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Riley Heruska
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There are officially less than fifteen days until the next election, and you can cast your vote right now. Early voting in Texas opened up on October 22 and will run until November 2. If you want to hit the polling station before the chaos on Election Day, this is the time to do it. 

When you vote this year in Texas, you won't just choose between Republican Senator Ted Cruz or his Democratic challenger, Beto O'Rourke. You'll have the ability to vote for dozens of local and state seats, including the attorney general, commissioner of agriculture, district judges, and more.

Therefore, it's a good idea to do your research at home before you head to the polling station. To see a sample ballot, click here

Need help finding a voting location near you? Visit www.vote.org and click on Texas polling locations. The site will help determine whether or not you're properly registered to vote, then steer you towards the nearest poll location. 

Riley Heruska
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Although it might seem far too soon to start thinking about your holiday entertainment plans, tickets for the most celebrated Christmas ballet are already on sale (and are going quickly). If you're determined to see The Nutcracker live on stage this coming November or December, then it's a smart idea to snag your tickets this month. 

Fortunately, the DFW area is home to many ballet companies and performance halls, so you have more than a few shows to choose from. Here are ten of the best places nearby where you can see The Nutcracker with friends and family. 

1. The Texas Ballet Theater at Bass Performance Hall or Winspear Opera House 
Select Dates November 23 - December 24

For many in the area, attending a performance by the Texas Ballet Theater is simply a holiday tradition. This year, Ben Stevenson has choreographed a Christmas wonderland full of dancing wonders and magical costumes. Bass Hall and Winspear are excellent performance halls, so even if you aren't a big ballet fan, you'll enjoy making memories at one of their shows. Click here to get tickets. 

2. Tuzer Ballet at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in Richardson
December 15 - 16

This non-profit ballet company promotes the study, performance and enjoyment of the classic art. Devoted students spend 18 to 20 hours a week preparing for performances, and there's no performance more exciting than their weekend Nutcracker shows. Click here to get tickets for performances on Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon. 

3. Moscow Ballet at McFarlin Auditorium at SMU
November 17 - 18

For one weekend, the Great Russian Nutcracker will come to life in Dallas. The Moscow Ballet is bringing their historical ballet to American children, and this year's "Dove of Peace Tour" presents world-class ballerinas and danseurs across North America. There are only three showtimes, so be sure to buy your tickets now before they're gone. 

4. Chamberlain Performing Arts at the Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts in Richardson 
November 23 - 25

The company is returning with their annual production of The Nutcracker, and this time it's taking place Thanksgiving weekend. Take your relatives and guests to see a spectacle of talent as New York City Ballet Principal Dancers Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle star as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Tickets for one of the three performances start at just $15. Don't wait to get yours. 

5. Dallas Ballet Company at the Granville Arts Center in Garland
Select Dates November 30 - December 9

For 32 years, the Dallas Ballet Company has been putting on a holiday show worth attending. The cast includes more than 200 ballet students and has trained for many months to bring The Nutcracker to life this holiday season. Tickets almost always sell out before the curtain opens. Reserve yours here.  

6. Ballet Frontier at the Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium in Fort Worth 
November 16 - 18

After ten years of enchanting people with their holiday performance, Ballet Frontier knows a thing or two about putting on a good show. Special guest Kathryn Boren from the American Ballet Theatre will be dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy this year. Tickets start at $35 and are available here

7. Dallas Youth Ballet at the Majestic Theatre
December 9

The Rockefeller Christmas might not be your traditional version of The Nutcracker, but it does include the entire second act complete with gingerbread children and special effects. You won't want to miss the jazz dancing, singing, tapping and live falling snow on stage. Buy tickets for one of the two showtimes here

8. LakeCities Ballet Theatre 
November 24 - 25

You can't get tickets for this performance yet, but if you're interested in spending Thanksgiving weekend with the cast of the LakeCities Ballet Theatre, then keep an eye out for their sale soon. Guest stars will include Sarah Lane from the American Ballet Theatre and Daniel Ulbricht from the New York City Ballet. 

9. The Ballet Ensemble of Texas at the Irving Arts Center
November 30 - December 2

BET is putting on four different performances over the first weekend of December and each of them promises to be just as spectacular as the rest. The dancers at the non-profit company love bringing the tradition of The Nutcracker to locals, and they bring only their best to the stage during the holiday season. Purchase tickets here

10. Collin County Ballet Theatre at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in Richardson 
November 30 and December 2

Once again, the CCBT brings Adiarys Almeida and Taras Dimitro to star as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier. These Cuban stars are sure to light up the stage as they have before, and the other talented dancers will keep viewers of all ages entertained. Check out the two showtimes to see which works best for you, then get your tickets today. 


Are you going to see The Nutcracker this year? If so, where? Let us know in the comments! 

Riley Heruska
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Every year, approximately 3.4 million cats enter animal shelters across the nation. Roughly 70 percent of these adoptable cats end up euthanized while only a third are taken into new homes. As sad as this sounds, there is one big way you can make a difference in the lives of felines and the organizations that protect them: adopt a new friend this fall. 

Not only is fall the perfect season for taking in a cat, but it's also one of the most beneficial times to adopt an animal from an organization. Here's why: 

1. It's about to get too cold outside for stray felines. Animal shelters often hit peak capacity during the winter months because the creatures can't be left outside when temperatures plummet. Therefore, it's helpful to adopt an animal now to help clear space for incoming cats and dogs later on in the year. 

2. Kitten season just ended. According to the Humane Society of the United States, kitten season begins in spring and comes to an end once falls begins. That means that too many kittens were born over the summer, resulting in overwhelming numbers of unwanted cats in shelters and rescue organizations. The more cats these places house, the higher risk there is of euthanization, illness and other risks. However, if you've been thinking about adopting a feline friend, this might be an opportunity to find a young, healthy cat to bring into your home. 

3. They'll take care of pests that sneak inside seeking warmth. Cold weather is rolling in, which means that rodents and other pests will soon look for shelter in your toasty attics and walls. Having a cat on the property will significantly decrease the pest population. This is especially important because many pests bring disease and filth with them, so eradicating them quickly is a safe choice. 

4. Owning a pet can improve your physical and mental health. Studies have found that owning a cat can lower your stress levels and risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 30 percent. Additionally, cat owners tend to sleep better and feel less anxious. At this busy time of year when the flu and other illnesses are circulating, we could all use a friend who keeps us happy and healthy. 

5. They require very minimal training. Adopting a cat actually doesn't require that much preparation, and once you own the animal, you simply need to invest in a litter box and food. Before you know it, your kitty will be completely adjusted to life in your family, just in time to mingle with others during the holiday season. 


If you think that adopting a cat might be an option for your family, consider visiting the animals at one of the following local organizations. 

Riley Heruska
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In Texas, early voting begins 15 days before Election Day. This makes it easier to fit a quick trip to a poll station into your busy schedule, so don't feel that you have to block out time to vote on November 6. 

Hopefully you've already taken the first step toward voting by getting registered. The second step is to think about where you'll vote and how you'll get there. Many people, especially in their upper teens and twenties, struggle to access transportation to the polls. In fact, lack of transportation options is one of the top three reasons people ages 18 to 29 didn't vote in the 2016 election. 

Thankfully, there are two big rideshare apps that are here to help. 

Uber has partnered with #Vote Together and Democracy Works to provide voters with promo codes that allow them to ride to a polling location for free on Election Day. There will also be an in-app voting button that reads "Get to the Polls" that will help you find the closest voting station in your area. 

Similarly, Lyft is offering 50 percent off on rides on Election Day. In some underserved communities, the service is even offering free rides through organizations like Voto Latino and the National Federation of the Blind. 

Regardless of whether you wait to vote on November 6 or head to the polls as soon as you can, it's important that we all exercise our right to vote in this year's election. Utilize these rideshare apps if you need to, and more importantly, make solid plans to hit the polls with friends and family. 

Riley Heruska
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As most of you already know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's a time when organizations and individuals throughout the country come together to promote education, provide support and increase breast cancer prevention. In honor of the month, everything from hockey rinks to hair can be dyed pink in support of breast cancer survivors and victims. 

However, wearing pink isn't the only way to make this month effective, nor is it the best. Here are five big ways you can easily contribute to breast cancer awareness during October. 

1. Schedule your own mammogram. Annual mammograms can detect the first signs of breast cancer and help women tackle the disease early. They improve chances of breast conservation, especially in women who are over the age of 40. Schedule your own mammogram, then encourage other women you know to do the same ASAP. 

2. Learn about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. If you visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation's website, you'll find a helpful Know the Symptoms guide that is absolutely free to download. Educate yourself on the early warning signs and share your newfound knowledge with others. The more we know about breast cancer and its symptoms, the better we can become at halting the disease in its tracks. 

3. Share the story of how you or someone you know has been impacted by breast cancer. This month, to honor those who have dealt with the disease, the NBCF is accepting stories from survivors and their families and sharing them across their social media platforms. Help encourage others facing cancer by contributing your own inspirational or moving stories. 

4. Volunteer to pack breast health kits or HOPE kits. By working with the NBCF, you can help create packages that provide support and educational tools to women in need. Visit www.timecounts.org/nbcf to learn how you can donate your time locally. 

5. Donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. Your money can help thousands of women access proper health care, including mammograms and diagnostic services. Learn more here

Riley Heruska
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When it comes to horror movies, not everyone can stomach high levels of gore or terror. Many of us don't see the point in watching a movie that will haunt our nightmares for weeks to come, even if it's THE thing to do during the month of Halloween. 

Fortunately, there are some horror movies that even people with weak stomachs will enjoy. Check out these seven films that are technically horror movies but still great for people who just want to dip a toe in the world of scary films. 



The Cabin in the Woods 

Although this film can technically fall under the horror category, it's got a fair amount of comedy and parody wrapped up in its plot. Five friends go for a trip at a remote cabin, but they soon realize they're involved in something horrible. The film has its scary moments, but overall, anyone older than sixteen probably shouldn't be too unnerved. 



Zombieland
 


If you're looking for more laughs than thrills, check out this lighthearted take on a zombie apocalypse. A gang of actors you know and love spend their days taking out the undead and surviving in a world that's as deadly as it is hilarious. A word of caution: things can get pretty bloody, so if you hate gore, maybe skip the zombie films. 



Get Out

This movie made huge waves when it hit the big screen a year ago, and it's still as dark and strangely humorous as it was then. A young African American man goes to visit his girlfriend's family over the weekend, and while he's there, he realizes that something is hugely wrong in their suburban home. Even people who hate jump scares will find themselves wrapped up in this mysterious plot. 



The Invitation 

Although this film isn't funny at all, adult viewers won't find it too unsettling. The Invitation follows a man as he attends a dinner thrown by his ex-wife and her new husband. What happens next is just creepy enough to satisfy your Halloween horror cravings, but not scary enough to make you sleep with the lights on. 



A Quiet Place 


Everyone will tell you that they were on the edge of their seat while watching this film, so if you hate tension and startling moments, you might want to skip A Quiet Place. Still, it's more thrilling than it is terrifying, like a rollercoaster through monster-infested woods. Watch apprehensively as a man tries to protect his family in a world where one accidental noise could end them all. 



Tucker and Dale vs. Evil 

Just a few minutes with Tucker and Dale will have you belly-laughing instead of screaming in terror. This might look like a horror film, but in reality, it's just a huge misunderstanding between two hillbillies and a group of young campers. There's blood and gore, but more than anything, there's A+ comedy. 



I Am Legend
 


In this classic American post-apocalyptic drama, Will Smith attempts to survive in a dead world full of surprisingly quick and smart zombies. It's definitely one of the scarier films on this list, but as long as you're not worried about zombies hiding in your closet, you'll probably enjoy the high levels of adrenaline.  


What horror movies do you like to watch during the month of October? Let us know in the comments below!  

Riley Heruska
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For years now, BubbleLife has brought you a weekly update from the Highland Park and University Park Police Departments. Although we will no longer be posting these updates, there is now a new way for you to track all of the local crime reports in your area. 

From now on, you'll receive all of your local police reports via our Crime Reporter. We have installed one of these monitors in each of our communities, so no matter where you live, you can keep up with nearby accidents and burglaries. The reports are even included in your daily newsletter. 

If you have any questions about this new Crime Reporter or about old Park Cities Police Blotters, please let us know. Thanks for using BubbleLife! 

Riley Heruska
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Not everyone is stampeding to Starbucks to snatch a PSL once the weather drops below 70 degrees. Some are looking to satisfy their fall cravings in other drinks.

If you're not a big pumpkin spice fan, here are five drink recipes that are practically made for the autumn season. 

Hot Mulled Cider 

With a blend of brown sugar, spices, apple cider and citrus flavor, this recipe is the perfect companion to a cold autumn day. It only takes 25 minutes to make but will keep you feeling warm and cozy for hours. 

Spiced Hot Dark Chocolate 

Martha Stewart put a twist on classic hot chocolate by using almond milk, spices and dark chocolate for a unique taste. Not only will the cinnamon and cardamom help boost your energy, but the hot bitterness will keep the chills at bay. 

Sparkling Apple Cider Punch 

Whether you add alcohol to the recipe or serve it without, everyone will enjoy this punch at your next fall gathering. All you'll need is store-bought apple cider, sparkling cider, ginger beer, lime, cinnamon and a star anise pod. Combine all the ingredients and serve the punch within five minutes. 

At-Home Caramel Latte

You don't have to go to a fancy coffee shop to get your caramel kicks this season. This recipe will show you to boil the milk on your own and create a caramel foam that has you making seconds as soon as you take the first sip. 

White Hot Chocolate 

This recipe couldn't be simpler. All you need are four cups of milk, some vanilla extract, whipped cream and some pieces of white chocolate to create a batch of this delectably sweet drink. 


What drinks do you like to make in the fall? Leave recommendations and recipes in the comments below! 

Riley Heruska
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Everyone knows that this is the best month for stories that send chills racing up your spine. Although you could just stick with a classic read from Stephen King, there are a handful of fantastic horror and thriller novels that have been released this year.

Here are the top five you should check out if you're looking for something truly terrifying. 

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

This reimagining of the Donner Party with a supernatural twist follows a group as they realize that something evil lurks in the mountains. They have dreams of their future in the West, but fate might have other (more gruesome) plans in store for them. By combining the supernatural with historical happenings, Katsu takes a chilling look at the volatility of human nature and what pushes people to their breaking points. 

"Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark." - Stephen King

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware 

From the author of The Lying Game comes this highly-anticipated tale of a woman who receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a large inheritance. The woman, Hal, realizes that it must be a mistake, but she decides to use her tarot-reading skills to claim the money anyway. However, once she attends the funeral of her benefactor, she discovers that the situation might be more complicated than she initially thought. 

“Ware’s fourth novel is her best yet, with steadily increasing tension, a complicated twisty mystery, and a sharp, sympathetic heroine who’s up to the challenge of solving it… well-crafted, gothic-tinged suspense.” - Library Journal (starred review) 

The Cabin at the End of the World 
by Paul Tremblay 


Eric and Andrew are vacationing with the daughter, Wren, in a remote cabin when a stranger appears in their rental's driveway. The man warns the daughter that "None of what's going to happen is your fault." After, three more strangers arrive carrying menacing objects. The strangers use the daughter to enter the house, and what ensues is a gripping tale of apocalypse, sacrifice and fear. 

“Read Paul Tremblay's new novel, The Cabin at the End of the World, and you might not sleep for a week. Longer. It will shape your nightmares for months – that's pretty much guaranteed.” NPR

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman 

Erin and Mark set off to enjoy a dream honeymoon in Bora Bora, but while scuba diving in the blue sea, they stumble across something startling in the ocean's depths. Do they share their secret, or do they keep quiet? Either way, their lives will be forever changed. Fascinating and unpredictable, Something in the Water will certainly keep you on the edge of your seat. 

“With unreliable characters, wry voices, exquisite pacing, and a twisting plot, [Catherine] Steadman potently draws upon her acting chops... A darkly glittering gem of a thriller from a new writer to watch.” - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Woman in the Window 
by A.J. Finn 


Anna Fox has lived alone for far too long. She spends her days drinking wine and watching old movies while she spies on her neighbors from her window. It all seems very humdrum... until she sees something she was never supposed to witness. Can she figure out where the danger lies and who is behind the threat? Like Hitchcock's Rear Window, this novel is packed with paranoia and big twists. 

“Astounding. Thrilling. Amazing.” - Gillian Flynn


Which of these scary stories are you excited to read? Do you have other recommendations? 

Riley Heruska
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Since it's officially autumn, it's okay to fill an entire TJ's car with pumpkin spice goodies, right? Trader Joe's never fails to release a plethora of delectable seasonal treats, and today we're talking about the top five items you need to buy if you're a PS lover. 

1. Pumpkin Rolls With Pumpkin Spice Icing 

Even if you're rushing in the morning, you can easily pop some of these ready-to-bake rolls in the oven. They're just like cinnamon rolls, except more pumpkin-y! 

2. Pumpkin Cream Cheese 


Whether you're spreading it on bagels, toast, gingersnaps, or even fruit, this cream cheese is the bomb. Use it as a part of your centerpiece for a Halloween party or fall gathering. 

3. Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix


There's no better way to greet an autumn day than by whipping up a batch of pumpkin pancakes. Plus, there's a gluten-free version, so everyone can enjoy this seasonal morning meal. 

4. Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Kids and adults alike will enjoy these petite shortbread cookies covered with pumpkin spice and yogurt. An added bonus: they're adorable and look great in clear cookie jars or on display at parties. 

5. Mini Hold the Cone: Pumpkin Ginger 

Since it's not too cold in Texas to enjoy a cold treat, this pumpkin ginger concoction is a must-buy. They're small enough to fit in with your diet, but delicious enough to wow guests after a meal. 


What pumpkin foods do you love to pick up at Trader Joe's? Let us know in the comments below!