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A 24-year-old YouTuber just married her 61-year-old girlfriend, who people keep mistaking for her grandmother

A 24-year-old YouTuber just married her 61-year-old girlfriend, who people keep mistaking for her grandmother

Julie Eileen

Eileen often appears on Julia’s YouTube channel.

Julia Zelg

  • Julia Zelg and Eileen De Freest met on Tinder, and have never let their 37 year age gap get in the way of their relationship.
  • Zelg is a 24-year-old YouTuber from Brazil, while De Freest is a 61-year-old political social media professional.
  • They told Barcroft TV they get mean comments about their age difference. But their family and friends are supportive of their relationship.
  • In fact, they recently got married, and Zelg’s mother walked her down the aisle.
  • “You have my heart, my mind, my body, and soul for as long as I live” Zelg said in her emotional vows. “I am forever yours, my Eileen, in this life, and for all eternity.”
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Julia Zelg is a 24-year-old YouTuber from Brazil who lives in London. She uploads videos of her holidays, fashion, and makeup on her channel, but also vlogs about her relationship with her girlfriend — 61-year-old political social media professional Eileen De Freest.

The couple met on Tinder and said it was love at first sight, in a video for Barcroft TV.

“I used to think that most older women wouldn’t be that interested in their sex lives, but I guess I was wrong,” Zelg said.

The couple recently got married, which was filmed for a second Barcroft TV mini-documentary. And although the pair are incredibly happy together, they get comments and judgments from people about their relationship, which has a 37 year age gap.

“It’s like kissing my mom,” one person commented. Another asked, “Are you a pedophile?”

Read more: There’s a dark side of polyamory that nobody talks about

Zelg said comments about how their relationship must be for money annoy her, because they pay for everything equally.

“We will not let any haters stop us, because we just love each other,” she said.

Many people even mistake De Freest for Zelg’s mother or grandmother in public.

“I’m not her other, I’m her lover,” she said. “I’m her girlfriend, I’m her partner.”

But it’s clearly only the opinions of the ones closest to the couple which they care about the most. Zelg’s mother, who lives in Brazil, is a few years younger than De Freest, but she supports their relationship fully. She even walked Zelg down the aisle.

According to the couple, it was their clear love for each other that won over family and friends. So when Zelg proposed to De Freest at a concert, they had a ceremony filled with supportive loved ones.

Before the ceremony, Zelg said De Freest would be the “most beautiful bride ever.” De Freest said she was sure Zelg would wear something tasteful and interesting. “I know I’ll love every stitch on her,” she said.

“You have my heart, my mind, my body, and soul for as long as I live” Zelg said in her emotional, self-written vows. “I am forever yours, my Eileen, in this life, and for all eternity.”

Through tears, De Freest’s vows started with saying she would almost certainly outlive Zelg.

“I want you to know that I want you always to be open to love,” she said. “So I know that after me, you will always be wholly loved and appreciated for the entirety of your beautiful life.”

Barcroft TV

After the ceremony, De Freest’s sister-in-law told Barcroft TV that the last thing she expected was for her to be married, but she was really happy for her.

“The age somewhat surprised me,” she said. “But knowing Eileen she loves fun and she loves life, and when she told me about Julia it just seemed like that would be the perfect person for Eileen.”

Zelg’s mother said she was “very happy.”

“Because my daughter is happy as well,” she said. “All the moments were very special for me. So beautiful. I enjoyed everything.”

You can watch the full video of the ceremony below.


Age difference
Age gap

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Akash-Shloka wedding: Coldplay, Chainsmokers perform in bash at St Moritz

Akash-Shloka wedding: Coldplay, Chainsmokers perform in bash at St Moritz

Akash and Shloka are getting married on March 9 at the Jio world Centre in Mumbai.


        Last Updated: February 28, 2019  | 17:12 IST

Akash Ambani and Shloka Mehta’s three-day pre-wedding bash took place in St Moritz-the luxury alpine resort town in Switzerland. The bash witnessed some power-packed musical performances by British rock band Coldplay and American DJ The Chainsmokers on Wednesday. Moreover, the function also included celebrities from Bollywood and cricket world. From Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh to Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt, the Swiss luxury resort was studded with Indian superstars.

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OMG WHAAAAAA! @coldplay performed last night at the Akash-Shloka Wedding Bash, and we can’t keep calm! 💥🔥😍❤️ Drooooooling!!!! ❤️❤️ . . #AkashAmbani #ShlokaMehta #AkuStoleTheShlo #MukeshAmbani #NitaAmbani #IshaAmbani #AnandPiramal #KokilaBenAmbani #AnantAmbani #RadhikaMerchant #AmbaniWedding #StMoritz #Switzerland #AmbaniWeddingBash #BadruttsPalace #India #Celebrations #IndianWedding #celebritywedding #destinationwedding #sangeetnight #chrismartin #coldplay

A post shared by Akash Ambani ❤️ Shloka Mehta (@akustoletheshlo) on

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#ZaheerKhan & #SachinTendulkar in #StMoritz for the #AmbaniBash 💥❤️ . . #AkashAmbani #ShlokaMehta #AkuStoleTheShlo #MukeshAmbani #NitaAmbani #IshaAmbani #AnandPiramal #KokilaBenAmbani #AnantAmbani #RadhikaMerchant #AmbaniWedding #StMoritz #Switzerland #AmbaniWeddingBash #BadruttsPalace #India #Celebrations #IndianWedding #celebritywedding #destinationwedding #sangeetnight #indian #cricket #indiancricket

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In a video Sharukh Khan was seen grooving with Chris Martin in his famous song, Sky full of Stars, while Aamir Khan danced with bride Shloka on ‘Aati Kya Khandala’. Love birds Alia-Ranbir and Malaika-Arjun were also seen together in the wedding bash. Makeup artist Mira Parmar posted a picture with Alia Bhatt, where she was seen wearing cold shoulder golden outfit accentuated with earings from the studio of Carrie Elizabeth.

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#ShahRukhKhan, #NitaAmbani, #AkashAmbani, #ShlokaMehta & #RadhikaMerchant having a goooood good time in St. Moritz ❤️❤️ . . #AkashAmbani #ShlokaMehta #AkuStoleTheShlo #MukeshAmbani #NitaAmbani #IshaAmbani #AnandPiramal #KokilaBenAmbani #AnantAmbani #RadhikaMerchant #AmbaniWedding #StMoritz #Switzerland #AmbaniWeddingBash #BadruttsPalace #India #Celebrations #IndianWedding #celebritywedding #destinationwedding #sangeetnight

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#AamirKhan dancing to the tunes of #AyeKyaBoltiTu with the bride-to-be, #ShlokaMehta at the Sangeet Night is unmissable ❤️❤️ . . #AkashAmbani #ShlokaMehta #AkuStoleTheShlo #MukeshAmbani #NitaAmbani #IshaAmbani #AnandPiramal #KokilaBenAmbani #AnantAmbani #RadhikaMerchant #AmbaniWedding #StMoritz #Switzerland #AmbaniWeddingBash #BadruttsPalace #India #Celebrations #IndianWedding #celebritywedding #destinationwedding #sangeetnight

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@harbhajan3 & @yuvisofficial enjoying their time in @stmoritz ❤️ Guessing there’s no party in the afternoon, hence they’re taking a stroll 😀 . . #akashambani #shlokamehta #yuvrajsingh #harbhajansingh #cricket #bollywood #india #indian #akustoletheshlo #ambaniwedding #prewedding

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Karan Johar, Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, spotted yesterday at the airport. #AkuStoleTheShlo ❤️ . . #AkashAmbani #ShlokaMehta #AkuStoleTheShlo #MukeshAmbani #NitaAmbani #IshaAmbani #AnandPiramal #KokilaBenAmbani #AnantAmbani #RadhikaMerchant #AmbaniWedding #StMoritz #Switzerland #AmbaniWeddingBash #BadruttsPalace #India #Celebrations #IndianWedding #celebritywedding #destinationwedding #sangeetnight #ranbirkapoor #aliabhatt #karanjohar #airport

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Actresses Disha Patani, Jaqueline Fernandez, Vidya Balan and Karishma Kapoor were also dazzling in their glamourous robes.

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@dishapatani for the Ambani pre-wedding celebrations in Switzerland ❄️ Outfit – @rohitbalofficial Jewelry – @azotiique Juttis – @fizzygoblet . . #AkashAmbani #ShlokaMehta #AkuStoleTheShlo #MukeshAmbani #NitaAmbani #IshaAmbani #AnandPiramal #KokilaBenAmbani #AnantAmbani #RadhikaMerchant #AmbaniWedding #StMoritz #Switzerland #AmbaniWeddingBash #BadruttsPalace #India #Celebrations #IndianWedding #celebritywedding #destinationwedding #dishapatani

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However, the show was stolen by Akash and Shloka’s parents as the Sambdhi dance started. Mukesh -Nita Ambani and Russell-Mona Mehta danced to ‘Ae Meri Zoharzabi’ and ‘Waaha Waaha Ramji’.

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Mukesh Ambani & Shloka’s mum, #MonaMehta dance to the tunes of this epic song #Samdhi-#Samdhan from #HumAapkeHainKaun ❤️❤️ Loving the #HumSaathSaathHain vibes from the Ambanis & the Mehtas ✨🤗 Also, don’t miss the host for the night, #RadhikaMerchant, killing it ❤️😍 . . #AkashAmbani #ShlokaMehta #AkuStoleTheShlo #MukeshAmbani #NitaAmbani #IshaAmbani #AnandPiramal #KokilaBenAmbani #AnantAmbani #RadhikaMerchant #AmbaniWedding #StMoritz #Switzerland #AmbaniWeddingBash #BadruttsPalace #India #Celebrations #IndianWedding #celebritywedding #destinationwedding #sangeetnight #danceoff

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The Royals! ❤️❤️ #NitaAmbani #MukeshAmbani . #AkashAmbani #ShlokaMehta #AkuStoleTheShlo #MukeshAmbani #NitaAmbani #IshaAmbani #AnandPiramal #KokilaBenAmbani #AnantAmbani #RadhikaMerchant #AmbaniWedding #StMoritz #Switzerland #AmbaniWeddingBash #BadruttsPalace #India #Celebrations #IndianWedding #celebritywedding #destinationwedding #sangeetnight

A post shared by Akash Ambani ❤️ Shloka Mehta (@akustoletheshlo) on

According to local Swiss media, over 850 guests were part of their Winter Wonderland-themed event and around 200 security people were deployed. Akash and Shloka are getting married on March 9 at the Jio world Centre in Mumbai. The reception is scheduled for March 11.

Akash and Shloka got engaged in June 2018. Shloka is the director of Rosy Blue Foundation and the co-founder of ConnectFor. Akash heads strategy at Reliance Jio.

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Kim Kardashian shuts down nose job rumors once again – AOL

Kim Kardashian shuts down nose job rumors once again – AOL

Kim Kardashianis sick and tired of hearing about her nose job and wants to set the record straight once and for all.

During a makeup masterclass with her makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, the reality star responded to the rumors that she’s gotten a nose job.

“I never had my nose done,” ET online reported she said. “Everyone thought I did, and I said, ‘Wait until I have kids because your real features come out.’”

According to Dedivanovic, she hides the small bump on her nose using strategic contouring. She added, “Pictures, I swear, I look at them and would be like, ‘Wow, the bump looks so much bigger in some pictures than in others.”

PHOTOS: See Kim Kardashian’s transformation through the years


Kim Kardashian style transformation

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Kim Kardashian rocked all denim with the entire Kardashian and Jenner crew!

At the very beginning of Kim’s red carpet career, she didn’t know how to properly dress for the occasion, like with this uber-casual jean and top combo.

Can you imagine Kim Kardashian stepping out like this today? We can’t!

With then-boyfriend Ray J, Kim Kardashian changed her makeup style from event to event.

With then-BFF Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian hit the red carept in a strange sweater top.

With a form-fitting brown dress, all eyes were on Kim K on the red carpet.

We’re far from fans of this strange outfit–and those heels! The bow-tie straps are the look’s strangest feature.

Kim K continued to rock super casual looks at event, like this unflattering nude-colored dress.

Kim Kardashian upped her red carpet game with this spring-y fun green and blue stripped creation.

We can’t get past Kim’s over the top sunglasses and super huge hooped earrings.

Kim K got glam with step-dad Bruce Jenner on the red carpet

Flaunting her curves in this super tight red dress, Kim K hit the red carpet with gold handbag in tow.

Kim seems to have gone a little too crazy with the self-tanner!

We’re not sure how to describe this bedazzled cream dress, but it’s definitely not a hit.

Nope, this outfit wasn’t for Halloween! (It was in April, after all.)

This Kim K outfit was all types of wrong, and we’re not a fan of the sunglasses on the runway trend.

Kim loved to wear her sunglasses and handbags on the red carpet!

Appearing at the Badgley Mischka runway show, Kim K stunned with this high-fashion pink dress without a pair of sunglasses or handbag in sight!

Upping her glam factor, Kim K rocked this gorgeous gold mini-dress. We aren’t a fan of her prom night hair, though.

We began to see glimpses of the Kim K style we began to know and love at this event! A flattering silver top, the tiniest bit of midriff, and a shiny high-waisted skirt put Kim in the right style direction.

We loved seeing all of the Kardashian ladies together, but we wish they had dressed better!

Kim’s makeup was bright and fresh, lifting her graphic dress to new style heights.

As soon was we thought Kim was far away from super-casual red carpet looks, she walked out in this purple sundress.

Kim went full-on glam for the 48th Golden Nymph Awards.

We hope this event was a pool party!

Kim K loves her button-up white shirts, and in this look, the reality star is rocking the questionable look to its full effect.

Simple and elegant in a red gown and nude heels.

Kim’s portrait for her stint on “Dancing With The Stars”!

Kim’s rocking the self-tanner look once again!

Elegant in a red dress and complementary gold accessories, Kim looked a lot different without her signature hair down.

All dressed up for the 14th Annual Make-A-Wish Ball, Kim glows in deep olive green.

Kim hit the beach in this black bikini with gold studded accents.

Kim stepped out with lil sis’ Khloe in a casual tank and cardigan combo.

Kim pulled out the bangs for the 2008 “Video Game Awards.”

Wearing a lovely silver dress, Kim let her long locks flow.

Kim K’s signature sleek, long pony tail came out in full force.

Kim attended the 51st Annual Grammy Awards in this light blue-silver creation.

All dolled up in NYC, Kim was pictured in this beautiful cream and navy blue mini-dress.

Kim always looks amazing in all black.

The signature long ponytail is spotted again!

Stunning in all white with a peek of black with her shoes and clutch.

We couldn’t resist this close-up on Kim’s impeccable makeup.

Going professional chic, Kim rocked a blazer on the red carpet.

Sheer is always the way to go–and this gray dress was a great style choice.

This 3-dimensional dress was a definite style hit.

What could Kim be trying to say to us? We think she agrees with our love for her zebra print dress!

Kim rocked the perfect hot pink pout for the film premiere “Orphan.”

With an enviable summer tan, Kim looked flawless with her new blonde locks.

Less than a month later she was back to brunette!

Kim’s look was super sexy–but what’s going on with her hair?

Kim went glam in sexy gold for the MTV VMA’s.

Kim knew she couldn’t go wrong in this all white stunner at the Emmy Awards.

Another stunning all white look!

Kim celebrated her 29th birthday in a super glittery look.

We’re obsessed with this red leopard print dress!

A sexy and simple black and white outfit is signature Kardashian.

Kim stepped out in this sexy side-slit dress.

Sheer leopard print? Yes, please!

This fringe-tastic nude dress perfectly complemented Kim’s sexy sun-kissed tan.

Kim let her luscious locks flow at the launch of her fragrance.

Back to sunglasses on the red carpet.

Kim Kardashian attended the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in this black and cream look.

Kim stunned in this gold and white dress at E!’s 20th birthday party celebration.

Kim looked gorgeous even wearing just this racecar driver suit.

And officially, the era of Kim Kardashian full-on glam began.

Two of our favorite stylish sisters!

Kim’s fun and flirty printed summer dress was instantly elevated with her black blazer.

We’re seriously obsessed with Kim’s sexy ponytail.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2011 front row with none other than Selena Gomez.

All 3 sisters look absolutely impeccable!

Kim rocked this uber-glam off the shoulder look for the 2010 Teen Choice Awards.

Sleek and elegant in all black.

Red carpet perfection for the 63nd Annual Emmy Awards.

Seriously, how can we get Kim;s hair?

Kim K visited Munich and donned traditional German garb.

Look at those fringe-tastic heels!

A gray Birkin goes with anything.

The two sisters go for a neutral palette out and about in NYC.

Courtside, Kim looked glam in all black.

Kim Kardashian rung in the New Year at the Tao in the absolutely perfect glitzy dress.

A sexy sheer cutout is always the way to go.

Kim Kardashian rocked this purple dress at the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Kim K rocked this iconic gold glam dress at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.

Kim looked radiant in deep navy blue.

Nothing hotter than a black and white leather combo.

Stunning eye makeup pulled together an already stunning outfit.

Making an appearance with then-beau Kris, Kim rocked the red carpet.

Stepping out in a sexy leather jumpsuit, Kim K spent some quality time with designer Vera Wang.

A gold and khaki combo is the ultimate glam mix.

Kim rocked a fringe-y black skirt at the 2011 Teen Choice Awards.

Kim showed off the beautiful, crafted back of her dress on the red carpet.

Leopard print is always the ultimate way to go.

Kim knows how to shake up the normal poses.

Glamorous. What else can we say?

Top knot perfection front row at New York Fashion Week.

Kim’s always partial to rocking huge hoop earrings.

Kim gets down to business in a blazer.

Top knot takes the red carpet.

Spotted again with then-beau Kris Humphries.

Post-divorce filin, Kim rocked a simple braided ponytail.

Kim pulled out the bangs for her New Year’s Eve bash.

On that rare occasion Kim K is spotted in pants, she usually opts for the super-chic high-waisted variety.

From the cutouts to the cuff, Kim looked absolutley gorgeous at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation’s event.

Combining two of our favorite trends: floral and sheer, Kim looked radiant on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno”!

Kim Kardashian looked gorgeous in Valentino.

We’re lovin’ the hot pink heels.

Kim K looked gorgeous in emerald green at the 2012 White House Correspondents’ Assocation dinner.

We’re seriously obsessed with Kim’s boxy Versace ensemble.

Kim stunned in this red floral dress and strappy, sexy black heels.

Kim turns to two of her staples: all white and a top knot.

A white top and skinny leather jeans.

Kim’s outfit was ornate as can be while beau Kanye took the casual route.

Tan on tan for Kim in Cannes.

Showing some leg Kim went uber-glam for amfAR’s Cinemas Against AIDS.

Kim attended the BET Awards and rocked her usual, all white, while her seatmate Nicki took a different route.

An unusual combo, white and neon green, but Kim pulled off the look perfectly.

Kim Kardashian rocked NYC with this strappy black and white dress.

Kim K went glam in deep green.

Training for motherhood with adorable nephew Mason Disick.

A gorgeous couple on the red carpet.

Kim K went as a mermaid for Halloween 2012.

Spotted in the Rolls Royce: Kim and Kanye looking as glam as can be.

Kim K begins showing off her pregnancy style.

Sexy lace was a definite motif for Kim K’s pregnancy style.

Forget black, white is the new black when it comes to flattering looks!

Black and white style combo.

Kim begins to rock her baby bump–as well as her bangs!

This bejeweled gray dress is super cute.

Kim K rocked a little black dress for the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Flanked by the police, Kim attended a divorce hearing in a printed white and silver frock.

With younger sister Kylie, pregnant Kim held down her style.

Forgoing traditional monochromatic colors, Kim went all bright teal.

Black dress, white shoes, no problem.

The infamous Met Gala dress!

The beautiful couple dressed down.

Post-pregnany, Kim steps out for Paris Fashion Week looking gorgeous and rocking this enviable camel coat.

Daring Spring 2014 Givenchy in Paris!



Since these rumors have been floating around for some time now, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star took to Twitter to clarify her statement after the Daily Mail tweeted, “Kim Kardashian again insists she has never had a nose job as she explains that her ‘real features’ came out after having North and Saint.”

She responded that she didn’t say her real features came out after having kids. “I said you will see when I have kids, they will have the same nose as me,” she Tweeted on February 13.

This mini Twitter feud comes only a couple weeks after the publication published a story that she was having a “bad skin day.” She quickly clapped back on the social media platform, explaining it was a psoriasis flare-up on her face.

Kim isn’t the only one in the family that’s made news because of a nose job. Back in July 2018, the Khloe Kardashian revealed that one day she wanted to get a nose job because she thinks about it every day. “But I’m scared so for now it’s all about contour,” she continued in an Instagram comment.

It’s no secret the Kardashian women know how to contour to their advantage.


Kim Kardashian and her kids

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NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 14: Kim Kardashian, Jonathan Cheban and North West go on a ice cream date with a young friend on June 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 14: Kim Kardashian with her daughter North West and Jonathan Cheban are seen leaving Mercer Hotel after lunch at Mercer Kitchen on June 14, 2018 in New York, New York. (Photo by Alessio Botticelli/GC Images)

Welcome to the good life…

You don’t even understand how many lollipop bribes this pic cost me…but it was so worth. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. I’m the luckiest mom in the world to have these three babies in my life!

Easter pics are up on my app 🐰🐣 📷 @marcushyde

I don’t think you really understand how hard it is to take a good family pic. This was all we got before all three kids started crying. I think I cried too

My little princess! I love having these memories. Thank you @stevenkleinstudio for this amazing shoot

My baby girl is so big now!



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Lipstick In Kindergarten? South Korea’s Beauty Industry Targets Kids

Lipstick In Kindergarten? South Korea’s Beauty Industry Targets Kids

Beauty brands in South Korea are offering “healthier” cosmetics for kids such as nontoxic lip crayons.

Last year in kindergarten, Yang Hye-ji developed her morning routine. Uniform? Check. Homework? Check.

Makeup? Definitely.

“Makeup makes me look pretty,” the 7-year-old said on her second visit to the ShuShu & Sassy beauty spa in Seoul.

She was wrapped in a child-size pink robe and wearing a bunny hairband. Her face was gently touched up with a puff. Her lips got a swipe of pink gloss.

South Korea’s cosmetics industry, known as K-beauty, has become an Asian powerhouse and global phenomenon for its rigorous step-by-step regimens.

But exacting beauty norms also put enormous pressure on South Korean women, making the country one of the world’s centers for plastic surgery. And increasingly, the beauty industry is looking at younger and younger girls.

That is stirring concerns that touch on many core social debates in South Korea: how much a society should value appearance, whether messages about beauty crowd out other aspirations for young girls, and whether it’s right to add even more pressure to an already stress-packed childhood of long school hours and make-or-break exams.


Makeup makes me look pretty,” a 7-year-old said on her second visit to a beauty spa in Seoul.

“The shiny cartoon heroines young girls admire are fully made up from head to toe,” said Yoon-Kim Ji-yeong, a professor at the Institute of Body and Culture at Seoul’s Konkuk University. “As they put on the makeup and put on the dress to imitate the characters, girls internalize that a woman’s success is closely associated with beauty.”

Advertisers are not subtle.

“I watch my mom and I follow her. I am growing up today,” a billboard advertisement selling makeup kits for 6-year-olds proclaims, with a photo of a young girl in school uniform applying lipstick.

A YouTube video of a 7-year-old putting on lipstick, titled “I want to wear makeup like mom,” has attracted 4.3 million views, while similar videos show young girls sharing their “elementary school makeup routine” and “unboxing my Hello Kitty makeup kit.”

ShuShu Cosmetics is a pioneer in K-beauty’s outreach to children. Started in 2013, it operates 19 boutiques across South Korea, offering “healthier” cosmetics for kids, such as water-soluble nail polish, and nontoxic lip crayons in a range of “edible” colors.

There are sticker earrings and tattoos, “sun-whipping” cream cleanser, “fancy girl” soap and goat-milk shampoo carrying the slogan: “I’m not a baby.”


In the spa and beauty parlor, girls ages 4 to 10 can enjoy a spa experience for $25 to $35.

In the spa and beauty parlor, girls ages 4 to 10 can enjoy a spa experience for $25 to $35, featuring a foot bath, a foot and calf massage, a face mask and makeup, and a manicure and pedicure.

“The motto of our beauty spas is that children can connect with their moms while playing with them,” said Grace Kim, a manager at ShuShu Cosmetics. “Our products are safe for pregnant women as well.”

This is hardly a trend that is exclusive to South Korea. Kylie Jenner has built a cosmetics empire worth an estimated $900 million largely targeting teenage girls, while child beauty vloggers are also popular in the United States and elsewhere.

For decades, academics of all stripes have pored over the impact of pressure on teenagers and young women in the West to conform with unreasonable standards for appearance and body type.

But such concerns in South Korea also now include girls so young they can barely read the packaging on the beauty products aimed at the kindergarten crowd or younger.

South Korea is home to one of the world’s top 10 beauty industries, worth in excess of $10 billion, with per capita cosmetics spending of $45 in 2017, higher than the $37 Americans spend and a global average of $21, according to market research firm Mintel.

It has one of the highest rates of plastic surgery in the world, with one in three women ages 19 to 29 saying they have undergone procedures, especially on their eyelids, according to a Gallup survey. It also has the world’s highest number of plastic surgeons per capita, according to a 2017 study by the International Society of Plastic Surgery.

K-beauty is also becoming popular in the United States. Last month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., shared her skin care routine inspired by K-beauty’s elaborate multistep skin care regimen involving an arsenal of products.

ShuShu is already selling its kids’ cosmetics in Singapore and Thailand, and plans to expand to the United States and elsewhere.

The kids’ beauty market is expanding as makeup is promoted as a “new play culture” for children, said Lee Hwa-jun, an expert on South Korea’s beauty industry at Mintel. “Cosmetic companies in South Korea are increasingly interested in children as potential new consumers.”

Relatively small start-up companies are leading the way, Lee says. “Cosmetic giants also show interest in expanding their customer base to younger women, but they are carefully weighing the pros and cons, as targeting children could stir a backlash.”

Some women are already fighting back.


South Korean brand ShuShu is already selling its kids’ cosmetics in Singapore and Thailand

Freelance makeup artist Seo Ga-ram declared that she would refuse clients’ requests to apply cosmetics to child models.

“I found it absolutely bizarre that actual makeup kits have come in place of toys that children play with,” she wrote in a Facebook post in May. “Please stop consuming images of children posing with heavily colored cheeks, red lips and curled hair.”

Nevertheless, the trend appears impossible to stop, said Kim Ju-duck, a professor of beauty studies at Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul, with the media increasingly showing images of young girls wearing makeup, and with cosmetics accessible to preteens and younger children.

He surveyed 288 girls in elementary school in 2016 and found that 42 percent wore makeup. He said the proportion has risen since then.

At the PriPara Kids Café on the outskirts of Seoul, girls ages 4 to 9 can dress up like their favorite anime character, enjoy a spa and have light makeup applied. They can bounce on a trampoline, shop for food in a play store, strut down a catwalk, perform their favorite K-pop song in a recording booth and dance in a mirror-lined studio.

PriPara positions itself as a “fun-filled space for children to learn beauty and grooming in a hazard-free environment,” said the cafe’s manager, Moon Young-sook.

“Girls naturally like to play with their mom’s makeup,” she said. “Rather than putting on Mom’s lipstick laden with chemicals, the pretend makeup here is a safer way to fulfill girls’ dreams.”

Kwon ji-hyun, 36, brought her 6-year-old daughter and her 2-year-old son on a recent visit. She said the space reflects “a girl’s fantasies, a girl’s psyche.”

“It does take children too early into gender roles,” she said. “But my daughter doesn’t have a skewed gender role. I didn’t raise her to have a very set idea about gender roles.”

But critics see a more damaging trend.

“From K-pop divas to K-beauty cosmetics, the market capitalizing on women’s objectification has become a hyper-saturated ‘red ocean’ in South Korea,” said Yoon-Kim of Konkuk University, using a term describing an existing market with cutthroat competition.

“The market sees a ‘blue ocean’ for expansion in younger customers, ready to instigate and monetize their insecurities about their appearance.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Money Diaries, Couples Edition: A Week In Durham, NC

Money Diaries, Couples Edition: A Week In Durham, NC

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.
Oh, hey, did you hear we launched a podcast? Check out Money Diaries: The Podcast, and subscribe today so you don’t miss any episode!

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, we’re talking about relationships and money. Today, we’re excited to share the Money Diary of a couple living in Durham, NC. C. is a development coordinator making $43,650, and her husband, J., is a research scientist making $94,300. Together, they have a $137,950 joint salary. This week, they spend some of their money on Girl Scout cookies.

Ed. note: This OP mentions that she lost a family member to suicide. If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.

Occupation: Development Coordinator

Industry: Higher Education

Age: 30

Location: Durham, NC

Salary: $43,650

Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $2,165 once a month

Occupation: Research Scientist

Industry: Engineering/Higher Education

Age: 31

Salary: $94,300

Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $4,265

Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: $1,331 (This includes our home insurance and property taxes. We also pay an additional $500 monthly toward the principal.)

Car Payment: $350 (We pay an additional $250-$350 monthly toward the principal. We own our second car outright.)

Student Loan Payment: $0 (C.: I received scholarships and grants for my undergrad, and my mom covered the rest. My grad-school tuition was cheap, so I didn’t need loans. J. received a full ride for his undergrad degree, and his PhD was covered in exchange for research and teaching.)

Utilities: $250

Internet: $67

Cell Phones: $60 for both of us

Netflix & Hulu: $24

Spotify Premium Family: $16

Security System: $15

New York Times: $13

Health, Dental & Vision Insurance: $100 for both of us

Parking: $34 for both of us

HSA: $35.83 for both of us

Life Insurance Premium: $31.08 for both of us

Retirement: $550 to C.’s Roth 403b and $1,200 to J.’s Roth 403b. Our employer contributes 8.9% of the first $64,000 of salary and 13.2% in excess of $64,000.

Savings: $1,000-$1,500 (Our goal is to save six months’ salary as an emergency fund, and then build from there. We have a separate savings account we use for travel.)

Annual Expenses

Car Insurance: $1,600 for both cars

Amazon Prime: $120

Headspace: $57

Charitable Giving: $500-$750 (We try to increase this amount each year.)

In a sentence or two, please explain your couples spending philosophy.

Our spending philosophy is very basic: save first, spend later. We use the snowball method for debt, paying off the smaller stuff first like credit cards (usually, we just use those for the reward points and pay them off monthly) and then push as much as we can toward the bigger stuff like the car and the house. We have a basic monthly budget we stick to, but we don’t deprive ourselves of anything if we can afford it that month.

We combined our finances when we moved in together nine years ago. At the time, it made sense, because I (C.) wasn’t working full-time during grad school, and J. was making a decent income from his PhD stipend. We’ve never had a problem with our finances, since we agree on the basics, and we’ll sit down a few times a year to go over everything together. It’s definitely an “our money” mentality with us.

7:20 a.m. — I turn off my alarm and roll out of bed. I have never been a morning person, and I don’t understand how people can pop out of bed ready for the day. I run through my morning routine: skin care, feed the dogs and let them outside, pack lunch, make breakfast, do makeup and hair. Today I make a smoothie to take to work with frozen banana and strawberries, Greek yogurt, almond milk, and a handful of kale. Dogs get treats and I’m off.

9:30 a.m. — I’m a creature of routine. I run my daily reports, make a cup of coffee from the office Keurig, and refill my water bottle. I’m ready to settle in and tackle my morning emails.

12 p.m. — Lunch! Today it’s leftover pizza, cauliflower with hummus, and strawberries. I watch Good Mythical Morning and catch up on other YouTube videos. (Looking at you, Amber Ruffin.)

2:20 p.m. — A coworker stops by my office to deliver two boxes of Girl Scout cookies I ordered from her daughters. I celebrate Girl Scout cookie season every year — I don’t understand why we don’t send greeting cards and decorate our houses in appreciation of Thin Mints. $8

5:05 p.m. — The parking lot is a 15-minute walk to and from my office. I usually walk with my husband (we work at the same university and carpool most days), but he’s out of town, so I call my dad to keep me company. J. and I live about 1,000 miles away from our families, so phone calls are key. We talk mostly about the weather and our dogs.

6:15 p.m. — I play with the dogs outside as soon as I get home. After taking off my pants and makeup (hello, 30), I make dinner while listening to My Favorite Murder. I’m cooking pasta with shrimp, broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes. We eat mostly vegetarian, but about once a week we have fish or seafood. I don’t stick to a strict diet of any kind because, duh, fried chicken. It’s mostly about cooking healthy(ish) things that we actually like.

7 p.m. — I’m finally on the couch! I watch a few episodes of The Magicians while working on a cross-stitch project for a friend. J. is coming home tonight, and I’m excited to see him!

10 p.m. — After showering and my bedtime skin-care routine, I settle in for a meditation. I’ve been meditating for a few months, and I’m really enjoying it. My mom committed suicide in 2017, and it took a huge toll on me. My parents divorced when I was in high school, so my brother and I had to deal with everything on our own. I spent most of 2018 focusing on my mental and emotional health, and meditating has helped a lot with my sleep. I finish my book (Eternal Life by Dara Horn) and wait up for J.

6:45 a.m. — I wake up 15 minutes before my alarm in a hotel in Dallas. I’m here for a funding meeting for work. This is the final day of a three-day meeting, and it will be nice not having to go to another 8 a.m. presentation tomorrow. I get food from the breakfast buffet at the hotel restaurant before the meeting. ($16.52 expensed)

9:30 a.m. — We have a short break after the first set of presentations. I usually don’t drink coffee, but these meetings make it a little necessary, especially on the last day. Luckily, there’s free coffee in the lobby.

12:30 p.m. — We have a few hours before the last talk, so I grab some classic Texas BBQ with a couple of my coworkers. I get the BBQ ribs with coleslaw and potato salad. The ribs are very good and I’m considering bringing a rack back to our meeting, but some might call that unprofessional. We are intrigued by the “drive-thru daiquiri” place next door, but somehow resist the temptation. ($12.91 expensed)

2 p.m. — We stop at Dealey Plaza on the way back to the hotel to see the JFK memorial and historical site. It’s one of those places you see in a lot of photos, and it’s a little surreal walking around the area. I pay for parking. $7

5 p.m. — My coworkers and I call a Lyft to the airport. ($30.30 expensed)

6 p.m. — I’m walking around the airport terminal looking for some dinner before the flight. Despite my praises, my coworkers bail on Whataburger. Don’t mind me, I’ll just enjoy my burger in peace. ($12.43 expensed)

10:45 p.m. — We finally land at RDU. The flight wasn’t too bad (nonstop flights are the best), but I’m ready to get home to see C. and the pups. It will be nice sleeping in my own bed. I’m not really looking forward to waking up early to go to work tomorrow, though.

11 p.m. — I take the airport shuttle to my car with a few other people, and I’m the first one to get dropped off! That never happens. It’s a nice surprise after a long day. I pay for parking and head home. ($20.40 expensed)

11:45 p.m. — I make it home without any trouble. After saying hello (and goodnight) to the dogs and C., I drop my things on the floor, take a shower, and hit the bed.

7:40 a.m. — I stay in bed for as long as possible before forcing myself to brave the cold. J. and I catch up on his trip and our dogs’ adventures while we get ready for work. I have a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast and pack my lunch. Let’s go!

9:40 a.m. — There’s a fire drill as soon as I arrive, so my morning starts later than usual. After the drill ends, I buy a small caramel latte. I don’t buy a lot of coffee since we have a Keurig at work and a Nespresso at home, but sometimes I treat myself. $4.72

11 a.m. — I get a call from my brother, which immediately makes me think someone has died. (We usually communicate via GIFs.) He asks if I’ll write a letter of appreciation to his wife for a women’s retreat she’s attending. I immediately agree because 1) I love her, and 2) I think it’s important for women to empower one another. I make a mental note to write it this weekend, and also to text her about protein powder.

11:45 a.m. — My brother texts me a GIF of Barack Obama. I text one back of Michael Scott. We get each other.

12:15 p.m. — Break for lunch. I heat up pasta from last night and start on a new book (The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood). My reading goal for the year is 45 books, so I try to squeeze in a read whenever I can.

1:20 p.m. — I’ve been meaning to try protein powder in my smoothies, so I text my sister-in-law about her recommendations. She’s a dietician and a retired competitive CrossFitter (a.k.a. total badass), so I trust what she says. Sure enough, she delivers and gives me a coupon code for 20% off. I order a two-pound bottle of vanilla whey protein, which I assume will last until the end of time. $49.85

4:05 p.m. — It’s a quiet day and I’ve finished my work, so I do some research on Scotland. J. and I are taking a trip there in May with two of my best friends, and I CANNOT WAIT. Travel is really important to us, and we try to take a big trip every year with little trips sprinkled throughout. I also see that the government shutdown has ended (for now). It’s about damn time.

6:30 p.m. — We got paid today, so I pay bills and make our meal plan and shopping lists while J. makes dinner. I actually really enjoy working out our finances, since such a big part of my job deals with money. We veg on the couch watching The Great British Baking Show. We recently discovered that J. loves baking shows and are burning through this series.

10:15 p.m. — I shower and go through my skin-care routine (treating myself to an overnight face mask tonight), then browse on my phone and read my book until it’s lights out. I’m so glad it’s finally the weekend!

7 a.m. — Yep, waking up early after late travel is not great. Silver lining: It’s Friday. Also, I get to sit on the couch with the pups while I eat Honey Nut Cheerios. Definitely could be worse.

11:45 a.m. — Slightly early lunch today. I almost always bring lunch from home. Today I have leftover pasta and an apple. I need to eat fairly quickly, because I have to run to our other lab location to grab some supplies before a meeting back on campus at 2.

4 p.m. — The first day back after a trip is always slow, especially when the weekend is on the horizon. We’re getting some things done in the lab, but as the day winds down, I’m looking forward to a quiet night in with C., the pups, and sweatpants.

5:50 p.m. — We make it home from work and spend the remaining sliver of daylight playing with the pups in our backyard. After a week of eating out, I’m looking forward to a nice home-cooked meal. I’m making polenta-baked eggs with corn, tomatoes, and fontina from a Smitten Kitchen cookbook. First time making it, hope it goes well!

8:40 p.m. — The TV remote quit working. I tell C. the story about how the first TV in my bedroom growing up didn’t have a remote, so I used a yardstick to change the channel from my bed. We’d need a bigger stick for our living room, but luckily Amazon carries the same model and it will get here on Sunday. It’s not like we watch anything besides what we stream with our Chromecast. $6.70

10:30 p.m. — While C. gets ready for bed, I snuggle on the couch with the dogs and watch some Super Mario World speed runs on YouTube. (I swear it’s relaxing in its own way.) Tomorrow I get to sleep in for the first time in a couple of weeks! Assuming the dogs don’t want to get up early, which they probably will.

9:30 a.m. — I don’t usually wake up this early during the weekend, but I’m awake, so here we are. Today is an errand day, since we’ve been filling our weekends with fun things and we’ll be out of town next weekend.

11:20 a.m. — Oh no. There are Girl Scouts outside of Petco. I buy a box of Caramel deLites because they are So. Damn. Good. $4

12:45 p.m. — We can’t avoid it any longer. We have to go to…the mall. We stop by Paper Source first, to pick up Valentine’s Day cards for my lady friends. It has been really important for us to build a strong group of friends, and every year I send out love notes to my people. I pick up a box of cards by my favorite illustrator, Jane Mount, and a nice set of writing paper by my other favorite illustrator, Anna Bond. I also pick out Valentine’s Day cards for J. and my dad. $43.86

1:15 p.m. — Our next stop is Victoria’s Secret. I need to buy some new underwear, and I’m reminded of how much I hate this place. I pick them out as quickly as possible, with poor J. trailing behind me. $30.64

1:35 p.m. — On a whim, I go into Lush for some free samples. I’m trying to buy more cruelty-free products, but it’s harder than I expected. I’ve heard Lush has good shampoo, but I don’t want to pay $30 to find out. (My hair is very temperamental.) Luckily, the woman I talk with is amazing and hooks me up with three shampoos and a conditioner to try. J. waits outside because the smell gives him a headache. He’s starting to droop. Our next stop is Michael’s, where I quickly get thread and a photo frame. $14.35

3 p.m. — Thank the heavens, we are home. We put away everything and take the dogs outside for a good romp. Our dogs are ready, and they go nuts. One of our priorities when we were shopping for houses was a big fenced-in backyard, and this house really delivered. We groom one of them until he is fluffy and fabulous, while the other basks in the sun like the goddess she is. I seriously love my family.

7:15 p.m. — We get dinner with a friend at a Mexican restaurant, and then J. and I head over to DSW to continue our crazy day of errands. I want to get some “tennis shoes that aren’t tennis shoes.” After what feels like forever, I find some Converse All Stars that are surprisingly comfortable. I get a pair in burgundy and a pair in dark gray. J. finds a pair of actual tennis shoes from Nike that he likes, so we get those, too, along with Steve Madden boot socks for me and some Adidas crew socks for J. I have a coupon that gets us $60 off, and we somehow get an extra $10 off on top of that. $156.84

10 p.m. — I’m exhausted, and I have some laundry I need to fold before bed. I take a shower and do my skin-care routine — cleanse with Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash, moisturize with Vitamin E Nourishing Night Cream, and apply Drops of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask, all from The Body Shop. I stay up too late reading my book.

9 a.m. — Thankfully, the pups let me sleep in a bit this morning. This is about as late as I like to sleep in on any given day — I’m definitely more of a morning person than C. is. I get up, let the dogs out, and give them some breakfast.

10:30 a.m. — We have brunch at one of our favorite weekend spots, The Refectory Cafe. We like it because it’s never too busy on a weekend morning and their specials are always delicious. C. and I both get the stuffed breakfast burrito, mine with pork and hers without. I could eat a million of these and never get tired of them. She also gets some coffee to jumpstart the day. $32.37

11:15 a.m. — We head over to Petco to pick up dog food. The dogs go through a bag every couple of months. Gotta pay the puppy tax. $40.99

11:30 a.m. — Target is next door (yay…), so we stop in to pick up a few things. Somehow we are focused today and don’t deviate from our list. We get shampoo, face wash, eyeliner, contact solution, and a new pillow for C. I pick up the new Super Mario Bros. game for the Nintendo Switch with some of my fantasy football winnings #humblebrag. $117.33

12:15 p.m. — I haven’t washed my car in who knows how long, and it desperately needs it after the wintery weather and cross-country driving we did over Christmas. We stop at the automatic car wash on our way to the mall. $8

12:40 p.m. — While C.’s not looking, I pick up a nice Valentine’s Day card for her at Paper Source. $6.40

2:15 p.m. — After surviving the mall, we head to our last stop, Harris Teeter, for our weekly grocery shopping. C. typically makes the list and I run to the store on weekend mornings. Today we tackle it together. We pick up produce (greens, bell peppers, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocados, fruit, and edamame), canned beans, shrimp, tortillas, eggs, coconut oil, cereal, and cheese. $67.22

5:30 p.m. — An early-ish brunch plus a full day of shopping means we need a big early dinner. We meet one of our friends at a Mexican restaurant and order irresponsibly large burritos (steak fajita for me and vegetarian for C.), a 36 oz. beer for me, and a strawberry margarita for C. We pay for our friend’s dinner as well. We see him often enough that it will even out at some point. $64.35

8:20 p.m. — We stop by Home Depot on the way home to get some new bolts and washers to fix a leaky toilet tank. This is the second one in our house to have this type of leak. It’s an easy fix and something I don’t mind doing. $5.89

10 a.m. — I roll out of bed, put in my contacts, and snuggle with J. and the dogs on the couch while we plan out our day. We have some friends coming over tonight, so we need to pick up the house and put away all of the crap we bought yesterday.

11 a.m. — After yesterday, I’m looking forward to a day at home. I cleaned the house last weekend as a surprise for J., so we don’t need to do much today. (We split chores 50/50, but he had a deadline at work and I had podcasts to catch up on.) I throw in a load of laundry and do some ironing while listening to Myths and Legends. I spend most of the day picking up around the house, doing laundry, and writing a letter to my SIL. I try my hand at the new video game J. bought, and it’s pretty fun.

5 p.m. — Our friends arrive! We have a close group of friends who are in similar situations (no families within an eight-hour drive), so we try to see each other pretty often. We’ve been working our way through the Harry Potter movies, and it’s time for Order of the Phoenix. Our dogs get some belated Christmas presents from their dog BFF, which they immediately start to destroy. One couple brought dinner and the other brought snacks, and everyone brought beer. We chow down on pesto tortellini and a variety of dips while we watch the movie.

9 p.m. — We catch up with our friends a little more. One of them is defending his dissertation soon, which is exciting, but it’s likely that they will move within the next few months, which makes us all sad. The hardest part about being in grad school (or being friends with grad students) is that life can feel very temporary. Even now we don’t feel 100% settled, although we’re both out of school and working full-time. After they leave, I head upstairs to take a shower and snuggle in to read. I’m not ready to go back to work tomorrow!

8:50 a.m. — The dogs tried to get me up earlier, but I was able to calm them back down and sleep in for an extra hour. I head downstairs to get a bowl of Life cereal for me and a bowl of delicious dog food for them.

10:30 a.m. — I fix the leaky toilet in the master bathroom. Although it’s just a minor fix, I love getting to do something hands-on and productive around the house. Even if I complain sometimes about the typical home maintenance, deep down, I enjoy it.

11:45 a.m. — C. and I clean out the fridge for lunch. I have a couple of slices of cheese pizza while she finishes off the pasta. We catch up on some YouTube videos by Sorted Food and The Try Guys.

2 p.m. — After vacuuming and cleaning our shower, I take one dog for a long walk, hoping that she’ll wear herself out before our friends arrive. She loves guests, but the other dog is still getting used to people. We adopted him about six months ago from a rescue, and we’re still trying to convince him not to be scared of everything. He stays home to keep C. company and play with his toys.

10 p.m. — Everyone seemed to have a good time this evening. It’s always nice having good company and good food. I clean up the kitchen while C. goes upstairs to shower. I suppose it’s time to get ready for bed and start a new week tomorrow. Weekends are never long enough.

7:40 p.m. — Oh no, my alarm is already going off. I struggle out of bed and through my morning routine. I have a bowl of Oatmeal Squares and pack my lunch. Mondays.

11:20 a.m. — Another coworker drops off two boxes of Girl Scout cookies I bought from her granddaughter. This is getting a little embarrassing. $8

12:30 p.m. — Lunch is short today because I needed to finish up an editing project. I eat the soy “chicken” sandwich that I brought in with Wheat Thins, carrots, cauliflower, and hummus. Then I flip through a Scotland travel guide and browse Target’s website. I buy a pair of ankle rain boots because they didn’t have my size in the store. $25.52

2:45 p.m. — This day has flown by, mostly from putting out the Monday fires. My boss and I huddle for an impromptu meeting after we get the news that we’re expected to raise more money next fiscal year than we originally intended. I drag myself to the kitchen for a cup of terrible coffee, and (surprise, surprise) someone has left a box of Girl Scout cookies to share. I snag two. I feel no shame.

6 p.m. — J. and I debrief on our way home. I love carpooling because we get a little more time to spend together away from distractions. It’s my turn to make dinner tonight, and we’re having beer-roasted cauliflower tacos with coleslaw and guacamole. We also finish off one of those terrible but addicting cheese dips left over from last night’s movie dinner. I listen to an episode of Dear Hank & John and have a glass of wine while cooking to celebrate the end of a Monday. The dogs play with their new toys while we finish an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

10 p.m. — My skin has been feeling kind of blah, so I put on one of my favorite charcoal masks (again from The Body Shop) while listening to the latest My Favorite Murder. We’re going to D.C. this weekend to see them live, and I’m so excited! I shower, then pamper my skin with Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate under my moisturizer. That stuff is magical. I settle in for a meditation, then read until I’m sleepy.

7:10 a.m. — I snooze my alarm once this morning, which is pretty typical for a Monday. I get the pups up and we head downstairs for some breakfast. It’s another cold and dark morning, which is not the best motivator for a productive Monday. I sit next to our fireplace with a bowl of Life cereal and think about what I need to do today.

12:15 p.m. — The morning went by surprisingly fast. I had quite a bit of admin work to do, so I was mainly in my office this morning. Lunch today is leftover chicken patties, an apple, and some trail mix.

1:30 p.m. — I head downtown to meet with the rest of my research group.

4:30 p.m. — I’m back on campus. I need to wrap up a few things in my lab before heading out.

7:45 p.m. — We settle in after dinner to watch The Great British Baking Show. I think we might be on the last season. I was inspired enough a couple of weeks ago to bake an applesauce cake with cream-cheese frosting from scratch. I was “star baker” for the week! We surround ourselves with the spoils of our Girl Scout cookie collecting and join in on the critiquing of pastry.

7:45 a.m. — J. has to come rouse me out of bed. I am not recovering well from our time off for the holidays. It’s the usual morning routine, but this time I make a smoothie with my new protein powder! Tastes the same. And I’m in awe of how soft my hair has been after using the Lush shampoos. And it smells like pineapples!

12 p.m. — This morning has been a wash with trying to catch up on emails and juggling projects. I’m desperate for a break, so I heat up my leftover cauliflower tacos and watch Good Mythical Morning. Note to self: Cooked cauliflower is not as good on day two.

5:10 p.m. — The rest of the afternoon is full with a design meeting and another impromptu meeting about a project. There aren’t many women in my department, and I usually don’t notice until days like today, when I’m casually treated as an assistant by a coworker. Nope. I finally finish up a few things on my task list before leaving for the day. Luckily, J. is picking me up, so I don’t have to walk in the rain.

6:30 p.m. — J. is making me dinner tonight, so I take off my makeup and put on some sweats. My skin is super sensitive and gets oily really easily, so I’ve been trying to take better care of it as I get older. My morning and afternoon cleanser is a really gentle, unscented one, which I follow with a Grown Alchemist day cream. I make sure the dogs are happy and then read through more of my Scotland guide book. I am so exhausted after this day.

10:15 p.m. — Tonight has been super low-key, mostly reading about Scotland and watching random YouTube videos while working on my cross-stitch. I have a big snuggle sesh with J. while the dogs play with their toys. These are my favorite kind of evenings, especially after a day like today. I shower, meditate, and crawl into bed with my book.

7 a.m. — Another day is greeted with another alarm. I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those weeks that drags on. It feels like Wednesday, but I know it’s only Tuesday. The dogs and I go through our morning routine of food (more Life cereal for me) and going out in the backyard.

11:50 a.m. — Welp, the morning went by quickly. I didn’t get as much work done in the lab as I’d hoped, but there’s always tomorrow. I feel like a lot of what I do is troubleshooting various issues with our system. It’s always two steps forward, one step back. My lunch today is leftovers: roasted cauliflower tacos with slaw and a banana.

12:30 p.m. — I have a doctor’s appointment on campus today. I can usually walk over from my office, but I am going to be running late for a meeting downtown afterward. I move my car from my normal parking spot to a paid garage next to the doctor’s office. This should save me about 20 to 30 minutes of walking time. $4

2:30 p.m. — I make it to my meeting downtown, where I’ll be for the rest of the afternoon. My energy is draining fast, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to pay full attention to the meetings. They are for people in our research group to present what they’ve been working on recently and for us to offer suggestions or help. I’ll do my best to stay focused.

5:45 p.m. — We stop at a gas station on the way home to fill up the car. $22.10

6:15 p.m. — I am making a sun-dried tomato and spinach frittata served with pears and toast for dinner this evening. Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite meals, and I’m excited about branching out from our typical grits and eggs or waffles. I’ve never made a frittata before, but it’s starting to look just like a thick omelet.

10:30 p.m. — I talk to my mom a bit this evening. I try to catch up with my parents about once a week. We don’t get the chance to visit in person much, but I try to go back at least once or twice a year outside of Christmas. It’s tough, because flights to their place are very expensive, since they don’t live close to a major airport. It’s the same for C. and her family, too. We do the best we can while still making time for vacations for the two of us.

7:40 a.m. — I roll out of bed as cheery as ever, and it’s the same morning routine. I make another smoothie to drink at work. My skin has been looking better lately, so I go pretty light on my makeup (just undereye concealer — bags for days — with foundation and mascara). I dress warmly because it is frigid out there.

10 a.m. — We have our weekly staff meeting, and before it starts, I check with my boss about my raise. I asked for it a few months ago, since I didn’t get much of one when I was promoted (my benefits changed pretty drastically, though, so it worked out in my favor). He agreed, but it will have to be part of the next fiscal year. Working for a university has its downsides, and this is one of them. Our budget is always really tight, so I was worried this would get cut, but he confirms that it’s still included in the final version. Win!

1 p.m. — Lunchtime! I have (you guessed it) leftovers from last night: frittata with carrots and hummus and a banana. I watch the most recent episode of Good Mythical Morning and read a little more about Scotland. (Do yourself a favor and Google images of Quiraing — I can’t believe places like that exist in real life!) I have to run a deposit over to another building on campus, so I ask J. if he wants to tag along for an afternoon walk. We do this every once in a while, which is really nice. There are definite benefits to working in close proximity to each other.

3 p.m. — I’m feeling a little droopy this afternoon. I make a cup of coffee from our Keurig and snack on an apple and coconut-cashew butter. I could live on that stuff. I spend the rest of the day finishing some admin so I can prep for my next project that will begin next week. The best part about my job is that it’s very calendar-based, so I know exactly what needs to happen at any given time.

6 p.m. — Home at last. J. volunteers to make dinner so I can get in a workout. I do five miles on the stationary bike and finish with some stretches. Our families have experienced some health issues over the past few years, and it’s made me incredibly conscious of my own health as I get older.

9:30 p.m. — A lovely episode of The Great British Baking Show reminds me of my time in Denmark. I’m definitely starting to catch the travel bug again. We spent last year in London, and I’m so excited to get back to Europe. I have some laundry to fold before our trip to D.C. this weekend, so I go upstairs a little early. Shower, tea tree oil face mask, meditation, reading, lights out. Good night!

7:10 a.m. — Apparently, I snoozed my alarm this morning but have no recollection of this. This must be a sign that I should stay in bed for the day, but there is work to be done. I leave the warmth of the bed and make my way down to the cold kitchen. Someday we need to replace a lot of the windows in our house to help with the heating efficiency, because today it’s a little chillier than I care for.

12:30 p.m. — After working on a few things in the lab, I head to my office for lunch. I’m having leftover frittata, some carrots and hummus, a banana, and some trail mix. I’m still feeling pretty groggy, so hopefully the afternoon doesn’t go by too slowly.

3 p.m. — I’ve spent most of the afternoon working on revisions to a paper I’m trying to publish. I’ve been working on this publication for a while, and we’ve gotten edits from reviewers for the first submission. I’d much rather be in the lab, but I like the sense of accomplishment when a paper gets published. I’m snacking on trail mix to keep my focus and energy up. Just a few more hours!

6 p.m. — I’m making Frito chili pie for dinner! This is one of my favorite winter meals. C. and I had some friends over a few weeks ago, and we made this for them. Apparently, Frito chili pie is a regional thing? They had never heard of it before, but we had this all the time growing up. For those of you who don’t know, it starts with a layer of Fritos in a bowl. Then you pour chili over it (vegetarian in our case), then comes cheese, and then the family secret is a dash of mustard on top. Don’t knock it ’til you try it!

9:30 p.m. — The trash and recycling gets picked up tomorrow morning, so I brave the cold weather and take the bins out to the curb. I’m hoping to get to bed a little earlier and make some progress on the book I’m reading. I’m about halfway through The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. It has kept my interest, but it’s tough when I only read before bed and can only get through five pages before falling asleep.

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