LISTEN TO WKJC ANYWHERE!

 

Business
ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- If you have Instagram or Facebook, you've likely run into advertisements on your social media feed for everything from beauty products and clothing to household items from small boutiques.

Sometimes, sellers promise a lot at low prices, but for many consumers, it's hard to tell if those items are worth the buy.

Still, with branding and unbeatable prices, it's often tempting to purchase those products and see for yourself.

In October, the Federal Trade Commission revealed an increase in complaints from people who say they lost money purchasing items through some social media ads. The spike in complaints happened at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the FTC.

In addition, the Better Business Bureau has warned against some products advertised in social media feeds from online boutiques.

"You might see something in your news feed that looks terrific," Katherine Hutt, a spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau, told ABC News' Good Morning America in March. "Sometimes, it'll look great in the ad and look terrible once you get it."

To see whether products being advertised on social media lived up to their billing, ABC News' Becky Worley looked at several sites based on social media ads.

Bras

One of the major shopping categories growing its presence on social media is intimate apparel, specifically bras, experts say.

"My audience, a lot of them are discovering new brands through Instagram advertising in particular," said Cora Harrington, editor-in-chief of "The Lingerie Addict," which Harrington describes as "the world's largest lingerie blog." "Customers want more variety and diversity with model, and that's why influencer marketing has taken off.”

GMA ordered four bras from companies that advertise on social media -- Honeylove, Savage X Fenty, ThirdLove and Cuup -- and partnered with Good Housekeeping Institute to test out the bras.

“We looked at what we call t-shirt or everyday bra, something that is your go-to bra that you can wear out and about under most of your outfits, as well as just wearing it at home," explained Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping's textiles director, who also noted the bras were tested on real bodies as well as in the Good Housekeeping lab.

Sachs washed the bras five times to see if they hold up in laundering. All four of the bras passed.

Next, Sachs performed what she calls a "stretch recovery test" to see if the bands that go around the body keep their shape after being worn.

All the bras had acceptable results, with Cuup's bra getting a perfect score.

"Cuup is really great for anyone who dislikes all the extra padding, or for anyone who prefers a natural shape," said Sachs.

Savage X Fenty, the least expensive bra tested, was described by Sachs as being both a good fashion pick and good for people who prefer a more rounded shape "because of the padding and the lift.”

Sachs described ThirdLove's bra as, "great for anyone that has a smaller bust and is looking for some lift."

She also commended the bra for being "super soft."

Honeylove's bra was described by Sachs as providing more coverage with its different style.

"It's a pullover style," she said. "It has no adjustable, no pesky clasps and a lot more coverage than the others.”

Overall, the bras had different strengths and no one bra purchased through social media failed the Good Housekeeping evaluation.

“It's important not to get so tied up and being told what you're supposed to be buying, especially when you're getting so targeted with these social media ads," said Sachs. "Make sure you're buying something that's right for you.”

Clothing and home products

Earlier this year, Worley tested clothing sites based on several social media ads, including sites with complaints filed with the BBB, like Funnydressing.

One person who says she was disappointed with her purchase was Kyla Nardini, who saw a Facebook ad for a rainbow-colored bed set from Funnydressing. She told GMA she ordered a queen blanket set and four pillow cases as well as a set for her friend. In total, she spent over $120, but when it was finally delivered, it wasn't what she was expecting.

"The pictures on the website, they did not match up with what I received at all," said Nardini. "What I did receive was a throw blanket. And I also received a small decorative pillowcase that does not fit a bed pillow whatsoever."

In February, the BBB opened an investigation into Funnydressing due to the amount of complaints from customers alleging that they didn't receive the items they paid for or were disappointed with what they received. Some of those complaints included not being able to receive details on their orders or refunds, the BBB says.

Security expert Theresa Payton helped analyze the sites Worley ordered from by looking up company names on the website ICANN.org, which will tell you how long the site has been up. Payton said it's a red flag if a site has a newly registered name.

"Think about it like when you used to go to the store," said Payton. "Often [with] this impulse buying, things would be right in front of that cash register. These [ads] are designed to do the same thing."

For Funnydressing, Payton found that the website wasn't registered until October 2020. However, the website claimed to be a family owned, Paris-based establishment that had been around for 10 years.

As for the quality of the bed set, Jackie Reeve, a bedding expert from the site Wirecutter, said the product was not worth the price.

"I wouldn't pay $20. And we've tested $20 blankets that are significantly nicer than this one," Reeve said after examining the Funnydressing bedspread. "They haven't used enough material to really fill this in. It's not warm at all and just looks cheap."

Of the products that were advertised and purchased from online boutiques, nine of them received a thumbs down from Wirecutter experts. Funnydressing did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

When it comes to clothing, the BBB says it receives some of the top complaints from customers who purchase apparel from boutiques that are advertised on social media.

"You might see something in your news feed that looks terrific," said Hutt. "Sometimes it'll look great in the ad and look terrible once you get it."

In addition, the FTC found that most of the complaints filed by consumers said they found the ads on Facebook or Instagram.

Worley purchased six clothing items from several online boutiques to see for herself, including a blouse from a site called ZOLUCKY that claimed to offer "high quality and exclusive fashion products from independent designers."

However, when it was delivered, Worley said she had a similar experience to the bed set purchase.

"It looked [in the ad] like something like a fine Italian knit, like the designer Missoni," said Worley. "But when I got it, it's polyester, it has white stitching."

Other pieces Worley purchased included women's cashmere sweaters retailing at more than $100 each from two other sites. But like the blouse from ZOLUCKY, an expert told ABC News it wasn't worth the money.

"For a hundred bucks, you could do a lot better," said Jenn Hunter, apparel editor at Wirecutter, who examined the items Worley purchased. "One was extremely thin. I wouldn't expect it to keep you warm at all. The other cashmere sweater, I was really disappointed. When I put it on my hands, [it] almost felt greasy. That can often indicate that the manufacturer has used softeners. But those will wash out in time and then you'll wind up with something that doesn't feel luxurious at all."

While Nardini got her money back through her credit card company for the bed set, and Worley was offered a refund from ZOLUCKY and offered another product from one of the sweater vendors, experts say be cautious when purchasing through social media ads.

"I would be very careful spending money through these ads," said Hunter. "Marketers know how to phrase their language so it sounds appealing. And they often don't deliver in my experience."

While there are a lot of big-name brands and reputable small businesses selling high-quality goods on social media, experts say there is also misrepresentation and poor customer service that can be found on our social feeds.

Here are some additional tips before spending money on products you see on social media.

1. Skepticism should be your starting point if it's a brand you don't know.

2. Read the product descriptions carefully. If the price is too good to be true, there's a reason for that.

3. Do an image search. If the picture of the clothing item is listed for sale on other sites, that's one way to figure out if it's a knockoff of a more well-known brand.

4. Check the return policies. For clothes and bras, you want to be able to order multiple items to try on and return any that don't fit without paying more for return shipping.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



encrier/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- In 1971, Congress passed the Comprehensive Child Development Act, legislation that would have established a network of nationally funded, comprehensive child care centers.

But President Richard Nixon vetoed the legislation, and Congress has not passed anything similar in the five decades since.

Now 50 years later, President Joe Biden has proposed an ambitious legislative proposal -- his "American Families Plan" -- that would, among other things, create universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, cap how much low- and middle-income Americans must spend on child care, extend Affordable Care Act tax credits and expand paid leave.

Amid the global coronavirus pandemic that has put the nation's child care crisis in the spotlight and pushed more than two million women out of the workforce, advocates of child care reform say they remain cautiously optimistic that this will be a time for real change for parents, and especially moms, in the United States.

"It feels like the calls of exhausted mothers and overwhelmed fathers and child care advocates from around the country have actually been heard," said Julie Kashen, a senior fellow and director for women’s economic justice at The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank. "It’s basically been 50 years since we’ve been able to have this kind of conversation, so that’s a really key question, if not now, when?"

The question comes as more Americans are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, more schools and business are returning in-person, and more jobs are coming back after months of record high unemployment.

Yet more men than women are returning to the workforce, data shows.

In April, 165,000 women ages 20 and over dropped out of the labor force, while more than 350,000 men ages 20 and over returned to the labor force, according to the National Women's Law Center (NWLC), a nonprofit organization that fights for gender justice.

According to the NWLC's analysis, it will take 28 straight months of job gains to get women back to where they were in the labor force before the pandemic started.

In remarks delivered after the April jobs report was released, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen cited child care as one of the reasons people are not returning to work, saying, "Caregiving responsibilities and the absence of child care are still important reasons why people are unable to return to work."

Over the past year of remote learning and a lack of access to child care, the burden of caregiving has fallen, as it so often does, on the shoulders of women.

During the pandemic, women ages 25 to 44 are almost three times as likely as men of the same age group to not be working due to child care demands, according to research from the U.S. Census Bureau and Federal Reserve.

"What is true is that when schools are closed and children are home, mothers, because they are the primary caretakers in the family, are responsible," C. Nicole Mason, president and chief executive of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, a women-focused think tank, told ABC News last year. "That's just the bottom line, and that's a 40-plus hour a week job alone and basically unpaid labor."

'Child care was in a crisis before the pandemic'

The unpaid labor that working women took on during the pandemic shined a glaringly bright spotlight on the child care infrastructure in the U.S., which experts describe as having been crumbling long before the pandemic shook it even looser.

"Child care was in a crisis before the pandemic," said Laura Dallas McSorley, director of early childhood policy at the Center for American Progress (CAP). "The pandemic just revealed how shallow the roots were."

Even before the pandemic, at least half of American families were living in areas considered "child care deserts," or neighborhoods without enough licensed child care slots to meet the local demand, according to McSorley.

Industry groups warned during the pandemic that as many as half of the nation's child care programs could close without government assistance. One estimate from the Center for American Progress predicted that more than four million child care slots could be permanently lost due to the pandemic.

The federal government has pumped $50 billion into the industry over the past several months, but experts say they are still not sure of the extent of permanent damage done to the nation's child care infrastructure.

"The biggest question is, the so many providers that shut down during the pandemic, was it temporary, or are they coming back?" said Rhian Allvin, CEO of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). "I think the jury is still out on that."

Jennifer Noonan, a mom of four in Oregon, said she recently had to spend several weeks searching for child care for her two youngest children, ages 5 and 3.

"It was not having open spots and being too expensive," Noonan said of the obstacles she faced. "I finally found a woman who was in my neighborhood and is a certified child care provider who works out of her home."

In the months before she found child care, Noonan, 31, had to balance supervising remote learning for her two oldest children, ages 13 and 10, with taking care of her two younger children, while also doing her own online classes for her associate's degree and working a part-time job.

"Because of the difficulty of finding child care, I had considered not going to school anymore," said Noonan, who is pursuing a college degree to try to pull her family out of poverty. "If I had not found the daycare provider that my kids go to now, then I would have had to stop school, and that would have solidified where we are now in life."

Once Noonan had access to child care for her kids, she faced another complication familiar to working parents: trying to afford child care.

For Noonan, that meant using her student loans to pay the costs of daycare for several months, until recently, when she was approved for a state subsidy that covers the costs of daycare for parents within a specific income bracket.

"I told myself that even though I’m putting myself in debt, without me getting my degree, our family will remain in poverty," Noonan said. "If we didn’t have [Oregon's child care subsidy], I would be continuing to use loans."

For many families, the cost of child care has increased during the pandemic, something that seemed improbable when even pre-pandemic the cost of infant child care in many states exceeded the tuition at public universities.

"You basically have to start saving as a high school student for your future child’s child care," said Taryn Morrissey, a former Obama administration official and a co-author of the book Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality. "The cost of child care is just not feasible for so many families."

Morrissey and other experts say the child care system in the U.S. has reached a point where families cannot afford to pay any more, and child care providers cannot afford to charge any less.

Child care workers in the U.S., who are overwhelmingly women and women of color, already earn less than minimum wage, on average $11.65 per hour, and often do not have health and retirement benefits, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Between February and April of 2020, the child care industry lost over a third of its workforce, with women accounting for 95% of those losses, according to the NWLC.

The $50 billion stimulus the child care industry received earlier this year is what was needed to help the industry simply recover from the pandemic, not bring down expenses for families, according to Kashen.

"You start out where, if you have a lower income to begin with, child care is already going to eat up most of your family budget," she said. "Now the costs of child care went up, because they had to reduce enrollment or they had to increase your safety supplies or were told by the government to shut down for a period of time and weren’t getting any income."

"The costs of running child care centers got more expensive, so providers did have to raise their rates in order to cover those higher costs," she said.

Will 'burnt out' moms return to the labor force?

The high cost of child care, the decreased access to child care, the additional caregiving responsibilities and the pandemic job losses endured by women are what experts describe as a quadruple threat that has them concerned about the post-pandemic landscape for women, especially moms.

"One thing I'm hearing from moms who stepped back last year is they're not sure if they ever want to ramp back up fully," said Audrey Goodson Kingo, editor in chief of WorkingMother.com, noting the "macro effect of many thousands or millions of women." "I think moms are really burnt out right now, and that’s my big worry."

Working moms total about 23.5 million in the U.S., or nearly one-third of all employed women, according to U.S. Census data.

Reliable child care would not only bring women back to work, but increase their lifetime earnings, according to research released this year by Columbia University and the NWLC.

Expanding access to affordable, high-quality child care would increase the number of women with young children working full-time by 17%, according to the research.

With expanded access to child care, a woman with two children would, on average, see a $94,000 increase in her lifetime earnings, which translates to a $130 billion boost in lifetime income for women collectively, according to the research. The increase is the equivalent of nine to 12 years progress in narrowing the gender pay gap.

Child care advocates say they are encouraged that policy makers are looking to not just repair the child care infrastructure damaged by the pandemic, but to rebuild it in a reimagined way.

Starting in July, 39 million families are set to receive monthly child payments, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. The payments are part of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that he signed into law in March.

Biden's American Families Plan, included in his broader infrastructure legislation, would create universal, free pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds under a federal-state partnership much like Medicaid, whereby states would initially be responsible for 10% of the funding, which would eventually scale up to 50%.

The plan would also cap child care costs so that families would pay only a portion of their income for child care costs and provide $15 minimum wage for child care providers and funding for child care providers to keep classes small and to develop curriculum.

Biden is also proposing extending the child tax credit put in place in his COVID-19 relief bill until 2025. And finally, Biden's plan would guarantee 12 weeks of paid parental, family and personal illness leave.

The U.S. is the only country among 41 industrialized nations that does not mandate paid maternity leave, according to 2016 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Biden's plan, which he released in April as part of his infrastructure package, comes with an estimated $1.8 trillion price tag and must pass through Congress. The White House has described it broadly as a 10-year plan, with features like paid leave being implemented over the course of a decade.

Administration officials have tried to argue child care and education should be considered infrastructure because they are services that allow Americans to get to work.

Republicans have expressed more interest in approving spending only what they call "core" infrastructure items, like roads and bridges, broadband, airports, waterways, rails, ports and public transit, with user fees instead of corporate tax hikes to fund the investments.

Still, child care advocates are hopeful the pandemic has brought about a moment of change.

"What’s exciting to me is, yes, the amount of money and the signal about the kind of investment it takes to have a really strong early childhood sector, but also the administration’s willingness to not just invest because it is a crisis but really acknowledge the long-term value that child care has to this country and to deal with the economic structural issues that we’ve been talking about for years," said Allvin. "It represents a dramatic sea change in how we fund and think about child care and how we invest in child care, and it’s really exciting."

Noonan, who as a mom feels the real-life impact of policy makers' decisions, said making child care affordable and accessible is not just about getting women back to work, but about giving children the best start possible and lifting families like hers out of poverty.

"It’s really important to focus on as we’re raising the next generation of Americans and keeping our communities healthy," she said. "Without it, families like mine stay where we’re at."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



(NEW YORK) -- “Hey, guys!” YouTube is out with a new report examining “what’s up” with the most common greetings popular creators use on the platform. 

According to the company’s analysis of over a million YouTube videos, viewers are most likely to hear vloggers introduce videos with “hey, guys.” The phrase was the most-used YouTuber greeting last year, followed by “what’s up?” and “good morning.” The report looked specifically at videos with more than 20,000 views and channels with at least 20,000 subscribers.

Chris Stokel-Walker is a technology journalist and author of the book YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars. He says the popularity of the phrase “hey, guys” shouldn’t come as a shock.

"Yeah, it seems pretty obvious. There is that stereotype, that trope that we have of the 'YouTube voice' where you get really excited and you start a video with 'hey, guys! What's up?' and things like that," Stokel-Walker says. 

But he says the dominance of “hey, guys” is notable because it singles out men -- not women or nonbinary people.

"One of the things that YouTube acknowledged in this release, and it is really important that we recognize this... is that 'hey guys' is pretty much outdated now. It is a relic of the past. Which is why it's so unusual that it's remained on YouTube as a popular thing," says Stokel-Walker.

In its report, YouTube doesn’t go into detail about the lack of gender inclusive language in its creators’ greetings, simply saying the trend “rais[es] gender inclusivity questions we won’t get into here.”

YouTubers in other countries fare better when it comes to using gender-inclusive greetings. French creators most often open videos with “Bonjour a tous,” which translates to “good morning, all.” Meanwhile, German YouTubers favor “hallo ihr,” or “hello, you,” and “hola hola,” or “hello hello,” is the most frequently used greeting for YouTubers in Mexico. 

How a creator greets their audience is also influenced by the video’s subject matter. While the report finds “hey, guys” is the most popular intro to videos that focus on beauty, cooking and gaming, “what’s up” dominates the fitness category and “ladies and gentlemen” tops the charts for videos that focus on tech. 

YouTube says “good morning” was the third most-used greeting on the platform in 2020, rising from fifth place in 2011. Stokel-Walker says the upward trend falls in line with a new genre of YouTube videos that depict creators’ morning routines.

"Anyone who's spent any time on YouTube knows that there has been this trend over the last year or 18 months in particular with a very popular type of video that is morning routines -- getting ready with people."

Stokel-Walker says his big takeaway from the report is how homogeneous the content on YouTube has become, which he says is driven in large part by the growing number of creators whose livelihoods are tied to their popularity on the platform.

"What we see in this kind of -- very rare from YouTube -- big data collection and analysis is that there is a reversion to the mean. People here are being individual, yes. They're being personal, indeed. But actually what they're doing is that they're following what's popular," says Stokel-Walker, adding, “YouTube has become a real career path for people. And the stakes between being popular and being not affect your bottom line."

Hear ABC Audio's Mark Remillard report on YouTube's most popular greeting:

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



alvarez/iStock

(NEW YORK) — A growing number of businesses -- from airline giant Delta to Broadway production "Hamilton" -- have announced new workplace requirements surrounding COVID-19 vaccines.

The announcements come as the pandemic eases in the U.S., and offices around the country commence reopening plans. Even as vaccination rates rise across the U.S., however, many business leaders have mulled over the tripwire of potential legal or PR issues related to requiring the vaccine in the workplace.

In its most-recent guidance updated last December, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that employers can legally require workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, with exceptions for those who have a medical or religious accommodation.

Delta Airlines' mandate that all new hires in the U.S. be vaccinated, unless they qualify for an accommodation, officially went into effect on Monday. With some 91,000 full-time workers, the Atlanta-headquartered airliner became the largest U.S. employer to date that has announced a vaccine mandate for new employees.

The company said it will not be putting in place a company-wide requirement that current employees to be vaccinated, but noted that more than 60% of its employees have already been vaccinated.

"This is an important move to protect Delta’s people and customers, ensuring the airline can safely operate as demand returns and as it accelerates through recovery and into the future," the company said in a statement last Friday. "Vaccines are safe, effective and essential to the future of the airline and our world."

Meanwhile, the producer of the Broadway smash hit "Hamilton" told the New York Times late last week that he will mandate all of the show's employees be vaccinated against the coronavirus as the musical prepares to reopen on Broadway in September.

The announcements from household names like Delta and "Hamilton" could likely be followed by other companies, as a survey released late last month by the Rockefeller Foundation and Arizona State University's College of Health Solutions found that vaccinations were a top reopening priority for business leaders.

Some 88% of the 1,339 employers surveyed said they planned to require or encourage their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The same survey found that 60% of employers said they will require proof of vaccination from employees, and 57% said they plan to incentivize their employees to be vaccinated.

With the exception of some sectors such as education -- where a total of 361 colleges across the country have announced vaccine requirements for students or employees, according to data from the Chronicle of Higher Education -- much of the private sector has shied away from announcing requirements.

A handful of companies, including tech giant Facebook and credit card firm Discover, have publicly said that they will not require vaccines for employees -- though they will strongly encourage them.

Delta’s announcement comes months after United Airlines’ CEO Scott Kirby told employees at a town hall in January that he wants to make vaccines mandatory but worried about the logistics of implementing a requirement.

"I don’t think United will get away with and can realistically be the only company that requires vaccines and makes them mandatory," Kirby told employees at the time. "We need some others to show leadership."

As of Monday, United told ABC News that it has no news on a new vaccination policy for workers.

Nearly 50% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and 37% are fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



ABC

(NEW YORK) — These American-made companies are putting the "great" into "the great outdoors" as the U.S. starts to come out of the pandemic this summer.

Igloo Coolers from Katy, Texas, employs more than 1,200 workers and the company plans to hire more than 500 temporary and full-time workers for these upcoming months.

Pamela Vinson has been an assembly supervisor for eight years and said she proudly makes more than 50,000 coolers a day.

"I love when I go fishing and I see other people with an igloo cooler and I'm like, I made that cooler!" said Vinson.

In Asheville, Alabama, Go-Kot, a portable camping cot company, is veteran-owned and American-made.

The company can make more than 500 Go-Kots per month from materials sourced from Tennessee, California and New Jersey.

Co-owners Teresa and Mike Downing are both Air Force veterans and their son, Gabe Downing, is now in the Air Force Academy hoping to follow in his parent's footsteps.

Teresa Downing said that she's grateful she supported American workers during the pandemic.

"We're still here, making the best low profile cot on the market," said Downing. "Thanks for sharing Go-Kot with America.”

The Swiersz from Madison, Wisconsin, have been using the quick-to-assemble cots for years. Dad Brian Swiersz said the cots are made to last.

"My parents bought me this cot in the mid-'80s," said Swiersz. "It is 35 years old and I am still using it today."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- In honor of AAPI Heritage Month the top online retailer for Asian goods partnered with an acclaimed Japanese restaurant owner and chef to bring ingredients and recipes for authentic dishes right to peoples' doors.

Chef Ivan Orkin fell in love with Japanese cuisine working as a dishwasher in a sushi restaurant at 15 and has honed his culinary focus ever since, creating one of the top ramen shops while living in Tokyo and eventually brought the cult-favorite concept back to his home in New York.

With over 4,000 brands dedicated to bring authentic and trendy Asian goods to U.S. customers, Yami teamed up with the award-winning chef to hand select ingredients to teach home cooks how to make traditional Japanese dishes.

"Fundamentally we share the same goal -- bring access to Japanese culture through the food. Chef Orkin is a master of Japanese food," Yami founder Alex Zhou told "Good Morning America."

"I'm much less of a Ramen geek and much more of a Japan-ophile," Orkin explained to "GMA," adding that he moved to Japan after college equipped with a degree in Japanese language and literature. "I didn't really decide to open a ramen shop just because I like ramen, it was more about this desire to explore deeply Japanese culture and cooking better. Then when I returned to the U.S. I wanted to expand this vision."

The pair launched a limited-edition line of curated culinary kits earlier this month that focuses on Japanese pantry staples to make braised pork curry, dashi, tonkatsu -- fried pork cutlets -- and rice balls, plus it includes full recipes from chef Orikin's "The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider."

One of the biggest concerns that fans of his cookbook, or ramen in general, have had is finding the right ingredients for that type of cooking.

"It's daunting, especially when you decide to be excited about cooking Asian cuisine -- or start a new recipe -- and you can barely get any of the ingredients, it's very frustrating when you want to get those flavors," Orkin said. "Yami has an opportunity to address some of the recipes and flavors and help bring it to customers."

After a year where people embraced what he called "couch traveling," Orkin explained that the chef-curated kits are a great way to bring a taste of a new culture to home cooks' kitchens.

"I'm really driven to have people want to know more about Japan and by extension Asia in general," he added. "A lot of people are realizing the liberating feeling of cooking -- you don't have to rely on anyone when you're hungry -- and now Asian cuisines are finally getting real exposure and a lot of people want to eat them."

Another component that Orkin said drives his passion both then and now is that "a lot of people misunderstand Japan and Asia in general." And this partnership supports Stop AAPI Hate with 100% of the proceeds from the series of themed boxes being donated to help the organization's work combating racism and hate.

Check out a taste of two of the recipes below that are included in the specialty boxes.

Fried Pork Cutlets (Tonkatsu 豚カツ)

Serves four

Ingredients

One 1-pound pork tenderloin

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 large egg

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 cup vegetable oil

steamed rice

shredded cabbage

lemon wedges

Bull-Dog tonkatsu sauce

Directions

Slice the pork tenderloin crosswise into four equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, place the pork, cut side down, on a cutting board and cover it loosely with plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the meat into a flat cutlet about 1/2-inch thick. Don't brutalize the meat -- ten to twelve moderately firm whacks ought to do it. Season the cutlets lightly on both sides with the salt.

Set up a breading station by lining up three shallow pans -- pie tins work well -- and filling them with the flour, egg, and panko, respectively. Lightly beat the egg. One at a time, coat each piece of pork with flour, gently dusting off any excess, then give it a dip in egg and, finally, a coating of panko. Don't be stingy with the bread crumbs, cover the whole piece of meat and press down gently to ensure a good coating. Transfer to a plate.

Add the oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat to 325 degrees. As a rough guide, the oil is ready when you drop a few pieces of panko in the oil and they immediately sizzle. Fry the cutlets in batches for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown, then transfer to a wire rack and let rest for a few minutes.

Slice the pork into half-inch-wide strips and serve with steamed rice, a big pile of shredded cabbage, lemon wedges, and a heavy drizzle of Bull-Dog sauce.

Grilled Rice Balls (Yaki Onigiri 焼きおにぎり)

Ingredients

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 rice balls (onigiri), freshly made

2 tablespoons Dashi

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon mirin

mentaiko mayo (optional, recipe below)

Directions

To make each onigiri, place a 1-foot square of plastic wrap on a cutting board and drop the warm rice into the center.

Use your fingers or a spoon to flatten the rice into a layer about 1-inch thick. Gather the four corners of the plastic wrap together, lift up the rice, and twist the plastic together to force the rice together into a ball. Then use your hands to form the ball into a rough triangle, about an inch thick, twisting the plastic as necessary to compress the rice. This isn't an exact science. You're just using the plastic to help you form the rice. Remove the plastic.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, then coat with a little of the vegetable oil. Gently lay the onigiri in the pan and allow to cook while you mix together the dashi, soy sauce, and mirin in a small bowl.

Brush the onigiri lightly with the dashi-soy mixture, then flip them over. Keep brushing and flipping every few minutes until top and bottom are crisp and brown, about 20 minutes, adding more oil as needed. Serve hot with lots of mentaiko mayo, if you’ve made it.

Mentaiko Mayo

Makes about 1/3 cup

Ingredients

2 ounces mentaiko (cod or pollock roe), gently scraped from the sac

1/4 cup Kewpie mayonnaise

Directions

Mix the mentaiko and mayonnaise thoroughly together in a bowl. Serve immediately.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Sundry Photography/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- Whether you drink hard seltzer, beer or wine, your alcoholic beverages of choice will soon be available for same-day delivery from Target.

Target's same-day pickup and delivery services are expanding to include alcohol items, the retailer announced Monday.

The option is officially available for pickup or drive-up orders at over 1,200 stores across the country, and Target said by the end of May, same-day delivery will be available with Shipt at more than 600 stores.

"Our adult beverage category is one of the fastest-growing divisions within our food and beverage business, and we continue to hear from guests how much they love our fast, easy and safe same-day services," Rick Gomez, chief food and beverage officer for Target said in a statement. "As we continue to invest in the products and experiences our guests love, making our wine, beer and spirits selection available for pickup and delivery is a natural next step, and we’re proud our team moved so quickly to bring this enhanced service to hundreds of additional stores nationwide."

The new expansion also includes exclusive launches like SunPop Wine and Frozen Cocktail popsicles, Photograph Wine and The Mystic Reef Hard Seltzer Lemonade Variety Pack.

The fast and convenient selection can be made on the Target app and website, plus drive-up and pickup options are free with no minimum order or membership fee required.

To help celebrate the new launch, Target shared a collection of festive cocktail recipes to toast to warm weather for the summer months ahead.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Extreme Media/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- Fuel outages persist in parts of the Southeast on Monday -- and the national gas price average remains at its highest level in six years -- even as the Colonial Pipeline has resumed operations following a ransomware attack.

The national gas price average on Monday was $3.04, according to data from the American Automobile Association. The AAA said a price increase leading up to Memorial Day weekend was expected, but last week's pipeline shutdown caused prices to surge in the weeks ahead of the holiday.

"The Southeast will continue to experience tight supply this week as terminals and gas stations are refueled," Jeanette McGee, an AAA spokesperson, said in a statement Monday. "Over the weekend, gas prices started to stabilize, but are expected to fluctuate in the lead up to Memorial Day weekend."

Gas prices in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina all jumped 21 cents over the past week, according to AAA data, while gas prices in Virginia and Tennessee climbed 18 cents. Nationally, average gas prices have jumped eight cents on the week.

"This is going to be an expensive summer for motorists," McGee added, though she said they don't expect this to deter people from taking road trips this summer.

Meanwhile, swaths of gas stations throughout many southeastern states are still grappling with fuel outages.

Some 57% of gas stations in North Carolina have fuel outages as of Monday morning, according to data from fuel-price tracker Gasbuddy, marking the highest percentage of any state. This is followed by 49% of stations in South Carolina and 33% of stations in Virginia.

The District of Columbia, meanwhile, is dealing with a whopping 83% of stations reporting fuel outages, according to Gasbuddy.

Patrick DeHaan, the head of petroleum analysis for Gasbuddy, noted that prices surged in the Southeast due to the fallout related to the pipeline shutdown, but most areas outside that region saw much smaller fluctuations.

"With the pipeline now back in service, I expect prices to come down in the hardest hit states, specifically the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and Virginia," DeHaan said in a statement Monday. "The drops should lead the national average to soon fall back under the $3 per gallon mark, but motorists shouldn’t get too excited -- prices may start to head higher in a few weeks should Memorial Day gasoline demand be red hot."

Still, DeHaan said he is optimistic there will be enough of an outage recovery by Memorial Day for motorists in impacted areas to be able to fill up their tanks without having to go searching for gasoline.

Colonial Pipeline, which transports approximately 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast, entered a multi-day shutdown on May 7 after being hit by a cyberattack involving ransomware.

Last Thursday, a little less than a week later, operators said they had officially restarted the entire pipeline system and fuel delivery to all markets served had commenced.

The saga and days of confusion that followed exposed the vulnerability of critical infrastructure in the U.S. to new forms of cyber threats.

Critics also pointed to news that a multi-million dollar ransom had been paid in response to the cyberattack, which was first reported by Bloomberg late last week, as further highlighting the nation's lack of preparedness in dealing with criminal hacking groups.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Nattakorn Maneerat/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- As more states lift mask rules and other restrictions put in place during the pandemic and businesses start to invite employees back to work in person, the federal government also is working on how to make sure employers are protecting workers from COVID-19.

The federal agency charged with protecting workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has fielded thousands of COVID-19 related complaints since the start of the pandemic and is expected to release an emergency rule to help enforce the steps employers are required to take to keep people safe.

OSHA issued almost $4 million in citations for COVID-related complaints, as of the latest update in January and not including citations from state worker safety agencies. Those violations included failing to implement a written program to protect workers, failing to provide appropriate PPE, and generally failing to ensure a safe working environment.

The details of the emergency rule aren't public yet, but employment law experts say they expect it to put more power behind the guidance issued by OSHA and other agencies that require businesses to take steps to keep people safe from infection in the workplace, including wearing PPE like masks, social distancing, ventilation, and in some cases limiting the number of people in a space if distancing isn't possible.

Employers are charged with deciding how each specific workplace will handle the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in line with local, state, and federal health guidance. But through OSHA and other agencies the federal government has laid the groundwork for what employers need to do and what employees should expect.

Employers can require workers to be vaccinated

When it comes to vaccinations employers can legally require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether it's fully approved or emergency authorization, but they must provide justification for why it's necessary to do the job safely. For example, if you've been doing your job 100% remotely an employer can encourage you to get vaccinated but it's harder to justify requiring it than if you are in a job where you frequently interact with the public or are required to work in close quarters with other employees.

Employers can ask workers if they're vaccinated but they cannot share that information or ask follow up questions that could indicate if an employee's disability, according to Cathy Ruckelshaus, legal director at the National Employment Law Project.

Ruckelshaus said a vaccine requirement would work similar to any other medical mandate in the workplace, meaning employers still have to allow employees to ask for an exemption.

"I think that the EEOC guidance is pretty clear that employers are permitted to mandate vaccines if they want to, but they have to have the basic protections in place that they would for any kind of medical mandate so your employers would have to comply with any request for accommodation by an employee, or basically a waiver by an employee based on disability or religious grounds," she said.

If employees have medical or religious reasons they can't get the vaccine and need additional accommodation to ensure they're protected from COVID-19, the same process should apply as other medical exemptions. The employer should work with that individual to determine a reasonable accommodation so they can still do the job. If an employer and employee can't reach an agreement on how that employee can come back to work in person, they can legally be fired for inability to meet requirements of the job.

"There's nothing new here, it's the same dynamic in terms of what employers are used to doing, and what employees need to show if they are requesting an accommodation," Ruckelshaus said.

The Biden administration has also expanded unemployment insurance so it's easier for people to access financial help if they are required to go back to work but can't do so because of concerns about contracting COVID or are fired for refusing to go back to work in person or inability to get the vaccine.

Even if employers ask workers if they're vaccinated they legally can't share an employee's medical information with their co-workers, so people going back to the office won't know if their co-workers are vaccinated unless they voluntarily share that information.

Even if CDC says masks can go away businesses can still require them

Last week CDC said fully vaccinated Americans, meaning at least two weeks after the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, don't need to wear a mask or social distance in most situations. But it is ultimately up to businesses and local health authorities to decide how to implement that guidance.

OSHA is reviewing the new CDC guidance to provide more information on how to implement it in the workplace, according to a message on the agency's website.

CDC has also recommended that most schools keep policies that require masks – at least for now -- in place to protect children under 12 years old who aren't yet eligible for any of the COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC says it is reviewing its mask guidance for schools next year.

Employees working in person or considering returning to work in person should consult state and local requirements around masks and ask their employer about the expectations for wearing masks in their workplace. At least 16 states had adopted or announced plans to adopt the CDC's updated guidance on masks as of Friday, while three dropped mask mandates entirely. Some fully vaccinated individuals could also choose to keep wearing a mask if they don't know if everyone they encounter at work is fully vaccinated.

The CDC recommends people who are not vaccinated continue to take steps to prevent exposure to COVID-19 as they return to work, including wearing masks, maintaining 6 feet of distance from people outside your household, avoiding poorly ventilated or crowded spaces, washing hands and using hand sanitizer, and getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Employers can ask if you have symptoms of COVID-19, but not if your spouse has it

Employers can ask employees questions to make sure people with COVID-19 don't enter the workplace, including asking if an employee has experienced symptoms, tested positive for the virus, ask employees to take COVID-19 tests consistent with CDC guidelines, ask employees where they have traveled, require employees to stay home if they are experiencing symptoms, and require a doctor's note for certifying an employee is fit to return to work if they recently had COVID-19, according to EEOC guidelines.

But an employer cannot ask if an employee's family members have experienced symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19, beyond asking if they have come in close contact with someone with COVID. Employers also need a reason to ask only one employee to take their temperature or a COVID-19 test if it's isn't a requirement for everyone, for instance if they are visibly exhibiting symptoms at work.

The EEOC says employers can legally bar an employee from physically coming in to work if they refuse to have their temperature taken or answer questions about whether they have COVID-19, but recommends employers ask why an employee is refusing and work to accommodate their concerns and make sure they know their medical information will not be shared.

Every workplace needs a COVID-19 plan

Employees are legally entitled to a workplace free of safety or health hazards, according to an OSHA rule called the general duty clause, and the agency has been using that standard to cite employers who inspectors found weren't doing enough to employees from COVID-19.

OSHA has published extensive guidance for employers on how to create programs to prevent COVID-19 infections in the workplace, including with some industry-specific guidance for situations like airlines, food processing, and even hair salons.

The general guidance recommends providing workers with masks, implementing 6 feet of distance between workers or installing barriers when that distance isn't possible, and following CDC guidance on requiring workers who could have COVID-19 to isolate or quarantine.

Debbie Berkowitz, worker safety and health employment director for the National Employment Law Project, said the upcoming OSHA will likely make that guidance a requirement and give employers a deadline to put together a COVID-19 plan evaluating the risks and steps to mitigate exposure in their specific workplace.

"You can't just call everybody back and then when people get sick go, 'oh I gotta figure this out,'" she told ABC News.

David Michaels, former OSHA director and professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health, said requiring these plans could make a big difference because it gives employees documentation of what to expect and makes it easier to file complaints and enforce violations if employers don't have a plan or don't follow it.

"I think the message that everybody should have is that, you know there are, there is guidance out there now when even until the standards coming out employers should try to meet those especially, you know as offices and workplaces are reopening this standards will certainly motivate some employers to do a better job at that but they shouldn't, we shouldn't need a standard to do that," he said.

The new OSHA rule isn't expected to overhaul workplace requirements

The upcoming OSHA emergency standard isn't expected to change the protections employees already have at work or set specific requirements on how businesses should protect their employees from COVID-19 beyond the current guidance. Berkowitz and Michaels said they don't expect it to give specific requirements on how and when people should wear masks, for example, or how many people are allowed to be in a workplace because one national policy would be difficult to apply to every workplace.

"This standard does several things at once. First by making these requirements many employers who want to be law abiding will make an effort to follow them," Michaels said.

"Then secondly, it makes inspections much more straightforward. Because right now, without a standard, it's more difficult for OSHA inspectors to issue citations because they just, they have to use like all the general duty clause that just says that the employer is not providing a safe workplace where if there's a standard that includes things like masking or distance then, you know, when an inspector comes in and sees that the employer is not meeting those requirements it's much more straightforward to issue a citation."

Michaels said the third aspect of the standard is that it sends a strong message about the importance of protecting employees from COVID-19 and the consequences for businesses that don't.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Disney Parks

(NEW YORK) -- Disneyland Paris will be allowed to reopen on June 17.

The announcement was made on the park's website and social media early Monday morning.

"We are pleased to announce that Disneyland Paris will reopen on June 17 with Disneyland Park, Walt Disney Studios Park, Disney’s Newport Bay Club Hotel and Disney Village," the announcement said, adding, "The long-awaited Disney’s Hotel New York -- The Art of Marvel will open on June 21, with sales opening on May 18."

"We look forward to welcoming you back to the heart of the Magic," it added.

The park originally closed during France's first national lockdown in March 2020, but reopened a few months later in July. A second national lockdown forced its closure once again on Oct. 29, and a reopening date has been up in the air ever since.

The park reopening "will follow enhanced health and safety measures," according to the website. Some of these measures include limited admittance into the park each day; social distancing on rides and waiting lines; over 2,000 hand sanitizing stations placed around the park; increased cleaning; redesigned character meet and greets; and the requirement of face coverings in all areas.

The news comes on the heels of the reopening of Disneyland in California, which welcomed visitors back on April 30, with similar measures in place as the French park.

The Disney parks in Florida, Shanghai, and Tokyo have been open since last summer, while Disneyland in Hong Kong reopened earlier this year on Feb. 19.

For more information on Disneyland Paris' reopening, visit here.

Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of "Good Morning America" and ABC News.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Courtesy Heidi Metcalf Lewis

(NEW YORK) -- An image of a Maryland woman working from her bathtub has led to a reflection on the child care crisis caregivers have faced since the onset of COVID-19, and what leaders are doing to change it.

At the height of the pandemic, Heidi Metcalf Lewis, a mother of two from Silver Spring, was photographed by her husband after she had set up a work space in her bathroom. Seen nearby was her 1-year-old daughter playing with a water table toy.

Lewis' attempt to occupy her toddler while tackling workday tasks was dubbed a familiar scene for the millions of parents who were left without options when a majority of day care centers closed and schools turned to remote learning.

The picture stirred up conversation on Twitter after it was shared by Reshma Saujani, the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code and a mom of two, who is leading the "Marshall Plan for Moms," an initiative to return mothers to the workplace and pay them for the work they do at home.

"It took on a life of its own from there," Lewis told ABC News' Good Morning America. "We're all showing each other how burned out and exhausted we are, but what's being done? I don't want a Hallmark card, I want a policy change."

On April 28, President Joe Biden laid out his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which aims to invest in child care, education and the country's overall economic future.

Biden's plan is to create free, universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds and fund two years of free universal community college. The plan would cap how much low- and middle-income Americans must spend on child care, extend Affordable Care Act tax credits and expand paid leave.

Child care centers have struggled to remain open

To create universal free pre-K, the American Families Plan envisions a federal-state partnership where states would initially be responsible for 10% of the funding, which would eventually scale up to 50%. If states choose not to opt into the program, a senior administration official said they would "work directly with a locality on preschool," ABC News reported last month.

Lower-income families' child care costs will be completely covered, while families making up to 150% of a state's median income will be capped at paying 7% of their income for child care. Families could choose between child care centers, family child care providers and Early Head Start.

Before the pandemic, Lewis and her husband were spending 40% of their monthly income on child care, though their children's education and time with peers is a priority, she said.

In November 2020, the National Association for the Education of Young Children surveyed thousands of programs across the country. Of the survey's respondents, many reported "resorting to desperate measures to stay open," such as engaging in layoffs, pay cuts and taking on debt to keep their programs afloat.

Biden's new plan also calls for a $15 minimum wage for child care workers and funding for child care providers to keep classes small and to develop curriculum.

Women taking the brunt

Nationwide, nearly half of child care providers completely closed their facilities during the COVID-19 shutdowns last year, according to a survey by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Of those that stayed open, 85% had been operating with less than half of their usual child enrollment.

These closures, as well as schools adopting remote learning models, were arguably a main cause for more than two million women leaving the workforce in 2020 alone, according to the National Women's Law Center.

Lewis said her employer, an independent bookstore, didn't lay off a single employee and instead she was able to work from home. While Lewis was grateful for the flexibility, she was faced with balancing her career with caretaking duties.

"I think a typical day was chaos, crying and tons of snacks," Lewis said. "The hardest part about having both of them home was they both had wildly different needs."

In March 2021, Ana Rodriguez of San Lorenzo, California, told GMA that her employer was allowing her three children to attend virtual school inside the office building where she works.

"The pandemic, it forced women to choose between [our families] and our careers. ... It put us 50 steps back in how we're viewed in society," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said her kids have returned to in-person learning four days a week. She said she's glad that Biden's initiative is putting a spotlight on women.

"We weren't acknowledged and it was the most inconsiderate situation we've ever been in," Rodriguez added. "I'm honored that he's at least acknowledging how much women do."

Rodriguez admitted that most of the child care had fallen on her, though her job lends itself more to being a parent amid COVID-19 than her husband's does, she said.

Lewis said that when her kids' schools closed last year, her husband had started a new job.

"I wanted to give him the space to prove himself," Lewis explained. "Did I willingly take on this unpaid labor? Yes. But we were in a crisis, and needed his income. We have a pretty good balance of labor but [as for] the emotional labor, I carry it."

Lewis said she feels the pandemic put a spotlight on structural sexism, which is why her bathtub picture garnered so much attention.

"It's the way the system is. We're have to prioritize his work ... and men make more than women. We all know that, and here we are living in the imbalance and it feels more urgent and broken," she said.

In January, Saujani and her nonprofit took out a full-page New York Times ad urging political leaders to institute a Marshall Plan effort that would provide a means-tested $2,400 monthly payment to moms and would be led by a "caregiving czar" tasked with implementing workplace benefits like parental leave, affordable child care and pay equity.

The 1940s-era Marshall Plan was a multibillion-dollar U.S. program that helped to rebuild the economies of Western Europe after World War II.

Advocates like Saujani say just as drastic and intentional an effort is needed today to help working moms, many of whom have seen their careers decimated by the pandemic.

After the the Biden-Harris administration announced its plan for addressing the child care crisis, Saujani took to Instagram writing, "It’s a huge deal."

She went on, "And remember: the pandemic hasn't just forced women out of work -- it's also forced women and girls out of school. Investing in education is ALSO a win for women and moms."

Calling for change

Since her viral work-from-home moment, Lewis has used her voice in hopes to spark change. She said that prior to Biden's new initiative being announced, an activist group called Moms Rising encouraged its members to contact their state representatives about the child care issue.

Lewis wrote a letter to U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., to alert him that child care was not listed on his website as an issue that required attention.

Raskin told GMA he's been making it a point to call parents who reached out with concerns, including Lewis.

"Hers was a very eloquent voice early on in the crisis saying we need to focus on this as a real problem," Raskin said. "It's not just a problem for families. It's a problem for the economy [as] several million women left the workforce during COVID-19."

Raskin said he feels the U.S. is now headed in the right direction with the American Rescue Plan being signed into law, which is projected to lift more than five million children out of poverty this year, and the American Families Plan.

In addition, Raskin said the extended Affordable Care Act tax credits are going to help more than 100,000 kids in his Maryland district alone, with an extra $300 per month per child.

"It's a huge investment, but other than unemployment benefits, child care were the two things I heard most about from my constituents during COVID," Raskin noted.

"Child care can be such an amazing opportunity for a society to use the best research on child development, socializing skills and healthy practices," he added.

Lewis said her 6-year-old son Charlie began remote learning in the fall. Harriet has returned to her school as well.

"I'm thrilled that President Biden and Vice President [Kamala] Harris are centering working families and promising much-needed support for child care in this country," Lewis said.

"Working moms need everything in the American Families Plan -- and we needed it before the pandemic -- but we also need fully operating K-12 schools," she added. "I want to hear the representatives I voted for explore why school closures happened [and in some cases are still happening] and start to hold people accountable."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



artisteer/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- It's Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and one way to give back during this celebratory time is by supporting businesses owned by cultures that make up the Asian community.

Following many anti-Asian attacks that have taken place this year, now is an optimal opportunity to stand in solidarity and show support.

In March, fashion and beauty industry leaders were among other notables who began using their platforms to spread awareness and speak out again anti-Asian racism.

The following month, SAG Award nominee Jamie Chung wore a statement-making Edie Parker purse that read "Stop Asian Hate."

Fashion and beauty industries alike rely heavily on influences, production and creativity stemmed from Asian cultures as evidenced by everything from the huge K-beauty trends to unique designs that commonly appear on some of the most coveted runways.

Get familiar with a variety of AAPI-owned fashion and beauty brands:

Beauty brands

Glow Recipe

Glow recipe creates naturally derived fruit-powered skin care products that work to help you glow from the inside out.

Top products include the Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer which has an amino acid-rich watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid for skin-plumping and soothing botanicals such as jasmine and peony extracts.

Kulfi Beauty

Lead by South Asian beauty boss Priyanka Ganjoo, who is enthusiastic about empowering her community through representation, Kulfi is where culture meets beauty. The growing brand currently carries everything from Kajal eyeliners to stickers and accessories.

Patrick Ta

Patrick Ta has become a sought-after makeup artist to the stars, and his line of makeup is an echo of his work. Patrick Ta Beauty offers special products such as his all-in-one Creme Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo as well as the Major Glow On The Go body oil to help you shine.

Jinsoon

Through the years, Jinsoon Choi has become a New York City favorite for her nail artistry during Fashion Week as well as for her salons.

Her vast lineup of nail polishes offers a wide look at how minimalist or maximalist you can go for your next manicure.

Acaderma

Acaderma's roots are planted in academia and led by distinguished professor Dr. James Simon and IFSCC award-winning scientist, Dr. Shuting Hu.

Bestselling products include a Better With Age Rejuvenating Rich Cream as well as a Lunar Glow Illuminate Serum.

Live Tinted

Live Tinted's CEO Deepica Mutyla originally went viral in 2015 for a video where she demonstrated how to mask dark circles with red lipstick.

She later launched her company's Huestick which is a multipurpose stick and color-correcting tool that's available in three shades created to match a person's undertones, mask dark eye circles and hyperpigmentation.

Today, the brand continues to roll out inclusive products and build community.

Peach & Lily

Powered by Korean beauty innovations, Alicia Yoon created Peach & Lily in 2012 to connect online shoppers with top Asian beauty products. The company has cruelty-free products that range from face masks to serums.

Fashion brands

Joah Love

Founded by Korean-American designer, mother and entrepreneur Ahyoung Kim Stobar, Joah Love is a line of high-end loungewear clothing made locally in California. The company features mommy and me matching outfits, face coverings and more.

Plus, Joah Love donates a percentage of monthly sales toward the AAPI Women Lead and #ImReady Movement.

3.1 Phillip Lim

The high-fashion label created by fashion designer Phillip Lim has apparel, handbags, shoes, accessories and more.

Lim has also been very instrumental in using his platform to help put an end to Asian hate.

Mikoh

Designed by sisters Oleema and Kalani Miller, Mikoh is a stylish swimwear and ready-to-wear brand that sells a variety of beach-ready styles as well as accessories.

Misho

Misho is a jewelry label worn by celebrities including Kylie Jenner and Beyoncé. The brand describes each piece as "modern architecture for the body."

Self-Portrait

Brought to life by Malaysian-born designer Han Chong, Self-Portrait has become known for its uniquely designed dresses that often feature silhouettes as well as lace and floral prints.

Sandy Liang

Liang's eclectic line of fashion has been said to be "Lower East Side cool meets Chinatown grandmother aesthetic," by Fashionista and its overall vibe screams "cool kid."

The brand offers everything from clothing to outerwear, accessories and jewelry.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Michael Burrell/iStock

(NEW YORK) — Federal income tax filings and payments for individuals are due Monday.

The Treasury Department and the IRS extended the deadline in March.

"This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a news release announcing the extension.

Monday’s deadline does not apply to Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, where the IRS had extended Tax Day to June 15 to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. That extension was a result of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster declarations in those states following winter storms in February.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Vertigo3d/iStock

(NEW YORK) — From digital art and published columns, to sports highlights, viral photos and even memes, NFTs can take the form of virtually any type of online content and these irreplicable tokens have skyrocketed in popularity.

Simply put, a non-fungible token is a one-of-a-kind asset that lives online and is managed in a digital ledger.

These digitally unique assets are attached to a distinct value with a certificate of authenticity, so even though it exists online, the asset can't be easily and endlessly duplicated. That's because each NFT exists on decentralized digital platforms based on blockchain technology. Transactions on a blockchain platform are written to a digital ledger. That ledger publicly records every NFT transaction to confirm the item's ownership.

Blockchain supports replicable tokens including Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies -- which were once viewed as unstable and confusing, but have seen a meteoric rise among those ready to embrace the digital alternatives to traditional currency.

"NFTs can't be duplicated or copied, they're verifiably scarce," said Decrypt editor-in-chief, Daniel Roberts. "All it really means is that it can't be divided, duplicated, subbed one-for-one."

NFT defined

Merriam-Webster officially defines the three letter acronym as "a unique digital identifier that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided, that is recorded in a blockchain, and that is used to certify authenticity and ownership of a specific digital asset (such as the original version of an online photo or video).

"When a new word makes its way into the world’s lexicon, our ears at Merriam-Webster perk up," Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, said when they announced the new word. "Over the past several months, NFT has rocketed into popular culture, and the team at Merriam-Webster crafted a definition to provide meaning to this emerging technology.”

Why NFTs have become so popular

From graphic designers to street artists-turned-digital creators, NFTs have created a whole new buying and selling platform for the art word.

NFT marketplaces (also known as exchanges) have attracted attention from collectors, investors, celebrities and even chefs. And with the rise in popularity and attention to the crypto-collecting space, artists have capitalized on opportunities to sell their work for huge sums with some investors spending tens of millions on one NFT.

The new medium for collectors through online auctions has also created an opportunity for a more personal connection between buyer and creator.

Plus, content creators can sell their work anywhere and collectors can access the global markets virtually from anywhere.

Where and how can you buy an NFT?

NFTs are purchased through a third-party online marketplace, or NFT exchange.

OpenSea, which was founded in 2018, is the world’s largest digital marketplace for crypto collectibles and NFTs. Other popular sites for NFT transactions include Rarible, Superfarm, Ethernity and more.

While transaction details can vary slightly by site, the blockchain auction will open during alotted times and once the NFT has a winning bid, that site connects with the new owner, usually by sending a verified link to their profile on the site within the marketplace.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Courtesy Mike Potenza

(BOSTON) — On Cape Cod, the only thing as sure as the seafood and lighthouses is the region's dependence on summer tourism.

But when the coronavirus pandemic hit last spring, maybe no industry was more impacted than seaside getaways. There were no vacationers doling out for rentals, there were no diners to sit at beachside restaurants and there was no one to ride rollercoasters or waterslides. Most of the businesses didn't open at all.

Water Wizz, a water park in East Wareham, Massachusetts, has been in business for over 30 years. The park has been featured in films such as "Grown Ups" and "The Way Way Back," but due to the pandemic, its slides ran completely dry all last year. This summer, Patricia Kells is hoping to make up for lost time.

"Last summer was the hottest summer that I can remember since I've been in business," Kells, Water Wizz's president, told ABC News. "It was the best summer ever to have a waterpark, and it was shut down, and that was very painful to endure.”

Amusement parks, movie theaters, restaurants and stores are the backbone to many coastal economies. The survival of these businesses, some seasonal and all vulnerable to the unanticipated loss of revenue the pandemic caused, depend on summer turnout to keep their doors open.

"I'm one water park," Kells said. "I'm not Six Flags New England, a big corporation. I don't have a lobbyist. Nobody cared about my little dinky waterpark. I'm just not that big."

With over 59% of American adults having received at least one dose of a vaccine and with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors -- regardless of crowds -- many of these summer businesses are feeling optimistic ahead of Memorial Day.

Reinvention has always been central to the survival of local businesses, Rob Anderson, owner and chef of the Canteen in Provincetown, Massachusetts, said.

"We are not trying to go back to normal," he said. "We are trying to build a new normal."

Ninety percent of Americans are looking to travel within the United States this summer, according to HomeToGo, a vacation rental search engine. Many summer tourist towns, not just those in Cape Cod, are hoping vacationing families choose their businesses to patronize.

Steve Nicoletti, owner and chef for Cafe Beach Club, a mom and pop restaurant in Ocean City, New Jersey, is optimistic about the summer, based on the crowds he's seeing come into his restaurant. He's also concerned with having the staff to keep up with the demand, though.

"Ocean City is on the precipice of having one of its best years they've ever had," he said. "They say the rentals are at an all-time high, but one of the big issues that I believe is going to really hurt a lot of people, especially people new in business, is they don't have the employees."

While demand for housing in these coastal areas has skyrocketed, some businesses are experiencing labor shortages.

"Families can't afford to live here anymore, frankly, on Cape Cod," said Mike Potenza, director of marketing and public relations of The Lobster Pot in Provincetown, Massachusetts. "You can't earn enough to sustain your living so they move, and so there's no kids to do the jobs.”

For the family owned restaurant in business since 1979, securing a seasonal workforce has only become more difficult in the pandemic. "There's the uncertainty of the labor force, the uncertainty of the mandates and the rules that they dictate because they change all the time," Potenza said.

Small businesses have been doing their best to meet the standards of local and state COVID-19 protocols. While many businesses have appreciated receiving financial assistance from the government through Small Business Administration loans and the Paycheck Protection Program, for some, guidance given by state officials has proven frustrating, due to its nature to change with limited notice.

"As you're dealing with those growing pains, and finding your way on top of all of COVID happening, it was just a lot, it was really hard," Josh Flanders, general manager of Bad Martha Farmer's Brewery in East Falmouth, Massachusetts, said of last year.

Flanders' East Falmouth brewery, the company's second, opened just months before the beginning of the pandemic. The brewery shut down in March 2020, and then reopened in June 2020. Receiving little notice from the state before reopening last summer "was kind of a nightmare," Flanders said. Limited time to recruit staff felt like "going from zero to 100 really quickly.”

As Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center reopens, its executive director, Jamie Hook, hopes theatergoers will feel nostalgic for the past, while still having faith in life after the pandemic.

"I almost liken it to a civic duty, to experience something collectively with strangers," Hook told ABC News. "I think that that experience is really important in our nation as we go forward."

Not every vacation spot was dealt a blow last season by COVID, though.

At the beginning of the pandemic, those with the financial means to leave cities such as New York and Boston sought refuge in less-populated areas such as the Hamptons and Cape Cod. Sales on homes in coastal areas like the Hamptons continue to grow, and are up 89% compared to last year, according to Corcoran Realty.

Lisa Field, owner of the Sag Harbor Variety Store on Long Island, said the migration from New York City last year was something they had never seen before.

"We're used to the season being July and August and seeing the population explode. It kind of took us by surprise, but we were able to roll with it," she said.

For the most part though, tourist destinations -- even those that are among the most famous in the country -- are enjoying welcoming back crowds.

In Brooklyn's Coney Island, one of the most recognizable amusement park destinations in the country, Luna Park reopened on April 9 after spending over 500 days closed during the pandemic.

Alessandro Zamperla, president and CEO of Central Amusement International, the company that owns and operates the park, is happy to see people on rides that are running again: "The amusement park industry is really about passion -- about loving what you do.”

From strolling down a boardwalk, to taking a trip down a water slide or sitting next to strangers at a theaters, the success of one business could mean the success of many.

"If we're not open, then people don't necessarily come up to the boardwalk as often," said Brian Hartley, vice president of Playland's Castaway Cove, an amusement park in Ocean City, New Jersey. "Because we know we're all in this together, everyone up on this boardwalk has to work together if we're going to survive."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



KJC Kennel Club




   

 




JET

2007-2009

"Always in our Heart! "