Good Sign for Buyers: Housing Inventory Growing Again

The growth is potentially a big deal for homebuyers for multiple reasons. As inventory grows, buyers have a wider selection of homes to choose from. More homes for sale can help reduce bidding battles among buyers for a home purchase. And higher housing supply may put more pressure on sellers to cut listing prices.

There were 3% more homes for sale nationally in October than the same time a year ago, according to a new report. The online real estate firm Zillow reported inventory fell for 44 straight months on an annual basis before realizing the uptick. A 1% jump in inventory in September spurred a greater gain in October, a possible sign of future gains in available inventory.

The surges came after inventory declined last October at a 10.2% annual pace. Expensive markets that were among the nation’s hottest saw some of the biggest inventory gains. Take San Jose, California. It had the biggest annual inventory jump, adding about 1,500 homes to boost inventory by 93.1% from last October. San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle also experienced the greatest increases in the number of houses for sale.

Still, rising mortgage rates could dampen the rising housing stock if the higher rates scare off potential buyers.

“In yet another sign that the housing market is cooling, we’re finally starting to see inventory return after several years of annual declines,”  Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas stated in a press release. “The combination of tight supply and strong demand have pushed up home values in recent years, but markets always ebb and flow and there is no doubt that the tides that have buoyed sellers are shifting.”

Terrazas added, “Buyers are not out of the woods yet: While there are more homes for sale, rising mortgage rates are quickly eating into what they can afford to pay. First-time buyers have benefited from flat or falling rents over the past year—making it somewhat easier to save for a down payment—but the decline in rents could be short-lived if higher buying costs push some people back toward the rental market.”

On the home appreciation front, Zillow reported median home value nationally at $ 221,500, up 7% from this time last year. The median rent is $ 1,442, down 0.1% ($ 1 per month) year-over-year, the second straight month of annual rent declines.

But before purchasing a home, here are some tips for buyers to consider:

  • Identify a realtor to work with that’s in your area. Real estate agents can offer helpful insights, including disclosing how fast homes are selling and for what price. They often can help you negotiate a price to make your offer stand out over others. To find an agent in your area, enter your zip code at www.realtor.com/realestateagents
  • Know your budget and stick to it. Before you even start shopping, figure out what you can afford to spend by receiving a pre-approval from a lender to learn the amount of money you’re qualified to borrow. When determining your final budget, examine other costs of homeownership, including property taxes, insurance, and utilities. If listings are scarce in your market, home prices are likely to rise as bidding for available houses drive them up.
  • Avoid cases where you are competing against other buyers and counteroffering over what you can actually afford. Don’t be afraid to back off if the price exceeds your budget.
  • Identify needs versus wants.

As you begin home searching, focus on what features you really want against what you can live with or without. For instance, ask yourself questions like do you want a three-bedroom home with an attached garage and basement? Do you want to be in a certain school district or near your job? Sites like Realtor, Zillow, and Trulia, and others can help with that research.

The post Good Sign for Buyers: Housing Inventory Growing Again appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

Jimmy Kimmel: Trump Wants Jared Kushner as Chief of Staff Because He’s ‘Good Enough to Screw’ Ivanka

ABC

Earlier this week, Jimmy Kimmel noted in his monologue that, given John Kelly’s clashes with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, whoever Donald Trump ends up picking to be his next chief of staff will need the approval of his daughter and son-in-law. Now, it seems that Kushner himself might be up for the job.

According to The Huffington Post, Kushner “has been pushing his own candidacy with Trump, citing his work on a criminal justice reform package and a claimed ability to work with Democrats.”

Or as Kimmel put it, “I guess the thinking is, if he’s good enough to screw my daughter, he’s good enough to screw the country,” to groans from his audience. “I really hope he hires Jared and then he fires Jared so we go through the whole thing,” he added.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here

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Good Sign for Buyers: Housing Inventory Growing Again

The growth is potentially a big deal for homebuyers for multiple reasons. As inventory grows, buyers have a wider selection of homes to choose from. More homes for sale can help reduce bidding battles among buyers for a home purchase. And higher housing supply may put more pressure on sellers to cut listing prices.

There were 3% more homes for sale nationally in October than the same time a year ago, according to a new report. The online real estate firm Zillow reported inventory fell for 44 straight months on an annual basis before realizing the uptick. A 1% jump in inventory in September spurred a greater gain in October, a possible sign of future gains in available inventory.

The surges came after inventory declined last October at a 10.2% annual pace. Expensive markets that were among the nation’s hottest saw some of the biggest inventory gains. Take San Jose, California. It had the biggest annual inventory jump, adding about 1,500 homes to boost inventory by 93.1% from last October. San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle also experienced the greatest increases in the number of houses for sale.

Still, rising mortgage rates could dampen the rising housing stock if the higher rates scare off potential buyers.

“In yet another sign that the housing market is cooling, we’re finally starting to see inventory return after several years of annual declines,”  Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas stated in a press release. “The combination of tight supply and strong demand have pushed up home values in recent years, but markets always ebb and flow and there is no doubt that the tides that have buoyed sellers are shifting.”

Terrazas added, “Buyers are not out of the woods yet: While there are more homes for sale, rising mortgage rates are quickly eating into what they can afford to pay. First-time buyers have benefited from flat or falling rents over the past year—making it somewhat easier to save for a down payment—but the decline in rents could be short-lived if higher buying costs push some people back toward the rental market.”

On the home appreciation front, Zillow reported median home value nationally at $ 221,500, up 7% from this time last year. The median rent is $ 1,442, down 0.1% ($ 1 per month) year-over-year, the second straight month of annual rent declines.

But before purchasing a home, here are some tips for buyers to consider:

  • Identify a realtor to work with that’s in your area. Real estate agents can offer helpful insights, including disclosing how fast homes are selling and for what price. They often can help you negotiate a price to make your offer stand out over others. To find an agent in your area, enter your zip code at www.realtor.com/realestateagents
  • Know your budget and stick to it. Before you even start shopping, figure out what you can afford to spend by receiving a pre-approval from a lender to learn the amount of money you’re qualified to borrow. When determining your final budget, examine other costs of homeownership, including property taxes, insurance, and utilities. If listings are scarce in your market, home prices are likely to rise as bidding for available houses drive them up.
  • Avoid cases where you are competing against other buyers and counteroffering over what you can actually afford. Don’t be afraid to back off if the price exceeds your budget.
  • Identify needs versus wants.

As you begin home searching, focus on what features you really want against what you can live with or without. For instance, ask yourself questions like do you want a three-bedroom home with an attached garage and basement? Do you want to be in a certain school district or near your job? Sites like Realtor, Zillow, and Trulia, and others can help with that research.

The post Good Sign for Buyers: Housing Inventory Growing Again appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

‘I Had a Very Good Day at Work Today.’ Phenom Magnus Carlsen Wins World Chess Championship

Norwegian Magnus Carlsen has retained his World Chess Championship title, having beaten challenger Fabiano Caruana 3-0 in a best of four tiebreaker.

Wednesday’s decisive result came after all 12 of the pair’s classical games ended in draws — a result unprecedented in world championship history. In a tie break, players have just 25 minutes on their timers, with 10 seconds added on after every move. In classical games, each player begins with 100 minutes.

Carlsen, a 26-year-old who has been the highest ranked player in the world for eight consecutive years, seemed to have let Caruana off the hook in the last of the 12 classical games on Monday. In a strong position, he chose to offer Caruana, 26, a draw.

But Carlsen was ruthless on Wednesday, winning convincingly in front of a packed crowd in London. Over the last month, the pair have spent close to 50 hours, and played over 750 moves, in a small room in Holborn, London, separated from a deferential audience by a sheet of unidirectional, soundproof glass.

“I’m really happy. I felt like I had a very good day at work today,” Carlsen said following his victory.

The Norwegian, two years older than his rival, is the more animated of the combatants. He slouches, rolls his eyes, fidgets and scrunches his face up when things don’t go according to plan. Like an ace poker player, Caruana rarely gives much away; his eyes remain locked on the board, his hands tucked under his chin. At the end of the final tie break match, there were no wild celebrations or tears. It ended it as it began: with a handshake.

The 2018 World Chess Championship was the first title showdown between the world’s top ranked players since 1990, when Garry Kasparov beat Anatoly Karpov. Carlsen and Caruana are separated by just three ranking points; Carlsen on 2835 and Caruana just behind on 2832. But Carlsen is ranked number one in the world for fast-paced games; Caruana is ranked at number 18.

Having taken a two match lead, Carlsen needed just a draw in the third to seal his victory. When Caruana resigned, the championship went to the world’s number one. Caruana had been aiming to become the first American to win the championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972.

“Obviously I’m disappointed. The idea is to win world championships, not just play in them,” Caruana said during a press conference after the match.

Carlsen has now won all four world championship matches he has played in, having claimed the title for the first time in 2013. He will now hold the title for at least another two years. A grandmaster at just 13 years old, Carlsen is widely considered to be one of the game’s all-time greats.

Sports – TIME

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When a city feels good, people take more risks

What makes people take risks? Not stunt women or Formula 1 drivers. Just ordinary people like you and me. Research suggests that unexpected improvements in everyday life (sunshine after many days of rain or a win by a local sports team) are correlated with a change in a city’s mood and an increased likelihood that it’s citizens will do risky things like gamble.
Consumer Behavior News — ScienceDaily

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‘It’s a Good Check.’ ‘Real Housewife’ Kandi Burruss Is Still Making Money Off ‘No Scrubs’ and Now Has Her Own Sex Toy Business

Kandi Burruss is so much more than a housewife — she’s a bona fide businesswoman.

Sure, she’s in her 10th season as cast member on the ever-dramatic Bravo show Real Housewives of Atlanta. But she’s also a Grammy winner who co-wrote the TLC girl power anthem “No Scrubs.” She runs a sex toy company, a boutique and a unisex children’s lifestyle brand. She has 5.8 million Instagram followers. Last year, she went on a reunion tour with her band, Xscape; earlier this year, she performed in Chicago on Broadway. In the past two months alone, she opened a new location of her Southern restaurant Old Lady Gang, dropped a single called “Ready for This” — complete with a parental advisory sticker — and hosted a dungeon party.

“What’s the point of having this huge platform if you are not benefiting off of it?” she says about her multifaceted empire.

Burruss sat down with MONEY on a recent trip to New York City. She talked about her childhood spending habits, the royalties she’s earning from Ed Sheeran and why she’s determined to have a better financial strategy than most entertainers.

How did you think about money when you were growing up?

I was a saver as a kid. That was my thing — I always wanted to make sure I had something [stashed away], you know?

My mom used to drive me to the neighborhoods with big fancy houses and stuff. We’d ride around all the time and dream — like, “Oh, one day we’re going to have a house like that.” It’s really crazy to me now that I can afford any of those houses.

Did you make a big purchase with your first paycheck?

[Xscape] signed our first record deal when I was 16. I only got a few thousand dollars, but my mom was like, ‘OK, we’ll put this with my money’ and we purchased the house across the street from where we lived. That was my first investment — with my mom.

After that, I just really wanted to save. As soon as we had our first hit record and we started doing shows, all my other group members went and bought Benzes and different things. But I wanted to see a certain amount of money in my bank account. I remember I was like, “I will not spend a dollar until I can see $ 100,000 in my account.”

[Then] I finally purchased a car. I put some money down on it so that I could establish credit.

What kind of car was it?

It was a BMW 325i. It was blue, and I had painted all my trimming to match. I wanted it to look like the M class, even though it wasn’t. So I just painted it and got the rims that matched it. You couldn’t tell the difference.

You’ve said before that you once got a great money tip from LL Cool J. What was it?

When I was 19, I put a downpayment on my first home [after moving out]. Shortly after that, our group went on tour with LL Cool J. He gave us advice: Always have at least one house and one car that you own. He was like, “Every time you get a check, put a little bit down on the principal. It doesn’t matter how much — put something. Because then it will cut years off the loan.”

I never really thought about it before then. When I got back home, I looked at my payment statement. I [saw] all the money that went toward interest, and only a little bit every month was going toward the notes. I was like, “OK, he’s onto something.”

When you’re in the entertainment business, it’s very unpredictable. You could be hot right now, and for the next 10 years a person could be making millions of dollars, right? So they start basing their life off of what they’re making at that moment.

But a lot of people are getting 30-year mortgages, 15-year mortgages. Fifteen years from now, you may not be poppin’ like that no more. In 30 years, you definitely will not. How often are people hot for that long? If you don’t set yourself up, you will just find yourself in a position of a lot of other entertainers we see: going bankrupt, losing their homes, not being able to afford their lifestyle. If you set yourself up in the beginning, later on down the line you’ll be better off.

And now you have several diverse income streams.

It was intentional. I wanted to have businesses outside of music that were still poppin’.

I had a friend who had clothing stores that were successful, so I kept bugging her about partnering up to do TAGS [Boutique]. Before that, I managed other artists. Later on, [for] Bedroom Kandi… I partnered up with a company that had a toy that could vibrate to music. I was like, “I do music, and I want adult products — heeey!” Now it’s a whole line. We’ve moved into bath and body products and makeup.

How do you leverage Real Housewives of Atlanta to make money?

When you’re first starting on reality TV, they’re not really trying to pay you much. I was like, “It’s not like I need them to be popular. I’ve already been on TV and in music before.” I didn’t think it was going to do anything for my career. I did it on a fluke.

I gained a lot of fans that year, but my thoughts were [that] the money has to match my popularity. I had to make it bigger than the show.

So I was like, “OK, every year when they see me on the show, they will see me accomplish something.” It’s my timeline. If I speak anything on that show and say it’s something I want to do, it is a rule of thumb for me and my team — it has to happen. I am going to be a person of my word. You know how you joke about a lot of reality stars — they’re always talking about something and you never see the product? I won’t be that girl. I don’t get a kick out of just arguing with people all day. That doesn’t do me any good. You have to find other ways to make it make sense for you.

Are you still getting a lot of money from “No Scrubs”?

Uh, yeah. Ed Sheeran used “No Scrubs” in his song [“Shape of You”], so we now are co-writers on his song. Because you can’t just use somebody’s song — it doesn’t work like that. So basically he uses our song, we got a percentage of his. It ended up getting awards; it was huge. It was like the most streamed song. There are some nice royalties.

Besides that, I constantly get royalties off my old songs. “No Scrubs,” [Destiny’s Child’s] “Bills, Bills, Bills” — people still play them a lot in movies, television, and I get license fees. It’s a good check every year.

You recently threw a star-studded dungeon party with tickets starting at $ 35, and it sold out in four days. Are there more coming?

We plan on taking it on tour. Right now we are researching venues and cities. Hopefully we can do that in early 2019.

[Also,] we’re going to get another restaurant, which is not going to be just Old Lady Gang, it’s going to be different. I haven’t told anybody.

Are you passing any money lessons onto your kids?

I need to do a better job of passing it on, because my daughter is spending way too much money right now. Before she was driving, Uber was connected to my credit card; UberEATS was connected to my credit card. She was randomly ordering stuff everyday. I put a little bit of money in her account, and one day she was down to a dollar. I was like, “Girl, you can’t do that.”

This interview has been edited and condensed.


Entertainment – TIME

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Topshop Black Friday deals so good you won’t be able to resist

Because we all need our Toppers fix

topshop black friday

With black Friday 2018 is fast approaching we are going to curate the best Topshop black Friday  deals! Topshop is always a winner when it comes to shopping the high street, especially thanks to its cool collaborations with the likes of Kate Moss and Beyoncé.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to get carried away and spend a small fortune on a whole new wardrobe (who needs savings, right?). However Black Friday 2018 is just around the corner, so you will be able to save yourself a few £££ and get your Toppers fix. Bonus.

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday 2018 is almost here, and as ever, we predict it to be the biggest online shopping weekend of the year in the UK. And with just 3 days to navigate those jaw-dropping Black Friday discounts – including the Black Friday clothing sale deals, Black Friday designer deals, Black Friday trainer deals and Black Friday dresses to the Black Friday watches, and Black Friday engagement ring sales – we thought you might need a little help to scour the best Topshop deals.

Topshop Black Friday deals, are they doing it?

Yes, yes, yes. Last year, Topshop had a massive up to 50% off sale across five days, offering various discounts on hundreds of products. Needless to say, you’ll be able to pick up at least one thing in the sale. It’s especially good for the more expensive items like coats and jackets.

Vintage Faux Fur Coat, was £79 now £39

Stripe Sequin Wrap Front Maxi Dress by Club L, Was £75 now £65

Topshop Black Contrast Stitch Straight Leg Jeans, 20% off

topshop black friday

Everybody needs a good pair of black jeans in their closet and these contrast stitched ones are a step up. Heads up, it’s not super obvious from the picture but they are high rise trousers.

Priced at £32, originally £40

Shop now

Topshop PETITE Slogan Fair Isle Jumper, 35% off

topshop black friday

A Fair Isle jumper never goes out of style this time of year and this one is a fun take on the classic, with splashes of neon and French text. Looove.

Priced at £19, originally £29

Shop now

Topshop Black Friday Borg Biker Jacket, 30% off

topshop black friday

The oversized biker has been practically everywhere this winter and we’re particularly feeling this cosy version from Topshop, which is going for 30% off in the Topshop Black Friday sale.

Priced at £45, originally £65

Shop now

Topshop Leopard Long Sleeve Shirt, 20% off

topshop black friday

The animal print trend is still going strong and this simple button is a great way to incorporate it into your outfit, plus still look sophisticated enough for the office.

Priced at £28, originally £35

Shop now

Longline Borg Coat, £76 at Topshop

topshop black friday

We stan a long fuzzy winter coat and this one’s the ultimate teddy bear coat. There’s also a dreamy colour-blocked version if you want to keep things interesting.

Shop now

BINGO Western Boots, £76 at Topshop

topshop black friday

We’ve got a little obsession with cowboy boots at the moment and we’re not the only ones. These white beauties come with a Western buckle detail and would look super cute paired with a long skirt or over some skinny black jeans.

Shop now

PETITE Leopard Faux Fur Coat, £45 at Topshop

topshop black friday

This sophisticated coat is bang on the animal print trend this season. We’re loving the more more muted pale shade and pink collar, plus it’s a great dupe for that gorgeous £700+ Shrimps coat we’ve had our eye on forever.

Priced at £45, originally £69

Shop now

Autumn Floral Print Midi Skater Dress, £49 at Topshop

topshop black friday

We’re super into dark florals this season and this is one of our favourites, with a pleated skirt and solid black collar.

Shop now

Monochrome Colour Block Jacket by Topshop SNO, £79.20

topshop black friday

Time to upgrade your ratty old ski jacket? This utterly sleek and stylish one from Topshop is a great shout, plus there’s some other Topshop SNO gear on sale if you want the full set.

Priced at £79.20, originally priced at £99

Shop now

Black Friday Topshop deals on dresses

Just because winter is coming (yes yes, GoT reference, lol), doesn’t mean you have to ditch the dresses just yet, especially with party season round the corner. Whether you’re after a checked number, a knitted dress or a sequin or embellished party dress, here are the best Black Friday Topshop dress deals.

Shop Now

Black Friday Topshop deals on coats

It’s always worth investing in a new coat, especially as it’s difficult to get a good quality one for less than £100. A camel duster coat will never go out of style, but if you want something a little more on trend, try investing in an oversized red coat or a checked number, which is the trend of the season. Shop the best Black Friday Topshop coat deals below.

Shop Now

Black Friday Topshop deals on jeans

Topshop is a go-to destination for jeans, in fact, did you know one pair is sold every 10 seconds in store? Mind-blowing. It’s great for classic shapes like skinny jeans and boyfriend jeans, but you’ll also be able to get your hands on trendier styles, like embroidered denim and prints. Here are the best Black Friday Topshop jean deals.

Shop Now 

Black Friday Topshop deals on shoes

Topshop shoes are always super on trend, so it’s a great place to go if you want to update your wardrobe with something current, whether that’s a pair of colourful heels or cool fashion trainers. Again, Black Friday is a great opportunity to invest in the big ticket items you’d usually have to save up a bit for, namely boots. This season is all about sock boots or over the knee styles, so make sure you shop our edit of the best Black Friday Topshop shoe deals below.

Shop Now

Topshop black Friday  deals on maternity wear

If you want to find stylish maternity wear that doesn’t cost the earth, Topshop has a great offering of basics like jeans and t-shirts and trendier styles. We all remember that polka dot dress Kate Middleton wore during her pregnancy, and if it’s good enough for Kate… Shop our edit of the best Black Friday Topshop maternity deals below.

Shop Now

Topshop black Friday  deals on bags

Whether you’re after a clutch bag for a wedding, a leather handbag or a weekend, you’ll find something to suit every taste on the shelves.

Some of the below handbags are half price too, so now’s your chance to treat yourself. Shop the best Black Friday Topshop bag deals below.

Shop Now

Will there be Black Friday Topshop deals in store too?

The up to 50% off sale will also be in store too, but it’s worth noting that Toppers is offering free delivery during Black Friday, so if the crowds get a bit much, know you can shop from your sofa too.

The post Topshop Black Friday deals so good you won’t be able to resist appeared first on Marie Claire.

Marie Claire

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Social media is affecting the way we view our bodies — and not in a good way

Young women who actively engage with social media images of friends who they think are more attractive than themselves report feeling worse about their own appearance afterward, a new study shows. It’s no secret that social media can blur the lines on what’s real and what’s fantasy, but new research now shows how young women interact with images online can affect how they feel about their own bodies.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Why the border wall might not be such a good idea

Dear John: Ever play King of the Mountain? If you’re really strong, you can ward off challengers for a long time, maybe forever if there’s never a superior force. Walls are just like that. At the very least, they really slow things down. If necessary, they give the defenders time to reinforce the area. Plus,…
Business | New York Post

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Trump says ‘good time’ for a government shutdown if no money for border wall

President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House Saturday that this would be a “good time” for a government shutdown if he doesn’t get funding from Congress for his border wall.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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Homebuilder stocks are getting crushed, but one analyst says the chart looks so bad — it’s good

While some investors are avoiding homebuilders amid rising interest rates that traditionally serve as a headwind for the economically sensitive group of stocks, others say evidence is mounting for a bounce.
Real Estate

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Kaiser Permanente Helps Oakland International Airport Passengers Reduce Stress and Maintain Good Mental Health

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated health care system, has introduced some practical and whimsical ways for passengers departing Terminal 2 at the Oakland International Airport to reduce the stress of air travel and encourage them to stay healthy this busy holiday travel season and beyond. This effort is part of nonprofit Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to the total health of body, mind and spirit of the communities it serves.

Portions of the security checkpoint at OAK Terminal 2 have been transformed to depict some of the most soothing aspects of nature, including the sights and sounds of a California redwood forest, a blue sky filled with clouds, and a 1,500-square foot “living wall” filled with plants that act as natural air filters.

“Our work with the Port of Oakland is a natural extension of our mission to improve the health of the communities we serve,” said Janet Liang, president, Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “We understand people have an opportunity to experience good health habits where they live, work, play and in this case, travel. Our airport expression is another example of our commitment to creating positive environments throughout the Bay Area community Kaiser Permanente has called home for almost 75 years.”

The new features at OAK Terminal 2 include:

Living wall of plants with a sign that reads 'thrive - Kaiser Permanente'

Kaiser Permanente has installed a massive living wall at the Oakland International Airport that cleans the air naturally and helps reduce the stress of air travel for passengers.

The living wall: Taking up the entire west wall of the security checkpoint area, the wall contains 34 unique plant species, including 13 that, according to a NASA study, help clean indoor air naturally and improve the ambient environment. 

Bringing the outdoors in: Travelers are greeted by large white clouds suspended from the checkpoint and atrium ceiling. Soothing sounds of nature can be heard from speakers strategically placed near the checkpoint area. Messages on panels throughout the checkpoint encourage passengers to “breathe in,” “relax” and “thrive.”

H2O to go: Passengers will be able to refill their reusable bottles at new hydration stations, installed just past the security checkpoint. The stations dispense premium purified drinking water to help keep passengers hydrated before and during their flight.

These elements are all aimed at alleviating the anxiety, frustration and fear commonly felt by travelers, and they are part of a much broader effort by Kaiser Permanente to improve mental health and wellness in the communities it serves. This larger effort includes, but is not limited to, the Find Your Words public service campaign to de-stigmatize depression and Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools Program, which includes efforts to improve the emotional and social well-being of students and staff.

“Support for emotional health and well-being is built into Kaiser Permanente’s overall approach to total health,” said Don Mordecai, MD, the national leader for mental health and wellness at Kaiser Permanente. “Our goal with transforming Terminal 2 is to help improve the travel experience for people and to help them find a bit of calm in what can often be a stressful environment.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Kaiser Permanente’s contribution to the ongoing transformation of Terminal 2 at Oakland International Airport. This uplifting introduction at the screening checkpoint positively influences the early stages of the passenger experience,” said Bryant L. Francis, Port of Oakland director of aviation. “This addition at OAK creates a more relaxing environment for outbound travelers as well as the hundreds of employees based in Terminal 2.”

 

About Oakland International Airport
Oakland International is the fourth busiest airport in California and second busiest in the San Francisco Bay Area. Serving over 13 million travelers annually, OAK is the closest airport to the region’s top business and tourism venues. It is also the closest airport for most local residents. Oakland’s air service roster to over 60 nonstop destinations is offered on 12 different airline brands. The vision of Oakland International Airport is to offer customers a world-class experience and be the airport of choice for Bay Area residents and visitors alike. OAK is operated by the Port of Oakland, which also oversees the Oakland seaport and 20 miles of waterfront. Together with its business partners, the Port supports more than 73,000 jobs in the region and nearly 827,000 jobs across the United States.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

 

The post Kaiser Permanente Helps Oakland International Airport Passengers Reduce Stress and Maintain Good Mental Health appeared first on Kaiser Permanente.

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NEW PARENT ESSENTIAL UPDATE:

‘The Good Place’ Creator Mike Schur on the ‘Next Phase’ of the Show and Why He’d Still Work With Aziz Ansari

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

The Good Place creator Mike Schur and his team of writers think a lot about how to live a good life: what we owe to one another, why our decisions matter, how to be selfless or kind. Season three of the sci-fi-inflected fantastical sitcom—line for line, among the sharpest on television—reinvented itself yet again to acknowledge the pitfalls inherent in trying. Bettering oneself is daily, soul-crushing work, it turns out, with no guarantee of eternal reward. Or, if you’re named Doug Forcett, the idea of that reward is its own special torture.

The Calgary-residing Good Place all-timer, the man who’s come closest to guessing what the afterlife really looks like (his mushroom-induced vision was “92 percent correct,” according to Michael) lives like a wretch in service to the points system. He lets a neighborhood teen bully him, “as long as it makes him happy.” He drinks his own re-processed urine to cut down on waste. Where Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), Jason (Manny Jacinto), and Chidi (William Jackson Harper) now understand that they are doomed and aim to help others get into the Good Place instead, Doug’s masochistic existence on Earth is already hell.

“Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By”—the title of Thursday’s episode, and solid advice for poor Doug—highlights more clearly than ever how broken the afterlife’s points system is, and sets up what Schur calls an exciting “next phase” of the show. The prolific writer and producer behind some of TV’s warmest, most re-watchable broadcast sitcoms (Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and The Office) broke down the events of Season 3 so far, hinted at what’s to come as the group dies (again) and departs Earth, and thoughtfully weighed the implications of working with a friend, Parks and Rec star Aziz Ansari, in a conversation with The Daily Beast.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Guys, here’s how to actually make your beard look good

Don’t ask me why I decided to grow a goatee. It was a long time ago. I was doing a lot of card counting and thought it looked cool. I do, however, know why I decided to ditch the Van Dyke: shame. At work recently, I listened in as a couple of nearby colleagues engaged…
Fashion News, Photos, and Video | New York Post

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Your Money, Your Life: Episode 2 – “Does a Good Salary Mean You’re Financially Secure?”

Episode 2

“Does A Good Salary Mean You’re Financially Secure?”

Learn why your feelings and relationship with money are bigger determinants of your sense of financial security than the numbers on your pay check, with guest Jacquette M. Timmons, President & CEO, Sterling Investment Management.



The new personal finance podcast, Your Money, Your Life is sponsored by Prudential and hosted by Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. This special series features a lineup of great guests including The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee; DeForest B. Soaries Jr., founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement; Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche; and Jacquette M. Timmons, president & CEO of Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance. A can’t miss!

 

The post Your Money, Your Life: Episode 2 – “Does a Good Salary Mean You’re Financially Secure?” appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Coffee is so good for you that it might curb your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

coffee brain benefits

We as human have to live with a lot of unfortunate realities, including the fact that a lot of the things we love end up being bad for us. We all know by now that if we binge on tasty treats too much we’ll end up eating ourselves into an early grave, but in recent years it’s become increasingly clear that coffee, a well known vice of millions and millions of people, is actually pretty good for you.

Recent studies have shown that being a regular coffee drinker can reduce your risk of all kinds of ailments, including heart attack and stroke. Now, a new research effort reveals that dark roast coffee is particularly good at warding off some nasty brain conditions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Continue reading…

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Coffee is so good for you that it might curb your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 7 Nov 2018 at 23:07:37 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Housing sentiment tumbles to lowest in a year, as more say now is not a good time to buy

Rising mortgage rates and high home prices have fewer consumers thinking now is a good time to buy or sell a home. While consumers are bullish on the economy, fewer said they are not concerned about losing their job. 
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The Good Wife’s Jess Weixler Announces She’s Expecting a Baby with Husband Hamish Brocklebank

There’s a baby on the way for Jess Weixler and her husband Hamish Brocklebank!

On Monday, the 37-year-old actress announced she’s expecting her first child in a very relatable — and funny — way.

“Just had some pizza ❤🌱(6 months),” Weixler captioned an Instagram post, joking that her baby bump is really just a food baby.

In the shot, The Good Wife star, dressed in all black, can be seen cradling her pregnant belly in a field full of apple trees.

A rep for Weixler did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Weixler and Brocklebank, a British businessman, got married in 2015 during a stunning ceremony on the beach.


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Just had some pizza ❤🌱(6 months)

A post shared by Jess Weixler (@jessweixler) on Nov 5, 2018 at 1:36pm PST

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For the nuptials, Weixler wore an off-white, Grecian-style tulle gown and wore her hair in waves.

Rather than going the traditional route, Brocklebank wore a coral colored suit with a white shirt and a black tie.

Both opted to go barefoot for the sandy festivities.

“A lot of love on that beach,” Weixler captioned a photo from their wedding day.


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A lot of love on that beach.

A post shared by Barbara Muschietti (@barbaramus) on Dec 6, 2015 at 12:04am PST

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Parents newsletter.

In addition to expanding her family, Weixler is starring in the upcoming movie It: Chapter Two.

In the film, which takes place 27 years after the original, Pennywise comes back to haunt the members of the Losers’ Club, who are all grown up.

RELATED: Who’s Due Next? Carrie, Kate and 50 More Celebs Who Are Expecting

Weixler is set to play Audra, the wife of “Stuttering Bill” Denbrough, played by James McAvoy, Entertainment Weekly reported.

Weixler will also be joined on screen by her best friend Jessica Chastain, who’s playing Beverly Marsh, Bill Hader as Richie Tozier and Bill Skarsgard as It.

The movie will hit theatres on Sept. 9, 2019.


PEOPLE.com

Fashion Deals Update:

Sunday Riley’s Good Genes vs. Drunk Elephant’s Sukari Babyfacial and Glycolic Night Serum

good genes vs drunk elephant glycolic night serum and babyfacialI haven’t tried every AHA/BHA/exfoliating acid product out there, but I’ve used some of the good ones that readers often talk about, and since the big beauty sales (and holiday gift sets!) are all coming up I thought it might be a good time to discuss the pros and cons of a few different products so that you can make an informed decision if you’re looking for a new exfoliating acid to add to your skincare regimen. Readers, have you used Sunday Riley’s Good Genes, or either of Drunk Elephant’s popular products? What other exfoliating acids or physical exfoliants are you a fan of?

Sunday Riley’s Good Genes

I got this one after I heard readers talking about the shocking effect that just a single use of the product can have. While I think that’s true, for me this is not an “everyday” product because it makes my skin a little too shiny, and I feel oily rather than youthful — it’s something I’d use one or two times a week. Pros to Good Genes: The time involved is very minimal (spread it on before you go to bed, wash your face in the morning), and the payout is pretty great — my skin looks more radiant and just generally has a healthy glow. I just ran out of the 0.5 oz bottle after using it solidly for almost 10 months (not sold separately, but you can usually find it as part of a gift set like this one), and for me, getting a smaller gift set (rather than a bigger product) is worth it because a) I feel like when you’re working with acids you want to pay attention to shelf life (I can’t find the info for Good Genes but for Drunk Elephant products they note the shelf life is one year after opening) and b) you get to try other products as well. Cons to Good Genes: Price — and, for some people, the smell. It doesn’t smell BAD to me, but it does have a distinct, maybe medicinal kind of smell. Another minor con for me: I typically alternate using my retinol product with a product like Good Genes. I’ve seen some things saying it’s OK if you wait 30 minutes between applications, but I never remember after 30 minutes have passed.

Cost: $ 105-$ 158 if purchased by itself (Sephora, Nordstrom, Anthropologie) — actually, this set (pictured at top) looks like it’s fabulous because you get the full size (1 fl oz) AND a bunch of other Sunday Riley products for $ 105; this value set at Nordstrom also looks great

Purpose: From Sephora’s website: “Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment is formulated with high potency, purified grade lactic acid that immediately exfoliates dull, pore-clogging dead skin cells, revealing smoother, fresher, younger-looking skin. Fine lines appear visually plumped while the skin looks more radiant. With continued use, the appearance of stubborn hyperpigmentation and the visible signs of aging are reduced for a healthier-looking complexion. Perfect for all skin types and all ages, this treatment is enhanced with licorice for brightening, Good Genes clarifies, smooths, and retexturizes for instant radiance.”

Kat’s Suggested Usage: 1-2x a week

Time: 30 seconds before bed — note that I’ve also seen that you can wear this during the day if you want to, but only with lots of sunscreen — I already wear lots of sunscreen and wouldn’t wear this product during the day, but that’s just me. I’ve also read that you can use Good Genes as a 20-minute mask if it’s too intense as an overnight treatment for your skin.

Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

Sukari babyfacial reviewI heard readers singing the praises of this one, and was thrilled last year to find a Drunk Elephant value set at Sephora last year that had their T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, their vitamin C product and their Virgin Marula Facial Oil. (Just a minor note on facial oils like these — I have pretty dry skin, and I’m not a fan of facial oils like this one or Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Oil — maybe in the dead of a cold winter I would want them, but right now they just feel way too heavy for my skin.) Babyfacial is a bit different than Good Genes in that it is DEFINITELY not a daily product — it’s a mask that stays on for 20 minutes before you rinse it off. I like both Baby Facial and Good Genes, and use both — but for me, the fact that this is a mask means I use it less, maybe two times a month. The payout is good (it’s stronger, so it’s going to be a bit more extreme than Good Genes), and I prefer the smell of Baby Facial to Good Genes, but I just don’t do it as often. For what it’s worth, on me the mask blends into my skin, although there’s a slight pink sheen to it — my kids have never noticed if I had it on. (Unlike the Hanacure mask!) Another pro: as we noted in our post on cruelty-free beauty products, Drunk Elephant products aren’t tested on animals.

Cost: $ 28-$ 80 (Sephora) — they actually offer a $ 28 mini version that comes with the Marula facial oil and for $ 28 I think it’s a great deal just for the Babyfacial product. My .5 fl oz size isn’t empty yet after 10 months of using it once ever 1-3 weeks.

Purpose: From the Sephora website: “A pro-quality AHA/BHA “facial” that resurfaces to reveal greater clarity, improved skin texture and tone and a more youthful radiance—think of it as an extra nudge for stubborn, dull skin.”

Kat’s Suggested Usage: 1x a week maybe, at most (I use it more like once every 1-3 weeks)

Time Required: 20 minutes

Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

glycolic night serum review vs good genes

Finally, Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum is worth discussing in this post also — whereas Babyfacial has 25% AHA and 2% BHA, the Glycolic Night Serum has 12% AHA and notes that it’s a  “BHA Blend.” This is noticeably a much gentler product than either Babyfacial or Good Genes — but while it’s acceptable for daily use, you don’t get the same instantaneous results that you do with Good Genes and Babyfacial. Pros: time involved is minimal, and you can apply it quickly before bed and sleep in it. But cons: Again, if you’ve got other products in your nighttime routine that you don’t like mixing (like retinols) or that you want to give a wide berth to, and not apply until each product has fully dried — then this one gets used less.

Cost: $ 90 for 1 oz (Sephora exclusive) (FWIW I still have lots left in my .5 fl oz mini after about 11 months of use)

Purpose: From Sephora: “A 12 percent AHA/BHA night serum that refines and resurfaces skin to reveal a smoother and more radiant complexion.”

Kat’s Suggested Usage: You can use this one daily — I tend to layer it into my nighttime routine if I want something gentler than Good Genes or Babyfacial.

Time Required: 20 seconds before bed (wash your face in the morning)

One more little note: I got a Lancer set that included The Method: Polish during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and like it as a physical exfoliant — I use it a ton more than I ever did my Clarisonic, which is languishing at the back of a drawer somewhere (I guess?) and it’s quick and easy. While I’m a big fan of the Lancer Radiance Awakening Mask I’m not sure I’d buy the Polish again, at least at these prices. (As part of the set I got the Caviar Lime Acid Peel which I keep forgetting about, and haven’t tried yet!)

Readers, how do you deal with dull skin — what products do you like? What are your favorites, and how often do you work them into your routine? If you’ve tried these products, what are your thoughts on Good Genes vs. Drunk Elephant?

The post Sunday Riley’s Good Genes vs. Drunk Elephant’s Sukari Babyfacial and Glycolic Night Serum appeared first on Corporette.com.

Corporette.com

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Netflix is releasing 3 films in cinemas first for a good reason

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Netflix has famously resisted traditional film distribution, where films hit the silver screen first.

It’s something that’s bothered the film establishment, most notably when Cannes Film Festival told the streaming giant in 2017 it would need to show in French cinemas if it wanted to be considered for future festivals. 

Netflix fired back by pulling out of Cannes this year. But now, it’s releasing three of its films in select cinemas for a short run before people can watch them on the service. Why? Awards.

More about Entertainment, Film, Movies, Netflix, and Streaming Services


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Good on Marc Molinaro for calling out the Albany fat cats

Hand it to Marc Molinaro: He’s not afraid to tell a joke in the lion’s den. The Republican gubernatorial candidate addressed the Association for a Better New York on Tuesday, and called out the fat-cat crowd for its one-sided political donations: “Believe me, I know how to read campaign-finance reports. Not one of you were…
Opinion | New York Post

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

Don’t look.

BUT OH MY GOD, 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?

Price

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.

Convenience

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.

Variety

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.

Airports

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.

Dates

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.

Location

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.

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Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan Are Good Sports at Wheelchair Basketball Game in Australia

A vision of good sportsmanship! Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan looked fresh-faced and game ready on Saturday, October 27, during day 12 of their first international tour together.

The pair — who kicked off the royal adventure on October 15 just hours prior to the news that Meghan, 37, is pregnant and expecting her first child with Harry, 34 — got into the spirit of the Invictus Games during a wheelchair basketball game in Sydney, Australia.

The former actress wore a belted maroon peplum top by Scanian Theodore, black Outland pants and black Sarah Flint heels for the occasion. Meanwhile, the prince sported a black Invictus Games shirt and gray pants.

The couple presented each member of the winning Team USA with gold medals after the final match, with the Netherlands coming in second place and England finishing third.

While the duke and duchess sat alongside Prime Minster Scott Morrison and Defense Minister Christopher Pyne at the game, David Beckham, an Invictus Games ambassador, was also spotted taking in the match with his 16-year-old son Romeo. The former soccer pro and Victoria Beckham attended the royals’ May 19 nuptials.

Scroll down to see more of their day in Sydney.

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Trump calls Khashoggi arrests ‘good first step,’ adds that he doesn’t want to put arms deals at risk

Trump added that he'll work with Congress on what the U.S. response should be, but that he would prefer not to hurt American companies and jobs by cutting billions of dollars in arms sales to the kingdom.
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Rocket League Delays Update, And That’s Good News

It’s rare that gamers are hit with news about an update or a game being delayed and it’s, somehow, good news. However, in this rare case you’re probably going to be duly excited to find out the reasons behind Rocket League‘s delay for the latest update, because it will completely change…


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Review: Tom Hardy Is One Good Reason to See Venom

In the grand scheme of all movies ever made—including, say, F.W. Murnau’s exquisite 1927 silent film Sunrise and the totally useless 2015 Entourage movie—the line between a super-awesome Marvel movie and a bad one is cellophane-thin. Venom, the latest Marvel entry—that is to say, the latest movie based on Marvel material—is neither the most super-awesome Marvel movie nor the worst. It exists in that micro-millimeter’s breadth of in-between. Venom has energy, style and Tom Hardy—all good things. But it doesn’t really make sense, a bad thing. It will earn some money at the box office and people will probably talk about it for a week, maybe two. This is as it should be: Expending more energy on it would be overkill.

You could do worse, though, than spend an hour or two with Hardy as, first, investigative journalist Eddie Brock and, later, as the human host of an extraterrestrial being known as Venom. Hardy’s Brock is an appealing, swaggering TV journalist who investigates homelessness, icky landfills and other injustices; he’s a regular guy who wears hoodies and lots of braided bracelets, and he has a smart, beautiful lawyer girlfriend, Anne (Michelle Williams). But Brock loses his job when he digs a little too deeply into the inner workings of the Life Foundation, a bioengineering company run by Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), an affable genius who’s busy importing “symbiotes” from outer space, life forms that he hopes to meld with human beings for God-knows-what reason. Anne is implicated in Brock’s journalistic shenanigans and loses her job. The two break up. Brock falls apart.

But things perk up for Brock when his already pretty buff bod is overtaken by Venom, a crabby but somewhat principled symbiote who makes his wishes known in a subterranean growl. (Hardy also supplies Venom’s voice.) Sometimes Venom is inside Brock, but you can’t see him—you only hear him giving orders or making witty declarations: “Hungry!” “On my planet, I am a loser, just like you!” And sometimes Venom inhabits Brock fully, transforming him into a towering specimen of a man, with glistening obsidian skin and elongated eyes the color of egg whites. His permanent grin consists of multiple rows of very pointy teeth; now and then a long, slithery tongue pokes through. Venom isn’t really evil; he’s more like the id come to life. And he half-likes, half-pities his new host Brock, so he’s happy to help him do stuff—like get his girlfriend back.

If or when you see Venom, you will witness a messy, not very interesting battle between Venom and another, more malevolent symbiote. There’s also a sloppily photographed and edited car-and-motorcycle chase, with vehicles moving fast but also illogically. It’s supposed to be exciting but isn’t. There are some cool special effects: The symbiotes in search of hosts, encased in glass-walled medical-type containers, are glittery blue-gray blobs that look like an unholy alliance of slime mold and those toys where you use a magnet to move iron-shavings around to create facial hair on a bald cartoon gent. They’re kind of neat to look at. You will have to ignore the fact that sometimes the symbiotes kill their hosts, sometimes they just use them temporarily and then jump out, and sometimes they move in and stay for good. There’s no rhyme nor reason to any of it.

It should also be noted that Venom isn’t strictly part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but rather an MCU offshoot produced by Sony. So if that means anything to you, there’s that. It’s also worth pointing out that Venom’s director, Ruben Fleischer, has made better films before: His debut was the rather delightful 2009 Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Emma Stone, before she was superstar.

But Venom at least has a sense of humor about itself. And though the generally wonderful Michelle Williams has little to do (and the also wonderful Jenny Slate appears in a much smaller role, with almost nothing to do), Hardy, with his sensitive, everydude mug, is fun to watch. Brock staggers through the city in which the story is set, San Francisco, arguing with his inner demon Venom about what they should eat next (humans or Tater Tots?) or what, exactly, they should do about the troublesome Drake. On the Marvel scale of greatness, with 1 being the least pleasing and 10 the most amazing, Venom might be around a 3.5, a 4 if you’re in a really good mood. Which means it might not be nearly as bad as Entourage. But it’s nowhere close to Sunrise.


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‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Review: Good Time at the Movies

What is Bad Times at the El Royale?

In this star-studded thriller, seven strangers — each with a secret to hide — check into the titular Lake Tahoe hotel, which sits on the California-Nevada border. Over the course of a stormy night, their paths cross, their pasts are revealed, and the characters find themselves on a collision course that will either lead to redemption, or an early grave.

Tarantino-Esque

Drew Goddard — whose last film was meta horror gem The Cabin in the Woods some six years ago — is clearly a fan of the master of meta crime movies, Quentin Tarantino. Not only does Goddard’s new movie ape QT’s tone and style and approach to character, it also has much in common with his last release, The Hateful Eight.

Both films feature a bunch of disparate souls holing up in a single location overnight. Thanks to Biblical storms raging outside. In both stories nothing and no one is what they seem. In both movies, dialogue-heavy interactions reveal that some characters are there by coincidence, while others have more in common than it first appears. And in both instances, those conversations trigger intense bursts of violence that result in far fewer walking out than walked in.

Tahoe’s Best Kept Secret

And what a strange, mysterious space the El Royale is. A red line running down the middle of the lobby, it’s a “bi-state establishment” that divides the warmth and sunshine of California from the hope and opportunity of Nevada. With the beds in the ‘Golden State’ a buck more.

The El Royale is decked out like a 1960s Vegas lounge, though one that’s a few years past its heyday. The film takes place at the start of the ’70s, long after the hotel’s gambling license has been lost, and a time when the ‘Summer of Love’ has transformed into something more sinister, with Nixon in the White House, and murder on the news.

Following a brief prologue in which a murder occurs in one of the rooms some 10 years previous, we’re introduced to this den of iniquity’s newest clients.


Jon Hamm, Jeff Bridges, and Cynthia Erivo in Bad Times at the El Royale.

The Likeable Seven

Laramie Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm) is a southern, silver-tongued salesman obsessed with his “accoutrements,” and determined to lavish himself in the honeymoon suite. Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo) is a soul singer clearly struggling to make ends meet. Emily Summerspring (Dakota Johnson) looks like a hippie, but her attitude is anything but. And Father Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is a charming priest with a serious sob story who seems out of place in such an establishment.

These first arrivals introduce themselves while waiting for the hotel’s staff, their interactions sparking tensions, setting the characters at odds with each other, and creating audience expectations that are cleverly defied as proceedings progress.

And progress they do, via a series of chapters that revolve around characters or events, some in the past to lend much needed context and stakes, and others in the present, as new guests are added to the mix (turning the four into seven), and the various storylines start to coalesce.

Excessive Run-Time

Trouble is — much like Hateful Eight — it takes an absolute age to get to the film’s finale, which itself is dragged out for longer than’s necessary. And while some of the tales that play out along the way are thrilling — most notably Father Flynn’s — others are less engaging, with one particular back-story dishwater dull. Meanwhile Chris Hemsworth’s role — which we won’t spoil here — is a little too on the nose, an issue that isn’t helped by his mugging for the camera.

But the dialogue is as sharp as it is smart. The film’s soundtrack is an all-timer that’s filled with pop, rock and soul from music’s greatest era. The politics that sneaks into the film is effective, making clever comment on the cult of celebrity and the behaviour of those in power. And there are some terrific performances, not only from Bridges and Hamm, but also via less familiar faces like Erivo — who sings like an angel — and Lewis Pullman, who might just steal the film as the El Royale’s mysterious desk clerk Miles.

Is Bad Times at the El Royale Good?

You could call Bad Times at the El Royale a Hateful Eight imitator (with a little Identity thrown in for good measure), but if you are going to crib, crib from the best. And to be fair to writer-director Drew Goddard, he’s pulled off a pretty impressive feat in his own right, effortlessly cross-cutting between multiple timelines and stories to craft a cohesive thriller that constantly pulls the rug out from under the audience.

So while it ultimately outstays its welcome, Bad Times is anything but for much of that run-time, making it both the best crime thriller that Quentin Tarantino never made, and a joint that’s well worth paying a visit.

Bad Times at the El Royale was reviewed at Fantastic Fest and hits Australian screens on October 11 and releases in UK/US cinemas on October 12.

‘Overlord’ Review: WWII Monster Movie That Plays Like a Celluloid ‘Wolfenstein’

The post ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Review: Good Time at the Movies appeared first on FANDOM.

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