Why you should travel in the off-season

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Knowing exactly when to take a trip is an artת and if you are able to make the most of travel during the off-seasonת it’s possible to save thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, busy travel periods nearly always fall during school and national holidays, with the peak occurring through the Christmas and New Year period. If you can only travel during these times, you will be hit with higher costs for everything and more stress, with more people trying to get to their destinations.

If you can skip these busy periods and opt for a trip during the off-season, you’ll find many benefits. Here are some of the top reasons you should travel in the off-season.

Flights

Flights are a big factor in why you should travel in the off-season, and they do tend to be the biggest expenditure item for any kind of holiday. An off-season flight can be as much as 50% less than a peak season flight and sometimes you can save even more. It’s still always a good idea to research the area you are traveling to, just in case there are any negative factors that might put you off, such as rainy seasons or cold weather. There’s no point taking a cheap flight if you end up being miserable and cold.

Accommodation

Hotel prices do vary by season, with peak rates right at the top of the scale and off-season at the other end. Check prices online – you can look at individual hotel websites or follow a few of the websites that offer a number of hotel providers. The swings in price can be quite remarkable, with as much as a 100% increase for peak season rooms. That’s the world we live in, and hotels have to milk it as much as they can because high season rates only last for a short time. For example, in Thailand, high season might only run from November to January, and hoteliers have to cash in to cover for the nine-month low season.

Dining out

This one is not always easy to predict, and some restaurants in some countries might actually bring their rates up during the low season to try to make more money. It is a strange logic really, as the people traveling during low season are more interested in paying less. Other restaurants might only open during the high season, which means off-season travelers might be eating more with local people. This could prove a bonus as it’s a good way to get to know locals and they might be enjoying tastier food.

Fewer crowds

Since fewer people are able to travel during the low season, you will run into fewer crowds. This also frequently means no kids, as they should all be at school. Finding accommodation should not be a problem and you won’t get stuck in all kinds of different tourist lines. You should be able to visit places of interest in a stress-free way, compared with the high season. You will often even pay less to enjoy the benefits.

There are lots benefits to be enjoyed by traveling during the off-season, and if you’re a person with no set timetable, you can journey the world at half the cost of a high season traveler.

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The post Why you should travel in the off-season appeared first on Worldation.

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Brussels: Why you should visit this underrated city

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Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is located in Belgium’s northern center. Belgium borders the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and France. A well-known fact about Brussels is that this is where the European Parliament is based. Apart from that, it’s a beautiful city and ideal for a European weekend vacation or even a longer trip. The journey from London to Brussels doesn’t take much longer than one hour.

When listing the major cities in Europe, such as London, England, Paris, France, and Berlin, Germany, Brussels doesn’t seem to be mentioned. However, we’re here to tell you that Brussels is severely underrated, and you should definitely check out this great city. Here’s why.

1. European Parliament

We’ve already mentioned the European Parliament, and the actual building where it all happens is quite an outstanding piece of architecture. It can be a fun day out for kids and adults alike, just to go there and experience what’s happening. Children even have the opportunity to take part in games where they can pretend to be politicians.

2. Brussels Town Square

This is something quite unique to Brussels, and is located in the center of the city. You will find the Town Hall alongside other lavish buildings. This former market area is a popular meeting point for tourists, and in 2010 it beat Russia’s Red Square as the world’s most attractive square.

3. History lovers

Brussels is steeped in history, and is the site of Napoléon Bonaparte’s last stand, which took place not far from Waterloo. Visiting this site, you will come across all kinds of museums and exhibitions. It’s also well worth catching up on a bit of history – if you’re not familiar with this battle zone – to really understand what went on many years ago.

4. The food

The people of Brussels have high standards when it comes to food, and this is reflected by the excellent food prepared in restaurants. Brussels is a great destination for those who enjoy a good meal and getting to know global cuisine, and there is a huge selection of renowned restaurants to check out.

5. Other delicacies

Whilst on the subject of food, Belgium is well known as one of the best places for chocolate in the world. Chocolate lovers simply have to taste Belgian delicacies – they bring this delicious treat to a whole new level. And don’t forget to taste Belgian waffles and frites while you’re at it!

Brussels has a bit of everything for everyone. Even though many people skip this city when they’re traveling through Europe, we think you should put it right at the top of your list of destinations. There’s so much to see and do here, and it makes for a great vacation spot no matter what your preferences or budget are. If you make the trip, you won’t regret it.

It really is time for this underrated major city to step out from the shadows and compete with other big cities like Paris, Berlin, London, and Rome. Brussels has wonderful attractions, great food, and fascinating history.

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My Spending Has Put Me in Serious Debt. Should I Consolidate?

Dear J.J.,

That “I can’t stop spending” feeling isn’t just some kind of personal weakness. It’s a widely studied psychological phenomenon.

Behavioral economists have figured out that various forms of payment have different “pain” levels. Pain of payment is worst when you pay with cash, because you can see and feel the bills leaving your wallet and entering someone else’s register. There’s a little bit less pain when you use a debit card and the money leaves your checking account immediately.

But credit? Paying with a credit card is just about painless. Not only are zero dollars leaving your account at the time you acquire an item or service, but you also have the option of putting off that payment for weeks, months, years, forever. Just as much as we love instant gratification, we love procrastinating.  

So when you see a credit limit that you have not maxed out, you see a big green light. Go! Do not slow down. Spend it until it’s gone. The pain hides until it’s time to pay the tab.

You need a big change to get out of the cycle. You need to plot out every dollar of that debt and how you’re going to pay it off. Taking a personal loan to consolidate your credit card debt only works if:

  1. The interest rate is lower than all your other debt.
  2. You take out a loan for the exact amount you need to cover your current debt — and not a penny more.

You need to create a financial no-temptation zone. It’s time to call in an accountability partner. This is someone you trust and can talk to about money — a friend, a colleague, a cousin. Someone who will scold you gently if you get off track and cheer you on when you hit small goals along the path to paying off your debt. They’ll make sure your payoff plans are bold but reasonable. They’ll help shoulder the pain of paying off your debt and remind your brain of the intangible, but important, pleasure of having less debt.

This will take years, and I don’t mean just paying off your debt. I mean rewiring your brain to live within your means. It’s something even the most financially savvy of people struggle to overcome. It’s easier to spend money than ever before, especially money that is not truly yours to spend. Paying it back will feel distinctly un-fun.

But if you can envision a debt-free future and the ease it will bring to your life — your accountability partner should help get you pumped up for this — you’ll start to see those debt payments as steps toward financial freedom.

Have a tricky money question? Write to Dear Penny and you might see your question answered in an upcoming column.

Lisa Rowan is a personal finance expert and senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, and the voice behind Dear Penny.

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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This is the one symptom you should never ignore after sex

Noted!

delay your period

Sex can leaves us feeling many things – euphoric, confused, hungry, and even guilty (if it’s an ex that you were supposed to be avoiding – we’ve all been there).

But while post-sex emotional symptoms are pretty common, some physical symptoms aren’t.

Sure, you might feel achey or have shaky legs (TMI?), but the one symptom that you should never ignore after sex is nausea.

chewing gum ingredients

That’s right. According to gynaecologist and medical director Lauren Streicher MD, you should never have an upset tummy after intercourse.

‘It’s never normal to feel nauseous after sex,’ she explained to POPSUGAR, flagging the symptom as something to look into.

What could it mean if we do feel nauseous after sex? Luckily, Dr. Streicher broke it down.

‘Contact with your cervix during sex – or cervical stimulation – can create a vasalvagol response in which your blood pressure and pulse drop,’ she explained. ‘This can cause you to feel nauseous or even to pass out. Your cervix changes throughout your cycle, dropping lower during your period, which may make it more susceptible during penetration.’

masturbation

Another reason could be an underlying condition, with Dr. Streicher explaining that ‘women with endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease may experience painful intercourse’, with other causes including cervical infections and fibroids.

If you are experiencing any type of pain during sex, you should contact your GP or gynaecologist.

The post This is the one symptom you should never ignore after sex appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Style Your Home’s Outdoors with All the Perfect Additions from MacKenzie-Childs! Save on Tables, House Letters & Chairs. Shop Now!

3 Things You Should Include in Your Business Plan

Starting a new business is more than just writing an idea
down on a piece of paper and going for it. For your new venture to be
successful, it’s important to not only know what your business is going to do, but
to establish a big-picture view of your company’s values and identify any
potential strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats to your business
goal.

A Business Plan helps you plan out your company, and
demonstrates to investors and customers that you’ve done your research and your
business is something they should be interested in.

In this post, we identify three essential elements to
include in your Business Plan.

1. SWOT Analysis

Before you can get your business off the ground, you’ll need to prove that it’s worth starting. By using a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis, you can determine if your business idea is viable, if it needs to be adjusted, and how you are going to deal with roadblocks and other issues that could affect its success.

As an example, if you’re planning on opening a coffee shop downtown
where you know there are a lot of restaurants and retail stores, you could
include in your analysis that you considered the strengths of opening a store
in that location (lots of foot traffic, business people looking for a place to
buy a quick coffee, etc.) as well as the potential threats (competitors taking
potential business away).

Writing down your analysis in your Business Plan shows that you’ve put in the time and effort to showcase all possible scenarios for your business. It also helps prove to any investors you may present to that you’ve done all the necessary research before proposing your business idea.

2. Mission Statement

Your mission statement should showcase the purpose of your
business clearly and concisely in one or two sentences. Since your mission
statement could also be viewed as a selling point to customers, investors, or
anyone else that might be interested in your business, it’s important to use
effective and bold verbs in your statement so it can double as a pitch.

3. Executive Summary

Your Business Plan should include an executive summary on the first page, which is essentially an elevator pitch  for your business as well as an organized and detailed list of each of the sections in your plan.

An executive summary should be
divided into headings that explain each section of your Business Plan in a few
short sentences.

For instance, if the main purpose of
your business is to sell a particular product, you’ll probably have a wealth of
information explaining your product in your Business Plan, such as what it
does, how it fulfils a need or serves specific a purpose, etc. In your
executive summary, you would want to condense all that information down to just
a few sentences and only discuss the most important points.

Essentially, the goal of your
executive summary is to present the content in your plan in an easily readable
format that highlights key points of your business and gets investors
interested in learning more.

Writing Your Business Plan

The purpose of your Business Plan is to give a
high-level overview of your company that can be presented to investors, or even
just to have a document to refer to so you can keep your business on track.
Taking the time to write a detailed and well-structured

The post 3 Things You Should Include in Your Business Plan appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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Things All Professional Women Should Know How to Do

Things All Professional Women Should Know How to Do

What are things all professional women should know how to do by age 30, 40, 50, or 60?

So, a loooong time ago, readers had a threadjack on “things all 35-year-old professional women should know/do” — I thought it was a fun discussion, but it particularly stood out because one of my first freelanced stories, back when I was a magazine journalist (before law school), was basically this concept. I don’t remember if it was ever published or not (I vaguely remember the publication going belly-up before the article came out), but I remember making a hard sell to my editor for why all women should know how to tango. 

This is why we probably shouldn’t have 22-year-olds write these things. 

After all, knowing how to tango is great, but if you do NOT know how to tango, do not in any way feel deficient in your life. (In fact, for most of the things on this list, don’t feel deficient if you can’t do them yet.) I thought I’d come up with a few fun things and then turn it over to you guys — what do you think all 35-year-old professional women should know how to do? (Does your answer change if the age changes? What is it for 30, 40, 50, 60?)

ANYWAY. I thought I’d round up my top 5 — I’d love to hear yours!

Five Things All Professional Women Should Know How To Do:

#5: Sing Your Own Praises

Keep track of your own accomplishments, and don’t feel bad about raising them in meetings with bosses, clients, and others.

#4: Say Thank You / Give Genuine Praise

As you become a leader and have more say in whom you work with, being genuinely appreciative and grateful for the skills and work of those around you is an important quality to cultivate. And I don’t just mean the executive team — everyone who’s employed by your company!

#3: Know When to Admit Your Mistakes

I have a Post-it on my computer that says “Grace, Not Perfection” — because mistakes happen! Know when to to admit your mistakes — and when to ask for help. Which leads us to our next one… 

#2: Delegate

You. Can. Not. Do. It. All. Yourself. Say it with me, ladies — learning how and when to delegate in your personal and professional life is super important.

The #1 Thing All Professional Women Should Know How To Do:

#1: Say No

Noooooooooooooooooo. No. It’s a single sentence! It’s ok to say no to professional and personal things. Don’t feel like you need long, wordy explanations or apologies. Just. Say. No.

Readers, over to you — what do you think are the things that all professional women should know how to do? How does your answer differ for, say, a 30-year-old and a 50-year-old? 

Picture credit: Fotolia / Monkey Business.

What things should all career women know, whether by age 35 or in general? Kat shared her top 5 things all professional women should know how to do, including how to sing your own praises, how to say no, how to delegate, and more! Don't miss the comments -- lots of great thoughts from the readers on which skills younger professional women should cultivate.

The post Things All Professional Women Should Know How to Do appeared first on Corporette.com.

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Where should you stay: a hotel or apartment?

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A number of factors can influence a traveler’s decision in choosing between staying in a hotel or an apartment. Location, your budget, the duration of your stay, and how many people are being accommodated are some of the factors that can influence a traveler’s decision. Below are some pros and cons of each, in order to help you decide which option is best for you.

Benefits of hotels – no security deposit

Most apartments require a security deposit when checking in. Hotels usually don’t. Staying in a hotel can come in handy for impromptu travel, while apartments usually require some sort of advanced planning.

Benefits of hotels – check-in flexibility

A traveler can check into a hotel anytime because the front desk always has someone working. Apartments require you to organize your check-in time in advance since you will need someone to be available to provide you with the apartment keys.

 

Benefits of hotels – Comfort

Hotel beds usually are very comfortable and rooms are equipped with TVs so you can relax and unwind with plenty of entertainment. When it comes to the amount of space, however, hotel rooms are generally quite small.

Benefits of hotels – Meals

Hotel restaurant service can be quite comfortable and their meals are usually excellent. Breakfast is often included in the standard room price (and who doesn’t love a buffet breakfast?). However, you’ll have to eat out every meal because you won’t have a way to prepare your own food in a hotel. For shorter stays, hotels are a good choice. They offer flexibility and give you more time to deal with your business, appointments, or work without the hustle of taking much care of the room.

Benefits of apartments – meals

Apartments usually have fully equipped kitchens so you can always prepare and enjoy your home cooked food, whether with your friends or by yourself. This saves money on takeaway and restaurants. Be ready to wash the dishes and clean up after yourself, since some apartments may charge you an extra fee for any unwashed dishes left when your stay is over.

Benefits of apartments – privacy

Although some hotel rooms can accommodate up to four people, there is no privacy. Apartments offer various options and bedrooms. They often have separate rooms which can be quite convenient for purposes like business meetings while others are resting in their individual rooms.

Benefits of apartments – group activities

Apartments are the often the best option if you are traveling with your family or friends. There is plenty of communal space and it can be shared with everyone, offering more space and comfort. You will be able to have your own room, giving you more own privacy.

Benefits of apartments – offers additional amenities and services

Apartments often have wifi, washing machines, balconies, kitchen cutlery, utensils and glassware, and refrigerators. Communal facilities are also available in some apartments. Apartments are perfect for travelers who intend on staying for longer periods of time. You won’t have that cabin fever that sometimes happens when you are staying in a small hotel room because they tend to be more spacious.

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Patrick Stewart’s New Picard Star Trek Series Should Set the Timeline Straight

Back in August, it was announced that Patrick Stewart would be reprising his role as the iconic Starfleet captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Stunning Trekkers across the world, the news had fans theorizing about what the new show will look like, what familiar characters we might see, and what kind of adventures Picard will get up to. We’re just as excited for another new Star Trek series — of course! — and here’s what we want to see in it. Starting with…

Beverly Crusher as a Series Regular


Doctor Beverly Crusher
Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher.

First of all, let’s get one thing out of the way – Gates McFadden must be a main cast member. Throughout The Next Generation, Dr. Beverly Crusher played a crucial part in some of the show’s most engaging — and important — episodes. The chemistry between Picard and Crusher was always on point. They never made their relationship official in TNG, though, and fans were left disappointed. After all, we love a good ship, even more so when it comes to fruition!

In “All Good Things”, the series finale of TNG, we did get to see an alternate future in which Beverly and Jean-Luc are divorced, however. But their relationship was never fully explored, despite it being obvious in this alternate future that the two harbored strong feelings for one another. Even if the two characters aren’t meant to end up together, Crusher and Picard are so closely intertwined that it would seem like a missed opportunity if Beverly is not involved in the new show in some capacity. In the new show, Picard and Beverly should be married, with a flashback episode unveiling the moment they finally admitted their love for one another. Without her, the new show will feel as if it’s lacking a critical part of Picard’s story.

Countless Possibilities With Guest Stars


The Cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members.

Speaking of guest stars, there’s a wishlist of people we’d like to see make appearances on Patrick Stewart’s new show. There are countless characters in the Star Trek universe that would make excellent additions to the cast. But let’s focus on the Enterprise crew from The Next Generation. Fan favorites such as William Riker, Deanna Troi, Worf, and Geordi La Forge would be welcome in any capacity, but preferably as an integral part of the story. Data’s demise in Star Trek: Nemesis sadly precludes his inclusion. But if there was a way for Data to show up, even in a flashback, fans would be mad for it.

Miles O’Brien, Keiko, Guinan, and yes, even Wesley could all feasibly pop up too. Although Wesley had his haters during TNG, it would be good to see how his character developed. It would be a missed opportunity to not have Wil Wheaton guest star. The new show will reportedly revolve around Picard’s current life, which might mean that the Enterprise crew hasn’t been in his orbit for a while. Perhaps Troi and Riker have settled down and have kids of their own. Is it possible that Worf has mellowed out a bit over time?

The real potential with this new Star Trek show is the fact that it’s set so far in the future. Picard will likely be around the same age that Patrick Stewart is currently. Since so much time has passed, there are endless possibilities. It would be nice to see characters from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine again. What if Kira Nerys and Picard are teachers at Starfleet? Seeing Nana Visitor reprise her role would make fans extremely happy. If storylines from Deep Space Nine are built into the show, this is an easy way to also bring back the character of Worf, who was on both TNG and DS9 and continues to be a fan favorite.

More Ethical Decisions, Less War And Destruction


Deep Space Nine Space Station
Deep Space Nine.

After watching the Dominion War in DS9, as well as the many Worf-centric episodes that revolve around war, it would be nice to see more ethical situations play out on the new show. The show will undoubtedly have conflict, as it should, but, in light of the current volatile global political climate, it would be refreshing to see a more hopeful vision of the future. War, betrayal, and conflict will likely continue in the show, as it does in life, but is it necessary for war to be the central theme?

It was with DS9, but we’re looking further into the future with this new show and hope should be central. Part of the appeal of Star Trek is in the ethical dilemmas the characters are put in, the decisions they make and the ensuing outcomes. Should they save a planet at all costs? Should they interfere in the lives of others? As great as it would be to see Picard in action once again, we’d love to see him debate the ethics of scenarios like he did oh-so-many times in TNG.

Picard In Space Or Picard On Land?


Star Trek Enterprise Starship
The Starship Enterprise from Star Trek.

Should Picard be the captain of a ship 20 years old, or should he be based on Earth, with the story revolving around his life there? Why not some kind of balance between both? Picard will likely not be a starship captain. Nevertheless, we’re certain he’ll be front and center of everything Starfleet. Whether he’s training young cadets or teaching new students, Picard will surely be in uniform, one way or another.

In order to keep the show fresh and to stay true to Star Trek, space must always feature heavily. This means planets, ships, moons, galaxies, and more. Maybe Picard spends his time on a space station with Kira Nerys in some fashion? But hold your horses, shippers — we’re not talking anything romantic, more working as a team. Seeing this duo in action in this capacity would make for a fun dynamic.

Timeline Answers

When we caught a glimpse of the future in the finale of The Next Generation, the characters had mainly continued on their own, individual paths. With this new show, we’d like to see a clear-cut timeline because, well, the many timelines are confusing. Once you add in the wide array of novels, comics, and more, it all gets quite difficult to follow. For this Picard-focused series, it would be nice to address some of the unanswered questions. Such as, why is Data shown in “All Good Things” yet seemingly killed in Star Trek: Nemesis? No matter what you deem canon-worthy, the fact remains: it’s time for a few explanations in terms of the many timelines and time travel elements of the Star Trek universe.

‘Good Omens’ Characters You Should Get To Know Before Watching

 

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‘Good Omens’ Characters You Should Get To Know Before Watching

There’s a lot of new TV to look forward to in 2019, from returning shows like Big Little Lies and Game of Thrones to reboots such as Veronica Mars and The Twilight Zone. Then there are the newbies, the series that we’ve never seen before… one of which is Good Omens, an upcoming fantasy comedy based on the novel of the same name by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

With no official release date yet, Amazon Prime Video has only unveiled one short teaser trailer to whet fans’ appetites since production wrapped back in March 2018. Because it takes its story from a book though, we know a fair bit about the characters — of which there are many — already.

While Good Omens looks to be heavily centred on the complicated friendship between Aziraphale and Crowley (more on those guys later), there’s plenty of other supporting players to meet. So let’s get on with the introductions…

Aziraphale


Welsh actor Michael Sheen takes on the role of angel Aziraphale.

Played by: Michael Sheen

Aziraphale is an angel, who has seemingly been on Earth since the beginning of time. He has lived during many eras from Ancient Rome to Victorian England, all the way through to present day. Heck, he was even around when Eden existed. Despite being studious and highly intelligent, Aziraphale is a pretty nervous, fussy character who’s very proper, dresses smartly and doesn’t enjoy meddling in things that are bigger than himself. He’s not into things that are over-the-top, either — which isn’t great considering he thinks most things in 2018 are — and runs a bookshop in Paris.

Despite angels being described as sexless in the book, it is mentioned that whenever someone meets Aziraphale, they conclude to themselves that he’s “gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide.” While that line is full of implications, it could just as easily relate to his relentless cheeriness as opposed to anything else.

Crowley


David Tennant seems the perfect fit for super-cool demon, Crowley.

Played by: David Tennant

Anthony Crowley, in almost every sense, is Aziraphale’s counterpart. He’s a demon. However, it is said that he’s not so much an angel that ‘Fell from Heaven’ but rather ‘Sauntered Vaguely Downwards’, and the pair came together after making an ‘Arrangement’ to occasionally work together. He was also the snake who offered Eve the apple in Eden and still to this day, has yellow eyes with slitted pupils.

He loves sleeping — so much so that he once snoozed through a whole century — and he’s also fond of music, from soul to classical. His most prized possession is his 1926 Bentley, which can actually be seen in the show’s first trailer. If a tape is left in his car for longer than two weeks, it turns into a ‘Best of Queen’ cassette; something that’s also touched upon in the teaser as it’s set to the band’s track, “You’re My Best Friend”.

In Good Omens, old ‘friends’ Crowley and Aziraphale come together once more to try and put an end to a world-ending event that would destroy the planet they’ve both come to love in the millions of years they’ve been living on it. Talking to Bustle about their characters’ relationship, Tennant described their bond as marriage-like, in the sense “it’s almost deeper than a friendship, because they’ve known each other for such a long time. For all of history. They’re two halves of the same being by the end of the story.”

Adam Young


Up-and-coming actor Sam Taylor Buck will bring Adam Young AKA the Antichrist to life.

Played by: Sam Taylor Buck

So what’s the thing that Aziraphale and Crowley are attempting to stop? A villainous entity? Satan? Aliens? Well, no, none of those scary-sounding things… The twosome are actually trying to prevent an eleven-year-old boy named Adam Young from becoming the Antichrist and bringing about the end of days. You know, the usual Tuesday tasks!

Due to a mistake made by a clumsy nun called Sister Mary Loquacious at the hospital when he was a baby, Young — who was actually intended to be the son of a prominent American diplomat stationed in Britain — went on to live with a family in Lower Tadfield, Oxfordshire. Meanwhile, Warlock Dowling, the child believed to be the Antichrist (as he went on to live with the diplomat), is just an average boy.

Young is described in the book as charismatic and otherworldly. He’s a member of a gang called ‘the Them’ along with his three friends Brian, Wensleydale and Pepper and he’s largely unaware of his supernatural powers. That is, until one day, when he naively tinkers with his abilities and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse rise and threaten Earth. Uh oh!

Archangel Gabriel

Played by: Jon Hamm

In Good Omens: The Novel, the Archangel Gabriel was merely mentioned, but in Good Omens: The TV Show, writer Gaiman — who has been developing the television series solo since Pratchett sadly passed away in March 2015 — decided to include him in the action because he wanted to play around with portraying Good and Evil outside of Aziraphale and Crowley’s polarised representation.

Speaking at a Q&A during Amazon’s European showcase in London a few months ago, Gaiman explained: “There aren’t any other angels in the book, but Terry [Pratchett] and I had this whole idea of what Heaven was like and what Hell was like and I thought – Gabriel.

“And in order for Gabriel to be Gabriel, he needed to be the best-looking, coolest, the most irritating angel that you could possibly imagine, and I thought, ‘I just need somebody who can do humour’. And I thought, obviously the good-looking bit is going to be a stretch for Jon – but he can do the other bits!”

In one scene that was screened during the event, Gabriel attempts to buy a pornography book. Something tells us, he’s not your typical angel.

Anathema Device


Adria Arjona is no stranger to the fantasy genre having previously appeared in Wizard of Oz spin-off Emerald City.

Played by: Adria Arjona

When it was published, the full title of the book on which the show is based was Good Omens: The Nice And Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. Nutter was a prophet, who lived in the 17th Century and used her future-seeing skills to help prevent sickness and cure those who were ill.

Despite her good intentions, it is believed that she was burned at the stake by her local townspeople; not before she shoved a ton of gunpowder and roofing nails into her petticoat and blew up the pyre and injured everyone near it though. Anathema Device is a descendant of Nutter.

Having pored over her distant relative’s book of predictions since she was a child, Anathema travels to Tadfield and seeks out Adam Young in the hope of thwarting the end of the world.

Shadwell


Michael McKean plays witch hunter Shadwell in Good Omens.

Played by: Michael McKean

Sergeant Shadwell is many things: a drinker of condensed milk, a lover of Sunday lunches and, frankly, a bit of a pig. But above all else, he’s a member of the Witchfinder Army, an organisation that hunts down beings who practice dark magic — he often chooses to ignore supernatural occurrences that might be described as ‘good’ — and offs them.

Shadwell’s right-hand man is Newton Pulsifer, a young man who had a brief romantic relationship with Anathema Device. He will be brought to life by comedian-turned-actor Jack Whitehall in the show.

Hastur and Ligur


Ned Dennehy (left) and Ariyon Bakare (right) bring demonic duo Hastur and Ligur to the small screen.

Played by: Ned Dennehy and Ariyon Bakare

Hastur and Ligur are the demons that deliver Warlock AKA The Child Who Isn’t The Antichrist to Crowley when he is just a baby. According to their descriptions in the book, Hastur and Ligur always had a taste for evil, even when they were angels, as Crowley includes them among those who take “such dark delight in unpleasantness you might even have mistaken them for human[s].”

When they discover that Warlock isn’t the bringer of the Apocalypse, the duo are sent for Crowley by the Infernal Authorities which ends disastrously for someone involved in the “collection.”

Harmony and Glozier


The League of Gentlemen AKA Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton and Mark Gatiss (pictured) will unite in Good Omens.

Played by: Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemberton

Lastly, we have Harmony and Glozier, two book-buyers who aren’t very nice guys so we’ve heard. Gaiman was said to have written the roles just for them.

“Glozier and Harmony are a small piece of the jigsaw but hopefully one which will fit nicely into place,” Pemberton told Digital Spy back in February. During the same interview, Sherlock actor Gatiss added: “”I’m delighted to be working with David and Michael again and of course with Steve – bringing a little film noir menace to such an exciting project. Being bad never felt so good!”

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Movies That Should Have Been Based on Video Games

The extent to which bad movies based on video games outweighs the good is almost laughable. Over the years, many studios have tried to translate the thrills and bombast of our favourite interactive medium to film, but it continually proves all-too-easy to slip up spectacularly. We say this fully aware that director Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil series has grossed box office takings of $ 1.2 billion worldwide. But as any fan of Capcom’s celebrated horror franchise will tell you, even Anderson’s franchise quickly abandoned the original concept, mutating into its own beast until it was near-unrecognisable.

The movies that do the most justice to video games tend to be those that skirt around gaming – such as Wreck-It Ralph, Ready Player One, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – rather than the ones that directly lift an existing plot or concept, condensing down hours and hours of gameplay into roughly 90 minutes. It’s an impossible task most of the time, it seems, when a studio sets out to transfer a game to the big screen. However, there are a bunch of Hollywood flicks that accidentally encapsulated our favourite game franchises – and in the process, made decent versions that could only have been improved had someone stepped in at the end of shooting and shouted: “Surprise! You’ve just made a Call of Duty film! Now add in these bits…”

Perhaps more movies need to be retroactively or stealthily made into game adaptations. Here’s our pick of movies that could, and perhaps should, have been based on video game properties.

Overlord/Wolfenstein

Originally rumoured to be another undercover addition to the cult Cloverfield anthology series, the J.J. Abrams’ produced Overlord turned out to be a gore-fuelled genre mash-up of war film and horror flick – one with an affinity for relentlessly dispatching zombified Nazi soldiers. It’s a pretty tongue-in-cheek take on what lengths the German army might have gone to in order to secure their thousand-year army. These traits are emblematic of the Wolfenstein video games: a series that also isn’t afraid to take some creative liberty when it comes to depicting what the Nazis were capable of.

Set in an alternate history where Hitler’s Third Reich has steamrolled its way onto American soil, recent Wolfenstein entries have placed you in the shoes of gung-ho resistance fighter B.J. Blazkowicz. And while there are no zombies for you to fight per se, the in-game Nazi forces have been conducting some equally grotesque human experiments. Just add in some mechs with the patriotic spirit dialled up to 11, and Overlord is a Wolfenstein movie in the making.

Exodus: Gods and Kings/Assassin’s Creed


We can image Christian Bale donning AC’s iconic hood.

While portraying a sneaky assassin and climbing tall buildings bring much of the joy gamers get from playing Assassin’s Creed games, it’s the historic locations and stories that are of chief appeal. The official Michael Fassbender-led Assassin’s Creed movie botched this a few years back by emphasising the series’ futuristic aspect, when what we should have got was a fully-fledged swords-and-sandals epic likes Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings.

The 2014 movie that cast Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Rameses II wasn’t great, as it happens. But it could have been had it been deliberately infused with a touch more Assassin’s Creed DNA. Only last year, the Ubisoft series ventured into the Ptolemaic period of Egypt, casting players as Bayek the Last Medjay, tasked with protecting the innocent. Exodus: Gods and Kings was, in the end, a plodding retelling of a story told countless times before and would have benefitted by borrowing from the Assassin’s Creed brand of fictionalised history.

Gangster Squad/LA Noire


Slick but soulless, Gangster Squad should have been based on LA Noire.

Set in post-WWII Los Angeles and intended as an homage to noir films of the era, Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad had a cracking cast in Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, and more. However, it’s instantly forgettable thanks to an uninspired story. It follows a rogue team of LAPD officers challenged to go beyond police boundaries to take down a local crime baron. The movie, however, shares plenty of similarities with the critically acclaimed detective game, LA Noire, released just two years prior.

LA Noire forgoes the usual action spectacle for a slower-paced crime story that is gradually pieced together as you work your way up the police departments. The cases you, as protagonist Cole Phelps, are solving are based on real Los Angeles crimes committed in 1947, and there’s a strong emphasis on the morality of the decisions you make in order to get your confession. Gangster Squad could have been vastly improved with this nuance, which would have done justice to the style of film it honours. Instead, the film just consistently descends into a 21st century-brand of action.

REC/Resident Evil


REC matched the first Resident Evil’s vibe of close-quarters horror.

While a diluted version of Resident Evil may have already found success among cinema audiences, the Milla Jovovich-led franchise leaned more on action than the intimate horror of Capcom’s best entries of the classic game series. The formula for a perfect Resident Evil movie should go something like this: zombies + limited resources + a confined space. In other words, the elements masterfully executed within 2007 Spanish found-footage horror REC, and by extension its US remake, Quarantine.

Both versions of the film centre on an innocent reporter accompanying a team of firefighters on their first job of the night, only to find that the apartment building they’re called to is Ground Zero to a viral outbreak. This is akin to the close-quarters horror Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine find themselves experiencing in the first Resident Evil’s Spencer Mansion, or, more recently, Resident Evil 7’s Baker House. The movies’ found-footage aspect aligns them specifically to the latter game, restoring the stripped-back scares that Anderson’s films always lacked. REC is already intense, but just imagine if it was approached as a Resident Evil film.

Edge of Tomorrow/Call of Duty

Edge of Tomorrow is already quite video game-y. In it, we follow an underprepared Tom Cruise, who is forced into battle during an alien war against Earth, only to find that he is able to die again and again before being sent back to the beginning of the skirmish. That’s right, it’s Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers. And while Edge of Tomorrow could make a case for being based on any first-person shooter franchise, it aligns well with the fast-paced action of Call of Duty’s multiplayer offering.

The movie is actually based on a manga comic called All You Need Is Kill, but the time-loop aspect reinforces the tediousness of war until ultimately it’s trivialised – similar to how Call of Duty players have become acclimatised to “live, die, repeat”, up to the point where they win for their team online. There is an official Activision-licenced Call of Duty movie currently in development, but Edge of Tomorrow’s futuristic element means it doesn’t sit too far away from sub-series entries Black Ops and Infinite Warfare. Another movie that could have been improved by an overt association with a gaming franchise? What could have been.

5 Times Dystopian TV and Film Fiction Became Real-Life Dystopian Fact

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Here’s Why Black Investors Should Consider Investing in Commercial Real Estate

Investing in commercial real estate can be confusing to new investorsdizzying numbers and jargon can make investors wary. However, investing in commercial real estate is actually easier than you think—and the perks are great to boot. Sound income potential, solid stability, and downside protection against market volatility are some of those perks.

Investing in Commercial Real Estate Doesn’t Require You to Be an Expert

Investing in real estate doesn’t demand you be an expert in real estate This is where sponsors come in. And no, a sponsor isn’t an advertiser. A sponsor is an asset operator who syndicates the funds and makes the deal happen.The sponsor handles anything from funding to managing the investment. They manage the asset. You collect the income.

 

Commercial Real Estate is a Long-Term Investment

Another upside to investing in commercial real estate is its long-term focus. It protects your downside and is engineered to collect big returns over time. On the flip side, if you’re just looking to make quick buck, real estate might not be the right investment space for you. Plus your money’s locked up for a pre-set contractual period — you can’t just cash out anytime you want.

Crowdfunding Allows Everyday Folks to Own Commercial Property for Under $ 1000

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, signed in 2012, allows everyday investors to own a piece of assets such as the World Trade Center through real estate crowdfunding. There are tons of online marketplaces that give you access to syndicated deals. And if you’re not into that? Well, there’s always REITs.

A version of this story appeared on WealthLAB.

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Why you should take a winter road trip

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If you don’t fancy a hot summer vacation but still fancy traveling somewhere new, then a winter road trip could be your ideal getaway. There are plenty of benefits of a road trip during the colder months as opposed to the heat of the peak season and could make for the perfect vacation.

Miles of open road

During winter, needless to say, everywhere is much less busy. Fewer families are traveling to and fro day trips and vacations, and so you’ve got the choice of roads and attractions where significantly fewer people are there than in summer. This can make for a much more relaxed and peaceful drive, so long as you drive safely and according to the weather conditions.

Avoid the crowds

For the same reason, almost any attraction, restaurant, or hotel you stop at is much less busy. There’s more chance of you finding rooms or tables on arrival than you would in summer. This is not to mention the reduction in the price of many goods and services during the off-season.

Take in the views

With less people around and significantly less traffic, you’re free to soak up the views of wherever you decide to head. If you take a winter road trip through Canada, for example, when no other vehicles are around, you can take in the stunning mountains and snow-covered trees in peace. You can even find a spot to park – which is easy in the off-season – and go for a walk in the pristine snow and forests.

Wildlife spotting

Not all animals hibernate over winter, and with considerably less traffic than in summer, you might just get the opportunity to see some animals and beautiful wildlife puttering about. You might also be treated to an incredible experience of seeing animals playing and bounding around in the snow if you’re lucky.

Better climate

Besides the lack of people around in winter, the cool air can make for a perfect road trip. While you might enjoy driving with the windows down in the heat of summer, winter road trips are great to avoid overheating or having hair whipped in your face. Winter tends to be a peaceful and serene time to drive where we can feel warm and cozy in the protection of our own cars.

An alternate winter

Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean it has to be snowy, icy, or even cold at all. Many places, like Vancouver Island, get rain rather than snow which makes for a totally different experience. Surfing is often best in the off-season, as are the incredible storms you can witness over the ocean in winter. You could even take a trip to Hawaii, where winter is still warm regardless of the weather elsewhere.

There are plenty of reasons to take a winter road trip and many ways in which it beats a summer road trip, but it’s important to remember that it’s not as easy. Harsh weather conditions can make for a dangerous drive if you’re not careful and the cold can run your battery dry, so make sure you don’t leave any lights on overnight.

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Louisiana investigating hepatitis A outbreak: What you should know

The outbreak makes Louisiana the 15th state to experience an ongoing outbreak.
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On Comedy: Should Aziz Ansari and Louis C.K. Talk About Accusations Onstage?

The comics are taking opposite tacks as they return, but the art of comedy relies on personas. What happens when those constructs no longer ring true?
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Why Meteora, Greece should be your next destination

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People love to travel, and there is barely a stone left unturned on this Earth. Most of the hidden gems in the world have been discovered, but there might just be one place left that is the complete package and isn’t filled with tourists, yet. Meteora in Greece is largely unknown to the masses, but it should be. Here’s why it should be your next holiday destination.

An alien landscape

With large rock erupting from the ground, green forests, and golden lakes, Meteora can seem completely foreign to people who visit it. It is almost so perfect it looks fake. There are countless rock formations with many of them topped with monasteries. You can explore this landscape by walking, biking, or even climbing.

Adventure paradise

Meteora is actually an adventurer’s paradise as there are endless climbing and hiking opportunities. You can wander off by yourself (or in a group) and discover the land at your own pace. Many tours will give you the tools required to scale the giant rock formations, taking in the Greek destination at a new angle. Besides climbing and hiking, there are also white water rafting opportunities. The Ionas River flows nearby and offers thrillseekers the perfect opportunity to get their adrenaline pumping.

The food

As with pretty much anywhere in Greece, you won’t go hungry as the food is exceptional. Olive lovers rejoice as you’re going to get some of the best varieties produced anywhere in the world. There are plenty of tavernas which offers local cuisines, including moussaka, and there’s loads of halloumi cheese on offer. Grilled meat is a Greek staple, and you’ll be leaving Meteora at least one size larger than when you arrived.

Explore history

The monasteries placed on top of the rocks can be explored, you just need to climb your way to the tops of the giant boulders to see them. You can trace back through time as the monasteries open their doors to the public and there are several folk museums littered around too. The architecture found is a piece of history as these buildings have been crafted from sandstone over hundreds of years. They sit well above sea level and are perfectly preserved for you to get a glimpse of life from centuries ago.

Get low

The attraction of Meteora is not just reaching up to the sky, there are also places to discover below the ground. The Theopetra Cave has shown signs of human life residing inside from at least 100,000 years ago. Archaeologists even found a stone wall built inside that dates back 23,000 years, making it the oldest example of a structure made by man. There is so much history hidden in this Greek location, all you have to do is look and you will discover it.

Meteora is a pretty well-kept secret for now, but the cat’s out of the bag and soon everyone will be checking it out. Make sure it’s your next destination to get ahead of the game.

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Vladimir Putin says rap music should be state controlled

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Best cheap flight websites you should be using

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Booking a flight can be overwhelming, we all know that. Whether you’re traveling across the state or to the other side of the world, you want to know you’re getting the most out of your money. With a range of different services, airlines, and seating arrangements, there are so many things to consider, but we’ve got some of the best flight websites which offer the cheapest flights.

Go direct

One of the best ways to book flights is through the airline itself, rather than through a third party. Airlines often have deals and reduced prices, although, even without a price reduction, they will usually cost no more than other online booking agents, but will give you peace of mind. If something were to go wrong with your booking or you needed to make an alteration, it’s easiest to speak directly to the airline who can deal with your issue quicker and more efficiently than an external agent.

Expedia

The trusted website has been around since the 90s and is no less popular for booking flights today. It can be used to book hotels, rental cars, and activities, too, meaning you can plan your entire trip through one website, which is certainly handy. They also offer a rewards scheme, meaning you can save money on future trips, the more you use their site.

Hotwire

Hotwire has been operating for roughly 20 years, making it one of the most reputable and reliable online booking websites. The site is easy to use, simple, and efficient for your convenience. All you have to do is input your details into the search bar, and it will bring up all the best deals. They also offer package deals which include hotels. These deals are almost unbeatable every time, with their package deals working out much cheaper than booking a flight and hotel separately.

Orbitz

Orbitz has been around just short of 20 years and has a successful rewards scheme where each booking earns you Orbucks which can save you tons on future hotel bookings – but not flights, sadly. This scheme works out so that 1% of your booking price is knocked off your next hotel bill. So a $ 300 flight, would subtract $ 3 from your hotel booking when you redeem your Orbucks. They also have a price match guarantee, but do charge a booking fee.

Priceline

This website is known for ‘opaque bookings,’ meaning that you book a flight without knowing the specific details, like times and the airline. In this way, airlines can fill more of their seats, and travelers can bag some pretty good deals. However, it’s not for everyone. You must have a pretty flexible schedule and be willing to go with whatever you’re told. The tickets cannot be canceled or changed, but, if you’re willing to blind book, Priceline can offer savings of up to 30%.

We all want to find the cheapest flights possible but from the most reliable site. These four websites are popular with travel fans and can offer you some great deals. They’re definitely ones to try for your next trip abroad.

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Anita Hill: Companies Should Treat Sexual Harassment as an Abuse of Power

After the Congressional testimonies of Christine Blasey [f500link, ignore=true]Ford[/f500link] and Brett Kavanaugh in September, professor Anita Hill met with students at Brandeis University to discuss and process the event.

“There were a range of feelings,” said the attorney, known for her own testimony accusing then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. “Anger, a feeling of disgust with leadership, and unfortunately a feeling of abandonment–a sense that they were not recognized, their experiences weren’t recognized.”

Hill said the students have been very engaged in the effort to combat sexual violence on college campuses, where currently one in four women can expect to be sexually assaulted during their time at school.

“They have put a lot of energy in it and taken a lot of risk to make known the problem of sexual assault for their generation,” she said Wednesday at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Many women felt rage watching the Kavanaugh confirmation, Hill acknowledged, but disagreed with the idea that the outcome–Kavanaugh was later confirmed–meant no progress had been made in the 27 years since her own appearance on Capitol Hill.

“Maybe the Senate hasn’t changed enough, but we have,” she said. “And there’s a new generation of women coming up who are going to be even more empowered for change.”

That change needs to be large and institutional, Hill told a ballroom of executives, from college campuses to the workplace.

“I think we have to understand the root problem for what it is,” she said. “It’s not just about sexual harassment. In many ways, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It is about the abuse of power that occurs.”

Hill added: “We have to see this as a problem of power–power alignment and abuse, overall.”

If you don’t look at the issue as a comprehensive problem, it’s like playing whac-a-mole attempting to address instances of harassment as they occur, Hill said. Organizations instead need to understand the ways that people in positions of power can, and do, take advantage of others in the workplace.

“One way abuse of power is manifested is through sexual harassment,” she said. “But it’s also manifested through pay inequity. It’s also manifested through lack of leadership opportunities. It’s also manifested just by day to day aggressions that occur.”

It’s the power dynamic that often makes it difficult for people to report sexual misconduct. In the workplace, 75% of employees who report sexual harassment experience retaliation from managers or coworkers.

Because the fear of retaliation is real, companies need to make it clear from the highest levels that sexual misconduct will not be tolerated and create a standard process to rectify reports of harassment, Hill said.

“We need to make sure that we have very clear policies that are accessible and let people know, if they come forward, exactly what is going to happen to them,” she said.

It’s also important an employee knows that there will be an outcome when an issue is raised, rather than it disappearing into a human resources file, Hill added. It will require organizations to implement strong policies and live up to the promises they make to workers to begin to reduce the rates of sexual assault and harassment.

“We have to view this as a cultural problem, not a behavioral problem,” Hill said. “Do not be content with the idea that if we fire one or two high profile people, we’ve changed the culture of an institution. That is just not accurate. It’s not true and it’s not going to be effective.”

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Why you should stay in a youth hostel at least once in your life

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Some people refuse to stay in a youth hostel as they fear sharing their space with a complete stranger, or a group of strangers. Sure it means you have to get a little closer to people you know nothing about, but that’s actually part of its charm, plus they are a bargain too! Here’s why you should stay in a youth hostel at least once in your life.

Out of your comfort zone

Travel is all about creating experiences, but if you stay within your comfort zone, those memories might pass you by. Spending a few nights in a youth hostel will put you in touch with like-minded people all trying to have a great time. It is a collection of potential new friends.

There is always a place to hang out and have a few drinks before you and your new friends go exploring the city you’re staying in. Making friends at a youth hostel is pretty much inevitable if you’re open to the idea, and it can only make your experience better.

They cost less

There is one thing many people always argue in favor of hotels over hostels, they give you privacy. That privacy comes at a price, and often it makes travel far too expensive. For those who want to see the world but don’t have the budget to spend every night in a hotel, there is the humble youth hostel. They can cost as little as $ 10 per night and offer you a safe place to stay in a foreign land.

Hostels know what you want

The people who run youth hostels know exactly what you’ve come for. A good time! You will find that they try to help people get out and explore their wonderful cities, either during the day or to get a taste of the nightlife. The staff will suggest tours, and at night many of the team will gather a group of fellow hostel residents to go out and enjoy themselves.

Local knowledge

If you want to find the latest hotspot in the city, then the chances are the people working in the youth hostel are going to know where that is. Their jobs are to look after young travelers, so they have to know what they are attracted to. Tap into the staff’s knowledge to get to know some of the world’s best cities, plus they often have exclusive discounts to make things cheaper.

Resources

If you are traveling on a budget, then you might not have the cash to go out and eat dinner every night. One thing youth hostels offer you above hotels is the use of a guest kitchen. You can make your own meals in the evenings before hitting the town, saving vital resources for the local clubs and bars.

Youth hostels get a bad rap from people, but they offer so much. They won’t break the bank, and they pretty much guarantee you’re going to have a good time by creating a party atmosphere.

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Hidden places you should visit in the US

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Isn’t it amazing how much can be hidden right under your nose? You might think you know all there is to see in your country, but there’s still plenty out there that can surprise you. All you need to do is go exploring a little more, and you might be amazed by what you discover.

Fly Geyser (Nevada)

Natural phenomena are always breathtaking, but few are quite as captivating as Fly Geyser. Located in Washoe County, Nevada, the geyser is notable for its eye-catching colors which seem like something out of a painting. This natural wonder is no piece of art, though. It’s not even technically naturally occurring. The geyser only came about after locals tried drilling for a well in 1961, one of the best decisions they ever made. Now, almost six decades later, it’s become one of America’s greatest hidden gems.

Apostle Islands ice caves (Wisconsin)

If you live in Wisconsin, then there’s a chance you’re familiar with the Apostle Islands. There are 22 of them across Lake Superior, and they’re home to a variety of brilliant sights. From dense forests to sandstone cliffs, your camera would have a field day here. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that these islands transform at a particular time of the year. When the days get shorter and colder, some of the caves here become a winter wonderland. The flawless icicles have to be seen to be believed.

Tamanawas Falls (Oregon)

Do you ever feel like you’ve been transported to another world when you wander through a forest? Trees surround you on all sides, and there’s no sign of civilization anywhere – who knows where you could be. That’s probably why the things you find inside forests always seem so much more amazing than usual. Take Tamanawas Falls in Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest. At first, nothing seems out of the ordinary; then you stumble out in the open to find this incredible water feature cascading down from over 100 feet in the air.

Neptune Memorial Reef (Florida)

Looking for diving with a difference? Neptune Memorial Reef in Florida’s Key Biscayne can offer you that, though it might not be what you expect. It’s home to an underwater graveyard where the ashes of those who have passed away are stored in memorials. Apparently, the people of Florida grew bored of walking around a cemetery, so they went and put theirs somewhere a little more exciting. You might find it unsettling to swim around the deceased, but it’s one of the most tranquil ways to show respect to those no longer with us. What’s more peaceful than the silence you get while underwater?

If you want to see everything that the United States has to offer, you might be out for a while. With an area of 9.834 million km² to explore, you’re not going to get it all done in a day. Luckily, if you don’t have time to hike across North America, you at least know the best spots to see on your travels.

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Should You Wear Cuffed Pants? A Guide to Trouser Cuffs

In recent years, cuffs, also known as turn-ups, have somewhat fallen out of favor with mainstream men. At the same time, it’s a very classic look that has been around for a long time and will likely also be a part of classic men’s wardrobe for the foreseeable future.

Basically, it is a folded edge at the hem at the bottom and it looks like a turned-up edge that it’s added to the pant leg. Traditionally, a cuff is not cut but simply folded from excess fabric at the bottom hem. Because of that, if you will let out the cuffs, you could always create a longer pair of pants or trousers. When you do that, you usually don’t have enough fabric left to put a cuff back on. In that case, you simply add a faux cuff meaning it is cut separately and then sewn on to give you a little more extra room when you’re short on fabric.

Cuffed Angled Hem

Cuffed Angled Hem

For bespoke trousers or suits, you sometimes also see angled cuffs which is more difficult to do and they are always faux cuffs because you cannot have a continuous piece of fabric with a faux cuff. The benefit of the angled cuff is that you don’t have a break in the front, at the same time, the back part of the trouser leg reaches almost the heel which is very pleasing. You also reveal more of the shoe. On the formality scale, cuffed trousers are always less formal than pants without cuffs.

History Of Turn-Ups

Historically, the origins of cuffs stemmed from a time where you would turn up the bottom hem of your trouser in muddy weather. In 1890, the then Prince of Wales who later became King Edward the seventh introduced the permanent turn-up which was there just for fashion reasons and was not a necessity due to outside weather conditions.

Cuffed pants became the norm for businesswear between the 1890s and the 1940s. During World War II, there was a fabric shortage and so it was decided to forego the cuff or the turn-up so you could save on a fabric and create more garments instead.

King Edward the Seventh

King Edward the Seventh

Ever since the 1950s, cuffed trousers have gone in and out of fashion but over the years, they’ve always remained, they’ve always come back and likely they will always come back even though they might not be super fashionable at this point in time.

By the way, the British refer to cuffs as things you have on your sleeve versus on the pants or trousers, they’re called turn-ups. Sometimes Savile Row tailors also call them PTUs or permanent turn-ups. At the end of the day, they’re all the same.

Spezzato Suit Jacket and Matching Vest with Contrasting Yellow Pants and Brown Oxfords

Raphael Employing Spezzato with a Suit Jacket and Matching Vest with Contrasting Yellow Pants with cuffs and Brown Oxfords

When Do You Typically See Cuffs On Trouser Hems?

You definitely see them in suits and in Italy, I’d say the majority of suits will have the cuff. They’re also popular in white-collar professions with lawyers, bankers, and the like. Cuffs can help to make a suit silhouette look more grounded especially when you have vertical stripes such as a pinstripe or a rope stripe.

In terms of the seasons, you can find cuffs anywhere from flannel suits or tweed suits all the way up to summery seersucker suits. In the collegiate realm, cuffs are favored by people who are interested in trad style. On the other hand, if you’re more a follower of the preppy style, you’re more likely to just manually turn-up your uncuffed pants.

Very tall cuff and very short pants - if the pants would have touched the shoe it would have been perfect

Very tall cuff and very short pants – if the pants would have touched the shoe it would have been perfect

Cuffs are also often a feature on odd trousers or slacks that are worn to the office. Just think of the typical gray flannel pants with a navy blazer, for example, or other office outfits that are a bit more serious. When it comes to casual pants, you still may encounter turn-ups on chinos or khakis even though you can also find them without cuffs.

When it comes to traditional workwear such as denim or jeans, you will not find a cuff because that would simply be impractical. In this day and age, a cuff on a pair of jeans would simply look weird. That aside, you can also find cuffs on shorts, typically, they make it a little less formal so for most shorts, I don’t think they’re appropriate but it is an option that exists.

Tan Monk Strap Shoes with beige cuffed pants

Tan Monk Strap Shoes with beige cuffed pants

To Cuff Or Not To Cuff?

That is the question!

The bottom line is cuffs or turn-ups are optional and it’s a personal style choice. For example in my suit collection, I have a bunch of suits with cuffs that are a little more casual, at the same time, I have three-piece suits that don’t feature cuffs whereas others do feature cuffs.

The big advantage of cuffs is that it adds a bit more weight to the bottom part of your pants thus creating a nicer drape or hang of the trouser especially if you have pleated pants. Of course, they also can help to create a visual balance, for example, for double-breasted suits or vertically striped suits.

Cuffs definitely give you a slightly more traditional look and if you want a contemporary look with a slim fit, oftentimes, it’s better to forego the cuff for a cleaner silhouette. That being said, there’s one area where cuffs and turn-ups are always unacceptable from a historical point of view and that is formal wear. So you’ll never see cuffs on a proper tuxedo, a black tie ensemble, a white tie ensemble, or a morning coat. Likewise, you also won’t encounter it with a stroller suit.

So if you’re buying trousers that are not for a formal occasion, should you add cuffs or not? At the end of the day, if you’re undecided, I always argue in favor of cuffs because you can always have them very easily removed at the alterations tailor. Think of it as an additional fabric that allows you to be creative with the size of your cuff but if you don’t like it, you can always get rid of it.

On the flip side, if you decide against cuffs from the get-go and you later realize that the fabric is too flimsy and you would like to have a cuff in there, it’s very difficult to add one back on because most of the time, there’s not enough fabric left even for a faux cuff.

Extremely short pants with paisley crazy socks

Extremely short pants with paisley crazy socks

How  To Wear Cuffs Well

First of all, for a true cuff, you always need a plain hem and you want the front just to slightly touch the top of your shoe. In general, cuffs look best if they just slightly touch your shoe without creating a deep break or any puddling around your ankle. So when in doubt, a cuffed pair of pants is always slightly shorter than an uncuffed pair of pants. Having too much excess fabric at the ankle paired with a cuff can just look sloppy. Also, if your pants have cuffs as well as pleats, the break can interrupt the nice crease and the nice line of the pair of trousers.

When you wear dress boots, make sure that the pants have enough space so they go over the boot and don’t just get caught on it, otherwise, you always have some puddling going on that’s very unsightly.

Pants too long because they puddle

Pants too long because they puddle

In terms of cuff size, there is again no right or wrong. Historically, there has been anything from under one inch to all the way up to two and a half even three inches. As with most things in menswear, it pays to stay in the middle which is typically between one and a half inches or two inches. In the metric system, that’s about 3.5 or 3.75 centimeters and 5 centimeters. According to Alan Flusser, a traditional cuff size is 1 and 5/8 of an inch for men who are 5’10” or shorter. If you are taller than that, you should go with an inch and 3/4.

Personally, I like it slightly larger so sometimes I have a two-inch cuff or slightly smaller something that’s also slightly bigger but it definitely is a bit more noticeable and if you want to go for a classic look, this guideline hits the nail on the head.

Of course, you can also pay attention to other aspects in your suit. Let’s say you have very wide lapels, you should not have a very slim cuff because it simply looks not proportional. Also, you can look at the height of your collar in the back of your neck of your jacket and try to match that to the size of your trouser cuff.

Fringed spectator suede tassel loafer with dotted socks and slim large cuffs

Fringed spectator suede tassel loafer with dotted socks and slim large cuffs

Get Started With Cuffs

So what are some good ways to get started with cuffs?

I suggest you maybe start with a pair of chinos because you can wear them a little more casually and otherwise, you can also wear them with a suit including a solid navy suit which is quite formal for a suit but nevertheless, it can be worn with cuffs. If you don’t wear suits a lot, you could experiment with cuffs on slightly more casual pants such as flannel pants, tweed slacks, or linen pants.

So in conclusion, it pays to have cuffed trousers in your wardrobe, whether they are really casual slacks, chinos, or slacks that are a part of a suit. At the same time, you never want to add cuffs to very formal ensembles because they are simply not meant for that.

When you opt for cuffs, go with a slightly shorter trouser length so you have a nice hanging pair of pants and at the end of the day, the sky is the limit and your choice or preference decides on whether you have a lot of cuffs in your wardrobe or very few but it always pays to have at least a few pairs of pants with cuffs because it just gives you a complete wardrobe.

Do you prefer pants with or without cuffs? Please share with us in the comments below!


Gentleman’s Gazette

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Best cheap flight airlines you should be using

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Traveling abroad is rarely ever cheap. Even if you manage to bag some accommodation at an affordable rate, you still have the cost of getting there to worry about. Thankfully, your flights don’t always have to leave you broke before you’ve even made it on your vacation. As long as you travel with the right airline, you can pay for your journey without blowing all your savings.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines won’t jet you off on vacation to Europe or Australia, but it can handle all your traveling needs within the United States. Whether you’re flying from Texas to Alaska, or you’re just hopping over to your neighboring state, this airline’s got you covered. Prices for a round trip can be as low as $ 30 which will barely leave a dent in your travel budget. With the added bonus of a mileage program that gifts you things like priority boarding, you might want to go with Frontier Airlines for your next American vacation.

jetBlue

Prepare to fly a little further if you choose JetBlue the next time you book a flight. As well as traveling all over the United States, this budget airline will also fly to the very south of the North American border. Holidays in Mexico and the Caribbean are definitely on the table with this provider, and your flights there are sure to be ones you’ll enjoy too. JetBlue planes generally offer greater leg room capacity than many other cheap airlines, while also providing things like onboard dining services. It’s everything you probably expect from a flight, just at a fraction of the cost.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has been offering budget flights for the people of America for decades. They’ve been around since the early ‘70s, and for the last 50 years, they’ve been flying further and quicker without putting customers out of pocket. Not only can you jet off to over 100 destinations via Southwest Airlines, but you also have the bonus of taking two free bags on your flight. That’s a service that’s rarely offered by airlines, so you know that Southwest is treating you right. Not that you really need to save much money seeing as how their fares are also exceptionally affordable.

Virgin America

You might think a respected brand like Virgin would offer somewhat costly flights for its passengers. However, Virgin America is regularly praised for its affordability, making it one of the leading budget airlines in the country. Things like Wifi availability and spacious seating will have you flying in style as you head off on vacation, all while you’re tended to by award-winning airline staff. The crew at Virgin America pride themselves on the level of care and attention they show their customers, and it shows. Their dedication is merely the cherry on the cake when it comes to this affordable airline.

Going on vacation can cause a great deal of stress, but there are ways to stop your mini break from driving you insane. If you fly with one of these affordable airlines, at least you can cross saving money off of your list.

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Why the balkans should be your next destination

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Taking its name from the Balkan Mountains, this part of Southeast Europe has become more and more popular with travelers in recent times. With a heady mix of different cultures, landscapes, and people, it’s no surprise that tourists are waking up to what the Balkans can offer for an incredible trip. If you’re unsure whether this is the right destination for you, we’re about to change your mind. Here is why the Balkans should be your next destination.

It’s cheaper than the rest of Europe

Compared to the rest of Europe, you’ll find that the Balkans is a far more affordable place to visit. In fact, you can fill your belly here in a fairly nice restaurant for around $ 15 per person. It’s a lot cheaper here because it hasn’t become a tourist hotspot – yet. However, as more and more people realize the potential of a more affordable vacation in Europe, the prices are likely to rise. If you want to make the most out of how cheap it is here, then you definitely need to make your way there pronto. Who can turn down a $ 15 dinner… With drinks?!

It has some of the most beautiful things to see and do

In the Balkans you’ll find some of the most beautiful scenery in the whole of Europe – if not the world. And it doesn’t matter what kind of thing you like to do, because you’ll find something for everyone here. If you’re a history buff then you’ll love wandering around the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. If you’re an active adventurer then you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to the mountains, fjords, and landscapes that you can hike across. If you love culture, then you won’t be disappointed when it comes to all of the galleries and museums on offer here. There really is something for everyone in the Balkans.

Don’t forget the beaches!

Of course, we couldn’t mention the beautiful scenery of the Balkans without talking about the beaches. If you like sandy beaches and clear blue waters, then this is the place to be – especially in the summer. Greece and Croatia are some of the most popular destinations when it comes to beach vacations, but you should consider thinking outside of the box too. Head to the Albanian Riviera for some hidden gems that you just won’t want to leave. Even countries like Macedonia, which are landlocked, have lakes that put some other countries’ beaches to shame.

The locals are super helpful

As they aren’t often plagued by tourists, you’ll find the locals of the Balkans to be an extremely friendly bunch. In fact, they’re often grateful for visitors and this certainly comes across in the way they are with tourists. Most of the locals are willing to lend you a hand, let you know of secret spots to eat and drink, and just generally welcome you with open arms. This is the kind of place that will quickly feel like home from home, thanks to how incredible the people are.

Surely now you must be convinced to head to the Balkans on your next trip?! It really is a stunning part of the world, that has to be seen to be believed.

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Why you should visit the United States national parks in any season

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The national parks in the United States are some of the most beautiful places on Earth, but many people only visit them when the weather is good. We’re looking at why these parks are great to visit at any time of the year, no matter the weather.

The snow

Do you like when the snow comes and turns everything a brilliant shade of white? Snow is capable of turning even the bleakest of places into something pretty thanks to the white blankets it lays over everything. If you enjoy the beauty of the national parks then why not check them out after a snowfall? The national parks are already awe-inspiring but when covered in snow that beauty is taken to another level.

Climbing

Ice climbing is becoming more popular and if you like to visit the parks to scale some of their rocks then why not increase the difficulty? Glacier National Park and Acadia National Park are ideal as you can find a challenge while enjoying the beauty offered by the parks. Winter doesn’t have to be the time of hibernation, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy nature without waiting for the fair weather.

Wildlife

Different species of wildlife thrive during different seasons. If you love heading to a national park to check out signs of wildlife, and to get closer to nature, then why not mix things up and visit at a different time of year? You’ll be more likely to see a different set of animals if you mix up when you visit the parks. It’s more likely you’ll spot animals like beavers and otters during the colder, wetter months.

Waterfalls

Hitting the national parks in the middle of summer usually means you’re going to get good weather, but you might be denying yourself an awe-inspiring sight. As the winter snows melt they fuel the rivers and streams running through the parks, which means there is a greater chance to see the amazing waterfalls in action.

Yosemite falls are an iconic site in the California national park, but come too late and the water will practically have dried up already. Hitting up a national park in spring when the rains arrive mean you can see some of nature’s best water features in action before they fizzle out.

Beating the crowds

Unsurprisingly, summer is the most popular time for people visiting the national parks. If you don’t mind a bit of rain, or wrapping up a little warmer, then check them out earlier or later in the year. Fall is one of the best times of year to be surrounded by trees, and fewer people are stomping around the trails. That means you can enjoy the parks in relative peace, without every man, woman, child, and dog getting in the way.

The national parks in the United States don’t only open during the summer months, and they are there to be taken advantage of all year. Whether it’s avoiding people or enjoying the diversity, visiting the national parks in all seasons is a must.

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Should the Oscars Fire Host Kevin Hart Over His Homophobic Jokes?

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Hosting the Academy Awards is an infamously thankless gig, exposing the emcee to intense scrutiny from the culturati and critics, typically with little to gain professionally in exchange. It’s gotten so bad that earlier this week, in response to the fact that dozens of celebrities had turned down the Academy’s requests to preside over this year’s ceremony, The Hollywood Reporter proclaimed hosting the Oscars “the least wanted job in Hollywood.”

That was, of course, mere hours before the Academy announced that comedian Kevin Hart had taken the job.

Hart actually wanted the job very much, and has been on record saying as much over the years. He announced that he was “blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time” when he shared the news on Instagram. And now that he’s gotten it, he’s already witnessing part of the aforementioned reality of the gig: the scrutiny.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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How Nintendo Should Build on Its New Zelda Formula

Breath of the Wild was a huge departure from the usual Zelda formula. The world was completely open to explore and rarely felt empty or boring as there was always something to do. Every quest you embarked on could be interrupted by dozens of other objectives to complete. The changes not only satisfied longtime fans but left them yearning for more.

Although little has been confirmed officially, speculation suggests that 2019 will bring a new Legend of Zelda game. Given the success of Breath of the Wild, we can only hope that Nintendo will continue to build upon its new formula. Here’s what we think Nintendo should do next to continue to evolve the Legend of Zelda franchise.

Customization — Who Says Link Has to Be Hylian?


Character Customization

Imagine starting up the next Zelda game for the first time, selecting “New Game,” and being greeted by a character customization screen. A Mass Effect-level of customization might be a bit much for a game whose main character is as iconic as Link. But being able to choose your gender or even race, as seen in games like Skyrim, could be a lot of fun. And what would happen if you chose to be a male Gerudo?

Speaking of customization, building swords, bows, and axes from materials you find during your travels would be a lot of fun, and a great way to introduce new items to the game. Customizable weapons might also force the game designers to give players each weapon a few more stats, too. Hey, wait, weapon building could mimic one of the best systems in the game: cooking. Imagine all the exciting “recipes” to try.

Ironing Out That Confusing Lore


Zelda Lore

What if Breath of the Wild didn’t just reset the Zelda formula? What if it was also intended to reset the timeline? It’s no secret that the Zelda timeline was an afterthought to Nintendo. The company even waited until the franchise turned 25 to finally release an official timeline. But now that the Zelda formula has been reinvented, couldn’t the timeline be reset as well? Breath of the Wild could be the start of its own story arch.

At the very least, it would be great to build upon Breath of the Wild‘s world. We don’t have to go full Dark Souls, but the follow-up to Breath of the Wild could continue the story with the same characters, items, weapons, and world. And what if you could live that lore by helping to rebuild Hyrule yourself? Sweet.

Give Us More Than Just Land to Explore


Flight in BotW

Bigger is better when it comes to map sizes for open-world games. Breath of the Wild is the biggest Zelda game yet, but it could be even bigger. Think Grand Theft Auto 5 or the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. And what about water? That’s right — maybe it’s time to bring those iron boots back. There were exactly zero underwater areas to explore in Breath of the Wild. Opening up the game to water exploration would lead to a bigger map, which, in turn, could lead to a whole new set of game mechanics.

And we haven’t forgotten about airborne travel. Surely, we weren’t the only ones who started Breath of the Wild, saw the Divine Beast Vah Medoh floating in the distance, and thought, “Oh my gosh, it’s Skyloft!” or, “Oh my gosh, it’s the City in the Sky!” Wouldn’t it have been great to try to figure out how to get up there? And you know that jumping off to see how far you could glide is also a must.

Hey, Link! Let’s Start a Band


Kass - BotW Instrument

Musical instruments are no strangers to Zelda games. Link has played the ocarina, the guitar, and the drums. He’s even played disembodied voices… and grass. It seems a musician as eclectic as Link can play just about anything. Breath of the Wild was about reimagining the Zelda experience. So why not get the Champions together for a reimagining of the Indigo-Go’s?

Better yet, how about an entirely new musical experience? Besides collecting items and ingredients, Link could be a travelling minstrel much like Kass. Collecting musical themes and writing original scores could be a key game mechanic. Music could even influence the environment, like how you could cause a storm in the Ocarina of Time with Link’s ocarina. This would lead to a lot of experimentation in songwriting and hours of gameplay.

Bigger Bads and Tougher Big Bads


BotW Enemies Were Too Easy

Remember when you first scaled the mountains in Lanayru and found the cursed Naydra dragon at the top? It was a unique airborne battle that had Link glide down the mountain to loose arrows into the Malice-infested dragon. But later in your travels, when you found the other two dragons, there was no battle at all. Sure, you could collect dragon scales. But it’s weird that there was only one dragon to fight.

Then there was the first time you encountered a Lynel or Hinox. The heart-pounding battles that ensued resulted in dozens of deaths, enough to make anyone want to quit. But these clashes got easier over time, and we all wished there was an even greater challenge. The hard mode released with the DLC helped, but the next instalment of Zelda would benefit from a much larger roster of tough enemies. Give us more unique battling experiences please, Nintendo.

The Heartbreaking History of Speedrunning in ‘Ocarina of Time’

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5 Composers Who Should Create Music for Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films set the bar high for any adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic trilogy and one of the best aspects of the films was composer Howard Shore’s beautiful music. His music helped us feel like we were in Middle-earth, setting the tone for the adventure we watched unfold on screen. The three soundtracks are undoubtedly among Shore’s finest work and continue to be classics to this day, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for someone else to give us the next great soundtrack for Tolkien’s world. In fact, we’re eager to see who might tackle it next in Amazon’s upcoming series.

While we’re still low on details for the show, we’ve been wondering who might play the young Aragorn the series may be about, and what else would be great to see explored on the series. Naturally we’re also thinking about which composers should try to create the epic soundtrack for this new journey to Middle-earth. It will be no easy task composing music for the world that was given an amazing score with Shore, but there are quite a few we think can bring something new and just as impressive to the music for this new story.

These are the five TV composers we want considered to bring their talent to the music of the series.

Ramin Djawadi

If there’s another composer that knows all about creating a stirring fantasy soundtrack, it’s Ramin Djawadi. He’s scored one of the most memorable TV soundtracks ever for Game of Thrones. The title music is recognizable in just the first few notes and his work completely captures the feeling of Westeros. That’s not the only acclaimed HBO series he’s worked on either. Westworld can also thank Djawadi for the amazing music that accompanies us on an unforgettable sci-fi journey.

These might be the best examples for why Djawadi would be a perfect fit for tackling Tolkien’s world, but if that wasn’t enough he’s worked on shows like Prison Break and Person of Interest too as well as on equally ambitious scores for movies like Pacific Rim and Iron Man. The Emmy-award winning composer would be more than up to the challenge of a Lord of the Rings series and we’d be excited to see what he could come up with for it!

Bear McCreary

Remember the incredible score that guided us on the journey of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica? That was Bear McCreary. McCreary is one of the best TV composers in the business. He’s composed memorable music for many shows including The Walking Dead, Outlander, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. His work is often unique, striking, and stays with you long after you hear it.

McCreary’s TV credits alone show why he would be a great choice for Amazon’s series. For more proof though you can listen to his soundtracks for the video game God of War and the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane. From space to the zombie apocalypse, can you imagine how amazing his take on a Middle-earth soundtrack would be?

Murray Gold

Murray Gold worked in the wibbly wobbly, timey wimey universe of Doctor Who from the first revival season in 2005 to the end of the Twelfth Doctor’s run last year. Much of his Doctor Who music became unforgettable additions to the classic sci-fi franchise that perfectly captured the spirit of the show. His experience composing for the many different settings in time and space that the Doctor traveled to with his companions in the TARDIS would make him a very interesting choice for Amazon’s new show.

Not only did he work on Doctor Who for more than a decade, he also composed the themes for Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures as well as additional music for Torchwood. When you listen to these pieces you can see how Gold moves between different styles that fit each show to create compelling music for TV. We think if he had the chance to hop from the TARDIS to the Shire he could make something truly memorable!

Trevor Morris

Transporting listeners into thrilling stories with music is common for Trevor Morris. Morris has a lot of experience creating distinctive soundtracks for a range of TV series. You’ll hear his work on shows like Vikings, Reign, The Tudors, Iron Fist, and Castlevania. His work beyond TV on the video game Dragon Age Inquisition is another example of why he would be an excellent choice for The Lord of the Rings series. It’s a wonderful, exciting game soundtrack you’ll find yourself listening to again and again.

The Emmy-award winning composer can clearly work with any setting to create extraordinary music. It’s why if he’s at the helm of the soundtrack you’ll want the new show to visit every setting in Middle-earth just to see what he might compose for it.

Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman might be more familiar to you for his work in film. The movies he works on are often those where you immediately recognize the music. There are almost too many of these to list, but some of his best work can be found in Batman, Beetlejuice, Men in Black, and Spider-Man. While he continues to create amazing movie soundtracks, he’s created remarkable TV music as well which is why he should definitely be considered to work on The Lord of the Rings series. On TV, The Simpsons, Desperate Housewives, and The Flash themes were all Elfman.

With that in mind, just imagine the direction he’d go for The Lord of the Rings! It would be the perfect mix of something different from Shore’s soundtrack yet still capturing the right essence needed for the Tolkien-inspired series.

The new Lord of the Rings show is set to go into production in 2019.

5 Things We Want to See on Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV Series

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Black New Yorkers Should Be Wary Of Amazon’s Move to Queens

Jeff Bezos comes across as your typical white, progressive billionaire. He’s brilliant, business savvy, and uses his whopping wealth to support liberal causes — sometimes. So on the surface, the announcement that his company, Amazon, is building a second headquarters in Long Island City (LIC), a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens, would seem like a good thing. For one, this means Amazon will bring 25,000 jobs to New York and help fuel the city’s local economy. But who will really benefit from this move? Let’s break it down.

The Promise

Amazon says the average salary of workers at its new headquarters (HQ2) will be $ 150,000. However, there’s no guarantee or stipulation in the deal stating that those jobs will go to locals. Plus, given the tech industry’s poor track record in diversity, there’s good reason to be skeptical about the number of people of color who will actually fill those six-figure income positions. On the other hand, administrative assistants and maintenance staff workers will earn much less, and, as a result, won’t be able to afford to live in LIC, where one-bedroom apartments in an older building rent for more than $ 2,000 a month, while rents in LIC’s new towers cost over $ 3,000 a month.

As part of the deal, Amazon will hire union construction workers to build its offices. The tech giant also promises to host events at the nearby Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing projects in the nation. Such events include job fairs and resume workshops along with a workforce development program. It’s commendable, but it turns out that New York taxpayers will be funding the majority of these initiatives. According to the agreement, Amazon will invest $ 5 million in the programs, while $ 10 million will come from the city and state revenue. Furthermore, Queensbridge tenants deserve more than vague promises of job fairs that won’t necessarily equip them to compete for Amazon’s lucrative jobs.

The global behemoth also vows to hire women and contract minority-owned businesses, but, again, there are few specifics about the exact investments.

The Reality

The announcement that HQ2 will be built in New York sparked a frenzy of backlash and protest from residents who live in Long Island City and surrounding neighborhoods who fear that they’ll soon be priced out of their homes. Following the announcement of the deal, real estate speculators began to buy up properties, which is going to increase the rents even more. This also signals an exacerbation of gentrification in the area, which disproportionately hurts black and brown communities. Not only will this likely increase the cost of living within the neighborhood, but HQ2 is also replacing the city’s original plan to build 1,500 affordable housing units.

A similar situation occurred when Amazon built its headquarters in Seattle, Washington, in 2013. Within five years, the influx of white techie bros led to skyrocketing rents and home values and accelerated a homelessness crisis. To make matters worse, the trillion-dollar company was instrumental in killing a tax on businesses that would have been used to generate revenue to combat the epidemic.

On top of that, the New York deal was configured in secrecy without public input. As a result, New Yorkers had no say on the fact that the state and city handed Amazon a $ 2.8 billion incentive package to lure it to the Big Apple. That’s billions of dollars in subsidies that could have otherwise been invested in public schools, public housing, or the city’s crumbling mass transit system.

New York boasts a population of 8.6 million. Only a small percentage of city dwellers and transplants will land high-income jobs at HQ2. Meanwhile, for the rest of us — good luck ever finding a seat on the 7 train, while Bezos flys high in a tax-funded helipad.

For more on how Amazon’s HQ2 will impact New York City, click here.

 


The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.

The post Black New Yorkers Should Be Wary Of Amazon’s Move to Queens appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Fed’s Kashkari says rates should not go up when job creation is strong and inflation is tame

Hiking rates too forcefully before necessary could risk causing a recession in the U.S. economy, says Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari.
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It May Not Win You a Seat Upgrade, but You Should Still Dress Up to Fly

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Some fifty years after the golden age of flying, when travelers wore their Sunday best to fly PanAm and flight attendants’ uniforms were designed by the likes of Christian Dior, the idea of “dressing up” for the airport has broken down to “wearing a pair of pants without an elastic waistband.”

Are there perks to be reaped for intrepid passengers who dare to wear skinny jeans on their their red eye? An upgrade to first class, perhaps? Free WiFi? An extra shot of espresso?

Do flight attendants take a break from passing out pretzels or their choreographed ushering to notice that you graced their plane in the new H&M collaboration?

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George R.R. Martin says Dany should read Fire and Blood…and is that a GoT spoiler?

George R.R. Martin says Dany should read Fire and Blood…and is that a GoT spoiler?


George R.R. Martin says Dany should read <em>Fire and Blood</em>…and is that a <em>GoT</em> spoiler?

The seven-plus year wait for The Winds of Winterthe sixth novel in the epic Game of Thrones series—has many fans feeling restless, but George R.R. Martin is attempting to soften the blow with a new book set within the A Song of Ice and Fire universe. The new book, called Fire and Blood, is a 700-page history of the Targaryen family, written in the voice of Archermaester Gyldayn. In a 2017 blog post, Martin revealed the book begins with Aegon the Conqueror overtaking and unifying the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and covers 150 years of Targaryen rule.

Between Fire and Blood and the still-untitled Game of Thrones prequel series, we’re about to learn more about this mysterious world than ever before. While Martin understands that fans are frustrated he hasn’t finished The Winds of Winter yet, he promises Fire and Blood contains crucial details relating to Game of Thrones. In fact, in a new video from Esquire, Martin says Daenerys Targaryen would definitely benefit from a trip to the citadel to review the book—err, Archermaester Gyldayn’s manuscripts.

“This is a book that Daenerys might actually benefit from reading, but she has no access to Archermaester Gyldayn’s crumbling manuscripts. So she’s operating on her own there,” Martin teases. “Maybe if she understood a few things more about dragons and her own history in Essos, things would have gone a little differently.”

Could Archermaester Gyldayn’s manuscript contain the key to successfully defeating the White Walkers and landing Dany on the Iron Throne? Or could Martin even be hinting that Dany will ultimately be defeated in the upcoming eighth season? It seems we’re definitely going to have to give Fire and Blood a thorough study while we wait for the final season of Game of Thrones to drop in April.

The post George R.R. Martin says Dany should read <em>Fire and Blood</em>…and is that a <em>GoT</em> spoiler? appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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UPDATE 6-Petrobras’ next CEO says oil firm should focus on exploration, production

A University of
Chicago-trained economist named on Monday as the next chief of
Brazil’s Petrobras has quickly thrown his support behind the
sale of the state oil company’s non-core assets and called for
it to focus on exploration and production.


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In Mississippi, Republican concern rises over a U.S. Senate runoff that should have been a romp

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has faltered over remarks seen as racially insensitive. Mike Espy, a black Democrat and former congressman, appears poised to take advantage.
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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Companies struggling to fill jobs ‘should try paying more,’ Fed’s Kashkari says

Companies should try digging in their pockets if they're looking to find workers for unfilled jobs, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said Tuesday.
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Voting Isn’t Over! Tell Us if Black Panther or Avengers Should Win Movie of 2018 at the PCAs

Avengers: Infinity War, Black PantherReady, set, go vote!
We know you thought PCAs voting was over on Oct. 19 but we’ve reopened it for the People’s Power Vote. That’s right, you can still decide which film will…

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5 villages you should visit in rural England

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Ahhhhh, England. With its big and bustling cities, its red double-decker buses, its glorious West End, and the incredible Royal Family and palaces, it can often be easy to forget that England offers some of the best countrysides in the world. Although it may just be a small island, England offers quaint little villages surrounded by fields, rural hamlets inside rolling valleys and so much more. So what are you waiting for? Check out these 5 villages you should visit in rural England and book your plane tickets now!

Castle Combe, Cotswolds

When it comes to rural areas in England, the Cotswolds take the (tea and) biscuits. In the Wiltshire, Cotswolds lies Castle Combe, a beautiful and historic little village that looks as if it has been stuck in time. Because of its rustic charm and its riverside location, you might recognize Castle Combe from numerous films, such as Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, and the 2007 movie, Stardust. With its cobbled stone cottages, rugged streets, small doorways, glorious shrubbery and medieval churches and ruins, it really is a thing of beauty.

Polperro

If you want to see traditional and rural England, a trip to Cornwall is a must. With their laid-back lifestyles and their reluctance to enter the technological world (in some villages you can only pay with cash!), the Cornish towns and villages epitomize the English countryside and seaside. One of the most beautiful villages in this area is Polperro, a traditional and authentic seaside village on the East coast of the country. The winding streets of Polperro are paved with cobblestones, and nearly all of them lead you down to the idyllic harbor and its small fishing boats. With direct links to the English Channel, the village was once used as a smuggling village, for vagabonds and their contraband to travel over to Guernsey. There’s no shortage of trinkets and hand-crafted gifts in this village, and their fresh seafood is second to none!

Hawkshead

Hawkshead is located in the incredible Lake District and full to the brim with history, amazing views, gorgeous countryside and of course – a heck load of lakes! The village itself is a traditional 15th-century village, with quaint whitewashed thatched cottages, medieval ruins and buildings, and beautiful windy streets. The village itself is steeped in English history and features William Wordsworth old grammar school, and a special Beatrix Potter Gallery which explores her work and her love for the Lake District. The village is also perfect for those whole love country walks – and with Lake Windermere and Lake Coniston surrounding the village, there isn’t a lack of space.

Staithes

According to one travel writer, Staithes in North Yorkshire is England’s greatest hidden gem – and it’s not hard to see why. As the home of the avid explorer, Captain Cook, Staithes is steeped in history. Although it is small, its idyllic fishing point is an attraction point for people all across the country, who flock to see the tall and thin fishing houses, the river running through the village, the fishing cove and the beautiful hills surrounding it. And of course, like any fishing village, the pubs and seafood are top of the range.

Abbotsbury

Located just 10 miles away from the seaside of Weymouth and the Jurassic Coast, Abbotsbury is a quintessentially British country village. Steeped in history, Abbotsbury is a Victorian gem in the heart of rural Dorset that is full to the brim with rolling fields, glorious parks, woodland valleys, and impressive gardens filled with rare and beautiful flowers. The village is also famous for its paintings, artwork and wood carvings, so you won’t be able to leave without taking a bit of Abbotsbury with you!

Looking to take a trip to Blighty? England is well known for its idyllic countryside, so if you’re vacationing there then you need to check out these rural villages. Picturesque doesn’t even cut it!

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Which plane seats you should choose

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Let’s be honest; nobody really loves flying. For most people, it’s a necessity to meet the cross-country business client, it’s a handy way to travel to your next vacation spot, or it’s just an excuse to get out of another 9-hour drive. For us, flying is quicker. And because there is such a high demand, airlines and airports rush to turn their flights around as quickly as possible. This means cabin crew and cleaners may have as little as 30 minutes to get their plane spick and span before the next customers climb on board. Unless they’re a speedy cleaner (lucky you) this may be pretty difficult, leaving our plane seats pretty dirty. But which ones are the dirtiest and why?

First class perks

It’s no secret that the service in the first class area of the plane is…well, First Class! With extra space, delicious food, exceptional service and more… First Class is definitely the place to be if you can afford it. However, it turns out that First Class has another perk – the cleanest seats on the plane. Because airlines pride themselves on their First Class areas and hope for more and more customers to upgrade to and maintain their First Class status, they spend more time cleaning these areas than they do the economy areas. During their quick turnaround, premium seats always receive a quick once-over with a vacuum, and they also make sure they wipe each window and tray table with a sanitary wipe after each flight. The rich guys get all the perks, ey?

Economy seats

Unfortunately, those who can’t afford First Class seats have to sit in economy – with the dirtier seats. Many airlines have confirmed that they spend a significantly shorter time tending to the seats in this part of the plane. Because of the sometimes short turn-around, cabin crew and cleaners will only undertake basic cleaning routines. For shorter turnarounds, the cleaning team members will remove the obvious trash that adorns the floors and seats, will give the toilets a quick once-over, will wipe large crumbs off the economy seats, and restock all of their dwindling supplies. However, they do not have time to probe each individual seat, which is why you may often find a coffee ring stain on your tray table or a candy wrapper in your seatback pockets. If the plane and cleaning crew have longer to get the plane ready for their next passengers, they may vacuum the floor, and empty these pockets, but that is it.

So what don’t they clean?

Nobody really likes using the plane toilets, but sometimes this just can’t be avoided! However, when you go to use the bathroom, you’d like to think of it being freshly cleaned, and the waste tank is emptied. Nope, this doesn’t happen. Because of the size of waste tanks, planes can often fly numerous short-haul flights before the waste tank needs emptying – which could be the reason there’s always that slightly unsavory smell permeating from the toilet. Alongside this, the tray tables and armrests are left uncleaned. A recent study of plane bacteria has found that the dirtiest place on an airplane is the tray table in front of you, with the remains of numerous food products and bacteria from other people before you. Yummy!

The deep clean

Once a plane settles down for the night, large-scale cleaning crews come to clean the plane properly, from top to bottom. During this night-clean, they wipe down all of the entertainment systems and screens, the tray tables, the armrests and even empty out the seat pockets AND vacuum the floors and chairs. These crews also replace all of the pillows and blankets on board, and thoroughly clean and disinfect the toilet and the galleys.

So if you want the cleanest plane and the cleanest seat, the first flight of the day will be your best bet…Especially if you get the joy of flying First Class.

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5 Underrated Mecha Anime You Should Check Out

Thanks to groundbreaking shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion (EVA) and Gundam, the mecha genre successfully crossed over to the West. These series opened doors, making way for many new robot-focused anime — perhaps, too many. With such an oversaturated pool to draw from, it’s no wonder anime fans overlooked a few great titles. So we found several hidden gems for you to enjoy. Here are five underrated mecha anime you should check out.

Argento Soma


underrated mecha anime Argento Soma

In the future, a mysterious race of aliens invades Earth. To better understand these creatures, Dr. Noguchi and his assistants, Maki Agata and Takuto Kaneshiro, try to revive a giant metal-being named Frank. But during the process, Frank unexpectedly comes to life and escapes to the wilderness — but not without killing the doctor and Agata, leaving Takuto as the sole survivor.

Soon after the incident, the military organization ‘Funeral’ takes the biomechanical creature into their custody. Meanwhile, Takuto wakes up in a hospital.  With his face disfigured and his girlfriend, Agata, dead, Takuto appears to have lost it all. That is until a mysterious man offers Takuto a new identity as a Funeral officer, and his plan for revenge is set in motion.

While EVA opened a lot of doors for Japanese animation, it also cast a large shadow on mecha series, especially those involving a distressed young male protagonist in a mecha suit. Fortunately, Argento Soma sets itself apart by not heavily drawing from EVA. Instead, the underrated series focuses on telling an extraordinary tale about human interactions and relationships — with a few creative twists to keep things interesting.

Bokurano


underrated mecha anime Bokurano

One of the most popular underrated mecha anime is, undoubtedly, Bokurano. Countless anime fans believe the series deserves the top spot on many mecha anime watchlists. But for some reason it never does.

Bokurano follows a group of children who discover a cave full of computers and electronic equipment. A mysterious man named Kokopelli then makes them an unusual offer — to take part in a game where they’ll defend the Earth from evil aliens. The children accept the challenge without hesitation. But soon come to regret their decision when the game gets a little too real for them.

Like many other shows on this list, Bokurano suffers the fate of being too similar to EVA. But despite the many parallels, Bokurano goes a bit deeper when it comes to playing with the emotions of its young protagonists. It’s a fantastic psychological horror that keeps you entertained until the final second. You should definitely check out this hidden gem right now.

Galaxy Express 999


underrated mecha anime Galaxy Express 999

In the future, humanity swaps their organic bodies for mechanical ones in order to live forever. But immortality is an expense not everyone can afford. Enter Tetsuro Hoshino, a poor little boy who hopes to purchase a ticket for the Galaxy Express 999, a train that travels throughout the universe. A the end of the line, those aboard the train each get a mechanical body for free. But his hopes are dashed when machine-man hybrid Count Mecha kills Tetsuro’s mother.

A mysterious tall woman steps in and saves the young boy from certain death. Surprisingly, she offers Tetsuro a Galaxy Express ticket under the condition that they travel together. So begins Tetsuro’s journey through the stars to obtain a mechanical body.

Galaxy Express 999 has many sequels, but they sadly weren’t easily accessible to fans outside of Japan. The mecha series lost popularity over the decades and eventually fell into obscurity. Now, with shows like Darling in the Franxx dominating the airwaves, it’s even more difficult for hidden gems like this one to stand out.

Zegapain


underrated mecha anime Zegapain

Kyo Sogoru is trying his hardest to keep his swimming club alive, but there’s one problem — he’s the only member. To drive membership up, Kyo asks his friend Ryoko to shoot a recruitment video starring the beautiful Shizuno Misaki. Misaki agrees to do the role, but only if Kyo pilots a mecha unit.

Unknowingly, Kyo gets dragged into two different worlds: one where’s he’s a normal student and another where humans and aliens are at war with each other. What’s even weirder is Kyo gets the feeling he’s done this before. The more the young man fights, the more he uncovers about his life. But will the truth set Kyo free or destroy him?

Despite its unusual title, Zegapain contains the usual mecha tropes about reality, psychology, and, of course, aliens. But it also adds various plot twists to keep you intrigued throughout. So, if you’re interested in a bit of mystery, giant robots, and a young man trying to figure things out; then give this underappreciated series a try.

Fafner in the Azure


underrated mecha anime Fafner in the Azure

In the middle of the Japanese archipelago lies the island of Tatsumiyajima. Every day is the same on Tatsumiyajima, with the island’s children believing that their life will forever remain peaceful and undisturbed. Or so they’ve been taught. The reality is actually much different. Humanity is on the brink of extinction, and Tatsumiyajima serves as the last line of defence against a race of aliens called Festum. When a Festum discovers the island, the children band together to fight these hostile aliens with giant mecha units called Fafner.

Like the other shows on this list, Fafner in the Azure is a fantastic series that sadly gets overlooked in favor of mainstream mecha anime. The original anime borrowed too many elements from classic shows such as EVA and Gundam, which made it impossible for Fafner in the Azure to distinguish itself as a proper mecha series. Even so, the anime has some awesome-looking robots and amazing visuals thanks to the great work of studio Xebec (Break Blade and Heroic Age).

5 Mecha Anime That Will Make You Fall in Love With the Genre

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Greece with kids: top family friendly islands you should visit

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When it comes to booking your next family holiday, there is so much to think about – where it is, how long it will take to get there, what there is to do for the kids, what there is to do for the adults (when you need a stiff drink after looking after the kids for the whole day), how much it will cost, and what the place can offer you. It’s not easy. But luckily, Greece is made up of over 200 inhabited islands that make the perfect family destinations. Here are the five best Greek islands to visit if you have a family.

Rhodes

Rhodes is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece, and well away from the bright lights, bars, and clubs of many of the ‘party islands.’ This island offers 30-miles worth of white sandy beaches which are perfect for building sandcastles, glorious water which is perfect for splashing and learning how to swim, and some of the best all inclusive hotels in Greece. There are kids’ clubs, cafes, water sports and more to keep the kids entertained. And if you fancy taking in a few of the sights, Rhodes’ Old Town is full of cobbled streets, trinket shops, medieval architecture, and relics.

Naxos

The island of Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades Islands and an incredibly popular vacation destination for families with children. With some of the best and longest beaches in Greece, you could spend hours playing and relaxing on the white sand and swimming in the ocean. Because the beaches are the island’s main attraction, there are so many activities – from horseback riding along the beach to water sports, and pedalo boats, you won’t get bored. If you want to tire the kids out, take them for a hike through the beautiful farms and villages throughout Naxos.

Alonissos

The island of Alonissos is located in a remote area of the Sporades and well away from the tourist traps of Greece. Alonissos is perfect for families with slightly older kids who don’t mind spending most of their day checking out what the island has to offer – but don’t worry, the beaches are still incredible. With the huge Alonissos National Marine Park to explore, you can take the kids out for a boat trip or Kayak to catch a glimpse of the rare seabirds and the Mediterranean Monk Seal, as well as dolphins.

Corfu

If you want a mix of fun and the sun – then Corfu is the perfect option. Located in the Ionian Islands, Corfu is an eclectic mix of pebbled coves, luscious sandy beaches, UNESCO-listed Old Town, incredible rock formations and luscious green inland. As well as checking out all of the sights the island has to offer, you can also take the kids to the famous Aqualand Water Park, or take a trip to the open-air cinema.

Milos

Milos is one of the most unusual Greek Islands. Created by underwater volcanic rock formations, the coast of Milos is rife with smooth cliff edges, sea caves and little coves that are perfect for snorkeling and exploring. The longest beach in Milos consists of three different beaches merging together and merges yellow, pink and red pebbles. With warm underwater springs, the sea will always be the perfect temperature for your family holiday.

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Should Halloween Costumes Cross Racial Lines?

PHOENIX (AP) — When Colorado attorney Jeff Schwartz asked his 7-year-old son what he wanted to dress as this Halloween, the answer was clear: his favorite movie superhero, “Black Panther.”

Schwartz said his white son’s choice of a black character didn’t give him pause.

“I didn’t give it a second thought,” said Schwartz. “I think that if my son wants to idolize a character — be it a black character or a white character — race doesn’t need to come into it at all.”

NBC talk show host Megyn Kelly’s comments about blackface on Halloween have reinvigorated a debate over costumes that cross racial lines and what’s appropriate at a time when diverse movie and TV characters like Black Panther have become hugely popular.

The issue has reverberated across social media, from magazine articles about white children wearing Black Panther costumes to protests against costumes that perpetuate Native American stereotypes. Social media debates have focused on whether political correctness is spoiling the spirit of the holiday.

The fallout was swift for Kelly, who wondered on her show why dressing up in blackface for Halloween is racist: NBC said Friday it was canceling “Megyn Kelly Today.” She found little support from her NBC colleagues, including Al Roker who called on her to apologize to people of color nationwide. He later was asked on Twitter if a woman’s white son was OK to dress as Black Panther.

“Sure he can. Just don’t try to wear dark makeup on,” Roker wrote.

Others chimed in on the thread, including Schwartz, whose son only wants to don the Marvel character’s vibranium suit.

“We should encourage our kids to have black heroes whether they’re white or black kids. That’s healthy,” Schwartz said.

Some articles warn white parents away from such a choice, arguing that while Black Panther’s fabled homeland “Wakanda” isn’t a real place, the character’s race is essential to his identity.

Elise Barrow, a black mother of three in New York City, said she and her husband tried to persuade their 5-year-old son to be Black Panther, but he opted to be a dinosaur instead. Barrow said she was torn by the debate.

“Kids want to be what they want to be. I’m not going to prevent them,” Barrow said. “If my son wants to be Captain America, I’m not going to say no.”

A similar issue cropped up in recent years with the animated features “Moana,” set in ancient Polynesia, and Pixar’s “Coco,” which centers on a Mexican boy named Miguel and his family. A few months before “Moana’s” November 2016 release, Disney pulled a costume based on the character of Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson. The ensemble included a brown bodysuit with Polynesian tattoos and a faux-grass skirt. Some argued that it was off-putting to have a child wear the skin of another race.

Jim Quirk, a white father of three in St. Paul, Minnesota, said adults should stop projecting concerns about race and gender onto what is essentially “a kids’ holiday.”

“They want to be princesses, doctors, Black Panther or whatever,” Quirk said. “They do it because they want to be like them. It’s adults who put meaning onto these things.”

But he acknowledges there are some things that are over the line, such as blackface.

“You shouldn’t be disrespectful,” Quirk said.

Calling out cultural appropriation is what drives Amanda Blackhorse, a longtime activist against the use of Native images for mascots and logos. On Wednesday, Blackhorse and others demonstrated outside the Phoenix headquarters of Yandy.com, a lingerie company that has been selling “sexy” Native costumes including one marketed as “Chief Wansum Tail.”

Her group delivered an online petition with thousands of signatures calling on Yandy to stop using Native American culture for costumes.

“The people have always looked at or seen Native people through stereotypes — through headdresses, buckskin and fringe,” Blackhorse said. “This company is perpetuating that. They think that’s who we are. They don’t see us as different tribes.”

The group wants Yandy to discontinue the line, issue an apology and donate any proceeds from the costumes to agencies that help Native American women. A spokeswoman for Yandy did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Yandy’s far from the only retailer offering such costumes. Amazon.com and other mainstream sites offer Halloween-wear based on Asian stereotypes such as a geisha or “dragon lady.” There are also Mexican-inspired outfits that include a poncho, sombrero and mustache and a “sexy senorita” dress.

Kelly’s blackface comments, meanwhile, left many outraged.

“Back when I was a kid that was OK as long as you were dressing up as like a character,” Kelly said in discussion with an all-white panel.

Blackface dates back to the 1830s when white performers would put on dark makeup, wigs and exaggerated costumes, mocking slaves, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. They often depicted black people as lazy, ignorant or cowardly. Decades later, movie stars like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland wore blackface on screen.

 


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What you should absolutely never do when visiting Germany

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Have a German vacation planned sometime soon? It’s a beautiful country in Europe, and there are plenty of amazing sights to see. However, before you jet off across the world ready to test your foreign language skills, there are some things you ought to be aware of first. Germany has a strict set of rules that you must abide by if you want to avoid upsetting the locals, or much worse. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t wear shoes inside

Unless given explicit instructions, you should always ask whether someone wants you to take your shoes off when in there home. Most people in Germany don’t wear their shoes inside, so to go ahead and do it could be considered extremely rude. If you feel weird asking, remove them anyway when you go inside to be on the safe side. The last thing you want to is upset someone that’s invited you into their home.

Don’t waste recyclables

Did you know that you’ll be charged extra for buying drinks in bottles or cans when you’re in Germany? It’s part of the country’s initiative to encourage people to recycle and not waste the materials. You’re expected to return the bottles and cans to a shop, although they’re not fussy about which shop you chose. All establishments are required to accept your recyclable waste, whether or not they were the place you bought them from initially.

 

Don’t be late

One thing you can rarely accuse Germans of not being is punctual. They’re almost always on time, and they expect the same of anyone they’re meeting with. To show up late would be considered rude and a waste of someone else’s time. So, if you make any appointments during your German vacation, make sure that you show up to them on time.

Don’t address people incorrectly

Learning another country’s language is confusing, especially when they have an entirely different set of grammatical rules that you’re not used to. When it comes to greeting people in Germany, there are two different ways to do it. You can either say Sie or du, depending on how well you know the person. Sie is the more formal choice, so it’s what you’re expected to use in something like a business setting. Du, on the other hand, is reserved for more informal conversations. If you’re not sure which to use, you can always ask.

Don’t disturb the peace

If you’re a bit of a party animal at night, then you might struggle during your trip to Germany. The country has a set of laws which prevent you from making too much noise at certain times of the day. You can’t do things like play loud music or vacuum between 10 pm and 7 am, or the entirety of Sunday. That might sound pretty restrictive, but it stops residents from being disturbed at inappropriate times. If you don’t follow these rules, people can complain, and you’ll find yourself face to face with one of the public order officers. You didn’t go to Germany to get in trouble with the law, so try to keep it down at night.

very country is different, and you should never visit somewhere new without first checking what rules are in place. They might not always make sense to you, but it’s important to respect them when you’re abroad. After all, you don’t want to get arrested.

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Megyn Kelly Is Cancelled. But She Never Should Have Had the Job in the First Place

In her 14 months as an NBC morning-show host—a role that has come to an abrupt end—Megyn Kelly found a number of ways to alienate viewers. She kicked off Megyn Kelly Today, last September, with an ill-considered joke about Will and Grace turning one of its fans gay and a question about plastic surgery that instigated a year-long feud with Jane Fonda. In January, she was forced to publicly apologize after appearing to endorse fat-shaming: “When I was in law school, I was gaining weight,” Kelly told fitness advocate Maria Kang. “I said to my stepfather, ‘If you see me going into that kitchen one more time, you say, “Where you going, fat ass?”’ And it works!” That same month, a fired staffer described a “toxic and demeaning” environment on the show. But Kelly dug a hole she couldn’t climb out of on Tuesday, questioning whether blackface Halloween costumes were actually racist.

“What is racist?” the host wondered aloud. “You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was OK just as long as you were dressing as a character.” The social media backlash was swift, with celebrities like W. Kamau Bell, Padma Lakshmi and Adam Rippon joining the fray. On Wednesday’s episode of Today, Al Roker pulled no punches in a statement about Kelly’s comments: “While she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country,” he said. “This is a history going back to the 1830s minstrel shows, to demean and denigrate a race wasn’t right.” Soon after, Kelly apologized to viewers, but the damage was done. “Megyn Kelly Today is not returning,” an NBC News spokesperson announced in a statement on Friday. “Next week, the 9 a.m. hour will be hosted by other Today co-anchors.”

Who could have predicted such a debacle? Oh, just about anyone who was familiar with Kelly’s pre-NBC history. In 2010, as a Fox News host, her well-publicized obsession with the marginal New Black Panther Party was an early hint at her views on race. Months after launching her popular show The Kelly File, in 2013, she caused an uproar by insisting that Santa Claus and Jesus were both white. A few years later, she denounced a so-called “thug mentality” within black communities. The list of race-baiting moments goes on.

So, to many, the salient question today isn’t “How could this have happened?” so much as “How did Megyn Kelly get a $ 69 million deal with a broadcast network in the first place?” The answer says a lot about viewers’ short collective memory: Kelly got her first taste of bipartisan approval during the most recent presidential election cycle, when she grilled Donald Trump over his comments demeaning women. He hit back (remember “blood coming out of her wherever”?), and the more she stood her ground, the more liberals warmed up to her. Kelly underscored her potential appeal to mainstream audiences by speaking out about sexual harassment she endured at the hands of Fox News chief Roger Ailes. By 2016, she was a Vanity Fair cover star. The NBC deal followed early the next year, with the short-lived Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly debuting in June 2017.

Megyn Kelly Today was plan b for the network’s new investment. Although its ratings never compared with those of its predecessor—an hour of Today hosted by Kelly’s reportedly lower-paid colleagues of color, Roker and Tamron Hall—the birth of the #MeToo movement last October gave Kelly a purpose that she clearly wasn’t finding in segments on parenting, cooking and celebrity gossip. She found her niche in championing women, famous and not, who came forward to accuse powerful men of sexual misconduct, and grounding her anger on their behalf in her own experiences at Fox News. For a TV personality who’d effectively erased past controversies by standing up to sexist men, these emotional interviews were the equivalent of playing her hits.

Kelly stepped back into the role of maverick feminist—never mind that her record had always been spotty on women’s issues that did not speak directly to Megyn Kelly. (She has cast aspersions on the equal pay movement, defended demonstrably false anti-abortion propaganda and told campus sexual assault activists to “toughen up, buttercup.”) The same girl-power veneer that kept her supporters in the mainstream media from reckoning with the Fox News version of Kelly in 2016 once again obscured the less savory aspects of her personality. Until it didn’t.

It wouldn’t have taken an investigative reporter to uncover all the reasons why she was the wrong choice for NBC, a broadcaster that presumably had no intention of spending a fortune on a host who would end up offending and alienating a substantial portion of its diverse audience. But the cost of the network’s myopia isn’t just monetary. In failing to weigh the risks of hiring someone like Megyn Kelly, NBC has also lost something priceless: viewers’ trust.


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Vaccine myths: 7 facts about vaccines everyone should know

A recent CDC report found the number of kids who are unvaccinated is going up.
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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Trump says Pittsburgh synagogue should have had armed guards

President Donald Trump said the aftermath of the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue would have been different had an armed guard been in place.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Bill Self Should Be Suspended If Kansas Is Serious About Following the Rules

The picture of Kansas painted in court is the one that has been painted privately in the sport for years, and the players aren’t the ones who should miss time as a result.

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Djokovic, Nadal Should Reconsider Exhibition in Saudi Arabia After Jamal Khashoggi’s Killing

After the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal should reconsider their Saudi government-sponsored match in Jeddah. 

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Here’s how you should behave at those upcoming company holiday parties

Christmas starts earlier and earlier each year. And there are a lot of folks right now planning their company party. So let me be the first of many to offer advice on holiday party behavior: First, don’t do or say anything that would make your 10-year-old snitch to mommy or daddy. (Pretend your kid is…
Opinion | New York Post

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Should You Pay Off Mortgage Before You Retire?

(NerdWallet via AP)

Most people would be better off not having mortgages in retirement. Relatively few will get any tax benefit from this debt, and the payments can get more difficult to manage on fixed incomes.

But retiring a mortgage before you retire isn’t always possible. Financial planners recommend creating a Plan B to ensure you don’t wind up house rich and cash poor.

WHY A MORTGAGE-FREE RETIREMENT IS USUALLY BEST

Mortgage interest is technically tax deductible, but taxpayers must itemize to get the break — and fewer will, now that Congress has nearly doubled the standard deduction. Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation estimates 13.8 million households will benefit from the mortgage interest deduction this year, compared to more than 32 million last year.

Even before tax reform, people approaching retirement often got less benefit from their mortgages over time as payments switched from being mostly interest to being mostly principal.

To cover mortgage payments, retirees frequently have to withdraw more from their retirement funds than they would if the mortgage were paid off. Those withdrawals typically trigger more taxes, while reducing the pool of money that retirees have to live on.

That’s why many financial planners recommend their clients pay down mortgages while still working so that they’re debt-free when they retire.

Increasingly, though, people retire owing money on their homes. Thirty-five percent of households headed by people ages 65 to 74 have a mortgage, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. So do 23 percent of those 75 and older. In 1989, the proportions were 21 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

But rushing to pay off those mortgages may not be a good idea, either.

DON’T MAKE YOURSELF POORER

Some people have enough money in savings, investments or retirement funds to pay off their loans. But many would have to take a sizeable chunk of those assets, which could leave them short of cash for emergencies or future living expenses.

“While there are certainly psychological benefits related to being mortgage-free, financially, it is only of the last places I would direct a client to pay off early,” says certified financial planner Michael Ciccone of Summit, New Jersey.

Such big withdrawals also can shove people into much higher tax brackets and trigger whopping tax bills. When a client is wealthy enough to pay off a mortgage and wants to do so, CFP Chris Chen of Waltham, Massachusetts, still recommends spreading the payments over time to keep the taxes down.

Often, though, people in the best position to pay off mortgages may decide not to do so because they can get a better return on their money elsewhere, planners say. Also, they’re often the ones affluent enough to have big mortgages that still qualify for tax deductions.

“Mortgages many times have cheap interest rates that are deductible and thus may not be worth paying off if your portfolio after taxes can outpace it,” says CFP Scott A. Bishop of Houston.

WHEN A PAYOFF ISN’T POSSIBLE, MINIMIZE THE MORTGAGE

For many in retirement, paying off the house simply isn’t possible.

“The best case ‘wishful thinking’ scenario is that they’ll have a cash windfall via an inheritance or the like that can be used to pay off the debt,” says CFP Rebecca L. Kennedy of Denver.

In pricey Los Angeles, CFP David Rae suggests mortgage-burdened clients refinance before they retire to lower their payments. (Refinancing is generally easier before retirement than after.)

“Refinancing can spread your remaining mortgage balance out over 30 years, greatly reducing the portion of your budget it eats up,” says Rae, whose office is in West Hollywood.

Those who have substantial equity built up in their homes could consider a reverse mortgage, planners say. These loans can be used to pay off the existing mortgage, but no payments are required and the reverse mortgage doesn’t have to be paid off until the owner sells, moves out or dies.

Another solution: downsize to eliminate or at least reduce mortgage debt. CFP Kristin C. Sullivan, also of Denver, encourages her clients to consider this option.

“Don’t fool yourself that your grown kids will be back visiting all the time,” Sullivan says. “Certainly don’t keep enough space and comfort for them to move back in with you!”

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet.

Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: lweston@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lizweston.

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Larry Kudlow on U.N. climate change report: ‘I don’t think we should panic’

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Black Moms Matter: Should Paddles In School Make A Come Back?

Remember how back in the day teachers and principals were allowed to physically discipline students when they misbehaved? Do you think spanking in schools should come back? Kym and Sherri aren’t sure that’s the best idea. Kids today are so bold and some of them are just plain crazy! If the student manages to take the paddle away from the teacher then teachers will be the ones being spanked in school. Now that’d be hilarious!

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Should You Wear Jeans with a Jacket?

Have you ever asked yourselves, should I wear a jacket with jeans? Is it too formal? Is it just right?

In this guide, we talk about nothing but jeans, blazers and suit jackets; when you can wear them, when you should avoid them, and anything else you want to know about those combinations.

Obviously, it’s a very similar question to can I wear a jacket without a tie and we discuss it in a separate video, so stay tuned.

When Should You Wear A Jacket With Denim?

Many men today wear it yet it goes against traditional style rules because jeans used to be strictly blue-collar workwear.

Today, men’s style is a lot more casual than it used to be 50 or 60 years ago and jeans are probably the number one worn pants by men. As everything gets more casual, of course, a lot of men try to wear jeans with anything else they have in their wardrobe, particularly suit separates because that’s what they sometimes have to wear to work.

In an attempt to dress up their jeans or to dress down their suit, they simply combine the two but it rarely works and it hardly ever looks advantageous unless you follow a few clear-cut rules.

The issue of suit jackets with jeans is that it is a clash of formalities. Typically, it’s a combination seen worn by middle managers who want to seem approachable yet be a cut above their subordinates. It’s definitely a fine line to walk but dressing purposefully and thoughtfully is the key here.

How To Pull Of The Jacket & Jeans Look

Pair your jacket with your dressiest jeans

Pair your jacket with your dressiest jeans

1. Pair Your Blazer Or Sport Coat With Your Dressiest Jeans.

That means no holes and no used look. Also, it’s really important that you have enough contrast between your sport coat and your jeans. If you have a dark washed denim with a dark navy blazer, it’s not enough contrast and it looks odd because it’s similar yet it’s not a suit and it’s just weird.

So in general, a medium dark wash or something slightly lighter is best. It’s essential that your jeans don’t puddle and are hemmed to the exact right length.

In terms of cut, a straight leg or maybe something that slightly tapered works best. Definitely avoid really baggy cuts as well as a bootcut. Also, don’t cuff or pin roll your jeans because that’s simply too casual.

Several jeans and jacket combinations worn by Sven Raphael Schneider

Several jeans and jacket combinations worn by Sven Raphael Schneider

2. Go With Jackets that Have Different Colors & Patterns.

Branch out and go with jackets that have different colors as well as patterns and materials because that’s more contrasting or interesting, but also more casual and it works better with jeans. Good features include notched lapels because peak lapels would be too formal. You can also have patch pockets because they’re more formal than jetted pockets or flat pockets.

In terms of patterns, you can go with little houndstooth pattern, maybe a small micro check or a classic Prince of Wales check.When it comes to material compositions, 100% wool is okay but to make it more casual, add cotton and linen blends. Sometimes, wool linen or wool cotton blends or sometimes also a little bit of silk or cashmere for a softer hand and touch.

In terms of jacket colors, you can go with lighter shades of blue, maybe a royal blue, or even a lighter blue. Overchecks could be in red or an orange because that’s a little more casual. In the winter, brown tones are great especially as a Glen check with dark brown and off-white or maybe a herringbone jacket in a medium brown.With all those lighter colors, one pair of dark washed denim really works best because it provides a contrast and it’s a classic jeans color. The personal favorite of mine is the color green, it goes really well with dark washed denim. Also, definitely avoid white or off-white jackets because the denim will color off on it and the contrast is too strong.

Mercer and Sons Button Down collar with S-curve

Mercer and Sons Button Down collar with S-curve

3. Wear Casual Shirts To Bridge The Gap Formalities.

Long-sleeve dress shirts are good but ideally, you should avoid the most formal variations in solid white because they’re just too businesslike. Instead, maybe you go with an off-white or a green shirt, maybe something with a rougher texture, and maybe skip ironing to create a more casual look.

A light blue checked shirt is a great choice

A light blue checked shirt is a great choice

Alternatively, you can also go with button-down collars because they are more casual and check shirts, as well as little houndstooth shirts because they’re also more casual than solids. If you want something like a solid, I suggest an oxford fabric with a two-tone, maybe light blue and white because it’s durable and more casual. No matter what shirt you choose, always tuck it in because an untucked shirt with a sport coat or a suit jacket simply looks odd.

A classic derby shoe is your best bet

A classic derby shoe is your best bet

4. Wear The Right Shoes.

Wear the combination of jeans and sport coat with the right kind of shoes. Black Oxfords are way too formal and not appropriate here. At the same time, boat shoes are too informal and should likewise be avoided.

Ideally, go with brown tones or burgundy and oxblood. If you want to be a little more experimental, you can think about olive green, gray or maybe navy. In terms of styles, a classic derby shoe is good.

This color will definitely make you stand out

This color will definitely make you stand out

Alternatively, you could opt for loafers, either tassel loafers or penny loafers, both work. Other good options are monk straps with some broguing and a wingtip or those more fashion-forward double monks in burgundy. If you want to go with oxfords, go with brogues, either half brogues or full brogues, because that’s casual enough to wear with jeans and it ties the ensemble together with your sport coat. Other good options include chukka boots or Chelsea boots.

In terms of leather texture, suede is really great to combine with jeans and a sport coat. Why? Simply because it’s a little more casual. It’s less serious and as such, it ties together those two elements of different formalities

Jacket With Jeans Style Don’ts

Never attempt to wear your Db business jackets with jeans

Never attempt to wear your Db business jackets with jeans

1. Never Combine Business Jackets With Denim Jeans.

Avoid black business suit jackets or pinstripe jackets with dark blue jeans; it just looks weird and odd. As discussed before, while some suit jackets can be worn with jeans especially if they’re more casual, any kind of business suit should not be combined with jeans, that includes solid navy jackets or maybe solid gray jackets but also any kind of stripe, pinstripe, rope stripe or chalk stripe. They won’t look good with jeans.

2. Skip DB business jackets.

Double-breasted is typically more formal. It has peak lapels and as such, it is even more formal than a single-breasted blazer with patch pockets. Hence, avoid those. However, in recent years, double-breasted jackets have become a lot more popular especially at Pitti Uomo. And if you have something that has a nice linen blend maybe with the Prince of Wales pattern and lighter colors, you can definitely combine them with jeans.

Does this look appeal to you?

Does this look attractive to you?

3. Never wear a t-shirt with jeans underneath a jacket.

It’s a clash of formalities. Either you wear just a t-shirt and some jeans and you skip the jacket altogether or you opt for the jacket but you go with a casual dress shirt or a blend of polo shirt and dress shirt that I mentioned before.

Black oxfords are a big no no

Black oxfords are a big no no

4. Never wear any kind of black shoes.

It simply looks out of place. Black is fine for formal business suits and office wear but not when you wear it with jeans. Instead go with browns, tan tones, burgundy tones, greens or anything else but not black.

Skip neckwear and accessorize with a pocket square

Skip neckwear and accessorize with a pocket square

5. Skip any form of neckwear.

Jeans with a jacket are not ideal if you want to wear a tie, a bow tie or maybe an ascot simply because it would be too formal and a clash. So if you opt for the combination of jacket and jeans, forego your tie and your neckwear. Instead, go with a pocket square or maybe a boutonniere because that creates a visual interest and it just creates a more polished look.

 

A casual dress shirt

A casual dress shirt

6. Do not wear a formal dress shirt with a jacket and jeans.

That means, double cuffs with cufflinks because that’s too formal for regular cotton denim. Likewise, a solid white shirt is not appropriate. A light blue might work.

Maybe go with a different texture, a different weave that is more open so it breathes better and you’re more comfortable during the summer. Striped shirts can work especially if you have bolder stripes, wider or larger scale stripes, or maybe stripes in a different color. At the same time, the whole ensemble has to work together.

7. Don’t wear jeans and a sport coat if you don’t know the dress code.

Why? Well, if you’re not sure about a dress code it always pays to dress one notch up. In that case, it would mean wearing your blazer with a pair of chinos rather than your jeans. Alternatively, if you think that’s over-the-top, you can skip the jacket and just go with a casual dress shirt and a pair of slacks, either chinos or jeans, depending on what you think is right for the occasion.

Diagonal tweed in gray

Diagonal tweed in gray

By the way, during the colder months of the year, a tweed jacket works really well with jeans simply because it’s more casual by definition. It has a coarser weave, it has warmer earth tones, and so it’s a great jacket that is usually single breasted and has notch lapels which makes it again less formal and therefore, perfectly suited for jeans.

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing a subdued madras casual jacket, great on vacation

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing a subdued madras casual Harrington jacket, great on vacation

That being said, there are tons of other jackets which are less formal and therefore equally as well suited to jeans as a tweed jacket. Some of them include a Panama jacket which is more of a summer jacket and a Harrington jacket.

CONCLUSION

You can definitely wear a jacket with jeans; just make sure it’s casual enough and not your typical business suit. When it comes to footwear, brown shoes are your friend and make sure it’s not too casual but also not too formal.


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Kavanaugh: Judges should be impartial

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Should You Buy a Low-Cost Health Insurance Policy? Here’s What to Consider

Starting today, Americans can buy lower-cost health insurance policies that can stay in effect for as long as three years — up from the previous three-month limit.

But while the savings in premiums will be attractive to some, critics warn the old adage applies: “You get what you pay for.”

“As the bills from hospitals and other providers start to pile up, many of these folks… would come to realize they’re not really insured at all,” the Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families says. “For the individuals enrolled in these plans, the devastating financial consequences could be real and long term.”

Limitations of Short-Term Health Insurance Policies

The plans are cheaper — as much as one-third cheaper in some cases, according to the Department of Health and Human Services — than those that comply with the Affordable Care Act, which has required coverages. The average monthly premium for one person in late 2016 was about $ 124 compared with $ 393 for an unsubsidized plan that complied with the Affordable Care Act, according to the department.

But many lower-cost plans don’t cover services such as mental-health or substance-abuse treatment or prescription drug coverage, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

And none covers maternity care, the same study found. A regular birth costs about $ 32,000 and a cesarean section about $ 51,000, according to a 2013 Truven Health Analytics study of women with health insurance.

Also generally excluded are people with pre-existing medical conditions, who are required to be covered under policies that comply with the Affordable Care Act. An estimated 133 million Americans have a pre-existing condition, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Why Are Short-Term Health Insurance Policies Being Expanded?

Premiums for Affordable Care Act coverage went up about 21% in 2017, putting them out of financial reach for some people — especially those whose earnings are not low enough to qualify for a subsidy under the act, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The Department of Health and Human Services this summer announced that it would allow the lower-cost plans to be purchased for up to a year of coverage and renewed for two years.

The policies originally were limited to less than three months and intended as a stopgap for people who didn’t have health insurance through their employers.

Which Consumers Might Benefit From Short-Term Policies?

They work best for those who are generally healthy, because insurers can drop anyone who becomes sick, according to the Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms.

The reason the short-term policies are less expensive — the cost varies from state to state — is that they don’t have to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

That means they can exclude benefits such as emergency services, hospitalization, rehabilitative services and devices, laboratory services, preventive care, chronic disease management, contraceptives, breastfeeding supplies, counseling and pediatric services.

There’s no easy way to determine what services are covered because plans vary widely, as do deductibles, copayments, and caps.

Other possible pitfalls:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services warns consumers that they won’t automatically be eligible to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act if their short-term policy ends before the open enrollment period begins and they decide not to renew or are dropped by their insurer.
  • Short-term policies don’t meet the requirements to maintain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, making consumers who buy them potentially liable in 2018 for a penalty of $ 695 per adult and $ 347.50 per child — or 2.5% of household income, whichever is greater. The penalty goes away starting in 2019.
  • Short-term policies generally have limits on the amount paid for services and caps on lifetime payouts. Patients may have to pick up the sometimes-substantial difference between what the insurer pays and what the provider charges.
  • Policyholders can be charged more based on age, sex and health.

The bottom line: These policies may be beneficial to some. But it’s critical to read all disclosures before signing up to avoid finding out later that you don’t have coverage for something you need. What’s cheap up front could end up costing you dearly later.

In short: caveat emptor.

Susan Jacobson is an editor at The Penny Hoarder.

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

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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