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Hong Kong Unrest Also Roils Watch Industry

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The Swiss watch industry is bracing for more disappointing news, as pro-democracy demonstrations continue to roil Hong Kong, its No. 1 market.

Exports to the city plunged 26.8 percent in June, when protesters first turned out in large numbers against a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. In July, the most recent numbers available, the decline reduced to a modest 1.3 percent, with total global exports reaching 1.9 billion Swiss francs ($1.92 billion) for the month, an increase of 4.3 percent compared with the prior year.

But there are worries that the August numbers, scheduled to be released Sept. 19, may show further sharp declines as the Hong Kong protests have continued, especially on weekends, as the government has ignored demonstrators’ expanded list of demands (the extradition law was withdrawn Sept. 4) and violence has increased. As a result, some of the city’s normally vibrant retail areas have been deserted on Saturdays and Sundays, and tourism, a big driver for watch sales, was down 5 percent in July.

“If you consider that Hong Kong is about 11 percent of the turnover of Swatch Group and Richemont, this is a pretty scary situation,” said Alexander Linz, a Vienna-based watch journalist who runs the YouTube channel for WatchAdvisor.com.

Both Compagnie Financière Richemont, which owns several luxury watchmakers including Cartier, Panerai and IWC, and Swatch Group, whose prestige brands include Omega, Breguet and Blancpain, released statements acknowledging the turmoil in Hong Kong had caused local sales to decline — in Swatch’s case, by double digits — while emphasizing growth in mainland China. Swiss watch exports to that market increased 16.3 percent in July, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

“When there’s a decrease in Hong Kong, even a small one, it has quite a strong impact on overall growth,” said Jules Boudrand, a director at Deloitte Switzerland and co-author of the 2017 Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry Study.

Over the past five years, exports to Hong Kong have seesawed. The crackdown on luxury gifting spurred by the Chinese government’s anti-corruption campaign, which began in 2012, put a dent in luxury watch sales. Exports fell to 2.4 billion Swiss francs in 2016 from a high of 4.1 billion francs in 2014.

For luxury watchmakers, such as Cartier, the steep decline in sales was exacerbated by a corresponding oversupply of merchandise. In 2015, the glut of inventory in Hong Kong made its way to the gray market, forcing both Richemont and Swatch Group to embark on costly buyback programs to shore up their brands’ reputations. Mindful of that experience, both groups are now thought to be shipping fewer watches to the city.

“All brands are much more cautious,” said Karine Szegedi, managing partner and head of fashion and luxury at Deloitte Switzerland.

Further complicating the dynamic in Hong Kong is the Chinese government’s growing efforts to ensure that its citizens spend their money at home, including a reduction in the sales tax earlier this year. “There are heavy duties when Chinese consumers buy luxury goods outside the country so there is repatriation of luxury purchases to the mainland,” Ms. Szegedi said.

For all the uncertainty about what will happen next in Hong Kong, the United States, the No. 2 market for Swiss watches, is coasting along with 6.1 percent growth in July.

The two markets have a history of leapfrogging each other for the top spot on Switzerland’s watch exports list.

“When one was down, the other one generally was up,” said Joe Thompson, editor-at-large at the watch site Hodinkee. “Then they would flip. And that was good for the industry. When you’re Switzerland, you’re just looking for the hot spot.”



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Are Homemade Pregnancy Tests Safe Or No?

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In a YouTube video with more than 1.7 million views (and very low production value), chimey music plays as the camera zooms in on a dish of sugar and then a plastic cup of…pee. It’s labeled “not pregnant.” Then, a second glass of urine from a pregs woman appears. A gloved hand holds up the “not-pregnant” sample to the camera and mixes in three spoonfuls of sugar for 30 seconds. A minute later, the sugar is dissolved and the liquid looks the same. The mysterious gloved hand repeats the process with the “pregnant” pee, and bubbles appear at the top of the substance. In summary, sugar + pregnant pee = bubbly pee. Thus, pregnancy confirmed. Right? Eh, not quite.


What’s a homemade pregnancy test?

The homemade sugar pregnancy test is just one of a handful of DIY conception confirmations that involve mixing pee with household items like bleach, toothpaste, and (obvi) sugar in hopes of causing a chemical reaction to determine whether or not you’re growing an alien inside of you.

Buying a pregnancy test IRL can be awkward. So it makes sense that people would be intrigued by a DIY option. But if you’re going to handle your own pee, you want it to work—and I’m sorry to report that’s not the case.

How does a homemade pregnancy test work?

In each of these tests, users add the substance (bleach, sugar, toothpaste) to their pee and wait for a reaction. The theory is that these products are sensitive to human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone present only in the urine and blood of pregnant women, which causes a chemical change when they interact.

Fans of the DIY method claim that if the bleach or sugar mix becomes fizzy or bubbly, you’re pregnant. The same goes for the toothpaste, which allegedly gets frothy (and sometimes turns bluish). If there’s no reaction it means you are not with child, per the DIY pregnancy test community.

Are homemade pregnancy tests accurate?

Sorry, nope. There haven’t been any formal studies to indicate that homemade pregnancy tests can actually detect hCG or any other specific marker of pregnancy in urine—and it’s highly unlikely future studies would prove otherwise, says Kelsey Tyssowski, PhD, a biology researcher at Harvard University.

“I don’t see any reason why adding bleach, sugar, or toothpaste to urine would specifically detect that hCG,” adds Brianne Raccor, PhD, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Campbell University.

So if the DIY tests aren’t legit, what’s up with these chemical reactions on YouTube? Well, it might have something to do with the pH levels, the measure of acidity or alkalinity in a solution, of the pee samples and the things they’re combined with, explains Tyssowski.

“If you mix an acid and a base, there’s going to be some kind of chemical reaction,” she says. And since bleach and toothpaste are more alkaline, mixing them with some acidic pee could make the fluid foamy. As for the sugar, which is a solid and has no pH, Raccor says it’s unclear why the two urine samples would lead to a different result. “There’s no control for temperature, urine amount, or the amount of sugar used in the video, all of which could affect the outcome,” she says. She adds that if the non-pregnant sample dissolved less sugar, for any reason, that could account for the bubbles you see in the video. So… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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Are homemade pregnancy tests safe?

Besides the potential hazards of working with bleach (ya know, fumes and possible skin and eye irritation), creating a homemade pregnancy test isn’t dangerous. The biggest risk is trusting the result you get with these very unreliable tests, says Raccor.

For this reason, you’re better off going with a store-bought test, explains Alyssa Dweck, MD, an ob-gyn in Westchester County, New York. “The FDA-approved tests you find in a drugstore are proven to be reliable, uniform, reproducible, safe, and effective,” she adds. Also, they’re 99 percent effective, according to Planned Parenthood, which is way more than those rando concoctions.

If you’re worried about the cost of a real-deal test, you can save some money by buying a generic one, says Dweck. They work exactly the same as the brand-name versions, she adds. Planned Parenthood may also be able to provide a free pregnancy test depending on where you live. Whatever you choose, just know these kitchen science experiment tests aren’t gonna cut it.



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Recreating My Ugliest Outfits from High School

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Roasting my own ugly outfits and dressing like I did in high school! In this style swap, I’m recreating my ugliest outfits from high school. I’ve worn the ugliest clothes from fashion nova, styled clothes I hate for a week, and worn ugly clothes from dollskill… but this time it’s all my fault lol.
❤ OPEN ME!

Recreating Celebrity Photos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPgbkPzG9_M&list=PLDf7atNag0SVQ2Djqt7TT0mp9yt7xDVyT&index=2&t=0s
I Styled Clothes I Hate for a Week https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9qYv2PfnsU&list=PLDf7atNag0SX4yv6Wd0icC8W7caIquFLB&index=17
Styling the Ugliest Clothes from Dollskill https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ow3XvWTxog&list=PLDf7atNag0SX4yv6Wd0icC8W7caIquFLB&index=9

❤ Check out the newest episode of my podcast, Sierra Unfiltered https://www.youtube.com/sierraunfiltered

❤ I HAVE MERCH! Shop my clothing line https://www.thecurvycrew.com

❤ This video was edited by Rachel Resnick!

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Hey! My name is Sierra Schultzzie and I make 2 new videos every week about Curvy Fashion, Curvy Hacks, DIY Projects, and Disney! People also know me as Sierra Schultz or Sierra Schultzie!

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FTC: This video is NOT sponsored. Some links may be affiliate.

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Jennifer Lopez stuns in updated version of her green Versace gown

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Jennifer Lopez just proved that she can still stun in a sexy, green Versace gown.

The singer and actress closed the fashion house’s runway show Friday during Milan Fashion Week by wearing an updated version of the iconic dress she wore for the 2000 Grammy Awards. You know, the one that was such a big deal it prompted the creation of Google Images.

For a refresher on just how long ago that was, Lopez was dating Sean “Diddy” Combs, although he was still called “Puff Daddy,” and Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were both nominated for Best New Artist (Aguilera pulled out the win). So it’s been a minute.

Jennifer Lopez wears the iconic green Versace gown at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 23, 2000, at Staples Center in L.A. (Photo: Scott Gries/ImageDirect)

But Hustlers star J.Lo, who turned 50 in July, looked as amazing as ever, truly, in the new take on her iconic dress, which revealed even more skin than the original.

The audience was enthralled. Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour had “an uncharacteristic grin on her face,” as she joined the crowd in giving the singer a standing ovation, the New York Post’s Page Six reported.

The “On the Floor” singer had been spotted shopping in Italy the day before her runway appearance, and the Versace invite featured a jungle theme, which reportedly caused speculation that Lopez would make an appearance.

Sure enough, J.Lo walked down the runway solo, oozing confidence the entire walk, before returning to the stage with designer Donatella Versace.

While the people watching Lopez in action stood to applaud her and snap photos of the memorable moment, fans everywhere quickly took to Twitter. Actress Katharine McPhee was one of the first to share her excitement.

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