All Posts By Amy Reiter

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire and Wine Spectator, among other print publications, as well as for websites including The Daily Beast, MSN, Babble, AOL/Huffington Post and Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer.

Starbucks Can Boost Your Mood — and Your Home’s Value

by in News, February 6th, 2015

Coffee Shop SignFor many of us, proximity to coffee is the key to happiness. But did you know it might also be the secret to boosting your home’s value?

In an excerpt from “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate,” Spencer Rascoff, the CEO of the real estate website Zillow, and Stan Humphries, its chief economist, grind a few numbers and brew up a fairly convincing argument that the nearer your home is to a Starbucks, the faster it appreciates. “Moreover,” the real estate mavens contend in the excerpt, posted on Quartz, “Starbucks seems to be fueling — not following — these higher home values.”

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Flyers Agree: Sitting Near Someone Eating Smelly Food Stinks

by in News, February 4th, 2015

Airplane FoodYou know what stinks? Sitting next to someone on a plane who cracks open a container of super-smelly food. Memo to pungent-meal-loving travelers: The people seated near you, especially the unfortunate passenger(s) sharing your armrest(s) and immediate airspace, do not want to spend the duration of the flight smelling your food.

Forty-eight percent of airplane passengers surveyed by the airport shuttle service GO Airport Express said they considered it rude to bring food with strong odors onto planes, Mashable reports. Interestingly, more women (52 percent) than men (43 percent) disapproved of the behavior. Meanwhile, 12 percent of those surveyed thought the practice should be banned by airlines altogether.

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Taco Bell Takes Up the Battle for a Taco Emoji

by in News, February 3rd, 2015

Taco Bell Takes Up the Battle for a Taco EmojiSo many friends to text, so many emoji to choose from — so few tacos?

Taco Bell has found its cause: The fast-food chain is petitioning Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit that oversees computer text coding standards, including for those charming “picture characters” known as emoji, to include a taco in its next batch of emoji characters, scheduled for release in mid-2015.

“THE TACO EMOJI NEEDS TO HAPPEN,” Taco Bell pleads in its Change.org petition, which, as of Friday afternoon, had more than 27,000 signatures.

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Sushi Suitcase Covers for the Tasteful Traveler

by in News, February 2nd, 2015

Tokyo Otaku Mode Premium ShopRemember those sushi socks we told you about a few months back? Now the same online retailer, Tokyo Otaku Mode Premium Shop, is selling another — perhaps somewhat stranger, though no less intriguing — must-have item for sushi lovers. Enter Sushi Suitcase Covers.

“Most airlines and other transportation services make a point of taking really good care of your bags, but sometimes they do get left outside in the rain, or those conveyor belts at the airport can sometimes leave your bag a little bit dusty or scuffed,” the site explains. “If you love your luggage, you might want to invest in some kind of cover to help keep it nice and dry as well as helping to avoid damage from dirt and scratches.” What better way to protect your baggage than by disguising it as an oversize piece of sushi?

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David Beckham’s New Goal: Total Whisky Domination

by in Drinks, News, January 31st, 2015

David BeckhamAmerican fans of celebrity spirits and spirited soccer (not to mention steamy H&M underwear ads) may be interested to know that David Beckham has officially brought his new single-grain Scotch whisky, Haig Club — which, you may recall, he launched overseas a few months ago — to the U.S. of A.

The former soccer star and his partner in premium liquor, American Idol creator Simon Fuller, introduced the new whisky to invited guests this week at a cocktail party in West Hollywood in California.

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Heads or Tails? Whole-Fish Sushi Offers Both

by in News, January 25th, 2015

SardinesYou can teach a man to fish, but can you teach him to eat a whole-fish sushi roll? A popular sushi chain in Japan, Kurazushi, has introduced a roll that is definitely not for the fishphobic: It’s made with a whole sardine – head, tail, eyes and all.

The roll has been created in honor of a Japanese spring festival called Setsubun, which kicks off in early February and, according to Japan Today, nods at two festival traditions: eating thick sushi rolls called “ehomaki” while facing the direction deemed most auspicious for the coming year; and adorning one’s front door with “hiiragi iwashi,” a cooked sardine head poised upon a sprig of holly, which is believed to ward off bad luck and evil spirits.

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New Hampshire Lottery Now Doles Out Dollars and Bacon Scents

by in News, January 24th, 2015

New Hampshire Lottery Now Doles Out Dollars and Bacon Scents

The New Hampshire Lottery has added an olfactory twist to its newest batch of scratch tickets. For the first time, the lottery’s offering scratch-and-sniff tickets, set to reward you with the heady scent of bacon, whether or not they earn you a prize.

The I Heart Bacon Scratch Tickets, which went on sale earlier this month, can be snapped up for $1. Players who scratch the ticket to reveal a heart symbol win the prize shown, and those who uncover a bacon symbol win double the prize money revealed on the card — up to a grand prize of $1,000, which is, of course, a respectable pile of scratch.

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This Robotic Bartender Will Mix a Perfect Cocktail in Five Seconds

by in Drinks, News, January 22nd, 2015

SomabarLots of us enjoy drinking craft cocktails, but not all of us enjoy making them – or even really know how. And alas, perhaps all too few of us have a cute mixologist who will whip them up “with a little bit of love.”

A new gadget that’s just gotten funded (and then some) on Kickstarter is aiming to render that human mixologist obsolete and take the handmade beverage high-tech. The Somabar, which its makers describe as a “robotic bartender for your home,” is a craft-cocktail appliance that looks sort of like a SodaStream on steroids. Users download an app onto their smartphones (both Android and iOS) and then connect via WiFi to the Somabar, which they’ve preloaded with their favorite cocktail ingredients (spirits, mixers and the like), to order the mixed drink of their choice. Seconds later, they can be taking their first sip of a carefully calibrated, scientifically mixed cocktail.

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How Many Slices of Pizza Does the Average American Eat in a Lifetime?

by in News, January 20th, 2015

PizzaNo matter how you slice it, we Americans love our pizza. But is there a way to quantify just how much we love it? It turns out that there kind of is.

According to a poll conducted by the restaurant chain CiCi’s Pizza and reported in the New York Daily News, the average American will devour at least 6,000 slices during the course of a lifetime. CiCi’s survey of 1,000 people also found that one-third of those who eat pizza do so at least once a week, and one in 10 of us eats as many as three slices as often as three times a week. And while 85 percent say they eat pizza mostly because they enjoy the way it tastes (thin crust or deep dish, one-third of us don’t care which), 47 percent of us admit that convenience is a pretty big factor too.

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There’s a Plastic-Eating Fungus Among Us

by in News, January 17th, 2015

Plastic-Eating MushroomsThat classic scene from the movie The Graduate was all too true. There is a great future in plastics. The problem, though, is that future may be devastatingly long – in fact, no one really knows quite how long conventional plastics take to break down. It could be hundreds upon hundreds of years, and even when they break down, they never really go away completely. And that’s not great for our planet.

Now, science may have an answer. One word: mushrooms.

Austrian designers Katharina Unger and Julia Kaisinger, co-founders of the collaborative design firm LIVIN Studio, have teamed up with researchers at Utrecht University to devise a fungi food product they hope is capable of solving two global problems at once: too much plastic waste and too little food.

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