Skimm'd while finishing up the How to Skimm Your Life Challenge

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Skimm'd while finishing up the How to Skimm Your Life Challenge

Get After It

Quote of the Day

"Lovely to have all these new followers" – The World Wide Robin Hood Society in Nottingham, UK, after its unsuspected rise to fame. They Sherwood love to keep it going.

Game, Stopped

The Story

GameStop is taking the stock market by storm.

This is so over my head.

We're here to help. First, a brief history: Everyone's favorite video game retailer went public in 2002. But being a brick-and-mortar shop in a digital world isn't easy, and GameStop had been struggling for quite some time. To make matters worse, the pandemic hit, forcing the former shopping mall staple to announce hundreds of store closures. In 2020, its share price fell to under $5. And certain investors, hoping to see GameStop's stock continue to decline, began short selling aka betting against it. But suddenly, as if by magic, GameStop's stock soared nearly 1,800% this month, and its share price reached over $350.

What if I don't believe in magic?

Then believe this: the driving force behind the stock surge is Reddit. Specifically, its message board with nearly 5 million followers called Wall Street Bets – where people can share trading tips and ideas. And occasionally rally a huge internet community with a shared goal: to stand up against big hedge funds, and mess up short sellers. (Remember: short selling is when investors borrow a company's shares to sell them. Then they buy them back at a cheaper price when the stock price falls. And pocket the difference.) So having learned that hedge funds were short selling GameStop, message board members went into full multiplayer mode. They teamed up to buy GameStop stock en masse. And then others hopped on the bandwagon.

I'm assuming Wall Street wasn't happy.

Not at all. Some hedge funds that had shorted the stock (see: Melvin Capital) had to buy it back at a higher price than what they sold it for – losing a collective billions of dollars. And as the stock price kept going up, some individual investors reportedly made millions of dollars. But that delight quickly turned into anger when stock trading app Robinhood (and other financial companies) jumped in to say 'game over.' It restricted people from buying GameStop stock due to the "volatility" in the market. But other established investors and hedge funds were free to trade stocks.

That doesn't sound fair.

Many – including politicians spanning from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) – agree. They condemned the company, whose mission statement reads in part: "we believe that everyone should have access to the financial markets." A class-action lawsuit's already been filed for alleged market manipulation. Others wondered why the SEC didn't get involved, and called for regulators to re-examine how the system works. And the irony of Robinhood's name is not lost on people. Robinhood said its decision wasn't easy, and that it was made to best serve its customers. Today, the platform's allowing for limited buying.


A group of investors on Reddit have turned the market upside down in an attempt to hurt big hedge funds. And companies had to step in to gain control – a move that's sparking criticisms about Americans' rights to trade freely in a market that often benefits the rich.

Want more money news? Sign up to get the Skimm Money newsletter in your inbox every Friday.

And Also...This

Who's taking care of business...

President Biden. Yesterday, he put health care front and center in his executive actions – taking steps to fulfill some of his campaign promises to reverse policies by the Trump admin. Here's what's rolling out:

  • Affordable Care Act: will be open for special enrollment from Feb 15 - May 15, giving an estimated 5 million or more uninsured Americans who've lost their coverage amid the pandemic a chance to sign up for health insurance. And, depending on income, nearly 9 million people could be eligible for free or subsidized coverage.
  • Abortion: Biden's reversed the Mexico City policy, which didn't allow American tax dollars to go toward orgs abroad that carry out abortion services. He's also called on the Health and Human Services Dept to review current policies that cap funding for US groups that provide similar services. Women's rights groups hailed the decision, but religious groups not so much.
  • Other directives: The president's asking fed agencies to review policies that affected people with pre-existing conditions and made it more difficult to enroll in Medicaid and the ACA (think: work requirements). Biden will be receiving recs on how to move forward after the review process.

PS: We break down how to choose the right health insurance plan through private insurers or the ACA marketplace.

What's not welcome…

The South Africa variant. Yesterday, South Carolina health officials confirmed the US's first cases of B1351 (aka the variant first detected in South Africa). The cases involve two adults who have no known connections or travel history. Meaning, the variant could already be spreading. Scientists think B1351 is 50% more contagious, but there's no evidence yet of it being more deadly. However, researchers say the variant has shown to weaken vaccines' effectiveness in producing antibodies.

  • Speaking of: Based on early data, Novavax (an American company) says its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be nearly 90% effective. But that it was less effective against B1351.

  • On alert: The B1351 discovery means that the three COVID-19 variants causing concern are in the US. And comes as the country has started to see a decline in coronavirus cases. The CDC is urging Americans to continue to social distance, wear masks, and avoid travel.

Who people are remembering...

Cicely Tyson. Yesterday, the groundbreaking Black actress died at age 96. Born in Harlem, Tyson first made her acting debut in "12 Angry Men." For seven decades, she acted across theater, TV, and film, rejecting roles she saw as demeaning to Black women. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 1972 movie "Sounder." And was the first Black woman to win a lead actress Emmy for the 1974 tele-movie "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman." But Tyson didn't stop. She went on to act in "How to Get Away with Murder," get a Tony at age 88, and win the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. Earlier this week, she published her memoir, "Just As I Am." Viola Davis credited Tyson with giving her the "permission to dream." And Shonda Rhimes said "her power and grace will be with us forever." RIP.

Who's being honored…

Emmett Till. Earlier this week, the Chicago City Council designated Till's childhood home a landmark. Till's story helped incite the Civil Rights Movement: In 1955, two white men lynched the Black teen in Mississippi when he was visiting family. He had been accused of whistling at a white woman in a store. The killers were acquitted by an all-white jury. And the woman reportedly recanted her testimony decades later. Now, his home is a Chicago landmark – officially protected from ever being demolished. Advocates plan to turn it into a museum.

Who's feeling GLAAD…


Routine Refresh

Ferris Bueller was right: Life moves pretty fast. Case in point: we're almost one-twelfth of the way through 2021 already. (Hi and bye, January.) So we partnered with Kroger to share some tips to help you keep putting your wellness first. To February and beyond.

  • Prep delicious, nutritious snacks. So you won't have to settle on something less satisfying when you're busy. Hint: Baby carrots go great with beet hummus.

  • Tap an expert. Kroger Dietitians can help you develop a health plan based on your personal needs. And you don't even have to leave your house.

  • Take self-care to the next level. With essential oils, bath bombs, masks, scrubs, moisturizers, and more. Brb, entering spa mode.

Btw, Kroger has more recipes, advice, and products to help you stay well – in a way that works for you. Go on.

How to Skimm Your Life Challenge

It's finally here: Day 21 of our 21-day challenge. Congrats, you did it. This month, you decluttered your life and phone, created a to-do list that's actually doable, and so much more. And if you need to play catch-up, there's still time.

Today, we're inhaling all that good. Your final challenge: Say omm. Meditate for five minutes. Because you deserve it. We broke down the different ways to meditate and why it matters here. And if you need help finding your zen, download the Shine app (Skimm'rs get 50% off a premium account). Now keep calm and meditate on.

Skimm Reads

"Detransition, Baby" by Torrey Peters

This one's about what happens when your friends become your fam. When Ames (who detransitioned) finds out his boss is pregnant with his baby, he proposes raising the child with his ex – a trans woman in NYC who desperately wants to be a mother. The trio explores becoming an unconventional family unit in this comedic and thoroughly modern novel.


Here are our favorite picks to help you take a break today…

1. The best organizing hacks for your iPhone apps. Because there's nothing worse than when you can't find your Uber Eats, no matter how many times you swipe. These tips will give you an app-ily ever after.

2. A better way to hydrate. This water brand uses 92% plant-based, 100% recyclable packaging. Their cartons have a 64% lower carbon footprint than plastic bottles. And they just released new flavors. Skimm'rs get $5 off a variety pack. Drink up.*

PS: Some personal news...this section is leaving the Daily Skimm soon. But don't worry, it's not going far. So if you like the life hacks and shopping recs you've found here, you're gonna want to subscribe to our weekly newsletter. We can't tell you yet, but we've got biiiig things comin' soon.

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


For when you want your lip gloss to be poppin'…

Throw it back with Lancôme Juicy Tubes. Because the OG gloss has returned. And it's just as shiny and hydrating as it was in middle school. There are 20 different shades, including cult classics and some fun new flavors. Get lips so luscious.*

For when you're ready to double down on the whole meditation thing...

Watch the final episode of our New Year's refresh video series with Good Morning America and Blue Apron. It's all about taking control of your mental health, whether you already practice mindfulness or are just getting started. Get the tips you don't hear enough.*

*PS: This is a sponsored post.

Skimm More

1. New COVID-19 variants are on the rise. We spoke to Dr. Amber D'Souza on this week's episode of "Skimm This" about how to protect yourself against these new mutations. Plus, the latest on the vaccine rollout process.

2. Calling all "Saved by the Bell" fans: We caught up with the real life Jessie Spano to Skimm the show's reboot. Plus, some OG cast members we can expect to see.

3. We've got product recs to help you spend smarter. Think: a budget planner, coffee subscription, and personalized teeth-whitening kit.


Next week marks the start of Black History Month. To celebrate, we want to recognize Black leaders and Black-owned businesses & organizations for doing great things in their community. Want to nominate yourself or someone you know? Tell us here.

Sweet dreams...Mare A (MA). She's a former teacher who started Read Happy, an org that delivers books and custom pillowcases to children in need. Local seamstresses sew handmade pillowcases and include a message to 'read happy and sleep tight.' Learn more.

Flower power...Whitney H (NC). She launched an eBook to help beginner gardeners create beautiful backyard gardens. Get your bloom on.

(Some) Birthdays...Charlie Stern (NY), Roslyn "Mimi" Weitzen (NY), Oprah Winfrey (CA), Jessica Berger (NY), Rachel Brooks (NY), Jenna Forman (NY), Christy Davis (TX), Leigh Wallis (WA), Libby Egan (WA), Shannon August (OR), Merren Flynn (NY), Keshia Lipscomb (GA), Ronda Jackson (MI), Theresa McKire (NC), Nicole Flacks (ES), Jennie Poole (NJ)

Skimm’d by Maria del Carmen Corpus, Mariza Smajlaj, Clem Robineau, and Julie Shain