Print Friendly and PDF

Final Edition  November 14, 2017 - Late night stories are highlighted
Updated:  November 14, 2017 03:43 AM (EDT)

Yesterday's Potpourri Issue (click on link)

Hard News Headlines You May Want To Know click for more headlines


Phone Topics blue links to the articles

Phoner:  What killed your crush on someone?

Phoner:  Would you love to get rid of gift giving over the holidays?

Phoner:  Do you avoid certain people during the holidays because you don't want to worry about giving gifts?

Phoner:  What era would you love to have lived in?

Phoner:  What did your kid do that made you scared of the person he was going to grow into?

Phoner:  What tastes better in a different setting?

Phoner:  Why were you glad there was a payphone around?

Phoner:  Who have you boycotted in this age of boycott everything?

Phoner:  How much did you pay for lessons for you kid to learn?

Phoner:  How was your accident in the best place possible?

Phoner:  How many people were on it when it collapsed?

Phoner:  Should restaurants be allowed to add extra tips/fees to  kids/teens who take up their tables, make a mess and don't tip?  Yes

Phoner:  Have you moved to a city for a better chance at dating?

Phoner: What is your favorite winter date?

Phoner: Why don't you let your kids go to sleepovers?

Phoner: What was the most disturbing thing that happened to you at a sleepover?

Phoner: What is your oldest pair of underwear in your drawer right now?

Phoner: Parents be honest, how much do you spend on your kids at Christmas?

Phoner: What was the hardest lesson you had to teach your kids?

Phoner: What was the most humiliating thing your kid said?

Phoner: What bad relationship habits should you get rid of before getting married?

Phoner: What questions should you always ask on a first date?

Phoner: What questions should you never ask on a first date?

Phoner: How do you avoid getting your heartbroken?

Phoner: What did they do that sent you running?

Phoner: Why did you stay in a toxic relationship?

Phoner: How did you know that your relationship would last?

Phoner: What is your trick to not losing your cool?

Phoner: What types of friends does everyone need in their lives?

Phoner: What type of friend are you?

Phoner: What makes someone a good friend?

Phoner: What is the most annoying song of all time?

Phoner: Was the place you worked haunted?

Phoner:  Where was your tourist wrong turn?

Phoner:  What's your secret menu item?

Phoner:  How old is your kid who's never watched TV?

Phoner:  How old were you when you saw your first naked person of the opposite sex?

Phoner:  What photo from your phone would you freak about if it were made public?

Phoner:  What was the stupidest thing your flight was delayed over?

Phoner:  What amazing medical technology are you the recipient of?

Phoner:  What's your wedding confession?  Bride Admits She Put Pretty Bridesmaids in Ugly Dresses 

Phoner:  What did you run into going down a hill?

Phoner:  How did your game end up with the police being called?

Phoner:  How did cutting in line end badly?

Phoner:  What have you used to clean your ears?

Phoner:  Anyone listening who hit a police car?

Phoner:  If there were a shortage of ____________ I would really panic!

Phoner:  Where did you pass out?

Phoner:  How was your car totaled and no one was in it?

Phoner:  Who was your landlord from hell?

Phoner:  How did technology get you busted?

Phoner:  What silly thing do you do to burn off more calories?

Phoner:  What did you scare off your property?

Phoner:  How has your pet prepared you for a relationship?  For a kid?

Phoner:  What was the best thing you ever bought used?

Phoner:  What did your pet destroy?

Phoner:  What have you have thrown on you when you opened a door?

Phoner:  What did you have to rescue from the drain?

Phoner:  It wasn't a dog but they had a guard ______________ that terrified me!

Phoner:  Have you ever caught your kid jerking off in public?

Phoner: Ladies, how long do you make a guy wait before you will sleep with him?

Phoner: Guys, how do you know a woman will sleep with you?

Phoner: What is the best part of being married?

Phoner: What friends is it okay to break up with in your early 20's?

Phoner: How long should you wait to bring up your exes when you're seeing someone new?

Phoner: What other cold-weather date ideas do you have?

Phoner: How do you fight without becoming a drama queen?

Phoner: How did you get that spark back in your marriage?

Phoner: Have you lost your man to football?

Phoner: Is it a requirement that a man you date must be able to cook?

Phoner: When do you bring up sex in your relationship?

Phoner:  What did you buy when you thought you were finally making great money?

Phoner:  What does YOUR husband never, ever say?

Phoner:  What did you try to save money on that didn't end up well?

Phoner:  Who was your horrible roommate?

Phoner:  Anyone being a horrible roommate or coworker in hopes they'll leave?

Phoner:  Anyone listening who has something named after them?

Phoner:  How did your name ruin your life?

Phoner:  What lie do you tell to avoid an argument?

Phoner:  What lie do you know your SO is telling you that you let them think they got away with?

Phoner:  What was your wedding day annoyance?

Phoner:  Do you have underwear for different occasions?

Phoner:  How does your mail carrier mess with you?

Phoner:  What's your texting commandment?

Phoner:  What have you kept from your ex that you can't bear to part with?

Phoner:  What were you surprised to just find out?

Phoner:  What move will people always remember you for?

Phoner:  What's the last thing you'd want to keep from your deceased loved one?

Phoner:  How did you almost lose your legs?

Phoner:  Have you ever had something to eat or drink that was so good you had to take breaks to appreciate just how good it was?

Phoner:  What was your embarrassing extracurricular activity in school? 

Phoner:  Why did you reach into your toilet?

Phoner:  Where were you when your tooth flew out of your mouth?

Phoner: What did he do that was an immediate red flag?

Phoner: What unexpected job did you get when you were the maid of honor?

Phoner: What are your Dos and Don'ts for being a good wingwoman?

Phoner: Who is constantly interfering in your relationship?

Phoner: Guys, what does your lady say that drives you crazy?

Phoner: What stopped you from cheating on your spouse?

Phoner: Why did you cheat on your spouse?

Phoner: Does your significant other have a friend or family member you can't stand? How do you deal with them?

Phoner: Why does homework suck?

Phoner: Why don't you feel guilty for being a working mom?

Phoner: What have you learned during your marriage?

Phoner: Are you going through a divorce right now? What is the hardest part?

Phoner: Did you not know you were pregnant when you went into labor?

Phoner:  What would you rather have happen than your favorite team winning?

Letters to Steal

Dear:  Should I tell my sister what her netflix and chill candle means?   I know it's kind of mean, but also hysterical.. .My sister bought my nephews and their girlfriends (in college) Netflix and Chill candles for Christmas.  Oh..and one for her friends recently engaged daughter and fiance for Christmas..  Because they all love watching Netflix!   She has no idea what it means..   I think it will embarrass my nephews, but they'll find it funny.  Not sure I want to embarrass their girlfriends since I don't know them as well. 

Dear: My 8-year-old son is getting to the point where he wants to have a lot of his friends over to play after school. I don’t mind having them over, but I’m starting to wonder if I need to tell the other parents that we have guns in the house. My husband is a cop and keeps them in a locket cabinet that kids wouldn’t be able to get in. Do I have to inform the other parents about it?

People Shared The One Thing That Instantly Killed A Crush And Eating Boogers Is A Turn Off

I had a co-worker at my internship in college who I would swoon over every day. I’d precisely time my trips to the break room to coincide with hers. Rack my brain for interesting conversation starters. Shit, I’d even iron my shirts in the mornings.

That was all until one day in July 2009. I looked over at her cube, like I did every 8 minutes, and I witnessed her picking her nose AND eating it. I shit you not. And it was clear as day. No way she could have possibly be doing anything other than chomping on one of her nose goblins. Everything I ever felt for her immediately left my body like an exorcism. I found out after I went back to school that she had a crush on me, and I felt nothing. Amazing what one mid-day snack can do to a crush.

A Redditor posed the question: What is something that instantly killed a crush that you had on someone? And people came out in the thousands to share their stories. Here are the most scintillating:


He got visibly annoyed when I didn’t order what he suggested off of a menu


Mine was more subtle… the first thing that came of her mouth to talk about former people she had dated was economic issues. You know:

“Oh, he was loaded”

“Oh, he took me to Paris for the weekend”.

Made me realize her priorities.


Googling him and finding his Wedding Registry. For that weekend.


She invited me to a small party and the main activity was that we all sat round a table while she asked us pre-scripted getting-to-know-you questions.

Then she invited me to an even smaller and totally-different-sounding party and did it again.


Saw how she treated her doormat of a boyfriend. It was almost cartoonish the way she ordered him to do things and constantly criticized him. She found a guy who knew he was out of his league and totally took advantage of it. Her appeal disappeared pretty quickly after that.

The odd thing is that I had apparently been acting kind of standoffish and boring around her while the crush was on. Once I was over her, I loosened up and acted more like myself and then she started talking to me more. Realizing that I had been making myself less appealing was a nice lesson to learn from that.


I saw the guy who I had a crush on, off and on for all of high school attempt to shave his arm hairs with one of the ten lighters he had in his backpack by burning off the hairs.

FYI, He doesn’t smoke either. He just really likes fire.


We were out driving and he swerved the vehicle to deliberately hit a sparrow whilst laughing.

Yeah nah, bye..


Because she loved the fact that, according to her, every male friend of her wanted to have sex with her, so she could just keep guys around and fuck them whenever she wanted. That kind of ultra-narcissism killed it for me.


She was super intelligent and clever, but thought it was cuter to play dumb all the time.

And not just a little dumb, like totally-behind-the-curve stupid. She knew that part of what always attracted me was that she was always so comfortable being herself around me (sweet and intellectual) but in public she just refused to act like she had any wits about her. Most of my (and her own) friends really jut thought she was a cute idiot.


They always had to be right, and if they were wrong they’d manipulate it to where they were somehow right.

Phoner:  What killed your crush on someone?


The Best Winter Date Ideas For Your Zodiac Sign

If you're looking to get outdoors and have some fun this Winter, and maybe find some love in the process, you might want to ask the stars what "dream" date could make all those wishes come true. Sure, you might be thinking, "But it's so damn cold outside!" and figure that curling up in a ball at home seems like the wiser choice. But if you're not opening yourself up to new experiences and people, you might miss out on some meaningful connections and supercool date ideas no one would expect.

Plus, even though it is cold out, you'll have company and you can warm each other up. (And that makes it totally worthwhile, right?) What's more, most of these outdoor date ideas are really fun and can actually only be enjoyed during the chillier months, so it'd be a shame to waste the opportunity. So now that you've tried out these Fall date ideas, here are a few awesome Winter date ideas to give your love life and activity level a boost this coming Winter.


Time to get on those slopes. (Or maybe take a trip together where you can find some!) Not only is fresh snow beautiful, but it also makes for a romantic yet adventurous date. So go snowboarding with your SO, astrologer Valerie Mesa tells POPSUGAR. "Aries is an adrenaline junkie, and nothing beats the rush of hitting the slopes! This fire sign loves to be challenged, and they prefer their day to be action packed and full of thrill," she said. That energy will surely get your partner on board, literally.

There's nothing quite as toasty as getting cozy by a burning fire. (Hot chocolate or mulled wine recommended.) For a Taurus, this sounds like the perfect Winter date night. "Taurus is notorious for being too comfortable, and there's nothing they would rather do than snuggle next to a warm fireplace. This earth sign loves to indulge in their five senses," Mesa explained. Plus, it's easy to boost the romance here, too.

Believe it or not, the smell of old books can be pretty sexy. (Hint: maybe even pick up a romance or erotic novel together to take back home.) "Gemini is a relentless thinker. Curious and easily bored, this air sign needs to be mentally stimulated at all times," Mesa said. So wandering through a bookstore gives them the knowledge they crave and, most importantly, options. Plus, it's a fun way to stay indoors while still being active in the Winter.

The thing about Cancer: they don't like to go out with their SO too much. Besides, when it's Winter, there's no harm in staying all snuggly together. Cancer is the homebody of the zodiac. "Similar to Taurus, this water sign craves comfort and security," Mesa said. Staying home in their pajamas is their favorite hobby, with all the goodies and treats (like chocolate chip cookies!) they can feast on. TBH, "the crab isn't very athletic, and in the Winter they hibernate," Mesa added.


Oh Leo, how you love to show off your fabulous moves on the ice. (Hopefully, those skills are actually legit.) "Leo loves to show off, and ice skating will definitely do the trick. Competitive and artistic, Leo will dominate the ice-skating ring while pretending they're giving the performance of a lifetime," Mesa said. And get this: some Leos will even teach their date how to ice skate, as they love to be in charge.

A perfect plan for superanalytical Virgo? Build something that takes precision, like a snow fort. (Let loose with a snowball fight afterward for added playfulness.) "Virgo doesn't like to waste time. Helpful and hardworking, this earth sign wants to take full advantage of their time, and anything related to building is their specialty," Mesa said. And be warned, Virgo does it right or not at all, so guaranteed it will be the best snow fort you've ever seen.

Bring out that sled, and take a trip to the park. It's time to get a little messy in the snow. (And maybe "fall off" on top of each other.) "Libra wants beauty, harmony, and pretty pictures. Sledding is the perfect Winter wonderland activity, and it's also something they can do alongside their partner," Mesa said. They hate going solo, she adds. Just make sure to take plenty of photos in action.

There's no denying it here, Scorpio likes sex. That includes having it in a hot tub. (Or at least doing something a little sexier than average.) "Like a true water sign, Scorpio feels the most relaxed when they're in or by the water, hence a hot tub is always an option," Mesa said. Perfect for colder temperatures, right? Scorpio likes to feel sexy, and there's nothing sexier than sharing a hot tub with their partner.


The real adventure-seeker, Sag doesn't want to stay indoors on a big, comfy couch. (Even when it's zero degrees outside.) Instead, they love being on the move and outdoors as much as possible. "Sagittarius is the explorer of the zodiac, and hiking is their favorite pastime. The sign of the archer feels the most alive when in nature," Mesa explained. Plus, you can take a sick selfie together.

Do you wanna build a snowman? (Frozen reference intended.) A great activity to do with your SO is get creative in the snow. "Capricorn is the most traditional sign in the zodiac, and nothing says Christmas more than building a snowman," Mesa said. This earth sign is incredibly focused, and nothing will get in the way of their Winter wonderland dreams, she adds.

Time to get cozy by the fire. Throw some blankets and s'mores into the mix, and you're solid. Aquarius is a natural at bringing people together, which makes a bonfire a perfect setting for a Winter date. "This air sign lives for conversations and new experiences, and a bonfire will do just that," Mesa said. But don't expect this water bearer to have intimate one-on-one time with you. They're just not built that way, she says.

You can still enjoy the water when in the Winter. Similar to their sister sign Scorpio, Pisces feels best when they're by the water, Mesa said. "Fishing is one of their favorite hobbies, and the ice isn't going stop them. This water sign has a vivid imagination, especially when they're in nature," she said. You can then cook up a delicious fish dish together over wine afterward, too.

Phoner: What is your favorite winter date?

16 Questions To Ask On A First Date, According To Marriage Therapists

If you’re an introvert ― or just hate small talk ― few things are more stress-inducing than a first date. Keeping conversation flowing freely is no easy feat.

To help you figure out what to talk about ahead of time, we asked therapists and psychologists who work with couples to share their favorite first date discussion points. See what they had to say below.

1. What was the last thing you bragged about to your mom?
“Figure out some way to ask what makes your date proudest. You get to see your date light up and see them at their best. Common values are more important to a relationship than common interests and by asking this question, you get to find out what they really value in their life.” ― Isiah McKimmie, a couples therapist and sexologist in Melbourne, Australia

2. If you could get advice from anyone living or dead, who would you want advice from and what would you ask?
“You would be able to tell quite a lot from this question. For example, you’d be able to see how well they think on their feet, how playful or imaginative they are and you’d get a flavor for how worldly they are. Perhaps most obviously, you’d see who they admire, which would tell you if his or her values line up with yours. If they pick a political figure, it could tell you about how conservative or liberal they are. And asking what advice you’d be seeking tells you a lot about their goals in life.” ― Susan Pease Gadoua, a couples therapist and the co-author of The New I Do, Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebel

3. Do you make your bed in the morning?
“The answer to this question can reveal how much importance they place on order and tidiness versus saving time. It also allows for some interesting sharing about if they are a morning or night person and their usual morning routine.” ― Danielle Kepler, a couples therapist in Chicago

4. What’s the worst first date you’ve ever been on?
“Only ask this question if you sense that things are going well, as their answer will reveal whether they can let their guard down and tell an entertaining story. Plus, it’s a great way to build an instant ‘us vs. them’ bond, as it requires the person to subconsciously reflect on how well your date is going compared to the one they’re recounting.” ― Spencer Scott, a psychologist in Santa Monica, California

5. If you could wave a magic wand right now and have your life be perfect, what would that new life look like?
“This is a version of the question therapists often employ with their clients to help them think differently about a problem or issue. But it’s also useful in finding out a lot about a person’s hopes and dreams. If you’re a plugged-in city girl and your date’s answer is, ‘I’d be living on a remote mountaintop with no cell service,’ your life goals are probably not compatible.” ― Abby Rodman, a psychotherapist and the author of Should You Marry Him?: A No-Nonsense, Therapist-Tested Guide to Not Screwing Up the Biggest Decision of Your Life

6. What could you spend all day talking about?
“Even a simple question like this ― or simply ‘what are you passionate about?’ ― can clue you in on a person’s values, morals, goals and motivation in life. If your date’s answer is ‘my family,’ then chances are that this person is someone whose priority is to build a prosperous future with a partner both emotionally and financially. If their answer is ‘reality TV,’ be prepared to watch a lot of ‘The Real Housewives.’” ― Carin Goldstein, a couples therapist in Sherman Oaks, California

7. On your last vacation, did you plan everything out beforehand or go with the flow?
“This question reveals a lot about a person’s lifestyle and personality. For many people, having things scheduled or planned will cause anxiety and make a vacation stressful. On the other hand, those who are planners might find an open vacation with no plans to be anxiety provoking. I think this question reveals much about one’s personality because it will mimic a person’s lifestyle.” ― Antonio Borrello, a psychologist in Detroit

8. When you’re old and gray and you’re looking back at your life, what do you want to be remembered for?
“This is a fun one but it also tells you what their priorities really are. Everyone tells you what they’re doing currently in their life (I’m an accountant or in grad school, for instance) but that doesn’t really tell you where their priorities really are. This one gets to the bottom of it without it seeming like an interrogation.” ― Aaron Anderson, a couples therapist in Denver

9. What dating advice would you give the high school version of you?
“You learn about how the person has grown with this question. You also get a sense of how the person sees him or herself then and now, and what could be improved.” ― Diane Spear, a couples therapist in New York City

10. What is the most awkward/embarrassing thing that’s happened to you recently?
“Ask this to see how willing they are to be vulnerable and humble and if they have a sense of humor. If they are able to laugh at themselves, then it’s likely they will be easygoing when you take a fall.” ― Kristin Zeising, a psychologist in San Diego

11. What’s your philosophy on tipping?
“People who are generous tend to make better partners. A similar question might reference volunteerism!” ― Tom Murray, a couples therapist in Greensboro, North Carolina

12. What’s your favorite thing about your best friend?
“This question gets at a person’s value for close, ongoing relationships and the role they play in their life. Listen for what they like about these people, how they engage with them and how much they smile, and you’ll get clued into what they are looking for in a partner without asking so directly. You’ll get a great sense of what kind of friend and what sort of value they put on keeping those relationships strong.” ― Alicia H. Clark, a psychologist in Washington, D.C.

13. If you had a dinner party and had to invite a musician, a politician, a famous couple and only one family member, who would you invite? Bonus points: What would you be serving, where would you have it, and what would be on your dinner playlist?
“This question assesses a person’s creativity and personality. As you are getting to know someone, it’s important to assess interests, values, political views, and how they interact in social settings. It also allows you to see how they use their imagination, which can be helpful later on in romance and sex.” ― Shannon Chavez, a psychologist in Los Angeles

14. What’s your biggest pet peeve in a partner?
“On a first date, we all put our best foot forward, but this question can cut through the facade and invite them to give an authentic response. They don’t like messiness and you’re a slob? We may have a problem. They despise country music and so do you? Still in the running.” ― Ryan Howes, a psychologist in Pasadena, California

15. How do you spend your free time?
“Many people don’t have ‘hobbies,’ so this question is less likely to make someone feel like their answer needs to be special or impressive. There’s enough of that kind of pressure on a first date. Their answer could be spending time with friends or scrolling through political blogs. Regardless, it’s a nice picture into their life on the day to day.” ― Marie Land, a psychologist in Washington, D.C.

16. If you won a $20 million lottery, what would you do with the money?

“Simply put, this question may reveal a person’s value system and help you discern whether your date is self-absorbed, or generous and caring.” ― Jeannie Ingram, a couples therapist in Nashville, Tennessee

Phoner: What questions should you always ask on a first date?

Phoner: What questions should you never ask on a first date?

8 Bad Relationship Habits You Need To Kick Before Getting Married

When you’ve been dating someone for a while, it’s easy to form bad relationship habits, which, if left unchecked, have the power to crack the very foundation of your partnership.

We asked therapists, psychologists, professors and other relationship experts to tell us which negative patterns should be broken before you start thinking about marriage. Here’s what they had to say:

Bad habit No. 1: Expecting your partner to read your mind
“Stop thinking you should get things you want without having to ask. Yes, it’s nice when your spouse anticipates your needs. But none of us is married to a mind reader. Though we have no guarantee that we’ll get everything we ask for, it’s our job to ask. In fact, asking is a sign of strength.” ― Winifred M. Reilly, marriage and family therapist and author of It Takes One to Tango

Bad habit No. 2: Trying to make your partner jealous
“Getting married is all about building a secure base for both of you. When you try to make your partner jealous as a punishment or as a way to get their attention, you undermine the security of the relationship. Try talking about your frustration or need to be seen instead of playing this game.” ― Ryan Howes, psychologist

Bad habit No. 3: Constantly asking your partner if they love you
“It cheapens the expression when it’s not given freely and spontaneously. You can say ‘I love you’ and hope he or she says it back. You can say, ‘One reason I love you is ... ’ and hope for some reciprocity ― at least sometimes. But asking to be told all the time can make you seem insecure (which you probably are, so you might want to examine that). It also pressures your partner in a way that may stifle the genuine moments of wanting to express love. If you have a partner who is a bit miserly with ‘I love yous,’ talk about that, but don’t ask for it.” ― Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology and certified sexologist

Bad habit No. 4: Getting stuck in a boring routine
“You’ve met someone, you’ve dated for a while, maybe you have lived together and now you are planning on marriage. Your idea of fun has become hanging out watching TV, going to the occasional movie and maybe for a wild time, a weekend away at a bed-and-breakfast. I interviewed hundreds of long-married people for my book 30 Lessons for Loving, and according to them, that’s not enough. Before you get married, start having adventures. Break up the routine, try adventures where you are forced to step out of your comfort zone. Think a camping or canoe trip, a few weeks on your own in a foreign city, or, even better, a week or two of volunteer service together in a needy locale.” ― Karl Pillemer, professor of human development at Cornell University

Bad habit No. 5: Playing the blame game
“Some couples are in the habit of blaming each other for their own mistakes, no matter what. Example: ‘You left the water running...’ ‘Oh, that’s because you called me away in the middle of washing my hands.’ This is a toxic habit because when partners are so busy defending themselves and blaming their partners, they lose the chance to be kind to each other and to feel close. The opposite of blaming is taking responsibility for your own actions, and that is the hallmark of a mature and emotionally healthy relationship.” ― Samantha Rodman, psychologist and dating coach

Bad habit No. 6: Mindlessly checking your phone
“Nothing says disconnection more than two people gazing into their phones when they’re eating dinner together or snuggled up on the couch. ‘We’ time can be in short enough supply as it is. Make the time you spend together count. ― Winifred Reilly

Bad habit No. 7: Threatening to leave when the going gets tough
“When dating, some people threaten to leave the relationship when they’re losing a fight or wrestling with difficult issues. But once you’re on the road to marriage, you need to drop that tactic and view the problems as issues for ‘us’ to address. There are certainly exceptions (e.g., when abuse is the problem), but generally when you say you’re ready to commit to marriage, you are agreeing you’ll stick around through rough patches and not use bailing as a bargaining tool.” ― Ryan Howes

Bad habit No. 8: Grilling your partner about where they’ve been and with whom
“If they want to share, they will. If you are suspicious, then something sordid is at stake, and trying to catch your partner in a contradiction, badgering them or asking questions like a prosecuting attorney will just make matters worse. You have to back off and try to have conversations that are truly engaged about what your partner may have done during any given day, and not seem as if you are trying to control his or her life like a parent. If you are really getting paranoid, then just be watchful ― but quizzing only makes your partner angry, defensive, perhaps insulted and maybe a better liar.” ― Pepper Schwartz

Phoner: What bad relationship habits should you get rid of before getting married?

5 Ways To Never Experience Heartbreak Ever Again

One of the most prominent reasons I hear from people about why they’ve stopped dating, or approach it with brutal skepticism, is that they have been hurt so much in the past that they simply do not trust people anymore or trust that finding happiness is even a possibility.

The problem with this mindset, as one can imagine, is that it leads to a path of self-sabotage and self-fulfilling prophecies. We either stop putting ourselves out there in the first place, which reinforces our idea that it’s impossible to meet people (save the fact that we’re doing nothing to meet them), or, we look for every single tiny thing that could pose an issue down the road, and call it a dealbreaker.

We form defense mechanisms in an attempt to understand how to avoid heartbreak. But what’s required here is self-reflection and a shift in perspective that can keep you moving forward through life’s changes and challenges. Here are five ways to go about this:

1. Research how your brain's chemistry works.

I’m going to suck the romance out of dating for a second, and hit you with the factual reality that love and feelings are results of changes in your brain chemistry that directly affect your emotions. A surge in dopamine levels, for example, help you feel affection and a strong bond to the person that you’re dating.

Here’s the rub: when you understand scientifically what’s happening inside of your brain, it helps you keep your perspective when being flooded with chemical releases (literally). You can pause and say to yourself: “I know what’s happening here, and therefore I can better navigate the waters because I’m not getting lost in the storm.”

Continue to enjoy the feeling and enjoy the ride. But this mindset will allow you to keep your head about you when making lifestyle choices that affect your long-term path, when you’ve only just met someone that has your chemistry running wild. As the old saying goes: Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.

2. Build a sturdy foundation for your own life.
Picture the difference between a floating buoy in the water, and an anchor. When a storm hits (let’s say, a chemical storm of dopamine), how will the two different objects be affected?

The buoy will be thrown around and left at the mercy of the storm. It may find itself in a completely different part of the ocean and have no choice but to follow the tides. Someone whose life is completely dependent on the path of their significant other, or their relationship, will find themselves in this position.

We must anchor ourselves in our own life before we enter into a relationship, because this is the only way to remain sturdy and steadfast in our path. Yes, we need to compromise. Yes, we need to be flexible. Yes, we need to grow and evolve as we progress in life, but a complete upheaval of our existence for another person puts our emotional well-being in jeopardy, as we trust another person with it.

Not every relationship is going to work out, and if you’re the buoy, a breakup will leave you lost and confused. But if you’re the anchor, you will float back to your position after being shaken up a bit, and have a much easier time readjusting.

3. Don't avoid feelings, embrace them.
Too many people walk around with apathy on their chest as a badge of honor. Our society is teaching us that strength means to stop caring about other people. We are flooded with posts on social media about people who are “done” or “not trying anymore” or are “just doing me”... and we are supposed to believe this is actually positive?

The only thing being accomplished by pretending like we don’t have feelings or emotions, is a loss of identity, compassion, and community.

If you want to learn how to avoid heartbreak, you need to feel more, not less. Why? Because it’s going to allow you to learn about yourself more; to keep feelings in perspective; to understand how to best handle disappointment and challenges based on who you are as a person.

If you close your eyes when you walk into the woods, it doesn’t change the fact that you still end up deep into the woods. The only thing that changes is that when you open your eyes, you won’t have any idea how to get back out again. Embracing and feeling the good and bad in life will help you develop into a person that can handle it all more effectively.

4. Be completely honest with yourself from the beginning.
How many times have you entered into a relationship with the sneaking feeling that maybe, just maybe, this person wasn’t exactly right for you?

I have heard it a million times: People ignore red flags and warning signs because continuing on their current path is easier than breaking it off and starting over. The problem with that, though, is some of these small things eventually become big things, and the relationship ends anyway. Only now, it happened after a year instead of a month, and the pain is much more intense and drawn out.

Do not get into a relationship simply for the sake of being in one. There are plenty of happy single people, and plenty of lonely taken people. Your relationship status does not dictate your level of happiness. Another reason why I wrote Unlocking Love: To emphasize the importance of being happy and fulfilled in life, regardless of your relationship status.

If you can see that things aren’t right early on, you have the ability (and responsibility) to be open and honest about it before either of you waste too much time. In the long run, it’s better for you both.

5. Keep things in perspective.
Last, but certainly not least: the importance of keeping your circumstances in perspective. Odds are, the breakup you’re going through is not your first. The person who disappointed you is not the only one. The pain you’re feeling is familiar. But you have a 100 percent success rate of getting through your hard times.

You found someone you clicked with once, twice, three times, it will happen again. Life may remove people from your circles, but it also adds new ones, and often we forget this.

We forget this because we are lost in our emotions and feel like the world is crumbling around us, but it’s not. A relationship may end, the path we thought our life was on may come to a screeching halt, but we can and will find happiness again.

You need to stay strong during your low points so you can fully embrace and appreciate your high points. You need to find a balance in your own life of enjoying the present, but understanding that the decisions you make now, affect the world you wake up in tomorrow.

The ways our brains function and the dynamics of human relationships are perhaps the two most important things that we can take into consideration when creating happiness in our own lives, yet, we spend so little time learning about it. We aren’t taught how to pursue happiness in school, or how to build inter-personal relationships with each other, or how to recover after a disappointment or a breakup.

Life is a constant fluctuation of shifting circumstances that swirl around you on a daily basis. If we want to create and maintain happiness in the storm; we’ve got to be the anchor.

Phoner: How do you avoid getting your heartbroken?

If Your Partner Does These 12 Things, Run As Fast As You Can

After decades of ignoring red flags in a relationship only to sail into disaster each time, I've finally realized that no matter how gorgeous and alluring the new stranger is, you have to quit when a red flag goes up. As soon as it goes up.

This isn't as easy it sounds. For starters, you have to learn how to distinguish relationship red flags from mere quirks and annoyances. If a woman on her first date with you wears an orange-striped top and you hate orange or stripes, this is not a reason to bail. If her cell phone rings during dinner and she takes the call at the table, this is annoying and will need to be addressed at some opportune point (not the first date). But it's not a dealbreaker.

If, however, you take a woman to a restaurant that serves fancy pizza and she eats the pizza by scraping the cheese and tomato off the crust, leaves the crust on her plate, then lights a cigarette, smokes it, and grinds the butt out on the crust, this is a red flag.

Happily, I can report after three decades of romantic misadventures that there are, in fact, 12 red flags in a relationship that everyone should watch for, no matter who you are or what you find charming.

1. They're chronically late.
For clarity, "chronic" means "three dates in a row." If your date arrives more than ten minutes late each time, don't wait for his (or her) fourth arrival. Be gone.

No doubt your date will have wonderful excuses and one or two may even be sound. But three in a row is a pattern and what the pattern says is: I don't want to get into this. So neither do you.

2. They put ketchup on their eggs.
If one of those first dates is brunch and your new friend reaches for the ketchup to put on her eggs, RED FLAG!

I realize this may seem arbitrary or fussy. Or perhaps you think I'm making a class judgment here. All I know is: Nothing good ever comes of ketchup on eggs. And it's really gross.

3. They're rude to waitstaff.
And taxi drivers, and anyone else in a service job. I shouldn't even have to explain why this is a dealbreaker. Just remember that it is.

4. They tell scary divorce stories.
It's amazing how much a new prospect will tell you about her life on a first or second date — much more than she knows she's saying. The question is: Do you hear it?

If she launches into the story of her messy divorce, is her ex the villain in every respect? To me, that's a red flag right there. Anyone who's emotionally grounded should be able to see that two people, not one, contributed to a divorce.

5. They have a deep attachment to pets.
A golden retriever is fine and cats are all right if they don't do much. But I'm still haunted by the memory of an ancient, hairless dachshund that would manage to jump up on the bed during inopportune moments and bark. Not until the dog owner chose to disengage herself from me and comfort the dog instead did I know that this was trouble.

6. They've only had short-lived relationships.
During a first, incredibly romantic lunch with a new prospect some time ago, I mentioned that my most recent relationship had ended after a year. "A year," my new friend marveled. "That's so impressive! All of my relationships end after three months."

Of course, I resolved to be the exception. Over the next weeks, which happened to include Christmas and New Year's, we had an amazing time, both in New York City, where she had a charming Hell's Kitchen walk-up and at my house in the Hamptons.

One Sunday, after I'd put her on the train home, I came back to find the most tenderly romantic note on my pillow, something about soulmates joined. The next week, for no outward cause, she called to break up with me. No argument, no terrible time, just end of story. Only later did I realize it was week twelve.

Lesson: When a woman over 35 tells you all her relationships have ended after a few months, RED FLAG.

7. They have demon children.
Children with an issue or two? Maybe. Children who hate you? Watch out. Hopelessly spoiled or angry children? Head for the door.

8. They believe money is the only thing that matters.
Money stirs up so many issues, conscious and unconscious, far more than any magazine article can cover. For now, let's just list two red flags you can spot early on: If a man suggests splitting the tab on a first date or that the woman should pay.

If this happens, then bolt. I don't say this is fair, especially if, for instance, the woman is a CEO and the man is a freelance writer. But it's the way it is and any man who tries to worm out of his society-given role as tab-picker-upper on the first (or second or third) date for the sake of saving a few bucks is a creep to be ditched.

For men, an early red flag about money may not start waving until the third or fourth date. A lot of women begin life as daddy's girls; a few stay that way. They feel men should provide them with the lifestyle to which they've grown accustomed from other men who did just that.

If you're a sugar daddy yourself, have fun. If not, back off. Over time you'll only be despised and dropped.

9. They hold resentment toward their parents.
Powerful emotions about one's parents are a huge red flag. For men, mother-worship is relationship death. One 50-year-old man I know has dated every single woman in New York and found, to his bafflement, that none is good enough — for his mother, that is. One of this guy's many castoffs is a very attractive, successful woman of 42, whom I later dated myself.

Now that I know both, I can only wonder who was the first to reject the other. It must have been like two gunfighters at the O.K. Corral. Nancy rejected me after three really nice dates because she decided my eight-year-old daughter, whom she hadn't yet met, would be an "encumbrance" to our relationship. Only after we became friends did I learn how much she resents both her parents. Coincidence? I don't think so.

10. They give you bad sex.
I don't need to go into detail here, do I? Except to say that bad sex may get better after a first, fumbling time, but bad sex two or three times in a row is sex that only gets worse.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that sex is just one part of a relationship, that laughter and shared values are as important — they're not.

11. They wear dirty underwear and socks.
Your mother was right. They have to be clean. Dirty underwear is the hallmark of a secret slob and every secret slob has many worse habits you don't even want to think about, but will all too soon get to know if you don't leave now.

12. They show anger.

As he or she talks — not just about past romantic relationships but about work, friends, and family — listen for a low hum of anger, like a third rail running along the tracks of your new prospect's life. For reasons I never quite figured out, I used to be attracted to women who had that vibe.

Maybe it seemed sexy; maybe it reminded me of my mother. But I now know how to recognize anger — not shows of temper, which may be healthy in moderation, but the deeper, more destructive hum — and to back off when I hear it.

Phoner: What did they do that sent you running?

6 Reasons Why Smart People Stay In Toxic Relationships

Why a smart person stays in an abusive relationship is a mystery for many, including you, the victim. You are labeled and blamed as needy, co-dependent, or an enabler.

When two people are under the influence of love, they are tethered together, interconnected, and interdependent. Everything each does serves the relationship. The two become one — a team, depending and relying on each other. You have each other’s back. Your joy is magnified.

With abuse, however, that tethered relationship becomes self-serving and therefore, loses its integrity.

The following 6 causes contribute to why people stay in toxic relationships where you are not safe:

1. You are deceived by the abuser.
Lies and deception cause you to feel confused and powerless and to even wonder if you are going crazy. Deception, the pinnacle of conscienceless behavior, causes a cloud of ambivalence that freezes your ability to keep safe from the abuse.

The combination of powerlessness, betrayal, and ambivalence overwhelms the brain. At these times, the brain may release oxytocin (the love hormone) to maintain connection and promote closeness. Instinctively, you respond by repairing the connection in order to regain the security you once had in the relationship.

In essence, your biology moves you to see your abuser through the eyes of empathy and love.

2. They use destructive conditioning.
A narcissist conditions you to become afraid of doing the very things that once made your life fulfilling as they now bring you frustration or anxiety. In time, you learn to associate your strengths, talents, and happy memories with abuse and disrespect. Ineffective in being able to influence your partner makes you feel inadequate.

The conditioning silences you and withers away your self-esteem.

3. They assert dominance and control over you.
Entitlement and exploitation are hallmarks of a malignant narcissist. The abuser’s goal is to keep you hinged on him.

Control and dominance begin in subtle ways. The most powerful weapon the abuser uses is toying with your emotions. The more power over your emotions, the less likely you’ll trust your own reality and inner wisdom. The abuser parasitically bleeds your strength, sense of self, and dignity.

4. They disrespect and abuse you.
Abuse is about power imbalance. The abuser exploits your vulnerabilities and takes advantage of the strengths you bring to the relationship. Emotional abuse uses a set of ingredients: control, entitlement, excuses, justifications, and victim blaming to diminish your power.

When you try to protect yourself, passive-aggressive behaviors or anger is used to intimidate and keep you in fear of losing the relationship. Your head spins with confusion and feelings of guilt for not doing or being enough for your narcissist.

5. They gaslight you.

Gaslighting is a form of thought control and brainwashing. The toxic person slowly convinces you to question your perception of reality and to believe the problem isn’t the abuse itself, but your reactions to the abuse.

An abuser uses gaslighting as entertainment to see you squirm, a quick, effective fix to end conversations and redirect the focus onto what the narcissist calls your issues, e.g., nagging, or being controlling or too emotional. You’re overwhelmed with self-doubt and anxiety.

6. They create destructive trauma bonds with you.
According to Carnes, betrayal is a form of abandonment that can create trauma bonds between the abuser and you, the victim.

In these exploitive relationships your interests, your personhood, and your well-being are continually ignored and neglected. The betrayal includes experiences of cheating, lying, breaking a confidence, failing to defend or protect, and not being given priority.

These trauma bonds occur when the victim clings to someone who is destructive to him or her due to the perceived presence of danger or of something to fear (often, of losing the relationship). The bond is an addictive attachment to the person who is hurting you. In essence, the brain is tricked into believing it needs the relationship to survive.

Because the relationship has positive attributes, you may blame yourself for the abuser’s negative behavior and may even attempt to convert him to become a non-abuser.

Trauma bonds appeal to emptiness, unfinished business, wounds, and trauma from your past. There’s an unspoken, even unconscious hope that this relationship will make up for those earlier losses.

Most people have unresolved wounds from the past; therefore, a traumatic bond can happen to just about anyone.

Abuse strips you of your sense of dignity and of the freedom to choose. The guilt, self-doubt, and anxiety you feel were manufactured by your malignant narcissist. Enlist the help of those you trust and a counselor to help you get through the healing journey where you can live in freedom, peace and find real love.

You are worthy of respect, love, commitment, and protection. It’s my goal to empower and educate so you have the tools needed to avoid people who are incapable of expressing love as well as to support your healing journey when love and the loveless collide. You’re wired to give and receive fearless love.

Phoner: Why did you stay in a toxic relationship?

15 Signs Your Relationship Is Built To Last

Dating is risky, but sometimes you get lucky and stumble upon a great woman or man. I’m not saying that it's guaranteed that things will last forever, but if you see some of these signs within your relationship now, then I think it’s safe to say that your relationship is on the right track! Let’s get into it!

1. You’re paying attention to the small things that matter to one another.

It’s the small things–the simple things that really show how much someone means to you.

2. You’re patient with one another.

Love takes patience. It takes the willingness to know that things are going to take time to be where you need it to be.

3. You willingly and openly communicate with one another about everything.

You’re not asking how each other’s day has been because ‘it’s the right thing to do’, you’re asking because you genuinely care how their day has been. You talk to each other like you’re best friends. That’s love.

4. You don’t like saying no to one another, but you will if necessary.
You’re spoiled and you know it. Both of you hate having to tell the other ‘no’ because you only want to see each other happy–although, if necessary, you can say no when the time calls for it.

5. You’re willing to make sacrifices for one another.
If you’re not willing to make sacrifices for the person you’re in a relationship with… get. out. NOW.

6. You’re making a conscious effort to improve yourself for them (in any area).

They just make you want to be a better person. Even if it’s something as small as not cursing anymore, they make you want to improve yourself.

7. Sexual activity is deep and emotional.

It’s never just sex with you two. You make love. To be honest, sex is not about your pleasure, but more about theirs.

8. You don’t seek outside attention.
The need for social media and the popularity that comes with it slowly, but surely goes away. You’ll even find that talking and texting other people on the phone is less desirable. The only person’s attention you need and want is your partners.

9. You don’t mind going out of your way to make one another happy.

You’ll do whatever it takes to make sure your partner is happy. In fact, it doesn’t even seem like you’re going above and beyond to you, but other people might bring that to your attention. Again, you just want to do what you can to make and keep them happy.

10. You respect one another with or without being in each other’s presence.

Whether they’re standing right next to you or in Timbuktu–respect is not an option. You don’t disrespect your partner or relationship and you don’t allow anyone else to disrespect your partner or relationship–point blank, period.

11. You talk about each other to your close friends and family.
They’re special to you. They bring out the best in you. These things make you want to tell your close friends and family about the person responsible for your new glow lately.

12. You’ve met each other’s close family and friends.

Not only do you talk about them with your close family and friends, but you make it a point to have them meet one another. I think meeting the family is very underplayed with Millennials. Meeting the family is a really big deal!

13. You show and tell one another how much you mean to each other.

No matter how you choose to show each other or what words you choose to express it, you both make it a priority to display that love and affection as often as possible. Saying ‘I love you’ is easy, normal, and frequent for the two of you.

14. Talking about the future isn’t off-limits.
If you can’t talk about the future with your partner, chances are there isn’t one in sight for one of you. It’s important to know that your partner is comfortable thinking about the possibility of your future with them.

15. You’re planning for a future together.
You don’t just talk about a future together, but you’re making progress towards making it a reality. You’re planning to save, thinking about where you two want to start a family–you’re making a plan to spend your future together.

Phoner: How did you know that your relationship would last?

15 Simple Ways To Build Resilience (So You'll Never Lose Your Cool Ever Again)

There is one thing of which we can be sure: sh*t happens. The sooner you accept it, the better.

You might be facing a debilitating illness, a loss, an accident, a struggling relationship, a financial setback, or juggling multiple demands. Or you could be tested on a smaller scale, with something such as a challenging work problem, a screaming toddler, a missed bus, or someone cutting you off.

You can either succumb, push through, or bounce back.

And it matters less what the actual situation is, but more about how you respond to that event. What counts is how resilient you are and how you show up.

Resilience is the ability to cope, to bounce back from difficulties, to adapt continuously, learn and grow, ultimately becoming stronger than ever before.

Why care?

You want to be your best self: thoughtful, feeling, and responsive. When you aren't resilient, you become stuck, and you give up your control. Your actions then come from a place of reactivity. You lose your cool.

Picture your overwhelmed, fuming, cursing, honking response. Or perhaps you retract inward, frozen, depressed, and down a negative spiral. Over time, these reactions can build to the point where it takes very little to set you off, and your body is in a constant state of fight or flight.

Now, picture waves crashing down around you. You are a lighthouse and a pillar of fortitude.

Resilient people can stay calm, adapt, recover from adversity, and meet life's challenges head-on.

Would you rather retreat or melt-down, or be confident, willing and ready to handle anything that comes your way? What you don't realize is that you're resilient right now. You have what it takes; it just needs to be nurtured.

Here are 15 everyday ways on how to build resilience, starting now:

1. Show compassion for yourself and others.
Instead of mercilessly criticizing yourself, see yourself outside of yourself. You are human. You are allowed to make mistakes.

It's normal to experience overwhelm, to react, just to feel. Acknowledge your difficulty, then treat yourself with kindness.

2. Practice mindfulness.
Set aside time every day to be still, breathe deeply, and let your thoughts come and go without judgment.

3. Make self-care a priority.
Engage in restorative activities such as walks in nature, massages, and most of all, adequate sleep. Be physically and mentally ready for whatever comes your way.

4. Take breaks to recharge and gain perspective.

You don’t always have a chance to press the reset button. But you can, step back, even just for a few moments, and re-examine the situation.

5. Maintain a sense of humor.
Permit yourself to have a light moment or experience joy. Choose to watch a comedy instead of the news. You can’t laugh and be stressed out at the same time.

6. Be clear on your values, standards, and boundaries.
You are the most significant person in your life. To be your best you must be true to yourself. So be brave, say "no" if you need to, or "I can do this…"

7. Live on purpose.
Have a sense of direction as you go about your life and each day. See the bigger picture. When you know where you're going, you won't be deterred by setbacks along the journey.

8. Take programs or engage in activities that support personal growth.

Learning opens the mind, so sign up for a class at your local community center, volunteer at a shelter, or pursuit the degree of your dreams.

9. Sharpen your problem-solving skills.
Before deciding a course of action, brainstorm options and explore possibilities. Avoid old patterns that have not served you. Stretch your mind. Ask, 'What else could I do?'

Then, break actions down into manageable steps.

10. Control your controllables.
Replace negative thoughts with more realistic ones. Sometimes, you have to say, "It is what it is." Accept it and move on.

11. See the silver lining.
Often the most important lessons come from trying situations. Consider something positive that came out of it.

Or, if you're feeling negative, ask yourself, "What’s another way of looking at this?"

12. Just do it.

Experiment and fail fast. Face your fears. Commit to try something new and put yourself out there.

13. Ask for help.

There are times when helping yourself means getting help from someone else. Put your pride aside. Build a support system of friends, family members, and trusted advisors.

14. Adopt an attitude of gratitude.
Find pleasure in small things. Every morning, give thanks for what you have — your loved ones, your integrity, and the promise of a new day.

15. Persevere, knowing you can do it.
When you have a goal — small or large, stick to it. Tell yourself these things:

Then, hold your head up high and act as if.

Some people seem to have more grit than others. Or else they show it well.

If that's not you, don't give up. While there is no magic bullet to keeping things together, you can develop your resilience over time and then be prepared for whatever comes your way. It takes a willingness to practice and adopt practical strategies every day toward a more resilient, enjoyable life.

Phoner: What is your trick to not losing your cool?

4 Types Of Friends Every Person Needs In Their Life (Even For Just A Short Time)

When I returned from working in India, I brought back a saying with me: “When once you have been bitten by a snake, you become cautious even of a rope.”

That proverb comes back to me whenever I think of friendship. We can probably all recall instances when we have been psychologically hurt by those who are close to us personally or professionally. This may naturally make us wary of friendship.

If we are honest with ourselves, we may also admit that we have occasionally offended or let loved ones down. Receiving or offering friendship can sometimes be a dangerous or precarious proposition.

Yet, an even more important saying that also comes back to mind for me is: "A friend knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you whenever you have forgotten how it goes."

Bottom line: even though being part of a true circle of friends can be tough, friendship is a crucial element of a meaningful, resilient life, especially when it becomes dark as it does for us all at times.

I have seen this again and again in the more than 30 years I have served in an unusual role — as therapist, mentor, consultant, and supervisor to those in the helping professions themselves. Physicians, nurses, educators, social workers, counselors, clinical psychologists, relief workers/NGOs, psychiatrists, or persons in ministry need to be resilient not simply for their own sake, but also for those who turn to them for help.

Because this is so critical, I have been called upon to work with them given my primary specialty, secondary stress (the pressures experienced in reaching out to others).

In lectures, individual and group sessions, and consultations, one of the most important topics eventually covered is always friendship. The general question that arises is: “I know I need a solid interpersonal network, but can you offer more specific guidance on exactly what voices are necessary for me have in order to achieve or maintain a healthy sense of perspective and sound resilience, especially when life turns dark for me personally or professionally?”

Considering this over the years, we need 4 types of friends for balance, encouragement, appropriate challenge, and inspiration:

1. The Prophet
This person calls us to look at who is pulling our strings in life. Prophets help us realize that none of us are free from our past influences, or the current cultural influences that may pull us in one direction or another.

The question the prophet challenges us with is: “What voices are guiding you to think, feel or behave a particular way?” In response we must look at ourselves clearly; there is no hiding.

2. The Cheerleader
This is the supportive, sympathetic, calming voice that we love to hear over the phone when the day has been a disaster. Furthermore, the cheerleader is a great partner and bookend to the prophet; we need both.

If we just have prophets, we will burnout. On the other hand, if we simply have cheerleaders we won’t grow or challenge ourselves appropriately.

3. The Harasser
This person has a great sense of humor and helps up regain perspective when we have begun to take ourselves too seriously. This is easy to do, especially when we face challenges as a family member, at the office, or in some aspect of our lives.

When we cannot laugh at ourselves, we run the danger of becoming rigid and breaking when the winds of change blow. This may turn out to be a problem for us and those around us who suffer for our lack of ease and flexibility.

4. The Inspirational or Spiritual Friend
This person calls on us to be all that we can be without embarrassing us that we are where we are at this point. What a dull life it would be without such a voice calling us to go further and deeper in life.

Reviewing the types of friends to see where these voices are is not only important, it can be fun. Enjoy the search for the voices of challenge, support, perspective, and inspiration in your present situation and raise the need to fill the gaps if you find one of them missing.

Friendship is not easy, but mining our interpersonal network for those who might be in a position to make our life better is worth the effort.

Phoner: What types of friends does everyone need in their lives?

Phoner: What type of friend are you?

Zodiac Signs Who Make The Best BFFs, Ranked

BFFs aren’t just friends, they’re everything you need in a friend. When someone is your bestie, they take on a lot of friend jobs: they’re there for you when you’re broken-hearted, when you need to let off steam, or when you just want to chill.

Your best friend has a shared history with you, so much so that they understand what's going on under the surface without you having to explain everything or reading your horoscope to them.

You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not with a best friend or put on a brave face. You can see them when you’re feeling like crap or when you know you’re slaying everything.

Now, it’s not to say that casual friends have no place in our lives, but they may only be in them for a limited period of time or just for certain moments. What separates a tried and true best friend from other friends is their how they care for you, even when you mess up big time; they're always there for you, even if it’s not convenient for them. They make your friendship a priority.

Not every friend is going to be your best friend, just like not everybody is going to like you. You need to treasure and appreciate your best friend because not everyone is lucky enough to have one, especially since not everyone has it in them to be a true friend.

With that, here are the zodiac signs who make the best friends and why their bond can't be broken.

No one cares more about their friends than a Cancer individual. They're extremely faithful and they give and give without expecting anything in return. They're wired to be loving and protective. Besides always coming through for their friends and always being there, Cancers show the depth of their caring in creative and unexpected ways.

It's not surprising that Cancers have incredibly long-lasting friendships. Both Cancer and Sagittarius like to share their secrets and their deepest philosophical theories. Sagittarians help Cancers to get out their shell and try new things and meet new people.


A Gemini might get the details wrong when they're meeting a friend for coffee or a meal, but once they get there, the Gemini individual will give their friend their undivided attention. Geminis aren't just caring, they know exactly what to say to make you feel better and they give excellent advice.

Geminis are extremely supportive and when one is your bestie, you'll really feel as if someone has your back. On top of all that, Geminis are fun to hang out with and can make any experience better. Capricorns are good for Geminis because they help ground them. Both signs are supportive, loyal, and fun.

There is no friend more loyal and dependable than a Capricorn bestie. They're the best friend, the parent, and caregiver wrapped up into one person. Capricorns are patient when their friends screw up and they will do anything they can to fix the situation. Capricorns are wise beyond their years and have the biggest hearts.

Capricorns take friendship very seriously and they don't go into it lightly. Once you're friends with a Capricorn, it takes a lot for them to let you go. Sagittarius are a good friendship match with Capricorns because they add some excitement and pizzazz to Capricorn's life. Sagittarians encourage Capricorns to break out of their comfort zone and see what fun things life has to offer.

Taurus are incredible friends. If their friend confides in them, there's no way that Taurus is breaking that confidence. If their friend needs them, no matter for what or when, Taurus is right there for them. There's no other person who is as solid a friend as Taurus.

A Taurus bestie will look out for their friend until the end of time and will never betray them. Pisces are incredibly kind-hearted and would never try to harm another person, which is exactly the kind of friend that Taurus needs. Taurus are honorable and won't take advantage of Pisces.

Pisces and Cancer make great best friends because of how caring, compassionate, and kind they are. They both make their friends feel as if they're special for having a friend like Pisces. They are selfless to the extreme, and while they can be very intuitive about other people, they may have difficulty with what they're feeling.

Pisces are creative gift givers and it's not unlikely for them to either find the perfect gift for their friend or make it. Cancers are the truest of true-blue friends which is exactly what Pisces need as they can sometimes fall prey to those people who don't have their best interest at heart.

Virgos make for great BFFs because they're extremely reliable and trustworthy. They generally don't throw their friends under the bus or sacrifice them for them own gain. The Virgo individual will do whatever they can to help their friend and make things right.

Virgos are the fixers of the broken, and they tend to know all the answers. Virgos are there when their friends need them and they're there when they don't.

While Gemini may not be as reliable as Virgo, they are their match intellectually. Geminis help Virgos to loosen up and to see the big picture. It's almost impossible to have fun if you're too busy focusing on the small details to enjoy it. Geminis help Virgos to relax and just chill.

Leos are the most optimistic, energetic, and fun friend around. They're very loyal, helpful, and caring, so it makes sense that when choosing a bestie, Leos often go with individuals born under the sign of Taurus. When a Leo is your BFF, you feel special, especially since Leos usually have a lot of people who want to be their friend.

Leo besties will always come through for their friends and will prove their love for them again and again. When Leos and Taurus say best friends forever, they mean it — unless their friend does something that seems disloyal or shady, then they'll dump them. Both of these signs really enjoy nice things and luxury items, so it's not surprising they enjoy retail therapy together.


Libras make good besties — they're fair, romantic, and tactful. However, Libras can get resentful, especially if they feel like someone is disrespecting them or not being loyal. Instead of confronting problems in the relationship head-on, Libras tend to stew about it until there's an inappropriate blow-up.

When a Libra loses their cool, they're a terrible friend. Luckily, they tend to give over things quickly and will want to make up, but they can be somewhat volatile. Leos and Libras make great friends because they're both able to see past each other's differences and have a good time together. Leos and Libras entertain and make each other laugh constantly.

Scorpios are intense — one moment they're the best friend you could ever want, and the next not so much. If Scorpio thinks they've been betrayed or lied to or in any way humiliated, they can get scarily wrathful which is why they get along so well with the sometimes blunt Aries. Scorpios are powerful, especially ones who think that they've been made a fool of and who want revenge.

As long as everything is cool, Scorpio is a great friend, but when it's not, watch out because things can get ugly fast. Aries help get Scorpio out of their heads and encourage them to go out and do things rather than brood.


Aries want to be the best bestie in the land; they're competitive about everything even when it comes to friendship. Aries means well, they really do, but they can be hypersensitive and take things the wrong way. Aries are a prime example of someone who can dish it out but can't take it. They tend to say things without thinking, but if someone does that to them, they can get confrontational in a very negative way.

This is why Libra is such a good friend for them because Libra works hard to keep the peace and would never want to rile Aries up. Aries don't hold on to animosity for very long, so if you can just ride it out after a fight, they'll soon be back to their fun selves. While Libra doesn't enjoy the blunt side of Aries, they do love Aries' energy and lust for life.

Aquarius make for good friends; they genuinely like people, they're interesting and creative, it's just that with a BFF, you want someone who can handle it if you lose your sh*t and have an emotional breakdown. Heavy-duty emotions are extremely difficult for Aquarius to handle and one of their bestie duties is to be there for their BFF when they're emotional.

Aquarians like to have lots of friends, and Scorpios prefer just having a few close friends, but for whatever reason, these are two zodiac signs who make the best friends. Both are willing to put their energy into making a friendship last and take the responsibilities of friendship seriously.

Sagittarius are good friends and they make friends very easily. They can be quick to proclaim that someone is their BFF, but you have to wonder if that means the same to them as to everybody else. Sagittarius don't enjoy complicated friendships and when those friendships start to have difficulties, Sagittarius gets very uncomfortable. They'd rather that a relationship be lighter and less deep. It isn't that they don't care, it's just that they get impatient, and sometimes they can be tactless in the wrong situation.

Only other Sagittarians get why a Sagittarius is leary of restrictive friendships. They don't feel as if they have to follow any traditional rules of friendship. They may not see their friends for years and when they do, they pick up where they left off.

Phoner: What makes someone a good friend?

Why This Dad Is Telling Other Parents to Ban Sleepovers

Sleepovers are often viewed as a rite of passage for children. Once they get old enough to sleep through the night and keep the homesickness at bay, many parents see their kids as being ready to finally spend the night with friends. Sleepovers are such a huge fixture in so many of our childhoods that a lot of us have never considered not allowing them. But after putting a ban on sleepovers in his home, this concerned dad is urging parents to consider doing it too.

Dad Tim Challies says that he and his wife, Aileen, made the decision to disallow sleepovers when their children were still very young. With this rule, their kids are prohibited from spending the night with other people, and the family does not host other children in their home overnight. In a recent Facebook video, Tim explains why he believes banning sleepovers serves is a way to keep children safe.

The dad says that he and his wife both attended many sleepovers as kids, and while neither of them had been harmed during one, they knew people who had. "Either someone had abused them or hurt them or they had encountered things that they should not have encountered," he explains. "For many people, their first experience with pornography was at a sleepover. Their first experience with sexuality or drunkenness was at a sleepover."

The father says wanting to keep his kids from experiencing these things was the primary concern when he and his wife made their decision to refuse sleepovers. "Often, I think, we put very young children in situations they simply don't have the capacity, the maturity to deal with," he said. "And [if] someone compels them to do something, encourages them to do something [bad] ... they end up suffering."

The father shared that his family's decision to forego sleepovers hasn't always been easy. His kids don't understanding why they aren't allowed to do something so "normal," and they also catch flak from offended parents who think Tim is "being way overprotective" or "judging" them.

But Tim also says that after going public with his stance in a post on his blog, the outpouring of support and devastating stories he received from other parents taught him and his wife that there's no real "upside" to sleepovers. "Mostly what they get out of a sleepover is a grouchy day the next day and probably a sick stomach from eating too much," he said. "The downside can be a lifetime of suffering."

Many have commented on the dad's thoughtful Facebook post, sharing that they enjoyed his take on the subject:

Of course, not everyone agreed with his line of thinking, expressing that taking away sleepovers means taking away kids' fun:

Tim is clear about the fact that he doesn't expect every parent to do exactly what he does, nor does he expect every family to run the same way. He does encourage parents to take all steps possible to protect their children. "Think about it," he says. "Apply wisdom, heed your conscience, and make a decision."

Phoner: Why don't you let your kids go to sleepovers?

Phoner: What was the most disturbing thing that happened to you at a sleepover?

This Bride Wore A Really ‘Embarrassing’ And ‘Stupid’ Outfit To Pull An Epic Prank On Her Groom

On Nov. 11, the Scottsdale, Ariz. bride decided to surprise her now-husband, Ean Goldberg, with a fake first look. Instead of wearing her dress for the big reveal, she wore an outfit she loves to go to bed in: a cat shirt she bought from Walmart on a road trip when she was about 17 years old, and raggedy sweatpants.

“I thought it would be really funny for Ean to turn around, expecting this huge moment of me looking gorgeous in my dress with my makeup and hair done, only to turn around and see me in one of my typically embarrassing casual outfits,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Right beforehand, Erin says, all she could think was, “I hope he finds this as funny as I do.”

Based on Ean’s reaction, he definitely did. He was confused for a second and then instantly started laughing. Photographer Molly McElenney captured it all.

She said Erin came to her with the idea a few weeks before the wedding, and she was immediately on board.

“As soon as she told me about it, I knew we had to make room for it in the timeline because his reaction alone would be totally worth it,” says McElenney.

The Arizona-based photographer believes that like many first looks, this one, especially, helped relieve the stress of the day.

“This was just another way they displayed the playfulness of their relationship,” she says.

All the traditionalists out there should know that Erin and Ean did do a real first look sans cat shirt afterward, but Erin says the fake one will hold a special place in their hearts.

“We will remember how much pressure it took off the rest of the wedding day process having started off with that hysterical, laughing moment that just the two of us shared,” she says. “It was a lot easier to relax and take more serious (and incredible) first-look photos when we were more comfortable.”

Plus, they’ll always have the cat shirt to take them back to that moment. Erin says she will never retire the cat shirt. The sweatpants, she said, might have to go though.

“[But] I am willing to replace them with another pair of large casual sweats to wear for the remainder of our happy marriage!” she says. Thankfully, her husband won’t mind a bit.

“Even in her cat shirt, sweatpants, and stupid slip-on shoes, she still looked drop-dead gorgeous,” he says.

Now that’s love.

Mysterious 'urge' leads woman to $50,000 lottery prize

Nov. 13 (UPI) -- A Maryland woman who won $50,000 from a scratch-off lottery ticket said a mysterious "urge" led her to buy the ticket during her lunch break.

Rosa Moran, 48, told Maryland Lottery officials she was eating her lunch when she had a sudden bout of lotto fever and headed for a Dash In convenience store on the Eastern Shore.

"I was just sitting at the table having lunch, when I just had an urge to go out and get a scratch-off," Moran said.

She said she unusually buys only one ticket at a time, but curiosity led her to buy three $5 Diamonds & Gold Doubler tickets, the third of which paid off with a $50,000 top prize.

"I've never won this big, just small amounts like $25 to $50," Moran said.

"I was very happy and even cried a little bit," she said. "I was so excited that when I got home, I missed the entrance to my house!"

Parents Reveal the Surprising Truth About How Much They Spend on Christmas Gifts

How many Christmas presents is too many? The answer changes considerably depending on who you ask. Some parents love to go all out for the holidays and shower their kids with big-ticket items like iPads and Power Wheels. Others like to keep it simple and only splurge on a few small things. But, we're all human, and it's totally normal to wonder how much other people spend decking the halls. One curious mom recently got up the courage to ask other parents online how much they spend on Christmas gifts for their kids, and the answers she got were pretty damn surprising.

The mom posted on Mumsnet, trying to see if the lavish Christmas hauls she sees on Facebook are truly the norm.

She revealed that she has two kids, ages 8 and 10, upon whom she spends between £70–100, or about $90–130 each.

Of course, the answers she got were kind of all over the place. Some people were like, "I make it rain, and I have zero shame."

Like this parent, who admitted to having grown kids and still giving each of them about $600 in gifts and $400 in cash.

Or this person, whose philosophy seems to be that Christmas = a blank check.

This mom says she knows someone who spends over $1,000 ... per child.

And one mom said she buys her kids everything they ask for and doesn't mind spoiling them because "they're good kids."

But others weren't so into the "big Christmas" thing.

One mom said she only spends about $40 per child because she's living on a fixed income and can't afford more than that.

One mom of nine said she keeps it to $50–60 per kid, which is still a lot once you add it up.

And another mom said she spends about $150 total on her two kids, plus an Advent calendar and stockings.

But the most popular answer by far? "Who cares."

As many wrote, there's no point in comparing yourself to other parents. Each family has their own traditions (and their own budget!), and as long as you're celebrating in a way that makes you happy and comfortable, that should be all that matters.

Phoner: Parents be honest, how much do you spend on your kids at Christmas?

This Woman's Hallmark Christmas Movie Drinking Game Wins the Holidays

It's no secret that we love a good Hallmark Christmas movie—and our readers clearly can't resist them, either.

Recently, Country Living reader Brittany Graves of Fort Worth, Texas posted something on our Facebook page that was so brilliant, we couldn't help but share it with the world.

Behold, the Hallmark Christmas Drinking Game:

"We invented a drinking game that works with any of them!" says Brittany. "My hubby actually watches with me now—we've had so much fun with it!" (She also recommends playing the game with our apple cider mimosas.)

Brittany and her husband have definitely come up with some hilarious drink prompts ("anytime someone disses fake Christmas trees" and "when the cynic is filled with the Christmas spirit" are two of our favorites), but we might humbly suggest adding a couple more, namely: "every time a character gets drunk off of one sip of champagne" and "every time there's a joke about figgy pudding."

Oreo Candy Canes Are Here

Happy #NationalCandyDay! There's a whole treasure trove of new Christmas candy out in stores now, including new Oreo candy canes! Found these at Woodman's.

A post shared by @candyhunting on

UPDATE: November 13, 2017 at 12:27 p.m.

The wait is over! After five long months, Oreo Candy Canes are finally hitting shelves at grocery stores across the country, according to Candy Hunting. If you want to save yourself a trip to the store, they're also available at several retailers online. Here are some of the best deals we found below.

BUY IT HERE: Jet, $4.43 for 1 box of 12

BUY IT HERE: Walmart, $31.75 for 12 boxes of 12

BUY IT HERE: Amazon, $8.69 for 1 box of 12

ORIGINAL POST: June 21, 2017 at 6:58 p.m.

Even though it's the second day of summer, we're already looking forward to Christmas. Junk food Instagram account Candy Hunting revealed today that Oreo Cookies & Crème Candy Canes will join the lineup of other wacky candy cane flavors this holiday season.

Sadly, we have six months left to wait for their arrival.

Candy Hunting posted about the new Oreo treats earlier today saying, "Christmas preview: New Oreo Cookies & Creme candy canes! I highly doubt these will taste like Oreos, but hey, why not brand everything with Oreo to boost sales?"

While some agreed with Candy Hunting posting comments like "that's going to be gross" and "Oreo cotton swabs coming next?" others remained more optimistic writing comments including "Christmas gonna be lit" and "finally something to look forward to in life."

While Oreo's parent company Nabisco has not confirmed the release of this new Christmas treat (we've reached out for comment, and will update when we know more), we can only assume it's real since an Oreo-flavored Christmas sounds like something to look forward to.

Burger King's Version of Chicken Cordon Bleu Looks Pretty Clucking Good

Not too long ago, Burger King launched a saucy Chicken Parmesan sandwich at their restaurants for a limited time. Well, it seems the fast food chain is bringing another chicken sandwich into the spotlight over the next few months.

Burger King just added a new Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich, reports Brand Eating.

The new item is assembled with a crispy white meat chicken filet and stacked with Black Forest ham, tomato pepper sauce, and melted mozzarella cheese, all nestled within a potato bun.

Customers can find the sandwich at any participating Burger King location for a limited time. The Chicken Cordon Bleu is priced at around $5.

Now let's wait to see how long it'll take YouTubers to stuff this fast food sandwich into a giant chicken breast.

Kinder Joy Eggs Are Now Launching Across The USA For The Very First Time

Kinder Joy Eggs

This past May, Fortune reported that Kinder Joy Eggs would be arriving in the USA starting in 2018. However, it looks like we'll be getting those chocolate surprises a little bit earlier than anticipated.

A press release from Ferrero USA, the brand behind Kinder, confirms that the eggs will be distributed en masse nationwide beginning this month. You can now start tracking them down at virtually every type of store out there for $1.59 each.

The eggs-cellent stocking stuffer will consist of two separate egg halves. One portion will be the edible chocolate treat, consisting of layers of sweet milk cream and cocoa cream. Two chocolate wafers stuffed with that cocoa cream will also be inside of the edible egg half. The other part will contain one toy randomly selected from a vast range of potential playthings. You won't know which gizmo you've received until you open up the egg, adding in a surprise factor that's made the original Kinder eggs popular internationally.

Kinder Joy Eggs aren't the same as the iconic Kinder eggs, where the toy is encased inside of an entire chocolate egg. However, this 50-50 version is valid under FDA guidelines since the toy and egg are kept separate. Otherwise, Kinder Eggs would never have made it into the country for purchase in the first place.

It may not be quite the same as a traditional Kinder Egg, but Kinder Joy Eggs evoke a nearly identical sweetness and thrill when you open them up.

For One Day, Sonic Is Selling 50-Cent Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Who: Sonic Drive-In

What: The drive-in chain is holding a special deal where customers can get Grilled Cheese Sandwiches for 50 cents, reports Brand Eating. The grilled cheeses are made with two slices of Sonic's thick Texas toast and melted American cheese. Typically the sandwiches cost a little more than a dollar.

Where: Any participating Sonic Drive-In location.

When: Sonic's grilled cheese deal will be available all day on Wednesday Nov. 15

How Much Starbucks Lattes Cost Around The World

Coffee is the lifeblood of our modern generation. Nobody provides more of this crucial morning elixir to the world than Starbucks. The omnipresent coffee chain doesn't charge everybody the same price for a typical latte, however. That's because Starbucks lattes cost different amounts based on the economic performance of the country it's being sold in.

As a measure of economies around the world, the Wall Street Journal has put together a "Latte Index" that compares the price of a Starbucks latte from different countries. It's similar to what The Economist does each year with their "Big Mac Index," but with a different ubiquitous fast food item.

Foodbeast put together an infographic based on data provided by the Wall Street Journal in their piece. This map looks at different countries of the cities that were researched and price checked by the Journal. All prices are in USD equivalents.

Starbucks Latte prices global

What's interesting to note from this chart is that like the "Big Mac Index," Switzerland is the country with the most expensive Starbucks latte, setting you back $5.76 USD per drink. Similarly, the cheapest beverages can be found in Egypt, at just $1.53 USD each. In comparison, the United States is roughly in the middle of the "Latte Index" at a latte cost of $3.45 USD in New York City.

There are several factors that play in to why each country has a different sale price, including taxes, cost of goods and imports, and other economic impacts. While it's a complex explanation to determine the price of a Starbucks drink in each latte, no matter the cost, we still need our caffeine fix in the morning.

We May Just Wear Stove Top's Thanksgiving Dinner Pants All Year

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks out and we're doing everything we can to ensure we enjoy the much-anticapted family dinner. One of our biggest conundrums, however, is how tight our pants get after we enjoy the first few servings of dinner.

Fortunately, Stove Top might just have the solution to this uncomfortable dilemma.

The stuffing brand has released their own line of Thanksgiving Dinner Pants just ahead of Turkey Day. Stove Top's maroon dinner pants feature an over the belly waistband, stuffing print, and extra large pockets. Checks off pretty much all our requirements for pants.

You can purchase the pants beginning Nov. 13 for a limited time at for $19.98. The pants are available in sizes from small to extra-large.

Looks like old Pete won't be needing a belt this year.

Stove Top is also donating $10,000 to Feeding America in the spirit of the holiday season.

This 35-Year-Old Brit Lives His Entire Life Like It’s 1946 And It’s Kinda Awesome

Living In 1946

There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t think about packing it all in and giving up. No, not in that way. I’m talking about dumping technology, specifically the gadgets that make like worse while pretending to make life better. The smartphone, the Facebook account, the Instagram handle, and sometimes even a couple gadgets around the house.

I yearn for a simpler life, like this British bloke who lives every day like it’s 1946.

Ben Sansum is a 35-year-old man who has fashioned his entire life around the styles, technology, and music of 1946. While Sansum has to put on a modern face for his job with British Airways, he always comes back to his home in Cambridgeshire, England and into the era he loves so much.
Everything in Ben’s house is legit 1946-style. His only concession to keeping up with modern times is he owns a small fridge. So the guy isn’t completely bonkers.

Check out Ben’s odd lifestyle choices in this video from the BBC.

Everything about this more straightforward way of life looks tolerable. His 1946 accent is even impressive. Oh, that’s really how he talks? Weird.

I got a little nervous when I saw the bucket in the bathroom but realized it’s inside his air raid shelter.

The year 1946 might be slightly extreme. If you could choose any year to live in, in 2017, which would it be? Tell me in the comments section.

Phoner:  What era would you love to have lived in?

Brother-Sister Duo Deliver The Single Greatest Subway Performance Of All Time

🔥🔥🔥 👉🏽(via: @laudadi0)

A post shared by Daquan Gesese (@daquan) on

*Click the right arrow to see part two

I’ve watched this video no fewer than fifty times and each time it gets better. The rhythm, the voice, the song selection- it’s fantastic. These kids must clean up. I wish they kept the cameras rolling so we could see how much they made. Child beggars typically don’t need to have talent to do well so I’m sure they made a decent buck considering what they do. I’d have emptied my wallet if they were in my car. Even if they sucked, the fact they didn’t sing The Circle Of Life deserves some sort of monetary reward. You can even see people in the background trying not to smile. There hasn’t been this much talent on public transportation since Mac and Cheese man. His sister’s not half bad either when she’s not counting her money.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 12.31.25 PM

It’s like the New York City version of the Susan Boyle performance. Except instead of an old white lady with bad breath, it’s young black kids on a city bus. I’m sure everyone was rolling their eyes bracing themselves for the “my basketball team is selling candy bars” act too. Instead they got an Usher/Drake/Temptations/That Girl Is Poison remix for the ages. Don’t judge a book by its cover, people. I just hope they use the money to buy books and not a gram of weed from Washington Square Park. I have faith.

Ps: The song selection is still blowing my mind.

Mattel announces Ibtihaj Muhammad doll, the first Barbie to wear a hijab

Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad is quite a doll – literally. She’s thrilled to have inspired a Barbie in her likeness, and especially proud that the doll will be the first Barbie to wear a hijab. “This is a childhood dream come true,” she posted. The doll is part of the “She-ro” line.

“We are so excited to honor Ibtihaj Muhammad with a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll!” Mattel posted. “Ibtihaj continues to inspire women and girls everywhere to break boundaries.”

We are so excited to honor @IbtihajMuhammad with a one-of-a-kind #Barbie doll! Ibtihaj continues to inspire women and girls everywhere to break boundaries. #Shero #YouCanBeAnything #GlamourWOTY

— Barbie (@Barbie) November 13, 2017

Thank you @Mattel for announcing me as the newest member of the @Barbie #Shero family! I’m proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true 😭💘 #shero

— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) November 13, 2017

Hackers Say They Have Already Created A $150 Mask To Fool Apple’s Face ID On The iPhone X

One of the cool new features of the iPhone X is Face ID, Apple’s facial recognition system that securely unlocks the handset. The iPhone X has only been out for 17 days and yet there are already hackers proclaiming that they have been able to bypass iPhone X’s Face ID. Cybersecurity researchers in Vietnam have said that they have been able to fool Apple’s facial recognition feature by using a mask that costs $150.

Cybersecurity firm Bkav created a 3D-printed mask that uses makeup, silicone, and 2D images to trick the iPhone X’s software into thinking the disguise is the actual user. The mask has some “special processing done on the cheeks and around the face” to make it appear like a human. Sorta. The skin and nose are created from silicone. The mask was able to trick Apple’s depth mapping. This comes despite Apple saying that the Face ID resists deception and “defends against attempts to unlock your phone with photos or masks.”

This $150 mask beat Face ID on the iPhone X

— The Verge (@verge) November 13, 2017

Bkav stated that Face ID is “not an effective security measure” and could be fooled. “Country leaders, leaders of major corporations… are the ones that need to know about the issue, because their devices are worth illegal unlock attempts,” Bkav said on its website. “Exploitation is difficult for normal users, but simple for professional ones.”

In September, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller said the company had worked with professional mask makers and makeup artists in Hollywood to ensure the iPhone X could not be deceived. “These are actual masks used by the engineering team to train the neutral network to protect against them in Face ID,” said Schiller. Apple noted that the probability of a random person unlocking an iPhone X with Face ID is approximately 1 in 1,000,000, compared to 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID. It is difficult to believe that Apple’s best security feature is being fooled by a mask that looks like someone’s homemade mummy mask.

Virginia colleges waive application fees for College Application Week

All 15 of the state's public four-year colleges and universities, as well as the community colleges and seven private institutions, will be waiving their application fees for students next week.

The College Application Week initiative will take place Nov. 13 to 17. The goal, according to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, which is sponsoring the program, is to open the college application process to students with limited resources.

Sixty-six high schools across the commonwealth are participating in the program with on-site coordinators, including four schools in Norfolk and two schools in Portsmouth.

At least 50 percent of students at participating schools are eligible for free or reduced lunches, the news release from SCHEV said.

“To build a stronger Virginia, everyone needs a chance at an education after high school,” said Peter Blake, SCHEV director. “College Application Week is a key step toward that goal.”

College Application Week is part of a SCHEV campaign to help high school students prepare for, apply to, pay for and attend college. It's also part of an initiative to make Virginia the best-educated state by 2030.

Restaurant Adds Mandatory 18 Percent Tip to Tables With Kids

A New Jersey diner that charges an 18 percent “teen tax” has thoroughly outraged at least one parent whose 11-year-old fell victim to it, thereby costing her an extra 90 cents. Wayne Hills Diner co-owner Peter Logos says his waitstaff were tired of local school kids hanging out all Friday night “in packs of 20 or 30” and not tipping. He tells CBS New York that they started adding mandatory gratuity to the bills of younger customers they suspect might screw the restaurant over.

But mad local mom Melissa Desch has launched a public campaign against this policy, telling at least two news stations that she recently visited Wayne Hills Diner on the same day as her daughter Bella — Bella’s milkshake got teen-taxed, while she was left to tip whatever percentage seemed more appropriate than 18 (not that she did; it’s just she could’ve).

Area students tell NBC 10, meanwhile, that they first noticed the addition at the start of football season. Several also say they “don’t mind.” But Desch argues that it’s less about the amount than the principle; she describes it as unfairly “targeting” Wayne Hills’ teens. Desch says she was raised believing that “servers were always paid upon their service,” but Logos explains that Fridays at the diner are apparently a teenage madhouse, and that lots of servers aren’t tipped for their hard work. His attorney points out that the menu also clearly reads: “Management reserves the right to add 18 percent gratuity.” Desch suggests that the diner “make it for everybody. Adults, children, everything.”

Until they do, Bella won’t be returning for another milkshake. “She has a right to not pay a tip,” according to Desch. The diner’s owners counter that kids have to be taught that tipping is something people at restaurants do, before they can knowingly refuse to leave one.

Phoner:  Should restaurants be allowed to add extra tips/fees to  kids/teens who take up their tables, make a mess and don't tip?  Yes

Budweiser's ex-marketing chief: Weed is the new craft beer

"This bud's for you" has taken on a whole new meaning for Chris Burggraeve.

The former chief marketing officer for Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the brewer of Budweiser beer, is moving from barley and hops to cannabis as the alcohol industry casts its sights on the burgeoning market for state-sanctioned marijuana.

Burggraeve, 52, has made two investments in the space. Most recently, he joined the advisory board of GreenRush Group. The San Francisco-based startup, which says it aims to be the Amazon of weed, closed its $3.6 million Series A fundraising round last week. Burggraeve, a native of Belgium with a master's degree in economics, also co-founded Toast, which makes pre-rolled joints.

The former beer executive is one of many entrepreneurs and investors increasingly flocking to the cannabis industry from the traditional business world. Big Beer took its first step last month when the Upstate New York-based Constellation Brands Inc., which sells Corona in the U.S., announced its investment in Canopy Growth Corp., a Canadian seller of medicinal-marijuana products. In Burggraeve's view, that's just the beginning.

"This is one of the fastest-growing categories globally," he said. "Why? Because people want it. When consumers want something, you ignore it at your peril."

Sixty-four percent of the U.S. population now wants to lift the federal ban on marijuana, according to a Gallup poll released last month. That's the largest rating since the firm started asking about the topic in 1969, the year of the Woodstock music festival, when only 12 percent approved.

After leaving the corporate marketing world about five years ago, Burggraeve said he's focused on teaching, consulting and investing in what he considers disruptive categories. Cannabis, he said, could shake up the large beer companies in the same manner that smaller, independent brewers did over the past 20 years.

"The same way that craft beer started and, for the longest time, was ignored and then exploded, there's no reason why the same thing wouldn't happen in this space," he said. "There will be part supplementing and part complementing. The jury is out on how and where that will happen."

GreenRush is a technology platform that connects consumers, dispensaries and delivery people to bring pot to people's doors. The company, which is live in California and Nevada, plans to expand to other states, including New York and Massachusetts.

The idea is to build up the business before marijuana is one day legal under federal law. Big companies like Amazon shy away from the industry now because of the federal ban.

Cannabis is legal for recreational use in eight states and the District of Columbia, including California. That means one in five American adults can ingest the drug however they please. Twenty-one additional states allow for medicinal use of the plant. The industry hit $6 billion in sales in 2016, a figure that is expected to reach $50 billion by 2026, according to Cowen & Co.

Still, investing in marijuana isn't without risk. The Trump administration has sent mixed signals, though Attorney General Jeff Sessions is an ardent opponent of legalizing pot. And traditional banking institutions have largely stayed away, forcing most transactions to be conducted in cash.

Constellation may have broken the taboo. Companies may now find the risk worth it, according to Burggraeve. Otherwise, alcoholic beverage companies could find themselves falling behind.

"It will all merge and cross-fertilize and fuse -- not because the companies want it, but because the consumers want it," Burggraeve said.

'Star Wars'-themed bar to open in three U.S. cities this month

FILE - Walt Disney Parks and Resort released concept art of their upcoming "Star Wars Land" attraction on April 15, 2017. Photo: Disney Parks

This month, "Star Wars" mega fans will be able to visit a place where The Force is as strong as the drinks are.

That destination is The Dark Side Bar, a pop-up establishment coming to Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and New York on Nov. 15 that allows guests to "cross over to the dark side bar and experience the power, fury, and unequivocally macabre environment." Plus, you know, drink.

"When you walk in it's going to feel like you've walked into the set of a Star Wars movie," Zach Neil, the bar's creator, told Lonely Planet.

Neil has a history of bringing movie environments to life; he previously opened an Anchorman-themed pop-up joint called Stay Classy, and another named Beetle House, inspired by the goth tropes of Tim Burton's work.

His newest endeavor is, like Beetle House, a little bit sinister, utilizing Darth Vader and the Death Star for the space's ambiance and drink selection. The entry is completely dark, save for red LED lights, and the spot teases a number of extraterrestrial cameos by way of "intergalactic burlesque shows, with dancers in full prosthetics looking like aliens, plus alien speed dating events where 'Space Nerds' can meet each other," as Lonely Planet writes.

The drinks are likewise themed. Patrons can order libations with names like "Red Force," "Mindtrick" and "Galaxy," rimmed with black sugar or chilled by dry ice and LED-lit ice cubes.

Entry to the bar, which will be open until mid-January, requires a reservation — $33 upfront or $40 at the door — and a (non-mandatory) request that you come costumed.

If the Mos Eisley Cantina is more your vibe, there's a place for you too, young padawan. Scum and Villainy Cantina, another Star Wars pop-up in Hollywood, got a permanent location this last summer and doesn't require a reservation.

Coming to a Theater Near You: Subscriptions, Toys and Downloads

With the movie business in the doldrums, theater operators are looking for new ways to make money.

Cinemas have been stuck at about 1.3 billion tickets a year since 2010, leading them to increase prices to get sales growth. That tried-and-true method has faltered in 2017, a dismal year for the North American box office with bombs ranging from “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” to “Baywatch.” Revenue in the U.S. and Canada is down 4.9 percent so far this year, with the worst summer in decades and the bleakest October since 1996.

So movie-theater chains are getting creative.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the biggest cinema chain in the U.S., plans to test sales of movie-related merchandise in 35 theaters next year. If it works, expect to see more toys and tchotchkes at stores nationwide later in 2018.

“In a venue where you would think the enthusiasm would be highest in a movie theater on your way out the door, we do nothing,” Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron said on a conference call. “We’re going to try it.”

AMC also plans to start selling online rentals of older movies through its website
, working with partners who already provide films on the internet. Such an idea would’ve once been considered anathema -- a movie-theater chain giving film buffs a reason not to leave home.

Cinemark Holdings Inc. is testing Cinemark Movie Club, a subscription service that would compete with MoviePass,
which lets customers go to one movie a day for $10 a month. Cinemark hasn’t provided a lot of details on the new service, but said it’s designed to boost attendance and revenue.

Regal Entertainment Group is testing out demand-based pricing,
which might let moviegoers pay lower prices for box-office flops and higher prices for top hits. AMC is also experimenting with demand-based pricing.

The new initiatives represent “an evolution of theaters trying to cater to what consumers are moving towards,” Eric Wold, analyst at B Riley FBR said in an interview. Wold, who advises buying AMC and Cinemark shares, noted that the theater chains have already boosted revenue from moviegoers by improving its food selection and serving beer and wine in some locations.

If Cinemark can get movie fans to turn out “more often and spend more dollars on this enhanced food and beverage program they’ve rolled out, the cost to get them in there on a subscription plan is relatively low,” he said.

Still, investors remain skeptical that the theater chains have a solution to their woes. AMC shares have fallen 67 percent this year, and the others have also slumped. Netflix Inc. and Inc are investing heavily in their own features, giving film fans more reasons to stay at home. And studios, historically allies of theaters, are pushing to be able to sell downloads just a few weeks after their films appear on the big screen, which cinema chains worry may give viewers less incentive to go to the movies. MoviePass, which got a surge in interest after cutting its prices this year, has also added pressure.

That’s why moviegoers should pay attention to ticket prices in the coming months. AMC has “very quietly” introduced a $1 surcharge for Friday and Saturday night shows at about 150 U.S. theaters, Aron said.

Aron, the former CEO of Vail Resorts Inc., also plans as soon as next year to start charging different prices for different seats in the theater - addressing viewers’ habit of avoiding the rows closest the screen, which Aron said are almost always empty.

“I would love to drop the price by a material amount in the first row,” he said. “It doesn’t cost you any money to cut the price of something that you never sell any of, and it might give us an opportunity to make moviegoing affordable for consumers who are willing to make the tradeoff to sit in those seats.”

Folks, Amazon Has Ruined Christmas

Here’s a fun little uproar that’s about neither our deep fear of nuclear war nor sexual harassment: Amazon has ruined Christmas for the entire United Kingdom, by implying that it is parents rather than Santa who deliver the gifts.

Business Insider reports:

Some parents in the UK are mad about an Amazon advertisement that, according to them, erases Santa from the Christmas narrative.

The ad shows a dad getting a stack of Amazon packages — presumably holiday gifts — from a delivery person, then sneaking past his kids to hide them. Parents are saying that this makes it obvious to kids watching the ad that parents — not Santa — buy Christmas gifts. The ad only aired in the UK market.

“So it’s Amazon that delivers Christmas is it? Disgusting that kids who believe in Santa are shown their dad running about with Amazon presents,” one parent complained, according to the Sun.

An Amazon spokesperson told the Daily Mail that, “Father Christmas and his elves are no doubt working around the clock to get presents to girls and boys around the world. These are just a few extra to give a little love from parents.” Santa and Amazon have so many things in common, like the necessity of serious questions about employees’ working conditions.

Spotify begins selling makeup amid merch expansion

Spotify doesn’t just want to be your music streamer of choice. The digital music startup aims to be a whole lot more than that as it offers a growing number of products you can buy—like selling makeup.

That’s right: If you know where to look, you can buy makeup on Spotify now. While it may sound incredibly random at first, the move actually makes a lot of sense. Spotify is evolving not just into a music streaming destination, but a destination for all things around your favorite artists. Through a partnership with MerchBar that started last year, artists can sell their merchandise through Spotify, giving them an additional revenue stream in the app besides pithy streaming music royalties.

And with its latest move, Spotify listeners can now shop the look of their favorite artists, starting with makeup artist Pat McGrath and musician Maggie Lindemann. Lindemann is launching a new single, and in conjunction, McGrath is selling three shades of lipstick from her line Pat McGrath Labs, along with an eye pencil, and other products.

“Maggie Lindemann is an extremely exciting young artist, with over 7 million fans listening to her all over the world every month on Spotify,” Jordan Gremli, head of artist and fan development for Spotify, said in a statement. “In partnering with Pat McGrath to offer beauty products in this innovative new way, she will be connecting directly with her fans in the place where they go to enjoy her music already on Spotify.”

Spotify isn’t just trying to compete with the likes of Pandora and Apple Music anymore—it’s also trying to compete with the likes of Instagram and perhaps even Amazon, too.

Similarly to Instagram and Amazon, Spotify is merely acting as the platform here. It’s not taking a cut of artist merchandise and product sales (although perhaps it’d be wise from a revenue standpoint if it did). It’s simply giving artists more agency over how they connect with fans in the app, along with how they can make money off of those fans.

These sorts of merchandising and product partnerships are also helpful to Spotify, as it gives listeners more reason to hang around on the app besides listening to music. It should also entice artists to use Spotify more often for marketing.

Lyft is going to Canada in its first international launch

In its first international launch, Lyft is heading north of the border. Those looking for an Uber alternative in Toronto, you finally have one.

Lyft announced the new locale in a blog post Monday morning. Toronto Lyft riders will be able to enjoy the new service before the year’s end. And it’s about time: Lyft says more than 50,000 Toronto residents have downloaded the app to date.

Up until now, Lyft has been U.S.-only, so this Toronto launch is a big move for the ride-hailing company. Lyft, which first debuted in 2012, has taken its expansion at a slightly slower pace than its main competitor, Uber. As of February, Lyft had a presence in 300 cities. Uber, by comparison, was in more than 450 cities across the globe at the time. Uber, which debuted in San Francisco in 2010, first made its international debut in Paris only a year later in 2011. Now Uber has a presence in 77 countries.

With Uber in hot water over sexual harassment allegations, shady business practices, and internal upheaval, Lyft has emerged as its less evil alternative (particularly after the #DeleteUber campaign gained traction earlier this year).

When Lyft officially debuts in Toronto, residents should see similar wait times (two to three minutes) as you would in other cities in the U.S.

Police in Montana are passing out turkeys instead of tickets this month

Residents in Billings, Montana, who were pulled over for minor traffic violations last week have a reason to feel extra grateful this Thanksgiving season.

Thanks to an anonymous local businessman, 20 lucky residents were issued a frozen turkey—along with a warning—rather than a ticket when pulled over by police for minor violations like speeding or rolling through a stop sign.

Police in Montana town issue Thanksgiving turkeys instead of tickets for minor traffic violations. "It's been a very positive thing for the community."

— ABC News (@ABC) November 13, 2017

Some commenters on the department’s Facebook page weren’t sure it was appropriate to reward drivers for breaking the law but others saw it as a kind gesture during the holiday season.

“You should give a turkey to every driver you see who is not on their phone while driving,” one resident suggested.

Good work and example of agent kindness and humanity! 👍🙏😇👑. Congratulations.

— m4rioalvarez (@m4rioalvarez) November 13, 2017

*drives through red light to get food*

— Will (@Willwsx) November 13, 2017

But Lieutenant Neil Lawrence assured ABC News that the residents pulled over were still issued a warning and were told what they could do to improve their driving.

This was the first year that the department made the Thanksgiving gesture.

“The individuals that received the warnings and the turkeys have been very happy,” Lawrence said. “Our Facebook page has received a lot of positive comments regarding it. So far it’s been a very positive thing for the community.”

Church of England encourages schools to embrace students’ gender experimentation

In a surprisingly progressive stance, the Church of England has issued guidelines to its schools encouraging teachers to embrace students’ gender experimentation. In particular, the church asks teachers and administrators to honor children’s “creative exploration” and engage “without expectation or comment” when students decide to, say, wear a tutu or a tool belt.

Focusing on children in nursery and primary school classes, the church wants kids to have a supportive environment where they can “explore the possibilities of who they might be” without fear. In other words, the church wants school districts to accept and embrace children who may be expressing their gender identity in ways that go against traditional cisgender expectations for young kids.

“In the early years, context and throughout primary school, play should be a hallmark of creative exploration,” the church explained, as the Independent reports. “Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing up box). Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgment or derision.”

The church also encourages schools to work on promoting “dignity for all,” which creates an environment where students “accept difference of all varieties and be supported to accept their own gender identity or sexual orientation and that of others.” Teachers should also avoid using terms that deem experimentation as “abnormal” or “irregular.”

“All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression, and suicide,” the archbishop of Canterbury wrote in the guidelines’ foreword, according to the Independent. “Central to Christian theology is the truth that every single one of us is made in the image of God. Every one of us is loved unconditionally by God.”

For 160K People Who Can't Afford Bail, Hope

The Bail Project is going national, with an ambitious 5-year goal

A national effort is launching that aims to help low-income defendants get out of jail by bailing them out as their criminal cases progress through the courts. The Bail Project grew out of a successful 10-year campaign in the Bronx to pay bail for needy cases, led by attorney Robin Steinberg of the Bronx Defenders, a legal assistance nonprofit. She says the decade of data from that effort showed that 95% of the people who were bailed out using donated money returned to court for every appearance, and that when people could get out of jail, the majority were ultimately not convicted of a crime. The project will expand in January to Tulsa, Okla., and St. Louis. It will grow to include a total of 40 different cities, using a $16 million revolving fund, and aims to bail out 160,000 over the next five years, reports the AP.

Nonprofit workers stationed in the cities will work with defense attorneys and community groups to interview people who've been jailed following accusations of a crime. In New York, judges set bail in roughly 45,000 cases annually; only about 12% of defendants can pay in time to be released from court. The average fee is $1,000. Nearly half end up in jail for about a week because they can't scrape together the money in the window of time between their arraignment and when they're sent to jail. Jail reform advocates say bail disproportionately affects poor minorities, who can't cobble together the money and who are disproportionately arrested in criminal cases. Even a night in jail can cause people to lose a job or custody of their children. "It is really intended to try to make sure that no one is incarcerated for their poverty and their race and that is what is happening in this country," Steinberg says.

Bill Gates Gives $100M to Fight Alzheimer's

The donation will come from him, not the Gates Foundation

Bill Gates has long been a philanthropist through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, donating millions to combat diseases and poverty. But the Microsoft co-founder has now decided to make a personal donation of his own. A big one. Gates says that he will be donating $100 million to fund research to bring about an end to Alzheimer's disease, Reuters reports. That donation will come in two parts. Fifty million to the Dementia Discovery Fund, which combines government and industry resources to seek treatment for the disease, and $50 million to Alzheimer's research start-ups. Currently there is no treatment that slows Alzheimer's, only medications to ease some of the symptoms of the brain-wasting disease. “I hope that in the next 10 years that we have some powerful drugs, but it’s possible that won’t be achieved," Gates says.

This is first time Gates has donated money to fighting noninfectious diseases, CNN reports. The Gates Foundation focuses on communicable diseases like AIDS and malaria. And while one might assume Gates' decision to donate so much of his own money to Alzheimer's research is in response to personal experience, he says that isn't entirely so. ”Some of the men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer‘s, but I wouldn’t say that’s the sole reason,” he says. Nearly 50 million people worldwide are afflicted with Alzheimer's. Without new treatments or a cure, that number is expected to rise to 131 million by 2050.

Bill Gates Is Spending $80 Million To Create A Smart City In The Arizona Desert

bill gates predictions 1999 accurate

What do you do when you’re the second richest person on the planet? Anything you want. Even make your own cities. That’s what Bill Gates is about to do. Gates, who has an estimated net worth of $90 billion, is collaborating with an investment firm to build a new smart city in Arizona.

Gates and the firm will spend $80 million to create a smart city of the future. The community will be built on 25,000 acres of currently uninhabited desert land that is 45 minutes west of Phoenix, The city will be named “Belmont,” named after real-estate developer Belmont Partners, the company behind the project. The new city will be founded along the projected path of the not-yet-built I-11 highway that will run from Las Vegas to Mexico. The future city will have 3,800 acres devoted to office, commercial, and retail space, while 470 acres will be set aside for public schools. There will be 80,000 residential units and feature high-speed communications infrastructure and autonomous cars. “Belmont will create a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs,” Belmont Partners said in a news release.

Xennials is a popular way to describe people born between 1977 and 1983

IF YOU were born during this period then you are apart of a microgeneration called Xennials. But the term has caused a fair bit of controversy.
Are you a Xennial?

IT’S the new term for a generation who feel like they don’t fit with either Gen Y or Gen X, but who came up with the term has caused some controversy.

Xennials is a term that has recently become a popular way to describe people born between 1977 and 1983.

People born between these periods have been stuck in a kind of generational limbo, sandwiched in between the cynical group of Gen X and the overly optimistic, smashed avo eating Millennials, without really identifying with either.

Unlike Millennials who grew up with mobile phones, Xennials remember calling their friends on landlines and have the sound of dial up internet burned into their memories. But were also able to adapt to new technology more easily than Gen Xers.

But who came up with the Xennials term all depends on who you talk to.

The label gained attention a few months ago, after Mamamia published an article on the new name for the microgeneration between 77 and 83.

Dan Woodman, an Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Melbourne, provided insight into the characteristics of an Xennial and since then has been largely credited with coining the term.

“The idea is there’s this micro or in-between generation between the Gen X group — who we think of as the depressed flannelette-shirt-wearing, grunge-listening children that came after the Baby Boomers and the Millennials — who get described as optimistic, tech savvy and maybe a little bit too sure of themselves and too confident,” he told Mamamia.

Click for the rest

‘Fox & Friends’ Jumps To Trump’s Defense Over Yet Another Awkward Handshake Photo


President Trump attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Manila in the Philippines on Sunday
, which brings together leaders from throughout Asia to discuss security and economic issues. The summit’s opening ceremony traditionally kicks off with a unique crossed-arms handshake, linking the respective heads of state, and to the surprise of no one, Trump was as usual his awkward self, as photos from the event (such as the one above snapped by New York Times photographer Doug Mills) began circulating online.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 12.42.35 PM

Fox and Friends was quick to jump to the president’s defense on Monday morning however, accusing the media of having it out for Trump, as Ainsley Earhardt started off by saying, “It’s no secret that the New York Times has not been very friendly to the president or this administration.”

Things got a bit awkward as Pres. Trump posed with world leaders for a group handshake at the beginning of the ASEAN summit in the Philippines.

— ABC News (@ABC) November 13, 2017

Earhardt then pointed to the video of the handshake as evidence that the handshake was not as awkward as the photos suggest. “Well when you watch the video and see the photo it’s obvious what they’re doing,” she said. “They’re trying to portray him as being awkward as we just said, and they want to portray him in that light.”

Steve Doocy then pointed out that the Washington Post reported that Mills in particular may have used the photo as revenge for the White House restricting press access on the trip, although the outlet even admitted, “Trump’s awkward grimace reveals the messy reality of high stakes geopolitics that an airbrushed official portrait of the ‘family’ would gloss over. Photos like these can help remind us that there are different motivations and different levels of comfort on the world stage behind the scenes.”

Per pool: “Pool, having reviewed photographs, clarifies that Trump’s facial expression during the handshake was more of an exaggerated grimace than a smile.”

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 13, 2017

MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin likewise concurred by tweeting that Trump’s expression was “more of an exaggerated grimace than a smile,” yet Brian Kilmeade ultimately attributed the awkwardness to Trump’s height, rather than any deeper inclinations.

Hard News Headlines You May Want To Know

back to the top



Turns Out, You Need to Get Rid of Your Underwear Every Single Year

How often do you change out your underwear? I don't mean just putting on a fresh pair, or tossing them into the wash -- I mean throwing them out for good and replacing them, all of them.

According to the Good Housekeeping Institute of the namesake lifestyle publication Good Housekeeping, a person's clean, just-washed underwear can have up to 10,000 living bacteria, like E. coli and dust mites.

That being said, the researchers recommend that you don't keep your underwear for longer than a year in order to reduce your risk of infections, allergies, and irritations.

When purchasing new undies, consider going for cotton, which is a natural and breathable fabric, compared to synthetic materials like polyester and satin, according to Essence. These end up trapping sweat and other bodily fluids, making it more likely for you to get an infection.

Since worn undies are basically a breeding ground for bacteria (no surprise there), when you do wash them, do it in hot water, and make sure your washing machine is clean.

Just don't use bleach when washing your undies. It not only breaks down the fibers of the fabric, causing your undies to fall apart faster, but it can cause skin irritation when the bleach chemicals interact with the elastic, according to Health. Instead, opt for a detergent that's hypoallergenic or good for sensitive skin.

Well, even though this news means we might have to say good-bye to some of our most beloved undies, at least it's also a good excuse to go shopping.

Phoner: What is your oldest pair of underwear in your drawer right now?

Companies are supporting LGBTQ employees more than ever

The Trump administration has already put active effort into eroding the monumental increases in rights and protections LGBTQ people won while the Obama administration was in power. Department of Justice head Jeff Sessions has taken particular aim at workplace protections, arguing that it shouldn’t be illegal to fire people based entirely on their sexual orientation, and wholesale ending all federal protections for transgender employees. Despite the DOJ’s opposition, the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) found that the number of companies in the U.S. that support their LGBTQ employees is now at a record high.

The CEI, which was published on Nov. 9, assessed 947 “major companies and law firms across the nation,” according to an HRC press release. Businesses were rated on a scale from zero to 100. Of the 947 businesses assessed for the 2018 CEI, a staggering 609 earned a perfect score of 100, which is a single-year increase of 18 percent — the largest increase on record. Some of the country’s top businesses to earn a perfect 100 include Apple, AT&T, Amazon, General Electric, CVS, Verizon, and Ford.

“This record sets a new high water mark for corporate leadership over the 15-year history of the CEI,” the HRC added in its press release.

Businesses’ levels of inclusion were judged based on six key areas: sexual orientation in U.S. non-discrimination policy; gender identity in U.S. nondiscrimination policy; domestic partner benefits; transgender-inclusive benefits; organizational LGBTQ competency; and public commitment to the LGBTQ community.

According to the CEI report, the areas where the most businesses faltered were in public commitment to the LGBTQ community (53 percent have made commitments) and in transgender-inclusive benefits (58 percent offer benefits). This is still a rise from the 2017 report, in which public commitment to the LGBT community stood at 47 percent, and the percentage of businesses offering transgender-inclusive benefits was just 50 percent.

The fact that businesses are improving inclusiveness for LGBT employees despite the current administration’s policies is a positive sign, said HRC president Chad Griffin in the CEI press release. “At a time when the rights of LGBTQ people are under attack by the Trump-Pence Administration and state legislatures across the country, hundreds of top American companies are driving progress toward equality in the workplace,” he explained. “The top-scoring companies on this year’s CEI are not only establishing policies that affirm and include employees here in the United States, they are applying these policies to their operations around the globe and impacting millions of people beyond our shores.”

And more of these companies are choosing to take their supportive private policies public. “In addition, many of these companies have also become vocal advocates for equality in the public square, including the dozens that have signed on to amicus briefs in vital Supreme Court cases and the 106 corporate supporters of the Equality Act,” Griffen added. “We are proud to have developed so many strong partnerships with corporate allies who see LGBTQ equality as a crucial issue for our country and for their businesses.”

Many companies have improved their scores over the years, but Apple is one company that has a straight flush of perfect 100s — 15 overall, one for each year the CEI has been published. In the Inclusity & Diversity section of its website, Apple outright states that “LGBTQ rights are human rights,” and that “[p]eople should not be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” Along with standing behind its LGBTQ employees, the company openly financially supports GLSEN, PFLAG, The Trevor Project, and ILGA.

Some companies who did not receive a 100 on the 2018 CEI are taking the opportunity to address the areas where their scores took hits. For example, Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., the folks behind Dunkin’ Donuts, debuted on the CEI this year, and scored a 90. Chief legal and human resources officer Rich Emmett submitted a statement to the HRC saying that though Dunkin’ Brands is proud of its 90, the company “will strive to reach 100 in future years.”

The DOJ will undoubtedly continue to oppose workplace protections for LGBTQ people as long as this administration is in office, so keeping queer employees safe truly is on private businesses’ shoulders. The 2018 CEI’s findings are heartening, and it doesn’t seem like too far a stretch to hope that the 2019 CEI will be another record-setter.

Hate crimes rise for second year in a row, FBI says

Hate crimes in the United States rose for the second year in a row in 2016, according to new data released by the FBI.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation report, published on Monday, shows that 6,121 hate crime incidents occurred in the United States last year, up from 5,850 in 2015, an increase of about 5 percent. Hate crimes also rose in 2015, by approximately 6 percent, over the year prior. This is the first two-year rise in hate crimes in the past decade.

Among the more than 6,000 hate crimes that occurred in 2016, 57.5 percent were motivated by race, ethnicity, or ancestry bias; 21 percent were prompted by religious bias; 17.7 percent were due to a sexual-orientation bias. Other incidents resulted from gender-identity biases, disability biases, or a gender bias.

Among race, ethnicity, and bias, more than 50 percent were motivated by an anti-Black bias, 20.7 percent were motivated by an anti-White bias, 10.6 percent were classified as anti-Hispanic. As for religion, anti-Jewish (54.2 percent) and anti-Muslim (24.8 percent) were the top motivations for hate crimes. Catholics were targeted in 4.1 percent of hate crimes, according to the FBI.

The number of hate crimes against people with particular religious beliefs rose dramatically from 2015. Anti-Muslim crimes rose from 22.2 percent to 24.8 percent, and anti-Jewish crimes rose from 51.3 percent to 54.2 percent.

“It’s deeply disturbing to see hate crimes increase for the second year in a row,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement. “Hate crimes demand priority attention because of their special impact. They not only hurt one victim, but they also intimidate and isolate a victim’s whole community and weaken the bonds of our society.”

In 2016, 62.8 percent of sexual-orientation bias hate crimes were classified as “anti-gay (male)” and 21.5 percent were prompted by an anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender bias. According to the data, 130 offenses were reported as being prompted by gender-identity bias; of those, 111 were anti-transgender and 19 were anti-gender nonconforming.

Of the 7,321 reported single-bias and multiple-bias offenses reported in 2016: 28.8 percent were intimidation; 26.1 were were destruction, damage, or vandalism; 23 percent were simple assault; and 11.9 percent were aggravated assault, according to the data.

15K Scientists Send 'Warning to Humanity'

Things have gotten really, really bad

Twenty-five years ago, 1,500 scientists signed a letter warning humanity that it needed to change its ways in order to save the planet. A new letter, marking the anniversary of that first message, has so far been signed by 15,000 scientists, and the reason for the tenfold increase is that things have gotten much, much worse. The latest campaign, going by the hashtag #ScientistsWarningToHumanity on Twitter, was started by William Ripple of Oregon State University's College of Forestry, CBC reports. Ripple says he learned about the original 1992 warning last February and decided to update the concerns he found there with new data. "The trends," he says, "are alarming." Ripple says he found a decline in freshwater availability, decreases in biodiversity, and climate change, among other things. The only piece of good news he found is a rapid decline in ozone depletion.

Ripple says that the last 25 years have seen a 62% increase in carbon emissions and a 35% increase in the human population, putting an enormous toll on the environment. "We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption," the letter reads, "and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats." Ripple and his team warn that if changes aren't made, there will be irreversible biodiversity loss and increases in natural disasters and human misery, the Independent reports.

Congratulations, Sex Probably Won't Give You a Heart Attack

Many men with heart disease fear that having sex could kill them, but new research shows the danger is slight. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute reported Sunday at an American Heart Association conference that only one in every 100 cases of sudden cardiac arrest in men occurred after sexual activity. But 94% of those victims had a history of heart disease, NBC News reports. The study, to be published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, was the first to look at whether sexual exertion can trigger a heart attack, notes Live Science. Fear of post-sex heart failure has been bolstered by plot lines on TV shows like Mad Men, but in reality, "the risk is very small," senior author Dr. Sumeet Chugh tells NBC. Chugh's team analyzed 4,557 cardiac arrests that occurred between 2002 and 2015, and found that 34 happened within one hour of sexual intercourse.

Sudden cardiac arrest, which killed Tom Petty, takes place when an electrical impulse goes haywire and the heart stops beating. There are often no warning signs. Still, the danger is far greater for men: Only two of the heart attacks studied involved women. The majority of victims were middle-aged and African-American men, per the BBC. But CPR can make a life-or-death difference. CPR was performed in only one-third of cases studied, prompting Chugh to urge the "importance of (teaching) bystander CPR for sudden cardiac arrest, irrespective of the circumstance." Another study found that children as young as 6 can learn CPR, per the BBC.

Women Are Less Likely to Get CPR Because People Are Scared to Touch Boobies

A new study indicates that people with breasts are more likely to die in a situation where they might survive if given CPR, because folks are afraid to touch their chest area.

A study conducted by researchers of 20,000 cases of heart attacks around the country shows a disturbing trend in how men and women are treated by bystanders, according to their perceived gender. Stat News reports that 45 percent of men who go into cardiac arrest in a public place were given CPR, versus 39 percent of women. Men were 23 percent more likely to survive.

“It can be kind of daunting thinking about pushing hard and fast on the center of a woman’s chest” and some people may fear they are hurting her, said Audrey Blewer, a University of Pennsylvania researcher who led the study.

Another study leader, Dr. Benjamin Abella, of UPenn, said rescuers are afraid to move a woman’s clothes or touch her breasts, though if you are administering CPR properly, you wouldn’t. You should be pushing in between the meaty stuff, directly against the sternum.

“This is not a time to be squeamish because it’s a life and death situation,” Abella said.

The findings are pushing officials to reconsider how CPR trainings are taught, including the far more common use of a male torso mannequin for demonstrations, as well as the useful placement of defibrillator pads on “large breasts.” Also, if you don’t have boobs, you should know that they kind of slide towards the armpits when you’re lying down, leaving plenty of room for restarting someone’s heart/resting a plate of cheese. Insider secret.

One other note from the study: men are more likely to go into cardiac arrest after sex. So there’s that.

Payphones Still Make Millions of Dollars

Old tech has an important role in people's lives.

Disruption-y tech companies like Uber and Twitter are a big part of “the discourse” and our daily lives, but neither of them make any profit. You know what once-groundbreaking technology doesn’t have any problems making bank year after year?

That’s right, it’s payphones.

Most people now have a cell phone, so you may have wondered who still uses those rusted, quarter-eating boxes. As it turns out, a lot of people do. According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s 2017 monitoring report, payphones in Canada made $22 million CAD in 2016 (this figure may not account for the cost of upkeep, but the CRTC has stated in the past that payphones are “financially viable at current rates.”) That’s spread out among nearly 60,000 payphones in the country, which made roughly $300 per phone over the course of the year. That’s at least a few calls per day, each.

The US numbers are similar: The FCC reports that in 2015 payphones made $286 million, which is comparable for a population ten times the size of Canada’s.

It might not be much in the grand scheme of the multi-billion dollar telecommunications industry, but it goes to show that some old and decrepit (and, crucially, shared) technologies still play a key role in many people’s lives. Payphones are out here making money while some of the newest, hottest, and most “successful” tech companies around are still figuring out how to get their revenues to climb ahead of their yearly losses.

These numbers remind me of other commonplace things that seem out of date in today’s increasingly individualized, “Uber-for- X” tech landscape—like neighbourhood laundromats—that are still essential community spaces for people who can’t afford the personal devices that define much of the modern economy and job market. These spaces, and these people, need support.

The CRTC has done some good work on this. In 2013, the regulator rejected a proposal from Bell Canada—a telecom giant that operates many payphones in Canada—to increase the price of a payphone call from 50 cents to $1, stating that wireless service “is not an affordable option for all.” The CRTC has also put policies in place acknowledging the negative impact that removing payphones may have on small communities.

Still, it does look like payphones are on the way out. The CRTC’s 2017 monitoring report shows the number of payphones in the country nearly halving over the past five years. Even more tellingly, revenue per payphone decreased by half in the same period.

Payphones might not be profitable forever, but they’re still filling a need in a world that’s quickly changing around them.

Phoner:  Why were you glad there was a payphone around?

Do You Hate IPAs? There Might Be A Scientific Reason Why

Over the past few years, the beer world has been absolutely dominated by Indian Pale Ales
. Breweries have continued to add more and more hops to their product (with varying success) — to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park, they’re so preoccupied with whether or not they can that they haven’t stopped to think if they should.

If you walk into a craft beer bar, there’s a good chance that half of the tap list (or more) will be dedicated to the style, which is great news for fans of IPAs but a nightmare for people who can’t stand them. If you fall into the latter category, you might just think you’re missing something, but there actually might be a scientific reason for why you hate them.

If you have an aversion to bitterness, you might be a “supertaster,” a term that applies to 25% of the population. Supertasters can be easily overwhelmed by the intense flavor of the hops, which is why they tend to gravitate towards lighter styles.

Esquire went into a bit more detail:

Unfortunately, being a supertaster isn’t as great as the name suggests. “You might think that a supertaster would have a lot of fun eating and drinking, but it’s more like the opposite,” writes Dr. Rob DeSalle of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomic. “Because supertasters experience tastes more intensely than nontasters and tasters, the effects of different tastes detected by tongues of supertasters are amplified relative to the nontasters and tasters.”
There is at least one upside to being a supertaster—studies have shown that hoppier beers can cause people to grow man boobs, so you’ve got that going for you, which is nice. Feel free to pop open a nice light beer to celebrate.

69% Of Americans Would Skip Holiday Gift-Giving, Survey Says

For many people, giving and receiving gifts are one of the big parts of the holidays.

However, a new survey shows that 69 percent of Americans would skip exchanging gifts if their family and friends agreed to it.

The survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Bank, also showed that 60 percent of those surveyed said they would spend more time with friends and family if they didn’t have to worry about buying or making gifts.

Which isn’t to say that people just want to spend less. The survey found 25 percent said they would use that money on activities with friends and family.

Conversely, 37 percent said they would pay down debt and 47 percent would choose to save that money or invest it.

Phoner:  Would you love to get rid of gift giving over the holidays?

Phoner:  Do you avoid certain people during the holidays because you don't want to worry about giving gifts?

If You Don't Drink Bloody Marys On An Airplane You're An Idiot Because Science Says So

This is why tomato juice tastes so good when you're on an airplane

— Business Insider (@businessinsider) November 13, 2017

Phoner:  What tastes better in a different setting?

Half of US adults have high blood pressure in new guidelines

New guidelines lower the threshold for high blood pressure, adding 30 million Americans to those who have the condition, which now plagues nearly half of U.S. adults.

High pressure, which for decades has been a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90, drops to 130 over 80 in advice announced Monday by a dozen medical groups.

The change means an additional 14 percent of U.S. adults have the problem, but only 2 percent of these newly added people need medication right away; the rest should try healthier lifestyles, which get much stronger emphasis in the new advice. Poor diets, lack of exercise and other bad habits cause 90 percent of high blood pressure.

"I have no doubt there will be controversy. I'm sure there will be people saying 'We have a hard enough time getting to 140,'" said Dr. Paul Whelton, a Tulane University physician who led the guidelines panel.

But the risk for heart disease, stroke and other problems drops as blood pressure improves, and the new advice "is more honest" about how many people have a problem, he said.

New Study Finds That Going Vegetarian Reduces The Risk Of Heart Failure. By A Lot.

No cheeseburgers. No bacon. No steak. No happiness. Sounds like a living hell, or at the very least, an awful fantasy football punishment.

Not only does being vegetarian/vegan suck because of the dietary restrictions, it’s also kind of makes you a meaty dick. What are you going to tell your girlfriend’s parents when you go to her place for Thanksgiving? You’re good with just the cranberry sauce? Good luck getting the go ahead from the pops on popping the question to his daughter.

But, I am a man of integrity and am willing to acknowledge when I take a loss. And us meat eaters took a big one today.

According to a study conducted by Icahn School of Medicine in New York, eating a vegetarian diet slashes the risk of heart failure nearly in half.

Experts examined five diets which ranged from red meats, to plant based food, sweets and alcohol over four years and concluded that going vegetarian reduced the risk of heart failure by 42%. What you eat can impact atherosclerosis, the restricting of the arteries that triggers heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.

The study concluded that the foods to avoid include refined carbohydrates, foods high in added sugars, trans fats, saturated fats and processed meats, Daily Mail reports.

Heart disease accounts for 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States every year, killing 610,000 people annually. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

Diet starts Monday. Until then…

Here Are 2017’s Best And Worst Cities For Singles Based On 32 Key Dating Indicators

Are you single and ready to mingle? If so, then this analysis of over 180 U.S. cities across 32 key indicators of dating-friendliness that reveals which cities are the best, and worst, for singles in 2017 might be of interest to you.

Considering that more than 45 percent of the U.S. adult population is unmarried, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates, I am betting that it will.

Utilizing 15 “economics” metrics, 12 “fun and recreation” metrics, and five “dating opportunities” metrics, the analysts over at revealed the following…

— Detroit has the highest share of single persons, 73.76 percent, which is 1.9 times higher than in Fremont, California, the city with the lowest at 38.06 percent.

— Gilbert, Arizona, has the highest share of households with a broadband connection (as a proxy for “online dating opportunities”), 95.9 percent, which is 2.2 times higher than in Brownsville, Texas, the city with the lowest at 42.7 percent.

— Garden Grove, California, has the lowest average restaurant-meal cost, $12.78, which is 6.3 times lower than in Juneau, Alaska, the city with the highest at $80.00.

— Indianapolis has the lowest average price for a bottle of wine, $3.79, which is 3.7 times lower than in Raleigh, North Carolina, the city with the highest at $13.99.

— Port St. Lucie, Florida, has the lowest average price for a movie ticket, $6.21, which is 2.4 times lower than in Los Angeles and Oxnard, California, the cities with the highest at $14.81.

— New York has the most nightlife options (per square root of population), 1.86, which is 93 times more than in West Valley City, Utah, the city with the fewest at 0.02.

More importantly, they determined which cities in America are best for singles…

1. San Francisco, CA
2. Atlanta, GA
3. Los Angeles, CA
4. Denver, CO
5. San Diego, CA
6. Seattle, WA
7. Chicago, IL
8. Portland, OR
9. Minneapolis, MN
10. Portland, ME

And which cities are the worst for singles in America…

173. Charleston, WV
174. Laredo, TX
175. Lewiston, ME
176. Pearl City, HI
177. Yonkers, NY
178. Warwick, RI
179. Hialeah, FL
180. Pembroke Pines, FL
181. Brownsville, TX
182. South Burlington, VT

Check out their very cool interactive map below to see where all 182 cities ranked…

Phoner:  Have you moved to a city for a better chance at dating?

Hit Counter