The ‘Boozy Bouquet’ Is The Wedding Invention You Didn’t Know You Needed

We’ll raise a glass to this! 

Landscape designer Angela Huerta wants to take boring ol’ wedding florals up a notch with the The Boozy Bouquet — a flask that doubles as a bouquet handle.

The Art Deco-style flask holds about 4 oz. of liquor and is made up of three parts: the floral cage, the flask cap and the flask handle.

Huerta came up with idea last May while getting a haircut at her friend Gwen’s salon. The two were chatting about Gwen’s upcoming wedding in Las Vegas when the Boozy Bouquet was conceived. 

“She joked that she wished she could smuggle a flask in her bouquet and I honestly started to think about solutions while Gwen snipped away,” Huerta told The Huffington Post. “I wanted to be able to surprise her with a crafty makeshift bouquet flask in time for her wedding. I went online to look for DIY inspiration and realized that nothing like this existed, so I began thinking seriously about developing the concept.”

Though we don’t encourage brides and grooms to get sloshed before the ceremony, we love the idea of a celebratory toast among the bridal party to ease those pre-wedding jitters.

Huerta recently launched a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of raising $55,000 to fund the final refinements to the design and begin manufacturing the product in her home state of California.

Head over to the Kickstarter page to make this ingenious product a reality. For more information, watch the video above. 

H/T BuzzFeed

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Triplets And Their Garbage Men BFFs Define Everything We Want In A Friendship

This is one friendship that’s thrice as nice. 

Triplets Heaton, Wilder and Holden have developed the sweetest bond with garbage men Andrew Black, Rob Whitmore and Chad Cover. So much so that the 2-year-olds, who live in Florida, look forward to the weekly “garb days,” (or garbage days), to spend time with their treasured friends. 

A video of an interaction between the triplets and their sanitation worker friends made the internet smile after it was shared on Facebook the kids’ mom, WFTV anchor Martha Sugalski. 

“We’ve been doing this for over two and a half years,” Sugalski told BuzzFeed News. “Over time, it’s just really become a caring, close friendship with these guys.”

Every Tuesday and Friday, the garbage truck comes by the triplets’ house. The men are then greeted by the excited toddlers, shouting out their names, the mom explained to BuzzFeed News. They spend about 10-15 minutes together, high-fiving, fist-bumping, and catching up on the latest going on in the workers’ lives. 

“Mr. Rob just got married,” Sugalski told Inside Edition, describing a recent conversation she had with the men. “And Mr. Chad is a DJ on the side. We’re always finding out what parties he did, or what he did on the weekend.”

The toddlers are always eager to see their friends. 

“One time, the babies were out back and they were naked swimming,” the mom told Inside Edition. “They heard the truck, and they bolted out of the pool. I had to race to put their clothes on.” 

The special connection goes back when the triplets were just two months old, BuzzFeed reported. Black would wave to them from the truck while they were in the stroller and the interactions just evolved from there. 

While the tots are happy to see the workers, the men get just as much joy from seeing their 2-year-old buddies. In fact, Black has been temporarily off his route due to a work injury, but still tries to pop by and visit the tots. 

“I just love the triplets. I almost feel like they’re my own,” Black told BuzzFeed. “Every time I see them, they just bring me joy.”

Furthermore, the adorable friendship has brought a whole lotta joy to other sanitation workers across the internet who have seen the viral video. Even spurring some to share delightful experiences they’ve had with other kids they’ve encountered themselves. 

“As a garbage man (sanitation engineer) it is always a happy day to see the joy on a kids face when I showed up,” Facebook user Monty Estes wrote. “I had a customer who always brought their son out to see me and I gave him a matchbox trash truck one time and you would have thought I gave him the world. We have a rough job and this can make our day.”

The mom says that it’s definitely a bond that deserves to be cherished. 

“We care about these guys,” Sugalski told Inside Edition. 

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These Are The Richest Towns In Every State

Urban centers often have at their perimeters small towns with well-educated, wealthy residents. States without such large metropolitan areas tend to lag behind in income and education and as a result, tend to have less rich towns.

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10 States Adding The Most Jobs

This article was originally published on 24/7 Wall St. 

The United States has added more than 12 million jobs since the spring of 2011. Since then, the unemployment rate has fallen from 9.1% to 5.0% — close to an eight-year low.

The vast majority of states have added jobs during April 2011 through April 2016. Most states added at least 100,000 positions. Delaware and Nevada reported a 13% employment growth, and Utah a 14.5% growth, the fastest job growth rates in the country. Despite the generally robust job growth, employment has actually declined in five states. West Virginia lost roughly 11,800 jobs over the last five years, a 1.6% drop.

A state’s labor force — those who are employed or are actively seeking work — tends to grow or decline roughly in parallel with the availability of jobs. Utah and Delaware, the states that added the most jobs, also reported the biggest relative increases in total labor force.

Click here to see the states adding (and losing) the most jobs.

The relationship between the number of jobs and the labor force is not one-to-one. Mississippi’s employment declined by 0.6%, but its labor force shrank by more than 5%, indicating that many people who looked for work have given up and left the labor force. The number of jobs increased by approximately 13% in Nevada over these five years, the third largest increase. On the other hand, the state’s labor force expanded by just 4.4%, the 14th largest growth, likely indicating that many looking for a job found one.

As Nevada’s jobs increased much faster than its labor force did, unemployment improved by 7.1 percentage points, the fastest improvement in the country during that time. In general, states where employment grew the most tended to have the greatest improvements in unemployment, and vice versa.

To identify the states with the most and least job growth, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed states with the most significant changes in employment from April 2011 through April 2016. Unemployment rates, the size of the labor force, and employment levels are from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of households jointly administered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and U.S. Census Bureau. Industry-specific growth rates for the same period are from the Current Employment Survey (CES), also from the BLS.

These are the states where employment is growing fastest, and where it is not growing at all.

10. North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina
> Employment increase:
10.7%
> Number of jobs April 2011: 4.16 million (9th most)
> Number of jobs April 2016: 4.61 million (8th most)
> Unemployment rate April 2016: 5.0% (15th highest)
> Industry contributing most to increase:Professional and business services

9. Florida

Miami South Beach, Florida
> Employment increase:
10.8%
> Number of jobs April 2011: 8.35 million (4th most)
> Number of jobs April 2016: 9.26 million (3rd most)
> Unemployment rate April 2016: 4.5% (24th highest)
> Industry contributing most to increase:Professional and business services

 8. Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona 3
> Employment increase:
10.9%
> Number of jobs April 2011: 2.75 million (20th most)
> Number of jobs April 2016: 3.05 million (16th most)
> Unemployment rate April 2016: 5.4% (11th highest)
> Industry contributing most to increase:Professional and business services

7. California

Los Angeles, California 2
> Employment increase:
11.2%
> Number of jobs April 2011: 16.2 million (the most)
> Number of jobs April 2016: 18.0 million (the most)
> Unemployment rate April 2016: 5.2% (12th highest)
> Industry contributing most to increase:Professional and business services

6. Colorado

Denver at night, Colorado
> Employment increase:
11.7%
> Number of jobs April 2011: 2.48 million (22nd most)
> Number of jobs April 2016: 2.77 million (22nd most)
> Unemployment rate April 2016: 3.5% (10th lowest)
> Industry contributing most to increase:Professional and business services

5. Idaho

Boise, Idaho capital building
> Employment increase:
12.1%
> Number of jobs April 2011: 693,782 (12th least)
> Number of jobs April 2016: 777,399 (13th least)
> Unemployment rate April 2016: 3.6% (12th lowest)
> Industry contributing most to increase: Education and health services

4. South Carolina

Greenville, South Carolina
> Employment increase:
12.1%
> Number of jobs April 2011: 1.95 million (24th most)
> Number of jobs April 2016: 2.18 million (23rd most)
> Unemployment rate April 2016: 5.2% (12th highest)
> Industry contributing most to increase: Professional and business services

 3. Nevada

Reno, Nevada 2
> Employment increase:
13.0%
> Number of jobs April 2011: 1.18 million (16th least)
> Number of jobs April 2016: 1.34 million (18th least)
> Unemployment rate April 2016: 6.1% (4th highest)
> Industry contributing most to increase: Professional and business services

2. Delaware

Dover, Delaware
> Employment increase:
13.0%
> Number of jobs April 2011: 409,226 (5th least)
> Number of jobs April 2016: 462,377 (6th least)
> Unemployment rate April 2016: 4.0% (19th lowest)
> Industry contributing most to increase: Education and health services

Salt Lake City, Utah
> Employment increase:
14.5%
> Number of jobs April 2011: 1.24 million (18th least)
> Number of jobs April 2016: 1.42 million (19th least)
> Unemployment rate April 2016: 3.8% (15th lowest)
> Industry contributing most to increase: Professional and business services

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Attorneys General From Texas, Florida Quietly Dropped Their Trump U. Probes

Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, has made headlines lately for his investigation of Trump University, the for-profit real estate course over which presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is now facing several lawsuits.

On Thursday, Schneiderman piled on, describing the now-defunct Trump U. as an instance of “straight-up fraud,” even as Trump himself basked in the publicity and touted his plans to reopen the business if he wins the White House.

Recent reports from Florida and Texas add a new dimension to Trump U.’s troubles: At least two attorneys general, in Texas and Florida, knew about and planned similar investigations into the program’s dealings but then mysteriously dropped the probes. 

The more extensive report comes from the Houston Chronicle, which describes how in 2010, the office of then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) had decided to prosecute Trump University for false advertising.

One lawyer who worked closely in the investigation called the probe into Trump U. “an extremely strong case,” and records show that everything was set for a lawsuit unless the business agreed to a $5.4 million settlement with the state.

But then… nothing happened. The office dropped the case. And curiously, Trump donated $35,000 to Abbott’s bid for the governorship in 2013, as reported by The Associated Press. (Coincidentally or not, that’s how much the “elite” Trump U. seminar package cost.)

A spokesman for Abbott, now the governor of Texas, told the Chronicle that there was no relationship between the probe and the later campaign cash, and that Abbott acted in Texans’ best interest by pushing Trump U. out of the state. David Morales, a former deputy to Abbott when Abbott was attorney general, told the Chronicle on Friday that Abbott was not involved in his own office’s decision not to sue Trump U.

Abbott endorsed Trump for president last month.

The other report, from the Orlando Sentinel, may be more egregious because it suggests the Florida attorney general, Pam Bondi, agreed in 2013 to give up her own probe of Trump Institute — a local affiliate of Trump U. — after the businessman made a $25,000 donation to her re-election bid.

Bondi actually knew about Schneiderman’s lawsuit in New York and briefly considered joining it, promising to look into similar allegations from Floridians who said they’d been scammed. But three days later, a political action committee that supported Bondi received a check from Trump, and then nothing came of the investigation.

Pressed by the Sentinel about the Trump donation and about why she didn’t look into the complaints, Bondi didn’t respond. 

But when Trump was asked in 2013 why he donated to Bondi’s re-election campaign, the reality star didn’t mince words: “Pam Bondi is a fabulous representative of the people — Florida is lucky to have her.”

In the same statement, Trump also had a few words for Schneiderman, who is a Democrat: “The case in New York is pure politics brought by an incompetent attorney general, a political hack.”

Bondi’s office did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post’s request for comment.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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Urban Garden Aims To Bridge Gap Between ‘Old’ And ‘New’ Harlem

This urban garden initiative seeks to bring in a little cash and a large sense of community to some Harlem residents.

A new partnership announced on Wednesday between celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and nonprofit New York Restoration Project (NYRP) will allow two community gardens in East Harlem to grow and sell vegetables to one of Samuelsson’s local restaurants, Streetbird. All proceeds from the sales will go entirely to the gardeners, most of whom are low-income residents of East Harlem.

“It will build stronger links in Harlem between the people who will grow things in the gardens and the vibrant local economy,” NYRP Executive Director Deborah Marton told Huffington Post. “Maybe someone will make the jump and get a job there, who knows — but we’re excited about the possibilities.”

The two community gardens — owned by NYRP but entirely operated by local residents — will start growing seasonal fruits and vegetables this summer, based on requests from the Streetbird chef. The Marcus Samuelsson Group will pay them the same price for the produce that it normally does to commercial purveyors.

The goal of the project is less about making money for local residents and more about strengthening community ties, according to Marton.

“The project will provide some revenue, but not a huge amount of money,” Marton said. “The main motive was making sure the new Harlem and the old Harlem are connected.”

By the new Harlem, she means the people and businesses that have been ushered in by gentrification:

“Harlem has changed in the past 10-20 years: Real estate has gotten more expensive, different people are moving into the neighborhood,” Marton said. “But Harlem is the cultural heart of the U.S. African-American community — and as such, anyone who cares about this community wants to make sure the identity there remains strong.”

As gentrification radically alters many low-income areas in New York City, including Harlem, the concern is that the influx of wealthier residents not only pushes out long-time lower-income residents, but also dissolves important parts of local culture that have been built over generations.

“This is about making sure all boats get lifted at once,” Marton said. “And that the connection to our history can be protected.”

Marcus Samuelsson was an ideal partner for this initiative, according to Marton, because of his efforts to cultivate strong ties to the Harlem community where his restaurants, Streetbird and Red Rooster, operate.

Last year, he started an annual food festival, Harlem EatUp!, to showcase the vibrant food and culture of the neighborhood. The festival proceeds went to Citymeals on Wheels and Harlem Park to Park. 

Marcus has clearly put a stake in the ground with Harlem EatUp!, as well as his hiring practices, employing 200 people, many of whom are from the neighborhood,” Marton said. “He’s invested in maintaining the identity of Harlem, the authenticity, the regard for all economic levels — like we are.”

This is the first partnership between an NYRP community garden and a restaurant, and it’s one of only a handful of similar partnerships in New York City, according to Marton.

NYRP still doesn’t know how much produce the two gardens will be able to grow and how much revenue they will generate, but if the project goes well, the goal is to bring it to others among the 52 community gardens they have across East Harlem, the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn.

“We see the role of these gardens as making sure the low-income residents of New York City enjoy access to quality, open, clean, safe, beautiful spaces — in the same measure as communities of wealth do,” Marton said.

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5 Ways Your Body Changes Before, During And After Travel

A travel writer can tell you that you need a vacation. But if you’re employed in any sort of office job, you’ll likely think of some very real reasons you can’t get away:

 “Are you kidding?! I don’t have enough money for a vacation!”

“I have kids to take to school!

“There’s no WAY I could leave work for that long… or at all.”

We hear you, loud and clear. And that’s why we’ve launched Take A Break, a project to create break time for hardworking people like you. 

But first, it’s important to realize why you should even want to take a break in the first place. It turns out that science — as well as experienced travelers themselves — have LOTS to say on the subject. Consider this:

1. Physiologically, travel is a gift to your body.

First, there’s a jump in overall happiness: A 2002 study found the simple act of planning a vacation made people happier than returning from the trip itself.

After that, there’s heart health: Research has shown that people who vacation regularly are also less likely to have heart disease and heart attacks. (We’re talking 30 percent, in some cases!) Vacationing can improve your blood pressure and immune system, too.

2. It gives your brain a rush of hormones, making the world look brand-new.

Returning from a long trip almost feels like falling in love: The hometown that once seemed so “normal” suddenly holds greater meaning, color and possibility. That could be because exploring a challenging new place increases dopamine levels, just like finding a mate does.

But plopping your body into a new place (aka traveling) also alters your brain.

“When you expose your brain to an environment that’s novel and complex or new and difficult, the brain literally reacts,” neuropsychologist Paul Nussbaum told The Chicago Tribune. “You’re stunned a little bit, and your brain reacts by being engaged, and you begin to process on a deep level.”

The result is a “jungle” of new brain extensions that can make deeper connections between more complex concepts. Whoa

3. In turn, you generate new ideas, projects and goals with ease. 

Those brain changes make you better at solving day-to-day problems at work, and they could rev creativity for years to come.

In a 2009 study, for example, people who had studied abroad were 20 percent more likely to succeed at a problem-solving task on the computer. Another analysis found that high-end fashion designers who had lived in foreign countries produced more creative work on a consistent basis, compared with those who had not.

4. Travel is an emotional win.

Besides the aforementioned dopamine rush of being in a new place, travel often reconnects you to family and old friends. According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, some of the highest levels of happiness are associated with spending quality time with some of our favorite people. It’s unsurprising, then, that reminiscing on old times with these people spikes happiness levels, too.

5. It improves your sleep temporarily (and permanently, if you commit)!

There IS such a thing as sleep debt, and you CAN make up for lost hours, to a point. A relaxed vacation schedule allows you to pay back this sleep debt, but it can also help you form healthy sleep habits for years. Try using your vacation as a time to cement good sleep practices like banning electronics 30 minutes before bedtime and weaning yourself off the snooze button. Your workweek — and your body — will thank you.

 

We don’t know what you do for a living, but we do know you likely need a break. And, nearly halfway through the year, we’re challenging you (yes — busy, overworked, financially stretched you) to #TakeABreak.

During the month of June, we’ll help you nail down how many vacation days you have at your disposal, figure out where to go, and plan a trip you can actually afford. For 30 days of travel tips, cheap flight hacks, vacation ideas and wanderlust galore, sign up for our Take A Break action plan here!

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Alabama Can’t Afford Shiny New Toys When Its Budget Remains in Shambles

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley greeting President Barack Obama on the tarmac in Birmingham (Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images) Alabama is a political hot mess right now. The heads of all three branches of state government are facing legal trouble and removal from office. The state has experienced multiple budget shortfalls in […]