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The latest news from Life

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    Ayanna Pressley delivers her victory speech after winning a Democratic congressional primary in Massachusetts.

    • Soon-to-be members of the House of Representatives elected in last week's midterm elections are currently gathering in Washington, DC, for pre-freshman orientation.
    • There are significant disparities in the racial and gender diversity of the new members. 
    • All of the new Republicans are white, and just one is female. Among new Democrats, 64% are female, 37% identify as people of color, and 24% identify as women of color. 

    Soon-to-be members of the House of Representatives elected in last week's midterm elections are in Washington, DC, for pre-freshman orientation — and there are stark differences in the diversity of the new members across party lines.

    Out of the 31 new Republican members, 100% are white and heterosexual, and just one new Republican, Carol Miller of West Virginia, is female. Ten House races have yet to be officially called.

    Among the 53 new Democrats, however, 34 of them of them (64%) are female, and 20 (37%) identify as people of color.

    Thirteen (24%) are women of color. They also include four openly LGBTQ+ members: Katie Hill of California, Sharice Davids of Kansas, Angie Craig of Minnesota, and Chris Pappas of New Hampshire. 

    While a record number of women — 114 to be exact — have been elected to serve in the 116th Congress so far, most of the gains in female representation have been in the Democratic Party, which gained a net 32 seats in the House and unseated several Republican women in the process. 

    A record number of women of color, 40, who are mostly Democrats, will also serve in the upcoming term. This year, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan made history as the first Muslim women elected to Congress, while Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico will be the first Native American women.

    Read more:7 photos that perfectly capture the history-making wave of women who won on Election Day

    Some Republican women, including Young Kim in California's 39th District and Mimi Walters in California's 45th, are hanging on to razor-thin leads in races that have not yet been called. If Kim is elected, she would America's first Korean-American congresswoman.

    Meanwhile in Utah, Mia Love, the GOP's only African-American congresswoman, is poised to lose to Democrat Ben McAdams. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Megyn Kelly in 2017: 'I regret a lot' of the controversial stuff I've said on live television


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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    Screen Shot 2018 11 13 at 1.22.13 PM

    • Allbirds makes the "world's most comfortable shoes" out of soft, machine-washable merino wool.
    • The startup followed its cult-favorite Runner ($95) with two releases of equally "smart" and eco-friendly materials: sneakers made out of tree fiber, and flip-flops made from the world's first-ever sugarcane EVA foam. 
    • Allbirds just released Tree Toppers ($115) that combine all three Allbirds materials into one high-top sneaker. 
    • We tried them out, and the Tree Toppers are incredibly comfortable, stylish, and breathable. 

    If someone described their shoes — let's say, from across a dinner table — as "the most comfortable pair they've ever worn," you'd probably conjure up a homely but dependable pair of clogs hidden underneath the tablecloth. There's nothing wrong with them; they do one job, and they do it so well they can't do anything else — like look good.

    And yet, the merino wool sneakers that snagged the colloquial title of "the world's most comfortable shoes" also happened to be really cool looking. Where ergonomic clogs failed in Silicon Valley and New York City, Allbirds runners ($95) flourished with ease.

    The San Francisco-based startup knows how to make comfortable shoes that look good. And they opt to do so out of smart, eco-friendly materials: sneakers made from super-soft, merino wool, skippers made from eucalyptus pulp, and flip-flops made from the world's first-ever sugarcane EVA foam

    As of November 2018, Allbirds has combined all three of its cult-favorite materials into one shoe: the Tree Toppers ($115).

    The classic high-tops have a sugarcane EVA foam for the sole, super-soft merino wool on the inside, and eucalyptus tree fiber on the outside. You can pick a pair up in four colors at the moment: two core colors of Kauri Jo and Charcoal, or two limited edition colors of Zin (red) and Fiddle Leaf (green). 

    Screen Shot 2018 11 13 at 2.17.42 PM

    $115 isn't cheap, but Allbirds are a particularly good place to invest that money if you're willing to buy fewer but better shoes. They're some of the most comfortable, low-maintenance pairs we've ever found, and you'll find at least one of our product viewers — people with more granular knowledge of products than is probably healthy — opting to wear one of its styles around the office every day. They travel well, feel good, and a purchase of one Allbirds pair also happens to support better, more sustainable business practices — as recently seen in the company's decision not to patent the world's first carbon-negative EVA foam so other companies could use it. It's also a bonus that you can throw them in the washing machine and they look like new again 30 minutes later.

    We tested the Tree Toppers ahead of their November 14 launch, and we found them to be pretty great overall. The tree fiber is breathable and flexible, the sugarcane foam responsive and plush, and the super-soft merino wool is warm and comfortable for the interior. All in all, it's a great shoe — if you like the look, you won't be disappointed by the feel. 

    Shop the Tree Toppers here, or continue to our reviews for the men's and women's versions below:

    Allbirds_Sept_Oct_ReFresh_PDP_TR_TPR_Kauri_Zin_PAIR

    Mara Leighton, Insider Picks reporter: Women's Tree Topper, $115 (4 colors)

    Allbirds' Tree Toppers are probably the most comfortable pair of Allbirds I've tested — probably because they're essentially flexible, secure gloves made from all the materials that have made Allbirds famous.

    I was concerned the high-top style may feel stiff or unnaturally thick, but the tree fiber is responsive and flexible throughout — fitting close around my ankle without any of the chafing that you might expect from wearing ankle socks with high-tops for the first time. It feels effortless. The Tree fiber is as breathable as it was in the Tree Runners, the interior merino wool is still surprisingly soft, and the carbon-negative foam soles as sturdy and bouncy as any other. It's a good mix of the warm and cozy properties of the wool shoe and the light breeziness of the Tree collection. All in all, I love them. I'll probably wear them frequently into work, on the weekends, and for traveling. 

    Allbirds_Sept_Oct_ReFresh_PDP_TR_TPR_Kauri_Jo_LAT

    David Slotnick, Insider Picks senior reporter: Men's Tree Topper, $115 (4 colors)

    I’ve been an Allbirds fan for a year or so. My Tree Runners were a summer staple, and I wear my Wool Runners pretty much any time I travel — they’re breathable but warm and comfy, and they’re just as well suited to a day walking around a city as they are to spending 10 hours in the air in an economy seat. They’re not the best rain shoe, but they compare reasonably well to any other pair of sneakers.

    The Tree Toppers feel like a comfortable middle ground, with the light airiness of the Tree Runners, but insulated enough to wear around on a drizzly November day in New York City. The high-top style lends well to jeans or even chinos, and they feel snug and supportive without sacrificing comfort. I suspect these will become my next staple.

    Buy a pair of Allbirds Tree Toppers for $115 on the company's website.

    SEE ALSO: Everlane has launched an outerwear collection made from recycled water bottles — here's what it's like in person

    DON'T MISS: This shoe company launched on Kickstarter and is making premium leather boots for under $200

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    tovala 1020

    • Tovala has created a smart oven and meal-kit service intended to simplify home cooking.
    • The oven is a countertop machine that essentially combines four types of appliances: a broiler, a steamer, an oven, and a toaster.
    • We got a chance to test it out — here's what it was like.

    Meal kits have become one of the biggest trends in food retail in recent years, with dozens of new companies cropping up and even traditional retailers jumping on the bandwagon, hoping to cash in on time-strapped consumers who are seeking easy, healthy meals.

    But the backlash has already begun. Some say the market is oversaturated with meal-kit options, and industry innovators such as Blue Apron have found themselves losing customers.

    Tovala, a gourmet meal-kit service that uses a smart oven, is hoping to swoop in and woo these customers on the assumption that they still crave good food and convenience.

    The Tovala oven is a countertop machine that combines four types of appliances: a broiler, a steamer, an oven, and a toaster. The oven is Wi-Fi-enabled and connects to an app with hundreds of recipes. The user simply needs to select a recipe on the app or scan the barcode on one of the service's prepared meals, and the oven will then do all of the work.

    In February, Tovala received an undisclosed amount of funding from the food giant Tyson Foods. The capital raised was to be used to support Tovala's growth, including adding staff across all departments, geographic expansion, and investment in product, operations, technology, and marketing, Tovala said in a press release at the time.

    On Tuesday, Tovala launched its new and improved second-generation machine, which is lighter than its predecessor and has a new function that enables users to cook without using the app. The first machine was rolled out in 2017.

    Find out how it works below:

    SEE ALSO: These are the brands that blew up in 2018

    The new oven works in the same way as the original version. There are two options: to cook independently using the machine or to subscribe to its prepared meal kits.

    There are two main differences between the two models: The new model is 15% smaller and lighter than its predecessor, and users are now able to cook on the oven without having to use the app.

    According to the company's CEO, David Rabie, not being able to use the oven without the app was one of the biggest complaints customers had about the original version. 



    If you opt for the meal kits, you have the choice between three, four, six, eight, nine, or 12 meals a week.

    Customers who sign up for 100 Tovala meals within the first 12 months of their purchase are eligible for $100 off the oven. 

    The oven itself costs $349 and comes with a 180-day return policy. 

     



    Each meal costs $12 and is meant to feed one person. If you're ordering as a couple or feeding a family, you'd need to order more of each variety.

    Customers are required to pick which meals they want on a Wednesday for the following Monday. 

    There are eight meals to choose from each week. 

     



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    Brooklinen Brooklittles crib sheets

    • Brooklinen's baby line, Brooklittles, is too adorable for words, but we found some to describe just how perfect it really is for your baby or toddler.
    • With sheet sets made for kids aged 0 to a few years old, these offerings are constructed with high-quality cotton, bamboo, and alpaca wool for the ultimate in cozy comfort.
    • While some sets are a bit pricey, they're well worth it for keeping your newborn safe and warm, especially in the winter months to come.

    Babies. Bedding. Bliss. And it's all thanks to Brooklinen. Your favorite place to shop for sheets, linens, and the like on the internet has now turned its attention to the smallest members of your family. Meet Brooklittles, the smaller and gentler version of Brooklinen's already renowned bedding. And if you thought babies were cute, just wait until you see this baby collection.

    The gender-neutral collection combines the same chic elegance that has become synonymous with the Brooklinen name with an even softer material that is gentle on baby's skin. From crib sheets to swaddles to toddler bedding to blankets, Brooklinen now has your baby covered from the moment they come home (and then some).

    I love the look of the mini crib sheet set ($32) and crib sheet set ($52), which will fit snuggly on your baby's first bed. Made of 100% long-staple cotton and OEKO-TEX certified chemical-free, these sheets are made in Israel and boast a particularly smooth sateen weave. And thanks to their deep pockets, you won't have to worry about the sheets coming off even if your baby tosses and turns. Really, once you've felt these sheets, you'll wonder why you ever outgrew your own crib. The set comes in four precious patterns, and I'm particularly taken with the New York City option (pictured above), which decorates your baby's sheets with little pizza slices, taxis, pretzels, and all things NYC.

    Brooklinen Brooklittles crib sheets

    Then, there's the toddler sheet set ($68) and complete toddler bed set ($188), made specifically for small beds (but not a crib). Like the crib set, these sheets are also made of 100% organic cotton in Israel, and are entirely hypoallergenic. The 400-thread-count sateen shell may introduce your child to the lap of luxury a bit too early, but hey, if you're going to spoil your child, might as well do it with bedding, right? The full bed set comes complete with a pillowcase, duvet cover, fitted sheet, comforter, and pillow, so you can take care of all bedding all at once. To avoid any hazardous conditions, there are no buttons to speak of on either the pillow case or the duvet cover (everything uses envelope enclosures and stitches to keep things in place), and both inserts and covers can be machine washed.

    More precious still is the swaddle set ($38), which is constructed with 70% bamboo and 30% cotton. Incredibly soft and gentle, these three swaddle cloths are perfect for wrapping your newborn in what I imagine clouds must feel like. The combination of cotton and bamboo makes for an extremely delicate knit, so it's well-suited for even the most sensitive skin. While you certainly shouldn't leave these swaddle cloths in a crib, you could use them as burp cloths, stroller covers, or a nursing cover. And because they come in a set of three, you'll have a couple extra to keep around if baby loves one of them a little too much.

    Brooklinen Brooklittles crib sheets

    Finally, there's the baby quilt set ($128), which comes with a quilt, a quilted sham, and a sham insert, all in white with grey stitching. Elegant and sophisticated, this is the pattern I wish I had on my own bed. And while the quilt may be more appropriate for summer months given its lightweight nature, for the winter months to come, you could always check out the alpaca baby blanket ($118), otherwise known as "what I want for the holidays."

    Honestly, it's unfair that as we grow older, we're expected to grow out of our baby blankets, especially because this is one blanket I want to take with me everywhere. Made of 100% hypoallergenic baby alpaca sourced from the Andean Highlands, this 30-inch by 40-inch baby blanket is wrinkle resistant and super durable (so it really should last into adulthood) and unbelievably soft. Before the blanket ever gets to your doorstep, it's washed, softened, decatized, and combed for the ultimate in luxury, and with two classic colors (Cream Windowpane and Charcoal Windowpane), they'll elevate any nursery.

    And if you're looking for something else to go on your baby's bed that isn't a sheet or a blanket, you may want to check out my namesake, Lulu the Llama ($38). The cutest mascot around, this knit llama is apparently what the children of the 21st century are using instead of teddy bears.

    To be honest, I think I'm ok with that.

    The Brooklittles sets start at $32 and cap out in price at $188 for the toddler bed set.

    SEE ALSO: 23 thoughtful gifts for new parents celebrating their first holiday as a family

    DON'T MISS: 7 startups that have grown with their millennial fan base by introducing baby and kids' collections

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    2016 03 13 farmers dog 0146 1 1 1

    • The Farmer's Dog offers real food for dogs, delivered fresh to your door.
    • Each package is customized to your dog’s individual profile and pre-portioned in easy pour bags.
    • It’s significantly more expensive that regular kibble, but the health benefits are worth the cost.

    When it comes time to feed your dog, you probably head to the pantry and open up a bag of dry kibble or a can of wet food. While there are plenty of high-quality commercial dog foods on the market, this type of food has its limitations. The process through which traditional dog food is made often strips away the original nutritional integrity, and most brands design their foods to provide for only the most basic nutritional needs of dogs in certain life stages and different breed sizes.

    Your dog is unique, and so are his nutritional needs. So, doesn’t he deserve a dog food that is designed specifically for him and catered to his unique nutritional profile?

    That’s what fresh food from The Farmer’s Dog has to offer, and we’ve tested the food ourselves to bring you this review. Keep reading to see what we thought of it.

    Our experience with The Farmer’s Dog

    In mid-November of last year, I opened my home to a new companion – a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy I named Archie. I grew up around Golden Retrievers and have done a great deal of research and writing in the pet food niche, so I already had an idea what I was going to feed him. I selected a popular brand that offered a small-breed puppy formula and called it a day.

    Archie is the kind of dog that will eat anything that falls on the floor or anything I offer him by hand. When it comes to eating from his own bowl, however, he can be a little picky. Most days he doesn’t show any interest in his food until one of my cats tries to eat it. So, when I was given the opportunity to try The Farmer’s Dog fresh food, I was interested to see how he would like it.

    In this review, I’ll go into detail about my experience with the ordering process, testing the product, and the pros and cons. If you’d rather skip to the bottom line, I can tell you right now that neither Archie nor I were disappointed with The Farmer’s Dog — and he would gladly continue to eat it.

    Before I get into the details, however, I want to point out that The Farmer’s Dog is not the only fresh food service available to dog owners. I’ve also tried products from PetPlate and Ollie, so I’ll be mentioning my experience with them as a point of comparison.

    The first step in testing The Farmer’s Dog food was to create an online profile for myself and Archie using the company website. The whole process took less than five minutes.

    I plugged in basic information such as my name, email address, and zip code along with some facts about Archie including his sex, age, weight, and breed. From there, I was asked to evaluate his body composition, activity level, and eating preferences. After plugging in the necessary information, I learned that Archie needs roughly 460 calories per day.

    15390970_1173550359399937_7011280303773039205_n

    After completing Archie’s profile, I was given three formulas to choose from: turkey, beef, or pork.

    With my background in pet nutrition, I decided to steer clear of the beef option due to its risk for triggering food allergies and selected the turkey formula. In addition to turkey as the main ingredient, this recipe also included other nutritious ingredients like parsnips, chickpeas, carrots, broccoli, spinach, and fish oil. Each of the three recipes also includes something called “Farmer’s Dog Nutrient Blend” to ensure balanced nutrition.

    After placing my order, the product arrived quickly and in perfect condition. Packed with dry ice to keep the product frozen, the food was pre-portioned in bags that contained enough food for one day. All I had to do was thaw the first bag and put the rest in the freezer. The bags themselves were frozen flat so they took up minimal space in my already jam-packed freezer.

    Once the product thawed, I began incorporating it into Archie’s diet.

    I followed the included instructions to mix some of the fresh food with his dry food, working up to feeding him half a bag twice a day.While I found the food bags easy to freeze, once they were open it was a little bit tricky to store them.

    My shipment came with what looked like a takeout container with a plastic lid, so I was able to fold up the open food bag and place it in the container in the fridge until dinner time. I found it a little disappointing that the bags themselves were not resealable — I needed to cut them open with scissors.

    When I offered Archie his first bowl of The Farmer’s Dog food, he was a little cautious. He spent a couple of seconds sniffing it with interest and then sampled a bite. He didn’t act overly excited about the food, but he did seem to find it more appealing than his regular dry food alone. Over the next few days, as I phased out the kibble and began feeding him the fresh food only, he continued to enjoy it.

    During the first few days of feeding Archie his new fresh food, he experienced some mild diarrhea. It isn’t unusual for his stools to change a little in consistency from one day to the next (he likes to sneak mouthfuls of cat food whenever he can), so I wasn’t worried.

    After a few days of solely feeding Archie The Farmer’s Dog food, his bowel movements became more solid and regular. He also became a little more interested in eating at meal time rather than ignoring the food for a couple of hours before eating it.

    Overall, I was very pleased with The Farmer’s Dog fresh food and Archie seemed to like it as well.

    I liked that there were three protein options to choose from (PetPlate only offers two) and found the flat food bags easier to freeze and store than the larger containers Ollie food came in. The fact that each bag contained enough food for one day was also very convenient because it enabled me to keep the food as fresh as possible.

    On the downside, I had to throw away several portions when Archie didn’t eat them right away because my house doesn’t have air conditioning and I was worried about the food going bad. Also, while at first I didn’t like the fact that the food bags were not resealable, I got used to using the storage container and it didn’t end up being a significant inconvenience.

    Pros for The Farmer’s Dog

    • Fresh food customized to your dog’s sex, age, and breed and pre-portioned by day according to his unique nutritional/calorie needs.
    • Ingredients are human-grade and unprocessed — all food is cooked within days of shipping.
    • Recipes are developed by board-certified veterinary nutritionists, comply with AAFCO standards, and are cooked in human-grade kitchens.
    • Fast shipping with products packaged in dry ice for freshness and food bags frozen flat for easy storage in the freezer.
    • Each food bag contains a day’s worth of food that can be divided as you like with leftovers stored in the fridge.

    Cons for The Farmer’s Dog

    • Limited protein options (turkey, beef, and pork), especially for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities — beef is one of the most common food allergens for dogs.
    • Individual food bags must be cut open with scissors and are not resealable — they must be stored in a takeout container in the fridge.
    • Some dogs may experience digestive upset during the transition from dry food to fresh food — symptoms usually resolve after a few days.
    • Fresh food may go bad if not eaten immediately — I’d recommend putting it back in the fridge if your dog doesn’t eat it within 30 minutes.
    • Very expensive compared to dry food — roughly $40 per week (or more for larger breeds).

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    The bottom line

    The fact of the matter is that fresh food will always be the best option for your dog when it comes to quality nutrition. You need to be careful when selecting a fresh food product, however, to ensure that your dog isn’t allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients and to make sure that the formula is backed by board-certified veterinary nutritionists.

    If you can’t afford the high price tag of fresh food from The Farmer’s Dog, you have the option of using the product as a food topper instead of your dog’s sole source of nutrition. By mixing a little of the fresh food with his kibble you can boost his daily nutrition without draining your bank account.

    If you want to improve your dog’s nutrition (and his health by extension) and you’re considering fresh food, we wholeheartedly recommend The Farmer’s Dog.

    Click here to try The Farmer's Dog's for yourself — sign up now to receive 50% off your first order!

    SEE ALSO: The best dog food you can buy

    DON'T MISS: The best grain-free dog treats you can buy

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    2018_NYR_15974_0009C_000(david_hockney_portrait_of_an_artist)

    • David Hockney's "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)" is poised to shatter auctionrecords on November 15.
    • It's expected to be sold at a starting point of $80 million.
    • That would make it the most expensivepainting ever sold at auction by a living artist.

    A David Hockney painting is expected to shatter auction records by more than $30 million on Thursday.

    The painting in question, "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)" will be going on sale as part of Christie's Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale.

    As Business Insider previously reported, the current record for most expensive work sold by a living artist was Jeff Koons' orange "Balloon Dog," which sold for $58.4 million in 2013. (Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce site, capitalized on the sale by selling knockoff replicas of the sculpture for $500.)

    According to CNN, the 81-year-old Hockney is considered "one of the world's most popular artists." His current auction record stands at $28.5 million.

    In an email to Business Insider, Alex Rotter, Co-Chairman Post-War and Contemporary Art for Christie’s, noted that the painting "stands as one of the great masterpieces of the modern era."

    "David Hockney's brilliance as an artist is on full display with this monumental canvas, which encapsulates the essence of the idealized poolside landscape, and the tremendous complexity that exists within human relationship," he continued. "With this painting, Hockney cemented his placement within the real of history's most venerated artists," he continued.

    Read more:A nude painting just sold in New York for a record-breaking $157 million — here are the 15 most expensive paintings ever sold

    Hockney moved to California from England in 1964 and it was then, as reported by Robb Report, that he started taking great interest in the theme of swimming pools. This painting is all the more recognizable in that, Robb Report notes, it "...combines two of his most recognizable motifs — the swimming pool... and the device of the double portrait."

    The projected $80 million price tag still feels comparatively modest (keyword: comparatively) in the scheme of historic art sales worldwide. "Salvator Mundi," a painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, sold for an eye-popping $450.3 million at a November 2017 Christie's auction, making it the most expensive piece of art ever sold.

    Hockney's painting, if it sells at its projected value, won't be the only record-smashing auction sale 2018 has seen. It will join the likes of a bottle of Macallan 60-year-old, which sold at auction for $1.1 million in October and destroyed the record for the most expensive whiskey ever sold.

    SEE ALSO: These are the 20 most expensive cars ever sold at auction

    READ MORE: 22 world records set at Christie's Rockefeller auction

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why you shouldn't be afraid to fly, according to a pilot with over 20 years of experience


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    goyard clutch

    • Louis Vuitton and Hermès are known for their luxurious prestige, but they've got nothing on Goyard, a 200-year-old Parisian brand.
    • The House of Goyard has built its business on discretion, creating an elusiveness that makes it the ultimate status symbol for rich people.
    • Meghan Markle, the Kardashians, and Gwyneth Paltrow have been spotted with Goyard products.
    • Prices for Goyard's luxury goods range from $300 to $59,315. 

    Louis Vuitton and Hermès who?

    These iconic luxury brands may have a well-established prestige, but in the world of the elite, they've got nothing on Goyard.

    The name of this two-century-old Parisian brand may not ring a bell the way other luxury fashion houses do, but Goyard's elusiveness is exactly what makes it the ultimate status symbol among the world's wealthiest people.

    Goyard's prime press strategy is silence. It forgoes any advertising, e-commerce, and celebrity endorsements. It rarely grants interviews and very occasionally makes products available to the mass market.

    Turns out, a lips-are-sealed tactic is the best way to build buzz.

    "Luxury is a dream, and revealing too much of what goes on behind the scenes would spoil the magic," a representative for the House of Goyard told Hypebeast last year, adding: "We believe that whispering softly in someone's ears is not only more elegant, but also much more efficient than screaming at the top of one's lungs."

    Its mystery demands desire. Everyone loves a sense of exclusivity, and what's more exclusive than a brand whose heritage and allure is based on discretion, garnering business solely through word of mouth of its influential clients?

    As Sarah Young of the Independent writes of Goyard's anti-spotlight stance: "Those who know, know. For them, it's all about attracting the people who count."

    After all, high-end brands risk losing their luster and jeopardizing their exclusivity if they fall into the everyday hands of mass consumption. Goyard's under-the-radar reputation is the pinnacle of ultimate indulgence for its buyers.

    Rich and famous clientele

    The coveted chevron-printed canvas and leather luggage has been seen accompanying everyone from the newly named Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, to the actress Gwyneth Paltrow, to the Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, who has a custom trunk for his cutlery.

    Goyard is also increasingly popular among hip-hop's elite. The rapper A$AP Rocky wore a Goyard messenger bag to the 2016 Grammy Awards, and Kanye West sported a Goyard briefcase during Paris Fashion Week in 2009.

    A post shared by GOYARD (@goyardofficial) on

    And the apple doesn't fall far from the tree — West's daughter North was spotted in Los Angeles in February with a personalized Goyard St. Louis bag, costing roughly $1,460 after customization. Meanwhile, her aunt Khloe Kardashian jetted to Tokyo with her belongings packed in not one but two customized Goyard bags.

    They're part of an impressive list of clients including Coco Chanel, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jacques Cartier, Pablo Picasso, Karl Lagerfeld, and the Duchess of Windsor, who collected many Goyard pieces, such as pet accessories and a trunk to accommodate 150 pairs of shoes.

    Goyard's owner, Jean-Michel Signoles, purchased much of the duke and duchess' collection when Sotheby's auctioned off the contents of their Paris home in 1997. A document case and monogrammed trunk went for nearly $15,000, while another lot sold for $32,500, Town & Country reported.

    That's nothing compared to one of Goyard's 19th-century-style trunks that fetches $59,315, according to the Business of Fashion. The Palace trunk costs $10,120, with additional customization beginning at $165.

    But not all its prices are so far-fetched for such an exclusive brand, such as the entry-level $300 Saint Sulpice cardholder or the $2,430 Grand Bleu messenger bag. A classic Goyard tote costs $1,150, while a comparable Louis Vuitton is $1,810.

    It's 'all about traveling, distant horizons, escapism'

    Goyard's focus on artisanal craftsmanship prevents it from churning out the bountiful merchandise that Louis Vuitton does, arguably helping Goyard hold a higher level of quality and prestige compared with its competitor.

    And because it's like an heirloom, the brand holds resale value, Rati Sahi Levesque, the chief merchant of the luxury-resale site The Real Real, told Racked.

    "It's an insider's bag," Levesque said, "but it doesn't scream luxury."

    Goyard's serious collectors prefer individual, custom pieces over the brand's more discernible items, such as the St. Louis tote and or the Saigon handbag.

    Every order "is the result of a very close creative collaboration between a customer and the Goyard team," and the limits are endless, Goyard told Town & Country.

    Ever authentic, though, the company leaves special orders up to its discretion, eschewing any requests that aren't considered on brand — even if it's from a recognizable name.

    "We turned down several orders for custom trunks for giant TV screens, for instance," the fashion house told Town & Country. "Goyard is all about traveling, distant horizons, escapism, so a TV trunk by Goyard really sounded like an oxymoron."

    A bespoke gardening trunk, on the other hand, was deemed whimsical, timeless, practical, and functional — something that "truly captures the essence of Goyard." Commissioned in 2015, it cost roughly $15,000.

    The Art of Travelling by #Goyard #Timeless #Since1853 #AroundtheWorld

    A post shared by GOYARD (@goyardofficial) on Apr 26, 2016 at 10:10am PDT on

    The brand is so elusive that even historic special orders aren't known to the company.

    "Finding a rare trunk is an extremely complicated hunt, requiring near private investigator's skills ... and a lot of patience," a Goyard representative told Town & Country.

    As Deborah Soss, Bergdorf Goodman's vice president of accessories and handbags, told Racked, "I think there is always an allure to a bit of mystery."

    SEE ALSO: Forget the Four Seasons and The Ritz-Carlton: The most luxurious hotel brands in the world are ones you've likely never heard of

    DON'T MISS: Here are the top 10 fashion brands people searched on Google in 2017

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 4 lottery winners who lost it all


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    Typically I take my lunch to work. It's healthier than always eating out and helps me save some dough. But microwaved leftovers and soggy PB&J's can get old.

    So I decided to try out Ritual, an order-ahead app that I've seen advertised all around San Francisco's Financial District. It's also available in most major US cities like New York City, Chicago, and Washington, DC.

    I was initially wary of Ritual. If I wanted a food app for the sole purpose of convenience, why wouldn't I splurge on a food-delivery app like Caviar that would bring food right to me?

    Or if I were optimizing on price, why wouldn't I use MealPal, the monthly subscription service where lunches from local restaurants cost only $6.

    The value propositions of Ritual — order ahead, skip the line, earn rewards — seemed to fall in some awkward middle ground of food apps that didn't seem all too compelling for me.

    Nonetheless, I was curious to see why so many techies around me seemed to be loving it.

    Here's what I found:

    Ritual's main selling point is saving time by ordering ahead and skipping the line. With each purchase, you also earn Ritual rewards.



    Near Business Insider's San Francisco office in the Financial District, there are a ton of options. There are at least 20 restaurants on Ritual within one city block.

    For the entire week using Ritual, I did not travel more than a block and a half. My average commute time was about two minutes.



    You can also browse nearby restaurants in this photo view.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Air India

    • An Air India pilot was fired by the airline after twice failing a breathalyzer test an hour before he was scheduled to pilot a plane.
    • According to Economic Times of India, Captain Arvind Kathpalia of Air India Airlines was scheduled to pilot AI-Flight 111 from Delhi to London on November 11 when he failed a pre-flight breathalyzer test and deemed "not fit to fly." 
    • Economic Times in India reports Captain Kathpalia was relieved of his duties "with immediate effect" and that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended his flying license for three years. 
    • Reuters reports that Kathpalia plans to contest this charge. 

    An Air India pilot was fired by the airline after twice failing a breathalyzer test an hour before he was scheduled to pilot a plane, multiple sources have reported. 

    According to Economic Times of India, Captain Arvind Kathpalia of Air India Airlines was scheduled to pilot AI-Flight 111 from Delhi to London on November 11 when he failed a pre-flight breathalyzer test and deemed "not fit to fly." 

    Fox News reports that after failing his first test, Kathpalia was administered a second test, but failed that one as well. 

    Economic Times in India reports Captain Kathpalia was relieved of his duties "with immediate effect" and that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended his flying license for three years. 

    Read More:An Air India flight attendant was hospitalized after falling from a parked plane onto the tarmac

    The Times of India has confirmed Captain Kathpalia was one of 10 directors on the board of Air India and that he was the airline's director of operations, a position that left him "in charge of ensuring safe and efficient flight operations." 

    Air India did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment. 

    Fox News reports Air India released a statement that said, "We have grounded Capt. AK Kathpalia as he failed twice in the breath analyzer test. He was given another chance, but the second test was also found positive, following which he was grounded."

    Kathpalia first came under the watch of airline authorities in January 2017, when The Times of India reports he refused to undergo a mandatory pre-flight Breathalyzer test in Delhi, and then refused once again to undergo a post-flight test upon landing in Bengaluru. 

    While the DGCA suspended his license for three months in March 2017, The Times of India reports Kathpalia was removed from his position as Air India's executive director of operations, but three weeks later the Appointments Committee of Cabinet approved his appointment to the director of operations position for a five-year term. 

    Reuters reports that Kathpalia plans to contest this latest charge and that he is quoted as saying his 2017 charge is "a complete set-up." 

    "It was 1:30 in the afternoon, only a bloody stark raving alcoholic is bloody drunk at 1:30 in the afternoon,” Kathpalia said, according to Reuters, who reported Kathpalia denied that he had been drinking and quoted him as saying at Air India "everyone is fighting with everyone" and that he had been targeted. 

    SEE ALSO: Air India grounded 2 of its planes after passengers complained of being covered in gruesome bedbug bites after flights

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    wealthy dinner

    • The Pew Research Center defines the US middle class as those earning 67% to 200% of the median household income.
    • Middle-class Americans earned about $40,425 to $120,672 in 2016, according to Pew's definition, but middle-class incomes vary at the state and city levels.
    • Some Silicon Valley residents earning $400,000 consider themselves to be in the middle class, a survey found.

    Some residents of Silicon Valley self-identify as being in the middle class, even though their salaries dwarf those of many Americans.

    The Pew Research Center defines the US middle class as those earning two-thirds to twice the median household income, which was $60,336 in 2017, meaning middle-class Americans were earning about $40,425 to $120,672.

    But that number shifts as its broken down by state and even by city.

    The Palo Alto Weekly, a local paper in Palo Alto, California, asked residents to report their household income and perceived social class. Out of more than 250 respondents, 81 with incomes between $10,000 to $399,999 said they were "middle class."

    "Middle class" is a term used broadly — and often incorrectly — even though it can be quantified with US government data. And while the US middle class has been shrinking for decades, most Americans still consider themselves part of it. Many of the high-earning Palo Alto residents noted the high cost of living was one of the reasons they identified as being in the middle class.

    But whether you're in the "middle class" varies depending on where you live.

    To get a sense of what it looks like in 25 US cities, Business Insider pulled census data from the 2017 American Community Survey for the largest metropolitan statistical areas. For clarity, we listed the largest city in the MSA (some include more than one).

    Below, find out how much income you have to earn to be considered in the middle class in 25 metro areas.

    This is an updated article originally reported by Abby Jackson.

    SEE ALSO: How much money you have to earn to be considered rich in the biggest city in every state

    DON'T MISS: How much income you have to earn to be considered middle class in every US state

    Tampa, Florida: up to $104,424

    Middle-class range: $34,808 to $104,424

    • Median income: $52,212

    • Metro-area population: 3 million



    Miami, Florida: up to $108,568

    Middle-class range: $36,189 to $108,568

    • Median income: $54,284

    • Metro-area population: 6.1 million



    Orlando, Florida: up to $110,178

    Middle-class range: $36,726 to $110,178

    • Median income: $55,089

    • Metro-area population: 2.5 million



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    0 4

    • The North Face is making its popular ThermoBall jacket in recycled materials now.
    • You can buy the ThermoBall Eco ($199 - $220) as early as November 14, 2018 in six colors and two styles.
    • The ThermoBall line is best-known for its no-compromise jackets that have the lightweight warmth and compressibility of down jackets, but the wet-weather performance of synthetics. It's especially good for hiking.

    If you haven’t heard, The North Face is going “green” with ThermoBall — one of the company’s largest lines.

    ThermoBall is the line that hosts much of the company’s famously lightweight, super warm outdoors gear, but the first product to actually go eco-friendly is the ThermoBall jacket ($199-$220) — an award-winning lightweight down-alternative coat. 

    If the name ThermoBall sounds familiar, it’s because the line gained a lot of fanfare for its synthetic insulation. The round synthetic fiber clusters trap heat within small air pockets like down. This way, you get both the lightweight warmth and compressibility of down jackets with the wet-weather performance of synthetics. According to the company, Kansas State University showed the ThermoBall has the warmth equivalent to 600 fill goose down.

    The ThermoBall Eco jacket is essentially the same as the original, except that it’s made from recycled polyester fabric and recycled Primaloft insulation made from plastic bottles diverted from landfills. And, like all gear from The North Face, it comes with a generous lifetime guarantee. 

    As of November 2018, ThermoBall Eco can be picked up in stores and online, though not yet at outdoor retailers like REI. You can find it on the site right now for both women and men, in either an adult hoodie or full-zip version in six colors.

    0 5

    The recycling trend is one we’re glad to see. Since nothing new is really as eco-friendly as not-new materials, recycled fabrics are a great compromise — they allow for innovative new styles with less toll on the environment, and, eventually, on us. Companies like Everlane, with its recycled outerwear, Girlfriend Collective, with leggings made from fishing nets, and Reformation, now offering a 70% recycled cashmere line, are just a few other examples. It’s a particularly popular trend in the outdoor industry, calling to mind REI and Patagonia’s many eco-initiatives and newcomers with strong social missions like Cotopaxi.

    The North Face says it already offsets the environmental impact of shipping to its customers around the world, but reintroducing one of their most popular lines in recycled materials will pack more of a punch. The North Face estimates that material production and manufacturing — in other words, the making of their clothes — accounts for 60-80% of the company’s total environmental impact. It’s a natural next step for any company attempting sustainable change at scale.

    And it’s not really new. The North Face started using recycled fibers across core products like the ever-popular Denali jackets as early as 1996, as well as in its Reaxion and Glacier lines. In 2018, it launched an entire Bottle Source collection made from plastic bottles cleaned out of national parks.

    The new ThermoBall Eco is just its latest step towards phasing in recycled materials to its production line. And it's a good choice — the ThermoBall garnered such fanfare before for its no-compromise mix of the warmth and compactness of down and the all-weather wearability of synthetics, and while the company (and supporters of more eco-friendly practices) hopes the new Eco version will do well this winter, it's probably how good the jacket is that'll drive people to pick the ThermoBall. A smaller environmental impact is just a big bonus.

    Shop the ThermoBall Eco at The North Face in six colors and two styles, $199 - $220

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    panic room jodie foster

     

    Forget penthouse views and rooftop pools. The ultra-wealthy are shelling out up to $500,000 for an unexpected amenity: luxurious panic rooms complete with flat-screen TVs, high-end décor, and even bars.

    "Panic rooms have become more popular, particularly in London, especially with international clients from the Middle East and Russia, where they are prevalent," Richard Westell, commercial sales manager for Safe and Bolt Co. and Opulent Safes, companies that make and install safes, vaults, and panic rooms, told Mansion Global. "These people want to replicate what they have in their other houses."

    In New York City, some members of the urban elite have built panic rooms into opulent homes such as an $88 million Upper East Side mansion that the New York Times called an "urban fortress." Internationally, Business Insider Australia reported in February 2018 that American billionaire Peter Thiel was building a panic room into his $4.8 million house in New Zealand.

    Of course, safety is still paramount in these fancy safe rooms, which are made of blast-proof and bulletproof material. But some have decorated their panic rooms to look like a 1920s speakeasy and or a Ralph Lauren catalog, as Chris Cosban, the owner of New York-based Covert Interiors, which makes luxury panic rooms for the elite of New York City and the Hamptons, told Mansion Global.

    These luxurious panic rooms cost between $50,000 and $550,000 for the basic armored room, and more for the furnishings and décor, according to Mansion Global.

    Interest in luxe panic rooms has spiked as mass shootings become more and more prevalent, said Chris Acevedo of Panic Room USA, a panic room firm based in Parkland, Florida.

    "The volume of our business increases commiserate to the increase in gun violence," he told the site.

    After decreasing for years, homicides and suicides that involve guns have been on the rise, according to recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    SEE ALSO: New York City has more penthouses available than it can fill — and it suggests a change in the way wealthy people are looking at luxury real estate

    DON'T MISS: Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich owns the second-largest yacht in the world and a customized airplane with a 30-person banquet hall — see how else he spends his fortune of at least $11 billion

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This company spent 10 years developing a product that allows humans to scale walls like a gecko


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    jim acosta cnn

    • Fox News announced Wednesday it is supporting CNN in the network's lawsuit against the Trump administration's revocation of White House correspondent Jim Acosta's press credentials.
    • The announcement was a stunning move for the cable news network whose on-air personalities have often criticized both CNN and Acosta.
    • Fox News president Jay Wallace accused the Trump administration of weaponizing press credentials, and criticized both President Donald Trump and the media for adopting a "growing antagonistic tone" at recent press conferences.

    Fox News has thrown its support behind CNN's lawsuit against the Trump administration to win back White House correspondent Jim Acosta's press credentials, in a stunning move for the cable news network whose on-air personalities have often criticized both CNN and Acosta.

    Fox News president Jay Wallace said in a statement that the company will file an amicus brief — also known as a friend-of-the-court brief — with the US District Court in support of CNN.

    Wallace also accused the Trump administration of weaponizing the press passes by depriving a CNN journalist of one.

    "FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter's press credential," Wallace said in his statement. "While we don't condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access, and open exchanges for the American people."

    In a statement Wednesday morning, CNN thanked Fox News for its support.

    'Reporters covering the White House must remain free to ask questions'

    Trump points at Jim Acosta

    A number of other media outlets have also filed amicus briefs in support of CNN, including the Associated Press, Bloomberg, First Look Media, Gannett, NBC, The New York Times, Politico, USA Today, and The Washington Post, according to the Times.

    In a joint statement on Wednesday, the news outlets said it was "imperative" that reporters have access to the president and not be "barred for arbitrary reasons."

    "Whether the news of the day concerns national security, the economy, or the environment, reporters covering the White House must remain free to ask questions," the statement said. "Our news organizations support the fundamental constitutional right to question this President, or any President."

    CNN filed its complaint on Tuesday, arguing that revoking Acosta's press pass would violate his First Amendment rights to a free press, and his Fifth Amendment right to due process.

    "If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials," the complaint said.

    Read more: CNN filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the Trump administration for revoking Jim Acosta's press pass

    The Trump administration responded to the suit on Wednesday arguing that the First Amendment doesn't grant Acosta the right to enter the White House, and that the Trump administration has "broad discretion" to revoke press credentials.

    The dispute over Acosta's press pass came after a combative exchange between Acosta and President Donald Trump at a press conference last week.

    After arguing about Acosta's question on the migrant caravan traveling to the US, Trump called Acosta a "rude, terrible person."

    A White House intern eventually attempted to grab the microphone from Acosta's hand, though he twisted away from her and held on.

    Read Fox News' full statement below:

    "FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter's press credential.

    "We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized.

    "While we don't condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Fox News' Harris Faulkner is the only black woman in cable news with a daily show: 'It's a tremendous amount of responsibility'


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    WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 07: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds a news conference following the 2018 midterm elections at the Capitol Building on November 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. Republicans kept the Senate majority but lost control of the House to the Democrats. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

    • There are no Midwestern Democrats in the House leadership, which has been frustrating to some Democrats.
    • An overwhelming majority of the Democrats running for leadership positions in the House are from coastal states.
    • Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos tells INSIDER, "I think it’s critical that we send a message to Democrats all over this country that we’re not leaving behind any group, any region, that rural America can be represented in our leadership."

    WASHINGTON — In the House Democratic leadership, which is in the process of transitioning into the majority after making considerable gains in the midterm elections, a lack of representation of lawmakers from Midwestern states has been a particular point of contention among Democrats from America's heartland.

    Every leadership candidate from speaker of the House on down to the Democratic Caucus chair is from a state on the coasts, except for two: New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who is vying for assistant majority leader, and Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, who is running to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the 2020 cycle.

    Read more: Democrats say that if they want to take back control of Congress, their candidates need to be able to break with the base

    In addition, two Democrats — Reps. Debbie Dingell of Michigan and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania — are running for spots on the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

    In announcing her bid, Dingell wrote to her Democratic colleagues that "it is very important that the Heartland be one of the perspectives represented by one of the three co-chairs."

    Acknowledging the lack of Midwestern representation from Democrats, Bustos told INSIDER, "I think it’s critical that we send a message to Democrats all over this country that we’re not leaving behind any group, any region, that rural America can be represented in our leadership."

    "I think the leadership team matters," she added. "I know the focus is everybody gets asked about the speaker’s race, but the leadership team matters in all sorts of ways. And one of those is geographic diversity."

    And other Democrats from Midwestern states have acknowledged the lack of Midwestern representation has become a sticking point for them.

    Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi for the speakership in the aftermath of Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency, told INSIDER Tuesday evening that bringing on more Midwesterners is "absolutely" a priority, but that for any recruitment, he is still "working on it."

    Multiple Democratic aides for Midwestern lawmakers lamented their absence from the leadership team and characterized it as "highly frustrating."

    The prospect of Midwestern Democrats jumping in for leadership races is dim

    But the prospect of others jumping into the Democratic leadership races is unlikely. Bustos said some members "have to feel like they’re ready and want to move up in leadership."

    "I would say if I’m elected to [DCCC chair] it is my job to make sure that there are other people who come from the center part of our country that we are nurturing and mentoring so people are ready," she added.

    One Democratic aide said one possible scenario to enable more new faces entering into various leadership bids would be if Pelosi can't muster the votes for speaker, but that would result in "a scramble at the top."

    Pelosi has remained confident she can win back the speaker's gavel that has eluded her for the past eight years, despite a small but strong faction of Democrats who want new leadership.

    Anti-Pelosi Democrats like Reps. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Filomen Vela of Texas have reiterated they "100 percent" have enough votes to block Pelosi from becoming speaker, CNN reported.

    While Moulton said, "We are trying to do the right thing for the party by solving this ahead of time," their contingent of lawmakers is still trying to gather enough signatures for a letter showing large opposition to Pelosi within the caucus.

    SEE ALSO: A powerful group of conservatives that sprung out of the Tea Party is one of the biggest losers of the midterm elections

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This top economist has a radical plan to change the way Americans vote


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    America's 38 essential restaurants to eat at in 2018 have been revealed.

    Eater has published its annual guide compiled by the food site's national critic Bill Addison, who consumed nearly 600 meals in 36 cities in a bid to discover the very best.

    Along the way, Addison says he noticed that what it means for food to be deemed "American" is changing: "Coded culinary language denoting 'them' and 'us' — as 'American' or 'other' — is slowly but inexorably dissolving," he wrote.

    This year, 17 new restaurants make the list.

    Here are the 38 best restaurants in the US in 2018, according to Eater.

    2M Smokehouse, San Antonio

    Addison says the chefs here "transcend the Texas smoked-meats melee by also serving a frictionless combination of dishes that express their Mexican-American heritage."



    Atelier Crenn, San Francisco

    Dominique Crenn won praise for finding "the middle ground between intellect and emotion, between heady presentation and flat-out deliciousness."



    Brennan's, New Orleans

    Brennan's has made the list for perfectly balancing "timeless pageantry and relevant, finely honed cooking."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    TheInsider Picksteam writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    Since you don't have all day to scour the web for noteworthy sales and discounts, we rounded up the best bargains for you to shop in one convenient place.

    Samsung

    1. Save up to 40% on select Samsung TVs

    TVs are always one of the most-purchased tech items on Black Friday, so Samsung is having an early sale to help you avoid the post-Thanksgiving frenzy. Right now, you can save up to 40% on select Ultra HD Smart TVs at most, that amounts to up to a $1,500 savings without any hassle.

    Shop the Samsung Black Friday sale now.

    mott and bow

    2. Save up to 35% on your order at Mott & Bow

    To kick off the holiday shopping season, denim startup Mott & Bow is having a huge early Black Friday sale. Today, you can save 25% sitewide, 30% on orders of $200 or more, or 35% on orders of $300 or more with the promo code "SHOPEARLY" at checkout. Here at Insider Picks, we've raved about the brand's extremely comfortable jeans and dress shirts.

    Shop the Mott & Bow Black Friday sale now.

    eBay shopping guide

    3. Get Better than Black Friday Deals at eBay

    Now through November 18, eBay is having its "Better than Black Friday Deals" sale by beating Black Friday prices from competitors like Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Kohl’s, JCPenney, BJ's Wholesale, and Costco ahead of Thanksgiving weekend. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, eBay will continue to beat or match prices with a 110% money back guarantee. Plus, all deals are eligible for free shipping.

    Shop the deals on eBay now.

    levis

    4. Save 30% when you spend $100 or more at Levi's

    When it comes to denim, Levi's is one of the most popular and deeply rooted companies in American culture. Now through November 19, you can save 30% when you spend $100 by using the promo code "GIFT30" at checkout. You'll find selections for men, women, and children. 

    Shop the Levi's Holiday sale now.

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    5. Save $200 on an ASUS 2-in-1 15-inch Touch Screen Laptop at Best Buy

    With a vibrant 1080P display, 12GB of RAM, and a large hard drive, the ASUS two-in-one, 15-inch touchscreen laptop can handle all of your work and entertainment needs. It features the functionality of a traditional laptop and a tablet, so it's perfect for taking on the go. Right now, you can save $200 on one at Best Buy.

    ASUS 2-in-1 15-inch Touch Screen Laptop, $629.99 (Originally $829.99)[You save $200]

    nordstrom

    6. Save up to 40% at Nordstrom

    Now through November 18, you can save up to 40% on thousands of items at Nordstrom. The sale includes great deals on clothing, shoes, accessories, and a lot more for the entire family. Check out the 30 best deals from the sale here.

    Shop the Nordstrom fall sale now.

    woman studying udemy

    7. Enroll in thousands of Udemy's online courses for just $9.99

    With over 65,000 classes, Udemy is one of the best sites for finding online courses. Right now, you can take classes for just $9.99 each during the Black Friday Sale. Whether you want to learn a new language, photography, music, personal finance, or a skill for your career, there's a wide selection of courses that can help you accomplish those goals. There are seven days left in the sale, so don't wait to enroll.

    Enroll in $9.99 online courses at Udemy now.

    Adidas

    8. Save up to $100 on your order at Adidas

    Adidas has great items on sale all the time, but with its current sale, the more you buy, the more you'll save. Right now, you can save $20 off orders of $100, $50 off orders of $175, and $100 off orders of $300 when you use the promo code "BMSM18" at checkout. The discount applies to new arrivals and sale styles with select exclusions.

    Shop the Adidas sale now.

    Leesa

    9. Save up to $225 on a Leesa mattress

    This Black Friday, popular mattress startup Leesa Sleep is having one of its biggest sales ever. For a very limited time, you can save $150 on the Leesa Mattress or $225 on the Sapira Mattress, plus a free Leesa pillow — a $75 offer. If buying a mattress online concerns you, know that you can try it out for 100 nights free of risk. If it's not the best sleep you've ever had, you can return it hassle-free.

    Shop the Leesa Sleep Black Friday sale now.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Michelle Obama

    • Michelle Obama writes in her new memoir, "Becoming," that one of the most pivotal moments in her life was when a college counselor told her she wasn't "Princeton material."
    • The future first lady decided to disregard the counselor's opinion and apply anyway. And she got in.
    • When she started at Princeton, she says she learned that she was just as smart as everyone else, despite what she had been led to believe.

    When Michelle Obama was in high school, a college counselor said she didn't think the promising teen had what it took to get into Princeton University.

    The former first lady details this pivotal experience in her new memoir, "Becoming."

    Obama says that at the beginning of her senior year at Whitney M. Young High School, a Chicago magnet school, she was required to meet with a college counselor.

    At the time, she had her sights set on the New Jersey Ivy League school because her older brother Craig was there.

    But she got a blow when the counselor said it didn't appear she was good enough to get in.

    "'I'm not sure,' she said, giving me a perfunctory, patronizing smile, "that you're Princeton material,'" Obama recalled the woman saying.

    michelle obama 1

    Obama said she can't remember details about the woman — her race or her age— because she "deliberately and almost instantly blotted this experience out."

    She decided to disregard the advice and apply to Princeton anyway.

    "I wasn't going to let one person's opinion dislodge everything I thought I knew about myself," she said.

    Instead, she "settled down and got back to work."

    Read more: 25 things we learned from Michelle Obama's new memoir, 'Becoming'

    Six or seven months later she got her acceptance letter in the mail.

    "I never did stop in on the college counselor to tell her she'd been wrong—that I was Princeton material after all. It would have done nothing for either of us," Michelle writes in the book.

    She added: "And in the end, I hadn't needed to show her anything. I was only showing myself."

    While Princeton initially intimidated her, by her sophomore year she learned that she was just as smart as everyone else there.

    "I tried not to feel intimidated when classroom conversation was dominated by male students, which it often was," she wrote. "Hearing them, I realized that they weren't at all smarter than the rest of us. They were simply emboldened, floating on an ancient tide of superiority, buoyed by the fact that history had never told them anything different."

    SEE ALSO: When Michelle Obama told her mother she hated being a lawyer, her mom told her to 'make the money, worry about being happy later'

    DON'T MISS: Michelle Obama shares what the 'darkest day' was like in the White House: the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    smartnews main

    • SmartNews is a free news app that delivers stories from hundreds of trusted publishers, makes it easy to discover new topics and media sites, and lets you access content with or without an Internet connection. 
    • The app features a simple, intuitive design. Swipe through different channels that host different topics (Top News, Politics, Sports, Tech, Entertainment, etc.) or publishers (Business Insider, Bleacher Report, National Geographic), click on stories to read them, and set news report notifications. 
    • Each story is available in the original Web version or a pared-down Smart version that's accessible offline. The Smart option ensures you'll always be up-to-date on the latest news, wherever you are. 

    Most of us receive our news and learn about what we need to know every day through a variety of mediums, including print, TV, radio, and the internet. Online, we regularly encounter a variety of sources, but juggling the content of all the sites you read can be disorganized and overwhelming to navigate. 

    That's why free news apps like SmartNews are popular. They find and organize the stories for you, so you can easily read about the topics you care about without manually visiting each of your favorite publishers' sites. SmartNews is a top-rated app that was founded in Japan in 2012 and expanded to the US in 2014. It now keeps 10 million monthly active users in Japan and the US up-to-date on important stories. 

    SmartNews offers dedicated channels for more than 300 US publishers, including news sites like Business Insider, CBS News, and MSNBC; entertainment sites like Entertainment Weekly, Variety and Pitchfork; and sports sites like SB Nation and Golf.com. 

    Available for iOS and Android devices, the app has a friendly and intuitive interface. At the top are various channels you can swipe through and browse. The channels are content categories like Top News, Politics, Sports, and Tech, or publisher hubs like Vox and National Geographic. There's also a Social channel that lets you connect your Twitter account to see popular stories in your timeline. You can add, remove, and rearrange these channels into an order that makes the most sense for you. 

    SmartNews aggregates stories from its publishers in each of its category channels, presenting a diverse array of sources and voices. When you click on a story, two versions are available, 'Web' and 'Smart.' In Smart mode, articles load instantly and are presented in a simple, readable format. The advantage of this mode is that you can read any article offline — no need to frantically save links before you board a flight or lose service. 

    smartnews article versions

    Through the app, you can receive scheduled news report notifications during the day so you never miss out on an important story. The default settings are Morning (7 a.m.), Midday (12 p.m.), Evening (6 p.m.), and Night (10 p.m.) but you can change them to times you're comfortable with, or turn them off. 

    SmartNews won Apple's Best of 2013 award and Google's Best App of the Year 2013 award, and it's easy to see why. It allows enough customizability to make it feel like a personal news assistant, while delivering and exposing you to a variety of top online publishers. If you've tried other news apps but have yet to find one that suits your needs, SmartNews is one to try. 

    Download the free SmartNews app for iOS and Android here.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    grateful

    For some, the countdown to Christmas starts the year before on December 26, while others wait until the fall to get out their wreaths and trees. Whatever your style, we can all agree that we appreciate the holiday cheer that lingers in the air after Thanksgiving. Whether your idea of welcoming the holiday season is something along the lines of listening to Mariah Carey's Christmas album on repeat or baking gingerbread men with your family (or both), there's nothing more festive than adding some holiday decor to your home.

    With Christmas around the corner, it's a great time to pick up some little decorations to get your space in the holiday spirit. You don't need to spend a fortune on expensive Christmas lights and antique figurines to add that much needed merriment to your home — there are plenty of retailers with great, inexpensive options for Christmas decorations. Luckily, we scoured the web and curated a list of cheap, cute Christmas decorations to get your home in the holiday spirit this season — so you can spend your money on the important stuff. Consider it our gift to you. 

    Check out our list of 23 cheap Christmas decorations under $25, below:

    Looking for gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    An adorable snowman you can keep inside

    7-Inch Walter Snowman Plush Figurine, $19.99, available at Wayfair



    Christmas-themed photo booth props for a fun holiday party activity

    PartyGraphix Christmas Photo Booth Props, $12.95 (set of 15), available at Amazon



    Festive, Fair Isle stockings to hang by the fireplace

    Wondershop Knit Fair Isle Stocking, $13, available at Target



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Donald Trump midterm rally Florida

    • Florida's midterm election recount is underway, but aging, faulty machines are slowing the process in some counties. 
    • President Donald Trump and his GOP allies have continued to spread unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and corruption in Democratic-leaning counties. 
    • Both Republicans and Democrats have filed lawsuits over how the vote is counted. 

    Florida's midterm election recount continues as President Donald Trump and his Republican allies lob unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud and Democrats sue the state to expand the universe of eligible votes. 

    The most anticipated results are in the US Senate race in which Republican Gov. Rick Scott is leads Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by 0.14 of a percentage point, or around 12,000 votes, in the state's initial vote tabulation. 

    Technical difficulties persist

    While Republicans have aggressively attacked two of the state's largest counties — both Democratic-leaning — with allegations of voter fraud and widespread corruption without presenting any evidence to support these claims, elections officials report that aging and faulty equipment and over-stretched staff have significantly slowed their ballot-counting efforts.

    (The vast majority of the state's 67 counties will have their recounts completed by the Thursday deadline). 

    The Palm Beach County elections supervisor said Tuesday that the county's aging machines have overheated, causing issues in the recount of 174,000 early voter ballots.

    Palm Beach, which received nearly 600,000 votes, is the only county in the state that uses machines that are only able to count one race at a time. (A judge gave the county a four-day deadline extension — until next Tuesday — to count its ballots). 

    Florida-based Democratic strategist Steve Schale thinks some of the attacks on elections officials, most notably Broward County supervisor Brenda Snipes, could have been avoided if the officials had been more transparent and communicative about their overwhelming load. 

    "I think there's a huge issue with just lack of communication," Schale said of Broward County. "Had [Snipes] had a press conference on Wednesday morning and just said, 'Listen we just got inundated the last 24 hours with ballots,' I don't think some of the criticism she's gotten would have been leveled in the same way." 

    Read more: Hotly contested recounts are underway in Florida, as Georgia and Arizona scramble to finalize results in key races

    Schale argued that the untold story is that the vote-counting is, in fact, going largely as expected, given the surge in turnout and outdated machinery. 

    "For the most part it's basically working," Schale said. "It's actually working pretty well, certainly having lived through 2000 — I mean there's no comparison." 

    Trump makes increasingly wild voter-fraud claims

    Since Election Day last Tuesday, Trump has led Republican efforts to spread unsubstantiated allegations about the vote counts in Florida, claiming that officials are forging and "finding" votes or committing other forms of fraud.

    "When will Bill Nelson concede in Florida? The characters running Broward and Palm Beach voting will not be able to 'find' enough votes, too much spotlight on them now!" Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

    On Wednesday, the president — without any evidence — alleged that voters will "go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again."

    Democrats have repeatedly pointed out that the state sent election monitors to observe the ballot-counting in Broward County, and these officials have not reported any instances of alleged wrongdoing. 

    "Either those election observers say there's no fraud, or they're complicit in the fraud," Schale said. 

    Democrats have continued to push back on the unfounded claims, which Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Matt Gaetz have also added to. 

    "It's a page out of Donald Trump's playbook – it's nonsense, there's no evidence," Mitch Ceasar, the former longtime chairman of the Broward Democratic Party, told INSIDER. "When they win, they win. And when the lose, they say it's fixed."

    Bill Nelson

    Lawsuits fly

    Nelson's campaign has filed multiple lawsuits, including to overturn a Florida statute that requires voter signatures to match the signatures the state has on file and to allow ballots postmarked before Election Day (but received by the state after) to be counted. 

    Schale argued that the suits address real issues the state has had and will likely continue to have if they're not resolved. He said that he doesn't mail in his ballot for fear of it being disqualified over his signature not matching the state's records. 

    DeSantis himself — along with other Florida lawmakers— has had his mail-in ballot rejected because his signatures were mismatched. 

    "I don't know whether the lawsuit has merit or not — I'm not a lawyer, the judge will figure that out," Schale said of the lawsuit concerning voter signatures. "But the reality is that it's been a problem. It is a problem — and that is decreasing confidence among voters when they cast a vote-by-mail ballot." 

    Scott's team has also filed suits demanding, among other things, that law enforcement seize and monitor ballots and voting equipment during the recounts (which was denied by a judge on Monday) and an injunction to stop Broward County from counting any ballots not submitted by last Saturday's deadline.

    SEE ALSO: Trump spreads wild conspiracy about voter fraud, claiming people change clothes before voting a second time

    Join the conversation about this story »

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