Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips for 2017

Some of us wait all year for the Black Friday shopping season, our heads filled with the promise of scoring the best price of the year on a new TV, tablet, printer, or high-tech gadget. But don’t let all the Black Friday hype fool you. You might end up overpaying if you get taken in by so-so prices masquerading as fantastic bargains, and you can miss out on great deals because you didn’t do your research. (Check out the best Black Friday TV deals for 2017.)

No worries—Consumer Reports has been tracking Black Friday deals for years, so we’ve got you covered. Our top 10 Black Friday shopping tips below will help you get the best deal on the items you want and keep frustration—and overspending—to a minimum.

We are also tracking the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals we find on televisionslaptops and tablets, and smartphones.

1. Start early. Gone are the days when Black Friday simply meant checking the Sunday circulars to see which local retailers had the best deals. Black Friday has morphed into a whole month of deals and savings, and online retailers also regularly update prices throughout the event.

So to judge how good the actual sales really are once it’s crunch time, you’ll need to track the deals leading up to Black Friday. The same goes for Cyber Monday, which now stretches into a week of online specials.

2. Do your homework. Only rookies head out on Black Friday unprepared. Getting ready means studying the ads—in print and online—the weekend before Thanksgiving. CR has already weighed in on the Black Friday deals at Best BuyCostcoDellBJ’sTarget, and Walmart.

You’ll find tons of leaked Black Friday ad scans at bfads.netbestblackfriday.comdealnews.comgottadeal.com, and theblackfriday.com.

3. Compare prices. If you spot a great deal at one retailer, go to PriceGrabber.comPriceWatch.comShopping.com, or ShopZilla to make sure you can’t do better elsewhere. (Don’t forget Google Shopping and NexTag.com.) There are also a growing number of apps, such as ShopSavvy, Shopular, and BuyVia, that let you scan bar codes to compare prices, get discounts, and score coupons from local retailers. (See tip No. 6, below, for additional shopping apps.)

But remember, direct comparison shopping isn’t always easy. For instance, large retailers might apply their deepest discounts to TVs with a specific model number, which makes it difficult to be sure you’re doing an apples-to-apples comparison. In some cases, comparison shopping isn’t even possible.

4. Be loyal. Stores often have loyalty programs that offer sales and promotions to their members first, then let them earn rewards on what they buy. Signing up for Black Friday shopping alerts will get you the early word on promotions, coupons, and discounts. In some cases, you can even find out whether the products you want are in stock or eligible for a buy online/pick up at the store option that saves you on shipping.

5. Get social. The Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of your favorite retailers are a great way to find out about deals and promotions. Retailers will often reward customers who like or follow them with special alerts to Black Friday discounts and incentives. And of course texts, tweets, and social media posts are an easy way to share Black Friday shopping intel with your friends.

6. Phone it in. Before you head out to a store, make sure your smartphone is fully charged and loaded with a few of the comparison-shopping apps mentioned above, or Flipp, RetailMeNot, Shopkick, and SlickDeals. In addition to providing pricing info, they can often be used to place orders or monitor items via a personal watch list.

Many include a bar-code scanner to help you compare prices and a QR-code reader for coupon codes and special deals. The aforementioned Black Friday sites may also have their own shopping apps, as do the major retailers, such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. Amazon’s Mobile app, for example, lets you use a smartphone camera to scan products and price-shop online, and Walmart’s uses geolocation, so if you’ve ordered online, it will start getting your order ready the second it detects you’re in the store. But as the The Washington PostThe New York Times, and other news outlets reported last year, be on the lookout for fake apps that masquerade as well-known retailer apps.

7. Create a budget—and stick to it. Yes, this sounds simple. But Black Friday sales, especially the doorbuster specials available in limited quantities, are designed to get you into a store so that the retailer can sell you something else.

Decide ahead of time how much you want to spend on your Black Friday shopping spree, and do your best to resist impulse buying, especially if you’re not sure how good a specific deal is. If you find that you’re too free with your charge cards, try buying with cash this year and see whether you have better self-control. But if you are sufficiently disciplined, buy with a credit card that doubles the manufacturer’s warranty and then pay it off before any interest accrues.

8. Check all store policies in advance. It’s always good to know a store’s price-match and return policies. As noted in our Black Friday 2017 TV predictions article, we expect more retailers to price-match specific online and in-store deals this year. Almost all of the major retailers have some form of price-match policy, and they’ve been expanding them almost every year. But some stores might suspend their price-match guarantees during the Black Friday weekend on certain items, so read the fine print. Check the return and exchange policies for Black Friday sales to make sure that the store won’t charge a restocking fee for any item you bring back.

9. Avoid pricey accessories. You’ve just scored an awesome giant-screen 4K TV at an all-time low price, so don’t blow your savings by splurging on pricey accessories or extended warranties. (This is where retailers make their money, hence the hard sell.) If you know you’ll need an HDMI cable, buy it in advance from an online retailer such as monoprice.com or bluejeanscable.com. That way you won’t be pressed into overpaying at the store, where you might pay $35 for a 6-foot HDMI cable that performs similarly to a cable you can buy for less than $3 online.

10. The cheapest TVs aren’t always the best deals.Doorbuster specials draw people in with visions of savings, but they might not offer the best product for their needs. This is especially true for big-ticket items such as TVs. Just remember that you’ll probably be watching that TV for a number of years; if you’re not happy with its features or picture quality, you’ll wind up spending that time regretting the fact that spending an extra $100 could have gotten you a set you’d be happier with. Also, those loss-leader TVs are usually at their rock-bottom price. A retailer may have more wiggle room on a step-up model or flagship model, so during your Black Friday shopping don’t be afraid to ask for a better price on the TV you’d really like to own. (Read “Haggling Really Works When You Buy a New TV, Laptop, or Other Device” for more details.)

By James K. Willcox

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A THANKSGIVING GUIDE TO DRINKING

here are drinkers and then there are drinkers. We like to think that we fall in the latter category, and as such maintain a strict drink regime for our Thanksgiving celebrations. The key, as any professional will tell you, is not only in pacing but also in variety. To help you along we have mapped out each step of the process, from first thing in the morning through late night reveling, to keep you happy this holiday.

Morning Prep Work

Bloody Mary

We’re going to start things off pretty simply. It’s first thing in the morning and you’ve got to get that bird in the oven, but first, drink. Bloody Marys are not only boozy, but also nutritious (tomato juice and celery, guys!). Here’s what you need:

1 lemon, juiced
2 ounces vodka
4 ounces tomato juice
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 drops tabasco sauce
1 pinch celery salt
Salt and pepper, to taste
Celery sticks, to garnish

SALT the rim of a tall glass by wetting it first with lemon juice and then dabbing it into a small pile of salt.

ADD ice to the glass.

MIX vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco and celery salt in the glass, stirring thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a celery stick.

Turkey Is in the Oven

Celebration Shooter

You did it! The turkey is in the oven and you’re on schedule to having the food on the table at a reasonable hour. You deserve to celebrate, but don’t over do it quite yet. Whip together this quick shooter, knock it back and continue with your preparations – that table isn’t going to set itself!

Dash of whiskey
Dash of amaretto
Dash of cranberry juice (substitute cranberry sauce to really make things festive)

CHILL a double-shot glass in the freezer for a few minutes.

COMBINE one part whiskey, amaretto and cranberry, as the glass will allow. Shoot it back.

Guests Arrive

Negroni

Alright, it’s game time: People are actually starting to show up. You’ll want to get the party going, but undoubtedly still have tons to do. The Negroni is a classic, a crowd pleaser, and a totally easy drink to make:

1 ounce Campari
1 ounce gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth

PLACE ice in a short glass, or tumbler.

COMBINE all ingredients. Serve.

Turkey Time

Something Red

Once the food hits the table, it’ll be high time for wine time. A meal like this will traditionally call for a red, typically something like a Zinfandel or Pinot Noir. However, if you want to try something a little different, consider adding a dry rosé or Lambrusco to the mix.

Dessert

Fortified Wine

Now that we’ve got our wine game on, let’s keep the ball rolling. As Thanksgiving is not a time for holding back, a sweet wine to go with your pumpkin and pecan pies is definitely the move. We would recommend a port or sauternes. But remember, this stuff is super sweet, so short pours are a must.

After Dinner

Fernet and Coke

There will eventually come a time when you physically cannot eat anything else. But you will, of course, still have room to continue drinking. At this point, we recommend a little something to help settle your now gorged self – which is where Fernet comes in. Fernet is an Italian liqueur made from a mix of herbs and is traditionally served as a post-dinner digestif. The taste can be a bit different, but if you mix it up with a little bit of Coca-Cola classic or, if you can get your hands on it, some of that imported Coke made with real cane sugar, you’ll be well on your way to the perfect post-feast beverage.

1 ounce Fernet
½ ounce Tuaca
2 ounces Coca-Cola

MIX Fernet, Tuaca and Coca-Cola in a glass with ice, and stir well.

STRAIN mixture into a separate glass without ice. Serve.

Late Night

Sazerac

Finally, after the dishes are done, the leftovers put away and the overly-chatty great-Aunts departed, you can really get your drink on. At this point, all that should be left are your old college buddies and their respective significant others, so we’ve got two words for you: Party. Time. Finish strong by taking things up a notch with this New Orleans absinthe classic:

1 sugar cube
½ ounce absinthe
2 ounces rye whiskey
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Dash of simple syrup
Dash Angostura bitters

CRUSH the sugar cube at the bottom of short glass or tumbler.

POUR in the absinthe and swirl around the glass so that it coats all sides, then discard anything leftover.

MIX ice, rye whiskey, simple syrup, Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters in a separate glass.

STRAIN into tumbler. Serve.

 

 

5 Ways to Create Ambiance in Your Home

(StatePoint) If your home interiors lack charm, don’t worry. These five simple additions and updates can add ambiance and character to your home.

1. Use bold colors. Colors have the power to create specific moods. To ensure a welcoming atmosphere, make sure you select shades wisely. The science behind color psychology can help you choose paint, upholstery and more. Warm colors like red, orange and yellow make people feel more cozy and intimate. Cooler colors like grey and green are better for invoking calm, and are used to make a room feel more spacious.

2. Add a touch of softness. Use plush, cozy materials, such as decorative pillows and throws to create inviting places to sit. Soften hard surfaces like wooden or tile floors with area rugs. Add some warmth to hallways and narrow foyers with runners.

3. Breathe new life into spaces. Indoor plants can give life to an otherwise stagnant living area. For those not blessed with a green thumb, consider artificial plants. High-quality options can look very realistic and will save you time on care and maintenance. Or, for variety, add a simple vase to the kitchen table and brighten up the room with a new bouquet of fresh cut flowers each week.

4. Make music. A piano brings a level of elegance to any room, but you don’t have to overspend to get a beautiful sound or visual. New digital pianos reproduce the subtle nuances of the world’s finest grand pianos at various price points. For example, the Celviano Grand Hybrid Piano from Casio has the technology to produce an authentic grand piano experience, but doesn’t take up as much space or cost as much. Plus, since it’s digital, you won’t have to worry about maintenance and tuning.

5. Mood lighting. From candles to unique fixtures to bright open windows, the type of lighting used to illuminate a room sets its tone. Choose curtains and candles for cozy, romantic nights. Draw them open in the day for bright, sun-lit spaces. Install interesting fixtures as a focal point in empty hallways and in living spaces.

Just for Laughs Dinner Theater (Theatre!)

Call 727-466-6546 for The Funniest Shows Around Town!!

We want you to have the best possible time with us at Just For Laughs Dinner Theater!
Here is a step-by-step explanation of what to expect:

Please plan to arrive between 4:00pm and 5:00pm.
~~~ For matinees, plan to be here between 11:00am and noon.

The map links below will open in new tab, and help you find your way to us. Select your favorite map and ask for directions from your house:
~~~[ Google Maps ]~[ Bing Maps ]~[ Yahoo Maps ]~[ MapQuest ]~~~

Free Parking when you get here.

Doors Open 4:00pm
~~~ (11:00am for matinees)

All Tickets are $36, and are “will call” at the door; payment by check or cash only

Reserved Seating; the cash bar is open

Buffet Dinner (See Menu tab at the top)

Play ~ Curtain 5:30
~~~ (12:30pm for matinees)
Laughing out loud is permitted!!

Estimated end ~ 7:30pm
~~~ (2:30pm for matinees)

Just For Laughs Dinner Theater is the newest and funniest dinner theater in Pinellas County FL.

Founded by Barbara Anthony and Toby Manion, two well seasoned actors that worked for over a decade at another well known local theater, Just for Laughs is dedicated to putting on only the most hilarious comedies and offers Thursday and Saturday matinee and evening performances and Sunday evening performances.

The theater is located right next to Havana Harry’s 2, a wonderful Cuban restaurant that supplies the food for the theater.

The menu includes Roasted Pulled Pork, Cuban “Mami” Chicken, Deepwater Pollack Scampi, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Sausage and Peppers, Sliced Ham with Pineapple, Yellow Rice, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Green Beans Almondine, Fresh Garden Salad with Homemade Dressing, Fresh Cuban Bread from La Segunda Central Bakery, Key Lime Pie and Peach Cobbler served with tea and coffee.

Guaranteed to be a wonderful experience!

“Sorry! Wrong Chimney”
by Jack Sharkey and Leo W. Sears

November 4 through January 7, 2018

 

David Tuttle is moonlighting as a department store Santa so that he can buy his wife a fur for Christmas. He tells her he’s working late at the office, but she finds out he isn’t at the office. A suspected other woman, hypnotism, the notorious Santa burglar Kris Kreigle and his gun toting fiancee, and a confused policeman add up to a rollicking tale that is hilarious Christmas or anytime entertainment.

REVIEWS

A lighthearted Christmas tale full of mistaken identities and zany foul ups, with a smattering of slapstick… What you see is what you get: A couple of hours of uncomplicated laughter and fun.” – Phoenix Gazette

Hilarious.” – Glendale Star

 

 

Talley’s Folly

Talley’s Folly by Lanford Wilson

November 3 – 19, 2017

In this Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Matt Friedman, an accountant from St. Louis, and Sally Talley, the bookish, erudite daughter of a wealthy family, overcome their great differences to ultimately find true love.

“ … a funny, sweet, touching and marvelously written and contrived love poem for an apple and an orange.” – NY Post

Click here to purchase your tickets now!

West Coast Players is located at 21905 US 19 North, Clearwater, FL 33765

Directions:

From the north: take US 19 to the Drew St. exit. Turn left (east) on Drew at the stop light and go under the overpass. At the stop light at the Best Buy, turn left onto the service road and follow it BEHIND the Toyota dealership to the stop sign.Turn right. WCP is located in the building on the right.

From the south: take US 19 to the Drew St. exit. Turn right (east) on Drew. At the stop light at the Best Buy, turn left onto the service road and follow it BEHIND the Toyota dealership to the stop sign.Turn right. WCP is located in the building on the right.

From the east: go west on Drew St. to the stop light before the US 19 overpass. At the stop light at the Best Buy, turn right onto the service road and follow it BEHIND the Toyota dealership to the stop sign.Turn right. WCP is located in the building on the right.

From the west: go east on Drew St. to the stop light just beyond the US 19 overpass at Best Buy. At the stop light at the Best Buy, turn left onto the service road and follow it BEHIND the Toyota dealership to the stop sign.Turn right. WCP is located in the building on the right.

http://wp.wcplayers.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Directions-to-WCP.pdf

 

Why Millions of Americans Never Finish College

How can millions of Americans be out of work or stuck in low-wage jobs, while employers leave millions of jobs unfilled each year? A big reason is the nation’s college completion crisis—something that is just beginning to get the national attention it deserves. In fact, less than half of America’s college students ever graduate. And the numbers are worse at community colleges, which are the primary providers of education and training for the 29 million middle-skill jobs that pay middle-class wages.

This isn’t only a problem for the individuals who don’t graduate. It’s a problem for all of us. Without decent jobs with decent pay, people remain trapped in poverty, income inequality persists, and the American promise of opportunity for all can’t be fulfilled.

Well-paying jobs that require only a high school diploma have largely disappeared as automation and globalization continue to transform the economy. By 2020, 65 percent of jobs will require at least some postsecondary education. Community colleges serve close to half of all American students, enrolling 10 million students each year, but just under 20 percent earn an associate’s degree within three years.

Dismal as these numbers are, they don’t reflect the full extent of the problem, since the statistics exclude students enrolled part-time and those who “stop out”—take a break from school to work or care for family and later return to college. There is anecdotal evidence that completion rates for these students are even lower. This means that a large swath of America’s potential workforce isn’t getting the education and training they need to support themselves and their families and climb into the middle class.

There are two central reasons that students don’t complete college, and they typically operate in tandem: inadequate preparation and difficulty navigating college.

High school graduates from high-poverty areas are generally not well prepared for college-level work, so they get assigned to “developmental” (remedial) courses in math and English. Working adults who enroll in community college in an effort to advance their careers face similar hurdles, as their academic skills are typically rusty.

Students may be required to take anywhere from one to three developmental courses, which must be taken sequentially and don’t confer college credit. The delay costs students both time and money—developmental courses use up financial aid, which has a lifetime limit, and don’t count toward a degree—and produces frustration and discouragement. Seventy percent of students assigned to developmental courses never complete college.

The second reason students don’t earn a degree is the difficulty of combining college with other commitments or navigating the higher education system. Close to two-thirds of community college students work to support themselves and their families while in school, and they may be facing homelessness and hunger. Many are single parents, and more than a third are the first in their families to attend college—both factors that can pose major obstacles to graduation.

Because many community college students have had little prior exposure to higher education, they often struggle with all the moving parts that go into completing college successfully: choosing courses that lead to a degree, applying for financial aid, obtaining tutoring or other academic supports, and balancing work and school.

This is not a new problem; it’s been on the radar of educators and policymakers for decades. Our organization, Jobs for the Future (JFF), and its partners have developed some solutions to improve college completion rates nationwide:

Redesigning remedial education

New approaches aim to shorten the time a student spends doing remedial work and make that work relevant to the student’s career goals. Whenever possible, developmental education courses become credit-bearing, speeding the student’s progress toward a degree.

Colleges are also looking for more effective ways to measure academic readiness. Instead of relying on standardized test scores to determine which students need remediation, colleges are using multiple measures, including high school transcripts, teacher evaluations, and conversations between students and advisors.

JFF has worked with Florida, West Virginia, Ohio, and other states to lead a national movement to reform developmental education.

Guided pathways through college

A course catalogue is not unlike an all-you-can-eat buffet: It presents students with a dizzying array of appealing options but provides little guidance on choosing the right courses, in the right order. With only minimal advising available, college students frequently make poor choices and end up with a disjointed collection of credits instead of a degree or the right credits to transfer to a four-year school.

The solution, called “guided pathways,” is like a prix fixe menu. The universe of choices is narrowed and organized into sequences that help a student get and stay on a path to completing a certificate or degree. Guided pathways also include intensive advising and other supports to help students navigate all aspects of college life. JFF provides expertise to institutions and policymakers to promote policies and programs that support guided pathways.

Early college high school

Early college high school prepares low-income students academically and gives them the knowledge and confidence they need to navigate college. Students in these programs take college courses, for credit, in high school, so they reach college academically prepared instead of requiring remediation. Extensive support from teachers and counselors, and lots of exposure to college campuses, culture, and expectations, gives even the most vulnerable students an opportunity to complete college.

Most students (94 percent) in these programs graduate from high school with some college credit, and a third earn an associate’s degree by graduation, allowing them to enroll directly in a four-year college. JFF and our partners have helped start or redesign more than 280 early college schools that currently serve more than 80,000 students nationwide.

Developing these solutions requires a great deal of thoughtful, collaborative effort. Each has taken years—often decades—to develop, and all are works in progress that require significant investment to sustain. Improving college completion rates is slow and costly, but the cost of leaving large swaths of the population behind is far higher.

Starbucks Debuts This Year’s Holiday Cups Available in Stores Now

With Halloween officially over, it’s time to usher in the holiday season. Starbucks is on that wave as they are every year, now unveiling their 2017 holiday cups.

As of this morning at 5 a.m., Starbucks locations across the globe have been stocked with the festive cups, in addition to the ingredients needed to make your drink order extra Christmas-ey.

This year, the Starbucks cups are adorned with black, red and green doodles, livened up by Christmas trees, presents, snowflakes and mugs of hot chocolate.

Again, alongside the holiday cups, Starbucks has also begun serving its familiar cold weather favorites, seemingly including the Gingerbread Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Eggnog Latte and Chestnut Praline Latte.

To further evoke the holiday spirit, the coffeehouse chain is also urging customers to decorate their holiday cups and more importantly, spread random acts of kindness.

VISIT THE BEACH REGULARLY. HERE IS WHY

We all know that spending time outdoors is good for you on both a physical and mental level, but the benefits of spending time specifically to visit the beach regularly, have just been revealed.

That incredible feeling of peace and calmness that you experience at the beach is now being referred to as “blue space.” That’s what scientists have dubbed the effect that the combination of soothing smells and sounds of water have on your brain. The blue space is enough to make you feel at ease in a hypnotic sort of way.

When you notice how relaxed you feel at the beach, it’s not just all in your head. Science says that it’s a change in the way your brain reacts to its environment leaving you feeling happy, relaxed and reenergized.

Overall, this blue space effects you in four different ways.

1. Going to the beach reduces stress

Water is nature’s cure to life’s stressors. It’s full of naturally occurring positive ions that are known for having the ability to make you feel at ease. So whether you jump in for a swim or simply dip your toes in the water, you’re sure to experience a feeling of relaxation. That’s one instant mood booster we could all use from time to time!

2. The beach boosts your creativity

Feeling like you’re in a creative rut? Well, scientists now believe that the solution to this is the beach. Being in blue space allows you to clear your head and approach problems or projects in a more creative way. Much like meditation, the beach triggers a feeling of calmness that allows you to tune everything else out and reflect on what it is you’ve been needing to focus on.

3. Going to the beach can help reduce feelings of depression

Much like the effects that the beach has on feelings of stress and creative ruts, the beach also provides some relief to feelings of depression. The hypnotic sound of the waves in combination with the sight and smells of the beach can put you into a meditative space. In turn, you can clear your mind and reflect on life in a safe space away from the chaos of your daily life.

4. Overall, spending time at the beach will change your perspective on life

And that perspective is going to change for the better! Nature in general has always been a factor in healthy happy lives, but the beach in particular is so good for the soul.

So grab the SPF and pack a picnic, because it’s time to head to the beach!

 

Inside vs. Outside Cruise Cabins: A Cabin Comparison

With so many types of cruise ship cabins in so many different categories, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you, especially if you’re new to cruising. What exactly is the difference between an inside cabin and an outside cabin, anyway? Read on as we compare the differences between interior versus oceanview staterooms, and determine which will serve as your home on the high seas.

Similarities Between Inside and Outside Cabins

When comparing inside versus outside cabins, you will find that both offer beds, bathrooms, desk/vanity combos and closets. You’ll also find standard electronics like a phone, a TV, a safe and a hair dryer.

Most staterooms are meant for double occupancy; there are generally two twin beds that can be combined to form a European king (bigger than a standard queen and smaller than a standard king). Cabins in both categories might also offer pulldown beds or pullout couches to sleep additional passengers.

Bathrooms most commonly have a shower-only setup (no bathtubs). Toilets and sinks with mirrors are standard, as are small shelves for storing toiletries. (Complimentary soap and shampoo are often found in dispensers mounted inside the shower or in hotel-sized bottles.)

In most rooms, closet and drawer space is ample. Shelves offer space to store folded clothes and shoes, and nicer garments can be hung in the closet with the provided hangers.

A desk/vanity area, usually offering a large mirror and additional drawer space, is ideal for checking email on your personal electronics, blow-drying hair and putting on makeup.

Inside Cruise Cabin

Differences Between Outside and Inside Rooms

Oceanview cabins offer just that — views of the ocean. That means these types of staterooms boast either portholes (small, round windows) or picture windows, which let in natural light. The windows don’t open, however, so don’t assume that an outside cabin will also come with ocean sounds or fresh air. Also be aware that some windows can be obstructed by lifeboats and other ship fixtures.

Inside cabins, meanwhile, offer no windows or natural light at all. For that reason, another major difference comes in the form of price: Interior cabins are almost always less expensive. For the most part, there isn’t much of a difference in square footage between the two, but occasionally you might find oceanview cabins on some ships to be slightly larger than their inside counterparts, allowing for additional furniture like couches or chairs.

Outside Cabin

Outside vs. Inside Cruise Cabins

Ultimately, the decision between inside versus outside cruise cabins comes down to whether you want a window. If you absolutely must have natural light or a way to see your external surroundings from your room, an outside cabin is for you. Otherwise, save yourself some cash, and book an inside cabin — especially if you don’t plan on spending much time in your cabin during the day.

 

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These Are the Steps to Building a New Habit

They say that bad habits are hard to break, but don’t say much about what it takes to build good ones that last a lifetime. If you’re looking to get into one (or even several) positive habit(s) but aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few steps that you may find helpful in getting you started.

Implementing a Routine

Whatever habit you’ve decided to nurture, it will require that you sit down, review your daily schedule, and formulate a feasible routine for your new habit. By doing this, you’re less likely to fall prey to excuses like being unable to find the time to commit to the habit, because you’ll have already found a slot for it in your schedule.

Setting Reminders (in the Beginning)

Since it’s something you are trying to get in the habit of doing, you’ll likely need to set reminders for yourself to do so once you have a routine in mind. If, for example, you’d like to start drinking eight cups of water every day, you may want to set several daily reminders to help you follow through on the task. Stick with it, and after some time, it will become habitual, and come to you as naturally as sleeping, eating and breathing.

Developing Discipline Through Incentive

Setting a habit takes willpower and discipline. If you’d like to get into the habit of waking up at the crack of dawn every day, exercising every day, or even taking the time to call a loved one every day, consistency is key. If you have a hard time staying disciplined, incentivize your commitment to habitual behavior. If you manage to wake up at sunrise for seven days in a row (which is quite an accomplishment), on the 8th day, you’re (rightfully) entitled to a treat – perhaps your favorite pint of gelato, or even a little retail therapy.

Constantly Reminding Yourself of the Longterm

It’s easy to lose sight of why you’re embarking on a journey, and it’s usually because the future is an abstract thought. What will your habit bring in the long-term? Maybe it’s happiness, health, success, or some combination of the three – but, as we focus all our energies on simply navigating daily life, the future is difficult to envision in the present. It’s important that you constantly remind yourself why you’d like to build a good habit, and what it will mean for your overall wellbeing in the long run.