SeniorMania Blog

The Very Best Travel Discounts For Those Over 50

The next time you travel, ask about a “senior discount.” You may discover there are fabulous perks to reaching those milestone birthdays. Many hotels, restaurants, transportation companies, entertainment venues and big-box stores offer age-related discounts, although they’re often not publicized.

It’s no wonder travel companies seek opportunities to woo older travelers. U.S. News & World Report recently reported that boomers control 70 percent of all disposable income in the United States. Moreover, older travelers are likely to have more time to travel. A report by AARP found that boomer travelers anticipate taking four or five trips a year.

Whether you are traveling in the U.S. or abroad, here are some tips for finding age-related discounts to whittle down the costs of your next vacation:

Check Websites and Make Calls
When planning a trip, check the sites of the travel-related companies you’re considering using. Many have special pages with information about age-related discounts (often called “senior discounts”) available through a search or a pop-up box that let you insert your age when booking to obtain a lower rate.

If you can’t find a written discount policy online (sometimes it isn’t there and sometimes it’s simply hard to find), call and ask if you are eligible for a price break due to your age. Some airlines, for example, only offer such discounts on the phone, not online.

Ask a Travel Agent
Finding age-related discounts can be challenging and time-consuming. And because these offers change (and disappear) frequently, websites compiling them and travel guides aren’t always accurate or up-to-date.

With the complexity of do-it-yourself trip planning and booking, many midlife travelers are once again using travel agents. Experienced travel advisers often know about specific discounts and are able to compare them to other promotions.

Read the Fine Print
My optimistic husband always says that “older is better” and that certainly is the case when it comes to age-related discounts. Determine whether you meet the eligibility age for a senior discount. These vary widely, with some discounts available to those age 50, 55, 59, 60, 62, 65 and over.

Be sure to read the policies for securing the discount, too. You may be required to ask for the lower rate at the time of booking or purchase. The discounts may have blackout dates or only be available on certain days of the week. Hotel rooms offers may be on a space-available basis, with only a limited number of rooms at the special rate.

Moreover, age-related discounts usually can’t be combined with other promotions.

Consider Joining AARP
The AARP Member Travel Benefits website is a web portal cataloging an extensive number of member discounts that AARP has negotiated with hotel chains, car rental companies, cruise lines, tour and rail operators, restaurants, entertainment venues and more — typically ranging between 5 and 25 percent.

AARP also offers a Member Advantages Offer Finder app for iPhone, iPad or Android devices that enable travelers to find nearby offers and discounts, and to download a digital version of their AARP identification cards.

To join AARP, you need to be age 50 or older and pay an annual membership fee of $16 per year.

Carry Your ID Cards
Although you may not be required to produce proof of age to get a discount, come prepared with a valid driver’s license, photo ID or Medicare or AARP card. Some offers require signing up for a free senior membership ahead of time.

Comparison Shop
Even when senior discounts are available, don’t necessarily assume that they’re the best deal you can get from the purveyor. For example, a “two for one” cruise deal may be cheaper than booking a discounted senior fare.

Also, older travelers often have the advantage of being able to travel during shoulder seasons, when airfare and hotel rates are lower than the senior rates, or they can rearrange the timing of their trips to take advantage of special deals.

Just Ask
Most importantly: Since there is a certain randomness to the availability of these discounts, don’t be embarrassed to ask for one.

Even within national chains, individual stores may have different policies. When my friend was packing for a trip to the west coast, she discovered she could purchase designer jeans at a TJ Maxx in Delray Beach, Fla., with a 10 percent senior discount, available throughout that particular store on Mondays. Keep your ears open and ask budget-conscious friends about their finds.

Don’t know what to ask for? Check out the following examples of age-related travel discounts available in spring 2016. This list is intended to be illustrative, not exhaustive, and some may no longer be available.

Hotel Deals
At Hyatt properties, those 62-plus save up to 50 percent on the Hyatt Daily Rate at participating hotels and resorts in the continental U.S. and Canada.

On a space available basis, Marriott International offers discounts of 15 percent and more to those 62-plus at over 4,000 properties worldwide.

At Wyndham Hotel Group Hotels, guests 60-plus can request senior discounts of up to 10 percent off the Best Available Rate.

Guests 59-plus can take advantage of a 10 percent senior discount at the 425 Red Roof Inn locations across the U.S. The senior rate option is listed on the booking page.

In Spain, Paradores Hotels offers Golden Days Promotion discounts on rooms (10 percent) and breakfast (30 percent) to those 55-plus.

Transportation Deals
Along with other perks and amenities, most U.S. airlines, car rental firms and bus companies have done away with senior discounts, but there are a few available:

Southwest Senior Fares for those 65-plus, available on both domestic and international flights, offer the advantage of being fully refundable.

According to the Delta Air Lines site, senior discounts are available “in certain markets” with additional information available only by phone.

Although there are some exceptions, Amtrak travelers 62-plus are eligible to receive a 15 percent discount on the lowest available rail fare. On cross-border services operated jointly by Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada, a 10 percent discount for those 60-plus applies.

Those 65-plus can apply for a Reduced-Fare MetroCard for half-price fares on MTA subways and buses in New York City, but, as with many other local transportation systems, including BART in San Francisco, they may need to file an application in advance.

Hertz offers a special 50 Plus Car Rental Deal discount code to renters 50-plus.

Greyhound Bus Lines offers a 5 percent discount to those 62-plus on passenger fares to a network of more than 3,800 destinations on their own buses and participating connecting bus companies.

Restaurant Deals
Some restaurant chains offer senior discounts, but these are highly variable. They may be on certain days of the week, vary by location within the same chain, or be limited to certain senior menus. A few examples:

At some franchised restaurants, like Applebee’s, discount decisions are made locally.

IHOP offers a menu that is specially “proportioned and priced” for those 55-plus.

Old Country Buffet has a 60-plus club membership with discounts and complimentary extras.

Attractions and Entertainment Deals
U.S. citizens over age 62 can buy a lifetime Senior Pass for $20 that includes entry to the 59 national parks and more than more than 2,000 other recreational facilities managed by the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition, the Tennessee Valley Authority honors the Senior Pass for entrance or camping discounts.

Many museums offer age-related discounts. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Philadelphia Museum of Art offer discounted admissions for those 65-plus, as does the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum for those 62-plus.

Admissions at the Minnesota Zoo are discounted for those 62-plus.

On Wednesdays, Station Casinos offer “My Generation” deals on dining, gaming, movies, bowling and more ”Young and Fun Day” with up to 20 percent off spa and salon services and 25 percent discounts on certain shows, and more for those 55-plus.

Those 65-plus get discounts at the Mob Museum and Neon Museum in Las Vegas.

At AMC Theatres, discounted tickets are available to patrons 60-plus.

My Grandmother Found The Love Of Her Life At Ninety

“I have a boyfriend,” said Grandma over the telephone. It was August of 2016, and I was pretending to be in Arizona although I had in fact moved to Istanbul. For years Grandma had been saying that I should stop travelling to Turkey because it was “a very dangerous place.” Having decided that the truth wasn’t worth her worries over coup attempts, mass arrests and repeated bombings (okay, maybe she was just a little bit right), I’d immediately turned the conversation to Grandma’s news. I wasn’t expecting, of course, that her life had suddenly become more interesting than mine.

“He’s ninety-three,” she declared. “And such a gentleman.”

“I thought you didn’t want one of those?”

(A year after Grandpa died, I’d told her to get a boyfriend. She’d reacted as if I’d suggested the purchase of a straitjacket. “What would I want one of those for? I’ve got a dog!”)

“Things happen,” said Grandma.

“Oh?”

“Our caregiver introduced us two months ago.”

“Is he a friend or a boyfriend?”

“A boyfriend, definitely,” she said with a joyous tone I’d only heard her use once before, just after she adopted her dog, a sweet poodle mix named Fifi. “He takes me out to dinner a couple times a week.”

“Do you hold hands?”

“No. It’s not convenient. We both have canes.”

I proudly told my coworkers about Grandma’s relationship. They said, “Isn’t that cute? She has a companion.” Everyone assumed that the relationship would continue thus: romantically platonic. But I hoped for more.

Grandma was born in Brooklyn in 1926, married in 1945, and widowed in 2010. She no longer drives and complains that email and Skype are too difficult but still lives alone in New York and Florida townhouses. As a child, I spent a lot of time with her, partly because I liked it, partly because my parents wanted to offload me and partly because I was to serve as the female child that Grandma had longed to have instead of four sons. (When my father called to announce my birth, she exclaimed, “I’ve finally got my girl!”) While I was in primary school, Grandma and I sewed doll clothes on her Singer, gathered string beans and tomatoes from her garden, watched romantic movies while eating buttered popcorn, and played with makeup and nail polish. I also watched her paint still life watercolors, a hobby that substituted for the romance she wished she had had instead of her strained marriage. Even at the age of ten, as I listened to my grandparents’ arguments from the back seat of Grandpa’s caddie, I wondered why they didn’t just get a divorce already. And so, after Grandma was widowed, I could almost understand how Fifi the dog could seem superior to a husband.

But after Fifi’s newness faded, Grandma became increasingly cranky. When I visited her in Florida for a weekend in 2015, hoping for some meaningful conversations about her life, she was only interested in the weekend’s to-do list. On Sunday afternoon, she threw a fit because I’d clogged her garbage disposal with kale stems. “Don’t you have a disposal at home?” she shouted. “Don’t you know that you can never ever put greens in it?”

“Actually, I put kale stems in my disposal all the time—”

“Go to your room!” she bellowed.

“I’m thirty-nine,” I said.

“Don’t sass-mouth me!”

I grabbed the dog leash and called Fifi instead of fulfilling my sentence. While walking, I remembered my uncle saying that Grandma had struggled with depression for most of her life. At one point, probably in her thirties, she’d become so despondent that she’d walked out of her New York house barefoot, wearing only a nightgown in the middle of winter. This knowledge helped me maintain a contracted patience during Grandma’s continued muttering about the horrors of the clogged disposal (even after it was fixed). On Monday morning, a few minutes before I left for the airport, Grandma apologized for her outburst. I kissed her forehead and said, “It’s ok.” But I didn’t promise any future visits.

Trying to put this incident aside, I sent Grandma a copy of my favorite novel, Love in the Time of Cholera (geriatric romance, hint, hint). When I asked what she thought of it, she said, “Not really my thing. I prefer Danielle Steel.” So we couldn’t spend a weekend in the same house; our literary tastes didn’t agree; and she obstinately refused even the possibility of a boyfriend. But if Grandma was into Danielle, it meant that she hadn’t given up on love. And that was why I was so thrilled with her August 2016 boyfriend announcement.

In September, I called for updates. Boyfriend had started using his cane on the left so that they could hold hands while walking into restaurants. The week prior, he had driven Grandma home from dinner, seen her to the door, and given her a photo of himself. At their next meeting, she gave him her photo. In 1940s etiquette, this exchange meant exclusivity. In October, Grandma said her beau had started coming into the house for a cup of decaf after their dinner dates. “And he’s quite a kisser, I’ll tell you, but the other day he tried something I wasn’t ready for.”

“Details,” I said.

“I’m not telling,” she replied.

“What are you afraid of, Grandma? Getting pregnant?”

“I’m not ready. We haven’t been going that long.”

I found Grandma’s antiquated slang adorable. She and Boyfriend weren’t dating. They were going.

“Grandma, he might think you aren’t interested.”

“But I don’t know if I want that.”

“Who doesn’t want that? Count yourself lucky you’ve found a man who still can.”

“He can wait.”

“At ninety-three? Listen, Grandma, maybe I could teach you a few things—”

“Maybe I could teach you a few things!”

When I called in November, Grandma told me she’d bought Boyfriend a new suit because she wanted to take him to the family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Even though everyone else would be casual, Grandma insisted on being accompanied by a well-appointed man. I remembered her arguments with Grandpa about his old “dungarees” and terrible barber. Thankfully, Boyfriend was more compliant.

For Christmas, Boyfriend gave Grandma a silver and diamond necklace. Smart man: the way to Grandma’s QVC-addicted heart has always been jewelry. For his present, Grandma took him shoe shopping (she hated his “god-awful” loafers) and also invited him to sleep over at her place. “We’re so in love!” she told me on our Christmas Eve call.

“Did you buy lingerie?” I asked.

“At my age? Are you kidding me? He’ll be happy with what he’s got.”

“Does he take Viagra?”

“No. Says he doesn’t need it.”

I called her the day after Christmas. “Well? Did you?”

“No. He had diarrhea. The big night is postponed to my birthday.”

While I was at lunch on December 29th in Istanbul, Grandma’s ninetieth birthday party was just finishing up in New York. I received photos of a beaming couple on my iPhone: Grandma, dressed in an elegant pink outfit that she herself made decades ago, was sitting in an armchair; well-suited Boyfriend was leaning on the chair back. The best way to take a photo without canes, obviously. I showed the pics to my motley group of Greek, Turkish, Armenian, and Arab coworkers. They marveled at this ageless love affair, especially since Grandma is in better shape at ninety than most Middle Eastern women at seventy-five.

A few days later, I made another phone call, this time to Florida. “Did you finally do it?”

“Sort of. It was late after the party, and we’d had too much wine. But it was good, whatever it was. He drove me to the airport the next morning. It was so hard to say goodbye! We’re talking three or four times a day on FaceTime.”

“You learned how to use FaceTime?”

“Yep. On my iPad. By the way, I bought some cute nighties and a black lace bra and underpants.”

“Thong?”

“Don’t push it.”

I heard kids screaming. “Where are you?” I said.

“Walgreen’s. His ninety-fourth is next week. I’m picking out a card.”

“Get two, Grandma. One sexy and one romantic.”

“Ok. You know, I should have done this boyfriend thing a long time ago.”

“Don’t you remember I suggested it after Grandpa died? You said no way.”

“Well, you were right. It’s a good life.”

I called again on Valentine’s Day, knowing that Boyfriend had just arrived for a two-week visit. “I bet you’re having a better Valentine’s Day than I am,” I said to Grandma.

She sassily replied, “I bet I am, too.”

A man asked, “Who is it?”

“My oldest granddaughter. The one who tells me to buy sexy underwear.”

Boyfriend took the phone. “Hey, Nektaria,” he said. “I’ve got to thank you for the lingerie help.”

“No problem. I’ll keep working on it until she gets a thong.”

“Looking forward to it.”

“And I have to thank you for making Grandma so happy,” I said. “She’s a different person.”

He laughed. “Well, not too many people our age get to have a romance. Anyway, let’s meet soon. I’ll tell you stories about your grandmother that you’ve never heard.”

This was an offer I couldn’t refuse. “I promise to visit as soon as I can,” I said.

Source”
By Nektaria Petrou
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-love-of-her-life-at-ninety_b_58f5b120e4b04cae050dca7b

When Family Members Care for Aging Parents

My siblings and I joined the ranks of the 15 million or so unpaid and untrained family caregivers for older adults in the United States.

I hadn’t realized how quickly my father’s mind was fading until one morning a few years ago when he asked me why he was taking only six medications per day. “What will I take on the seventh day?” he wanted to know.

My mother, who had been given a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, had been in decline for some time and could be of limited help. Anti-Parkinson’s medications helped to relieve her muscle rigidity, but her condition had continued to worsen.

So we pressed my father to retire his professorship so that the two of them could move from Fargo, N.D., to Long Island to live closer to me and my brother. When my parents arrived, it was alarming how much their conditions had deteriorated.

My father was forgetful; my mother required assistance with walking. The friend who helped them move took me aside after they arrived. “They have to have hope,” she said.

“Hope for what?” I asked.

“That one day they will be able to do the things they can’t right now.”

We wanted our parents to live independently in their own home, which meant that my siblings and I were going to have to chip in to help. It was a small price to pay, we thought. When my sister visited from Minneapolis, she bathed and dressed my mother. I administered their medications and helped with groceries. My brother took care of household issues. Still, my parents’ home, like my parents themselves, was in a constant state of disrepair.

That summer, my siblings and I joined the ranks of the 15 million or so unpaid and untrained family caregivers for older adults in this country. A recent study found that almost half of this largely invisible work force spends, on average, nearly 30 hours a week providing care to relatives, many of whom have dementia, an estimated more than $400 billion worth of annual unpaid time.

The work takes its toll. These sons, daughters, husbands and wives are at increased risk of developing depression, as well as physical and financial difficulties, including loss of job productivity. Being sick and elderly in this country can be terrifying. Having a sick and elderly loved one is often a full-time job.

As the workload increased, we hired help, as much for ourselves as for our parents. But after some items were stolen, we realized we had to be more careful about whom we allowed into our parents’ home. Older adults in this country lose almost $3 billion a year to theft and financial fraud. Nearly every week my father instructed us to donate money to someone who had sent him a generic email appeal. It fell on us to keep our parents from being exploited.

With millions of elderly adults requiring assistance with daily living, physicians should make it routine practice to ask family members whether they can provide the requisite care. Many of these potential caregivers, ill or stressed themselves, simply cannot.

Insurers should also set aside funds to support these caregivers. Family members are often the people most invested in the care of their loved ones. Supporting them will only benefit our most vulnerable citizens. It won’t be cheap, of course. Because of the size of this unpaid family work force, even providing minimum wage to the most taxed caregivers could cost up to $100 billion annually.

In 2015, Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, announced a $67.5 million grant to help ease the burden of informal caregivers of dementia patients in the state. The money pays for counseling, support groups and a 24-hour hotline. It also subsidizes the hiring of friends and neighbors at $15 an hour so that family members can enjoy occasional respite from the strain of caregiving. Several other states, including North Carolina, North Dakota, Minnesota and Vermont, have similar programs but on a much smaller scale. Much more needs to be done nationally.

Though our parents’ independent living required a steadily increasing commitment, there was no dearth of moments to remind us that it was worth it. I once called my father to tell him I was going to stop by the house later to talk about a change in one of her medications that her doctor had suggested.

When we ended the conversation, he forgot to hang up the phone. I heard him turn on the TV, which was playing a popular Hindi film song.

“Will you listen to some music with me?” he asked my mother. She did not reply. “Come on, hold my hand,” he said.

“No one has any use for me,” I heard my mother say.

“I do,” my father said. “The kids do. Here, hold my hand and dance with me.”


Original Source:
Sandeep Jauhar / nytimes.com

Makeup and Styling Tips You Wish Knew Earlier

Only women who love makeup would understand how much crucial it is for them to get the winged eyeliner right or to make the perfect contouring. Makeup is indeed an art and if you want to nail every look, you need to learn and practice well. Every girl, needs to admit this that putting on makeup especially when you’re in a hurry can be a cumbersome task. The winged eyeliner may not come perfect, the eye shadow can refuse to blend and you might end up looking like a complete mess. So, for the busy girl that you are, here are few makeup tips you wish you knew earlier:

1. Use plastic spoon while applying mascara. It will help you to apply the mascara evenly with out clumping and there will be zero chances of your mascara getting transferred to the skin under your eyes, thus giving you perfect lashes.

2. To nail that perfect cat eyes, try the scotch tape technique. Apply a strip of the scotch tape from the outer corner of the eye to the end so as it makes a 90 degree angle. Apply liner along the edge of the line and remove the tape. You will get a perfected winged liner. You can also apply eye shadow in this technique for a seamless look.

3. When the mascara begins to dry out, it forms ugly lumps every time we try to apply it. When you are in a hurry and have no time to get another mascara, just use this trick: Apply few drops of eye drops in to the tube of mascara and rub the wand inside it and you’re mascara will be usable again.

4. Make your eyes appear bigger by tight lining the eyes with a white liner and then applying a black eyeliner underneath.

5. To make your eye shadow look visible you should always use a primer. But what can you do if you run out of an eye primer? Just apply a white eyeliner on your eyelids followed by applying your favorite eye shadow and make it pop.

6. Heat your eyelash curler with a hair dryer for faster curl and longer stay.

Now that you are aware of the makeup tips you wish you knew earlier, get ready to experiment and do not worry about messing up your makeup even on a busy day. Go ahead and doll up the way you want!

15 Great Pizza Restaurants That You Must Visit

Pizza is about as varied and beloved a genre, as opinionated a subject, and also as accessible a food as there is, which makes determining the country’s best pizzas a truly challenging task.

Yes, pizza is tough to rank responsibly. But once again, that’s just what The Daily Meal set out to do.

1. Frank Pepe’s, New Haven, Conn. (White Clam)

If you want to discuss the loaded topic of America’s best pizza with any authority, you have to make a pilgrimage to this legendary New Haven pizzeria. Frank Pepe opened his doors in Wooster Square in New Haven, Conn., in 1925, offering classic Napoletana-style pizza. After immigrating to the United States in 1909 at the age of 16 from Italy, Pepe took odd jobs before opening his restaurant (now called “The Spot,” next door to the larger operation). Since its conception, Pepe’s has opened an additional seven locations.

What should you order at this checklist destination? Two words: clam pie (“No muzz!”). This is a Northeastern pizza genre unto its own, and Pepe’s is the best of them all — freshly shucked, briny littleneck clams, an intense dose of garlic, olive oil, oregano and grated parmesan atop a charcoal-colored crust. The advanced move? Clam pie with bacon. Just expect to wait in line if you get there after 11:30 a.m. on a weekend.

2. Di Fara, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Di Fara Classic Pie)

Domenico DeMarco is a local celebrity, having owned and operated Di Fara since 1964. Dom cooks both New York and Sicilian-style pizza Wednesday through Sunday (noon to 4:30 p.m., and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.) for hungry New Yorkers and tourists willing to wait in long lines, and brave the free-for-all that is the Di Fara counter experience. Yes, you’re better off getting a whole pie than shelling out for the $5 slice. Yes, it’s a trek, and sure, Dom goes through periods where the underside of the pizza can trend toward overdone, but when he’s on, Di Fara can make a very strong case for being America’s best pizza. If you want to understand why before visiting, watch the great video about Di Fara called The Best Thing I Ever Done. You can’t go wrong with the classic round or square cheese pie (topped with oil-marinated hot peppers, which you can ladle on at the counter if you elbow in), but the menu’s signature is the Di Fara Classic Pie: mozzarella, parmesan, plum tomato sauce, basil, sausage, peppers, mushroom, onion, and of course, a drizzle of olive oil by Dom.

3. Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix (Marinara)

“There’s no mystery to my pizza,” Bronx native Chris Bianco was quoted as saying in The New York Times. “Sicilian oregano, organic flour, San Marzano tomatoes, purified water, mozzarella I learned to make at Mike’s Deli in the Bronx, sea salt, fresh yeast cake and a little bit of yesterday’s dough. In the end great pizza, like anything else, is all about balance. It’s that simple.” Try telling that to the legions of pizza pilgrims who have made trip to the storied Phoenix pizza spot he opened more than 20 years ago. The restaurant serves not only addictive thin-crust pizzas but also fantastic antipasto (involving wood-oven-roasted vegetables), perfect salads and homemade country bread. The wait, once routinely noted as one of the worst for food in the country, has been improved by Pizzeria Bianco opening for lunch, and the opening of Trattoria Bianco, the pizza prince of Arizona’s Italian restaurant in the historic Town & Country Shopping Center (about 10 minutes from the original). This is another case where any pie will likely be better than most you’ve had in your life (that Rosa with red onions and pistachios!), but the signature Marinara will recalibrate your pizza baseline forever: tomato sauce, oregano, and garlic (no cheese).

4. Una Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco (Margherita)

When Anthony Mangieri, pizzaiolo for the East Village’s Una Pizza Napoletana, closed in 2009 “to make a change,” move West, and open somewhere he could get “a chance to use his outrigger canoe and mountain bike more often,” it was the ultimate insult to New Yorkers. You’re taking one of the city’s favorite Neapolitan pizzerias, defecting to a temperate climate, to people who denigrate New York’s Mexican food? So you can canoe and mountain bike? Traitor! Good for Mangieri, and good for San Franciscans, who inherited one of the country’s best Neapolitan pies (if only Wednesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. until they’re “out of dough”). A thin crust with chewy cornicione, a sauce that’s tart and alive, an appropriate ratio of cheese … you could almost imagine yourself at the pantheon to pizza in Naples: Da Michele, a place where the pizza is poetry and pizza poetry is on the wall. Mangieri harkens that same ethos on his website — check out the pizza poem “Napoli” — and delivers the edible version to his patrons. There are only five pies, all $25 (a $5 hike since last year), plus a special Saturday-only pie, the Apollonia, made with eggs, parmigiano-reggiano, buffalo mozzarella, salami, extra-virgin olive oil, basil, garlic, sea salt and black pepper. But when you’re this close to godliness, you don’t need extras. Keep it simple with the margherita (San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil ,fresh basil, sea salt, tomato sauce) and know the good.

5. Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles (squash blossoms, tomato, burrata)

Renowned baker and chef Nancy Silverton teamed up with Italian culinary moguls Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich to open Osteria Mozza, a Los Angeles hot spot where the famous clientele pales in comparison to the innovative, creative fare. The pizzeria, which is attached to the main restaurant, offers a variety of Italian specialties, from antipasti to bruschetta, but the Neapolitan-style pizzas steal the show. Their list of 21 pies ranges from $11 for a simple aglio e olio, a classic cheese pizza, to $23 for a more unique pie with squash blossoms, tomato, and burrata cheese — a delicious and simple pizza that transports through the quality and nuance of its ingredients. So it’s no surprise that Batali and Bastianich have taken a stab at duplicating the success of this model pizzeria, opening in Newport Beach, Singapore (!), and soon, San Diego.

6. Roberta’s, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Margherita)

Say Roberta’s is in the new class of restaurants that has fanned the flames of the Brooklyn vs. Manhattan debate, call it a great pizza joint, recall it as a frontrunner of the city’s rooftop garden movement, and mention that Carlo Mirarchi was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine, and you’d still be selling it short. Roberta’s is in Bushwick six stops out of Manhattan on the L, and it’s one of the city’s best restaurants (it even serves one of the city’s hardest-to-score tasting menus). In Bushwick! Pizza may not be the only thing at Roberta’s, but its Neapolitan pies are at the high end of the debate about the city’s best (and according to an interview with the blog Slice, inspired another great pizzeria on this list, Paulie Gee’s). Yes, some of them have names like “Family Jewels,” “Barely Legal,” and – after disgraced New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Wiener – “Carlos Danger,” but you can afford not to take yourself seriously in an environment where Brooklyn hipsters and everyone else tolerate each other when your pizza is this good. As much as the Amatriciana and the Bee Sting (when Roberta’s goes mobile) may tempt, the Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, basil) is Roberta’s pizza Lothario.

7. Sally’s Apizza, New Haven, Conn. (Tomato Pie)

Sally’s Apizza is a New Haven classic, operating from the same location where they opened in the late 1930s in New Haven’s Wooster Square. Their pizza is traditionally thin-crust, topped with tomato sauce, garlic and “mozz.” The pies look pretty similar to what you’ll find down the street at Frank Pepe, which any New Haven pizza believer will note is because the man who opened Sally’s is the nephew of the owner of Pepe. The folks at Sally’s will be the first to tell you that Pepe makes a better clam pie, but their tomato pie (tomato sauce, no cheese), well, they have the original beat there.

8. Flour + Water, San Francisco (Margherita)

Although this San Francisco restaurant claims to specialize in house-made pastas, their pizza is formidable. Baked in a wood-fired oven, the thin-crust pizza at Flour + Water blends Old World tradition with modern refinement, according to chef and co-owner Thomas McNaughton. Pizza toppings vary depending on what’s in season, making each dining experience unique, but Flour + Water’s textbook Margherita is amazing. Heirloom tomatoes, basil, fior di latte, and extra-virgin olive oil … if only the simplicity implied by the restaurant’s name could be duplicated in pizzerias across the country.

9. Motorino, New York City (Brussels Sprout)

Some spaces are cursed. Others? Blessed. When Anthony Mangieri shuttered Una Pizza Napoletana at 349 East 12th St. and headed West, Mathieu Palombino took over the lease, renamed the space Motorino, and the East Village pizza scene hardly skipped a beat. Motorino offers a handful of spirited pies, including one with cherry stone clams; another with stracciatella, raw basil and Gaeta olives; and the cremini mushroom with fior di latte, sweet sausage and garlic. But contrary to every last fiber of childhood memory you hold dear, the move is the Brussels Sprout pie (fior di latte, garlic, Pecorino, smoked pancetta and olive oil), something both Hong Kong natives and Brooklynites can now attest to since Palombino opened (and reopened) his Asian and Williamsburg outposts earlier in 2013.

10. Al Forno, Providence, R.I. (Margarita)

On South Main Street in the heart of Providence, R.I., Al Forno offers a quintessential Italian dining experience for those who can’t afford the flight. Husband-and-wife owner-chefs George Germon and Johanne Killeen received the Insegna del Ristorante Italiano from the Italian government, a rare honor for Americans, attributable to their informed passion for pasta along with their invention of the grilled pizza. The restaurant bakes their pies in wood-burning ovens as well as on grills over hardwood charcoal fire. Their most notable grilled pizza? The Margarita. It’s served with fresh herbs, pomodoro, two cheeses and extra-virgin olive oil.

11. Modern Apizza, New Haven, Conn. (Italian Bomb)

Established in 1934 as State Street Pizza, Modern’s coal-fired brick oven puts out pizza in the same thin-crust style. It’s likely that you’ll hear it spoken about as the place “the locals go instead of Pepe’s and Sally’s.” That may be so. The atmosphere is great — wood paneling, friendly servers, a clean feeling — but it doesn’t play third-string just because it’s not on Wooster. Modern’s pies are a little topping-heavy with less structural integrity. Given the focus on toppings, the iconic Italian Bomb is the pie to try: bacon, sausage, pepperoni, garlic, mushroom, onion and pepper.

12. Totonno’s, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Margherita)

By all accounts, Totonno’s shouldn’t be around anymore. Consider first that it was opened in Coney Island in 1924 (by Antonio “Totonno” Pero, a Lombardi’s alum). Then factor in the fire that broke out in the coal storage area and ravaged the place in 2009. Add to that insult the destruction (and some reported $150,000 in repairs) incurred in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy when 4 feet of water destroyed everything inside the family-owned institution. You’ll probably agree that Brooklyn (and the country) should be counting its lucky stars Totonno’s is still around. And yet it does more than that.

It doesn’t just keep a storied pizza name, or nostalgia for simpler times (and perhaps more authentic and consistent pies) alive. No. Owners Antoinette Balzano, Frank Balzano and Louise “Cookie” Ciminieri don’t just bridge our modern era’s festishizing of pizza to the days of its inception at Lombardi’s. The coal-fired blistered edges, the spotty mozzarella laced over that beautiful red sauce … ah, fuggedabout all the teary-eyed try-too-much words, this is Neptune Avenue! This is Brooklyn! This is Totonno’s. And this, is how you make pizza.

13. Paulie Gee’s, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Regina)

With a love for pizza, little formal training, without finishing high school, with a career he has characterized as having “masqueraded as a computer geek,” and a fear of becoming Shelley Levene from “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Paulie Giannone struck out into the unknown, to Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He ventured there before “Girls,” before the condos, in a time when the dream of a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment a 10-minute walk from the subway to Manhattan on the Polish word-of-mouth, no-lease real estate wire still went for less than $2,000.

This backyard do-it-yourselfing pizza passionista put it all on the line and earned every kind word he’s gotten. Greenpoint isn’t much to look at, but Paulie Gee’s is a pizza lover’s home, a clean, rustic space that looks like a barn but puts out a pie to rival every Naples memory you’ve had or dreamed of having. There are some 19 pies, all great in their own right and featuring clever names and great topping combinations — In Ricotta Da Vita, Ricotta Be Kiddin’, and the Luca Brasi (no anchovies) — but when The Daily Meal checked in with the pizzeria, the Regina was the pie noted as the signature: mozzarella, tomatoes, pecorino romano, olive oil and fresh basil. And panelists agreed that Paulie’s Regina well deserved a top spot among America’s 20 best pizzas.

14. Apizza Scholls, Portland, Ore. (Apizza Amore)

Apizza Scholls has some of the best pizza in Portland, and some have argued, north of San Francisco — and that’s using an electric oven! But they do have some guidelines for patrons interested in composing their own topping combinations on their 18-inch pies: only three ingredients, and no more than two meats per pie. So choose wisely from a list of toppings that in addition to classics like anchovies, red onions, garlic, pepperoni, sausage and basil includes capicollo, house-cured Canadian bacon, cotto salami, arugula, jalapeño and pepperoncini. Heads-up: bacon is “not offered for build your own toppings.” If you aren’t up to building your own pie, there are 10 classics to choose from, including the signature Apizza Amore: margherita with capicollo (cured pork shoulder). The signature Amore features a spicy kick offset a bit by the somewhat sweet mozzarella and balanced sauce. That’s amore!

15. South Brooklyn Pizza, New York City (New York Style)

Quick, who makes New York City’s best slice? That’s a tricky question. While known as a great pizza city, New York’s state of the slice isn’t what it you’d think, especially while it’s in the grip of the Neapolitan craze and $0.99-cardboard drunk food (you’d almost prefer D.C.’s jumbo slice). But there’s hope in the form of the East Village’s South Brooklyn Pizza, where owner Jim McGown espouses a conventional gas oven that gives the upskirt a slight char that seems just right. A slice of the signature New York Style pizza takes time (on average, up to 10 minutes), but it’s worth the wait. The San Marzano sauce is neither too sweet nor acidic and is topped with layers of thin, ovoid mozzarella slices, dotted with fontina cubes and finished with a generous drizzle of olive oil, basil and grated pecorino or Grana Padano. The thin crust cracks, but carries the cheese and sauce all the way up the slice, tangy bite after bite. No, the idea of a $4 slice doesn’t sit right, and blame Di Fara if you want (it’s arguably as good if just as inconsistent) but in a world of dollar slices that don’t, South Brooklyn does.

13 Great Apps For Older Adults

Staying fit is a vital part to taking care of yourself as you grow older. Being healthy means a lot of things: exercising, keeping track of the exercise, eating right, etc. It’s a lot to keep track of, but when you need assistance there are now numerous health apps available to guide you.

Urgent Care (Free on the Android and iPhone)
Urgent Care is a medical app that allows you to connect with registered nurses 24/7. It also comes with a Symptom Checker, a medical dictionary, and provides service in Spanish or English. It can also put you in touch with a board-certified doctor if the situation demands it, who is there to give advice, diagnosis, or prescribe common meds over the phone. In case of a medical emergency, it’s nice to have access to health professionals in hand.

Argus (Free on the iPhone)
Argus is a charming mix between your personal trainer and your stalker. The app tracks almost everything you do throughout the day and night: every step, snore, bite, and cycle. While the app takes in your daily routine, it produces a comprehensive health chart to help you reach your health goals and improve your overall wellness. With Argus acting as your personal health journal, you might find some unhealthy tendencies you weren’t even aware of.

Relax Melodies (free on the iPhone and Android)
As our bodies get older, it becomes harder to get a good night’s sleep. Sleeplessness can range from tossing and turning to suffering from insomnia (LINK TO INSOMNIA POST), and disrupt your daylight hours. The Relax Melodies app was made to make falling asleep easier. With the app you can choose an assortment of different soothing sounds and create a mix to listen to as you fall asleep. You can create thousands of different white noises and relaxing melodies, or choose from one of the eight that comes with the app. The timer system turns the mix off for you at the allotted time so you can fall asleep without worrying about getting up again to turn it off.

Whole Foods Market Recipes (Free for the iPhone)
Part of staying healthy is making sure you’re getting the right nutrients into your system, and avoiding the unhealthy options. Figuring out what healthy foods to make a meal of can feel constricting, but the Whole Foods Market Recipes app has over 3000 recipes to browse through. You can search by course, cuisine, or special diet. If you find a recipe you like, you can save it as a favorite, rate it, and even add your own photo after you make it. The app helps you make a shopping list for the ingredients, or find recipes based on the food you already have at home. Maintaining a healthy diet is a lot easier with an app that brings the recipes to you.

Lumosity (Free for the iPhone)
Like any other muscle, the brain needs to be exercised. During your senior years, the brain needs to be additionally stimulated to help with memory and focus. Lumosity is the app to do that. Designed by neuroscientists, the app uses seven games to improve your cognitive abilities such as attention, processing speed, flexibility, and problem solving. On your “brain profile” you can track your progress through games like “Penguin Pursuit”, which only take 15-20 minutes a day to complete. With Lumosity, you can play games on your phone that actually make you smarter.

Symple ($2.99 for the iPhone)
The invention of the internet has done nothing to help hypochondriacs – now anyone can look up their headaches and sneezes online and find a terrifying illness to correlate with them. But what about when our symptoms might be a real concern? It can be hard to keep track of the random headaches and shoulder pains, which is where Symple comes in. Symple keeps track of your symptoms, allowing you to keep track of up to 20 at once. You can organize your notes, photos, exercise, and the medications you are taking. Once you’ve gathered enough data, the app can export the information on to your doctor.

Garmin Fit ($0.99 for the iPhone and Android)
Exercise is a great way to keep you various systems in check: heart, lungs, immunity, etc. The Garmin Fit app helps you keep track of your daily exercise routine. The app keeps a record of how long you run, how far the distance, the calories you have burned, and your speed. After looking at your running history on the app, you’ll be more motivated to keep up the routine. The app also comes with a soundtrack for your runs, and a map of your exercise route. With Garmin, you’ll have all of the encouragement you need to keep up a healthy routine right in your pocket.

Calm (free on the iPhone and Android)
Calm is a meditation app that will guide you through meditations sessions lasting anywhere from two to twenty minutes. Meditating is an important skill to aid in focus, sleep, and combat stress, which can have a detrimental effect on the immune system. If you’re looking for a way to add some tranquility to your day, the Calm app will help. The app is beginner-friendly, so don’t worry if you’ve never meditated before. It also includes ten “immersion nature scenes” to help you relax and improve your mood.

Red Panic Button ($2.99 on the iPhone and iPad)
The Red Panic Button app is exactly what it sounds like: basically Life Alert for your smartphone. When an emergency occurs and you are home alone and unable to get to a phone, this app can save you. If an injury or emergency occurs, you simply tap the big red button. The app then sends a panic text and email an alert to a medical contact that you previously selected, giving them your GPS coordinates.

MedCoach (Free for the iPhone and Android)
If you are taking a variety of pills with different dosages, it can be confusing to keep track of what to take when and how many. MedCoach is an app to help you keep track of your medications and vitamins. This app serves as a reminder, sending you notices as it’s time to take your various pills. The app also reaches out to your pharmacy when you need a refill on your medications. The app makes it simple to see a list of your medications, make a pill reminder, or look through a library of prescribed and over-the-counter meds.

Pocket First Aid & CPR ($1.99 on the iPhone and Android)
The Pocket First Aid & CPR kit is your best friend in an emergency. The app is an emergency guide on your phone: it tells you about First Aid Basics, how to perform CPR on children and adults, work an automated external defibrillator (AED). The information tells you what you need to know on handling a minor emergency, whether it’s medical, an injury, or environmental. You know you’re in good hands because the information is provided by the American Heart Association. You can also use it to store your own insurance, doctor, and allergy information. Unlike MedCoach you probably won’t need the Pocket First Aid on a daily basis, but when an emergency strikes you will be prepared.

Moves (Free on the iPhone)
Moves is here to fight against the average person’s sedentary lifestyle. People spend a lot of their time sitting on the couch, or at the office, or in the car. Since exercise is such a vital part of staying healthy as you grow older, Moves is an app to help you keep track of how much distance you cover by bike or foot. Your routes will be highlighted on an on-screen map, which also informs you the calories you’ve eaten and how many steps you have taken. With your progress regularly charted, Moves challenges you to do better each day than the day before.

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock ($0.99 on the iPhone)
Have you ever woken up at the regular time but somehow felt like you were woken up in the middle of the night, even if you went to sleep at a decent time the night before? Odds are, your alarm woke you up in the middle of a REM cycle. The REM cycle is the deepest phase of sleep, when our mind goes over the day’s memories and gets work done. It’s also the most important phase, which we experience about every 90 minutes, or 4-5 times a night. The Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app helps by monitoring you as you sleep. By keeping track of your movements, it knows to wake you when you are in your lightest sleep phase. If you want to know more about your sleep schedule, the app also takes notes and statistics on your sleeping habits. By setting your alarm within a 90-minute window, you won’t have to worry about oversleeping or disrupting your REM cycle again.