Winter Driving Tips to Keep the Family Safe
Nov20

Winter Driving Tips to Keep the Family Safe

For some, the end of November brings warm and fuzzy feelings as winter holidays approach. For others, those pleasant feelings are undercut with a twinge of dread. With winter holidays come winter weather, and winter driving. Though there’s no way to prevent icy roads on your commute, you can take steps to prevent accidents. Whether you’re driving to work, taking the kids to school, or heading home for the holidays, try the following tips to make your winter trip a little safer: Keep Your Car in Good Condition Before the worst weather sets in, take an afternoon to prep your car for the winter. One of the most important things you can do to ready your car for icy roads is to check your tires. If the tread has worn down, consider getting them replaced, or even invest in a good set of snow tires. Throughout the winter months, check your tires once a week to make sure they are properly inflated. Also top up essential fluids, like motor oil, antifreeze, coolant, and wiper fluid to keep your car performing optimally in tough weather conditions. Finally, check to make sure your wipers and lights are in top condition to improve visibility in winter precipitation. Slow Down In snow, sleet, and icy rain, don’t attempt to drive the speed limit, and only go as fast as conditions allow. If the pavement is slippery or if visibility is limited, reducing your speed can prevent accidents. In fact, studies suggest that lowering speed by only 0.63 miles per hour can reduce roadway accidents by 2-3%. And, if you do end up in an accident on winter roads, a slower speed can make the accident less serious. Practice Smart Acceleration and Deceleration Many wintertime accidents are caused by drivers who attempt to change the motion of the car too quickly. Instead of making sudden stops, starts, or turns, try accelerating and decelerating more smoothly. Rather than braking to a stop, try coasting, and only gently braking when necessary. Additionally, increase your following distance to up to eight or ten seconds, so that you don’t have to brake suddenly if the next car experiences problems. Eliminate Distractions Finally, though distractions are dangerous whenever you’re driving, they can be especially detrimental while driving in winter weather. Try to avoid talking on the phone in a snowstorm, even if you have hands-free calling. Any type of multitasking can worsen your driving performance. Even billboards can become distracting in winter weather, though 71% admit to looking at roadside advertisements. If you notice you’re losing focus on a long trip in winter weather, or getting sleepy, find a safe place to pull over and take...

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How to Hate Long Flights a Little Less
Nov06

How to Hate Long Flights a Little Less

More than 81 million cars will be made this year, but sometimes you have to take to the skies. And when you do, even short flights can feel like they last forever. Between checking luggage, standing in line at airport security, and waiting around to board the plane, you’re often tired of flying before you even get to your seat. However, particularly long flights over five or so hours can become the stuff of nightmares. Difficulty sleeping, boredom, hunger, and lack of personal space are just a few of the factors that make long flights torturous for even the most patient travelers. Though a long flight will likely never be a smashing good time, there are strategies that can make extended trips more tolerable. If you’re going to be 3,500 feet in the air for many, many minutes, try these tips to make your flight fly by. Bring as Much Entertainment as You Can One hour can seem like two when you have two feet of personal space and nothing to do. Multiply that by however many hours you’ll be flying, and you’ll have an idea of how much entertainment you need to prepare. Matadornetwork.com recommends to pay the extra cash flights that offer for movies on the plane. If that’s not an option, try to download movies at home to have ready for the flight. Bring an extra travel battery to charge your phone or tablet while you’re watching shows so that you don’t have a boredom emergency. Plan Layovers Beforehand Long flights punctuated by long layovers make for a miserable couple of days. Do yourself a favor and find ways to enjoy your on-the-ground time. Research airports ahead of time to plan out where you’ll eat, freshen up, and where you’ll need to meet your connecting flight. Find the Legroom At any one time, FlightAware estimates that there are about 9,728 planes carrying 1.27 million people in the air. In other words, planes are pretty crowded. If you can, pay the extra cash for seats with more legroom. Smartertravel.com suggests using flyer miles and working with airline companies whenever you can to upgrade during extremely long flights, or else pay the price of a sore body and a head swimming with exhaustion when you land. Though you may not be able to swing first class, some airlines let you pay a fee to choose your seats in advance. Look for seats near exits or along the aisles. Get Cozy At high altitudes, the air is much colder, and even the best-insulated planes can get chilly. If you plan on sleeping at all on the flight, wear something...

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Children Related Damage Ruining Your Ride? 3 Steps to Make Your Car Look Good As New
Jun30

Children Related Damage Ruining Your Ride? 3 Steps to Make Your Car Look Good As New

Whether you drive the standard mommy minivan or you are riding in an old-school convertible, your car is going to be a big part of your day to day life. That’s why the cleanliness of your car is so important. Unfortunately, as most parents know, the second you introduce a kid into the car, any hopes of keeping it clean and stain free go out the finger-print covered window. Make no mistake, children are often a blessing and a joy, but that tiny fraction of time when they are not, they are a whirlwind of mess and destruction like something out of an L. Frank Baum novel. While most messes are easy enough to clean, sometimes stains and tears do happen. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with the damage to your car forever. If you are looking to give your car some new life, here are three steps you can take to improve the interior on a budget. Step 1: DIY Seats Repair Professionally replaced seats can cost as much as $200 dollars, and often times cheap seat covers can look ill-fitting or simply out of place with the rest of your car. For almost nothing, you can purchase an upholstery needle and high strength thread so that you can easily mend the tear in most fabrics. Or you can opt for patching. Step 2: Steam the Carpets Believe it or not, you can purchase car carpets tailor-made to fit any car no matter the make, model, and year as far back as the mid-1940s. However, if you’d rather not replace your carpets entirely, most stains can be lifted with a good steam cleaning. Even most deeply set in stains can be lifted this way. Step 3: Cover the Cracks In older cars, the sun can and often will cause cracks in your dashboard. Unfortunately, there is no way to fix these problems outright, but there is a clever way around the problem. Find some suede or other fabric that matches with the rest of the car’s interior and cut out a piece that can effectively cover the dashboard. Affix it with velcro or a liquid adhesive and your problem is suddenly a charming design feature. Your car is a haven, a safe and happy ferry for you and your beloved children. But for the frugal mom, it can seem like you are helpless against the wear and tear your children inflict on your car. Hopefully, these three tips can help make your car look good as...

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Empire State of Mind? Paris Approves of Controversial New Skyscraper
Jul09

Empire State of Mind? Paris Approves of Controversial New Skyscraper

It seems as though the City of Lights will soon look more like the Big Apple. At least, that’s the concern many Parisians share after the Paris City Council on Tuesday approved plans for a 42-story skyscraper in the 15th arrondissement, close to the Eiffel Tower. The Independent reports that the Tour Triangle (or “Triangle Tower”) will be the first skyscraper built in the city since the 59-story Tour Montparnasse was built in the early 1970s. Paris is known for its low-level architecture. Outside of the Eiffel Tower, there are very few buildings in Paris that are considered formidable by modern standards. The Tour First, the second tallest building in Paris, is 758 feet high — a modest height compared to the buildings of other major international cities such as New York and Beijing. To put it in perspective, the Empire State Building is 1454 feet tall, close to twice the height of the Tour First and still taller than the Eiffel Tower, which is only 986 feet, and yet is just the third largest tower in New York. In contrast, the Tour Triangle, just 590 feet tall, has caused controversy in Paris since initial plans were revealed in 2008. Many Parisians are proud of the fact that the city’s skyline is unsullied by tall buildings and want to keep it that way. Herzog and de Meuron, the building’s architects, have had to battle against public opinion as well as an initial city council vote in November 2014 in which the plans were rejected. According to the Swiss architecture firm, the tower will contain a four-star hotel, a restaurant (just one of 8,000 restaurants in Paris), a sky bar, and more than 750,000 square feet of office space and will create up to 5,000 new jobs. The building will have a sleek, modern design mostly composed of glass. Mayor Anne Hidalgo is a supporter of the building, having dismissed last November’s vote as trivial and rife with inter-party squabbles. Right after Tuesday’s vote outcome was announced, she tweeted that she was “proud and happy that Triangle could be born in...

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Let Them Eat Health Food: Health Food Chinese Company Takes 6,400 Employees to France For Vacation
Jun04

Let Them Eat Health Food: Health Food Chinese Company Takes 6,400 Employees to France For Vacation

During the first week of May, Paris catered to what could be considered one of the largest tourist groups in modern history. The New York Times reports that far from a modest company outing, more than 6,400 employees of the Chinese multinational conglomerate the Tiens Group enjoyed a four-day vacation in France and Monaco — fully funded by the company’s multi-billionaire founder, Li Jinyuan. Wearing identical blue t-shirts and hats, the employees traveled to Paris, Nice, and Cote d’Azur, among other places, courtesy of Jinyuan. The employees made the journey to France from the company’s headquarters in Tianjin (which is roughly 90 miles south of Beijing) by flying on 84 jets. They occupied more than 200 hotels (sometimes putting them at full capacity) and used dozens of trains to travel throughout France and Monaco. The massive vacation was meant to celebrate the Tiens Group’s 20th anniversary. About 75% of the company’s workforce was present at the trip. The vacation was so large that the head of research at the Paris Tourism Office, Thomas Deschamps, labeled it an “industrial-size event.” He estimated that the business spent $13.5 million or so on lodging, transportation, food, and shopping. Deschamps, who works for a city that generated $17 billion in tourism revenue last year, was more than pleased. “It is clear that visits such as these are good for France,” Deschamps said. “It shows that Paris has the know-how to host big business conferences, even as it was a challenge to receive and host them all at the same time.” However, not everyone was happy with the trip, especially certain observers in China. Tao Duanfang, a contributor to theBeijing News, considered the vacation little more than a sly, “Maoist-style” propaganda spectacle meant to encourage the Chinese to make more money, which is seemingly contrary to the principles of the communist state. “This definitely wasn’t just a rest or a holiday,” Duanfang said, “but a ‘work trip’ or a ‘struggle,'” referring to a common Chinese political term. The Tiens Group is a direct-sales company that focuses on making health care appliances, skin care and household products, and health food. It also owns a university and a medical research lab in China. Selling to consumers in over 190 countries, the company hopes to expand into France. The vacation also was responsible for a Guinness world record for the longest human-formed phrase visible from the sky. When the tourists reached Nice, they formed a giant human chain that spelled out “Tiens’ Dream is Nice in the Cote d’Azur” on the...

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Luxurious Bungalow-Style Beach House Up For Sale on Mexico’s Pacific Coast
May13

Luxurious Bungalow-Style Beach House Up For Sale on Mexico’s Pacific Coast

On Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, a gorgeous, $1.5 million beach house recently went up for sale. The New York Times reports that the four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom home is situated in a gated, beachfront community called Los Naranjos, or “Orange Trees.” Near Puerto Escondido in the state of Oaxaca, the house is more like a string of thatch-roofed bungalows that circle a central courtyard rather than a traditional rectangular house. “It’s very Asian, Balinese-style,” said Brett Radmin, an owner and managing director of Puerto Real Estate, the company that listed the property. The house is part of a group of five similarly designed houses that together are known as Seis Olas, or “Six Waves.” The house features a plethora of luxurious features and amenities. The main bungalow alone is larger than many New York City apartments, and it boasts double front doors, a breakfast bar, pendant lights made from coconut tree fibers, and wooden floors throughout. The screen doors from the living and dining rooms lead to a large open courtyard with a pool, walkways, bridges, lily ponds, lounge chairs, and a “bedlike swing.” The walkways lead to the grassy lawn, the community pool, and the magnificent beach. A tennis court is set to open soon. The kitchen is fully equipped and features granite countertops, ceramic tiles, and a state-of-the-art refrigerator. It is adjacent to a shaded, outdoor dining table. Each of the four bedrooms is its own mini bungalow surrounding the courtyard. They all include travertine flooring and a bathroom with shower and bath, though the master bedroom has its own terrace and travertine tub. Travertine, a form of limestone, is a popular construction material for luxury properties. The United States’s demand for travertine alone weighs in at about 0.85 million tons every year. Though the fully equipped house (including Wi-Fi, satellite, full utilities) is available for rent at $600-$700 a night, Puerto Real Estate hopes to sell it...

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