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How To Find Cheap Stuff At Whole Foods


whole foodsWhen it comes to shopping on a budget, the last place people usually recommend is Whole Foods. 

But is it really that bad?

I decided to spend a few hours prowling the aisles at a downtown Manhattan location to find out if there are actually more deals to be found than people think. 

Here's what I came up with:

Stay away from the meat counter. Whole Foods is not a carnivore's friend. Unless you want to spend $14.99 per pound on chicken cutlets , you'll want to buy your fresh meat elsewhere. We are sure that chicken was grass-fed, organic and perfectly pampered, but you could easily find a 6-pack of chicken breasts for somewhere around $10 elsewhere. The best deals may be found at the fish counter, where they offered up a great selection of sustainable options. Whole Foods offers Marine Stewardship Council-certified seafood, and marks most other items with sustainability ratings. I found some beautiful salmon for $5.99 per pound.

Shop local produce. Summertime is an excellent time time to find deals on produce, and Whole Foods often features harvests from locally-sourced farms that cost a lot less than other brands. Look for a red sign that says "local." It will likely be less expensive and you still get to enjoy summertime produce from your own backyard (kind of).

Buy in bulk. If you steer clear of prepackaged goods and head for bulk bins at Whole Foods, you'll save a bundle. Dried beans and herbs are a steal. For example, a pound of garbanzo beans might set you back $3 a can, but you could get a pound of dried beans for half that and three times as many servings.

Don't even bother with the beauty aisle.  If you need to stock up on bath and beauty products, make the extra trip to your local drug store. Whole Foods doesn't carry a wide variety of brands and their prices are much higher. Shampoo and conditioner were $6.99 for a mid-size bottle. And a small tube of toothpaste was a whopping $5.99.

The frozen aisle is full of treasures. If you're looking for a steal, the frozen food aisle is where it's at at Whole Foods. You can easily buy lunch for a week for under $20. Craving comfort food? Try a chicken enchilada for $1.99, or an entire pizza for $5.99. For breakfast, pick up a box of pancakes or waffles for $2.49. 

But it's not all junk food. The frozen section is great for fruits and vegetables, too. Frozen berries will run you between $2-3 and sliced peaches for $2.99 – a way sweeter deal than the fresh variety. Sweet potato fries are a great pair with burgers, and they only cost $3.69 per bag.

Look for their signature 365 Brand. Like most store brands, Whole Foods' 365 line of products is almost always cheaper than the competition. Cereal and cereal bars from the brand are $3.99 and $1.99, respectively. And if you don't want to cook tonight, try their prepared food bar. We came across a sweet deal on panini sandwiches, making them only $5.99. Skip the salad bar though and stock up on ingredients to make your own at home instead. 

Stay connected for deals. Whole Foods does offer flash sales from time to time, so sign up for their Facebook page or Twitter to get updates. They also have discount fliers on hand at the entrance that come out twice a month.

The takeaway? OK. Maybe Whole Foods isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be, but it is still a budget buster for low-income families. Carnivores won't find much in the way of deals, but we're willing to bet vegetarians and vegans do pretty well for themselves. 

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Art Lovers Are Going Crazy For A New Condo In Downtown Manhattan


Schumacher Arrival36 Bleecker Street was built in 1885 to house the Schumacher and Ettlinger printing business, but it's currently being remodeled to house new luxury residences — and the art world is scooping them up.

Famed art collector Alberto Mugrabi, who owns one of the world's largest collections of Andy Warhol's art, is in contract to buy two triplex units (one full floor) in the Schumacher for $20.695 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. He will reportedly combine the units and display his Warhol collection on a windowless south wall.

Real estate developer and renowned art collector Aby Rosen is also in contract to buy an $8.5 million condo in the building, according to the WSJ. 

The building even has an art curator, Cristina Grajales, a SoHo gallerist who has commissioned works by artists like Jose Parla and Christophe Come to be permanently on display in the building. The courtyard is being designed by famed landscape architect Ken Smith.

The Schumacher will not be finished until December 2014, but half of its 20 units are already in contract. 

The Schumacher, also known as 36 Bleecker, was once a large printing house that helped turn NoHo into a major printing district during the 19th century. Architect Morris Adjmi will turn it into a luxury residence.

A doorman will be on-call 24 hours a day, and there will also be a part-time porter; fully-equipped, 750-square-foot fitness center; and a custom-built, pirate-themed children's playroom.

Ken Smith, the landscape architect best known for having designed the rooftop gardens at the MoMA, is behind this design for The Schumacher's courtyard.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Most Popular Names For Wealthy European Men


If Kate Middleton and Prince William still need inspiration for the name of their new baby, they may want to look at this new list of the most popular names among Europe's wealthiest men.

According to wealth intelligence firm Wealth-X, Peter is the most popular name among Europe's ultra-high net worth males, defined as those with $30 million or more in assets. Michael and David are also popular monikers among Europe's super rich.

None of those names are doing particularly well on Irish betting site Paddy Power, where people can bet on royal baby names. Peter is currently at 100/1; Michael is at 40/1 and David has 25/1 odds.

George is the top contender among bettors, with 2/1 odds, and James is at 4/1.

Here are the most common names among Europe's ultra-wealthy men, according to WealthX:

Screen Shot 2013 07 23 at 4.37.13 PM

SEE ALSO: 17 Royal Heirs And Heiresses Who Will Someday Rule The World

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7 Unthinkable Urban Comebacks That Should Inspire Detroit


BOSTON — Once the Paris of the Midwest, Detroit brought the world soul music, Henry Ford and Francis Ford Coppola. It’s down now, but surely not out.

Detroit last week became the largest American city to file for bankruptcy. (See Governing magazine’s article and interactive map for others.)

A great many people have given up on Detroit. Its population has shrunk about 250 percent since 1950. And its jobless and murder rates consistently soar well above the national average.

But Detroiters shouldn’t give up. They can turn it around and they wouldn’t be the first.

GlobalPost correspondents around the planet found plenty of examples of cities that have suffered worse than Detroit, only to pick themselves up again.

1) Juarez, Mexico

Juarez Mexico

Ciudad Juarez, the star-crossed city that shares the Rio Grande with El Paso, Texas, might well have something to teach Detroit about the darkness before a dawn.

A rambunctious border town seemingly tacked to the middle of nowhere, Juarez boomed over the past four decades by stealing factories from places like Detroit and Dayton, Ohio, and — of course — smuggling marijuana, cocaine and other drugs to those same cities.

Employment boomed and Juarez was rich by Mexican standards.

The city's population exploded to 1.3 million with mostly poor migrants from the south — mirroring Detroit's growth in the years leading to World War II — who gladly filled $100-per-week production line jobs. Juarez was touted as a model for the globalized economy.

But shanty neighborhoods spread like wildfire, sprawling into desert. Too many of the migrants' children rejected their parents' life on the factory floors, flocking instead to gangs that in turn went to work for the powerful drug-smuggling conglomerates. Jobs evaporated, first to China and then into the void left by the Great Recession.

Politicians at every level shrugged off the collapse. Then Juarez, five years ago, exploded into a gangland war that claimed 10,000 victims, most of them young men. Juarez gained infamy as one of the most violent cities in the world, a harbinger for many of the impending collapse of Mexico.

The carnage forced Mexico's government to respond at last, pumping in hundreds of millions of dollars in social spending. Juarez purged its corrupt and ineffective police. The gangs wore themselves out, one side winning and bringing a relative peace.

Boosters went to work. “Ciudad Juarez of Mexico: The Land of Opportunities,” crowed the pitch at an investment dinner this spring in China, which has started to bleed jobs back to Mexico.

Investment started ticking up again and some of the 30,000 local Juarenses who had fled to El Paso came home, reopening shuttered businesses.

Conditions remain far from perfect but Juarez seems on the rebound, its trial by fire a lesson for citizens and their leaders alike.

“No hay mal que por bien no venga,” holds a traditional Mexican folk saying that Detroit folks might now want to embrace. “There is no bad that doesn't bring good.”

— Dudley Althaus, @dqalthaus

2) Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Japan

Think Detroit has it bad? On March 9, 1945, the Japanese capital of Tokyo was nearly incinerated. World War II was coming to an end, and American forces had commenced the deadliest air raid in history, Operation Meetinghouse.

Flying straight into the city's industrial heart, some 330 B-29 planes dropped 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs loaded with white phosphorus and napalm. Those are deadly concoctions, and the resulting firestorm killed 100,000 people in a single night. Over the next few months, the city was hit by 100 more air raids.

Tokyo neighborhoods consisted of traditional wooden houses, making them vulnerable to a fast-moving blaze. Temperatures in some areas reached 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Some residents found hideaways, but pretty much all of them suffocated when the bombs sucked the oxygen out of their rooms.

Other victims, who jumped in rivers to escape the scorching heat, were boiled alive. As the smoke plumes rose, American bomber crews could smell the stench of burning flesh.

It is one of the most tragic chapters in the history of Japan. Yet the city rose from the rubble, and today Tokyo is a high-tech hub. In the late 1940s, American occupiers helped rebuild industry and the economy. The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 gave the Japanese economy an additional boost.

As the next two decades unfolded, Tokyo made a remarkable bounce from the brink of starvation to the world of cool. It opened the first ever high-speed rail in 1964 — a major technological feat — and soon swept the world with familiar names like Sony and Nintendo.

— Geoffrey Cain, @geoffrey_cain

3) Mogadishu, Somalia

Mogadishu Somalia

As Detroiters suffer the indignity of their city going bankrupt, they might take some comfort from knowing things could be worse. A whole lot worse.

Take Mogadishu, for example. In its heyday, the capital of Somalia was a beautiful riviera city of white-washed Italianate buildings, ornate porticos, public squares and broad avenues. The balmy sea breeze blew away the humidity and restaurants served up some of the best seafood in Africa.

Detroit was undone by the economy, but it was two decades of civil war that pulverized Mogadishu, leaving it a shattered shadow of its former self. Oddly enough the economy thrived — at least for the warlords who ruled the broken streets.

But even here, a place that became shorthand for hell on Earth, things are getting better. There is now a semblance of peace in Mogadishu (albeit one that is disturbed by occasional suicide attacks and roadside bombs) and things are, at long last, improving.

So Detroiters: Don't lose hope. If somewhere as forsaken as Mogadishu can stagger back to its feet, so, surely, can your city.

— Tristan McConnell, @t_mcconnell

4) Surat, India

Surat India

Dear Detroit: You think going bust is bad? Try coming back from a dose of the pneumonic plague.

That's just what residents had to do in the city of Surat in the western Indian state of Gujarat in 1994 — after the rat-borne disease killed 54 people.

So how did the so-called “diamond city” — known for cutting and polishing 11 out of 12 of the world's diamonds  — come back to become the cleanest town in India?

First and foremost, city administrator S.R. Rao took responsibility for the problem (Goodbye, Kwame Kilpatrick; Hello, Kevyn Orr). That, believe it or not, is as rare in India as it is in Motown. Then he ordered officials responsible for solid waste management to make personal field visits every day, rather than relying on dubious reports, and he instituted a grievance redressal system for complaints and fines for violators.

Simple stuff. But the lesson was clear: The key to the rebound was local involvement in the process. If Surat can do it, so too can you, Detroit.

— Jason Overdorf, @joverdorf

5) Medellin, Colombia

Medellin Columbia

In the space of a quarter-century, the Colombian city of Medellin has gone from murder capital to the world’s most innovative city.

The base for Pablo Escobar’s cocaine cartel, Medellin in 1990 posted a murder rate of 300 homicides per 100,000 residents. Later, guerrillas, paramilitaries and criminal gangs took over the drug trade and ruled the hillside slums.

But a combination of policing, social work and innovative infrastructure — a mix sometimes called social urbanism — has helped Medellin come back from the brink. Last year, the murder rate was 52 per 100,000 residents.

Key to the transformation has been making slum-dwellers feel like valued members of society. To that end, aerial trams carry people from the mountaintop ghettos to the subway system, giving them access to the rest of the city.

New libraries, parks, schools and community centers have increased their property values. These experiments were cited in April by the Washington-based Urban Land Institute when it named Medellin the world’s most innovative city.

Yet the Medellin miracle may be difficult to duplicate. Unlike Detroit, Colombia’s second city is a growing industrial and financial center, boasts a beautiful climate, and has long been a magnet for some of the best and brightest Colombians. That’s why, even in the worst of times, Medellin residents have always been intensely proud of their city.

— John Otis, @JohnOtis

6) London, UK

London United Kingdom

In September 1940, early in World War II, Germany broadened its air assault tactics to include civilian targets as well as military ones. London was bombed 71 times over the next nine months of the Blitz, a campaign that claimed tens of thousands of lives and more than a million buildings in the capital.

Once the war was over, London faced the task of rebuilding a city reduced in many districts to rubble and scorched earth. It was a chance to refit centuries-old streets for 20-century life.

More than half a million apartments — or flats, as they say here — were built for those who lost their homes, including the city’s first high-rise buildings. Devastation on the south side of the Thames River was cleared to make way for the Royal Festival Hall, an exhibition center now anchoring the vibrant Southbank Centre arts complex along the river’s edge.

The Barbican, a central London industrial district completely razed in a single night, became home to one of the capital’s premier arts venues and an iconic set of apartment buildings that brought residential life to the area for the first time.

Take heart, Detroit. It is possible for a city to rise, quite literally, from the ashes.

— Corinne Purtill, @corinnepurtill

7) Lille, France

Lille FR

From the gleaming new office towers surrounding the station where high-speed trains race off to Paris, London and Brussels, to the cobbled streets lined with gourmet stores and trendy boutiques, the northern French city of Lille oozes confidence and Gallic charm.

In Europe, Lille is a textbook example of urban renewal.

A onetime industrial powerhouse, the city saw serial closures of its coal mines, steel mills and textile factories in the 1970s. From 1967 to 1992, industrial jobs in the city and the surrounding region fell by 47 percent, compared to a national average of 18 percent.

Urban blight took root: The city was dull, depressed and dangerous. Its old center was largely abandoned, surrounded by run-down housing projects. The middle classes fled.

The turnaround came in the 1990s with funding for regeneration projects from the central government and the European Union. In 1994, the opening of the railway tunnel under the English Channel made the city an international transport hub. Paris and London are little more than an hour away by train, Brussels barely 30 minutes.

The same year, the Euralille business district opened with 1.6 million square yards of office space, housing, shopping plus a conference hall and cultural center. The area took off, leading the way for Lille with its population of 1 million to become a major hub for the service industry.

The old town's glorious Flemish Renaissance buildings were restored attracting floods of tourists. In 2004, the city's recovery was crowned by Lille's appointment as European capital of culture for a year.

— Paul Ames, @p1ames

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15 Styles From The '90's That We Hope Never Make A Comeback


scrunchie The 90's are coming back big time. 

Google is reporting a huge spike in searches for the fashions of the day, according to AdAge

"Queries for 'round sunglasses' in June of this year were 22% higher than last June and 170% higher than June 2011. 'Crop tops' increased by 150% from last year, while 'acid wash shorts' was up 78% and 'jelly sandals' rose by 40%," AdAge writes

We selected some tacky fashions from the 90's that most definitely should not make a comeback. 

From parachute pants to scrunchies, see the worst of the worst. 

SEE ALSO: People Who Decide What's Cool In America

Overalls are unflattering on almost everyone.

Parachute pants add weight and never look polished.

"Blossom" hats will always look dated rather than vintage.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Red Sox Legend Bill Buckner Is Selling His Idaho Mansion For $1.7 Million

The US Airports With The Cheapest Average Airfares


Long Beach Airport

Flying is expensive, but you could save a lot of money just by booking a flight into an alternate airport.

In Los Angeles? Instead of flying out of LAX (where an average flight costs $465), you may want to book a flight out of Long Beach Airport (LGB), where the average airfare costs just $216.

Cheapflights.com just released their fourth annual Airport Affordability Index, which ranks popular airports with the most affordable round-trip airfares, including tax.

California's Long Beach Airport (Daugherty Field; LGB) has the cheapest flights, with an average fare of just $216. Last year, LGB came in at the number two spot. South Carolina's Myrtle Beach Jetport (MYR) jumped to the number two spot (last year it was #42) with an average airfare of $249, and California's Fresno Air Terminal (FAT) came in at #3 with an average airfare of $270.

At the bottom of the list was Honolulu International Airport (HNL), with an average airfare of $689. Other airports in the bottom 10 were Washington Dulles International (IAD), Miami International (MIA), and New York's JFK International.

The findings show that geography doesn't necessarily determine affordability. Instead, alternative airports in close proximity to large cities or outside of major metro areas tended to offer the cheapest flights. But keep in mind that a cheap airfare often means an indirect flight with several layovers.

Here are the top 10 cheapest airports:

Rank Airport Avg. Airfare 2012 Ranking
1 Long Beach (Daugherty Field), CA (LGB) $216 2
2 Myrtle Beach Jetport, SC (MYR) $249 42
3 Fresno Air Terminal, CA (FAT) $270 3
4 Burlington International, VT (BTV) $284 28
5 Metropolitan Oakland International, CA (OAK) $287 8
6 La Guardia, NY (LGA) $290 23
7 Harrisburg International, PA (MDT) $291 4
8 White Plains, NY (HPN) $295 7
9 Bob Hope Airport, CA (BUR) $297 1
10 Akron-Canton Regional, OH (CAK) $303 11


And here are the 10 most expensive airports:

Rank Airport Avg Airfare 2012 Ranking
92 Albuquerque International, NM (ABQ) $559 40
93 Newark International, NJ (EWR) $566 68
94 Charlotte/Douglas International, NC (CLT) $571 48
95 John F. Kennedy International, NY (JFK) $580 97
96 Standiford Field, KY (SDF) $587 54
97 Salt Lake City International, UT (SLC) $589 84
98 Southwest Florida International, FL (RSW) $603 47
99 Miami International, FL (MIA) $618 78
100 Washington Dulles International (IAD) $652 95
101 Honolulu International, HI (HNL) $689 100

SEE ALSO: The 20 Best Airlines In The World

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Most Investors Don't Feel Wealthy Unless They're Worth $5 Million


wealthy rich people old photo gambling

Everyone has their own definition of "wealthy." Some say it's $1 million, others say $100 million. Some say it means making more than your brother-in-law. Others say it means not having to work or having strong relationships with family and friends.

But a new survey from UBS shows that most investors say "wealthy" means $5 million—with at least $1 million of that in cold, hard cash.

The UBS Investor Watch asked 4,450 investors if they consider themselves wealthy. Fully 60 percent of those worth $5 million or more said they're wealthy, while only 28 percent of those worth $1 million to $5 million said they were wealthy (those were the only two categories given).

(Read more: Top 1% control 39% of world's wealth)

Half of the respondents said that, more broadly, being wealthy means having "no financial constraints on activities." Only 16 percent said it meant "surpassing a certain asset threshold" and 10 percent said it means "not having to work again."

Yet being wealthy doesn't just mean having millions in investments or assets. It means having plenty of cash on hand to handle any expense. Driven by the bad memories of the crisis, when many of the so-called wealthy were caught short of cash, investors currently have an average of 23 percent of their overall asset allocation in cash or equivalents. That's the highest number since at least 2010.

(Read more: We're rich again! We just can't feel it)

And they don't plan to draw down their cash anytime soon. About two-thirds of investors feel they have the right amount of cash. As long as they take risk with some of their money in equities, they want a large pile of cash to balance the risk.

"Current investor asset allocations tend toward the 'barbell' approach," UBS said in the study, "with more cash than the industry would typically recommend but also sizable equity holdings."

Among the top reasons to keep cash were to cover emergencies, to "give me peace of mind" and to "make large purchases without selling assets."

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Why Menthol Cigarettes Are More Dangerous


menthol quit smoking cigarettes marlboro

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a study on Tuesday July 23 [PDF] concluding that smoking cigarettes containing menthol — a minty-tasting alcohol compound — make it easier to start smoking and harder to quit.

The study, which reviews decades of scientific literature, concludes:

... adequate data suggest that menthol use is likely associated with increased smoking initiation by youth and young adults. Further, the data indicate that menthol in cigarettes is likely associated with greater addiction. Menthol smokers show greater signs of nicotine dependence and are less likely to successfully quit smoking.

Menthol has some pain-relieving properties — we put it in cough drops to relieve minor throat irritation for example — which could be what makes a habit of smoking menthol cigarettes easier to pick up.

There's a public comment period of 60 days on the review before the FDA will make a decision to ban or keep menthol flavoring around.

The decision will still take years before becoming a reality and could just end up being a restriction on marketing or advertising, or a maximum limit on the amount of menthol allowed in cigarettes.

This new information comes after a study published in the Journal of Nicotine And Tobacco Research in 2012 found that menthol smokers were less likely to die of lung cancer specifically, though it didn't look at other diseases caused by smoking.

The just-published study agrees that "there is little evidence to suggest that menthol cigarettes are more or less toxic or contribute to more disease risk to the user than nonmenthol cigarettes."

But the report argues that because menthol makes picking up a smoking habit easier and is more attractive to teenagers, they pose a public health threat.

This is just the latest step that the government has taken against flavored cigarettes. All flavors of cigarettes other than menthols, including clove cigarettes and fruity flavors, were made illegal by Congress in 2009 as a part of the Family Smoking Prevention And Tobacco Control Act.

Then, in 2011, a Congressionally mandated committee of experts convened by the FDA found that menthol had a negative effect on public health, according to The New York Times.

Tobacco giants R.J Reynolds and Lorillard fought back against this committee with a lawsuit, suggesting the members are biased and influenced by special interests.

SEE ALSO: The Incredible Cigarette* That Doesn't Cause Cancer** Is Changing The World

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Here's What Not To Do On A Trip To Hawaii


hawaii lava

For as many Hawaii activities are scattered across the islands, knowing what NOT to do in Hawaii is equally as important. Given that we don’t want you to learn the hard way, here are a few things to be avoided in Hawaii.

Forget to put on sunscreen

Everyone wants to get a tan on their vacation, but foregoing the sunscreen in hopes of a golden brown is a surefire way to end up lobster-colored and blistering. Ease your skin into the all-day sunshine, and remember to get the out-of-the-way areas such as your ears, hands, and tops of your feet. If possible, avoid the aerosol sunscreen varieties in lieu of reef safe products


Everything in Hawaii eventually ends up in the ocean, and throwing cigarette butts and garbage on the ground will earn the scorn of locals. The word “mahalo” is written on many trash cans, and rather than meaning “trash”, it instead means “thank you”, which is a simple gesture from the local people to help protect the islands.

Eat at fancy restaurants for every meal

A lot of visitors complain of the food costs in Hawaii, but in reality the prices are so high because they’re dining out where locals spend their anniversaries and birthdays. Prices will be double at an oceanfront venue simply because of the high cost of rent, and while an evening splurge is a part of any vacation, ask a local some of their favorite recommendations for money saving leads on meals.

Drive too fast

There’s a good chance you’ll see a bumper sticker in Hawaii that says “Slow Down! This ain’t the Mainland!” All humor aside, speed limits in Hawaii are slower than the rest of the country, and island locals aren’t in much of a rush to get to where they’re going. While it might seem annoying at first, you’ll come to appreciate island speeds and the concept of taking it slow.

Visit Haleakala in a tank top and board shorts

Even though it might be 80 degrees at the beach, the 10,023 ft. summit of Haleakala volcano is about 30 degrees cooler than the shoreline. Anyone watching the sunrise from Haleakala  should remember that morning temperatures are close to freezing and you need to dress accordingly. Besides, the sunrise isn’t nearly as awe-inspiring when watching it from the inside of your car with the heater on.

Stand on the reef

Coral is an animal and not a rock, and the state’s reefs are in a rapid state of decline due to too many people standing on the coral. When snorkeling and scuba diving, make sure that you keep clear of the sensitive coral reefs and help do your part to protect the island environment.

Fail to obey warning signs

Even though millions of visitors go home unscathed, there are always a handful who get themselves into trouble. Waves and ocean currents are stronger in Hawaii than other parts of the world, and rocks are slippery where ever you are. Even though warning signs and placards are posted at many locations, not every location can have a sign, and a knowing your own limits and packing common sense will go a long way towards keeping you safe.

Try and do too much

A vacation in Hawaii is supposed to be relaxing, but with all of the activities waiting to be experienced, sometimes visitors can schedule too much. Don’t book a snorkel tour, helicopter tour, and luau all in the same day, and instead leave time to simply kick back and relax on a tropical shoreline.

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Take A Tour Of Slixa, The Website That's Like Facebook For Escorts


slixaIf you're seeking discreet paid-for companionship, you need to know about Slixa.

The site offers you an incredibly easy way to hire local escorts over the Internet.

If you want to learn more, we have all the details for you here. If you'd rather take a work-safe tour of the site ...

Here's the homepage at Slixa.com. We're in New York, so let's select it from the "Browse" pulldown menu.

Featured escorts are highlighted at the top...

...and as we scroll down we can see pictures of plenty more.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This Startup Has Created A Facebook For Escorts



You're never more than a few clicks away from all kinds of adult entertainment online – pictures, erotic movies, whatever your heart desires.

Now a site called Slixa is trying to harness the power of social media for the world's oldest profession.

The site functions as a localized directory of escorts, erotic masseuses, dominatrixes, fetish workers, and the like. Each one maintains her own personalized profile page of autobiographical information, pictures, and rules on how customers should behave.

It's got a clean, modern design. It's incredibly intuitive to use. And it doesn't look anything like the cheap-looking text-only ads of Backpage.com, where many escorts migrated after CragsList banned hookers.

Click here for a (work-safe) tour of the site >

It works like this: You browse the site by city, reading the profiles of local escorts. When someone catches your eye, all you have to do is reach out to her. Entertainers' email addresses and phone numbers are publicly visible to anyone browsing the site, so this is a pretty straightforward proposition.

In a roundabout way, this is the Internet's picture menu of sex.

User registration is free, but not required. The only impetus to have an account would be to follow your favorite escorts' status updates, like a sexy Facebook newsfeed.

If you're a prospective customer looking to hire an escort, you pay nothing to use the site. You have unlimited access to entertainer profiles and their contact information. Escorts obviously make money from their clients while Slixa gets its share by charging the escorts for their presences on the site. All standard pages are free right now, but entertainers can buy ad upgrades for a small fee to get increased publicity throughout the site.

Escorts use "credits" to buy a page (also called an ad) on Slixa, with each credit costing $1. To get your ad some exposure on a given city's page, Slixa charges 30 credits per month. To get it listed on the main homepage for some serious site-wide exposure, it's 375 credits for a 14-day period.

Spokesperson Lee Ann Jennings told us that "Slixa has signed up more than 3,000 entertainers in seven months with no signs of slowing down. Escorts and other adult entertainers continue to join at a rapid rate, which of course we're very happy about. The really significant thing is that we're more interested in quality over quantity."

The site is completely bootstrapped, run without any venture funding – "Just the way we like it," said Jennings.

And how much use does the site get? Jennings revealed that the company has "a strict privacy standard we adhere to, so we don't share any of our traffic stats with third parties. As for what percentage are hiring from the site, we don't track that information, as those discussions take place off-site, between the consumers and the entertainers for privacy reasons."

If you're into the idea of Slixa as long as your privacy is protected, this appears to be a non-issue.

In interviews, the only feedback we got from escorts using the site that even came close to constituting a "complaint" is that Slixa is still slightly under the radar and hasn't hit critical mass yet. One entertainer in New York City who requested to remain anonymous said that she would like to do much more business over the site in the future, but acknowledges that "it takes time to build a new brand. So, I believe in the site very deeply. I know it has a great future ahead of it, as it's specifically addressed issues that are a problem for other sites."

And what problems do these other sites have?

They "are either so poorly designed or have such low-functioning capacity that entertainers get lost in the shuffle (and if they don't want to be, they have to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars just to get any attention to their ads). Slixa does a fantastic job of creating a space where entertainers who invest in their business with high quality photos and ad copy have a chance at getting attention, without having to compete with cam sites or pornographic advertising," this escort said.

We had all kinds of legality questions. What's the difference between an escort and a prostitute, and how is Slixa able to operate in the clear?

We reached out to Adrianna Carter, an escort using the site to publicize her wares, who told us that "escorts are high-end companions. Prostitutes sell sex for money." This appears to come down to the subtle difference between selling your time and selling your body.

We also spoke to Lisa Love, an escort operating out of Dallas, Texas, who explained it the same way: "Well, an escort has companionship for sale. A prostitute has sex for sale. I personally like to be described as a 'provider' because I provide the combined services of a therapist, girlfriend, best friend, and ego-booster, you could say. But as a provider, I sell my time. Now, how we choose to spend our time – that's all up to the client."

However, if you're going to use the site, be smart. Atlanta lawyer David Schnipper told us that ads for adult companionship will dance around the specific details of what to expect, instead using keywords like "massage," "time," or "companionship" to stay in the clear. But law enforcement obviously knows what's happening. They're just far less likely to care until someone complains or gets injured.

We were obviously curious about the financials here, and Slixa pages readily tell you the rates you can expect to pay. As the site caters to a clientele that is often of some means, encounters can get expensive quickly. Each escort sets her own price, but as an example, here's how much one New York City escort charges:

  • Two hours "get to know you" – $1,800
  • Five-hour dinner engagement – $6,000
  • Overnight bliss – $10,000

We interviewed one such high-end escort (her name is being withheld at her request), who said that really enterprising and hardworking women can make as much as $400,000 a year, and six figures a year is common income for escorts in general.

Click here to take a (work-safe) tour of Slixa >

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Take A Look Around Faith Hill And Tim McGraw's $20 Million Tennessee Farm


Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at the American Country Music Awards

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are selling their Franklin, Tennessee estate for a hefty $20 million.

Located nearly 30 miles outside of Nashville, the property is a haven of natural beauty and solitude. The 750+ acres are home to rolling pastures, fields, ponds, and spring-fed creeks. There are also four different residences. 

According to Zillow, the superstar duo originally bought the two distinct chunks of land that make up the property in November of 2001 for $13.8 million.

Welcome to Beechwood Hall, currently owned by country superstars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.

The property is made up of two adjoining farms that are now part of the same piece of land. Before they were united, one property belonged to country music legend Hank Williams.

Source: The Realestalker

The main home, originally built in 1856, is a 6,856-square-foot antebellum beauty overlooking most of the property.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Dunkin' Donuts Releases A Special Donut To Celebrate The Royal Baby


Dunkin' Donuts released special donuts to celebrate the birth of the royal baby.

Presenting the royal munchkin.

We stopped by to check them out for ourselves. 

Not as many sprinkles.

royal munchkin dunkin donuts

A Dunkin' Donuts employee told us they're simply glazed munchkins with sprinkles.

After eating them, they're not actual glazed munchkins, but rather plain mini-donut holes with glaze painted on to hold the sprinkles.

Upon our visit, there were even balloons with the message "It's a boy!" hanging throughout the store.

SEE ALSO: Brands Are Already Tweeting Corny Stuff After The Birth Of The Royal Baby

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Royal Crier Says He 'Crashed The Party' For The Royal Baby's Birth


Royal Crier Tony AppletonAmid the chaos that was the royal baby birth announcement, one tradition maintained itself. But not because it was invited.

The royal crier, 76-year-old Tony Appleton, made his public proclamation to fans and well-wishers outside of St. Mary’s Hospital in London on Monday when the royal baby was born.

“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye,” he began, while clanging a bell. "On this day, the 22nd of July, the year 2013, we welcome with honorable duty a future king. The first born of the Royal Highness, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The third in line to the throne. Our new prince is the third great-grandchild of Her Majesty the Queen and the first grandchild of the royal highness the Prince of Wales. May he be long lived, happy and glorious and one day to reign over us. God save the Queen."

But according to Yahoo, Appleton, who hails from Chelmsford, Exxes, said he was not even invited by the royal family personally to partake in delivering the announcement.

"I was not invited, I just crashed the party,” he told Yahoo. “I got out of my cab and I stood in front of the steps, because I didn't think I would be allowed on them, and did my bit. It was great. It was a great atmosphere, it's like the Olympics."

Appleton said a journalist from the Times wrote down what he had to say to be sure it went according to tradition as the royal crier.

But though he has been the royal town crier for 25 years, he’s still shocked to see his face on newspapers and websites worldwide. "I can't believe it, I've opened up the newspapers and my face is all over them," he said.

Appleton, who runs a home for the elderly, said he also waited outside Buckingham Palace in 2011 for the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton to fill the tradition of the town crier.

His interest in the royal family, though, extends far back from the royal wedding. Appleton said he became infatuated with the British monarchy when he met the Queen as a child while she was on a royal walkabout.

"I love the royal family, I love them to bits,” he said.

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CONCERT PHOTOS: Pop Sensations Fun. Rocked Manhattan And It Was Awesome


Fans went crazy during the show.

The band Fun. is the breakout pop sensation of this decade. And this became crystal clear when fans starting crying at their show last night at Pier 26 in Manhattan, NY.

Their hit "We Are Young" has become an anthem for millennials and took home the Grammy Award for song of the year at the 55th Grammy Awards. It was covered by the show "Glee" (whose version of it hit number one in the iTunes store before the band's) which made it hugely popular and then used in a 2012 Chevy Sonic commercial which made it hugely lucrative. 

And then they dominated the Billboard charts at number 1 for six weeks straight. So they had a big, excited crowd to see them and openers Tegan and Sara when they played at Pier 26.

The show was a spectacle with lights, costume changes, and wild fans.

Fun. played at Pier 26 in Manhattan and last night the weather was perfect.

Tegan and Sara opened.

The crowd was eager.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Long Island Teacher Forced To Resign After Showing Off Abs On A Reality Show


Stefan Serie Princess Long Island

A Long Island middle school health teacher was forced to resign his position after appearing as an extra on the Bravo reality show "Princesses: Long Island," according to the Daily News.

Stefan Serie was a well regarded health teacher at Merrick Avenue Middle School who, in his words, was "coerced" into quitting after appearing shirtless in a pool party scene. The Bravo series follows six self-proclaimed "Jewish-American Princesses" who still live with their parents.

As the Daily News writes, "the 30-year-old flashes his cut abs and laughs in the background while the rest of the 'Princess' crew drinks alcohol from red plastic cups, bounces around in their teeny bikinis and dishes about their dream boyfriends." You can watch the full episode here.

Serie tells the Daily News that "I didn’t do anything that I would tell my students not to do." The teacher had his tenure offer rescinded and was pressured into quiting his $75,000 job, he says.

Since appearing as an extra, Serie has distanced himself from the controversial show. He told the Daily News, "The behavior of the cast members was not something I wanted to be a part of moving forward."

Serie was popular among students and parents, and there is a rally in support of him planned for this evening, News 12 Long Island reports. Here's what one former student had to say about him on RateMyTeachers (lightly edited for typos):

My favorite teacher in all my years. He was the nicest when i had him- also the best wrestling coach. He is very Knowledgeable about his topics and taught me a lot. Talks to his students like we are his friends, and doesn't throw around his power. Best teacher- best coach- also one of my best friends

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Iconic Upper East Side Restaurant Loses Four-Star Rating Over Customer Service


daniel bouludIconic Upper East Side restaurant Daniel has consistently received four-star reviews from The New York Times.

But this week, critic Pete Wells knocked it down a star after seeing a discrepancy in how chef Daniel Boulud's famed dining room (which turned 20 this year) treats its famous and lesser known customers.

Wells, who is flagged as a critic the moment he walks in the door, described how he had a completely different experience than a colleague who dined at Daniel on the same night and paid the same $195 for the tasting menu:

The kitchen sent two amuse courses to my table. His got one. A few remaining sips of my wine, ordered by the glass, were topped off. His glass sat empty at times while he waited to be offered another.

We both ate extraordinary fried lollipops of filleted frogs’ legs on a long stick of bone, but only I was then brought a napkin-covered bowl of rosemary- and lemon-scented water for rinsing my fingers.

Wells was pampered; his colleague, who was unknown to the wait staff, was not. Not that his friend complained about the experience  he had a perfectly nice time. But maybe the unknowns are exactly the people a top-notch restaurant like Daniel should be trying to impress. As Wells puts it:

... a restaurant can’t be blamed for trying to impress a critic.

It can be faulted, though, for turning its best face away from the unknowns, the first-timers, the birthday splurgers, the tourists. They are precisely the people who would remember a little coddling at a place like Daniel for years.

As Slate's L.V. Anderson notes, in the days of social media, it's nearly impossible for a restaurant critic to maintain anonymity. He calls for Wells to drop the charade and own up to the fact that he'll never be treated like an ordinary diner in the city's top restaurants:

It’s great for Wells to acknowledge the truth about 21st-century restaurant criticism, but it would be better for him to go one step further, do away with the whole pretense of being an everyman, and go public with his real face. Wells should by all means continue to enlist nonfamous to get a sense of how restaurants treat the masses, but it’s time for him to stop pretending he blends in with the masses. As far as elite restaurateurs are concerned, he doesn’t.

With Daniel off the list, there are now five restaurants in New York City with four-star reviews from The New York Times: Per Se, Del Posto, Eleven Madison Mark, Jean Georges, and Le Bernardin.

SEE ALSO: The 45 Best Restaurants In America

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Beautiful New Photos Of The Opulent Versace Mansion In Miami


attached image

The infamous Versace Mansion in Miami has had a rough time on the real estate market.

It was originally listed back in June 2012 for $125 million, making it one of the most expensive homes in America at the time.

A few months later, it was price-chopped down to $100 million, then $75 million, and now the estate is headed for bankruptcy auction this September.

Jill Eber of real estate agency The Jills confirmed to The Real Deal that bidders will need to deposit $3 million into escrow and show proof of funds of $40 million to participate. The auction will take place at the storied mansion, which is now a boutique hotel known as Casa Casuarina.

Versace originally bought the home in 1992 for $10 million and invested $33 million into the property, adding a 6,100-square-foot south wing, a 54-foot-long mosaic-tiled pool (lined with 24 karat gold), and frescoes on the home's walls and ceiling.

The fashion designer was murdered outside the property in 1997 by Andrew Cunanan. Tourists and fans still visit the home to take pictures on the steps where Versace died, which could explain why the estate has had so much trouble finding a buyer.

Reuters recently took new pictures of the palatial mansion in advance of September's auction, and it's looking more opulent than ever.

Welcome to 1116 Ocean Drive in Miami, the infamous Versace Mansion. These are the steps where fashion designer Gianni Versace was murdered in 1997.

Versace originally bought the home in 1992 and spent $33 million renovating it.

He added mosaics, a pool lined with gold, and 6,100 square feet with a new south wing.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

These Are The 7 Best Apps For Finding Discounts


With the availability of discount-finding apps on the market, there's no reason to pay full price for just about anything these days.

But which apps are the best at sniffing out deals?

We sorted through the lot and came up with seven we think are worth downloading. 

1. Decide

Decide gives you product recommendations and allows you to set price alerts on products you are watching, while searching sites and local stores for price comparisons. At the same time, you can check out product ratings and reviews from other users.

Price: Free

Available on Apple devices.

apps2. RetailMeNot

We never head to the register without loading up RetailMeNot's app. Punch in the store where you're shopping and the app will come up with a list of in-store and online discounts you can use. You can redeem in-store coupons right from your phone, save and share coupons with others, and get deal and expiration alerts so you never miss a sale. If you want, the app will also alert you whenever you are in the vicinity of a good deal.

Price: Free

Available on Apple and Android devices.

3. SnipSnap

If you're still into coupon clipping the old fashioned way, you can at least give your coupon binder a rest. With SnipSnap, you can take a picture of a printed coupon and save it to your phone. You will be notified when you're in a store with a coupon that you saved. You can also follow coupon bundles that friends and family have saved.

Price: Free

Available on Apple and Android devices.

apps4. Groupon

Groupon has moved away from just being a cheap way to get a meal. These days, you can browse deals on everything from vacation packages to bedroom furniture. And you rarely have to show up to a business with a printed Groupon in hand — with the app, you can either have items shipped directly to you (without having to visit a third-party site) or download a voucher to redeem in stores. 

Price: Free

Available for Apple and Android devices.

5. RedLaser

If you're into "showrooming," RedLaser is amazing. Just wave your smartphone in front of any item's bar code. The app scans websites and nearby stores to tell you if there are lower prices at other locations. You can also purchase right from your phone and have items shipped or ready for in-store pick up. As a bonus, you can scan a food product and come up with a list of allergens to beware of.

Price: Free

Available on Android devices.

goodzer6. Goodzer

Goodzer's free app is like a personal shopper in your pocket. If you've got your eye on a certain product, just punch it into the app (the database contains info on more than 2 million items) and it'll spit out a list of nearby stores that carry it. You'll get the price, availability and directions to the shop as well. 

"Love the speed and accuracy."

Price: Free

Available on Apple devices.

7. CardStar

Get rid of the dozen store rewards cards dangling from your keychain with the CardStar app. Once you've got your cards loaded onto the app, you can access them right from your phone. Just show the cashier your barcode at the check-out and they'll scan them like the real thing. 

Available for Apple and Android devices.

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