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2017-02-22-2For anyone considering a move out of state, here’s a ranking of 2017’s Best & Worst States to Raise a Family by WalletHub, a personal finance site.

In order to determine the best states in which to put down family roots, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 40 key indicators of family-friendliness. Our data set ranges from “median family salary” to “housing affordability” to “unemployment rate.”

Best States for Families Worst States for Families
1 North Dakota 42 Alabama
2 New Hampshire 43 West Virginia
3 Vermont 44 Georgia
4 Minnesota 45 Arizona
5 Nebraska 46 Alaska
6 Massachusetts 47 Nevada
7 New Jersey 48 Louisiana
8 Iowa 49 District of Columbia
9 Connecticut 50 Mississippi
10 South Dakota 51 New Mexico

Best vs. Worst

  • Wyoming has the highest median family annual income (adjusted for cost of living), $79,732, which is 1.7 times higher than in Hawaii, where it is lowest at $48,111.
  • Utah has the lowest divorce rate, 16.22 percent, which is 1.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where it is highest at 29.81 percent.
  • Wyoming has the lowest share of families receiving food stamps, 6.17 percent, which is 3.6 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where it is highest at 22.01 percent.
  • New Hampshire has the lowest share of families living below poverty level, 5.6 percent, which is 3.1 times lower than in Mississippi, where it is highest at 17.6 percent.
  • Mississippi has the lowest child-care costs (adjusted for median family income), 6.16 percent, which is 2.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where they are highest at 17.41 percent.
  • California has the lowest infant-mortality rate, 4.30 percent, which is two times lower than in Alabama, where it is highest at 8.68 percent.
  • Vermont has the lowest violent-crime rate per 1,000 residents, 1.18, which is 10.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where it is highest at 12.69.

To view the full report and your state or the District’s rank, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-raise-a-family/31065/

What's for Dinner LA?

culinaryfightclub Culinary Fight Club, the popular food sport event series, announces its expansion into 12 new cities in 2017, with a fresh list of competition series scheduled and key sponsors returning to add to the exciting year. Chefs will now battle in 17 markets, including Chicago, Omaha, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Boston, Knoxville, Johnson City, Pittsburgh, Virginia Beach, Charlotte, Twin Cities, Kansas City, Montgomery, Charlotte, Charleston, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Los Angeles!

Culinary Fight Club competitions will be title-sponsored by Reinhart Foodservice, as the official pantry sponsor in 11 of 17 markets. The pantry provides fresh ingredients that allow the competitors the opportunity to battle for the best dish.

“We are excited to continue to grow our relationship with Culinary Fight Club,” says Eric Cronert, Vice President Marketing and Communications, Reinhart Foodservice. “Partnering with organizations like Culinary Fight Club allows us to be part of the food sports movement and local food…

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Heal the Bay non-profit environmental group leads effort, with after party to follow

trash-on-the-beachThis Saturday, February 18, a thousand volunteers of all ages in the Los Angeles community will mobilize to partake in the cleanup of Venice Beach organized by Gran Centenario Tequila’s Angels On Earth program. In support of Heal the Bay in an effort to protect their coastline and revitalize their urban waterways, real life “angels” will meet up at Venice Beach Pier to work together to rid Venice Beach of trash and other pollutants.

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Following the event, those who are 21 and over will be honored at Cabo Cantina with an “after party” cocktail event featuring Gran Centenario specialty cocktails and bites.

Gran Centenario’s Angels on Earth Program 2017 kicked off on December 14, 2016 with a grand event hosted by notable actor Edgar Ramirez. to support the cleanup of LA bays and beaches in conjunction with Heal The Bay — a nonprofit environmental group working to restore Venice Beach. Over the years, Gran Centenario and the “Angels on Earth” program have partnered with organizations across education, the arts and neighborhood groups to honor real life “Angels” and individuals for their acts of service. Past supporters have included Christina Milian, Ryan Phillippe and Brody Jenner.

The Angels on Earth program is set to travel to other cities throughout 2017 with focuses on the individual cities needs with the help of Gran Centenario Tequila.  Interested “Angels” can visit http://grancentenario.com/angels-on-earth/ for additional details of what’s to come in their respective cities.

Representing Mexico’s first centenary independence from Spain, the Gran Centenario Angel of Victory is proudly displayed on each and every bottle and is a perfect symbol for the program. The shared actions of perseverance and commitment provide the opportunity to help those in need in the Los Angeles community while simultaneously honoring the heritage and the respect they all proudly share.

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“Shelfies” and “Shellebrations” bring attention to plight of world’s oldest creatures and their disappearing habitats American Tortoise Rescue, a nonprofit organizatio…

Source: World Turtle Day approaches, slowly

“Shelfies” and “Shellebrations” bring attention to plight of world’s oldest creatures and their disappearing habitats

where-have-all-the-turtles-gone-2-728American Tortoise Rescue, a nonprofit organization established in 1990 for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle, is celebrating its 17th annual World Turtle Day® on May 23rd. The day was created by ATR to celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. Now celebrated around the globe, turtle and tortoise lovers are taking “shellfies” and holding “shellebrations” in the US, Canada, Pakistan, Borneo, India, Australia, the UK and many other countries.

ATR launched World Turtle Day to increase respect and knowledge for the world’s oldest creatures. These gentle animals have been around for 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of smuggling, the exotic food industry, habitat destruction, global warming and the cruel pet trade. It is a very sad time for turtles and tortoises of the world.  (See slide show here.)

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Biologists and other experts predict the disappearance of turtles and tortoises within the next 50 years. Adults and children can do a few small things that can help save turtles and tortoises for future generations.

  • Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured.
  • If a tortoise is crossing a busy highway, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again.
  • Write letters to legislators asking them to keep sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off road vehicles and to prevent off shore drilling that can lead to endangered sea turtle deaths.
  • Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild.
  • Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter.
  • Report the use of tiny turtles as prizes at carnivals and other events.  It’s illegal.
  • Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise of any kind less than four inches.  It is illegal to buy and sell them throughout the U.S.where-have-all-the-turtles-gone-4-728

ATR’s ultimate goal is to stop the illegal trade in turtles and tortoises around the world. The first priority here in the U.S. is to ask pet stores and reptile shows to stop the sale of hatchling tortoises and turtles without proper information for the buyer. For example, many people buy sulcata tortoises as an impulse buy because they are so adorable when they are tiny. The breeders and pet stores frequently do not tell the buyers that this tortoise can grow to 100 pounds or more and needs constant heat throughout the year since they do not hibernate.

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ATR also educates people and schools about the real risk of contracting salmonella from water turtles. Wash hands thoroughly every time you touch a turtle or its water, and do not bring turtles into schools or homes where children are under the age of 12.

img_4591“I don’t want a huge stack of pancakes,”  said no kid ever. And IHop listened. For kids of all ages, IHOP is holding its much-anticipated annual promotion of all-you-can-eat pancakes, through February 12.

 

Our family headed out to our neighborhood IHOP to indulge. The promotion features one price for a stack of five of IHOP’s famous original buttermilk pancakes, and then you can order more pancakes to your heart’s content.

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Another option is to order a combo with favorite breakfast sides like sausage, bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns, which come with a two-stack of pancakes, which can be replenished on demand.

The only thing kids love more than a great stack of pancakes in front of them is pouring on flavored syrups, like good old-fashioned maple flavored syrup or more exotic varieties, like blueberry,  strawberry, or butter pecan.

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IHOP has been a family favorite of ours since I was a little kid, and in fact they’ve been doing this for nearly 60 years, so they pretty much have gotten this down pat.

Here’s a fun fact: The IHOP original buttermilk pancakes, which happened to be one of the most popular menu items, selling more than 700 million each year at the chain’s more than 1,700 restaurants across the world.

Here’s an even  more meaningful statistic: since 2005 IHOP as raise more than $24 million for cherries that focus on the well-being of families and children and address critical issues like health and hunger.

So take your family, take your appetite, and hurry to get all you can eat pancakes before the promotion runs out; but  even if you can’t get there before the promotion ends, no worries, IHOP will never run out of pancakes.

img_3676The only thing not great about O+O Sicilian Kitchen and Bar in Santa Monica was finding the place. Waze announced my dining companion and I had arrived, but we still couldn’t find it after 10 minutes of walking up and down Ocean Blvd.  We started to leave when we ran into a group of people who were also looking for it.  They had friends on the phone who were at the restaurant who swore it really existed and we were just a half black away.  I’m glad we did not give up the hunt.

Even on a dark, cold and rainy night, somehow a restaurant full of people had found O+O.  The place was packed.  After having a needed glass of Tuscany wine to unwind from our trek, we relaxed into the warm and friendly neighborhood atmosphere of the Italian family style eatery, where large groups had pushed together tables, and many families with children were dining together.

The menu featured modern Sicilian cuisine with a California flair, with dishes such as fennel and blood orange salad, fried olives, squid ink linguine and vegetarianna artichoke and eggplant pizza.  As a charcuterie aficionado, I was happy to see a selection of cold cuts, and for my starter I had the persimmon and prosciutto salad. The meat was satisfyingly salty, and the burrata perfectly creamy soft.

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It’s a good thing I didn’t eat lunch that day, because after the generously portioned salad, I was already feeling full, and I was wondering if we should have ordered the second course, the restaurant’s popular classic meatballs, but we were glad we did.

The meatballs lived up to their promise, of being classic. They tasted just like my mom’s meatballs from my childhood, the ones she would make for the progressive dinner parties, that percolated all day in the crockpot in their rich tomato sauce with basil, and pecorino.

For the main course, I ordered the breaded swordfish, which was previously a special, but because but it became so popular they put it on the menu. It was light and tasty, served with romaine, arugula, fennel, and cherry tomatoes.  A delicious and perfectly cooked dish.

To finish off our meal, we enjoyed the trio selection of ricotta, pistachio and chocolate cannoli, which were fresh and just the right size to not be overly filling after a three-course meal.

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The food made this place worth finding, but clearly by the size of the crowd, the restaurant was not as hidden as we thought. In fact, the crowd was a bit much, as the place was rather noisy, probably owing to the acoustics of the mostly glass walls. It seemed like everyone was yelling to be heard, so on one hand there was an enjoyable frenetic New York-y energy, but on the other hand, I would’ve liked a more tranquil environment to savior my food.

While they are not terrific for audibility, those panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows offer an incredible view of the outdoors, which on a sunny day would be the place I would choose to dine. The patio overlooks a lovely courtyard of the Pacific Terrace building complex in which the restaurants resides — and which should be part of the street address instead of Ocean Avenue, if they want to make the place less impossible to find; but maybe its best we keep that a secret.


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