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If you are a child of the ’80s and ’90s, then you’re most likely familiar with the show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” The program was notorious for featuring extravagant celebrities and socialites and the way that they flaunted their money for the camera. 

Although we no longer have access to the gorgeous spectacle of “Lifestyles,” that hasn’t stopped celebrities from having champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Today we’re going to talk about Oprah Winfrey and the story of how she wound up with a $90 million mansion in California. 

Montecito, CA

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If you have a few million dollars and want a relaxing place to live alongside other millionaires, then Montecito is the perfect location. The city is located just east of Santa Barbara, and it has gorgeous coastal views, as we can see. 

Average home prices for the city are well into the seven-figure range, with many of them going for around $30-40 million. Fortunately, Oprah’s net worth is over $3 billion, so buying a home there wasn’t much of an issue for her. 

Road to the Promised Land

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Although Oprah owns six properties in the US, this mansion in Montecito would become her crown jewel. She even calls it the Promised Land, and it’s easy to see why. Any aerial photos of the estate can’t do it justice. There is just too much beauty to behold to see it all in a single image. 

Before Oprah bought the house, it belonged to Robert and Marlene Veloz. They made their money through an aeronautical equipment manufacturing business, and they had no intention of selling the home. However, after visiting the estate for a party in 2001, Oprah knew she had to have it. 

An Offer They Couldn’t Refuse

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Although the house wasn’t technically for sale, everyone (or so they say) has a price. Apparently, $52 million was more than sufficient for the Velozes to pack up and let Oprah stake a claim to the property.

At the time, the purchase was the largest in the country. Even today, it’s hard to find a mansion worth that much. Of course, based on the renovations and upgrades that Oprah has made over the past few years, the home is now worth over $90 million. 

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A History of Class

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Part of the reason why Oprah was so committed to buying this mansion was because of its ornate style and timeless architecture. The property was built in 1912 in a stunning Georgian style, although the original structure was much smaller than it is today.

Over the decades, new additions have been added to the estate, not including the ones that Oprah made herself (more on those later). All told, the property covers over 23,000 square feet and has at least 14 bathrooms, as well as six bedrooms. Other highlights include a wine cellar, a theater, and a massive pool. 

What’s in a Name?

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After buying the property, Oprah wandered through the grounds with longtime friend Bob Greene. She was searching for a new name to call her modern-day palace. At first, she suggested Tara II, based on the picturesque plantation cited in Gone With the Wind. 

Bob felt that the name wasn’t suitable, particularly because it was a bit peculiar to have a plantation name for her new home. Instead, he suggested Promised Land, and she agreed that it would be perfect for her. 

Although she is quite private about her home life, we’ve been able to find some stunning photos of both the exterior and interior of the estate. Here are some of the highlights. 

A Garden of Eden

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If you were to spend time in Oprah’s “sanctuary” garden, you would be hard-pressed to find a more relaxing spot on Earth. The views from the Promised Land are spectacular no matter where you stand, but they are even more bountiful when nestled inside the garden.  This statue harkens to the religious element of her estate and helps provide peace to all those who visit. 

A Woman’s World

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Oprah is a patron of the fine arts, and this piece caught her attention. It was built in 1974 by Costa Rican artist Francisco Zuniga. It is called “Grupo de Cuatro Mujeres de Pie,” or “Group of Four Women on Foot.”

Each woman represents a part of life, starting with a teenager, an expectant mother, a middle-aged woman, and an elderly one. They stand guard around eucalyptus, palm, and pine trees, always resolute in their resolve. 

Seamair Farm

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One of Oprah’s neighbors owned a relatively small, 23.26-acre parcel of land called Seamair Farm. The previous owner died in 2016, meaning that the estate went up for sale. Oprah decided to buy it for a modest sum of $28.85 million and added it to the Promised Land.

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With the addition of Seamair, Oprah received a variety of new highlights, including a koi pond, a ranch house, stables, and an equestrian ring. The property also contained avocado and fruit orchards, for good measure. 

The Twelve Apostles

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Our final entry for the exterior of the Promised Land is one of Oprah’s twelve oak trees. In keeping with the biblical theme, she refers to them as her apostles, as they offer solidarity and tranquility for her all year round. She had most of them planted after buying the estate, and they are some of her favorite parts of the property. 

A Grand Entrance

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The foyer of any mansion can be one of the most crucial elements of the property. It’s the first thing that guests see when they walk in, and it can create a lasting impression. Oprah’s foyer is both personal and opulent. 

Artwork decorates the walls, along with an ornate staircase and vivid coloring. However, on the tables are pictures of her friends and family, showing that even the super-rich and famous are just like the rest of us. 

Library of Alexandria

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For many bookworms, the idea of having a full-sized library in the home seems like a fantasy. For Oprah, it’s a reality. We can see the full scope of her reading habit, although one wonders how many of these books she reads regularly, or whether she lends them out to some of her famous friends and colleagues. 

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She also has a reading room for cozying up to one of the many books she owns. Although having a separate room for reading seems a little superfluous, we’re sure that she has the space for it. After all, how else can she come up with her recommendations for her book club?

An Experience in Every Room

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It would be easy for someone to use similar decorating styles for such a massive home, but Oprah likes to mix things up. As these images show, each room is distinct with its own color palette and designs. Presumably, this diversity also makes it easier to find your way around the place. 

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Although most of the pieces in this room have been auctioned off, they show the range of Oprah’s tastes, including somewhat questionable color and design schemes.  

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Her guest room looks like a quaint bed and breakfast, although something tells us that she isn’t the one cooking eggs. 

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Not all of the rooms have Oprah’s touch. This space in the guest house was created by a professional design team, which used the penny centerpiece as the inspiration for the color scheme. 

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Although the Promised Land is an opulent paradise, this dining room looks rather subdued and cozy. No extra long, pompous tables here. 

Tea for Two

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Although tea time is not an American pastime, that hasn’t stopped Oprah from enjoying a cup every so often, whether by herself or with friends. As we can see, the tea house is just as stunning as the rest of the property, and the inside is both inviting and luxurious. 

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A Fashion Icon

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As most women can attest, having a walk-in closet is like a dream. As we’ve seen, Oprah is not one to skimp on her dreams, which is how she has such a massive space for all of her clothes and accessories. Ladies, eat your heart out. 

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Dr. Oz: “I’m Very Concerned About the Corona Virus, Here’s Why”

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While coronaviruses have been known to medical science since the 1960s, few have been anywhere near as dangerous as this new one from the market in Wuhan China. 

A coronavirus is typified by its protective shell which resembles a crown or a halo under a microscope. That is where it gets its name. The average coronavirus does little more than cause the symptoms of the common cold, sniffles, cough, flu-like symptoms and so on. Part of the reason that these viruses are so hard to prevent from causing millions of colds each year is their protective shell. They can remain on a surface for hours, sometimes days, before they begin to lose structural integrity. But few trigger symptoms as severe as this one known as 2019-nCoV. 

Dr. Oz had this to say about what has become known as the Wuhan Coronavirus, “It’s alarming, this is the big news today, the Chinese leadership is starting to say ‘this incubation period is a lot longer than we thought.’” 

If this report is true, it means that many, many more people may be infected than have been reported- or even anticipated. It means that people could be walking around, infected, and not even know it- not taking precautions and spreading the virus everywhere they go. That means anyone who has recently returned from the area around the Wuhan market, where the outbreak started, could be carrying the disease. 

At the time of this writing, the total enumerated infection count is over 1,800. The total deaths are approaching 200. Other researchers are suggesting that this virus has a rapid mutation rate. That is particularly terrifying because it is what made the HIV-AIDS virus so difficult to treat.

At present, the World Health Organization had laid down a series of suggestions to help people avoid infection.

They advise that anyone who may come into contact with the virus should:

  • Wash their hands frequently
  • Maintain good sanitation on and around all frequently used objects and surfaces
  • Avoid centers of mass travel such as airports
  • Sneeze and cough into the elbow or a tissue
  • Take immunity-boosting supplements like vitamin C

The source of the infection is believed to have come from a specific market in Wuhan, where live animals were kept in stalls for sale and trade. Researchers believe the virus came from either a snake or a bat. The initial cases of illness were reported in December 2019 by employees of the Wuhan market. That market is now shut down for the foreseeable future.

As health officials struggle to understand the virus and contain its progress, other researchers are asking even more startling questions. The shell of this virus is similar to the shell of a virus created in a university research lab in 2015 at the University of North Carolina. What’s more, there is a known military biological weapons lab in Wuhan China.

If these reports are true, it could have serious implications, not only for global health- but for relations between the US and China. 

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Big Brother Contestants Make How Much on the Show?!?

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Big Brother has been a wildly popular, dramatic reality TV game show since 2000. Audiences are captivated by the twists, the turns, the strange alliances, and the betrayals. The show is based on a Dutch program with the same premise which also became wildly popular in Spain and Germany before the reboot came to America.

As the US version grew in popularity, the producers eventually made it possible for fans to watch the contestants on a non-live streaming video feed available 24 hours a day seven days a week. Yes, the contestants on Big Brother are now on display to be viewed by anyone in the world at every waking moment. How they avoid getting caught in their all-togethers or during toilet breaks, we don’t know. Maybe they have certain camera-safe areas to which they can retreat.

Later on, the house the Big Brother contestants live in was stripped of all communication devices- depriving them of contact with the outside world. That is- except for the live feeds the public has unfettered access to. So, if one of them was being held hostage, we suppose they could let us know.

So the question came up of, how much do the contestants really earn? By playing the game they have the chance to make friends, or enemies, become Internet sensations, and to win half a million dollars. But, given everything they have to put up with; being ripped out of their lives, possibly losing jobs, experiencing the anguish of betrayal- all while being on public display- do they get anything else?

According to a report by Reality Blurred, a site that follows the happenings of reality TV stars, programs, and related matters- the contestants “[…] receive $750 per week that they’re in the house.”

Any pay they receive while in the jury house is harder to account for since nothing about it appears on the contract. However, it is believed that contestants receive consolation prizes during their time out of the main house. It also seems reasonable that the consolation prizes received in the jury house should be worth at least $500 since keeping them away from other gainful employment for less than that would be near to slavery. (We’re looking at you, jury duty.)

However, while the big prize on Big Brother is a cool half-million on top of what the contestants earn as their weekly salary, in reality- they have much more to gain in Internet stardom.

Many former Big Brother players have gone on to lucrative careers as influencers on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media sites. While any gains from that are unlikely to be as exhilarating as half a million in fast cash- the best of them certainly earn more than that over the long term.

So, it would appear that our curiosity MacGuffins on Big Brother are at least doing as well as someone earning minimum wage- while essentially fooling around Truman Show style.

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Single Mom Irina Shayk, Happy Single

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Those in the public spotlight seem to be an open book. Their every move seems to is covered by gossip sites. Their whereabouts are nearly always and it seems as if we are updated on who’s dating who and what luxurious vacation they are on.

That’s why it is surprising that Irina Shayk and Bradley Cooper kept their relationship under wraps for so long, dating all the way back to 2015. The couple was first spotted together after the actor and model were first seen in 2015. Cooper split from Suki Waterhouse and Shayk ended her five-year relationship with soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo.

The couple was first seen together at a Broadway show, then shortly thereafter, the White House Correspondents’ dinner. Things seemed to move quickly from there. Within months the couple moved in together, soon they announced they were expecting.

Work Gets in the Way:

Irina, who has been quiet about her relationship and breakup with Bradley Cooper, recently spoke up about their relationship.

The couple ended their relationship in 2019, on the heels of the release of the stars’ remake of a Star is Born. The on-screen chemistry between Bradley Cooper and his co-star, Stefani Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, sent tongues wagging. Rumors were raging that the two co-stars were in a relationship based on their pationate adaption of the film.

Irina set the record straight in some recent interviews about the end of their relationship. According to Shayk, the couple hadn’t been getting along for quite some time. After the baby was born, Shayk was hoping that Cooper would put their family first and slow down his busy working schedule. She was secretly hoping that after A Star is Born was released and the promotional tour was over, he would spend more time at home. That was not the case.

Irina, 33, was ready to settle into family life. This included getting married and more children. But the marriage never happened, and Cooper’s work schedule was as busy as ever.

Irina felt that her expectations weren’t met and she didn’t have the commitment level she wanted from Cooper. Shortly after the Award season in June 2019, the news broke that the couple had split. Irina had taken baby Lea and moved out of the couples Los Angeles home.At first, the separation was thought to be temporary. Both partners have decided that they are better apart than together.

Better Apart:

The couple continues to co-parent their daughter, but it seems like the couple are happty being apart. They both seem to be quite content focusing on their child and carreers.

Irina recently said that “life without Cooper” and being a single mom is “new ground.” She also said that just because two people are great on their own, they are not always good together.

Irina is a strong woman, and while she often feels overwhelmed being a single-mom, she’s ready for the challenge. Both parents are dedicated to doing what is best for their child and are curently working on a visitation schedule.

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