Author: Bella Chapman

I am a lifestyle blogger living in Anoi.

Dua Lipa Makes Runway Debut During Versace Show – WWD

Make way for Dua Lipa.

The singer opened and shut the Versace display for the duration of Milan Vogue Week, strutting in two different outfits. The show also highlighted a number of Lipa’s hit tunes, including “Physical,” which played the two situations she walked down the runway.

The initially glance was a black blazer dress with a cutout style and design, showcasing basic safety pins in different shades together the appropriate facet of the skirt. The second was a sizzling pink glittering two-piece established with a cropped tank major and midi skirt with a significant thigh slit. Her hair was styled straight with lengthy extensions and her eye makeup was blue and green topped with a nude lip.

Lipa walked out once more to be a part of Donatella Versace, the label’s inventive director, for her last bow at the close, cementing herself as one the brand’s muses.

This marked Lipa’s first time strolling in a trend display. She joined a slew of other large names who also walked in the display, which include Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and Naomi Campbell.

Versace and Lipa have collaborated on several instances, with the British singer fronting the label’s fall 2021 marketing campaign. Versace to start with satisfied Lipa at the Vs . exhibit in London in 2017 and the singer has subsequently worn the brand name on numerous pivotal occasions. Lipa joins other global stars who have solid a longstanding friendship with Versace, from Elton John to Madonna.

Most notably, Lipa wore 3 outfits built by Versace at the 2021 Grammy Awards, where by her most current album “Future Nostalgia” attained 6 nominations, like Album of the 12 months, Record of the Yr and Track of the 12 months. Lipa walked absent with the award for Finest Pop Vocal Album.

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Dua Lipa Fronts Versace’s Slide 2021 Campaign

The 2021 Oscars Bash Scene: Dua Lipa, Girl Gaga, Cynthia Erivo, Andra Day

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22 Spectacular Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan

If you haven’t been to Detroit yet, this is your sign to head to one of the coolest cities in the Midwest. Famous for its impressive historical contributions to music, industry, and architecture, the city is teeming with fantastic museums and an impressive art scene. Here are my top things to do there, with everything you need to start planning an epic trip to the Motor City:


22. Architecture tour

This 2.5-hour walking tour will take you through Detroit to learn about the city’s history, architecture, and variety of cultures. Stops include the Fisher Building, the Fox Theater, Belle Isle, and much more. Detroit’s important cultural history is highlighted during the tour, during which guides will give an in-depth look at the city’s most notable sites. This is perfect for first-time visitors and locals alike, because of how much neat information the guides share.

21. Ford Piquette Avenue tour

Have you ever wanted to take a closer look at the history of Ford Motors? This 90-minute tour is an awesome way to explore one of the first Ford factories ever created. The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, an official US historic landmark, is the birthplace of the Model T car. This guided tour takes visitors around the plant and offers them a glimpse into how some of the first-ever cars were made.

20. Free walking tour

22 Spectacular Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan

Detroit Experience Factory offers free walking tours that take visitors on an adventure to some of the city’s most historically important neighborhoods, landmarks, and businesses. Local guides, including business owners and residents with their own unique stories and perspectives, give individualized narratives of their home city.


19. Belle Isle

22 Spectacular Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan

This is one of the places on this list that you might consider setting aside an entire day to see. Belle Isle is a massive 982-acre island park home to a conservatory, aquarium, museum, nature center, and more. It’s a hugely popular place for locals to hang out and get some fresh air, not far from bustling downtown Detroit. You’ll see people having picnics and barbecues or just hanging out on the beach.

To learn more about Belle Isle and see what else there is to do there, head to the Belle Isle Conservancy’s website.

18. Dequindre Cut Greenway

Linking the Eastern Market with the East Riverfront, this two-mile urban recreational path is a great place to walk or bike. There are several neighborhoods between, so you can enjoy the changing scenery as you make your way along this pedestrian path. It’s a great place to catch a glimpse of Detroit’s best street art, as well!

17. Campus Martius Park

22 Spectacular Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan

As one of the city’s most beloved parks, Campus Martius Park is a hub for cultural activities and has an excellent green space to enjoy. In the summer you’ll find food trucks, outdoor eateries, a mini beach, and possibly an outdoor festival. In the wintertime, the park hosts an ice skating rink, a giant Christmas tree, and an adorable Christmas market.

16. Detroit Riverfront

Over time, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy has worked hard to reconstruct and rehabilitate the riverfront so residents and visitors can enjoy another green space. The path is just under six miles long and perfect for a jog or leisurely stroll.

Along the path, there is plenty of park space that often hosts yoga classes, outdoor concerts, and other events throughout the spring and summer months.

15. Detroit Princess Riverboat

22 Spectacular Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan

From the vantage point of the Detroit Princess Riverboat, you can get the absolute best views of the Detroit skyline and spot some of the city’s most notable landmarks. There are several cruises available on this massive ship, so take a peek at the Princess Riverboat’s cruise schedule for ideas.

Museums and Landmarks

14. Detroit Institute of Arts

22 Spectacular Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan

This 130-year-old museum is one of Detroit’s most beloved spaces. It houses over 65,000 works of art and has everything from classic pieces to modern and contemporary works. The Detroit Institute of Arts comprises over 100 galleries with one of the most diverse selections of art that you will find in the Midwest. Plan on spending at least a few hours looking around this massive space.

To visit the DIA, you currently must make a reservation, which you can do here.

13. Detroit Historical Museum

Being right next to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum makes a great addition to your itinerary if you are a museum enthusiast. It offers visitors a unique perspective on how the city was established and a peek into its industrial past.

Currently the museum has an incredible Roaring ’20s exhibit called “Boom Town: Detroit in the 1920s,” which looks at one of the most impactful periods in the city’s vibrant history.

The Detroit Historical Museum is open Thursday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm. You can find more info here.

12. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

It goes without saying that Henry Ford is one of Detroit’s biggest names, so you don’t want to miss a chance to learn more about his legacy at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Moreover, you can also learn about other amazing feats of engineering, from the Wright brothers to Rosa Parks and many others.

You can find more information about this unique museum here.

11. The Guardian Building

22 Spectacular Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan

You won’t want to miss out on a chance to visit the Guardian Building, one of the most important Art Deco skyscrapers in the world, in the Financial District downtown. This National Historic Landmark has 36 floors and was completed in 1936.

Pure Detroit offers tours of the Guardian Building, among others. Although tours are still postponed, the company hopes to start them again soon.

10. Detroit Masonic Temple

This architectural gem is the largest building of its kind and one of Detroit’s most stand-out landmarks. George Mason and Company finished the building’s construction in 1926, and for many years it was used as a meeting place for the Freemasons. The Detroit Masonic Temple is enormous, with three theater spaces, a shrine building, a chapel, a 17,500-foot drill hall, and more.

You can catch a tour of the building on the first and third Sundays in July and August at 3pm or the first and third Fridays in July and August at 7pm. If you aren’t around at that time, you can also check out the calendar of events for more opportunities to visit.

9. The Belt

22 Spectacular Things to Do in Detroit, Michigan

“The Belt” area gets its name because it was once the heart of Detroit’s garment district. It’s is now an alley full of public art and murals from local, national, and international artists. This space was made possible by the Library Street Collective‘s efforts to create more opportunities for artists to engage with the public through their work.

8. Motown Museum

You absolutely cannot visit Detroit without going to the Motown Museum. As one of the only museums in the world dedicated entirely to Motown’s musical and cultural history, it is known as the beating heart of the Motown legacy.

The museum is located in the original headquarters and recording studio for Motown Records, making the building itself an amazing historical site. Here you’ll be able to appreciate the accomplishments of the label’s giants, and get a glimpse into where the magic of Detroit’s most notable music scene began.

The Motown Museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm. Find more information about opening hours and policies here.

7. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

This spectacular museum is one of the best places to hear some of the city’s most important stories. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History houses exhibits that offer a well-rounded view of the immense contributions that the black community has made to Detroit’s history and culture.

For hours and admission info, see the museum’s website.

6. Detroit Public Library

Sure, you came to Detroit to see some cool places, enjoy the delightful food scene, and maybe get outdoors. But a library? You might be surprised that this one made the list, but hear me out. Detroit’s main public library is one of the best in the Midwest and even rivals the Harold Washington Library in Chicago.

Even if you don’t pick up a single book while you visit, it’s worth a stroll through to see the incredible architecture and explore the stacks.

For more info, see the main library’s website.

5. Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Who doesn’t love a good contemporary art museum? Flaunting the best of Detroit’s contemporary art scene, this is one of the top 10 art museums in the Midwest, and you’ll certainly see why when you visit. It pushes the bounds of traditional art and features thought-provoking exhibitions.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is free, with a suggested donation of $5 during regular operating hours.

Shopping & Restaurants

4. John K. King Used & Rare Books

Housed in an old glove factory, John K. King Used & Rare Books is one of the largest bookstores in the entire world, with over a million books on its shelves. If you’re a huge bookworm like me, this sounds like an absolute paradise. Spend a few minutes to a few hours perusing the shelves and see what treasures you can find.

3. Eastern Market

Covering 43 acres, this historic public market district is the largest in the United States. The Eastern Market has a variety of artisan crafts, handmade goods, local foods and produce, and more.

Market days are Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday, Saturday being the busiest day. Check out the Eastern Market’s website for more information on vendors and special events throughout the year.

2. Cliff Bell’s

This iconic restaurant has a cool 1930s vibe and is one of the best spots in Detroit to see live music. It often hosts jazz and blues musicians; you can check the show schedule here. Come for the music but stay for a nice meal and awesome selection of cocktails. It’s a great place to enjoy an old-timey ambiance and disconnect from the outside world for a little while.

1. Pewabic Pottery

This is more than your average pottery shop. Pewabic Pottery has been a Detroit gem since it was founded in 1903. It produces pottery, architectural tiles, and other beautiful ceramics that you will find in the city’s most beloved buildings and popular restaurants.

The best thing about Pewabic is its summer market, which features the ceramic artistry from over 50 independent artists. It also offers tours and hands-on workshops so you can learn more about the craft.

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D.L. Eyewear, Launched by ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Star Dan Levy, Has New Hire – WWD

D.L. Eyewear — “Schitt’s Creek” actor and author Dan Levy’s line of optical eyeglasses and shades — has tapped Elena Doukas as co-imaginative director and president, WWD has acquired completely.

“Elena has been a drive in the eyewear house for around a 10 years,” Levy, the brand’s founder, told WWD in a statement. “I’ve lengthy admired her eye, her instincts and her potential to pave a special imaginative route through a extremely competitive marketplace. D.L. Eyewear is blessed to have her and we appear forward to the remarkable new heights we’ll access with her by our side.”

Doukas was previously the style director at Garrett Leight California Optical for 11 a long time (which just lately bought a the vast majority stake, with a $20 million financial commitment, as documented by WWD).

For her section, Doukas stated: “It goes without declaring that Dan is an astounding storyteller, and he has these kinds of a exclusive vision for D.L. Eyewear. I have been so impressed with the truth that he’s managed that, alongside with the brand’s ethos, ever because he started off the organization pretty much 10 several years back. The technique of the fashion business these days makes it simple for a model to be taken more than by a plug and perform mentality, and I’ve been so impressed by Dan‘s consistency in wanting thoughtfulness and treatment to be at the main of each individual inventive final decision. I can’t hold out to enhance that with my individual product expertise, and I couldn’t be much more excited to be a part of the staff.”

Released immediate-to-consumer in 2013, D.L. Eyewear is marketed solely at

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Traveling in Troubled Times – Be My Travel Muse

It’s nearly noon on the island of Nuku Hiva, a stunning volcanic island on the fringes of French Polynesia. 

I’m sitting on a deck looking out at a glittering bay, nearly fully encircled by dramatic peaks coated in fluffy green trees, bushes, and flowers, and fringed by black sand. White birds dance in pairs through the sky. I’m tempted to pinch myself to make sure it’s not a dream. 

Trouble in paradise

One of my favorite things about visiting French Polynesia is Polynesian hospitality. Everyone says hello, everyone has a smile to give, and everything about it seems to beg you to slow down, stay a while, relax, what’s the rush?
And for my first day here, I was fully immersed. I felt the beauty and wonder, so why am I feeling the opposite now?

Why is today so hard?

Because I had forgotten things that I found out the hard way nearly 9 years ago when I embarked on my first solo journey in Cambodia. I’d been riding on a high from my first month of traveling alone, when everything looked like it was in high definition and everyone I met was amazing. I felt like the universe and I were in such sync that everything that happened felt like it was happening just for me. It was perfection.

The highs of traveling can feel really high, and the lows can be an intense low. 

Do you wonder why you feel this way after finally getting to a place you’ve dreamed of? Everything was supposed to be perfect, so why isn’t it? 

Traveling in Troubled Times - Be My Travel Muse
This should’ve been perfect

You ask yourself, what’s wrong with me? If I can’t be happy here, can I be happy anywhere?

I had forgotten all about this, because it’s been a while since I’ve dealt with depression, and only one other time in my life can I remember it being this intense. Some days I can’t get out of bed. I feel like there’s a weight on my chest. 

The past year was hard for most people. I’d even venture to say for everyone, but I can’t be sure how everyone else feels. When the summer rolled around and cases were down, it felt like a glimmer of hope. It felt like the bad things were behind us and everything would be OK.

Until it wasn’t.

It’s been really hard to watch as the sky filled with smoke for months on end living in the Sierras on the other side of California. I watched as places I explored and loved mere weeks before burned uncontrollably and fire chiefs used phrases like “new normal” to describe it. 

I watched as the world shut down again and we put our masks back on, after being so sure that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m sad to see the way that my partner is getting overworked and over exposed in the emergency room and it feels exhausting.

And then a little voice comes up telling me that my problems are not real problems. There’s so much misery in the world, so much pain and suffering, I’m sitting in a beautiful place, what’s wrong with me? There are lots of people who cannot travel. For many of us, we wonder when the light at the end of the tunnel will come. It keeps feeling like it’s right there, only to be pushed further away. 

Traveling in Troubled Times - Be My Travel Muse

I have so much privilege and there are people out there with actual, real problems, I tell myself. 

But that doesn’t make the pang of anxiety in my chest when I breathe any less real. It doesn’t make the fatigue any less prominent. My problems are real, and they are valid. And I thought that I could just run away from them without confronting them. That’s often what traveling feels like, right? And it can work for a while.

But, no matter what problem we are running away from, we will run into ourselves over and over on the road. It’s the great reflection. It’s those moments alone when we are forced to look at the tough things, to work it out somehow, and if we are traveling alone, we have only ourselves to rely on for this.

And yet, that’s exactly as it should be. Solo traveling made me a better version of myself precisely because of times like this. When I realized that I can’t pass the book to anyone else. My life and my problems are mine and it’s up to me to fix them. I can’t expect someone else to step in and do it for me.

The thing about solo traveling is, It’s all about overcoming challenges. 

That doesn’t mean it’s constantly hard, but when it is hard, it’s a lot harder. There’s nobody else there to pick up the pieces. There’s nobody to cry to.

And in a weird, cruel way, that’s how it should be. 

Traveling in Troubled Times - Be My Travel Muse

The thing about hard times is when we look back at it all, these are the things that define us. 

These are the moments when we realize we have to make a dramatic change. This is when we discover the importance of radical self reliance. It’s when we don’t have another choice.

When I look back on the past decade of my life, years spent mostly nomadic, it’s what I’ve learned the most about the world but also myself. It was the toughest break ups that made me examine the ways in which I was fucking up. It was the times when I was running so low on money that I had to hitchhike that I realized how scrappy I am. It was the times when everything was in flux and I had nothing else to rely on but the kindness of a stranger that I realized that the world is mostly good, even though news headlines would have us think otherwise.

And all of those realizations were essential at the time. 

So that’s what I’m urging myself to do now – to trust in the journey, to know that it was never going to be only perfection and sunshine, and to remember that without mud, there can be no lotus. 

Life and travel are a series of ups and downs but I’m always captain of this ship. 

Even when it feels like everything is spinning out of control around me, my inner world is my own.

Today is hard. The past few weeks have been hard. I don’t have any solutions. I don’t know how we fix the problems that feel so insurmountable right now. But I know that life goes on, and that if I can just focus all my energy on right here and now, somehow, the world will keep spinning. 

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Traveling in Troubled Times - Be My Travel Muse

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What to Know, Release Date, Photos – WWD

Netflix’s “Britney vs Spears” is virtually below.

On Wednesday, the streaming support discovered the poster and initially official trailer of its remarkably expected documentary detailing Britney Spears’ lifestyle and her very publicized conservatorship, a lawful arrangement in which she has no control about her have estate or other areas of her life, in which she has been involuntary positioned considering that 2008. A courtroom grants a conservatorship for persons who are not able to make a selection for on their own owing to actual physical or psychological restrictions. The documentary will debut on the streaming services on Sept. 28.

The poster shows a specific portray of the pop star as she holds her neck, as if it seems like she’s strangling herself. “No a lot more secrets and techniques. No much more silence,” the caption on Twitter read.

The trailer has snippets of Spears’ testimony from June, when she spoke in a Los Angeles courtroom fighting to conclusion her conservatorship. “I just want my lifetime back,” she said as the clip begun.

Then as the video clip ongoing, the voices of unique people chimed in on their views and conclusions regarding the conservatorship and the singer’s life.

“Britney experienced a dread that her spouse and children would barge in and take almost everything,” one particular woman claimed.

“What was going on within the conservatorship and why was she even now in one particular if she was ‘OK?’” another female requested.

“Britney created other individuals a great deal of funds,” a person claimed.

Netflix first exposed a sneak peek of the documentary, which is directed by Erin Lee Carr, on Tuesday. The publish incorporated an 18-next clip of a voicemail from Spears to a law firm in 2009.

“Hi, my title is Britney Spears,” she said. “I termed you earlier. I’m calling yet again because I just wanted to make certain that in the course of the procedure of eliminating the conservatorship…”

Britney Spears’ followers maintain signs outside the house a court hearing relating to the pop singer’s conservatorship at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, March 17, 2021, in Los Angeles.

Her father, Jamie Spears, has led her conservatorship from the commencing. On the other hand, before this month, he submitted a petition to close it immediately after a extensive legal fight and an enormous force from followers on social media and in-person at the courts with the #FreeBritney movement.

In February, the #FreeBritney motion been given an abundance of traction following the New York Situations produced its documentary, termed “Framing Britney Spears,” detailing Spears’ everyday living and her conservatorship. In March, Spears reportedly exposed she had observed pieces of the documentary, which triggered her to cry for two months.

While Spears has been fighting her conservatorship for several years, she was lastly permitted to address the court immediately in June. Considering that her father has filed a petition to finish it, the arrangement might quickly be nearing its conclude.

A couple of times soon after her father submitted the court papers, Spears uncovered she was engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Sam Asghari, on Instagram.

View the trailer for “Britney vs Spears” right here. at?v=SgFDWK_sf9c

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Britney Spears’ VMA Style

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The Products I Actually Used Once I Had My Baby

There are few things more anxiety-inducing than being a soon-to-be first-time parent and searching the word “diapers”—and realizing you’re on page one of 148. The sheer volume of choices in all baby-related products is overwhelming to say the very least.

You can read and research and vet your options for weeks on end, but the secret to getting it right the first time (or as close to it as possible) is getting a “list.” These are the coveted docs passed down from one parent to the next, carefully honed as they trade hands, of products that people have actually used and loved. In other words, these brave moms and dads before you bought a lot of crap so you don’t have to.

Before I had my daughter, I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a few lists, which I then used to compile my own master spreadsheet that I now pass on to any expectant parents who ask. Below are the top ten products that made the cut. Feel free to pass it on.

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The Wipes

Coterie Water Wipe, pack of 4

A term I’d never heard before getting pregnant and am now intimately familiar with is “water wipes.” These are literally baby wipes that contain 99% water. Pre-baby, I just assumed wipes were soaked in water. What else would be in there? Well, you’d be surprised. Strong cleaning agents like sodium-lauryl-sulfate, ultra-drying alcohol, the same parabens we’re told as adults to avoid in our own skincare, preservatives that are known irritants—the list goes on. 

When I first learned about Coterie wipes, I was instantly impressed with the company’s transparency. They market themselves as 100% plant-based VEOCELTM Lyocell wipes made with 99% water and 5 clean ingredients, and to prove it they have their toxicity report placed front and center on their website. Their ingredients have been independently tested by a third-party lab and are proven to be free from 11 different types of heavy metals and fluorine. Plus, they went the extra mile to get them dermatologist-tested to ensure that the wipes are safe for sensitive or eczema-prone skin.

One more thing: many wipes contain microplastics that keep them from biodegrading for years, but Coterie’s wipes are compostable and were proven through independent testing to fully composte in just 5 weeks.

The Changing Pad

Keekaroo Peanut Changer

To all the parents who told me that I didn’t need a changing table, I salute you and your clearly much stronger backs, but I needed to stand up to change one trillion diapers. I set up our daughter’s nursery with a simple white one from Amazon that came with a squishy changing pad that I lovingly swathed in a buttery soft cover dotted with cute little smiling stars. 

The first day I brought my daughter home from the hospital, she peed and pooped all over that pad and I threw it in the garbage. We ended up buying a plastic changing pad which is, most importantly, wipeable.

The Bottle Drying Rack

Boon Grass Countertop Baby Bottle Drying Rack

I’m a “put everything in the dishwasher even if you really shouldn’t put it in the dishwasher” sort of person. But even dishwashers don’t completely dry all the teeny tiny little pieces of plastic that seem to come along with having a baby. Looking at you, bottles and pump parts! To keep everything from getting nice and moldy in a drawer, I’d hang it all up on this drying rack. As a dishwasher enthusiast, I’d never owned a drying rack before, and even though my daughter is now 2 and those teeny pieces of plastic are mercifully out of my life, I still stick any rogue wet dishes on this thing. It’s easy to wash, not ugly to look at, and I’m too lazy to buy a different drying rack. Anything that I can happily use for over two years makes the list.

The Must-Have Tool

Oogiebear Nose and Ear Gadget

Another thing you never think about before you have kids is how tiny their little nostrils are. So when your baby has a giant booger clogging their nose, your own finger—which you are surprisingly more than willing to pick your baby’s nose with—doesn’t fit. This little flexible plastic tool has helped my husband and I pick many a booger over the years. You can also use it to grab a piece of ear gunk. Just pop it in the dishwasher when you’re done. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s dishwasher safe, but that’s how I roll.

The Shampoo

Mustela Foam Shampoo

Speaking of gross things, I hope you never have to deal with cradle cap. It appears as white scaly patches on the scalp, and our daughter got it a few weeks after she was born. For months I tried everything to get rid of it. I bought a bunch of different shampoos, I tried home remedies, and (per the suggestion of our pediatrician) I even covered her head in baby oil and painstakingly tried to gently “scrub” it out with a well-intentioned cradle cap brush that was clearly too soft to do literally anything. Finally one night while I was delirious from lack of sleep yet still Googling baby scalp solutions as one does, I found an article that suggested this shampoo. I tried it and the cradle cap was gone in two days and never came back. Hallelujah. 

The Diapers

Coterie Diapers, 4-week supply

Did you know that many diapers are white because they’ve been bleached with chlorine? Yeah, I didn’t either. Once I discovered the Coterie’s Water Wipes, I went all in and started a diaper subscription too. They’re free of chlorine, alcohol, fragrance, and parabens. Plus, they’re hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, oh, and really soft. But you’re probably wondering, how much poop do they hold? Does the pee stay inside the diaper? What about nighttime? Rest assured, if they made it onto the list, they’re blowout-proof. A word to the wise: get the subscription. You’ll save $9 for every 4-week supply you order and never have to experience staring at an empty shelf where your diapers are supposed to be in sheer terror.

The Stroller Fan

Tdone Stroller Fan

I had my daughter in the middle of June, so I was strolling around with a newborn in the heat of summer. I figured she was probably fine in a short sleeved onesie shaded by her stroller’s sun cover, but the well-meaning yet very judgy moms of Williamsburg, Brooklyn wanted me to know otherwise. It only took three moms coming up to me asking where my stroller fan was or gently suggesting that I buy one before I realized that this was an essential purchase. Sure enough, after I clipped one on, she seemed to enjoy walks more. Consider this an I-got-judged-so-you-don’t-have-to moment. 

The Bouncer

BabyBjörn Bouncer

When my daughter was teeny tiny I kept a Dock-a-Tot on the coffee table next to the couch where I was parked for the first three months of her life. She seemed to enjoy hanging out in there, but once she was old enough to want to look around we had to upgrade. This bouncer was a cozy place for her to hang (and bounce) when I needed to be hands free. A lot of people suggested that I just wear her everywhere, but for a number of reasons I ended up exclusively pumping for quite a while and needed to have my hands and upper body free. Also…showering. 

We added the detachable toy bar to spice things up when she got bored and it was an instant hit. To wash the cover, because you will have to wash the cover, just slip it off the frame. Plus, the entire thing folds flat so you can easily pack it in the car.

The Exersaucer

Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Activity Center and Exerciser

When your baby outgrows the bouncer, switch over to this. I could put my daughter in here and have her spin around playing with the different toys while I cooked an entire dinner. Or ate an entire dinner. Or had a real human interaction with another person. Plus, without fail, this thing could make her poop. I don’t know if it was the upright position or what, but we called this her pooping station. Worked every time.

Once they’re older, you can take out the seat and the little foot stand becomes a tabletop, so it’s now a tiny table for my daughter to do her arts and crafts. And, the gray portion doubles as a chalkboard. They really thought of everything.

The Blanky

Little Giraffe Velvet Deluxe™ Blanky

When our daughter was tired she would suck her thumb with one hand and ferociously rub her ear with the other. I thought this was super-endearing until my nanny kindly suggested that we give her ear a break and let her have a lovey. Oh, right. We gave her this insanely soft pink Little Giraffe lovey that we got as a baby gift and she was hooked. She started calling it “yaya,” and it quickly became a crucial part of nap time, bedtime, and freaking out time. Yaya could fix anything. My mom eventually got us a just-in-case backup Little Giraffe lovey in purple, which our daughter calls “purple yaya” to let us know that she’s not fooled and clearly understands that this is not her actual yaya. And she now sleeps with the blanket version, which she accurately calls “big yaya.” Love her.

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30 Wonderful Things to Do in Traverse City, Michigan

As one of the Midwest’s lakeside crown jewels, Traverse City is possibly one of the most underrated small cities in the country. There is a variety of things to do there, including plenty of outdoor adventures and even some haunted wonders! It’s home to an impressive food and wine scene and is surrounded by cherry orchards, making it an ideal destination for foodies and nature lovers alike.

Here are 30 awesome things to do in Traverse City:

Unique Tours

30. Ghost tour

If you are into all things creepy and supernatural, this downtown tour is made for you. Traverse City is full of spooky history, and this 1.5-hour evening ghost tour will take you to the city’s most famous haunted locations, on a humorous and thrilling ghost hunt that you’ll definitely remember, even if you don’t find any troubled spirits lurking about.

29. Rickshaw tour

A rickshaw, in Michigan? That’s certainly a first! This quirky tour is great for first-time visitors, as it will take you to five different areas of town. The guide will tell you all about Traverse City’s architecture, attractions, and businesses.

Start your Traverse City adventure with this rickshaw tour to get the lay of the land before you embark on the rest of your visit.

28. Asylum flashlight tour

30 Wonderful Things to Do in Traverse City, Michigan

If you can’t get enough of spooky tours after your ghost tour, check this one out! Traverse City is famous for its haunted asylum, the Northern Michigan Asylum, on the old Traverse State hospital campus. On this tour, you’ll explore one of the popular cottages on the property, as well as take a flashlight-lit walk through steam tunnels from 1885. You can make your reservation here. Good luck!

27. Guided historic walking tour of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons

Also on the grounds of the old Traverse State Hospital campus, you can take a historic walking tour to learn all about the hospital and its interesting characters. One doctor in particular is an important part of the site’s history: Dr. Munson, who popularized the “beauty is therapy” theory. The tour also offers an inside look at the site’s architecture and uses of the buildings. Make your reservation here.

26. Wine tours

30 Wonderful Things to Do in Traverse City, Michigan

You might not expect northern Michigan to have many wineries, but this part of the state is actually known as the Traverse Wine Coast and has some impressive selections. Not only do the wineries in this area produce incredible products, but the surrounding area offers some spectacular hillside views of Grand Traverse Bay.

The Leelanau Trail in particular has stellar tour options to see the region’s best wineries. You can see a list of the offerings here.

25. Kayaking + brew tour = KaBrew

Yep, you read that right. You can visit some of Traverse City’s best breweries via kayak tour with Kayak Brewery Tours. The tour actually starts on a bike, taking you to Right Brain Brewery for your first visit. After one more stop, you’ll finally hop into your kayak and float down the Boardman River to the next destination. This is an awesome way to enjoy the river and get a little buzzed along the way.

24. Walking history tours

The Traverse Area Historical Society offers history walking tours led by local experts. Choose between a downtown tour, with stops at monuments and historical buildings, or an Oakwood Cemetery tour, which showcases the town’s beautiful and spooky graveyard. You can find tour dates and more information here.

Outdoor Adventures

23. Traverse Area Recreational Trail (TART)

30 Wonderful Things to Do in Traverse City, Michigan

This 10.5-mile paved trail runs from Bates Road in Acme Township all the way to Carter Road in Traverse City, where it links up with the Leelanau Trail. You can hike, jog, or bike along the trail, stopping at several spots along the way. While on the trail, you’ll see recreational areas, quaint local neighborhoods, and downtown businesses. It’s the perfect way to get acquainted with Traverse City if you’re in town for the first time!

The TART even passes through Boardman Lake Trail, which is next on this list.

22. Boardman Lake Trail

This trail is part of the TART and is about 4 miles long, running along the lakefront at Boardman Lake. Boardman Lake Trail starts in Medalie Park, passes through Hull Park, and even has access to the public library in town. This part of the larger TART is wooded and generally quiet and serene. It’s a great place to relax and connect with nature.

21. Leelanau Trail

30 Wonderful Things to Do in Traverse City, Michigan

If you want to take your trail adventure to the next level, set your sights on Leelanau Trail, which is 17 miles long and connects Traverse City to Suttons Bay. It follows the route of an old railroad corridor and runs near forests, farms, lakes, ponds, and vineyards.

Summertime is ideal for bike riding on Leelanau Trail, but what about winter? All winter long, you can try your hand at skate-skiing, fatbiking, and snowshoeing on the trail. Leave it to Michigan to have a plan for all seasons!

20. Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park

It’s hard to believe that this 47-acre state park is just two miles from downtown, but Traverse City State Park really is that close. The TART runs parallel to the park, making it the ideal spot to take a break from a long bike ride. It also has a modern campground, mini-cabins, a lodge, and a quarter mile of sandy beach to enjoy.

19. West End Beach

30 Wonderful Things to Do in Traverse City, Michigan

Along West Grand Traverse Bay, West End is a large bayfront park and beach. It’s a hot spot for volleyball players and dog owners alike, and popular for swimming and kayaking as well. You can access West End Beach from the TART, and there is a parking lot on the eastern side of the park.

18. Clinch Park and Beach

This spot offers 1,500 feet of sand along West Grand Traverse Bay in downtown. It’s easily the most popular beach, so it gets pretty crowded in the summer — get there early to save your spot! This beach is along the TART, making it easy to stop at if you’re biking or hiking the trail.

17. Paddleboard/SUP yoga

30 Wonderful Things to Do in Traverse City, Michigan

With so much fresh water around, it’s no surprise that Traverse City is a great place to get your paddleboard on. Padde TC is one of the city’s best such rental companies

It even offers stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga classes at Clinch Park on West Bay. If you thought simply paddleboarding was a workout, try doing yoga on a board! It’s a fun way to challenge yourself and enjoy the water while you do it. You can book your class here.

16. Manitou brunch cruise

What better way to enjoy the bay at Traverse City than on a ship while having brunch? Tall Ship Co. has an awesome brunch cruise that offers a slow sail through Grand Traverse Bay and a delicious wood stove–cooked meal along with a drink. Book here.

15. Catamaran cruise

30 Wonderful Things to Do in Traverse City, Michigan

Another way to cruise through Grand Traverse Bay is to hop on a catamaran with Nauti-Cat. This company has a variety of options, including a sunset champaign cruise and a windjammer cruise. There are also specialty cruises, including one that features a burlesque show! The outings are typically 1.5–2 hours long and are a fun way to get some great views of the bay.

14. Hickory Meadows

This classic urban trail system is tucked into the hills above Traverse City and offers two miles of unpaved paths to explore. There are meadows and wooded areas at the base of 230-foot Hickory Hill, which visitors can climb if they’re up for the challenge. It’s also a great wintertime spot for cross-country skiing! Find a map of Hickory Meadows here.

13. Parasailing

To get the most epic aerial view of Traverse City and the crystal-clear waters of the bay, get airborne by parasailing! This is by far one of the most exciting things to do in town, and TC Watersports is the most experienced such operator in Michigan. The company has a great reputation that keeps customers coming back for more adventures.

12. Boardman River Experience

30 Wonderful Things to Do in Traverse City, Michigan

If you are an experienced paddler, consider heading out on the River Outfitters’ Boardman River Experience for the closest thing you’ll get in Michigan to white-water rafting. Where once there was a dam that prohibited people from paddling on the river, there are now two light rapids perfect for paddling. The river experience runs through a cedar forest teeming with wildlife, making for an unforgettable experience.

11. Skiing or snowboarding at Crystal Mountain

While most of the items on this list are specific to summertime, there are plenty of things to do in Traverse City in the winter as well. One of the best wintertime activities here is skiing or snowboarding at Crystal Mountain. There you’ll find 58 downward trails, from beginner to advanced.

Museums & Historical Landmarks

10. Mission Point Lighthouse

From 1870 to 1933, this historical lighthouse guided mariners through West Traverse Bay. Nowadays, this neat landmark is open for self-guided tours and offers a glimpse into Traverse City’s past. Guests can even climb all the way to the top of the tower for a small fee.

Another great feature of the Mission Point Lighthouse is that it right next to a five-acre park with hiking trails and picnic areas.

9. The Dennos Museum Center

This quirky art museum has been around since 1991 and is the top cultural center of the region. At the Dennos Museum Center, you’ll find entertaining exhibits, hands-on galleries, and elegant sculptures. There are almost 3,000 works of art to see, so plan to spend a couple hours perusing the space.

Admission is $6; the museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday. Check out the website for more information on planning your visit.

8. Music House Museum

The charming Music House Museum is full of unique instruments and music-related artifacts that have a special place in history. The collection includes instruments dating back to the 18th century, including simple music boxes that were state of the art for their time. You’ll see expertly crafted instruments that are works of art all on their own.

Festivals & Events

7. National Cherry Festival

30 Wonderful Things to Do in Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City is the United States’ national cherry capital. I’m a big lover of cherries, so my ears certainly perked up when I heard this news. Every July, the city hosts the annual National Cherry Festival, which it has been doing since 1926. That’s almost a hundred years of cherry festivals!

The festival has over 150 activities and events during the week, with hundreds of vendors selling cherry-licious treats and goods. For more information on next year’s event, see the Cherry Festival website.

6. Traverse City Chocolate Festival

First cherries, now chocolate?! Sounds like a match made in foodie heaven. The Traverse City Chocolate Festival happens every spring and is expected to resume in 2022. There you’ll find chocolatiers from all over the region selling their delicious confections. Besides the vendors, there’s also live music, demonstrations, and other fun events during the festival.

5. Traverse City Restaurant Week

If you happen to be in Traverse City during Restaurant Week, you’re in for a treat. It’s a wonderful way to explore downtown and try some of the city’s best gastronomy for a reasonable price. Three-course menus are offered at either $25 or $35 per person; the city’s best restaurants participate each year. Traverse City Restaurant Week usually takes place at the end of February each year.

4. City Opera House

The City Opera House first opened its doors in 1892 and has been hosting live events ever since. As one of the premier cultural landmarks in town, you won’t want to miss out on an opportunity to see a show here. The architecture inside is breathtaking and makes the perfect setting for an opera, ballet, or theater performance. You can find a full list of events at City Opera House here.

3. Downtown Art Walk

If you want to see Traverse City’s art scene from the perspective of a local, join the Downtown Art Walk. Not only will it take you to the above-mentioned Dennos Museum Center, but it also includes stops at some small locally owned galleries and art centers.

This event happens sporadically throughout the year. Keep an eye out for it on downtown Traverse City’s calendar of events.

Day Trips from Traverse City

2. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

30 Wonderful Things to Do in Traverse City, Michigan

At just 40 minutes west of Traverse City, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a must-do day trip while you’re in the area. You’ll find 450-foot bluffs, miles of sandy shores, expansive forests, and crystal-clear waters at this epic lakeshore heaven.

You can go for the day, or camp overnight at the park. If you want to take the pressure off of planning your trip, consider this 6-hour tour from GetYourGuide.

1. Michigan Tunnel of Trees

30 Wonderful Things to Do in Traverse City, Michigan

Known as one of the most scenic drives in the United States, the Tunnel of Trees along highway M-119 is one of the best day trips you can imagine from Traverse City. The drive skirts Lake Michigan between Harbor Springs and Cross Village, for about 20 miles. You’ll encounter beautiful tree canopies, lake views, and charming small towns along the way.

Pure Michigan put together a list of places to stop along the way, so you can enjoy this short day trip to the fullest!

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Performance, Outfits, Speech – WWD

BTS is again at the United Nations.

3 years due to the fact the most well-liked K-pop boy band in the entire world built a splash at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City, BTS returned to accompany President Moon Jae-in of South Korea on Monday ahead of the opening of the 76th annual Typical Assembly.

The president tapped the seven-member team, which is composed of RM, Jungkook, Jimin, Jin, Suga, J-Hope and V, to be the U.N.’s Special Presidential Envoys for Upcoming Generations and Culture for the Republic of Korea and support encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Each and every member of BTS wore tailor made satisfies produced by RECODE, a sustainable label dependent in Korea.

“This match layout aims to assist sustainable vogue and it is specifically designed for BTS’ speech at [the] United Nations,” the brand name reported on its formal Instagram account.

Furthermore, they all wore rainbow crystal Swarovski pins symbolizing the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Ambitions.

In their 7-minute speech, the team, who mentioned they are completely vaccinated from COVID-19, highlighted the relevance of getting the vaccine and praised young persons all more than the planet for their resiliency for the duration of the pandemic, stating that they are not a “lost generation” for the reason that of this.

Associates of South Korean K-pop band BTS, from remaining, V, Suga, Jin, RM, Jung Kook, Jimin and J-Hope show up at the United Nations conference.

“I’ve heard that men and women in their teenagers and 20s currently are staying referred to as COVID’s misplaced technology,” said RM, born Kim Nam-joon, the group’s chief. “But I consider it is a stretch to say they’re shed just since the route they tread just cannot be noticed by grown-up eyes.”

“Instead of the ‘lost technology,’ a far more proper title would be the ‘welcome generation’ for the reason that instead of fearing modify, this era states ‘welcome’ and retains forging forward,” mentioned Jin, born Kim Seok-jin.

Above the weekend, the group made a video the place they danced and sang their way via the U.N. Headquarters, undertaking their newest hit single “Permission to Dance,” which is the band’s 3rd English-language single. Their initially two, “Dynamite” and “Butter,” became throughout the world sensations, breaking the report for most views for a audio online video inside of 24 several hours on YouTube.

BTS then manufactured stops all over New York Town, together with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, wherever RM manufactured a different speech at an occasion celebrating artisans of Korea.

They also achieved up with Megan Thee Stallion, who just lately collaborated with them to create a remixed variation of “Butter,” which was launched a handful of months ago. The rapper uploaded selfies of herself and the band on her Instagram account. “It’s Thee HotGirl Mentor and BTS 😛,” she captioned it.

Through their visual appearance, which was broadcast on the U.N.’s formal YouTube channel, BTS raked in over one particular million sights as they took the podium. Their massive legions of enthusiasts, regarded as Army, flooded the opinions straight away.

In the past handful of yrs, associates of BTS have turn into intensely associated in the style planet, carrying models like Gucci, Chanel, Prada and Balenciaga. In April, Louis Vuitton tapped the boy band to be its newest brand ambassadors.

“I am delighted BTS are joining Louis Vuitton,” Virgil Abloh, men’s inventive director at Vuitton, stated in a assertion. “I am seeking forward to this wonderful partnership, which adds a present day chapter to the property, merging luxurious and contemporary tradition. I just cannot wait to share all the quite thrilling tasks we are performing on.”

In a statement, BTS returned the sentiment: “Becoming worldwide model ambassadors for Louis Vuitton is a actually remarkable moment for us. We are psyched for our forthcoming projects with Virgil Abloh.”

In July, the French vogue home produced a quick movie endorsing Abloh’s slide 2021 assortment, that includes all seven BTS users.

Examine More Right here:

BTS Will Design Louis Vuitton Men’s Use in Spin-off Movie: EXCLUSIVE

BTS and McDonald’s Workforce on Two Fashion Collections

Louis Vuitton Taps BTS as House Ambassadors

The High-Fashion Times in BTS’ ‘MTV: Unplugged’ Performance 

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After Texas SB 8, Abortion Doulas’ Work Is More Important Than Ever

Most days, Olivia* feels like she’s drowning. Overcome by the pressure of protecting her two younger little ones amid a contentious divorce from her abusive spouse, she is as well frightened to make the mobile phone call herself, so she asks a friend to set up an appointment with Renée Monteil of Sacred Moon Doula. When Renée arrives to meet her, the two women of all ages journey together to the clinic, passing by way of the gauntlet of sidewalk protesters draped in rosary beads and shouting a stream of threats and insults disguised as prayers, and enter as a result of the entrance doorway.

New Hampshire, in which Olivia has arrive to attain her prescriptions for mifepristone and misoprostol, the mix of medication utilised to conclusion an early pregnancy, is poised to grow to be the 28th point out in the nation to mandate that an ultrasound process be executed right before an abortion—regardless of medical requirement and irrespective of the patient’s wishes or the provider’s recommendations. Renée squeezes Olivia’s hand and strokes her hair as she lays back again on the examination desk, wiping absent the youthful mother’s tears as the nurse readies the imaging wand for vaginal insertion. “Here is this female…sobbing, attempting to do what is correct to maintain her and her youngsters harmless,” Monteil instructed me from her property in Keene, NH. “I stayed with her the complete time that almost everything was defined to her (by the doctor), how to choose the treatment and what to search for in the course of the being pregnant launch. I experienced to have an individual get treatment of my two daughters so that I could assistance this mother.”

Abortion has existed for as extended as being pregnant has existed, and so have doulas—non-health care caregivers who lover with expecting men and women to ensure that their wants are satisfied and give an extra layer of defense from the institutional biases and cultural stigmas that can develop or exacerbate long lasting trauma. When getting a authorized abortion is actually safer than supplying beginning and the basic health care process by itself is not inherently traumatic, this nation has manufactured it almost not possible to access without enduring harassment, undue financial burden, and acute psychological worry alongside the way. And all of that, abortion doulas say, was prior to the present wave of terrifying anti-abortion laws explicitly targeting their clients and their do the job.

This region has manufactured it just about difficult to accessibility [abortion] without enduring harassment, undue economic burden, and acute psychological pressure.

This has been the worst calendar year for abortion rights in U.S. heritage. No matter the place you live in the nation, the sheer quantity and scope of scary expenses emerging from legislative periods in 2021 by yourself has been astounding, and it’s simple to have skipped any of the 90 specific abortion restrictions that have already handed at the point out stage as we have found ourselves bracing for the worst: a attainable reversal of Roe v. Wade. Even though the the greater part of Us citizens are pro-option, the greater part of SCOTUS justices demonstrably are not.

Bills that need to terrify any American with a cervix—and everyone who enjoys them—are staying signed into regulation at a breakneck tempo in makes an attempt to bring about that reversal. Quite a few of these laws allow for no exceptions for rape or incest, and some are unparalleled in their extremity and cruelty Texas’ Senate Invoice 8, which empowers non-public citizens to file lawsuits against any other personal citizen whom they believe that to be connected to or involved in someone’s abortion in even the most peripheral ways—and even incentivizes them with a $10,000 bounty—went into result Wednesday at midnight, properly banning abortion in Texas.

When a person ends a being pregnant, they are cared for in different official capacities by a selection of clinical specialists at each and every stage of the process: counselors, nurses, medical practitioners, client advocates. But there is also an total village of people today in that person’s existence, extending much further than the walls of the clinic, who are prepared to present them with countless other forms of care. The attain of S.B. 8—which criminalizes any one from the pastor or rabbi who features religious guidance to someone taking into consideration an abortion, to the operator of the motel that shelters them, to the pal who drives them to their stick to-up appointment—lays bare the sheer amount of generally loosely linked persons and businesses demanded to make just a single abortion materialize.

Protesters in Texas rallied from the state’s new anti-abortion regulation in May.

Sergio FloresGetty Images

That care can appear like sensible or emotional help: a neighbor who watches your young ones, a colleague who covers for you at do the job so you can get a ill working day, a neighborhood volunteer-run abortion fund that assists you spend for your treatment, someone who retains your hand and shares a journal in the waiting around place. Typically, a number of assist roles are performed by a one, critical particular person: an abortion doula.

Some months in the past, when I requested Jenna “JB” Brown, a full-spectrum doula (which means a person who delivers non-medical aid to a expecting man or woman irrespective of their pregnancy’s consequence) residing and performing in Austin, how they had been processing the news of S.B. 8’s passage, JB advised me: “The same way I have processed each egregious piece of anti-abortion legislation that has been handed in my grownup life—by trusting that it will not likely acquire influence.” JB, who operates in private practice with Enjoy above Panic Wellness and Delivery and goes by both they/them and he/him pronouns interchangeably, was desperately keeping on to hope that the bill would by some means be stopped in its tracks right before the Sept. 1 deadline in buy to preserve the emotional baseline of interior peace and energy that is necessary get via workdays invested caring for other folks. JB appreciates what is at stake in the battle to continue to keep abortion treatment lawful and safe: human life.

“People talk a large amount about what would occur if S.B. 8 or other restrictive rules move listed here in Texas, or if Roe v. Wade is overturned,” JB advised, “but just one thing I you should not generally listen to persons say, as a make any difference of actuality, is that folks will die.”

“People converse a ton about what would materialize if S.B. 8 or other restrictive legislation go below in Texas, or if Roe v. Wade is overturned, but a person issue I never frequently hear people today say is that folks will die.”

Alarmingly, JB has presently observed a sharp enhance in the selection of likely customers who are terrified to request for enable or info, and in the range of Texans he encounters who don’t comprehend that, even just before the legislation took influence, it was nonetheless fully lawful for them to training their legal appropriate to accessibility abortion care.

“The press and the attention [S.B. 8] has received—coupled with people’s misunderstandings of our lawful methods, which is by design—means that several people will continue to be misinformed in their selections and the hazards affiliated with people selections,” JB explained. “Even discussion close to S.B. 8 decreases entry to lifestyle-conserving abortion products and services by stirring fear.”

That language of dread, weaponized so correctly by the authors of these bills, is echoed in the terror, humiliation, and shame expressed to doulas by the people today who the rules are made to punish and hurt (the majority of whom are already mothers and fathers, and a large share of whom detect as possibly Catholic or Christian). The load of this dread and secrecy is largely borne by all those who are disproportionately targeted and criminalized by our lawful methods, who now facial area the greatest barriers to healthcare of any form, and who presently reside in fear of prosecution, incarceration, and abuse: people today of colour.

Substantially of a doula’s operate centers on affirmation of the options that their purchasers currently know are greatest for their very own bodies, families, and life. Monteil, the veteran doula operating with Olivia in New Hampshire, informed me soon after the appointment, “She was crying that God would be indignant with her. I explained to her that there was no way that any god would be indignant with her for trying to do what is appropriate for her and her youngsters.”

Now, Monteil is reeling from the passage of the very first abortion ban in her state’s record, a regulation that would see suppliers of submit-24-7 days termination billed with a Class B felony, regardless of the health and fitness and safety of the pregnant individual or the viability of the fetus (the two reasons that this kind of terminations are generally done). Quite a few doulas are seeing more clientele in their houses, helping in self-managed health-related abortions making use of medications attained online and providing publish-abortion treatment, and hoping as very best they can to teach and assist their communities by means of the compounding stresses of COVID-19, the social, actual physical and money hardships of being pregnant, and the relentless march of these regulations curtailing what sparse economical healthcare most Individuals have entry to in the to start with area.

Brya Johnson, the founder of Abundant Spirit Birth Services in St. Louis, is forced to aid her customers decide on in between two unthinkably burdensome alternatives: Missouri’s 1 remaining abortion clinic, with a obligatory 72-hour waiting period of time (which is virtually unattainable for individuals operating small-wage hourly work with no paid unwell leave), or touring throughout the river to Illinois, which is also highly-priced and time consuming, and not an solution for the a lot of patients with no accessibility to childcare or transportation.

It is normal to feel helpless in the deal with of proliferating limitations like these, and the evident suffering prompted by their cruelty. Professional-abortion rights voters may possibly assume that the only way to combat laws is with a lot more legislation, to counter policy is with more coverage. But doulas operate outdoors courtrooms and legislative chambers. They work within a framework of radical appreciate and compassionate interpersonal treatment, powerful political weapons in their very own ideal. And they are educating other people to do the similar.

“Restricting or rescinding accessibility to risk-free, reasonably priced abortion is injustice. And there will normally be people fighting for justice.”

There is a rising community of grassroots businesses, coaching applications, and guides—both for those who are interested in turning out to be certified doulas on their own and individuals who just desire to help pregnant folks in all the compact and human strategies that legislation like S.B. 8 are meant to criminalize. On-line means like The Doula Project and Birthing Advocacy Doula Trainings are absolutely free academic resources to make doula function obtainable to everyone—an evergreen requirement thinking of that anyone is familiar with another person who will need to have abortion treatment at some position in excess of the system of their life time.

On the rapidly shifting landscape of reproductive healthcare—where the principles are significantly arbitrary and needlessly punitive, invented and enforced at the whims of all those with tiny-to-no true knowing of what abortion care basically entails—doulas are remaining the program. They refuse to be intimidated or deterred by the escalating rhetoric and overreach of the anti-abortion minority.

“Abortion function will continue as it always has—underground, with confined means, even with the dangers,” JB tells ELLE.come from his household in central Texas. “Restricting or rescinding obtain to safe, inexpensive abortion is injustice. And there will often be people battling for justice.”

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A Sick Scam

Damien Maloney

In the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016, Sarah Delashmit, a thirtyish woman from Illinois, attended Camp Summit in Dallas, Texas, which since 1947 has served children and adults (“ages 6–99”) with disabilities. Delashmit had muscular dystrophy, and was paralyzed from the neck down. She had a sophisticated power wheelchair and breathing machine, but still needed help with basic tasks, like showering, getting dressed, eating, going to the bathroom, and changing her menstrual products.

Camp Summit exists to accommodate just such needs. Activities like archery, swimming, and arts and crafts are adapted so that all campers can participate. “It’s amazing to see someone who’s 75 years old with cerebral palsy get to ride a horse for the first time ever,” says Sam Ryan, a former staff member. In 2015, Delashmit got to ride a horse, too. Racheal Ryan, Sam’s wife (they met as counselors at Camp Summit), sat behind her in the saddle, supporting Delashmit as they cantered across the warm grass. Delashmit was so delighted that she drew a picture for Racheal: a stick-figure horse topped with two stick-figure people, one brunette (Delashmit) and one redhead (Racheal). “One of the staff helped guide her hand because she didn’t have movement in her arm,” Racheal says.

Delashmit’s upbeat attitude and positive energy made her beloved by counselors and campers alike. They played pranks on each other, covering items in Saran wrap and filling Oreos with toothpaste. “There was one little girl in particular who was very attached to Sarah because she was also in a wheelchair and she wanted to be just like Sarah when she grew up,” Racheal says. “It was so cool for her to see an older version of herself.”

On the night of a camp party, Delashmit told Sam and Racheal that she wished some awesome guy would ask her to dance, but that she knew it wouldn’t happen. A staff member overheard her, and he came over and picked her right up out of her chair, whisking her around the room to the rhythm of the music. “When she sat back down, she told me her dream had come true,” Sam says. Delashmit’s story, her sessions of barrier-free adventure and camaraderie, is exactly the kind of heartwarming experience Camp Summit routinely delivers. But it was all based on a lie.

For at least 18 years, Delashmit has played the puppet master, calculating each lie and directing each narrative like her own small, pathetic god.

During Delashmit’s second session, someone called Camp Summit and tipped them off, telling them Delashmit didn’t need a wheelchair. That she didn’t have muscular dystrophy. And that, in fact, she was more than capable of walking, bathing, eating, and swapping out a tampon all on her own. When Camp Summit’s director confronted her, Delashmit simply stood up and waltzed out the door, like Keyser Söze losing his limp at the end of The Usual Suspects. “I was hurt because I thought we had a bond,” Sam says. Racheal notes that Delashmit’s wheelchair stayed on camp property for months. “I can’t believe she played us like that. She’s this person who doesn’t even exist,” Sam adds.

In January, Delashmit was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for multiple counts of fraud. In addition to her sessions at Camp Summit, she was convicted for pretending to be a breast cancer survivor from approximately October 2017 to March 2018, during which time she gained a bicycle and traveled to a Florida conference hosted by the Young Survival Coalition, a nonprofit organization for young adults with cancer. But the details of her conviction—salacious and unfathomable as they might be—fail to capture the full reach of Delashmit’s harm. Because Delashmit has been co-opting the identity of a sick person not just for the last five years, but for nearly two decades. First online and then in person, sometimes making up details about her own life and sometimes pretending to be other people, she has faked cancer or some form of degenerative disease consistently over the years, pulling well-meaning strangers into her web of deception.

Some of Delashmit’s former friends suggest she’s driven by a desire for sympathy and attention; like the many women who overwhelmingly perpetrate these kinds of crimes, she was desperately hungry for the compassion mobilized in response to illness and impediments. But her extreme example also points to another potential motivation: the thrills that come along with close manipulation. “There are some patients who manifest what we call ‘duping delight,’ where their primary motive is the gratification that comes with hoodwinking other people so dramatically,” says Marc Feldman, professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa and coauthor of Dying to Be Ill: True Stories of Medical Deception. “They are after sympathy and attention, but there can also be a sadistic streak, where it’s inherently gratifying to mislead and control other people.”

Over and over, for at least 18 years, Delashmit has played the puppet master, calculating each lie and directing each narrative like her own small, pathetic god.

faking sick

Damien Maloney

Nearly two years before her conviction, in the spring of 2019, Delashmit appeared on the Dr. Phil show, where furious victims from both Camp Summit and the breast cancer con confronted her. On camera, Delashmit seemed tickled by the opportunity to tell her story, and to have her makeup professionally done and her medium-length wavy chestnut hair styled straight. When Dr. Phil pointed out that perhaps remorse would be a preferable reaction to amusement, Delashmit followed his cues. She agreed when Dr. Phil asked her if she considers herself “deviously manipulative.” But she also couldn’t avoid turning herself into the object of misfortune by blaming her problems on a lying addiction, and stating that she’s just “a really lonely person.”

But the Dr. Phil episode was just the tip of the iceberg. “She’s been at this a very long time in multiple communities,” says Andrea Smith, who has been chasing Delashmit since 2006. “It’s terrifying.” Smith has long moderated a support community for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a severe form of muscular dystrophy that is rare in adults (children with SMA typically do not make it far beyond their second birthday). “We were burying children left and right at the time I discovered this community,” she says.

Smith first encountered Delashmit through an online community called SMA Support (a group independent of Smith’s own online community), where Delashmit posted as two different women: “Megan” (the name of a high school classmate of hers), and “Connie,” a woman who was supposedly the mother of a child with SMA (in reality, Connie is Delashmit’s mother’s name). “Connie” once wrote: “My sons name is Drake and his birthday is November 6th…. [He] was [also] diagnosed when he was 10 months old, I knew something was wrong when he was not pulling up like other kids his age and he was not active at all. I’m so scared for my little boy everything I read about SMA is like a death sentence.”

“She played dumb, she played vulnerable, and she just kept at it. And it escalated.”

Several moms on the chat noticed something off about Connie. The progression and treatment of SMA is very specific, and Connie said some things that didn’t sit right. So the SMA moms started Googling and found that Connie’s email address had been used to post on Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) chat boards since 2003, but the person writing the posts on that site was supposedly an adult with muscular dystrophy.

Smith kept poking around and found the same email address had been used on a forum for teenagers with cancer; there, the writer claimed to have acute lymphocytic leukemia. Smith believes the same email address was also used to pose as a woman with a younger sister named Gabby with SMA. When the poster posted a picture of “Gabby,” one of the chat members recognized the girl as 2001 MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Sarah Schwegel. “You can’t just snag pictures of some kids in wheelchairs, claim them as your own, and not expect us to know who they are,” Smith says.

Smith reached out to the FBI, which wasn’t interested in pursuing the case. “They thought it was penny-ante stuff,” she says. But Smith persisted, and the FBI put her in touch with the police in Delashmit’s hometown of Highland, Illinois. Officers were dispatched to straighten out the then 21-year-old Delashmit. When confronted by police, Delashmit admitted that she had fabricated various personas; that she didn’t have SMA; and that she was an only child. Police perceived her as a young and awkward person who had made a mostly harmless mistake. But Smith was convinced it was more than that. “Sarah was calculating,” Smith says. “She played dumb, she played vulnerable, and she just kept at it. And it escalated.”

While the extent of Delashmit’s deception is extraordinary, the act of pretending to be sick to gain both sympathy and material goods is increasingly familiar. Across the U.S., women—usually younger women who, according to Feldman, commonly work in health care—are faking sickness, combining a fabricated diagnosis with fundraising on GoFundMe or Facebook.

Factitious disorder was added to the DSM-III in 1980. It describes a serious mental illness in which someone deceives others by feigning illness, actually making themselves ill, or inflicting self-injury—and the majority of people with the disorder are women in their twenties and thirties. Feldman describes it as a maladaptation for addressing unmet needs. “They may be dissatisfied with their lot in life, and have few resources and few skills, and this is something they can pull off brilliantly,” he says. “It validates them and gives them a sensation of mastery over their lives, which in fact are out of control.” Unlike men, who are more prone to inflict violence against others, Feldman says women who struggle with the disorder tend to internalize and seek attention in a more socially acceptable manner: “Men end up in prison; women end up in doctor’s offices. They act out in ways that tend to keep them within the normal social structures. We all feel sympathy for people who appear to be patients.”

Delashmit defies the convention of the typical GoFundMe scammer who targets their nearest and dearest. She instead has a pattern of infiltrating support groups and advocacy organizations—safe spaces filled with strangers who offer services for individuals who are often neglected. She preys on people who are both largely unsuspecting and have a proven reservoir of deep compassion and generosity.

“They may be dissatisfied with their lot in life, and have few resources and few skills, and this is something they can pull off brilliantly.”

Britta, who was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in 2015 at age 33, met Delashmit through the Young Survival Coalition and spent hours on the phone with her, counseling her about available resources. “She told me that she’d been diagnosed with stage IV, that her husband had left her, that she had kids, and that she didn’t know how to go about telling her kids or family,” she says. “She wasn’t sure if she could afford treatment; she wasn’t sure how she was going to survive and take care of her kids. It came across as very painful for her to talk about. And I understood that because it was painful for me.”

It’s no coincidence many victims of this type of fraud are women. When people get sick, it’s disproportionately women who mobilize: According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, women are more likely than men to give to crowdfunding campaigns to help someone in need. And a 2019 study of GoFundMe contributions found that women donors express significantly more empathy in the messages left for fundraisers. “There’s almost a codependency that develops in some of these communities,” Feldman says. “Women have told me that they used to spend 12 hours a day online with the poser. And then you have to ask not only why the poser did it, but why the supporter had such a buy-in.” In these cases, the con artist–victim relationship can be complicated by the pleasures of generosity. Delashmit lied to and mistreated her victims. But she also gave them an opportunity to be their best selves—useful, helpful, and caring. When women talk about being abused by Delashmit, they often sound like the victims of romance scammers. After such a symbiotic relationship, after giving and baring so much, the humiliation is doubly powerful.

Claire Simpson* shared a suite with Delashmit at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2003. Along with her other two suitemates, they became fast friends. “She was just a regular, quiet, unassuming girl,” says Simpson, who still lives in Illinois. Delashmit told the group that she had had leukemia as a child and had attended a special camp for kids with cancer. Her father was a successful doctor, she claimed, who took her on elaborate ski trips. Delashmit said she was a premed student, hoping to follow in his footsteps.

In reality, Delashmit’s dad was not a doctor. Smith says he has long been out of the picture. Instead, Delashmit lived with her mother in a modest bungalow in Illinois. While she in many ways appears to have maintained a bisected life—going on ski trips with family while pretending to have a terminal or degenerative illness to others—she also drew those closest to her into that parallel universe. She sometimes used their names as her online pseudonyms and misrepresented their photos, claiming one cousin was her husband and another was her sister.

When Delashmit announced her leukemia was back and she would have to begin treatment, her college roommates rallied around her—constantly tending to her, and ensuring she wasn’t alone as she managed doctors’ visits. One day, Delashmit appeared in tears, with fistfuls of hair she found on her pillow, a side effect of treatment, she claimed. Another time, during a movie night, someone chose A Walk to Remember, in which Mandy Moore’s character dies from leukemia. “Sarah got so upset,” Simpson says. “She was like, ‘I can’t believe you chose this movie.’ She made such a huge deal that my roommate ended up yelling at Sarah’s friend for being insensitive.” And there’s one other thing Simpson remembers. After Delashmit appeared crying, clutching clumps of her fallen-out hair, a friend offered to cut off all her own hair in solidarity. “Sarah just sat back and watched [her do it] and seemed very pleased with herself,” says Simpson, who notes that Delashmit never actually lost her own hair. “It was very unsettling.”

“There’s no way to stop her. She’s just going to keep popping up like an old bad whack-a-mole.”

There’s an interesting double side to Delashmit’s deceit. On one hand, she tells lies centered around terminal or debilitating illnesses that are carefully calibrated to evoke concern, compassion, and even pity. On the other, she tells lies that might elevate her status, inspire envy, or suggest that she’s moving along through some of life’s common milestones.

After college, Simpson and Delashmit became friends on social media but otherwise drifted apart. Around 2008, Simpson noticed Delashmit had updated her status as engaged and then married. Then she got pregnant and had triplets, frequently posting pictures. “They were adorable babies, and I sent her a message saying, ‘Congratulations, that’s awesome,’ ” Simpson says. But then a mutual friend contacted Simpson. “She said, ‘Oh my God, you won’t guess, but Sarah has been using this lady’s pictures of her kids,’ ” Simpson says. Delashmit had been posting another woman’s pictures—all from the neck down—from pregnancy through to the early months of the babies’ lives. Someone recognized the triplets on Delashmit’s profile and told their actual mom what was going on. “And then Sarah just blocked everyone or deleted her social media, and I guess just started again somewhere else.”

That wasn’t the only lie about pregnancy that would get Delashmit into trouble. In October 2012, while working as a staff nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, Delashmit announced she was pregnant with twins. But in June of 2013, she relayed terrible news: She had delivered the twins prematurely and lost both. In order to further the lie, Delashmit shoved pillows under her work uniform and carried around ultrasound pictures, almost certainly of someone else’s pregnancy. When a workplace investigation—it’s unclear what prompted it—was launched into her conduct, Delashmit told the investigator this was at least the second time she’d falsely presented herself as pregnant. She lost her license to practice in Oklahoma in May of 2014, and subsequently in additional states.

“She has to create these stories and characters. Why wasn’t the truth good enough?”

Delashmit’s yearning for family life—or at least the appearance of it—emerged in other perverse ways, too. Erin Johnson, who has cerebral palsy, met Delashmit as a camper in 2005 at a California camp for children and adults with disabilities, where Delashmit was working as an able-bodied counselor. Delashmit soon glommed onto Johnson and took over her primary care. “From then on, we were inseparable,” Johnson says. For 12 years, Johnson and Delashmit spent a considerable portion of their respective days talking on the phone or online, and they visited each other a handful of times. “I was really drawn to her,” Johnson says. “She seemed like she needed someone.”

A couple of years after they met, Delashmit told Johnson that she was getting married to a man named Adam, sending a picture of her fiancé. (Johnson says she now knows the photos of Adam were actually of Delashmit’s cousin, James.) Multiple children soon followed. And then, one day in 2008 or 2009, when Delashmit and Johnson were talking on the phone, an email appeared in Johnson’s inbox. A man named Jeff said that he had seen Johnson’s profile on a dating website and thought she was pretty. Johnson and Jeff exchanged messages with Delashmit’s encouragement. As Jeff described himself to Johnson, Delashmit thought he sounded familiar. She told Johnson to ask for a picture. When Jeff sent one, Johnson texted it to Delashmit, who was ecstatic: She knew Jeff. He was her husband’s best friend. “She played it as if it was just a coincidence,” Johnson says.

Johnson and Jeff’s relationship evolved over the next two months, as they chatted over MSN Messenger, with Jeff professing his love. And then, one day, tragedy struck. Delashmit called and said Adam and Jeff were in a car accident, and she was rushing to the hospital. She told Johnson later that Jeff was dead, and then supported her friend through the grief. “The possibility of him was really nice,” Johnson says. “If you’re disabled, there are not a lot of guys who want to take care of you full time. It’s something you think is never going to happen. I feel like she used that against me.” (While Johnson can’t say for sure or prove that Delashmit was posing as “Jeff,” she thinks it’s possible given her fraud conviction and pattern of behavior.)

“These services exist for disabled folks because they have so little—they’re just barely surviving—and here she is stealing from them.”

Johnson is still at a bit of a loss to fully explain Delashmit’s behavior, which was both exploitative and just plain bizarre. She suspects that it stems from some combination of mental illness and loneliness, that Delashmit has an aching unhappiness with her actual life. “She has to create these stories and characters,” she says. “Why wasn’t the truth good enough?”

Johnson suspects that Delashmit didn’t just use her for cheap thrills, but to sharpen her skills. During their friendship, Delashmit reported a litany of ailments, often temporary, from cancer and Ebola to SMA. “She knew how to place her hands,” says Johnson of Delashmit’s SMA appearance. “If you have certain disabilities, you develop certain postures, and she did that. I think the reason she was so drawn to me was so she could study my life and figure out how to be someone like me.”

Efforts to reach Delashmit for comment have been unsuccessful; the only phone number I could find for her has been disconnected, and her lawyer did not respond to requests for comment. In the financial affidavit she prepared for her fraud case, Delashmit presents a fairly mundane existence. She worked for at least a year at an Amazon fulfillment center in Edwardsville, Illinois. She also picked up some extra cash working for DoorDash. She owes $70,000 in deferred student loans, identifies as single, and has no dependents. A colleague at Amazon told me Delashmit used to tell people she had a husband in the military and a disabled son—until the Dr. Phil episode aired. Other court documents serve as an inventory of ill-gotten financial assistance and donated items, with prosecutors leaning hard on the lost opportunities for members of the communities she infiltrated. “These services exist for disabled folks because they have so little—they’re just barely surviving—and here she is stealing from them,” Smith says. But while the financial fraud is the least of the damage inflicted by Delashmit, there are few mechanisms in the criminal justice system to deal with emotional injury. “What she did to so many of us isn’t illegal,” Johnson says. Fraud occasionally happens in the not-for-profit world, but these services still rely heavily on trust and decency.

After Delashmit got up and walked out of Camp Summit, it became clear she had violated a core social compact: When people ask for help, we can believe them. “It put this doubt in my head,” Racheal Ryan says. “I went around for a little while, looking at campers in wheelchairs, and thinking that maybe they were faking it. It was such an awful feeling, walking around this place I love, wondering if these people I love were just another Sarah Delashmit.”

It’s tempting to attribute Delashmit’s outrageous behavior to mental health issues—“she must be sick” is a common refrain. It’s a highly sympathetic assessment perhaps disproportionately applied to white women when they commit egregiously antisocial acts. Many people she’s harmed believe it is more a question of whether Delashmit makes an active choice to perpetrate these cons over and over—and whether there’s anything that might stop her. “It may be a difficult matter to overcome because we don’t have effective treatments for consistent malingerers or for sociopathic individuals,” Feldman says. “It sounds like she’s revealing the extent to which she really doesn’t empathize with anyone else.”

Smith says when Delashmit was sentenced, she expressed less remorse than one might think prudent, and that she doesn’t appear to recognize the gravity of her actions. Delashmit often redirects back to her personal struggles, utilizing a theory of victimization that enables her to avoid taking on full personal responsibility for her actions. So even though Delashmit is now in prison, Smith is determined to keep sounding the alarm. She knows it’s a near-impossible battle to win if Delashmit is determined to keep doing what she’s been doing, both online and off. “After we chased her off last time, she tried again, and then she tried again,” Smith says. “There’s no way to stop her. [She’s] just going to keep popping up like an old bad whack-a-mole. This really seems like all she has in her life.”

This story appears in the September 2021 issue.

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