Lifestyle The latest Lifestyle news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers. Thu, 28 Aug 2014 01:11:05 +0000 en hourly 1 Inside the US Open Salon, Where Tennis Champs Get Glammed Up Before Matches Tue, 26 Aug 2014 23:34:44 +0000 Lauren Effron

The world’s top tennis players, from Roger Federer to Maria Sharapova, are not only superior athletes but brands unto themselves, and part of being a brand is looking good, even during a sweaty hours-long battle on center court.

When these big names hit the salon at the annual U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens, N.Y., the stylist many of them come to see is Julien Farel.

“It’s about looking good,” Farel told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis, noting that professional athletes have become icons and celebrities.

“They must look great. So hair, clothes, makeup, everything [has] to work,” he said.

Farel has even doubled as a good-luck charm. He cut Rafael Nadal’s hair before he won one of his U.S. Open titles.

“Two days ago I got Andy Murray for the first time and he said, ‘What is so particular with your haircuts?’ I said, ‘You might win the tournament,’” Farel said.

Heading into the tournament, Ana Ivanovic said Farel trimmed her locks and gave her “sunkissed” highlights, noting it was the first time in her life she had ever had her hair colored.

“We compete and we are tough on court, but off-court, and also on-court, we want to be feminine, we want to still be woman, and beauty is such a big part of that,” the Serbian tennis champion said. “I think that’s the first thing someone notices, is your hair, your appearance, so it’s important to look good.”

abc anaivanoic le 140826 16x9 608 Inside the US Open Salon, Where Tennis Champs Get Glammed Up Before Matches

Tennis champion Ana Ivanovic (right) shows off her new haircut styled by Julien Farel (center), to ABC's Rebecca Jarvis (left) at the 2014 US Open in Queens. N.Y.

Before her first match, Jelena Jankovic got her nails done and said she waited to get her hair cut until she got to the tournament so that Farel, who cut her long brown locks up to her shoulders a few days ago, could do it.

“I just wanted a change,” Jankovic said. “I had long hair for so long and I just wanted a nice short cut. It’s nice. I look younger.”

abc jelenajankovic le 140826 16x9 608 Inside the US Open Salon, Where Tennis Champs Get Glammed Up Before Matches

Stylist to the tennis stars Julien Farel works on tennis champion Jelena Jankovic's hair at the 2014 US Open in Queens. N.Y.

This Grand Slam tournament means big money — bigger than the Super Bowl. U.S. Open winners take home $3 million each, compared to $92,000 paid out per NFL player who wins a Super Bowl. Last year, U.S. Open spectators and athletes generated an estimated $720 million of economic activity in the New York City area, compared to the $430 million the Super Bowl is expected to bring in when it comes to MetLife Stadium at East Rutherford, New Jersey, in February. The U.S. Open is a two-week tournament, whereas the Super Bowl is a one-day event.

So it seems getting glammed up before taking center court is just another part of loving the game.


]]> 0
Back-to-School Deals on Clothes, Electronics, Other Essentials Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:06:27 +0000 ABC News


Back-to-school shopping procrastinators can now rejoice: Some of the best deals come around Labor Day for clothing, tech and supplies. Here are the biggest categories, websites and store-wide deals we could find.


– Buy one and get one 50 percent off on children’s shoes and apparel

– $5 off $50 using code TGT4QBJF

– Save $40 on an Epson 2530 printer and receive a $5 Target gift card (normally $99.99, sale: $59.99 plus $5 Target gift card)

– Save $50 on Beats by Dre Studio over-the-ear headphones (normally $299.99, sale: $249.99)

– Save $30 on Bose Quiet Comfort 15 Around-the-Ear Headphones (normally $299.99, sale: $269.99)

– 20 percent off Skullcandy Jib earbuds (normally $9.99, sale: $7.99)

Old Navy

– 40 percent off in-store and online. No code needed

JC Penney

– $29.99 eyeglasses at JC Penney Optical.
– 15 percent off the entire site and store including uniform polos and khakis.


Girls’ and boys’ approved school wear polos, currently $3.97.

Disney “Frozen” girls’ graphic tee, currently $6.97.

Secondhand Online

ThredUp offers brand-name kids’ clothing gently used for a fraction of their original price. Use code ABC40 for 40 percent off your first thredUP order.

– A different spin on online used clothing is from Schoola. They sell used clothing online, but families who donate clothes designate a school as a beneficiary and a percentage of the price goes back to the donor’s school: 40 percent. Try it out with a 25 percent off code: GMA25.

– 15 percent off the entire site code COMJBTS15 and deals on backpacks like this High Sierra Swerve marked down from $100 to $39.

Other Deals

– iPad 16GB Retina Display: Radio Shack and Walmart have the best prices this week, $50 off at $349.

Don’t Buy an iPhone … Yet

– Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 6 Sept. 9 with the new phone available Sept. 19. Even if you plan to buy an older model, prices usually go down when a new phone is announced. Older models are often discounted by $100.

Don’t Buy a Laptop at Your College Bookstore

– A recent report showed campus bookstores inflating the prices of laptops by 35 percent over online prices.

Add the deals you’ve found in the comments and share with other procrastinators.

]]> 0
New Phone Scam Targets Vacationers in Hotel Rooms Thu, 21 Aug 2014 22:53:13 +0000 Linsey Davis

What started off as a pit stop at a Best Western hotel in New Orleans  ended up as a major pitfall for Christine Bicek and her daughter, Katie Bicek.

“It’s about midnight and our hotel room phone rings,” said Christine Bicek of Houston. The voice on the phone claiming to be from the hotel’s front desk said, “I need your card number to put on file. Otherwise you need to get out of the room.”

GTY hotels mar 140821 16x9 608 New Phone Scam Targets Vacationers in Hotel Rooms

Erik Isakson/Getty Images

Katie Bicek gave the woman her debit card number and went back to sleep.

When Christine Bicek woke up, she said she immediately remembered the phone call and thought something seemed “sketchy.”

“I said to Katie, ‘You need to check your bank account,’” she said. Katie Bicek did and learned that all of her money was gone.

Related: Beware before booking that dream hotel.
Related: Vacation for next to nothing.

With 34.7 million Americans predicted to be on the roads for the Labor Day weekend, according to AAA,  security experts are issuing warnings about schemes that target vacationers at their hotels.

It turns out that the scam that targeted Christine and Katie Bicek is a common one.

“We can identify the source of any phone call going in and and we identify these numbers,” said John McEnroe, assistant general manager at the Hotel Beacon in New York. “They were all outside numbers. Some of them were going through an Internet-service provider.”

The American Hotel and Lodging Association said: “The hospitality industry is not immune to unscrupulous activity. … [The industry] provides regular updates to hoteliers on fraudulent activities.”

The following are tips shared by Adam Levin of IDT911 Consulting when on vacation:

1. Once you are in the hotel room, don’t give your credit card information over the phone. If there’s a problem, go directly to the front desk.

2. Check in with a credit card instead of a debit card.

]]> 0
How to Vacation for Next to Nothing as a Mystery Shopper Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:28:05 +0000 ABC News

ABC News’ Paula Faris reports:

The Chulews — Mike, Rebecca and 2-year-old Veronica — recently went on a summer vacation for practically free.

ABC wn real money sk 140819 16x9 608 How to Vacation for Next to Nothing as a Mystery Shopper

The Chulews of Texas have performed about 150 mystery shops this year, saving about $5,000 in expenses they would have bought anyway including vacations like this one. ABC News photo.

Their gas, flight, hotel and even their meals were about 80 percent off.  That’s because the Chulews of Texas are mystery shoppers.

“If I wasn’t a mystery shopper,” Rebecca Chulew said, “I don’t even know how I would pay full price for these things.”

Click here to learn about accredited mystery shopping companies.
Watch: ‘Travel hacking’ secrets to traveling super cheap.
Related: Secret shopping sites look to put money in your pocket.

The Chulews said being a mystery shopper was like going on a secret spy mission.

Mystery shopping companies hire people to grade everything, from free newspapers for guests and towels laid out for the beach to whether the hair dryer in the bathroom works.

Shoppers then document their findings and opinions on a score sheet.

“We’re always looking for mystery shoppers,” said David Lipton, president of the mystery shopping company Sensors Quality Management. “The most successful mystery shoppers are those who are reliable, responsible. They have a keen eye for detail. They can follow the instructions that we provide.”

When the Chulews recently stayed at a hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas, they noted that the pillows in the lobby were messy and that there was sand on the carpeted steps.

At the end of their stay, though, the Chulews gave the hotel a thumbs-up. The hotel declined to comment to ABC News.

The Chulews said they’d performed about 150 mystery shops this year, saving them about $5,000 in expenses they would have bought anyway.

“My haircut was a mystery shop,” Mike Chulew said. “My clothes. My shoes. My socks.”

“Once you know you can get a half-priced pair of shoes for doing 20 minutes of paperwork, why not?” Rebecca Chulew said.

“[Mystery shoppers] will save a significant amount off of their airfare, their stay at a hotel, a night out at a restaurant,” Lipton said.

But there are scams out there, he added. Be wary of companies that ask you to pay them money upfront.

Make sure you are dealing with a reputable company. Here’s some advice from the FTC on how to avoid a scam. And there’s a mystery shopper trade group that provides web resources.

Mystery shopping is just one way, though, to save big on a vacation as the summer comes to an end.

  • Christine Partello of Boston and her fiance saved $75 on their honeymoon this summer by using Yapta. The website tracks the price of your flight and sends a notification if it drops.
  • Gail Presses of New Orleans saved $600 by booking her hotel through Tingo. It tracks prices and automatically rebooks your room when the price drops.
  • Rahul Razdan of New Jersey used Zalyn to find a car rental coupon, saving his family $246.
]]> 0
#LikeaBoy Social Media Campaign Celebrates Boys’ Sensitive Sides Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:22:47 +0000 ABC News

ABC News’ Juju Chang, Alison Kenworthy and Jen Pereira report:

With 47 million clicks and counting, the “Like a Girl” advertisement campaign from Always is sparking a national conversation on female empowerment and self-esteem.

Now, a gender twist is taking the conversation even further.

Always Redefines What It Means to ‘Run Like a Girl’

Ilana Wiles, creator of the blog, loved the ad’s message so much she asked her readers to submit photos of their daughters doing “all the amazing things our daughters do,” she explained, along with the hashtag #LikeAGirl.   

But then something unexpected happened.

“It was my readers who started posting pictures of their sons doing so-called feminine things,” Wiles of New York City, recalled.

Soon her blog was flooded with pictures of little boys proudly displaying their feminine side, from putting on polish to playing with dolls, all with the defiant hashtag #LikeABoy.

“We would never want someone to tell our girls that they can’t do the same thing boys can do,” said Ericka Souter, editor at “But when it comes to boys, we limit them to what we think are the right things for little boys to do and the right ways for little boys to act and we have to ask, ‘Is that really fair?’”

Heather Castic, a mom from North Carolina, posted a picture of her 2-year-old twin boys “playing princess” with their 4-year-old sister.

“That’s what my boys do,” Castic explained. “They emulate their sister and it was actually very refreshing to see other people out there with boys doing things just like my boys do because sometimes you question if it’s normal.”

She says her boys, who love dinosaurs as much as tea parties, are helping to redefine what it means to be “like a boy.”

“I really think the hashtag should have been #LikeAKid because it’s what kids do,” Castic said. “They’re just using their imagination. They’re at an age of innocence. They’re just having fun.

Added Wiles: “Housework and childcare isn’t girly. It is what makes a good man and a strong family. Every little boy should be handed a doll and a toy vacuum.”

]]> 0
Hand Rejuvenation for Better Engagement Ring Selfies: Before-and-After Shots Thu, 14 Aug 2014 17:35:54 +0000 ABC News ht hand plastic surgery split mt 140814 16x9 608 Hand Rejuvenation for Better Engagement Ring Selfies: Before and After Shots

These are Christa's hands before (left) and after (right) her hand rejuvenation. (Courtesy of Dr. Ariel Ostad)

ABC News’ Alexa Valiente reports:

When Christa got engaged last fall, she, like thousands of other women, wanted to show off her engagement ring on social media. But after snapping a few photos, she realized she didn’t like the way her hands looked.

So the 33-year-old from Mount Sinai, New York, turned to fillers, hoping it would smooth out her hands in order for them to become more “selfie worthy.” She recently shelled out more than $3,000 for hand rejuvenation at her dermatologic surgeon Dr. Ariel Ostad’s office in New York.

Christa told Ostad she was unhappy with her hands because she thought they were veiny and her knuckles were “very red.”

When Seeking Perfect Selfies Becomes a Dangerous Obsession

Like My Face! How Our Selfie Obsession Has Turned Looking Good Into Fight for Internet Fame

Taking the Perfect ‘Selfie’ on Your Phone: Nigel Barker Offers 8 Photography Tips

Survey Says Plastic Surgeries on Rise Thanks to ‘Selfies’

Within minutes of the procedure, Christa was happier about the appearance of her hands. “The veins are not as blue,” she said.

Ostad said he has had several patients show him photos they had taken of themselves and point out their flaws.

“I’ve noticed over the last six months [that] patients actually bring a selfie in the examining room,” he said.  “They show me what bothers them and what they would like to fix.”

The quest for the perfect selfie photo has gotten so extreme that filters and photo edits just aren’t cutting it for some people, who are instead going under the knife to physically alter their appearance in hopes of a better selfie.

After seeing how she looked in photos from her wedding day, Jen Muir, 33, said she realized she hated the way her nose looked and has shied away from taking selfies ever since.

“I can see everybody posting pictures of themselves, and I’m thinking, ‘Why can’t I do it? What’s the problem?’” the Long Island, New York, woman who’s originally from Costa Rica said. “I saw a guy taking a selfie one of these days, and I thought, ‘I wish, I wish I could do it.’”

So Muir decided to have a nose job and spent $15,000, all for a better selfie.

“I want to change my profile. I feel like my nose hangs,” she said. “I also want to change my bump. I feel like it’s too big.”

Her plastic surgeon, Dr. Samuel Rizk of New York City, also credited social media for an uptick in business, the biggest trend he has seen in his 16 year career. “I personally would see two to three patients a day that have come in from selfies and social media,” he said.

Muir was so happy with her new nose that she started crying.

“I love it,” she said. “I just see my eyes and my lips and my teeth. I can see my teeth more, and that’s what I wanted.”

]]> 0
British Airways Loses Woman’s Luggage in ‘Travel Nightmare’ Mon, 11 Aug 2014 21:39:22 +0000 ABC News


Nora Low was among thousands of British Airway passengers flying out of London’s Heathrow Airport who discovered when she landed that her luggage was missing thanks to a computer glitch.

“Horrible, for four days, British Airways didn’t ship any luggage,” Low told ABC News’ “20/20.” “So they told me about 40,000 bags had been misplaced.”

Low was flying from a two-week business tip in Amsterdam to her brother’s birthday celebration in Lake Tahoe, California, in June.

“It completely ruined my vacation,” she said. “I had about $4,000 worth of clothing in it.”

“Not only did their customer service stop taking phone calls; their voicemail filled up, and they weren’t allowing you to leave a message.”

With no answers, Low took to Twitter to vent her frustration.

“I just started tweeting,” she said. “That’s when I started to realize that there were other people that were tweeting the same. And we formed a little army and just kept retweeting.”

It wasn’t until after ABC News spotted Low’s tweets and she tweeted at British Airways that ABC News was doing a story about how the airline lost her luggage that the airline finally contacted Low.

“I got a call from British Airways saying they were going to help me with my claim,” Low said.

In a statement to “20/20,” the carrier said, “We are very sorry that Ms. Low’s luggage was misplaced during a time of disruption at Heathrow. The airport teams have been working very hard to locate the luggage, but on the rare occasion we are unable to find a bag … we will make sure a customer is compensated.”

Low recently told ABC News that she received a $1,750 check for her lost items from British Airways and an additional $500 “good will” payment, but the $2,250 is still short of the $4,000 worth of missing items she says were in her bag.

“Travel nightmare; lesson learned the hard way,” Low said. “I’m never going to check a bag ever again.”

]]> 0
How to Spice Up Your School Space With Chic Locker Decor Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:54:39 +0000 ABC News

It’s almost time to head back to school, and your kids definitely want to hit the hallways in style with the hottest back-to-school trend popping up on everyone’s Pinterest boards — locker décor.

They’re not just a place to stash your books anymore, but rather, an opportunity to make a fashion statement that really personalizes your school space.

From going glam with a decorative chandelier inside your locker to going bright and bold with a disco ball, Seventeen magazine’s senior fashion editor Jasmine Snow explains how to achieve each exciting look while staying organized.

“The most important thing to do when figuring out your locker is to maximize your space, figuring out how you’re going to be organized to get in and out in between classes, get what you need and  move on,” Snow said on “Good Morning America” today.


“This is amazing,” she explained. “I love that it has the chandelier here. Super easy, you just stick it on, it’s magnetic, it has batteries and has a little light.”

Another easy and sassy look is to add temporary wallpaper inside the normally drab space.

“This wallpaper is my favorite,” Snow said. “It’s the easiest way to customize you locker. It’s just a big sticker. You just stick it on and it instantly brightens things up.”


“This is the girl with a lot of personality,” she said. “She’s the one that has some friends around her locker, clearly she’s having a little party every day with this awesome disco ball. Just stick it up at the top, it has batteries and a little party.”

And what better way to keep organized than with magnetic stickers that provide additional storage?

“They’re multipurpose because you can put little pictures in them, little notes, you can hang your keys, a necklace, whatever need, and then if you need to grab a pencil, a pen, no one wants to be that person that’s constantly borrowing things,” Snow added. “It’s great. You have everything at your fingertips to go in, quickly grab it and get on to your next class.”

Lockers can be “an extension of your personal space,” she said. “There’s so many boring desks and books, but this is a breath of fresh air and you can go in and personalize it.”

]]> 0
Meet the Husband Behind Hilarious Staged Maternity Photos Gone Viral Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:27:11 +0000 ABC News

There’s nothing like capturing the beauty of pregnancy – most of the time.

Meet Justin Sylvester, proud papa-to-be from Austin, Texas, who decided to take these maternity-inspired photos after his wife Meghan decided she didn’t want to.

“My Facebook has become nothing but maternity photos,” Justin Sylvester told ABC News.

“It wasn’t like I objected to maternity photos, I just didn’t want to do it,” his wife said.

“I started thinking about it and I said, ‘You know what, whatever, I’m going to hire a photographer and I’m going to do it myself,’” he said.

The hilarious photos are going wildly viral with more than 3.5 million clicks and counting, but they started as a much more covert maternity mission.

“I told her I was going to go run some errands,” he said.

“He never runs errands so I was a little skeptical,” she added.

The one person clued in to his elaborate plans was the photographer, Kerri Lohmeier.

“His whole look was confidence and joy and happiness, as if he was showing off his belly,” said Lohmeier.

At the end of the photo shoot, Justin Sylvester said, he had a brief glimpse of what it feels like to be pregnant.

“My stomach hurt from sticking my gut out for 30 minutes straight and my lower back hurt from the weight shift,” he said.

But he’s not getting any sympathy from his wife.

“Poor, poor boo,” she quipped.

When he finally revealed the end result of the photos to his wife, “she was in tears laughing so hard,” he said.

“But also, I was a little creeped out. Let’s put that on the record,” she replied. “Everyone’s reaction, including my mom and dad, is, ‘Wouldn’t expect anything else from Justin.”’

However, the happy couple’s 5-year-old daughter had a different reaction.

“She thinks I’m pregnant,” he said. “It’s hilarious.”

]]> 0
Man Surprises Girlfriend Suffering From MS With Sudden Wedding Fri, 01 Aug 2014 13:19:16 +0000 ABC News  

With his girlfriend slowly losing her ability to go about everyday life, one  North Carolina man knew he had to pop the big question—and have the wedding—all in one day.

George Tsiolkas and Beth Wilson, both from Raleigh, met 35 years ago while working together as lifeguards at a pool during the summer of 1979.

But as the summer ended, so did their romance as they both headed off to college.

“Every time I would go through her mom’s neighborhood to go to my brother’s house, I always wondered what she was doing,” Tsiolkas told WGHP.

Man Plans Entire Surprise Wedding for Unsuspecting Fiancee

Man Surprises Wife With 50th Anniversary Corn Maze of Their Wedding Photo

Eight years ago they found each other again, and unable to deny the love they once had, got back together.

“After about a year of being together, I noticed that her walk started slowing down,” said Tsiolkas.

Wilson had been diagnosed in 1995 with progressive multiple sclerosis. And with the symptoms progressing, Tsiolkas didn’t want to waste any time letting her know exactly how he felt about her.

He arranged a romantic outing, blindfolding Wilson and taking her to what she believed was going to be a jazz concert. But when the blindfold came off, she saw a familiar sight—the pool where they first met, with Tsiolkas down on one knee.

The lovestruck groom-to-be proposed, Wilson said, “Yes” and they held the wedding ceremony right then and there with friends and family by their side. And of course—jazz music all night long.

“While she’s able to basically function a little bit, and enjoy it a little bit, why not just throw it all together and that way she won’t have to worry about it,” Tsiolkas explained. “If I can do whatever I can to do to make her smile and enjoy it and have a good time, that’s what I’m going to do.”

]]> 0