Friday, July 27, 2007

Take Her Away


She wants Maui sun; you'd rather explore Roman ruins.

THE FIX "Find somewhere you'll both be thrilled to visit," says Reid Bramblett, founder of the trip-planning Web site (He suggests the Mayan Riviera as a solution to the duel above.) Trumping or caving in to her plans will create tension that can fester during the trip.

THE FINISHING TOUCH Set aside time to enjoy day trips or events solo; recap over dinner.

You're going on a 3-day vacation; she packs for 2 weeks.

THE FIX Instead of complaining about her cargo, help her control the two biggest variables: weather and occasion. Provide her with a week's worth of forecasts and a List of activities, and she'll be less likely to overpack.

THE FINISHING TOUCH Ship her luggage ahead using FedEx ground; you'll pay only $17 on a 20-pound bag. Lighten your own luggage with the checklist at

You'd like to whisk her away, but you can't foot the bill.

THE FIX Spring for day trips or dinners, but agree on the larger expenses before you leave, says Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., a marriage therapist in San Francisco. And create a trip fund to cover airfare and hotel.

THE FINISHING TOUCH Let your chivalry shine in more-romantic ways: Call ahead to the concierge to arrange to have champagne and flowers waiting in your hotel room.

A frenzied departure schedule threatens to sour your takeoff.

THE FIX Polish off preparations at least 24 hours before your flight leaves. And avoid flights before 10 a.m., when traffic is worst, suggests Bramblett. Arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes early and kill time separately--by looking at magazines at a kiosk or getting lost in a book.

THE FINISHING TOUCH Schedule a car or limo service for pickup and arrival. You'll avoid the hefty long-term parking fees, and the driver's blaring horn makes for an effective backup alarm clock.

You're in Mexico. You're lost. No hablas español.

THE FIX Forget Berlitz. "Just mention the biggest, most famous spot in town and slap a question mark at the end," says Bramblett. Or grab your hotel's business card when you head out for the day. Show it to a cabbie and he'll get you home.

THE FINISHING TOUCH Learn six phrases in the country's language: "Yes," "No," "Please," "Thank you," "Excuse me," and "Do you speak English?" Foreigners are much more likely to help if they see you're attempting their native tongue.

By Matt Bean

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Score a second, home

Waterfront property doesn't come cheap--in the United States, at least. The best deals on entry-level dream vacation homes are outside our borders, says Tim Leffel, author of Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune. Five leads:

Bay Islands, Honduras

An acre of land with panoramic Caribbean views on Roatan, the largest island, recently sold for just $39,000. Smaller neighboring islands offer even deeper discounts.
Why buy here?

White sand; coral reefs; tropical, forests; weekly direct flights from Houston, Atlanta, and Miami
Cabarete, Dominican Republic

A two-bedroom condominium in this Caribbean paradise went for $100,000 recently, while a quarter acre of undeveloped land on the beach in neighboring Sousa fetched $76,000.
Why buy here?

Three hours from New York airports; great snorkeling; vibrant nightlife
Punta Gorda, Belize

Belize boasts a 180-mile-long barrier reef, the second largest in the world. Five acres near this sleepy fishing and farming village will, run about $180,000; you'll be front and center for the annual chocolate festival,
Why buy here?

Limestone caves; rain forests; tropical birds; Mayan ruins; great fishing
Black Sea coast, Bulgaria

Situated just above Greece and Turkey, Bulgaria has 220 miles of nearly untouched beaches along its Black Sea coast. "These were communist beach towns that the Russians used to visit," says Leffel.
Why buy here?

Stable democracy; growing economy; unrivaled growth potential

A stew of tiny lakes in this province have a backwoods feel, without being too remote. Lakefront properties--near Saskatoon, population 220,000--start as low as $50,000 for raw land and $75,000 for summer cottages.
Why buy here?

English-speaking; close to airport; solid protection-of-property rights


Marco, San Jose, TX

Only if you take out a loon together. Keep your credit clean by applying solo for oar and house loans, unless you want to form a tong-term credit union. In that case, do damage control Open a joint credit-card account, use it as your primary account, pay on time, and keep the balance tow, Her credit could improve in as tittle as 3 years and be clean in less than 7, according to credit rater Experian.

Luke, Arlington Heights, IL

Sometimes it makes sense to take the plunge when no one else wants to. I like the Web site, which flags homes where nervous sellers have cut their prices, Make sure the mortgage payment is affordable--no more than the third of your gross pay. And make sure you plan on staying put for at least 5 years. That's enough time to ride out most short-term market corrections.

Want a more established getaway? We compare your two cheapest options.




A week or 2 in an apartment or villa in a large condo complex with high turnover

A house or villa with friends or strangers, using a Realtor


$15,000. But deals as much as 25 percent cheaper can be had by buying directly from owners



Between $500 end $1,000 in annual fees

Annual maintenance: between 3 and 5 percent of your total share price


Flexibility: You can trade your week for another spot anywhere in the world.

Up to 2 months of R & R. Plus, as a partial owner, you cash in when the property appreciates.


Use it or lose it. "Chances are it will depreciate," says Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of the American Resort Development Association.

You're locked into one vacation spot, and the other owners can be a negative. Hire an attorney to help draft your contract and request credit checks.

By Matt Krantz

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Harry Potter Mania (Funny Pictures)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bran Muffins

The couple were 85 years old, and had been married for sixty years. Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because they watched their pennies.

Though not young, they were both in very good health, largely due to the wife's insistence on healthy foods (LOTS of bran muffins for their fiber) and exercise for the last decade.

One day, their good health didn't help when they went on a rare vacation and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven.*

They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter escorted them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath**. ** A maid could be seen hanging their favorite clothes in the closet.

They gasped in astonishment when he said, 'Welcome to Heaven. This will be your home now.' *

The old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. 'Why, nothing,' Peter replied, 'remember, this is your reward in Heaven.'

The old man looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built on Earth.

'What are the greens fees?', grumbled the old man.

'This is heaven,' St. Peter replied. 'You can play for free, every day.'*

Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exotic deserts, free flowing beverages.

'Don't even ask,' said St. Peter to the man 'This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy.'

The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife.

'Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods, and the decaffeinated tea?' he asked.

'That's the best part,' St. Peter replied. 'You can eat and drink as much as you like of whatever you like, and you will never get fat or sick.

This is Heaven!' *

The old man pushed, 'No gym to work out at?'

'Not unless you want to,' was the answer.

'No testing my sugar or blood pressure or...'

'Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself.'*

The old man glared at his wife and said, 'You and your bran muffins. We could have been here ten years ago!

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Gold Medalist

Three women were sitting around talking about their sex lives.

The first said, "I think my husband's like a championship golfer. He's spent the last ten years perfecting his stroke."

The second woman said, "My husband's like the winner of the Indy 500. Every time we get into bed he gives me several hundred exciting laps."

The third woman was silent until she was asked, "Tell us about your husband."

She thought for a moment and said, "My husband's like an Olympic gold-medal-winning quarter-miler."

"How so?"

"He's got his time down to under 40 seconds."

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hi All!!!

Hi All!!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Funny Cat

Funny Cat (Funny Pics)

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