Connect with us


Top 10 U.S. cities to visit in 2019 for the travel guru



Asbury Park, New Jersey

This summer, take a trip an hour south of New York City to the Jersey Shore’s most happening and musical city—Asbury Park. Home of the Stone Pony, the historic music venue that launched native New Jersey superstars like Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, Asbury Park is a must-visit destination for any classic rock fan. In 2019, the city is bursting with reinvention. Asbury Park’s once-decaying waterfront buildings are seeing new life, such as the old carousel building which has been transformed into a theater space and skate park.

Along the boardwalk, you can find everything hip from craft coffees to Korean-fusion tacos, along with restaurants where you can get your seafood fix, like the Langosta Lounge or the Asbury Oyster Bar. If you can’t visit during the summer, you can still plan a trip around cool events like the Music and Film Festival in April or the Sea Hear Now Festival in September.

Where to stay: The Asbury Hotel is a boutique hotel that has not just a rooftop bar, but also a rooftop movie theater.

Buffalo, New York

For a getaway near the Great Lakes, look no further than Buffalo in upstate New York. In addition to being just 30 minutes from Niagara Falls, Buffalo is in the middle of a revitalization worth seeing for yourself. Hot wing devotees have long been drawn to the city before for its famous Buffalo Wing Trail, but you might be surprised to find out that architecture fans also have a lot to discover. Opening in spring 2019 is the Lipsey Architecture Center, showcasing Buffalo’s architectural heritage—which includes Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House. In the warmer months, you can get outside in Elevator Alley, a repurposed area that has transformed the city’s industrial grain silos into something way more fun, with outdoor movie screenings and a zip-line.

Consider visiting in July for the Garden Walk, the biggest free garden tour in the U.S. Every year Buffalo’s dedicated home gardeners open their backyards to visitors for this city-wide event. It’s a great way to explore the city and make a connection with the locals.

Where to stay: At the spacious Hotel Henry, you’ll be located within the Richardson Olmstead Campus, a historic landmark just a short walk from downtown.


Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Though it’s often overshadowed by its neighbor Miami, Fort Lauderdale has been growing into its own with a thriving arts scene, luxurious hotel options, and 23 miles of beaches. You can partake in classic Fort Lauderdale activities like hopping aboard the Jungle Queen Riverboat Cruise for dinner and a show, or pay a visit to FATVillage, an arts district that offers visitors a chance to browse galleries or shop from local artists. If you happen to be there on the last Saturday of the month, don’t miss the monthly ArtWalk.

If you’re looking for some funky eats, check out restaurants like Rhythm + Vine, an outdoor garden restaurant with a rotation of local food trucks, so every time you go you can try something different.

Where to stay: Enjoy the beach at the B Ocean Resort, a modern hotel with a vintage twist. Check out the Shipwreck Bar in the lobby to catch its unique mermaid show.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

After the damage of 2017’s Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is ready and eager to welcome back tourists to the island in 2019. And with the reopening and refurbishing of hotels like the San Juan Marriot and Stellaris Casino and brand-new hotels like Serafina Beach Hotel, there are many more opportunities for travelers to enjoy a tropical vacation that doesn’t require a passport. You can go shopping along Condado Beach or visit the Santurce neighborhood to taste San Juan’s rising culinary scene for yourself. At Lote 23, you’ll find a “gastronomic park” made up of dozens of food stalls that serve everything from grilled fish to tacos, pizza, and donuts.

Visitors in January could also have the opportunity to take part in a historical musical event—the San Juan production of Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the renowned Broadway musical, will reprise his role as Alexander Hamilton in San Juan for the first time since he stepped off stage in New York in 2016. Check out Discover Puerto Rico to browse vacation packages that include tickets to the San Juan production.

Where to stay: At the Puerto Rican-owned Olive Boutique Hotel, you’ll find an impeccably designed space with a rustic twist in the heart of the Condado neighborhood.

Berkeley, California

There’s plenty of adventure to be had in the redwood forests of Northern California, but for a city you can settle into, skip San Francisco and head to the university town across the bay—Berkeley. You can explore the beautiful campus of the University of California, shop the independent boutiques on Fourth Street and Telegraph Avenue, or get some exercise with a side of great views along the hillside path walks.

Berkeley also offers some amazing dining options, from upscale establishments like Japanese Akemi and Italian Rivoli to more casual spots like a cafe called Blue Willow Tea Spot or the organic small-batch creamery iScream. Want to take a deeper dive into Berkeley’s food scene? Check out the local food tours from Edible Excursions, where you can get your fill all over town.

Where to stay: Stay close to campus at the Graduate Berkeley, for a luxurious stay within walking distance of the university.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans has been having a moment for a while now, and it doesn’t look like it’s coming to an end any time soon. Coming off the celebration of its 300th birthday in 2018, the city is keeping the good times rolling with exciting new attractions like the summer opening of Sazerac House, a museum dedicated to the history of the iconic cocktail. New restaurants will also be making a splash, from the hotly anticipated Justine, which will serve contemporary French cuisine, to Warbucks, a classic American diner that embraces “the essence of 90s rap, skateboarding, and hip hop culture.” And if you want one place to sample the latest in New Orleans’ food scene, stop by Auction House Market, a food hall where you can taste locally sourced oysters from Elysian Seafood or New Orleans-inspired empanadas from Empanola.

After eating and drinking, make sure you check in with what’s going on around the city. With an average rate of one festival every three days, you’re bound to find something going on whenever you decide to visit.

Where to stay: Just outside the French Quarter, the Eliza Jane is a new hotel on the scene, but it’s already making waves with a sophisticated design imbued with the history of New Orleans.

Portland, Oregon

If you’re looking for a no-pressure vacation where you can kick back and be yourself, put Portland at the top of your 2019 go-list. Portland is a hangout city, first and foremost, so take the time to get to know its various neighborhoods. From the indie boutiques of East Burnside to the Victorian homes of Nob Hill, there is plenty of variety in Portland.

Whether you’re sitting down to indulge in an incredible hummus dish at Tusk or getting some reading done while sipping sustainably sourced Brazilian coffee in a cafe like Nossa Familia, it’s easy to find a way to make your Portland experience your own while savoring some great flavors along the way.

Where to stay: To feel at home during your stay, check out The Jupiter, a pet-friendly boutique hotel with an artistic design and reasonable rates.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Everyone can find something to love in Scottsdale. Whether you go for the spa, the golfing, or the natural surroundings, Scottsdale also offers incredible opportunities for culture at places like the Musical Instrument Museum or Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and architecture school.

In May, you’ll want to check out the opening of Agave del Scottsdale, a fine dining restaurant with a Mexico City chef at the helm. To get the best views of the desert, get up in the air with a hot air balloon ride with Rainbow Ryders.

Where to stay: Get it all at Mountain Shadows Resort, a modernist-inspired complex surrounded by incredible views.


Nashville, Tennessee

No matter when you go or what time of year, there’s always good music in Nashville. The year 2019 will be no exception, but you can make the most of it by planning your trip around one of the city’s upcoming concerts or annual events. You can scout emerging artists at the Musicians Corner in May or get your spice on at the Hot Chicken Festival in July.

You can also explore outside the city by taking a tour along the Tennessee Whiskey Trail or do less drinking and more shopping on a tour that takes you to meet the leathermakers and bootmakers of Tennessee.

Where to stay: For an intimate experience of Nashville, check into the Germantown Inn, a 10-room boutique hotel located in a historic home within walking distance of Bicentennial Park.


Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville isn’t just the home base for autumn leaf-peeping in the Great Smoky Mountains; it’s also a city on the rise. Asheville has always attracted an open-minded crowd with its trendy shops, Friday night drum circles, and cafes and bookstores for hanging out, including one that has its own Champagne bar. However, there are plenty of new restaurants in town like Button & Co. Bagels, where you can try an “Appalachian-inspired” bagel made with local ingredients like winter wheat and country ham, or Benne on Eagle, which celebrates African-American contributions to Southern cuisine.

The year 2019 will also bring exciting new developments to Asheville’s most popular attraction—the Biltmore. The famous mansion-turned-museum of the Vanderbilt family will begin offering quirky activities like falconry lessons and electric tricycle tours through the estate’s grounds. In February, the Biltmore museum will also unveil a new exhibit titled “A Vanderbilt House Party: Guests, Grandeur & Galas,” which will explore 20th-century fashion.

Where to stay: At the Omni Grove Park Inn, you can catch the best view in town. The hotel is built to face the sun setting over the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a drink at the Sunset Terrace is the perfect way to end a day in Asheville.

For other travel ideas, see also:

Top 50 Best Small Towns to Visit in the U.S.

Holiday Tips for the Mature Traveller


Continue Reading
Click to comment


Working for Yourself: Pros and Cons'



featured image working for yourself

Most of the people who leave their jobs and start a business of their own do this on an impulse. The reason is simple. Working in an organisation means you are answerable to the people higher up the success ladder. Often due to office politics, even the right decisions by you aren’t appreciated.

It is always fun to think that you are working for yourself. You do not have any fixed schedules to adhere to. You do not have anyone to dominate you or fire you. The independence that a personal venture brings along with it is always thrilling.

Yes, there sure are countless benefits of working for yourself. Here we have listed out a few prominent benefits that usually lure people to starting their own venture.

Advantages of working for yourself

1. You Do Not Have Boss Above You:

The most annoying aspect of a job is a boss who is there to dominate you. If you have a good and understanding boss, you are lucky. But most often bosses tend to be bullies who exploit their juniors and extract maximum work from them. People who are under such bosses would surely prefer to have their own venture.

When you start your own business or startup, you can work on your own will. You do not have to abide by anyone’s orders. This is particularly good for people who do not possess the knack of diplomacy. People who do not know how to handle different types of people or convince others in a gentle fashion should opt for a personal business or venture.

working for yourself is better than killing yourself for another job

2. You Can Opt For Flexible Schedules:

Many people complain that their office schedule is so hectic that they do not get ample time with their loved ones. This is one problem you won’t face if you have your personal venture. You can schedule your work such that you get ample time with your near and dear ones.

There is no restriction regarding the time you should reach office or the time you should leave office premises.

This lack of restriction in a personal venture allows you sufficient flexibility to balance personal and professional lives. It also helps to reduce the level of stress that is very common in job life.

3. You Can Explore and Experiment:

Most creative and thoughtful people despise their jobs because the job gives them very little opportunity to explore and experiment. An age-old organisation with a set reputation will never bear the risk of experimentation from an employee. Most employees thus experience stagnancy after 2 or 3 years in a certain organisation.

This is not the case when you start your own venture. You need to be alert all the time. You need to come up with new strategies and ideas that help to increase growth of the organisation. These aspects of a business make it much more interesting than a job.

4. You Can Avoid Office Politics:

There are many individuals who are not good at tackling office politics. They do not enjoy going with the flow if they think the decision is wrong. This attitude can jeopardize their job in the long run.

A person who starts his own venture does not have to go through the ordeal of convincing the people ongoing ahead with wrong decisions out of peer pressure. You have the freedom to take the right decisions. You also have the freedom to make choices. This way you can completely avoid the politics part of the work management and ensure work gets done without wastage of time.

5. You Are The Boss:

The best part is that you are the boss when you start your own venture. You get to meet people at higher positions. You get special benefits as a businessman. You get respect in your family and social circles. No one has the right to rule over you. You have the complete control over your situation.

Disadvantages of working for yourself

Everything that has a good side has a bad side too. While there are many benefits of working for yourself, you cannot completely ignore the disadvantages. The risk is elevated in the case of a personal business. It may not be a good idea for you personally to start your own venture.

You need to possess the courage to take such risks. You also need to possess the foresight to predict the growth of the business. There are some major drawbacks of working for yourself. Here we have listed these out for your knowledge and reference.

balanced scales working for yourself

1. You Need to Have a Strict Code of Discipline:

A high level of maturity is essential to ensure that you prosper and grow in your business. This means that you need to have a fixed set of personal etiquettes and a proper code of discipline. These are necessary to ensure that your business grows and expands.

People who lack a strict discipline may misuse the funds from the business for their personal needs. This can eventually lead to the failure of the firm and organisation. Individuals who have strong principles are capable of controlling their urges.

They make sure that they set aside a certain amount as business funds and use the rest to grow their business. They tend to use just about 20% for their own personal needs.

2. Any Failure Could Mean Monetary Loss To You:

In the initial stage of the business, any loss could mean that you need to put money from your pocket. You need to have some backup money to handle such situations. Usually traditional families are not very supportive in case of businesses.

You may not have family support and if you are not confident about your venture, their words could demotivate you. People who are capable of foreseeing such possibilities and tackling them smartly can start ventures and succeed.

3. Progress Could Be Slow and Gradual:

Patience is an important quality that every businessman should possess. Business ventures do not grow in a day. They require time, effort and dedication. They require you to consistently put in efforts. Instant gratification happens only in fairytales and if you expect the same in your life, you are being foolish.

You must try to grow gradually and save a small amount as profits. This way, the profits you save can later be used for further expansion without disrupting your income.

4. There could Be Lack of Job Security:

When you are working for a firm or organisation, you have job security if the firm is doing well. When the firm is in a loss, you simply need to switch the job and if you are good in your field, you will continue to make money.

This is not the case with a business or startup. Inspite of all the research, it is not always possible to predict whether a firm will make a profit or loss. Everyone may not be capable to handle this kind of job insecurity. This simply means that you need to plan your finances properly.

5. You Need to Have a Proper Growth Plan:

You need to have a well defined growth plan when you have your own venture. You should have a clear idea how much money you wish to make at the turn of the year and how you plan to grow.

A proper plan will help you allocate funds and grow your network accordingly. If you don’t have a proper growth plan, there are greater chances of misuse of money and finances.

Continue Reading


Extremely Useful Tips for First Time Health Insurance Buyers



There’s nothing quite as confusing and bewildering as realizing you need to buy your own health insurance. The world of insurance policies and deductibles can be an intimidating place for newbies. So we have put together a list of extremely useful tips for first time health insurance buyers which will simplify the process and guide you past making any big mistakes.

Don’t go shopping without doing your research

First time health insurance buyers, STOP. There are some things you need to know before you call that number! Make sure you familiarize yourself with common insurance terms, what they mean, and what things are best for you and your lifestyle.

Health Insurance Terms:

  • Premium: the upfront amount you’ll pay each month to have health insurance
  • Deductible: the amount you’ll pay for health care services before your insurance kicks in
  • Co-payment: Also called a copay, it’s a flat amount you’ll pay for specific services or medication, even if you’ve reached your deductible.
  • Coinsurance: Unlike a copay, which is a flat amount, coinsurance is a fee you pay that is a percentage of the cost of a covered service.
  • Out-of-pocket maximum: This the the most you’ll pay for covered health services in a single year, including your deductible, your copay, and your coinsurance. In 2020, the out-of-pocket maximum is $8,150 for individuals and $16,300 for families.
  • Subsidy: Subsidies are the government’s way of helping you pay for health insurance. Obamacare technically provides three subsidy types: advance premium tax credits, cost-sharing reductions and Medicaid (more on these in a minute).

Related: What is public health and why is it important,

3 unusal way to improve the value of your home

8 ways to cut car insurance for teen drivers

Conduct a Self Check-up

Determine how much coverage you need — and what you can afford.

If you rarely get sick or injured it might be a good option to go with a higher deductible and lower monthly cost, but if your lifestyle sees you in the doctors office more often than not, look into a low deductible and a low/no copay.

Unless you have a qualifying life event, you cannot apply whenever you want

Yes, that’s right, you cannot go without health insurance for half a year before deciding you had better buy some. Unless you have a qualifying live event, such as pregnancy or turning 26, (you cannot be insured by your parents after your 26th birthday) then you must apply during open annual enrollment. Companies typically hold open enrollment in the fall, while the U.S. government begins accepting applications on Nov. 1.

There are two types of networks

Deductibles and premiums aren’t the only factors to consider when choosing a plan.

You may also need to choose between two types of networks: PPOs and HMOs. A PPO gives you access to a broader network of doctors than an HMO, but PPOs generally cost more. Research what insurance companies your primary care physician accepts before purchasing a plan so as to not lose access to your doctor.

First-time health insurance shoppers may feel lost if they’ve relied on employer-sponsored health insurance up to this point. But health insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you know what you’re looking for, where to shop, and how to keep it affordable, health insurance will be a regular part of your health – and your financial safety net.

Continue Reading


Trump Tries to Meet with Xi, but Uses Hong Kong Strife as an Excuse



Donald Trump Wants to Meet Xi featured image

The equity markets tumbled in mid-August, a global trade tension started to peak and economic data in the US, China and Europe, started to show contraction. While President Trump was quick to point to how well the US economy is performing, the administration decided that some of the items that were announced to experience tariffs as of September 1, will now only receive a tariff beginning December 15, 2019. Trump is in a bind. He wants to portray that he is in a strong negotiating position but realizes that China is not going to bend to his tactics. Many of the forward looking US economic reports are now pointing to contraction which is now what Trump wants ahead of the 2020 campaign season.

Trump Uses Hong Kong Strife to Try to Speak to Xi

President Trump suggested that he would be willing to have a “personal meeting” with China’s President Xi to discuss the escalating crisis in Hong Kong. China views the issue in Hong Kong as purely a domestic matter and would not likely want a meeting based in this issue. The US has warned China it must respond humanely to the protests if it wants to strike a trade deal.

Donald Trump with President Xi at formal dinner
President Donald Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting, December 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Trump is trying to use any measure to try to needle China and get them back to the negotiating table in a way that would help the US. President Trump’s statement via Twitter marked a shift in tone in his public statements regarding the situation in Hong Kong. Trumps tweets came amid growing concern within the administration that China would respond with military force to the antigovernment protests that have shut down Hong Kong’s major international airport.

Hong Kong Growth Contracts

The Hong Kong government now believes that growth will be close to zero making investing into Hong Kong a risky scenario. Hong Kong receives special treatment from the United States. If this were changed, it could lead to a liquidation of many Hong Kong assets. Senator Marco Rubio has introduced a bipartisan bill that threatens to revoke Hong Kong’s special trade status with the US if Beijing intervenes in the city. Beijing has reacted angrily to US congressmen’s comments, citing them as further evidence of American involvement in China’s internal affairs.

Trump Blames the Fed

President Trump continues to blame the Federal Reserve the decline and volatility in US stocks. Most believe its trade and the weak data that has followed including the Chinese and German data, which has been adversely impacted by the trade conflict between the US and China. The trade war is overwhelming and the Fed’s last change in monetary policy did little as Trump quickly reverted to fighting his war with China. The Fed might reduce rates further but will be unable to help the market unless China and the US come to some form a trade agreement. For this to occur, the US will likely have to agree to something that is softer than what they had originally expected.

Continue Reading