Dining Car in Paris

Dining Car in Paris


Passport Members check the Vault!

I believe we have over 60 videos in the vault now if you’re a Passport member. Right now, they are sorted by most-recent, but we’re coming up with another way to surf through these!

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Every now and then we take one of those videos from the vault and pop it out for everyone to see and enjoy! Here’s one about processing Lupins!

Kalebra Kelby Interview

I sat down for a long “Up Close and Personal” interview with my friend Kalebra Kelby. It was a great talk, and I hope you enjoy it. Their team just put together a few highlights here for you. The whole thing is over at KelbyOne along with two of my new classes. One is for Aurora HDR 2018 and the other is for Plotagraph.

Daily Photo – Dining Car in Paris

What kind of travel blogger am I in that I find this awesome restaurant in Paris that looks like an old train car and then I forget the name! Well, actually it was kind of touristy and silly, but still kind of awesome. It was right by our little crappy hotel there and I saw it almost every day when I would go out to take photos. I finally decided to take the team over there for a bite and a drink and took this photo while waiting for our mediocre food!

Dining Car in Paris

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-08 20:02:38
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time16
  • Aperture16
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias


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January 30, 2018 at 08:09AM

Taiwan Retaliates Against Chinese Airlines, Hampering Lunar New Year Travel

Taiwan Retaliates Against Chinese Airlines, Hampering Lunar New Year Travel



China Eastern Airlines planes in Shanghai in 2014. The airline and Xiamen Air canceled scores of flights to Taiwan, after it declined to approve them.

Aly Song/Reuters

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Tens of thousands of Taiwanese working in China are at risk of being unable to return home for the Lunar New Year in mid-February as a result of an escalating battle over airspace in the Taiwan Strait.

On Tuesday, the Chinese carriers China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Air announced that they had canceled 176 flights intended to meet added demand during the holiday since they had yet to receive approval from Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration.

The agency said on Jan. 19 that it was denying the airlines permission for the flights because they were flying sensitive new routes in the Taiwan Strait that China began using without consulting Taiwan’s government. The move has been viewed in Taiwan as a show of disrespect, one that could heighten the risk of a dangerous incident and potentially provoke a crisis in the increasingly tense cross-strait relationship.

The new passenger routes come close to airspace used by Taiwanese airliners and military planes at a time when Chinese military drills encroaching on Taiwan’s airspace have become increasingly common.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, Taiwan’s presidential office said protecting the safety of all its people flying across the strait was “a responsibility that cannot be abandoned.”

Continue reading the main story

The statement called on Beijing to return to the consensus reached in talks over the airspace in 2015, urging a resolution of the dispute for “regional stability, cross-strait relations and flight safety.”

The People’s Republic of China claims Taiwan as its territory, but has never administered it since the republic’s founding in Beijing in 1949. Taiwan is governed by the Republic of China government, which fled China to Taiwan in 1949 after losing to Mao Zedong’s communist forces in the Chinese civil war.

Taiwanese companies began investing and doing business in China in the 1980s, although direct commercial flights between China and Taiwan did not take place until 2008; citizens on either side had to detour through third destinations like Hong Kong, Macau or Okinawa in southern Japan.

The Lunar New Year is the most important holiday of the year on both sides of the strait, and expatriate workers traditionally return home to spend the time with their families.

The cancellations of the 176 flights serving Lunar New Year traffic will probably force Taiwanese determined to get home to scramble to book scarce flights on short notice.

Despite waxing and waning diplomatic tensions, China and Taiwan are closely linked economically. Hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese live and work in China. Many of them work at Taiwanese companies with large-scale operations in China, such as Foxconn, an electronics maker, which employs more than a million Chinese.

The two airlines that canceled the flights will probably suffer significant economic losses. China Eastern said it would cancel 106 round-trip flights for close to 40,000 passengers. Xiamen Air said it would cancel 70 extra flights that had been planned.

“This move has harmed the shared rights and interests of our company and customers,” China Eastern said. Xiamen Air said the step had “seriously hurt the feelings of people on both sides of the strait.”

Continue reading the main story


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January 30, 2018 at 06:48AM

The Ordinary: The Cult Skin-Care Brand Whose Secret Ingredient Is Being Dirt Cheap

The Ordinary: The Cult Skin-Care Brand Whose Secret Ingredient Is Being Dirt Cheap


On a recent evening, when I visited the first New York outpost of
Deciem, a Toronto-based skin-care brand, the store’s back room had a
mood of hushed giddiness, like there was a secret craps game going on
and all the players were winning. The rear chamber of the narrow space,
appointed in gleaming white subway tiles and aquamarine neon, is where
Deciem sells products from its most popular line, the Ordinary, which
aims to undercut the rest of the booming skin-care market by selling
luxury ingredients at wholesale prices. Customers (mostly women, a few
men) scurried around like they were at a fire sale, grabbing products
off the shelves by the handful. They filled their wire baskets with
vials of
a much-heralded wrinkle-fighting compound that sells for more than
eighty dollars in serums at Sephora but can be bought for $13.90 from
Deciem. They perused rich rose-hip oil ($9.80) and de-puffing
caffeine solution ($6.70) and a plumping serum, simply called Buffet,
that costs $14.80 and contains a smorgasbord of peptides meant to save
the nasolabial folds from the ravages of time. As supplies dwindled, an
air of competition intruded. Two customers lunged at the same time for
the last vial of A.H.A./B.H.A. peeling solution, a cabernet-tinted gel
that earlier this month was the subject of a viral Facebook
in which a woman joked about using her menstrual blood as a face mask.
Another woman inquired about the sought-after seven-per-cent glycolic
toning lotion, which had been out of stock for days. “But when will you
get it back?” she asked, with no small amount of desperation in her

The founder and C.E.O. of Deciem, Brandon Truaxe, was a computer
programmer before he got into the beauty business. He came up with the
idea for Deciem after working on software for a skin-care lab and
noticing the drastic difference between the cost of raw ingredients and
the price of finished products. Many of the chemicals used in skin care,
like niacinamide (a pimple fighter) and hyaluronic acid (a moisturizing
element that slakes dry pores), are dirt cheap to produce but are marked
up by skin-care companies when they are mixed together into miracle
creams du jour. Truaxe decided that if he developed the chemicals
himself, in an in-house lab, and offered them in their purest, most
isolated forms, he could cut out the middleman and offer the same
products as other brands at drastically lower prices. He launched
Deciem, in August of 2016, almost as a provocation (on the Emma Guns
in September, he called the beauty industry a “just a lot of gray
hoo-ha”), with twenty-seven products sold exclusively online. He figured
that word would spread gradually through beauty circles. Instead, orders
flooded in at a pace much faster than his Canadian lab could meet, and
products started to accumulate long wait lists. When the company
announced, in early 2017, that it was introducing a seven-dollar
foundation that would rival the most expensive formulations at
department stores, the wait list swelled to more than seventy-five
thousand names. “It was the biggest disaster,” Truaxe said on the
podcast. “We don’t plan a waiting list. Nobody plans a waiting list.
This is not an Hermès bag. It’s skin care.”

But skin care is, in many ways, the new cult clutch, and Truaxe has
cannily tapped into the exploding market. He named the company Deciem
because he intended to launch ten lines under the brand’s umbrella;
instead, by the end of the year, he and his co-C.E.O., Nicola Kilner,
will have launched at least twelve. When I stood in the middle of the
melee at the Deciem store—one of fifteen scheduled to open around the
world this year, including at least two more in New York—I thought of a
that keeps resurfacing on the Internet, in which a young man imagines a
woman’s nighttime routine: “My future wife prolly getting ready for bed,
mixing her lil skin care products rn lol apply ya mask and get some
sleep ily my lil chemist.” The tweet’s cutesy condescension
notwithstanding, it’s true that the skin-care craze, and the Ordinary in
particular, has a way of turning its most devoted adherents into amateur
scientists. The Ordinary’s products come in unadorned dropper bottles
that look like prototypes straight from the lab. Most contain just one
ingredient —salicylic acid, ascorbyl glucoside, matrixyl—and customers
are encouraged to devise their own regimens, concocting magic potions
with a squirt from bottle A, a drop from bottle B. The Reddit forum
Skincare Addiction contains hundreds of thousands of posts about “TO,” with people swapping
tips about what order and in what amount to use each ingredient. The
brand further foments this obsession on its Web site, which is stuffed
with detailed descriptions of chemical compounds that often need
deciphering from the online hoard. The Ordinary is the first modern
beauty brand to earn acolytes by making them feel smart enough to know
how to decode it; it turns skin optimization into a nerdy club, where
the cost of initiation is about what you’d pay for a latte.

After hearing about the brand from friends, last year, I found myself
deep in the rabbit hole of Deciem’s
Instagram, where Truaxe, a
perfectly coiffed thirty-nine-year-old, often appears in videos. He is
obsessed, above all, with “transparency,” a buzzword that has been
embraced by other cost-cutting brands like Warby Parker and
whose first New York brick-and-mortar store is next door to Deciem’s, in
Nolita. In a recent
update, he
appeared close to tears as he announced that Deciem was cancelling all
publicity efforts. “Marketing is simply a way to convince people to buy
what they don’t want or don’t need,” he said, gazing warmly into the

In an industry full of obfuscation and profiteering, where it is
difficult to tell snake oil from argan oil, this is a seductive idea.
The lure of the Ordinary—which was introduced into Sephora’s online
store, in December, and sold out entirely within a week—is that it makes
customers feel as though they have somehow beaten the system, by reaping
the benefits of skin care without getting sucked into the
beauty-industrial complex. The irony—which is surely not lost on Truaxe,
who refers to the Ordinary as Deciem’s “gateway brand”—is that the low
prices, more than any marketing campaign, seem to be persuading people
to experiment with skin-care products that they didn’t previously know
they wanted or needed. I now use at least eight of the Ordinary’s
products in regular rotation. This has cut my skin-care budget in half.
Do any of them actually slow sagging, or tighten pores, or decimate
smile lines? The only way to find out is to keep using them.


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January 30, 2018 at 12:19AM

5 Reasons I May Be Turning into a Cruise Person

5 Reasons I May Be Turning into a Cruise Person


As someone who writes about personal finance and travel for a living, I have a set of niches I stick to most of the time. I write about budgeting and most basic personal finance concepts, higher education, credit cards and awards programs, family travel, budget travel, and all-inclusive resorts.

I have always been a bit of a snob about cruises because, well, they don’t have the best reputation for offering cultural travel experiences. When I picture cruising, I typically think of people noshing on buffets of food and beer on a floating party ship.

Recently though, I went on a Caribbean cruise on the MSC Divina. I think I learned a lot about why people cruise during this trip, and I will likely take more cruises again in the future now.

Here are a few of the reasons I’ve changed my tune about cruising, and why maybe you should give it a try, too.


Cruising Is Very Economical

The #1 reason I’ve given cruising a second look is that it’s so economical. Seven-night cruises on budget cruise lines like Carnival and MSC Cruises can start in the $400 range per person, and sometimes kids are even free. That’s not a lot of money when you consider all cruising includes – food, your room, entertainment, and more. It’s also an economical way to see several different countries without worrying about all the logistics or costs of travel.


Cruising Is Very Economical

Since I was on a Mediterranean cruise line (MSC Cruises), there were people on the ship from all over the world. I would say we were probably in the minority as Americans, and that was fine with me. My kids made friends with children who spoke other languages, and there were plenty of different food types to try whenever we dined.

And obviously, cruising can be whatever you make it no matter what cruise line you choose. Even if your ship only stops in the Caribbean, you can use your port times to take a cultural tour or learn about the local area.


It’s Like A Vacation in a Bottle

I really like the fact that so many things are included in a cruise, much like all-inclusive resorts. Some of the events were cheesy (white parties, foam parties, etc.) but my kids loved it all. When you cruise, you basically just show up and enjoy whatever you want. Or do nothing at all since someone else is driving the boat.


The Rooms Are Not That Small

We had a balcony cabin on our cruise with a queen bed and foldout couch. It was plenty big for us, although it helped that our room steward would fold up the couch every day so we could use the room. I think cruises get a bad rap for having tiny cabins, but there is room if you’re crafty and don’t bring too much stuff with you.


Cruising Made Me Get Out and Do Things

While I am a huge all-inclusive resort fan and have been to nearly every brand of resort there is, I have a tendency to get lazy when we’re at one of these resorts. It’s far too easy to just set up a chair and relax the day away and never get out and do anything at all.

Cruises don’t make that quite so easy, but I appreciated the push to get out and do things. You don’t have to plan excursions off the ship, but you do have to decide what you’ll do once you disembark. We did some tours and some beach days on our cruise, and I loved every minute. It was nice to get out and see new things for once- even though I had been to almost all the islands on our cruise already.

Related: Are Cruises a Good Value for Your Points?

The Bottom Line

Cruising is fun, and I totally get it now. With affordable pricing across all major cruise lines and plenty of stuff to see and do, what’s not to like? Whether you’re a cruise person or not, I think everyone should give it a try.


Are you a cruise person? Why or why not?


[Image: Public Domain Pictures]


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January 30, 2018 at 12:01AM

New report from WEF describes future travellers’ ‘digital identity’

New report from WEF describes future travellers’ ‘digital identity’


A new report from the recent World Economic Forum aims to break down the barriers to a saner means of vetting airline passengers.

People have considered passenger facilitation and ensuring border security to be mutually exclusive, the report says, and trusted-traveler and registered traveler programs can’t by themselves achieve the paradigm shift toward a “Known Traveller Digital Identity concept” that will radically transform the way in which legitimate travellers are securely and seamlessly facilitated across borders.

And something’s got to give: Cross-border travel will grow by 50% over the next decade and reach 1.8 billion international arrivals by 2030, a situation that experts predict will be unsustainable for the current aviation security system.

The report, titled “The Known Traveller: Unlocking the potential of digital identity for secure and seamless travel,” recommends the Known Traveller Digital Identity concept as the first step toward achieving a systemic shift.

But stakeholders must act now to come up with and refine prototype policies and processes, build momentum to encourage behavioral change and create a framework that preserves both cybersecurity and personal privacy.

Achieving that balance won’t be easy. For example, the report notes that the source of some traveler frustration is that information is not reused must be provided repeatedly. Yet the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation regulation this year enabled individuals to request the deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing.

Opinions may differ on what constitutes a compelling reason.

The Known Traveller Digital Identity concept will provides the opportunity for law enforcement, immigration and aviation security officials to request and receive verified information from travellers far sooner in their journey.

That will allow authorities to shift toward increased advanced passenger screening and the clearance of low-risk travellers. In turn, officials will have more time to focus their efforts on vetting passengers who are less well known or who raise more concerns.

The advance access would allow for risk-based immigration lanes where, for example, one lane is for pre-screened travellers and a second is for those who have not provided their information upfront.

Proponents of the concept say it is based on the idea that an individual is in control of providing specific identity information (e.g., biometric, biographic and travel history) to governmental and private-sector players along the journey, such as border control agencies, car rentals, hotels and airlines, for risk profiling, verification and access.

The traveler can select which information is shared for a specific time according to the authority or private entity’s requirements to access the services.

The identity of the traveller is authenticated through biometric verification and protected by distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain technology, and cryptography.

The report cites IATA’s One ID initiative as an example of a potential “friction-free and passenger-centric process that allows an individual to assert their identity, online or in person, to the required level at every process step in the end-to-end passenger journey, while maintaining the privacy of personal data.”

IATA believes that:

“If a passenger’s identity can be confirmed at every touchpoint, it will become easier to deliver a more personalized customer experience, while enabling significant improvements in operational efficiency and security. To achieve this, true collaboration between stakeholders will be paramount.”

But it is clear that the element of trust will be essential to “a cohesive vision for the future of security in travel.” The vision must include “user-centricity, digitization and trustful cooperation,” the report stated.


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January 29, 2018 at 11:56PM

Flight Filled With Plumbers Diverts Due to… a Plumbing Issue

Flight Filled With Plumbers Diverts Due to… a Plumbing Issue


How many plumbers does it take to fix an airplane bathroom at 33,000 feet? No, that’s not the start of a bad joke (or maybe it is?). It’s a real-life situation that a Norwegian Air flight faced Saturday when a flight from Oslo (OSL) to Munich (MUC) with at least 60 plumbers on board experienced a problem seemingly well-suited for those passengers.

Less than 15 minutes into Norwegian Air flight 1156, the aircraft developed a plumbing issue. Coincidentally enough, on board the flight were around 85 employees of plumbing company Rørkjøp, including “60-70 plumbers.” They sprung into action, but the problem couldn’t be resolved — at least at altitude. Company CEO Frank Olsen explains:

We would have liked to fix the restrooms, but unfortunately it had to be done from the outside and we did not take the opportunity to send a plumber in line at 10,000 meters.

Since the issue couldn’t be fixed, the seven-year old Boeing 737-800 had to divert back to Oslo (OSL). While we have seen our share of “flights to nowhere” recently, this one may be the most ironic of them all.

H/T: FlightRadar24

Photo by Swell Media/Getty Images


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January 29, 2018 at 11:01PM

Plane Makes ‘Miracle’ Emergency Landing on Southern California Freeway

Plane Makes ‘Miracle’ Emergency Landing on Southern California Freeway


A small plane with a failing engine landed safely amid traffic on the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa, California, Sunday night.

Pilot Izzy Slod, 24, of North Hollywood, and a passenger were flying the single-engine, six-seat 1971 Beechcraft Bonanza G33 to Van Nuys from San Diego when the engine trouble began around 7:40pm. Unable to make it to John Wayne Airport (SNA) because of winds, Slod spotted a stretch of freeway that was free of cars and set the aircraft down on it.

“I saw an opening on the highway and I went for it right away,” Slod told KNBC. “I had to make a last-minute, last-second judgment on whether or not we could make it over, and we didn’t have the airspeed to make it over, so I went under it.”

According to the Costa Mesa Fire Department, there were no injuries and the plane was undamaged. Fire Capt. Chris Coatez called the landing on the normally busy highway a “complete miracle.”

Slod said his training prepared him of the landing. The plane was later towed away. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating. The FAA and California Highway Patrol didn’t respond immediately to requests for comments.

Photo by Southern Counties News


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January 29, 2018 at 09:35PM

American, Delta revive their re-accommodation agreement

American, Delta revive their re-accommodation agreement


Delta and American airlines agreed to a new deal that will enable the airlines to rebook customers onto each other’s flights in the event of unexpected flight disruptions.

The new agreement went into effect Jan. 24.

American said its priority remains keeping customers on American or its alliance and joint business partners, but “this gives our team members another tool to re-accommodate customers.”

American said it was approached by Delta a few months ago about reviving its re-accommodation deal that was abandoned more than two years ago.

For many years, major airlines retained a relic of the regulated era: interline agreements that enabled airlines to re-accommodate another airline’s passengers in the event of an irregular operation. It was entirely voluntary; an airline could choose not to step in, but in a holdover from the more civilized time, they usually did, and were paid for it by the other airline.

In 2015, Delta Air Lines was feeling its oats. Its 2014 net income — $659 million — was not as stunning as the $10.54 billion net profit of the prior year, but it was still nothing to sneeze at.

Perhaps more stunning was the nearly 99% flight completion factor, second only to Alaska Airlines, which despite its name competes for the most part in a gentler climate.

Delta decided that since it was the most reliable big airline in the US, it should get more for its re-accommodation services.

United, which among the Big 3 had the most need of such services, caved into Delta’s demands.

American did not, and in September of 2015, the old agreement was broken.(Southwest has never had such agreements. Until its conversion to the Amadeus Altea system, it lacked the technological capability.)

Since then, the major US airlines have been tried to their limits by hurricanes, forest fires, floods and mudslides. It’s hard to think of a natural disaster that has not hammered the US over the last two years. An excellent operational record has been no match for Mother Nature.

American emphasized that the new agreement is for irregular operations and/or airport use only. Travel agencies and others aren’t able to create an itinerary that includes an American segment and a Delta segment together.

Delta concurred that it is not an interline agreement, but rather a ticketing and baggage agreement designed for use to re-accommodate customers during irregular operations


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January 29, 2018 at 09:23PM