Lifestyle

Toys R Us to reopen stores in the US later this year: report

Toys R Us Opens a New Window. is expected to reopen stores just in time for the 2019 holiday season. Though the toy retailer closed down Opens a New Window. last year, Toys R Us is expected to launch an e-commerce site and several stores in the U.S. later this year, according to Bloomberg Opens a New Window. The new stores are expected to be about a third of the size of traditional Toys R Us outlets, but with play areas and other experiences, the outlet reported. To reduce costs, the stores could use a consignment inventory model, where the company would be able to return items that aren’t sold, Bloomberg reported. A former executive of the company, Richard Barry, has been trying to bring back the chain by pitching his ideas out to toy makers, sources told the outlet. Barry is now the CEO of Tru Kids, Inc., a new company that took over the Toys R Us brand earlier this year. “Effective January 20, 2019, the new company, Tru Kids Inc. doing business as Tru Kids Brands, became the proud parent of Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Geoffrey and more than 20 established consumer toy and baby brands,” Tru Kids Brands said in a press release in February. The new company will be led by Barry, the former Toys R Us global chief merchandising officer, as well as other experienced toy executives. “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write the next chapter of Toys R Us by launching a newly imagined omnichannel retail experience for our beloved brands here in the U.S.,” Barry said in a statement announcing the plans. Barry added that despite unprecedented efforts to capture the U.S. market share this past holiday season by other retailers, there is still a significant gap and huge consumer demand that has been left behind by the demise of Toys R Us. He said that both brands still remain powerful in the marketplace and continue to have brand affinity and loyalty with more than 9.5 million followers across their social media channels. Barry told The Associated Press that while he and his team are still working out all the details on when and how the brand will re-emerge, they do plan to officially relaunch in some form by this holiday season. He also said that e-commerce will play a key role in the brand’s future. In September 2017, Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 reorganization and later liquidated its business last March after falling prey to several billions in debt and tough competition from online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. Tru Kids will be headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, about a 20-minute drive from Wayne, New Jersey, where Toys R Us was previously based.

Saint Louis Zoo named best zoo in the country, again

The Saint Louis Zoo has been named the best zoo in the country for the second year in a row. Not that there was ever any doubt in our minds. Saint Louis was voted No. 1 in the USA Today best zoo category in the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards contest. The Saint Louis Zoo was one of 20 nominated U.S. zoos, which were hand-picked by a panel of zoo and family travel experts. “We’re humbled to be chosen again as the best zoo by our dedicated fans in the St. Louis region, across Missouri and friends around the country,” Jeffrey Bonner, president and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo, said in a statement. “Our visitors, volunteers, members, generous donors, employees, and especially the taxpayers of St. Louis City and St. Louis County are the real champions. It’s through their strong support that we can provide superior care for the animals, save wildlife in wild places, connect people with nature, and offer a great place to spend time with friends and family members.” Visitors to the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards website were asked to vote for their favorites between April 2 and April 30. Behind the Saint Louis Zoo was Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, and rounding out the top five are, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the Fort Worth Zoo. In addition to winning in the best zoo category, the Saint Louis Zoo’s Sea Lion Sound exhibit also was named the best zoo exhibit in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards contest.

Nice!!  Growing up in St. Louis, I used to go to the St. Louis Zoo ALL the time.  And, sure I’m biased..  BUT..  Having been to the zoo in San Diego, and the National Zoo in D.C, both of which are outstanding, I can still see how the St. Louis Zoo won.  Congrats to Jeffrey Bonner and his team at the St. Louis Zoo.  Another great win for St. Louis!  Excellent!!    🙂

Kroger recalls steaks, beef over possible E. coli contamination

Meat lovers were notified of another recall affecting rib-eye steaks and ground beef products over possible E. coli contamination. Consumers in the greater Cincinnati area who purchased Kroger bone-in rib-eye steaks, boneless ribeye steaks and in-store produced ground beef are encouraged to check the label before eating the product. All affected meat was produced between April 23 and June 7, but the company is concerned that consumers may have stored affected products in the freezer. Kroger said it has not received any reports of adverse reactions related to the recall. E. coli infections vary from patient to patient, but it often produces severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Some patients may develop a fever, but most symptoms are resolved within five to seven days, although others may be sickened for up to 10. About five to 10 percent of cases result in a potentially life-threatening condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which requires hospitalization for kidney issues. On Friday, Kroger issued a recall of some of its frozen berries over a possible Hepatitis A contamination. The items included Kroger’s Private Selection Frozen Triple Berry Medley (16 oz) and Private Selection Frozen Triple Berry Medley (48 oz). The Private Selection Frozen Blackberries (16 oz) were also subject to the recall.

 

10 Plants That Are Toxic for Your Pet

Plants add color, texture and beauty to your home and yard, but some are toxic for your pets, so watch out for these varieties. If you suspect your cat or dog may have ingested a potentially toxic substance, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. You may like to keep an aloe vera plant around to treat sunburns, but the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says aloe vera can cause vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea in both cats and dogs. According to Rover.com, “Topical use of the gel found inside the leaves is no problem, but there are other proponents of the plant that can irritate the digestive system if ingested.” Click here to see 11 household items that are seriously hazardous to pets.

Red or white? Wine preference reveals a lot about your personality, survey determines

Red or white? New research revealed your choice of wine can say a lot about your personality. If you like “Game of Thrones,” consider yourself an introvert, and enjoy traveling, results found you’re probably into red wine. Conducted in advance of National Wine Day on May 25, the survey of 2,000 Americans (aged 21-plus) looked at the differences in personality traits between those who drink red wine to those who prefer white. The findings revealed that white wine drinkers are more likely to be night owls and extroverts, as well as more likely to listen to punk music. Commissioned by Coravin and conducted by OnePoll, results found white wine drinkers were also more likely to identify as curious, sarcastic and perfectionists. On the other hand, red wine drinkers were more likely to identify as adventurous, humble and organized. Red wine drinkers were also more likely to identify as early birds, listen to jazz, and consider themselves to be “wine aficionados” (45 percent vs. 31 percent). In addition to looking at the differences in personality, the survey also examined each groups’ knowledge when it came to drinking wine, as well as hosting and attending events. It found that red wine drinkers had the knowledge to back up their claim of “wine aficionado” — they were more likely to know how to correctly hold a wine glass (73 percent vs. 65 percent), know what “tannins” are (53 percent vs. 45 percent) and know how long it takes for wine to oxidize (64 percent vs. 54 percent). They were also more likely to consider it a turn-off if a date wasn’t knowledgeable about wine (46 percent vs. 40 percent), and were willing to spend slightly more on wine — averaging $40 a bottle. The average respondent, in any group, drinks four glasses of wine per week, and the favorite place to drink — regardless of wine preference — was found to be at home (72 percent). But 62 percent will forego drinking a glass of wine after work or with dinner, because they don’t want to open a new bottle. In addition to drinking in the comfort of their own home, the survey found that 49 percent of respondents enjoy drinking wine at events or gatherings, preferred over drinking at a bar (43 percent). And, while at an event, three-quarters will drink what everyone else is drinking, even if they’d prefer something else. (After hosting an event, people admit to throwing out an average of three partially-full bottles of wine.) Americans do try to stop the waste, though: The average respondent finishes three bottles of wine a month to stop them from going to waste, but throws out two partially-full bottles that have gone bad. “Enjoying a glass of whatever wine someone is in the mood for, doesn’t need to be wasteful. There are more amazing wines available now than ever before. Wine lovers should be able to enjoy the wine they love, in the amount they want, without thinking about when they are going to return to that bottle,” said Greg Lambrecht, founder and inventor of Coravin, a wine-preservation system. Click here for more.

Happy National Wine Day!   🙂

Mosquitoes are the worst in these cities, pest control company Orkin says

Summer is fast approaching, and with warmer weather comes one annoying pest: Mosquitoes. Pest control company Orkin on Monday released its Top 50 Mosquito Cities list, which “ranks metro areas by the number of mosquito customers served from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019,” the company said in a statement, noting the list includes both residential and commercial treatments. Coming in at No.1 — for the sixth year in a row— was the Atlanta, Ga., area. Following just behind was the New York market, which Orkin said moved up the list this year by one place. In third place was Washington, D.C., followed by Chicago. Next up were two Texas cities: Houston and the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Detroit was seventh, followed by Philadelphia. Rounding out the ninth and tenth spots were Charlotte. N.C., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. “Mosquitoes are more than annoying; they can be a major health threat,” Orkin entomologist Mark Beavers said in a statement. “Mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus, encephalitides, dengue, chikungunya and for those who may remember, Zika, threaten the safety of humans and pets.” West Nile virus, specifically, spreads through infected mosquitoes when they bite humans and animals. The virus, was first reported in the U.S. in 1999, can result in a fever or headache, though most people infected do not experience symptoms. That said, about 1 in 150 people who are infected with West Nile virus can develop a serious illness — such as inflammation of the spinal cord or brain — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. Click here to see if your city made the list:

Worst airport in US has been named

Newark Liberty Airport Opens a New Window. has officially been the dubbed the worst U.S. airport, according to a new ranking list. The New Jersey-based hub held the lowest U.S. spot at 116 of 132 around the world, according to AirHelp’s annual rating list, which is an organization that specializes in air traveler rights by seeking compensation for delays and cancellations. Bloomberg News Opens a New Window. was first to report the rankings. Overall, U.S. airports ranked poorly on the global list with the highest-ranking American field going to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, which scored the 34th spot. Henrik Zillmer, AirHelp’s chief executive, told Bloomberg the major reason why American airports scored low was due to weather-related delays and poor quality of service. Additionally, long security lines were frequent problems, causing a slew of customer complaints. To determine the list, AirHelp rated airports on three key factors: on-time performance, service quality, and food and shopping options. Additionally, the group surveyed more than 40,000 passengers in 40 countries last year on their personal experiences. This is the group’s ninth annual report. Doha’s Hamad International Airport and Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport have scored the highest on the list since 2015. Click here to see the 10 Best, and 10 Worst, airports of 2019.