Fun News You Can Use

Some Odd Places to Live in the World

Slab City, California:

There are no signs leading to Slab City, east of Los Angeles in the desert near the Salton Sea. Dubbed "The Last Free Place in America," Slab City is really a semi-permanent campsite inhabited by squatters from across America, and has a reputation for rough living.

Coober Pedy, South Australia:

Located in the scorching Australian outback, the cool underground town was established in 1915 following the discovery of opal. The town offers underground churches, stores, galleries, and an award-winning 4-star luxury hotel.

The Villages, Florida:

The largest gated retirement community in the world is home to more than 100,000 people over age 55. It has more golf carts than cars and no children are allowed. Unofficially dubbed "Disney World for Old People," there are 10 women to every man and there is a black market for Viagra.

Matmâta, Tunesia:

Inhabitants have dug deep pits into the ground and then tunneled into the side walls to create their homes. The existence of this community remained largely unknown until it became the location for Luke Skywalker’s home on the planet Tatooine in the Star Wars film.


Bathroom Remodel On A Budget

Updating a bathroom is a home improvement project that adds value, as well as comfort. But according to some experts, an average bathroom remodel can cost around $10,500. If dropping that much is light years away from what you can afford to spend, the good news is that if you do the work yourself and get creative, you can do a nice remodel for $1,000 or less, depending on how many changes you want to make.

If your budget is on the low end (such as $250 or less), you’ll want to stick to light cosmetic changes, like a new light fixture ($95), a new faucet ($75), refreshed grout ($15 plus sweat equity), and fresh paint ($25), along with a new shower curtain and bath rug ($40).

If you have a little more to spend (closer to $1,000), you can also consider replacing the counter top, replacing the whole vanity, or even breaking into the back of the kids' closet to add a bathroom pantry. Sometimes even one big $1,000 change, such as adding a skylight, can have a dramatic effect.


10 Ways To Prepare For A Road Trip

1. Take your car to the shop for a full vacation check-up. The shop will top off fluids; check your tires, brakes, the spare tire, etc. The peace of mind will be worth it!

2. Clean your car thoroughly inside. Starting with a blank slate frees the mind to focus on the adventure. Pack several plastic bags to use as in car trash bags.

3. Get your healthy snacks in order. Before the trip, give some thought to the kinds of healthy snacks you like, then go buy them. This will save you money and you'll feel better by not eating junk food at every stop.

4. Check your tools. Make sure you have all the components of your jack, including a fully-inflated spare tire. Add a wrench, screw drivers of each type, a socket set, zip ties, a hammer, pliers, and a pocket knife.

5. Take plenty of cash. You never know when you're going to be somewhere that doesn't take credit or debit. Plus, you'll want to have small change for random stuff, like paying the entry fee to a local music festival, or tipping a street performer.

6. Bring a case of water. You always need and want more than you think you will.

7. Don't forget to download your playlist and audio books at home where you have Wi-Fi, because you may not have access to it while on the road.

8. Bring a physical, paper map. Plot your route before you leave. You’ll be able to find your way if your battery runs out or you lose reception.

9. Check your papers. Is your registration up to date and in the car? Your proof of insurance? Your driver's license? Do you have roadside assistance, and is your fee paid up?

10. Stock the glove box. A few things to have handy to make the trip more pleasant: wet wipes, gum/hard candy/sunflower seeds (things to keep you awake), tissue, handlotion, a pen and notepad, spare glasses, medicines, etc.


What Causes Summer & Winter?

As hot as the Northern Hemisphere is right now, it seems like the earth must be right next to the sun. As cold as the Southern Hemisphere is now, it seems like the earth must be at its farthest point. Who's correct? The Southerners are correct. In July and into August, the earth is swinging wide in its elliptical orbit, and is at its farthest distance from the sun. Then in early January the earth swings closest to the sun. While this makes no sense to people in the north, and perfect sense to people in the south, the fact is that distance from the sun is not the reason for summer or winter. The reason for seasons has to do with the tilt of Earth's axis, as well as the quantity of land vs. water mass, which acts to heat and cool the surface of the planet.

What’s In Those Meatless Meats?

Whether you're a fully-fledged vegetarian, or just a "meatless Monday" fan, you need to know what's in those meatless meat-substitutes before you buy. With brands like Tofurky and Beef(Not), as well as hundreds of others, you have many choices for vegetablebased meat-tasting hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks. But “not meat” leaves a lot of room for what the products actually are. Just because something is vegetarian orplant-based doesn’t automatically make it healthy, according to an article in U.S. News and World Report.

Many of these products include preservatives and additives – like tapioca starch, cellulose, xanthan gum and TBHQ, a compound that prevents discoloration – to make them flavorful and shelf-stable, and to imitate a meaty texture. Try to avoid products with a lot of these extra fillers. When you buy, go for products with higher protein, ideally 12 grams per serving. Also, try different bases until you find the right taste for yourself, including pea protein, beans, lentils, and soy (tofu). Keep the fat under 10 grams and the sodium under 500 mgs per serving.

Also, avoid using these meatless products as a source of vegetables in your diet. You still need whole foods and vegetables, which lose something in the processing of meatless products.

The Secret to a Long Life

In May of this year, Ida Keeling laced up her mustard yellow sneakers and raced to last place in the 100-meter dash. Her fans cheered wildly! With a time of just over one minute and seventeen seconds, she had just set a new world record...for someone over 100 years old.

While hearing about her, you may question your life choices a little bit. You may ask, what are the ingredients for maintaining such impressive health deep into old age? Quite often, the answer is that maintaining health in old age looks surprisingly similar to maintaining health in youth and middle age, too. Occasionally, fads emerge touting the secret to longevity, but the answers to longevity are the same for someone in their twenties, forties, seventies, and even nineties.

The answer to lifelong good health is always painfully simple; it's never anything sensational or news-worthy. Consider an athlete, after a stunning performance, sitting at a press conference amid a sea of flashing cameras, while reporters eagerly ask for the secret to success. Most responses, often accompanied by a shy shrug, are along the lines of: "I don't know, I just did it." Or, "I just did the right things." Attractive for the headlines? No. But accurate? Yes.

When it comes to maintaining health and wellness, embrace the simple and toss the fad diets, trendy workouts and "secret formulas." It's far easier to make habits out of simple behaviors. Live a simple life, eat whole foods as often as possible, exercise daily, laugh often, and stay curious. These are the "secrets" to a long and happy life.

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This content is intended for entertainment purposes only.  Credit is given to the authors of various articles that are reprinted when the original author is known.  Any omission of credit to an author is purely unintentional and should not be construed as plagiarism or literary theft.

Copyright 2016 Beth Richards, Kissinger Bigatel & Brower REALTORS.  This information is solely advisory, and should not be substituted for medical, legal, financial or tax advice.  Any and all decisions and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a qualified physician, attorney, financial advisor and/or CPA.  We cannot be held responsible for actions you may take without proper medical, financial, legal or tax advice.