When Paul Walker was tragically killed in a car crash last fall, filming for Fast & Furious 7 hadn’t been completed. But the late actor’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, were asked to step up and fill Walker’s shoes.

“The ‘Fast & Furious’ saga is about family,” noted the official announcement. “We have resumed shooting and now welcome Paul’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, into our Fast Family. (They) are helping us complete some remaining action for their brother and fill in small gaps left in production.”

The team said that having the two men on set “made us all feel that Paul is with us, too.” Walker likely died instantly in the fiery crash on November 30, 2013, at 40 years of age. To be released in April 2015, the new movie will be the final installment of the Fast series.

“It will allow the character of Brian O’Conner to live on and let us celebrate Paul in his most defining role …. [W]e wanted to take a moment and speak to our fans directly and thank you for the love and support you always show us as we resume work,” read the announcement.

The silver lining

The (thus far) six-film franchise looked like it would suffer greatly when Walker died because he’s been a leading character since the very first film. Production stopped after Walker’s death to give everyone time to grieve, but there another important detail to take address.

How could production move forward without one of the two main characters? Chris Morgan, screenwriter for the series, started massive re-writes in December 2013. No one else could guess what Walker’s character would face.

There were also murmurs that Walker had tied up numerous scenes prior to his death. It was unclear how much of that footage could be used.

The official Facebook statement says: “We are just under a year away from the release of ‘Fast & Furious 7,’ and this film is the most important we’ve ever done together.”

The grand finale

While it hasn’t officially been stated that this will be the last feature in the franchise, many would regard it as poor taste to produce any more in the series. Many believe that the reception of the final installment will provide a sense of how to move forward.

Some have even suggested that Walker’s brothers might be able to continue in the business. Much like the finishing touch on a home or the final dab of paint on a masterpiece, a grand finale requires a clear decision about when enough is enough.



By their nature, trends come and go, but 2014 is already boasting a bevy of them that you can safely side step. Just keep one rule in mind when you wander into fashion territory: If you simply must join a trend, wear it with confidence and buy it from Forever 21 so you don’t spend more than $30 on it.

Consider yourself warned, because everyone makes a fashion flub now and then, but if you want to save yourself from embarrassing photos down the line, you’ll do well to avoid the most likely and biggest flops.

First, there’s the extreme platform wedge that has had several incarnations from sneakers (the worst) to simply un-walkable creations. Women love wedges because they see them as a heel/flat hybrid when actually they’re the worst of both worlds.

If you want to rock a wedge, consider a class espadrilla, but don’t expect the same sex appeal as a heel. Plus, if your wedges are too high to stride on, don’t you lose that comfort factor you were promised?

Abandon ship

According to some fashionistas, peplums need to die already. They had their moment in the spotlight, and they can certainly work wonders for creating curves, plumpness, hips, and butt for women in need.

But how many women actually want to add extra padding to their mid-section? If you’re a svelte runway model, then by all means rock the peplum. For everyone else, that extra fabric isn’t actually concealing muffin tops.

Then there are the donut buns, hot buns, sock buns, or whatever else you want to call them. These overly stylized approaches never look natural and are best reserved for flight attendants.

Pushed as the ultimate professional up-do for everyone from top-rated surgeons who need to keep their hair in check to line-order chefs, it’s really just a bagel head effect on the back of your head. A little messy up-do is much more chic, especially when paired with red lips and minimal makeup otherwise.

What to ditch

“Punny” shirts also had their moment, and it was about the time Old School was in theaters. You might love a great joke, but you don’t need to share it with the world by having it stitched across your chest. The days of “juicy butts” are over, too, so nix the text all together.

Finally, the art of the nail is returning to simplicity, so you can skip the extra $10 to bling out your manicure. Choose a “squoval” shape for natural nails with a warm, neutral tone or a classic red instead. Your future self will thank you.

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Giving your brain a workout was easy when you were in school, which you may have been from the age of three through your late teen years and possibly into adulthood. You were constantly challenged, the reading requirements were tough, and there was always a test to prepare for. BrainWorkout

However, as an adult, you do probably don’t do similar things every day. Even if you have a challenging job, it’s nowhere near as demanding as school was for your brain.

But there’s a fix for that. You simply have to do workouts for your mind, just like your body. Whether you’re a gym rat or not, you know the importance of regular workouts for your body. Exercise helps your heart, muscles, joints, bones, and stress levels.

But your brain may be getting ignored, and reading a magazine while on the elliptical doesn’t count. If you want to work out your brain, you’re going to have to take an active approach.

Easy brain workout hacks

One of the easiest ways to get your mind going is to sign up for a class that challenges you intellectually, whether it’s at a community college, in an online course (if you’ll stick to it), or at a community center. This provides accountability and the kind of structure you used to experience in a learning environment.

As a full-fledged adult, you’re in total control of the classes you take. If that kind of approach doesn’t work for you, try swapping out a daily activity (such as a TV show you always watch but don’t particularly like) for a mind challenge, whether it’s a board game with the family like Boggle, Sudoku, or a crossword.

Games are often brain workouts in disguise, so make the most of them.

Make a schedule

It’s easy to want to veg out when you’re home from a hard day of work, but people who prioritize exercise are less inclined to skip their gym schedule. The same has to be true of your brain workout.

It takes 30 days to form a habit, so in just one month you should be on the fast track to keeping your brain healthy. And nobody said multi-tasking was against the rules.

Take something you already love, such as cooking, and boost the required brain power. Charge yourself with trying to memorize a recipe and not depending on always looking it up, or play “Chopped” yourself with limited ingredients.

Your brain is hungry for a workout, so indulge it daily.


Driving is one of the most dangerous activities that you can partake in on a regular basis. The U.S. Census department records an average of 10 million motor vehicle accidents annually, so that chances that you’ll be involved in an accident directly or as a bystander are fairly high. Every driver should have an emergency kit in their car by default, but there are many extra supplies that most of us don’t think of. Here are some other tools you should definitely include in your driving emergency kit.


The visibility of a stalled car is extremely important, especially if a car is stopped in high-speed areas like the freeway. Your risk increases if you aren’t able to move the vehicle to the shoulder of the highway, or if your emergency lights aren’t working. When something goes wrong with your car or another driver’s car, flares can help notify drivers in advance that a car is stalled. Park the car safely and put on the emergency blinkers, if possible. If it is safe to get out of the car, then place a lit flare in front of the car and behind the car. If the car is stuck in the middle of traffic, then do not exit the car. Use a phone to call for help instead.

Blanket and Warm Clothing

If you live in an area with cold weather, then your environment can become a risk to your health, especially if your car breaks down. A blanket and warm clothing can help you and your passengers stay warm while you’re waiting for help. These items should always be packed away with your emergency gear.


Automobile emergencies and accidents can lead to long wait times. This increases the risk of dehydration, especially if you and your passengers are waiting in an overheated car or outside in the sun. Pack extra water to sip on during unexpected delays.

One Way CPR Air Valve

During an automobile emergency, you or your passengers may need to perform immediate CPR on someone who is not breathing. However, performing CPR can expose you to dangerous pathogens. A one-way valve can prevent air and fluids form the victim from putting you at risk.

Be proactive about driving emergencies by packing your car with supplies. Your kit should be tailored to the particular needs of your environment. These supplies can come in handy when something unexpected happens, and your emergency kit can even save lives.



It’s simple: You just follow your doctor’s instructions, right? Actually, getting ready for surgery requires more than following a list of steps because you also need to prepare mentally, emotionally, and maybe even spiritually.

Surgery always entails risk, even if you have the best team of doctors armed with the most modern technology on your side. But with the right prep work on your part, you’ll be in your best possible state going into the OR, which could improve your recovery time.

Before going under the knife, make sure you’ve carefully researched your surgeon and medical facility. You should have a rapport with your doctor, no matter what type of procedure you’re facing.

If you don’t feel 100 percent comfortable talking to the surgeon about the process, why should you trust him or her with such an important procedure? Don’t allow price to be a factor in your decision, read as many reviews as possible, see before and after photos if possible, and always check the doctor’s legal history for any malpractice lawsuits.

Getting ready emotionally and mentally

Stress can accomplish incredible things, both good and bad. It’s best to go into any surgery as rested and mentally prepared as possible.

This usually means taking care of any work that you can beforehand, whether it’s at the office or ensuring that babysitting is covered. Planning a quicker recovery than recommended and “powering through” isn’t a wise idea.

If possible, and if your surgery is solidly scheduled, work ahead and take care of any tasks such as bills to be paid so you can focus squarely on recovery.

This is also a time to talk in depth with family, friends, loved ones, and possibly even a therapist about any concerns you may have. Even if the surgery has a high success rate, it’s normal to feel some trepidation.

Talking it out can do wonders and even spur your healing process. If you go into surgery with bottled up concerns, you’re setting yourself up for a longer and more challenging recovery.

Getting ready physically

Your doctor will explain the steps you need to take prior to surgery, but eating healthy and exercising can also constitute excellent preparation. Your body is a machine and it needs the right fuel in order to work at optimal levels.

It’s a huge mistake to slack off on your exercise regimen or healthy eating habits with the excuse that you’ll be “stuck in bed anyway” fairly soon.

Finally, if you’re a spiritual or religious person, now’s the time to turn to your faith for a little extra support. Consult with a spiritual guide if you like; spend some time in reflection, and ask people to send positive vibes your way.

A strong and positive spiritual state will set the tone for a better recovery.


Whether you’re for vaccines or against them (à la Jenny McCarthy), you’ll be able to find plenty of data to back you up your position.

That’s not good enough for Shannon Duffy, however. She’s one mom who’s on a mission to spread the word of pro-vaccination. Her daughter, Abby Peterson, was almost six years old in 2001 when she got chicken pox and subsequently died of pneumonia.


Doctors say she was simply too small and too young to be able to battle two such serious infections at once. Both diseases are preventable if the person has been vaccinated.

However, Duffy claims that her pediatrician warned against vaccinations. The mother and daughter lived in a small town in rural Minnesota, and Duffy didn’t think twice about taking the advice of Abby’s doctor.

She says, “I asked for them (vaccinations) and my doctor talked me out of it. He said vaccines were too new and recommended I expose my children to diseases instead because he felt they could build up their immunity naturally.” Now of course she wishes she had sought a second opinion.

A mother’s mission

It wasn’t revealed until post-autopsy that Abby was actually born with no spleen, which is a crucial part of the body’s immune system. She didn’t stand much of a chance without vaccinations, says Duffy.

Germs and viruses are tough enough to combat as it is, but without a spleen Abby was even more vulnerable. Over the past 12 years, Duffy has had one goal: To pass a law that requires childhood immunization throughout the state of Minnesota. She’s spoken to the legislature and tried to work with the anti-vaccination parents.

She’s perhaps the best person to bridge the gap between the two camps, having been on the opposite side herself. Understanding that the fear of autism and other alleged vaccination side effects make parents wary, she says, “Not vaccinating is not taking full medical care of your child.”

Duffy is certain that had her daughter been vaccinated, she’d be alive today.

Taking responsibility

Just like a proper parent wouldn’t deny his or her child a warm home in the winter, or bar a kid from getting a good education, Duffy sees vaccinations in the same positive light. Fortunately for her mission, the majority of health-care facilities in her state agree with Duffy.

Nationally, major organizations and agencies such as the US Centers for Disease Control have encouraged vaccinations for years. However, opinions remain strong on both sides of the controversy. Duffy still has a long road ahead of her.


Tax season (round one) just came to a close, but before you start complaining about how little you got back or how much you had to pay, consider the stressful lives of the rich and famous. pro athletes

For pro athletes, just like anyone else, how much you pay in taxes depends on how much you make. However, the average sum paid by the top players is $1 million apiece in taxes every year. Fields of Green, a project of USA Today, undertook the daunting task of figuring out just how much the likes of Tiger Woods pay each year.

Check out the totals

According to the Fields of Green report, members of the NBA, MLB, and NFL pay, altogether, about $3 billion in taxes each year, if their 2013 returns are to be believed.

For comparison, consider that the IRS took in $2.5 trillion in total income taxes for 2013. It’s estimated that total salaries for pro athletes are around $9 billion.

Of course, the majority of pro athletes fall into the highest tax bracket, which means they’re required to pony up 39.6 percent of their income. They get an additional 0.9 percent tacked on to help out with the Affordable Care Act, but their average deductions (such as all those travel expenses) only cut their total percentage to about 33 percent.

How accurate is this figure?

How accurate is any figure that has the IRS involved, no matter which side of the table you’re on? Of course there are some cream-of-the-crop athletes who really make the most of those endorsements, and they’re probably paying more than a million each.

There are those with the best CPAs who get every possible deduction and are probably paying a bit less. Plus, once you add state taxes to the mix, things get more complicated.

States such as Texas and Florida, which have no state income tax, are the places to be, and that’s a key recruiting point. That’s probably the reason Tiger Woods “moved” to Florida from California, since California is notorious for high state taxes.

Even Phil Mickelson has joked that taxes could make him leave California. You may not feel too bad for them, but no matter how much or little you make, you have to have some empathy for Americans who are required to shell out more than 40 percent of what they make to Uncle Sam.

Maybe celebrities and athletes aren’t so different from regular folks after all. Usually, teams only withhold 25 percent of checks for taxes, so if athletes aren’t on top of things, they might be scrambling come April, like the rest of us.

Taxes might also be a reason why so many athletes are cleaning up their online image, compliments of great but costly advertising, so they can score an endorsement to help them with those heavy dues.


If you’ve ever worked at home or brought your pet into work, then you’ll know how dangerous these little furry critters can be. They might seem innocent, but they’re just lurking out of sight, waiting to knock a cup of coffee all over important paperwork or knock your external hard drive off the desk. Your cat’s attempts to gain your attention can actually result in data loss and major headaches. Here are five ways to protect your work from pets.

Keep Liquids Away

Liquid damage is the quickest way to kill your computer, data storage device or even a regular piece of paper. Even if you’re not the clumsy type, the last thing you need is your cat to walk over to a cup, rub against it, and send the liquid crashing down on your important work equipment. If you’re working from home, start keeping your drinks on a lower surface than your work to reduce the risk of liquid damage. For example, place a cup of coffee on a low shelf or inside of a drawer, while your computer stays up on a desk surface. That way, if a pet knocks the cup over, it won’t touch your work.

Move Business-Critical Items

You know that extremely important check that you need to deposit? Well your cat’s stolen it off your desk, and is chewing the corner to shreds. You just watched your dog steal a work phone off your desk, and it might be his new chew toy. Both of these scenarios can result in major work-related headaches. If you bring home items that are extremely fragile or important, you should keep them out of reach from pets. Put them on high up shelves or lock them away in cabinets. Just find a way to keep these little monsters from reaching them!

Play with Your Pets

Sometimes you pet just needs to burn off some energy and they’ll calm down. If your cat, dog, or other furry critter won’t stop begging for attention, break for a few minutes and play with them. Do something active, like playing catch or chasing them. Your pet will get worn out, take a nap, and stop destroying your work.

Invest in Pet Distractions

You can’t always drop everything to pay attention to your pet though. Invest in distracting toys that your animal can play with on their own, like cat toys that hang from door frames or hard chew toys for your dog. These pet distractions will keep them from clawing and chewing your work materials!

Pet-owners have to approach their environments like they have a child. Look out for vulnerable environments and avoid placing business materials in areas that your pets can reach. Back up your business data early and often.  Good luck, and watch those coffee spills!



What are two things that go together? If you said Oreo cookies and chicken tenders, most people would call you insane. Roy Choi, however, would prove otherwise. Check out his wild hack for Oreos and chicken for a fantastic midnight snack. Get more hacks at oreo.tumblr.com.


After years of research and evaluation of proposed rules, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced this month that it would requiring rear-view cameras to be installed in cars, trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles manufactured on or after May 1, 2018.


The federal agency said the requirement for “rear visibility technology” would apply to all vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds. According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the new requirement primarily aims to address back-over accidents. The NHTSA believes the mandate “will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents.”

The rules will require that the affected vehicles feature a camera system that displays a 10-foot by 20-foot zone of visibility behind the auto when it is shifted into reverse. Because this arrangement will enable drivers to see a considerable array of space behind the vehicle without straining to turn around, the theory is that the requirement will reduce the number of accidents in which people, animals, and vehicles are struck by a car or small truck when it backs up.

Statistics for reverse-driving accidents

According to government statistics, this rule could have a significant effect in reducing the 15,000 injuries and 210 deaths that occur annually as a result of this kind of accident. The injuries and deaths are of particular concern because of the fact that most of the victims fall into two distinct categories: the elderly and the very young.

The NHTSA reports that people aged 70 years or older are victims in 26 percent of the total fatal back-over incidents, and children aged less than 5 years are killed in 31 percent of these incidents. According to the calculations of the NHTSA, the new rule is expected to save up to 69 lives annually.

To ensure reliability, effectiveness, and consistency, the NHTSA has regulations regarding the size of display, deactivation, response time, unit durability, and other issues.

Other effects of the rear-view camera mandate

The new rules will not just help to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries through the use of new — though for some drivers, already familiar — technology. In addition to the safety of consumers, the mandate will also affect auto manufacturers as well as the makers of rear-view camera components.

A surge in the demand will be beneficial for component manufacturers, obviously, while the required inclusion will slightly increase costs for vehicle manufacturers. However, in an attempt to offset the increase in expense, some vehicle manufacturers may decide it’s worth it simply to make the cameras and their components in-house.

This would not be beneficial for the companies who solely manufacture the rear-view cameras, but it’s too early to tell what will happen at this point.

In addition, the new cameras will likely affect insurance rates as well as the field of personal injury law. Issues ranging from the degree of negligence of a driver to the appropriate level of compensation for auto accident injuries, pain, and suffering will likely be addressed differently. Video footage from rear-view cameras will likely appear as evidence in an increasing number of trials.


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