It’s Kismet: A Female-Run Restaurant Is Setting The Model For A New World Order

Chefs Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer want to make it very clear from the outset that it is not in fact impossible to get a table at their wildly popular Los Angeles restaurant, Kismet.
“Don’t perpetuate that myth!” Hymanson laughs. But if you want dinner at eight, you should probably plan pretty far in advance. “You can eat here at 5:30 any day of the week!” Kramer says, popping an olive into her mouth.
We’re sitting in a blonde wood booth in the back of the restaurant, snacking on harissa olives and the most delicately-seasoned cashews (is that rosemary I’m tasting?), while a gentle California-afternoon breeze wafts through the open windows. The space is bright and airy and feels like a vacation. There are mini succulents on the tables.
If I sound gushy, it’s not only because they’re plying me with delicious food from the moment we sit down to chat. It’s because in a time where allegations of sexual misconduct in the restaurant industry continue to grow against many male chefs, Kismet – which couldn’t be more perfectly named – feels like a model for a new world order.
“The way that we run a business is not generally the way a man would run a business,” says Hymanson. “But I wouldn’t want to reinforce those gender stereotypes.” The number of women-owned restaurants has grown 40% in the last decade, according to the most recent statistics from the National Restaurant Association. It might not be fair to make delineations along gender lines — what is a male-run kitchen versus a female-run kitchen?
But the Kismet culture feels decidedly feminist.

“We are obviously women and so we want to create a workplace that is supportive of other women and women in leadership positions, while not making men feel alienated,” says Kramer.
“Also, not everyone adheres to male or female gender, so we’re trying to take gender out of the equation when possible and treat everyone with the same amount of respect and dignity,” Hymanson adds. The level of sensitivity feels groundbreaking.
It’s a way of operating that they’ve been practicing from the beginning. They have a very specific vision: diversity among the staff, a kitchen without screaming or harsh criticism. “We work really hard with the language we use,” Hymanson says. “To try not to be critical, to be constructive.”
Every decision they make is a political act, they tell me, from whom they hire to where they buy their produce. They want to make real change in their industry. And it doesn’t involve pizza dough cinnamon rolls.
“I can’t believe it!” says Hymanson, shaking her head and laughing, “Where was his PR company?!” We’re talking about the recipe Mario Batali posted along with his tone-deaf apology following allegations of sexual harassment. As of this writing, several other prominent chefs have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct and, for leading women in the restaurant industry — like Kramer and Hymanson — it’s a call to organize.
“With Time’s Up, all of the women in Hollywood are getting together to talk about how to change their industry,” says Kramer. “We could do that.”
It’s more challenging in a business that’s less centralized than the entertainment industry. “It’s really hard in restaurants to expect the same kind of momentous change that’s going to happen in Hollywood. It’s difficult for us as female chefs to unite to create change because we’re individual businesses,” Kramer adds. “It’s not like there are bigger companies above us that we can obligate to change their ways. It’s us.”
In their first year, Kismet landed on just about every “Best Of” list there is; and the Middle Eastern-inspired menu is constantly evolving. It’s tasty, creative and meticulously prepared. The critical response has been overwhelmingly positive. On Friday, the two women were named Eater’s 2017 Chefs of the Year. “It feels really good. I’m continually shocked by all of the press, there are so many other people doing really great things,” says Kramer. “That’s part of my own issue with not feeling deserving of things.”
“Because we’re women!” Hymanson jumps in. They both laugh.
Of course, having each worked in restaurants for over a decade, neither were surprised when the accusations against big-name chefs started going public.
“Is any woman surprised?” asks Kramer. “It’s something you want to see happen. I think it’s a cautionary tale for people in the industry to see big figures like Mario Batali, John Besh, Ken Friedman. It’s important for egregious things to be called out.”
“I think it has already checked certain men,” says Hymanson, “because they see their positions are vulnerable.”
“Beyond that, people should pay attention to people like us who have been doing it right the whole time!” Kramer smiles.
Hymanson points out that until recently, many restaurants didn’t have human resources departments where an employee could go if they were having a problem. Add to that, the diverse group that makes up the restaurant industry, that often includes undocumented individuals, “people who have a harder time standing up for themselves,” she says.
And the industry as a whole doesn’t have the visibility of movie stars. “Even Mario Batali — he’s a big star, but he’s not the same kind of star as Kevin Spacey or Matt Lauer. It feels like the impact of it in this industry will be less than in Hollywood,” Kramer says.
And while the #MeToo movement brings with it hope and empowerment, it’s tied in with something else too. “Obviously it affects everybody personally,” Kramer says. “The #MeToo movement is very exciting, (but) it’s incredibly straining. It’s dredging up so many people’s stories. So much has to change.”
So how do you make change? “The only way do it is to create it ourselves,” says Kramer. “It’s something we all want to see happen — a cultural shift. In a lot of kitchens, a lot of what was hip was this sort of machismo, bravado, not showing real sincerity because that’s not cool and that is changing. I feel like in a way it’s our moment,” says Kramer. “Bravado is no longer cool.”
Hymanson nods in agreement. “Our success is a symbol of that.”

Black Panther Boldly Tackles The Flaws Of Black Excellence

It’s already been said many times, but Black Panther is good. Really good. The film lives up to action genre expectations with nail biter fight scenes and fulfills superhero tropes with a science fiction angle and some cool ass costumes. By bringing the thrills, the sexy (seriously, everyone in the film looks like a sweet and savory snack), and the comedic relief, Black Panther has universal appeal, evident by the rave reviews and 98% score in Rotten Tomatoes.
But make no mistake about it: Black Panther is very, very Black. With its technological advances, tribal monarchy, and long-term sustenance, Wakanda and its leaders are archetypes for Black excellence. For all of its mainstream greatness, director Ryan Coogler has successfully made a superhero motion picture that is firmly rooted in Black culture. And spoiler alert: the core message of the film is not a unifying cry against white supremacy, but instead a necessary appeal to Black communities to reconsider our own internal prejudices against one another. The fictional land of Wakanda and the conflicts that threaten to overtake it in Black Panther are made for us, by us.
Wakanda is what romanticized dreams of Africa’s past and future are made of. Bright patterns and bold prints are the uniform. Unsoiled by the brutally grubby hands of colonization, it is the birthplace of all humanity and the keeper of Earth’s most precious secret: Vibranium. This metal, bestowed upon Wakanda by alien forces at the dawn of civilization, has allowed them to thrive on technology yet unknown to the rest of civilization. They’ve used the powers of Vibranium to hide themselves from the rest of the world, allowing Wakanda to be perceived as a sovereign, third world country. Even better than their scientific innovations, however, is a blessing by the Panther god that grants their leaders superhuman strength. Once Wakanda’s supernatural version of a coronation is complete, the ruler becomes the Black Panther. Following the untimely death of his father, it’s T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) turn to assume that mantle. At first it’s business as usual: going after singular threats like a one armed villain who seeks to exploit Wakanda and its Vibranium supply. But the stakes are suddenly higher when a foreigner who looks like them, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), infiltrates their land and challenges T’Challa’s place on the throne — and Wakanda’s practice of avoiding Black people elsewhere in the world.
Variety’s review of the film, written by Peter Debruge, a white man (that’s an important detail, I promise), takes care to note the internal turmoil set up in Wakanda: “Coogler revives the age-old debate between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X — between passive resistance and the call for militant black activism. Think of it as ‘Black Panther vs. the Black Panthers.’” Half of Debruge’s assessment is dead on. Erik enters Wakanda looking and speaking every bit like Huey P. Newton’s 20-something hip-hop love child, insisting that his people fight anti-Black violence around the world with more violence. As a Black woman, it’s hard not to agree with his cause.

Inside The Twisted World Of USA Gymnastics

For the better part of January, the nation was captivated by the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, the former doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University who was found guilty of multiple counts of sexual abuse and sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison. At the hearing, 156 current and former gymnasts read deeply personal, graphic impact statements about the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of the disgraced doctor.
On the surface, this is a story of one terrible man who found a devious way to take advantage of vulnerable girls. But what Nassar laid bare was that the rot extends beyond one predator or even one sport — it’s the product of a broken system, one that unwittingly grooms young girls to stay silent and bow to the will of their superiors.
“This is bigger than Larry Nassar,” said two-time gold medalist Aly Raisman, one of Nassar’s many victims, in an interview on the Today Show last week. “We have to get to the bottom of how this disaster happened. If we don’t figure out how it did, we can’t be confident that it won’t happen again.”
As sinister as it is to consider, in retrospect, “[Nassar] picked the perfect system to be a predator in,” says Robert Andrews, MA, LMFT, a sports performance coach who has worked with Olympic gymnasts. Refinery29 spoke to sports psychologists and former gymnasts about the self-policed system that enabled an abuser and failed the athletes that trusted it. When you consider the perfectionist culture and insular politics of the sport, it’s horrifyingly obvious how a sexual abuse scandal of this scale happened right underneath our noses.

Here’s Why Your Paycheck Might Be A Bit Bigger This Month

For all the direct deposit and paycheck hounds out there who know their expected weekly or biweekly incomes like they know their own faces, this month might have brought a surprise: a plumper pay stub.
As a result of the GOP tax cut bill President Trump signed into law last year, 80% to 90% of American workers can, or will shortly, see an increase in their take-home pay because of the lower tax rates under the new law.
Lisa Greene-Lewis, a CPA and tax expert with Turbo Tax, says the difference will result in a 1% to 3% tax reduction as employers begin to use the updated IRS withholding tables. The IRS has advised employers to make the changes “not later than Feb. 15, 2018,” so the small boost may be pending for some workers.
Here’s what to keep in mind as your bank account metabolizes the difference.
Review Your W-4
Employers use W-4 forms to determine federal tax withholdings. Workers would be wise to revisit those forms or use the IRS tax withholding calculator (which will be available by the end of February) to calculate their correct withholding amount. The Turbo TaxCaster app also generates a side-by-side 2017/2018 comparison to get an idea of what you’re in for.
Personal Exemptions
“One of the changes taking place on that W-4 form is the elimination of personal exemptions and dependent exemptions. You get a personal exemption for yourself of $4,050. You also get one if you’re married for your spouse, and then for your kids you get that,” Greene-Lewis explains. “You’ll still get [that exemption] in 2017 but it’s being eliminated in 2018.”
Pay the IRS too much and you’ll take home less money throughout the year, and essentially give the agency an interest-free loan. But pay them too little and you could be hit with a surprising bill next year. The latter may be a bigger risk for many workers due to the decrease in paycheck withholdings.
Itemized Deductions
Itemized deductions can include taxes and insurance paid on homes, charitable donations, and even large, uninsured medical and dental expenses. (These can’t be claimed in conjunction with the standard deduction.)
Under the new law, people who itemize deductions will face caps on how much of those expenses they can withhold. There is now a $10,000 cap on property taxes, state and local income taxes, and state withholding, Greene-Lewis says. “Before, you could deduct all of those [costs] no matter how much they were. Now you get a cap at $10,000 for state and local income tax, state income tax withholding, and property tax.”
Finally, people with very expensive mortgages should be aware of their new tax burden. Previously, homeowners with mortgages up to $1 million could deduct the interest they pay. That threshold has fallen to $750,000 for homes purchased after December 15, 2017.
Tax Credits
Under the new law, the child tax credit was doubled from $1,000 to $2,000, a boon for parents claiming their children as dependents.
Credits are a one-to-one reduction of the taxes you owe. So, if an individual owes $5,000 in taxes, their tax burden would reduced to $3,000. (By contrast, Greene-Lewis explains, a deduction reduces your taxable income — but you are still taxed based on that income.)

Would You Cut Your Hair If Your Job Depended On It?

For an up-and-coming model at New York Fashion Week, there is no higher honor than being asked to walk the Marc Jacobs runway. The final show of the week, it’s earned a reputation for being a spectacle in the best sense of the word, a theatrical parade of supermodels in often highly unwearable fashions, orchestrated by some of the industry’s greats.
It’s by far the most interesting in terms of beauty, too, rife with controversial dreadlocks, nightmarish black eyes, and mullet armies. This is where I say that Fall 2018 didn’t break the streak. Only this time, for some in the show, getting out of Marc’s fantasy world won’t be as simple as swiping a cotton pad across their face or unpinning a wig.
While the majority of models found themselves wearing wide-brimmed hats and scarves that completely covered their natural hair, nine were selected days before to get drastic cuts and dye jobs from Redken’s Global Creative Director Guido Palau and Global Color Director Josh Wood. And by drastic, we’re talking bowl cuts, mushroom tops, and retro rounded bobs, all black, save for wide swathes of lime green, fuchsia, teal, and more. They were, as Palau emphasized repeatedly, extreme — and not meant to feel remotely natural. “We’re very lucky the girls agreed to it,” he said backstage.
But what does agreeing actually look like in this competitive of an industry, when a two-minute walk on the right runway could make your career and a ‘no’ might shatter it? Backstage, I asked one of the models with a vivid bowl cut how long her hair had been before. She motioned to her waist. Why’d she get the cut? “It wasn’t my choice,” she told me.
But the job of a model is, at its most distilled, to wear the clothes and hair and makeup they’re put in on any given day and do their best to sell the look, regardless of their feelings about it. The question then is how much, if any, autonomy do they deserve over their appearance? After the show, I reached out to the agents of all nine models to try to get an understanding of how these decisions are made and if there’s any room for pushback.

“I would never pressure any of my models to undergo such a drastic change without them also being on board,” says Nora Vai’s agent, Eric Granwehr. “She’s the one that has to wake up every morning and see herself in the mirror, and I want to be the one to make sure she loves what she sees.” He says Marc Jacobs’ casting director reached out to his agency asking for submissions of girls willing to undergo drastic hair changes — but gave no other details. He then had to select a small group of models to be considered, not knowing whether they’d have any hair at the end of it. He knew Nora, who already had a platinum bowl cut, would be game.
Conor Kennedy, the President of Muse Management, which represents three of the girls who got haircuts, also insisted the process was collaborative, with open communication between the casting director, agent, and model. “Models are free to say no to this kind of transformation, and they’re also free to say no to working with a client,” he says. “It’s a decision we make together about the project and the possibilities.”
However, when you’re given the opportunity to work with the biggest names in fashion, he adds, it’s generally expected that you “give yourself up to their creative process and trust in the quality of their work. That’s part of why models come to New York and can’t wait to do fashion week. They’re very excited about this kind of transformation.”

The general consensus among the agents I spoke to is that being asked to work with the dream team that is Marc and Guido is an enormous privilege, which is why models go along with whatever the direction may be, no questions asked. Marc Jacobs knows he can bring whatever wacky, weird vision he has to life, and so he does. Lesser designers know better than to even attempt.
But what happens when the lights come up, fashion month is over, and these models are expected to book other gigs with their new incredibly specific and unconventional hairstyle? “It really changes everything, to be blunt,” says Granwehr. “Picture a model’s portfolio — years of work in markets all around the world, all showing off an already very specific haircut… all of those images and all that visual proof of long-term success kind of becomes null and void.” When that happens, he says, it’s his job to figure out how to take the girl in a different direction, with new clients and editorials. In other words, a total rebrand is required.
It’s worth looking at the models who get asked to make drastic, semi-permanent changes in the first place versus the ones who don’t. The Kendalls and Kaias and Gigis of the world have been exempt from these types of requests since the moment they entered the industry. I suspect if they said no to something that made them uncomfortable on set at any point, it wouldn’t affect their livelihoods, either. I’m not so certain the same could be said for these nine.
Maybe these particular models all loved and wanted the cuts they were given for Marc Jacobs — a few of them insisted they did via their agents. It’s just hard to know for sure, because the girl who told me she had no choice over the matter backstage later provided a statement through her agent that it was her choice. And like Granwehr and Kennedy, Kate Rushing of Silent Models NY said that the decision to undergo a transformation is ultimately the model’s. But to the question of whether there is an option for someone who doesn’t want to do it that still allows her to walk in the show? “Not really.”

Feast Your Eyes On These Gloriously Extra Valentino Gowns

Historically, the couture runway is the place where we go to watch designers’ wildest dreams and ideas become material. Although there has been no shortage of awe-inspiring couture shows in recent seasons, we’re having trouble thinking of a more beautiful, breathtaking presentation, than the one Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino’s creative director, presented on Wednesday in Paris. As soon as the videos from the show started hitting our Instagram, we knew Piccioli had gone to another level entirely (have you ever audibly gasped from scrolling your feed?).
The magical floating feather hats that moved through the air like so many jellyfish in the ocean and the expansive color palette both made us think of Flemish Renaissance paintings and artists like Jan Van Eyck — and also Dr. Seuss. But what made it truly special was that underneath the voluminous silhouettes and extravagant millinery that usually makes these looks purely red-carpet fodder, there were actually wearable — dare we say casual — clothes; oversized sweaters, wide-legged trousers, and thin knits all made with the level of craftsmanship and materials that befit a couture collection.
Here, see 14 of the most gloriously extra looks Piccioli sent down the runway.

These Are The Under $10 Foods That Real Millennial Women Buy Every Week

Grocery shopping is a necessary evil for some and a welcome routine for others. But regardless of where you might find yourself on this spectrum, having an ongoing shopping list and a repeating Google calendar date with the supermarket feels like an inevitable part of adulting. Whether it’s a carton of eggs, a box of mac and cheese, avocados, or even a pint of ice cream, we all have our go-to under $10 products that we pick up like clockwork on a weekly basis. And since we’re always looking to upgrade our shopping experiences based on reccos from friends, we decided to poll millennial women across the country in order to create the comprehensive list ahead.
Scroll on to see which repeat, budget-buy groceries our peers are picking up and why — from students to chefs and packaged to fresh.

This Is How Much An Oscar Statue Is Actually Worth

The buzz in the air this week is only going to get stronger as we approach the 90th Academy Awards. Next month, the best and brightest actors will take over the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood in hopes of coming home with one (or more) of the 24 Oscar awards.
While we watch celebs receive their Oscars every year, the statues themselves are shrouded in mystery. We’ll probably never get to touch one ourselves, but WalletHub released some helpful trivia so we can at least pretend.
First off, what’s it like to actually hold the award? The 24 karat gold-plated Oscar statue is worth $629 and is 13.5 inches tall. At 8.5 pounds, it’s no wonder pretty much everyone who receives one is surprised by just how heavy it is.
That’s a lot of money and gold for one small statue, but it’s nothing compared to the cost of the whole ceremony. The 16,500-square-foot red carpet costs a whopping $30 thousand, which is probably why the show adds up to $42.8 million per year. If you want to attend the after party, it’s an additional $119,800 per couple — or $239,600 at once if you’re being the generous date.
However, all this fanfare is worth it. There are some standout contenders this year, with Greta Gerwig as the only woman nominated for Best Director thanks to Lady Bird, and Shape Of Water dominating the nominations with 13 nods.
We’ll have to wait until Sunday to see if more history will be made, but with such an incredible lineup, how could it not?

The Money Diaries Team Has Exciting News For You!

We have some really exciting news we’ve been dying to share with the Money Diaries community: We’re writing a book!
After nearly two years and close to 300 published diaries, we’re really excited for this next chapter. We’re teaming up with Touchstone to create the book of our dreams. The Money Diaries book is going to be a combination of ALL NEW diaries (get ready for the ultimate binge session!), along with high quality advice from some of the best female financial advisors around.
And even though the book isn’t coming out until September 2018, you can already pre-order it on Amazon! Just click here!
We have all kinds of fun and exciting ideas for this book, but we want to hear from you, our beloved Money Diaries community. What do you want to see in a Money Diaries book? Are there past diarists who you want to know more about? Are there any details we leave out of our usual Money Diaries that you want to know? And tell us about any personal finance questions you might want answered. There’s no question too small — or too big! Leave a note in the comments, or shoot us an email at, with the subject line: Money Diaries book.
When we launched Money Diaries in January 2016, we had no idea how big this series would grow. We’re so excited that with your support we can continue to thrive!
Stay tuned to Refinery29 as we announce more details about the book, including special callouts for new diaries and reader surveys. And sign up here to get the latest news about the book!

The Most Satisfyingly-Gross YouTube Channel Isn’t Dr. Pimple Popper — It’s Better

By YouTube standards, the game of Who Wore It Better is actually called Who Skeeved Out The Internet More, and most people would agree that Dr. Pimple Popper’s videos beat out the rest. That is, unless you’ve watched any of the clips uploaded by Never Ending Callus, because if there were ever anyone that could challenge the reigning dermatologist to a binge-watching match and win — it’s him.
Like the D.A.R.E. films you watched in class growing up, the videos of this guy (he has not yet released his name) shaving off his thick, yellow-tinged heels each week are gruesome and shocking, and yet we can’t look away. It’s as if an extraction video met Baby Foot at a bar one night, and had a grotesquely beautiful baby named Never Ending Callus. (Which, of course, could not physically happen — but let that draw you a picture.) “I have always had crazy calluses,” he tells Refinery29. “I figured I would post a video once a week and use it as a way to make trimming my feet a little more fun while spreading some awareness and shocking others.”