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Savannah Chrisley Breaks Silence on Shocking Death of Ex-Fiancé Nic Kerdiles


Savannah Chrisley has issued a statement she never imaged she would have to make.

On Saturday afternoon, the USA Network personality took to Instagram in order to mourn her former fiance, Nic Kerdiles, who passed away hours earlier in a motorcycle crash.

He was 29 years old.

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Savannah Chrisley and Nic Kerdiles ended their engagement in 2020. May he rest in peace. (Instagram)

“Heaven gained the most beautiful angel today. I miss you and I love you,” the Chrisley Knows Best alum wrote.

“I’ll forever save our last messages of ‘I love you’… Please send me a sign that you’re ok… maybe it’ll be thru a ham and cheese crepe.. or pasta with white sauce… or maybe even your favorite carrot cake.”

Savannah also shared a video (below) of the pair kissing, scrawling over the top:

“I’m still hoping you’ll respond to my text…”

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Savannah Chrisley used this upload to bid goodbye to Nic Kerdiles. (Instagram)

The former professional hockey player, who split from Chrisley in 2020, was killed in a motorcycle accident around 3:30 a.m. on September 23.

Police told local TV station WKRN that he was driving his Indian Motorcycle west on a street in a residential area when he went through a stop sign and struck the driver’s side of a BMW SUV… which immediately stopped after the collision.

From there, Nic Kerdiles transported to a hospital and later pronounced dead from his injuries.

Chrisley started dating athlete in November 2017.

“He’s great, he’s so sweet and so supportive of what I do, and just wants what’s best for me, whether it’s traveling for work, the next opportunity,” she told Us Weekly in May 2018.

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Nic Kerdiles and Savannah Chrisley attend the grand opening of E3 Chophouse Nashville on November 20, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Getty)

Investigators have said o signs of impairment on behalf of either driver involved in this fatal accident and no charges are anticipated against the BMW driver.

Following news of his death, Nic received a tribute from his former NHL team, the Anaheim Ducks.

“We’re heartbroken to hear the news about Nic Kerdiles, who died in a motorcycle accident this morning,” the club tweeted.

“An Irvine native, Nic became the first player from Orange County to play for the Ducks, in 2017. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to his family and loved ones.”

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Faye Chrisley, Chloe Chrisley, Savannah Chrisley, Julie Chrisley, Chase Chrisley (L-R Back row) Grayson Chrisley, Todd Chrisley and Nic Kerdiles pose during a personal appearance by Savannah Chrisley at Belk at Cool Springs Galleria Mall on November 5, 2019 in Franklin, Tennessee. (Getty)

Kerdiles made appearances on Chrisley Knows Best during his two-year long engagement to Savannah.

In early 2022, he held a gun to his head and said he may have pulled the trigger… if not for Savannah and her dad, Todd, arriving on the scene and talking him out of it.

“I don’t know where I was at in my mental state,” he said during an Instagram Live session with Savannah and Todd afterward.

“But between the depression, anxiety, the COVID effects, the medication, the alcohol, I did something that I never thought I would ever do.”

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Nic Kerdiles explains his thoughts of suicide in this video from February 2022. (YouTube)

Three days before his death, Nick shared a photo of himself on a night out with a group of friends in the city.

And then weeks before his passing, he shared snapshots from a visit to his family.

“Getting to go home this past weekend and seeing my family was something that I need more than I knew,” Kerdiles wrote on Instagram at the time.

“Time in this life goes by quicker and quicker each day.”

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Nic Kerdiles, Ex-Fiance of Savannah Chrisley, Dies in Motorcycle Crash


Nic Kerdiles, a former professional hockey player known in entertainment circles for having been engaged to reality star Savannah Chrisley, died Saturday morning in Nashville.

He was 29 years old.

According to local authorities, Kerdiles passed away from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident that took place around 3:30 a.m.

TMZ was the first outlet to confirm this horrible news.

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Nic Kerdiles and Savannah Chrisley attend the grand opening of E3 Chophouse Nashville on November 20, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Getty)

Reports indicate Kerdiles ran a stop sign and crashed into the driver’s side of a BMW.

He was then taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The night before this fatal crash, Kerdiles took to his Instagram Story and posted a photo of himself on his motorcycle.

He added the caption, “Night rider.”

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Faye Chrisley, Chloe Chrisley, Savannah Chrisley, Julie Chrisley, Chase Chrisley Grayson Chrisley, Todd Chrisley and Nic Kerdiles pose during a personal appearance by Savannah Chrisley at Belk at Cool Springs Galleria Mall on November 5, 2019 in Franklin, Tennessee. (Getty)

Kerdiles gained small prominence after he was featured on Chrisley Knows Best while dating Savannah.

The couple called off its engagement for good in September 2020, just months after they decided to end their engagement and “go back to dating.”

“Nic and I have decided to call it quits. There’s no hatred between the two of us…and in all honesty…that makes saying goodbye even harder,” Savannah told followers at the time.

“We have nothing but love, respect, and admiration for one another but it’s time for us to move forward individually.

“These past 3 years have been some of the best years of my life…but I have to trust that God has a far greater purpose for my life…I believe that He will take this hardship and make something beautiful out of it.

“Now please be kind with this news that I am sharing.”

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Nic Kerdiles is posting here alongside his former fiancee. (Instagram)

In early 2022, meanwhile, Kerdiles held a gun to his head and came close to committing suicide.

In an emotional Instagram video, with Savannah and Todd Chrisley by his side, Nic said a few days later:

“With COVID and some of the things that I’ve had from COVID, I’ve been on medication and I decided to mix alcohol with it to a point that…

“I don’t remember anything that happened that night and I was in a full blackout…

“I don’t know where I was at in my mental state but between the depression, anxiety, the COVID effects. the medication, the alcohol, I did something that I never thought I would ever do.”

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Nic Kerdiles explains his thoughts of suicide in this video from February 2022. (YouTube)

Kerdiles emphasized his hopes back then that if the video “can help at least one person out there that’s going through it,” to which Todd responded:

“I think you’re going to do better than that. I think you’re going to help a lot more than one.”

We send our condolences to the friends, family members and loved ones of Nic Kerdiles.

May he rest in peace.

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Progress in Hollywood Writers’ Strike Negotiations, but No Deal Yet


A third straight day of marathon negotiations between Hollywood studios and striking screenwriters ended on Friday night without a deal. But the sides made substantial progress, according to three people briefed on the talks.

The sides reconvened on Saturday.

The Friday session started at 11 a.m. Pacific time at the suburban Los Angeles headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of the major entertainment companies. For the third day in a row, several Hollywood moguls directly participated in the negotiations, which ended a little after 8 p.m.

Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive; Donna Langley, NBCUniversal’s chief content officer of Universal Pictures; Ted Sarandos, co-chief executive of Netflix; and David Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery had previously delegated bargaining with the union to others. Their direct involvement — which many screenwriters and some analysts said was long overdue — contributed to meaningful progress over the past few days, according to the people familiar with the talks, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic nature of the efforts.

During the Thursday negotiations, the sides had narrowed their differences, for instance, on the topic of minimum staffing for television show writers’ rooms, a point that studios had been unwilling to engage on before the guild called a strike in early May.

The Thursday session took a turn, however, after the sides agreed to take a short break at roughly 5 p.m., according to the people familiar with the talks. The executives and studio labor lawyers had expected guild negotiators to return to discuss points they had been working on earlier. Instead, the guild made additional requests — one being that a return to work by screenwriters be tied to a resolution of the actors’ strike.

The actors’ union, known as SAG-AFTRA, joined writers on picket lines on July 14. Its demands exceed those of the Writers Guild. Among other things, the actors want 2 percent of the total revenue generated by streaming shows, something that studios have said is a nonstarter.

Several hours after talks ended on Thursday night, the guild emailed its membership to say that the sides would meet on Friday.

“Your negotiating committee appreciates all the messages of solidarity and support we have received the last few days, and ask as many of you as possible to come out to the picket lines tomorrow,” the email said.

The guild extended picketing hours on Friday to 2 p.m. Pickets have typically ended at noon.

In Los Angeles, several hundred writers turned up to picket outside the arching Paramount Pictures gate, far more than in recent weeks. The Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA have been staging themed pickets to keep members engaged, and the theme on Friday happened to be “puppet day,” meaning that, in addition to picket signs, some marchers held felt hand puppets and marionettes. The mood was optimistic.

Outside Netflix’s Hollywood offices on Friday afternoon, picketing writers even began offering goodbye speeches, delivered via bullhorn. At the CBS lot in Studio City, the theme was “silent disco,” with several hundred writers dance-picketing while wearing headphones.

The talks were mostly back on track by the time picketing ended on Friday, according to two of the people familiar with the matter. On the sticky issue of minimum staffing for television shows, the sides were discussing a proposal in which at least four writers would be hired regardless of the number of episodes or whether a showrunner felt that the work could be done with fewer. (Earlier in the week, studios were pushing for a sliding number based on the number of episodes.)

They were also discussing a plan in which writers would for the first time receive payments from streaming services — in addition to other fees — based on a percentage of active subscribers. The guild had originally asked the entertainment companies to establish a viewership-based royalty payment (known in Hollywood as a residual) to “reward programs with greater viewership.”

The writers have been on strike for 144 days. The longest writers’ strike was 153 days in 1988.

“Thank you for the wonderful show of support on the picket lines today!” the guild’s negotiating committee said in an email to members late Friday. “It means so much to us as we continue to work toward a deal that writers deserve.”

Nicole Sperling contributed reporting.

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Union Deal With Ford Could Put Pressure on Other 2 Detroit Automakers


The Detroit automakers and the United Automobile Workers continued to negotiate on Saturday, company representatives said, a day after the union expanded strikes in a way that could curtail the supply of spare parts for vehicles made by General Motors and Stellantis, which owns Jeep and Ram.

U.A.W. members walked off the job at G.M. and Stellantis parts distribution centers on Friday but spared Ford, saying the company had done more to meet its demands.

“Our pressure on Ford is starting to pay off,” the U.A.W. told members Saturday.

While there was no indication a deal with Ford was imminent, an agreement with the company could put pressure on the other two to offer similar terms and lead to a speedy end to the strike, analysts said.

“The moment you get a deal with Ford that includes much or all of what the U.A.W. is looking for, that puts a lot of pressure on G.M. and Stellantis,” said Michael Duff, a professor at the Saint Louis University School of Law and a former attorney for the National Labor Relations Board. “They are putting them in a position of having to argue why they’re different, why they can’t give anything more.”

A short strike would be good news for the economy. About 200,000 people work in auto manufacturing, according to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry group. That figure does not include jobs that are indirectly dependent on car making, which is several times higher.

Lost wages would hurt consumer spending, while inflation could rise if some vehicles become hard to get, or repair shops and dealerships run short of spare parts. If so, the Federal Reserve would have to continue its efforts to slow the economy by keeping official interest rates high. More than 18,000 U.A.W. members are now on strike.

The auto companies also face pressure from public opinion. The autoworkers’ argument that their wages have not kept up with inflation, while carmakers have reported healthy profits, resonates with the public, said Ivana Delevska, founder of Spear Invest, an investment firm.

“Inflation is up across the board. They need to pay their cost of living,” Ms. Delevska said of workers.

Polls show that the workers have public opinion on their side, but that could shift if a long strike makes it hard for people to get their cars fixed or is perceived as damaging the economy, Mr. Duff said. “As the strike drags on, you can have disillusionment with workers,” he said.

Stellantis workers walked out at 20 of the company’s parts distribution centers Friday, while G.M. workers went on strike at 18 centers.

A deal that Ford reached this past week with the union that represents its Canadian workers could offer clues to the outcome in the United States. The deal with Unifor provides for pay increases worth up to 25 percent over the three years of the contract, as well as bonuses, improved retirement benefits and measures to protect employees as Ford retools factories for electric vehicles.

Unifor, which probably has less leverage than the U.A.W. because Ford has a much smaller presence in Canada, achieved those gains without having to walk out. The union is negotiating separately with G.M. and Stellantis in Canada.

Investors are expecting the carmakers and the unions in America to agree on a wage increase of less than 30 percent, Ms. Delevska said, who added that both sides have an incentive to settle quickly. “It’s in nobody’s best interest that this extends much longer,” she said.

The U.A.W.’s demands include a 40 percent wage increase over four years, improved retiree benefits and shorter work hours. The union also wants an end to a tiered wage system that starts new hires at much lower wages than the top U.A.W. pay of $32 an hour.

Ford agreed to some of the U.A.W.’s demands, according to the union, for example promising to adjust workers’ pay in step with inflation and increase their profit-sharing bonuses.

Ford also agreed to give workers the right to strike over plant closings, an important concession. The union is worried that carmakers will shutter some factories as the industry shifts to electric vehicles, which require fewer parts and labor.

“These are historic gains,” the U.A.W. said Saturday in a message to members, “but we have further to go.”

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Tyson and Perdue Are Facing Child Labor Investigations


Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms, which together produce a third of the poultry sold in the United States, are under federal investigation into whether they relied on migrant children to clean slaughterhouses, some of the most dangerous work in the country.

The Labor Department opened the inquiries after an article in The New York Times Magazine, published this past week, found migrant children working overnight shifts for contractors in the companies’ plants on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Children as young as 13 were using acid and pressure hoses to scour blood, grease and feathers from industrial machines.

Meat processing is among the nation’s most hazardous industries, and federal law bans minors from working in slaughterhouses because of the high risk of injury. The Times article focused on one child, Marcos Cux, whose arm was mangled in a conveyor belt last year as he sanitized a deboning area in the Perdue plant. He was in the eighth grade.

The investigations are a rare instance of two major consumer brands facing federal scrutiny over child labor. Many meat-processing companies outsource cleaning to sanitation firms, which technically employ the workers. After another Labor Department investigation recently found more than 100 children cleaning plants around the country, one firm, Packers Sanitation Services Inc., paid a $1.5 million fine. But the national corporations that benefited from the children’s work, including Tyson, did not come under investigation.

Seema Nanda, the Labor Department’s chief legal officer, said in an interview that the Biden administration is now examining whether large corporations can be considered employers even when children enter their factories through contractors.

“We are long past the day when brands can say that they don’t know that they have child labor in their supply chain,” Ms. Nanda said. “The intention is to make sure that those higher up in the supply chain are holding their subcontractors and staffing agencies accountable.”

Representatives for Perdue and Tyson said the companies were not trying to avoid accountability and would cooperate with any investigations. The companies, which have policies prohibiting underage labor, said they had not known children were working in their Virginia plants.

Tyson said it was now directly employing cleaners at 40 percent of its slaughterhouses and aimed to bring more of this work in house. Perdue said it had hired an outside auditor to suggest new policies. “We recognize the systemic nature of this issue and embrace any role we can play in a solution,” a Perdue spokeswoman, Andrea Staub, said in a statement.

The Labor Department has also opened investigations into the companies that have been running the cleaning shifts for Perdue and Tyson in Virginia: Fayette Industrial, which works with Perdue, and QSI, which works with Tyson and is part of a conglomerate, the Vincit Group.

Fayette hired Marcos at age 13 after he arrived in Virginia from his village in Guatemala. In February last year, he was cleaning deep inside a conveyor belt at the Perdue plant when it suddenly came to life and pulled him across the floor, tearing open his arm. He underwent three surgeries, but his arm remained limp at his side, his hand frozen in a claw.

He is one of thousands of Mexican and Central American children who have come to the United States alone since 2021 and ended up in dangerous, grueling jobs, The Times has reported in a series of articles this year.

On Wednesday, the Labor Department took the additional step of sending out an alert to hundreds of investigators nationwide about a child labor “enforcement action” against QSI. The alert outlined a clearinghouse system for tips about the company that will be run through the department’s Tennessee office, where the sanitation company is based.

Fayette and QSI said they had policies against child labor and were not aware of the federal investigations. Tyson said it planned to end its relationship with QSI at several plants, while Perdue has told Fayette that it may end its contract.

While the Labor Department has fewer than 750 investigators for more than 11 million workplaces, another federal agency — the Agriculture Department — sends inspectors into the nation’s slaughterhouses every day. The Times reported this past week that food safety inspectors regularly encountered minors working in the Virginia plants but did not believe it was their role to report child labor violations. The inspectors said they knew the children had to work to pay rent and send money back to desperate families.

A spokesman for the Agriculture Department said the agency was retraining the nation’s nearly 8,000 food inspectors to quickly report child workers to the Labor Department.

“The use of illegal child labor — particularly requiring that children undertake dangerous tasks — is inexcusable,” said the spokesman, Allan Rodriguez.

Lawmakers called on companies and the Biden administration to do more to get children out of slaughterhouses. Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, sent a letter to the chief executive of Tyson Foods, Donnie King, asking the company to commit to an independent child labor audit.

Several Democrats, including Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Representative Hillary Scholten of Michigan, said they would push for legislation and increased funding to hold companies accountable.

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Ukraine targets a key Crimean city a day after striking Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters


In this handout photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhaev telegram channel on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, Razvozhaev speaks on the mobile phone as smoke and flame rise from a burning Sevastopol Shipyard in Crimea.


Ukraine on Saturday morning launched another missile attack on Sevastopol on the occupied Crimean Peninsula, a Russian-installed official said, a day after an attack on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet left a serviceman missing and the main building smoldering.

Sevastopol was put under an air raid alert for about an hour after debris from intercepted missiles fell near a pier, Gov. Mikhail Razvozhayev wrote on the messaging app Telegram. Ferry traffic in the area was also halted and later resumed.

Loud blasts were also heard near Vilne in northern Crimea, followed by rising clouds of smoke, according to a pro-Ukraine Telegram news channel that reports on developments on the peninsula. Crimea, illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, has been a frequent target for Ukrainian forces since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of the neighboring country in February 2022.

Read more about Russia’s war on Ukraine:

Ukraine’s intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, told Voice of America on Saturday that at least nine people were killed and 16 others wounded as a result of Kyiv’s attack on the Black Sea Fleet on Friday. He claimed that Alexander Romanchuk, a Russian general commanding forces along the key southeastern front line, was “in a very serious condition” following the attack.

Budanov’s claim couldn’t be independently verified, and he didn’t comment on whether Western-made missiles were used in Friday’s strike.

The Russian Defense Ministry initially said that Friday’s strike killed one service member at the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, but later issued a statement that he was missing.

Ukraine’s military also offered more details about Friday’s attack on Sevastopol. It said the air force conducted 12 strikes on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, targeting areas where personnel, military equipment and weapons were concentrated. It said that two anti-aircraft missile systems and four Russian artillery units were hit.

Crimea has served as the key hub supporting Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Sevastopol, the main base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet since the 19th century, has had particular importance for navy operations since the start of the war.

Ukraine has increasingly targeted naval facilities in Crimea in recent weeks while the brunt of its summer counteroffensive makes slow gains in the east and south of Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War said. Military experts say it is essential for Ukraine to keep up its attacks on targets in Crimea to degrade Russian morale and weaken its military.

Elsewhere, Ukraine’s military said Saturday that Russia launched 15 Iranian-made Shahed drones at the front-line Zaporizhzhia region in the southeast, as well as Dnipropetrovsk province farther north. It claimed to have destroyed 14 of the drones.

Separately, Zaporizhzhia regional Gov. Yuri Malashko said that Russia over the previous day carried out 86 strikes on 27 settlements in the province, many of them lying only a few kilometers (miles) from the fighting. Malashko said that an 82-year-old civilian was killed by artillery fire.

In the neighboring Kherson region, Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin said at least one person died and three other people were wounded over the past day because of Russian shelling. Russia fired 25 shells targeting the city of Kherson, which lies along the Dneiper River that marks the contact line between the warring sides, Prokudin said.

Residential quarters were hit, including medical and education institutions, government-built stations that serve food and drinks, as well as critical infrastructure facilities and a penitentiary, he said.

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I took Finland’s free masterclass on happiness: Here are 3 things I learned


Finland is the happiest country in the world for the sixth year in a row, according to the World Happiness Report.

The well-being of Finnish people has sparked great interest in the country and its practices. And Finland is offering guidance on how to be happier, free of charge.

Back in March, the country’s tourism department, Visit Finland, announced an offer for 10 people to visit the country and embark on their take of a masterclass on happiness.

Visit Finland reports that they received over 150,000 applications from all around the world for the unique opportunity. In an attempt to reach as many people as possible, they decided to also offer the masterclass for free in a virtual format.

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“This masterclass will take you a step closer with insights from five coaches under four core themes: Nature & Lifestyle, Health & Balance, Design & Everyday and Food & Wellbeing,” the course, which became available online on September 14, states.

In hopes of “finding my inner Finn,” I watched all five lessons of the course, and these are my biggest takeaways.

Here’s what I learned from Finland’s happiness masterclass

1. Connecting with nature is important for your mental health, no matter where you live

As someone who lives in a city, I thought reaping nature’s benefits would be virtually impossible for me without traveling far. However, the course taught me that having a relationship with nature doesn’t have to look like being in the forest or sailing on a river; it’s more about being in tune with our five senses as we walk outside to do the simple things like grabbing a coffee or commuting to work.

Without pausing and intentionally paying attention to the beauty around me, I was denying myself the easiest way to boost my happiness: connecting with nature.

Finland is ahead of the game because they have a law called “Everyman’s Rights” which grants people the right to roam and stay overnight in nature, regardless of land ownership. Many Finnish people camp frequently, walk and bike in nature and simply embrace all that nature has to offer.

“It’s true that even a small amount of time spent in nature reduces your stress, clears your mind, gives you experiences and lets you connect with yourself in ways that only nature can do,” Mikaela Creutz, a hiker and nature lover, says during the masterclass.

2. It’s better to have enough than to want for more

I’ll be the first to admit that I view myself as a go-getter, and it’s something that I’ve taken much pride in. But there is a downside to always aiming higher and wanting more, according to April Rinne, an author and speaker who teaches about the importance of embracing change and uncertainty.

“When we’re focused on more, we’re actually never able to find enough,” says Rinne during the course. “The goalpost keeps changing.”

Rinne defines “enough” as balance, harmony and sufficiency. Embracing “enough” means “having all that you need to thrive, but not carrying around excess,” she adds.

“That includes knowing that you are enough just as you are, and you always have been — rather than ‘I will only be happy when I achieve this goal or make this amount of money or can get this particular product.'”

My goal moving forward is to honor where I am in life. Instead of focusing too much on everything else I want, I’ll aim to simply be open to the possibilities that are on the horizon. Not only can this take a huge weight off of my shoulders, but it’ll likely also allow me to feel happier about what I have now.

3. The way you design your space can impact your mental health

Initially, I wasn’t sure what I’d gain from the lesson about design because it didn’t seem to me that it would be essential to happiness. Yet, hearing design professional, Taina Snellman-Langenskiöld, talk about how much our homes and the spaces we visit frequently affect our well-being was fascinating.

“In Finnish, we have an old saying that a poor man cannot afford bad quality,” Snellman-Langenskiöld says in the course.

And you may be surprised to hear that “good” quality for her doesn’t mean the most expensive things. Sometimes, things can have more value to us because we made them with our own hands or the materials used to make them were sustainable and better for our planet.

Snellman-Langenskiöld suggests using design to improve your lifestyle by:

  • Only buying meaningful objects that will stand the test of time and always be appealing to you
  • Making beautiful things and surrounding yourself with them
  • “Taking nature in” by having plants and buying yourself flowers
  • Thinking about how you can design your space to make your life easier and more functional

She leaves viewers with this last piece of advice to consider: “Meaningfulness in design is one of the keys to happiness.”

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Here’s the credit score you need to buy a home—it’s not a perfect 850


If a low credit score is keeping you from buying a home, you’re not alone. Nearly a quarter of Americans under 35 say that bad credit is preventing them from owning a home, according to CNBC’s Your Money survey conducted by Survey Monkey.

What does it take to buy a home? The minimum score needed can be as low as 500, but will ultimately depend on your lender and what type of mortgage you’re applying for.

“The higher your score the better, of course,” Melinda Opperman, Credit.org’s chief external affairs officer, tells CNBC Make It.

To qualify for a conventional loan, the most commonly used mortgage loan, you’ll typically need at least a credit score of 620, Experian says. Some lenders may require you to have a score above 660.

Credit scores range from 300 to 850 and measure how well you’re managing your debt. Here are the credit score ranges that qualify as poor, fair, good, very good and exceptional, according to Experian.

  • Poor: 300 to 579
  • Fair: 580 to 699
  • Good: 670 to 739
  • Very good: 740 to 799
  • Exceptional: 800 to 850

Lenders use these scores to determine how risky it would be to lend money to you, which is why having a higher score can help you qualify for the best mortgage rates.

“The score is a measure of risk, so the lower your score, the more risk the lender is taking with you,” Opperman says. “The higher your score, the lower the risk, so a lender will charge you less interest the higher your score gets.”

How your credit score impacts your mortgage

When it comes to mortgages, a higher credit score can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. This is because your credit score directly impacts your mortgage rate, which determines the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

The national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 6.98% as of Sept. 20, according to FICO. Your credit score would need to fall between 760 and 850 to qualify for that rate, per FICO’s website. If it does, your monthly payment on a $300,000 loan would be about $1,992, according to CNBC Make It’s calculations.

On the other hand, the average mortgage rate for credit scores between 620 and 639 is 8.57%. With that higher interest rate, your monthly payment would increase to around $2,322 on the same loan, according to CNBC Make It’s calculations.

That difference can really add up over time.

Over the course of 30 years, someone with a mortgage rate of 8.57% would pay an additional $118,714 in interest, compared with someone with the 6.98% mortgage rate, according to CNBC Make It’s calculations.

CNBC Make It’s mortgage calculator can help you understand how different mortgage rates would impact your potential monthly payments and interest charges.

How to boost your credit score

Don’t panic if your credit score isn’t quite where you want it to be yet.

One option for improving your score before applying for a mortgage is to lower your credit utilization ratio, says Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate.com.

Your credit utilization rate, a measure of how much of your available credit you’re using at a time, plays a big role in how your credit score is calculated. Say you have a $3,000 credit limit and a balance of $600. Your credit utilization rate would be 20%.

To maintain or improve your credit score, financial experts recommend keeping your credit utilization rate below 30%.

Ultimately, you should try to show credit reporting agencies that you can successfully manage various types of credit by consistently keeping your debt low and by paying your bills on time, Rossman tells CNBC Make It.

“Improving your credit score it more of a marathon than a sprint,” he says.

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The era of America’s subminimum wage for tipped restaurant workers may be ending


After a months-long public campaign that began shortly after Mayor Brandon Johnson (right) took office in May, advocates reached a deal with restaurant industry lobbyists to phase out the tipped-minimum wage over five years.

Kamil Krzaczynski | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Until now, Michael Hornick hasn’t been a very typical restaurant owner. His 40-year old Chicago Diner is vegetarian, in a diner niche that exalts burgers and fries. He pays 75% of his staff’s health insurance premiums and a retirement-savings match. And after Covid, in a move that remains unproven but may become more common as a model within the restaurant industry, he began adding a 20% service charge to bills to revamp the way he pays his servers and other front-of-house staff.

Early next month, Chicago’s City Council will move to make America’s third-largest city the latest jurisdiction to abolish the subminimum wage for tipped employees, requiring restaurants to meet the regular $15.80 minimum for bartenders, servers and more, up from $9.48 plus tips now. After a months-long public campaign that began shortly after Mayor Brandon Johnson took office in May, advocates reached a deal with industry lobbyists to phase out the tipped-minimum wage over five years. 

With more than half of the 50-member City Council co-sponsoring the bill, it had always been nearly certain to pass in some form, changing the business model for an industry that includes an estimated 7,300 restaurants in the city, and 750,000 nationwide, employing 12.3 million workers. The Council is expected to pass the law on Oct. 4. And the issue may be coming to an eatery near you next.

“The closest pending victory is in Chicago,” said Saru Jayaraman, founder and president of the advocacy group One Fair Wage. “But multiple states are going to move in their legislatures, and it will be on the ballot in four states next November (of 2024).” 

Advocates say the new law will assure a living wage to working-class staffers, and address a legacy of racism, sexism, and even “looksism,” the widely held (and statistically supported) view that prettier waitresses get bigger tips. Opponents, led by the Illinois Restaurant Association, argued that the proposal will cut restaurant profits in half and cut the effective income of tipped workers it says now earn a median of $28.48 an hour in Chicago – and who, in other states and cities, usually make well more than the minimum wage.

The push to make this happen through legislation and referenda follows the failure of a long push to accomplish the same goals privately. New York restaurateur Danny Meyer was the most high-profile of hundreds of bistro owners who eliminated tipping in 2015, but the dining publication Eater reported in 2020 that nearly all of them had abandoned the experiment by 2018 and Meyer himself relented in 2020 during Covid. The culprits: Diners objected to the higher prices that his “hospitality included” menu required, and an estimated 30% to 40% of servers quit, often going to competing restaurants that kept tips.

“I see and feel both sides,” said Hornick, president of Chicago Diner, which has two locations he owns with partners. Overall, he is in favor of the coming law. “In the end, we are talking about people who support me and support my business,” he said. 

The bill, and the broader conversation about whether tipping is in the best interest of workers or restaurants, is the talk of the industry here, even getting a nod in an episode of “The Bear,” Hulu’s dramedy about a Chicago restaurant. 

Restaurant owners and their representatives have argued that the proposal will break the business model of an industry ravaged by Covid, from which it has only unevenly recovered. Accommodation and food services shed 48,274 Chicago jobs in the year after Covid hit, according to state data, 33,528 of which were recovered by March 2022. Including the suburbs, the U.S. Department of Labor says the industry has all but fully recovered its job this year.

“Fifty/50 is a shell of [what] it used to be, and my biggest cost is labor,” said Scott Weiner, co-owner of the Fifty/50 Group, whose flagship restaurant is a gastropub in the gentrified Wicker Park section northwest of downtown. “I can’t afford any more. … Even our food delivery guys make $30 an hour. Our full-time servers make high $20s to low $30s on the low end.”

A survey of restaurant owners by the restaurant association predicts that profit will fall to just 1.6% of sales under the proposal – thin even for an industry known for frequent business failures and skinny margins. Three-fourths said they would reduce the number of tipped workers on their payroll, and nearly half said the cuts would be significant. And 92% said menu prices will have to rise.

One of them is T.J. Callahan, owner of farm to table spot Farm Bar. The 65-seat eatery is in the city’s upscale Lakeview neighborhood, a mostly residential area out-of-towners know as the location of Wrigley Field. Farm Bar did just more than $2.1 million in sales last year, he said. He agreed to share an analysis of how his own spot may fare, based on two weeks this summer, in which 11 tipped employees worked 567 hours. 

The $9.48 an hour wage most workers got cost the restaurant $5,449.61, he said, a fraction of the $17,198 in tips workers earned.  “It works out to $39.80 an hour,” he said. Paid $15.80 an hour, as the bill requires, the same workers would have received $8,970, he said. That’s a 64% jump in Farm Bar’s labor costs for tipped workers, he said, who he said would make less under the new system. Even if he added a 20% service charge to checks, he argued, the fee would likely cut into tips atop the service charge and drive some customers away. That was his own experience in a failed experiment with the new model at a spot he and his partner own in suburban Evanston, he said.

“It takes the restaurant from a small profit to a significant loss,” said Callahan, who along with a partner also receives a management fee of 5% of sales.

A good-sized restaurant with 20 tipped employees will have to bring in as much as another $1,000 a day to cover the extra wages, Weiner said. It’s a lot for a post-Covid spot, and a bill he said will hit poorer parts of the city hard.

The war against the new wage law

Advocates of eliminating the subminimum wage law point to what they say are scores of top Chicago restaurants that are making a system like what they envision, with service charges and sustained tipping work under current law. The most prominent of those are led by Rick Rick Bayless, the chef and sometimes TV personality behind Frontera Grill and Michelin-star winner Topolobampo in the city’s River North section.

When his restaurants reopened after Covid, Bayless instituted a 20% service charge at Bar Sotana and at his flagship Frontera, with a 15% charge at his street-food oriented Xoco next door, and tried to de-emphasize tipping without prohibiting it, he said. The goal was to give workers more stable, predictable pay, even if some servers would earn less, and to improve the culture in restaurants where higher-earning servers could make much more than have chilly relationships with low-salaried kitchen workers, he said. A bonus: Front of house staff don’t lose income when business is slow because it’s raining, he said.

“We’re not making their salary dependent on your generosity as a customer, we’re trying to move the restaurant world into a more respectable profession,” said Bayless, whose hybrid system of using service charges and encouraging tips of what Frontera’s menu calls “a little more” for exceptional service produces total pay from $28 to $36 an hour for roughly 20 front-of-house staff each night.

Before, top servers could crack $100,000 a year at his places while kitchen staffers might get by on $40,000, Bayless said. He’s not too worried about predictions that losing tips might cause top servers at expensive places like his – Topolobampo’s current tasting menu runs $165 per person – to seek out more lucrative spots.

“There are staff who work for themselves and staff who work for the restaurant,” Bayless said. “I was happy to see those people leave. The people who stayed are more [invested] in what we’re doing and in working as a team.”

Bayless said Chicago law gives him more flexibility than Meyer had to specify that the extra cost is for service, rather than including it in the price of dishes, and that his top-earning server has stayed on during the transition. And he recounted his own frustrations at being unable to tip at Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern, which contributed to Frontera leaving a tipping option in place.

But the service charge is hardly a fountain of new profits for Frontera Group, Bayless said.

“If you look at what we take in as a service charge, it doesn’t even cover the wages for the service staff,” he said. “We’ve had to create a whole new financial model post-Covid. We’re just trying to keep from going broke in this very different and very unstable restaurant landscape.”

Hornick hasn’t discouraged tipping at Chicago Diner, and says he thinks most customers aren’t comfortable not leaving something extra. He says servers may make slightly less on busy shifts than before Covid, when he says he paid $6.50 and tips could bring total pay to $35 or $40 on a busy shift, and $25 to $30 overall. Now, the $9.48 tipped minimum is supplemented by $22 to $27 an hour from splitting pooled tips, he said.

“When we’re busy, it’s still in the $30-plus range,” he said.

A tipping point for tipping and social justice

All this discussion of restaurant economics plays out against the politics of a very progressive city, in which Johnson — who was backed by the Democratic Socialist Alliance — won the race for mayor.

Near the top of Johnson’s agenda are issues designed to help the finances of working class families, including subsidized housing and raising lower-end wages. 

That’s one reason why the restaurant industry engaged in a kind of bidding war against itself, to find a compromise solution that politicians like Alderman Carlos Ramirez Rosa, Johnson’s floor manager in the City Council, would buy.

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois Restaurant Association president Sam Toia floated the idea of boosting penalties for restaurateurs who blow off legal requirements to make sure all employees make at least $15.80 an hour under existing law, having their business make up for any shortfall in tips. 

“I’d rather be at the table than on the menu,” he said in a separate interview with CNBC.

He raised the ante again in the interview, proposing that restaurants be required to gross employees up to $20 an hour in exchange for keeping the $9.48 tipped-minimum rule, entertaining an even higher threshold for downtown restaurants, many of which are larger and more expensive. But Rosa shot that idea down, telling the Sun-Times it was dead on arrival and telling CNBC that it hadn’t even come up in talks.

President of One Fair Wage Saru Jayaraman with Deputy Labor Secretary Julie Su during a Learn About Worker Experiences event at the Baodega restaurant in the Flat Iron district on April 11, 2022 in New York City.

Roy Rochlin | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Indeed, Jayaraman sees the minimum wage fight in restaurants as part of a broader campaign for social justice, with tipped workers far more likely than others to be poor and to use government financial benefits. And, she argues, higher wages are essential to the industry’s long-term recovery from Covid.

“Restaurants are feeling they have to offer more to recruit in the industry,” she said. “We’ve gotten to the point where there is no future for the industry unless wages go up.”

The activists and the industry are talking to different constituencies, and ultimately about different restaurants, Hornick said. He argues that One Fair Wage’s real constituency is staffers at coffee shops and neighborhood spots, especially in poorer neighborhoods, where checks and tips are smaller. For spots like his, the key is to be ready to adapt. 

Pat Doerr, managing director of the Hospitality Business Association of Chicago, predicts that adaptation will be some mix of less front-of-house staffing, more prevalence of counter-service dining, higher prices and more. “I don’t know if there’s any one way to say how it’s going to go,” as restaurant owners try to make up the extra cost. Doerr said. “Restaurants are not going to take on additional costs because not one of them has the money.”

Indeed, Hornick said, his own post-Covid business is ten times more driven by takeout and delivery than its 5% share in 2019. He has rejiggered the menu, eliminated busser positions, and changed schedules to reduce the amount of labor needed.

“Be creative, people,” Hornick said. “If the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s to do what you have to make do with what’s in front of you.”

Restaurateur Danny Meyer explains why he ended the no-tipping policy at his restaurants

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30-year-old paid $16,500 for a ‘cheap, old’ abandoned house—and completely transformed it: Look inside


In 2019, I rented a loft in Wheeling, West Virginia. I had just quit my job to work on restoring historic buildings.

Between working at the Wheeling National Heritage Area and being welcomed by the town’s tight-knit community, Wheeling quickly felt like home. But I wasn’t planning to buy a house until I saw the 3,075-square-foot McLain House during a walk through the East Wheeling Historic District.

I was immediately drawn to its location, an up-and-coming neighborhood full of beautiful architecture. Built in 1892, the house had tons of original detail and came with an enormous side lot.

Finding quality masons with experience with historic brick that won’t cost a fortune wasn’t easy. I probably met with a dozen masons, getting quotes ranging from $20,000 to $65,000.

Photo: Betsy Sweeny

It was perfect, except it wasn’t livable. There had been decades of water infiltration, which led to brick decay and structural issues. But I was ready for the challenge.

In May 2020, I purchased the property for $16,500 with the help of a personal loan. Then I secured a $100,000 construction loan and got straight to work. 

My living expenses are $1,047 a month, which includes my mortgage payment, property taxes, homeowners insurance and utilities.

Renovating an abandoned 19th century house

As an architectural historian, I help people figure out how to best preserve, restore and renovate historical properties. So this project was right up my alley.

One of my favorite things about living in an old house is knowing that I am just a piece of the history of that place.

Photo: Betsy Sweeny

From the summer of 2020 through the fall of 2021, the house was under construction. It needed everything: new windows, floors, walls — you name it. But we preserved as much as we could. Every repair left me with a sense that the house was healing itself and getting stronger.

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The masonry needed the most work. I hired a crew to repair the fine brickwork on the façade, but spent four months in a bucket truck on nights and weekends, repairing the rest of the house myself.

According to historic documents provided by the Friends of Wheeling, the house was probably built for Thomas B. McLain around 1892. McLain was born in Warren, Ohio and came to Wheeling with his parents, John G. and Eliza Ellen Baird McLain, when he was 2 years old.

Photo: Mickey Todiwala for CNBC Make It

The pandemic meant that other historic restoration projects I was working on were paused or slowed down, so I had plenty of time to focus on my house. This helped me stick to my budget.

After the initial repairs, I had the house reappraised. To my delight, it was valued at $202,000. So I refinanced it and used an additional loan to renovate the kitchen.

Living in the McLain House

These curtains were made by my mother, who carefully considered height, weight and the perfect pooling factor when she created them.

Credit: Betsy Sweeny

I moved into the three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom house around Thanksgiving in 2021, after 18 months of construction.

I instantly fell in love with the pocket doors in the entrance area. I’m very lucky that they still work and are in great condition.

Mickey Todiwala for CNBC Make It

Upon entrance, you’re greeted by a grand stairway, complete with a fireplace tucked into the corner. 

My friend Kellie made the stained glass transom above the front door.

My living room and dining room flow together, separated only by the original pocket doors that I keep open most of the time.

Photo: Mickey Todiwala for CNBC Make It

In the back of the house, my kitchen is a combination of original and modern, with brand new built-in cabinets reminiscent of what was originally there. 

Though I was limited by the space in terms of what kind of cabinetry I could have, I can say now after living here that I have room for everything I need. I took an inventory of the way I use my kitchen and the products that I own, and worked from there.

Photo: Betsy Sweeny

From the very beginning, I knew I wanted professional appliances. Despite being an only child, I have it in my head that at any time, I need to be prepared to cook a dinner for 20. Everything about these appliances is luxurious, and I couldn’t love them more.

Credit: Betsy Sweeny

Upstairs, the master bedroom, bathroom and laundry room are renovated to various states of completion. I use the guest bedroom as my workshop.

By keeping the originally vintage bathtub, sink, mirror, panelling and floors, I was able to splurge on the shower and wallpaper.

Photo: Mickey Todiwala for CNBC Make It

The third floor will be my next big project. I plan to create a bedroom, office and utility space. 

What I love about living in a cheap, old house

There are so many wonderful things about this house. But what I love most is what it represents. 

There was something so exciting and romantic about walking into this house for the first time. All I could see was history and potential.

Photo: Betsy Sweeny

In a small community like East Wheeling, just a few houses can either bring a neighborhood value up or drag it down. I’m proud to be part of the solution, taking a once vacant, dilapidated building and bringing it back to life. 

These historic properties are so important, not just for the community that they’re situated in, but also for achieving affordable access to real estate. There’s a ripple effect that simply cannot be achieved in new construction.

Photo: Mickey Todiwala for CNBC Make It

By purchasing this house for such a low price and investing in the improvements, I gained irreplaceable historic charm and a valuable asset, for about as much as I was paying in rent and utilities in my downtown loft. 

Now I get to live in a community where I know my neighbors, I can walk to work, and my coffee shop knows my order. I truly believe you get out what you put into life, and by investing in a “cheap, old house,” I’ve become all the richer. 

Betsy Sweeny is the Director of Heritage Programming at the Wheeling National Heritage Area. She holds degrees in art history, anthropology and historic preservation. Betsy started her career as an architectural historian in the museum setting. Her mission is to help people live a local, authentic lifestyle that honors our shared heritage and fosters healthy, equitable community development. Follow her on Instagram @betsysweeny.

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