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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.

    best air fryer

    • The best air fryers can fry, grill, roast, and bake an array of foods in a short time. They are also durable, have an intuitive user interface, and a large capacity.

    • The Yedi Houseware Deluxe Digital Air Fryer is our top pick thanks to its large capacity and built-in smart programs that make perfect cooking incredibly easy.

    According to Kitchen Weapon, Philips was the first to introduce the air fryer in 2010. Since then, dozens of brands have entered the market with their own version of this innovative appliance.

    Air fryers work using the Maillard reaction. In case you aren’t well-versed in early 20th-century chemistry, the Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between reducing sugars and amino acids that give a distinctive flavor to browned foods. With traditional fryers, this is achieved by submerging the food in hot oil. On the other hand, air fryers achieve the same reaction by using a mechanical fan to circulate hot air at high speeds around the food. The result is fried foods that use up to 80% less oil. In fact, most recipes just call for a few squirts of spray oil.

    When shopping for an air fryer, there are a few features that differentiate them. Digital display air fryers are generally more expensive, but they are a must for precise cooking. Many models come with dishwasher-safe components that make cleanup simple. Also, pay special attention to the warranty information on the appliance you are considering, because many brands have had issues with the cooking drawer busting.

    Our guide to the top air fryers is based on thorough research into the ratings and experiences of countless experts and users. Based on our analysis, the following models meet the highest standards of reliability, functionality, and value.

    Here are the best air fryers you can buy:

    Updated on 11/28/2018 by Steven John: added new pcks to replace out-of-stock items. Updated pricing and formatting.

    Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

    SEE ALSO: The best deep fryers you can buy

    The best air fryer overall

    Why you'll love it: The Yedi Houseware Deluxe Digital Air Fryer features multiple built-in smart programs that remove all the guesswork from the cooking process.

    Using most air fryers is easy. In fact, along with health benefits and food taste, ease of use is one of the major selling points of these popular appliances. But most air fryers still require a little guesswork, some careful clock watching, or both. Not so with the Yedi Houseware Deluxe Digital Air Fryer.

    This exceptional cooker comes loaded with multiple smart programs that require no more than the tap of a few buttons to commence a perfect cooking session with the temperature and timing settings managed for you. You can use a built-in smart program to air fry up shrimp, fries, chicken, steak, and more. And its 5.6-quart capacity means plenty of perfectly cooked eats for the whole gang.

    Using the many accessories that come with your Yedi Houseware Deluxe Digital Air Fryer, you can prepare everything from an eight-inch pizza to a fish fillet to a cake to veggie skewers. If you thought air fryers were relegated to making French fries and chicken fingers, this one is ready to change your mind.

    Be prepared to spend a little time learning how to use it, as the multi-button control panel and the aforementioned programs are not as intuitive as some of the easier controls of other units on our list, but one read-through of the instruction manual should have you covered. Plus, just look at those accessories.

    With hundreds of reviews logged on Amazon at the time of this review, the Yedi Housewares Deluxe Digital Air Fryer enjoys a sizzling 4.7-star overall rating. A five-star rating left by a user named Angela came with a review reading in part: "[The Yedi]cooks faster, better quality, and is much more well built than other" air fryers she had used in the past. Another led off simply saying: "Holy smokes!"

    The product testers from JustNewReleases called this air fryer "sleek and stylish" and said: "You’ll get your ingredients cooked very nicely" whether you use the included "three stainless steel skewers [and] multi-purpose rack, an 8-inch pizza pan, an 8-inch cake carrel," or any of the other accessories. — Steven John

    Pros: Large capacity, pre-programmed cooking options, well-made

    Cons: Learning curve prior to easy use, relatively pricey

    Buy the Yedi Houseware Deluxe Digital Air Fryer on Amazon for $110



    The best air fryer on a budget

    Why you'll love it: The Dash Compact Air Fryer is charming, reliable, and it costs less than forty bucks, too.

    You don't buy an air fryer for its looks — you buy it for its cooks, so to speak. But that's no reason your air fryer can't look great, and with its retro styling and five different color options, the Dash Compact Air Fryer certainly looks great. But guess what? That's still not why you buy this one. It's the sub-$40 price that makes it a great buy.

    With that small price tag comes a small capacity cooking chamber, it must be noted. The Dash has a mere 1.2-liter (that's 1.27 quarts, for reference) cooking capacity, meaning it's not suitable for family meals. But for the couple or the individual, this low-cost air fryer is a fine choice indeed. And if space is at a premium in your kitchen, its overall small size will be a sure bonus.

    As for operation, the Dash Compact Air Fryer is one of the easiest to use on our list. It has a temperature dial, a timer, and ... that's it. As long as you make sure not to overload the rather small basket, you can count on evenly cooked fries, wings, rings, veggies, tofu, and much more.

    Do make sure to take the frying basket out and move the foods around midway through the cooking to ensure even "frying," and be aware that a few people have reported the handle coming loose, so be as gentle as you can.

    With nearly 400 reviews on Amazon, the Dash has a fine 4.1-star overall rating. Many people note its small price, but many note its quality of cooking, too. A lady named Tiffany called it a "great little air fryer" that's "perfect for cooking for one or two people." A gentleman named Dayle said it's "definitely a great item."

    Just don't try to save money by buying a unit that's too small for your family, because a 1.2-liter cooker fills up fast. — Steven John

    Pros: Great price, comes in several colors, easy to use

    Cons: Small capacity

    Buy Dash Compact Air Fryer on Amazon for about $40-$50 (prices vary by color)



    The best air fryer for large meals

    Why you'll love it: The Secura Air Fryer is cost-effective, has a large frying capacity, and does an excellent job of cooking evenly.

    Aside from the 4-liter/4.2-quart cooking capacity, the Secura Air Fryer is a fairly basic device. There are two dials for setting the temperature (up to 390 degrees) and time (up to 60 minutes). There are also heating and power indicator lights. The unit comes with a nonstick fryer basket, toaster rack, and skewer. 

    As with most gadgets, when there is a lack of features, such as digital settings, there are fewer parts that could potentially break down. Secura stands by the quality of this device with a two-year limited warranty.

    Corrie Cooks reviewed the Secura XL air fryer and gave it high marks for its durability, size, and functionality. However, the reviewer disliked that it didn’t have an LCD display and thought the 4-liter size didn’t warrant an “XL” distinction. BestSmokerz.com included the Secura XL on its list of the top ten air fryers because of the heavy-duty construction and large capacity. But, this unit lost points because the dial makes it hard to precisely set the timer.

    Around 93% of the reviews of the Secura Air Fryer on Amazon are positive. Reviewers were impressed with how this model is able to cook healthier French fries, reheat leftover fries to their original glory, make small pizzas, roast turkey breasts, toast bread, and more. One buyer pointed out that it can do everything an oven can do, but it’s easier and faster. One buyer mentioned they did have trouble making onion rings from scratch.

    Pros: Two-year warranty, durable, easy to use, relatively affordable

    Cons: Relies on dials instead of digital settings

    Buy the Secura 4 Liter, 4.2 Qt., Extra Large Capacity 1500 Watt Electric Hot Air Fryer on Amazon for $82 (originally $129.99)



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    CapeTown1

    • Photographer Roger Eberhard stayed in 32 different Hilton hotel rooms in 32 countries within the span of 365 days.
    • He photographed the views from his hotel windows, all of which look very different, and sequenced them with photos of each room, which looked remarkably identical.
    • The photo series compiled in his book "Standard" illustrates how, even when we travel, humans tend to gravitate toward standardization and crave certainty.

    Swiss photographer Roger Eberhard doesn't usually stay in hotels like the popular Hilton chain when he travels.

    But for his new project, "Standard," he switched things up a bit — by staying in 32 different Hilton rooms across 32 countries.

    In each of the 32 cities, he photographed his room from the exact same angle, as well as the view of the city from the hotel window.

    Business Insider spoke to Roger Eberhard about his series. 

    SEE ALSO: This photographer captured shots of New Yorkers on their way to work for 10 years — and it shows how repetitive a commute can be

    Roger Eberhard set out on his travels specifically for this project.



    Over the course of exactly 365 days, he stayed in 32 cities across 32 countries.



    In each city, he stayed in a Hilton hotel room and photographed both the room ...



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    President Donald Trump with Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

    • Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated Democrat Mike Espy on Tuesday in a Mississippi Senate race defined by the Republican's racially-charged comments. 
    • Hyde-Smith's runoff victory in the last race of the midterm elections was far from resounding in a deep red state, and may indicate increasing support for Democrats in the South. 
    • Espy, who was vying to become Mississippi's first black senator since the end of the Civil War, was buoyed by strong turnout among the state's large black electorate. 

    Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated Democrat Mike Espy in Mississippi's Senate runoff on Tuesday by an unusually small margin in the deep red state after transforming the contest into something of a referendum on Mississippi's racist past with jokes about public hangings and voter suppression

    Hyde-Smith's runoff victory in the last race of the midterm elections was far from resounding — she took 54% of the vote to Espy's 46% — in a state that President Donald Trump won by nearly 18 points two years ago. The result came as a relief to Republicans, who will have 53 senators to Democrats' 47 in the new Congress — a two seat gain. 

    In the three weeks since Election Day, the Mississippi race became defined by comments Hyde-Smith made on the campaign trail, including her statement that if a supporter asked her to attend "a public hanging, I'd be on the front row," that dredged up the state's dark history of racial violence and oppression. 

    Espy, who would have become the state's first black senator since the end of the Civil War, gained seven points over the Nov. 6 vote, in which 58% of the electorate supported Hyde-Smith and another GOP candidate, while 42% voted for Espy. (The runoff was triggered because no candidate received 50% of the vote). 

    Part of Espy's boost can be attributed to energized black voters, who showed up in greater numbers in many parts of the state than they did three weeks ago, according to exit polling. And while 60% of Mississippi's voting-age population is white, the state has the largest share of black voters in the country. 

    Espy framed Hyde-Smith's missteps, and subsequent revelations that she attended a "segregation academy" and celebrated the Confederacy, as an embarrassment to the state. 

    "It's given our state another black eye that we don’t need. It's just rejuvenated old stereotypes that we don't need anymore," Espy said of Hyde-Smith's remarks in a debate last week.

    Read more: 'Another black eye': Accusations of racism swirl in contentious Mississippi Senate runoff

    The former Clinton administration agriculture secretary also did better in suburban areas (full of college-educated white voters), including outside of Memphis and Jackson, than Barack Obama did in 2008. 

    Democrat Mike Espy shakes hands with a supporter at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson after losing the runoff election on Tuesday.

    Overall, Hyde-Smith, the state's first female senator, received 87% of the GOP voters who turned out for the election three weeks ago, while Espy received an impressive 101% of Democratic votes compared to those who voted earlier this month. And this came after Republicans directed significant resources to boost Hyde-Smith, including several presidential rallies, tweets, and an injection of GOP election staffers. 

    The unusually competitive Mississippi race could indicate a favorable trend for Democrats in the South. Espy is the third black Democrat to come close to winning a big ticket contest in the South this year, after Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum came up short in Georgia and Florida's gubernatorial races.

    And it comes a year after neighboring Alabama elected its first Democratic senator in a quarter-century. Notably, Alabama Democrat Doug Jones' stunning victory in last year's special election was facilitated in part by a significant surge in black voter turnout. Black Alabamians made up a larger percentage of the electorate in that contest than they did in both 2008 and 2012 when Barack Obama was on the ballot. (96% of black voters cast their ballots for Jones).

    But Jones' opponent, right-wing Republican Roy Moore, was a particularly weak candidate and was partially crushed under the weight of a sexual-assault scandal and a long record of racial animosity

    SEE ALSO: Newly-elected House Democrats make their play for powerful positions as Pelosi seeks their votes for House speaker

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The Obamas are worth $40 million — here's how they make and spend their money


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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)

    • Nancy Pelosi won the caucus vote to become the next speaker of the House on Wednesday, but still faces a more difficult challenge to gain the necessary 218 votes on the House floor this coming January.
    • Pelosi gained considerable ground compared with her last election to serve as the Democratic leader, but she still does not have a challenger from within the Democratic Caucus.
    • The group of Democrats opposed to her remain adamant that they want new leadership and will continue to challenge Pelosi.

    WASHINGTON — Nancy Pelosi secured enough votes to win the caucus vote to become the next speaker of the House on Wednesday. But she still needs to gain some ground if she wants to make it official when the vote goes to the House floor in January.

    Pelosi won an overwhelming majority of votes from the Democratic caucus:

    • 203 voted for her.
    • 32 voted against her.
    • Three left their ballots blank, and there was one absence.

    For context, Pelosi had 63 Democrats voting against her for the minority leader position in 2016 when Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan challenged her in the aftermath of the 2016 election. But on Wednesday, she ran unopposed, with a handful of Democrats still seeking an alternative by the time January comes around.

    Read more: Democratic opposition to Nancy Pelosi's bid for speaker of the House has virtually collapsed

    Through cutting deals and awarding coveted committee positions, Pelosi has managed to shore up supporters in the weeks following the 2018 midterm elections, in which Democrats took back the House majority that had eluded them for the past eight years.

    While a record number of incoming Democrats had campaigned on their opposition to or skepticism of Pelosi, she has gained the support of several House members who opposed her, and she has avoided a challenge in the process. 

    Moments before the vote, Pelosi announced a deal with Democrats in the Problem Solvers Caucus, proposing a slew of rules changes. Days before, Pelosi handed out a subcommittee chairmanship to Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, who was previously mulling a challenge for the speakership.

    Pelosi also flipped New York Rep. Brian Higgins, who now supports her speaker bid, despite him signing a letter alongside 15 other Democrats stating their opposition to her leadership.

    Outside the Wednesday morning caucus meeting, Higgins told reporters the leadership fight has been largely good for Democrats, but called it a "sloppy mess" for members to express themselves.

    "Everyone has one legislative tool, and that’s their vote," he said. "And finding a way to use that legislative tool in a way that maximizes its effectiveness, I think, is a good thing."

    Pelosi met with her detractors, who left angry and unsatisfied

    And just before the caucus meeting on Wednesday, Pelosi met privately with the three Democrats leading the charge against her: Reps. Kathleen Rice, Tim Ryan, and Seth Moulton.

    That meeting did not go well, with those insurgent Democrats leaving frustrated and shut down.

    "Moments ago we met with Leader Pelosi and tried to engage her in a reasonable conversation about leadership transition," Rice said in a statement after the meeting. "Unfortunately, our concerns were dismissed outright. We remain united behind our goal of new leadership and intend to vote against Leader Pelosi in Caucus and on the Floor of the House."

    Moulton expressed his frustration with leadership and the poor results of the meeting in a statement, slamming Pelosi for not following through on past commitments.

    "The private sector, non-profit organizations, even the Republican Party, have been able to have the difficult conversations about what a plan for succession looks like. No one wants to see this civil conversation to spill into a floor fight," Moulton said. "Right now, Leader Pelosi will not have the 218 votes necessary to become Speaker."

    And while Pelosi has gained a lot of ground through old-fashioned Washington dealmaking, she still needs more support in the next month — and has to hope a challenger does not arise that could win more votes from Democrats looking for another option, of which there are several.

    SEE ALSO: Republicans scramble to pass Trump-supported legislation in lame duck session of Congress

    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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    Jerome Corsi

    • GOP strategist Roger Stone told INSIDER his close associate, Jerome Corsi, committed a crime when he reportedly lied to federal investigators about email correspondences with Stone and the American academic Ted Malloch.
    • Corsi rejected a plea deal from the special counsel Robert Mueller this week because he would have had to plead guilty to perjury, but he maintains that he did not mislead prosecutors.
    • In a draft statement of offense against Corsi that was obtained by NBC News, prosecutors laid out a series of emails between Stone and Corsi that appear to contradict his statements to investigators.
    • Stone downplayed the significance of the emails themselves but said "the only thing illegal here" is "that [Corsi] tried to delete these emails and then lied about them to federal agents."

    The longtime GOP strategist Roger Stone told INSIDER on Wednesday that his close associate, the far-right commentator Jerome Corsi, committed a crime by reportedly lying to federal investigators.

    Both Corsi and Stone are at the center of the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether members of President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow.

    A significant thread in the inquiry focuses on whether any Trump associates had advance knowledge of Russia's hack of the Democratic National Committee and WikiLeaks' subsequent dissemination of stolen emails.

    Corsi was subpoenaed to testify in the Russia investigation in September about his ties to Stone, WikiLeaks, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He told reporters this week that he had rejected a plea deal from Mueller because he would have to plead guilty to one count of perjury. Corsi maintains that he did not knowingly mislead investigators.

    But NBC News obtained a draft statement of offense from Mueller's office this week in which prosecutors laid out a series of emails between Corsi and Stone that appear to contradict statements he made to investigators.

    According to the statement of offense, which has not been filed, Stone emailed Corsi on July 25, three days after WikiLeaks published the first batch of hacked DNC emails, and told him to "get to (Assange) [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending [WikiLeaks] emails."

    Corsi reportedly told investigators that he rebuffed Stone's request, but prosecutors had evidence showing that Corsi in fact forwarded Stone's request to Ted Malloch, a right-wing commentator in London. Malloch was also subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury earlier this year.

    Eight days later, on August 2, Corsi touched base with Stone to tell him about the upcoming document dump. "Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps," Corsi reportedly wrote to Stone.

    Corsi was likely referring to Assange, who has been seeking refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. "One shortly after I'm back. 2nd in Oct," Corsi wrote. "Impact planned to be very damaging."

    A little over two weeks later, on August 21, Stone tweeted that Clinton campaign manager John Podesta would "soon" be targeted.

    On October 7, WikiLeaks published a damaging batch of emails belonging to Podesta.

    NBC News reported that prosecutors said between January 13, 2017, and March 1, 2017, Corsi deleted all emails from his computer that were sent or received before October 11, 2016. They included his correspondences with Stone and Malloch.

    Stone told INSIDER on Wednesday that the emails included in the draft statement of offense "prove nothing at all," adding that "legitimate political inquiry it's [sic] not illegal in America."

    He acknowledged, however, that Corsi did something "illegal" when he "[decided] to lie about receiving those emails."

    "The only thing illegal here" is "that [Corsi] tried to delete these emails and then lied about them to federal agents," Stone said. "Nothing in the emails themselves is evidence of illegal activity unless they have criminalized legitimate political inquiry."

    Corsi's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Stone is known to have been in direct contact with WikiLeaks and the Russia-linked hacker Guccifer 2.0 during the election. He has also said that he communicated indirectly with Assange through the radio host Randy Credico, though Credico denies being Stone's link to the WikiLeaks founder.

    Subsequent reporting has also indicated that he misled congressional investigators when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee last year about his connections to Assange and WikiLeaks. Stone told INSIDER that he expects to be indicted soon.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Trump once won a lawsuit against the NFL — but the result was an embarrassment


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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.

    Untitled 11

    • The "bed-in-a-box" mattress market is flooded with options, which can make it difficult to figure out which one is right for you.
    • The Allswell mattress uses a combination of foam and coils to offer superior support and comfort at an affordable price (starting at $245 for a twin). 
    • Whether or not you're on a budget, this mattress is a great choice.
    • Now through November 28, you can save 15% on this mattress with code "THANKS15". 

    If you’re looking for a bed on a budget, the Allswell 10-inch hybrid mattress should be at the top of your list.

    It has entered the “bed-in-a-box” scene as one of the most affordable mattresses you can buy, but the low price (Starting at $245 for a twin) doesn’t mean low quality. After testing the Allswell hybrid mattress for myself, I can confidently say that it delivers when it comes to quality and comfort.

    Allswell is a relatively new company backed by Walmart that launched in February 2018. All its products can be found online on Walmart's website in addition to AllswellHome.com in an effort to “meet shoppers where they already are.” The goal of Allswell is to make “elevated bedroom basics accessible to all.” After moving into a new home and experiencing firsthand the extra expenses that come with this endeavor, that's a goal I can definitely get behind.

    First Impressions

    The Allswell hybrid mattress arrived at our doorstep vacuum sealed and rolled into a cardboard box. While not especially light (it is a mattress after all), it wasn’t so heavy that my boyfriend couldn’t carry the box to our upstairs bedroom. From there, all it took was a pair of scissors to carefully open the box and slice through the plastic wrapping once the mattress was unrolled — easily a one-person job. As soon as the plastic was cut into, the mattress began to decompress, so I quickly removed the plastic wrap to allow it to do its thing. It can take a day or so for the Allswell hybrid to get to its full size, but we found it took shape quickly once removed from the packaging.

    While many bed in a box situations require off-gassing and can cause big issues when the chemical scent doesn’t dissipate, we found that any chemical smell was gone within a few days, and haven’t smelled any traces of it since. Once we flopped down on the Allswell hybrid, we were immediately impressed with the support it offered. This is considered a medium-firm mattress and doesn’t have a lot of give, so you shouldn’t be expecting it to conform to the contours of your body. However, if you like the feeling of sleeping on top of your mattress rather than sinking into it, you won’t be disappointed.

    Construction

    That feeling of support is thanks to the combination of high-performance memory foam and two-gauge coils, which is what makes this a hybrid mattress. The combination of coils and foam give you the feel of a traditional innerspring mattress with the added comfort of memory foam.

    The top layer of the mattress consists of a moisture-wicking cover that will help keep you cool as you sleep. The second layer is made of gel-infused memory foam, also helping with heat control and making this an ideal mattress for those who sleep hot. The third layer consists of two inches of transitional foam that is designed to help with pressure relief and provide support. All of this rests on a pocketed coil system, which is supported by a high-density base foam. Even with all these layers, the Allswell only comes in at 10 inches tall. While this is lower than mattresses I’m used to sleeping on — like the Saatva— I didn’t feel that it compromised the comfort in any way.

    The combination of pocketed coils and memory foam make motion transference almost nonexistent. Other than the extremely affordable price, this was one of the qualities that impressed me the most. I’m a very light sleeper, and in the past, I’d usually wake up every time my partner rolled over or got out of bed. With the Allswell, I felt next to nothing. Between the minimal motion transference and the supportive edges, this is an ideal mattress for couples.

    Comfort

    Thanks to its materials and thoughtful construction, the Allswell is supportive yet comfortable. My boyfriend is a back sleeper, and I sleep mostly on my stomach, so we both tend to prefer a firmer mattress. For us, the Allswell provides just enough give to be comfortable without letting us sink into the mattress completely, which is ideal for our sleep styles.

    If you do tend to sleep almost exclusively on your side, you may find the Allswell to be less comfortable as the firm cushioning can put more pressure on the hips and shoulders. My boyfriend found this to be the case when he did end up on his side (usually at my bidding because he snores on his back). He would wake up with sore shoulders if he ended up on his side most of the night.

    Final thoughts

    The comfort and high-quality construction the Allswell offers, along with its very affordable price, make this an ideal mattress to add to your sleep setup even if you aren’t on a budget. The price is especially impressive considering that the mattress is made in the United States.

    While we found the set-up process to be extremely easy, the company still offers white glove delivery and will even take your old mattress off your hands — which isn’t always the case with online bed in a box mattress companies. In trying out the mattress, you really have nothing to lose. Allswell offers a 100-night, risk-free trial for their mattresses with free returns and no questions asked, as well as a 10-year limited warranty. Sleep Sherpa says, “You can’t go wrong trying out this mattress. If you find you like it, you just scored one of the best bargains in town. If by chance you don’t like it, returns are free and easy and you can pursue other mattresses that are more expensive.”

    If you are looking for a taller mattress, and want a few more luxurious extras like a built-in plush topper, the Allswell Luxe Hybrid may be a better option for you. It’s slightly more expensive than the Allswell, but a Queen still comes in at under $600. Business Insider's own reviewer, James Brains, found this mattress to be an "excellent buy." Testers at Mattress Advisor were equally impressed by the Luxe Hybrid, and were surprised at how well the mattress scored saying, “it goes to show that you really can get a quality bed at an affordable price.” 

    The brand doesn’t skimp on style either. In addition to offering affordable mattresses, Allswell offers themed bedding based on different style aesthetics. You can buy pieces separately to create your own style, or in bundles for an easy way to create a curated look. This is a great and budget friendly way give your bedroom an update.

    Buy the Allswell, starting at $245 for a twin

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    State Senate candidate Alessandra Biaggi at a campaign event in July.

    • Much attention has been paid to the wave of women elected to go to Washington this fall, but women are also storming politics at the local levels. 
    • More than 2,000 women will serve in state legislatures next year — growing the number of women in local chambers by several hundred and breaking previous records for female representation.
    • But the work of the so-called "pink wave" isn't done. Men will continue to make up just over three quarters of state lawmakers across the country.

    Much attention has been paid to the wave of women elected to go to Washington this fall, but women are also storming politics at the local levels. 

    More than 2,000 women will serve in state legislatures next year — growing the number of women in local chambers by several hundred and breaking previous records for female representation, according to new reports from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University (CAWP). 

    And these numbers could grow even larger, as the Associated Press has yet to call 216 state legislative races, which include about 185 female candidates. While women remain small minorities in the vast majority of bodies, they could end up making up majorities in the Colorado House and Nevada Assembly. 

    "We are very encouraged by these results. This is the largest increase in women's representation in state legislatures we’ve seen in some time, after more than a decade of relative stagnation," Debbie Walsh, director of the Rutgers center, told the AP. "The only question that remains is whether 2018 was a one-off or a new norm."

    Right now, 1,875 of the country's 7,383 state lawmakers are women. Sixty-one percent of these women are Democrats, while about 37% are Republicans. Experts have pointed out that as long as women struggle to gain a foothold in the Republican Party, their overall numbers won't rise much above the 25% mark. 

    The last surge of women winning state legislative seats was in the 1970s and 1980s, but in the decades since, female representation in these bodies has remained relatively stagnant. This year's enthusiasm among female candidates, voters, volunteers, and donors was in part fueled by deep-seated anti-Trump sentiment and the #MeToo movement, which have grown the gender gap between Democrats and Republicans to historic highs. 

    While more women than ever before will sit in the US Congress next year, women didn't manage to break records in the Senate or in governors' mansions.

    Experts say there is a host of reasons why female candidates are running in larger numbers, including anger at the current administration and frustration with the imbalance in power at every level of politics. There's also evidence that women, particularly when running in Democratic primaries, can use their gender to their advantage. 

    "I think we're getting closer to a time when we can talk about gender and particularly the gender experience you have as a credential for office and not as a hurdle that you have to overcome or avoid," Kelly Dittmar, a scholar at the Rutgers center, told INSIDER in August.

    But the so-called "pink wave" has much work left to do. Men will continue to make up just over three quarters of state lawmakers across the country.

    SEE ALSO: How Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez energized a group of women looking to reshape New York politics

    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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    donald trump rally

    • The US goods trade deficit increased to $77.2 billion in the month of October — a record high.
    • President Donald Trump has made reducing the trade deficit a key goal of his policies.
    • But experts say Trump's tariffs can't reverse an underlying economic trust about the US.

    President Donald Trump's favorite trade war report card hit its highest level in history last month.

    According to the Census Bureau, the US goods trade deficit hit a record high of $77.2 billion in October, up from $76.3 billion the month before.

    While economists dismiss the deficit as an inaccurate measure of the US’s economic competitiveness, Trump has focused on the number and has made bringing down the deficit one of the key goals of his trade policy.

    The reason for October’s bump was a continuation of the steady increase in imports— up 0.1 percentage points from September — as America’s appetite for foreign goods remained strong. Exports declined by 0.6 points month-over-month. This was the fifth-straight month the deficit has widened.

    Jake McRobie, a US economist at Oxford Economics, laid out why the deficit is unlikely to head in Trump’s desired direction anytime soon.

    “Moderating global momentum and protectionist trade policies will keep weighing on exports in the near-term, as solid domestic demand and supply constraints keep imports growth healthy, further widening the deficit,” McRobie said.

    A strong US economy means Americans still want to buy overseas goods, while a slowing global economy and Trump’s tariffs are slowing US exports. Combine the two, and you’ve got a recipe for a long-term trend of expanding trade deficits, according to Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

    "Tariffs can’t fix the fundamental problem that the US doesn’t save, net, so it has to run a deficit," he said in a note to clients. "Fiscal stimulus this year has raised the trend in the deficit."

    The news is unlikely to please Trump in the run up to the G20 summit in Argentina over the weekend. The president is scheduled to meet with a roster of world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    The two sides are expected to try and hash out a deal to end the US-China trade war and eliminate tariffs on roughly $360 billion worth of goods going between the two countries. But Trump has recently been making a lot more noise about tariffs — ranging from cars to more Chinese goods — so prospects for the meeting are dim.

    SEE ALSO: Trump's threat to impose a 'chicken tax' on cars could cause a major mess for the US economy

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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.

    dyson vacuum c 1

    As a chore-dreading adult, I don't find my vacuum particularly amusing. It does the trick, picking up dirt and dust just fine, but let's face it — in a sea of priorities, vacuuming is not a want, but a need. 

     Yet, I remember a simpler time when cleaning was actually exciting. As a kid, I didn't think of cleaning (or pretending to clean) as a task, but a fun way to spend playtime — pretending to be an adult and try my hand at "big kid" chores. Imaginative play isn't just fun for kids, it's also really important for their development — and what better way to play pretend than to emulate the adults in their life. 

    dysonkids

    This explains why kids (and their parents) are loving this $30 Dyson Vacuum. Yep, you read that right — now your little one can get their very own toy version of the ever-popular Dyson Ball Vacuum. The toy model is a pretty close replica of the real deal, with a similar design that can twist and turn just like the full-size one. The cyclone action is mesmerizing with colorful beads whizzing about in the chamber. There's even a working suction element that can pick up little bits of debris and dust. Kids can vacuum away and then empty the removable dustbin so their vacuum is ready for the next cleaning session.

    For just $30, this 25-inch tall version is a much more practical way to let your kids play grown-up, as opposed to giving them your real adult vacuum (which costs closer to $250) to play around with. Plus, with their own machine, kids can actually help out during cleanup, rather than contribute to the mess — at least, that's the goal. Whatever the case, the kid-friendly model is an undeniably cute addition to playtime that also helps to develop broader life skills — like learning how to use a vacuum and the responsibility of keeping up with chores. 

    It's a present the kids in your life will love, and their parents might love even more. 

    Buy the Dyson Ball Toy Vacuum for $29.99 at Amazon.

    Buy the Dyson Ball Vacuum for $249.99 at Best Buy.

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    Aaron Samuels Blavity

    • Aaron Samuels is cofounder and chief operating officer of Blavity, the LA media upstart focused on African-American millennials, and he is a man of many talents.
    • The Stanford business school grad oversees a team of 48 full-time employees, with a vision to perfect the storytelling art for a generation of people underserved by the current mass-media landscape.
    • Samuels' early years as an artist and poet helped shape that focus, and he believes that by owning your own narrative you can reshape the way you live in the world.
    • With the help of Samuels' cofounders, Blavity is emerging as a media juggernaut, a little more than four years after its founding.

    "When you tell your own story, it changes the way other people see you, and it changes the way you see yourself," Aaron Samuels, cofounder and chief operating officer of Blavity, a digital-news publication geared toward African-American millennials told Business Insider.

    Blavity has been a hot topic in the media world since it closed a $6.5 million Series A round with Google Ventures in July, bringing its total venture investment so far to $8.5 million. That's an almost of unheard-of amount of money for an early-stage, black-owned startup, much less a new digital publication — especially one with a young, black, female CEO, Morgan DeBaun, Samuels' cofounder.

    But it is clearly doing something right. Blavity has only been in business for four years, and it already has seven million readers per month.

    And much of that success is anchored in Samuels' personal mission for the company.

    Come see Aaron Samuels speak at Business Insider's Ignition conference, December 3 & 4 in New York.

    He believes that by creating a company — and a community — that lets black millennials "really control their own narratives" in ways that mainstream media doesn't understand, "we could change the way people see themselves."

    Aaron Samuels BlavityBlavity was founded in 2014, but you could trace its roots back to Samuels' teenage years, when he discovered the power of storytelling through poetry, and later, on the Washington University campus in St. Louis, Missouri, where Samuels and his friends — DeBaun, Jonathan Jackson, and Jeff Nelson — experienced firsthand the phenomenon that would eventually define Blavity's core ethos.

    Samuels calls it "black gravity," a microcosm of black people who would move toward each other in public spaces. At the campus in St. Louis, the lunch table was a central meeting place.

    "The black community at Washington University was really tight. Although Washington University was primarily a white institution, black folks stuck together, we looked out for each other," Samuels told Business Insider in an interview at Blavity's downtown Los Angeles headquarters.

    "That experience represented support; it represented love, and trust," Samuels said. "It was a way for us to flourish and thrive, and also represented all the different kinds of black conversations that were happening simultaneously."

    They talked about everything from politics to engineering homework to where the party was going to be on the weekend.

    But for Samuels, who grew up in a mixed-race, mixed-faith household in Providence, Rhode Island, with a Jewish mother and an African-American father — both of whom are clinical psychologists — finding common ground is a practiced art.

    His parents taught him to identify with all corners of his cultural identity and to embrace and share it with others. And that ultimately helped him navigate a world where he often found himself in the minority.

    "I could see that learning how to own and tell my story can change the way that others see me, and more importantly change the way that I see myself," Samuels said.

    "I wanted to imagine what happens if we do this on a community level, if everyone who I'm friends with is also owning their own stories and their own narrative," he said.

    Aaron Samuels Blavity

    Living at the office, literally

    His Washington University friends would eventually become his cofounders, but not right away. Immediately after they graduated, they went to work on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley.

    Samuels worked as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company in New York, DeBaun became a product manager at Intuit, Nelson was an early engineer at Palantir, and Jackson was a community manager at LinkedIn.

    Those roles taught them the necessary skills they would take to Blavity, but there was a downside.

    With social and political unrest brewing in places like Ferguson, Missouri, Samuels said he and his friends — who were, at the time, separated by distance and their careers — shared a less edifying experience than their happy college days.

    "This time, we didn't have that core black gravity linking us together. The world was exploding. This is 2014; this is coming off the heels of the government execution of Troy Davis; this is after Trayvon Martin. And that was building up to 2014 when Mike Brown was killed," Samuels said.

    Ferguson protests"It was hard to be a black person in primarily white spaces when so many things were happening," he said.

    On some days, Samuels recalled, he would walk into work, and it would feel like none of the political unrest he and other black millennials saw as an existential threat was happening at all.

    So, he did what most black millennials did at the time.

    "I was texting my friends and family, or I was going to social media to feel what needed to be felt, so that at least I knew I wasn't crazy to be like, sad, or upset, or angry, or frustrated."

    Samuels wasn't alone. That's when he, DeBaun, Jackson, and Nelson landed on an idea. They could take their combined experience in digital technology and business strategy, along with the creative people they knew who were sharing stories on social media, to replicate their college-years' feeling of black gravity. And they could do that on a national level, he said.

    So, in July 2014, Blavity was born. Early on, it existed as a virtual company. The team worked via Slack, Asana, and Gmail. After a year and a half of bootstrapping, they opened their first office, inside a large live-work loft in LA's arts district — but the hustle continued.

    Samuels, DeBaun, and the team lived in that loft; they created separate micro-apartments inside — one for DeBaun and the other for Samuels — while the office occupied the rest of the space.

    "It doesn't get any closer than living, eating, and breathing your work," Samuels quipped.

    That early focus on elevating African-American millennials in a digital media landscape where they were inadequately represented proved to be the right move.

    More than two years after Blavity's founding, an October 2016 Nielsen report illustrated just how effectively African-American millennials, with their multibillion-dollar buying power and "undisputed cultural influence" was driving conversations online.

    Blavity team founders Aaron Samuels Morgan DeBaun Jonathan Jackson Jeff Nelson

    A game of endurance

    As if growing a startup with his best friends and living at the office with them weren't enough, Samuels was also attending Stanford business school and traveling.

    He calls his life a game of endurance.

    "It's a statement about the journeys that some entrepreneurs have to go through, that other entrepreneurs never have to go through," he said.

    Things changed after Blavity raised $1.86 million of seed-round funding in April 2017 from the Washington, DC-based New Media Ventures and LA-based Macro Ventures. The company has since gone on to raise $8.5 million total.

    Now the company has an office parked in a pristine high-rise in bustling downtown Los Angeles, where Samuels oversees 48 full-time employees, as well as a new office and staff in Atlanta.

    Samuels is excited about expansion but doesn't want to lose sight of the bigger mission: empowering a generation of leaders.

    Aaron Samuels Blavity AfroTech 2017"I’m really excited about the next phase for our company," Samuels said.

    "I'm also terrified. I think that it is difficult being a black millennial in this country. That is something that has probably always been true for the entire history of this country. And I don’t think that it’s different now."

    Samuels recognizes the progress black people have made in the world, but he warns against using that progress to justify that things still are not as they should be.

    He hopes that Blavity can lead the way in moving the cultural conversation forward. To Samuels, that conversation should include everyone, without neglecting Blavity's foundational principles.

    "I am hoping for more support from our current community to expand, to be welcoming, and to share in our collective excitement about the possibilities of what we can build together," he said.

    Find Aaron Samuels on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram @PoetryAaron.

    Hear more of Samuels' story, building a business as an artist and founder, and the future of black digital media at IGNITION 2018.

    Register now »

    SEE ALSO: Announcing IGNITION 2018 speakers: Don't miss Mark Cuban, Sir Martin Sorrell, Danica Patrick, Troy Carter, and more!

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    George Papadopoulos

    • Trump-Russia investigators are looking into an uncorroborated letter that claims George Papadopoulos was pursuing a business deal with Russians "which would result in large financial gains for himself" and President Donald Trump after the 2016 election.
    • The letter is being examined by both congressional and FBI investigators, and two US officials told The Atlantic that the FBI is taking the letter's claims "very seriously."
    • Papadopoulos began serving out his two-week prison sentence for lying to the FBI this week.
    • But the revelation that officials are probing the letter indicates Papadopoulos is still a significant player in ongoing investigations into whether Trump associates colluded with Moscow during the 2016 election.

    FBI and congressional investigators are looking into a new and uncorroborated claim that the former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos said he was pursuing a business deal with Russians "which would result in large financial gains for himself" and President Donald Trump, The Atlantic reported.

    A Democratic source on the House Intelligence Committee confirmed to INSIDER that the letter was sent to ranking member Adam Schiff's office earlier this month from someone who claims to have been close to Papadopoulos in late 2016 and early 2017. Two US officials also told The Atlantic that federal authorities are investigating the letter and taking its claims "very seriously."

    Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last year to one count of lying to the FBI and began serving his two-week prison sentence on November 26. But the revelation that authorities are probing the letter shows Papadopoulos is still a significant figure of interest in ongoing investigations into whether Trump associates colluded with Moscow during the 2016 election.

    Papadopoulos denies having any financial links to Russia. But in a court filing announcing his guilty plea last year, prosecutors laid out multiple attempts by Papadopoulos to set up meetings between top campaign officials and Russians during the election.

    Read more:George Papadopoulos tweets offer at Comey: Testify publicly and I’ll withdraw my request for immunity

    george papadopoulos

    Papadopoulos told the FBI that his outreach to the Russia-linked foreign nationals occurred before he joined the campaign. But his first interaction with an "overseas professor" with ties to high-level Russian officials occurred on March 14, 2016, weeks after he joined the campaign.

    That professor, Joseph Mifsud, told Papadopoulos just over a month later that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton that came in the form of "thousands of emails," according to the charging document.

    Papadopoulos later told the top Australian diplomat Alexander Downer about the claim that Russia had kompromat on Clinton. That conversation, which Downer relayed to US officials, is what prompted the FBI to launch the Russia investigation.

    Papadopoulos expressed remorse for lying to the FBI about his Russia connections during his sentencing hearing in September. But he has since adopted a drastically different tone by claiming in recent months that he was entrapped by the FBI and that his interactions with Mifsud were part of an elaborate set-up by British intelligence.

    According to The Atlantic, Papadopoulos' baseless claims were what prompted the unnamed author of the letter to come forward. The person reportedly said they were willing to take a polygraph test "to prove that I am being truthful" and added that they decided to send the letter after observing Papadopoulos "become increasingly hostile towards those who are investigating him and his associates."

    The individual also reportedly said Papadopoulos said in late 2016 that "Greek Orthodox leaders" and their Russian counterparts were "playing an important role" in Papadopoulos' interactions with the Russians.

    Papadopoulos has met and interacted with several Greek officials, The Atlantic reported, most notably the Greek defense minister Pannos Kammenos. Kammenos' department was described to BuzzFeed News by a NATO official earlier this year as having been compromised by Russian intelligence.

    SEE ALSO: George Papadopoulos tweets offer at Comey: Testify publicly and I’ll withdraw my request for immunity

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Trump once won a lawsuit against the NFL — but the result was an embarrassment


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    Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris, both potential 2020 contenders.

    • Just over half of Americans are "very comfortable" with the prospect of a female commander in chief, according to a new report released this week by the consulting firm Kantar Public. 
    • On this question, the US came in third among G7 nations — behind the UK and Canada.
    • This comes as women, particularly in the Democratic party, have been elected into office in the US in historic numbers. 

    Just over half of Americans are "very comfortable" with the prospect of a female commander in chief, according to a new report released this week by the consulting firm Kantar Public. 

    According to the report, 52% would feel "very comfortable" with a woman at the head of government, and 63% would feel similarly comfortable with a woman as a CEO of a major company.

    The study surveyed 10,000 people across seven developed nations — the members of the G7 — to investigate public sentiment concerning women in leadership, and they were given a score from 0 to 100 on the Reykjavik Index for Leadership. "A score of 100 means that across society, there is complete agreement that men and women are equally suited to leadership in all sectors," the report explains. Out of the G7 nations, the US ranked third with a score of 70.

    Read more:7 Democratic women to watch in 2020

    Both the UK and Canada reported a higher tolerance for women in political leadership — 58% of those surveyed in the UK and 57% of those polled in Canada said they'd be "very comfortable" with a female head of government. At the low end of the spectrum, just 26% of those in Germany and 23% of those in Japan felt the same way. 

    In the US, women — particularly in the Democratic party — are running for office, and winning, in unprecedented numbers. And several female politicians, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand, are likely contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. 

    Some of these women have pointed to their gender as an attribute, rather than a barrier, in their pursuit of power. 

    "It's time for women to go to Washington and fix our broken government, and that includes a woman at the top," Warren told supporters in September. "So here's what I promise: After November 6, I will take a hard look at running for president." 

    SEE ALSO: 'This is malpractice': Left-wing slams Chuck Schumer for agreeing to $1.6 billion for border security to avoid a government shutdown

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    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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    cruise ship passenger

    • Cruise lines make significant efforts to keep their passengers happy (sometimes at the expense of their employees), but when a passenger is injured, the cruise line's attitude can change.
    • If, as a passenger, you slip and fall or are assaulted, the cruise line is no longer your friend, Michael Winkleman, a maritime lawyer for Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina, and Winkleman, told Business Insider.
    • "Anytime anything bad happens, the cruise lines go into adversarial mode," he said. "All they're looking to do is protect themselves. They're not really concerned about protecting you or helping you."

    Cruise lines make significant efforts to keep their passengers happy (sometimes at the expense of their employees), but when a passenger is injured, the cruise line's attitude can change, according to a lawyer who represents cruise-line passengers and employees.

    If, as a passenger, you slip and fall or are assaulted, the cruise line is no longer your friend, Michael Winkleman, a maritime lawyer for Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina, and Winkleman, told Business Insider.

    "Anytime anything bad happens, the cruise lines go into adversarial mode," he said. "All they're looking to do is protect themselves. They're not really concerned about protecting you or helping you."

    The Cruise Lines International Association did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

    Read more: Working on a cruise ship can be brutal — but 2 lawyers who rep cruise-line workers explain why even terrible cruise-ship jobs can be attractive

    When a passenger is injured, one of the ship's security officers will take a statement from the passenger using questions that could help the cruise line defend itself in court, Winkleman said. The officer may, for example, ask what the passenger could have done to avoid the incident that led to the injury. But shortly after being injured, a person is not in the right state of mind to defend his or her interests when being questioned, Winkleman said.

    If a passenger sues a cruise line, the cruise line will ensure that case is tried in a federal court, which will require a higher standard of evidence and often have a stricter judge than a state court, Winkleman said.

    "The deck is certainly stacked against the average person who gets hurt when you're going up against a cruise line," he said.

    Have you worked on a cruise ship? Do you have a story to share? Email this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

    SEE ALSO: A lawyer who reps cruise-ship workers reveals the most shocking thing he's heard about their job

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    American Flag USA US

    The US is a huge, diverse country, and the characteristics of the states that make it up vary widely.

    We used 38 demographic, social, and economic indicators that cover several aspects of American life, mostly from the US Census Bureau's recently released 2017 American Community Survey estimates.

    We looked at how far away each state was from the average of each of those metrics among the states and Washington, DC. Adding those distances together, we found an overall "averageness" score for each state and DC.

    Read more:See our method and detailed sources for this ranking

    Here's all 50 states and DC, ranked from least to most average, along with some of the metrics for which they were outliers or average.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how much the typical millennial, Gen X, and baby-boomer worker earns in every US state

    51. Washington, DC

    What's average: The 90.2% of residents of DC with at least a high school diploma was very close to the average share among the states and DC of 89.5%.

    What's not average: The nation's capital is demographically and economically very different from the rest of the country, largely because it's a city with no suburban or rural areas. For example, DC's median age of 34.0 years is much lower than the average of 38.4 years, and its median household income of $82,372 was the highest in the country.



    50. Hawaii

    What's average: About 92.1% of households in Hawaii have access to at least one car, right in line with the average rate of 92.2% among the states and DC.

    What's not average: Hawaii's median home value of $617,400 was the highest in the country, and, perhaps not surprisingly, the 9.3% of Hawaii residents who self-identified as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander was by far the largest share among the states and DC.



    49. California

    What's average: California's poverty rate of 13.3% was just above the average rate of 13.1% among the 50 states and DC.

    What's not average: California's median gross monthly apartment rent of $1,447 was the third-highest in the country. Only 83.3% of California residents had at least a high school diploma, the lowest rate among the states and DC.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Delta Airbus A350 900 MSN115 take off 005

    • A Delta Air Lines passenger said his pilot sent him a message on dating app Grindr while the flight was still in mid-air. 
    • JP Thorn only got the message when he landed, but saw it was sent 30 minutes before the 90-minute flight landed in Chicago in August.
    • He told the New York Post that when he got the message on the tarmac, "I knew I needed to get off this plane as fast as I can."
    • Thorn briefly messaged the pilot after the flight, and said he was a "nice guy."

    A passenger who took a Delta Air Lines flight earlier this year said the pilot operating his flight sent him a Grindr message while they were "30,000 feet in the air."

    The passenger, JP Thorn, told the New York Post the pilot texted him on the dating app during the 90-minute flight from Saint Paul, Minnesota in August.

    Thorn said he only saw the message after landing, but saw that it was sent 30 minutes before the plane's landing — meaning the pilot was flying and texting at the same time.

    Thorn, 27, tweeted a screenshot of the message from the pilot on Sunday. It said: "I see you're on my flight. Enjoy the ride to Chicago."

    Thorn told the Post: "I messaged him back and he told me that he was one of the pilots. My reaction was I knew I needed to get off this plane as fast as I can."

    "I’ve had some weird experiences with proximity stuff on Grindr," he added.

    But Thorn chatted with the pilot while he waited for his connecting flight and said it turned out the pilot was a "nice guy" and he "totally would have met him for coffee."

    That being said, Thorn hasn't spoken to the pilot since, he told the Post.

    He said: "I got a lot of people saying I should've met up with pilots because they make a lot of money."

    He added that the experience hasn't affected his decision to fly with Delta, and that he would do so again.

    INSIDER has contacted Delta for comment.

    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. 

    best makeup setting spray

    • If you want your makeup to last longer and look exactly the same hours after you applied it, you need to invest in a good makeup setting spray.
    • Our top pick is the Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray because it is a weightless spray that will help your makeup last for up to 16 hours.

    We’ve all had those days where we’ve left the house with our makeup looking flawless only to notice by lunchtime that our foundation or eye shadow has started to smudge or fade. Thankfully, a makeup setting spray is the perfect solution to this problem. Much like hairspray, a setting spray is applied at the end of your beauty routine to lock in the makeup and help it last longer.

    Unlike setting powders that just protect makeup like foundation, blush, and concealer, a setting spray can be applied to your entire face and it will help keep eye shadow, mascara, and lipsticks from smudging as well. Besides preventing it from melting or fading, the mist of a setting spray also helps stop makeup from caking, creasing, and settling into fine lines.

    Not only will the right setting spray keep your makeup in place, but it can also improve the look and health of your skin. Some feature ingredients that work to brighten and hydrate skin, while others help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays and boost your skin’s elasticity.

    Like most makeup products, the number of setting sprays on the market can be overwhelming. So we did the research to find the best options available. Whether you are looking for a setting spray that works best for your skin type or one that features SPF, these are the setting sprays that will keep your makeup looking great all day and night long.

    Here are the best makeup setting sprays you can buy:

    Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

    The best makeup setting spray overall

    Why you'll love it: The Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray is a cult favorite setting spray because it keeps makeup looking freshly applied all day.

    The Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray has been one of the most popular makeup setting sprays for years. Not only does it keep your makeup in place for up to 16 hours, but it also makes your skin look smoother. Plus it works on all skin types and prevents makeup from cracking, fading, or settling into fine lines.

    Unlike other setting sprays that can feel sticky when first applied, this spray goes on as a microfine mist that you will barely feel. It is made with a patented Temperature Control Technology that actually lowers the temperature in your makeup to help keep it in place even in hot, humid, and windy conditions.

    The setting spray is an Allure Best of Beauty winner and has been recommended by both InStyle and Elle magazines. It has more than 430,000 likes on Sephora with more than 8,000 reviewers giving it a 4.4-star average rating.

    One Sephora shopper wrote, “I love wearing makeup but have always had a problem with it fading and/or smudging (especially eyeliner). I've tried probably everything on the market to prevent this. This spray is unbelievable. I can put on my makeup at 6:00 AM before work and when I get home after 7, it still looks perfect — hasn't smudged or faded at all! SO happy to have finally found a product that works for me!”

    The spray may be on the pricier side, but it comes in a mini size as well so you can test it before you splurge on the standard or jumbo size bottles.

    Pros: Lightweight mist, keeps makeup in place for up to 16 hours, makes skin look smoother, works on all skin types and in all climates

    Cons: Pricey

    Buy the Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray at Sephora for $32



    The best makeup setting spray for oily skin

    Why you'll love it: If oily skin makes your makeup melt or run, try the NYX Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray.

    The NYX Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray is a long-lasting setting spray that helps your makeup last all day and night. If you have oily skin, you’ll no longer have to worry about looking shiny, as the spray will leave your makeup with a gorgeous matte finish.

    Fans of the product say that not only does it keep their makeup in place for hours, but the matte setting spray also stops excess oil from breaking through. Multiple reviewers said they normally have to use blotting papers to remove excess oil by mid-day but they no longer have to thanks to this handy spray.

    The affordable setting spray went viral in 2017 after a shopper named Sofia left a 5-star review on Ulta saying, "I was hit by a car and through the hit itself, the rain, the ambulance ride, and the hours in the hospital my makeup stayed completely intact the entire time. When I was discharged from the hospital I had to take off my makeup and none of it had moved. if this setting spray can survive being hit by a car then that's all the proof I need and I'll definitely be buying it again."

    A few shoppers did note that the spray has a strong smell at first but they said it wears off after a minute once the spray sinks in.

    Pros: Keeps makeup in place for hours, prevents excess oil from breaking through, sleek matte finish, affordable

    Cons: Strong smell at first

    Buy the NYX Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray at Ulta for $8.49



    The best makeup setting spray for dry skin

    Why you'll love it: Looking for a setting spray that hydrates and moisturizes skin? Try the Too Faced Hangover 3-in-1 Setting Spray.

    The Too Faced Hangover 3-in-1 Setting Spray is a multitasking mist that works three ways. It can be used as a primer before putting on makeup, a setting spray to lock makeup in place, and a refreshing spray whenever your skin is in need of a boost.

    It is specially formulated with coconut water, probiotic-based ingredients, and skin revivers that work together to smooth, hydrate, and brighten skin, while at the same time promoting skin’s elasticity and tone.

    The setting spray has a 4.54-star rating on Influenster and has more than 80,000 likes on Sephora. One reviewer wrote, “I have extremely dry skin and this is AMAZING. It hydrates and refreshes and I use it throughout the day. Without it, my makeup usually gets flaky but this fixes the problem. Love this spray and will always get more”

    A few people said the spray bottle’s spritzer was very powerful and can drench you if you spray it too close to your face. So they recommend holding the bottle at least six inches away when applying.

    Pros: 3-in-1 product, keeps makeup in place for hours, hydrating and refreshing

    Cons: Can get drenched if sprayed too close

    Buy the Too Faced Hangover 3-in-1 Setting Spray at Sephora for $32



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    13 places travel december

    • To find the best places to visit in December 2018, Business Insider looked at climate data, cultural calendars, and peak travel times.
    • December offers all kinds of travel experiences, from unforgettable Christmas and New Year's celebrations to relaxing getaways on tropical islands.
    • The best places to visit in December include the "Hamptons of South America," a European capital filled to the brim with Christmas markets, and the rugged wilderness of Australia's southernmost state.

    As December nears and the year draws to close, travelers are looking for the site of their last big vacation.

    Thanks to the popularity of Christmas and New Year's Eve vacations, December is often one of the most expensive months of the year to travel to the world's tourism hotspots. 

    Whether you want to indulge in the holiday festivities or escape to a sunny island paradise, there are endless options for travelers in December. 

    We looked at airfare trends, climate data, and worldwide cultural calendars to select 13 vacation spots that should be on your radar for a December vacation. They include a glitzy resort town in Uruguay that's called the "Hamptons of South America," an icy European wonderland filled with Christmas markets and holiday cheer, and the rugged wilderness of Australia's southernmost state.

    Take a look at the places we recommend for a December trip, and plan away.

    SEE ALSO: 13 places to visit in November for every type of traveler

    DON'T MISS: The 13 best places to visit in October for every type of traveler

    Miami, Florida

    No city knows how to party quite like Miami, and on New Year's Eve, the city takes it to another level. You'll have your pick of parties, from sparkling rooftop soirees to thumping ragers on South Beach.

    There are plenty of other non-party activities to keep you busy, too. It's always beach weather in Miami, with December highs typically reaching the mid-70s Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, tourist favorites like the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and Zoo Miami host special holiday-themed events in December. 

    Note that December is a huge month for traveling in Miami, so book airfare and hotels early for the best rates.



    Atlanta, Georgia

    Another Southeastern city that should be on your radar for December is Atlanta, Georgia.

    Only Chicago and New York City see more visitors than Atlanta each year, and for good reason. Must-sees for first-time visitors include the World of Coca-Cola and a studio tour at the CNN Center— both companies are headquartered there — the Georgia Aquarium, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, which includes the civil rights leader's childhood home and church.

    If you can tolerate temperatures in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit, Piedmont Park and Centennial Olympic Park are always good for a daytime stroll, and nearby Stone Mountain offers an epic lights-filled Christmas celebration each night. 



    San Antonio, Texas

    The end of the year is the perfect time to visit San Antonio, as hotel rates plummet but the temperature stays mostly warm.

    The Alamo is San Antonio's biggest claim to fame, and there are plenty of other activities that make the city worth an extended stay. Locals love the quickly growing Pearl District for its eclectic mix of food, shopping, and art, as well as the 15-mile River Walk and its unique canals, pathways, and architecture. First-time visitors should hop on a cruise for a guided tour.



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    Family Dollar

    • Dollar Tree acquired Family Dollar in 2015.
    • Analysts say Family Dollar has been a drag on Dollar Tree's earnings. In its most recent quarterly results, reported on Thursday, same-store sales at Dollar Tree stores alone were up 2.3%, while Family Dollar's sales were down 0.4%.
    • Family Dollar "remains the weaker part of the business," Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, said in a note to clients on Thursday. "A high proportion of Family Dollar's shopper base goes there out of necessity rather than because they particularly want to."
    • We visited one of its stores to find out what it is like to shop there.

    It has been three years since Dollar Tree bought Family Dollar, and so far, it's been a disappointing run. 

    The discount chain, which has more than 8,000 stores in the United States, has pulled down its parent company's earnings. In its most recent quarterly results, same-store sales at Dollar Tree were up by a modest 1%, but breaking that number down, it becomes clear that there is a weak link in the mix. While Dollar Tree same-store sales were up by 2.3% in the quarter, Family Dollar sales were down 0.4%.

    Family Dollar "remains the weaker part of the business," Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, said in a note to clients on Thursday. 

    He continued: "From our data, a high proportion of Family Dollar's shopper base goes there out of necessity rather than because they particularly want to. There is nothing wrong with this position, but it does mean that as financial conditions improve, or people feel they can afford something better, they are more likely to migrate away."

    Dollar Tree acquired Family Dollar in 2015, after undergoing a bidding war with Dollar General, its main US rival. Dollar Tree and Dollar General are almost neck-and-neck in terms of store count and annual sales. Both dollar chains have about 14,000 to 15,000 locations. Dollar Tree generated $22 billion in sales in 2017 compared with $23.5 billion at Dollar General.

    The bidding war may have distracted Dollar Tree and led them to "gloss over some of the glaring problems at [Family Dollar]," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in June. 

    "Family Dollar clearly preferred Dollar Tree as the acquirer (since the Family Dollar name was more likely to survive), and Dollar Tree likely wanted to prevent Dollar General from nearly doubling its size overnight," the analysts wrote.

    We decided to check out what it was like to shop at Family Dollar:

    SEE ALSO: We shopped at Dollar Tree and Dollar General to see which offered a better experience, and the winner was obvious

    The Family Dollar store we visited was located in Brooklyn, New York. On average, its stores are around 7,000 square feet in size.



    At the entrance of the store was a selection of seasonal products. This tactic is also used by its sister store, Dollar Tree, to grab the attention of the shopper and make sure items with a shorter shelf life don't go unnoticed.



    The layout of the store and assortment felt a lot more similar to a Dollar General store than a Dollar Tree.

    In fact, Credit Suisse analysts say it would likely have made more sense for Dollar General to acquire Family Dollar. The offering is more in line, and there is a limited overlap in terms of where stores are located.

    Family Dollar stores are generally found in urban areas while Dollar General stores are typically located in rural places.



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    twitter phone

    • Twitter collects a lot of data on you, including a compiled list of "inferred interests" it uses to personalize your experience.
    • This interests list was initially rolled out to Twitter users a while back, but the feature was rediscovered this week and users have been tweeting their own lists, some of which include topics are weirdly specific and seemingly inaccurate.
    • Find out below how to find your own list of what Twitter thinks you're interested in.

    If you've ever wondered what Twitter knows about you (or thinks it knows about you) based on your online activities, there's an easy way to find out. 

    There's a special "inferred interests" dossier that Twitter creates for every user of the social network. These personalized lists are Twitter's best guesses about your predilections, from favorite TV shows to sports, and even some seemingly random stuff. 

    The "inferred interests" data was made available to users more than a year ago, but the existence of this feature has for some reason resurfaced this week on Twitter. Users have been tweeting out their lists of personalized interests, which include topics such as news, science, and soccer. 

    "These are some of the interests matched to you based on your profile and activity that are used to personalize your experience, including ads," Twitter says about your inferred interests. "You can adjust them if something doesn't look right."

    The random and sometimes weirdly specific nature of some of these inferred interests are raising chuckles among some users:

    I checked mine, and Twitter seems to think I'm incredibly interested in the Shrek reboot— so much that it's listed twice.

    Here's how to check out what Twitter thinks your interests are:

    SEE ALSO: 'Shrek' is getting rebooted and people don't understand why it's happening

    You can find out your interests, according to Twitter, under your "Settings and privacy" tab.



    Select "Your Twitter data," which is found all the way toward the bottom of your settings list.



    Scroll down to the section titled "Interests and ads data." Not only can you find your "inferred interests" collected by Twitter (the first section), but you can also discover what data Twitter has collected — and shared— so it can personalize the advertisements it shows you on its platform.



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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.

    Best Pizza Stone

    • High-quality pizza stones are easy to use, will not crack under high temperatures, and produce pizzeria-quality pies.

    • The Solido Rectangular 14-by-16-inch Pizza Stone is our top pick because it cooks your pizza evenly, can be used in your oven or on your grill, and it’s easy to clean.

    Do you ever make pizza from scratch and wonder why it doesn’t taste anything like what you get at your favorite pizzeria? The toppings might come out unevenly cooked, or the crust may not be right. If you want to put an end to these problems, then a pizza stone is the way to go.

    Most of the time, when someone mentions a “pizza stone,” they are referring to a round or rectangular slab of stone, typically made of cordierite. This is a popular material because it can heat evenly and absorb moisture, which is important for a crispy crust. The problem with cordierite is it’s susceptible to breakage if not cared for properly.

    Pizza stones can also be made of other materials, including metal. For instance, cast iron is sometimes used because it gets up to temperature faster than stone, heats evenly, and it will not break or crack. Baking steels are the latest fad because they conduct heat and bake more evenly at low temps than stone. The steel will not break, either. The downsides are that it’s expensive, very heavy, and hard to maneuver.

    Most companies recommend that you put the pizza stone into your oven cold and preheat it for up to an hour before putting the pizza in. For this task, we recommend using a good pizza peel, such as the Pizza Royale Peel. When you are done cooking, let the stone cool down inside your oven. This will protect it from thermal shock or warping. Many people prefer to just keep their pizza stone in the oven at all times, and some claim that it helps everything in the oven cook better, even when the food isn’t placed directly on the stone.

    While researching the best pizza stones, we read through hundreds of ratings and reviews from buyers and experts. Our guide features stones that will cook your pizza quickly and evenly, have a track record of durability, and are effortless to clean.

    Here are the best pizza stones you can buy:

    Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

    The best pizza stone overall

    Why you’ll love it: If you want delicious, evenly-baked pizza from the oven or off the grill, the Solido Rectangular 14-by-16-inch Pizza Stone is a durable, must-have solution.

    As you look at the Solido Rectangular 14-by-16-inch Pizza Stone, the unique spiral design on the bottom stands out the most. The heat spiral is designed to allow for airflow and even heating. Plus, it helps the stone get up to temperature faster, which cuts down on pre-heat times.

    This pizza stone can go on your grill, and it fits most standard ovens. The feet of the stone are easy to grip, though you’ll want some heavy-duty oven mitts, or you can leave the 13-pound stone in your oven.

    The Solido stone comes highly recommended by many product reviewers. The Kitchen Byte gave the Solido Pizza Stone high marks because it heats evenly, and the pies it produces are pizzeria quality. The reviewer also noted that cleaning was easy, though grease does leave stains. Another downside is its hefty weight, which made it hard to handle.

    Kitchen Sanity also recommends this stone for people who want something they can throw on the grill. The reviewer was impressed with the airflow and heat distribution afforded by the grooved bottom.

    About 90% of the Amazon buyers who reviewed the Solido Pizza Stone gave it five stars. One reviewer states that he owns a beachfront restaurant that specializes in wood-fired pizza. He found that this stone produces excellent thin-crust slices, is well-made, and is quite heavy.

    Other buyers also laud the quality of the pizza produced. One buyer strongly recommended following the directions for using the stone — including waiting for it to heat to 500 degrees or more. There were several comments about how attractive the stone looks.

    Pros: Produces professional-quality pizza, easy to clean, even heat distribution

    Cons: Weight makes it hard to maneuver, stains easily

    Buy the Solido Rectangular 14-by-16-inch Pizza Stone on Amazon for $59.77



    The best round pizza stone

    Why you’ll love it: The Love This Kitchen Ultimate 16-inch Round Pizza Stone features a helpful stopper that makes it easy to remove the pizza and grab the stone.

    The pizzerias make using a pizza peel look so simple. They just shove it under the pizza and pull it out. Yet, you know this seemingly effortless skill takes plenty of practice if you’ve ever sent a pizza flying to the back of your oven.

    Enter the Love This Kitchen Ultimate 16-inch Round Pizza Stone with its raised no-slip stopper. With this, you have a lip that blocks the pizza from falling off the stone, saving your oven a self-cleaning mode or two.

    This stone also has a unique design on the bottom that directs the heat so the center cooks first. This is helpful because the center of the pizza is usually the last part to cook. The stone is also an impressive 0.83 inches thick and can withstand temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Love This Kitchen backs the quality of this product with a 60-day full refund if not satisfied and a limited lifetime guarantee.

    Best Reviews recommends the Love This Kitchen Ultimate Pizza Stone because the no-spill stopper did an excellent job of keeping the pizza from sliding off in their tests. However, the reviewer did note that the stone produced an off-putting chemical odor.

    Cookware Junkies recommends this stone because the porous cordierite does absorb the moisture well to create crunchy crusts. Yet, the reviewer found that it was too large for some ovens. In its review, Morning Chores notes that the stone makes excellent cookies, flatbread, and baked bread.

    Approximately 85% of the people who reviewed the Love This Kitchen Ultimate Pizza Stone on Amazon gave it a positive rating. Vicente Velazco, the most helpful reviewer, gave it five stars because the stopper makes it easy to get your pizza on the peel, and it distributes heat evenly and retains the heat. He didn’t like that he couldn’t wash the stone like other pans since the porous surface retains the odor of soap.

    Buyers also appreciate that the stopper makes the stone easier to move around, but one reviewer noted that the lip doesn’t heat up as quickly as the rest the unit.

    Pros: Features a stopper that makes moving the stone and removing the pizza easier, produces a crispy crust, handles temps up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit

    Cons: Complaints of a chemical odor, your oven must be at least 17 inches deep

    Buy the Love This Kitchen Ultimate 16-inch Round Pizza Stone (Stone Only) on Amazon for $41.90

    Buy the Love This Kitchen Ultimate 16-inch Round Pizza Stone (Stone and Peel) on Amazon for $59.95

    Buy the Love This Kitchen Ultimate 16-inch Round Pizza Stone (Stone, Peel, and Cutter) on Amazon for $72.95



    The best cast iron pizza stone

    Why you’ll love it: If you are looking for an affordable, non-traditional pizza stone, consider buying the evenly heating Lodge 14-inch Cast Iron Baking Pan.

    Many experts consider Lodge to be the best manufacturer of cast iron cookware, and the Lodge 14-inch Cast Iron Baking Pan appears to be no exception. This “stone” comes pre-seasoned and is designed for decades of cooking.

    As with other cast iron, you wash it by hand, dry it promptly, and wipe it down with a light layer of cooking oil. The pan features two large handles on either side for easy removal from the oven. A rim around the edge keeps ingredients from spilling onto the oven bottom.

    Serious Eats recommends the Lodge 14-inch Cast Iron Baking Pan over traditional pizza stones because it’s more durable and produces better crusts. The reviewer also liked how the built-in handles made it easy to move. However, he didn’t like that the rim made it hard to slide pizzas on and off.

    The reviewer at Wide Open Eats recommends this pan because she was impressed with the nonstick properties of the Lodge and appreciated the fresh taste offered by a seasoned cast iron pan.

    More than 1,600 Amazon buyers have left five-star reviews of the Lodge 14-inch Cast Iron Baking Pan. The most helpful review comes from Chef TK. He recommends the pan because it’s easy to clean, heats evenly, doesn’t stain, makes the best pizza he’s had, is pre-seasoned, and can be used for a variety of purposes. The only negative he found was its weight.

    Another buyer said she had to do a fair amount of work to get the cast iron seasoned, but once it was, it produced restaurant-quality dosas.

    Pros: Affordable, even heating, nonstick, cleans up easily

    Cons: Rim may make it hard to slide pizzas off

    Buy the Lodge 14-inch Cast Iron Baking Pan on Amazon for $39.90 (originally $60)



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