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Texans still looking for the best place to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast without breaking their banks might want to head to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Three DFW cities rank highly on a new list of the best places to go for Thanksgiving, while San Antonio comes in in the top third.

The study, published by WalletHub, compares the top 100 largest U.S. cities across 20 key metrics, including the cost of Thanksgiving dinner, number of delayed flights, and even forecast precipitation.

Atlanta, Georgia ranks No. 1 on the list, with Orlando, Florida; Las Vega, Nevada; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Gilbert, Arizona rounding out the top five.

The top-scoring Texas destinations are Plano (No. 7), Irving (No. 9), and Dallas (No. 13). The other cities around Texas to make the list are:

  • Garland (No. 24)
  • Corpus Christi (No. 25)
  • Laredo (No. 31)
  • San Antonio (No. 32)
  • Austin (No. 33)
  • Arlington (No. 44)
  • Houston (No. 53)
  • El Paso (No. 64)
  • Fort Worth (No. 84)
  • Lubbock (No. 85)

The average American spends about $301 during the five-day Thanksgiving period, according to a list of Thanksgiving fun facts compiled by WalletHub. Annually, Americans as a whole spend an estimated $835 million on Thanksgiving turkeys, with 46 million turkeys killed for the holiday.

In addition to the cities’ overall ranking, WalletHub revealed the cities’ rankings for the individual categories they were evaluated by. Five of those categories include Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions, Affordability, Safety and Accessibility, Giving Thanks, and Thanksgiving Weather Forecast.

Surely the big Cowboys game with Jonas Brothers' halftime show factors into the DFW "celebrations and traditions" score, right?

Dallas and Irving are tied at No. 4 on the list for having the best Thanksgiving Weather Forecast (which calls for a high of 61 this year, according to WFAA).

Other Dallas rankings include:

  • No. 13 for Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions
  • No. 18 for Affordability
  • No. 93 for Safety and Accessibility
  • No. 37 for Giving Thanks

No. 32-ranking San Antonio has these rankings on the list:

  • No. 46 for Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions
  • No. 2 for Affordability
  • No. 66 for Safety and Accessibility
  • No. 85 for Giving Thanks
  • No. 26 for Thanksgiving Weather Forecast

The state’s No. 33-ranking capital, Austin, had an average ranking for each category:

  • No. 41 for Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions
  • No. 19 for Affordability
  • No. 42 for Safety and Accessibility
  • No. 82 for Giving Thanks
  • No. 36 for Thanksgiving Weather Forecast.

Houston ranked in the top 10 for Affordability but didn’t score highly in any other category:

  • No. 48 for Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions
  • No. 7 for Affordability
  • No. 88 for Safety and Accessibility
  • No. 58 for Giving Thanks
  • No. 43 for Thanksgiving Weather Forecast.

Fort Worth was in the top 5 for weather but hit the bottom 10 for safety:

  • No. 87 for Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions
  • No. 31 for Affordability
  • No. 95 for Safety and Accessibility
  • No. 52 for Giving Thanks
  • No. 4 for Thanksgiving Weather Forecast.

You can view the full list and find more information about the 100 best U.S. places for Thanksgiving here.

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Texas punches in as one of best states for working from home, says study

Remote possibilities

The meaning of “going to work” is swiftly changing. The Ladders career platform forecasts that one-fourth of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022.

“This change in working arrangements is impossible to overhype. As big as it is, it’s even bigger than people think,” Marc Cenedella, CEO of The Ladders, said in December. “Hiring practices typically move at a glacial pace, but the pandemic turned up the heat so we’re seeing a rapid flood of change in this space. It’s really rather amazing.”

Given the dramatic shift in what it means to go to work, some folks with remote jobs may be wondering where they should live. It turns out that Texas sits at No. 7 on a new list from personal finance website WalletHub of the best states for working from home. So, if you hold a remote job and already call Texas home, you might just want to stay put.

To identify which places are best for working from home, WalletHub compared 12 key metrics for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Those metrics include the cost of internet service and the size of a typical home. “Together, these metrics show how feasible working from home is in terms of cost, comfort, and safety,” WalletHub says.

Here’s how Texas fares in six categories, with a No. 1 position being best and a No. 25 position being average:

  • No. 1 for average square footage of homes.
  • No. 2 for cost of internet service.
  • No. 19 for share of potential telecommuters.
  • No. 25 for average price of electricity.
  • No. 25 for share of population working from home.
  • No. 29 for household internet access.

New Jersey grabs the No. 1 spot on the list, and Alaska ranks last.

“I believe that working from home will need to become a more viable option for many industries, regardless of the pandemic status, as we continue to see increasing fuel prices,” Sean Walker, professor of behavioral management in the College of Business and Global Affairs at the University of Tennessee at Martin, tells WalletHub.

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San Antonio weighs in as one of nation’s fattest metros in new report

Weight watching

Here’s the skinny on obesity in the San Antonio metro area: The region appears at No. 25 in a new ranking of the fattest places in the country.

Personal finance website WalletHub just released its 2022 ranking of the country’s fattest places. The website compared 100 of the most populated U.S. metro areas across 19 key indicators of weight-related problems. The ranking factors include the percentage of physically inactive adults, projected obesity rates by 2030, and access to healthy food.

Based on those indicators, San Antonio ranks 25th, making it the second-fattest major metro in Texas. The McAllen area ranks first in the U.S. and, therefore, in Texas.

San Antonio shows up at No. 9 in the study’s “obesity and overweight” category, No. 24 in the “health consequences” category, and No. 66 in the “food and fitness” category. (Higher numbers are better than lower numbers.)

The WalletHub-declared fattest metro, McAllen, fares poorly when it comes to many of the individual ranking factors. For instance, it’s got the highest percentage of obese adults and the highest percentage of physically inactive adults, and it ranks fourth for the percentage of diabetic adults.

“There are lots of ideas for policies to combat obesity. So far, most programs have not achieved the gains they have aimed for. Instead, obesity continues to rise,” Kathleen Davis, assistant professor of nutrition and food sciences at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, tells WalletHub.

Here’s how the other major metros in Texas rank in the WalletHub study:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth, No. 27
  • El Paso, No. 30
  • Houston, No. 36
  • Austin, No. 54

San Antonio is all smiles with new ranking as one of the happiest cities in Texas and the U.S.

Keep on smilin’

If you smile in San Antonio, the whole world smiles with you. So maybe Alamo City needs another motto: Happiness City.

That’s the idea behind a new study from personal finance website WalletHub that ranks San Antonio among the happiest places in Texas and the U.S.

The study puts San Antonio at No. 13 in Texas and No. 130 in the country in terms of the happiest locales.

To come up with the ranking, WalletHub looked at more than key indicators of happiness for 182 of the largest U.S. cities. Among the factors were depression rate, suicide rate, sports participation rate, separation and divorce rate, and hours worked per day.

WalletHub then placed those numbers into three buckets. Here’s how San Antonio ranked in that regard:

  • 160th in the community and environment category.
  • 116th in the physical and emotional well-being category.
  • 88th in the income and employment category.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a third of Americans to be so stressed that they sometimes find it hard to make basic decisions. Therefore, it’s vital for people to boost their happiness however they can, whether through family, friends, activities, entertainment, or work,” WalletHub says. “What people might not realize is that where they live may also determine how happy they are.”

So, what’s the happiest city in the U.S.? According to WalletHub, it’s Fremont, California, a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area. And the unhappiest? WalletHub hands that dubious distinction to Detroit.

Here’s how Texas cities in the study are ranked:

  • Austin, No. 30
  • Grand Prairie, No. 83
  • Irving, No. 89
  • Garland, No. 97
  • Fort Worth, No. 103
  • Arlington, No. 107
  • Dallas, No. 111
  • Houston, No. 112
  • Laredo, No. 115
  • El Paso, No. 120
  • Brownsville, No. 125
  • San Antonio, No. 130
  • Corpus Christi, No. 139
  • Amarillo, No. 143
  • Lubbock, No. 157
Photo courtesy of iStock

San Antonio gets some love as one of the best U.S. cities for singles, study says

We're crushin' it

If you’re single in San Antonio and looking for love, you have a better-than-average chance of falling head over heels in Alamo City.

According to personal finance website WalletHub, San Antonio ranks 58th among cities that are best for singles out of more than 180 metros.

To determine where singles enjoy the best prospects for finding love, WalletHub compared 182 cities across 32 key indicators of dating friendliness. Those indicators include the number of single people, number of online dating opportunities, and average price of a two-person meal.

San Antonio ranks 49th in the “fun and recreation” category, 87th in the “dating opportunities” category, and 82nd in the economic category.

No. 1 on the list is Madison, Wisconsin, followed by Seattle; Portland, Oregon; and Denver.

Rebecca Johnson, a graduate teaching assistant in communication studies at the University of Kansas, tells WalletHub that she doesn’t think people should choose where to live based solely on how likely they are to find a partner there.

“My advice is to live your life according to your own pursuits and interests. If you are in a place where you can pursue the activities and hobbies you have an interest in, you are likelier to find others around that are interested in such things and follow the commonalities into building a relationship,” Johnson says.

While San Antonio ranks higher than other Texas cities on the list in some categories, namely economics (aka affordability), several other spots in the Lone Star State are better for singles, according to the WalletHub list.

Nearby Austin ranks fifth best for singles, coming in 15th in the “fun and recreation” category, 26th in the “dating opportunities” category, and 91st in the economic category.

Aside from Austin, only one other Texas city appears in WalletHub’s top 50: Lubbock, ranked No. 47. Here’s how several other Texas cities fared in the study:

  • Houston, No. 55.
  • Dallas, No. 77.
  • Irving, No. 87.
  • Arlington, No. 109.
  • Fort Worth, No. 115.
  • Plano, No. 119.
  • Garland, No. 162.
  • Grand Prairie, No. 168.

These Texas cities unwrap the biggest holiday budgets in the U.S.

Shopping spree!

Some Texans will be making a holiday shopping list as long as a stocking and checking it more than twice. Four Lone Star State cities rank among the 10 U.S. cities with the fattest holiday budgets for 2021, according to a new study from personal finance website WalletHub.

“To help consumers avoid post-holiday regret, WalletHub calculated the maximum holiday budget for each of 570 U.S. cities using five key characteristics of the population, such as income, age, and savings-to-monthly expenses ratio,” the website says.

Wrapping up the No. 1 spot on the national list is Flower Mound, a Dallas-Fort Worth suburb. It boasts the most Santa-friendly budget among all the cities: $3,427.

Right behind are a trio of Houston-area suburbs: The Woodlands, No. 3, $3,073; Sugar Land, No. 4, $3,023, and League City, No. 10, $2,778.

Six other Texas cities rank in the top 50:

  • Allen, No. 12, $2,688.
  • Pearland, No. 13, $2669.
  • Frisco, No. 30, $2,133.
  • Plano, No. 33, $2,044.
  • Richardson, No. 43, $1,857.
  • Cedar Park, No. 48, $1,770.

Among Texas' big cities, Austin is the only one that boasts a holiday budget of more than $1,000. It lands at No. 188 on the list ($1,049). Fort Worth appears at No. 257 ($920) and Dallas ranks 365th ($787). Meanwhile, San Antonio comes in at No. 371 ($783) and is followed by Houston at No. 372 ($783).

The National Retail Federation predicts a record-shattering holiday season for retail sales, growing between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion. Meanwhile, professional services firm Deloitte envisions a 7 percent to 9 percent spike in holiday spending this year versus last year. Commercial estate services provider pegs the projected increase at 8.4 percent.

“The outlook for the holiday season looks very bright,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation. “The unusual and beneficial position we find ourselves in is that households have increased spending vigorously throughout most of 2021 and remain with plenty of holiday purchasing power.”

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San Antonio Missions hit home run with new owners, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio's minor league baseball team scores new owners, including Texas sports legends. San Antonio's minor league baseball team is back to being locally owned — by some big names.

2. H-E-B unveils new line of merchandise for super fans, available exclusively at this store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise, in celebration of its 117th anniversary and in honor of its first store.

3. San Antonio market continues to see prices going up and sales going down. San Antonio home sales dropped 19 percent from October 2021.

4. San Antonio Rodeo wrangles even more musical acts for star-studded 2023. Turnpike Troubadours joined the already impressive lineup for the 2023 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.

5. San Antonio children's theater adapts timeless children's book for the holidays. Magik Theatre celebrates The Velveteen Rabbit as a Christmas story, with inclusive special performances.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

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The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

New self-guided tour showcases iconic Fort Worth Stockyards' many Hollywood ties

Tinseltown in Cowtown

A new self-guided tour showcasing the Fort Worth Stockyards’ many star-studded appearances in cinema throughout the years recently debuted in time for the 16th annual Lone Star Film Festival, which took place earlier this month in the Stockyards for the first time.

Called Stars of the Stockyards, the eight-stop, go-at-your-own pace walking tour guides folks to famous film sites where celebrities have stepped foot in front of Hollywood cameras. Visitors to the Stockyards can access the PDF tour map on their smart phones via QR codes (no app required) posted throughout the district, namely at hotels and tour kiosks.

"The Stockyards is a historic and celebrated destination for many reasons, but one that may be lesser known is its popularity as a filming location for some of our favorite movies and TV series," said Ethan Cartwright, VP of marketing for Stockyards Heritage Development Co.

The tour and corresponding QR codes are a permanent addition to the district, he said.

Stops on the map include the iconic White Elephant Saloon, a hotbed for Hollywood performances including several by legendary actor and martial artist Chuck Norris in the longtime TV series, Walker, Texas Ranger when the watering hole was portrayed as the fictional CD Bar. The White Elephant was also graced by country music superstar Tim McGraw and Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton for their appearances in Paramount Plus’ hit series 1883.

Also in 1883 and featured on the tour is Hookers Grill, hidden in the less flashy West side of Exchange Ave. The burger shack transformed into a gambling den in the show called The Texas House of Liquor & Sport. It’s the only building in the Stockyards that preserved the façade constructed by 1883’s production team. During operating hours, customers can order at the outdoor burger window and dine at patio tables within the two-story structure.

Cowtown Coliseum is marked on the map for its appearances in the 1983 film Tough Enough, where actor Dennis Quaid played an amateur boxer. It’s also the home of the final rodeo scene in the 1992 movie Pure Country starring country music legend George Strait.

Billy Bob’s Texas, the Stockyards Hotel, and even unassuming historic cattle pens also make the list on the tour, along with notations for the Texas Trail of Fame, which features more than 240 bronze markers honoring contributors for preserving and perpetuating the Western way of life.

Veteran actors Sam Elliot and Robert Duvall, both stars in the megahit TV series Yellowstone, are among the most recent Texas Trail of Fame inductees.

For more information and to get started on the tour, go here.