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EVERYDAY CHEAPSKATE: Ask me anything

I’ve been accused of thinking I have an answer for everything (you know who you are, my dear husband), and that kinda makes me laugh because I have to admit that maybe I do think that. I do love to reach into my inbox to find so many letters from my readers. Truth be told, when you send ...

Nowadays, you can be convicted of disorganized crime

Organization is the new thin. Think about it. Organization is a 4 gobtrillion-dollar industry, what with professional organizers, thousands of organizing products and all sorts of best-selling books on the topic. I hear there is also an international society for professional organizers called ...

Multipurpose furniture: when a couch isn’t just a couch

NEW YORK (AP) — It's not always enough for a couch to be a couch. Sometimes, especially when space is tight, it helps if the couch can double as two armchairs and a coffee table, and even storage shelves, as is the case with one Japanese camping couch popular among city dwellers. The ...

A new use for an old book? Fold it into a work of art

Books have more uses than might be obvious. Sure, you can press flowers in a heavy one and set out the pretty ones as decoration. You can read the darn things. But have you tried turning a book into three-dimensional sculpture? The process can be quite simple; the result a beautiful ...

The Associated Press’ guide to the best free online workouts

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — It's easy to get discouraged by the boutique fitness craze with $25 per class fees and the weekly chore of sitting by your computer to reserve a spot in that popular spin class that always sells out. It's often tempting to just skip it, so we rounded up our ...

Science Says: DNA test results may not change health habits

NEW YORK (AP) — If you learned your DNA made you more susceptible to getting a disease, wouldn't you work to stay healthy? You'd quit smoking, eat better, ramp up your exercise, or do whatever else it took to improve your odds of avoiding maladies like obesity, diabetes, heart disease or ...

In this Tuesday, May 16, 2017 photo, superhero impersonator Justin Harrison, left, rides a Metro train wearing a Superman costume on his way to Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. "I always go out in a costume," said Harrison. "I love seeing people happy and seeing them smile." (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Hollywood Boulevard street performers unmasked

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Captain America has a thick British accent, and his day job is cinematographer. Iron Man lives in an apartment behind Hollywood's Dolby Theatre, and at least one of Batman's wings are made with a pair of shower curtains from Target. Superman comes from Ukraine, not the ...

Ready, set (the table), go! Tablescaping gets competitive

Andrea Smith's dining room will be out of commission for the next few months while she prepares what she hopes will be another award-winning entry for a local "tablescaping" contest. Smith, a retired teacher and avid quilter in Estes Park, Colorado, has already spent hours planning what ...

Stray cats find a home on an Amsterdam houseboat

AMSTERDAM (AP) — In the heart of the Dutch capital, on a canal near one of the busiest shopping streets, a floating animal sanctuary called The Catboat provides refuge for about 50 stray and abandoned felines. Known in Dutch as De Poezenboot, the houseboat in Amsterdam's picturesque canal ...

Not just fluff and buff: Spas emphasize wellness over beauty

NEW YORK (AP) — Unplug. Breathe. Relax. Wellness rather than beauty was the message this week at the annual International Spa Association event in New York. While there were plenty of skin products and treatments on display, the bigger trend in the spa world remains alleviating ...

Please, uncommit me: Life at 20-something needs to slow down

This week, we have work happy hour, a sushi date with an old friend, an evening baseball game with family, a birthday party at the cabin, a neighbor’s wedding out of town, a fundraiser with our favorite organization and zero time for ourselves. Next week – well, next week looks about the ...

Under suspicion: Attack of the 51-year-old dog walker!

Cross that one off my bucket list. After 51 years on the planet, I have finally been reported as a suspicious person. Up to now, my career in criminal activity has been sadly lacking. Oh sure, if an extra candy bar falls down in the vending machine, I am going to take it (unless, of course, ...

In this Thursday, July 20, 2017 photo, the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods" host Andrew Zimmern snaps a cell phone photo of chicken kebabs, far left, a dish composed of organ meats, center, and a goat dish called katakat at Kababish, a Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi takeout food shop in the Jackson Heights section of New York. Zimmern says, "I purposely set out to make a show that's entertaining," he said. "At the same time I try to be very thoughtful and thought-provoking and I try to educate and I take the cultural lessons of the show very, very, very seriously." A new show, "The Zimmern List," debuts early 2018 showcasing his favorite places, "where I actually go when the cameras aren't rolling." (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Zimmern: Bizarre Foods host on new show, travel tips, addiction hope

NEW YORK (AP) — Andrew Zimmern, host of Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods," thinks he's misunderstood. He says he's known as "fat guy runs around world, eats bugs," but adds, "I don't think I've eaten a bug or an organ in 'Bizarre Foods' in years." "I purposely set out to make a show ...

Despite workplace innovations, some (laughable) resistance exists

Some people go to yoga class to relax. I go to OfficeMax. I’m not really sure why, but a visit to the office supply store can be strangely soothing. All those color-coded binders and elaborate planners line up before me like willing foot soldiers in the War Against Disorganization. It’s ...

EVERYDAY CHEAPSKATE: Best inexpensive skin care products

How shocked was I? Speechless. But somehow, I gathered enough strength to respond, “There’s no way!” I did a quick search only to discover it was no typo at all. 111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Cream retails for $1,095 on Amazon. All I can say is at that price, it better contain a ...

NYC to at-home pet boarders: Legally, you’re in the doghouse

NEW YORK (AP) — Fur is flying over pet-sitting in New York City, where regulators are sniffing around apps that connect owners with people who take animals into their homes for pay. Health regulators are trying to reinforce a longstanding rule against the practice, a leading app is pushing ...

College tours stir God-on-campus thoughts

Last weekend, my youngest daughter and I toured two of the handful of colleges she’s hoping to visit by fall. Of the two parochial and two public universities we’ve explored so far, each offers attributes and amenities I couldn’t have dreamed of during my own college days. ...

In this July 18, 2017 photo, imagining specialist Erin McClintic works in the lab at Phototronics in Winnetka, Ill., digitizing and archiving a shoebox of customer photographs, right. (Phototronics via AP)

Is your home drowning in old photos? Organizers offer tips

Take a survey of your home, and consider all the spots where you have old photos. Perhaps you'll find baby pictures in albums in the living room, vacation snaps in tattered envelopes tucked into a bookshelf, milestone moments in old frames, and older relatives' fading photos in dusty boxes in ...

EVERYDAY CHEAPSKATE: A feel-good vacation does you and others a lot of good

So, how are those summer vacation plans coming? If things aren’t looking so good for you to get away from home this year, it’s probably not because you don’t have the time. According to a survey by Harris Interactive the American worker left an average of 9.2 days of vacation unused ...

Decorating project really takes the cake

It was going to be the perfect summertime confection. When I was invited to a summer potluck, I decided to bring something spectacular. After all, I had just helped decorate cookies for my brother’s wedding, which had received worldwide acclaim (or, at least, reception-wide acclaim from the ...