The Daily Valet. - 1/5/24, Friday

✔️ Maximize Your Vacation Days in 2024

The Daily Valet.
The Daily Valet.

Friday, January 5th Edition

Cory Ohlendorf

By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor

When it comes to vacations, Benjamin Franklin said it best, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Today’s Big Story

Maximize Your Vacation Days

Piggybacking on public holidays to create longer breaks and taking off Mondays are among the tricks

Max out your PTO

You made it to the end of your first week of 2024. But, according to experts, if you're smart, you're already planning how to utilize your paid time off this year to completely maximize the number of consecutive days off. After all, we Americans are terrible at using our vacation time. About half of U.S. workers who get PTO don't use it up each year, according to a 2023 Pew Research Center survey.And that's if you even get paid vacation. One in five U.S. private-sector workers gets no vacation days, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And some have “unlimited” vacation days. That sounds like an amazing job perk when you first hear it, but in most cases, it's a marketing ruse, several HR reps told InsideHook. In fact, people who have an opportunity to take as many vacations as they can “will end up taking fewer days off than those with a limited amount of days off in a year.”Which is why as a new year begins, posts about “maxing out” PTO have been making the rounds on social media. Without a strategy, you can have a generous number of vacation days and still feel like you never truly got away from it all. First, a little science: To really recharge, you need at least one weeklong vacation, bracketed between two weekends, research suggests.According to the Wall Street Journal, a 2023 study of more than 300 vacationers found people who took between eight and 14 days off reported greater and longer positive effects once they returned to work, such as better sleep, than those who took shorter breaks. Even if you can't take advantage of each public holiday to maximize your time off, you'd still be surprised by how much you can benefit from a few well-timed vacation requests.For instance, The Points Guy has a plan, starting next month, to take off Feb. 16., the Friday before President's Day on Feb. 19, to get a four-day weekend. You can do the same come Memorial Day by taking off Friday, May 24. Of course, to take advantage of all of them, you'd have to have a job that offers 40 vacation days and observes all federal holidays. (As one social media commenter noted, “My 17 days of PTO could never.”) Plus, claiming them all early may lead to “maxing out how much your coworkers hate you.”

Dig Deeper:

Forbes says vacation is so important, companies should require (or at least strongly suggest) employees to use their PTO.

FDA Probing Weight-Loss Drug Side Effects

reports of hair loss and suicidal thoughts in people using the popular medications like Ozempic

Recently, medications like Ozempic, Mounjaro and Wegovy have exploded in popularity. But now, the US Food and Drug Administration is evaluating reports of side effects such as hair loss and suicidal thoughts in people taking the medications. These blockbuster drugs, known as GLP-1 receptor agonists, are approved to treat diabetes or weight loss. According to CNN, they mimic GLP-1, a hormone made naturally in the body whose roles include slowing the passage of food through the stomach.While the FDA cautioned there's no certainty that a suspected drug is responsible for side effects reported to the agency, past investigations have led to new warnings on drug labels, more safety studies and other precautions. Eli Lilly, the maker of Mounjaro and Zepbound, said in an emailed statement that it is collaborating with the FDA on potential safety issues. Novo Nordisk, which manufactures Wegovy and Ozempic, said it works closely with the FDA to continuously monitor the safety of all of its obesity drugs, adding known risks are reflected in their current labeling.Demand for the drugs continues to spike, even while experts note there isn't enough data about the long-term effects and how they work in certain populations, which could ultimately affect the market for them.


Warnings grow about risky IV drips and injections at unregulated med spas.

Get Ready for a New Color in Traffic

Mercedes has received permits to test a new way for other drivers to identify when a vehicle is in self-driving mode

This seems like a clever idea. You know how most cars in America have three colors of lights on the outside? White for headlights and reverse lights, red for brakes and rear lights and amber for turn signals (at least in the front)? Well, Mercedes-Benz has just received approval to add a fourth color: turquoise blue lights that indicate when a Mercedes car is driving itself.Dubbed Drive Pilot, the system allows the driver to hand over primary duties to the car at speeds up to 40 mph. Of course, the driver must be ready to re-take control of the car at any time if it's unable to drive itself. According to Car and Driver, it was certified for use in California and Nevada earlier this year. Those two states are also where the new turquoise marker lights have been permitted for use.While the car is taking the wheel, you can read a book, watch a movie on the oversized dash screen, or just more easily talk to your passengers or use your cellphone. All of that is totally legal, but could certainly worry other motorists. I'd definitely do a double take seeing someone flipping through a magazine in the driver's seat while cruising down the highway. These new blue lights will let us know that the car has a Level 3 self-driving system active and not just a plain distracted driver.


The turquoise color for Level 3 driving was chosen by SAE, so other brands beyond just Mercedes will use it for their own cars. 

A Weekend Pairing

‘Foe’ + a Non2 Sparkling Beverage


If you missed the theatrical run of Foe, starring Paul Mescal and Saoirse Ronan, it begins streaming on Prime Video today. It didn't do all that well when it was first released, but it sounds like this might be a sleeper hit that finds an audience later—especially when you don't have to pay for it outright.According to Rolling Stone, the story involves the moral dilemma around developing artificial intelligence and how climate change is destroying our planet, “which means it could not be more timely or thematically urgent. And all of it is wrapped in an intimate psychological drama involving three people that still manages to hit a number of tried and true sci-fi beats.” But even if you're not all that into sci-fi, the New York Times says while the story has some flaws, the visuals are stunning—from “magic-hour vistas and pseudo-poetic shots of ripped greenhouse plastic blowing in the wind” to the hot Irish stars, “often loosely clothed and soaked in sweat from the lack of air conditioning.”

Pair It With

Caramelised pear kombu

At first, I thought I’d pair a natural wine with this, but then I found this bottle, which just looks like something you might pour in the middle of a dystopian crisis, right? And bonus, the non-alcoholic sparkling wine alternative is Dry January friendly. But it still has a bold taste and buttery finish with a punch of minerality.

Also Worth a Watch:

In Other News

Iran bombing

It was the deadliest attack in Iran since 1979 revolution.

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31 Days

Take Yourself Out for a Drink

If you’re doing Dry January, don’t read this story

I realize that for some, the idea of drinking alone at a bar conjures sad images of loneliness and isolation. But hear me out: There's a certain charm and liberation in embracing the quiet zen of taking yourself out for a drink. Of savoring your drink in solitude at the bar. We're not telling you to abandon your friends, but simply reminding you that sometimes a man can be his own drinking buddy.Now I'll admit that at first, it might be a little intimidating. Where do you sit? Maybe it's too loud to strike up a conversation with a stranger. And that bartender who you were hoping to befriend always seems to be busy. But just like getting engaged or buying a genuinely nice piece of furniture, having a drink by yourself is an adult rite of passage—it's a little scary at first, but you're always glad you had the guts to do it.



What We’re Buying

Gym shoes on sale

Brooks Running Levitate 6 sneaker

Can new sneakers really make you more successful in your fitness goals? Turns out, they can. Not only will new shoes be more comfortable, but science has proven that what you wear influences how you feel about yourself. And when you show up to the gym in some fresh kicks, you'll have more confidence. And with so many good pairs on sale, why not treat yourself? Think of it as an investment in your health.

Get It:

Levitate 6 sneaker, $150 / $119.95 by Brooks Running

Morning Motto

You made it through the week.

I'm ok!


Share today’s motto: