Lauren Conrad Beauty review: what to buy and what to skip

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Lauren Conrad Beauty Review 4x3

Lauren Conrad Beauty; Gilbert Espinoza/Business Insider

Since her departure from reality television, Lauren Conrad has essentially dabbled in every business venture under the sun: clothing lines, podcasts, even authoring a series of YA novels. A beauty line seems like a natural move for her, but it’s taken her until 2020 to officially announce Lauren Conrad Beauty. The company, which launched in August, positions itself as an eco-friendly brand made up of products that are “as gentle on your skin as they are on the planet.” Lauren Conrad Beauty also claims its products are vegan and ethically sourced. Though they’ve since released additional products, the initial launch contained only four items: The Lipstick, The Liquid Eyeliner, The Lip & Cheek Tint, and The Liquid Highlighter. 

I’ve been testing these products for the last couple of weeks, and can safely say there are both hits and misses. I was impressed to see that the products arrived in very minimal packaging without plastic — a sign that Lauren Conrad Beauty is not just talking the talk, but actually implementing earth-conscious business practices.

I tested the original four products launched by Lauren Conrad Beauty — here’s what you can expect.

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Personalised beauty future needs digital clinical trials and augmented data collection finds review

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Writing in Skin Research & Technology​​, researchers from France reviewed the dermo-cosmetics skin care category, analysing advances made in personalisation such as devices and digital techniques to collect data on consumer needs and skin parameters. The review then discussed how personalised dermo-cosmetics could be improved through advances in the study of measurement – metrology.

The researchers found that whilst significant advances had been made in personalised dermo-cosmetics, including digital face-scanning techniques and a raft of digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs), there remained “significant opportunity”​ to overhaul current business models and improve industry’s offering of truly personalised products.

Beyond the device – personalised beauty needs business model refresh

“There are currently various IoT [Internet of Things] devices, data collection and analysis methods, and cloud service providers making advancements within this field. However, there is yet to be a clear definition of strategy in dealing with big data,”​ the researchers wrote.

Beauty brands had advanced fast in the field, with the likes of Shiseido and its Optune skin analysis tool and Neutrogena with its Skin360 face-scanning application, among others, they said, and there had been a raft of DNVBs established, such as Dollar Shave Club, Glossier and Function of Beauty, that facilitated consumer-centric business.

However, the researchers said there were “still limitations”​ in technological developments and industry would do well to continue its quest in advancing and expanding beauty tech, particularly devices with sensors and mobile apps that helped increase knowledge of skin parameters.

Building and validating accurate new wearable electrochemical biosensors for non-invasive skin parameter monitoring, for example, held great promise – particularly as it merged beauty, health and wider wellbeing thus catering to preventative and curative needs, they said.

But, beyond advancing technologies, the researchers said the beauty industry also had to reconsider current business models, particularly given the amount of data that would come from advanced technologies.

“To maximise outcomes and resources, there must be a rethinking of business organisations and processes in how they develop devices, use, and protect their data.”

“…The proper business model for these types of products and services may still need to be determined and developed,”​ they wrote.

Mining real-time, real-life consumer beauty information

“The major challenge today is how companies can leverage opportunities from new data delivered by IoT devices and build a business model based on this,” ​the researchers said.

This should start with the merging of in-lab and digital clinical trials to develop and test products, in addition to widespread big data collection on consumer needs and skin parameters, they said.

“Today, products are tested on a limited number of patients or users, who have to come to the laboratory for measurements to be made, and most often, panels only include standard skin types, creating a non-representative sample (…) Digital trials as described in the paper will allow some real-life measures to be made, with the same reliability as laboratory measures, and connected to a large number of variables related to one unique


Covid-19: Possible changes to quarantine and a review of Wales’ shopping rules

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Sunday morning. We’ll have another update for you at the same time on Monday morning.

1. Quarantine for Covid contacts could be reduced

Ministers are considering
reducing the 14-day quarantine period
for contacts of those who test positive for Covid-19 amid criticism of NHS Test and Trace. Sources told the BBC the period could be cut to 10 or seven days. It comes after concerns were raised over compliance and amid intense criticism of the agency’s leadership from a senior Conservative MP.

2. Pressure mounts over school meal decision

The government is facing mounting pressure
to reverse its decision not to provide free school meals to children over the holidays in England. More Conservative MPs are opposing No 10’s stance, as Labour threatens to push for another Commons vote. Meanwhile, some 2,000 children’s doctors are calling on Boris Johnson to U-turn. The government argues it has increased welfare support as well as giving additional funding to councils to help vulnerable families during the pandemic.

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The School Food Plan

3. Review for Wales’ lockdown supermarket rules

Wales will review its ban on supermarkets selling non-essential items
during the country’s two-week lockdown, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said. It comes after
government guidance said shops must close parts of their stores
that sell products such as clothes, shoes, toys and bedding during the 17-day “firebreak lockdown”.

4. Concerns over ‘dogfishing’ and abandoned pets

Dog welfare charities in Wales are concerned the high
demand for new pets during the pandemic will lead to an increase in “dogfishing”
– where dog lovers are misled into buying a dog with no clear provenance, which has often come from overseas or an illegal puppy farm. It comes amid a fivefold increase in people searching for puppies online. Between the start of lockdown in March and the end of September, the Dogs Trust charity rescued 140 puppies illegally imported from central and eastern European countries.

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5. Farm runs Covid-secure pumpkin picking for Halloween

This year has seen the cancellation of many events, but one farm in Hampshire is determined people
do not miss out on traditional Halloween activities,
such as picking pumpkins. In honour of the season, Sunnyfields Farm in Totton, has created a giant mural out of hundreds of the colourful vegetable.

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The Hampshire farm has created a huge mural out of pumpkins

Get a longer daily news briefing from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning, by signing up here.

And don’t forget…

You can find more information, advice and guides on our
coronavirus page
. Here’s
our summary
of how changes to the furlough replacement scheme affect your job or business.

What questions do you have about coronavirus?

In some cases, your question will be published, displaying your name, age and location as you provide it, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. Please ensure you have read


‘The Witches’ Review: A Tale of Mice and Women, Toil and Trouble

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There’s no eye of newt or toe of frog in “Roald Dahl’s The Witches,” Robert Zemeckis’s take on the 1983 book — just a mischief of mice, a cantankerous cat and an occasional s-s-snake. There are people, too; some buzz around in the background while others push the story forward. Chief among these are an unnamed orphan, call him the Boy (Jahzir Bruno, sweetly sensitive), and his loving grandmother (Octavia Spencer), who form a wee bulwark against witches who appear fair but are most foul.

Narrated by a distracting Chris Rock, the story primarily takes place in flashback, in 1967, starting with an accident that kills the Boy’s parents. He moves into the Alabama home of his Grandma, whose warm embrace eases his pain. Zemeckis, working from a script written with Kenya Barris and Guillermo del Toro, handles this setup effortlessly, with his two cozily inviting leads, low-key visual panache and customary restive camerawork. Within minutes, Zemeckis has created a vibrantly inhabited world, even if the golden oldies on the soundtrack are overly familiar, as is his habit, and Grandma’s caky cornbread looks more Northern than Southern.

The witches sidle in, disguised and cunning. One materializes in a once-upon-a-time tale; another pops up in the present. Amid intimations of doom, Grandma and the Boy decamp to a resort hotel, a nonsensical turn that’s effectively a narrative contrivance. There, they soon find themselves facing down a coven of witches stirring up trouble. United by their hatred of children, the twisted sisters are led by the Grand High Witch (an amusing Anne Hathaway), who arrives with a black cat, a trunk stuffed with cash and a vile plan. Speaking in a vaguely Eastern European accent with Nordic notes, she has a cavernous mouth and jagged teeth right out of del Toro’s imaginarium.

Zemeckis improves on the first film adaptation, a 1990 oddity directed by Nicolas Roeg. There’s more heart in the new version and more emotion, qualities which can go missing in those Zemeckis movies that get lost in his technical whiz-bangery. Here, the Boy feelingly mourns his parents, creating a tangible sense of loss that strengthens the story and raises its stakes. As the Boy heals, Zemeckis pumps up the design and sets his cameras to giddily flying. Everything is slicker and grander in this iteration, including the hotel, which now looks like a supersized plantation. The movie doesn’t do much with this iconography, but it resonates simply because the heroes are now Black.

Mostly the movie is all shivers and silliness until the High Witch and her minions gather. By that point, she has peeled off her wig and bared her sharp teeth, exposing her true evil self. Witches may look like women, as Grandma warns the Boy, but they’re demons. Roeg literalized that idea by revealing the High Witch (Anjelica Huston) as a blobby, warty monster who speaks with a German accent and calls her cat “Liebchen.” Hathaway’s witch largely retains her human shape, which only makes her more


Allbirds Clothing Launch Review

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Allbirds makes some of our favorite shoes, that’s no secret. And while their underwear is top-notch too, that’s all they had to offer in the clothing department— until recently. Because Allbirds knows we want their sustainable Merino Wool everywhere, they’ve launched clothing for men and women for the very first time, and they let me try it out, too.

TrinoXO Tee: Let’s just get this one out of the way: it’s made out of discarded crab shells. I can’t tell you how, what, or why — I truly don’t know —but what I can say it might just be your new favorite T-Shirt. It’s extremely soft, well fitting, and as with all of Allbirds gear, sustainably made (this time, just out of crab shells).

Wool Puffer: If you’re looking for a new puffer for the cooler months, Allbirds’ puffer is a great way to stay warm and dry all winter without worrying about your impact. It’s made of wool, has a nice collar on the neck, and a nice shape too. It has substance, which you want in a puffer so that it’s not tossed about by the wind, but instead sits around the hips with flair and style.

Wool Cardi: Personally, this is one of my favorites from the collection. It’s perfect work from home attire—the perfect sweater to leave draped around your chair to throw on if you get a little chilly.

Check out the full women’s line here.

Scouted selects products independently and prices reflect what was available at the time of publish. Sign up for our newsletter for even more recommendations. Don’t forget to check out our coupon site to find apparel deals from L.L.Bean, Lands’ End, Gap, and more. If you buy something from our posts, we may earn a small commission.

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Noise-punk “supergroup” Brandy kills it on The Gift of Repetition | Music Review

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A few years ago Matthew Hord, who fronts Chicago-based noise-punk mainstays Running (and played alongside yours truly in a handful of local bands over the years), moved to New York City and linked up with guitarist Jordan Lovelace and drummer Peter Buxton, both of whom had played a similar style of jumpy, blown-out garage rock in their band Pampers. The new trio gave themselves the confusing-on-all-streaming-platforms name “Brandy,” which makes them nearly impossible to Google and (according to at least one Instagram story) has resulted in disappointing showgoers anticipating a performance by the 90s R&B icon. They forged ahead with more overdriven noise rock, but staying on-brand didn’t mean stagnating—they stepped up their collective game by leaps and bounds. Brandy’s second full-length, the brand-new The Gift of Repetition (Total Punk), is an economical, abrasive eight-song blast that piles new sounds on top of the the glorious scuzz of the members’ past bands: the bonehead punk of the Spits, the minimal stomp of Coachwhips, even the catchy vocal interplay of the B-52s. Within Brandy’s relentless madness lie gems of pure pop genius: opening track “(Wish You Was) Madball Baby” cleverly ping-pongs its earworm vocals between Buxton and Hord (and even includes some wild harmonies), while the end of album single “UFO’s 2 Heaven” sounds like a twisted beach-party sing-along. The Gift of Repetition is easily the best thing anyone in this crew of dudes has put out, and its raw, cathartic fun beats the hell out of doomscrolling.   v

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Here For The Burn Candle Review: ‘Social Distancing From My Family’

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When I don’t know what to get someone during the holidays, a candle is always my go-to gift. Rather than play it safe with a Yankee or Bath & Body Works pick—beloved faves of mine, don’t get me wrong!—I like to seek out fun, kitschy brands that add a little something ~extra~ to my fairly basic gift. Chances, are, I’m not the only one bringing a candle to my holiday hostess, so can you blame me for wanting mine to stand out? That said, this Here For The Burn candle review is for any of you who feel the same, because their Social Distancing From My Family Candle is officially the number one gift of the 2020 holiday season.

Yup, that’s right. I said what I said! Here For The Burn’s luxury statement candles are all great, but the Social Distancing From My Family Candle is downright hysterical. Will every single member of my family unwrap one of these babies on Christmas morning? Yes ma’am, they will! At $35 a pop, this candle sits in that perfect happy medium of “I dropped more than $20, so this counts as a legitimate gift” and “I didn’t have to spend my whole paycheck on something you’d like.” We love to see it!

Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

STYLECASTER | here for the burn candle review

Courtesy of Here For The Burn.

My favorite part about this candle is the now-and-later factor, something I always think about when buying great gifts. You want a wow-factor for the now—AKA, when they open it—and practicality for later. When your family opens their candles, they’ll crack up at the relatable AF social distancing message. But it’s so much more than a gag gift, because they’ll actually enjoy lighting the candle over the next few weeks. Now-and-later factor, nailed.

All Here For The Burn candles have the same notes of mango and guava, and they’re available now for pre-order, shipping November 2 just in time for the holidays. At $35 a pop, you might as well order at least two, since you can get free shipping on orders over $50. You can even contact them about making your own custom candles, so if there’s a specific quote you want candle-ized, you can totally make it happen.

Personally, I’d argue that the Social Distancing From My Family Candle is the absolute perfect gift for this holiday season, and I can’t wait to light it up while I social distance from my own family. If you’re looking for a fun gift and want to support a small business this holiday season, I highly recommend placing an order—and if your fam won’t appreciate the subtle dig, read on for a few other fun candle options below.


For Your Boo

STYLECASTER | here for the burn candle review

Courtesy of Here For The


‘White Tears/Brown Scars,’ by Ruby Hamad book review

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From colonialism to the election of Donald Trump, Hamad takes a closer look at how White women’s performance of victimhood keeps White male patriarchy in place. “It is true to say white women were subordinated in settler-colonial society,” Hamad writes. “It is not true to say they were bystanders to the colonial enterprise, and it is certainly not accurate to imply they were victims of comparable standing to the colonized populations.” The so-called “protection” of White women has been the selling point for atrocities perpetrated by White men, from lynchings to refusing asylum seekers. As the literal bearers of white society, White women were tasked with ideal womanhood. Therefore, their protection, and the subsequent continuation of white supremacy, are part of the same equation. Hamad asserts that by “keeping this false image of impeccable white Womanhood alive, white masculinity was absolved of its terrible crimes and black sexuality could be demonized and mythologized.”

Hamad, who lives in Australia, offers a global perspective as she deftly renders the reach of this “maternal colonialism.” White women’s “care” and commitment to Western notions of civility helmed the mass removal of Indigenous children from their communities in Australia and North America from 1880 to 1940. They lobbied for school segregation, eugenics and the creation of a women’s KKK chapter as active warriors for the continued institutionalization of white supremacy.

Hamad is concerned with how this imbalance of power affects feminism. She argues that the feminist movement can never be equal if the complexity of women of colors’ experiences are not acknowledged. She points out that Aboriginal women, who are 2 percent of the total Australian population, make up 34 percent of the female prison population. Native women in Canada have alleged forced sterilization up until 2019. Hamad calls upon “feminists who prioritize the concerns of white, middle-class women as though they are representative of all women” to recognize their myopic view of womanhood. She claims that beyond clueless, this fallacy of a universal feminism is also toxic, citing writer Audre Lorde’s definition of tokenization: “an empty gesture designed to placate and even silence our demands for more equitable treatment.”

In both public and personal life, Hamad follows the progression from the White damsel in distress trope – a strategically wielded innocence — to the damsel in defense: that quick escalation of defensiveness when white domination is threatened. Obvious recent examples include Amy Cooper, who hysterically called the police on Black birdwatcher Christian Cooper, and “BBQ Becky,” a White woman in Oakland who feigned tears after alerting authorities about a Black family allegedly grilling in an undesignated area.

The referential nature of the collection is a testament to Hamad’s commitment to community. In some instances the book reads more like an oral history. Hamad’s conversations with scholars, journalists, humanitarian employees and other professional women of color about their experiences with white women’s defensiveness and gaslighting in personal and professional settings punctuate the text. These accounts are weighted by data on the effects of racism on


‘Belly of the Beast’ Review: Fighting for Incarcerated Women

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When Kelli Dillon was 24 years old, a doctor at the California facility where she was incarcerated sterilized her without consent. That experience, and the way it galvanized Dillon to bring attention to this human rights violation, anchors Erika Cohn’s timely and bracing new documentary “Belly of the Beast.”

To tell the story of the unconscionable treatment faced by women (a majority of them Black and Latino) in California’s correctional facilities, Cohn (“The Judge”) impressively weaves Dillon’s harrowing narrative with those of Cynthia Chandler, a founder of the prison abolition organization Justice Now, and Corey G. Johnson, a reporter at the Center for Investigative Reporting. Their accounts make up the film’s first half, which investigates modern-day coercive sterilization in California and the history of eugenics in the United States.

In the film’s second half, Cohn focuses on the multipronged fight for justice, following Chandler and Dillon as they try to get an anti-sterilization bill passed and reparations for those who have already been sterilized.

“Belly of the Beast” does not reach for happy endings and is most absorbing in its thesis, which makes the stakes of this battle against human rights violations loud and clear. Whistleblower testimonies, expert commentary and powerful archival footage are well-paced throughout the film and reveal a darker truth when it comes to advocating for the rights of incarcerated people: Those on the frontline are not only fighting bad actors who abuse their power, they are also battling a public that at best does not care and at worst condones it.

Belly of the Beast
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 22 minutes. Watch in theaters or through virtual cinemas. Please consult the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies inside theaters.

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Book Review – RESOLVE: A New Model Of Therapy by Richard Bolstad

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Copyright: 2002

Publisher: Crown House Publishing

Richard Bolstad’s book RESOLVE: A New Model of Therapy is excellent on several levels and is highly recommended for anyone interested in advancing the science of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) or the use of NLP is psychotherapeutic practice. It is extensively referenced, citing research, other NLP developer’s ideas, and non-NLP models of change. This is not a book focused on NLP “pyrotechnics” (his term), rather it is integrative and practical. Bolstad makes connections between NLP and other models of psychotherapy. He presents a perspective on the utility of NLP as an explanatory model, as NLP concepts are useful for explaining what therapist from many orientations do. His RESOLVE model is essentially a well articulated synthesis of the use of the NLP in the context of an NLP informed psychotherapy model.

The book provides a historical perspective on NLP and psychotherapy. Bolstad makes the point that NLP’s roots and assumptions have connections with other forms of psychotherapy. He devotes a chapter providing a clear, science based, linkage between NLP and how the brain functions. Bolstad discusses several aspects of the model (representational systems, submodalities, emotional states, etc.) and relates these to what has been learned in recent years about neurological functioning. For instance, his discussion of the state-dependent qualities of neural encoding and the implications of this for intervention was fascinating.

Bolstad makes the point that research into NLP is still needed to make it more useful for psychotherapists. He notes that since the earliest NLP writings this need has been recognized, “but it was 20 years before the field of NLP itself began to respond effectively to this need.” He goes on to describe several studies published over the last ten years that examined the use of NLP in psychotherapy that found positive results. But research supporting that NLP is successful “in a general sense” has not been enough to draw a great deal of attention to it among psychotherapists. He also notes that few attempts to link NLP techniques and those used in other models of psychotherapy have been made since NLP’s inception, with a notable exception being Practical Magic: A Translation of Basic Neuro-Linguistic Programming into Clinical Psychotherapy by Stephen Lankton, published in 1980. Bolstad notes that it has been more than 20 years since Lankton’s book and “both NLP and psychotherapy have evolved.” Clearly Bolstad feels that more attention to the use of NLP in psychotherapy is warranted. A major accomplishment of this book is to systematically address how NLP fits into psychotherapy as it is practiced today. Among other things, he advocates the incorporation of NLP interventions into the context of the therapist preferred modality to speed the achievement of many specific results.

In my estimation one of the critical points Bolstad makes relates to what type of information constitutes data supporting the validity of NLP as a change technology. While advocating more clinical research, he also contends that “Because much of NLP is a metadiscipline (a way of …