My Label and Me: A stranger looked straight at me and called me disgusting

Imagine being out with your girlfriends – the sun is shining, life’s great, you’re having a great catch up – then boom, reality strikes. Your under-arm, that’s been extremely uncomfortable for days has just burst everywhere.

I have a rare skin disease called Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). HS is a debilitating, inflammatory skin condition which appears as boil-like abscesses on a large proportion of my body, which sometimes burst.

My girlfriends – being the absolute angels that they are – came to my rescue, handing me tissues and running around to try and help me because they knew that if I moved it would make things considerably worse.

In my peripheral vision, I saw a woman – a complete stranger – glaring at me and sniggerring to her partner. Callously and without remorse or any consideration for my feelings, she looked straight at me and called me ‘disgusting’.

I was hurt and extremely saddened by her response.

But I’m resilient. The lady who labelled me that day has actually done me a favour, she’s helped to make me stronger.

If it wasn’t for her on-the-spot judgment of me, labeling me as disgusting for something I have no control over, I wouldn’t be sat here today writing about my life, trying to raise awareness of the horrendous condition I live with day in and day out.

The disease can range from mild to severe, with the latter meaning there is lots of tracking and tunneling under the skin, leaving constant draining and leakage.

It covers my body from my armpits to my legs, groin, bottom, sides, belly, under my breasts and many other areas.

I suffer from the severe form of it and have done since I was seven-years-old.

My HS wears me down, physically and mentally. It’s exhausting, the severe pain that comes with HS is debilitating and chronic.

There are some days I feel that I physically cannot get out of bed but I will not let my condition define me. Nor will I let that woman’s comments – or anyone else’s for that matter – break my spirit.

On that particular day, instead of approaching me to ask if there was anything she could do to help, that woman sat, stared and made snap judgement without any due consideration for my feelings.

I am not looking for sympathy though.

I truly believe that if I can raise awareness or help at least one person by being open about my condition, then this whole journey I have been on will have been worth every moment.

I would love to put an end to the stigma, the judgement, the embarrassment and the shame. Whatever it is that an HS sufferer feels about their situation and condition.

Sometimes, we live with something that others around us are totally unaware of. As an HS sufferer I struggle mentally to stay positive but I’m determined not to let it take control of my life.

I just make sure I battle even harder to keep a positive mind and enjoy my life.

Being mentally strong isn’t necessarily something that we are gifted with, it’s hard work to tell yourself every day that you are enough. Also to tell yourself you are loved, most importantly by yourself.

It can be hard to look in the mirror, stand tall and repeat those things every day of your life.

It works though. I’ve learned over the years who I am, and why I am like I am.

Yes, I’m a product of my condition but that’s not who I am entirely. I’m much more than the scars that are visible, more than the pain and so much more than the judgment and stigma that comes with being ‘ill’.

Please, if you are reading this whether you are a sufferer or not, whether you might be that person that has named or labelled, always be kind and compassionate.

Be brave, be bold, give love, accept love from others and most importantly love yourself. Beauty comes from within, not the skin we are in. We are all beautiful in our own way.

Elise’s story and battle with HS was filmed for television series The Bad Skin Clinic, which is available to watch on the QuestOD app. You can follow Elise on Instagram here. 


Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity — positively or negatively — and what the label means to them.

If you would like to get involved please email [email protected]

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World News

Stranger donates £150k worth of medical kit to paralysed car crash victim who had part of skull removed

A good Samaritan has donated £150,000 worth of medical equipment to a paralysed car crash victim who had part of his skull removed.

Tree surgeon Ryan Womack, 24, is unable to speak, eat or walk following the horror crash in October last year.

He had left his friend's house and got a takeaway from a local fish and chip shop in Manchester before losing control of his car on a bend.

He sustained massive brain trauma injuries in the smash and his family were told he might not make it.

The doctors were forced to perform a craniotomy on Ryan, removing a section of his skull to relieve the swelling on his brain.

It saved his left but he was left paralysed having suffered severe brain damage.

Ryan, from Bamber Bridge in Lancashire, is being treated at a care home in Greater Manchester but his mum has been trying to raise money to bring her son home so he can be looked after there.

Now Good Samaritan Carol Davies, from Lancaster, has offered her £150,000 worth of care equipment.

She bought the equipment to care for her late husband Donald Berry who suffered brain damage from an 11,000 volt electric shock when his crane hit a live cable at the Kendal Calling Festival in 2010.

The shock cut off oxygen to his brain and left him severely disabled.

Donald, a dad-of-one, died in August 2016.

Carol said sepsis and pneumonia were thought to have been the cause of his death.

Having bought all the equipment to care for Donald at home, including a £16,000 bed and mattress, Carol has now donated it all to Helen and her son Ryan.

She said: "It's Helen's if she wants it, free of charge. We got no help from the government, it cost us £210,000 a year for care which we had to pay for ourselves. We had nine carers coming to the house each day."

In response to Carol's act of kindness Helen said: "She's amazing, everybody has been amazing, the community support has been phenomenal.

"I can't stress how brilliant they have all been. We are trying to keep positive."

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Woman says stranger at Disney World called wheelchair 'a hoax' when she stood up

Kristen Waldbieser was on a trip to Disneyworld to visit the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area this weekend.

She took her wheelchair because walking for long distances is difficult.

The author has a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which means her heart rate increases abnormally when she sits or stands up.

Kristen is an ambulatory wheelchair user, meaning she can walk or stand but sometimes needs a wheelchair to help with longer distances or on days when she is feeling really unwell.

She grew up in Orlando, Florida and loves going to the park so she knew that her wheelchair would help her enjoy the day.

When she arrived at the park, she posed for a picture in her wheelchair with her book Princess Audrey Saves the Prince, which tells the story of a princess with disabilities.

A few minutes later, she stood up and took another picture.

She says while she was standing, she heard someone say: ‘Oh, the wheelchair is a hoax!’

Although the person told her they were kidding, the comment hurt Kristen.

In a Facebook post, she said: ‘the words stung with me. No, I don’t need my wheelchair every day. But my wheelchair helps me get places that I otherwise probably couldn’t go.

‘But just because I don’t need it every day, doesn’t mean it’s not real and it’s not needed. It is not a hoax.

‘And even jokingly, it’s not ok to say that to someone. Not all disabilities or chronic illness looks the same.

‘And it’s time to break that stigma that those with chronic illnesses are faking it, which, unfortunately, is heard by so many far too often.

‘Long story short, you never know someone else’s story, so please be kind with your words.’

The post received over 25,000 shares, 35,000 likes and over 3,000 comments.

Tim said: ‘This is such an important message. In general, if we could focus our efforts on judging less and being more kind things would be so much more pleasant.’

Kaitlin added: ‘100% understand this feeling! I used to be so self-conscious on days when I needed to use my wheelchair because of the judgement.

‘I shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed all day or have to explain my disease to everyone! Thank you for sharing.’

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TV & Movies

'Stranger Things' Fans Say Season Three "Ruined" This Character

Stranger Things — the Netflix phenomenon paying homage to sci-fi flicks of yesteryear — revels in its nostalgia-aimed scenes, as kids on bicycles take to the streets to save the day. Though boasting quite high critical and audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the show’s reception has been met with increasing condemnation each passing season. 

Stranger Things, though still considered a successful show in areas deemed relevant to filmic success, faced some backlash this past season. Critics and audience alike felt that, in an attempt to remain nostalgiac, the series grew mimetic of 80s films (instead of emulative), and sacrificed its ingenuity and flair as a result.

As Stranger Things faced a few adjustments, one of the characters underwent a narrative makeover, taking on a personality many fans feel paled in comparison to the character’s original shtick. Many fans argue that those behind Stranger Things ruined Detective Hopper in season three. 

Why ‘Stranger Things’ fans were not happy with Detective Hopper in season three 

Throughout seasons one and two of Stranger Things, Detective Hopper was a broken man who, mostly emotionally reserved and cynical, found himself with a drink in his hand to help with his grief. However, he was easy to sympathize with and functioned as a character fans could relate to. This time around, one Stranger Things fan argued:

“Gone is the homage to Harrison Ford, the likeability and the charm he possessed during those first two seasons. Here is a genuinely abusive, controlling, and nasty man who cares for nobody but himself and his personal needs, and I don’t care that he maybe died in the end, it still doesn’t excuse his behaviour. His supposed protectiveness of El just turns into the most cold possessive jealousy…”

Other fans go onto explain that Hopper and Mike’s relationship was a source of aggravation, as Hopper’s consistent yelling felt unfounded and proved annoying. One fan stated:

“I absolutely despised the way Hopper dealt with Mike, and his later reaction to seeing him and El separated – but Mike did cross a line and needed to be called out, too. It was a complicated dynamic that needed proper fixing. Unfortunately, it was never fixed and Hopper preferred to lose the moral high ground to a literal child, rather than face talking to him (acting against Joyce’s specific advise).”

Sarcastically commenting on Detective Hopper’s new disposition in season three, one fan chimed in stating, “What? Hopper screaming every line at every character all season while turning into dad bod Chuck Norris didn’t work for you?”

When it comes to Hopper, many fans felt that his behavior was often childish, and starkly contrasted the persona the show had worked diligently to forge in the previous two seasons.

Fans go onto explain that his death did not excuse or validate any of his actions, as the writers may have hoped. One Stranger Things viewer explained that, though liking season three, Hopper was a major drawback. The fan explained:

“…While I liked Season 3 on the whole far more than Season 2, Hopper’s portrayal this season was abysmal. He went from one of my favorite characters to my least favorite. His behavior was abusive, jarring, and completely at odds with his representation earlier in the series.”

For some reason, the writers behind Stranger Things decided to transform Hopper from a character you could sympathize with into a character you were expected to feel sorry for. However, the writers missed the mark and, to many, transformed one of the best characters into a despisable and “abusive” protector right before his ultimate death.

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‘Stranger Things’ star Dacre Montgomery tells kids to ignore their failures. He did

"Stranger Things" star Dacre Montgomery shared an inspiring message with struggling kids on Instagram. (Photo: Netflix/Getty Images)

“Stranger Things” star Dacre Montgomery was a mess.

The star who plays bad boy Billy shared in a heartfelt post on Instagram this week sharing that he had a lot of failures in his youth.

Among them:

  • He never got passing grades.
  • He was fired from his first job.
  • He was asked to leave drama school.
  • He failed his high school drama exams.

“When I was a kid, I was lost,” wrote Montgomery, 24, sharing a picture from childhood with a half-smile on his round face. “I had a really tough time in school. I was a big kid who loved drama.”

‘I suffered from anxiety’

The arts discipline didn’t love him back when he was young. Other areas of academics and school weren’t any easier, nor was luck with the ladies. 

“I wasn’t popular or a gifted sports player. Girls were never interested in me. I suffered from anxiety from a young age. I was distracted and I wasn’t focused,” he said. “But I had a dream, I was lucky – I knew what I wanted to do. And every night I went home and I focused on THAT.”

He also dishes on creating monsters: ‘Stranger Things’: Lip gloss was secret ingredient to getting Billy to look so sweaty

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When I was a kid, I was lost. I had a really tough time in school. I was a big kid who loved drama. I never got passing grades, I wasn’t popular or a gifted sports player. Girls were never interested in me. I suffered from anxiety from a young age. I was distracted and I wasn’t focused. But I had a dream, I was lucky – I knew what I wanted to do. And every night I went home and I focused on THAT. I visualised a future where my dreams became a reality. When I was 15 I failed my high school drama exams. When I was 16 I was told I needed to loose weight. When I was 17 I was told I should go to drama school and train. When I was 18 I was fired from my job. When I was in drama school I was told to leave. When I had a DREAM – I was told it wasn’t achievable. Well, you know what…. I lost weight, I went to drama school and I never stopped wanting it, I never stopped being curious. I never let the failures get me down. Because I believed in myself and I never let anyone tell me otherwise. You can do anything you set your mind to. So, go out there and get it!

A post shared by Dacre Montgomery (@dacremontgomery) on

A challenge to struggling kids

Montgomery said throughout his teen years his dream of being an actor was derailed both by own doing and by others who didn’t believe in him. But he continued to visualize a future “where my dreams became a reality.” Even after someone told him “it wasn’t achievable.”

Dacre Montgomery said in an Instagram post that someone told him his dream "wasn't achievable." "I never stopped wanting it," he said. (Photo: VALERIE MACON, AFP/Getty Images)

He got his act together.

“I lost weight, I went to drama school and I never stopped wanting it, I never stopped being curious. I never let the failures get me down,” he said.

He issued a challenge to struggling kids to do the same and to go after that dream. Don’t listen to people who tell you it’s not achievable, don’t look back at your own failures.

“Because I believed in myself and I never let anyone tell me otherwise,” he said. “You can do anything you set your mind to. So, go out there and get it!”

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‘Stranger Things’ Fans Can Dress Up As Scoops Ahoy Employees For Halloween

Stranger Things has hit it out of the park in virtually every way possible ever since the very first season debuted in 2016 — and its costume design in particular has become so iconic that lookalike versions of each character’s looks from season to season have become a mainstay of Halloween costume plans everywhere. And this year? Thanks to the many Stranger Things Scoops Ahoy Halloween costumes that are already appearing on shelves, you can dress up as Season 3 Steve or Robin for Halloween. Grab yourself a USS Butterscotch, don’t forget your ice cream scoop, and let’s get sailing!

A lot of work went into developing the uniforms for the Starcourt Mall’s signature ice cream shop, according to Stranger Things costume designer Amy Parris; after all, Steve and Robin (whose last name is Buckley, by the way — just in case you were curious) spend pretty much the entire season in them, so the Scoops Ahoy uniforms needed to do a lot of heavy lifting. “[The Duffer brothers] knew they wanted the outfit to be goofy-looking, but something that was appealing to look at… the whole season,” Paris told E! News recently. “So I think we did a really good job of bridging the gap of like, making [Steve] kind of embarrassed in the Ahoy hat, but Steve Harrington makes it look really cool,” she continued.

Parris and her team ended up creating a look so instantly recognizable that it’s only to be expected that both variations of the Scoops Ahoy uniform — Steve’s and Robin’s — would be part of this year’s crop of Halloween costumes. In fact, versions of both have already appeared at two of the most notable Halloween costume juggernauts around: Spirit Halloween and Party City. Both retailers’ versions are officially licensed, too, so you can be sure the details are all spot-on.

At Spirit Halloween, Steve’s Scoops Ahoy uniform includes a shirt, a name badge, shorts, and a Scoops Ahoy sailor hat; the shirt measures about 24 inches from shoulder the hem, while the shorts have about a 13-inch rise and an inseam of about 6.5 inches. It’s made of polyester, spandex, and plastic. At Party City, you get a few more accessories: In addition to the shirt, name badge, shorts, and hat, an apron and an ice cream scoop holder are also included. Steve sheds these last two accessories as the season goes on, but if you like to have options, the Party City version may suit you a bit better.

Note, by the way, that shoes and socks aren’t included in either version of the costume — but if you want to add the finishing touches yourself, Steve wears white tube socks and blue tennis shoes. Although it’s not totally clear what brand the shoes are, they look like they have white stripes down the side, which suggests they might be Adidas. As such, a pair of classic blue Adidas Campus shoes should fit the bill. And, I mean, tube socks are tube socks. You can get those anywhere. Here’s a six-pack for around $12. Have fun.

Robin’s uniform, meanwhile, is a little bit different from Steve’s — mostly, according to E! News, “so we didn’t have to be staring at two people wearing the same outfit for the entire season.” Whereas Steve’s shirt has thicker, red stripes, Robin’s has thin, blue stripes; in the place of Steve’s blue overshirt, Robin gets a blue vest; and, compared with Steve’s shorts, Robin’s are “a little more voluminous,” as Amy Parris put it to E! News, as well as pleated in the front. Additionally, Robin’s shirt has puffed sleeves — a very ‘80s detail. Paris noted that these “little subtle differences” keep your eye from getting bored.

The Spirit Halloween version of Robin’s Scoops Ahoy uniform includes a two-in-one vest and shirt, badges and patches to decorate the vest, shorts, and a Scoops Ahoy hat. The shirt is about 22 inches long from the shoulder to the hem; meanwhile, the rise of the shorts is about 13 inches, while the inseam is about eight inches. The costume is made out of polyester, spandex, and plastic. If you’d rather go for a one-piece look, though, there’s also the Party City version, in which the shirt, vest, and shorts are actually all a romper. This version also includes a name badge and a Scoops Ahoy hat.

Again, the shoes and socks aren’t included with either version of the costume, so you’ll have to add those last two pieces yourself if you want to recreate the look down to the last detail. Like Steve, Robin wears a pair of white socks; hers look more like knee socks (try these), but honestly, white tube socks like the kind Steve wears would probably get the job done here, too (and in a sort of DIY way of which I feel Robin would approve). Her shoes, meanwhile, are a pair of red, low-top Chuck Taylors. Don’t forget to grab a Sharpie and doodle all over the toes for the ultimate Robin experience.

Sizing for all of the costumes is unfortunately a bit limited right now; it’s still pretty early, though (JULY! IT’S JULY! OCTOBER IS STILL THREE MONTHS AWAY!), so hopefully a wider range of sizes will become available closer to Halloween itself. In the meantime, though, you can check out all of Spirit Halloween’s and Party City’s Stranger Things costume selection here and here. See you in the Upside-Down!

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TV & Movies

Evan Rachel Wood Slams Stranger Things Character Jim Hopper's 'Unacceptable' Behavior

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for season 3 of Stranger Things.

Fans have always loved Jim Hopper on  Stranger Things — but Evan Rachel Wood is calling out the character’s behavior in season 3.

In the Netflix drama’s new episodes, the Hawkins, Indiana police chief (played by David Harbour) doggedly pursues a romance with the grieving Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) and angrily demands that Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) stop dating his adoptive daughter, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). Westword star Wood ,31, urged her Twitter followers never to date someone who exhibits similar behavior.

“You should never date a guy like the cop from #strangerthings Extreme jealousy and violent rages are not flattering or sexy like TV would have you believe. That is all,” she wrote on Friday.

She later added, “Yes I am aware it’s ‘just a show’ and it’s set ‘in the 80s’ even though this stuff was unacceptable then too, but that’s exactly my point. It’s just a show and this is a gentle reminder not to fall for this crap in real life. Red flags galore.”

After one user expressed relief that Joyce and Hopper did not couple up by the season’s end, the actress said she was still frustrated by the fact that Joyce had agreed to go out with him again.

“She rescheduled the date he yelled and got in her face about while policing every guy she spoke to. No thanks,” Wood wrote, adding, “She is allowed to stand him up without being screamed at. Especially when she is worried about her children. Priority number 1. He also insisted it wasn’t a date and clearly he lied. She shouldn’t have rescheduled. He should have gone to therapy.”

She later clarified, “She rescheduled the date. That’s where the message was lost and they made the behavior acceptable. That’s my complaint.”

Wood also replied to a user who defended Hopper’s actions because he’d endured the death of his daughter, a divorce and various addictions.

“Exactly. If this were real life I would suggest he go to therapy and not project his pain on other people in the form of abuse. That’s how the cycle starts,” Wood wrote.

The star said she went public with her complaints because she was “severely abused” and wanted to alert others to the warning signs.

Wood’s comments were flooded with both support and criticism, though she took the latter well, sharing a GIF of a yawning sloth.

“Cue all the abusive people attacking me on twitter for posting a warning not to fall for abusive behavior like a popular tv character exhibited on a popular show because it reminds them of themselves and they feel personally attacked? Bring it on guys,” she wrote.

She continued, “I didn’t even say he was a bad guy or to stop watching the show, I just said ‘don’t date people like that.’ But alas, abusers hear an attack and want a fight. Proving my point with their own retaliation.”

Netflix did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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Stranger Things' Maya Hawke: Parents Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman Are 'Rigorous'

A famous family! Maya Hawke revealed how her parents, Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, feel about her Stranger Things role.

“They both love the show and loved it before I was on it,” the actress, 21, told Jenny McCarthy on the Monday, July 8, episode of SiriusXM’s “The Jenny McCarthy Show.” “I know my parents don’t BS me. They’re pretty rigorous in terms of their commentary when they like something or don’t.”

She added, “My parents are wonderful and really supportive and have given me a lot. I feel really grateful to have their support.”

Looking back on her childhood with the Training Day actor and the Pulp Fiction star Maya told McCarthy, 46, “I was never aware of my parents being anything other than my parents. They were present, and we played games and took train rides. I didn’t feel like I was in a public family except for a few horrifying high school moments along the way. But for the most part, I just love my family and my parents, and it doesn’t matter what they do. That’s how they raised us.”

The Little Women alum didn’t feel any pressure to follow in her parents’ acting footsteps, explaining that she pursued a career in the industry simply because she “love[s] it more than anything else.”

Ethan, 48, and Thurman, 49, tied the knot in 1998 and welcomed their daughter that same year. They also share a son, Levon, 17. The couple split in 2005.

Season 3 of Stranger Things premiered on Netflix on Thursday, July 4, and Ethan posted a sweet shoutout days later.

“Some of you may have missed her in last year’s BBC production of Little Women,” he captioned a promo video of Maya playing Stranger Things’ Robin. “Some of you may have missed her work at Juilliard. I know many missed out on numerous high school productions — heck I even missed a few and I’m her father. Some of you may know her music, some may not. But Ladies & Gentleman, get to know MAYA HAWKE. She’s the real thing.”

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'Stranger Things' Season 3: Fans Can Expect Even More Gore and Horror

Less than three weeks to go until Stranger Things 3 takes over televisions and conversations everywhere. The last episode of season two of the Netflix hit left us uneasy about the fate of our favorite Hawkins, Indiana residents – and with good reason.

The looming presence of the monster means that more frightening encounters, blood, and death are in store. But how much more? To get fans riled up for the new season, the cast and crew of the show have been tossing around this one poignant word: INTENSIFIED. Imagine what that means.

We know to look for a good time with the Coca-Cola throwback, ‘80s fashion, and other nostalgia, but there’s no doubt that a new monster will bring the thrills, chills, dread, and bloodshed that we’ve come to expect from the series. How do we know? It’s been promised.

What the show’s creators and cast have to say

The Duffer Brothers do a great job at hiding the specifics of each new season, but they are also great at delivering rich storylines and scares. This past May, they sat down with Entertainment Weekly and talked about what to expect for Stranger Things 3:

“We would say that this is our most unapologetically fun season. Yet at the same time, it is also our most horrifying and intense season. It’s this wild mix of tones that we think really sets this season apart.”

Additionally, they shared which films influenced this go-roundof the show, and with classics such as JurassicPark, The Thing, and Indiana Jones making that special list,we can expect adventure, mayhem, and calculated terror for our beloved corecrew of friends.

When the kids from StrangerThings stopped by Good MorningAmerica, Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) gave a warning:

“It’s definitely gorier, which is cool. If you don’t like gory stuff, watch it anyway – it’s cool. But it’s not for the faint of heart as some would say.”

Oh, the horror–we can’t wait. Those comments can be bundled with executive producer Shawn Levy’s words to The Playlist that season three “eventually goes places that are darker, and unquestionably more action-packed, than we’ve ever gone before.”

Why ‘Stranger Things 3’ will be “gorier”

The real question is: Why not? After the carnage of season two’s Demidogs wiping out Mews the Cat, Hawkins lab employees, and Bob – a.k.a. Mikey from The Goonies – we have no choice but to figure that the third installment takes things further. It wasn’t just love for Bob that made his death so palpable, it was also the brutality of it. You didn’t want to watch, but you couldn’t look away.

The monsters on StrangerThings have a track record, and rumors of part three’s freaky beast pointto something that can’t be contained easily and is as fearsome and nasty asthey get. Watchthe trailers and you’ll see rats and a hitman gunning for someone in town. Ontop of that, fans should also be concerned for Will, as Noah Schnapp said on Today that his characteris still not rid of the monster inside of him. These bits are enough to leteveryone know that magnified gore is quite appropriate to describe what’scoming.

Mixed in with the levity of mall hangouts, summer love, and July fireworks is the foreboding sense that pain and fear will gut the people of Hawkins–pun intended. Eight episodes of nail-biting, face-covering moments will be unleashed on July 4. Will you be able to handle it?

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Food & Drink

Burger King Is Taking Stranger Things Fans to the Upside Down With Its Flipped Whoppers

Burger King is ready for the return of Stranger Things — are you? In honor of season three of the sci-fi series premiering on July 4, the fast-food joint teamed up with Netflix and Coca-Cola to give all Hawkins fans a special treat. On June 21, select Burger King restaurants will be serving an Upside Down Whopper and more limited-edition items for the hungry Demogorgon in all of us. Select locations will also offer ketchup packets that look like Eleven’s bleeding nose, “crowns” that resemble Dustin’s hat, and t-shirts inspired by the Stranger Things crew.

Since we know you’re wondering: yes, the Upside Down Whopper has the same ingredients as Burger King’s staple menu item, except it’s literally flipped upside down. Check out the delicious (and slightly creepy) limited-edition Stranger Things items at Burger King ahead.

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Will 'Stranger Things' Get a Season 4?

While most shows with kids are usually designed for kids, Stranger Things is a show about kids for adults. Well, you can maybe say it’s for adults and kids considering the latter also watch.

Whatever your view is of the viewer demographic, it’s an entertaining nod to the Spielberg movie vibe of the early to mid-1980s. It’s made superstars out of the child actors and continues bringing a unique mix of science fiction/horror to the streaming universe.

After two successful seasons, a third hits this July 4. A fourth season is inevitable based on the ever-compelling supernatural weirdness taking place in ’80s Hawkins, Indiana, but how much longer will the stars stick around?

What’s going to happen first in season 3?

Fans of the show are all wondering whether we’ll get a time jump in season three compared to where season two left off. In the previous season, it was 1984 and the Upside-Down wreaks havoc on the mind of Will Byers. A tentacled creature Will sees through hallucinations starts to haunt Hawkins, leaving the other kids in a push to close the portal to the Upside-Down before things get out of hand.

For those who grew up in 1984, the retro aspects were once again fun to watch carefully. One of the greatest aspects to Stranger Things is the obsessive detail placed in each episode to represent the time period. They’ve even worked hard to make the film quality look similar to the era.

During the second season, we once again saw the value in the acting of the child cast. Millie Bobby Brown continues to prove how much value she brings to the show by playing Eleven/Jane Ives/Jane Hopper.

On the Fourth of July, eight new episodes for Season Three will drop and written mostly again by the Duffer Brothers. Reportedly taking place in 1985, the entire cast is still intact, at least for now.

Would season 4 happen without Millie Bobby Brown?

We’ve speculated before whether Brown would stick around for a fourth season. Without her as Eleven, what would a fourth season really look like?

Any fan of the show would say there are enough interesting characters to keep the show relevant into a fourth year. A major challenge is how fast the kids are growing up. The show has had to move the time periods further forward because of how fast they’re turning into near adults.

A lot of shows that uses kids in their mid-teens have had to deal with similar situations. Not many shows have had teen cast members become superstars in such a short amount of time either.

Someone like Millie Bobby Brown may feel like typecasting is inevitable, precipitating the need to leave the show before a fourth season happens. Then again, she’s refuted any notion she’ll be leaving soon.

Should the show introduce new characters before the kids move on?

Some fans might suggest Stranger Things should expand the cast to create interesting characters to focus on should the show go on for several years. The kids in the cast probably won’t stay any more than two or three more years as they’re tempted to expand their careers into movies.

Millie Bobby Brown is already acting in movies, particularly two upcoming Godzilla films for a new franchise. Once the other stars start acting in big blockbuster films, it won’t be long before they say goodbye to Stranger Things.

Conversely, since TV shows like this are like the new movie theater, they may realize nothing else will be as good. It’s a lesson more actors are starting to realize rather than taking a gamble of “knowing” greener showbiz pastures await.

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How ‘Stranger Things’ Uses Music To Make The Show Feel So Incredibly ’80s

Considering that a typical episode of Netflix’s Stranger Things features monsters, psychokinesis, and alternate dimensions, "realistic" probably isn’t the first word you’d think of when describing it. Yet in the midst of all the sci-fi and fantasy, there’s also a very real ’80s vibe, with the show’s setting influencing everything from its fashion to its pop culture references. And then, of course, there’s the music. In key moments throughout the series, Stranger Things has featured some of the ’80s’ most iconic songs, from artists like Bon Jovi, Olivia Newton-John, the Clash, and many more. Speaking to Bustle, Stranger Things‘ music supervisor Nora Felder explains how she’s used the decade’s music over the last two seasons to make the show feel as real to its time period as possible.

Felder began her career as a music consultant with the 1997 cult classic Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion. In the years since, she’s taken on projects ranging from Netflix’s The OA to Showtime’s Californication. In 2017, she earned a Best Music Supervision Emmy for her work on Stranger Things, and garnered a second nod (as well as a Grammy nomination for the Season 2 soundtrack) a year later.

As part of Bustle’s "I Keep It Real" series, Felder walked us through how five of Stranger Things‘ most memorable ’80s music moments came to be.

1. Nancy & Steve Hooking Up To "Africa"

Released in 1982 on the album Toto IV, "Africa" was a major hit for Toto, becoming the band’s only Billboard number one single ever. Over the last few years, it’s regained popularity, thanks to covers from bands like Weezer and celebs like Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard.

In this Season 1 Stranger Things scene soundtracked to "Africa," Nancy and Steve stop their study session to make out.

"Not unlike The Clash’s ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’, this was also an early select and scripted song by The Duffer Brothers," reveals Felder, adding, "Since the airing of the show, the popularity of Stranger Things has proven to be hugely instrumental in catapulting the song’s rise back into the zeitgeist."

2. Mike And Eleven Dancing To "Every Breath You Take"

The 1983 Police song was a massive success, earning the band two Grammys and becoming the biggest hit of the year. It’s widely considered to be one of the decade’s best songs.

In this Stranger Things Season 2 scene, the gang attend their school’s Snow Ball, where Mike and Eleven slow-dance to "Every Breath You Take."

“’Every Breath You Take’ was one of three selected song options to have on hand on set for the characters to dance to," explains Felder. "When the footage came in with this song, it was clearly the best choice for Mike and Eleven’s romantic storyline and the scene."

And it also was an Easter Egg, if you looked closely.

"As many hardcore fans have noted, the lyric in the song, ‘I’ll Be Watching You,’ could be a reference tying in our Season 2 ending, in which the viewer becomes aware there is a monster, lurking in the shadows," says Felder.

3. Jonathan Playing "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" For Mike

This 1982 track from The Clash wasn’t an immediate success, but a decade after its release, it rose to become the band’s only ever number-one single.

When Will becomes possessed in Stranger Things’ Season 2 and can’t communicate with his family or friends, his brother Jonathan plays the song — one of their favorite songs — to wake him up.

"From the get go, ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’ was a scripted song that [Stranger Things co-creators] the Duffers had in mind as the perfect song to carry through the story and closely tie the Byers family together," says Felder. "As the story evolved with every added chapter written by The Duffers, the song’s use continued to grow with the story, which simultaneously required more clearances to be obtained."

"Consequently," she adds, "we had to carefully convince the Clash’s representatives that a first season show about monsters from an alternate world would result in a multi layered and impactful use for this song. Thankfully they believed us, and everyone worked out!"

4. Nancy And Steve Arguing To "Girls On Film"

Released in 1981, the Duran Duran classic gained popularity in America after MTV played it frequently a few years later to coincide with the re-release of the band’s debut album Duran Duran.

In a Stranger Things Season 2 party scene, Nancy drunkenly reveals to her boyfriend Steve that she’s not in love with him anymore, causing a fight between the two of them — all while "Girls on Film" plays in the background.

"Many times a song that is selected on set to playback for actors to dance to does not always end up being the final choice. Many decisions are made in the editing room after shooting is complete, when there’s more time to dig deeper for the perfect match. This was the case with Duran Duran’s iconic ‘Girls on Film,’" explains Felder. "The song was ultimately selected because the lyrics seemingly amplify Nancy’s tumultuous psychological state, while feeling like she needs to be in the spotlight having a good old time at this party. Duran Duran’s depiction of ‘Girls on Film’ subtly conveys that when everything looks pretty on the outside, it can conceal a much darker internal reality, as was the case with Nancy."

5. Eleven Leaving Home As "Runaway" Plays

Bon Jovi’s debut single was originally released in 1983, gaining success that summer after the group won a radio contest for the best unsigned band. It later became the band’s first U.S. Top 40 hit.

Stranger Things‘ Season 2 sees an upset, confused Eleven run away from home after finding her catatonic mother and struggling to understand her own powers. As she takes a bus to Chicago and spends the night walking the city’s streets, "Runaway" fittingly plays in the background.

"This 1984 Top 40 song was selected to match the timeframe of the series," explains Felder. "Bon Jovi’s ‘Runaway’ was a song that Eleven might have heard and immediately identified with as she courageously breaks into the real world to find answers."

Stranger Things may be filled with supernatural elements, but the music chosen by Felder and her team help make the show feel true to its ’80s origin, even during its most mind-blowing moments.

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Mystery travel: Would you let a STRANGER plan your holiday?

Would you let a STRANGER plan your getaway? With intrepid travellers now able to outsource their holidays, Femail writer dons a blindfold and noise-cancelling headphones to fly into the unknown

  • More companies now offer the option of ‘surprise travel’ for holidaymakers 
  • Femail writer Unity Blott embarked on a mystery trip via a long-haul flight
  • Donned eye mask and noise-cancelling headphones to keep destination secret
  • She was deposited 5,600 miles away in city of Johannesburg, South Africa 
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Settling into my plane seat, I feel a rush of anticipation as I look out of the window and watch the sights of Heathrow shrink into miniature.

But this isn’t your typical pre-holiday excitement – in fact, despite having checked in my suitcase, been ushered through security and boarded a long-haul flight, I have no idea where I’m going, let alone what I’ll be doing for the next three days.

I’ve been fitted with an eye mask and noise-cancelling headphones, which means I haven’t been able to peek at the departures board or even hear the pilot’s in-flight announcements.

Welcome to 2019, where intrepid travellers and time-poor holidaymakers can take the concept of ‘destination unknown’ to a whole new level by letting professionals take every aspect of their getaway out of their hands.  

Femail explores the trend for ‘mystery travel’ which sees holidaymakers outsource their getaway planning – by donning an eye mask and noise cancelling headphones to board a long-haul flight to a mystery destination

A less popular but no less spectacular choice is Pilanesberg National Park, the lesser-known (and considerably smaller) little sister to safari hot spot Kruger

Companies like Blind Experiences, Mystery Break and now offer affordable ‘surprise’ trips where you won’t find out where you’re going until you get to the airport.

In a bid to find out whether I’m cut out for mystery travel, I’m embarking on a trip that’s been organised in total secrecy by airline KLM with the help of (as I later discover) South African Tourism.

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A self-confessed control freak who prefers to plan every last detail of my holidays months in advance, I’ve had to set my super-organised tendencies aside and remain totally open-minded about my destination.

To keep the location under wraps, I’m provided only with a cryptic packing list, while even luggage check-in is dealt with by an airline executive who keeps a tight grip on my boarding pass so that I can’t peek at the final destination.

There’s an overnight stopover at an airport hotel in Amsterdam, and with the first leg out of the way it’s the following morning that my magical mystery tour begins in earnest. 

Walking blindly through Schipol guided by airline staff is a surreal experience, and on board I’m strictly forbidden from peeking at my on-screen map.

The view from Munro Drive in Johannesburg. The city is encircled by one of the biggest man-made jungles in the world, where 12 million trees were planted to replace the vegetation destroyed by goldmines in the late nineteenth-century

 A street art installation in an alleyway in Johanessburg’s Maboneng precinct east of the city, where a flourishing art scene is taking root and warehouses are now occupied by galleries

Despite this, it’s hard to resist scanning the in-flight menu for clues (Indonesian curry hints at a trip to Bali, while our Boeing 777 is confusingly named Machu Picchu, leaving me momentarily convinced that we’re headed for Peru).

To say I’m feeling disorientated at takeoff is an understatement, and I can’t help wondering which country – indeed which continent – my luggage and I are bound for. All I know is that it’s long-haul and that local weather is promisingly described as  ‘very hot’. 

The mystery is finally solved 10 ½ hours – and countless rom-coms – later when I glimpse our destination on a fellow passenger’s map, just minutes before we touch down at O.R. Tambo International airport.

I’ve officially arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city and one of its four capitals – some 5,600 miles from my starting point.

Post-apartheid, the bustling city has long been overshadowed by tales of crime and car-jacking, and as such it’s one of several destinations that are the subject of a new KLM campaign (On Your Map) to promote less trodden holiday spots.


Maboneng’s regeneration success story began in 2008, says local guide Bongani Mathebula, and the district now comprises 3 sq km, stretching to all the formerly ‘no-go’ areas

Street art in Maboneng. The district’s cultural shakeup began with artists like William Kentridge taking up residence at creative hub Arts on Main, kick-starting a regeneration

Despite a previous visit to South Africa, I’m ashamed to say I avoided venturing into much-maligned golden city, so I’m looking forward to exploring the sunny side of Johannesburg.

Outside the city limits, sprawling townships jostle for space with luxury hotels, encircled by one of the biggest man-made jungles in the world, where 12 million trees were planted to replace the vegetation destroyed by goldmines in the late nineteenth-century.

In town, neighbourhoods once riddled with crime and largely considered ‘no-go zones’ even by locals are now bustling with cafés and boutique shops, explains tour guide Charles Ncube.

In the Maboneng precinct east of the city, a flourishing art scene is taking root and former warehouses are now occupied by galleries and bars where hipsters sip on green juice and bottles of local beer until the early hours.

Maboneng’s regeneration success story began in 2008, says local guide Bongani Mathebula, and the district now comprises 3 sq km, stretching to all the formerly ‘no-go’ areas.

A sunrise balloon ride with Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris. Pilot Marc Nuthall has clocked up over 1,600 hours in the sky, guided by wind direction at different altitudes

The district’s cultural shakeup began with artists like William Kentridge taking up residence at creative hub Arts on Main, kick-starting a regeneration that now sees boutique shops, restaurants and trendy rooftop spaces popping up almost weekly.


Newly-renovated luxury hotel Indaba is located in Fourways, a half-hour drive from Johannesburg and a tranquil antidote to the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

Boasting picturesque gardens and 258 en-suite bedrooms, the sprawling grounds render a golf buggy necessary to get to breakfast. There’s also an on-site gym and peaceful infinity pool guests can watch ibises gather at dusk.

For the second leg of my tour, I’m booked into Bakubung Bush Lodge in the southernmost tip of Pilanesberg National Park, where bedrooms look out onto zebras, warthogs and mongooses grazing in the long grass.

Outside the high-security electric fences of the hotel (hungry leopards and tourists don’t mix well) the hotel operates daily game drives at sunrise and sunset.


The township of Soweto, famous as the former home of Nelson Mandela and epicentre of the 1976 Youth Uprising which made headlines around the world

The less polished side of Soweto can be seen via a bicycle ride through the dusty backstreets

After a whistle-stop tour of Johannesburg, I’m whisked away to the township of Soweto, famous as the former home of Nelson Mandela and epicentre of the 1976 Youth Uprising which made headlines around the world.

Today it’s a popular tourist spot, and Vilakazi Street is duly lined with buskers and souvenir stalls, but I’m here to see the less polished side of Soweto via a bicycle ride through the bustling back streets.

Day two begins with a 4am wakeup call and I’m driven to the small village of Skeerpoort where I’ll be be taken on a sunrise balloon ride with Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris. 

Despite my initial jitters, I’m surprised at how smooth our ascent is, and any fears I had are soon dissolved by the breathtaking sunrise views over Gauteng and the North West province.

A family of hippos, herds of zebra (pictured) and countless giraffes can be spotted in the daily game drives that leave from Bakubung Bush Lodge in the southernmost tip of Pilanesberg National Park

With the help of expert ranger Gill Barrenger, I spot three out of the Big Five including a herd of elephants (pictured), a white rhino protecting her calf, and three lionesses stalking the bush

Luckily I’m in the capable hands of pilot Marc Nuthall, who has clocked up over 1,600 hours in the sky and deftly navigates the balloon by tracking the wind direction at different altitudes. 

The landing is often unpredictable and after an hour-long flight I’m deposited in a field of bemused cows, marking the end of an undeniably surreal but unforgettable morning.

After breakfast, it’s onto Pilanesberg National Park, the lesser-known (and considerably smaller) little sister to safari hot spot Kruger.

With the help of expert ranger Gill Barrenger, I spot three out of the Big Five – a herd of elephants, a white rhino protecting her calf, and three lionesses stalking the bush in the dead of night – as well as a family of hippos, herds of zebra and countless giraffes.

My final pit stop before heading home is Hartbeetespoort, home to a jaw-dropping viewpoint on the Magaliesberg mountain range that’s accessible by the longest mono-cableway in Africa, nicknamed Harties Cableway. 


Diners tuck into potjiekos, a traditional stew slow-cooked in cast iron pots over an outdoor fire, at Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers. The township is famous as the home of Nelson Mandela

Pap – a savoury porridge made from white maize – is a traditional accompaniment to pretty much any meal (seen here as a side with a plate of chicken and potato curry)

While kudu, ostrich and even crocodile meat are popular tourist fare in South Africa, our guide insists I try potjiekos, a traditional stew slow-cooked in cast iron pots over an outdoor fire.

. KLM flies to Johannesburg from London Heathrow via its multi-award winning hub, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

. KLM operates a daily flight between Amsterdam and Johannesburg. Return economy fares from Heathrow start from £665, including taxes and charges

. Passengers can book online at or by calling reservations on 020 76600293 

. Bakubung Bush Lodge: From £230/ all-inclusive including game drives

. Indaba Hotel from £78/night per room

The hearty dish can be made from anything lamb to pork, chicken or oxtail with a side helping of starch and the locals certainly aren’t shy when it comes to portion sizes, piling up mountains of the stew alongside curries, salad and braai (barbecued meat).

Pap – a savoury porridge made from white maize – is a traditional accompaniment to pretty much any meal, while umqombothi (a sour-tasting beer made from maizemeal) and mageu (a non-alcoholic maize drink) prove something of an acquired taste.

As a steak lover I’m spoiled for choice, and despite the generous helpings I can’t resist a hefty wedge of melktert (milk tart) for dessert.

The amazing cuisine is just one of the reasons I’m already mentally planning my next trip to this vibrant and often misunderstood part of the world.

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TV & Movies

Netflix Stranger Things season 3 trailer reveals first glimpse of terrifying monster as kids grow up

NETFLIX have released the first trailer for the highly anticipated new series of Stranger Things.

Mike admits Eleven and his pals are "not kids anymore" as they face the return of a terrifying monster as the town of Hawkins is once again threatened by The Upside Down.

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Max (Sadie Sink) and Will (Noah Schnapp) appear at the surprise birthday party of Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo).

Season three is based around the summertime and begins with the American town's Fourth of July celebrations.

"We’re not kids anymore," Mike says.

"I mean what did you think, we’re just gonna sit in my basement all day and play games for the rest of our lives?"

Everything looks a lot of fun as Eleven goes shopping to the mall and the kids enjoy a day at the pool.

But the menacing monster from the Upside Down isn't far away and seems to have evolved into an even more terrifying beast.

The third season of the cult hit series set in the 1980s looks like the most action-packed yet and nods once again to retro pop culture as it's set to the rousing soundtrack of The Who song 'Baba O'Riley'.

Other characters that make an appearance in the trailer include Jim Hopper (David Harbour) and fan favourite heartthrob Steve Harrington (Joe Keery).

The streaming service revealed on New Years' Day that the third series of the sci-fi smash would return on July 4.

It's also been confirmed that the new season will have eight episodes.

Creators the Duffer brothers revealed to IndieWire that there will be a time jump which references to the 1985 film Back To The Future as the series focuses on the characters' journeys through adolescence.

It’s also been teased that Brenner is still alive, which would pose a fresh threat for Eleven, who was seen to be taking on her true name Jane and getting adopted by Hopper at the end of season two.

Will’s "exorcism" of The Mind Flayer’s influence on him involved the evil particles being expelled into the real world, so it is possible that the Upside Down could continue to have an influence on Hawkins.

Steve Harrington will also have a bigger role to play in the new season.

Season three will see the development of Mike and Eleven's romance after they kissed at the end of series two.

Stranger Things season three will be available to stream on Netflix from 4 July, 2019.

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Kat Von D Asked a Stranger to Help Breastfeed Her Newborn Son

Breastfeeding hasn’t been an easy task for new mother Kat Von D.

The famed tattoo artist revealed on Instagram that she was struggling with breastfeeding her newborn son, Leafar, and eventually asked a stranger for breast milk.

“During the first two days of Leafar’s life, his blood sugar count had been low, and as much as I had committed myself to strictly breastfeed, my milk hadn’t come in yet,” she wrote alongside a video of Leafar feeding. “The pediatrician suggested asking around to see if any friends might have a bit of extra milk they could donate — and if not, I’d have to consider supplementing with formula — something we personally did not want to do.”

Von D explained that she wound up calling her midwife, Sara Howard, who connected her with a breast milk donor “who, without even knowing me, and without question, stepped up and donated a few ounces to us in the middle of the night.” The donor, like Von D, has a strict plant-based diet, which is something the artist and her husband, Rafael Reyes (who also goes by Leafar Seyer), are passionate about in their own lives.

Thanks to the donor’s selflessness, Von D said her son’s “levels boosted,” and she’s now able to breastfeed on her own.

“This is true community. True sisterhood. True kindness,” Von D concluded in her post. “I can’t wait to pay it forward one day soon.”

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During the first two days of Leafar’s life, his blood sugar count had been low, and as much as I had committed myself to strictly breastfeed, my milk hadn’t come in yet. The pediatrician suggested asking around to see if any friends might have a bit of extra milk they could donate – and if not, I’d have to consider supplementing with formula – something we personally did not want to do. I called my beloved midwife, @losangelesmidwife to see if she knew anyone who might be willing to share a bit of their breastmilk who was on a plant-based diet, as that was crucial to us, and she quickly connected me with @mattersofmotherhood who, without even knowing me, and without question, stepped up and donated a few ounces to us in the middle of the night. Needless to say, Leafar’s levels boosted, and we are now happily breastfeeding at home. Can’t thank @mattersofmotherhood enough for getting us through those rough nights with your donation. This is true community. True sisterhood. True kindness. And I can’t wait to pay it forward one day soon. 🖤 ***UPDATE: just to address a few misconceptions about my caption. First, I’m not shaming anyone who chooses to use formula. Just like I would never shame anyone for the food they ate or anything for that matter. So, please don’t shame me for sharing our personal approach to nursing. Second, I did not starve my baby for his first two days of life. I’m not mad at ya’all who attacked me about it -because clearly you may not be familiar with how breast feeding works and that’s ok! I wasn’t either until I got pregnant! 🙂 but for the first 2.5 days my breasts were producing colostrum (not the same thing as milk) and it’s absolutely normal for mom’s milk not to come in until day 5 sometimes. With that being said, my little one just needed to get through one night’s worth of feedings with supplemented donors milk. And I’m happy to report my milk came in shortly after that! So thanks for all the love and support everyone! Let’s keep it positive! ***

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According to Stanford Children’s Health, it’s not entirely uncommon for new mothers to have difficulty producing more than a few drops of milk during the first three to five days postpartum. In these instances, the medical organization recommends mothers continue pumping until the milk comes in, which, for some, occurs after seven days postpartum. There are a variety of factors that could play into early low milk production — the consumption of some medications and herbal supplements, stress or illness are a few — but Stanford’s site says most women will ultimately end up creating enough milk after a few days.

Nothing about having trouble breastfeeding or seeking donor breast milk is shameful. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association says using donor breast milk is “very safe,” as all official donors and their milk are tested for illnesses and bacteria. Of course, not all sharing services require screenings. Some, such as MilkShare, expect the clients to do their due diligence and screen the donors themselves by asking about lifestyle and dietary habits; some families may even opt to pay for the blood work and screenings themselves, Parenting reports.

Ultimately, it’s up to each parent to decide which is the healthiest option for their family; though some doctors told Parenting they prefer if parents select breast milk from prescreened donor banks or opt for a formula to play it safe. What matters most is that Mother and Baby are healthy, and we’re glad Von D made the best decision she could for her son.

Who knows? Maybe one day she’ll reconsider her choice not to vaccinate her child — though we could be dreaming on this one!

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Chimpanzees can tell a stranger from family by smelling their URINE

Chimpanzees can tell a stranger from a family member by smelling their URINE – just like dogs

  • Previously it was thought primates, like us, had a pretty bad sense of smell
  • New research found they distinguish between urine of friends and strangers
  • They sniff out-group odours for longer than in-group odours, researchers found 
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Chimpanzees use smell to tell the difference between strangers and family members – just like dogs.

Previously it was thought primates, like us, had quite a poor sense of smell.

However, new research has found that they can distinguish between the urine of group members and strangers, sniffing out-group odours for longer than in-group odours.

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Chimpanzees use smell to tell the difference between strangers and family members – just like dogs. Previously it was thought primates, like us, had a pretty bad sense of smell

Chemical communication is widely used in the animal kingdom to convey social information.

However, non-human great apes have been greatly neglected in these studies.

Researchers led by the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have now conducted one of the first studies investigating the signalling function of social odours in non-human great apes.

Researchers presented two groups of chimpanzees with urine from group members, strangers and an unscented control in aerated Plexiglas boxes. 

They watched and videotaped their behaviour.

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They found chimpanzees sniffed longer at urine than at the control, suggesting they perceive the odour of other chimpanzees.

More importantly, they discriminated between the smell of group members and strangers, sniffing out-group odours longer than in-group odours.

‘Chimpanzees are highly territorial, and encounters between groups are mostly hostile – in fact, they sometimes kill individuals from other communities – so olfactory cues might help them to locate other animals and determine whether they are group members or strangers, enhancing their survival and leading to fitness benefits,’ said lead author Stefanie Henkel of the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

‘Odour might be especially important because most chimpanzees live in dense forests where visibility is low, and because in chimpanzee societies, group members split up into subgroups that may not see each other for days,’ she said.

Researchers found that chimpanzees sniffed longer at the odour the more closely related they were to the odour donor (stock image)

The research provided the first evidence for odour-mediated kin recognition in great apes.

‘The ability to recognise kin is crucial, because it allows animals to choose appropriate partners for coalitions, avoid mating with close relatives, and avoid killing their own offspring,’ said co-author Jo Setchell from Durham University.

‘There is evidence that humans can also recognise the smell of their relatives, even as newborns.

‘We apparently retained good olfactory capabilities, although we – like our closest relatives, the chimpanzees – don’t usually scent-mark, and lack the specialised olfactory system found in many other animals.

‘Our results help us to understand the evolution of primate chemical communication and suggest that we should pay more attention to olfaction in apes.’

Researchers found that in the vast majority of cases, the first investigatory behaviour the chimpanzees showed when they approached a box was related to olfaction, rather than touch or just visual inspection.

‘To me it is very surprising that research on great ape olfaction has been neglected for so long, particularly given the increasing evidence for the importance of olfaction in other primate taxa, including humans’, Dr Henkel said.

‘Our results highlight the importance of the sense of smell in chimpanzees and there is great potential for future studies to investigate the full information content of different ape odour sources using chemical analyses and further behavioural experiments.’


An experiment, the results of which were published in June, revealed most children surpass the intelligence levels of chimpanzees before they reach four years old.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland’s School of Psychology, tested for foresight, which is said to distinguish humans from animals.

The experiment saw researchers drop a grape through the top of a vertical plastic Y-tube.

The researchers then monitored the reactions of a child and chimpanzee in their efforts to grab the grape at the other end, before it hit the floor.

Because there were two possible ways the grape could exit the pipe, researchers looked at the strategies the children and chimpanzees used to predict where the grape would go.

The apes and the two-year-olds only covered a single hole with their hands when tested.

But by four years of age, the children had to develop to a level where they knew how to forecast the outcome, and they covered the holes with both hands, catching whatever was dropped through every time.    


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'Stranger Things' Candy Is Here

Stranger Things season three may still be months away — it is rumored the latest installment won’t be available until the summer of 2019 — however, that isn’t keeping fans from enjoying the Upside Down. In fact, you can now be a part of the supernatural realm thanks to a line of Stranger Things-inspired candy at It’Sugara candy store with dozens of locations across the country.

News of the new line broke when It’Sugar posted a photo of the sweet treats on their Instagram account with the caption, "Live from the Upside Down… our exclusive Stranger Things collection is here!" 

And while the candy can be purchased in stores, it is also available online.

What are some of the collection’s highlights? 

Well, since you can never go wrong with chocolate, we are big fans of the Upside Down chocolate bar — a 3-ounce candy bar that features a mix of premium milk chocolate and gray-speckled white chocolate. (Yum!)

Image: It’Sugar.

Chocolate bar, $5.99 at It’Sugar

The Stranger Things gummy waffle also sounds amazing — especially since it looks like a real frozen waffle soaked in maple syrup.

Image: It’Sugar.

Gummy waffle, $10.99 at It’Sugar

And everyone’s favorite character, Barb, even gets a nod with the Stranger Things missing milk carton — which is a carton filled with malted milk balls and adorned with Barb’s face.

Image: It’Sugar.

Malted milk balls, $9.99 at It’Sugar

You can check out these products and several others at It’Sugar.

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Stranger Things Universal Studios Halloween, Horror Nights Exhibit

Ever wanted to take a visit to Hawkins, Indiana? Well, now here’s your chance! Universal Studios Orlando just revealed its new exhibit, and it’s totally strange.

As part of its annual Halloween Horror Nights event, Universal teamed up with Netflix to create a Stranger Things-themed haunted house. The ~spooky~ exhibit will transport you back in time to the fictional world of Hawkins, where all sorts of crazy sh*t goes down. You’ll get to visit Will Byers’ home, the kids’ school, the creepy Hawkins National Laboratory and, yes, even the Upside Down!

Judging by these pics, it looks like this haunted house is going to be epic. All you mouthbreathers out there will have to wait until next week to go, when the exhibit officially opens, but it’s definitely going to be worth the wait! Want to go the extra mile and dress up as your fave character? Get some inspo from these Stranger Things-obsessed celebs.

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‘Stranger Things’ casting call looking for marching band extras

Extras may find themselves “banding together” this fall to film the show “Stranger Things.”


Extras may find themselves “banding together” this fall to film the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things.”

“We are looking to cast Males & Females who have had or currently are experienced in participating in a Marching band!” a casting notice posted online for adult marching band members says.

Musical know-how is required for the aspiring extras, who can be any ethnicity and ages 18 to 30.

“You will actually play 2 songs with us (so you must know how to play your instrument),” the post explains.

Exact shooting dates for the show, which is filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, aren’t yet listed in the ad — though the casting company says filming will most likely take place at the end of October.

“TBD, this will work approx 2 Overnight Shoot Dates (call times of approx 4pm), and possibly a Recording Date too,” the casting notice reads. 

A similarly-worded casting call for minor marching band members says they should be 16 to 17 years old.

WSB-TV recently spotted the notices, which were originally posted in March. Heather Taylor, owner and founder of Casting TaylorMade, confirmed to Fox News Wednesday that the online listings are still open.

Viewers already know to look out for the influence of a 1980s film on the upcoming season. 

Series star David Harbour, 43, told Variety last month the third season — which is due out in summer 2019 — is being influenced by the comedy flick “Fletch.”

Chevy Chase played a journalist known as “Fletch” in the 1985 movie of the same name, as well as “Fletch Lives,” which came out in 1989. 

A new character played by Jake Busey, a reporter named Bruce, is expected to reference the role during the series. Details about Busey’s part were revealed in April. 

"He’s a journalist for the The Hawkins Post with questionable morals and a sick sense of humor," Netflix said in a news release. 

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Jimmy Fallon picks up strangers’ $1,000 restaurant tab, explains why he decided to foot the bill

Jimmy Fallon surprised a group of diners at a Hamptons restaurant on Aug. 27.

 (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Diners at a Hamptons restaurant were shocked when Jimmy Fallon and his wife, Nancy Juvonen, were seated next to their table on Monday. But the group played it cool and didn’t approach the "Tonight Show" host — a decision Fallon was grateful for.

After the two couples finished their meal at Il Mulino in Wainscott, New York, Fallon walked over to thank them.

"He went up to them said, ‘I appreciate you guys not wanting to disturb us. I knew you wanted to say ‘hello.’ So he picked up the tab. With tip it was $1,136," Enzo Lentini, general manager of the Italian restaurant, told Newsday.

Lentini commended the pair of couples on their restraint, despite the fact they "wanted to jump out of their skin."

Fallon’s spokeswoman, Claire Mercuri, confirmed the encounter to Newsday on Wednesday. Lentini told the New York newspaper Fallon frequently visits the restaurant, typically on weekends, so he wasn’t surprised to see the late night host. The staff has gotten to know him.

"I walked him downstairs, through the kitchen and into the dining room. He’s like, ‘Enzo, where you taking me!’ The kitchen [staff] got a big kick out if it, too — they were all clapping when he came through," Lentini said, explaining that he wanted to avoid a scene.

This isn’t the first time Fallon has been praised for an act of kindness on Long Island. In October 2017, the "Tonight Show" host offered to drive a woman home after spotting her walking along a roadway in pouring rain in Sagaponack.

“This truck pulls up and the window rolls down. I’m thinking, as a woman, ‘I’m not getting in the car with you.’ And then I was like, ‘Oh it’s Jimmy Fallon,’" Dawn Elyse Warden, of Philadelphia, told Newsday at the time.

“It was a big deal to me that he would stop the car for a stranger with his child in the car. I thought that was kind of amazing,” she added.

Jennifer Earl is an SEO editor for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @jenearlyspeakin.

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‘Stranger Things’ Star Millie Bobby Brown to Narrate Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Spheres’

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'Stranger Things' Season 3 Teaser Is Set in a ’80s Mall Food Court

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Chilling moment thug pulls out machete and attacks stranger in Britain

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Stranger Things Star Gets Big Pay Rise For Season 3

Being a child star isn’t always a blessing, but the cast of Stranger Things are riding high on the waves of the show’s success. Going into the next season of the series, the young cast is reportedly earning a whopping $250,000 per episode. For Gaten Matarazzo who plays Dustin, that’s a whopping 1,200 percent pay rise.
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The wild sex life of Peter Stringfellow including his wedding day romp with stranger

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