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One of the biggest decisions new college graduates face after earning their bachelor's is whether to continue their education with a graduate degree, or enter the professional world without one. The Education Data Initiative reports graduate degrees can cost between $30,000 and $120,000 after a bachelor's, so it's important to consider the financial benefits depending on an individual's chosen field of study.

In Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, graduate degree holders earn $16,859 more than they would with just a bachelor's degree, according to a new study by SmartAsset.

The average annual income of a Metroplex resident with a bachelor's degree is $65,694, the study says. Those with graduate degrees make $82,553 per year, SmartAsset says.

A graduate degree holder's salary in Dallas-Fort Worth is much higher than the national average of $72,000 per year. The study further determined that (nationally) a graduate degree nets workers $16,000 more per year than those with a bachelor's.

Those with advanced degrees from one Dallas graduate school do particularly well.

"Amid the high expenses of education and ever-changing job markets, it’s important to weigh the opportunity costs of a graduate degree with the additional earning potential," the study's author wrote. "A graduate or professional degree nets an extra $484,000 over a career, on average... This assumes a 30 year career in a medium or large metro area."

SmartAsset's study used 2021 U.S. Census Bureau 1-Year ACS S1501 data to determine the income for individuals aged 25 and older with varying professional degrees in 281 of the biggest metropolitan areas.

The Texas city where a graduate degree nets a resident the most amount of money is Midland, with a massive $24,394 difference between graduate degree and bachelor's holders. Average graduate degree pay in the West Texas city is $90,559 versus $66,165 for an individual with a bachelor's degree.

The metro that landed at the top of the national ranks is San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California. A bachelor's degree holder makes an average salary of $102,214 in the area, whereas a graduate degree holder earns more than $48,000 more, totaling $150,281.

The full report and its methodology can be found on smartasset.com.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Filipino fried chicken spot roosts in this week's 5 most-read Dallas stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines.

1. Filipino chain Jollibee fixes up fried chicken for opening day in Dallas. An eagerly anticipated chicken restaurant is about to make its central Dallas debut: Jollibee, the global Filipino restaurant brand with fried chicken, chicken sandwiches, and Peach Mango Pie dessert, will open its long-awaited first location in Dallas in a former Jack in the Box at 4703 Greenville Ave. on Wednesday, November 29.

2. Scotched sale of downtown Dallas YMCA gives fitness buffs a reprieve. Downtown Dallas fitness buffs can breathe a sigh of relief: A mystery buyer who bid on the downtown Dallas YMCA building has dropped out after several months of negotiations.

3. Where to drink in Dallas right now: 5 bars gone crazy for the holiday. Holiday-themed pop-up bars have officially swept the Dallas-Fort Worth restaurant-bar scene in 2023, moving from a special-circumstance oddity into an expanding trend. This edition of Where to Drink spotlights five locals doing their own versions.

4. Dallas is among the 15 most 'house rich' cities in U.S., report says. With high interest rates and home prices making daily headlines, houses in Texas' current real estate market may seem out of reach for many potential homebuyers. But that isn't the case in Dallas. A new study has revealed Dallas is the No. 15 most "house rich" major city in the nation.

5. Global London Asian chain Wagamama preps noodles for big Dallas debut. A global noodle joint is opening in Dallas: Wagamama, the iconic global restaurant brand offering modern Asian cuisine, is making its Texas debut in Dallas with a location at 2425 Harry Hines Blvd. opening on December 8.

Warm neutrals and kitchen hideaways make 10 top home design trends for 2024

designed with care

Industrial-style kitchens and tongue-and-groove ceilings were among the hottest home design trends of 2023, but next year is shaping up to be all about timeless style blended with familiar trends of the past.

A new report by Houzz predicts the top home design trends that could emerge in 2024, using data based on the website's search results and expert insight. Here are the top 10 trends they're forecasting in months to come.

Mixing tile and stone for backsplashes
Tile remains the leading backsplash choice for kitchens. However, designers are choosing to break up the monotony of an all-tile background by installing stone or quartz slabs behind the stovetop.

"The slab is often the same material as the countertops, giving the kitchen a vertical display of graphic veining or other interesting details to create a striking focal point that’s easy to wipe clean," the report said.

Fluted furniture
Fluted furniture (namely cabinets and dressers) was initially popular during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic after many viral DIY videos highlighted the idea's budget-friendliness. And Houzz reports that fluted elements have been seen frequently enough "throughout the year" at trade shows to make it a possible emerging trend in 2024. Nearly all furniture pieces can be adorned with the thick appearance of the fluted texture, from bathroom vanities to living room furniture.

2024 Houzz home design trendsJust don't get toothpaste on the fluted bathroom vanity.Photo by Shanna Hickman / parsons i.d.

Cool tones are out, warm neutrals are in
It might be time to say goodbye to "agreeable gray" wall paint, according to Houzz. Gone are the days of cool-toned rooms, as more and more designers are leaning back toward warmer neutrals like beige, cream, and rich brown.

"We first predicted this infusion in the kitchen, but the look is beginning to dominate throughout the home to offer a calmer, more welcoming environment," the report said.

While you're in the middle of picking out your next room color, don't forget to incorporate different tones or experiment with new textures and patterns to give the room a "layered look" that can be versatile across every season.

Blue is the color of 2024
Designers on Houzz are predicting blue will be the color of 2024, no matter what Pantone decides the Color of the Year will be. Adding a pop of color to any room is a great way to draw attention to certain pieces a homeowner may want to showcase.

"Whether it’s a sky-inspired hue or a deep watery color, look for an array of blues to be featured more prominently in decorative materials and housewares in the coming year," the report said.

2024 Houzz home design trendsWarm neutrals are in, but so is a nice calming blue.Photo by Mike Healey Photography / Brittany Lyons Interiors

Can't go wrong with a timeless look
Sustainability is also top-of-mind for many homeowners and designers heading into the new year, no matter what overarching design style they've chosen. According to the report, timeless details like brick, handmade clay tiles, and wood are becoming trendy among modern homes looking for a "quiet luxury" aesthetic. Adding more traditional design elements is also a popular choice for home renovations.

Handmade and custom design details
Speaking along the lines of a timeless style, designers are often searching for handmade or custom-made pieces to include in a home. European design shows championed personalized design elements in 2023, and the idea is catching fire throughout the U.S.

"[Bespoke elements] create a feeling that the homeowner has something truly unique and special," the report said.

A 2023 Houzz report analyzing bathroom trends further corroborates this shift to personalized details with the discovery that 62 percent of homeowners renovating their space were opting for custom-made bathroom vanities.

Hideaways for your countertop appliances
According to interior design blog Apartment Therapy, appliance garages rose to fame in the 1980s-90s, but eventually fell out of favor in the public eye when open shelving began to take over as the dominant kitchen trend. Now the clocks are turning back, and appliance garages are seeing a resurgence among homeowners who want to hide all the gadgets taking up space on their counters.

"Appliance garages conceal countertop appliances such as blenders, coffee makers, and toasters while keeping them easily accessible and organized," the report said.

Where else are we supposed to keep the air fryers or stand mixers?

2024 Houzz home design trendsNo kitchen gadgets will be taking up space in this kitchen while being hidden behind folding cabinet doors.Photo by Andrea Rugg Photography / kate roos design

Herringbone design
In another win for timeless style, herringbone is also making a comeback and can suit any room in a house. As a new-and-improved style, herringbone doesn't have to flow horizontally like it commonly used to. Designers are opting to create an "updated" look with herringbone tile by installing it in funky zig-zag or vertical patterns to improve visual interest.

2024 Houzz home design trends

Photo by Shanna Wolf Photography / Rochelle Lee Interiors LLC

Can't go wrong with herringbone tiles in the kitchen.

Combination laundry and mud rooms
For families with kids running around, combining the laundry room with the mud room is one of the safest ways to mitigate entryway messes. And it's becoming increasingly popular.

"[A mud-laundry room] lets homeowners place grimy sports uniforms, sandy beach towels, or muddy winter coats directly into the wash before they track dirt further into a home," the report said. "A utility sink lets you soak dirty clothes or delicates, and a pulldown faucet is effective at rinsing muddy boots or cleats."

Designers on Houzz highly recommend taking advantage of a mudroom's cabinets, hooks, and cubbies to help organize all the clean clothing, athletic gear, and other items.

Let the green grass grow
When it comes to maintaining curb appeal, leaving more room for greenery never hurts. Garden paths and patios made of pavers that leave space in between for grass to grow is an emerging trend for 2024. Houzz says the natural look and design versatility of greenery between pavers softens the harsh angles of the stone and other hardscape elements. Plus, who doesn't love living in a house where the backyard looks like a lush garden?

2024 Houzz home design trendsA cozy backyard where the green grass grows.Photo courtesy of J. Montgomery Designs, Inc.

Jealousy, intrigue, and weirdness make Saltburn an eat-the-rich hoot

Movie Review

Writer/director Emerald Fennell made her feature film debut with the provocatively great 2020 film, Promising Young Woman, which saw its protagonist single-handedly – and, perhaps, foolishly – taking on male sexual predators. Her follow-up, Saltburn, has another protagonist with a one-track mind, this time a young man obsessing about joining upper crust English society.

Barry Keoghan in Saltburn

Photo courtesy of Prime Video

Barry Keoghan in Saltburn.

Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) is a student at Oxford University who longs to be part of the popular crowd, especially the group led by Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), who has everyone he meets fawning over him. Through a few chance meetings, Oliver does manage to endear himself to Felix, who invites him to spend the summer with him and his family at their estate called Saltburn.

There, Oliver is able to participate in the seemingly carefree revelry enjoyed by Felix and his family, including mother Elspeth (Rosamund Pike), father Sir James (Richard E. Grant), and sister Venetia (Allison Oliver). With hangers-on like fellow school friend Farleigh (Archie Madekwe) and Elspeth's friend Pamela (Carey Mulligan) along for the ride, Oliver discovers exactly how the filthy rich live, slowly but surely insinuating himself into each of their lives.

Films set on ornate British estates tend to be stuffy period pieces, so Fennell’s story is initially a breath of fresh air, telling a more modern version that’s full of life. Colors pop from every shot, especially the film’s many party scenes (and their aftermath). The sequences are the definition of excess, but deliciously so, as Fennell also fills them with hilarious dialogue that highlights the privilege of rich people who’ve never known a day of need in their whole life.

The strength of Oliver’s desire to join their ranks shifts constantly in the film, at first subtly and then in huge jumps. Fennell appears to have taken inspiration from The Talented Mr. Ripley, both in the haves vs. the have-nots aspect of the story, and in the fluctuating sexuality of Oliver. If it helps him get closer to his goal, Oliver has no trouble playing both sides of the fence, as it were, and in increasingly bizarre ways.

Just as she did in Promising Young Woman, Fennell makes certain storytelling choices that may not sit well with all viewers. The third act has more than a few of these, especially the culmination of the story, and while those decisions don’t always work, the fact that she went for them at all is deserving of some credit. Too many filmmakers try to play it safe, and it's much better to have someone try and fail than not try at all.

Keoghan has an innocent look to him that belies the intensity he can bring, which makes him ideal for a role like this. He’s up for whatever Fennell throws at him, which is quite a lot, and he succeeds even if the scenes don’t always work. Elordi plays a spoiled-but-empathetic rich kid well, and Grant, Pike, Oliver, and Madekwe give equally interesting performances. Mulligan has a short but funny role in which she plays against type.

While not as good as Promising Young Woman, Saltburn demonstrates that Fennell is still a filmmaker to watch. Her ideas are off-kilter enough to give her a distinctive voice, and she deserves to be given many more opportunities to bring her perspective to the big screen.

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Saltburn is now playing in theaters.