valfré via Instagram)

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Stubborn, but beyond steadfast, you’re the real champ of the night, Taurus. No one can match your marathon-level drinking skills. When everyone else has their head over the toilet by the end of the night, you’re still sipping Jameson & Ginger like its nothing. We want you as our all-the-time drinking buddy from now on, you weekend warrior.

(Alexa Evans via Instagram)

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Easy-going, adaptable and outgoing, you are the social butterfly of the group, Gemini. Your wing man/woman skills are also totally unmatched, but your indecisiveness might cost you a few numbers for yourself. We applaud your flirting abilities, but try to narrow it down to one cutie for the night. Drama tends to follow you constantly so the less conflict when tipsy, the better.

(Valfré via Instagram)

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Let’s keep it real, Cancer: You’re emotional as can be when you’re sober, so add shots to the mix and the floodgates burst open. Social media is not your friend during this time. Too many chances you’ll be triggered by your ex’s latest post. Be sure to have your real ones around you when the waterworks start and you should be golden. #Selfcare.

(Alexa Evans via Instagram)

Leo (July 23-August 22)

You’re no stranger to the spotlight, Leo, so it’s no surprise you’re the center of attention with a few drinks in you. You’re the biggest flirt, the most drunk and the adventurous leader steering where the night goes. Nothing can stop you and everyone wants to be around you—soak it all in.

(Valfré via Instagram)

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

Being a Virgo, you’re definitely the reasonable, responsible member of the bunch. Never one to step out of line, you’re the three-drinks-max pal who holds everyone’s stuff and makes sure no one is left alone. Not all heroes wear capes, amirite?

(Alexa Evans via Instagram)

Libra (September 23-October 22)

You live for a night on the town, Libra, so it makes complete sense you try to introduce your friends to as many new people as possible while out and about. You thrive on creating harmonious relationships, especially new ones. Will the real Cupid please stand up? (Hint, that’s you).

(Valfré via Instagram)

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

If you haven’t heard by now, you’re full of contradictions, Scorpio. You can be the best and worst of both worlds—independent or clingy, loving or icy, authoritative or delicate. But most of all, you’re intense in everything you do. This can go either way when there’s booze involved. At least you can say a night out with you is never predictable.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

Your magnetic personality, great sense of humor and endless quest for the best celebration make you the perfect person to knock a few back with. That said, some might also get exhausted going out with you since you’re constantly bar-hopping and moving from crowd to crowd. It’s cool Sag, we know you crave that freedom and adventure, just make sure your crew can keep up.

(Valfré via Instagram)

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

You’re always in control, Capricorn, so it’s only natural no one would know just how drunk you are after the six shots you had. You’re determined to outdrink everyone else because you’re just used to coming in first. No shame, someone with ambition always gets it done.

(Alexa Evans via Instagram)

Aquarius (January 20-February 18)

Original and independent, you’re always a great conversationalist. This amazing quality is only amped up when you have a few drinks in you, with people hanging on your every word. But, you know what else is taken to new heights? Your tendency to be temperamental. Keep your anger in check or your fun exchanges could quickly lead to arguments, yikes. 

(Valfré via Instagram)

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Your deeply sensitive and loving nature is brought to a new level when cocktails are involved. You feel it all, Pisces, and we can’t say we’re mad at you for it. Sometimes, you just need a solid night to let it all out, no judgment here.

(Alexa Evans via Instagram)

Angelenos Featured

As a Huge Fan of the Original Hills, Here Are 11 Thoughts I Had Watching New Beginnings

June 26, 2019

(via MTV)

This may make some of you want to run for, ahem, The Hills, but MTV’s iconic reality TV show returned on Monday after a decade-long hiatus.

To mixed reactions, Heidi Montag (Pratt), Spencer Pratt, Brody Jenner, Justin “Bobby” Brescia, Audrina Patridge and a handful of folks you probably don’t care about hit the small screen in a reboot called The Hills: New Beginnings.

Fans (most definitely me included) fell in love with original series because it followed hot, young people (namely, Laguna Beach alum Lauren Conrad) navigating the trials and tribulations of dating, clubbing and working in Los Angeles. Long before the term “influencer” existed, and during an era when making MySpace photo albums was the key to sharing your life with the world, this show served as your insider’s peek at luxe life in the City of Angels.

Like many, I was on the fence about the reboot. Leave well enough alone, I said. But, naturally, curiosity got the best of me, and along with a fellow OG Hills fan friend of mine, I decided to give the reboot’s premiere a whirl (after a thematic dinner at Don Antonio’s, of course!). And yes, after it aired, I had lots of opinions.

(via Instagram / @heidimontag)

Keep reading for 11 thoughts I had watching The Hills: New Beginnings (*note: minor spoilers ahead!):

1. The Show Isn’t the Same Without LC

I’m here to say what we’re all thinking: You can’t do The Hills without Lauren. Sure, she’s not the most wild and crazy face to ever appear on reality TV, but there’s so much about her that we all idolize(d). We love her style, her endless collection of Chanel handbags and headbands, her hair (oh my gosh, I love her hair), her ridiculous friend drama, her dating woes, her ability to just be… perfect. Sigh. I don’t think any of the current people on the show are strong enough to carry it on their own. Speidi had a huge moment back in the day, but I believe that ship has sailed (though, as they say, the rest is still unwritten).

(via MTV)

2. Whitney Serves Even Less of a Purpose Now

Whitney Port, bless her soul. Never one to create drama on-screen or off, I commend her, as she’s quite the class act. While this is all well and good, it doesn’t exactly translate into good TV. Whitney wasn’t a draw in the original, but she served a purpose as LC’s voice of reason and office bestie. Now? I really have no clue.

I know I’m not the only one who found the opening scene between Audrina, Whitney and Heidi to seem incredibly forced. Whitney was never really friends with Heidi, outside of when Heidi was friends with Lauren, and I highly doubt if Audrina was seeking out friends again, Whitney is the first person she’d call. So yeah, their reunion didn’t feel organic at all. It’ll be interesting to see how Whitney’s storyline (if any) unfolds in this reboot.

3. Mischa Definitely Doesn’t Seem Like She Wants to Be Here

Perhaps she’ll let her guard down as the season takes off, but for now, Mischa seems timid and reserved, yet also very mellow and not here for the drama (more power to her!). We don’t need another Whitney, so if Mischa’s role is simply to nod her head and look pretty, I don’t think she’ll bring much to the show. But, I think with this one, time will tell. Good for her for putting herself out there. It’s been a minute, and it’s nice to see her feeling like herself again.

4. Perez… Really?

This isn’t 2006, so no one—and I mean no one—cares about Perez Hilton. So when it was announced on the premiere, that, much to the dismay of Mischa, Perez would be attending Stephanie Pratt’s moving-back-to-L.A. party, I was a bit dumbfounded. Obviously it was to punch up the storyline. Perez notoriously hated on Mischa throughout the years, stupidly calling her out for her weight gain and then-messy lifestyle (he nicknamed her “Mushy Fartone”—dumb, I know). But all these years later, I’m not sure how many people are interested in the two of them coming face-to-face at a party (which is likely staged anyway. They probably already made up, because why else would Mischa’s close friends invite her “worst enemy” to a party?).

5. This Isn’t a Show for the Masses

Going into it, I thought this would have Vanderpump Rules vibes (well, kinda), but the way the premiere was set up really makes the reboot appealing only to people who followed the original show. At least from this first episode, I don’t see myself dying to get a peek into these people’s lives without already knowing their backstory. You’re really only going to care about this group’s drama if you care in the first place. They’re a bit older with kids and pasts, unlike the fresh start they all had on the original series.

(via MTV)

6. Why Is Everything Filmed in Malibu?

No disrespect to Malibu, as it’s an iconic L.A. staple, but is this the only part of town in which the show is allowed to film? Part of the allure of the OG Hills was seeing the madness on Sunset Blvd. and getting a glimpse behind velvet ropes and brand new eating establishments all around the city. I get that the cast is older now, but they’re still supposed to represent the “cool crowd” who knows what’s up in town. No? I would very much like to revert back to the days of sipping iced tea somewhere on 3rd St. while dishing on drama from the night before.

7. The Confessionals… LOL

And for dramatic effect… the reboot brings you the confessionals. Following in the footsteps of most other reality shows, New Beginnings now has the cast explaining what goes on the behind the scenes. It’s probably a smart move in this case, since we all kind of need to know how these folks re-came together after all these years.

(via MTV)

8. Will They Ever Give the Audrina/Justin Storyline a Break?

I found Audrina’s heartfelt explanation of her divorce pain to be raw and intriguing. Audrina looks absolutely stunning, and based on how her messy divorce and custody battle played out in the media, we all know she’s genuinely been through a lot. It’s just funny, however, that MTV always comes back to the Audrina/Justin romance saga. Quite frankly, this is the one plotline that keeps me guessing. Have they both still actually been in touch all this time? Do they still have feelings for each other? They clearly get along and have chemistry, but I can’t tell if possible romantic interest is all for show. Based on how MTV stirred up a fake triangle between Justin, Audrina and Kristin Cavallari in the past, it’s hard to know what’s real in the present.

(via MTV)

9. Brody and Justin Are Suddenly Surfing Together?

This definitely was an orchestrated-by-MTV moment, but hey, I will say the two dudes mesh nicely and seem to get along, even if they would have no reason to be hanging out on the beach together.

10. Where’d Steph’s British Accent Go?

Well, that was fast! The minute Stephanie landed on L.A. soil, her “British accent” morphed into that of a longtime Angeleno (aka what she sounded like when she was on the original Hills). And the former Made in Chelsea star wasted no time acknowledging its disappearance, in a conversation with Frankie Delgado. Blaming it on her brother making fun of her for it, British accent be gone!

11. It Wasn’t the Worst

After all is said and done, the premiere wasn’t an utter disappointment. If you ignore the fact that LC (and later in the original, Kristin) will be absent from the reboot, and that iconic fights at Hollywood nightclubs (“you know what you did!”) are likely a thing of the past, it’s easy to enjoy the show for what it is. While I don’t expect the stars to be the heightened tabloid fixtures of yesteryear, catching the series each week will be a nice reprieve from a long day stuck in traffic or whatever else has been taking up my thoughts. While there are definitely some things I’d like to see more of in particular, as far as reality shows are concerned, this definitely seems to be among the more entertaining options.

Angelenos Featured

Clothing Designer Sheer Sebag, on Disrupting L.A.’s Apparel Tech Industry

May 9, 2019

Photo courtesy of Sheer Sebag

While having a side gig in L.A. is par for the course, Sheer Sebag went a different route and changed her career altogether.

The Beverly Hills-based beauty recently dropped her full-time finance gig to pursue fashion design—and has since launched a size-inclusive line of LBDs that do the work of SPANX, without the uncomfortable added clothing layer. Appropriately named SHEER, these little black dresses, which come in XS-XXL (0-18), are made with built-in shapewear, sucking you in, in all the right places.

I actually met Sheer at Soho House (go figure), and when we got to talking, I was beyond impressed with her innovative invention. As I cringe thinking about how frumpy I felt the last time I wore my granny-panty SPANX, I sit here in awe, shocked that a line like SHEER had yet to exist.

Sheer was beyond gracious enough to send me a dress of my own, and while the shape was indeed flattering, it was slightly too snug, so I felt it was so much more appropriate for my friend Christina to model it on my behalf. I love how you can totally dress this up (and down, as evidenced in the photo of Christina below).

(Photo courtesy of Christina M.)

I love supporting rising L.A. designers, especially because it must be challenging to make it in such a saturated market. Sheer took the time to answer some of my biggest questions about the ups and downs of launching a clothing line in the City of Angels, and who she admires when it comes to her own style.

skyelyfe: What’s the biggest challenge of starting a clothing brand in L.A. vs. somewhere else?

Sheer Sebag:

Being an L.A.-based clothing brand can create even more pressure for you to succeed in what is already known to be an extremely competitive landscape. L.A. is one of the fashion capitals of the world, there’s a lot of competition in this city, and new clothing brands are launched here, practically everyday, which gives you a small window of opportunity to stand out amongst the bigger more well-known clothing brands based here.

SL: What’s the benefit of starting a clothing brand in L.A. vs. somewhere else?

SS:

There are a lot of benefits to being an L.A.-based clothing brand. You have a lot of access to resources within the industry, networking, the media, celebs. etc. It’s a melting pot of all of that in one place.

(via Unsplash)

SL: Would you have designed the dresses differently or changed your concept had you launched your brand elsewhere?

SS:

Growing up in a city like L.A., where body image and beauty are synonyms to the culture, it put a lot of pressure on me to constantly feel like I needed to look a certain way to be beautiful. You’re surrounded by models and celebrities both in real life and on TV, magazine covers and billboards, who are slim and fit, and you can’t help but compare yourself to them. It definitely played a role behind the inspiration, design and concept of the dress. When I came up with the design and concept, I wanted to inspire confidence in women, while giving them a “magic” little black dress that has the comfort of Lululemon yoga pants with the shaping technology of SPANX in a traditional, elegant, and sexy style—all in one piece—that can take them from day to night.

(Photo courtesy of SHEER)

SL: What are the biggest cliches that hold true about L.A. fashion?

SS:

Yoga pants, statement sneakers, oversized jackets, designer handbags, and ’70s-style sunglasses.

SL: What are the biggest misconceptions about L.A. fashion?

SS:

Probably that you always need to look super glam and be dressed really well when going out. In reality, it’s quite the contrary! You can literally wear anything and nobody will judge you for it. You can go out during the day or night completely glammed up from head to toe, wearing designer brand clothing and heels—or be low-key casual chic, in yoga pants or jeans, a simple tee, oversized jacket, Vans, and no makeup.

SL: What do you love most about L.A. fashion?

SS:

I loved that L.A. fashion has a very lax and carefree attitude. You can wear anything, and the next day it can become the biggest fashion trend!

(via Unsplash)

SL: Who are some L.A. designers who have done things in a way you admire?

SS:

There are really so many incredible designers and brands based in L.A. To name a few: Rachel Zoe, Monique Lhuillier, DVF, James Perse, Jeremy Scott, Reformation, Re/Done.

SL: Where are your favorite places and websites to shop for clothes?

SS:

I’m a big online shopper. These days, I don’t have much free time to shop in stores. Online shopping is a lifesaver. I really love Net-a-porter, Revolve and Intermix.

SL: How does it feel to be a female designer? And did you face specific challenges in the design process based on your sex?

SS:

It’s an incredible feeling to be able to design and create clothing that not only inspires confidence in women, but helps them. For the longest time, men were designing clothing and intimates for women, and didn’t truly understand how things should fit and feel. Only a woman knows what she wants for herself, how she wants to feel in her clothes, and how the clothes should fit her body. It’s an exciting time right now, as female founders and designers are at the forefront and revolutionizing the clothing and fashion industry.

I’m very fortunate to be designing clothing during this time, and in this country, where I have such an outpour of support and positive feedback. There have been immense shifts in our culture, and we’ve really come a long way as woman. I always remind myself how lucky I am to be born in this era and have the freedom to do what I love. If it were only a few decades ago, it would have been much more challenging based on my sex.

SL: Where are your favorite places in L.A. to eat/drink/workout/live?

SS:

Favorite go-to’s for drinks and food: Cha Cha Matcha, Kreation, Erewhon, Alfred’s Coffee, Lemonade, Il Pastaio, Wally’s, Madeo, Tower Bar and Soho House.

For workouts: Eden Sassoon Pilates, SoulCycle, Hot 8 Yoga, and any outdoor hiking trails.

To live: Malibu! I love the ocean so much.

Music Featured

8 Surefire Signs You’re Too Old for Coachella

April 10, 2019

Age is totally just a number, but not when it comes to Coachella.

How old is too old to attend, you ask? We’ve rounded up eight undeniable signs it’s time to retire your flower crowns or Kanye shutter shades and move on to something else. Find out if you’ve hit your Coachella expiration below!

(Coachella via Instagram)

1. #Strollerchella is an Actual Thing for You

Okay, nothing against moms who love music at all, but if you can’t find someone to watch the kids, just don’t go. Bringing a stroller to the festival completely kills the vibe, and everyone around you will think so, too. Coachella will always be there, and you’ll definitely want to save it for a time when you can let loose and be care-free.

2. You Contemplate Streaming the Festival From Home Instead

Trust, we’re not even close to judging anyone for this because we’ve contemplated doing the same. Honestly though, if staying home is on your mind, it’s a surefire sign to stay back. We believe nothing beats immersing yourself in music for three days straight, and if you’re even slightly not onboard, this definitely isn’t the trip for you.

(Coachella via Instagram)

3. You Complain About the Festival on Social Media

There’s nothing worse than someone who attends the festival only to complain about it before, during and after. Do everyone else a favor and complain from the far away sidelines (aka not at the festival) if this is you. That’s the best solution for all parties involved.

4. The Hangover Just Isn’t Worth It Anymore

Once you’ve hit the point where the hangover isn’t worth it, it’s probably time to quit. Although everyone is clearly exhausted by the end of the festival, you should still leave with the satisfaction of a weekend well-spent, however blurry it may be.

(Coachella via Instagram)

5. You Don’t Know 80% of the Acts on the Lineup

It’s insanely difficult to keep up with all the new and trendy music coming out these days, but if you find yourself saying “who?” to more than 80% of the lineup, yikes. There’s no point in attending a festival where you don’t know most of the acts. It’s first and foremost always about the music, anyone who says otherwise is truly misinformed.

6. You Don’t Plan to Show Up Until 7 p.m.

If the all-day marathon does not sound appealing anymore, time to call it quits. It’s not really Coachella unless you’re five glasses of rosé in by 12 p.m., amirite? The older crowd always make themselves known by being the last in and first out. No shade, but we don’t really see the point then.

7. You Question Every Coachella-Centric Outfit You See at Stores

Part of the magic of Coachella is embracing the ridiculous festival wear. Question the sometimes-obscure fashion choices and you’ll know you’re getting too old. Appreciate those over-cropped tops, man-capes and unicorn costumes or you’ll just walk away with a headache.

(Coachella via Instagram)

8. You Leave Sunday Night Instead of Monday Morning

Sunday night leavers are the worst kind of Coachella-goers in our opinion. Although, on the other hand, we have no complaints because that means more room for the rest of us.

Lifestyle Featured

Creating Your Own Brand Can Be Cheap, Easy and Fun, Thanks to THIS Company

February 14, 2019

(via StickerYou)

As someone who has spent the last 6+ years trying to cultivate a following for my very small brand DGI, I’ve definitely agonized over the time and money that goes into all the merch needed to really spread the word.

It wasn’t until three years ago that I finally buckled down and did the most minimal things a person does when they’re trying to launch something: I created an Instagram account, made a logo and created stickers. And let me tell you, all these years later, the idea has remained more of an inside joke among friends than anything else. My account has a whopping 100 followers, my stickers were created at Staples and my logo is a super basic font in the most basic color of them all—red.

That’s why, when I received an email from StickerYou, telling me I could mass produce merch at any given quantity (and for cheap!), I absolutely had to give it a shot. Discovering the innovative website for the first time, I found a plethora of customizable options (some made by professional artists!) for obviously not only my tiny DGI brand, but any brand I wanted to create on the spot. I could upload my own logo, work off of a premade logo or create my own—and from there, turn the silly piece of art into everything from a cell phone backing sticker, to a temporary tattoo, to product label, magnet, you name it! I was beyond impressed and realized the possibilities are endless.

Naturally, I immediately placed an order for a set of magnets, a sheet of heart-shaped stickers, a sheet of regular-shaped stickers and two phone case sticker backings. Totalling up to just under $50, my order was placed, and I was beyond wholly pleased when my items were delivered.

Because I’m so impressed with the opportunities StickerYou gives consumers and small business owners, I wanted to get acquainted with the company’s founder and president, Andrew Witkin. I had a few burning questions for the entrepreneur, and he answered them below!

skyelyfe: I know that the concept of StickerYou came from seeing stickers everywhere in Manhattan Beach. How did you go from there to creating a whole business?

Andrew Witkin: Manhattan Beach was an aha moment. When I later looked into buying some custom sample stickers, I found the prices for small batch die-cut sticker printing to be outrageous. I thought there had to be some way to provide stickers to customers in small batches for a more affordable price.

In my previous job with Mattel, I noticed kids were buying building blocks designed to build things like airplanes. The kids would build the airplanes, but then would take the blocks apart and make their own things instead. I saw that people (not just kids) wanted to make their own things, and placed value on things they created themselves. That, combined with the marketing shift to digital from 2003-2007, meant that the time was perfect for customized e-commerce products.

After I returned to Toronto from California, my mind was buzzing with ideas. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I started a focused approach, spending half the day job-hunting and half the day on this idea. I found companies using the machinery needed to produce stickers to test run times and formats, and wrote a business plan. The original business model was more centred around youth having the ability to create custom stickers with different themes from cute flower art to customizing a Batman sticker with their name on it. I went to California to meet with licensors and targeted those who I thought would be looking for more engagement. I wanted to keep it simple, like YouTube. So I called it StickerYou.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Witkin

SL: What was the biggest challenge when you launched many years ago, and what is the biggest challenge now that you’ve been established?

AW: One of the biggest challenges initially was orchestrating the user experience to meet the demands of the market were were serving. Initially, we were looking through a B2C lens, aiming at creative tweens and teenagers, people who wanted skateboarding stickers, things like that. But it wasn’t long after we launched that we realized our customers weren’t exclusively youth. They were small businesses, organizations and nonprofits. In order for the business to convert better on our site, our customers needed a more practical user experience, and building that would take time. We reorchestrated the user experience so that people could come to the StickerYou website, upload their logo, select a size and die-cut shape, and order, say, 100 custom stickers and check out. It was a new StickerYou site, with a simpler interface.

Now that StickerYou is established, one of the biggest challenges is maintaining focus. Our products fit into so many niche markets and there are so many different ways to engage with our customers that it’s a problem of choice. But in order to continue to grow, choosing and focusing on specific markets and elements of the business are incredibly important.

SL: What are your main pointers for creating a memorable logo (regardless of how big or small the brand)?

AW: When creating a memorable logo, it’s tempting to try and fit a lot into it. But I’d advise against making it too intricate or complex. The best logos are simple, clean and focused. The best ones may be simple, but there is a lot of thought behind the simplicity. If you’re not a graphic designer, consider hiring a pro to help you. The cost will be worth it to have a solid logo for your brand.

via StickerYou

SL: Is it difficult to profit when you’re letting people make very small purchases as opposed to mass ones?

AW: Because we offer the option to order just one custom product, or as many as needed, we find that the number of customers ordering small batches are quite a few. Since we built technology that enables small runs to be produced as profitably as large runs we knew from day one that our DNA was to serve many customers with any quantity needs while being profitable—and that is what we did.

SL: What’s your best advice for anyone trying to start a small business?

AW: Focus on your health. It may sound obvious, but it’s something that too many people forget when under the stress of starting a small business and all the work that entails. But making sure that you are well-rested, that you are exercising regularly and eating well will directly impact the ideas, attitude and energy that you bring to your burgeoning business. You’ll need all of your resources to make it work (and even then a bit of luck), so make sure you take care of yourself and replenish your resources to give yourself the highest chance for success.

SL: What’s next for the company?

AW: StickerYou is based on creativity and innovation, two qualities that allow us to stay at the forefront of e-commerce and tech trends. We’ll be opening a brick and mortar retail space in Toronto in 2019, which will be the largest dedicated sticker store in the world!

Food Featured

I Completed Whole 30 (and Lived to Tell About It)—Here’s Everything You Need to Know

November 7, 2018

(via Pixabay)

Much like our home electronics, sometimes our body is in need of pressing the reset button.

This was the first year in the last six that I didn’t do “Sober March,” my annual designated month of sobriety. By completing “SM,” I’m not only abstaining from alcohol, but am therefore way more mindful of my eating habits, too. It’s a nice way to break things up during the year. Despite not following through with my usual plan, I had no intentions of doing a replacement month. But by the time July rolled around, I noticed my overindulgence across the board was getting the best of me.

Rarely in my life have I had a significantly positive relationship with food, and here I was finding myself back in the place of dread. Come early August, I knew I needed to change things. I knew I needed a break from eating crap, consuming alcohol and going out a lot. Not only that, but with fall approaching, I really wanted a clear head. I wanted to feel good, and I knew I wasn’t doing things to get me to that place.

So there it was. I decided I was going to embark on Whole 30—and there was no way I was cheating. I’m funny like that. Pretty extreme. Like I’m either all in or all out. In addition to no alcohol for 30 days, Whole 30 also requires the elimination of dairy, gluten, soy, chickpeas, peanut products, artificial sugar, added sugar, baking and more. We’re required to read every single label. Like you can’t even have a dash of soy sauce.

Believe it or not, I found every single part of the process enjoyable. In fact, I’m getting a little sentimental writing this. While it was nice to finally be a little more social again, the feeling I had on the program was unlike any other, and I look forward to taking on the experience again.

Are you considering the program? Or are you simply just curious about my experience? Keep reading for eight things you need to know about Whole 30—from someone who completed it and lived to tell. And for a bunch of the recipes I made on the plan, check out my Whole 30 Pinterest board!

1. It’s a Lot of Commitment

While posting all of my recipes on Insta Story, I had several friends become inspired and eager to give the program a try. Well, none of the ones I talked to made it past a week. And quite frankly, I get it. I made it through because I’d been mentally preparing myself for a month leading up to it. It’s not something you decide to do on a whim. It also requires cooking most of your meals from scratch. For people who have around-the-clock jobs and/or kids or roommates/partners, it’s not ideal. I’m single, I live alone and I am gratefully done with work once I leave the office. Therefore, I had time to mosey on over to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods after work and get down and dirty in the kitchen each night. It was a lot of fun for me, but I can see it being too time-consuming and restricting for the average person.

2. It’s Not Cheap

While you’re definitely saving money by not drinking and going out to eat, being on the plan requires you to cook most of your meals from scratch, and with not just any old ingredients. So I was definitely grocery shopping more frequently and buying the cleanest of items. While you can get a lot of Whole 30 staples at Trader Joe’s (coconut products, cauliflower and chicken were my main go-tos), there’s some stuff that can only be purchased at Whole Foods ($$$).

3. If You Follow the Plan Correctly, You’ll Have Skyrocket Energy

No joke, every single day of Whole 30, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. It was wild how my body was up and at ’em. I couldn’t fall back asleep if I tried. I usually did a full face of makeup and felt pretty good about my outfit choices before heading off to work. My level of confidence and excitement while on the program was unlike any other. My head was so clear. The glass was consistently half full. It felt really good. And it lasted all throughout the day. I do miss that empowering feeling around the clock.

via Pixabay

4. The Second You End the Plan, Your Energy Dissipates

It’s pretty crazy that as quickly as your body suddenly develops energy on the plan is as quickly as it can fade. Even just one day off the program (I think I ate a light dressing that had a dash of sweetener in it), I was back to wanting to sleep in.

5. Moving on to Paleo Is the Most Sensible Post-Program Transition

You don’t plan on doing Whole 30 longer than 30 days, and you don’t want to dive right back in to bad habits, so what do you do? Paleo (at least for as long as you can maintain it) is the most sensible option. It was crazy because I was invited to a tasting at Harriet’s in West Hollywood a couple days after I finished the program. While I knew I couldn’t dive back into eating and drinking anything in sight, I did think that a sip here and a nibble there would be ok. Whoa, I was wrong. The food was absolutely delicious (no complaints there!), but my body wasn’t used to eating the dairy, sugar and wheat that I was served, and I could definitely feel it. Since that day, I’ve stuck primarily to a Paleo plan.

6. Whole 30 Isn’t Made to Be Sustainable Longer Than 30 Days

I totally thought I’d maintain Whole 30 longer than 30 days, but really, with how strict it is, the creator of the program does not expect people to extend that time. As I mentioned, it requires reading literally every single label, and for the most part, if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, you can’t have the product. While I absolutely plan to do Whole 30 again, right now Paleo feels right.

7. You Learn So Much About Food and Cooking

I’ve never cooked so much/eaten so healthy in my entire life. Getting my hands dirty in the kitchen and playing with spices and detailed recipes was so much fun for me. Obviously I love food, so getting a chance to put together delicious dishes that were actually good for me was so rewarding. Like you’d seriously be surprised with how creative you can get. It was so cool. Pinterest was my best friend. I kept all of my recipes and I still plan to make them. Obviously some things turned out better than others, but overall, I was proud of my concoctions.

8. Weight Doesn’t Just Melt Off

Like most people, I thought I’d be like three dress sizes lighter once I completed the plan. Welp, not so! I mean, granted I looked a lot less bloated, which makes sense considering I wasn’t drinking or eating bloat-inducing food. But I’d be lying if I said my clothes fit me a lot differently. I probably lost 5-7 pounds overall. I also didn’t work out as much as I could have (I know, I know), so I think I could have had a different outcome had I done so. That said, I felt really good in my skin during the experience, so a ton of weight loss or not, I was in my most confident state.