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The five towns most searched by home buyers.

By Rich_Maloof Jan 3, 2013 5:44PM

What makes a neighborhood great? Some say it’s the people — then they get there and build fences. Some dream of remote rural locales but want easy access to good schools and amenities. Some love the pulse and pace of an urban setting but can’t afford a decent place in the city.

Photo: Charles Cook/Getty Images // Wells Street in Old Town sign in Chicago, Ill.Identifying the ideal location for you and yours is undeniably subjective, and is based not only on personal tastes but on the more rigid realities of what’s affordable, near to work, and appropriate for a family. Retirees may be looking for the most accommodating weather (San Luis Obispo, CA), while younger couples might be looking for places with the highest job growth (Houston, TX). “Best” might be judged by what’s most expensive (Bel Air, CA) even though far more people seek the most affordable city (Dayton, OH).

 

Prices to come on groceries, smartphones, college, and more.

By Rich_Maloof Jan 2, 2013 5:42PM

The chronically chaotic congress managed to avoid a "fiscal cliff" last night, though consumers are waking up to the realities of a compromised deal that may still pinch their pockets. As you calculate the family budget for 2013, analysts have begun providing insight on how everyday items and services are expected to rise or fall in price this year.

While it's tough to offset escalating costs for pricey monthly expenses like healthcare premiums (estimated to rise an average 6%), some costs are trending downward. The economy giveth, the economy taketh away. But mostly it taketh away.Photo: Tomas Bercic/Getty Images

 

Located on the outskirts of Cambria, Calif., Nit Wit Ridge is made entirely of trash and took 50 years to complete.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Dec 31, 2012 8:34PM

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Especially when it comes to Nitt Wit Ridge, a one-of-a-kind "castle" that was constructed using pieces of recycled trash including beer cans, toilets, abalone shells, car parts, and even some broken tiles thrown away by the Hearst building crew.

Photo: Danita Delimont/Alamy

 

This public holiday that has become synonymous with shopping and sporting events, but its origins are a mystery even to many British expatriates.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Dec 26, 2012 6:48PM

Boxing Day typically falls the day after Christmas, on December 26. Celebrated across Britain and much of the Commonwealth, including Canada and New Zealand - Boxing Day is a public holiday that is commonly associated with shopping and sporting events. Beyond that, its origins – even for Brits – are a bit fuzzy.

Photo: Vstock/Getty ImagesThe story goes that Queen Victoria declared Boxing Day an official holiday in the mid-19th century. It functioned as the servants' day off, and it was custom among landholders to give presents and food - enclosed in boxes. But when it first was observed is unknown, reports Philly.com.

 

Firearm ownership and homicides relative to the rest of the world.

Infographic: MSNInfographic: MSN

 

Panicked citizens of planet Earth, a Maya expert comes clean on the Apocalypse. It’s nothing more than a modern day excuse for a human freak-out.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Dec 21, 2012 7:25PM

Some people prepped for the End of the World with lavish parties, while others opted to max out their credit cards, call NASA or join an apocalyptic cult. While some Doomsday preppers went to extreme lengths to plan for this so-called end of the world prediction, Maya expert David Stewart projects that the Mayan calendar has at least 2,400 years to go.

Photo; PBNJ Productions/Getty Images

 

Highs and lows of this week's news.

By Rich_Maloof Dec 21, 2012 7:18PM

Every week, the Daily Dose reviews the news to select three very best and three very worst stories to come across our desk.

 — The Very Best —

• Responsible conversations about guns are being had, sometimes even with advocates from opposing sides of the issue listening to one another. Though the NRA today maintained a defiant hard line in the wake of the Newtown shooting, the organization also released a genuinely sympathetic statement, gun shows in the region of Newtown were canceled, and even video gamers pledged to observe a national "Day of Online Shooter Cease Fire." 

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images• Five members of an NBC news team returned home safely after being kidnapped in Syria. Chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel and his production team described their ordeal to the Today show’s Savannah Guthrie and how they were rescued by an unidentified team of Syrian rebels.

 

Try as you might to avoid them, these irksome terms likely crept into your vocabulary.

By Britt Olson MSN Living Editor Dec 21, 2012 3:54PM

No matter the conscious resistance that we mount, buzzwords have a way of worming into our vocabulary like lexical pathogens. Each year certain phrases become the communicable disease of our discourse.

Photo: Richard Drew/APYou may roll your eyes when your “hipster” colleague refers to something as “artisanal,” but hours later you’ll be gushing over vegan chicken broth bouillon cubes that can only be described as “glocal” for reasons obscure to you and to the person whom you’ve made your unfortunate confidant.

 
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