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The Martins, Billy and Mark all arrive in Phoenix tonight at their new time 9|8c, for what’s sure to be a bidding war for the books. A freight warehouse, Sierra Auction, is filled with furniture, musical instruments, records, jewelry and tons of guns, all stored within massive moving crates that were never claimed. Catch of glimpse of what’s to come on tonight’s episode with our Crate Expectations Pictures.

Planning a trip to Phoenix? Get a complete list of the restaurants, activities and accommodations that the auction specialists enjoyed on their trip. For even more on Phoenix and the surrounding area, see our A to Z list of Phoenix vacation ideas, photos and videos.

New Year's Day Plunge

Photography by Todd Bush Photography

Sometimes you need to make a statement — big and bold — in order to start the New Year off with a fresh, clean slate. And what better way to begin a new chapter than with a dip into a body of water — icy cold, at that!

I can personally vouch for it: Taking the plunge on New Year’s Day is something you won’t soon forget. Last New Year’s, on the heels of recovering from a lower back injury, I was feeling a little listless, like something had to change. Then one day, an ad popped up on my Facebook page — something about a Coney Island Polar Bear Club Plunge on New Year’s. Intrigued, I clicked on the ad.

Turns out, the Coney Island Polar Bear Club is the oldest swimming club of its kind in the United States, and every year since the early 1900s, this hardy group of men and women, now numbering in the hundreds, has taken a dip in the Atlantic Ocean off Coney Island on New Year’s Day. (They also take regular dips every Sunday from November through April, in case you can’t get enough.)

Hypothermia? Nah!

OK, OK, you’re probably thinking — I don’t know — “hypothermia” right about now. But as I found out last New Year’s, as I gathered with more than a thousand eager New Year’s plungers off the boardwalk at Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue, you don’t have to be in super-primo-uno shape to take the plunge.

In fact, looking around at the sea of humanity ready to celebrate that New Year’s Day, I wasn’t exactly looking at a bunch of bodybuilders — and that’s putting it mildly. (As Bon Jovi music blasted from nearby speakers, yes, I did actually see grown men in every kind of sportive garb – including, you know, speedos and diapers — but hey, who am I to judge?)

Then came the moment …

At 1 p.m. sharp! –– a sea of people — my fellow brothers and sisters! — rushed toward the water, many yelping in what sounded like a primal seal sound: ah-oooh, ah-oooh

Feeling the growing excitement, I raced toward the water with them, and then it hit me, “Wow! This water is cold!” But then, what the heck, this was it, the moment — the New Year! — and soon, I dunked my whole body underwater, then rushed back toward the shore, feeling an exhilaration and joy I wouldn’t soon forget. I’m still talking about it a year later! (And a word to the ladies: A New Year’s plunge is a great date option — you’ll see how tough your fella really is!)

Eager to take the plunge yourself? Check out these New Year’s plunge options around the world! We’ve even included some warmer options, in case, you know, you don’t want to freeze to death. Go figure.

Photography by REUTERS

The holidays are here, and our favorite travel blog posts have survived the ill-fated Mayan apocalypse to tell us about them. From where to celebrate and where to avoid (if you can), to what to do before the next end of days — check out this week in travel.

Gadling brings us the top holiday travel destinations. New York catapults to the top of the list for New Year’s Eve, but it doesn’t top the list overall.

Atlas Obscura peeks into the 5 swankiest bunkers for surviving the next apocalypse.

The Culture-ist finds out what to do if contract Giardia (a parasite found in contaminated food and water), are tricked by a bird poop scam or robbed while traveling — scary stuff.

Mighty Girl has her life list all planned out, even if it isn’t the end of days. Of her “100 Things To Do Before I Go,” how many can you check off?

Grantourismo explains why they are spending Christmas in Hanoi. See what happens when 2 of our favorite globetrotters decide to celebrate spontaneity.

See what else happened this week with our This Week in Photos gallery!

Laurence and Sally Martin from Baggage Battles

What do Harry Houdini’s brother and Dracula have in common? Items related to these 2 figures could possibly make a trip to Dublin a major success for auction specialists Mark Meyer, Billy Leroy, or Laurence and Sally Martin.

Dublin has been and continues to be Ireland’s transportation hub for almost 1,000 years. The Garda, the local police, are in charge of managing all lost property that’s found and turned in to them by citizens. If no one claims the items for 1 year and a day, then the items are put up for auction.

Mark, Billy, and Laurence and Sally Martin keep their fingers crossed, hoping to strike it rich with items like old leather briefcases (potentially holding historic documents), as well as a jockey-training simulator and even an old sealed box with the words “Attic” on the front. And we all know what items are stored in the attic: old, and sometimes priceless, items.

Don’t miss tonight’s all-new episode at 8|7c.

Go behind the scenes with our Knightwalkers slideshow and watch a sneak peek of the bidding war in the Dublin Auction Preview.

Tomorrow, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m. ET, our sister network Cooking Channel will broadcast this special — one-night-only — benefit concert and fundraiser for those who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. The concert will be broadcast live from Madison Square Garden in New York City, and will air on Cooking Channel and CookingChanneltv.com.

Each penny raised on 12.12.12. will go directly to the Robin Hood Relief Fund, which is working directly with nonprofit groups assisting those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Don’t miss live performances by Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, Kanye West, The Who and Paul McCartney.

Tune in to Cooking Channel on Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET to watch the concert live or go to CookingChanneltv.com to watch it live right from their blog.

 

Steve and Amy are back with an all-new episode chock-full of paranormal activity. Their investigations lead to frightful findings at a family home in Parkersburg, WV, where a terrified mother worries about the safety of her 8 children.

While Steve uncovers the property’s tragic history, Amy encounters an evil entity intent on hurting the living.

Their client, Tisha, and her family have been seeing apparitions ever since they moved into their house 3 years ago. Tisha claims to hear loud, disturbing noises in the attic at night and some family members believe that they have actually been touched by this mysterious entity.

The family is deathly afraid and desperately wants this activity to stop. Will Steve and Amy combine their findings to help this horrified family find peace or will they continue to walk on egg shells in their own home?

Find out on an all-new episode of the Dead Files, tonight @ 10|9c.

Plus, check out exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from tonight’s episode, The Soul Collector.

Baggage Battles specialists Sally, Mark and Laurence

The auction specialists head to Greensboro, NC, a city nicknamed “The Gate City”  because it’s a major hub for import and export. Go behind the scenes to get a sneak peek of tonight’s episode. Laurence and Sally come across some lucky ladies, and Mark’s knowledge of NASCAR comes in handy.

When the specialists weren’t previewing their auction items or bidding against one another, they took time to enjoy the Southern charm of Greensboro: Its food and music, especially. See all the places they visited during their off-hours in the Greensboro Travel Guide.

The days may be growing shorter, but one thing got longer this past month. Mustaches, and lots of them. Mustaches popped up all over the world in November — with some of the best sported by celebrities from Kris Jenner to David Beckham — for Mustache November. Known simply as Movember,  this annual movement calls on men worldwide to grow out their facial hair in solidarity against prostate cancer and other men’s health issues. What began in Australia as a campaign to raise awareness of these issues has now grown to become a worldwide cultural phenomenon.

Movember in London

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Auction specialists in Atlanta

Tonight on an all-new Baggage Battles, the auction specialists travel to Atlanta, GA, for the FR8 auction. Every year in Atlanta over half a billion trucks carry more than 400 million tons of freight through this major southern city. Billy, Mark, Sally and Laurence all compete for the cargo from a prized Rolls Royce. Who makes the winning bid? And will Billy’s $270 personal effects win pay off? Don’t miss tonight’s episode at 8|7c.

Until then, go behind the scenes and watch a sneak peek from tonight’s episode.

If you’re not in the mood to stand in line with a bunch of Twihards tonight to see Breaking Dawn: Part II, escape to the evocative world of 19th-century Russia in Anna Karenina, which also opens this weekend. Though some would be horrified that we are putting the 2 films in the same sentence, there are some similarities between the 2 stories:  both are based on love affairs with the forbidden; one between a vampire and a human, the other between a married socialite and a young cavalry officer.  And both are set in romantic, but equally dark settings — rainy Pacific Northwest and snow-covered Russia. And both make us want to travel.

St. Basil’s Cathedral Photography by Getty Images

This cinematic take on Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, Anna Karenina — the story of a married St. Petersburg socialite embarking on a passionate and disastrous love affair — is a visual masterpiece, already garnering Oscar buzz.  As with all film adaptions, this version takes creative liberties and scenes are set on a theater stage, showing very little of Russia or its famous landmarks. Being the travel junkies we are, it’s inspiring us to embark on our own Russian adventure.

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