Category Archives: Bonus

10 Traits of Successful People

Those who enjoy success, financial or otherwise, have a different perspective to the rest of us. They do not tolerate people who do not support their success, people who are not on their team. They take the long term view, often forgoing short term benefits, like holidays, for long term achievements, the result of hard work. They never stop learning and are not afraid to ask for help and are willing to make mistakes and take responsibility for them.

They could come from any background but these qualities make them successful over time.

1. They Are Driven
They obsessively pursue their goals achievement by achievement, iteration by iteration until they are in no doubt that their goal has been achieved. They do not have time to watch TV and all the simulations it hypnotizes people with. They are driving energy into their financial success.

2. They Sacrifice Present Comfort for Future Success
Often wealthy people started with low income and made space in their finances for some investment, whether in their education, financial instruments, property or some other asset that will add value over time. To make that space they often forgo the attractions of the latest fancy car or restaurant dinner.

3. They Are Self Confident
Self Confidence means never playing the victim, recognizing, instead, that attributing negative emotions to the actions of others disempowers them. Victims blame others for their circumstances and so they place all their power with others. Successful people realise that their power lies within them and that they must act to make changes. People who experience business success will always have to be tough in taking criticism and rejection, and you have to be self confident to do that.

4. They Limit Debt
Debt is a thorny issue. It is hard in the modern business environment to avoid debt, but expensive, unproductive debt is a millstone around the neck. Credit cards, over droughts, car loans, house loans, all these are profoundly unproductive and expensive. The value of what is bought with the money often depreciates, sometimes immediately after you’ve bought it, and the interest is expensive. Financially successful people will only borrow money to invest in assets that will yield a return in the future and in this way the cost of credit will pay for itself.

5. They Take Responsibility for Their Circumstances
Business success is dependent upon accepting that there will be bumps in the road, obstacles in the stream and difficult people in their lives. Financially successful people know that to blame others for the circumstances they find themselves in, especially bad circumstances, is self defeating, placing the power to effect change on others. Even if circumstances are difficult, there are always options. Taking responsibility opens them up to those options.

6. Long Term Perspective
The long term is the future, where we all end up. Planning for the long term future will help you make stable investment and business decisions. We have all heard of lottery winners whose wealth evaporates before them with nothing to show for it afterwards. This is the result of spending for the short term. Money invested with the long term in mind will generate wealth over time.

7. They Give Value
The essence of what people want from their wealth is value. Those who give value can expect to receive wealth in return for that value. Those who consistently give value can consistently expect to receive money in return, whether it is a business making a product or a craftsman plying his or her trade or an employee doing the best job possible.

8. They Know Education Is An Investment
Education can take the form of an expensive course or simply reading a book, listening to an audio book in the car on the way to work or asking for advice from a trusted source. Either way knowledge is the product and knowledge allows you to learn from others so that you can take the shortcuts and not make as many mistakes as if you did not have the knowledge. It’s simple really.

9. They Are Goal Oriented
There are those who, in their jobs, are only willing to do just enough to avoid being fired and they spend their lives veering from one dead end job to another. Financially successful people are goal oriented and pursue that goal with all the energy they can muster, and if that means working extra hours or travelling or getting advice from a mentor then they will do that to achieve the goal.

10. They Are Passionate
Their drive to achieve success is fueled by passion, the excitement, fulfillment and intensity of self actualization. The passionate pursue success not merely for themselves but for the service of all.

Financially successful people are driven to succeed by their passionate desire to provide service to the world. They do this by offering value, going the extra mile where it is never crowded. They take the long term view, avoiding debt and they constantly update their knowledge with education.


Schools are Banning Fidget Spinners

As if worrying about funding and quality teachers weren’t enough, now schools on both sides of the Atlantic are dealing with a mighty serious problem of another sort: fidget spinners and their cousins, fidget cubes.

The little gadgets supposedly meant to help kids focus in school are bothering teachers and administrators so much that they are being banned or otherwise restricted in classrooms in the United States and the United Kingdom. Why? Because they can be distracting when kids use them as toys to do tricks — such as trying to balance them on their noses — and, some say, because they can be dangerous if the tricks go awry and the spinning gadget hits someone.

Fidget spinners are little devices with a bearing in the center of shaped material — plastic, stainless steel, etc. — that can be spun by the holder. They are often marketed as a stress-relief device for people who can’t sit still, and some companies directly appeal to kids who have a hard time focusing in class. Some of the devices make noise when they spin; others don’t.

Invented more than a dozen years ago, the toys have suddenly become so popular that “Saturday Night Live” made them the focus of a skit on a recent show. Popular online videos explain how to do tricks (one has more than 5 million views; another posted just a week ago about music to go with your fidget spinning already has more than 600,000 views) and stores can’t keep them in stock.

Schools and individual teachers in Florida, Illinois, New York, Virginia and other states are banning them from classrooms, while others are taking the fidget spinners away from kids who seem too distracted by them — or are distracting others. According to Working Mother, schools in at least 11 states have banned them and more are likely to do so.

On April 24, the Carroll Gardens School for Innovation/M.S.442 in Brooklyn posted this on its Facebook page, reflecting the concerns of administrators at other schools as well:

Dear M.S. 442 Families,

The safety, well-being and education of your children has always been our main concern. Occasionally, there are toys and gadgets that are trending in the media that all the kids seem to want. The latest is an object called a “fidget spinner” that kids are bringing to school.

Although seemingly harmless, these items are being taken out during class causing a distraction to students and staff. They are also being thrown around during transition in the hallways to and from class and in the cafeteria and at recess. They are small in size, but can seriously hurt someone.

In an effort to prevent injuries, we must officially ban these fidget spinners from being brought into our school. Please discuss this matter with your child, as we have, so they understand how important it is that all students and staff remain safe at MS 442. We will ask your child to surrender the item to an adult if it is brought to school and in turn, a staff member will call to advise you of the situation.
Please note that if your child has a sensory issue and needs a fidget, we have them on hand.

Thank you for your continued support.

In Virginia, a petition was started on to persuade officials at Holman Middle School in Glen Allen to reverse a ban on fidget spinners and cubes. One student who signed it wrote:

I’m signing because fidget spinners help and need to be unbaned. They help you stay awake during class


The 5 Best & Worst States for Retirement

When you picture retirement, you might imagine yourself soaking up the sun in Florida, moving to California to enjoy summer year-round, or even spending your days in tropical Hawaii.

But these states may end up costing you big-time, because they’re not the most retiree-friendly, financially speaking.

In a recent report, Bankrate ranked each state in America based on how comfortably someone could retire there. Using data from the Council for Community and Economic Research, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Tax Foundation, Bankrate included important factors such as the cost of living, healthcare quality, tax rate, crime rate, and overall community well-being to determine which states offered the best retirement environment and which ones should be avoided.

So where does your state (or preferred state) land on the list? Here are some of the best and worst places to retire.


The top 5

The best states to live during retirement may come as a surprise, as they’re not areas that are normally considered retirement havens. Nevertheless, they’re states you may want to consider if you’re thinking about retiring soon.

First, though, let’s take a look at the different factors that go into these rankings:

  • Cost of living: The cost-of-living factor is based on information from the Council for Community and Economic Research.
  • Crime rate: Using data reported by the FBI, the crime rate is a measure of both property crime and violent crime reported by police departments.
  • Community well-being: This measure is based on the results of satisfaction surveys for each state, and it’s meant to gauge a community’s overall happiness.
  • Healthcare quality: This measure is based on information from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which studies each state’s performance on roughly 160 healthcare-related issues and how they compare to other states.
  • Weather: While this is a subjective topic, Bankrate’s study used both data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (average temperatures, humidity, sunshine levels, etc.) and public opinion to determine which areas of the country were the most desirable to seniors.
  • Tax rate: This factor is based on a variety of taxes paid by state residents, including sales tax, income tax, and property tax.

1. Wyoming

Wyoming may seem like an odd retirement destination, but it ranks the best in the nation overall. The tax rate is unbeatable, partly because the state has no income tax, and the sales tax and property tax are among the lowest in the nation at just 5.40% and 0.51%, respectively.

Also, the crime rate is among the lowest in the country (ranking No. 5 among all states), and the weather is pretty nice, too (at least according to the survey respondents), with average high temperatures peaking in the low 80s in the summer.

2. Colorado

Colorado is not the cheapest place to live, ranking 30th out of the 50 states in terms of overall cost of living. The average home price in Denver reached a record high of $487,974 in April, and even in the less expensive city of Colorado Springs, the average price for a single-family home is $298,774.

Yet there’s a reason why people are flocking to Colorado: the gorgeous weather and the wonderful sense of community, based on resident satisfaction surveys. The healthcare quality is also fantastic, ranking 14th in the nation.

3. Utah

Utah makes the list for several reasons: the low cost of living (the state ranks at No. 7 overall in the country), the quality healthcare (also ranking at No. 7), and the great weather.

The median home value in Salt Lake City is about $281,000, according to Zillow. And in less expensive cities, such as Ogden, the median home value is just $145,000. Utah also has one of the healthiest populations in the country, and it has some of the lowest healthcare costs per capita, based on data from the United Health Foundation.

4. Idaho

While most people don’t dream of moving to Idaho the minute they retire, it does offer the distinct advantage of having one of the lowest costs of living (coming in at third in the nation) and a low crime rate (second only to Vermont).

The median home value in Idaho is just under $190,000. In more expensive areas — such as Boise — the median value is around $214,000, according to Zillow. And in less expensive areas — such as Idaho Falls — housing is even more affordable, with a median value of $140,000.

5. Virginia

Virginia shines with its low crime rate (ranking 4th in the country), and it also has quality healthcare (ranking 13th, just above Colorado) and great weather (at least according to Bankrate’s survey respondents).

Smaller towns and suburbs in particular offer attractive benefits for retirees. In the small town of Cedar Bluff, for instance, the population is just over 1,000 people, crime is virtually nonexistent, and the median home value is just $100,500.

The bottom 5

Every state has something to offer, and where you choose to spend your golden years is a deeply personal decision. That said, the states below don’t hold as much appeal for retirees, whether it’s because of a high cost of living, low quality of life, or high crime rates.

46. Louisiana

Louisiana is one of the lowest-ranking states for crime rate (at No. 49, above only New Mexico), and it’s also not known for its community well-being (ranked 48th) or healthcare quality (tied with Kentucky for 45th).

The sales tax in Louisiana is also the highest in the country (at 9.98%), but the state shines when it comes to property tax. Ranked third in the country for its low property tax of just 0.50%, Louisiana may help homeowners save some money.

47. West Virginia

West Virginia, unfortunately, is ranked dead last for both community well-being and healthcare quality. It’s also ranked 32nd for its tax rate and 23rd for its cost of living.

The state has earned the (unfortunate) title of “Most Miserable State” six years running, according to the yearly Well-Being Index by Gallup-Healthways. The survey cites the dying coal industry and lack of jobs as possible reasons why residents are so unhappy. It also noted that the state’s population is one of the least educated in the country, which could be a contributing factor, and many of the respondents in the survey said they lacked the motivation to achieve their goals.

48. Alaska

Alaska may be beautiful, but the harsh winters aren’t for everyone. It also takes the No. 49 spot for cost of living (just above Hawaii) and the No. 46 spot for its crime rate.

The high crime rate may seem surprising for a state where moose outnumber people, but while crime in the country overall has decreased in the last 20 years, the violent crime in Alaska continues to increase. It’s also not the cheapest place to buy a home, with the average home value in Anchorage at just under $300,000.

49. New York

New York has many great qualities, but its tax rate isn’t one of them. It ranks 50th in the country for its taxes, and it ranks 47th for cost of living and 42nd for sense of community.

It’s important to keep in mind, though, that there’s a huge difference between living in New York City and living in the rest of the state. For example, the median home value in Manhattan is over $1.3 million, while the median value of a home in the less expensive city of Albany is only $169,500. And while there may be less sense of community in New York City (where it may be harder to get to know your neighbors), that’s not the case in other parts of the state.

50. Arkansas

In unfortunate news for residents (or potential residents) of Arkansas, the state was ranked as the “worst” state to retire in. While it did rank well for its cost of living, it also ranked 45th for crime rate, 47th for community well-being, 44th for healthcare quality, and 39th for tax rate.

Arkansas also ranked poorly in Gallup’s Well-Being Index, and Fort Smith in particular was named the most miserable city in the country. The survey pointed to high poverty rates, financial stress, and poor health as a few of the reasons cited for residents’ low levels of satisfaction.

As you decide where you want to retire, keep in mind that there are dozens of other factors that you should consider before packing up and moving. But before you make any big decisions, it’s a good idea to make sure the state you’re considering spending the rest of your life in fits your lifestyle and financial needs.

The $16,122 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook
If you’re like most Americans, you’re a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known “Social Security secrets” could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $16,122 more… each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we’re all after. Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies.


The Most Romantic Cities in the World

When we asked Travel + Leisure readers to rank their favorite cities in the world for romance in our 2016 World’s Best Awards survey, the 20 results covered more than 7,840 miles, ranging from the palm-fringed beaches of Hawaii to the luxury hideouts of Monte Carlo.

Italy, unsurprisingly, holds fast to four spots on this year’s list: one even claims the No. 1 title. Paris is a close second, and almost a requisite for any couple traveling in the name of love.

Beyond the beautiful but somewhat obvious picks, there are exciting new spots that ascended onto the list. The lavender fields of Aix-en-Provence, for example, and musical hills in Austria’s Salzburg. Cliffside Carmel-by-the-Sea took bronze this year, beating other romantic Californian destinations like San Francisco and Santa Barbara.

A popular Hawaiian honeymoon spot climbed the ranks, propelled by a winning combination of flourishing city culture and eternal island beauty. And this year’s No. 1 city in the world, Charleston, didn’t disappoint travelers seeking an easy, romantic weekend getaway.

Couples seeking cityscapes and wild nightlife, or those yearning for rugged coasts and uninterrupted countryside, can easily find a destination on this list that satisfies their unique passions.

Turn your one-on-one time into an adventure of a lifetime with these most romantic cities in the world.

No. 20 Lucerne, Switzerland

Nestled between the snowcapped Alps and Lake Lucerne, the city of Lucerne is a charming Swiss hideaway with medieval flourishes. Like Chapel Bridge, for example, which was built in 1333 and is often decorated with flowers. Visit charming old city squares and the Jesuit Church (the first Baroque church in Switzerland). For the most romantic place to bed down, Villa Honegg is just outside of the city center. This 1905 mansion-turned-hotel sports an outdoor heated pool with a full view of the mountains and lake below.


No. 19 Aix-en-Provence, France

As the birthplace of Cezanne, it’s easy to visit the places that brought the master’s paintings to life. Relax at cafes and local haunts like the Morning Market, though the best croissants can be found at Farinoman Fou. Check out the Aix vineyards, fragrant lavender fields, or head to the hot springs-fed baths first tapped by the Romans thousands of years ago. Southern France is like a pleasure garden, with pretty, moss-covered fountains spouting around every corner. Snack on calissons for a treat (candied fruit and almonds topped with a layer of icing). Because all romantic outings require a little something sweet.

No. 18 Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg is as storied as it is picturesque. With thousands of years of musical history (think: Julie Andrews and Mozart), the operas, musicals, and concerts held in the city will make your heart flutter. Tour Schloss Mirabell—a 17th-century palace with the famous Marble Hall—and the Baroque-style Mirabell Gardens, which feature the Pegasus Fountain, and Rose and Dwarf Gardens. The Renaissance-style Schloss Hellbrunn, on the other hand, houses the gazebo that wooed many a lover in the Sound of Music. Climb to the cliff-top fortress, Festung Hohensalzburg, to see the glimmering city lights below (it’s also one of the most stunning medieval castles in Europe). Looking to take your love even higher? Grab a cable car up on the Untersberg for an unparalleled view of Salzburg and the Salzach River.

No. 17  Savannah, Georgia

There is magic in the coastal city of Savannah, Georgia. The storied antebellum buildings and ancient oak trees draped with Spanish moss make it at once both quaint and bewitching (there are of course the ghost stories). City squares are peppered with azaleas, statues, and benches: including the one where Forrest Gump explained life’s beautiful unpredictability. Pirates once used Savannah as a smuggling post, but today the cobbled River Street is ripe with cute candy stores brimming with homemade saltwater taffy and pralines, as well as bustling bars and restaurants serving the best regional fare (think: buttery biscuits, fresh-caught shrimp, and sweet tea). Handcrafted leather shops, charming apothecaries, and even a honey store, it’s easy to see how the “hostess city of the south” lives up to its sweet reputation.

No. 16 Seville, Spain

Seville is the star of Andalucía, with its purple jacaranda and perfuming orange trees lining the cobblestone streets. Wander in and out of the famous ceramic shops in Triana, and ascend La Giralda tower at the Cathedral of St. Mary (the second largest in the world, after the Vatican) for photo-worthy panoramas. The gelaterias here are legendary, so grab a scoop and stroll the Plaza de España, or nap at the Parque María Luisa during siesta time. Spend an afternoon together at El Alcazar palace, with its Moorish architecture and gorgeous gardens (the filming spot for Dorne on Game of Thrones, no less). Grab handfuls of Marcona almonds and fresh fruit from the market to enjoy as you wind through labyrinthine side streets to find a traditional flamenco performance. When night falls, the city seems to glow warm gold, with buildings like the Torre Del Oro seemingly lit from within. Dine al fresco with locals at one of countless open-air restaurants. Try the Jamon Iberico with a pitcher of sangria, and dip warm churros into melted chocolate. It’s a decadent way to conclude a trip to Seville with your significant other.

No. 15 Monte Carlo, Monaco

For a dose of romantic Hollywood glamor on the French Riviera, look no farther than Monte Carlo. Its extravagant hotels, stunning coastal views, and some of the best restaurants and spas in the Mediterranean make Monaco a staple on our list for romantic destinations every year. Fly in via helicopter (just a seven-minute ride from the airport) for the most memorable views, and stay at the lavish Hotel Hermitage (its glass cupola was designed by the Gustave Eiffel). Get your heart racing at the racetrack, or take a chance on a good hand at the famous Casino de Monte Carlo. And if you rent a classic car to drive along the Grand Corniche, we promise you’ll feel like a famous couple plucked from the silver screen.

No. 14: Siena, Italy

Offering visitors the beauty of Tuscany without the massive throngs of tourists, Siena is a delightful destination for lovebirds. An archetypal medieval city, forged before the lavish Renaissance, makes the green, red, and white-marble Duomo somehow more striking. It houses masterpieces by 40 Italian artists, including Donatello, Michelangelo, and Bernini. The whole city is built around the Piazza del Campo, a UNESCO heritage site where you can people watch while sipping Campari. Drive out to the wineries just outside the city limits to taste the best of the Sangiovese grapes and share a perfect Tuscan sunset.


No. 13 Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a cosmopolitan couple’s dream. Fuel up on tapas in La Barceloneta’s seaside cafes before walking through the winding Barri Gòtic and climbing Gaudi’s surreal Sagrada Familia or the vibrant Parc Guell (both offer great city views). Stop by one of the city’s famous markets, La Boqueria or Santa Caterina, for fresh foods and great coffee. Reserve a room at Hotel Neri (an 18th-century palace where breakfast is served on the rooftop) or the luxurious all-suite El Palauet. You’ll fall in love with this city—and each other—every time.

No. 12 Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria is a Canadian stunner in beautiful British Columbia. Located on the inner tip of Vancouver Island, the city’s Neo-Baroque architecture is decidedly British. Admire the Parliament Buildings, the Fairmont Empress hotel (peek inside to see the Edwardian interiors), and the famous Butchart Gardens. And just 30 miles north is the Cowichan Valley, which boasts vineyards, art galleries, and hiking trails—perfect for lighting sparks.

No. 11 Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara—fondly referred to as America’s Riviera—is a great escape for those looking to stoke the flames. The weather here is consistently perfect, so it’s easy to visit any time of year (even gray, dreary February). It’s 90 miles northwest of Los Angeles, tucked between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific, and famous for its Spanish architecture. Hop on the open-air trolley down State Street to discover new restaurants and galleries. The 200-year old Santa Barbara Mission and its rose garden are worth a tour, as well. And Shoreline Park’s bluff-top views and Butterfly Beach are perfect for sunbathing with your partner. Just keep an eye out, because there are often dolphins and whales that come to play in the surf.


No. 10 San Francisco, California

On a romantic getaway to San Francisco, head to the Pacific Heights neighborhood to see those iconic Victorian homes, or take a bike ride through Golden Gate Park for the best views of the bridge. Couples should consider taking a day trip to nearby Napa or Sonoma to enjoy some of the best wineries, not just in the country, but on Earth. Doc Rickett’s is a local favorite for underground comedy and music acts, and for museums, the de Young’s American art collection is a must-see. Park yourself at Cupid’s Span on the Embarcadero to watch the sunset and check out the Bay Lights show before dining in the trendy Mission District.

No. 9 Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

The landmark Fairmont Le Château Frontenac looks like a fortress guarding Quebec City, a spot that fiercely puts the “French” in French-Canadian. Considered the oldest European settlement on the continent, Quebec overlooks the beautiful St. Lawrence River and is packed with boutique and luxury hotels. Meander in and out of trendy shops and jazz bars, or go ice skating at the outdoor rink at Palais Montcalm. Afterwards, warm up with hearty Québécois cuisine or the province’s famous greasy spoon-style poutine.

No. 8 Bruges, Belgium

Old World European charm is the defining feel in Bruges, just an hour by train outside of Brussels. The 13th-century village has cobblestone streets extending over misty canals, and endless examples of Gothic architecture. Quaint houses, windmills, and medieval streets set a fairy tale scene. Share a traditional Belgian waffle with powdered sugar or sip Lambics at one of the village pubs. Bruges is also known for its vast collections of Flemish artworks, though it’s hard to pull away from the 50 different chocolate shops (one per square mile) sprinkled throughout the city.


No. 7 Charleston, South Carolina

Friendly locals and quintessential Southern charm recently gave Charleston the No. 1 spot on our list of the best cities in the world. And it didn’t under perform for romance-seekers, either. Antebellum architecture and art galleries are framed by wisteria, sabal palmettos, and ancient magnolia trees. Couples who love eating out will adore this city’s food culture: reserve a spot at Husk, the most talked-about restaurant in Charleston and the South, share brunch at Kitchen 208, or linger over an intimate meal at Peninsula Grill. Walk King Street for antiques and boutiques of all sorts, stop by Marion Square for the weekend farmer’s market, or take an early morning stroll down pastel-colored Rainbow Row.


No. 6 Honolulu, Hawaii

On the island of Oahu, Honolulu has become more than just a tropical tourist destination—it’s cosmopolitan and has a stylish vibe all its own. Salty sea breezes, miles of turquoise waters, and an onslaught of new boutiques and restaurants make this a hot honeymoon spot. A trip to Hnolulu is relaxing, but there’s plenty to do for the restless. Try surfing at bustling Waikiki Beach, hop on a jet ski together and cruise the waves, or go snorkeling at the many reefs full of Pixar-worthy fish and seascapes. Most importantly, share a sunrise together after a hike up Diamond Head, and a sunset on a veranda sipping Mai Tais.

No. 5 Rome, Italy

There are an infinite number of opportunities to be awed in the Eternal City. Visit the Basilica Santa Maria and the Sistine Chapel, admire the Pantheon and Colosseum, and take in the artworks at the Borghese Gallery. Afterward, head to the Trevi Fountain to wish for a return trip with your partner, and admire thousands of other fountains scattered across the city. Rome’s history seems limitless (a 2,700-year-old city has that effect) and so does its cuisine. Try the pizza at Il Forno Roscioli near the Campo de’ Fiori Market, eat the traditional cacio e pepeat Sora Margherita, or go to Prati on the Tiber to share the best gelato.

No. 4 Florence, Italy

A trip to Florence is a necessity for a pair of fashion or art lovers. Venture together to see masterpieces like Michelangelo’s David, or the homes of Gucci and  Ferragamo. Almost every hotel here boasts marble fireplaces, classical sculptures, paintings, and frescoes. Visit the new Mercato Centrale for the best souvenirs (cheese, wines, and pasta), and climb the steps to the Duomo’s terrace. Visitors can also ascend Giotto’s Campanile bell tower to share the view of the dreamy terracotta-topped cityscape.

No. 3 Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

About an hour south of San Jose, voters declared this small California town the best city for romance in the country. Drive through redwood forests or winding vineyards to get to Carmel-by-the-Sea’s picturesque cliffs dotted with cottages and isolated beaches. You won’t find much in the way of street signs, traffic lights, or billboards here, where quaintness is practically cultivated. Go for a drive along the rugged coast to discover tasty bistros, cool boutiques, and petite wineries. End the day watching the sun set over the Pacific with your special someone.

No. 2 Paris, France

Could there be a list of romantic destinatinos without the City of Light? Paris is ever-changing and yet always true to its lovers. Bike through Le Marais and try as many of the city’s legendary patisseries as you can. However touristy, the staples never disappoint. Lovebirds should explore the endless corridors of the Louvre and picnic with fresh crepes on the lawn by the Eiffel Tower (or with a bottle of wine, at night, when it’s a twinkling glow). Take the metro up to the cobblestone streets of Montmartre and see the view from Sacre Coeur, spend a day marveling at the Latin Quarter’s architecture, or take a stroll through the Tuileries Garden dotted with bronzed sculptures and fountains. Paris is never short on beauty, history, or diversions for even the most discerning couple.

No. 1 Venice, Italy

Winding waterways and pastel piazzas make Venice an obvious choice for the world’s most romantic city. Cruise the canals by water taxi or take it slow on a quintessential gondola past the Bridge of Sighs. Sip one of the oldest hot chocolate recipes at Cafe Florian, and enjoy the unusual silence permitted by the absence of cars. First-time visitors should hop over to Murano to learn the history of the city’s stunning glassworks. Return travelers, however, should try to get lost off the beaten track. Find your own favorite charming spot to share a pizza and watch the watercolor sunset reflecting over the canals.

Top 10 Beaches in America



Does Talking to Yourself Make You Smarter or Crazier ?

You’d probably think someone who talks to themselves out loud is a little “off,” but they might actually be on to something. Talking to yourself is a great way to better understand what you’re learning.

But this type of self-talk isn’t chatting about the weather with your other, more interesting split personality. No, as Ulrich Boser, author of Learn Better, explains at Harvard Business Review, it’s not so much “having a conversation with yourself” as it is “self-explaining.” As in, talking through everything you’ve learned with yourself as if you’re teaching someone else. We know that teaching others is a great way to firmly grasp a subject, but why not focus on your favorite student: you?

Why does this type of monologuing help? Boser says it slows you down so you construct thoughts more deliberately. That kind of reflection allows you to solidify what you’ve learned and gain more from the experience overall. Questions like “What do I find confusing?” and “Do I really know this?” help as well. And talking to yourself allows you to ask “Why?” and answer it as best you can without letting your mind wander. The act of speaking keeps you focused. If you can verbally answer your own difficult questions well, you know that you know what you need to know, you know?

Summarization is also a powerful tool when learning, and even more so when you do it verbally. It can improve your reading comprehension, and it gives you an opportunity to make important connections you may not have seen before. After a lesson, lecture, meeting, or reading session, see if you can explain to yourself out loud what you just learned. It will feel a bit silly at first, but you’ll get over that when you experience the benefits for yourself.


The Top US Cities for Starting a Business

Entrepreneurship is a fixture of the 21st century iteration of the American Dream. Today, about 10% of the US labor force works for themselves, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still, it’s no easy task to get a business off the ground. In many cases, the state of a local economy can greatly affect your chance of success.

In it’s latest report , WalletHub determined the best places for launching a business based on three categories:

A total of 18 metrics were gathered for each of the 150 most populated US cities. WalletHub then calculated the total score – the highest of which was a 56.85 – for each city based on its weighted average across all metrics to determine the final ranking (read the full methodology here ).

Cities in the Midwest and the South proved to be the best places to start a business in 2017. Below, check out the top-16 cities, along with their total score and individual rankings for business environment, access to resources, and business costs.

Lincoln, Nebrask

Laredo, Texas

Port St. Lucie, Florida

Lubbock, Texas

Raleigh, North Carolina

Springfield, Missouri

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Amarillo, Texas

Austin, Texas

St. Louis, Missouri

Durham, North Carolina

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Charlotte, North Carolina

Salt Lake City, Utah

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Source :

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