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Dry January? Whatever. Here are 4 Spots to Get Sauced in Seattle

January 22, 2015 at 4:48 PM | by | Comments (2)

New Year’s resolutions are BS. For a few days, maybe weeks, each January, well-intentioned folks buy into wishful “new year, new me” thinking. And who doesn’t like the promise of a clean slate full of possibility?

But making goals should be a year-round endeavor, because your job may suck, jeans not fit or you want to save money – at any given time. Besides, a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology reports that only 8 percent of people are successful in achieving their resolutions by the end of the year.

So what exactly do the temporary teetotalers of Dry January, or Drynuary, hope to accomplish? Create new habits, like drinking less? Atone for excesses committed during the holidays? The season is already riddled with enough guilt and stress. It hardly seems fair to reward those who survive with a month of alcohol abstinence.

And FWIW, a recent article in New Scientist cites, “Many people who drink alcohol choose to give up for short periods, but there is no scientific evidence that this has any health benefits.”

So in the, er, spirit of moderation, we've got a round-up of favorite places to get sauced at in Seattle.

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In Search of Perfect Weather: When to Travel to the Brazilian Amazon

Where: Manaus, Brazil
January 22, 2015 at 1:11 PM | by | Comments (0)

If it's cold where you live, then pay attention this week as we profile a few Perfect Weather destinations.

Fun fact: the exotic wilds of the Brazilian Amazon are only a 3-hour flight away from Miami. Even better, the airfares on TAM go on special often enough to make a long weekend’s trip to this natural wonder very possible.

Venturing “off the grid” to lounge in hammocks with monkeys and dine on piranha isn't as crazy difficult and potentially dangerous as it sounds, so long as your preparations go beyond saying “hey, let’s go to the Amazon!" To help, we’ve already detailed how to get the Brazilian visa, what to pack, and even what NOT to do there when you arrive.

The Brazilian Amazon is tropical, humid, and appropriately exotic year-round, but there are some times when it’s best to go and best to stay away.

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FAA Safety Workers: Not Working Safely or Safely Not Working?

January 22, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

There is some scary stuff going on in American airports right now. The terrorist attacks in France understandably put airport security officials on edge, and then Al Qaeda published a bomb recipe for the creation of detection-proof explosives.

That one-two had TSA personnel scrambling to boost security. Most visibly, travelers began to see heightened random inspections. But Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson brushed off complaints by tersely stating that "the reasons for these measures should be self-evident."

In a situation like that, you want to allocate resources as efficiently as possible. There are things that look important but are trivial, and things that look trivial but are important. One of the concrete goals is to avoid unnecessary searches.

So everybody was super-thrilled to learn that the FAA was suspending a long-running program under which their safety inspectors were allowed to skip TSA checkpoints. Apparently the system was used by at least one person to bring guns on board airplanes. Oops.

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Why You Should Appreciate the Hell Out of Fort Worth's Stockyards

January 22, 2015 at 9:40 AM | by | Comments (0)

The main entrance to the Stockyards.

Simply put, the Stockyards is a Fort Worth neighborhood that has been restored to its early 20th century form. There are cattle pens, saloons, and the world's largest honky tonk (and I'm not kidding about that last part). But it’s so much more than a tourist trap. Within the Stockyards still lives Fort Worth’s past as a town of cowboys and cattle drives, the blocks upon which the city was built.

It all revolves around its role on the Chisholm Trail, a 200-plus mile long cattle drive from Texas to Kansas. What’s a cattle drive? It’s the movement of cattle by cowboys from one place to another. In this case, the Chisholm Trail saw herds of cattle, most with a couple thousand heads in total, transported from Texas and sold to packing plants in Kansas, where they were worth more.

Fort Worth – specifically the Stockyards and a section of downtown called Hell’s half acre – was the last stop on the Chisholm Trail where the cowboys could buy supplies and find entertainment before embarking on the 90-day journey north. What sort of entertainment? The cowboy variety, of course. Saloons, gambling houses, honky tonks, and brothels were the main attractions to go along with general stores and the like. It would be months before they rejoined civilization, so whatever fun was had needed to provide ample memories and stories for nights around the campfire.

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Looking for 'Classic Texas'? Head Out to Fort Worth

January 21, 2015 at 12:55 PM | by | Comments (0)

Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth

Fort Worth has a well-developed, friendly rivalry with Dallas, one that pins the country feel of the former against the modern development of the latter. Compared to Dallas, the pace of life in Fort Worth is slow, and as one cab driver put it to me, "When my coworkers come back [to Fort Worth] from Dallas, they're going a mile a minute. I have to tell them to take a walk and chill out."

Overall, it's hard to think of two big cities that are that close and that different (Dallas is the 9th biggest city in the U.S., Fort Worth is number 17). That's a pretty cool platform for travel in its own right. But it gets more specific than that. After spending a few days in Fort Worth, I had a hard time thinking of a city where there was such a drastic contrast within itself. Sure, all cities have neighborhoods with different personalities, but Fort Worth has one of the strongest ying and yangs I've experienced in some time: The push towards modern times against the pull of its western past.

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Check Your Rental Car For Some Super Bowl Lost and Found

January 21, 2015 at 12:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

For those lucky enough to be heading out to Arizona for this year’s big game, be sure to keep an eye out for any goodies left behind in your rental car. We’re not just talking about your phone, wallet, and belongings—but other more Super possessions as well.

The rental car lot is often home to forgotten treasures, but none is more valuable than the recent discovery inside one vehicle from the folks over at Enterprise. It wasn’t the rental agent this time, but it was actually an NFL agent who discovered it—after he was checking under the seats for his own goodies.

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In Search of Perfect Weather: When to Travel to Easter Island

January 21, 2015 at 10:34 AM | by | Comments (0)

If it's cold where you live, then pay attention this week as we profile a few Perfect Weather destinations.

Chile's Easter Island (also called "Rapa Nui" and "Isla de Pascua") is an incredible destination. Travelers to this place in the Pacific Ocean, one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world, go here because it is a dream destination. There's a great deal of planning and passion behind their itineraries, and the great majority fly in on LAN via Santiago, Chile or Papeete, Tahiti, currently the only routes serving Easter Island.

The island's climate is subtropical, most of it is a protected national park, and it's on the Southern Hemisphere's calendar of seasons (January is in summer, July is in winter). Those interested in geology, archaeology, astronomy, hiking, surfing, and general exploration will find Easter Island exhilarating. To best plan when to go, we have some suggestions:

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Short on Time (and Stomach Space?) Here are 4 Must-Eat Places in New Orleans

January 20, 2015 at 4:36 PM | by | Comments (2)

There are so many good places to eat in New Orleans. So, so, so many. That we are only telling you just four places to eat is almost laughable. Except that if you've got just two days in New Orleans--whether it be for a short work trip, a bachelor or bachelorette party or just a weekend getaway--you can't possibly eat everywhere. Please, don't even. We'd like to leave New Orleans with our stomach intact, if not our dignity.

So pack your best stretchy pants, here are 4 MUST-EAT Places:

1. Cochon Butcher: Located in the Warehouse District, this is the casual sandwich shop adjacent to Chef Donald Link's Cochon restaurant, a tour de pork in Cajun cooking. At Butcher, the pork-heavy sandwiches, like the Pastrami with Sauerkraut on Rye ($11) are the perfect hang-over cures. You can eat in or order take-out, which is what we did, taking our sandwich with us to the airport, making all the other travelers jealous. Don't forget to grab a bag of house-made chips too. ($2.)
930 Tchoupitoulas Street

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Now You Too Can Go 'Into The Woods' With The Dover Castle Tour

January 20, 2015 at 4:03 PM | by | Comments (0)

Into The Woods, the cinematic adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musical, isn't just racking up award nominations this month, it is also being honored with its own tour.

To commemorate the movie's UK release, one of Into The Woods' filming locations has created themed tours that give fans a chance to walk in the footsteps of the film's stars, including Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine.

This special location, Dover Castle in Kent, is prominently featured in the Rob Marshall-directed musical. It was used as the prince's castle, the setting for an earthquake scene, and as the backdrop for Cinderella's wedding.

The cinematic tours of Dover Castle will run on Saturday, Jan. 24 and Jan. 31 and will be conducted by an English Heritage guide who worked with the film company. Adult tickets are £19.50. To book, visit english-heritage.org.uk.

Into The Woods isn't Dover Castle's only shot at the big screen. It will also be featured in the upcoming feature films Avengers: Age of Ultron and Hollow Crown.

[Photo: IMDb]

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Introducing Airpnp, Renting Pee Breaks Across The World

January 20, 2015 at 1:40 PM | by | Comment (1)

The sharing economy is on the verge of over-sharing.

Introducing Airpnp, a service that trades bed rentals for bowl rentals. Toilet bowls.

Wandering aimlessly through the streets of NYC, with a full bladder and nowhere to find – ahem, release? Problem solved, courtesy of this just-launched mobile app that lets you locate private homes and apartments that will let you use their bathroom — for a fee. According to an overview of Airpnp in the New York Post, hosts are charging rates that range from about $1 to $20 per loo visit; just check a toilet’s availability from your smartphone, and the host will receive a phone call to confirm your visit.

Of course, the amenities available vary. Perusing the limited listings available so far, we’ve found folks trumpeting everything from “scented soaps” to a “very friendly cat named Toby [who] might meow at you.”

Do we get a discount if we use the litter box?

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Inside Qatar Airways’ Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge

Where: Doha, Qatar
January 20, 2015 at 11:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

In the world of premium air travel, there are a handful of what frequent flyers call “destination lounges.” These spaces, luxuriously appointed and exclusively for the use of the highest-paying passengers, are often an embarrassment of riches and, thus, completely worth spacing your travel with time enough to visit.

Qatar AirwaysAl Mourjan Business Class Lounge at Doha’s Hamad International Airport is the newest addition to the list of must-visit lounges, and with good reason. Not only is it massive (30,000+ sq ft!) and filled with features like designer furniture and its own lake, but the Al Mourjan lounge has entire semi-private rooms just for families and a full restaurant with such variety of food and drink as to make other lounges cry into their chex mix with shame.

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Lapchildren May No Longer Fly Free, If Brazilian Airlines Get Their Way

January 20, 2015 at 10:05 AM | by | Comments (0)

Typically on airplanes, children under the age of two don't require their own seat and can sit on the lap of their parent, free of charge. However some airlines do charge up to 10 percent of the ticket price for such tiny passengers. But according to reports, a few airlines want to change this policy and up the fee for lapchildren.

Brazil's airlines are leading the charge, proposing that the cap on fees for children be waived, allowing each individual airline to decide what to charge customers. You know - $25 for the bag, $200 for the baby. Brazil's National Civil Aviation agency, Anac, is drawing up the "in virtue of tariff liberty" plan that will be decided on by the end of 2016.

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