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All the latest trends in fashion and beauty, with diverse and attainable looks, expert tips and honest product reviews.

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    Need some ugly Christmas sweater ideas? Look no further than your local Hollywood celebrity.

    The holiday trend is finally having its moment in the sun as grandma-esque sweaters adorned with tacky bobbles and an obnoxiously large Frosty head have made its way into our annual winter traditions. (Who doesn’t love a good ugly Christmas sweater party?)

    Celebrities also dig the trend and there’s a long list of stars on the best dressed list who have traded in their Dolce & Gabbana for the cozy confections, all in the name of holiday spirit.

    Take Justin Bieber: Before he preferred to live without a shirt, he sported an adorable snowflake sweater with pride.

    Even our favourite rapper and cannabis lover Snoop Dogg opted to wear an interesting variation of the ugly Christmas sweater in a YouTube video, in which he takes us through, “The Night Before Christmas” in a way only Snoop Dogg could.

    If you want to go a little more flamboyant, look no further than former sexiest man alive, Matt Damon, who did his very best to rock an ugly Christmas sweater on "The Today Show."

    On that note, we’ll leave you to browse the many holiday sweaters as worn by the stars.

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    Paula Patton took some scissors to those beautiful long locks of hers and is now sporting a chic bob.

    The actress debuted her new look at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations press conference on Nov. 26 in Los Angeles. In addition to the stylish new 'do, Patton also put the spotlight on her never-ending legs in a tight white minidress.

    She and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer announced the nominations for the 29th annual Spirit Awards that will take place on March 1.

    paula patton

    paula patton

    paula patton

    Patton, her luscious locks and her husband Robin Thicke two months ago:

    paula patton

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    Years ago, we thought we couldn't live without the fax machine. Now, can you imagine living without your cell phone?

    According to the Pew Internet Project's research study related to mobile technology, 56 percent of Americans have a smartphone, and 29 percent of cell phone owners describe their device as something they can't imagine living without.

    I've often said that if your cell phone was waterproof, it would end up in the shower with you. That's how dependent and attached we've become to our smartphones.

    Enter the popular world of mobile dating. Singles are finding themselves living in an instant-gratification world of push notifications, as they embrace mobile dating apps from their favorite dating sites, or try the new mobile-friendly apps to make new friends, casually hook-up, or find a serious relationship.

    As love continues to blend together with technology in everyday life, a variety of flavors of dating apps are helping to speed up the process for online daters. Several new apps, considered social networking apps or social discovery apps, were featured in this year's Mobile Dating BootCamp.

    The convenience of dating from your mobile phone not only results in meeting more people, but it also speeds up the process from initial contact to meeting in person, and it allows you to connect through Facebook to see if you have friends in common, which gives instant credibility to your potential date.

    From hook-ups to marriage, here are 10 mobile dating apps that I recommend to help singles in their quest to find the perfect date.

    First, let's start with the household names of the dating sites that you're probably already familiar with. If you're a member of one of these online dating sites, you can date on-the-go as you take advantage of their mobile apps, many of which have additional features than are found on their web-based versions.

    1. Match: iOs, Android, and BlackBerry

    Match was launched in 1995, and is available in 24 countries around the world in 15 different languages. With over 15 million members, they're considered the world's largest subscription-based, online dating site. Their mobile app is a service for paid subscribers on more platforms than any other app. Match reports that more than 40 percent of user logins come from their mobile apps.

    How it Works:

    Users need to sign up for Match on their web-based service, and then download the app for their mobile phones. Once logged on, users can wink, view profiles, upload up to 24 photos, send and receive emails, add users to their "Favorites" and rate their "Daily Matches." Other Premium features include the popular "Who's Viewed Me" feature. Users can also sign up on Facebook and be notified of upcoming Stir (offline) Events on their mobile app.

    Download Android Download BlackBerry Download iOs

    2. eHarmony: iOs and Android

    eHarmony is responsible for over 1 million people getting married since they launched in 2000. That's a number to brag about. Their mobile app downloads surpassed the five million mark over the summer. eHarmony reports that users tend to access their mobile apps 5 or more times throughout the day, compared to twice a day on the computer. Over 40 percent of their user registrations take place in the mobile environment.

    How it Works:

    The app is free to download, and you can sign up, fill out your profile and questionnaire, upload photos from Facebook, receive daily matches, and communicate for free on specialty weekends. Paid members have the same functionality as the subscriber's web version. You can view photos, go through guided communication, see when a match last logged in, and read/write emails.

    Download Android Download iOs Download iPad

    3. OkCupid: iOs and Android

    OkCupid is free, and it has a simple way to access the web version of their site on your mobile phone. The OkCupid mobile-only app is location-based, which makes it easy to find someone close by.

    How it Works:

    Users can sign in from Facebook, or directly on the mobile app, to find singles in their area. Accessing their "Locals" feature will show them people in their vicinity. The app allows you to swipe right to "like" a user, or swipe left to "take a pass." If there is a mutual match, you'll find out immediately and will receive an email. Users can then visit their profile or send a message. Other features you can access from your mobile phone include: viewing the famous OkCupid questions, watching the activity stream of potential dates, saving a profile as a favorite, viewing your visitors, and ranking your potential dates from 1-5 stars in their "Quick Match" feature. Each user's profile will state your Match, Friend and Enemy percentages, similar to what you'll find on the web-based site. Upgrading to A-List, which includes anonymous browsing, is an additional monthly fee.

    Download Android Download iOs

    4. PlentyOfFish: iOs and Android

    P.O.F. is one of the largest free dating sites in the world, with over 2 million Americans logging on to the site each day. P.O.F. reports that 80 percent of people who access P.O.F. from a mobile device do so from their mobile Apps. According to comScore, PlentyOfFish has captured 67 percent of the market share among mobile dating apps in the U.S. The app is completely free, and is available in five languages, including: English, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese.

    How it works:

    Users sign up for free and can search for singles from their mobile app using new filters, such as: education, height and body type. Their Android app has a "Places" feature to provides users with a list of potential date hot spots. PlentyOfFish has also created a premium feature called "View Interaction," which tells singles if they've already interacted with a user. This means verifying if they've messaged back and forth, added each other to their "Favorites" list or viewed each others' profiles. This ensures that you're not wasting time messaging someone you've already reached out to. Users can also search for singles from their mobile app using new filters such as: education, height and body type. PlentyOfFish has always understood the importance of singles meeting face to face. Their new "Date Night" feature will tell other singles in your area that you're available for a date this weekend. The feature resets itself every week.

    Download Android Download iOs

    5. How About We: iOs and Android

    How About We now provides an online meet-and-greet, with the goal of being an offline dating service for both singles and couples. Their mobile app lets you view full screen photos, and dates of people in your area. Their goal is to connect online and meet offline at user created events.

    How it works:

    Members can sign up for free and post ideas for dates. This helps speed up the process, as often a member will have tickets for a specific concert or sporting event, and will list the date/time of the potential date. Users will find more than just suggested beach walks from their busy and active members. Members also receive real-time notifications when someone is intrigued by their date, or just to send recommended dates. To view your visitors, members can invite three friends for free to join the site, or upgrade to the premium membership. To send or read emails, you'll need to pay for a membership which runs from $8.99 per month to $34.99 per month.

    Download Android Download iOs

    Some mobile dating apps make the user experience like a fun game to play. Singles can take a break from work, or sit and watch television while scanning and swiping through thousands of profiles. Yes, with these apps looks do matter, as in a split-second users will decide whether to select a profile or take a pass.

    6. Tinder: iOs and Android

    As Tinder celebrates its one year anniversary, it's become the fastest-growing, location-based mobile dating app, as well as a household name. Tinder recently released a new version, which is optimized for iOs 7. While early adopters were found on college campuses, now everyone from Lindsey Lohan to the former Miss U.S.A., to your closest neighbors can be found flirting on the Tinder app. During this year's Mobile Dating BootCamp, just about every participant requested to use Tinder while looking for love online. Tinder reports that 54 percent of their members are between 18-24, and 31.6 percent are between 25-34. The app is simple to use, is completely free, and best of all, it is anonymous.

    How it works:

    Users download the mobile app on their iPhone or Android phones, and can connect through Facebook to create a profile. You can upload up to six profile photos. Users scroll through potential matches nearby and click on the heart icon if they're interested, or they can click on the X icon if they'd like to take a pass. If there's a mutual match, you'll be instantly notified, and then you can start chatting in text message style, directly through the app. Tinder reports 400 million matches to date with approximately 4 million new matches per day.

    Download Android Download iOs

    7. Let's Date: iOs

    Let's Date calls itself the "Instagam" of dating. Users sign and create their date card through Facebook. Once your profile is created, you'll have the ability to edit your profile if you don't want it to mirror your Facebook profile. Let's Date reports that 55 percent of their users are between 18 to 24 years old, and 40 percent are between 24 and 35 years old.

    How it works:

    Let's Date uses science to help match you with someone compatible on their mobile dating app. It's easy to create a profile for free and scroll through those which are sent to you. If you're traveling, you can change your location to the city you'd like to start dating in, and fill up your date card before your arrival. Plus, you can link to your Facebook or Twitter accounts to create a more robust profile. Users can click on "Yes" or "No, Thanks" to profiles they've been matched with. If there's a mutual match, users can be notified by email to let them know that it's time to start chatting with their digital crush. You can also speed up the process by sending a flirt to the person you've selected for 99 cents in the iTunes store.They also have a "wingman" feature, which allows non-daters to view profiles and share them with their single friends through email, SMS, or Twitter.

    Download iOs

    8. Zoosk: iOs and Android

    Zoosk is a top mobile dating app for iPhone users, and a top 10 grossing social networking app in the iTunes store. Zoosk reports that 55 percent of their mobile users are using their Android app, and 45 percent of are using the app on iOs devices. It's also hugely popular as a Facebook app, or it can be accessed via the web. It is available in 25 languages with members in over 70 countries

    How it works:

    Users sign up for free, but if you pay for a subscription to Zoosk, you'll get unlimited winks and messages, full access to the ZSMS feature, can see who has viewed your profile and you can chat with the connections you make. The cost of subscriptions are: one month for $29.95, three months for $19.98 per month or six months for $12.49 per month.

    Download Android Download iOs

    9. Badoo: iOs and Android

    Badoo is a free dating app that was launched in 2006, and it is a fun way to meet new friends and dates in a game-like environment. Badoo reports that they have over 197 million members worldwide, in 180 countries, with over 41 languages available and over 100,000 new mobile app users added every day.

    How it works:

    Users can sign in through Facebook and use the service on the web, as well as on their mobile dating apps. Users can find singles with similar interests nearby to chat with, and their "Encounters" game helps connect them with possible matches. Their premium paid service includes a "Spotlight" and "Rise Up" feature to be able to be seen by more members. With "Spotlight," the member's photo and brief profile info appear at the top of every main Badoo page within their area or region. "Rise Up" instantly puts the member's profile at the top of the search results within their region. The "Super Powers" feature is a monthly service fee which gives users more control.

    Download Android Download iOs

    10. Grindr: iOs, Android and BlackBerry

    Launched in 2009, Grindr has been a leader in the mobile dating, app-only service as the most innovative and successful, niche based mobile dating app in the world. Grindr has seven million Gay male users in 192 countries around the world. The average user spends 2 hours a day on the app, and logs in eight times a day. Over 200 million photos are sent every day from guys using their mobile app. Grindr reports that one billion chat messages are being sent in a given month.

    How it works:

    Grindr is a location-based app where users can create a profile for free, upload photos, chat and meet. Users can view 100 profiles of men in their area. Premium users of Grindr-Xtra have an advertising-free service, and can receive push notifications even when the app is closed. Other benefits of Grindr-Xtra include the swipe feature to easily scan through profiles. The premium service costs between $12.99 per month to $64.99 a year.

    Download Android Download BlackBerry Download iOs

    Do you have a favorite mobile dating app?

    Julie Spira is an online dating expert and founder of Cyber-Dating Expert: Dating in a Web 2.0 World. She was an early adopter of Internet dating, having created her first profile almost 20 years ago. Today, she coaches singles on the dating scene with her Irresistible Profiles programs. Julie is the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online, and is featured frequently in the media on the subjects of online dating and mobile dating.

    Portions of this article appeared on

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    Just like the annual pardoning of the turkey, it's become tradition for Sasha and Malia Obama to take their place next to their dad for the Thanksgiving ceremony wearing the cutest, trendiest outfits ever and make us very envious.

    This year, the girls both sported dark winter colors in great combos, just like their mama. Sasha kept up her love for graphic sweaters with a green panda-printed sweater (UPDATE: It's $69 at Urban Outfitters!) paired with maroon skinny pants and a navy double-breasted coat. Malia went for a similar color scheme in a reddish sweater, black pants, a black hoodie and an gray pea coat.

    But both girls looked more grown-up than ever, looking serious save for a few smiles cracked on for their father's sake. POTUS giggled throughout his own speech, in which he noted that 80 turkeys competed for the pardon and said, "It was, quite literally, the Hunger Games."

    LOLZ. See the Obama girls with their impressive style below -- we're actually thinking of copying these outfits this holiday weekend.


    sasha malia obama turkey pardoning

    sasha malia obama turkey pardoning

    sasha obama

    sasha obama shoes

    There's no way we were this well-dressed as tweens:

    Want more? Be sure to check out HuffPost Style on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram at @HuffPostStyle.

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    Whenever Miss Universe 1997 Brook Lee shows up, there are always laughs and life lessons. Watch as Brook talks with me about beauty and aging -- and how to age beautifully. She reminds us that beauty doesn't come from a special cream or a regimen; it's all about your attitude and how you express yourself.


    Speak Up With Jimmy, a Web series, is available at

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    She looked at me with tired eyes and said, "Sometimes I look in the mirror and I don't recognize the face looking back."

    This beautiful woman in her 70's and her mirror have come full circle.

    I've had my own similar encounters with the looking glass over the years.

    On the eve of my 41st birthday, I am becoming more and more aware of how I view my own reflection.

    How I have seen my reflection. How I will see it in the years ahead. And how this has changed over the years.

    We are too distracted to notice that much, but while we are living our lives, our mirrors have a life cycle all their own.

    When we are very young, we don't have time to pause in front of mirrors. We are far too busy and focused on more important things. Like playing and being with our friends.

    So, our Mommas remind us to comb our hair and check our outfits, because we have not bothered to take a look at our bed heads or mismatched untucked ensemble.

    A few years go by and we begin to discover that we care about how we look. Our mirrors take on some importance in our lives. We stand in front of them and admire our new hairstyle. We turn and spin and look over our shoulder, on the left, on the right, to see our new outfit and whether it looks best with flats or boots.

    A few more years go by and we are overwhelmed with the knowledge that we suddenly care about how others think we look. And our mirrors now become more than a reflection; our mirrors turn into a tool for comparisons. Our mirrors offer up opportunities for us not just to reflect, but to criticize.

    With this, the mirror changes. Or how we look at it ... changes.

    And it no longer shows us what we are. Instead, we can only see everything that we are not. Which means that surely someone else is. Or someone else has something better, different.

    The color of our hair. The shape of our eyes. The size of our nose. Our complexion. Our height.

    Our weight.

    We give these mirrors so much power during these years. Power to push us forward and power to hold us back.

    But if we are lucky, a few more years go by and eventually, we find a way out of its grasp. We take back the power and we move on.

    And then, a few more years go by and we may find ourselves becoming Tired Working Mommas.

    And the mirror becomes irrelevant for a few many years. The mirror disappears again for a time.

    Because we don't have time to stop and look in a mirror. We are far too busy and focused on the important things ... again.

    We are busy looking into the eyes of our babies and on the piles of laundry.

    We are busy looking after toddlers and checking over homework.

    We are busy going to games, planning menus and running schedules.

    And for years, this goes on.

    Life. Life goes on. Until it settles down, here and there, every now and then ... or sometimes 50 years later. And we have the chance to stop and really look in the mirror again.

    Which is why we are surprised sometimes by what we see. Time has passed and we didn't pause to take a look. And we think we miss what was once there. The reflection that we saw before.

    Before years. Before years of life.

    Before kids. Before kids full of life.

    That image in the mirror that we come to notice, an image that may have more wrinkles. More gray hairs. More pounds. But all that it doesn't show, is what really makes us ... us. The reflection of how we still see ourselves.

    So if we look closely, there is a more accurate reflection all around us.

    For me, I see myself better in my daughter.

    In her profile. In her smile. In her words. In her attitudes. In her personality. In her style. In her flair.

    She is my mirror now.

    A mirror I can trust to tell me the absolute truth. Always. A true reflection of who I am and what I've shown her.

    In her courage. In her confidence. In her kindness. In her cautiousness.

    And for the record, I recently stumbled upon a picture of that 70-year-old woman with the tired eyes from 50 years ago. Yes. She has changed. Her reflection is not the same as it once was.

    She was beautiful. Young. But unlived.

    Now, she is still beautiful, surrounded by a loving, accomplished family and a life well lived.

    A mirror that has come full circle, no matter what she sees in it.

    So. Our challenge: We have to look. Look around. Look beyond the mirror, mirror on the wall.

    Be thankful.

    And know that... yes, you really are the fairest of them all.


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    Few models can make us laugh as hard as Chrissy Teigen can -- the Sports Illustrated stunner might just have social media LOLs down to a science.

    Teigen took to Instagram today to post a photo that proves that she and husband John Legend truly win at life. Behold, the best birthday costumes in existence: grown-up versions of Mario and Princess Peach. Accompanying the post was a caption with a "#nintendobirthday" hashtag, so we assume the 27-year-old is referring to her upcoming birthday on Nov. 30. (Yes, we didn't know birthday costumes were a thing, either. Leave it to Chrissy...)

    If this is just the teaser, we can't wait to see what the model has in store for the actual big day.

    More reasons to love Chrissy:

    Want more? Be sure to check out HuffPost Style on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram at @HuffPostStyle.

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    I love Thanksgiving. It's a holiday that's about spending a lot of time with family, eating a lot of awesome food and disconnecting from the crazy pace of my regular routine, even if just for a day or two. (I don't dig the long drive we usually have to make, but with enough good tunes and snacks, we deal.)

    But Thanksgiving is also about something else: SHOPPING! I feel like I've been getting email promotions for Black Friday for weeks now and everywhere I turn there are tips for how to find the best sales and deals. Don't get me wrong, I love a great deal, but I've also learned that shopping my way to happiness is an absolutely failing proposition. Buying stuff doesn't make you happier (unless you're spending money on someone else). There's a lot of research to back this up.

    So once you grab a few gifts for family and friends, here are 5 things I think you should do instead of going overboard with Black Friday shopping. I'm willing to bet that each one will make you a whole lot happier than getting a great deal at a mall.

    Write a "You're Awesome" note to someone you appreciate

    Thanksgiving is a great time to give thanks but take it up a bit and tell someone in your life that they are awesome. Write an email, send a text, or call them. It will make their day but it will make you even happier. Participants in one research study wrote one gratitude letter to someone for three weeks in a row. They reported feeling happier, more satisfied with their lives, and less depressed and anxious as the result.

    Do 3 acts of kindness in one day

    Studies show when we do several acts of kindness in a short period of time we feel happier because we acknowledge them and more connected to people around us. Here are just a few example of small acts of kindness you can do for friends or complete strangers:

    • Hold the door when you see someone walking towards it.

    • Buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line.

    • Pay a colleague an unexpected compliment.

    • Help someone carry groceries to their car.

    • Grab a family member's favorite snack on the way home.

    Write a gratitude note to yourself next year

    Expressing gratitude and appreciating positive everyday things has been shown by many studies to increase the feelings of well-being and optimism, help you sleep better, feel less stressed and anxious. Write down a few things you're grateful for, seal the list in an envelope and plan to open it in a year. As an added bonus, you'll look forward to reading what you wrote and looking forward to positive experiences makes you happier.

    Donate money to a charity

    People to contribute to a cause they care about are happier. Scientists have used functional MRI to show that giving to a charity causes brain activity in the same regions involved when you feel pleasure or reward. In one study participants were asked to decide how to spend $100 between themselves and a food bank. Those who gave $100 to the food bank experienced increased levels of satisfaction.

    Check out Just Give if you need ideas or help in finding a charitable organization.

    Listen to a song you love (or 10)

    Music increases melatonin levels and makes you feel more positive. Put on your headphones and escape into one of your favorite tunes. Or you can blast it full volume in the car, dance along, and make people around you smile - a double happiness benefit, since when you make someone smile, you feel more awesome yourself.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  • 11/27/13--13:54: Let's Play Dress Up
  • By Angela London

    Every morning I get up an hour-and-a-half before class, which is almost sacrilegious since I am a college student. After showering I turn on the news and then pick through my closet, less like Cher from Clueless with her fancy rotating closet, and more like the poor and forever tired 20-year-old college student I am. I listen to the news from my laptop and try to determine the last time I wore my favorite outfit. I have no problem wearing the same outfit twice in one week; sometimes you just have that one top that makes you feel powerful and feminine at the same time.

    That is what dressing up has become to me: a source of power. So yes, I am that girl in a skirt, blouse and blazer, complete with accessories, trudging up the hills of my university to class at 9:00 a.m. I do not just get dressed up for special occasions, or when I have my internship on a class day. I get dressed up every day, rain or shine. Occasionally, I will get a look from another girl, who thinks I am crazy or trying too hard to look cute at 9:00 a.m. Once a guy told me that it was silly that I was getting dressed up for whatever guy I was interested in because "guys don't care if you dress up."

    Um, what century are we in?

    The entire exchange made me so mad: Who told this dumbass that I was dressing up for him? There seems to be a misconception about why women dress up, and that if we get really dressed up we only do it to get male attention. So let me set you straight: This woman gets dressed up to please her damn self! Now, I am no fashionista; I wear what I like and what I think looks good on me, so if that is my favorite pair of jeans, sweater, and a blazer, then thats what I am wearing. If I feel like wearing the suit from my internship to class then that's what I do. I first discovered the ability of what I am wearing to make me feel powerful my freshman year of college.


    Freshman year was horrible, and I was attending a school that was not a good fit. I only wore jeans, yoga pants and sweat shirts. So when I was tired from late nights and mad at being stuck in Connecticut until summer break I would put extra effort into my appearance, to at least appear less miserable. One day I put on a formal (for college, at least) outfit: jeans, a blouse, and a blazer, complete with accessories, then went to take a test and attend the three other classes I had. I felt better, at least on the outside, and went through the rest of my day feeling strong, beautiful, and most importantly, confident. So I started wearing more put together outfits, and found myself needing more time to get ready, which meant that I was getting up earlier and attempting to get to bed at a decent time. Now I am not saying that dressing up solved all my problems, because I wasn't one hundred percent happy until I transferred schools, but when I was feeling bad, my outfit was my armor.

    Now it has just become a habit that I cannot break; I get up, shower and then get ready from head-to-toe for the day, starting out feeling powerful and put together on the outside gives me the confidence to kick ass through out the day. It is a part of my routine, just like brushing my teeth and checking my email, and if I stay in my pajamas all day, I feel like I did not accomplish as much. I know it's not for everyone but the next time you are feeling really tired, after a long night, get up and put on that blouse you only wear for interviews or pair of jeans that makes you feel amazing, you might be surprised how just that little bit can help change your mood. For me, dressing up is not about getting a cute guy to notice me, it's about feeling my best.

    Contrary to popular belief, it does not have to be expensive. Here at Literally, Darling we are all about what is affordable. Some of my cutest outfits have been created with dresses from Target, and a pair of shoes I have had since high school. I wore my $20 Target dress until one of the straps broke, and then I fixed it and wore it some more. During the summer I wear it with sandals and in the winter, tights, boots and a cardigan. I am not saying that everyone should get up an hour-and-a-half earlier, 'cause I get it, extra sleep is good, but I like listening to the news in the morning. You can just as easily take five minutes to pick out your outfit the night before and roll out of bed 20 minutes before class and still look put together. So go put on that outfit, the one that only gets worn on special occasions and wear it on Monday. Dressing up is not just for little girls or celebrities. It's for the average woman, just like me:


    Originally posted on Literally, Darling

    Literally, Darling is an online magazine by and for twenty-something women, which features the personal, provocative, awkward, pop-filled and pressing issues of our gender and generation. This is an exact representation of our exaggerated selves.

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    When it comes to manicures in Los Angeles, the rule of thumb (or any finger, really) is simple: the more outlandish the nails, the better. Leading the pack is Chi Nail Bar & Organic Spa, which stands out in LA for its eclectic designs and the outsized personalities of their gifted nail techs.

    But thanks to their wildly aspirational Instagram account, which has over 25,000 followers, this little local salon also has a national following among nail art fans. Every design gets photographed and posted to their Instagram daily, with some of the photos getting as many as 800 “Likes."

    “Social media has made a huge difference in the world of nail art. Even I use it as inspiration for myself,” said nail tech Chyna Stevens to the Huffington Post. “I’ve learned a lot about it just by watching YouTube videos. I spend hours on other nail technician’s Instagrams or blogs and screenshot anything I like and try to imitate it. It’s how I practice. I’m obsessed.”

    Scrolling through the salon’s Instagram is almost like entering a modernist art gallery; designs range anywhere from 3D shapes to holographic paint, and they fuel clients' requests, which are getting more outrageous by the week. Past clients have asked Chyna to draw everything from 3D spikes to real photographs of Barack Obama on every fingernail.

    “Nail art is starting to get competitive! I see tons of women trying to ‘outdo’ each other," said Chyna. "It’s crazy. Once someone wanted an extremely elaborate human heart drawn on all of their fingers.”

    And the nail techs are in on the fun; Chyna’s fingernails are currently designed to look like sparkly bumble-bees, which she designed and painted herself.

    “It’s a creative outlet for me. Plus doing my own nails is totally an advertisement," said Chyna. "People will see my personal Instagram and be like, ‘Oh! I want that!’ And there’s another customer.”

    Scroll down to see some of Chi’s latest crazy designs and be sure to check them out on Instagram or on Tumblr.









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  • 11/27/13--15:09: Something Greater
  • 2013-11-27-huffpo_something_greater.jpg

    "That's totally Photoshopped." I looked across the grocery checkout line to see a teenage girl, pointing at the cover of a fashion magazine. And of course she was right. It's no big secret anymore that everyone who's anyone on the cover of anything has been nipped and tucked and airbrushed to oblivion. Or maybe even metamorphosized into something no longer human.

    In a recent email from a fellow wedding photographer, I was told, "I was prepping a wedding for my blog, doing some retouching, and I thought to myself, why am I shrinking her arms? They are big, but who cares? Then I thought, why am I retouching her face, too? It just made me think about this work I do and why I feel the need to made these edits."

    I completely identify with this photographer's experience. We're so conditioned to expect beauty to be one thing (how limiting -- ONE thing!), and to have absolutely no compunction about digitally modifying someone's face or body to achieve the look we think they should have had.

    In On Beauty, I wrote primarily to my clients, discouraging them from the destructive obsession with looking like a magazine cover. But I think discussions about retouching and beauty are crucial for wedding and portrait photographers as well, because the shift in our clients' thinking begins with us. When we retouch, we say to our clients, "You're better this way."

    "You're better with a flatter tummy."
    "You're better with skinnier arms."
    "You're better with a rounder bum."
    "You're better without that scar."

    Who do we think we are?

    It is absolutely our job, as photographers, to make our clients look their best. We should understand what angles draw attention to their faces, what light flatters their skin, what lenses best fit the mood or the moment or the model. There was a time when that raw skill was all there was. You either got it right in camera or not at all.

    Now, though, we're overburdened by our access to incredible post-production tools -- tools that enhance our work in so many ways, but which also have been misused to grossly alter the unique men and women we photograph, to mangle their self-confidence, to put upon them a flawlessness that exists only through the manipulation of retouching.

    And I get it! I want a smaller nose, people! I want straighter teeth! (Invisalign: one of these days, I'm coming for you!) But you know when I want these things the very most? It's not when I'm with my friends and family; it's not when I'm working hard on a project I care about; and it's definitely not when I'm home by myself, listening to music and reading on our cozy couch. No, it's when I engage in media that is loaded with made-up, plastic-skinned, all-the-same men and women, who don't reflect the diverse, colorful, dynamic people I know in real life.

    Right now, as wedding and portrait photographers, I believe we are on the forefront of a revolution in the photography industry, because we, more than any other photography professionals, are flooding the market with images of REAL people. And we have a the ability -- no, the responsibility -- to make amazing, raw, genuine photographs of the individuals who placed themselves before our cameras.

    And so we must strive for something greater than pretty pictures: to know our craft well, and to tell true stories of real beauty in all its incredible shapes, sizes, and colors. This is our calling.

    Find more of Anne Almasy's writing and photographs, including the original publication of this essay, on her website,

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  • 11/27/13--15:32: Entertaining at Home
  • If you need dinner party ideas, you've come to the right place. Entertaining at home is one of my favorite things, and planning ahead is what makes it work. Here's a list of my most important to-do's:

    Guest list: Eight to ten is the maximum number of people at the dinner table, or the noise level will be too high for civil conversation.

    Theme: Themes add fun and focus to any party. The most basic theme is culinary: base your menu on a country, such as France or Italy, or a region, such as Provence or Tuscany. This is fun to do for special occasions, such as a bon voyage for someone traveling to that country, or a national celebration, such as Bastille Day. It's nice to use menu cards with dishes listed in the language of the country (and the English translation). And of course the table décor, from tablecloths and napkins to the dishes can be in national colors or traditional patterns.

    Allergies: A kind host will ask if anyone has food allergies, but it's really the duty of the guest to call or e-mail ahead of time. Note: This does not include food dislikes, only allergies.

    Keep it simple: One or two appetizers (one vegetarian) and a three-course meal is sufficient. Choose at least one dish that can be prepared ahead of time, and more if possible, so you can relax and enjoy the meal and your guests.

    Seating: Alternate shy guests with those who are more outgoing to keep the conversation alive. Also, it's a good idea to alternate men and women and to not seat married couples next to each other for the same reason.

    Place cards: Handwritten place cards are traditional, but try this on for size: place cards in the form of picture frames with a famous look-alike for each guest. This adds a fun twist and is a great seating ice breaker.

    Menu cards: These let guests know what is to come and makes for great conversation. They are also nice keepsakes, especially if you list the wine or wines served with the meal.

    Party favors: I like to give party favors, even for my own birthday celebrations (sometimes it is more fun to give than to receive, plus at my age I don't need any more gifts). Good party favors include mini bottles of bubbly, a chocolate truffle with pretty wrapping, or a place card inside a small but beautiful picture frame.

    Menu book: If you're a serious entertainer, a great idea is to put together a book of all your invitations (complete with the date), place cards, and menu cards. This way, you won't repeat the same dinner with the same guests.
    Happy dining!

    Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, an on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (, certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on and

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    If you're obsessed with "The Hunger Games" as much as we are, then you're going to love the following "Catching Fire" wedding shoot.

    Shot by David Lilly from Lilly and Lilly photography the chic Capitol-worthy shindig has it all: Mockingjay pins, District-numbered tables, Capitol-inspired threads and even poison Nightlock berries (we die!). Check it out below.

    Location: The MEZZ, Planning: Maricel Baker Let’s Make it Extraordinary!, Design: Natalie Henry-Charles Pretty Peacock Planning, Photography: David Lilly of Lilly and Lilly Photography, Models: Adel Travis and Andrew Johnson, Attire: Jessica Rios of All Brides 2 Be and Formalwear, Cake: Anna of Anna Cakes, Hair and Makeup: Michele Renee of Michele Renee The Studio, Flowers: Heather Coscia of The Wild Hare Flowers, Stationery: Natalie Henry-Charles of Pretty Peacock Paperie

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    Shoes are an important part of most women's wardrobe; and I plead guilty to falling prey in the past to purchasing pretty shoes that were neither necessary or practical? In my youth I would wear high heel stiletto shoes to work each day, and go out at night too, not giving my poor feet a second thought. What is it that's so appealing about a high heel? Inexplicably a high heel makes a woman feel well dressed, look elegant and adds that feminine touch. Today we are well aware of the detrimental effects of wearing these striking yet damaging footwear and yet this doesn't dissuade the fairer sex from yearning to buy yet another pair, and suffer the painful consequences. How the shoe industry must love us ladies, who generally own far more shoes than we need, and in a heartbeat will fall in love with a pair that are simply calling out our name. Due to my health, I had to unfortunately stop wearing high heeled shoes long ago; I was very reluctant and sad to give away my shoes, but had to face reality, and accept the fact.

    Wearing the right footwear giving your feet proper support and comfort, whether you are healthy and about to run a marathon, or do little walking due to ill health; finding the correct shoes is important. Everyone has one foot slightly larger than the other, but did you know that if you shop for shoes in the afternoon this is when your feet are at their largest? A girlfriend took me to buy short ankle boots that I could easily slip on and off. We started out early and first thing in the morning, it didn't take me long to fall in love with a pair that felt very comfortable and I was sorely tempted to buy them on the spot, but as they were a little more than I had intended to spend, I decided to see if we could find something else. Having no success, a few days later my daughter took me to a shopping mall and we came across exactly the same boot, which I eagerly tried on again. It was the afternoon, and the identical boot that had felt so comfortable when I had tried them on in the morning hours, were now not a good fit at all. I tried several different sizes, but it made no difference - the boot was not for my shape foot. A lesson well learned!

    It may seem plainly obvious, but always ensure you take with socks you intend wearing with a shoe or boot you are about to purchase, as this can make a difference too. The most important rule of all, is if a shoe doesn't feel comfortable as you try it on, don't be bullied by an over zealous shop assistant trying to make a sale, for if any footwear isn't comfortable from the very beginning, no amount of stretching or wearing in will make it so.

    Having Parkinson's, or any illness that affects walking, footwear requirement's are more demanding. Non slip good rubber soles that safely grip, virtually no heal, and of course the ease at which you can get them on and off. Support for arches, and a fit that holds your foot securely in place. Velcro is the easiest solution, rather than fiddly buckles or laces. All these necessities admittedly make for rather staid footwear, so I have resigned myself to be content with just window shopping at those sexy high heels that I can no longer wear.

    Nothing keeps me down for long, I refuse to let anything defeat me. My greatest defence is a sense of humour and keeping young at heart. I find many people as they get older, forget how to let their hair down and have fun. Despite my failing health, I'm still playful, love to laugh and can be as silly as a goose at times.

    I had to laugh the other day, for having a "Parkinson's" moment, you require a good sense of humour. Standing in the kitchen, my husband had just arrived home and drew near for a kiss. I don't miss an opportunity, so grabbed him and gave him a bear hug. As we stood in a tight embrace, he casually asked "Is that the Parkinson's, or are you feeling a bit frisky?" Trembling in his arms I looked up into those dark brown eyes I love so much and confessed it was unfortunately just Parkinson's! Laughing he bent down and kissed me tenderly which is enough to make me go weak at the knees - so who needs fabulous high heeled shoes when I can have precious moments like this?

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    It's that time of year again, the nights are long, the temperature's dropped and the high streets are packed with shoppers. As the festive season begins a lot of people will be buying wallets and purses as presents. So, I thought this would be a good time to pass on a few tips on what to look for, from one of our leather craftsmen. Tim's been in the leather trade for over twenty-five years and he's made goods for the Royal Household, the Royal Courts of Justice and the House of Lords to name a few. So he knows a thing or two about craftsmanship and he says there are five things to look for when choosing a new wallet:

    The first thing to check is the quality of the leather. A lot of leather these days is sanded to remove imperfections and then coated in resin, which make it feel plastic. This is called top-grain and should be avoided. Instead, look for wallets made of full-grain leather. Full-grain has not been "corrected" making it stronger and more durable. Most important of all, it has more character because you can see each pore and crease that makes the leather unique.

    Next you should look at how the wallet is made. There are two main types of wallet construction: Turned or Cut edge. Cut Edge is where the leather is cut and stitched together leaving the raw edge visible. The edge is usually coated in black resin but will eventually degrade and deteriorate. Turned Edge is where the edge of the leather is thinned and then turned before being stitched in place. It takes longer to make a wallet like this and when made by expert craftsmen will last for many years. In short, always buy a quality Turned Edge wallet.

    The Turnover
    It's important to check the craftsmanship that's gone in to making a wallet. A good test is the width of the turnover and position of the stitching. A well-crafted wallet should have a narrow turnover with the stitching positioned centrally. A poorly crafted wallet will have a wider turnover, allowing a greater margin of error, and often crooked stitching. In addition, the leather should have been thinned before being turned, meaning there shouldn't be a lip when you run your thumb across the turned edge.

    Pleated Corners
    The corners are another key test of craftsmanship. When properly crafted they are thinned down, pleated in to a rounded corner and then stitched in place. No cuts are made to the leather as it weakens the wallet as a whole. Any wallet with right-angled corners is a sure sign of poor craftsmanship. If you can see a diagonal cut then the wallet has been made on the cheap.

    Lastly, any quality wallet should have creases made by a hot iron alongside the turned edge stitching, on the credit card slots and the note dividers. It is purely aesthetic and accentuates the clean lines of the wallet, but it's the kind of attention to detail usually missed or poorly executed on a badly crafted wallet.

    As you can see, there's more to choosing a quality wallet than meets the eye. Equipped with these tips you'll be able to shop with confidence knowing you can tell the wheat from the chaff. So, wrap up warm and brace yourself for the crowded high street, safe in the knowledge that this will be a present they'll enjoy for years to come.

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    It might be easier to connect to family members thanks to our smart phones, tablets and Skype, but it's also easier to feel a little disconnected when you're finally face-to-face.

    This Thanksgiving, we're feeling a little nostalgic for the days where we actually had to pay attention to each other around the dinner table, instead of retreating in the comfort of our Facebook feed while listening to Aunt Agnes retell -- for the fifteenth time -- the thrilling story about the time she accidentally roasted her oven mitt along with the turkey back in '86. Though our families can frustrate us in dozens upon dozens of ways, those "dull" moments are what we end up missing the most as we get older.

    Here are a few reminders of what life was like before we had a screen to occupy us at our flimsiest whim.

    Heads bowed in prayer, not to surreptitiously check our texts.

    Board games were there to help pass the endless time before dinner. They often ended up in screaming matches, but that's what happens when you introduce "Monopoly" to a bunch of 6-year-olds.

    You didn't take fuzzy close-up pictures of your dinner plate to remember a good meal. No. You appeared in the photo, with the giant turkey, to remember it by.

    Grandpa just sat there and sighed.
    Let's make up the story...

    A photo like this wouldn't lead to trouble from a meddlesome acquaintance, the way it would if it were taken today and posted on Facebook.
    "Thanksgiving, 1950"

    Children were seen, not heard...but they were welcome to take on carving duty if they felt like it.
    first carving

    The picture never came out perfect, but in a way, it was.
    Thanksgiving 1975 Brooklyn

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    Not everyone decks the halls in style. Inevitably, between the poinsettias and twinkling lights there will be a collection of heinous, tacky and useless decorations. Here are nine of the most ho-ho-horrible offenders that are sure to destroy your holiday spirit.

    Car Christmas Wreaths
    You love the holiday's soooo much that you want to rock around the Christmas tree in your car. Unfortunately, you aren't Santa, and a wreath tethered to the grill of your Honda does not a sleigh make.

    "Collector" Christmas Plates
    No one collects Christmas plates. Ever. Collectable plates are the fruitcakes of the office secret Santa. No gift says "I hate holidays and joy and you" like a display-only plate that you can't even eat off of.

    Anything With Beer Cans
    Santa did not have a beer belly that shook like a bowl full of jelly when he laughed. The only thing acceptable about combining beer and Christmas is the Budweiser Clydesdale commercial. While we appreciate DIY and recycling, using your leftover cans as décor is Grinch-worthy.

    Menacing Nutcrackers
    We all love the Nutcracker ballet: the music, the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. We do not all love a menacing Nutcracker staring at you from the mantle. They also fall into the category of utterly useless. Has anyone, ever, actually cracked a nut with one of these?

    Holiday-Themed Bathroom Decorations
    Saint Nick should never be gazing up at you from the bath mat or scrub-a-dub-dubbing his rosy cheeks on a shower curtain. Forget about putting Mr. Claus' face on the toilet seat. That's pretty much a guaranteed trip straight to the naughty list.

    Creepy Elves
    Elf On A Shelf is designed to strike fear in the hearts of children. What, with their pointy ears and evil, beady little eyes following you. And, it feels strange to tell kids that someone is watching them, day in and day out, tattling to the big man if they step out of line. NSA anyone?

    Inflatable Lawn Ornaments
    Outdoor holiday décor has really blown up over the last decade. Problem is, most people hate it. You don't hear Christmas carols about a 6ft tall inflatable snow globe with Mickey Mouse dressed like Santa stuffed inside.

    Giant Scary Santa
    He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake ... he's lurking in the shadows of your hallway at night. Whoever decided to make a near life-size Santa and dress him in old dark cloaks clearly hates children (and adults for that matter).

    Inappropriate Christmas Lights
    When you think of a winter wonderland do you picture Santa taking a leak off of the roof? How about Donner and Blitzen bleeding out in your backyard? If one of these "ironic" light displays are in your yard you deserve more than a lump of coal.

    Also on HuffPost Home:

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    For some reason, Gwyneth Paltrow gets a lot of flak for being, well, Gwyneth Paltrow.

    But the actress is standing up for herself in a new interview, admitting that she doesn't care what people have to say about her.

    "This is the thing, it's like the older I get, I realize it doesn't matter what people who don't know you think. It doesn't matter. You're wasting your energy," Paltrow, 41, tells the British magazine Red. "It's like, if your partner comes to you -- or your best friend -- and says, 'Listen, I want to talk about something you did that hurt me, or I think you could improve,' sit down and listen to what they have to say. But some friend of so-and-sos -- it's like, who gives a s--t?"

    Paltrow's famous mother Blythe Danner also chimed in on her daughter's haters, saying the criticism "doesn't faze her."

    "I admire her so much. It doesn't faze her. I think it probably did initially," Danner tells Naughty But Nice Rob. "She said, ‘Mom, I'm going to get this all my life. This is how they see me.'"

    "I feel she's just extraordinarily accomplished in every area and people don't like that, some people don't like that," Danner adds. "I mean I don't read any of it, I just find it so disgusting. There is a coarsening of our culture today that is just so tragic."

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    Who doesn't love a personalized present or something no one else has that is completely customized for you? No one -- which is why we searched for some of the best one-of-a-kind products around.

    And we're not just talking about those cheesy mugs with your kids faces on them. From design-your-own shoes to a luxe fragrance kit, this list of gifts will be a hit.

    Here's a look at our top 9 picks -- and let us know how you put a personal spin on your holiday gifts in the comments section below.

    And here are a few more holiday gift ideas...

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    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama celebrated a quiet Thanksgiving at the White House Thursday and called several members of armed forces to thank them for their service to the country.

    Many presidents have preferred to spend the holiday at Camp David, the secluded Maryland mountaintop retreat, but the Obama has more often chosen to have dinner at the Executive Mansion. Hewing to past practice during his administration, Obama placed calls to several uniformed personnel. The White House said he talked to 10 service members — two each from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.

    The White House said the president wished them and their families "a happy Thanksgiving."

    The guest list for the dinner wasn't made public, so it wasn't clear who would be joining the president, first lady Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia for the event.

    The menu was quintessential Thanksgiving, with turkey, honey-baked ham, cornbread stuffing, oyster stuffing, greens, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and dinner rolls. For dessert, the family had a choice of huckleberry pie, pecan pie, chocolate cream pie, sweet potato pie, banana cream pie or coconut cream pie.

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