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Good manners: Tips for tipping

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Some rules for tipping are engrained: tip 15-20 percent of the pre-tax total when dining out. A dollar or two per bag to the airport valet.

Others are common though not everyone is aware of them: leave $2-$5 per night for hotel housekeeping staff, for example. (Some say higher, particularly if you’re staying somewhere swankier).

But some situations are trickier. How about when you order takeout and use a debit card, only to see a line on the receipt for a tip? Are you expected to fill that in?

It depends. There are no hard-and-fast tipping rules, more like unwritten societal expectations. No pressure.

Cab drivers as well as Uber and Lyft drivers typically get 10 to 18 percent of the fare, while a barber or hairdresser receives 15 to 20 percent of the bill.

A massage therapist customarily gets 20 percent, while you are not expected to tip a personal trainer; the caveat there is that a gift at the holidays is considered a nice touch.

And here are few you might not have thought of: the furniture delivery people customarily get $5-$10 per person and tow truck drivers often get tipped $3-$5 even if insurance is paying for the tow. And your personal house cleaning service doesn’t require tipping, though it is another entity in which a holiday gift is commonplace.

(And as for the takeout slip, there is no obligation to tip for takeout orders, although the staff would certainly appreciate a little something.)

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June celebrity birthdays!

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Angelina Jolie, 45, actress, Los Angeles, CA, 1975. Stefan Servos / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

Do you share a June birthday with a celebrity?

1 – Justine Henin, 38, former tennis player, Liege, Belgium, 1982.

2 –  Awkwafina, 32, actress, rap artist, born Nora Lum, Forest Hills, NY, 1988.

3 – Scott Valentine, 62, actor (Family Ties), Saratoga Springs, NY, 1958.

4 – Angelina Jolie, 45, actress, Los Angeles, CA, 1975.

5 – Kathleen Kennedy, 67, film producer, film executive (president of Lucasfilm), Berkeley, CA, 1953.

6 – Gary U.S. Bonds, 81, singer, songwriter, born Gary Anderson, Jacksonville, FL, 1939.

7 – Roberto Alagna, 57, opera singer, born Clichy-sous-Bois, Seine-Saint-Denis, France, 1963.

8 – Keenen Ivory Wayans, 62, actor (In Living Color), New York, NY, 1958.

9 – Natalie Portman, 39, actress (Black Swan, Thor), born Natalie Hershlag, Jerusalem, Israel, 1981.

10 – Kate Upton, 28, model, St. Joseph, MI, 1992.

11 – Mehmet Oz, 60, surgeon, television personality, Cleveland, OH, 1960.

12 – Marv Albert, 79, sportscaster, born Marvin Philip Aufrichtig, New York, NY, 1941.

13 – Chris Evans, 39, actor (The Avengers), Boston, MA, 1981.

14 – Marla Gibbs, 89, actress (The Jeffersons), born Margaret Bradley, Chicago, IL, 1931.

15 – Leah Remini, 50, actress (The King of Queens), Brooklyn, NY, 1970.

16 – Abby Elliott, 33, comedienne, actress (Saturday Night Live), New York, NY, 1987.

17 – Greg Kinnear, 57, actor, Logansport, IN, 1963.

18 – Blake Shelton, 44, country singer, television personality (The Voice), Ada, OK, 1976.

19 – Macklemore, 37, rapper, born Benjamin Haggerty, Kent, WA, 1983.

20 – John Goodman, 68, actor (Roseanne), Afton, MO, 1952.

21 – Kris Allen, 35, singer, television personality (American Idol), Jacksonville, AR, 1985.

22 – Randy Couture, 57, mixed martial artist, Everett, WA, 1963.

23 – Joel Edgerton, 46, actor, (The Great Gatsby), director, Blacktown, Australia, 1974.

24 – Sherry Stringfield, 53, actress (NYPD Blue), Colorado Springs, CO, 1967.

25 – Ricky Gervais, 59, actor, comedian, Reading, Berkshire, England, 1961.

26 – Jennette McCurdy, 28, actress, singer, Long Beach, CA, 1992.

27 – Chandler Riggs, 21, actor (The Walking Dead), Atlanta, GA, 1999.

28 – Thomas Hampson, 65, opera singer, Elkhart, IN, 1955.

29 – Gary Busey, 76, actor, musician, Baytown, TX, 1944.

30 – Cole Swindell, 37, singer, Glennville, GA, 1983.

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5 common camping mistakes to avoid

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If you’re going camping this summer, make sure to plan ahead. It’s all too easy to forget a key detail and then suffer the consequences. To ensure you have a terrific time, here are some common mistakes to avoid.

1. Choosing the wrong campground
Do your research to find a campground that checks all your boxes. In particular, consider the amenities you want. This may include laundry facilities, a pool, a tennis court, or lake access. You should also consider what type of camping spot you’d like, whether it’s a secluded area in the forest or a shared campsite with a community feel.

2. Bringing gear that doesn’t work

Inspect all your equipment to make sure it’s in good condition. If you have any new gear, familiarize yourself with it in advance. For example, run through setting up a new tent in your backyard.

3. Being ill-prepared for the weather
Check the weather forecast and prepare for all eventualities. Even if there’s only a small chance of rain, play it safe and bring rain gear such as a poncho, rain boots, and a tarp. Keep in mind that the temperature can dip at night.

4. Leaving your first aid kit at home
You should always take along a first aid kit. It should have all the items you need to handle cuts, abrasions, injuries, and aches. Additionally, it’s a good idea to bring things you can use to repair your tent if need be such as tape, rope, and a needle and thread.

5. Taking local wildlife for granted
Determine what types of animals inhabit the area where your campground is located and learn how to react if you encounter them (bears, coyotes, moose, and others). Also, you should find out how to avoid attracting local wildlife to your campsite.

Additionally, be sure to arrive while the sun’s still up. It can be difficult to find your campsite, put up your tent, and locate the bathroom in the dark.

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Campsite kitchen essentials

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Are you going camping? With a bit of preparation, you can eat as well as you do at home. In addition to food, here’s what you’ll need.

• Matches, lighters or firelighters
• Plates and bowls
• Cups and mugs

• Cutlery
• Cooking utensils (spatula, tongs, etc.)
• Pots and pans
• Knives
• A cutting board
• A can opener
• A dishpan, biodegradable soap, a sponge and towels
• Containers, bags and food wrap for storing leftovers
• Aluminum foil
• Paper towels
• Garbage bags
• Potable water
• A cooler and ice bags
• A coffee maker
• A camp stove and fuel
• A telescoping fork
• A grill (for cooking on the fire)
• Scissors

For added convenience, use foldable or nestable tableware, multi-purpose cutlery, and cookware with detachable handles. This way you can reduce your load but still have a hearty spread.

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On the road – family life in an RV

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Step aside, tiny homes. Now it’s all about tiny homes on wheels. (Or are they ginormous trucks instead?)

RV living is all the rage, and more and more families are setting out on adventures in their motor homes. It’s a great way for kids to learn history and geography first-hand, to bring the family pet and the stuffed animals along, and to have never-ending campfires.

Family life in an RV is also no joke. Consider one bathroom, limited storage space, and rainy days. But with some advanced planning, family RV life can prove rewarding.

Two recommended items: blackout curtains and a white noise machine. The curtains help you potentially avoid a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call, while a white noise machine helps the younger ones sleep, gives the adults a little privacy, and can help with rowdy neighbors.

Other suggestions:

* Downsize, downsize, downsize. Ain’t no shame in wearing the same tee-shirt over and over; in fact, it’s a necessity.

* Consider Roadschooling. Roadschooling is a form of homeschooling in which zoos, museums, and science centers participate in reciprocal programs.

* Planning: get on it. You might consider yourself nomads, but a little planning goes a long way while still allowing you to explore. It’s important to know where you’re headed and what amenities they have (industrial-sized washers and dryers, anyone?).

* Bring some familiar items. Adventure is fun but it can also be disorienting. Let kids bring some familiar items for when homesickness sets in.

* Get online. A multitude of Facebook groups and online communities exist to help with ideas and support.

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A guide to cycling etiquette and safety

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When you ride a bike, it’s important to be courteous and respect the rules of the road. Here’s how to stay safe and be considerate toward motorists, pedestrians, and other cyclists.

Signal your intentions
Make sure to always let other road users know where you want to go, using your left arm to indicate that you’re about to turn. To signal you want to go left, extend your arm straight to the side. To indicate you want to turn right, bend your arm up¬ward at the elbow.

You should also warn pedestrians and cyclists if you intend to pass them by calling out or using your bell. Before coming to a complete stop, pull over to the side so you don’t cause an accident.

Ride single file
If you cycle with others, don’t ride side by side. This can obstruct oncoming cyclists and prevent others from safely passing you. Additionally, zigzagging between pedestrians and other cyclists and deviating into empty parking spaces can be dangerous.

Keep your distance
Don’t attempt to pass another cyclist if you might brush up against them or have to squeeze through a narrow space. In addition to being rude, this can lead to an accident.

Wait your turn
When you’re at a red light, don’t try to advance to the front of the line. Be patient and give priority to the people who were there first. If someone allows you to go ahead of them, be sure to wave or otherwise signal your thanks.

Finally, remember to be tolerant of inexperienced and slow cyclists. They may not know proper cycling etiquette yet and are still learning.

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Can’t get out for Memorial Day? Try this

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A treasured tradition for many is to decorate graves on Memorial Day.

How pleasant it is on a sunny day to finally find the right stone, pull a couple of weeds around it, then arrange the flowers.

But, inevitably, some things get in the way of that trip: Bad weather, no ride, or quarantine for some virus.

No matter!

You can still visit the grave at the website Find A Grave — and you can leave digital flowers too.

Find A Grave has an amazing database of gravesites around the country. Even small historical cemeteries are listed.

Thanks to the work of volunteers around the country, Find A Grave has grown to be a huge index of cemeteries.

You can search by name or cemetery to find your loved one. You can leave digital flowers and even a note. You’ll also be able to see notes others have left.

So if you can’t get to the cemetery on Memorial Day, you’ll discover Find A Grave a very satisfying option.

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80°
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Feels like: 80°F
Wind: 3mph WNW
Humidity: 37%
Pressure: 29.92"Hg
UV index: 4
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