Hotel Crush: Affittacamere La Lanterna on the Italian Coast

We could get used to this view. All photos by Craig Nelson.

We love staying in charming medieval hill towns and bustling European cities, but we also need a sunny waterfront break every once in awhile. And the Italian coast has several amazing places to throw down your towel and catch some rays.

But how can you make this dream happen without staying at a fancy beach resort or expensive apartment rental?

For starters, you can book an affordable hotel like we did on a recent trip to Portovenere. Located just south of the famous Cinque Terre region, this tiny seaside village provides the scenery and sun-soaked flavor without all of the tourists and high prices.

Before you check any place else, take a look at Affittacamere La Lanterna. With a 9.5 rating on Booking.com and Cheapo-friendly rates, this small hotel is exactly the kind of place we love checking in to.

Ring the bell and look up for a friendly Italian woman ready to welcome you.

Arriving in Portovenere

Accessible right on the main drag of Portovenere, Via Capellini, Affittacamere La Lanterna puts you right in the heart of the town. When we arrived to the tiny door at #109 on the street, we rang a buzzer and a friendly woman smiled down from a few floors up and came down to let us in.

Looking into the room from the oceanfront balcony.

The rooms

After she showed us to room #535, we threw open the window shutters to reveal an amazing view of the water. Our room was small but with a balcony that opens right onto a stunning water view, we didn’t need another inch of space. The air-conditioned room was super clean and the bathrooms were spacious and modern. If you do need to stare at a screen instead of looking at the harbor, the hotel has complimentary Wi-Fi.

The private balconies at Affittacamere La Lanterna.

Sea view balconies

Sure the bed was comfy, but the best perk was the oceanfront porch you get with your room. On the cozy balcony, we watched people swim and sunbathe later in the afternoon. The view was so wonderful, we could have spent half the day just hanging out here.

Enjoy breakfast and coffee in the communal dining room.

Happy Hour, al fresco style

We don’t know about you, but our favorite part of the day is just before the sun goes down and it’s time to crack open a bottle of wine. We popped into a little shop on the main drag to find a tasty and very affordable bottle of Ligurian rose. Sitting on your balcony at Affittacamere La Lanterna, you can sip your wine before heading out for dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Happy hour on the patio with a bottle of Ligurian Rose.

Breakfast at the hotel

Breakfast is available. You can enjoy it in the communal breakfast room or take it on your patio. There is also a coffee machine if you need a quick pick-me-up.

How to find an affordable rate

The price for this wonderful experience? Only €81 per night! We stayed on a Sunday night, so we were able to save on a weekend rate and the village was a little less busy than usual for a sunny spring weekend. Search for available dates at Affittacamere La Lanterna.

A ferry floats past Affittacamere La Lanterna headed to the Cinque Terre.

More hotels in Italy

Wherever you’re headed in Italy, EuroCheapo has a low-cost room for your trip. Check out cheap hotel options in the most popular cities like Rome, Florence, Milan, and Venice. Or search for budget hotels across Italy. There are more than 200,000 to choose from.

Föhr: Germany’s hidden gem in the North Sea

The initial plan was not to visit Föhr.

We were keen on visiting the Greek islands. It would be perfect in July. Warmth. Great food. Deep blue waters and whitewashed houses. Fresh fish. Friendly locals. That’s a pretty decent equation for a good holiday. The problem though is that Greece has 6000 islands of which 227 are inhabited. All of these islands, sound impossibly dreamy and beautiful. I go down a rabbit hole that we call the internet for days and emerge confused. I older I grow, the more I enjoy the pathetic excuse of wasting time online researching for holidays. After much deliberation  and 20000 google searches later, we have our heart set on a few islands but after trying almost 101 permutations and combinations on Skyscanner, the shortest possible route involves changing flights twice and 17 hours of travel. We could be half way around the world by then.

I started looking closer to home ( Berlin) and suddenly while looking at the map of Germany, my eye gravitates to a tiny group of islands dotted on the border between Germany and Denmark.

Typical Frisian thatched house, Nieblum

The North Frisian Islands.

Floating in the bristling, turbulent North Sea, these tiny group of islands have a rich and varied history having been ruled at various points of time by the Danes, the Dutch and the Prussians.

While I love the sound of the history of the island, I’m not sold on the idea of holidaying in the North Sea. I’m still scarred from my time living on the east coast of Scotland when huge clouds of dreich grey mist called the haar would drift in suddenly from the North Sea drowning out the daylight like some alien spaceship from outer space. 

Maybe the weather would be more favourable on the western fringes of the North Sea. Especially in the summer.

We settled on visiting the quiet, unassuming and more budget friendly Föhr which looked like a far better fit than its brash and more upmarket sister, Sylt.

So that’s how on a late, very fine evening in early July we find ourselves hopping on the hourly ferry service from Dagebull Mole to Föhr.

We reach Dagebull after an eventful 5 hour train journey from Hamburg which involved a break in-between in Amrum because of a train driver not being able available. Still, we are grateful. It is a big change from the days when Hans Christian Anderson used to holiday in Föhr (1844) -it took about four days to reach the island by road from Hamburg.

While passenger cars bore into the belly of the ferry, we climb upstairs to soak in the sun and enjoy the panoramic view of the ferry terminal. Its nothing home to write about. We grab a bench towards the rear of the ferry to soak into the broad expanse of blue sea in front of us. The sea is calm and there’s a gentle breeze blowing in from the sea on which the seagulls slide back and forth into the broad white hull of the ferry. After long mournful bellow, the ferry slowly tugs away from shore into the shimmering golden evening sea. The adventure has begun. I feel a magical and almost therapeutic feeling of leaving land behind and sailing away to the island. All my worries and thoughts are temporarily stored in some invisible black box on land. In an island, surrounded by blue sea on all sides, no fears could harm me, no unhappy thoughts could fester.

Strandkorb aka roofed wicker baskets scattered across the beach of Wyk auf Fohr

After a pretty serene crossing, the beautiful promenade of Föhr’s main town and transport hub, Wyk Auf Föhr comes into the sight. With over 4500 inhabitants, half of the island’s population resides here and provides a convenient base with plenty of hotels and apartments to choose from.

We stayed for 4 nights in the Jugendherberge Wyk Auf Föhr . Despite being located on the fringe of Wyk Auf Föhr, the proximity of the hostel to the beach is a huge plus. Plus the availability of full board was also a major plus given how expensive we found eating out in Wyk Auf Föhr.

With little or no clue about how far the hostel is from the harbour, we hop on the local bus link that does the loop around all the town before hopping to the other key villages on the island. The driver is friendly and tells us that he will let us know when our stop comes. Few stops later, in front of a huge corn field, the driver drops us off with a cheerful wave. I already have a good feeling about this place. The hostel is huge and in summers mainly caters to huge school groups and families. There’s lot of pimply faced moody teenagers running around. Luckily, we’re housed in the more tranquil west wing of the hostel away from the groups. There’s no wifi in the rooms, only in the reception which initially feels like a bit of a downer. However, the certainty of not getting any wifi in the rooms means I slip into a happy routine of reading a book before bed and sinking into a very blissful, deep sleep.

Back to our first evening in the hostel. After helping ourselves to the generous buffet dinner in the hostel we go for a wee wonder to the nearby beach.

Sunset, Wyk Auf Fohr

The first few hours in Föhr was the best weather we had for the whole trip. Clear skies as far as your eye stretched. The result : probably one of the most hauntingly beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. The sky was slowly turning reddish pink with lots of pale blue hues scattered across its fringes. With the tide receding you have the most unusual sight of these bare mudflats stretching out to sea , in this case all the way to the neighbouring island of Amrum. Little pools of water, still like glass, gaze back into the reddish pink sky creating a dreamy ambience. Seagulls and terns swoop and scavenge for worms and all kinds of juicy morsels left behind by the receding tidal waters. Swallows weaving mysterious patterns across the sky added to the almost ethereal setting. Wow. What a welcome to Föhr.

The road to the North..

 

A long stretch of gravel road and an empty blue horizon lies ahead of us as we set out the following day to cycle the 11 odd kms to the northern fringe of the island of Föhr. We’re surrounded mostly by green lush corn fields and the occasional field of golden wheat for most of the ride. Odd tractor, passing by, breaks the silence. As we carve into the stiff wind blowing in from the North Sea we feast our eyes on the dramatic cloud formations blowing in from the North Sea.

Nieblum

Our first stop was the impossibly beautiful village of Nieblum lined with large leaved linden trees and wild rose trees. If there was a prize for the most beautiful village in Germany, am sure Nieblum would be up there on the final shortlist. One of first things that strikes you about the linden lined lanes of Nieblum are its traditional Frisian houses with straw thatched roofs. I think we must have stopped our bikes an odd dozen times taking pictures of these impossibly beautiful houses. The rich legacy of houses in Nieblum is a reminder of the island’s golden era when in the 17th and 18th centuries, whaling brought islanders work and a lot of wealth. The people of Friesland and Fohr developed a reputation as excellent whaling men. Their captains, boosted by their fruits of their endeavours, built a number of impressive houses in Nieblum which have been perfectly preserved since.

things to do in Fohr

Föhrer Kerzenscheune

There’s a whole bunch of activities to keep visitors engaged in Nieblum. Besides a pretty decent mini golf course ( 9 holes, €4.50) there is the Föhrer Kerzenscheune where kids can learnt to make their own candles. It is also worth visiting one of the oldest churches in the island here : St John’s.

Johanniskirche, Nieblum

The graveyard here is filled with a number of very ornate, beautifully decorated tombstones that tell the stories of sailors from Nieblum and surrounding places.

 

Gelato, Cafe Cappuccino, Nieblum

In terms of food and drink, there’s bunch of really good restaurants and bakeries to choose from. We gorged on our packed lunch from the hostel but if you’re on a budget, I highly recommend popping into the local Backer Hansen. Also if you have a sweet tooth, I recommend popping into Cafe Cappuccino for their fantastic gelato and amazing range of toppings. They speak no english so be prepared.

Museum Art of the West Coast aka Kunst der Westkuste

From Nieblum it was a 10 minute bike ride through some beautiful countryside scenery to our next stop, the village of Alkersum where we wanted to visit the Museum Art of the West Coast aka Kunst der Westkuste. Visiting this museum was definitely one of the highlights of our visit to Fohr . We didn’t expect a tiny island like Föhr to have such a well curated and beautifully designed exhibition space. The museum has an excellent collection of works by notable Danish, German, Dutch and Norwegian painters like Anna Ancher, Michael Ancher, Max Beckmann, Peder Severin Krøyer, Max Liebermann, Emil Nolde and Edvard Munch . During our visit there was fantastic exhibition about artists who have painted about Norwegian coastline and this featured works of Emil Nolde and Edvard Munch. There’s a lovely shop, helpful staff plus a really nice onsite cafe and restaurant.

Oldsum

Back on the bike we cruise through the middle belly of the island. More green maize fields and big huge open blue skies stoop below to greet us. After a 20 minute ride, the idyllic village of Oldsum greets us with a curious landmark -a Dutch windmill in Föhr? This ancient thatched windmill apparently dates back to the year 1700 but was burnt down 200 years later, then subsequently rebuilt and was in operation until 1954. The reason we had come to Oldsum was to checkout the small artists commune here.  After a couple of wrong turns and asking a few locals for directions we discovered the commune, huddled together in a row of beautiful thatched houses. A few handful of artists welcome us in and we browse a mix of pretty impressive mix of abstract and watercolour paintings that draw on the wild, untamed scenery of the island.

Cake with Rote Grütze, Cafe im Apfelgarten

After a wee browse, we drift further through the village and discover the family run Cafe im Apfelgarten. Crowned by a sea of wild pink roses, we discover rustic wooden benches, large tables where locals and tourists gorge on home cooked food and a fantastic range of delicious local cakes that have been prepared using local ingredients from the island. Unsure of what to order, we ask the owners of the cafe for a recommendation. I’m not quite sure what type of cake we were served-it was kind of like a fluffy angel type of cake but I did recognise the lovely red sauce that came with it – Rote Grütze . Quite a brutal name for such a beautiful dessert, the dish originates from the state of Schleswig Holstein and is also popular across the border in Denmark. Made with fresh berries and cherries this dessert is the nostalgic taste of summer in Germany. 

Stuffed and sweetened, we reluctantly hop on the bikes and cycle back home to the hostel.

On the last day of Föhr, the clouds drift in and with it comes the moody, unpredictable weather that you traditionally associate with the North Sea.

After the joyless task of repacking and a fond farewell to the staff in the hostel, we checkout and wonder through a drizzle of rain and navigate our way to the harbour of Wyk Auf Föhr. On our way to the harbour one of the few remaining windmills on the island comes into sight. It looks a little unloved but still carries that faded nostalgic beauty that draws you in and makes you wonder what it must have looked like in its pomp. Just like the windmill we had stumbled across in Oldsum, this windmill probably dated back to the late 1800’s when the Dutch used to recruit locals to work on their whaling vessels. The Dutch also left their mark on the island in other ways:  the local ‘Fering’ language which is apparently spoken by over 3000 locals on the island is hugely influenced by the Dutch language. Words like ‘kofe’ ( Koffie-Dutch, Coffee-English ) ‘Bak’ ( Bak -Dutch, Wooden Bowl-English ) are examples. Strangely enough ‘Fering’ also features some American English words thanks to the many people that emigrated from Föhr to the United States but kept contact with their relatives on the island. Examples include: ‘Gaabitsch’ – Garbage Can and ‘Sink’

Dr Carl Haberlin Friesen Museum

To learn more about the island’s unique connections around the world and its rich tradition of whaling we popped into the fantastic Dr Carl-Haberlin Friesen Museum in town. It is a beautifully designed museum. We spend a fair bit of time learning about the rich maritime tradition of the island, the history of whaling, the great migration to the States during the economic downturn in the mid 19th century and also details of the geology plus rich flora, fauna that inhabit the island.

After, we head back to the harbour where it all began 72 hours ago. In an hour, we’re back on the boat back to Dagebull. Its a bittersweet moment. We grab ourselves a seat on one of the empty Strandkorbs, the iconic roofed wicker beach chairs that are a characteristic feature of the island and across most of the region of Schleswig Holstein. On a day like today when you need to shield yourself from the elements, its perfect. The sea is moody and unpredictable, waves clashing against each other in joyless synchronisation. Then suddenly the clouds part and within minutes the sun rays spear through the dark bundles of clouds. The sea is glistening and the waves roll against each other  playfully. The ferry blows its horn, a mournful dirge amidst the cackling of excited seagulls. It time to say goodbye to Föhr and head back to land. Refreshed and rejuvenated, time also to reclaim my invisible black box and set all my worries and thoughts free. 

 

How to reach Föhr

You can reach Wyk Auf Föhr from Hamburg by train ( Journey time around 4-5 hours, Fares start from €27 one way, via GoEuro ) or from Berlin ( Journey time around 6 hours 50 minutes, Fares starts from €40 mark booked via Go Euro )

Where to stay in Fohr

We stayed at the Jugendherberge in Wyk Auf Fohr which was incredible in terms of value, especially when compared to the cost of accommodation across the island. Despite their limited command of English, the whole team there were very friendly and helpful. Even though located on the fringe of Wye Auf Fohr, the location of the hostel near to the beach was a big plus. The availability of full board was also a major plus given how expensive we found eating out in Wyk Auf Fohr. Prices on a full board basis starts from €31.60.



Booking.com

Getting around the island

We rented bikes from Föhrrad ( Gmelinstraße 22a, 25938 Wyk auf Föhr )

Bike rental service is just a 10 minute walk from the hostel. Great selection of bikes for people of all ages plus offers e-bikes for rent. Prices start from €7 a day for a normal bike or €18 a day for an e-bike.

Discover These 10 NYC Museums

The Met and the Guggenheim are world-famous—worthy of a pilgrimage, some would say—but New York’s museums extend far beyond the 28-block stretch of Fifth Avenue that’s official recognized as Museum Mile. Smaller institutions throughout the city’s five boroughs bring various aspects of local history, industry, and culture to life. From Midtown Manhattan to Staten Island to the Bronx, here are 10 gems that shine. 

SHINING A LIGHT ON MARITIME HISTORY: NATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE MUSEUM

Everyone knows that New York City has historically been a center of finance, art, and theater. It’s nautical history, however, remains a bit under the radar. That heritage comes to life at the National Lighthouse Museum (lighthousemuseum.org) on Staten Island, just a quick walk from the ferry terminal. Located in a 1912 foundry building on the former site of the once bustling US Lighthouse Service’s General Depot (one of the six remaining buildings from the original 18), the largely self-guided museum explains everything you never thought there was to know about lighthouse upkeep, the life of lightkeepers, and the physics of light projection. You’ll never look at nautical navigation the same way again.

PICTURE PERFECT: MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE

It’s no stretch to think of the Museum of the Moving Image (movingimage.us) like a mini-Smithsonian Institute, what with its all-encompassing collection that represent American culture. The museum, which opened in Astoria, Queens, in 1981 in the former home of the once illustrious Astoria Studios, features about 130,000 objects relating to film, television, sports and news broadcasting, and even video games. Plus, there was a recent exciting development: A Jim Henson exhibit, once a temporary display of all things Muppets and Sesame Street, became a permanent part of the museum’s collection in 2017. Add that to everything from costumes from Gone With the Wind to vintage cartoon and comic book memorabilia to old-fashioned film and recording equipment and vintage movie theater furnishings, and an afternoon here presents a vivid portrait of America’s love affair with entertainment.

IT ALL ADDS UP: THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MATHEMATICS

Screen-Shot-2018-08-14-at-11.20.18-AM.png?mtime=20180814102107#asset:102870(Courtesy Museum of Mathematics)

Algebra and geometry might not be part of your most riveting high school memories, but the family-friendly Museum of Mathematics (momath.org), a two-story tech-forward playground that opened near Madison Square Park in Manhattan in 2012, wants to change your opinions of algorithms, physics, and optics. Committed to showing how so many of the glorious things we take for granted are a direct consequence of an intricate natural numbers game, it offers interactive exhibits are designed to illuminate how shapes, angles, curves, and motion work. That’s no small undertaking, but with exhibits like a pixilated floor that reacts to movement and a rectangle-wheeled tricycle that moves smoothly along a corrugated track, odds are you’ll walk out excited to talk about paraboloids, catenaries, and tessellation. Logically. 

NEXT STOP: NEW YORK TRANSIT MUSEUM

dreamstime_m_49504893.jpg?mtime=20180814090605#asset:102867(Demerzel21/Dreamstime)

Between delays and overcrowding, the New York subway system gets a bad rap. But when you stop and think about the fact that the 150-plus-year old system with 472 stations—the most of any mass transit operation in the world—runs 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, delays are a small price to pay to ride on this remarkable network. The New York Transit Museum (nytransitmuseum.org), located in a 1936 subway station in downtown Brooklyn, features vintage cars dating back to 1907 and permanent exhibits that pay tribute to engineering, construction, employees, and many other aspects that ensure the system keeps people moving. Historical artifacts, old signage, video footage, photography, and structures like vintage turnstiles collectively tell the dynamic story of this system that has helped define New York City. Temporary exhibits cover topics like the subway’s role in comic books. And yes, the museum is walking distance from four subway stations and six different lines, so be sure to take the train here.

COMING TO AMERICA: THE TENEMENT MUSEUM 

Few images of late 19th- and early 20th-century American history are more iconic than those of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island. The Tenement Museum (tenement.org) offers a snapshot of their lives once they settled in New York City. Located on the fast-gentrifying Lower East Side in two tenement buildings, a National Historic Site that housed an estimated 15,000 working class people between 1863 and 2014, the museum presents interactive exhibits and displays that tell vivid stories about families  adopting new identities and making new lives for themselves. Throughout fives floors of exhibits, you’ll learn about garment factory workers, kosher butchers, and shop owners, transmitting a vivid sense of what it was like to be a stranger in a strange land. There’s also a variety of neighborhood walking tours, including one that samples the area’s ethnic foods and one that points out historic sites that played into the daily immigrant experience. 

BE A PART OF IT: MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

Filip-Wolak_MCNY-Exterior.jpg?mtime=20180814094857#asset:102868(Courtesy Filip Wolak)

For a deep dive into the history of this ever-changing metropolis and work by some of its most renowned residents, the Museum of the City of New York (mcny.org) is hard to beat. Housed in a 1932 Georgian Colonial-Revival building in East Harlem, the institution is a tribute to the city’s status as a hub of urban creativity. With an impressive collection of some 750,000 objects spanning photography and sculpture to costumes and theatrical memorabilia, there’s too much to display at one time, but with rotating exhibits drawing from such a varied collection, there’s bound to be something for everyone here. Broadway nerds will thrill to Eugene O’Neill’s handwritten drafts and Gershwin brothers’ memorabilia, while those fascinated by the details will appreciate maps and ephemera from the 17th century on. You can even see hand-painted casts of famous New York boxers’ hands in the sculpture collection.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: MUSEUM OF BRONX HISTORY

Aside from pilgrimages to Yankee Stadium and the other Little Italy, Arthur Avenue, the Bronx doesn’t get much non-local love. And that’s a shame, because the Museum of Bronx History (bronxhistoricalsociety.org/museum-of-bronx-history) is well worth the trek north. Located in a 1758 house—the borough’s second-oldest—with original details like oak and pine floorboards and hand-forged nails, the building that holds the museum survived a two-day, one-block move in the 1960s and is now as much an attraction as its contents. Opened in 1968, the museum’s main level features two galleries with rotating exhibits and a permanent display in the front parlor that digs into the Bronx backstory, from the arrival of the Dutch to the booting of the British.

GET ON BOARD: INTREPID SEA, AIR & SPACE MUSEUM

dreamstime_m_113679552.jpg?mtime=20180814102629#asset:102871(Tomasz Wozniak/Dreamstime)

It’s not often that you get the chance to live out your Top Gun fantasies and learn about America’s history of science and service at the same time, but at Manhattan’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum (intrepidmuseum.org), you can do just that. A legendary aircraft carrier that faced kamikaze attacks and torpedo strikes during World War II, tracked Soviet submarines during the Cold War, picked up NASA astronauts on their return from space in the ‘60s, and served three tours of duty in Vietnam, the Intrepid is now docked on the Hudson River, where it hosts more than a million visitors a year. Explore the ship from top to bottom—or, to be specific, from the flight deck to the third deck—to get a feel for life as a recruit. And be sure to allow time for the rest of the museum’s collection, too. Featuring an array of carefully preserved and restored aircraft, there are plenty of superlatives to see, including the world’s first space shuttle, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier on its maiden voyage, and the plane flown by the first President Bush during World War II.

A FAMILY AFFAIR: MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN GANGSTER

From Al Capone to The Godfather, little holds a place in the American imagination like the Mafia, and at the Museum of the American Gangster (museumoftheamericangangster.org) in the East Village, you can descend into the criminal underworld—for an afternoon, at least. A former speakeasy turned shrine to organized crime, the two-room museum investigates the role of illegal enterprise in the development of cities like New York and Chicago, from politics and culture to myths and urban legends. Plus, it boasts a collection of artifacts that would make even the most hardened mobster jealous, from the shell casings from the shootout that ended Bonnie and Clyde’s bank-robbing spree to the death masks of John Dillinger. No vows of loyalty required for entry. 

FUN AND GAMES: CONEY ISLAND MUSEUM

CIm2017.02jpeg.jpeg?mtime=20180814104430#asset:102873(Courtesy Norman Blake)

Home to a world-famous hot-dog eating contest, a legendary boardwalk, a long-running, near-legendary sideshow, and a 91-year-old wooden roller coaster that’s earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, Brooklyn’s Coney Island has served as a respite from city life since its inaugural hotel went up in the 1920s. You can learn about its storied history at the Coney Island Museum (coneyisland.com/programs/coney-island-museum). Founded in 1981 and located just across the street from a subway terminus, this small second-story establishment is like wandering into an eccentric uncle’s attic. Past the funhouse mirrors, you’ll find a treasure trove of vintage ephemera and antique collectibles—photos, ticket stubs, postcards, game signage, and actual cars from decommissioned coasters—as well as exhibitions detailing the amusement parks that came before, and the neighborhood’s evolution from upscale retreat to freak-friendly phenomenon to G-rated vacation destination. It’s the perfect place to embrace your weird side.

When Do You Pay Off Your Credit Card Bill? Pros and Cons of Paying Early vs. On Due Date, Setting Up Autopay

When it comes to managing credit cards, we all have a preferred method. It goes without saying that to be successful in this hobby, you must pay off your balance in full before the due date, but the exact time and frequency of payments varies person to person. Some pay before the statement closes, and others wait until the last minute of the due date. So, let’s go over some of the pros and cons of each card management style.

Make Sure to Pay Your Bills On Time

Credit card payment history contributes to a huge chunk of your overall credit score, or a whopping 35 percent to be specific, so it’s important to make all payments before their due dates. And I’m not talking about making a minimum payment. Technically, sending a check for the minimum balance due will contribute to the payment history in a positive way, but you’ll end up paying interest on the remaining balance. Rewards credit cards tend to carry especially high interest rates, therefore paying just the minimum amount will negate all your rewards and is not recommended.

Pros: Not paying interest

Cons: None

Paying Off Balance Before the Statement Closes

Consumers who use this method tend to stay on the cautious side and pay off their balance before the statement closes, sometimes multiple times per month. Although you won’t owe any interest on your card, which is the goal, you also won’t accumulate positive payment history. If the statement closes at $0, you technically owe nothing and the payment is not recorded by the credit bureaus, which get their information from lenders.

If you prefer paying off as much of your bill as possible in advance, it’s best to carry a small balance that is reported to the bureaus along with a full payment shortly after a statement closes. This will help you establish payment history, keep your credit utilization low and increase your score.

Pros: Keeping credit utilization rate low

Cons: No record of payment history

Cycling Your Credit

Sometimes lenders are fearful of offering a high credit line, especially to consumers with a thin credit file. If you apply for your first or second credit card, your credit line might be on the lower side. Let’s say it is $1,000, and you need to make multiple expensive purchases. If your first purchase is $800, you are now using 80 percent of your credit limit, which implies high risk.

To appear in control of your finances, you want to keep your credit utilization rate under 30 percent if possible. So, you can pay off the $800 before the statement closes and then use your card again to make another purchase. Doing this multiple times per month is called cycling your credit. You want to use this method if your credit line is low but you are 100 percent you can pay off your purchases in full right away. Just be careful and don’t let the statement close with a large purchase on your bill. This will increase your credit utilization rate and temporarily lower your credit score.

Pros: Keeping credit utilization rate low

Cons: Risk of not paying in full before statement closes

Paying Off Balance on Due Date

Some people like to hoard their money until the last day of the grace period. You may call it procrastination, but others call it investing. If you have money in a high-yield checking account, it might make sense to keep the money there for as long as possible to accrue a higher return. Of course, this only makes sense for accounts with high balances. You also need to be careful with your utilization rates. Racking up a huge credit card bill isn’t worth a credit score drop for a few extra bucks in your checking account.

Pros: Investing money elsewhere

Cons: High credit utilization rate

Setting Up Autopay for Credit Card Bills

This option really varies person to person. With different due dates, bonus categories and annual fees on each card, it can get rather overwhelming to keep track of everything. Setting up autopay for your bills can eliminate lots of stress, especially if you hold multiple rewards credit cards, but it also can backfire.

For example, if someone makes a fraudulent charge on your credit card and you don’t notice right away, the autopay might pay for something you didn’t buy. In my opinion, it’s easier to not pay for it in the first place than to jump though hoops trying to your money back after the fact. Not to mention the possibility of not having enough money in your checking account to cover the bill. Then you have to deal with overdraft charges from your financial institution.

Pros: Easy bill managing

Cons: Potential complications with fraud

How I Manage My Credit Card Bills

Now, after all of this, you might be wondering how I manage my credit card bills. I pay off every card in full the day I receive an email letting me know my statement is available. This way I don’t miss any payments, and everything gets reported to the credit bureaus. I pay everything manually and have not set up autopay on any of my cards for the fear of overdraft charges, just in case. This way I also can choose a checking account for that specific payment.

I’m curious. How do you manage your credit card bills? Please share your methods in the comment section below.

Kitten With One Ear Finds Someone Who Saved Her Life, and Follows Her Everywhere She Goes

Clarissa from Texas found a 6-week-old stray in a parking lot, hiding under a car. She stayed with the kitten until help came their way.


Clarissa @vespurr_

The kitten was found with her ear dangling from her head by a thread. She took refuge under a car when she saw people coming to the parking lot. “My boyfriend and I brought her water and food to see if she’d come out,” Clarissa told Love Meow.

With help from two neighbors, both vet techs, they got the kitten out safely and rushed her to an animal hospital.

“It was understood by everyone that the ear had to be removed. Before leaving, they asked if we’d be interested in keeping her if she survived the surgery, and we said yes!”


Clarissa @vespurr_

Vesper made it through the surgery and came home with Clarissa but the road to recovery was longer than they had anticipated. “Five days later, she stopped eating and playing, so we knew something was wrong. We took her back to the vet.”

The kitten tested positive for coccidia (parasites) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), a disease that impairs the cat’s immune system. The kitten wouldn’t have made it alone in the outdoors.


Clarissa @vespurr_

After she returned from the vet, they noticed that Vesper started losing some motor skills and developing a wobbly gait, and it has stayed with her to this day.

Vesper may fall down when she walks, but she picks herself right up and is always in good spirits. “She doesn’t know any different. She plays, jumps and climbs like any other kitten.”


Clarissa @vespurr_

Clarissa takes it day by day with her one-eared kitty and celebrates her every milestone. “If we hadn’t taken her in, she wouldn’t have made it. Every day she lives is a gift and a bonus day,” Clarissa said.

They want to give Vesper the best life possible no matter how long it might be. The sweet little girl is always happy and follows her humans everywhere around the house.


Clarissa @vespurr_

“I’m thankful for every day I wake up and get to see her little baby tiger face staring at me or biting my toes wanting to play.”

When Clarissa tries to work, Vesper comes to “help”.


Clarissa @vespurr_

If Clarissa is in the bathroom, so is Vesper.

The mischievous kitty loves sitting in the laundry while having a little conversation with her human mom.


Clarissa @vespurr_

It’s been a year since Vesper came into their lives.

The little one-eared wonder has grown into a gorgeous cat with two different colored eyes (heterochromia iridum) and a larger-than-life personality.


Clarissa @vespurr_

“She is playful and curious. She wants to be around someone at all times and do what they are doing,” Clarissa told Love Meow.


Clarissa @vespurr_

“She is so strong and never gets down about her situation. She has taught me so much about unconditional love and perseverance,” Clarissa told Love Meow.

“No matter how many times she falls, she doesn’t complain — she just gets right back up.”


Clarissa @vespurr_

Follow Vesper and her adventures on Instagram @vespurr_

Watch Vesper’s journey in this video:

Share this story with your friends.

Related story: Kitten with 4 Ears and One Eye Rescued From Under a House, Finds Someone He Loves

Rescued Kitten Needed a Friend So They Found Him a Brother From Another Mother

A little stray came to the New York City shelter needing a foster home after he was found wandering the streets without a mom.

The kitten named Silva was in poor health with an upper respiratory infection and conjunctivitis. Shelter staff reached out to volunteers, hoping to get him into a foster home so he could start recuperating.


Alyssa Leal @adoptablesnyc

“I received an email from the shelter looking for a foster where he could recoup and gain weight,” Alyssa Leal, a volunteer of the shelter, told Love Meow.

Though her house was full with two other rescued kittens, Alyssa couldn’t say no to the little one in need. She pulled out her crate, headed to the shelter and brought the kitten home.

Over the next two weeks, Silva bounced back from his illness and was looking much better, but the kitten craved companionship, constantly looking for attention from his foster mom or other kittens.

“Silva was separated from the stray kitten that he was found with because of his poor health, and after my other fosters (Jules and Vincent) were adopted, I wasn’t sure how Silva would do by himself again since he absolutely loves kitty company,” Alyssa said.


Alyssa Leal @adoptablesnyc

He started clinging to Alyssa more and more. “It was a sign that he needed a friend.”

Around that time, Alyssa received another email about a 7-week-old kitten who was very timid and needed love. The little bundle of fluff looks like Silva’s brother from another mother.


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

“Professor Lupin (the kitten) arrived a scared boy huddling in a corner, but after two days of purritos, treats and affection, he was out and about a bit more.”

Lupin hasn’t mastered the art of self-grooming so he needs a little extra help cleaning.


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

“I set him up in a crate in our living room where he watched Silva play and run around. When they finally met, Silva totally welcomed him in,” Alyssa told Love Meow. “He taught him how to play, run, clean himself all from observing Silva.”

The two kitties really bonded. Lupin was very shy when he first arrived, but Silva helped him gain confidence each day, taking on the role of a big brother.


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

“Silva is doing an excellent job of teaching Professor Lupin how to be a kitten!”


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

Despite all the fluff, little Lupin hasn’t reached two pounds. He likes to follow Silva around the house and do everything he does.


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

“Now they sleep and play together all day long, as well as with our resident cats,” Alyssa told Love Meow.


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

Silva is the happiest kitty he’s ever been with his best friend by his side 24/7.

Their lives as a stray are over, and now they are cuddling each day in the comfort of a loving home.


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

Share this story with your friends. Follow Alyssa’s foster kitties on Instagram @adoptablesnyc.

Related story: Kitten Saved from Shelter Finds New “Brother” Who Looks Just like Him, He Becomes Very Attached

Kittens So Shy They Stay Huddled Up Together Until Woman Helps Them Trust With Group Hugs

A Good Samaritan spotted a kitten on the road and followed the little one in attempt to find others. To her surprise, she discovered four little bundles of fluff living in a cat colony, in need of help.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

Lorie from Montréal, Canada discovered the kittens and immediately reached out to a local rescue, Chatons Orphelins Montréal (COM), to inquire for help to catch the kittens and get the adult cats spayed and neutered.

Volunteers responded right away and came with humane traps. After waiting for a while, they were able to get all four kittens and their feral cat mama.

“The cat mother went to a TNR (trap-neuter-return) program to be spayed and would be returned to the cat colony that a lady is caring for,” Celine Crom of COM told Love Meow.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

The 9-week-old kittens were taken into the rescue so they could be weaned, socialized and get a chance for a better life. The four felines were completely terrified when they arrived as they hadn’t had any human contact prior.

They were huddled up together the entire time and refused to be taken away from their siblings. “They did not understand what was happening and their hearts were beating out of their chests when we opened the cage,” the rescue added.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

“There are two boys, Tintin (beige) and Charlie (gray and white), and two girls, Rachel (dilute calico) and Luce (beige and white). They are very shy and it takes patience to gain their trust.”

While they were in transport, the kittens stuck together in the carrier, keeping each other comforted. Their foster mom Amandine didn’t have the heart to break them apart, so came up with an idea to help the little ones relax.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

The kittens insisted on staying in a pack of four so Amandine scooped them up and put them in her lap for a big group hug.

Their little hearts were beating fast, but as soon as they were being petted, they felt that surge of love that they’d never felt before, and calmed down.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

After a few intense cuddle sessions, the kittens warmed up to their foster mom and mustered enough courage to venture out a bit to play and explore.

“The kittens are still shy but we are working on making them feel more comfortable with humans,” Celine told Love Meow.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

After some chin scratches, Rachel the calico, the tiniest of the litter, really came around.

“She is now the leader of the crew despite being the runt. She’s the boldest and most curious. We are confident to win her purrs some day.”


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

Now the litter of four have been transferred to a new foster home with Sarah and her three resident cats, Gustave, Effie and Scarlett.

The older kitties took the little youngsters under their wing and helped them adjust to living in a home with humans.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

“Being with other cats that they aren’t afraid of, has helped so much,” Celine told Love Meow.

The feline siblings still stay very close with each other but they have learned to relax and enjoy their new indoor life.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

Share this story with your friends. Follow updates on these kitties on Facebook.

Related story: Grandpa Cat Waited Months to Cuddle Kittens, Has His Dream Come True

Wildfires and the #1 Surprising Effect on Your Pet

Wildfires have been on our radar as of late with the rampant activity across the West, Pacific Northwest, and Canada. Our pet’s health is a top priority. We want to be able to provide the very best care in the wake of these natural disasters. Smoke inhalation is a disastrous side-effect of Wildfires that often […]

The post Wildfires and the #1 Surprising Effect on Your Pet appeared first on The Trupanion Blog.

Safeway Deals for August 15-21 {DOUBLE COUPON DEALS}

Here are the best deals at Safeway this week. The Safeway ad runs Wednesday-Tuesday in the Pacific Northwest. Find the full list of this week’s Safeway deals, including a printable list feature, here. Please note that at this time, the list does not include double coupons.

Along with sales and coupons, you can get also save with two smart phone cash back apps:

Just download the apps and browse for offers available at Safeway!

WEEKLY DEALS

Fresh Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts on sale $1.67/lb – value pack, limit 4 

USDA Choice Fresh Boneless Beef Top Round London Broil on sale $1.99/lb – value pack, limit 4 

Fresh Assorted Pork Loin Chops on sale $1.99/lb – value pack, limit 4 

USDA Choice Fresh Beef Short Ribs on sale $5.99/lb value pack

Wild-Caught Fresh Sockeye Salmon Fillets on sale $9.99/lb

Wild-Caught Cooked Alaskan Jumbo Snow Crab Clusters on sale $9.99/lb

Local Northwest Gala Apples on sale $.77/lb

Strawberries (16 oz) on sale $1.50

Raspberries, Blackberries, or Blueberries (6 oz) on sale $1.50

Lucerne Shredded Cheese (2 lb) on sale $4.99 limit 4

Bandon Chunk Cheese (2 lb) on sale $4.99 limit 4

Pepsi, 7-UP, A&W, Sunkist, Dr. Pepper and more on sale Buy 2 Get 3 Freemix and match

Nabisco Crackers and Cookies on sale $1.88when you buy 3, mix and match 
Buy 3
Use $1/3 coupon from 8/12 SS insert
Use Safeway double (-$.50)
$1.38 each after coupon & double

Entenmann’s Little Bites on sale Buy 1 Get 1 Free 
Buy 2
Use $.50/1 coupon
Use Safeway double (-$.50)
Price varies after coupon & double

Value Corner Milk (gallon) on sale $1.99with weekly ad coupon, limit 3

Lucerne Coffee Creamer (32 oz) on sale $1.99 – with weekly ad coupon, limit 3

Reser’s Deli Salad (16 oz) on sale $2.50
Buy 1
Use $.75/1 coupon
Use Safeway double (-$.50)
$1.25 after coupon & double 

Doritos on sale Buy 1 Get 1 Freelimit 3 free

Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Lunchmeat on sale $3.50
Buy 1
Use $.75/1 coupon
Use Safeway double (-$.50)
$2.25 after coupon & double 

Best Foods Mayonnaise on sale $2.88with weekly ad coupon

Starbucks K-Cups on sale $4.99 – with weekly ad coupon
Buy 1
Use $1.50/1 coupon from 6/10 SS insert
Use Safeway double (-$.50)
$2.99 after coupon & double 

Frito-Lay Family Size Chips on sale $1.99with weekly ad coupon

Zataran’s Rice Side Dishes on sale $.99 – with weekly ad coupon

Signature Kitchens Instant Oatmeal (10-12 ct) on sale $1.67

Alden’s Organic Ice Cream Novelties on sale $3.99
Use $1/1 coupon
Use Safeway double (-$.50)
$2.49 after coupon & double

Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls on sale $2.50
Buy 1
Use $.75/1 coupon from 8/5 RMN insert
Use Safeway double (-$.50)
$1.25 after coupon & double

Galbani String Cheese on sale $3
Buy 1
Use $1/1 coupon from 8/5 SS insert
Use Safeway double (-$.50)
$1.50 after coupon & double

Kikkoman Soy Sauce on sale $2.29
Buy 1
Use $.55/1 coupon
Use Safeway double (-$.50)
$1.24 after coupon & double

Lysol Laundry Sanitizer on sale $9.99
Buy 1
Use $1.50/1 coupon from 8/19 SS insert
Use Safeway double (-$.50)
$7.99 after coupon & double

Persil Laundry Detergent on sale $7.99with digital just for u coupon
Buy 1
Use $2/1 coupon
Use Safeway double (-$.50)
$5.49 after coupon & double

Red, Green or Black Seedless Grapes on sale $1.99/lb

Cantaloupe on sale $2

Fresh Express Garden, Shreds, Slaw or Spinach on sale $1

Cucumbers on sale $.77

Green Bell Peppers on sale $.77

Walla Walla Sweet Onions on sale $.99/lb

Colgate Toothpaste on sale $1
Buy 1
Use $.50/1 coupon from 8/5 SS insert
Use Safeway double (-$.50)
FREE after coupon & double

Safeway doubles many coupons in Oregon & SW Washington Safeways only. You can double up to 4 manufacturer’s coupons per transaction, up to 50¢ each. The double coupon is found in the weekly ad at the bottom of the middle page and look’s like this:

Safeway-double-coupon

Find more Safeway deals here

The post Safeway Deals for August 15-21 {DOUBLE COUPON DEALS} appeared first on Frugal Living NW.

A Simple Daily Hack That Can Improve Your Dog’s Terrible Gas

Dog gas is no laughing matter. It’s often the butt of jokes, and “blaming it on the dog” is a common trope, but there’s definitely nothing funny about foul gas when it’s coming from your dog.

Stinky dog gas can be caused by an imbalance of bacteria in your dog’s digestive tract. When we think of bacteria we usually think of the tiny invisible monsters that cause colds and diseases, but there are “good” and “bad” bacteria present in you and your dog’s bodies. These are necessary to break down the foods we eat.

Smelly dog farts can be a sign of an imbalance of the bacteria in his body. The “good” bacteria may be outnumbered by the “bad” bacteria – which can cause your dog to clear a room with his gas. Luckily, there’s a simple way to get his digestive tract bacteria back on track.

Probiotic supplements have been shown to help improve the health and function of the digestive system, in both humans and dogs. These supplements work to balance out the bacteria in his body, and can relieve him of several tummy troubles, including watery stools, diarrhea, and yes – nasty gas.

Talk to your dog’s veterinarian about his foul flatulence and ask about probiotics as a possible solution. Though supplements for humans are available, your dog’s digestive tract is different than yours, and has strains of bacteria not found in your body. Be certain to only give him supplements made especially for him.

Which Probiotic Product Does iHeartDogs Recommend?

The team at iHeartDogs was fortunate enough to collaborate with Project Paws® on the creation of a supplement called Pronine™ Flora, which is a 4-in-1 product containing probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and digestive herbs. With 5 billion CFU from 3 different probiotic strains, we believe this product to be the most balanced and complete canine probiotic formula available.

Whatever product you choose, we hope this information was helpful, and trust that you have your dog’s best in mind. Always consult your veterinarian and do your own research before choosing any product for your precious pup.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional.

The post A Simple Daily Hack That Can Improve Your Dog’s Terrible Gas appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

Netanyahu Has Dug Himself Into a Hole at a Graveyard Full of Untruths

(MEMO Opinion) — Benjamin Netanyahu has dived headlong into the furore engulfing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, revealing the most blatant meddling to-date by Israel in British politics. What’s more, he’s done it armed with lies and distortions. The Israeli Prime Minister blasted Corbyn for apparently paying tribute to those behind the 1972 Munich massacre in which […]

Turkey Just Joined Russia in Liquidating US Treasuries

(ZHE) — Last month, when we reported that Russia had liquidated the bulk of its US Treasury holdings in just two months, we said that “we can’t help but wonder – as the Yuan-denominated oil futures were launched, trade wars were threatened, and as more sanctions were unleashed on Russia – if this wasn’t a dress-rehearsal, carefully coordinated with […]