- Dress for the red carpet with celebrity dresses now on sale — Fashion
- Listen to Rebecca Black's infectious follow-up to "Friday" — Entertainment
- Tell us which celebrity created the best scent of 2013 — Beauty
- Feel the love with the best TV families of 2013 — Moms
- Sip on vanilla-specked mulled wine this holiday season — Food
- Make anyone love lentils with these recipes — Fitness
- See the photos of stars heating up Miami at Art Basel — Celebrity & News
- Winterize your wine bottles for festive home accessories — Smart Living
- Turn folding chairs into statement furniture — Home
- Jump into the holidays with these wintry date ideas — Love & Sex
- See the top five geek-tastic Instagram photos of the week — Tech
It's the holiday season, and we're getting in the spirit with our favorite holiday gifts. We've been rounding up our picks for everyone in your life, and now we want to gift you with something from our amazing giveaways with over $10,000 in prizes. Think Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Sephora, and Amazon, and more. So, enter for your chance to win our favorite holiday gifts now.
'Tis the season of holiday cheer, family and friends, and unfortunately, excessive spending and credit card debt. While I love the seasonal spirit of giving and love, I can't help but feel a burning sensation in my pocket. Covering everything from traditional holiday decor to the Christmas shindig, I've compiled nine savvy and affordable alternatives to celebrate the holidays without breaking the bank!
What You'll Need
- Bunch of fresh rosemary
- Bunch of fresh thyme
- Bunch of fresh oregano
- 24-gauge craft wire
- Select the longest branches of rosemary when shopping for the herbs, which result in wreaths around three inches in diameter. Pick one branch and bend to form a circle, securing by wrapping with a short length of the craft wire.
- Now gather three or four sprigs of the other herbs and twist them together with a small piece of craft wire, leaving a bit for attaching to the round of rosemary.
- Create three or four bundles of herbs and attach them to the rosemary, filling in the wreath.
- For a pop of color, thread three fresh cranberries with a length of craft wire and attach it by twisting the ends of the wire to the wreath. Finish by tying with a length of ribbon.
It's that time of year again! As usual, we've got you covered with our collection of 2013 gift guides, including incredible ideas on what to pick up for your mom, your beauty-obsessed pal, and the gym-lover in your life.
We'll help you cross off the names on your gift list from now through the end of the year, so make sure to check back for the best picks in tech, fashion, fitness, and more. Also, see all of our holiday planning, tips, tricks, and inspiration as we gear up for the most festive season of the year!
"Be All That You Can Be"— unless you are beautiful, that is. A high-level strategist working to shape the Army's PR message about women in combat has recommended that their publicity photos and pamphlets feature "ugly" or "average looking" women.
In a leaked email obtained by Politico, Col. Lynette Arnhart, who has served in the military since 1989, wrote, "In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead." She added that the Army typically selects publicity shots with attractive-looking women and attached an article with an example. "Such photos undermine the rest of the message (and may even make people ask if breaking a nail is considered hazardous duty)." Instead, she suggested, a photo of a woman with a mud-streaked face, for example,"sends a much different message—one of women willing to do the dirty work necessary in order to get the job done."
The email was originally sent to two recipients, including Col. Christian Kubik, chief of public affairs for the Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), who forwarded it to the other public affairs officers in his division, along with the note, "A valuable reminder from the TRADOC experts who are studying gender integration—when [public affairs officers] choose photos that glamorize women (such as in the attached article), we undermine our own efforts. Please use 'real' photos that are typical, not exceptional."
Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, jumped on Twitter to denounce the email:
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) November 19, 2013
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) November 19, 2013
- Get way too drunk. You're allowed to have some alcohol, but make sure you pace and limit yourself. If you want to know how much you can drink, Grub Street has a neat infographic that cites the right amount of liquor each type of employee should imbibe.
- Stick to your tribe. If you already belong to a clique in the office, use the party as an opportunity to stray away from the pack. After all, you see those familiar faces all the time. Who knows? You may develop great new friendships outside of your circle.
- Talk about work the whole time. Seriously, don't talk about the broken copy machine or how much work you're going to have to do when you get into the office tomorrow. Try to think of nonwork topics to lighten the mood. Talking about the daily grind may seem second nature to you when you're around colleagues, but it can stress people out because it's reminding them of work.
- Gossip or complain. Don't be a debbie downer and moan about work or talk about the latest office gossip. People can easily overhear what you're saying so you might want to save your personal comments for another time.
- Invite too many people. This party isn't an opportunity for you and your friends to take advantage of the free food and booze. Just invite one person with you to the party if you're allowed to. Remember to check to see if you can even bring guests to the party to begin with. Remember, the point of the party is for you to mingle with your colleagues, so it's better to fly solo for this event.
- Ignore the dress code. Do dress appropriately for the party, and if you're new at the company, ask other employees who were at last year's holiday party about the dress code. Leave anything short, tight, and skimpy at home — this is still a work function.
- Be tongue tied. If you're generally a shy person, you might not know what to say when it comes to talking to a superior or a colleague you're not acquainted with. Do some prep before hand to brainstorm a list of prompters so you'll never have to worry about awkward silences.
- Forget to thank the organizers. Make sure you take the time to thank the people who coordinated and organized the party. They obviously have put in a lot of effort to make sure you'll have a good time and they'll definitely appreciate the acknowledgement from you.
- Things you think will make you happier at work (but really won't) — LearnVest
- How to sleep on a plane — Real Simple
- How this guy sold his blog for $3 million — Wise Bread
- Contractor gets fired for voicing an opinion — The Billfold
- Everything to know about personal finance in 10 sentences — Lifehacker
- Is it kosher to ask your boss to help with networking? — Corporette
- What sheer happiness looks like — HuffPost Women
- Easy DIY toys and treats for your dog — All You
That said, if you know you can pay off what you owe, travel reward credit cards will be a neat way of earning free flights and hotel stays. Here are some good options:
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase and an additional 15,000 if you spend up to $5,000 in six months.
- Earning points: Get one Starpoint for every dollar spent on most purchases and five Starpoints on every dollar spent on SPG hotels.
- Transferring points: Transfer Starpoints to about 30 airlines. The conversion rate for most airlines is one to one, so you'll be getting one mile for one Starpoint. You get a 5,000 Starpoint bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flier program.
- Annual fee: No annual fee for the first year, then a $65 annual fee for subsequent years.
- APR: 15.24 percent, 17.24 percent, or 19.24 percent.
- Cons: There is a foreign transaction fee of 2.7 percent if you use it outside of the US. American Express isn't accepted everywhere. There is also a pretty high annual fee and APR.
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus miles if you spend at least $2,000 within three months of signing up.
- Earning points: Get two miles for every dollar spent on net purchases. Miles don't expire, and there is no limit on earning miles.
- Transferring points: You can transfer rewards to any other US miles or point accounts.
- Annual fee: No annual fee for the first year, then a $59 annual fee for subsequent years.
- APR: 13.9 percent, 16.9 percent, or 20.9 percent.
- Bonus: No foreign transaction fees.
- Cons: People with weak credit scores may not qualify. There is also a pretty high annual fee and APR.
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points if you spend at least $3,000 within three months of signing up. That equates to $500 toward a flight.
- Earning points: Get two points for every dollar you spend on travel and restaurants. Get an extra point for travel expenditures when you book a hotel or flight through its Ultimate Rewards program. You get one point for all other purchases.
- Transferring points: Transfer points to participating mileage and hotel reward programs like United MileagePlus, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and Hyatt Gold Passport. The rate is a one-to-one transference with no transfer fees. So one Ultimate Rewards point equals one hotel reward point or one mile when you transfer it.
- Annual fee: No annual fee for the first year, then a $95 annual fee for subsequent years.
- APR: 15.99 percent, but may vary with different people.
- Bonus: No foreign transaction fees. You get 20 percent off your flight, hotels, car rentals, and cruises if you redeem your points through Ultimate Rewards. You'll also get 24/7 access to an expert service adviser. You get triple points if you dine out on the first Friday of every month through 2014.
- Cons: Very high annual fee and APR. There is also a limited selection of participating mileage and hotel reward program partners if you compare it to other cards like American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card, which provides you with about double the amount of options.
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points if you spend at least $2,500 within three months of signing up. That equates to $200 toward a flight.
- Earning points: Get five points for every dollar you spend on flights. You get one point for all other purchases.
- Transferring points: You can't transfer points to any airlines or hotels, but you can purchase airfare with those points.
- Annual fee: No annual fee.
- APR: 9.99 percent.
- Bonus: No foreign transaction fees. You can access a 24/7 concierge, and you'll get VIP lounge access to over 350 airport lounges worldwide.
- Cons: You have to be a Pentagon Federal Credit Union member, but it's quite easy to join even if you don't belong to one of the qualifying organizations. You can also opt to pay a one-time $15 donation to a qualifying organization instead. American Express isn't accepted everywhere.
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 HHonors bonus points if you spend at least $1,000 within four months of signing up. That equates to a free night at a Hilton property.
- Earning points: Get six points for every dollar you spend on a hotel under the Hilton Worldwide portfolio. Earn three points for supermarket, drugstore, and gas station purchases. You get two points for all other purchases.
- Annual fee: No annual fee.
- APR: 14.24 percent.
- Bonus: No foreign transaction fees. You can redeem your points for hotel stays, car rentals, partner airlines, and more.
- Cons: The APR is pretty high, and you'll need to be a regular Hilton customer to best reap the benefits.
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 in the first three months. That equates to a $400 credit toward travel expenses.
- Earning points: Earn two miles for every dollar you spend. Get 10 percent miles back when you redeem your miles for travel. No limit on earning mileage points.
- Annual fee: No annual fee for the first year, then $89 for subsequent years.
- APR: Zero APR the first year, then the APR is 14.99 percent or 18.99 percent.
- Bonus: Free subscription to TripIt Pro mobile travel organizer ($49). No foreign transaction fees.
- Cons: High annual fee.
As always, be careful when you're using credit cards, and if you don't have the means to pay it back in full before the end of the month, you should consider spending less.