4 things I learned from renovating my bathroom during the middle of a pandemic

When stay-at-home orders were enforced at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, my husband and I suddenly found ourselves at home 24/7 with two young children — and a totally demolished bathroom.

You see, at the end of February, we’d decided to redo our outdated, almost entirely pink 1960s bathroom. But what at first seemed like a daunting task paired with terrible timing ended up being a source of solace.

I had the opportunity to create a space for self-care at a time when that space became more important than ever. I took on the creative design process and my husband, who has professional construction training, gutted the bathroom and did the heavy lifting (well, most — Mama’s got some serious kid-carrying strength).

The project not only reinforced the importance of our family working as a team to build something together (even our 2- and 5-year-olds pitched in with a

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How Rachel Hislop relaunched Okayplayer

Rachel Hislop became editor-in-chief of Okayplayer in 2017
Rachel Hislop became editor-in-chief of Okayplayer in 2017

June was an unforgettable month for Rachel Hislop. Just not in the way she expected.

For the last two years, she’s been plotting the relaunch of the ground-breaking and influential hip-hop website Okayplayer.

Once one of America’s most popular online music destinations, its reputation had dipped in recent years; and Hislop, who’d made her name working with Beyoncé, was brought in to make it relevant again.

By the start of 2020, plans were in place. New writers had been hired, photoshoots were booked and interviews were scheduled,

Then Covid-19 hit and scattered her staff.

Then the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor irrevocably changed the site’s editorial goals.

Then her CEO, Abiola Oke, was forced to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment and creating a toxic work environment.

“It all just came tumbling down,” Hislop tells the BBC.

We spoke to

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Coronavirus Pandemic Shifts Back-to-School Spending

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t stopping parents from hitting the back-to-school sales, but it may be changing what’s on their shopping lists.

Back-to-school spending for children in grades K-12 is expected to hit $28.1 billion — or $529 per student — which is relatively flat from last year, when $27.8 billion was spent, according to the 2020 Back-to-School survey by international accounting and professional services firm Deloitte, released July 8.

However, the uncertainty over whether students will be learning in-person or virtually is driving many parents to spend more on technology upgrades.

Improving the learning experience with technology

As the school season nears, parents have a lot on their mind. Two-thirds of the parents surveyed said they were anxious about sending their children back to school this fall because of the pandemic.

In addition, a majority of parents were not satisfied with their children’s learning experience during the last school year.

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How the U.S. seeks to protect children’s privacy online

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – TikTok is under investigation for allegedly violating a settlement reached with U.S. authorities last year that resolved charges the popular app broke rules governing how children’s personal information is treated online.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which enforces the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, and the Justice Department, which often files court actions for the FTC, have opened a preliminary investigation into the matter involving the China-based video-sharing app.

Under rules dating to 1998 legislation, COPPA requires websites to get parental permission to collect data on children under the age of 13. Websites or online services are also expected to ban third parties from collecting the data.

COPPA also applies to mobile apps, gaming platforms and internet-connected toys, among others.

Under pressure from the FTC, TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, agreed in early 2019 to pay a $5.7 million civil penalty for violating COPPA by

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Trump has zero understanding of what it will take to safely reopen U.S. schools

High school students and their teacher in Cascais, Portugal, wear masks on their first day back in school on May 18. <span class="copyright">(Horacio Villalobos / Corbis via Getty Images)</span>
High school students and their teacher in Cascais, Portugal, wear masks on their first day back in school on May 18. (Horacio Villalobos / Corbis via Getty Images)

President Trump wants to have it both ways: He is pressuring U.S. public schools to reopen, citing nations such as Germany, Denmark and France that have led the way, while insisting that our schools don’t need the kind of money that those countries have spent on safely reopening.

Trump seems to think he can ignore the serious surges of COVID-19 in many states and return the schools to nearly pre-pandemic normal just by wishing it. Do it fast, do it on the cheap — or else.

He’s also ignoring the nation’s own experts, but what’s new about that? Although the administration’s top infectious disease official, Anthony Fauci, supports school reopening, he says the decisions need to be left to local officials who

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John Swing, a driving force in L.A.’s Historic Filipinotown, dies of COVID-19 at 48

John Swing worked with multiple community organizations serving the Filipino American community. <span class="copyright">(Search to Involve Pilipino Americans)</span>
John Swing worked with multiple community organizations serving the Filipino American community. (Search to Involve Pilipino Americans)

In the final ceremony for Search to Involve Pilipino Americans’ Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month webinar series in May, community leader John Eric Swing smiled proudly in his polo shirt emblazoned with the nonprofit’s logo.

“SIPA’s doors are always open,” he said of the organization. “We’re here to be a bridge and be impactful in many ways, and how we make that impactful is in everyone’s collaboration with each other.”

Swing was a leader in Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown and had worked with multiple community organizations serving the Filipino American community. He had been the executive director of SIPA, which is dedicated to Filipino American empowerment, for only two months when he died June 28 of complications from COVID-19. He was 48.

Swing was appointed after a yearlong

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Harvard, MIT sue to block ICE rule on international students

BOSTON (AP) — Colleges and universities pushed back Wednesday against the Trump administration’s decision to make international students leave the country if they plan on taking classes entirely online this fall, with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filing a lawsuit to try to block it, and others promising to work with students to keep them on campus.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement notified colleges Monday that international students will be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools operate entirely online this fall. New visas will not be issued to students at those schools, and others at universities offering a mix of online and in-person classes will be barred from taking all of their classes online.

The guidance says international students won’t be exempt even if an outbreak forces their schools online during the fall term.

In a statement, the U.S. State

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How HGTV’s ‘Property Brothers’ Plan to Go Back Into Production, But With Precautions (EXCLUSIVE)

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As the fate of many Hollywood productions remains up in the air due to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as cases sharply rise, HGTV stars Jonathan and Drew Scott — aka the “Property Brothers” — are moving forward with new TV episodes for their vast home-improvement empire.

“The catalyst for us was that construction was never shut down,” Jonathan Scott says. “It was considered essential for obvious reasons, because we can’t have people displaced from their homes. But really, it was a challenge for us. Do we pause the shows and leave these houses as they are, or do we try and get these families back into their homes?”

More from Variety

That’s why the two, via their Scott Brothers Entertainment shingle, are about to complete Season 7 of their series “Brother vs. Brother,” and also beginning the casting process to find six families

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‘Baldie’, ‘Jew’ and ‘fatso’ among words set to be banned in US Scrabble competitions

The offensive words have been separated into seven categories - “slur”, “anatomical”, “political”, “profane”, “prurient”, “scatological”, and “vulgar”. - Telegraph
The offensive words have been separated into seven categories – “slur”, “anatomical”, “political”, “profane”, “prurient”, “scatological”, and “vulgar”. – Telegraph

Professional Scrabble players in the US are set to be banned from using slurs and other offensive word in tournaments, amid a reckoning on race in the country.

The North American Scrabble Players Association is preparing to vote this week to remove some 226 “offensive” words from its official lexicon for judging and believes it has enough support to pass.

The game sold by Hasbro, which owns the rights to Scrabble in North America, has not included the slurs in its dictionary since 1994, however, the players association continued to allow them as they are “part of the English language”.

The offensive words have been separated into seven categories – “slur”, “anatomical”, “political”, “profane”, “prurient”, “scatological”, and “vulgar”.

The “n-word” and other racial epithets are included on the list of

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Amazon Sets Panels For ‘The Boys’, ‘Upload’, ‘Truth Seekers’ And ‘Utopia’; Launches First-Ever Virtual-Con

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Amazon Prime Video is not just bringing a roster of horror, comedy and superheroes to Comic-Con@Home, but they are also bringing the first-ever Amazon Virtual-Con which will include virtual experiences and activations that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. Things are set to kick off on San Diego Comic Con’s official YouTube channel and on the Amazon Virtual-Con portal starting at 12 p.m. PST on July 23.

The Amazon series joining this year’s virtual edition Comic-Con include The Boys, Upload, Truth Seekers and Utopia. Like every Comic-Con, the panels will include cast, creators and crew of the series and will feature fan Q&As, behind-the-scene-stories, breaking news from the aforementioned series.

More from Deadline

To further heighten the Comic-Con experience, Amazon Virtual-Con, a virtual convention content hub, will be a destination for fans to access and engage with Amazon’s full range

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