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Thanksgiving 2017: The best and worst times to drive and fly this Thanksgiving

Don’t let road rage or flight delays ruin your Thanksgiving.

» RELATED: Thanksgiving 2017 travel trends and tips

To ensure you make smart travel plans this November holiday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reached out to popular navigation app Waze for national historical traffic data to determine the best and worst days to be on the move around Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 23).

The AJC also incorporated Google Flights historical data, which was shared on the company blog in October. 

PRE-THANKSGIVING DAY

Best and worst times to drive

If you’re driving, the best time to hit the road is 6 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19, according to Google.

» RELATED: Police surprise drivers with Thanksgiving turkeys instead of traffic tickets

Between Sunday and up until 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, traffic will get progressively worse.

But Waze data shows 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, is the worst time to drive for Thanksgiving, especially if you’re headed to the airport.

Using 2016 data, Waze found Tuesday navigations to airports are up by 50 percent and Wednesday navigations to airports are up by 66 percent.

» RELATED: Holiday travel with kids: Top survival tips

Best and worst times to fly

Google data indicates Friday, Nov. 17 and Wednesday, Nov. 22 will be the busiest pre-Thanksgiving airport days. Try to avoid flying on these days.

POST-THANKSGIVING DAY

Best and worst times to drive

Waze data shows the worst time to drive home after Thanksgiving will be Monday, Nov. 27 at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

But there will also be a spike of mid-day travel on Sunday, Nov. 26. Traffic will peak at 2 p.m. Sunday.

» RELATED: It’s not all about the turkey: 9 things you probably didn't know about Thanksgiving

And if you’re headed to the airport Sunday, Waze warns that navigations to airports will peak at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m Sunday., so you may want to consider booking an earlier flight.

Compared to an average November Sunday, navigations to airports on Nov. 26 will be up by 53 percent.

» RELATED: All the Black Friday sales you should be jumping on now

If you’re flying back home Monday, navigations to airports will be up by 21 percent compared to an average November Monday, according to historical Waze data.

Best and worst times to fly

Google Flights search data from the past two years indicates that Sunday, Nov. 26 is one of the busiest days of the year to fly.

Google recommends booking a flight back home on Monday, Nov. 27, instead of Sunday.

Here’s more on the worst times to drive nationally around Thanksgiving:

» RELATED: Thanksgiving 2017: Alternative ways to spend the holiday

Survey: Nearly 7 in 10 Americans say they’d give up gift-giving this holiday season

Would you give up the holiday gift-giving tradition this year if your friends and family agreed to it?

According to a new Harris Poll survey on behalf of SunTrust, 69 percent of Americans said they would.

>> Read more trending news 

The poll, conducted online within the U.S. between Oct. 3-5, includes responses from 2,185 American adults ages 18 and older, 1,986 of whom said they spend money on something related to the holidays.

» RELATED: Too much Christmas music is bad for your health, psychologists say

Forty-three percent of respondents said they feel pressured to buy gifts and spend more money than they can afford.

With the extra time and money saved by eliminating gift-giving, 60 percent of Americans said they’d spend more time with loved ones, 47 percent would save money or invest it, 37 percent would pay down debt and 25 percent said they would use the money on activities with friends and family.

» RELATED: 7 tips on doing Christmas dinner on a budget

In an effort to help reduce financial gift-giving stress this holiday season, SunTrust introduced the onUp Challenge, “a free, gamified experience that turns finances into an adventure,” the company said in a news release.

“The holidays are full of joy, celebration and an unmentioned pressure to spend,” Brian Nelson Ford, financial well-being executive at SunTrust, said. “During a time of year when financial stress is traditionally high, a little smart spending, preparation and planning can lead to financial confidence and enhance the joy of the season.”

» RELATED: Are the holidays the most miserable time of year?

Potential survey limitations

According to SunTrust, because the online survey isn’t based on a probability sample, an estimate of theoretical sampling error cannot be calculated.

NASA postpones JPSS-1 weather satellite launch

NASA, in partnership with the NOAA, scrubbed Tuesday’s launch of a weather satellite that will help improve weather forecasts due to a last-minute technical problem.

JPSS-1 is the first of a few polar orbiting satellites to launch from the Joint Polar Satellite System.

>> Read more trending news 

The satellites will help improve NOAA forecasts for the three- to seven-day time frame. The data collected from the JPSS is fed into the numerical forecast models to help improve them. The satellites will also collect atmospheric measurements, ground conditions and ocean conditions like vegetation, hurricane intensity, and atmospheric moisture.

The JPSS-1 was scheduled to be launched around 4:47 a.m. EST from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. The launch has been postponed until Wednesday.

This satellite is a polar orbiting satellite, which means it will orbit the earth from the one pole to the other passing the equator 14 times a day. Full coverage of the planet will be provided then twice a day.

'Cheetah' spotted roaming streets in Pennsylvania turns out to be big African cat

Residents thought they saw a cheetah running free in the streets of Reading, Pennsylvania. But when authorities responded to the scene recently, they found a rare African serval cat instead.

>> Watch the news report here

The spotted feline was out for a walk when staffers from the Animal Rescue League of Berks County arrived.

The 1- or 2-year-old cat was docile, declawed and friendly, leading the rescuers to think she was a pet.

>> Read more trending news

It is illegal to own these types of cats in Pennsylvania without a license.

A big-cat group is now in possession of the animal.

Parents of twins find out they're expecting triplets

A father was shocked when he found out his wife was expecting triplets after welcoming a set of twins.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

In addition to the three bundles of joy on the way, Nia and Robert Tolbert of Waldorf, Maryland, have three sons, ABC News reports. The couple welcomed one son, Shai, six years ago. Twin boys Riley and Alexander came next. The twins are now 2 years old.

Nia surprised Robert with the news by placing the sonogram photos in a bag with three onesies.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Watching these twin babies dance will melt your heart

“I opened the bag and I saw a very, very long sonogram,” Robert told ABC News. “Then I saw three onesies in the bag … and they were numbered 1, 2, and 3.”

The couple told WUSA the babies were conceived naturally. Nia learned she hyperovulates, which means her body releases more than one egg during ovulation.

After getting over the initial shock, they said they are excited to welcome the newest members of their family.

>> Read more trending news 

“We live by the mantra of being impeccable with our words. Words have power. The more positivity you speak into your life, the more positivity you’ll get out of it. So we don’t have time to be negative or woe is me or be nervous,” Robert said.

The couple told Inside Edition they’re officially done having kids. They found out in an exciting gender reveal that they are expecting three baby girls, bringing perfect balance to their home — three boys and three girls.

Police surprise drivers with Thanksgiving turkeys instead of traffic tickets

Police officers in Billings, Montana, are getting into the holiday spirit by handing out free turkeys instead of tickets.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

According to the Billings Gazette, local businessman Steve Gountanis donated 20 turkeys to the Billings Police Department and asked for their help to distribute them to the community ahead of Thanksgiving.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Woman wins $3,000 shopping spree, donates everything to kids in need

Traffic officers spent an afternoon last week pulling people over for minor traffic offenses like broken tail lights. After making sure there were no outstanding warrants for the driver, the police officers let them off with a warning and a free turkey.

“The individuals that received the warnings and the turkeys have been very happy,” Lt. Neil Lawrence told ABC News. “Our Facebook page has received a lot of positive comments regarding it. So far, it's been a very positive thing for the community.”

>> Read more trending news 

Officers told the Billings Gazette that one driver joked he needed another traffic violation so he could get another turkey for Christmas.

Women less likely than men to get CPR from bystanders -- and more likely to die -- study suggests

New research funded by the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health shows gender may play a major role in whether or not someone receives life-saving CPR from bystanders.

And it may come down to a person’s reluctance to touch a woman’s chest in public, The Associated Press reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Researchers presented the findings Sunday at an American Heart Association Conference in Anaheim, California.

It’s the first study to examine gender differences in receiving heart help from the public versus professional responders.

The study, which involved nearly 20,000 cases around the country, found only 39 percent of women suffering cardiac arrest in public received CPR, compared to 45 percent of men.

Men were also 23 percent more likely to survive a cardiac arrest occurring in public.

» RELATED: Do heart stents even work? New study finds they fail to ease chest pain

Researchers don’t know why exactly rescuers were less likely to assist women and did not find a gender difference in CPR rates for people suffering from cardiac arrest at home, where a rescuer is more likely someone who knows the person needing help.

» RELATED: Study: Patients who undergo heart surgery during this time of day have better chance for survival

“It can be kind of daunting thinking about pushing hard and fast on the center of a woman’s chest,” and some people may fear they are hurting her, said lead researcher Audrey Blewer, from the University of Pennsylvania.

And, according to Dr. Benjamin Abella, another study leader, rescuers may also worry about moving a woman’s clothing to get better access or touching breasts to do CPR.

But proper CPR shouldn’t entail that, Abella said.

“You put your hands on the sternum, which is the middle of the chest. In theory, you’re touching in between the breasts,” he said. “This is not a time to be squeamish, because it’s a life and death situation.”

The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Roger White, who co-directs the paramedic program for the city of Rochester, Minnesota, said he has long worried that large breasts may impede proper placement of defibrilator pads if women need a shock to restore normal heart rhythm.

“All of us are going to have to take a closer look at this” gender issue, he said.

» RELATED: Common painkillers increase risk of heart attack by one-third, new study finds

More than 350,000 Americans who may or may not have diagnosed heart disease suffer a cardiac arrest each year in areas other than a hospital, and about 90 percent of them die. According to the American Heart Association, CPR can double or triple survival odds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Target debuts first 'next-gen' store

It’s a first for Target: The red-themed retailer recently unveiled its first “next-gen” store in Richmond, Texas, near Houston.

>> Read more trending news 

The 124,000-square-foot store opened last week. It’s the first of hundreds of stores the retailer plans to open in the next two years.

“With our next generation of store design, we’re investing to take the Target shopping experience to the next level by offering more elevated product presentations and a number of time-saving features,” Target’s chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said earlier this year. “The new design for this Houston store will provide the vision for the 500 reimagined stores planned for 2018 and 2019, with the goal of taking a customized approach to creating an enhanced shopping experience.”

One of the differences shoppers may notice between the new Target design and other locations is how the “next-gen” store is two concepts within one.

According to Target spokespersons, for the convenience of the on-the-go-shopper, one side of the store comes with grocery items and pick-up for those who prefer to order online.

The other side of the Target store is similar to a virtual department store, according to Target representatives. Shoppers can find items from Chip and Joanna Gaines’ new “Hearth & Hand” collection in that section of the store.

RELATED: 'Fixer Upper' couple criticized over new home decor line at Target

“We wanted to tailor the experience to what shoppers are looking for,” store manager Shannon Wolford said, according to the Houston Chronicle.

RELATED: Fans rush in early to make sure they don’t miss Chip and Joanna’s Target line

The in-store Starbucks is even next-gen, complete with patio seating.

Read more at Houston Chronicle and Target

RELATED: Target is making some big changes that will lead to better, faster shopping

10 ways to save money during the holidays

As the smell of Thanksgiving turkey wafting through the air approaches, with it comes the holiday season, one of the most fun –- and most expensive -– times of the year.

>> Read more trending news

Here are 10 tips on how to keep your holiday budget under control:

1. Make a plan

It doesn’t have to be a 20-page spreadsheet -– just take a look at your finances, set the absolute number you can spend and stick to it. Hide credit cards until after the holidays, so you aren’t tempted to use them.

2. Do some preemptive cutbacks

While having family around the dinner table is a tradition during the holidays, it’s as much if not more of a tradition to end up eating out.

Try cutting back on these trips during the holiday season to preserve your holiday spending fun. Eat out of your pantry for a week, and if you do go out, drink water instead of alcohol.

3. Cut back on your gift list

While wanting to give all the things to all the people is a sign of a kind and generous soul, it can also be very expensive very quickly.

Try writing your gift list down and prioritizing them: Who really should get a gift, and who will be just as touched by a card?

4. Be creative with your gifts

You don’t have to shop for everyone -- you can create some DIY gifts. One example is a little candy bag, tied up in a bag from a craft store. Another -- if you have photography skills -- is getting the best photo you made this year printed out and insert it into cards.

5. Get the kids to edit their lists

If there’s anyone you want to give all the presents to, it’s your kids. But that can quickly run up some big bills.

Ask your kids to focus their Christmas list to one or two items that they really want. This will help them reduce their greediness and you reduce your debt load.

6. Give back

The holidays are a good time to help teach your kids about people who aren’t able to give or get presents and what can be done to help them. Go through their unused or old toys and donate them to a shelter or gift drive.

7. Focus the decorations

Decorating your home is a fun part of the season that can involve the whole family.

Keep the decorations focused on certain areas to avoid clutter and buying lots of things you don’t need. Think about the front door, the living room and the dining room table, for starters.

8. Cut your own tree

Getting a Christmas tree is one of the highlights of the season -- and it can also be one of the bigger bills.

If you live near a wooded area that isn’t posted for trespassing, look at cutting one down yourself. Go to a cut-your-own tree farm for a fresher, cheaper tree and a fun family outing.

9. Potluck parties

If you’re hosting the holiday party, think about having it be a potluck affair. Everyone’s gift to each other can be what they bring for food. Or, if you all live near each other, you can have each course at a different house.

10. Find free holiday activities

Driving or walking around your neighborhood to see the holiday lights is a great way to get in the holiday spirit. If you live near a city or town, go see what their decorations look like.

A group outdoor ice skating adventure is another fun way to play outside.

If you want to stay in, try some DIY ornament projects.

RELATED: Check your pockets — these rare dimes are worth nearly $2 million

10 holiday activities that don't have to involve eating

While family gatherings are generally marked by an enormous amount of food, there are other things you can do instead of sitting around in carbohydrate comas.

>> Read more trending news

Here are 10 tips on throwing a holiday party that doesn’t include any food at all:

1. Give them something else to keep their hands busy

While it’s easy to stuff your face and nod during awkward conversations at a party, there are other things you can do.

Instead of snacks and drinks, put out some Rubik’s Cubes, Play-Doh or other little finger toys -- it accomplishes the same thing, and it’s a conversation starter, to boot.

2. Board and card games

With a boom in board games in recent years, there’s a game for every age, skill level, interest and time constraint, so board games are perfect for family gatherings where you have to account for both elderly relatives and young children.

Settle in for an epic round of Lord of the Rings Risk or Settlers of Catan with a close circle of friends, or if you want a shorter game, play Castle Panic or Guillotine. Monopoly and Taboo are always good go-tos.

If you need help choosing, try theboardgamefamily.com for reviews.

3. Volunteering

Giving is an important part of the holiday season, and giving time is an easy and free gift.

If you’ve got a small group, think about tasks such as raking the leaves for elderly people, who struggle to do it for themselves. Another option is have a card-making session for kids in a local pediatric ward.

4. Wreath decorating

Instead of leaving a party with discomfort from eating too much, making wreaths can have you leaving with a fun new decoration for your home.

Instead of bringing food, have everyone bring a basic wreath or garland and one packet of fun art supplies, such as mini-ornaments, glittery pipe cleaners, pine cones, fake snow, tiny figurines, strings of cranberries, etc.

5. Tea tasting

Sometimes, a warm drink is the best way to perk up a winter afternoon. Hosting a tea tasting party is one way to stave off the winter chill.

Either have each guest bring a box of their favorite seasonal tea, or get sample packs from a specialty store and test them out.

6. Surprise a friend

The holidays can be hard for some people, especially if they are going through added stress like a breakup or a job loss. Get together a group of mutual friends and come up with some things that can make their life easier, such as surprising them with a garage full of winter supplies or cooking them some meals that are freezer-ready.

7. Host a knitting party

If you have older relatives who might feel left out or isolated during parties, ask them to be the expert at a knitting party.

Engaging them and having those skills being passed between generations is a wonderful gift all by itself. Or just ask that everyone show up with their own supplies, find a how-to book and have fun figuring it out on your own.

8. Go to a performance

It’s easy to stay on the couch during the dark and cold season, but dressing up and going to watch live actors on stage is a fun and festive exercise. The late-night performances, the bright costumes and stage lights -- there’s something about being there in person that just can’t be replicated in your own living room.

Get a gang together and support your local community theater.

9. Go caroling

One of the oldest holiday traditions is singing carols to celebrate the season. You don’t have to have perfect pitch to enjoy singing to others -- you just need to enjoy it.

If you can find some like-minded friends, try calling a local care home or retirement community to see whether the residents would appreciate visits by a group of Christmas carolers.

10. Classic holiday movie night

Whether it is “A Christmas Story” or “The Muppets Christmas Carol,” this is the season to dig into the favorite holiday movies of friends and family. Get together, hang out and enjoy!

If you have a local independent cinema nearby, you could also check their showtimes to see if you can catch something on the big screen; often, they’ll offer seasonal classics that you might not have ever seen.

RELATED: 10 ways to stay calm during a chaotic holiday dinner

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