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PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 06: A Maria Decremps wears a black face mask, earrings, a gray oversized blazer jacket, a gray wool pullover, cropped pants, snake pattern printed pointy shoes, a bag, outside Louis Vuitton, during Paris Fashion Week – Womenswear Spring Summer 2021, on October 06, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images) Between the controversy surrounding basic public-health measures and the outright refusal of some to observe any rules or guidelines, 2020 has presented us with a fascinating case study in human behaviour during a pandemic. With quarantine fatigue weighing heavy on our minds, and a collective desperation for some semblance of self-care (coupled with the advent of masks altering our perceptions of our own faces), it’s easy to see how the pandemic has also created a novel demand for elective cosmetic procedures. However, the specifics of what, exactly, people are getting done has become somewhat of a mystery this year, with many consciously choosing to keep their in-office treatments on the DL due to the sensitivity surrounding non-essential procedures during the crisis. To gain clearer insight into pandemic-era cosmetic trends — which are very much on the rise — we tapped a few notable plastic surgeons from across the US to share their top-requested procedures of 2020. Find out what’s been happening behind their closed office and OR doors, ahead. Eye Tweakments Any plastic surgeon will tell you that face masks have made people hyper aware of their eyes and the tightness of the skin around them, creating an uptick in eye-focused requests such as brow lifts, Botox, and eyelash extensions to enhance the facial features left uncovered when properly sporting a face covering. According to Manhattan-based surgeon Melissa Doft, MD, these treatments are typically small, minimally invasive, and, in some cases, preventative. “Pre-COVID, Botox around the eyes would mostly be requested by people who already have skin wrinkling,” explains Dr. Doft. “But now, we’re seeing that people are asking for fewer units just to lift their eyes, even if they don’t have any pronounced wrinkles yet.” Sarah Quinn, medical director at Arizona’s Arcadia Wellness Center, which specializes in cosmetic injections, has seen a similar trend in patients making requests for eye-adjacent Botox procedures. “We’ve seen almost a 30% increase in people asking for mid- and upper-face injections,” Quinn tells us. “Most often that will be a brow lift — a form of Botox injected directly underneath the eyebrow to lift the arch — along with standard Botox on the forehead to smooth any wrinkles or frown lines. Then to round it out, we’ve seen a huge influx in patients asking for Latisse to make sure their eyelashes are as long, thick, and full as possible.” Lip Injections On the flip side of the face-mask situation, the mandated coverings present a unique shield over the lower half of the face, making it easy to hide the bruising and swelling that typically follows lip injections. “Surprisingly, people are still coming in for lips injections,” says Dr. Doft. “I thought that the requests for lip filler surgeries would go way down because people aren’t showing their lips as often, but people are actually using this time to try new things. The thought is: Well, I’m wearing a mask anyway, so if there’s bruising or swelling, no one will see it. For that reason, there’s been an increase in people trying lip injections for the first time.” Preventative Skin Tightening According to Dr. Doft, submental liposuction — a more invasive method of fat removal to reduce skin-sagging below the jawline — has been another popular request in her Manhattan office on the rise in the era of Zoom and TikTok. “I’m seeing a ridiculous amount of submental liposuction, which is liposuction right under the jawline, and that patient population is mostly younger,” Dr. Doft tells us. “It’s happening because of technology; if you’re working at a laptop or staring down at your phone, you might see an exaggerated double-chin happening.” Of course, submental liposuction is both costly — averaging about $3,500 (£2,600) — and requires at least a week of downtime, as compared to less invasive innovations we’ve seen in the field of skin-tightening around the neck and chin, such as “mono threading.” Actress Eva Mendes recently shared her experience undergoing a mono-thread facial treatment, where acupuncture-like pins, or threads, were injected around the contour of her jawline. The star’s esthetician, Mariana Vergara, described the skin-tightening procedure as preventative. “Mono-threads activate collagen synthesis, which produces a gradual skin thickening, skin tightening and rejuvenation effect,” Vergara explained. “Natural” Botox Alternatives Gwyneth Paltrow’s go-to doctor Julius Few, MD, predicts we’ll hear more buzz about pared-down Botox alternatives come the new year. “Botox and many other popular FDA-approved muscle-relaxing injectables on the market are formulated with proteins for stabilisation,” explains Dr. Few, adding that the latest technology strips down the additives to isolate the active molecule. “In recent clinical trials, scientists have found that those surrounding proteins may not actually be necessary, so we’ve seen the production of other labels, like Xeomin, which give people the option for a Botox-like effect without the added proteins which, in some cases, can cause injection-site reactions or inflammation.” As medical technology evolves, innovation and change in cultural norms follow — which is a fact we’re all uniquely in tune with this year. 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A few months ago, when a friend asked me if I was “on Clubhouse,” I thought she was talking about a new antidepressant. “No, it’s an app,” she said, “and you need an invite to get in.” The FOMO hit me instantly. After some speedy googling, I realised that the exclusive audio-based (see ya, texting thumb!) chat room was the latest Silicon Valley obsession and was slowly but surely creeping into the hands of a select few non-techies. In fact, while everyone seems to be talking about Clubhouse, just 3,500 people around the world, including celebs like Oprah, Ashton Kutcher, and most recently Kevin Hart, currently have access to the eight-month-old platform. Though the concept of a chat room might have you thinking you’ve time travelled back to 2002, Clubhouse is shaping up to be the next big thing in social (especially in the wake of its recent $100 million (£75 million) valuation) when it eventually becomes available to the public. But what exactly is it? And when the time comes that you score an invite, will it be worth the download? Or, is it just is it another app we’ll forget about when the world goes back to normal? Here, I break down all your burning Clubhouse questions to help you decide if you want in. How does Clubhouse work? Think of Clubhouse like being at a party (remember those?) where you don’t know anyone, so you casually poke your head into conversations and chat with people around the room. The keyword here is “chat,” as in with your voice, because it is an audio-based app where you literally talk to others (including the aforementioned celebs) in virtual rooms that you can hop in and out of. You can upload a profile photo of yourself, but aside from that there are no options for images or video. Fear not introverts/people who hate the sound of their own voice — you can join any chat you want and mute upon entry! What do you talk about? Anything and everything. The point is to simply connect with other humans. Within minutes of signing up (more on how to get an invitation later), I was practising my terrible Spanish with fellow novices in one room. As we speak, I’m listening to musicians make an impromptu R&B song together. This morning, I discussed how to find small stocks to invest in, and later tonight, I plan to join a room called “Why people act Hollywood when they are nobodies” (the name alone sold me). I’ve been in several chat rooms about activism, 4C hair care, and ways to support Black-owned businesses. There is no topic off-limits, however, like Snapchat, there is no history — once the chat has ended, it’s gone forever. So, it’s not a dating app? No. Clubhouse is not a dating app. That said, if you like the sound of someone’s voice, there is nothing stopping you from shooting your shot by flirting vocally into the digital ether and hoping for the best. But I would strongly encourage you to read (or in this case, listen) to the room beforehand. Why has Clubhouse become so popular? In a word? Networking. Because the app is currently available to a small group, the opportunity to connect with this exclusive network of tech giants, celebrities, and activists is one of its most alluring features. People are jumping at the chance to make personal and professional connections they may not otherwise have access to. And because every user is able to join a room and have a real conversation with anyone, there is a sense of intimacy that you just don’t get on other platforms. Though I was too shook to give him my elevator pitch, within minutes of joining my first chat, Joe Budden, rapper-turned-podcast godfather himself, popped in to offer his two cents on the topic du jour. Since the chaos of 2020 has taken away so many jobs and physical connections, some might consider this the next best thing. “A synchronous conversation feels more personal than typing something out,” says Janelle Hinds, founder of the Toronto-based non-profit app Helping Hands. “There’s a reason why we jump on a Zoom rather than email back and forth.” After many months of endless scrolling and screen fatigue, I can see the appeal. Any app that doesn’t rely on curated visuals (or require me to learn choreography I will surely be bad at!) feels refreshing. Is Clubhouse safe? What about privacy? Though Clubhouse only launched earlier this year, the app has already seen its fair share of criticism for its lack of moderation policies. The app initially had no guidelines and was soon confronted with the harsh realities of misinformation and harassment between users. Since then, its founders have created community guidelines; each room can also create customisable “club rules.” You can also now block users, or report an incident if something particularly shady goes on. That said, given how easy it has been for hate groups to find homes on other social-media platforms, it is concerning that the app creators weren’t more wary of this from the start. Are there any other downsides? While it’s cool that a virtual run-in with a celeb or venture capitalist is just a chat room away, Douglas Soltys, editor-in-chief of Canadian tech publication BetaKit, warns about the consequences of being invited into social groups with a limited set of ideas. Apps like these, he argues, “seem like tools to create more bubbles… they’re like private jet rental startups for rich people. They’re built for a pre-established ecosystem echo chamber that isn’t necessarily aware of itself,” he says. “It’s not inherently wrong or bad, but it does speak to who [Clubhouse is] initially trying to cater to.” In short, though like-minded voices are great for building communities, they can also be a breeding ground for exclusion and fake news, so it’s important to stay aware and diversify your content. I want in! How do I get an invite to Clubhouse? Because Clubhouse is only in beta testing, and therefore invite-only for now, you’ll have to wait until someone asks you to join. Every new member is allotted one invite — I got mine through an Instagram friend and I used my one invite for someone I thought might enjoy some women in tech rooms. Unfortunately, there is no real trick to getting in. For now, like pre-COVID times, you just have to wait for someone to invite you into the club. So, is it worth the space on my phone? The short answer is: It depends. As a podcast lover and recovering people-watcher, this app gives me the same joy as tuning into The Receipts Podcast or eavesdropping on strangers’ conversations on the bus. And even better, because of the small community, there is definitely an opportunity to network with a group of people you would never otherwise speak to. If you’re trying to figure out if the app is for you, Hinds reminds us that, like on all social media, you’ll have to carve out a space of your own, “Clubhouse will be what you make of it… people will have to make an effort to figure out where they belong.” And if you do get an invite, know that just like any app (even those with disappearing content), the internet is forever. You’re just as accountable for how you use this platform as you are with any other, exclusive invite or not. Like what you see? 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If there’s one thing Taylor Alison Swift loves, it’s an easter egg. It seems the singer spends all her free time hiding secret messages or references to her past in everything she puts out. But would Swift announce something as important as her own engagement through an easter egg? Fans seem to think so. The Swiftie Galaxy Brain has been at it again, and this time fans have noticed something that gives them reason to believe that the singer confirmed her rumoured engagement to boyfriend Joe Alwyn. Swift recently revealed a snippet of her re-recorded 2008 hit “Love Story” in a recent commercial for Match.com. A fan pointed out on TikTok, however, that the lyrics in the new version were changed from “Baby, just say, ‘Yes’” to “Baby, just said, ‘Yes.’” @brittsims97 ##taylorswift ##fyp ##lovestory ##lovestorychallenge ##rerecording ##swiftie ♬ love story rerecorded snippet – bailey.houghton “Wait why aren’t we talking about the fact that Taylor said ‘it’s a love story baby just SAID yes,” another fan tweeted. “I just saw a tiktok and I didn’t even notice until the girl pointed it out omg original lyrics are baby just say yes, is our queen trying to tell us something?” sound for reference pic.twitter.com/gOf1U7Ue8V— christina (@folklorebabe) December 3, 2020 This set fans off, especially since many feel that this is the reason why she decided to tease “Love Story” first; they’re bowled over by the romance of it all. It’s hard to tell whether we’re mishearing the lyric, but an engagement between the couple wouldn’t necessarily come as a huge surprise. Swift and Alwyn have been dating since 2017, and it seems to be going so well that they’ve even done a bit of songwriting together. Fans have also been speculating that Alwyn has already proposed for a while — there was that time in January 2020 in Swift’s Netflix documentary Miss Americana when people thought she was wearing an engagement ring, and then there’s the folklore theory that there’s meaning behind the album’s first and last words, which put together are “I do.” Are the rumours true? Taylor just say, “Yes.” Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Taylor Swift's Rerecording Of "Love Story"Joe Alwyn Helped Write Taylor Swift’s "Betty"Taylor Swift Says Joe Alwyn Helps Her Feel Normal
Police forces will be patrolling the perimeters of some Tier 2 and 3 areas this weekend, in a bid to curb breaches of 'non-essential' travel rules. North Yorkshire Police confirmed this week that it would be increasing its presence on border areas, to discourage people from travelling to the county from surrounding Tier 3 locations. Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology (ANPR) is also being used to monitor cross-border traffic. North Yorkshire is currently under Tier 2 regulations, with all surrounding counties – except Cumbria – under Tier 3 rules. The Government currently advises against non-essential travel from Tier 3 areas, or visiting areas in a higher tier than your own. “It is our responsibility to keep the public of North Yorkshire safe,” said Superintendent Mike Walker of North Yorkshire Police. “So, until the threat this virus poses is eradicated, we will continue to play our part in containing it.” Police officers will also be on patrol in Liverpool – Tier 2 – this weekend, challenging those who have travelled to the city from Tier 3 areas. A Merseyside Police spokesperson confirmed: “We will continue to have high visibility patrols on foot and on our roads, and officers will continue to remind the public of the rules, encourage people to adhere to them and explain why it is so important. “Where blatant breaches of legislation are seen, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action.” Under the new Tier system rules, non-essential travel from a Tier 3 area is currently 'advised against' – not actually illegal. However, fixed penalty notices may be issued to those breaking some of the new rules, such as a £200 fine for meeting people outside your 'bubble'. Read more: Can I travel between tiers this Christmas? The new winter travel rules Preventing people from travelling to Tier 1 Cornwall is also a concern for Devon and Cornwall Police. The force has announced the deployment of dedicated Coronavirus police patrols across the region, whose “sole purpose will be to respond to Covid-related matters”. There will be "up to 10 additional dedicated double-crewed units", confirmed a spokesperson; with officers focusing on the border areas between Devon and Cornwall. Cornwall is currently the only area of mainland Britain to be placed under Tier 1 restrictions, while Devon is under Tier 2. But the travel ban between the two areas is being adhered to, said Malcolm Bell, chief executive of local tourism authority Visit Cornwall. “Businesses on the border have been put in a very difficult position; are they really supposed to turn away much-needed custom from just a few miles away? “But there have, in fact, been more cancellations than bookings [in Cornwall’s hotels and hospitality businesses]. They're coming in from people in Tier 3 as they should not travel, and others from Tier 2 as multiple households cannot share cottages, apartments or dine together in hotels and restaurants.”
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