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In this April 29, 2017, file photo, the Na'vi Shaman of Songs celebrates with music in Na'vi River Journey ride at Pandora-World of Avatar land attraction in Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The 12-acre land, inspired by the "Avatar" movie, opens in Florida at the end of May at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom. It cost a half-billion dollars. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

Technology elevates new theme park experiences in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — For more than a moment, you feel the way "Avatar" hero Jake Sully felt plunging down the side of a floating mountain and coming just close enough to a giant wave to feel the mist on your face — all while on the back of a flying banshee that then swoons and soars high ...

This photo provided by Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., shows a new drop tower attraction at the Dollywood theme park. The ride's gondola spins around the tower for a bird's eye view of the Great Smoky Mountains. It's one of a number of new attractions opening at theme parks around the U.S. this spring and summer. (Curtis Hilbun/Dollywood via AP)

Orlando’s not the only hot spot: theme park fun around US

Orlando, Florida, often gets the spotlight when it comes to theme parks. This year is no exception with the openings of Disney World's Pandora-World of Avatar and Universal's Volcano Bay water park. But plenty of new attractions are opening elsewhere, from interactive rides that offer different ...

EVERYDAY CHEAPSKATE: The frugal lifestyle

I’ll admit I used to think frugality was a distasteful lifestyle forced upon the poor. I believed it was synonymous with never buying new clothes and dumpster diving under the cover of night. Boy, did I have a lot to learn. And learn I did — and I continue to learn — that it is the ...

ND proves to be just one sprawling small town

OK, so THIS is how you know you’re in North Dakota. My boyfriend and I go to a garage sale in Fargo and start talking to the homeowner – as friendly North Dakotans are wont to do. The brother-in-law of the homeowner happens to be there (because brothers-in-law are never far away at ...

This photo provided by Stone Forest shows their Triple Basalt pedestal sink. Basalt pillars make for a unique pedestal sink base. These basalt columns from Stone Forest have both polished facets and the natural surface, creating a unique organic contemporary fixture that can be topped with a vessel basin. Configurations can be one, two or three pillars, joined by brass or nickel finished tubing. (Stone Forest via AP)

RIGHT AT HOME: New pedestal sinks are perches with panache

If you've got a powder room, chances are there's a pedestal sink in it. The lavatory perches have long been the go-to option for small bathrooms, and even for full-size spaces where a less imposing fixture is desired. The simple bowl-on-a-stick concept has been given some imaginative ...

Global sales of luxury homes cooled in 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Global luxury home sales cooled off in 2016 for the second consecutive year, even with a record number of homes selling for more than $100 million. A report released Wednesday by Christie's International Real Estate shows that sales of homes priced at $1 million or more ...

Small and cute: why crafters love ‘little thingies’

When my daughter Grace was little, she collected tiny objects, sometimes pilfered from her sister and squirreled away in her bedroom. Among the 4-year-old's prized collection of teeny-tiny items were a Barbie suitcase, Hello Kitty erasers, a 1-inch plastic baby and animal figurines. "It's ...

EVERYDAY CHEAPSKATE: Prepare today for what you might need tomorrow

Face it: People are living longer than ever before, and health care costs are climbing higher every year. Which brings me to the subject of long-term care. You might assume it’s just about nursing homes, but it refers to more. Long-term care means getting the assistance you need at home as ...

Early memory issues alone shouldn’t force contented elder from home

Dear Carol: My dad is 81 and lives alone in his small home that he loves. What he can’t do, he hires done. He’s a positive person who is fun to be around, but he’s also proud. While his memory recall has slowed, that seems normal. He writes himself notes to remember to do what needs to be ...

MS.SIMPLICITY: Advice to my son as he graduates high school

Two weeks to go before the high school graduation for my youngest and I keep wondering if he knows some basic life skills. Yes, I am happy for him to start his next chapter. Yes, I am sad and a little overwhelmed that this fulltime parenting thing is almost over. I have put myself out of a ...

One-minute read: Why you might need wedding insurance

If you're busy planning a wedding, you might want to consider insuring it. Wedding insurance policies are relatively easy to understand, and the two main types are both inexpensive compared with the cost of a ceremony and reception: —Liability insurance covers you in case of an injury or ...

Nebraska humane society assists animals with special needs

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — Dex whimpers, using all his furry might to use his back legs to go forward. He wants to walk on all fours like he once did. He wants to run up to the Vienna sausages and chomp them up right away. But he can't — at least not yet. Dex is a German shepherd in the ...

Ringmaster Kristen Michelle Wilson, right, hugs a member of the crew after the red unit's final performance, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Providence, R.I. For the performers who travel with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, its demise means the end of a unique way of life for hundreds of performers and crew members. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The final days of the Ringling Bros. circus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — An elephant stretches its trunk through a window to soothe a sick child. A woman gives birth and three months later is back performing on the high wire. A handler of big cats weeps as the beasts lope out of the ring for the last time. These stories could come only ...

In this Tuesday, May 2, 2017, photo, a member of the New York Police Department's elite High Rise Rescue Unit, left, instructs Associated Press video journalist Ted Shaffrey, second from left, and AP reporter Colleen Long, second from right, during an exclusive demonstration scaling the Brooklyn Bridge for AP journalists in New York. The unit performs the most difficult rescues, including those on bridges and skyscrapers. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

‘I signed up for this?’

NEW YORK (AP) — Rain is normally nothing more than a mild annoyance for a reporting assignment outdoors. But this was no normal day. I was supposed to climb to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. As the clouds gathered and the wind kicked up, I dropped my two small children off at a friend's ...

EVERYDAY CHEAPSKATE: How to move from overspending to spending less

Even the mention of words like “frugality” and “thrift” send some people over the edge because for them, those words conjure up thoughts of poverty and deprivation. They assume that cutting costs is tantamount to diving into dumpsters to find one’s next meal. No wonder so many ...

Homegrown Hollywood: No pain, no gain, no baby

Last week I froze my eggs. The ones in my body, not the ones in my kitchen. I always considered freezing your eggs something women did so they wouldn’t feel pressured by their biological clock while they were advancing their careers or vacationing in Mazatlan. It seemed breezy and smart ...

Ms. Simplicity: Are your skinny jeans making you fat?

The more I work with my clients, the more I realize that our homes are metaphors for our inner selves. While my business focus has been on the entire home, I am now narrowing my focus on kitchens and closets. These two areas of the home can hold us back on living our best, healthiest lives. ...

Bridal trendspotting: black accents, all-over beading

NEW YORK (AP) — The recent round of spring 2018 bridal shows pointed to a turn back to tradition, sometimes with modern twists, along with plenty of options in silhouettes. Black accents were plentiful and jewelry seemed to be mostly about the neck. Formal gloves were back and statement ...

FILE - In this March 23, 2017, file photo, customers use a touchscreen to order food at a QuickChek convenience store in Cedar Knolls, N.J. In 2016, 22 percent of convenience stores’ sales came from prepared foods like pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, coffee and fountain sodas, up steadily from 13 percent in 2010, according to a preliminary annual report released by an industry association. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

The new fast food? Convenience stores add hot, cheap options

NEW YORK (AP) — Saying "convenience store food" may make people think of spinning hot dogs by the counter, but places like 7-Eleven are expanding their hot food offerings in hopes of stealing customers away from fast-food chains. The push by convenience stores into hot, fast, affordable ...

EVERYDAY CHEAPSKATE: How to clean gunk and grime from kitchen cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are for storing dishes, not grease. Unfortunately, wood cabinets, whether painted or natural with a clear finish, are prone to all sorts of grease, grime and gunk from simply being in the kitchen. Depending on just how much grease and grime you’re looking at and the ...