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The 6 biggest myths about hotel room upgrades (and how to score one)

As we know firsthand here at Oyster, not all hotel rooms are created equal. It's been a longstanding part of the industry that hotels and resorts, at their discretion, can offer guests a hotel room upgrade. However, talking your way into a hotel upgrade requires a lot more than an extra dose of charm as you approach the front desk - and, as it...Read more

Deals & Steals: Books-A-Million has promo code for 15% off

As young adult fiction enthusiasts eagerly await Stephenie Meyers' reworked version of "Twilight," called "Midnight Sun" and told from the perspective of Edward Cullen, Suzanne Collins has released a prequel to "The Hunger Games" titled "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" to whet avid readers' appetites...Read more

How to apply makeup in a masked world

COVID-19 has caused us to rethink just about every daily routine, including applying makeup.

A full face of lipstick, blush and bronzer has taken a backseat to less-is-more looks as women kicked off their shoes and slipped on sweats to shelter in place. Now that stay-at-home restrictions are easing, face masks are creating new challenges - ...Read more

How to prevent 'maskne' and other face mask skin issues, according to dermatologists

Wearing masks to reduce the spread of coronavirus is still required in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for shoppers and workers at essential stores, but the practice has led to a new complaint - "maskne," breakouts caused by wearing a mask for long periods of time.

Part of the reason why people might get maskne is because the skin ...Read more

Using Zoom, hair stylists help clients cut and color their own hair at home

CHICAGO - We're all getting to that point of quarantine fatigue. We haven't seen our loved ones in person, we now wear masks when we leave the house and our hair has grown longer than we're used to.

So is it possible to re-create salon services at home during the coronavirus pandemic? Thankfully, a few local stylists are coaching clients on ...Read more

Answer Angel: A gal pal fashion question roundtable

When you're 14 years old, going into high school and mostly stuck at home during a pandemic, you've got plenty of time on your hands. So, I gathered some girls (remotely of course) and asked them for their style and shopping questions. I told them I'd do my best to come up with some sensible answers. Thanks to Amelia I., Annabelle F., Natalie ...Read more

Everything you need to know about the upcoming Real ID rules

For now, traveling isn't possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, the upcoming Real ID rules will have a huge impact on domestic travel in the U.S., so you don't want to be caught unprepared once it's safe to fly again. The Real ID rules are 15 years in the making and have undergone several phases of implementation between ...Read more

Target going ahead with special limited-edition designer partnership on dresses

MINNEAPOLIS - Will consumers, many of whom have been staying in and wearing sweatpants during the pandemic, be in the mood for a special collection of dresses?

Target will soon find out.

The Minneapolis-based retailer, which has built its cheap-chic reputation from its highly anticipated designer partnerships, will launch a new one in a few ...Read more

College freshman gets kicks designing cleats for major-leaguers

SEATTLE - Kirkland, Wash., native Andrew Urrutia realized he was on to something when his Lake Washington High School baseball teammates raved about the cleats he'd custom-designed for himself.

The pitcher would strip his cleats of paint and decals, then repaint them with personalized, colorful designs. Word spread to other schools, where ...Read more

Answer Angel: Quick, easy fix for thinning eyebrows

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What is left of my eyebrows is fading and thinning. Not a great look. I see ads about fiber eyebrow enhancers. What would you suggest to make my eyebrows look their best?

- Adrienne B.

Dear Adrienne: The number of eyebrow products is overwhelming and confusing. There's all sorts of ways to spend money on your brows ...Read more

How to host the best virtual graduation party

You've looked forward to this for roughly 18 years. It's time for your family to celebrate the graduate. And what you had envisioned - family and friends filling the house, senior ceremonies - has been docked due to COVID-19.

You can still have all the parties you want.

Maybe you have a family-focused Zoom (after all, Grandma doesn't need to...Read more

Cocktail Hour: 10 international drinks to help you pretend you're on a beach somewhere

If your family trip to the Caribbean or romantic getaway to Europe's beaches was postponed, we feel your pain. Sitting on a lounger by the ocean, listening to the waves crash is one of the easiest ways for us to relax and recharge. Fortunately, there's one thing that can transport you to a beautiful beach somewhere: a cocktail that perfectly ...Read more

How to give yourself a buzz cut (or even a fade) during the shutdown

PHILADELPHIA - We've been inside for a while. And barbershops and hair salons have been deemed non-essential in Pennsylvania and New Jersey - meaning that, by now, many of our manes may be looking downright shaggy.

Cutting your hair at home isn't easy, but if you're game, there is one hairstyle that could be pretty simple to achieve: The humble...Read more

Answer Angel: How to safely remove your fake nails

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: How can I remove my acrylic nails without tearing up my own poor nails underneath. I have 1/4 inch of my own nails showing and with nail salons closed where I live, it is time to do it myself?

- Genevieve J.

Dear Genevieve: For acrylic, gel or powder dipped nails:

_Get yourself a nail file 180 grit or less. The ...Read more

Elizabeth Wellington: Is my mask less effective if I wear makeup?

There are those of us who are letting our old beauty obsessions go by the wayside in quarantine (so long bras, heels and yes, makeup). But some of us still insist on wearing full faces - including foundation and lipstick - when we leave the house, whether it's on our weekly outings to the big box stores or just a walk around the block.

That ...Read more

Costume stitchers creating special face mask for the lip-reading community

SAN DIEGO - While the county's face mask order may be a valuable tool for reducing the spread of COVID-19, it has had an unexpected negative impact on the hearing-impaired community, who can no longer read lips when they interact with masked employees at essential businesses.

Michael Conley was born deaf and relies on lip-reading to interact ...Read more

Paris' 12 Palace hotels and their more affordable alternatives

For hotels from Beverly Hills to Beijing, a neat row of five stars is the universal symbol for luxury - absolute, utmost, borderline ridiculous luxury. Unless you're talking about France - which we are - where decadence is a whole different game.

A decade ago, the country introduced a hotel category a notch above five stars: the coveted ...Read more

Doing their part with custom-designed masks for charity

CHICAGO - Whether they are made from T-shirts, scarves or bandanas, it would appear that masks may be here to stay, even after curves are flattened and people break free from their homes. Local online marketplace Threadless, which sells T-shirts and other merchandise showcasing artist-submitted designs, is making inroads to meet the need by ...Read more

We try it: cutting and coloring our hair at home

SAN DIEGO - Coronavirus has temporarily shut down hair salons, resulting in a lot of people trying out home haircuts and color kits.

All over social media, you'll find tearful videos of bangs being cut way too short, color coming out in uneven stripes and very, very crooked trims.

But do we need to be doing this? Some hairdressers advise ...Read more

Branded masks turn coronavirus protection into commercial message: 'It's a face billboard.'

CHICAGO - The requirement that Illinois residents wear facial coverings in public to prevent the spread of coronavirus has given rise to a new advertising vehicle - branded face masks promoting everything from fast food restaurants to sports teams.

All major sports leagues have begun producing officially-licensed team logo masks. Universal ...Read more