Why this year’s Oscars campaigns spent the ‘most money’ ever

With the Oscars ceremony one week away, voting closes Tuesday — but who will win Best Picture is still anyone’s guess. “Green Book” has been honored by the Golden Globes (for Best Musical or Comedy) and the Producers Guild of America. “Roma” received nods from the Directors Guild of America, the New York Film Critics’…
Entertainment | New York Post


A Bridezilla, Epic Fights and That Infamous Wine Toss: How The Real Housewives of New Jersey Bounced Back Better Than Ever

The Real Housewives of New Jersey, RHONJLet it be known that Andy Cohen reads his damn feed.
The man responsible for gifting the world with all things Real Housewives has a special sixth sense for knowing how fans are feeling…

E! Online (US) – TV News


Tameka Foster Talks Almost Dying During Plastic Surgery: “I Was Married, Publicly Shamed And Didn’t Ever Feel Like I Was Enough”

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Source: Tiffany Rose / Getty

Ten years ago, Tameka Foster, then known as Tameka Raymond and married to Usher, one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, almost died while trying to get plastic surgery.

Looking back on that experience this week, Foster expressed her gratitude for life, but also addressed the public criticism that she says pushed her to get the surgery in the first place.

“Feeling grateful today,” she wrote on Wednesday. “10 years ago today I suffered a cardiac arrest in Brazil. #Flatlined #IDied. I was married, publicly shamed and didn’t ever feel like I was enough, pretty enough, exotic enough, slim enough, light enough, worthy enough. Funny part… Today I’m 20 pounds heavier, feel much prettier, single AF, happier, and so amazingly worthy.”

Instagram Photo

As the story goes, two months after welcoming their second child together, Naviyd Ely Raymond, Foster decided to fly to Brazil to get liposuction done on her stomach. She knew that being the wife of a public figure, she wouldn’t be able to escape unwanted commentary about her body after baby. She hadn’t been able to escape it before she had Naviyd and Usher Raymond V, as people openly questioned the fact that Usher had chosen to be with her and marry her in 2007. The singer felt the need to publicly defend her honor in 2008 on MTV’s TRL, saying, “I hear y’all talking crazy out there, she’s a beautiful black woman. Stop. Stop talking. And I love her. Stop it.”

But that wouldn’t be enough.

Before Foster could even undergo the procedure, she went into cardiac arrest while under anesthesia. Ellen Dasptry, a rep for the surgeon who was supposed to have performed the surgery in Brazil, said Foster was revived and placed into a medically-induced coma immediately.

“When an attack like this happens, the doctors put the patient to sleep… and make sure that everything is okay and that there has not been any damage,” Dasptry told PEOPLE in 2009. “This is the protocol every time and this is what was done.”

Foster survived the very scary situation, and was in much better condition a week later. However, her marriage fell apart soon after. Just months after her health ordeal, Usher filed for divorce.

Check out photos of Tameka during happier but still stressful years with Usher by hitting the flip:

2007 Trumpet Awards

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty



Spotify posts first ever operating profit, but cautious outlook for 2019

Spotify posted its first ever quarterly operating profit on Wednesday driven by a strong gross margin and slower-than-expected headcount growth, but it warned of a loss in 2019 and issued modest forecasts which disappointed investors.

Reuters: Technology News


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Instant Pot’s most advanced multi-cooker is down to its lowest price ever, today only

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The DUO 60 is Instant Pot’s most popular multi-use cooker ever, but the Instant Pot DUO Plus 60, 6 Qt 9-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker is even more versatile. It’s very similar both in form and in function, but it has nine different cooking modes instead of seven. It’s also a bit pricier of course, with a retail price of $ 130 compared to the $ 100 DUO 60. If you snag one today on Amazon though, you’ll pay an all-time low of just $ 79.99!

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Instant Pot’s most advanced multi-cooker is down to its lowest price ever, today only originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 31 Jan 2019 at 07:54:35 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



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‘Aquaman’ is now the biggest DC Extended Universe movie ever


Aquaman slid past Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on Saturday to become the highest-grossing DC Extended Universe film internationally.

Dawn of Justice made $ 863 million at the global box office – Aquaman is already at $ 887 million, after just two weeks in theaters.

Though reviews weren’t universally positive, many were average (the film has 64 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and audience response has been favorable. What sets Aquaman apart from other DCEU fare is that it’s fun. This movie gets ridiculous and sometimes down right weird, but it’s colorful and powerful and just a good time at the movies.  Read more…

More about Entertainment, Movies, Dc, Batman V Superman Dawn Of Justice, and Aquaman



Spacecraft flies past most distant world ever studied by humankind

A NASA spacecraft has flown past the most distant world ever studied by humankind – sparking jubilant celebrations from scientists.
Tech News – Latest Technology and Gadget News | Sky News


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2019 Movie Preview: Disney Is About To Have One of The Greatest Years Ever

2019 Movie Preview: Disney Is About To Have One of The Greatest Years Ever

2019 is going to be another big year for movies, but it may be the biggest year ever for Disney. The Mouse House is expected to roll out one major title after the next, including new installments in four of their most popular and recognizable franchises spread across their four main movie houses: Avengers: Endgame (Marvel Studios), Toy Story 4 (Pixar), Frozen 2 (Disney Animation) and Star Wars Episode IX (LucasFilm).

If they stopped there at just those four titles, they'd be looking at…

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Japan suffers biggest population decline ever in 2018

Japan suffered its biggest natural population decline ever this year, government statistics show.

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Consumer shares ‘the worst Amazon delivery story ever’

Dear John: Here’s some comic relief: The Worst Amazon Delivery Story Ever. Last week, we ordered a safe (as in, the thing you keep valuables in). Amazon promptly delivered a monstrosity that weighed about 100 pounds. But they forgot to include the key, without which the safe cannot be opened or closed. The key weighs…
Business | New York Post


10 Best ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Episodes Ever

There was a time – fairly recently, in fact – when we thought we’d had all the Brooklyn Nine-Nine episodes we were ever going to get. In May 2018, it was announced that the cult television series had been cancelled by Fox, as the network was “trying to create a more cohesive program, and scheduling [it in] would prevent [them] from promoting something new.”

At the time, Dana Walden, Chairmen and CEO of Fox Television Group, told Entertainment Weekly that “with Thursday Night Football, there were two fewer hours to program” and that ultimately, they decided they just didn’t have room for it anymore. Fans took to social media to share their devastation, as did several cast members including Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio and Stephanie Beatriz. But their sorrow was short-lived. Thankfully, the show was picked up by NBC just a day later.

If the few hours in which we believed Brooklyn Nine-Nine was over forever taught us anything, it’s just how great this cop comedy is. So ahead of the newly homed show’s sixth season kicking off in early January, we take a look back at 10 of the best episodes. So far, that is…

“The Swedes” (Season 3, Episode 9)

Anders Holm and Riki Lindhome are ‘the Swedes’.

In “The Swedes,” Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Rosa Diaz (Beatriz) catch a dockyard thief who stole expensive jewels, and due to their origin, two Swedish detectives visit the precinct in order to pick up the 39-carat diamond and the suspect.

The two officers, played by Anders Holm and Riki Lindhome, are extremely close as work partners, causing Jake and Rosa to question their distance and if that makes them unprofessional. That feeling gets amplified when the foursome is assigned a case to work together during their stay.

The episode is full of great one-liners, as the Swedes rip it out of their American counterparts and they attempt to snap back. But it’s also brilliant because it allows the characters to play up their most defining qualities; Rosa, being awkward; Jake, trying to overcompensate; and Amy Santiago (Fumero) and Terry Jefford (Terry Crews) being lovable nerds as they help administrator Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti) study for an upcoming test.

“HalloVeen” (Season 5, Episode 4)

It’s fair to say that when it comes to holiday-centric episodes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine always nails it, but it seems that its Halloween-based outings are the best. As always, “HalloVeen” sees the squad take part in an annual heist — this year, the aim is to retrieve a belt (or cummerbund, as Holt likes to describe it) that declares the winner an ‘Amazing Human/Genius.’

Their antics, as you might expect, are over-the-top and hilarious, like Amy, Jake and Holt admitting to putting GPS trackers in Terry’s yoghurts in the run-up to the heist and Boyle teaming up with Rosa as part of an underdog alliance. But this episode is even more special than most Halloween episodes because this time, Jake has rigged the game. Not to win, but to propose to girlfriend Amy.

Amy has no idea, and neither does the audience, and it makes for such a touching moment. As hilarity falls by the wayside and Jake tears up while telling Amy he ‘loves her butt,’ you can’t help but swoon over those adorable, loved-up dorks.

“Yippie Kayak” (Season 3, Episode 10)

To steal a well-known phrase from protagonist Jake, Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s third season has a ‘butt-load’ of excellent episodes and “Yippie Kayak” is up there. It’s Christmas-based and revolves around Jake – having forgotten to buy buddy Charles Boyle (Lo Truglio) a present – drags Gina along to a store in the middle of the night. Annoyingly, Boyle decides to tag along, unaware of the real reason the twosome are heading out.

While in the store, the trio discovers that it’s being robbed by a bunch of criminals who are holding several customers hostage. Jake, inappropriately excited that the situation resembles his favourite movie Die Hard, takes things into his own hands to take the thugs down, with Terry’s help from the outside.

Elsewhere, Amy, Rosa and Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) take part in a local ‘polar bear plunge.’ It’s a fairly silly, exaggerated episode but with a classic Brooklyn Nine-Nine spin and it’s so much fun!

“The Party” (Season 1, Episode 16)

Amy and Jake wreak havoc at Captain Holt’s birthday party, while Terry tries to keep them in line.

While all of the Brooklyn Nine-Nine characters are beloved among viewers – how could you not love every one of this ragtag bunch of misfits? – Holt is undoubtedly a fan favourite. So any episode that revolves him, and his relationship with the rest of the Nine-Niners, is a good one.

This one sees Jake, Amy and co attend the notoriously private Holt’s birthday party. There, Terry gets increasingly stressed out when he’s tasked with reining everyone in. Amy tries to find out whether her boss makes his own hummus, Gina draws the attention of psychologists with her candid confessions, Boyle bonds with a female guest over culinary chat and Jake attempts to impress Holt’s husband by pretending to have read an intellectual ‘New Yorker’ article – none of which goes down well.

It’s chaotic, comedic and even sweet, proving that the ensemble episodes are some of the most enjoyable.

“The Box” (Season 5, Episode 14)

Guest stars can often make or break an episode of any television series – the key, particularly when it comes to comedies is finding someone who gets the humour of the show they’re appearing in and isn’t interested in stealing the limelight necessarily. That’s why Sterling K Brown, who acts as the perfect scene-partner to Samberg and Braugher in “The Box” is perfect.

In the episode, he plays Philip Davidson, a shifty dentist who gets brought in for questioning following the mysterious death of his practice partner. Much to Holt and Jake’s surprise — the detectives tasked with interrogating him overnight — Philip has all the answers and as the pair try all different kinds of strategies to trip him up, they’re the ones that get the most rattled.

It’s a fast-paced episode that benefits from concentrating on just two characters and is filled with sharp one-liners and a surprising amount of heart too. One of the most prominent threads of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is how much Jake wants to prove his worth to Holt and this installment addresses that in a great way.

“The Cruise” (Season 3, Episode 13)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a plethora of recurring characters from Rosa’s unstable lover Adrian Pimento to Major Crimes officer Keith Pembroke AKA The Vulture, but one of the show’s best is definitely Doug Judy, who is often referred to as the Pontiac Bandit. Why? Well, because he’s famous for stealing more than 200 Pontiac cars, of course…

In this episode, Jake wins tickets to go on a cruise and invites Amy to spend the vacation with him. He’s planning a week of relaxation while she’s intent on doing all the activities the holiday can offer, but their (very different) plans are thwarted when they realise that Judy is the ship’s entertainer. Turns out, he was the one that got them there in the first place because he believes he’s the target of a hitman, hired by his former boss.

Bringing Jake and Amy together romantically is one of the best decisions Brooklyn Nine-Nine writers ever made as they bounce off each other so well, in both funny ways and sweet ways. It’s great to see them flex that here.

“Coral Palms, Pts 1, 2 and 3” (Season 4, Episodes 1, 2 and 3)

Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) lying low in their secret identities in Coral Palms Pt 1.

After their lives are threatened by mob boss and murderer Jimmy ‘The Butcher’ Figgis at the end of Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s third season, Jake and Holt are put into the Witness Protection Program and relocated to Florida. The first few episodes of Season 4 are all about them trying to adjust to their new lives – (something that Jake, in particular, struggles with) – while also trying to work out where the elusive criminal who forced them there is.

Every instalment in the trio of episodes is hilarious, giving viewers great gags — from Jake’s highlighted hair and mini-breakdowns to Holt’s relentless pursuit to become assistant manager at this new job. Maya Rudolph also features in a brilliantly funny cameo as a US marshal who coaches the former 99ers on their assumed identities.

While the first episode centres entirely on Jake and Holt, the follow-ups take us back to the precinct, where the likes of Amy, Terry and Boyle are trying to adjust to their inept new commander. The laughs just keep on coming!

“Johnny and Dora” (Season 2, Episode 23)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Jake and Amy go undercover.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine season finales usually revolve around some moment that moves the story along significantly rather than the jokes. That doesn’t mean they’re not hilariously funny – heck, they always are – but they usually have a little something more meaningful going on. And when it comes to game-changing moments, “Johnny and Dora” is a doozy.

In it, Jake and Amy go undercover to catch an identity thief. During their mission, the former reveals that he has been intending to ask the latter out on a date for a while but was put off by her previous declaration of not wanting to date a cop. While pretending to be a newly-engaged couple in a restaurant though, the pair realise just how romantically interested they are in one another. The episode ends with them sharing a smooch, kicking off an interesting storyline that will inevitably carry into Season 3.

Elsewhere, Holt comes toe-to-toe with his rival Madeline Wuntch, resulting in her threatening to disband his colleagues at the 99. To stop her from doing so, he agrees to be transferred to a different precinct, along with Gina. Talk about moving the goalposts!

“Game Night” (Season 5, Episode 10)

As its a comedy show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine episodes are often understandably judged on how funny they are but the series certainly doesn’t shy away from addressing things that are more meaningful than punchlines.

Continuing themes carried over from the previous episode, where Rosa came out as bisexual to the Nine-Nine squad, “Game Night” sees her turn to Jake for advice on how to tell her parents, and then to Holt when things don’t go down as well she’d hoped. It’s a great way to showcase just how supportive these characters, that we’ve grown to adore, are of each other and it’s such a treat to see Beatriz – who identifies as bisexual, elevating the poignancy of the storyline – able to show a more vulnerable side to the emotionally shut-down Rosa we’ve come to expect.

It’s also the first episode for a while when the whole gang star, which is a welcome breath of fresh air!

“Mr. Santiago” (Season 4, Episode 7)

Is there anything better than watching Jake squirm in impossibly awkward situations? True Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans are likely to think not, which is why “Mr. Santiago” is among the show’s best. It sees Samberg’s character try to impress girlfriend Amy’s father during a Thanksgiving visit – a task that proves challenging as he’s an uptight ex-cop who arranges the banknotes in his wallet according to serial number.

He researches Mr. Santiago (Jimmy Smits) ahead of time, which makes things easier but wowing him becomes tricky when he brings him back to Amy’s home, where his colleagues are squabbling over whether or not to kill the turkey they were planning on eating. And if that’s not dramatic enough, Santiago and Jake set out to solve one of the former’s unresolved cases mid-dinner – which, surprisingly, helps quell the escalating tension between the pair.

Elsewhere, Holt helps Adrian come to terms with no longer having a job in the NYPD. It’s an episode that manages to cram a hell of a lot into 22 minutes and it’s fun, sweet and memorable too!

Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns for Season 6 in the US on January 10, 2019. The UK premiere is yet to be announced.

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7 Mistakes to Avoid Now If You Ever Want to Retire (and What to Do Instead)

Picture this: You’ve finally retired, and now you are sailing in the Gulf of Mexico on your boat with your closest friends and loved ones. The water is blue, the breeze tickles your nose with salt and the cool drink in your hand is perfect.

Or maybe your retirement dream is built around a cabin in the mountains, travel to exotic places or just a whole lot of golf. But what if you lose your focus?

We spoke with Mike Windle, a retirement planning specialist at C. Curtis Financial in Plymouth, Michigan, about some common bad moves people make to derail their retirement savings plans.

And, because we don’t want to see you still punching the time clock in your 70s, we’ve added some solutions to help keep your retirement savings growing in a way that will support you after you’ve called it quits.

Bad Move No. 1: Having Too Much Debt

TPH photographer, Tina Russell, in various scenes showing credit card debt, consolidation and bankruptcy on August 14, 2018

It’s hard, if not impossible, to make great strides toward your retirement if you’re paying a small fortune in interest on old debt.

Have you ever considered consolidating that debt? It could substantially lower payments you’re already making and help you save more money each month.

A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. If you’re in that boat, consolidation and refinancing might be worth a look.

A good resource is Fiona, a search engine for financial services, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

Fiona searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. Its platform can help you borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

When you’re not shelling out so much money for high interest debt, you have a little more that you can put toward the future.

Bad Move No. 2: Not Starting While You’re Young

According to Windle, this is the No. 1 issue when it comes to bungling retirement plans. It’s best to start young, and it can be very difficult to make up the difference if you start later on.

“For every year sooner that you start, on average, you’re able to cut potentially two to three years off of how long you have to work,” he says.

However, when you’re young, it seems like you never have enough money left over after you pay bills. If you’re like most of us and wish your money would just take care of itself, consider starting an investment account through Acorns.

You can start small and stack up change over time with its “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $ 10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account.

Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you. It doesn’t offer all the benefits of a retirement account, but if you need a little help, it can at least get you started.

The app is $ 1 a month for balances under $ 1 million, and you’ll get a $ 5 bonus when you sign up.  

When it comes to long-term investing, starting young is rule No. 1. Even if all you can do is a little, it can make a big difference down the road.

Bad Move No. 3: Ignoring High Fees on Your Retirement Accounts

If you’re saving for retirement with a 401(k), awesome.

But when’s the last time you truly checked in on your account, adjusted your allocations, addressed any fees and all that other fun stuff?

Try using a robo-adviser to make sure your 401(k) is on track with your retirement goals. Blooom is an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that’ll optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you.

Your initial account checkup is free, and you can do it online in less than five minutes. This will help you get to know your account a little more intimately. Find out if you’re paying too many investment fees or if you have the appropriate amount of money invested in stocks versus bonds.

If you’re satisfied with the outcome of your initial check up, great! If not, you can enroll in Blooom for $ 10 a month (Penny Hoarders get one month free with the code PNNYHRD). It’ll automatically adjust your 401(k) to best fit your needs all the way up to retirement.

Bad Move No. 4: Stashing Money in a Low-Interest Savings Account

Business Man Stock, shot in Atlanta, GA, on November 25, 2018.

OK, maybe you don’t want to risk everything on investments. That’s OK, but if you want a simple savings account for some of your retirement savings, at least make sure you’re earning better-than-average interest on that money.

An iOS app called Varo Money combines traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy.

Here’s the best part: Pair your Bank Account with a Varo Savings Account where you’ll earn 1.75% Annual Percentage Yield. That’s nearly 30 times — repeat, 30 times — the average savings account, based on a 0.06% average reported by CNN Money.

Varo goes easy on the fees, too. As long as you use one of its 55,000 ATMs across the world, you’ll never pay fees.

Additionally, you’ll pay no monthly service fees, no minimum balance fees, no foreign transaction fees and no cash replacement fees. You’ll just pay any fees charged by out-of-network ATMs and cash deposit fees if you deposit cash in-store through Green Dot.

Bad Move No. 5: Taking Money out of Your 401(k) Early

Just when your retirement savings are doing well, your car breaks down. Or you have medical bills that pile up. When things get tough and you need money, that stash you have sitting in your 401(k) can start to look pretty tempting.

There are better ways to fight through a tight spot than to sacrifice your future. Try getting a low-interest loan instead.

“Any low interest is better than draining money out of your 401(k),” says Windle. “If you take it out, you get a 10% penalty, most likely. For the vast majority of America, most of their retirement is in a 401(k), so if you start to deplete that and pull out $ 10,000, $ 20,000, $ 30,000, you could be taking two to three years [of savings] off and adding four to six years on the back end.”

If you need a personal loan quickly, look into the online lending platform Upstart, which can help you find a loan without relying on only your conventional credit score.

Unlike traditional underwriting models that use only the common FICO scoring model, Upstart’s technology looks at factors like your education and employment history to determine your creditworthiness.

It can help you borrow up to $ 50,000, potentially with better terms (e.g. lower interest or lower monthly payments) than traditional lenders. If managing many different bills and credit lines is a hassle, you can also use an Upstart loan to streamline all of your loans into one.

Windle says there’s another option, as well. “A lot of times, 401(k)s will offer loans. Technically your money is still in there, so it’s still growing, but you end up paying yourself back.”

Bad Move No. 6: Not Contributing the Right Amount to Your 401(k)

If you think you’re on top of your game because you’re tucking away 2% of every paycheck and you’re still young, think again.

If your employer offers a 401(k) program, there’s also a good chance it offers a match. Typically you’ll see companies match your 401(k) contributions up to about 3 or 4 % —  some are even higher. That doubles the money you’re saving. Then, when interest kicks in, you really get a boost.

So how much of your paycheck should go to your 401(k)? You might be surprised at the answer.

“The best strategy, this was against the grain, but really you only want to put in the match,” says Windle. “By putting more into your 401(k), all you are doing is creating taxable income down the road.”

If that’s the case, how do you save more than just what your employer matches?

“If your work offers a Roth option, that’s where you want to put the most you can,” he says. “Anything above the match, you definitely want to go into Roth.”

A Roth IRA or 401(k) account is an account that uses after-tax money. That means you’ll pay taxes now, but it’ll earn interest tax-free, and you won’t pay taxes when you withdraw it.

Then reconsider your contributions when you get a bump in pay.

“As you get raises, take a portion of that raise, and put it toward your retirement,” says Windle. “Typically what I recommend is at a minimum, take 10 to 20% of that raise and add to whatever you’re doing for retirement savings.”

It won’t be long before you’ll love checking in on your retirement accounts and seeing how much they have grown.

Bad Move No. 7: Not Budgeting

Budgeting with cash in envelopes.

Budgeting is like going to the dentist. No one really wants to do it, but if you do, it makes life much, much better.

You don’t have to go right for a root canal. Ease into it. To simplify the process, try using the 50/20/30 budget plan: 50% of your money goes toward essential living expenses; 20% goes toward hitting your financial goals (can you say retirement savings?); and 30% is designated for personal spending.

You’ll want to map out your current spending. Rather than combing through your monthly statements and inputting numbers into an Excel sheet, use the automated spend tracker in the Empower app, which helps you organize and track your financial goals.

Simply link your various accounts, and you can review your spending and make adjustments as needed to stay on the right track.

“Write down a budget that shows what you’re spending your money on,” says Windle. “It opens people’s eyes to where their money goes. Circle four to five things you can do without, and see how much you have.”

Don’t Panic, but Don’t Procrastinate

Saving for retirement shouldn’t be a tremendous burden on your life now. That being said, you can’t wait until that magical day when you have plenty of expendable income to shuffle toward retirement savings, either.

Why? Because that day never really comes for most of us.

“It’s human nature,” says Windle. “As you have more disposable income, you’ll get more bills and spend more money. It’s always good to take what excess you have and start saving.”

Set a plan, get started as early as you can and then follow these basic tips to keep from derailing your retirement. You want to make those golden years really shine.  

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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U.S. solar takes hit from Trump tariffs but is cheaper than ever: report

U.S. solar installations fell 15 percent in the third quarter as the Trump administration’s tariffs on overseas-made panels forced developers to put off large projects, according to a report commissioned by the industry’s primary trade group.

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Is It Ever OK For Your Boss To Ask For a Hug? Ted Baker’s CEO Thinks So

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

“Let’s hug it out” has long been a bro-tacular resolution for squabbles among friends, but it might not be the best corporate strategy.

Or so the powers-that-be at fashion chain Ted Baker realized Monday, when stock shares fell 12 percent after news broke that CEO Ray Kelvin enforces a corporate culture of “forced hugging” among employees.

More than 2,000 people have signed an Organize petition created by staffers of the London-based label titled, “Scrap the forced ‘hugs’ and end harassment at Ted Baker.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

The Daily Beast — Fashion


It’s Britney’s Birthday B**ch! Celebrate Britney Spears Turning 37 By Voting for Her Best Music Video Ever

Britney Spears, Baby One More Time, VideoHappy birthday Britney Spears!
On Sunday, the superstar turned 37 years old, and we love her just as much now as we did when she first came onto the music scene.
Will the…

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The 34 Greatest Things Ever Built in America

If America were a brand, it would be one of the most prolific ones on the planet. Over its 242-year life, it has produced, in equal turn, striking skyscrapers, mighty monuments, and sprawling man-made spaces that are adored by masses. For a closer look at iconic American craftsmanship, scroll through for a list some of the country’s most celebrated creations to date.
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James Baldwin’s ‘Beale Street’ Is Talking Louder Than Ever

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

If Beale Street Could Talk, a movie directed by Barry Jenkins, opens in limited release December 14. The novel of the same name by James Baldwin and on which the movie is based was published in June 1974. It tells the story of Tish and Fonny, two very young (she’s 19, he’s 22) African-Americans in New York City who are in love, engaged to be married, then find the fragile trajectory of their lives thrown off by Fonny’s arrest for a rape he did not commit. The perpetrator of the arrest—of the entire maddening injustice of Fonny’s incarceration—is one Officer Bell, a blue-eyed, red-haired New York City cop who, for no good reason, has it in for Fonny.

Beale Street is a tragedy, not without hope at the end, but a tragedy nevertheless. “You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride,” is a saying you hear among lawyers of the criminal defense bar, and the ordeal that Tish, Fonny, and their families endure is a very harsh ride indeed.

The same summer that Beale Street was published, I read it far from New York, in a quiet, leafy suburb of what was called in those days “the New South,” and the news that book brought me might as well have come from another planet. I was 16, white, middle class, and had spent exactly one night of my life in New York, at a Holiday Inn. The world Baldwin depicts, a world in which the racist animus of a white policeman could so randomly, lethally be brought to bear on one particular black man, rocked my 16-year-old self back on his heels.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

The Daily Beast — Books


Buy 2 Get 1 Free on fiction and non-fiction at booksamillion.com — Shop Today!

The 12 Dumbest Money Questions We’ve Ever Asked (and Why They’re Not Actually Dumb)

Let’s channel our former middle school teachers: There are no dumb questions.

Especially when it comes to personal finance.

Do you remember your financial literacy class? Probably not, because not many states require such a subject.

So it’s not your fault you have to watch a YouTube tutorial to make sure you’re writing a check correctly or that you have to quietly Google, “How much money do I need to retire?”

But you can stop being embarrassed now. We’re here to answer your “dumbest” money questions.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 1: What Do I Do With My 401(k)?

This isn’t a dumb question, because your 401(k), or any investment account for that matter, is an integral part to a happy and financially healthy retirement.

A 401(k) is an employee-sponsored plan, so it’s largely hands off. If you can, we recommend maxing out your contributions.

Then, thanks to the power of compound interest, watch it grow.

Sure, it’s all automated — out of sight, out of mind. But chances are, your 401(k) could be doing a lot better.

Take control with help from Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that can optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you and keep it speeding toward retirement.

It just takes a few minutes to get a free 401(k) analysis that will show you whether your investments are allocated properly and whether you’re losing money paying hidden investment fees. It’ll even tell you just how much more money your account could earn by the time you want to retire.

After that, if you sign up, it’s just $ 10 per month to have Blooom monitor and maximize your 401(k). Bonus: Penny Hoarders get the first month free with the code PNNYHRD.

Now that you have Blooom keeping tabs on your 401(k), you can sit back and max out your contributions (if possible).

‘Dumb’ Question No. 2: How Can I Invest If I’m Broke?

You. Don’t. Need. Thousands. Of. Dollars. To. Invest.

Yes, everyone’s talking about investing in shares of Amazon, Apple or Netflix, but you can start investing with pocket change.

Start small and download Acorns, an investing app that’ll round up your debit and credit card purchases and, once it accumulates $ 5, it’ll invest the spare change for you.

That means if you spend $ 10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account. Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you.

The app is $ 1 a month for balances under $ 1 million, and you’ll get a $ 5 bonus when you sign up.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 3: Does My Credit Score Really Matter?

Um, also, how do I check my credit score?

Some folks argue that credit scores are just three-digit numbers that hold no significance. And that might be true… if you’re living off the grid or never plan to purchase a car, rent or buy a home, or apply for a loan.

Seriously. Credit scores matter. They represent your financial health and allow you to build your future.

If it’s been… a while… since you’ve last checked your credit score, here’s a simple — and free — tool that’ll help: Credit Sesame.

Not only will you be able to peep your credit score, you’ll also tap into your free “credit report card,” which breaks down exactly what’s in your credit report and how it affects your score. The tool even offers tailored tips and tricks that’ll help you get your score up.

Motivational speaker James Cooper, for example, raised his credit score 277 points using Credit Sesame. Now he talks to high school students about the importance of having good credit and uses what he’s learned through Credit Sesame as a blueprint for his lessons.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 4: Do I Need Life Insurance?

This isn’t a dumb question, because there are so many variables you’ll need to consider before purchasing life insurance.

Life insurance financially protects your loved ones in the event of your death, which, sorry to break it to you, is inevitable. However, certain people need life insurance more than others. (If you’re not sure, here are three types of people who need life insurance.)

If you think you (or, really, your family) could benefit from life insurance, buying it doesn’t have to be the uncomfortable experience you might expect. Some newcomers in the industry are updating the old model.

Ethos, for example, can get you term life insurance in less than 10 minutes — with no medical exam — for coverage up to $ 1 million. Ethos offers a digital application, and customer service is available if you have questions.

It partners with a major life insurance carrier to quickly offer policies as low as $ 6 a month. It’s helped thousands of folks access term life insurance, including independent contractors who use Uber, Postmates, TaskRabbit and other gig apps.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 5: Why Is My Money Disappearing?

If you’re wondering where your money goes after each paycheck, start tracking your expenses with the Empower app.

Empower helps you organize and track your financial goals. Simply link your accounts, and every time you log in, you’ll see a simple snapshot of where you stand on your monthly budget. Are you above or below the line? In one second you’ll know whether you’re on track or need to dial things back a bit.

Empower even has a cool “find free money” feature. It’ll do things like negotiate your cell phone bill, review your insurance coverage and cancel unwanted subscriptions.

Side note: If your money is truly disappearing, then you might have a little identity theft situation on your hands. You’ll want to dig into this with your bank or credit card company.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 6: Can I Invest Without Supporting Evil Companies?

If you’ve got a $ 50 bill burning a hole in your wallet, look into Swell Investing, an SEC-registered investment adviser committed to supporting sustainable companies.

Its Impact 400 portfolio features companies whose products and services align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It considers everything from gender equality to ending poverty to clean energy.

You’ll get a $ 50 bonus with the code PENNY after making your initial investment of at least $ 50.

Swell doesn’t have any trading fees, price tiers or expense ratios. It charges a 0.75% annual fee — that’s about the cost of one coffee ($ 3.75) per year if you invest $ 500.

Disclosure: We have a financial relationship with Swell Investing LLC and will be compensated if consumers apply for an account and/or fund an account with Swell through links in our content. However, the analysis and opinions expressed here are our own.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 7: Are Credit Cards Bad?

Short answer: If you use credit cards responsibly, they’re not bad.

Credit cards can be detrimental if you treat them like a never-ending stream of money. But if you spend within your means and pay them off each month, they can actually be beneficial. They help build your credit and some also grant you rewards — like cash back or travel points.

Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card*. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $ 500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $ 150 bonus.

Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 8: How Does Interest Work?

There are a lot of acronyms in the banking world, so, to save you some time, here’s a rundown of one of the most beneficial: APY.

APY stands for annual percentage yield. It’s the interest you earn on a savings account.

For example, an iOS app called Varo Money combines traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy.

Here’s the best part: Pair your bank account with a Varo Savings Account where you’ll earn 1.75% annual percentage yield. That’s nearly 20 times — repeat, 20 times — the average savings account, based on a 0.06% average reported by CNN Money.

Because it’s compounded interest, it’ll get paid out daily, monthly or quarterly, depending on the account’s terms. Basically, the higher the APY and the more frequently it’s compounded, the better.

So yeah, you’re on the right track if you’re asking about APY.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 9: Where Can I Get Money If I Need it?

You’re in a pinch, and you need some money…

Maybe you’re looking to buy a new car, consolidate your debt, pay an unexpected medical bill or make some improvements around the house.

Um, so, where do you find that money?

This feels like a question that has one of those duh answers, but you’ve really got a lot of options.

You can take out a loan through your bank, credit union, peer-to-peer lending platform or a loan company. (We suggest avoiding 401(k) loans and payday loans.)

This money won’t be free; you’ll have to pay it back plus interest. You can easily shop around for the best terms and rates through an online marketplace, like Even Financial, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

Even searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. Its platform can help you borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 10: How Can I Make Money Online?

If you’re looking to make some money online, you’re not the only one. Google receives approximately 100,000 “how to make money online” searches a month.

Not to worry. There are plenty of ways to get paid while sitting on the couch — from full-time work-from-home jobs to side gigs.

Some ideas, based on your wants and needs, include:

  • If you just want to mindlessly make some money while watching TV, try signing up for a few top-rated survey sitesSwagbucks is definitely a reader favorite, probably because of the wide variety of ways to make money beyond taking surveys. Plus, you get a $ 5 bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 SB within your first 60 days.
  • If you’re looking to flex your skills with a company, then search our work-from-home job board. You’ll find both part-time and full-time opportunities, though note these are usually a little less flexible
  • If you’re looking to set your own schedule, find an online opportunity that allows you to pick and choose when — and how much — you work. Consider signing up for a freelance platform like Fiverr, Mechanical Turk or Upwork.

So, yes, it’s possible to pad your bank account from the comfort of your home — just be watchful of the scammy stuff.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 11: Why Are Groceries So Expensive?

Admittedly, this is a question I recently asked while navigating the grocery store: “Why does it cost $ 3 for a gallon of milk?” Then, at the checkout counter, “How did I just spend $ 100 on groceries?”

I get that there are layers upon layers of factors that ultimately determine the price of groceries, but it seems like the weekly tab just keeps on increasing.

If you want to combat the price of groceries, use Ibotta. It sounds strange, but it’ll pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.

Here’s how it works: Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes and get you cash back.

Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $ 10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.

Some cash-back opportunities we’ve seen include:

  • 25 cents back on strawberries.
  • $ 1 back on a box of tea.
  • $ 5 back on a case of Shiner Bock beer.

Notice a lot of those aren’t tied to a brand — just shop for the staples on your list and earn cash back!

‘Dumb’ Question No. 12: How Do I Write a Check?

It’s pretty rare these days to have to write a check, so it’s easy to forget how to fill that sucker in.

Just go ahead and bookmark this six-step check-writing guide, so you look like you know what you’re doing the next time the opportunity arises.

Always Raise Your Hand and Ask the Dumb Question

Do you finally believe your middle school teacher? There are no dumb questions! Especially when it comes to personal finance.

If you want to go back to school and get more answers to your “dumb” questions, you can do so for free. We’ve just launched The Penny Hoarder Academy, which will guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance — from building a budget to saving money on groceries to buying your first home.

Never be afraid to just ask.

*Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She was always the one who raised her hand and started with, “Umm… this might be a dumb question, but…”

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Hugh Jackman Is Launching His First Ever World Arena Tour in 2019

(NEW YORK) — Hugh Jackman will launch his first ever world tour next year, performing at arenas mostly reserved for pop, rock and rap stars.

The multi-talented entertainer announced his “The Man. The Music. The Show.” tour on Thursday, which will feature Jackman singing songs from “The Greatest Showman,” ”Les Miserables” and Broadway musicals, among other selections. He will be accompanied by a live orchestra.

The tour starts in Europe, officially kicking off in Hamburg, Germany, on May 13, 2019. He will pay two shows at The O2 Arena in London.

The North American leg begins June 18 in Houston and he will perform twice at both New York’s Madison Square Garden and Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl.

Most tickets go on sale Dec. 7. Tickets for the MSG shows go on sale Dec. 10.

Entertainment – TIME


‘MAFS: Happily Ever After’ Recap: Shawniece Goes Into Labor

Baby on the way! Shawniece Jackson went into labor during the Tuesday, November 19, episode of Married At First Sight: Happily Ever After. Jephte Pierre tried to stay calm through the stressful situation and mentally prepare to become a dad. Catch up on what you might have missed during this week’s episode below!

Shawniece and Jephte were a month away from their due date when she woke up in the middle of the night with horrible pains. She was positive the baby was coming early.

Shawniece Jackson Jephte Pierre
Shawniece Jackson and Jephte Pierre in a still from ‘Married At First Sight’. Lifetime

“I just want to make sure that she’s safe and that the baby is safe,” Jephte said.

On the ride to the hospital, she completely lost it. She was screaming and smacking Jephte since she couldn’t control her pain. She made it to the hospital and went straight to the delivery room. The episode ended before the baby was actually delivered!

Anthony Finally Takes the Lead

Anthony D’Amico and Ashley Petta made it a point to focus on their relationship both before and after the baby was born. Anthony admitted this week that “one of his biggest fears” was that their relationship would become all about their kid. They took a dance class this week to keep their regular date night and Ashley had a hard time letting Anthony lead.

She finally submitted and followed his lead, but had to let the viewers know that he only leads their relationship on the dance floor.

“I don’t have to do everything he says at home, but on the dance floor I should follow Anthony,” Ashley said.

Bobby Dodd Danielle Dodd
Bobby Dodd and Danielle Dodd in a sneak-peek still from ‘Married At First Sight’ Lifetime


Danielle Tries to Trash Bobby’s Stuff

Bobby Dodd and Danielle Bergman prepped for their move by downsizing their stuff. Bobby wanted to try to save as much as possible to conserve money while Danielle wanted to trash everything, especially Bobby’s things.

“Danielle is definitely taking charge and deciding what goes and what stays,” Bobby said. “It seems to me like we’re getting rid of all my stuff.”’

He added that marriage is a compromise, but it seemed yet again like he was the only one making a compromise: “If it was up to me, I would probably get rid of hardly anything … but at the same time, I just want to make her happy.”

Married At First Sight: Happily Ever After airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on Lifetime.

Us Weekly


Bidding is on for the most expensive home ever to hit the auction block

Real estate auctions, once used for foreclosures and distressed sellers, is now moving upmarket. The number of multimillion-dollar homes being sold at auction has nearly doubled in the past year.


The Street


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Facebook Makes It Easier Than Ever For You to Vote

Over the past couple of years, Facebook has been instrumental in making it easier for users to prepare for Election Day. They’ve done this by supporting voter registration drives in both the primaries and general election through the nonpartisan TurboVote Challenge.

This year is no different. They’ve added feature sets that let people ask their friends to join them in registering to vote. In addition to that, research shows people who make a plan to vote are more likely to do so, so the platform is helping users find their polling locations, with the option to set a reminder just in case it slips their mind.

One of the biggest reasons folks shy away from voting is because they don’t know the candidates or understand the policies and the research can get confusing. Facebook now has a new tool that provides Candidate Info, which lets people hear directly from their federal, state, and local candidates on why they’re running for office, what policy issues they care about, and what they hope to accomplish if elected.


Facebook Civic Engagement Infographic (Facebook)

The short videos allow the candidates to showcase the following:

  • Introduce themselves to voters and tell people about the office they’re running for.
  • What their top policy priority is and why they are the right person to work on it
  • Talk about what makes them most qualified to represent their district
  • Address what the most important goal is they hope to accomplish in office and how they plan to get it done

Facebook isn’t alone in this. Instagram is rolling out their feature set as well. You can now post that you voted with a custom “I Voted” sticker and a “We Voted!” story will appear at the front of your stories bar on November 6th so you can see all of your friends who participated. The goal for this is to encourage more users to get out and vote. As they see their friends, counterparts, and associates doing so, the hope is that it will create a viral effect encouraging others users to do so.

The post Facebook Makes It Easier Than Ever For You to Vote appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Marc Jacobs Will Try to Bring Back Grunge. But Did It Ever Leave?

Photo illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos Courtesy Marc Jacobs

It feels like every Forever 21 has stocked a faded black Nirvana smiley face T-shirt since the dawn of time. But it wasn’t too long ago that grunge—or capital-F fashion’s take on the style—was met with downright rage.

Take, for instance, Marc Jacobs’ “Grunge Collection” for Perry Ellis.

By 1993, grunge had infiltrated airwaves, but it had yet to fill department store aisles. True, Courtney Love had already trampled onto the scene in her combat boots and plaid collared dresses, and kids all over the country may have been digging into thrift store bargain bins for a used flannel to emulate their rock heroes. But the fashion world had turned its skinny shoulder to the movement.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Daily Beast — Fashion


More Americans are meditating than ever before, as mindfulness goes mainstream

Meditation is on the rise among both adults and children, a new report from the CDC shows. Apps such as Headspace and Calm have helped raise awareness and teach people how to meditate. 
Health and Science


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Walmart is holding parties in its stores on Thanksgiving, kicking off online deals earlier than ever

Walmart will hold new events in stores on Nov. 22, Thanksgiving Day, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with free coffee and cookies. It will also kick off Black Friday deals online earlier than it ever has before.


Up to 50% off Women’s Sale at 3×1

Simone Biles Now Tied for Most Decorated Female Gymnast Ever After Winning a Fourth Gold at Worlds

(DOHA, Qatar) — Simone Biles returned to training last November wondering if she could ever return to the form that made her an Olympic champion.

She doesn’t wonder anymore. Neither does anyone else.

The American star capped a remarkable 2018 world gymnastics championships by claiming gold on floor exercise and bronze on balance beam during event finals Saturday, giving her six medals for the meet and 20 overall in the world championships, tied with Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina for the most by a female gymnast.

“I think there’s a lot to be proud, but I’m most proud of that I’m here, I made all the event finals, medaled in all of the events and I survived,” Biles said.

Something that wasn’t a guarantee when the meet began. Biles spent the night before qualifying in the hospital dealing with pain from a kidney stone. The stone was too big to pass and she couldn’t take prescription pain medication because of doping regulations, forcing her to simply deal with it.

Biles did more than deal with it. She dominated. Just like always.

The 21-year-old will head home to Houston with gold medals from the team final, the all-around final, floor and vault as well as silver on uneven bars and bronze on beam. She became the first woman to earn a medal on all four events since Yelena Shushunova did it for the Soviet Union in 1987.

Biles believes it’s just the beginning. She’ll visit with doctors to treat the kidney stone, go on a short vacation and then point toward 2019.

“Hopefully I feel more confident next year going into all of the events,” she said. “We’ll see about upgrades. I’m not sure. We’ll see.”

Biles finished a busy 10 days by drilling her floor routine, which includes intricate tumbling runs that are as difficult as anything done by the men these days. Though she stepped out of bounds on her third pass, her score of 14.933 was a full point better than that of teammate Morgan Hurd, who earned her third medal of the meet by finishing with silver. Japan’s Mai Murakami took third.

Biles wasn’t quite as crisp on beam, an event that she’s struggled with recently. She wobbled during qualifying and fell off during the all-around finals. Though she managed to stay on during event finals, she found herself off balance on multiple occasions. Her score of 13.6 held up for bronze behind China’s Liu Tingting and Canada’s Ana Padurariu.

While allowing it wasn’t her best, Biles took to Twitter in between beam and floor exercise to chastise those who criticized her for not winning gold. It’s a move she felt was necessary.

“I think it’s upsetting to me whenever I see all the tweets after I do performances of how disappointed they are in me,” Biles said. “It’s not fair because they can’t set expectations on me. I have to set them for myself.”

And no one’s expectations are higher. Biles took herself to task after the all-around, unhappy with a series of uncharacteristic mistakes. She vowed to redeem herself in the event finals and responded by reaching the podium on each event.

“I’m really happy to be done,” Biles said. “Proud of my performances here. I wish some of them would have been better but I’m really proud of the outcome.”

So was Hurd, who won a team gold, bronze in the all-around and silver on floor, validating her breakthrough performance at the 2017 world championships when she became an unlikely champion.

“Oh, I wanted it so badly,” Hurd said. “Now I’ve got a full set.”

Five-time U.S. champion and two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak picked up the first world championship medal of his career when he finished third in the high bar final behind Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands and Japan’s Kohei Uchimura, who boosted his career medal at worlds to 21.

Mikulak will settle with having just one for now.

“I made a statement to the world that Sam isn’t some washed-out gymnast that’s holding on,” the 26-year-old Mikulak said. “He’s here to play and he’s here to get medals.”

North Korea’s Ri Se Gwang picked up his third world title on vault. Men’s all-around champion Artur Dalaloyan earned silver, with Japan’s Kenzo Shirai taking bronze. China’s Zou Jingyuan captured gold on parallel bars with a score of 16.433 — the highest on any apparatus by a man during the meet — while Oleg Verniaiev took silver and Dalaloyan bronze.

Sports – TIME


Ever Wonder if Groupon Getaways Are a Good Deal? We Have Answers

Don’t look.


Look at all the places you could go  — and how little it costs to get there.

From the base of Mount Everest or the Eiffel Tower to the stretches of the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu and the Egyptian pyramids — the world is the budget traveler’s oyster when it comes to Groupon Getaways.

What are Groupon Getaways and How do They Work?

Groupon, the popular deal website known for coupons on goods and services, also offers budget travel packages called Groupon Getaways.

The company offers three types of travel experiences: domestic hotels, air-inclusive international packages and cruises, according to Nicholas Halliwell, a Groupon spokesperson.

“We typically feature 3 ½- to four-star properties in major destinations but also have an assortment of local hotels to provide members easy access to local getaways,” he said.

As for the international deals, Halliwell said, Groupon works with a handful of tour operators who specialize in assembling air-inclusive packages.

“We chose tour operator partners based on their ability to provide packages that are affordable without sacrificing experience,” he said.

Currently, Groupon offers a small number of cruise promotions.

When you’re ready to book, Groupon Getaways work the same way as the other Groupons.

For domestic hotels, there’s no need to contact the hotel after booking. Show up on your date of arrival as you would if you used Expedia.

For all-inclusive trips, Groupon plays middleman and hands things over to a travel agent or online tour operator who books the trip from start to finish. All you have to do is contact the provider and redeem your voucher within the booking window.

What are the Benefits of Groupon Getaways?


This is basically why you’re reading this: Groupon Getaways are super cheap.

Within the U.S., there are thousands of deals on hotel rooms, which Halliwell said are the most popular getaway. But the really deep discounts shine on international travel packages.

One lump sum gets you airfare, hotel, transportation, tours and several — if not all — meals included.

Attempting to price and book a similar trip piecemeal will have you back on Groupon’s website in minutes wondering how they do it.

Robert Todd and his wife, who live in St. Petersburg, Florida, used Groupon Getaways for trips to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Central Italy.

Their $ 799 per person, seven-day trip to Buenos Aires out of Miami International Airport included airfare, hotel and meals.

“The best part is the price,” he said.

Even with a five-hour drive to Miami and airport parking, Todd felt like he still got a great deal.

“Look for flights out of Miami to Buenos Aires — it’s like $ 700 per person — and then add in five days of breakfast and a nice hotel in a very fancy neighborhood,” he said.

Todd and his wife have another getaway scheduled to Scotland in November.

“I wish I could do more of them because they’re right in my price range,” he said.


Inclusive getaways are a one-stop shop.

After you redeem your voucher and provide your personal information, the agency books your tickets, hotels, tours, meals and transportation for you. All you have to do is show up on time.

We’ve found that our customers are much more willing to travel abroad if all of the different components of the trip — plane tickets, hotel reservations, transfers, tours — are all bundled in a single package,” Halliwell said.

That kind of stress-free travel can be priceless.

For a big, complicated trip with lots of stops, flights, shuttles and changes, having the support of a travel agency or an online tour operator can help alleviate many of the stresses associated with travel, leaving more time for you to pack and relax,” Halliwell said.

Once Todd forgot to call Gate 1 Travel, a tour operator Groupon partners with, to redeem his travel voucher in the specified 14-day booking window.

“We missed the fine print, and about 30 days later we called up and worked with them to set it up. They took care of it. It could have been a big issue, but they made it no big deal,” he said.


There’s a vacation package on every continent except Antarctica.

You can take a $ 200 Bahamas cruise for two days or a 17-day trek to the base camp at Mount Everest.

“They have a lot of selections, and you can pretty much go anywhere you’d ever want to go,” Todd said.

Looking for something family-friendly or a romantic getaway? Groupon’s got you. They have a variety of travel categories to peruse.

“I almost look at Groupon Getaways as a mini vacation while I’m sitting at work and I need a break,” Todd said. “They give you a lot of really cool ideas.”

Groupon Getaway Limitations

Schenck is hoping to plan another Groupon travel trip next year. Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

Deep discounts mean less flexibility and some caveats. You will have to make compromises for that cheap price tag.


There are limitations on which airports you can depart from, which means extra costs of routing yourself to the designated airports if you don’t live near one of them.

Michelle Schenck, who lives in Tampa, Florida, had that problem when she booked a Groupon Getaway to Iceland that departed out of New York City. She called Groupon directly and booked the extra flight with the company.

“It was cheaper to add Tampa to the trip than to book it independently,” she said. “I paid roughly $ 60 round trip to go from Tampa to New York City, so it was an all-around steal.”

Flight and Travel Times

Travelers do not get to choose airlines or flight times. You can expect early-morning and overnight flights and long layovers.

Todd said his upcoming flight to Scotland has a 7 a.m. departure with an eight-hour layover in Madrid on the way back.

“They put together some pretty wacky connecting flights,” he said. “ It’s almost expected given the price.”

Keep in mind that an advertised eight-day vacation is really more of a seven- or six-day trip when factoring in travel times. Check how many hotel nights are included to know exactly how many days you’ll really be staying.


Most trips have very specific departure dates and very little wiggle room.

While it doesn’t lend much flexibility, you select the available dates before checkout, so there are no surprises on your end.

You can book last-minute trips or choose one months out.

Other dates may be available but not listed. Contact the partnering tour operator to see what your options are.

Non-Refundable or Cancellation Fees

This is the risky part.

Once you book your trip, many portions of it are nonrefundable — especially the airfare.

The terms and conditions for each getaway vary, so you will have to read the fine print to know your rights before you buy and book.

Some charge a $ 250 cancellation fee, while others bill you for a percentage of the voucher if you cancel.

Halliwell advises travelers to read the fine print and cancellation policy of the hotel, cruise and tour operators before booking; Groupon’s policy is to follow the policy of its partners.

Our policy is aligned with the hotel, cruise or tour operator’s cancellation policy, which is the case with most online travel agencies, including Expedia and Priceline,” he said.

There are some exceptions for circumstances like natural disasters, but outside of that if you have a  bad experience, Halliwell said to contact the property and Groupon to work toward a satisfactory solution.

Rental Cars

Multi-city adventures call for rental cars. The cost of the rental is included in the getaway package.

The catch, as Todd learned firsthand, is you’re given cheap models with manual transmissions.

So, if you can’t drive a stick shift, then you’re forced to upgrade out of your own pocket.

He said that was his least favorite part of the rental experience.

“They give you a junker — the cheapest model they can possibly give you so… you always have to upgrade,” he said.


For a one-city trip, you’ll most likely be set up in a hotel close to the action.

If you book a multi-city trip with a car rental, your hotel serves as a central hub to and from all the cities on your trip.

Todd found driving back and forth problematic on his Italy trip. He said driving 30 to 40 minutes was a light day, whereas others were five hours round trip.

To avoid spending hours in the car, he and his wife opted to spend an extra $ 69 on a hotel room in Florence instead of driving back to their home base the same day. That gave them a chance to experience Florence at night and plenty of time to drive back the next day.

He advised leaving some padding in your budget to book a cheap hotel along the way or risk spending your whole trip on the road.

Double Occupancy

All of the inclusive international package rates are for two people. This is plainly stated under the headline of the deal.

This means you’re expected to share a room with your travel partner.

Flying solo? That costs extra. Single-traveler fees range from $ 100 to $ 700, which forces singles to pay the same price as two people in some instances.

It might be cheaper to book elsewhere if you’re going stag.

Tips Before Purchasing a Groupon Getaway

Schenck took her mom, Eleanore, on an all-inclusive trip to Italy in 2016 using Groupon. Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

As if the price wasn’t discounted enough already, both Schenck and Todd said they used a Groupon Getaway promo code to take an extra 10% off the price, up to $ 50 per person.

“It made the already cheap price even cheaper,” Schenck said.

Todd’s advice is to wait until the getaway is about to expire; he said the price gets cut anywhere from $ 50 to $ 100.

With both of those tactics combined, he said, you can save up to $ 100 off the face value per person.

But before you get excited and book your next dream vacation, read the fine print.

“I read it beforehand, so I knew exactly what to expect,” Schenck said.

Basically, as long as you read the fine print, there will be no surprises.

Taxes and fees are summarized in the “Know Before You Go” section on the main page of the getaway.  Read the “Fine Print & Details” tab for specifics of the tour operator’s policy.

Never hesitate to contact the travel or tour company to ask questions prior to booking.

The numbers to the sponsoring agencies are provided right on the getaway page. They can clarify any uncertainties and quote you trip extensions or extra flight costs.

Don’t be afraid to shop around.

As with any purchase, it’s really important to do your research,” Halliwell said.

“Travel is an industry where pricing can vary widely, so it’s important to look at other sites out there and do an apples-to-apples comparison.”

Another biggie is to read the reviews and check the customer ratings of any hotels, cruises or tour packages that you’re thinking of booking.

Caribbean excursions rank low, while getaways to Morocco, Paris and Rome have a five-star rating.  

Ultimately, don’t let the restrictions scare you off.

Pay the price and let the tour company choose hotels, flights and cars. You have the fun.  

Yes, you’re at the booking mercy of the travel agency, but chances are you’ll see more of the world for less money.

Both Todd and Schenck knew the deal up front and haven’t encountered any kinks yet.

“I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons,” Todd said.

Stephanie Bolling is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She wants to set foot on every continent and might use Groupon Getaways to do it. Read her full bio here or say hi On Twitter @StephBolling.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Dodgers Win Game 3 in the World Series’ Longest Game Ever

(LOS ANGELES) — Brian Dozier swung bananas from a rope over the dugout railing.How appropriate. The longest game in World Series was bananas.Twenty-three players on each team, including nine pitchers.

Eighteen innings — four more than any of the previous 662 World Series games.

Seven hours, 70 minutes — 1:39 longer than any Series game played before.

Walker Buehler threw the first pitch in autumn twilight at 5:10 p.m.

Max Muncy homered on the 561st and last at 12:30 a.m., when most of America was asleep and even fans up in Alaska and out in Hawaii were struggling to stay up.

Ernie Banks would have been happy — the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox filled his oft-said desire: Let’s play two! “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was played twice, during the seventh-inning stretch and the 14th inning elongation.

“It was an amazing game,” Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig said. “I’m a little tired. But we’re ready to come back tomorrow.”

Then he looked at his watch and corrected himself.

“In a couple of hours,” Puig said.

Live from Hollywood: the Late Late Late Show: The Dodgers’ dramatic, draining, dizzying 3-2 victory Friday night cut their World Series deficit to 2-1.

“I think my beard got about 3 inches longer,” said Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, whose red whiskers already were Santa length.

Soccer ends after 120 minutes and is decided by penalty kicks.

Even Wimbledon is instituting fifth-set tiebreakers next year when tied 12-12 after John Isner’s 70-68 first-round triumph over Nicolas Mahut in 2010 and Isner’s 26-24 semifinal defeat to Kevin Anderson this year.

No U.S. major team sport DOUBLED the length of a game in its championship. Notably, a Boston team has been involved in the longest title match in all four of the major sports.

Only once has the Super Bowl gone to overtime, with only an extra 11:02 needed for New England’s win over Atlanta in 2017 .

There have been only two NBA Finals games needing the extra 15 minutes of three overtimes, Boston’s victory over Phoenix in 1976and the Suns’ win over Chicago in 1993 . The longest Stanley Cup final matchup was Edmonton’s win over Boston in the 1990 opener, a three-overtime affair requiring an extra 55:13.

“You look up and see the 18th inning, and you’re like, holy cow, where did the game go?” Muncy said. “Those last nine innings or so just kind of blended together.”

The Dodgers munched on peanut butter and banana sandwiches provided by a team employee, and hung the bananas to produce fruitful luck — harkening back to the rally banana credited by Enrique Hernandez for helping end a 35-inning scoreless streak three years ago.

“You want to have fun with it,” said Rich Hill, the Dodgers scheduled Game 4 starter before a middle-of-the-night change to TBA to match Boston’s probable pitcher.

Clayton Kershaw, a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner with a .163 career batting average, pinch hit in the 17th inning and lined out.

“Starting pitchers are used to getting their spikes on, but nothing usually comes to fruition,” Kershaw said.

Muncy nearly won the game in the 15th inning, pulling a long drive off Nathan Eovaldi that hooked just to the foul side of the right-field pole . Eovaldi, Boston’s scheduled Game 4 starter, was starting his seventh inning of relief when Muncy hit an opposite-field drive to left-center for the Dodgers’ fourth World Series walkoff hit. He joined Cookie Lavagetto, whose double in 1947’s fourth game ended a no-hit bid by the Yankees’ Bill Bevens ; Jackie Robinson, whose 10th-inning single in 1956’s sixth game scored Jim Gilliam ; and Kirk Gibson, whose two-out, two-run pinch homer off Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley won the 1988 opener .

“All I know is we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves right now,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said.

Rookie right-hander Walker Buehler allowed two hits over seven shutout innings and left with a one-run lead provided by Joc Pederson’s third-inning homer off Rick Porcello.

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s eighth-inning homer against Kenley Jansen tied the score, Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger threw out Ian Kinsler at the plate in the 10th to keep the game going, the Red Sox went ahead on pitcher Scott Alexander’s throwing error in the 13thand the Dodgers tied it 2-2 on Kinsler’s two-out throwing error from second base in the bottom half .

After hitting .297 in winning the first two games at cozy, chilly Fenway Park, Boston was 5 for 57 at the plate in the warmth of Dodger Stadium— including 0 for 28 in the top four slots of the batting order.

“This was a gut-wrenching game for both sides,” Muncy said. “Their guys are banged up, our guys are banged up.”


More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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How the 2018 Latin American Music Awards Made History With More Girl Power Than Ever

2018 Latin American Music Awards HostsGirl power was the name of the game at the 2018 Latin American Music Awards.
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Astronomers spot the youngest known pulsar ever, and boy is it pretty

new pulsar

Many of the objects NASA and other scientific bodies choose to study in space are incredibly old, but that’s not the case with Kes 75. Located a mere 19,000 light years from Earth, Kes 75 is a ultra-dense chunk of a star that went supernova, and now scientists are calling it the youngest known pulsar in the Milky Way galaxy.

In a new post on its website, NASA explains how the pulsar was detected and shows off a pretty stunning image of what it looks like from our vantage point.

Continue reading…

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Astronomers spot the youngest known pulsar ever, and boy is it pretty originally appeared on BGR.com on Sun, 21 Oct 2018 at 14:01:46 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



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The True Story Behind the Movie Can You Ever Forgive Me?

For a collector, the price of a celebrity letter is as much determined by its content as the name signed on the end. The juiciest letters, the ones that offer some hint of Ernest Hemingway or Dorothy Parker’s inner lives, fetch the highest prices. For Lee Israel, a celebrity biographer by trade and the subject of Melissa McCarthy’s new movie Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the best way to acquire such letters was to buy an old typewriter, do a bit of research and bang one out herself.

Israel had been a moderately successful celebrity biographer through the 70s and 80s, writing books about actor Tallulah Bankhead and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. But in the late 80s, Israel’s career went into decline and she began selling forged letters of dead writers and actors in order to get by. She was eventually brought to trial by the FBI and sentenced to six months under house arrest and five years probation, but not before she had forged more than 400 letters, some of which remain in circulation to this day.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which comes out Oct. 19, is based on Israel’s memoir of the same name. Directed by Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) and starring McCarthy as Israel, the film tells the story of her transformation from writer to forger after her career as a biographer goes into a tailspin.

Here’s what the movie gets right and what it doesn’t.

Fact: Israel had a former girlfriend named Elaine

Israel, portrayed in the movie as a depressed misanthrope with a drinking problem, refers again and again to what seems to be her one real human connection in the past — her relationship with her (ex) girlfriend Elaine (played by Anna Deavere Smith). Near the end of the movie, Israel and Elaine meet again, and it becomes apparent that Elaine has moved on even if Israel, who had pushed her away in the first place, has not. Like many of the movie’s characters, Elaine is a real person. In her memoir, Israel describes falling in love with “a brilliant, beautiful bartender named Elaine, a lapsed Catholic who now observed only Bloomsday and St Patrick’s — the first with solemnity, the latter with wretched excess.”

Fact: Israel had published a poorly received biography of Estée Lauder

Israel’s published Estée Lauder: Beyond the Magic in 1985. The book ended up contributing to the collapse of Israel’s career as a biographer. Lauder herself had offered to pay Israel not to write the biography, and when the author refused, Lauder published her own memoir, which undercut the sales of Israel’s book. Rushed out to beat Lauder’s book to market, Israel’s biography was poorly reviewed — in the The New York Times Book Review, Marylin Bender wrote that Beyond the Magic “comes off as a cut rate job.”

Fact: Israel began selling letters in order to pay for treatment for her sick cat

In the film, Israel takes her cat to the vet, but is short on cash to pay the bill. In her memoir, Israel also claims that she was unable to pay the vet bills for her cat Doris. While researching an article at the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, Israel says she stole three letters by Fanny Brice and sold them for $ 40 each. She claimed she felt no guilt for the theft; the letters “were from the realm of the dead. Doris and I were alive.”

Fact: Dealers began to get suspicious of Israel’s letters because they dealt too explicitly with Noël Coward’s homosexuality

In the film, the net begins to close on Israel when a dealer grows suspicious of her Noël Coward letters. In real life, one of Coward’s friends who was also a collector noticed that some of the playwright’s letters that Israel had sold referenced his sexual orientation. While alive, Coward had been extremely discreet about his private life. Many dealers began refusing to buy Israel’s letters after the fakes were exposed.

Fact: After dealers began to catch on to Israel’s embellishments and forgeries, she began stealing real letters

In both the film and the memoir, Israel decides to go into outright theft after her fakes are exposed. “I was going to take a crook’s tour of major university libraries,” she wrote, “replicate some valuable letters in their various collections, and then replace the McCoy with forged copies.”

Fact: A dealer demanded Israel give him money in order for him to not testify against her

In the film, a slimy rare books dealer tells Israel that he was approached by the FBI and demands $ 5,000 to buy his silence. In her memoir, Israel writes that dealer Alan Weiner really did ask for the money. Promising to pay him, she later sold him stolen letters, effectively making him buy his own silence.

Fiction: Israel destroyed the evidence of her crimes after being served with a subpoena that forbid her from doing so

In the film, Israel is served with a subpoena that explicitly forbids her from destroying evidence related to the forgery case. She immediately goes home and destroys all the evidence she can find. According to her account, Israel was only confronted on the street by a pair of FBI agents, which prompted her to go home and dispose of her research materials and typewriters. Of course, it might be fair to take this particular detail of Israel’s recollection with a grain of salt.

Fiction: Israel befriends Jack Hock at a bar after first meeting him at a book party several years earlier

The film fictionalizes much of Israel’s friendship with Jack Hock, a likable grifter played by Richard E. Grant. She befriends Hock at a bar shortly before beginning her forging escapades. In real life, the two had been longtime friends until Israel found out that Hock, who had been shopping one of her books in order to make a movie adaptation, had forged her name on an option extension.

Fiction: Jack Hock was homeless

The film strongly implies that Hock is homeless, or something close to it. But in her memoir, Israel describes staying at Hock’s “well-appointed Mitchell-Lama apartment.” After they begin stealing and selling letters together, Hock moved into an apartment on West 72nd Street.

Fact: Israel caught Hock trying to steal from her

In the film, Hock tries to swindle Israel out of her share of their ill-got earnings. This episode played out in real life remarkably similarly to the way it does in the film. Hock, claiming to have sold a collection of stolen letters for $ 1500, gave Israel $ 750. When she asked to see the rest of the money, it was revealed that he had actually been paid $ 2,000 for the letters. After the incident, Israel began accompanying Hock to their sales and waiting to meet him nearby when the deal was completed.

Entertainment – TIME


Watch Exclusive ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ Featurette: Becoming Lee

Watch Exclusive 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' Featurette: Becoming Lee

Well into a successful career, magazine writer and celebrity biographer Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) fell out of favor with readers and publishers. Desperate to make a living, she seized on the idea of forging letters from famous people. It worked … for a while.

Based on true events, Can You Ever Forgive Me? tells Israel's real-life story. In our exclusive featurette, McCarthy explains why she was drawn to the "complicated character" and wants people to see her…

Read More

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Apple’s next-gen iPad Pro models may be the thinnest we’ve ever seen

iPad Pro 2018

Apple later this month is expected to introduce two brand new iPad Pro models in 11-inch and 12.9-inch form factors. The official unveiling is set to take place at a special media event that may come as soon as next week. As to what we can expect, we’ve seen a slew of leaks regarding Apple’s next-gen tablets over the past few weeks, with the biggest change of course being the eradication of the home button in favor of Face ID.

With Apple’s fall event steadily approaching, the number of iPad Pro leaks has only increased over the past few days. Most recently, Twitter user CoinCoin — who already has a few solid iPhone leaks to his/her credit — confirmed that Apple’s new iPads will not feature a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. What’s more, CoinCoin divulged some interesting information regarding the iPad’s dimensions, noting that it will measure in at just 5.9mm at its thickest point.

Continue reading…

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Apple’s next-gen iPad Pro models may be the thinnest we’ve ever seen originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 13 Oct 2018 at 14:52:15 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



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Beto O’Rourke Raises $38 Million in Third Quarter, Biggest Haul for Senate Candidate Ever

Gary Miller

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the El Paso Democrat challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz had the single largest fundraising quarter in a Senate race ever, his campaign said Friday.

O’Rourke raised more than $ 38 million in the third quarter of 2018 from 802,836 individual contributions. Not only did the haul break previous records for Senate candidates, it also outpaced previous quarters where he raised more money than Cruz.

“The people of Texas in all 254 counties are proving that when we reject PACs and come together not as Republicans or Democrats but as Texans and Americans, there’s no stopping us,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “This is a historic campaign of people: all people, all the time, everywhere, every single day — that’s how we’re going to win this election and do something incredible for Texas and our country at this critical moment.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Ever Been Bumped Off a Flight? The Airline Could Owe You $700

Traveling is full of adventure and fun — and often, headaches. If you’ve flown at some point in the past few years, you’ve probably experienced your fair share of delays and cancellations.

Though all are inconvenient, the most frustrating experience is being “bumped” off an overbooked flight, which happens most often around the holidays and other peak travel times.

You may have thought that getting bumped was just the price of admission for flying. In reality, though, it’s illegal for the airlines to overbook flights — and you’re entitled to compensation if it happens to you.

AirHelp, a startup based in New York City, is here to help you with the process of getting paid when you’re delayed.

Who Can Use AirHelp

If you’ve been denied boarding, or your flight has been delayed or canceled within Europe or the United States in the past three years, you may qualify for reimbursement of up to $ 700.

As outlined by AirHelp, the laws vary greatly between Europe and the U.S.:

For flights to and from the European Union:

Unless caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond the airline’s control, you must be financially compensated if your flight is canceled, overbooked or arrives late by three hours or more.

For flights in the United States:

If you’re denied boarding, you’re eligible for 200% of your one-way fare if you get to your final destination between one and two hours late, with a cap of $ 675.

If you arrive at your final destination more than two hours late, you’re eligible for 400% of your one-way fare, with a cap of $ 1,350. (You’re not eligible for compensation for delayed or canceled flights.)

How AirHelp Works

If you think you might qualify for a reimbursement, fill out a simple online form on AirHelp’s website or in its app.

You’ll answer a few basic questions about your flight: airline, date and time, why it was delayed or canceled or why you were denied boarding.

Once you submit your information, AirHelp immediately notifies you whether your flight is eligible for compensation. If your flight qualifies, AirHelp starts to petition the airlines on your behalf.

The company has a “no win, no fee” policy, which means you only pay if it wins compensation from the airline. If and when AirHelp successfully receives compensation, it will transfer the money directly into your bank account, minus a 25% fee for regular customers and a 35% fee for online travel agency customers.

What It’s Like to Use AirHelp

It sounds like a great idea, but does AirHelp actually work? I decided to test it out.

Since I didn’t think any of my recent flights would be eligible, I entered the information for a friend’s Spirit Airlines flight that was more than 12 hours late. Since domestic flights are eligible for compensation only if you’ve been denied boarding, AirHelp said it didn’t qualify.

Trying to assuage my disappointment, AirHelp asked if it could search my email for old itineraries that might qualify. I synced it with my Gmail, and 15 minutes later, I received an alert that it had finished searching. Unfortunately, I once again came up empty-handed.

Lauren Lowther, of Kansas City, Missouri, had better luck. This past holiday season, she’d paid a whopping $ 2,200 for a round-trip ticket to Paris to see her husband’s family.

When it came time to return home, she ended up sitting on the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle Airport for five hours waiting for a spare part; eventually, the captain announced they weren’t leaving until the next day.

When they disembarked, the flight attendant told them they qualified for reimbursement and even gave them information about how to get it. But when Lowther submitted her claim through the online portal, it was denied.

“I thought that was odd since they told us at CDG [the airport] we had the right to be reimbursed,” says Lowther. “So I submitted again and was rejected again. I know I tried at least two times — I believe I also tried a third. It just said, ‘Unfortunately, we are unable to honor your request.’ I was shocked, because it was completely their fault.”

Understandably frustrated, Lowther enlisted AirHelp. Two months after submitting her claim online, the company wired €450 (about $ 487 at the time) into her bank account — her compensation after AirHelp’s 25% commission.

Kate May, a Hajoca Corporation recruiter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also received €450 thanks to AirHelp — as did her husband. The best part? Neither of them had to lift a finger.

On their way home from a vacation in Denmark, May and her husband were delayed by eight hours due to an engine issue. They hadn’t pursued any reimbursement when, six months later, AirHelp contacted her husband.

“Honestly, we thought it was a scam,” she says, “but after researching it and providing a little personal information, we got a pretty big refund.”

It took a little more than two months for her husband (who filed first) to receive his reimbursement of €450, and then six weeks for her to collect.

Close to $ 1,000 for filling out a brief form? It sounds like a good deal, and May agrees. “While they do charge a service fee,” she says, “they did all the legwork, and that was worth it.”

As for Lowther, would she use AirHelp again?

“Oh, completely,” she says. “I would’ve had zero compensation if it wasn’t for them.”

In a world of rising airfare, baggage fees, and endless delays, it’s nice to see a company giving a little bit of power back to the consumer. The next time you’re bumped off a flight, you know who to call.

Susan Shain (@Susan_Shain) is a freelance writer and travel blogger who is always seeking adventure on a budget.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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