Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Winter Storm Xenia Forecast: Snowstorm Winding Down in Minnesota

  • Region affected: Parts of Upper Midwest
  • Timing: Now through Tuesday
  • Up to additional six inches possible.

Winter Storm Xenia is slowly winding down over the Upper Midwest, with snow lingering in northern Minnesota, far northwest Wisconsin and the western U.P. of Michigan.

Tornadoes were reported Monday afternoon in the warm air immediately ahead of the cold front associated with Xenia in western Minnesota. Click here for more on the severe weather threat.

Here are the details on the rest of Xenia's path.


    Tuesday: Lingering snow and some wind, diminishing late in the day in parts of the northern Great Lakes.

Snow, wind impacts

  • Additional snowfall: Up to another six inches of snow is possible in parts of northern Minnesota. Lighter accumulations are possible in northwest Wisconsin and the western U.P. of Michigan.
  • Wind chills: Subzero wind chills are likely across much of the Dakotas and northern Minnesota into Tuesday morning. While not at all unusual for this part of the country in winter, it is now unusually late in the season to be seeing such bitter wind chills - remember to take the same common-sense measures to protect yourself from the cold as you would in mid-winter.
  • Travel impact: Road closures have occurred along stretches of I-29 and I-94 in the Dakotas. Secondary roads are or will become impassable due to blowing and drifting snow. Check our Commuter Forecast map for weather and traffic conditions on the road.
  • Road conditions and closures: South Dakota | North Dakota | Minnesota

( MORE: 10 Cities Winter Spared | 10 Worst Winter Cities)

Check back with weather.com and The weather channel for the latest on Winter Storm Xenia.

MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Winter Storm Xerxes, April 2013 (Last Season's "X" Storm)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Miguel Cabrera's deal done: Tigers sign off on $292M commitment

Miguel Cabrera's record $248 million extension is a done On Sales now, as the Tigers have locked up their superstar to an eight-year extension that commits them to 10 more total years with the two-time MVP, including the two years he had on his previous contract, and could keep them together for as many as 12 years.

The Tigers have called a press conference for today at their spring site in Lakeland, Fla., to announce the agreement, which was first reported by CBSSports.com. The eight-year, $248 million extension is the largest extension in baseball history, and the $292 million guaranteed commitment is also the largest commitment. The $292 million figure was first reported by Foxsports.com.

Cabrera had two years to go and $44 million on his previous $152 million, eight-year Tigers deal, and the extension will be added on top of that.

Cabrera is a defending two-time American League MVP who also has won the last three batting titles. Cabrera, 30, is beloved in Detroit, and around the team, where he has become a positive clubhouse force in addition to the best hitter in baseball.

Cabrera could actually make as much as $352 million with the deal, as there are vesting options for years 11 and 12 at $30 million apiece based on achievements during the deal. CBSSports.com first reported the presence of the 11th and 12th year options. The record deal was negotiated by Fern Cuza and Diego Bentz of Relativity Baseball.

Cabrera breaks the previous record commitment of $275 million by the Yankees for Alex Rodriguez, though A-Rod's deal, signed after the 2007 season, remains the highest single contract.

With two years left on his contract, Miguel Cabrera will take Detroit's mega-offer. (USATSI)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Where to find the best car deals

After a tough winter, chances are you can't wait for real spring weather. Car dealers feel the same way. With winter sales cut back by severe weather, dealers are eager to clear unsold vehicles off their lots. And that means good deals for car shoppers.

"Consumers will benefit from auto makers and dealers who are willing to move standing inventory at a steep discount," says chief analyst Jesse Toprak of cars.com. With the aid of manufacturers, who more than ever want to keep inventories under control, dealerships are offering a variety of low-interest loans, rebates and low-payment lease deals if your credit rating qualifies you for these offers.

In addition to these stated deals, you should be able to negotiate down the selling price. Even where a rebate is offered, you can achieve further discounts with determined negotiating.

Here is a closer look at a selection of deals on 2014 models cited as among the Discount by cars.com.

Low-rate financing

Ram 1500: Chosenrecently by Consumer Reports as the best pickup, this RAM comes with an offer of 1.9 percent financing for 36 months. In an unusual combination, dealers also are offering rebates of up to $1,500 along with the low-rate financing.

Toyota Avalon: Toyota's large sedan is praised by critics for its roominess and quiet, comfortable ride. Dealers are offering the Avalon with zero percent financing for 36 months.


Buick Enclave: This midsize SUV is family friendly with three rows of seats. Critics like its responsive handling and well-appointed interior. In an attempt to attract new buyers, General Motors is offering a $4,131 rebate to shoppers who currently do not own or lease a GM vehicle.

Toyota Prius: One of the earliest hybrids and still among the top-ranked vehicles for gas mileage (51 MPG in city driving, 48 on the highway), the Prius carries a $1,500 rebate.

Lease deals

Honda Civic: One of the best-selling small cars, the Civic LX models with continuously variable transmission can be leased for $159 a month for 36 months with $1,999 due at signing.

Toyota Prius: As is often the case, Toyota is offering a choice of a lease deal on its hybrid in addition to a rebate for buyers. If you prefer leasing, the Prius is offered at $279 a month for 36 months with $999 down at signing.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Scandal Review: "No Sun on the Horizon"

It's hard out here for a Gladiator. Not so much for the Gladiators on , but for the Gladiators watching Scandal. There is so much that our beloved show asks us to accept (a point illustrated perfectly by Best Buy-lena-dunhamthe-national.html">Lena Dunham's sketch on Saturday Night Live last week), and sometimes it gets to be a bit much. Last night's episode gave us three (maybe four) Olivia Pope monologues-and this isn't entirely a bad thing! The Scandal monologues are everything! Especially when they concern the political affairs of the Un ited States government. But when you find yourself counting the number of times Olivia gets all hot and heavy and starts speechifying, eyes perpetually on the brink of tears, it probably means they're getting to be a little trope-ish. There's a formula with , and while the formula itself is unique, it's getting to be a wee bit predictable. A lot of exciting stuff went down last night (no surprise there), but much of that excitement was lost among the usual Scandal tricks.

"No Sun on the Horizon" sees President Grant and Vice President Sally Langston making preparations to face-off in the first debate of the campaign season. Langston is losing her mind, quoting way too much scripture in her rehearsals, with way too much fury. So her campaign assistant calls in a preacher to help her get back on track. And Team Grant finds itself divided when Huck and David Rosen bring Olivia the tapes of Cyrus and Sally working together to cover up Daniel Douglass' murder. When faced with the decision to bring the bad guys (her friends, her colleagues) to justice, Olivia decides to do nothing. But this shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone who's been watching the show for the past few seasons. Olivia is a strange character-she likes to yell and wag her finger at Cyrus, but she rarely does anything to actually put him in a position to pay for his wrongdoings. Perhaps it's because she's done her own dirt and she has her own skeletons. But whatever it is, it makes all her finger-wagging seem more ritualistic than meaningful.

This week, those of us on Team Jake were in for quite a treat ... and the shock of our lives. Olake is back on, as Olivia was seeking some comfort lovin' from her fake boyfriend. It was great. But, of course, things get awkward as soon as Jake starts catching feelings. (He should have known that it was the wine talking when Olivia said with a straight face, "Take advantage of me Jake.") The only problem with their scene together was that Jake suddenly morphed into Fitz! Begging Olivia to run away with him so they could get away from all the big, bad political going-ons that had turned them into murderers and conspirators? We all know Liv never goes for this, so it wasn't a surprise when she shut him down the next day and was back to business as usual. Jake, however, takes it pretty hard and "gets back at her" by officially putting disgraced Gladiator Quinn on B6-13 duty. Liv is going to be sooo pissed when she finds out about this.

Sally Langston's preacher has the exact opposite effect for which he was hired, and she decides to confess her sins publicly. Bad idea. The kind of bad idea that inspires Cyrus to hire Charlie so that he can kill you. Now here was an interesting turn-as Command, we learn that Jake has put a ban on all types of killing! Amazing! So Cyrus (after being shut down by Charlie) goes straight to Jake and asks him to "take care of it" except it's Cyrus, so he actually says, "I need you to kill Sally Langston." Jake turns him down ... for the moment.

Olivia gets the brilliant idea to have Fitz throw the debate so that Sally can win. She knows that nothing compares to political power on the horizon, and that the voice of God (which Sally claims she's missing and can't live without) will be all but forgotten once she hears the applause of the people. And she's right. Although Fitz fights against the idea at first, he ultimately finds a way to "accidentally" bring up his infidelities. Sally forgets all about her confession (and her God) and jumps all over the opportunity to gain the crowd's favor. A good thing, too, because Jake had a sniper waiting in the wings just in case she went ahead with the confession.

And now, about that ending. Jake sets up a fake meeting between David and James, and at first it's all going the way we expect it to go. James says he has changed his mind and doesn't want to bring Cyrus to justice after all. (This is seriously, like, the third time he's done this to David, and it always happens after Cyrus apologizes to him for killing someone, or stealing an election, or whatever.) David gets pissed and gives James a hard time for, once again, being wooed by his political monster of a hubby. And then something legitimately unexpected happens. The two reporters with them working on the case get shot and killed. BOOM. And suddenly we see our beloved Jake! Jake, who just wanted to run off into the sunset with Olivia (he seriously said something like that) is holding a gun and points it at either David or James (guessing which one is the fun part). This moment ties in well with the very first opening scene. We saw Jake sitting in an unknown location explaini ng to an unknown audience that he has no family (or that he had a terribly dysfunctional family, including a sister who has since died), and this has made him perfect for the B6-13 lifestyle. As he faces David and James, gun in hand, there's a flash back (or forward) to that scene. It's great to get a glimpse into the troubled mind of Jake Ballard, but there's also this implication that he's standing there, killing all of these people because Olivia Pope won't run off with him. Quinn had taunted him a bit earlier, warning that Olivia was only pretending to care, that her "We are family" schtick was precisely that-a schtick she uses to get what she wants. Like Fitz, Jake seems to be going over the edge because of Olivia, but the whole appeal of Jake has been that he's not Fitz! At least he wasn't before this episode.

Stray Observations:
-Mellie's Sally Langston impersonation at the beginning of the episode was amazing.
-Olivia Pope noted that every single person running for president of the United States is a murderer. Totally frightening. And hilarious. But mainly frightening.
-Where was Adnan Salif? And where was Olivia's mom? They closed out last week's episode with this sweet little cliffhanger that totally was not addressed this week! Not cool.
-Can it please not be David who gets shot? Abby does not deserve this, and honestly? James/Publius has been so wishy-washy it's officially getting old. So yes, he deserves to die.
-And finally, this. It feels bad to say it (because many of us are more excited about Kerry Washington's baby than we should admit), but it is so distractingly obvious that there's a baby bump underneath all of Olivia's fabulous clothes. One glass of wine is fine, but watching her fake-chug that second glass? Awkward!

Favorite Quote of the Episode: "What would Olivia Pope do? Someone really needs to put that on a bracelet." (David)

Shannon M. Houston is a New York-based freelance writer, regular contributor to Paste, and occasional contributor to the human race via little squishy babies. You can follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Don't ever pay full price for Papa John's in the Carolinas

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Yes, LeBron James scored a career-high 61 points in a win over the Charlotte Bobcats Monday night (all without a single dunk, by the way). But don't look at it as a loss, pizza consumers:

Cats pass 90pts! That means 50% off @PapaJohns all day tomorrow with code BOBCATS90. Offer applies to all participating NC & SC locations.

- Charlotte Bobcats (@bobcats) March 4, 2014

Laugh all you want, but some people take this Bobcats 90 thing very seriously:

Pizza > everything RT @sbnation LeBron had 61... but look at what Bobcats fans get! Who really wins?(H/t @PhilKenSaban) pic.twitter.com/dzOURHUMY1

- Dustin Rivera (@dustinjrivera) March 4, 2014

No really cares if the bobcats win it's all about that 50% off the pizza that we all care about

- The Dream (@C7Lynch) March 4, 2014 - Logan Adams (@loganmadams) March 4, 2014

A refresher: Whenever the Bobcats score 90 points, regardless of whether they win or lose, nearly every Papa John's location in the Carolinas offers half-off pizzas for people who use a promo code when they order online (BOBCATS90). It turns out the Charlotte Checkers (Promo code: CHECKERS) and Carolina Hurricanes (Promo code: CANIAC) offer the same deal after a win. With so many Printable Coupons, should you ever pay full price for a Papa John's pizza?

Probably not. We crunched the numbers since October 4, 2013, when the Hurricanes and Checkers first took the ice. Since then, 151 days have gone by. Out of those days, slightly more than half, 76, have been eligible for some sort of half-priced pizza:

As you can see from the above chart, the Bobcats have led the way in overall pizza discounts. While their overall record of 27-33 is only good enough for 7th place in the NBA's Eastern Conference, they're a remarkable 41-19 when it comes to hitting the vaunted 90-point Pizza Threshold. In addition, if you're holding out for a half-priced pizza, your best bet is to wait for the weekend:

Two more interesting notes here: Since October 4, there have only been 41 days in which the Checkers, Hurricanes and Bobcats have not played. So when you toss out those days, your odds of getting half-priced pizza go WAY up:

Also, there has only been one day in which all three teams, the Checkers, Hurricanes and Bobcats, have all hit the Pizza Threshold: January 18. On that day, the Checkers and Hurricanes both won, and the Heat beat the Bobcats 104-96. LeBron may be able to stop the Bobcats, but he can't stop your discount.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2 Threats to Amazon.com's Future Growth

When a company is expected to grow earnings by 40% plus over the next several years, any threat to this earnings growth should be carefully considered by investors. Though NASDAQ: Deal Of The Day.com ( AMZN ) seems to want to be everything to everyone, there are at least two major threats that could hurt this company's potential.

A well-known issue everyone seems to ignore
There should be little doubt that one of the prime reasons many people shop online is to avoid paying sales tax at the point of sale. Though some believe that Amazon's competitive advantage is convenience, the economy of the last several years has taught many people to watch every dollar they spend.

It just makes good sense that if a consumer can buy the exact same product from Amazon and avoid paying sales tax they will do so. To combat this challenge, companies like Wal-Mart Stores ( ) are willing to continually cut prices to compete with their online counterparts. Though size clearly plays a part, Wal-Mart's U.S. sales growth came in at just 2.4% in the company's last quarter.

With over 4,000 locations domestically, Wal-Mart is probably a better proxy for the domestic marketplace than Amazon. However, there should be little doubt that the ability to avoid sales tax by purchasing on Amazon is hurting the physical retailers' sales.

Though some might believe sales tax won't be an issue, it's hard to ignore the obvious slowdown in Amazon's overall sales growth in concert with more states requiring sales tax be charged to its customers. Currently, 19 states require Amazon customers to pay sales tax. Not coincidentally, Amazon's worldwide trailing 12 month sales growth has slowed sequentially from 29% in the fourth quarter of 2012, to 24% in the fourth quarter of 2013.

As Amazon continues to expand, more states will certainly require sales tax to be collected, or a nationwide online sales tax may become law. This sales tax issue is a huge competitive difference between a company like NASDAQ: eBay ( EBAY ) and Amazon.

Most of eBay's sellers generate less than $1 million in out-of-state revenue, which would exempt them from collecting sales tax under the current version of the bill. In short, eBay could become a haven for tax avoiding customers.

With more than 60% of Amazon's revenue coming from general merchandise and electronic sales, this might be the most significant threat facing the company today.

A Prime concern
A second threat to Amazon's future actually comes from one of the company's most popular features. Amazon Prime members pay $79 per year for many benefits including free two-day shipping and streaming of thousands of instant video titles, this could change in the future.

Amazon has suggested that the Prime service may be too expensive to maintain the $79 annual price. If the company raised the price by $20 to $40 as has been suggested, Amazon could lose a significant portion of its membership.

In fact, a poll by Bizrate Insights of 200 customers found that 46% thought that the existing $79 price for Amazon Prime was too high. It's not hard to imagine these customers choosing to cancel their membership if Amazon goes through with a price hike of at least 25%.

eBay would seem to be a natural destination for jilted Prime members. The company offers a discount on seller's fees if they offer free shipping and meet certain criteria. Though eBay may not show the same type of revenue growth as Amazon, the company's Marketplaces business has consistently grown users at a double-digit rate, and its fixed price merchandise volume increased by 19% on a year-over-year basis.

In addition, if shoppers are looking for convenience, Wal-Mart's vast number of locations in everyday low prices could draw Prime members back into the stores. Wal-Mart could also one up Amazon at its own game by using its store locations as mini shipping warehouses.

Amazon claims that its Prime service has "millions of members." Imagine these customers having to choose whether to pay a higher annual price for Prime, while simultaneously having to pay sales tax on their purchases where they did not before. For a stock that still trades at a forward P/E ratio of more than 180, a continued slowdown in the company's revenue growth could mean the recent hit to the stock price is only the beginning.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Cold Weather and Light Inventory Reduce House Sales

Severe cold weather and a shortage of houses on the market pushed home resales to an 18-month low in January, the latest indication that economic activity has hit a soft patch.

The National Association of Realtors said on Friday that home sales dropped 5.1 percent last month to an annual rate of 4.62 million units, the lowest level since July 2012.

The group said unseasonably cold weather was partly to blame, but it also acknowledged some fundamental weakness in the market, with higher mortgage rates and prices and fewer homes for sale.

Lawrence Yun, the group's chief economist, said, "We cannot ignore the ongoing headwinds of tight credit, limited inventory, higher prices and higher mortgage interest rates."

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is about a full percentage point higher than it was a year ago, even though rates have come down a bit since hitting a two-year high in September.

Sales tumbled in the Northeast, South and Midwest, which were hit by snow storms and ice last month. And they were down 7.3 percent in the West, an indication that other factors apart from the weather also weighed Amazon Deal.

Home resales, which peaked in July, have declined in five of the last six months, and in January were down 5.1 percent from a year ago.

In January, the inventory of unsold homes on the market rose 2.2 percent from December, pushing the supply to 4.9 months. While that was up from December's 4.6 months, it remained below the 6.0 months that analysts consider a healthy balance between supply and demand. The median price for a previously owned home rose 10.7 percent from a year ago.

First-time buyers accounted for 26 percent of the transactions, the smallest share since the group started tracking the series in October 2008. A market share of 40 to 45 percent is considered ideal by economists and real estate professionals.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How low can you go? What aircraft endure during cold weather testing

cnn weather/dam/assets/140130224942-airbus-a350xwb-cold-weather-story-top.jpg">

(CNN) -- Who in their right mind would swap the south of France for the Canadian Arctic in the middle of winter?

A team of Airbus specialists testing the aircraft manufacturer's latest A350 XWB, that's who.

Last week a team of engineers, mechanics and test pilots from the Toulouse-based company performed various extreme-weather trials on a test plane in Iqaluit, the capital of Canada's eastern Artic territory of Nunavut.

The ground and in-air tests included operating the aircraft in temperatures reaching down to -18 Fahrenheit (-28 degrees Celsius), thrust-reversed tests with snow and a local flight test.

Powerful antifreeze fights icy wings Simulators help pilots master snow

Like all new planes, the new model must be tested in extreme environmental condition, from freezing to intense heat.

"Coming to an extreme place means we can break everything," Airbus' head of flight operations Pedro Dias told local reporters.

Extreme cold affects various parts of an aircraft in different ways. Metals, such as steel and aluminum, contract at different rates. Lubricants may lose their viscosity, creating friction and wear issues for moving parts. Meanwhile plastic and rubber parts could become brittle.

The cold-weather tests in Canada came only days after the MSN3 test plane completed high-altitude test in Bolivia. Next stop is Qatar for hot-weather testing.

How airports beat bad weather

For years Iqaluit, located on Baffin Island, has marketed itself as "a premier cold-weather test site."

Airbus have tested there since the 1990s, while the airport has also hosted other civilian and military aircraft makers such as Boeing, Dassault and Eurocopter to perform similar trials.

But cold weather test sites also appear in unlikely places.

In April 2010 Boeing chose McKinley Climatic Laboratory in Florida as the location for extreme-weather testing on its 787 Dreamliner.

In a test chamber the aircraft was given a "cold soak" and exposed to temperatures as low as -45 degrees Fahrenheit (-42.7 degrees Celsius) for hours.

Later, it had to endure temperatures as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius), also for hours.

See: Can airships open up Arctic region?

"These tests help us establish that our customers will get airplanes that work for them in all of the climates in which they operate around the globe (and in all seasons)," said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a press statement.

But extreme-weather trials are also affected by unpredictability of Mother Nature.

Initially scheduled for five days, Airbus' tests in Iqaluit were cut short, not because of an impending winter blizzard but because of a balmy temperature of -18 degrees Celsius -- too warm for the cold weather testing.

See: Testing planes to withstand wild weather

Monday, February 3, 2014



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Sunday, February 2, 2014

NordStrom Coupons & Hottest NordStrom Promo Codes for 2014

Dallas, TX -- ( SBWIRE) -- 01/27/2014 -- There's much to celebrate and look forward to with the start of 2014. NordStrom, Inc., a leading fashion retailer that has been in operation for over a hundred years now, has continued to bring their keen fashion sense and their line of products and offers well into the 21st century. This year would be no different. Taking their 117 shops in 35 stores to just one online shop, the Nordstrom following can only expect more exciting offers, discounts, time limited sales and promos on nothing less than some of the top fashion brands in the industry.

2014 NordStrom Coupons and Coupon
First off on the Nordstrom list for 2014 are their NordStrom Promo Codes. Shoppers can enjoy a hefty $25 off on their first order priced above $50. Shoppers will only need to copy and paste the coupon code upon online check out of the item at NordStrom and they automatically enjoy a slash in their purchase.

For US shoppers, as much as 50% off discounts can be had on, baby gears, women's dresses, coats, sandals, men's clothing, and winter pieces on brands that include - but are not limited to Decleor, Dr. Martens, Dior, Cashmere, and Military.

To avail of these big discounts and price slashes, shoppers don't even need any codes. These offers are, however, good and valid only to US shoppers.

The list can only get better, and the discounts can only get higher. NordStrom has a lot in store for the active outdoorsmen with a 55% discount on all men's active and outdoor apparel, as well as on men's jeans. And while the men may have a lot of reason to dress up for, come Valentine's Season, NordStrom makes sure the women are not to be left under-dressed for their dates - outdoors or otherwise - with 65% discounts on all women's designer collections including sunnies, shoes, pants, capris, dresses, designer sweats, yoga, sports, and outdoor apparels.

NordStrom Special Offer
NordStrom special offers are regular things that shoppers can keep watch of. These special offers of NordStrom to their US shoppers come mostly in forms of rock-bottom prices for regular items such as the 2014 offers on all junior apparel and accessories starting at only $12, women's new arrival clothing starting at only $18, and women's designer items starting only at $45.

This NordStrom list of 2014 special offers extends beyond the closet. For shoppers who feel like they need to redo their home's 2014 look, home and garden deals are also available starting from $4.9.

Looking Ahead to Valentine's Day 2014 Deals
NordStrom knows that the next most awaited holiday after the New Year is the Valentine's Day. With or without dates, NordStrom understands that shoppers can't wait to prep up for the day. With this in mind, the Special NordStrom US Valentine's Deal can already be enjoyed as early as January with Valentine's Day gifts offered starting at only $6. The gift selection are as wide and as varied as watches, jewelries, dresses for Valentine's, or as safe as a gift card.

Another gift card promotion for the US market lets you buy a gift card between $25 to $1000. Offering a NordStrom gift card as low as $25 enables students, teenagers, and basically their non-earning following to make a good impression on their recipients as one with classy, impeccable tastes in brand selection.

The NordStrom Bi-Annual Sales
NordStrom regularly holds bi-annual sales. For kids' and women's clothing, these regular bi-annual sales are held in May and November. And just when shoppers are beginning to think that the mid-year June and July months are long and boring, NordStrom comes through for them with men's clothing sale at June, and the NordStrom Anniversary sale in July.

NordStrom Retail Credit Card and Debit Card
There's an even bigger, better way of enjoying more savings and rewards throughout the year with the NordStrom Rewards Card. Shoppers have the option of choosing between the NordStrom Retail, the NordStrom Debit Card, and the NordStrom Visa Signature Card.

With no annual fee and with very competitive APRs, the NordStrom Retail Credit and Debit Cards are classy addition to your wallet's shopping power. Every use of the card earns you 2 points for every net dollar spent at NordStrom, NordStrom.com, and NordStrom Rack. An accumulated 2,000 points entitles you to a $20 NordStrom Note that can be used to redeem any item of your choice at NordStrom.

What's great about the cards is that shoppers don't even need to wait to earn the 2,000 points to enjoy the cards' benefits and privileges. Simply by purchasing any item at $100 or above with your NordStrom card upon the day of application, shoppers can already enjoy a $20 NordStrom Note.

Contact Info:
Rita Xing

Thursday, January 30, 2014

AIRSTAR Avenue to Bring Lunar New Year Holiday Events to Chinese Tourists

INCHEON, South Korea--()--AIRSTAR Avenue ( www.iiacairstar.kr), the duty free shop brand in the Incheon International Airport, will hold the event of 'Presenting Hongbao Celebrating Lunar New Year of 2014' for visitors from Great China Region.

In commemoration of lunar New Year holidays, the most important holidays in China, AIRSTAR Avenue will present special discount coupons and prepaid cards to customers from Greater China starting from January 31 to February 7.

This year, it is anticipated that about 80,000 animated printable chinese new year cards tourists, an increase of approximately 12% over last year, will visit Korea during lunar New Year holidays. AIRSTAR Avenue plans to provide to these travelers with chances of shopping at reasonable prices at duty free shops in the Incheon International Airport.

As part of the event, AIRSTAR Avenue will distribute 5~10% discount coupon kits which can be used at duty free shops from January 31 to February 1. These kits will be available at the arrival hall on second floor of the Airport.

And, AIRSTAR Avenue will refund 200,000 won to Chinese tourists who buy premium watches before their departure. Tourists from the Greater China who buy watches in value of over US$3,000 can instantly receive prepaid cards worth 200,000 won at duty free shops. Cards will be offered from February 4 to 7 at the event zone at AIRSTAR Avenue, in the order of arrival.

"To provide pleasant duty free shopping environment to Chinese customers during lunar New Year holidays, we deployed fluent Chinese speaking salespersons, various events and special promotions," said a manager at AIRSTAR Avenue. "In 2014, AIRSTAR Avenue will introduce unique marketing events to sustain its status as the top duty free shop complex as it was honored with a number of awards, including the 'World's Best Duty Free Shop Selected by Chinese Travelers', and 'World's Best Duty Free Shop' selected by readers of Business Traveler in Asia Pacific and North America in 2013."

Monday, January 27, 2014



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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Legislation ready to lift Sunday liquor sales ban

MINNEAPOLIS - No one remembers a time when Saturday wasn't stock up day for alcohol in the state of Minnesota.

And seemingly as old as that tradition is the one where a lawmaker introduces legislation to lift the Sunday sales ban.

This session, House Republican Jenifer Loon is that lawmaker. This week, Loon authored a bill that would lift the restriction and allow municipalities to decide if stores in their cities could sell.

We found a tale of two stores in two cities.

"When we look at the numbers and when we look at the people we think would come in Coupon Codes Sunday, we would like the choice to be open and prove we could do more business on a Sunday," Daniel Mays, Co-Owner of Stinson Wine-Beer-Spirits said Saturday night.

Mays is more than ready to spread sales out to seven days over six. He says his customers want it. He says his staff is ready to work it.

"We don't feel like it would hinder our business. We feel like it would help our business," Mays said.

Take a trip to the next shop to find the second tale.

"Where we sit as our business, I think we would be running a shop that would be a ghost town," Solo Vino Wine Shop employee Sean La Bonty said.

Solo Vino is in the Selby-Dale Neighborhood of St. Paul and it is a six-day operation that will remain a six-day operation no matter the ruling on Sunday sales.

The reason why is just the opposite of the first tale.

La Bonty and his staff doesn't see a seven-day sales schedule, outpacing a six.

Simply stated they think they would sell the same volume either way, with just an added burden.

"You are also paying for the place to be open, paying for staff, I don't see there is going to be that much of a revenue stream that is going to be made that warrants us saying, 'OK, stay open Sunday as well,'" La Bonty said.

In years past, bills like this have been clobbered on the floor. Last year, the House voted down a similar bill 106-21.

So we shall see come next month when lawmakers return to St. Paul if this one even has a real chance.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical: Theater Review

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The Bottom Line

A deftly assembled jukebox bio-musical that never digs deep but nonetheless hits the right notes.


Stephen Sondheim Theatre (runs indefinitely)


Jessie Mueller, Jake Epstein, Anika Larsen, Jarrod Spector, Jeb Brown, Liz Larsen


Marc Bruni

When the kitschy musical about the record producer behind the Shirelles, Baby It's You, showed up briefly on Broadway in 2011, that 1960s girl group's No. 1 breakthrough hit, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," was conspicuously absent. Turns out withholding the song rights for the far superior Beautiful: The Carole King Musical was a prescient move. Following in the footsteps of crowd-pleasers like Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical, this is entertaining boomer bait that elevates its by-the-numbers narrative with great songs. It's also a tremendous showcase for the talented Jessie Mueller as she embodies King's blossoming from songwriter-for-hire to empowered performer of her own material.

Perhaps the savviest choice of the book by Douglas McGrath (an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway) was to minimize the focus on King's consecration as the epitome of the mellow Laurel Canyon sound. Her gajillion-selling 1971 album, "Tapestry," becomes almost an epilogue. Durable as those songs are - and the evergreens are all given spirited interpretations by Mueller and her fellow cast - the triumph is less interesting than the bumpy road of self-discovery that got King there. Even if McGrath's account of it remains fairly sanitized.

STORY: Shakespeare's Globe Double Joins Broadway Hit List

Shows constructed around the back catalogues of an artist or an era almost invariably give perfunctory treatment to character development and relationships, serving merely to connect the dots between hit songs. McGrath, director Marc Bruni and the appealing performers don't exactly break that mold by going for complexity. But while keeping things light and breezy, they have populated Beautiful with well-defined characters with relatable human foibles.

At the center is King, a self-described Jewish square from Brooklyn, whose mother ( Liz Larsen, doing her best with a crusty stereotype) urged her to forget songwriting and take up a viable career: "Girls don't write music. They teach it!" Alongside her is Gerry Goffin ( Jake Epstein), the volatile lyricist she married at age 17 in 1959. The husband-and-wife songwriters set up shop at 1650 Broadway in the employ of Aldon Music's Don Kirschner ( Jeb Brown), cranking out a formidable string of hits for artists including the Shirelles, the Drifters, the Monkees and Aretha Franklin. But the show broadens its emotional arc by flanking the central couple with another celebrated songwriting team from the Kirschner stable, Barry Mann ( Jarrod Spector) and Cynthia Weil ( Anika Larsen). Their constant friendship and good-natured professional rivalry makes them likable comic sidekicks.

Not incidentally, the second couple's inclusion also expands the song list to make room for a whole other crop of '60s pop nuggets, among them "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "On Broadway," "Walking in the Rain," "Uptown" and "We Gotta Get Out of This Place."

The show starts with King centerstage at the piano in an earth-mother schmatta with a head of untamed frizz, doing "So Far Away" at her 1971 Carnegie Hall concert. It then backtracks to recap her life leading up to that moment. The central conflict is Carole's longing for a fulfilling marriage and family life, and the increasing impossibility of maintaining that with the personally and professionally restless Gerry, whose manic-depressive disorder is illustrated without being spelled out. Songs like "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," "It's Too Late," "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" are deployed in ways both obvious and skillful to mark key points in the relationship or its wake. Even the potentially saccharine "You've Got a Friend" finds a snug fit.

Derek McLane's clever set uses graphic panels seemingly inspired by the amplifier fronts of vintage stereos, with a rear maze of instruments, recording equipment and offices that summons the idea of a literal music factory. As a chronicle of one of American pop's golden eras, the show remains superficial, but Bruni's polished staging briskly evokes the time and milieu with infectious energy. The performances by nattily attired stand-ins for the Shirelles, the Drifters, the Righteous Brothers and others are a blast, capturing the silky dance moves and sweet backup vocals with style and wit. Josh Prince did the fun choreography, seen at its best when "The Locomotion" becomes a hit for Carole and Gerry's babysitter, Little Eva.

McGrath's book flirts openly (though not displeasingly) with sitcom dialogue, and by no means skirts the clichés and shortcuts of hackneyed behind-the-music chronicles. But the story, and perhaps more importantly, the characters, are never less than engaging. It also helps that, like Jersey Boys, the songs are mostly performance numbers, enhancing the storyline without requiring the effortful plot shoehorning of many jukebox musicals.

Epstein pulls off the toughest role, keeping philandering, unstable Gerry from becoming entirely unsympathetic, while Spector and the delightful Larsen add enormous warmth. Barry is a textbook neurotic who hankers after Cyn like a puppy, while she's the picture of chic sophistication in Alejo Vietti 's costumes, susceptible to Barry's nerdy charms but too protective of her own professional identity to risk becoming just a spousal adjunct. Brown also strikes a nice balance between Don's managerial coolness and increasing affection for his hired hands.

The ace up the show's sleeve, however, is Mueller's lovely performance as King, full of self-effacing humor, emotional depth and understated vulnerability. She conveys the burgeoning singer-songwriter's creative drive while wrestling quietly with her ingrained, old-fashioned sense of the expectations for a wife and mother. There's a disarming yearning quality to her characterization that makes us root for Carole to spread her wings. And her vocals are superb, capturing King's colloquial style while insinuating her own personality into songs that work like a time-travel machine for the musical's target audience.

Venue: Stephen Sondheim Theatre, New York (runs indefinitely) Cast: Jessie Mueller, Jake Epstein, Anika Larsen, Jarrod Spector, Jeb Brown, Liz Larsen, Ashley Blanchet, E. Clayton Cornelious, Josh Davis, Alysha Deslorieux, Kevin Duda, James Harkness, Carly Hughes, Sara King, Rebecca LaChance, Douglas Lyons, Arbender J. Robinson, Rashidra Scott Director: Marc Bruni Book: Douglas McGrath Music and lyrics: Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil Set designer: Derek McLane Lighting designer: Peter Kaczorowski Costume designer: Alejo Vietti Sound designer: Brian Ronan Orchestrations, vocal and music arrangements: Steve Sidwell Music supervisor, additional music arrangements: Jason Howland Choreographer: Josh Prince Executive producers: Sherry Konder, Christine Russell Presented by Paul Blake, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Jeffrey A. Sine, Richard A. Smith, Mike Bosner, Harriet N. Leve/Elaine Krauss, Terry Schnuck, Orin Wolf, Patty Baker/Good Productions, Roger Faxon, Larry Magid, Kit Seidel, Lawrence S. Toppall, Fakston Production/Mary Solomon, William Court Cohen, John Gore, BarLor Productions, Matthew C. Blank, Tim Hogue, Joel Hyatt, Marianne Mills, Michael J. Moritz Jr., StylesFour Productions, Brunish & Trinchero, Jeremiah J. Harris

New D.C.-Based Price-Comparing App Launches

The D.C. tech scene now has another home-grown app. PriceSpotting-a free app that allows users to compare prices of items at local stores-launched this week and is available for iPhone and Android users to download.

Here's how it works: Users can search for items on the app to see which local store is offering the product at the lowest price. Or users can scan items while they're at a store to see how its Best Buy with other retailers. If the item isn't available in the app's database , users can upload it themselves so that others can eventually search for it. The success of the app depends on whether people contribute to its inventory; as an incentive, users earn points for the items they upload, which can be redeemed for cash or special sales.

"We help consumers save money and time for local purchases," says Neil Kataria,the CEO and founder of D.C.-based Blue Tiger Labs, the company that developed PriceSpotting. Kataria said during the beta-testing stage of the app, about 5,000 users submitted about 3 million prices (for around 219,000 unique items) in D.C. Next, Kataria says he plans to expand the app to San Francisco and Atlanta.

"It takes four to five seconds to enter some prices," says Kataria. "It's incredible, incredible just to see the activity during the testing period."

The app debuted this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Blue Tiger Labs launched PriceSpotting alongside another one of its homegrown apps: Mobile Merchant, which allows shopkeepers to manage their inventory digitally.

Blue Tiger Labs has its office in Chinatown and currently has 13 employees, nine of them based in D.C.

The apps received money from a number of investors including Mark Ein, chairman of Kastles Systems.

Friday, January 10, 2014

LaContempo Offering Best Deals on Innovation Sofa Beds

N.Hollywood, CA -- ( SBWIRE) -- 01/10/2014 -- Los Angeles based LaContempo is a one-stop destination for buying quality Italian and European furniture at the most competitive prices. The contemporary furniture store offers a huge collection of exquisite furniture for homes and offices. From modern bedroom furniture to comfortable bedroom room furniture, LaContempo has everything in its inventory to suit your budget and liking. The company carries furniture from renowned brands like Innovation USA, Armen Living, Domitalia, Rosetto Italy, SohoConcept and Calligaris.

Speaking about the new range of Innovation sofa beds, a senior executive working with LaContempo said, "We are the largest Innovation Sofa Bed distributor in Los Angeles and one of the leading online retailers countrywide. Innovation is a reputed Danish company known for offering contemporary sofa beds and platform beds. All the Innovation USA products are designed with a strong focus on functionality and simple yet impressive forms. We are offering all the Innovation sofa beds at the best prices possible. Moreover, we also offer nationwide free shipping on all the sofa beds in our Innovation USA collection that pays tribute to the German Bauhaus movement."

LaContempo offers elegant modern furniture for bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, other living spaces and offices. The furniture store offers a range of award-winning designs in its inventory at the most reasonable prices. The customers can buy furniture online or visit the company's physical store to find the right pieces. LaContempo works only with the leading manufacturers in the industry for quality assurance, and offers a standard warranty of 6 months to one year against manufacturer's defect.

Speaking further about the Innovation sofa bed collection, the senior executive added, "All the Innovation sofa beds are made from quality materials and offer utmost comfort in both the bed and sofa position. As part of temporary promotions, we are also offering special discount coupons for the Innovation USA products. Depending on your Innovation USA cart total, you can get up to 10% discount. Even without coupons, we have the Deal Now for you. If you see any better price from a competitor, we will not only match the price but will also give you up to 2% extra discount."

One of the highlights from the LaContempo's Innovation sofa bed collection is the Supremax Deluxe Excess sofa bed, which is available in dark brown begum and white leather textile. The highly durable and comfortable Supremax Deluxe sells for a very reasonable $1,733. For more details about the Supremax Deluxe Excess Sofa Bed, you can visit.

About LaContempo
Operating in Los Angeles since 2001, LaContempo has established itself as a leading contemporary furniture store that offers a huge collection of European and Italian furniture. The company is famous for offering competitive prices for its entire furniture collection than real retail values of the merchandise. LaContempo has contracts with the best shipping companies and has a proven record of ensuring timely deliveries with most affordable costs. The company ships exquisite modern furniture nationwide from Los Angeles. If you are looking for contemporary Italian furniture for your home or office, you can visit LaContempo - Furniture Store.

Contact Details
11312 Hartland
St. North Hollywood CA 91605
Tel: 888 - 294 4455 Toll Free
Tel: 818 - 763 8835, 818 - 763 3117
Fax: 818 - 764 8513
Website: http://www.lacontempo.com/

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Latino Post

The Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone 8 smartphone has encountered a price increase on Best Offer.com for consumers wanting to sign a two-year contract with mobile carrier AT&T.

Amazon spiked the price of the Lumia 1020 to $149.99 with a two-year contract. The aforementioned price is valid for both an individual plan and family plan. In addition, the $149.99 price tag is eligible for new and current AT&T customers.

Current AT&T customers can pay the $149.99 price tag if they are upgrading their device or adding a new line of service to their account.

Amazon's "Without a Service Plan" price for the Lumia 1020 is $699.

According to Amazon, the buyer of the Lumia 1020 will be charged a "pro-rated Early Termination Fee" if the discounted Windows Phone 8 smartphone is canceled after the 14-day return period.

On AT&T's official website, the Lumia 1020 will cost the consumer an additional $50. The $199.99 price tag is available when the consumer signs a two-year contract with AT&T.

The official online Microsoft Store can also be purchased off-contract from AT&T for $610. At a physical Microsoft Store, the Lumia 1020 can be bought for $199 when signing a two-year contract with AT&T.

The Lumia 1020's features include a 4.5-inch screen with 1,280x768 pixels covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The new Windows Phone 8 device has 32GB of internal storage for 2GB of RAM. The device includes a rear-facing camera with a 41-megapixel sensor and front-facing camera with 1.2 megapixels. The smartphone also packs a 2,000mAh battery.

To purchase the Nokia Lumia 1020 from Amazon, click here. For the latest updates, follow Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO

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