A question I get a lot from people who wear clothing is, “Where can I buy clothes that don’t cost too much, but won’t fall apart after the first wash?” As a former vintage clothing reseller and a long-time fashion podcaster, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the very very ugly when it comes to clothing quality.
Sadly, there are very few hard and fast rules to help you figure this out. That’s why I was so pleased to find author Anuschka Rees’ guide to judging the quality of clothing you’re considering buying. You don’t need to be a fabric or sewing expert to apply this guide to your next shopping trip, whether you’re shopping at a vintage boutique or just running to Target. You just need to be able to examine each piece. Here’s what to do:
Look closely if you want clothing that lasts
Rees’ number-one tip is to look at a garment you’re considering in person. I know, that’s not exactly easy for someone who’s shopping online. “You might be able to decide whether you like an item visually just by seeing images, but to really assess its quality you need to be able to inspect it up close, to feel it, check the seams and try it on,” Rees writes.
For some people, the answer to that conundrum is to shop at online retailers that have generous return policies. But others may want to skip the online shopping guessing game and do more of their shopping in person.
If you’re thinking, “I don’t have good stores where I live,” that probably isn’t as much of a factor as you’d fear. I’ve heard from several stylists recently that brands that were once their go-to choices for clients seeking quality are no longer a guarantee—instead, they too have to inspect seams and stretch fabrics garment by garment to judge quality. The global scale of clothing manufacturing means that your $3.99 t-shirt from one brand might be made in the same factory that makes your $65 khaki work pants from another brand and your $200 wool pea coat from yet another.
So think like a stylist and examine every piece before you decide to buy it, or, if you’re shopping online, decide to keep it.
But before you do, keep in mind that you don’t need to whip out a magnifying glass every time you go shopping just out of principle. “Not every single thing in your closet needs to last 20 years. Not every single sock you own needs to be made from merino wool,” Rees says. “Decide which items you do want to invest a bit more time (and money) in and which you don’t mind replacing after a couple of seasons.”
In the meantime, Rees also has a cheat sheet to basic questions to ask. Check it out below (you can download it as a PDF, too).
The brand name of your vehicle’s tires is splashed loud and proud across the side so everyone can see that you only trust Bridgestone or Michelin or Hankook. (Okay, to be fair, it’s also helpful if you’re buying a used car because you can see pretty quickly whether the tires match.) But if you look a little closer, you’ll also see a series of numbers and letters that seem to tell you something. If only you knew what that something was.
Reddit user u/SirBluw posted a guide to help us out, and we learned a few things from it. These numbers give us the wheel’s width (in millimeters) and its inner diameter (in inches). It also gives us the manufacturing date—a four digit number that means the XX week of YY year. (So, 0317 doesn’t mean March of 2017; it means the third week of 2017. This is also helpful to check when buying a used car.)
This diagram has some shortcomings, though. It identifies the DOT number, but what does DOT mean? Well, “DOT” stands for Department of Transportation, and the letters and numbers that follow DOT give us the manufacturing location, tire size and manufacturer’s code, along with the manufacturing date I mentioned earlier. Thank you, TireRack.com.
It also tells us that “V” is the speed rating, but what does “V” stand for? “Very fast,” according to some giggly Reddit commenters. And really, they’re not wrong. The “V” doesn’t really stand for anything, but you can drive up to 149 miles per hour on a V tire, according to Bridgestone—not that we would recommend such a thing.
If you want to dive in even further, U.S. News & World Report has a slideshow that gives you more juicy tidbits about your tires, including how much weight they can carry and why the aspect ratio matters (a low number means it’s a low-profile tire, such as those found on higher-performance cars).
One thing to keep in mind: If you’re getting ready to replace your tires, don’t rely solely on the numbers on your existing tires to guide your purchase; those could be replacement tires that don’t fully align with the vehicle’s needs. Check your vehicle owner’s manual for true specifications.
Everyone needs a good pair of jeans. If you know what I mean, head over to Levi’s, where sale styles are currently an extra 40% off with promo code LASTCALL. The sale includes styles for men, women, and kids, so truly everyone can dive into some new, discounted denim.
When your kid does something you’re not pleased with, it’s easy to connect the behavior to their identity.
“You always interrupt people. Please stop.”
“Look at this table. You’re so disorganized.”
“You left your water bottle at camp again? Such a forgetful child!”
Even if your intent is to make them more self-aware, these phrases and labels can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Dr. Shahram Heshmat, who writes the “Science of Choice” column for Psychology Today, explains: “Children come to define themselves in terms of how they think their parents see them.”
A way to address negative behavior in a way that breaks the cycle is to use this phrase: “That’s not like you.”
Rebecca Eanes, author of Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, writes for the Hand in Hand blog that this approach is about building children up instead of tearing them down. She gives the example: “Wow, you must be upset to speak to me like that. It’s not like you to be disrespectful. Let’s talk when you’re feeling ready.”
Kids are aggressively looking for clues about who they are. (This is why toddlers as young as two or three become obsessed with spotting differences in people: “I’m a boy; she’s a girl. I have brown hair; he has yellow hair.”) As parents, we can guide them to be more kind, brave, helpful, honest, resilient and self-disciplined, but to do so, we must work to bring them back to those values, which are already locked into their core selves. Behavior that falls outside of these values is a deviation (yes, even if that behavior has been happening every night for the past six weeks). When we see it this way, it’s easier to get to the root of the issue. (“It’s not like you to leave out your little sister. You’re an includer. I’m here if you want to share what’s going on.”) You can still give your kid consequences with the assumption that you’re on the same team.
I try to use this type of framing with my six-year-old daughter. This weekend, when we bought a birthday gift for her friend and she immediately told me she wanted to keep it for herself and give her friend a random toy from the closet, I could have said something like, “Well, that’s a little selfish.” Instead, I told her, “What? You’re always so thoughtful.” She let go of the idea of keeping the gift pretty quickly.
Framing your kid’s misbehavior as uncharacteristic might be hard and may even seem a little disingenuous at first (especially when the behavior feels so characteristic), but as that Peggy O’Mara quote that’s all over Pinterest goes: “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” For us parents, that can be a terrifying thought, and a powerful truth.
In terms of texture, taste, and pure decadence, fried bread is better than toast. Rather than sit atop, the fat soaks in, crisping and coating every inch of your bread. I usually fry my bread in leftover bacon grease, but a new fat is brightening my morning, and that fat is schmaltz.
Schmaltz-fried bread, which I recently enjoyed immensely as part of the “breads and spreads” at this restaurant, is perhaps the easiest way to bring joy to your morning. The rendered chicken fat brings a rich, savory, slightly smoky flavor to your breakfast, making it a great pairing for a simple poached egg (or an egg fried in more schmaltz). If chicken fat and an egg seems a little heavy, know schmaltz bread is heavenly with a simple swipe of tart jam (such as cherry) or preserves.
For the bread, thick slices of rye are truly something special here, but any thick bread will do. (However, if all you have is white sandwich bread, it is not—by any means—the end of the world.) Just melt a tablespoon of schmaltz in a pan for each slice of bread, then fry the slices over medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side until they’re golden and crispy. Strain any excess fat through a sieve into a jar or crock; you don’t want to waste a drop.
Less than a year after launching its not-quite-a-savings-account Smart Saver product, popular robo-advisor Betterment is taking big steps towards becoming a real bank by introducing two new services: true savings accounts, and free checking accounts.
The former is replacing Betterment’s Smart Saver program, which was basically just a rebranded investing account that only invested in bonds. The new Betterment Everyday Savings account is more of a vanilla savings product, albeit with very high yields. You can withdraw from it at any time, and unlike Smart Saver, you’ll be able to get your money in 1-2 business days, and your cash will be FDIC insured up to $1,000,000.
All Smart Saver accounts will be automatically converted into Everyday Savings accounts within 30 days, but you can initiate the switch early by logging into your account. Just note that when the transition occurs, Betterment will be selling all of your Smart Saver holdings, which could result in tax implications. Betterment claims that 99% of account holders will owe less than $100 as a result of the change, with an overall average tax bill of around $4.
The current APY (the annualized returns minus Betterment’s .25% management fee) is currently set at 2.42%, which is much higher than the vast majority of savings accounts, and in fact is higher than the current 2% APY on Betterment Smart Saver accounts. That said, if you sign up for the waitlist for Betterment’s new checking product (more on that below), you’ll get access to a promotional 2.68% rate through the end of 2019. That’s currently the highest savings rate on the market, according to Bankrate, and it’s especially impressive considering that there are no minimum balance requirements.
Objectively an extremely pretty debit cardScreenshot: Betterment
Later this year, Betterment will also start offering FDIC-insured (up to $250,000) checking accounts for the first time. It doesn’t appear as though these accounts will accrue any interest, but they also won’t be charged a management fee.
Similar to other online-first and online-only banks, the Betterment Everyday Checking product will include free withdrawals from any ATM worldwide, no account fees, no overdraft fees, and no minimum balance requirements. You’ll also get a very pretty looking Visa debit card.
There’s no official launch date yet for Betterment Everyday Checking, but there’s no downside to signing up for the waitlist to access that higher savings rate for 2019.
It’s important to keep your iPhone and iPad’s software up to date—even if the old devices you still use aren’t going to be eligible for the upcoming iOS/iPadOS 13. In fact, sometimes it’s the older phones and tablets in Apple’s hardware line that see the most critical updates.
Apple recently alerted users that iPhone and iPad models introduced in 2012 or earlier will need to to be updated before November 3 to avoid a “GPS time rollover” issue that could mess up your device’s location-tracking and date/time features. These bugs could also affect numerous apps and services, such as syncing data to your iCloud or grabbing your latest email.
The specific iOS devices that need to be updated are:
Third and fourth-generation iPad
First-generation iPad Mini
If your iPad is wifi only, not wifi and cellular, your device doesn’t need to be updated. Also, any iOS devices that are newer than what’s on this list don’t need to be updated—you’re fine.
If you have an iPhone 5 or a fourth-generation iPad, you’ll need to make sure your device is updated to iOS 10.3.4. Owners of all other devices on that list should update their devices to iOS 9.3.6. You can check your device’s iOS version by going to Settings > General > About. The iOS version number will be displayed next to “Software Version.”
If you find that any of your older iOS devices need to be updated, the easiest way to do so is over wifi. Make sure your device has a good connection to your home network and:
Go to Settings > General > Software Update, then tap “Download and Install.” (If iOS asks for permission to temporarily uninstall apps so you can download the update data, tap “yes.” The apps will be reinstalled after the update is completed.)
Tap “Install” to begin the update. (You can also opt to “Install Tonight,” if you prefer to run the update at a more convenient time.)
Enter your password if prompted, and then let the update run. Your device will reboot once the installation is complete.
Check your device’s version number again after the update finishes to make sure you’re running the correct version of iOS.
Not everyone has the time to follow politics as closely as others. That doesn’t mean your should ignore what’s happening in the big run-up to the 2020 elections because it’s too much to handle. Instead, let a site like Categorized Tweets give you a helping hand.
As its name implies, Categorized Tweets is an incredibly useful web-based tool that allows you to quickly see any tracked politician’s tweets across nine major issues: gun laws, the economy, race relations, foreign policy, immigration, education, LGBTQ, healthcare, and climate change.
Before you blast me in the comments, I picked a random politician on the site. If it is not a politician you are voting for, I am sorry for upsetting your experience.Screenshot: David Murphy (Categorized Tweets)
Each representative (or candidate) gets a profile on the site, and you can drill down to see exactly what they’ve been tweeting within that subject category by clicking on it. In other words, you’re only two clicks away from viewing what any politician has said on Twitter (within the last month) about a topic that matters a lot to you.
Not only is Categorized Tweets a great tool for playing catch-up in the political space, but it’s also useful if you only care about what your elected representatives have been up to. Input your zip code, and you’ll get a list of politicians that represent you in some way—at the national, state, and local levels. You can also search by address, if you want to narrow (or expand) the list even more.
Screenshot: David Murphy
There’s no way to drill down to what every politician (or every politician you care about) is saying regarding a particular stance, but that’s probably for the best. At that point, you might as well just run a regular search on Twitter for whatever issue you’re interested in—or read the paper.
It’s easy to find movies to download or stream illegally, but there’s no need to any more. If you can’t find anything good on Netflix or Hulu, there are thousands of great free or public domain films to enjoy. Here are some great sites to bookmark and visit when you want something new to watch.
Many films are available on multiple free services at once, so if your movie has too many commercial interruptions or a low resolution, search for it on another service.
The streaming services Kanopy and Hoopla both have a large selection of high-quality movies—Kanopy carries the Criterion Collection—but they’re only available if your local library system has a subscription. (The New York and Brooklyn library systems recently dropped Kanopy due to high license prices.) Check on either site to see if your local system carries them.
While many titles are restricted to paying members, some of PBS’s online selection (taken from its TV programming) is available free online, including a series of film school shorts. You might remember sitting down to ad-free shows on your local PBS station, but you’ll have to watch some short commercials before the free TV episodes and short films here.
Free streaming site Tubi offers movies (and some TV shows) from several major studios with minimal (sometimes zero) advertising. The catch is that—judging by a spot-check—desktop streaming is limited to SD resolutions.
The wide range of titles includes What Dreams May Come, Harold and Maude, Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Heathers, Up in Smoke, Chef, Bad Santa, and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. There are several genre lists to help you browse the large catalog, and there’s even a dedicated section called “Not on Netflix.” Tubi is available for desktop and most major streaming devices.
MoviesFoundOnline collects free films, independent films, stand-up comedy, TV shows, and other media freely available around the web. From full films to indie TV series to classic film, you can browse the site’s categories across the top—like short films, documentaries, viral videos, or comedy to name a few—to find something you’re interested in specifically. Once you get past some nasty pop-up ads, highlights are as varied as Gone With the Wind, 6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park, Starship Troopers, Shadow of Mordor, and Face/Off.
It’s worth pointing out that since MoviesFoundOnline doesn’t upload or host the media themselves, some of it may wind up vanishing if there’s a copyright claim, but they do host a lot of great, freely available, and difficult to find movies and TV recordings that would otherwise fall by the wayside of time.
Paid streaming service Vudu has a free section, with an assortment of recognizable movies floating among less familiar titles. You’ll need to sign up for a free account (no credit card needed) and sit through some ads, and some movies are only available in SD. But in return you can see over 4,500 movies for free on your computer, phone, or streaming device.
Current popular titles (mostly concentrated on the 80s and 90s, where the rights have gotten cheaper) include Shakespeare in Love, Batman, This Is Spinal Tap, Multiplicity, Clerks, The Boondock Saints, Little Giants, Paddington, and District 9.
Many free streaming services are packed with movies you’ve never heard of, so you need to sift through them or find the “Most Popular” section to get to the good stuff. But IMDb TV, a free portal for watching TV and movies, focuses on recognizable titles. You’ll have to make a free IMDb account and watch occasional ads, though these include inoffensive remnant ads for other Amazon products.
IMDb TV is available on desktop, Amazon Fire TV devices, and streaming devices with the Prime Video app. Current titles include Memento, Donnie Darko, Funny Girl, The Cable Guy, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Moon, La La Land, A Knight’s Tale, My Girl, Jerry Maguire, and The NeverEnding Story.
If you’d rather download than stream, Public Domain Torrents is the place to go. As you’d expect, a number of the available films are pretty old, but many are cinematic classics, and they’re all completely free to download.
Best of all, many of the films here are available in versions optimized or encoded for specific mobile devices. Or you can grab the highest quality download and do the encoding yourself.
TopDocumentaryFilms has tons of documentaries broken up by category, from war and global conflict and crime to health and environment, and so on. It’s a little easier to navigate, and the site has a community of users who provide ratings for each film and can comment on them so you have an idea of what you’re in for before you watch. If you’d like a starting point, check out their top 100 documentary list to see what people are watching, or check the front page for their featured films.
They’re more of an aggregator than a host, and their content is pulled from YouTube, Vimeo, and other sources, but that makes them a convenient one-stop shop for what you want to see.
If the name doesn’t give it away immediately, Classic Cinema Online is ideal for those classic movie buffs who love the era of black and white films and artistically painted movie posters. Highlights include The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Thin Man, Reefer Madness, and Heidi.
If you’re looking for something specific, you can sort by category using the menu in the upper right, check out the serials available, or just check out the old, super classic silent films from the menu up there too. If you love old movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood, this site is for you. And if you prefer old-time television, check out its sister site Classic Television Online.
With thousands of free TV shows and movies, and names and titles you’ll probably recognize, PopcornFlix is owned and operated by Screen Media Ventures, an independent distributor of TV shows and media to the television market—which means they have access and rights to tons of shows. The service prides itself on the fact that none of its programs or movies are more than two clicks away, and they’re all completely free to watch on your computer, or through their mobile apps or other supported devices.
Popular movies on PopcornFlix include American Beauty, Wrath of Khan, Mouse Hunt, Chinatown, Ordinary People, Wonder Boys, Night of the Living Dead, The Virgin Suicides, and Clue.
Owned by Sony (which is why there’s so much to watch), Crackle is often overlooked when people discuss free streaming media on the web, but it’s present on a number of mobile devices and set-top boxes. You do have to sign up for an account, but once you do you can create a watchlist, get recommendations on what to watch based on the things you like, and browse the full library of TV shows and movies, including the films Adaptation, Bottle Rocket, The Craft, Drive, Fight Club, Julie & Julia, and Stand By Me, and TV series like Bewitched, The Critic, Just Shoot Me!, and NewsRadio. There are also fun B movies like Boa vs. Python.
That’s part of the beauty of Crackle: You’ll absolutely find movies you’ve heard of, shows you actually want to watch, and more, and it’s all free—as long as you’re willing to watch occasional commercials.
Vimeo is most certainly second to YouTube when it comes to size and popularity, but it’s still a great video upload service for short film and independent filmmakers, and for people who want the freedom and flexibility of a mobile-friendly, HD-capable upload service with great privacy and video management controls and an upbeat community of users.
For those folks just looking for something great to watch, Vimeo’s Staff Picks is full of gems that run the gamut from drama to documentary to science fiction and back again. Best of all, you can either grab the Vimeo mobile apps to take your movies with you, or stream Vimeo films directly to your TV through your Chromecast, Roku, Xbox, Amazon Fire, or Apple TV.
No list of free TV shows and movies would be complete without YouTube, and not because of the sheer volume of ripped and pirated media available there. In fact, YouTube is home to a ton of freely-published movies and TV shows, many of which are YouTube originals, and others that are available via Creative Commons or shared in the public domain. YouTube collects free feature films inside its Movies section, including Hackers, Dances With Wolves, Meatballs, UHF, and The Blair Witch Project.
Many YouTube originals have vanished behind the paid curtain of YouTube Red, but there are still plenty to be found, and lots of entertaining shows and movies. For example, the Daily Dot lists 45 free classic films, and the Full Movies on YouTube subreddit lists new free movies every day.
The Internet Archive is a repository for all sorts of things, and while you probably know it for the ever-useful Wayback Machine, it’s also great for public domain films, independent media, TV broadcasts and newsreels, and other media that you’re free to use and remix on your own as well as sit back and enjoy for yourself.
There are plenty of movies, organized by category like sci-fi, horror, or film noir, but also art films, educational videos and films, special collections that were made available to the Internet Archive for posterity, documentaries, and even stock footage. It’s not the most easily browse-able, or organized for non-computer screens, and good luck getting that video on a bigger screen unless you download it first, but it’s certainly a treasure trove.
Popular titles include Plan 9 From Outer Space, Gulliver’s Travels, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Carnival of Souls, several Charlie Chaplin films, and Sex Madness.
This story was originally published on 07/02/16 and was updated on 7/23/19 to provide more thorough and current information.
Libra hasn’t even officially debuted on Facebook yet, but the highly anticipated cryptocurrency has already gotten a ton of interests—from scammers. In fact, it’s hard to tell who is more interested in Libra at this point: those looking to make a quick buck from cajoling you to jump in early so you can be a Bitcoin-esqe billionaire, or federal regulators who have plenty of concerns about Facebook’s track record with, well, everything.
According to a new report from The Washington Post, you’re likely to find plenty of Libra-themed offers on Facebook itself. This includes groups or pages claiming to be the “official” source for all things Libra—which is, of course, inaccurate. You might see offers asking you to sign up, or contribute your own money, so you can be the first to get your hands on some Libra. You might even see lots of altruistic offers, where you’ll be guaranteed to get early Libra if you visit a few specific sites or, worse, download and run a particular app.
No, no, no.
The best thing you can do right now regarding Libra, or its Calibra wallet, is to wait. Nothing is happening that you need to worry about. You will not miss out on a great virtual gold rush, nor an easy ticket to billions, because you didn’t take advantage of some random offer you saw for free (or early) Libra.
Libra is not Bitcoin
Do not do this.Screenshot: David Murphy
If you’ve looked into Libra at all, you should know that the cryptocurrency is designed to be non-volatile. In other words, its price will fluctuate—compared to, say, the US dollar—but don’t expect a Bitcoin-like rocket ship to riches. It is as likely as a catastrophic meteor strike that the $100 worth of Libra you want to buy when it debuts will suddenly become $1M in a year’s time. Nor will you be able to even mine Libra yourself; that’s all done by the Libra Association, and it’s all based around market demand for the cryptocurrency.
So, if someone is trying to sell you hard on a mining app or an expensive rig, ignore it. In fact, if someone is trying to sell you Libra right now, ignore it. Plenty of people are playing on the Libra testnet, but nothing happening there is backed by any real-world assets. You are not going to get extra Libra as part of any special pre-sale offers. Please do not exchange your actual cash, or other valuable cryptocurrency, for “early access” to Libra because you’re afraid you’re going to miss out on a valuation surge.
Don’t get duped by early Libra sellers
If you want to learn more about Libra or the Calibra wallet, these are the two official sites you should care about:
This is not an official Libra website.Screenshot: David Murphy
“Roughly a dozen fake accounts, pages and groups scattered across Facebook and its photo-sharing app Instagram present themselves as official hubs for the digital currency, in some cases offering to sell Libra at a discount if viewers visit potentially fraudulent, third-party websites.
A number of fake Facebook and Instagram accounts were removed Monday after The Washington Post alerted Facebook to their spread.
The spread of fakes — and Facebook’s inability to detect them on its own — could undermine Facebook-backed efforts to inspire confidence and satisfy the regulators now scrutinizing the newly proposed global currency. Many of the fakes included Facebook’s logo, photos of Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg or Libra’s official marketing imagery.”
If you’re getting bombarded with Libra-themed emails, be wary about the offers or applications they promote. Though there’s not much for an attacker to phish right now, since neither Libra nor the Calibra wallet have even been officially released yet, there are plenty of reasons why unscrupulous parties would love to get their hands on your typical login information (or install ransomware or malware on your system). As Bitcoin’s official website advises:
“Hackers have become very creative at finding ways to steal from people. When sending bitcoin, always be sure to double or triple check the address you’re sending to. Some malware programs, once installed, will change bitcoin addresses when they’re pasted from a user’s clipboard, so that all of the bitcoin unknowingly gets sent to the hacker’s address instead. Since there is little chance of reversing a bitcoin transaction once it’s confirmed by the network, noticing this after the fact means it’s too late and most likely can’t be recovered. It’s a good idea to be super-cautious about what programs you allow to have administrator access on your devices.”
I absolutely understand the anxiety many people likely had the minute Facebook announced Libra. These same people probably read countless stories about Bitcoin billionaires, or maybe even had a friend who found 100 bitcoins sitting on an old hard drive and is now buying a mansion from the proceeds.
My best advice for Libra is this: This cryptocurrency is not a get-rich-quick scheme, an easy “IPO” of sorts you can take advantage of to be filthy rich in a few years. Do not treat it like a golden ticket. Those attempting to entice you to get involved with Libra at the ground floor are looking to become rich themselves—from scamming people who don’t know any better.