TIME advice

7 Creative Kitchen Storage Ideas

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Maximize your counter space

Maybe once upon a time you thought it was the perfect size, but after years of purchasing kitchen gadgets and new dishes, along with a growing family, the thrill is gone.

But there’s no need to fret. We’ve got you covered with seven space-saving, creative storage solutions to make your kitchen feel brand new, and hopefully you’ll fall in love with it all over again.

1. Go high: above cabinets

Step back and look at your kitchen as a whole. Notice anything? You may see there’s prime real estate up high, such as on top of the refrigerator and above cabinets and doors. Take advantage of these spaces to store cookbooks, canisters or even wine bottles.

2. Get low: toe-kick drawers

Get low. Make existing features in your kitchen functional with toe-kick drawers. Most cabinets sit off the floor with toe kicks, and now there are kits available to create drawers that open with a tap of your toes. A toe-kick drawer is a great place to house pet feeding dishes.

3. Hanging on: pegboards and hanging baskets

Sure, you can hang pots and pans from the ceiling or add a rack on the wall, but you might try hanging baskets to store dishcloths and towels. Use hooks to hang pot holders or utensils.

Pegboards aren’t just for tools in the garage. Use them to create a cool place to hang pots and pans, mugs or utensils.

4. Slide and glide: sliding drawers

Install sliding drawers on the side of your range to add functionality. The drawers don’t take up much room but are deep enough to provide plenty of storage. A sliding storage tower (on wheels!) is another option to make use of narrow spaces, such as between your oven and fridge.

5. Rack it up: door racks and wine racks

Door racks on the inside of cabinet or pantry doors provide instant space-saving storage.

While you’re in the mood, add racks to the wall near the stove to store spices, olive oil or other often-used items for easy accessibility, or create a wine rack with everything you need — bottles, glasses and a corkscrew.

6. Island living: cabinets and shelves

The options for using your island are endless. Add cabinets underneath for additional storage, shelves on one side to store kitchen gadgets, or install a built-in trash can to preserve floor space.

7. Cubby it up: bakeware storage

Take it back to elementary school by creating cubbyholes for cookie sheets, cake pans or other bakeware. Think high again, and build cubbies in the space between the cabinet and ceiling to store wine bottles.

TIME Careers & Workplace

Advice for 20-Somethings From Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Geniuses

Warren Buffett at Squawk Box interview on May 4, 2015.
Lacy O'Toole—CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Warren Buffett at Squawk Box interview on May 4, 2015.

"Help your community, help other people"

If you’re young and your career is in its early days, you’ve likely been privy to plenty of career truisms and clichés.

But if “follow your passion,” “give 110%,” and “be true to yourself” just aren’t cutting it for you anymore, perhaps advice like, “don’t work too hard” and “relax” are more up your alley.

These successful people have offered some of the best — and oftentimes unconventional — advice for people in their 20s:

Warren Buffett: Exercise humility and restraint.

In a 2010 interview with Yahoo, Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett said the best advice he ever received was from Berkshire Hathaway board-of-directors member Thomas Murphy. He told Buffett:

“Never forget Warren, you can tell a guy to go to hell tomorrow — you don’t give up the right. So just keep your mouth shut today, and see if you feel the same way tomorrow.”

During this year’s Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting, Buffett also told a curious seventh-grader that the key to making friends and getting along with coworkers is learning to change your behavior as you mature by emulating those you admire and adopting the qualities they possess.

Maya Angelou: Make your own path.

In her book, “The Best Advice I Ever Got,” Katie Couric quotes author, poet, dancer, actress, and singer Maya Angelou:

My paternal grandmother, Mrs. Annie Henderson, gave me advice that I have used for 65 years. She said, ‘If the world puts you on a road you do not like, if you look ahead and do not want that destination which is being offered and you look behind and you do not want to return to you place of departure, step off the road. Build yourself a new path.’

Richard Branson: Never look back in regret — move on to the next thing.

Richard Branson’s mother taught him that.

“The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures, rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me,” The Virgin Group founder and chairman told The Good Entrepreneur. “I have fun running ALL the Virgin businesses — so a setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.”

J.K. Rowling: Embrace failure.

J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling children’s book series “Harry Potter,” knows a lot about achieving success — and failure.

“I don’t think we talk about failure enough,” Rowling recently told Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” show. “It would’ve really helped to have someone who had had a measure of success come say to me, ‘You will fail. That’s inevitable. It’s what you do with it.'”

Before Rowling became one of the wealthiest women in the world, she was a single mom living off welfare in the UK. She began writing about her now famous character, the young wizard Harry Potter, in Edinburgh cafes, and received “loads” of rejections from book publishers when she first sent out the manuscript, The Guardian reports.

“An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless … By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew,” Rowling said during a 2008 Harvard University commencement speech.

She went on to say that she considered her early failure a “gift” that was “painfully won,” since she gained valuable knowledge about herself and her relationships through the adversity.

Eric Schmidt: Say yes to more things.

In her book, “The Best Advice I Ever Got,” Katie Couric quotes Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt as advising:

Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learn something new. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids.”

Marissa Mayer: Pick something and make it great.

In a 2011 interview with the Social Times, current Yahoo president and CEO Marissa Mayer revealed the best advice she ever received:

My friend Andre said to me, ‘You know, Marissa, you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to pick the right choice, and I’ve gotta be honest: That’s not what I see here. I see a bunch of good choices, and there’s the one that you pick and make great.’ I think that’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten.

Steve Jobs: Don’t just follow your passion but something larger than yourself.

In a recent Business Insider article, Cal Newport, author of “So Good They Can’t Ignore You,” referenced Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson, who recalled an exchange he had with Jobs shortly before he passed. Jobs reportedly told Isaacson:

Yeah, we’re always talking about following your passion, but we’re all part of the flow of history … you’ve got to put something back into the flow of history that’s going to help your community, help other people … so that 20, 30, 40 years from now … people will say, this person didn’t just have a passion, he cared about making something that other people could benefit from.

Suze Orman: With success comes unhelpful criticism — ignore it.

In a LinkedIn article about the best advice she ever received, motivational speaker, author, and CNBC host Suze Orman wrote that success has often made her a target of nasty criticism “entirely disconnected from facts.” At first these attacks made her angry, but she eventually learned to ignore them.

“A wise teacher from India shared this insight: The elephant keeps walking as the dogs keep barking,” she wrote.

“The sad fact is that we all have to navigate our way around the dogs in our career: external critics, competitors, horrible bosses, or colleagues who undermine. Based on my experience, I would advise you to prepare for the yapping to increase along with your success.”

Bill Gates: Keep things simple.

In a 2009 interview with CNBC, Microsoft cofounder and chairman Bill Gates admired Warren Buffett’s ability to keep things simple.

You look at his calendar, it’s pretty simple. You talk to him about a case where he thinks a business is attractive, and he knows a few basic numbers and facts about it. And [if] it gets less complicated, he feels like then it’s something he’ll choose to invest in. He picks the things that he’s got a model of, a model that really is predictive and that’s going to continue to work over a long-term period. And so his ability to boil things down, to just work on the things that really count, to think through the basics — it’s so amazing that he can do that. It’s a special form of genius.

Arianna Huffington: Don’t work too hard.

In a LinkedIn post last year, The Huffington Post president and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington revealed that she’s often asked if young people pursuing their dreams should burn the candle at both ends?

“This couldn’t be less true,” she writes. “And for far too long, we have been operating under a collective delusion that burning out is the necessary price for achieving success.”

She says she wishes she could go back and tell her younger self, “Arianna, your performance will actually improve if you can commit to not only working hard but also unplugging, recharging, and renewing yourself.”

Stewart Butterfield: Have an ‘experimental attitude.’

Stewart Butterfield, the cofounder of Flickr and chief executive of Slack, one of the fastest-growing business apps of all time, recently shared his best advice for young people with Adam Bryant of The New York Times:

“Some people will know exactly what they want to do at a very young age, but the odds are low,” he said. “I feel like people in their early- to mid-20s are very earnest. They’re very serious, and they want to feel like they’ve accomplished a lot at a very young age rather than just trying to figure stuff out. So I try to push them toward a more experimental attitude.”

George Stephanopoulos: Relax.

“Almost nothing you’re worried about today will define your tomorrow,” “Good Morning America” coanchor George Stephanopoulos told personal finance website NerdWallet.

“Down the road, don’t be afraid to take a pay cut to follow your passion. But do stash a few bucks in a 401(k) now.”

Maria Malcolm Beck: Remember that you won’t end up where you start.

Marla Malcolm Beck, CEO of Bluemercury, said in an interview with Adam Bryant of The New York Times that she always reminds students that “nobody ends up in the first job they choose out of college, so just find something that is interesting to you, because you tend to excel at things you’re interested in. But just go do it. You have nothing to lose.”

Her other piece of advice: Go into tech. “If you look at all the skill sets companies need, they involve a comfort level with technology,” she told Bryant.

T.J. Miller: Work harder than anyone else around you.

T.J. Miller, comedian and star of HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” told personal finance website NerdWallet this is truly the formula to success. “It worked for me, and I have mediocre talent and a horse jaw.”

Alexa von Tobel: Get up, dress up, and show up.

What Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest and the author of New York Times bestseller “Financially Fearless,” means is that it’s important to wake up excited for what’s coming, dress the part, and always show up ready to go.

“As a new hire, you will likely find yourself in tons of new situations, and it’s up to you to figure out how to navigate them,” she wrote in an article for Business Insider.

“Remember that your manager is strapped for time, so know when to ask questions. Are you unsure of the objectives for an assignment? Asking her to clarify is crucial, since it’s pretty hard to make the mark if you don’t know where it even lies.

“On the flip side, avoid bombarding your manager with petty questions that could be answered by your peers or a quick Google search.”

Mark Bartels: Map out a timeline for yourself when you start a new job.

“We talk about budgets; we talk about planning your finances; but what a lot of people don’t do is plan out the next 12 to 18 or 24 months of their careers,” StumbleUpon CEO Mark Bartels tells Business Insider.

He says that lack of planning can be costly, both professionally and existentially, while having an agenda provides a metric for evaluating your success.

Hermione Way: Start your own business.

“There has never been an easier time to start a business,” Hermione Way, founder of WayMedia and star of Bravo’s “Start-Ups: Silicon Valley,” told personal finance website NerdWallet.

“There are so many free online tools. Just start, and if you fail you can always go and get a normal job, but you will learn so much along the way it will be a great experience.”

John Chen: Being a ‘superstar’ can hurt your career.

“Most employees think that the best way to show value to their boss and get promoted is to aggressively claim credit and ownership over everything they do,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen wrote in a LinkedIn post earlier this year.

“While it’s important to be recognized for what you do and the value you add, grabbing the glory is going to turn off your coworkers.” It can also turn off your boss, he warns.

“Trying too hard to show you’re a superstar tells me that you only care about what’s best for you, and not the company as a whole.”

Salli Setta: Never eat lunch alone.

Red Lobster president Salli Setta tells Business Insider it’s important to get out from behind your screen at lunchtime because lunch is a prime networking opportunity.

The benefit of always having lunch plans with someone are two-fold: You can get information that will help you “think about your job differently,” and you also get on your companion’s radar.

“It isn’t about saying ‘hi, what are we going to talk about, let’s talk about sports,'” Setta says. “It’s about identifying the object of this lunch in your mind” and going in armed with “a couple of things that you want to ask, and a couple of things you want to share.”

Deepak Chopra: Embrace the wisdom of uncertainty.

In a LinkedIn post last year, Deepak Chopra, popular author and founder of The Chopra Foundation said he wished he embraced the wisdom of uncertainty at a younger age.

“At the outset of my medical career, I had the security of knowing exactly where I was headed,” he wrote. “Yet what I didn’t count on was the uncertainty of life, and what uncertainty can do to a person.”

“If only I knew then, as I know now, that there is wisdom in uncertainty — it opens a door to the unknown, and only from the unknown can life be renewed constantly,” he wrote.

Cynthia Tidwell: Be patient enough to learn, but impatient enough to take risks.

Cynthia Tidwell, CEO of insurance company Royal Neighbors of America, told Business Insider her favorite piece of advice for young people is be patient enough to learn, but impatient enough to take risks. “I encourage taking risks,” she said. “What is the worst thing that can happen? You can go back and do what you were doing before.”

Brian Chesky: Don’t listen to your parents.

Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, said in an interview with The New York Times’ Adam Bryant that recent grads shouldn’t listen to their parents.

“They’re the most important relationships in your life, but you should never take your parents’ career advice, and I’m using parents as a proxy for all the pressures in the world,” he told Bryant. “I also say that whatever career you’re in, assume it’s going to be a massive failure. That way, you’re not making decisions based on success, money and career. You’re only making it based on doing what you love.”

David Melancon: Ask 3 important questions at the end of every interview.

When a hiring manager turns the tables at the end of an interview and asks, “do you have any questions for me?” David Melancon, CEO of btr., a corporate-rankings platform that focuses on holistic performance, says there are three questions far more important for you to ask than what the salary is or what the job requirements are.

The questions are:

1. What qualities will a person in this role need to be successful in your company culture — as an individual and as a worker?

2. What’s the company’s position on education and development, including student-loan reimbursement and tuition assistance?

3. How does the company keep employees excited, innovative, and motivated?

Diane von Furstenberg: Keep it real.

In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of The New York Times, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg says she has learned that trusting yourself is the key to success.

“In order to trust yourself, you have to have a relationship with yourself,” she told Bryant. “In order to have a relationship with yourself, you have to be hard on yourself, and not be delusional.”

Rick Goings: Be nice to everyone.

Rick Goings, CEO of home-products company Tupperware Brands, which brought in $2.6 billion in revenue last year, shared his favorite pearls of wisdom for young people with Business Insider. One of them was be nice to everyone when you go on a job interview.

“I like to check with the driver, our receptionist, and my assistants on how the candidate interacted with them. How you treat others means the world!”

This article originally appeared on Business Insider

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TIME Money

The 7 Biggest Financial Mistakes to Avoid

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Missing a student loan payment

As author and leadership guru Dale Carnegie once said, “discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”

So, naturally, one of my favorite questions to ask guests on my daily podcast So Money is, “What was your biggest financial failure or mistake?”

Not because I want to embarrass them, but because those missteps inevitably reveal invaluable lessons and, in many cases, pave the way towards big wins.

Since launching the show, I’ve had the honor of interviewing everyone from top entrepreneurs to bestselling authors and entertainment personalities including Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday, and Margaret Cho.

Here’s what they — and four others — had to say about a personal financial failure.

David Pottruck: ‘Investing in startups.’

David Pottruck, the former CEO of Charles Schwab and now chairman of HighTower Advisors, says that after leaving Schwab, he began investing in small startup companies without any prior experience.

For example, remember Eos Airlines? Pottruck says investing in it was a big ol’ fail.

“… A good idea does not necessarily create a good business and a good business does not necessarily translate into a good investment,” Pottruck told me. “So, you have to look at something in terms of its idea value, its value as a business and then its value as an investment. All of those are different, and so I didn’t know that, and I had to learn that.”

Listen to the full interview with David Pottruck.

Tim Ferriss: ‘Failing to find my market.’

“You should not make a product and then find your market,” says Tim Ferriss. “You should choose your market and then make your product. You should know exactly who you’re making something for and not get stuck as a lot of engineers do, creating something with a bunch of features and then attempting to figure out who you’re going to sell it to.”

The multiple New York Times best-selling author learned this lesson the hard way, confessing that after teaching his speed-reading seminar he was eager to create a product that allowed him to offer seminars without always having to be physically present.

So, he created an audio-book, “How I Beat the Ivy League,” and invested in the project using most of his savings and a lot of his time. Ultimately, he sold only two copies — including one to his mom, he joked.

Listen to the full interview with Tim Ferriss.

Margaret Cho: ‘Not buying an apartment.’

Award-winning comedian Margaret Cho shared with me that one of her biggest mistakes was saying no to a friend who offered her a really great real estate deal back in 1994.

A friend had offered her the apartment in New York City from the movie “9 ½ Weeks” for less than $400,000. She declined the offer at the time, even though she had the money. Now she estimates it’s worth between $8-9 million.

Although it would have been a great real estate investment, Cho doesn’t look back. She says, “I was really scared to buy a house. And I really remained scared to buy a house until I bought a house … But to me, I live very, very comfortably now and really never took those kinds of risks.”

Listen to the full interview with Margaret Cho.

Rebecca Jarvis: ‘Missing a student loan payment.’

“When you don’t pay a student loan, it is a very big deal. And it can, in a very significant way, change your credit and have a major impact on your life moving forward,” ABC News chief business and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis recalls.

Jarvis says her biggest financial fail was missing a payment on her student loans. The missed payment not only affected her credit, but her parents’ credit as well.

“Everything ultimately worked out,” Jarvis says, “but to me, that was a pretty significant lesson, and I know it sounds, maybe to some people it doesn’t sound like that big of a deal. It is.”

Listen to the full interview with Rebecca Jarvis.

Dave Asprey: ‘Losing $6 million in 2 years.’

By age 26, Dave Asprey, author of “The Bulletproof Diet,” had earned $6 million dollars in equity at his company, Exodus Communications.

It was a $36 billion dollar company, and Asprey was the youngest person to attend board meetings. But $6 million wasn’t enough.

He was eager and hungry to make more. He wanted to reach the $10 million mark, so he pursued investment deals without seeking professional help. By age 28, he lost the $6 million and ended back at zero.

Looking back, he says, “… What I should have done was quit my job, [sell] all of my shares, and [retire].”

Listen to the full interview with Dave Asprey.

Ryan Holiday: ‘Applying for a mortgage while self-employed.’

Best-selling author and media strategist Ryan Holiday regrets initiating the home-buying process after he left his post as director of marketing at American Apparel.

“If I had just looked … two months earlier it would have probably saved me the biggest nightmare of my life, which was applying for a mortgage as a self-employed person,” he says.

The process involved mountains of paperwork and was incredibly arduous and time consuming. The bank was very demanding due to the fact that he was self-employed (i.e. “risky”) and they wanted more paperwork than usual.

He goes on to say, “When you’re self-employed … and then when you apply for a loan or you’re setting a business up … all of a sudden now your internal system is now being subject to somebody else’s system and those don’t match very well.”

Listen to the full interview with Ryan Holiday.

Dan Price: ‘Not being prepared for the recession.’

Dan Price, the 30-year-old CEO of Gravity Payments who raised his company’s minimum wage to $70,000 per year (and slashed his own from $1 million to $70,000), says that in 2008, the small nonprofit he was running was ill-prepared for the financial crash.

This resulted in him having to — ironically — give drastic 80% pay cuts across the board.

“We almost didn’t make it. And so, I promised myself that the next time I faced a recession, I would be prepared for it …” he says.

Listen to the full interview with Dan Price.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider

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TIME Careers & Workplace

6 Reasons Richard Branson Is the Most Popular Entrepreneur in the World

Richard Branson at a news conference in London on June 25, 2015.
Matthew Lloyd—Bloomberg via Getty Images Richard Branson at a news conference in London on June 25, 2015.

He smiles and laughs — a lot

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Richard Branson may be the most popular businessperson alive. Employees, peers, and even strangers seem to love him. With more than eight million followers, he is by far the most popular Influencer on LinkedIn-almost doubling the next figure (Bill Gates’s 4.4 million followers).

I’ll admit, I had never heard of Branson before I started working for myself some years ago. I quickly found out that his status among entrepreneurs is legendary.

So what makes Sir Richard so darned likable?

In a 2007 interview at the famous TED conference, conducted with curator Chris Anderson, Branson spoke about the ups and downs of his career:

Here are some traits and quotes from the interview that I feel help explain his extreme popularity.

1. He smiles and laughs. A lot.

Generally speaking, we like people who smile and laugh. Their joyful spirit is contagious, and they make us feel better about ourselves.

Add to that the fact that Branson appears totally unpretentious, humble, and unable to take himself seriously. Beginning at the 16:00 mark, you’ll find a potentially awkward exchange in which Anderson makes a joke at Branson’s expense. Branson simply laughs it off and keeps going.

Watch Sir Richard for a few minutes, and it’s hard not to like the guy.

2. He touches others.

Not just figuratively. Literally. (Check out point 1:34 in the video.)

Fellow Inc. columnist Dr. Travis Bradberry points out that when you touch someone while conversing, you release specific neurotransmitters in the person’s brain that make him or her associate you with trust and other positive feelings. (Of course, unwanted or inappropriate touching will produce the opposite effect.)

It’s safe to say that Sir Richard hasn’t given us any literal pats on the back lately. But watching how he deals with others makes him appear down-to-earth and relatable.

It’s almost like a subliminal message flashes across the screen, telling your subconscious: I’m trustworthy and genuine, and I sincerely like people. Now follow me on LinkedIn.

3. He values his employees. Really.

In his opening comments, Sir Richard opines: “I learned early on that if you can run one company, you can really run any company. I mean, companies are all about finding the right people, inspiring those people, you know, drawing out the best in people.”

That attitude has led to a reputation as a leader who puts employees first.

How can you not love that?

4. He’s not afraid to try new things. In fact, he thrives on it.

On coming up with the idea for Virgin Airlines: “If I fly on somebody else’s airline and find the experience is not a pleasant one, which it wasn’t 21 years ago, then I think, ‘Well, you know, maybe I can create the kind of airline that I’d like to fly on.’ And so … got one secondhand 747 from Boeing and gave it a go.”

Sir Richard has been known to try his hand at, well, almost anything. The Virgin Group has current or past companies in the music, hospitality, and space-exploration industries, among many more.

Not every venture has been a success. But as hockey great Wayne Gretzky famously said: “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

5. He hated school.

Branson states in the interview that he suffers from dyslexia and as a child had “no understanding of schoolwork whatsoever.” He left school when he was 15 years old, and never pursued a university degree.

But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t continued the learning process. As he puts it: “I just love learning … I’m terribly inquisitive … I’ve seen life as one long learning process.”

Branson’s alternative road to billionaire-ship holds out hope for dreamers and individualists everywhere.

6. He’s the anti-typical business hero.

In a world where people generally get rich by stepping on others as they climb the corporate ladder, Sir Richard seems different. His philosophy:

“I think if you treat people well, people will come back for more … All you have in life is your reputation and it’s a very small world. I actually think that the best way of becoming a successful business leader is dealing with people fairly and well. And I like to think that’s how we run Virgin.”


At the end of the interview, Anderson sums up how most people feel about Branson after a few minutes of observation:

“When I was starting off in business, I knew nothing about it … I thought that business people were supposed to just be ruthless and that was the only way you could have a chance of succeeding. And you actually did inspire me. I looked at you and thought, ‘Well, he’s made it. Maybe there’s a different way.'”

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article above was originally published at Inc.com.

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TIME advice

7 Ideas to Maximize Your Small Garden

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Time to get creative

It’s time to make your garden dreams a reality. Ideally, we’d all have gorgeous backyards with tons of space to grow all of the flowers, vegetables, and herbs we’d like, but for most of us that’s just not the case. If you’re working with a smaller space, don’t be discouraged! You can build a beautiful garden of any size with good planning and a little bit of creativity.

Vertical Planters from Ruffles and Truffles

If you don’t have much space in your backyard, work vertically! This option is also great if you don’t like bending over your flower beds all day to weed and water, or if you’re growing veggies that you’d like to keep out of reach of hungry rabbits.

Pallet Herb Garden from Pink When

Pick herbs that don’t need much room to grow, then stack them on top of each other with a cute DIY pallet planter. This layout also makes it easy to find the herbs you want right away, so you’re not trying to push aside a giant basil plant to get to the peppermint.

Balcony Gardens from AnnaMKB at Hubpages

This blogger has a very extensive how-to for creating balcony gardens. One of the best tips? Put your plants in separate boxes to keep the ones that have a tendency to spread from taking over your whole space.

Hanging Gutter Garden from Apartment Therapy

Plants with shallow roots can be planted in hanging gutter gardens. You can even attach the gutters to a fence or the side of your home to save even more space.

Shoe Organizer Herb Garden from Curbly

If you want to grow herbs in the summer, but don’t have much space, use a hanging shoe organizer. The large number of pockets lets you have a variety of plants, but you can hose it off and store it in the colder months to free up space.

Cinder Block Planter from Traditionally Modern Designs

If you want to plant a garden in a space with a lot of concrete, embrace your materials. Cinder blocks are resilient enough to stand up year after year and will give your space a unique look. You can also decorate them however you want to liven up the space.

Windowsill Garden from Shelterness

If you have no outdoor space at all, hang individually potted plants from a rod in your kitchen (or any sunny room in your home). Spray paint the hooks, rod, and pots the same color to bring all of the elements together.

This article originally appeared on All You

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TIME Culture

35 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime

From The Little Prince to East of Eden

Books have the profound capacity to stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Whether they’re written for children, sci-fi lovers, mathematicians, or fiction aficionados, certain stories transcend their genre and should be read by everyone.

In a recent Reddit thread, users were asked what is a book that everyone needs to read at least once in their life?

Here are the top 35 books based on Reddit responses.

  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig


    The story of a father and son’s summer motorcycle trip across America from Minnesota to California, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” is at its heart a philosophical journey.

    The travel narrative is filled with fundamental questions on how to live your life and conversations between the father and his son: “The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.”

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user Exit_Smiling.

  • Watership Down by Richard Adams


    First told to his daughters as a bedtime story, Richard Adams weaves the tale of a band of rabbits who abandon their comfy holes in the English downs after one of the rabbits has a vision of it being destroyed by tractors.

    Watership Down” follows them as they encounter evil rabbits, crows, a fox, rivers, and countless other dangers as they journey to find a new home.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user joeallenrealty.

  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow

    Hachette Books

    An American professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, Pausch became famous after giving an upbeat lecture titled “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” after learning he had pancreatic cancer and had three to six months of good health left.

    After the success of his lecture, he co-authored the book “The Last Lecture” on the same theme of enjoying every moment in your life.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user kkup.

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

    Broadway Books

    One of the best rough guides to science, and written so that it could be accessible to the general public, Bryson describes everything from the size and history of the universe to the rise of human kind in “A Short History of Nearly Everything.”

    He also spends time talking about the eccentric archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians who have contributed to the world’s greatest discoveries.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user I__just__cant.

  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

    Beacon Press

    Published in 1946, “Man’s Search for Meaning” was written by Viktor Frankl about his experience as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during WWII.

    Filled with a rich understanding of the psychological experiences of his fellow inmates, Frankl ruminates on the meaning of life, and how every society has decent and indecent human beings.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user Nugatorysurplusage.

  • The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

    St. Martin's Griffin

    Written by a Vietnam veteran as an allegory of the Vietnam war, “The Forever War” follows reluctant soldier William Mandella as he leaves earth to battle the mysterious alien race, the Taurans.

    But because of time dilating during his spaceship travels, he ages 10 years while 700 years pass by on earth. Mandella then returns to a completely different planet that he can no longer recognize.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user brokenscope.

  • Cosmos by Carl Sagan

    Ballantine Books

    Sagan somehow manages to explain 15 billion years of cosmic history while touching on philosophy, religion, and our society.

    This book is written so even those without a strong science background can understand it, and manages to convey the profound unity of the cosmos.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user Jeff_richardsss.

  • Bartleby The Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street by Herman Melville

    CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

    A short novella, “Bartleby The Scrivener” is an absurdist tale of a man named Bartleby who works at a New York law firm. Bartleby is a great worker, until one day he is asked to proofread something and simply says, “I would prefer not to.”

    That becomes his stock, passive response as he slowly ceases all activity much to the chagrin of the flabbergasted narrator.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user flagrance.

  • Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman


    A Pulitzer prize-winning graphic novel, “Maus” tells the story of a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust and his son, a cartoonist who is trying to come to terms with his father’s story.

    Illustrated with cats and mice to represent the Nazis and Jewish people (respectively), Maus is both about the bleak and horrifying truth of life under Hitler, as well as the son’s relationship with his aging father.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user waluvian.

  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

    Charles Scribner's Sons

    This graphic war story follows Robert Jordan, a young and idealistic American demolitions expert, fighting in the 1937 Spanish Civil War with the antifascist guerrilla forces.

    For Whom the Bell Tolls” takes place over 68 hours while Jordan is trying to find a way to blow up an enemy bridge, struggling with the passive leader of the guerrilla forces, and falling in love with a young Spanish woman.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user RueKing.

  • Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami


    This mind-bending Japanese novel blends two interrelated plots between 15-year-old Kafka, who is on a mission to find his mother and sister, and the older Nakata, a mentally-challenged man who has the ability to speak with cats.

    The two characters are on a collision course throughout “Kafka on the Shore,” which is a metaphysical journey filled with magical realism.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by knitALLtheclothes, who also recommend Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and IQ84.

  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    Mariner Books

    Originally published in French as “Le Petit Prince,” this novella tells the story of pilot who crashes his plane in the Sahara desert and is greeted by a young boy who claims to be from a different planet.

    As the pilot repairs his plane, he learns the life of “the little prince” who yearns to return to his home planet. Though told as a children’s story, “The Little Prince” is one of the most poignant and profound books in French literature.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user StoryDone.

  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    Vintage Books

    The Road” won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, and with good reason. Set in a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter, a nameless man and his young son wander through the cold, dark, and bleak world where everyone has turned into their basest selves.

    McCarthy writes in a minimalist style that suits the terrain as the man and boy struggle to find food and stay away from the roaming cannibalistic gangs who enslave the weak. But maybe, just maybe, there is something worth living for.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user spundnix32.

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    Harper Perennial

    This book, which is full of magical realism, depicts the village of Macondo and its residents. It begins wth José Arcadio Buendía, the man who built the village, dealing with the shadows of a civil war and the ghost of the man he killed.

    The story really does cover 100 years as each generation of the Buendía family is weighed down by past mistakes and spirals towards destruction.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user UselessWisdomMachine.

  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck

    Penguin Group USA

    Two families — the Trasks and the Hamiltons — live in California’s Salinas Valley. The novel follows each generation’s struggle with morality, right and wrong, and the bleak issues caused by sibling rivalry.

    Steinbeck considers “East of Eden” his greatest novel. “I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this,” the author said.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user tit_juggler.

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

    Pocket Books

    How to Win Friends and Influence People” was written in the 1930s, but most of Carnegie’s advice remains true today.

    The interpersonal skills he recommends may seem obvious — like smiling and remembering people’s names — but plenty of fans recommend this classic how-to guide as a fundamental book about human decency.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user West4th.

  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    Dover Publications

    Crime and Punishment” is the story of Rodion Raskolnikov, a poor ex-student in St. Petersburg who formulates a plan to kill a pawnbroker for her cash, arguing that he can perform good deeds to counterbalance the crime.

    A master at understanding human nature, Dostoyevsky weaves a world set against 19th century St. Petersberg as the murder takes a toll on Raskolnikov’s conscience.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user AimingFor30Days.

  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux

    Russia in the 1870s sets the background for this tale of patricide and family rivalry. Part murder mystery, part courtroom thriller, and part social commentary, “The Brother’s Karamazov” follows the lives of three brothers and their father.

    The last book of Dostoevsky’s career, “The Brother’s Karamazov” is worth the 800+ page read.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user ARatherOddOne.

  • The Stranger by Albert Camus


    Winner of the Noble Prize for literature, “The Stranger” begins with Meursault learning of his mother’s death. His lack of an emotional response sets the tone for the rest of the novel as events lead to Meursault murdering a man.

    Divided in two parts, the story follows Meursault’s life both before and after the murder, and leads the reader through his trial and impending execution.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user gewikinson.

  • Dune by Frank Herbert


    Dune” is to science fiction what “Lord of the Rings” is to fantasy. Herbert is able to create complete histories, politics, religions, and ecological systems of this feudal interstellar society.

    Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Paul Atreides transforms into a mysterious man known as Muad’Dib as he sets out to avenge the murder of his father, and leads a revolution that earns him the emperor’s throne.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user NikolaTesla1.

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood


    In “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Atwood imagines a future where the United States has become The Republic of Gilead, where women are strictly controlled. Unable to have jobs or money, they are either forced to be chaste, childless “Wives,” housekeeping “Marthas,” or reproductive “Handmaids” who turn their offspring over to the Wives.

    The tale is told by Offred, a handmaid who can still recall the past and explains how the misogynistic society came to be.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user mandyvigilante.

  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery


    One of Mark Twain’s favorite books, “Anne of Green Gables” is the story of a couple on Prince Edward Island who send for a boy orphan to help them out on the farm. Instead, they are given the 11-year-old redhead Anne Shirley.

    Her imagination and penchant for trouble inspires plenty of comedic adventures as she ages from 11 to 16, meets new friends, and begins an arch rivalry with Gilbert Blythe.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user mandyvigilante.

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

    Simon & Schuster

    Fahrenheit 451” is set in a dystopian future where literature (and all original thought) is on the brink of extinction. Guy Montag is a fireman whose job is to burn printed books — as well as the houses where they’re hidden.

    But when his wife commits suicide and a young neighbor who introduced him to reading disappears, Guy begins hoarding books in his own home.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user Bobtheepicone.

  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

    Harper & Row

    “Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy.” One of the most-read children’s books, Shel Silverstein tells the story of a tree that loved a little boy so much that as he grew older, she gave him everything she had.

    Both about unconditional love and selfishness, “The Giving Tree” still inspires extremely different interpretations, and remains one of the most powerful stories ever written.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user evolve18.

  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    Grand Central Publishing

    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is set in Maycomb, Alabama during the Depression and follows the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, the trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman, and the mysterious character Boo Radley.

    Despite its serious themes of rape, racial inequality, and gender roles, Lee’s story is renowned for its warmth and humor.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user gerwer.

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell


    An allegory and satirization of Soviet Communism, “Animal Farm” is about a group of animals who take over a farm after ousting their human master.

    And though everything starts alright as all the animals work together and productivity soars, their new society begins to break down as certain animals start to believe that perhaps not all animals are created equal.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user interrupting_candy.

  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

    Ballantine Books

    Paul Baumer and his fellow classmates are convinced to join the German army in World War I only to live in atrocious conditions in the trenches years after year, struggling to gain insignificant bits of land.

    The book shows the dark and gritty reality of war, as well as the effect it has on Paul and his young friends’ psyches.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user augenwiehimmel.

  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

    Penguin Classics

    Full of intrigue, love, fight scenes, and social satire, “The Count of Monte Cristo” is one of the best revenge books ever written.

    It follows Edmond Dantès, a young sailor in 19th century France who is falsely accused of being a Bonapartist traitor and imprisoned for six years. After acquiring a secret fortune from a fellow prisoner, he remakes himself and sets out to find — and repay — everyone in his old life.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user ani625.

  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

    Del Rey

    The inspiration for the movie “Blade Runner,” “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” is set in 2021, after a world war has killed millions of people, driving entire species into extinction. Those who remain build simulacra of past species including horses, birds, cats, sheep … and humans.

    Because the androids are so realistic, it’s impossible to tell them apart from real people. But now it’s bounty hunter Rich Deckards job to do just that — and then kill them.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user LazySnake.

  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

    Simon & Schuster

    Catch-22” follows Yossarian, a WWII bombardier whose men must keep flying more and more dangerous bombing missions. Yet if Yossarian tries to excuse himself from the deadly missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22:

    A man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

    What starts as a comedy slowly turns into a nightmarish tragedy as the war becomes increasingly real throughout the novel.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user Gyjf.

  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut


    Billy Pilgrim is a man who has become unstuck in time after being abducted by aliens, specifically Tralfamadorians for their planet’s zoo. The book follows his capture, as well as his time as an American prisoner of war witnessing the firebombing of Dresden in WWII.

    Slaughterhouse Five” is a comically-dark novel that combines both fantasy and realism.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user ForkToTheLeft.

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

    Del Rey Books

    In the first book of the series, Arthur Dent is warned by his friend Ford Prefect — a secret researcher for the interstellar travel guide “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” — that Earth is about to be demolished.

    The pair escapes on an alien spaceship, and the book follows their bizarre adventures around the universe along with quotes from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide” like: “A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.”

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user Gyjf.

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

    Harper Perennial

    Brave New World” is about a government that is conditioning and drugging people to convince them they’re happy.

    Set in dystopian London in 2540 AD, the book explores themes of commodification, psychological manipulation, developments in reproductive technology, and the power of knowledge.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user -iPood-.

  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

    Mariner Books

    After the success of a surgery that increases the intelligence of a lab mouse named Algernon, the first human test subject, Charlie, undergoes the procedure. Charlie keeps diary entries as his IQ grows from 68 to a stunning 185.

    But then Algernon suffers a sudden and unexpected deterioration. The book follows Charlie’s diary entries and Algernon’s progress reports.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user onowahoo.

  • 1984 by George Orwell


    In a dystopian world nearly 40 years after the second world war, what remains of Earth has been split into three superpowers after an atomic war — Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia.

    Everyone in Oceania, including protagonist Winston Smith, is closely monitored by the government. Orwell explores issues of censorship, propaganda, and individualism in “1984” as Winston struggles to escape his monotonous existence.

    Buy the book here >

    Submitted by Reddit user ani625. For a full synopsis, click here.

    This article originally appeared on Business Insider

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    Read next: 29 Books That Will Enrich Your Inner Literati

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TIME Travel

29 Travel Hacks Even Frequent Fliers Don’t Know

Suitcase Baggage Travel
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Check your credit cards for perks

Instead of insulting your intelligence with “hacks” like “pack light,” or “bring an empty water bottle,” we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that will help even the most seasoned jetsetter avoid the inevitable hassles of frequent flying.

1. Sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

Essentially an express lane for the proactive, these programs are pre-approvals from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that designate you a low-risk traveler. As long as you’re not a convicted criminal, you’re good to go after little more than some light paperwork and a quick in-person interview.

Essentially, TSA PreCheck ($85) makes U.S. domestic travel simpler, allowing you to keep your shoes, belts, etc. on and cut security lines, while Global Entry ($100) makes returning from an international trip easier, eradicating paperwork and lengthy processing lines.

2. Book two one-way flights

Sometimes flying two different airlines and booking two one-way tickets is cheaper than booking a round-trip, plus it may get you better arrival and departure times as you mix and match flights. Some flight-booking sites, such as Kayak, already do this for you, but you should do your homework and check the airline websites yourself for even better deals.

3. Book non-U.S. airlines if possible

Foreign carriers have better amenities than U.S. ones, even in economy, where they often provide you with hot towels, pillows and blankets, and even — gasp — full cans of soda.

4. Understand Code Shares

Make sure you know how flight partnerships work before booking a flight on a partner airline for miles. Some partnerships will offer the same mileage; others will give you less. Others again may calculate miles based on the amount of money you paid for the ticket, rather than the distance flown.

5. Get upgrades by booking an economy ticket with a Y or B booking code

Ask and thou shalt receive (when possible). Basically just requesting an upgrade when booking should get your ticket marked with a Y or B booking code, which, according to TravelNerd.com‘s Amy Lee, means the flier is looking for an upgrade. In other words, should there be any open seats in the next class up from what you booked, you should get a complimentary upgrade. This works best if you’re a frequent flier and loyal to the carrier you’re booked on.

6. Pretend you’re somewhere else when booking to score discounted fares

Where a ticket is purchased, called its “point of sale,” can affect its price thanks to something called “regional pricing.” Basically, the price of a ticket will be lower in a country with a lower standard of living or when travel companies are trying to break into a new country, according to travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt.

Harteveldt says you can find different ticket prices for the same flight on Expedia.com and Expedia.co.jp, the Japanese version, as well as for internal foreign flights on an international carrier’s website by changing your “residence” to the airline’s home country. The only thing to watch out for is that you’ll be seeing prices in local currency, so make sure to do the math and convert them.

7. Clear those cookies

A little thing called “dynamic pricing” means that no, refreshing a window 147,554 times will not make a flight cheaper, but it may actually make the price go up as it changes based on demand. While most people like to get around this by using incognito windows, clearing your search history and cookies is a safer bet.

8. Know that you have a 24-hour window to get a refund

Even nonrefundable flights generally have a 24-hour window during which you can cancel them without having to pay a fee. In other words, pull the trigger and book a flight, then keep tracking it for another day to see if a better rate pops up, in which case cancel and rebook. Or put your airfare on hold on carriers like American Airlines, Southwest, and Virgin America, which all have free 24-hour hold services. United has something called a FareLock starting at $6.99 that lets you wait up to a week before booking, while Options Away ($4 to $45) can hold flights for up to three weeks.

9. Fly on a Boeing 767

If you’re deciding between similar flights and one is on a Boeing 767, take that one, as the aircraft has fewer of the dreaded middle seats than other planes.

If you can’t get on a Boeing 767, check out our comprehensive guide to getting the best seat on every flight. Your best bet is checking seatguru.com, which has up-to-date seating charts for every single flight and gives you the inside scoop on whether a row doesn’t recline, whether a seat is too close to the bathroom, or whether there’s any extra legroom to be had.

10. Download your airline’s app

Most airlines (including Delta and United) have invested some significant cash into developing apps that provide you with real-time updates on gate changes or delays, so you can hit up one of those Xpress Spas without worrying about missing vital information. Even better, the app also allows for paperless boarding at most airports.

11. Keep a go-bag of essential items

Instead of wasting time squeezing your favorite shampoo into TSA-friendly 3.4-ounce bottles, or packing and unpacking the same toiletries over and over again, keep a go-bag of your favorite items at the ready. That way you don’t have to think about what you may need or scramble at the last minute.

Pro tip: Try ordering samples of your favorite products online for free travel-size toiletries.

12. Keep an extra set of cables and chargers ready

Forget racing around your apartment pulling cables out of outlets. Instead, keep a small, zippered, and water-resistant bag of electronics, batteries, and chargers packed, and never think about them again.

13. Pack a squishy carry-on

Checking a bag is amateur hour, but taking this trick to the next level is using a duffel or some sort of squishy bag as your carry-on. Having a malleable bag that can be smushed into the overhead bin means it is less likely to be taken from you at the gate.

Or, even better, outfit yourself with the right gear, such as this “perfect”-size carry-on, which will fit every airline’s size requirements.

14. Roll clothing up, then use air-compression plastic bags to squeeze air out of them

We have tons of packing tips, but one of the best is to roll rather than fold clothes to maximize space and minimize wrinkling, then use space-compressible plastic bags to push excess air out of the clothes for even more space. If you’re not into the idea of rolling your clothes, packing them in tissue paper or dry-cleaner plastic should also reduce wrinkles.

15. Pack one color scheme, and make sure it’s a dark one

Try to pack clothes that are all in the same color family, preferably dark. This means all of your clothes will match and you don’t need to waste time worrying about putting together outfits. Also, dark colors hide stains.

16. Use shoes for more space

Use your rolled-up socks as shoe trees, preserving your shoe’s shape inside the suitcase while maximizing space by using that inside of your shoes.

17. Pack shoes foot-to-toe at the bottom of your bag

Putting the heaviest items at the bottom, near the wheels of a suitcase, ensures that your bag is balanced. There’s nothing worse than a bag that keeps tipping over as you’re rushing to the gate.

18. See extra cities for free

Why not add a free stopover (any connection that’s more than four hours domestically and 24 hours internationally) to a flight you’ve already paid for? Some airlines — and you’ll have to check first — offer free stopovers, generally in their hub city, meaning you can visit an extra destination or two without purchasing any extra tickets. This is especially great if you do it on a business trip while using a company-paid flight.

19. Volunteer to get bumped off a flight

If your flight is overbooked and you have no pressing plans, volunteer your seat to make some extra money. That said, be smart and negotiate your compensation — it helps to know what you’re entitled to. Ask for cash, or make sure flight vouchers don’t have tons of stipulations and blackout dates that would make them impossible to redeem. Also, make sure that even if you’re the first to volunteer, you’ll get the same amount of money as the last one to, as compensation often increases as the airline gets more desperate for people to give up seats. That said, double-check that you will not be on standby on your next flight or in any position to get stranded where you are (for example, if you’re giving up a seat on the last flight out for the day).

20. Check your credit cards for perks

You might already be entitled to perks without knowing it. From covering your insurance when renting a car to hotel-room upgrades and access to airline lounges, many credit cards you may already have come with special advantages and freebies.

21. Choose the best credit card for travel

Travel perks differ, so you need to figure out what your priorities are, like whether you want to earn more miles or get foreign transaction fees waived. One of the best travel credit cards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which gives you 2 Ultimate Rewards Points per $1 spent on travel and restaurants, as well as 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. It also waives those pesky foreign transaction fees, offers a signup bonus of 40,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening an account, and boasts 20% off travel when you redeem points for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That said, it charges an annual fee of $95.

22. Get into the airport lounge, even if your ticket says economy

TIME Travel

5 Tips for Meeting New People While Traveling

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Avoid asking the obvious

As an avid traveler, teacher and part-time photographer, I’ve been lucky enough to meet lots of people from lots of different backgrounds.

Some became lifelong friends while many more melted into the heap of faded friendships and acquaintances we all leave behind.

That’s not to say that these fleeting encounters are immaterial — even a short conversation can prove to be unexpectedly enlightening or, at the very least, thoroughly entertaining.

I wasn’t always confident when talking to strangers.

Traveling helped immensely. I’ve visited nearly 50 countries, nearly always on my own, and while I’m certainly comfortable in my own company, I don’t want to do it 24/7.

This means that if I am to have company on the road, I must talk to strangers. It’s the same at parties and social gatherings: we all find ourselves having to speak to strangers and keep a conversation going. Below are five key things that will help you break the ice and endear you to strangers.

1. Use names — theirs and yours

Use the other person’s name several times in conversation to establish an immediate bond. It’s a little ‘telesales-y’ I’ll admit, but it works. It shows that you are listening and are focused on them. A less common trick I use is to mention my own name in conversation. For example, if we’re talking about traveling, I might say: “My girlfriend doesn’t like camping unfortunately. She’ll insist that she’ll be fine but within five minutes it’s ‘Peter, I’m cold!’”

This reminds the other person of your name, something easily forgotten in a rushed introduction when talking to strangers. It saves them the embarrassment of asking your name again or, worse, the awkwardness of talking to you for 20 minutes without the faintest clue what you’re called.

2. Choose groups over individuals

It’s always easier to initiate a conversation with another lone person when talking to strangers, but where possible opt for groups instead. It’s far easier to maintain an interesting conversation with three or more people than it is with two. In a group, no-one is left wondering if they’ll be stuck talking to one person all night; everyone has the option to leave the group and mingle with others with no fear of being rude. You might be reluctant to approach a pair but just because two people are at a party or on the road together, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to meet other people. Give it a go.

3. Don’t be that guy

He knows something about everything and never nothing about something. He’s done your job and he probably did it better than you. He’s been where you went on holiday last week… twice. And while he was there he climbed the same mountain you did, but he done it in half the time… and paraglided off the summit at midnight.

We’ve all met one of these guys and — as the saying goes — if you haven’t, you’re probably him. This type of one-upmanship is particularly prevalent in backpacker circles. It’s always about who stayed at the cheapest, dirtiest place, or who got invited to a local’s abode to eat dubious delicacies off rustic instruments with questionable hygiene. Don’t be the guy who needs to have the best story all the time; allow others to tell theirs too. It’s a conversation, not an open-mic night.

4. Avoid asking the obvious

So what do you do? How do you know [mutual friend]? Where are you from?

I know it’s tempting but people’s jobs are probably not the most interesting thing about them. Personally, I start with a lighthearted comment or joke — usually about the host or someone we have in common. I was once in the kitchen of a Swedish hostel when another guest told his table-mates: “Someone just asked me what city I would live if I had complete freedom to choose. What would be yours?” It was a quirky and interesting way to start a conversation.

5. Show people that they’ve taught you something

If someone shares an interesting fact with you, demonstrate that they have taught you something. Smile and say “I never knew that!”

Everyone loves to feel smart so people will warm to you immediately if they feel appreciated. Don’t say ‘Yes, I read that a few weeks ago’ even if you have. Instead, make the other person feel interesting and knowledgeable. Once they are at ease, the conversation will flow more naturally and chances are they genuinely will teach you something interesting.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

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TIME advice

6 Mosquito Repellent Plants to Keep Pests Away

From basil to lavender

Summer means it’s time to fire up the grill and invite friends over for a barbecue, but it seems like unexpected guests always crash the party. No, not your in-laws — we’re talking about pesky bugs.

There are ways to keep mosquitoes and other insects away besides drowning yourself in bug spray. For a more green approach, try installing some of these insect-repelling plants around your yard.

  • 1. Marigolds

    Getty Images

    Not only do they make your landscape more attractive, but marigolds also have a distinct smell that repels mosquitoes. Plant from seed or get a starter plant from a nursery or floral department. Place potted marigolds near mosquito entry-points, such as doors and windows, or on a deck or balcony where you spend a lot of time outdoors. They also deter insects that prey on tomato plants — an added bonus for gardeners.

  • 2. Citronella

    Getty Images

    Citronella is one of the most common ingredients in insect repellents, due to its strong smell, which masks mosquito attractants. The perennial clumping grass grows 5 to 6 feet, and can be planted in the ground or kept in large pots. Citronella plants thrive best in full sun and areas with good drainage.

  • 3. Catnip

    Getty Images

    Warning: Your catnip might bring all the cats to the yard. The perennial herb, related to mint, is easy to grow. While it repels mosquitoes in close proximity, some people apply crushed leaves for more protection.

  • 4. Lavender

    Getty Images

    In addition to smelling lovely, aiding in relaxation and promoting restful sleep, lavender dissuades mosquitoes and gnats from invading your outdoor dinner party when planted in the garden or in pots placed by windows, doors and entertainment areas. The dried flowers can also be placed in wardrobes to repel moths.

  • 5. Basil

    Getty Images

    Enjoy delicious pesto dishes, and keep mosquitoes at bay, with this insect-repelling herb. Basil is one of the few herbs in which you don’t have to crush the leaves to reap its benefits. Lemon basil and cinnamon basil are the best varieties to prevent unwanted pests.

  • 6. Lemon Balm

    Getty Images

    Also known as horsemint, lemon balm’s aroma wards off mosquitoes, but attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies. It’s fast growing, drought resistant and reseeds itself, so consider planting in a pot rather than in your yard to avoid a lemon balm takeover.

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TIME advice

How to Retrieve Jewelry From a Sink and Shower Drain

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Have a small and strong magnet nearby

It happens a number of ways. Maybe you took off your wedding ring to wash your hands. You placed it on the counter, but then accidentally knocked the ring in the drain.

Despite your cat-like reflexes, you couldn’t catch it in time. GASP! Don’t worry — it’s not a total lost cause. Before calling a plumber, follow these steps to recover lost jewelry from the drain.

Bathroom or kitchen sink

1. Try the magnet trick

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, see if you can capture that long lost jewelry with a strong magnet. Tie it to a string, and lower the magnet into the drain. If your magnet fishing isn’t fruitful or your jewelry is silver or gold — which aren’t magnetic — go to step two.

2. Turn off the water supply

Use the shut-off valves under the sink for the hot and cold water, or turn off the main water supply to your home.

3. Take apart the P-trap

The P-trap is a U-shaped pipe under the sink. Most have drain plugs. Place a bucket under the P-trap to keep your rescue from becoming a mess, and if your trap has a drain plug, remove it to release the water. Take apart the trap by loosening the slip nuts on either side of the pipe’s bend. Dump out any remaining water, and your lost artifact should be there with it.

Garbage disposal

1. Power off

Always use caution when trying to retrieve anything from the garbage disposal. Switch the power off to the disposal at the electrical breaker box.

2. Try the magnet trick (noted above)

3. Retrieve

If the item is visible, try to retrieve it with tongs, wooden spoons or some other long utensil. Shine a flashlight down the disposal to check. Never stick your hands inside the disposal.

4. Call in reinforcements

If the item is caught in the grinder, chances are it damaged your disposal. Call a plumber to remove.

5. Check the P-trap

If you don’t see the jewelry in the disposal, it could be in the P-trap. Follow the third step under the “Bathroom or kitchen sink” header above.

Shower drain

1. Remove the drain cover

If you don’t see any screws holding the drain cover on, you should be able to just pop it off. Wedge a screwdriver behind it, and pull up at an angle. If it has screws, remove them before popping off the drain cover.

2. Retrieve

If you can see the jewelry, remove it with a flexible retrieval tool, which can be found at a hardware store.

3. Vacuum

If you can’t see the jewelry, you can try sucking it out of the drain with a wet-dry vacuum. Turn the vacuum on using the wet setting, and insert the open end of the hose into the shower drain until it reaches the bottom. With the vacuum still running, remove the hose, holding it straight up in the air. If the jewelry is caught in the hose, it will fall into the vacuum tank. Turn the vacuum off, remove the top of the tank and dump the contents onto an old towel. Sift through the debris to find your jewelry.

4. Put the drain cover back on

Be extremely careful if the drain cover needs to be screwed back in. The screws could easily fall down the drain, too.

Above all else, don’t make a huge mess if you don’t understand what you’re doing. You want to avoid damaging your plumbing system accidentally. If any of these tasks prove to be daunting, hire a highly rated plumber to help.

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