Free house-2

Win a house, 1.25 waterfront acres … and a jet-ski?!

Sound too good to be true? Heck yes! Buying a home is serious business, as is moving – lock, stock, and live human beings, some of varying ages and equally fluctuating temperaments that render the experience not only memorable, but far more challenging. It is precisely that aspect of challenge, however, that is moving some to find increasingly creative methods to make their special offering stand out.

Rock Creek Farm

Rock Creek Farm

One Virginia horse farm, Rock Spring Farm, was proffered in 2015 as the grand prize of an advertised essay contest. Entries weren’t as abundant as hoped and those who entered had their entrance fee, $200, and their 1000 word essays returned … or are still waiting. And yet the “prize” house model still remains. Why?

Games are fun. Games of chance are even better. And winning is the best!

But you cannot win anything if you don’t play. And sometimes, just maybe, what seems impossible actually can become reality. Check out the following video of Home and Garden TV (HGTV) 2016 dream home in Merritt Island, Florida’s, a paradise vacation destination:

But while HGTV’s contest is over, there are others.

Stingray Inlet has this to say: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little getaway spot somewhere on the water? Turn that dream into your reality by putting your creative side to work! We will be giving away a grand prize of a 1.2-acre property on an inlet of the Chesapeake Bay area near Reedville, Virginia to the person with the most creative contest entry. … We’re also including a personal watercraft and a new home on the lot depending on the level of participation. Enter to win and tell us: ‘What will winning the property at Stingray Inlet mean to you?’ Be creative with your entry and you could win!”

Who knows?

Wild child settles down … or maybe not

For those of a certain age, Lindsay Lohan is that spunky freckled-kid, the pint-size elfin redhead who featured in the 1998 reboot of “The Parent Trap” where twins separated at birth, one reared by their mother, the other by their father, scheme to get their parents to fall in love again. Who can forget the childish antics of clandestine ear piercing, pranking and cutting hair at summer camp?

While most of us aren’t separated twins, a good many adults recall childhood scheming with fondness, innocent as such behavior is when compared to the challenges of everyday life.

But Lohan’s life was never “everyday” as most American’s experience it. A media darling, thanks to her Disney star status and subsequent acting career which included “Mean Girls,” “Freaky Friday” and “Confessions of a Teenaged Drama Queen,” Lohan has navigated that too familiar course – an exaggerated journey thanks to ill-fitted fame – of childhood cutie to troubled teen, to dangerous drug user, and beyond.

A young Lindsay Lohan

A young Lindsay Lohan

A 2012 article at eOnline joked that Lohan is known, not for her acting, but for an impressive arrest record. Lohan’s clashes with the law revolve mostly around drugs, alcohol and the brash behavior that results. The “lovable train wreck,” as the Daily Beast terms it, “documented all of her sexual conquests on a Scattergories answer sheet.” No joke and absolutely not funny.

And yet Us Weekly magazine, raising the hopes of those who wished the star well, reported in April that “Lindsay Lohan said ‘da’ to her Russian business heir boyfriend, Egor Tarabasov, and a 5-carat emerald ring. Despite her rep’s denial, a source confirms in the new issue of Us Weekly that the 29-year-old – who has dated Wilmer Valderrama and Samantha Ronson – is engaged to her love of eight months.

“‘It was a big proposal, but it wasn’t done in public,’ says the insider of the pair, who live together in London. ‘Lindsay texted a friend a picture of the ring.’ (The star later showed off the oval-shaped bling during a mid-April NYC getaway.) Says another Lohan source of the real estate agent, 22, ‘He loves her, protects her and keeps her out of trouble.'”

It was that last part, about loving and protecting and keeping Lohan out of trouble, that many who still hold a fondness (or perhaps fascination) for Lohan hoped may mark a turning point. While there may be no personal connection for those watching her story, there is that link of hope. Not just for Lohan, but for all those souls like her who hit a wall. It doesn’t matter whether the wall is just plain wood or diamond studded; it’s still painful to watch.

Unfortunately, Wochit Entertainment reports on July 25, 2016, “Lindsay Lohan called police around 5 a.m., claiming that her fiancé Egor Tarabasov was trying to kill her. A neighbor caught a video of Lohan making the call on her balcony and the video shows Lohan yelling, ‘He just strangled me. He almost killed me.’ Police arrived at the apartment ten minutes later but no one was inside of the apartment. Police made no arrests and said no crime was committed. Less than 24 hours later Lohan was spotted with a friend and she began hinting at a pregnancy on her social media accounts.”

The story continues to develop as the troubled celebrity seems intent on making her private life public.

Hopefully, for Lohan, this latest hitch in life will be short-lived and future news will revolve around happier times.

Who’s your mama?

Are You My Mother

Are You My Mother?” is a beloved Beginner Book by P.D. Eastman published back in June 1960. The picture-filled classic targets nascent readers who are just learning how to read by engaging sympathy for a baby bird who happened to hatch while his mother was away.

Searchers today, however, are not birds. They are not limiting their hunt to a fictional mother, but are looking for information, a connection to their own history. Unlike in times past, exploring one’s ancestry is no longer limited to word-of-mouth, birth certificates, shipping manifests, and marriage records. At least that’s how the advertisements go.

What is increasingly popular is the DNA swab test.

A quick Google search reveals, “The SwabTest DNA paternity test is fast, simple, and painless. DNA is collected using special swabs called ‘buccal swabs.’ The buccal swabs are rubbed gently on the inner cheek inside the mouth to collect DNA. Buccal swabs are painless and can be used to collect samples from individuals at any age.”

The expectation is that just one swab will open the past, giving the individual the means to unlock the mystery of grandma’s closet wherein what grandma says can be confirmed. Or dismissed. Are you of Northern European descent? Are you Native American Indian? Are you African or the issue of some South Pacific Islander?

“Genetic ancestry tests mostly hype, scientists say,” according to LiveScience.

“If a test-taker is just interested in finding out where there are some people in the world that share the same DNA as them, then these tests can certainly tell them that,” said Deborah Bolnick of the University of Texas in Austin. “But they’re not going to tell you every place or every group in the world where people share your DNA. Nor will they necessarily be able to tell you exactly where your ancestors lived or [what race or social group] they identified with.”

So watch as a man with pure Nigerian ancestry tested the DNA test:

Looks like he got precisely what he was looking for!

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