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The latest news from Life

older | 1 | .... | 1628 | 1629 | (Page 1630) | 1631 | 1632 | .... | 1635 | newer

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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.

    espresso maker

    As product writers, we're trained to be more discerning than the average shopper, and to cast a critical eye on the value that millions of competing products and services claim to bring to our lives. Per industry standard, the Insider Picks team is often sent free samples for editorial consideration, some of which immediately don't hold up to our criteria for coverage and others of which set a whole new bar of expectations.

    We're often asked about the best products we've tried out lately, or the functional things we use regularly. Sometimes, when they are genuinely worth it, the things we're most excited to recommend are the really cool or new or high-tech products we've tested and written about. But often, we're just as excited to share the small gadgets, clothing, kitchen tools, and tech items we've found useful in our own everyday lives.

    Product writers by day, we're just like you by night, and we still shop for things we need and like. The only difference is that because we've seen and tried thousands of products, we're extra careful with where we spend our hard-earned money. 

    I asked my fellow Insider Picks team members about the best things they've ever bought and swear by in their everyday lives. Here's how they (and I) responded.

    These are the 21 favorite products we can't stop talking about. 

    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    Anker micro USB and lightning cables

    Anker PowerLine+ Micro USB Cable (6 ft), $9.99, available at Amazon

    Anker PowerLine+ Lightning Cable (6 ft), $14.99, available at Amazon

    "I never knew I needed this, but after I lost my original iPhone charger, I ended up buying one of these six-foot-long chargers from Anker, and it's absolutely amazing. It reaches all the way to my bed super easily. It's lazy, sure, but convenient. When my friends visit my apartment and see my charging cable they're like, 'Whoa — I need one of these!'" — Ellen Hoffman, Insider Picks senior editor



    Sanquility magnetic spice tins

    Sanquility Magnetic Spice Tins (24-count), $55, available at Amazon

    "I’m not the neatest person in the world, but I have a hard time getting things done if the chaos in my life isn’t somewhat organized. Living in a small apartment has forced me to get creative with how I use my space, and this set of magnetic spice tins is a perfect example how.

    I filled mine with spices and attached them to the side of my fridge, a space that was previously unused. Each tin can hold three ounces of spice, and has a see-through top to help you keep an eye on how much is left.

    My favorite part about this set, though, is that it comes with 117 stickers, so you can label your spices instead of having to guess what you’re picking up." — Brandt Ranj, Insider Picks associate editor

     



    Bialetti stovetop espresso maker

    Bialetti 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker, $34.99, available at Amazon

    "I bought my Bialetti 6-Cup Stovetop espresso maker about seven years ago and I use it every day to make cappuccinos at home. Given how expensive cappuccinos are in NYC cafes, this little machine has saved me thousands of dollars over the years.

    This simple aluminum moka pot makes super strong coffee that’s just a few bars of pressure short of technically being espresso. The Bialetti is made in Italy, so it’s truly built to last. The longer you have it, the more seasoned it gets and the better your coffee tastes.

    I’ve actually bought the Bialetti as a gift for many friends and family members, too. I even bought a second, bigger one so I can make a lot of coffee when people come to visit." — Malarie Gokey, Insider Picks guides editor

     



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Les Anges 51

    • The Chalet Les Anges has been named the world's best skichalet.
    • This is the second year in a row that the three-story chalet in Zermatt, Switzerland has been given the title by The World Ski Awards
    • The cabin has seven bedrooms and sweeping views of the iconic Matterhorn.

    For the second year in a row, Chalet Les Anges has been named the world's best ski chalet by the World Ski Awards.

    The chalet is located in Zermatt, a ski town in the southern, German-speaking part of Switzerland, just north of the Italian border.

    According to its website, it's available for rent in week-long increments. While the chalet is already booked up for many of the remaining winter 2018/2019 weekends, it's still available for some at a cool starting price point of $45,000 a week.

    The World Ski Awards looks at the best ski chalet — amongst other categories, like Best Ski Resort — in each of the world's top 25 ski tourism countries. Votes are then cast by professionals working in the ski industry. Chalet Les Anges, with its 2017 and 2018 wins, unseated the 2016 winner, Canada's Bighorn Revelstoke.

    Here's a look at the Swiss chalet:

    SEE ALSO: Inside 10 of the most luxurious ski chalets you can rent on Airbnb, ranked by price

    READ MORE: 50 of the best ski resorts to visit this winter in the US and Canada, ranked from most expensive to least

    The Chalet Les Anges is located in Zermatt, a famous ski resort town in the Swiss Alps.

    Source: Elysian Collection



    It offers spectacular views of one of Europe's most iconic peaks, the Matterhorn ...

    Source: Elysian Collection



    ... but the three-story chalet is also pretty noteworthy in its own right.

    Source: Elysian Collection



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    blair house trump bush

    • Blair House is the presidential guest house, just steps from the White House.
    • People call it the "world's most exclusive hotel" because heads of state, royalty, and presidents-elect stay there as guests of the commander in chief.
    • Blair House was built in the 1820s as a family's home, and then the US government bought it in 1942.
    • President Harry S. Truman even stayed there for four years while the White House was being renovated.

    The White House may be the most famous building along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, but there's a lesser-known government residence next door that has played a role in US history and American diplomacy for decades.

    The Blair House, just steps from the north lawn of the White House, is the official presidential guest house.

    Since World War II, it has acted as the "world's most exclusive hotel," hosting heads of state, royalty, and presidents-elect.

    French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte stayed there for three days during President Donald Trump's first official state visit.

    And former President George W. Bush is staying there with his family before his father's DC funeral.

    While the White House remains the main meeting location for US presidents and their foreign visitors, the guest house carries significance. Take a look inside Blair House.

    SEE ALSO: Inside Number One Observatory Circle, the often overlooked but stunning vice president's residence where the Pences live

    DON'T MISS: From playing in trucks to putting 'America First': The 40 most memorable photos from Trump's wild first year in office

    Blair House is the official presidential guesthouse.



    It's just across the street from the White House, at 1651 Pennsylvania Ave.



    Blair House was built in the 1820s as a home for Joseph Lovell, the eighth surgeon general of the US Army.



    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.

    best women's pajamas

    • A comfortable set of pajamas makes downtime even sweeter, and when the pajamas look as good as they feel, that’s the best of all.

    • J. Crew’s Dreamy Cotton Pajamas hit the mark on both counts, and raise the pajama bar as high as it can go.

    Yes, your favorite worn-out college t-shirt and ratty gym shorts are very comfortable, but there comes a time when you need — you deserve— real pajamas that look just as good as they feel. And we’re here to make that time now.

    We’ve gathered up the best women’s pajamas in all the categories that count, from comfy to perfect for romance. So whether you’re getting ready to slip between the sheets for some shuteye, some romance, or some binge watching of the latest Netflix must-see, here are the jammies to do it in.

    Here are the best women's pajamas:

    Updated on 12/05/2018 by Malarie Gokey: Added the MYK Silk Pajamas after testing. Updated prices and formatting.

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

    The best women’s pajamas overall

    Why you'll love them: So comfortable, you won’t want to take them off when it’s time to get dressed for work, but never fear — The J. Crew Dreamy Cotton Pajamas will be waiting for you when you get back home.

    “Ahhh.” Is there any feeling quite so wonderful as the moment you kick off those heels, take off those constricting pants, remove your bra, and slip into a set of supremely comfortable, oh-so-easy-on-your-skin pajamas? Well, when those pajamas are the Dreamy Cotton set from J. Crew, the feeling is even better.

    These supremely cute jammies are made of 100% soft cotton with a bit of stretch, so there's no squeezing, pinching, or cutting at your waistline or anywhere else. There’s elastic plus a drawstring, so you can let the waist in or out as you feel the need. The fit is just right: not overly baggy, but not at all tight.

    Best Products called these jammies “Worth hitting the snooze for,” and added that they are crazy comfortable.

    Reviewers on J. Crew’s own website love the Dreamy Cotton Pajamas, raving about their softness, fit, and good looks. A few buyers said that the pants run a bit long, however.

    The Dreamy Cotton Pajama set comes in only two colors: navy stripe or gray stripe. Unusual for pajamas, J. Crew carries the set in both petite and regular sizes — but that's good news for shorter women.

    Pros: Soft and comfortable, good fit, wide range of sizes including petite

    Cons: Only two colors to choose from, pricey

    Buy the Dreamy Cotton Pajama Set on J. Crew for $78



    The best women’s pajamas for hot nights

    Why you'll love them: Made from breathable, soft, cool bamboo, the Latuza Women’s V-Neck Pajamas will keep you comfortable all night long — even in the summer. 

    Ugh, hot and sweaty is no way to get a good night’s sleep. Whether it’s because of hormonal changes, hot weather, or just your personal inner thermostat, it’s miserable to wake up in a puddle of sweat. But that shouldn’t be a problem with the Latuza Women’s V-Neck Pajama Set. Made of highly breathable bamboo, these jammies keep your body temperature on the comfortable side of the thermometer.

    They’re cute as well. Satin trim around the neck and leg openings adds a feminine touch. The elastic waist won’t pinch or bind. The overall cut of the pajamas is loose, but not too baggy. They're perfect for lounging, sleeping, or even a quick dash to the store in the summer.

    Bustle called these “An understated but effective pair of pajamas chronic night sweaters swear by,” and Amazon buyers seem to agree. The Latuza Women’s V-Neck Pajama Set has more than 550 reviews and an average of 4.4 stars.

    You can choose from 13 colors and sizes from small to 3X. The price is so reasonable, go ahead and buy a couple of pairs. You’ll be glad you did when you wake up feeling fresh as a daisy.

    Pros: Bamboo fabric is cool and soft, great color selection, cute fit, and low price

    Cons: A few buyers said the fit was boxy and the pajamas run a little small

    Buy the Latuza Women’s V-Neck Pajama Set on Amazon for $19.99



    The best women’s pajamas for cold nights

    Why you'll love them: The Angelina Cozy Fleece Pajamas are as warm and cozy as your mom’s hugs and they come in many cute patterns.

    These are the jammies you’re going to reach for on cold winter’s night or when you’re feeling a bit under the weather and need some comforting. Made from soft polyester fleece, the Angelina Cozy Women’s Fleece Pajamas are perfect for lounging on the couch while watching TV, but they’ll keep you just as comfy in bed while you sleep.

    The fit is a bit baggy – no squeezing or pinching here. The elastic waistband has a drawstring so you can adjust it right the way you like it, and the bottoms have two front pockets. The long-sleeve top has a button front.

    The Cozy Women’s Fleece Pajamas have more than 1,000 reviews on Amazon and an average of 4.3 stars. Buyers commented over and over about the PJs warmth and comfort, but a few people complained that they run a bit small.

    You can choose from 22 fun and funky patterns. Sizes run from small to 4X.

    Pros: Very soft and cozy, great selection of colorful and fun patterns, reasonable price

    Cons: May run a bit small, somewhat baggy in fit

    Buy the Angelina Cozy Women’s Fleece Pajamas on Amazon for $16.99 and up, depending on size and pattern



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Bush twins

    • Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush spoke about the passing of their grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush, in an interview on the "Today" show.
    • Hager recalled a touching thing her 5-year-old daughter Mila said when she said it was sad he died right before the holidays.
    • "Gampy had to get to Ganny so they could decorate their Christmas tree," Mila told her mom, referring to the late Barbara Bush who died in April.

    Jenna Bush Hager shared the heartwarming way her daughter helped her process the death of her grandfather, President George H.W. Bush.

    In an interview on the "Today" show that aired Wednesday, Hager said that after her grandfather passed on Friday, she made a comment to her husband that her five-year-old daughter overheard.

    "When he passed away, I said to Henry — I didn't think she could hear me — 'Like, I just can't believe this is happening right before Christmas,'" Hager recalled. "And Mila said, 'Well of course it's happening right before Christmas. Gampy had to get to Ganny so they could decorate their Christmas tree.'"

    Jenna Bush

    Mila was talking about her great-grandmother, former first lady Barbara Bush, who died in April. George and Barbara Bush were married for 73 years, longer than any other presidential couple.

    "And I thought, you know, from the mouth of babes, because they had never spent a Christmas apart. In their whole 73 years, 74 years," Hager said. "So of course he wanted to be there. And she was probably like, 'Come on, time to come home.'"

    Read more: December 5 is a national day of mourning as George H.W. Bush is laid to rest. Here are full details for the 41st president's funeral.

    Hager sat down for the interview with her twin sister Barbara, who was named after their grandmother.

    When asked if Bush spoke about his life coming to a close, Barbara said her grandfather was "reflective" after his wife died in the spring.

    A post shared by jennabhager (@jennabhager) on

    "I asked him if his heart was broken and he said 'Yes.' And he looked at me and said, 'Do you think it will feel worse than this?' And it just really got me," Barbara said. "I mean, of course his heart was broken. He had lost the love of his life."

    She added that he would still always say he "couldn't be better," and "lived as much as he could" in his final days.

    The twins, who are the daughers of former President George W. Bush, said they knew this summer would likely be their grandfather's last, and they made sure to make every moment with him count.

    Knowing that their time with him was limited, Barbara decided to plan her wedding fast so that he could be there. The 37-year-old married screenwriter Craig Coyne at the family's home in Kennebunkport, Maine on Ocotber 7.

    A post shared by jennabhager (@jennabhager) on

    On the day of her wedding, Barbara said her grandfather got dressed early so he could see her in her dress before she walked down the aisle.

    She teared up as she recalled the special moment.

    "One of the last things he said to me was that I never looked so beautiful," Barbara said.

    A post shared by George W. Bush (@georgewbush) on

    After his official state funeral in Washington, DC on Wednesday, Bush's remains will be taken back to Texas where he will be buried on the grounds of his presidential library in College Station, next to his daughter and wife.

    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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    private jet

    • Ultra-wealthy private jet owners no longer want the interiors of their aircraft to look like a private jet.
    • Instead, they want the inside to resemble their home or office.
    • Many of the same materials and colors used in residential interior design, such as composite wood and cooler color tones, are starting to show up in private aviation.
    • Private jet owners also want to be able to sleep soundly on their planes, so they're getting custom mattresses and custom bedding to fit their aircraft.

    If you can afford to buy a private jet, you can likely afford to have it designed exactly how you want it. And these days, ultra-wealthy jet owners want the interiors of their planes to look less like a plane and more like their home or office.

    Eric Roth, president of International Jet Interiors, which designs private jet interiors, told Business Insider that his clients want their everyday lifestyle being incorporated into the aircraft, rather than treating the two as something completely separate, as they used to.

    "It used to be when you had a private jet, it had to look like a jet, feel like a jet, smell like a jet," Roth said. "So I had a certain lifestyle in Manhattan but when I went to my jet, it felt like my jet. Now, we're seeing those lines being blurred a little bit."

    More of his customers are coming to him saying that they like how their home or office feels, and they want to extend that feeling and lifestyle into their aircraft. 

    Read more:This $83 million private jet has a stunning Art Deco interior that looks straight out of 'The Great Gatsby'— take a look inside

    "It doesn't stop at the office, it doesn't stop at the home. We're able to extend that general feeling," Roth said.

    Some of the same materials and colors currently being used in residential interior design are popping up in the aviation space, he said. Instead of exotic wood veneers, for example, they're transitioning to composite wood veneers, which give a more contemporary look.

    "[There's] less grain pattern, much more uniformity in the grain and color, so it becomes more of a backdrop as opposed to the focal point," Roth said.

    Jet owners are starting to want cleaner lines and cooler color tones. They want simplicity: fewer details, but "the details that we incorporate must make a statement," Roth said.

    They also want to be able to get a good a night's sleep like they do at home. While some jets have separate bedrooms, others have chairs that can be converted into a sleeping arrangement. But Roth says his high-powered clients don't want to feel like they're sleeping on a couch.

    "We're creating custom mattresses and custom bedding for them, all to fit their aircraft," Roth said. "So when they do take advantage of these long-range flights — I've got plenty of clients that go to Shanghai or Hong Kong or the Middle East — they want to be well rested."

    Some private jet owners have taken luxury to new heights in their aircraft by installing elements such as multimedia theaters, skylights, and heated marble floors.

    SEE ALSO: Outrageous photos show what flying on private jets is really like, from private bedrooms with plush bedding to exquisitely crafted meals served with Champagne

    DON'T MISS: Take a look inside 8 of the most luxurious private jets in the world

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The author of 'Boy Erased' reveals what gay conversion therapy is really like — and how he survived it


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    kirkland light beer

    • Costco and its house brand, Kirkland, are known for their high-quality, low-cost products.
    • But there are certain Kirkland Signature items that you might want to avoid throwing in your Costco shopping cart.
    • Here are five Kirkland brand items you should steer clear of on your next trip to Costco.

     

    If you have a Costco membership or know someone who does, then you're familiar with the high-quality and value of many of Costco's products.

    At Costco, you can generally find great prices on large quantities of name-brand merchandise, like Tide, Kellogg's, or Kraft products.

    But if you're looking for even better deals on food and household items, you can choose from the variety of products offered by Costco's in-store brand, Kirkland Signature. Consumers often give Kirkland Signature products, from soup to bacon to nuts, high ratings for living up to Costco's mission for great quality at a lower cost than name brands.  

    After examining new customer satisfaction for top retailers in the US, a 2017 retail report by ACSI placed Costco on top with a score of 83, leading all department and discount stores.

    But no one is perfect, and even Costco has had a few stumbles with its signature brand.  

    Here are five Kirkland brand products you may want to skip:

    SEE ALSO: 10 of the best keto meal options at popular chain restaurants

    1. Kirkland Signature Solid White Albacore Tuna

    If your concern for animals extends to the ocean, you may want to skip Costco's inhouse Solid White Albacore canned tuna.

    In 2017, the environmental organization Greenpeace ranked the product as one of the nine worst cans of tuna on a "shopping guide" for "sustainable, ethical, and fair" tuna brands. In its ranking, Greenpeace criticized Costco's tuna sourcing in part for failing to "address destructive fishing practices."

    Alternatively, you can buy Wild Planet tuna at Costco, which Greenpeace found to be the most sustainably-sourced brand.



    2. Kirkland Signature Laundry Detergents

    Kirkland Signature offers several varieties of environmentally-conscious laundry detergents, like the Kirkland Signature Environmentally Responsible Liquid Laundry Detergent, and the allergy-free Kirkland Signature Free & Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent.

    Despite the detergent’s name, The Environmental Working Group has given Kirkland's "Environmentally Responsible" liquid laundry detergent an F-grade for environmental friendliness, citing risks of asthma, skin irritation, cancer, and harm to the environment.

    Some customers on Consumer Reports also reported getting rashes after using Kirkland’s Free & Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent.



    3. Kirkland Signature Supreme Diapers

    If you're a new parent, buying diapers in bulk might sound like the way to go. But Kirkland's Signature Supreme Diapers may not be your most efficient option.

    The smallest quantity of diapers that the Kirkland brand sells in size 1 for infants is 192 diapers. As the deals site Cheapism notes, your baby could outgrow these 192 diapers before you can use them up. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    george hw bush

    • Former President George H.W. Bush, who died at 94 last Friday, was a one-term president with a consequential legacy both abroad and in the US.
    • As president from 1989 to 1993, Bush built a reputation as a gentle and charming leader with a penchant for wacky socks and endearing love letters.
    • He also led controversial invasions in Central America and the Middle East that left lasting impacts on the regions and oversaw a growing AIDS epidemic and a crack down on drugs in the US. 

    Former President George H.W. Bush, who died at 94 last Friday, was a one-term president with a consequential legacy both abroad and in the US.

    As president from 1989 to 1993, Bush built a reputation as a gentle and charming leader with a penchant for wacky socks and endearing love letters. A decorated Navy pilot, he played an outsized role in world affairs — leading a controversial invasion into Panama in 1989 and authorizing the Persian Gulf war in 1991. He also oversaw the heightening crisis of the AIDS epidemic and fought a War on Drugs and a steep increase in incarceration. 

    Here are 7 things you might not know about the 41st president's time in office: 

    SEE ALSO: Republicans are stripping power from incoming Democrats in Wisconsin and Michigan

    The notorious Willie Horton ads

    Bush's legacy is tainted in the view of many Americans by his association with a series of deeply controversial campaign ads that attempted to paint his Democratic opponent, then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, as soft on crime during the 1988 presidential election by blaming the governor for crimes committed by a black prisoner. 

    At the time, rising crime was at the forefront of American voter's minds, asdrug-related violence was a common occurrence in major American cities.

    Willie Horton was a convicted murderer serving a life sentence who was permitted to leave prison in June 1986 via a weekend furlough program in Massachusetts that Dukakis supported as governor. Horton absconded during his time out of prison and in April 1987 raped a white woman and stabbed her white fiancé, according to The Washington Post.

    Supporters of Bush seized on these sentiments by creating ads, produced by Bush's campaign manager Lee Atwater and Fox News founder Roger Ailes, that either alluded to or directly referenced Horton's story, while Bush regularly referred to Horton on the campaign trail. 

    John Haltiwanger contributed reporting.



    Vomiting on the Japanese Prime Minister

    During a 1992 state banquet in Tokyo, Bush became ill between courses of salmon, caviar, and grilled beef, and vomited into the lap of Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa before passing out and falling backwards. 

    First Lady Barbara Bush rushed over as did the president's Secret Service agents — one even leapt over the long dinner table. Bush was quickly revived, stood up, smiled, and shook Miyazawa's hand before excusing himself. 

    The incident was later mercilessly parodied on Saturday Night Live. 



    Cutting ties with the NRA

    Bush severed ties with the National Rifle Association in 1995 after the gun advocacy group's Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called law enforcement and Secret Service agents "jack-booted thugs" who were stripping Americans of their constitutional rights. 

    Bush condemned LaPierre's statement, which the organization did not retract after criticism, calling it a "broadside against Federal agents."

    "You have not repudiated Mr. LaPierre's unwarranted attack," Bush wrote. "Therefore, I resign as a Life Member of NRA, said resignation to be effective upon your receipt of this letter. Please remove my name from your membership list."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    IP gift guide banner

    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.

    jl

    When picking out your daily outfit, socks are probably not top of mind. If you're anything like me, you've bought a multi-pack and left them buried deep in a drawer and in mismatched pairs — if they're even in pairs at all. You'll probably just grab whichever ones are at the front of the drawer.

    This makes the idea of giving or receiving socks as a gift seem a little lackluster, but socks don't have to be boring.

    More and more companies are beginning to sell socks made with high-quality materials and innovative features, and in really fun colors and patterns. Still, lots of people don't want to spend the money on these socks for themselves, which is why they make such a great gift.

    Also, can you ever really have enough socks?

    If you want to gift someone socks this holiday season, or are hoping to get them yourself, here are seven brands you should check out:

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

    Bombas

    Shop Bombas, starting at $12, here

    The brains behind Bombas spent two years obsessively researching, testing, and developing their product to create a sock that was rid of all common sock-related inconveniences. Bombas has thoughtful additions to make sure they're the most comfortable socks you'll wear. For example, their ankle socks are equipped with a tab to prevent blisters, and their calf socks use stay-up technology to make sure they stay put. The company even makes fun holiday packs for the family.

    Beyond the thoughtful innovations to their socks, Bombas is thoughtful about their mission — for every pair of socks sold, Bombas donates another pair to someone in need. They make a great gift for someone who wants something simple, but could use an upgrade.



    HappySocks

    Shop Happy Socks, starting at $10, here

    Take a look at its site and it's clear that HappySocks doesn't take itself too seriously. From smiley faces and polka dots, to hot dogs and four leaf clovers, HappySocks has a huge variety of socks covered in unique designs. HappySocks even has holiday themed socks and curated gift boxes. The company also frequently collaborates with other brands and icons for limited edition styles. Right now you can find limited edition styles inspired by Andy Warhol, The Beatles, Stutterheim, Wiz Khalifa, and Keith Haring. Anyone with eccentric style will love adding a pair of these to their wardrobe.



    United by Blue

    Shop United by Blue Socks, starting at $12, here

    United by Blue is an outdoor brand that makes giving back to the outdoors as much a part of its mission as making great products. As a certified B-Corp, they take pride in making goods that are durable and responsible. One of our favorite picks are the Ultimate Bison Socks ($38) that use a blend of merino wool and bison down. The bison down is one of the coziest materials our feet have felt and it keeps our toes toasty on freezing days, but the merino wool helps to regulate temperature so that our feet don't overheat — or get sweaty. If you're shopping for someone who lives in or will be travelling to a particularly cold climate, these socks make a thoughtful gift. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    LULAROE

    • Dozens of LuLaRoe sellers claim the company charged them for parts of their orders that were never delivered, then failed to provide refunds for those missing items.
    • Instead, the multi-level-marketing company sometimes provided credits toward future purchases, and sometimes offered nothing at all, according to a Business Insider investigation involving internal LuLaRoe documents and emails, interviews with 18 current and former LuLaRoe sellers, and more than 90 Federal Trade Commission complaints.
    • An FTC rule requires companies to deliver goods within 30 days or cancel the order and provide a prompt refund to the original form of payment (unless the buyer explicitly agrees to a delayed shipment), according to Carolyn Carter, the deputy director of the National Consumer Law Center. 
    • Some sellers said the repeated use of credits locked them into a "vicious cycle" of continuously buying more goods to use up the credits they had accrued. 
    • Transcripts of company meetings confirmed that issues with missing inventory and credits has been a problem since 2016.
    • LulaRoe did not respond to a request for comment about the claims in this story, but did send an email stating the company is ‘enthusiastic about the strength of the LuLaRoe brand’ and consumer demand as it enters the holiday season.

    Dozens of LuLaRoe sellers claim the multi-level marketing company charged them for products it never delivered, then failed to provide refunds for the missing goods.

    Instead of refunds, LuLaRoe sometimes provided credits toward future purchases and sometimes offered nothing at all, according to internal LuLaRoe documents, interviews with 18 current and former LuLaRoe sellers, and more than 90 Federal Trade Commission complaints.

    "They never issued a refund for missing items. It was always a credit," said Danielle O'Meara, who closed her LuLaRoe business in October after more than a year selling the company's clothing. "I recently canceled my business and have requested the credits be refunded to me and they refuse to refund to my card stating that is not policy, they will only send a check; however, they have yet to send a check."

    One LuLaRoe seller told Business Insider that she received an order from the company two weeks ago that contained just 20 of the 80 garments she purchased. 

    The seller's order balance — worth more than $500 — was not refunded. Instead, she was given a credit toward a future purchase. A LuLaRoe credit receipt confirmed her account. This person, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, claimed this same scenario of getting shipped partial orders and receiving credits instead of refunds has played out repeatedly since she joined the company in mid-2017.

    LuLaRoe

    Internal LuLaRoe emails and transcripts of remarks by the company's executives suggest that LuLaRoe had charged some sellers up front for products and then not delivered their full orders since at least 2016.

    Such a scenario essentially gives LuLaRoe an interest-free loan from its sellers' wallets.

    It also may violate a Federal Trade Commission rule called the Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule, according to Carolyn Carter, the deputy director of the National Consumer Law Center.

    The rule requires companies to cancel orders and promptly provide a refund — not a credit — to the original form of payment, if the goods can't be delivered within 30 days (unless the buyer explicitly agrees to a delayed shipment). 

    "Giving a refund in the form of a credit for more or different merchandise... does not seem like a real refund," Carter told Business Insider. "It seems like keeping your money."

    LuLaRoe representatives did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

    The rule is enforced by the FTC, which can sue companies for up to $41,484 per violation. 

    A company called Discountmetalbrokers was fined $6.5 million last year for violating the rule by collecting payment on items that were delivered in part or not at all, and for only providing refunds to customers that complained to government agencies, according to federal judge's ruling on the case.

    Read more:LuLaRoe supplier sues for $49 million and accuses the company's founders of hiding assets in 'shell' companies

    The FTC, which declined to comment on this story, received at least 90 complaints against LuLaRoe between July and September of this year specifically citing issues with missing inventory and credits, according to documents obtained by Business Insider through a Freedom of Information Act request. (It's possible there are additional related complaints. The FTC provided Business Insider with only 200 of about 1,500 complaints filed against LuLaRoe since January 2016).

    This is a high number of FTC complaints for a single company, according to a source with more than two decades of experience with these matters, including 10 years spent working for the FTC.

    Rachelle Dunne told Business Insider that when she was a LuLaRoe seller in 2017, the company repeatedly sent her orders with items missing, and she was only offered credit for those products.

    One shorted order put her over the edge, she said. She spent $1,119.10 on a 30-item order on November 28, 2017. The company delivered only 19 items and issued a credit of $351.50 for 11 missing items, according to a credit receipt.

    "That was the final straw... so I decided to end it," she said. She canceled her LuLaRoe contract and demanded a refund for the $351.50 credit. Dunne is still waiting for her refund.

    Some LuLaRoe sellers said getting credits instead of refunds made them feel forced to buy more goods from the company

    Some sellers said issues with missing inventory locked them into a cycle of continuously buying more goods to use up the credits they had accrued.

    To meet LuLaRoe's minimum order threshold, which at one point required purchases of at least 30 items, sellers often had to shell out their own cash with each new purchase to supplement the value of their credits, they said.

    And with new purchases, more items were often discovered missing, and additional credits were generated, some said. 

    "There literally was not one shipment that I received that I didn’t have something missing," said Susan Jennings, who said she ordered LuLaRoe inventory on a biweekly basis for nearly two years, until canceling her business this year. "I kept thinking from what everyone else was telling me that I’d eventually get the items mailed to me, but I never did. I eventually... submitted a request for all my items. All they did was credit me back, so I could order more items. And of course, those items would come in and I’d be missing items then, too. It was a vicious cycle."

    Read more: LuLaRoe is facing mounting debt, layoffs, and an exodus of top sellers, and sources say the $2.3 billion legging empire could be imploding

    In some cases, the company automatically applied credits to sellers' account for missing items. In other cases, sellers said they had to aggressively pursue the company to get credits they were owed by spending hours on hold with LuLaRoe's service department, repeatedly filing claims forms online, and sending multiple emails to the company. Some of these emails were shared with Business Insider.

    "You had to do your due diligence to know if anything was missing and I would say 85-95% of my boxes were always missing something," said one former seller, who was a consultant for 2.5 years until May 2018. "Calling would help but for many that was a dead end."

    Another former seller said: "On several occasions I asked for a refund and was told no, that the product would be filled. ...After fights and fights, I would get credit. I’m talking countless hours on the phone on hold. And many times I would get an order and out of 30-50 items ordered, I would get between 5-10 in a giant box with no backorder slip."

    More than 90 FTC complaints claiming issues with credits and obtaining refunds echoed the claims of sellers interviewed by Business Insider. Business Insider was unable to independently verify the FTC complaints because the agency redacted complainants' identifying information.

    LulaRoe did not respond to a request for comment about these claims, but did send an email stating the company is ‘enthusiastic about the strength of the LuLaRoe brand’ and consumer demand as it enters the holiday season.

    Problems with incomplete orders started years ago, and were never fully addressed

    Widespread problems with missing and delayed shipments started appearing in 2016, according to internal company emails and interviews with current and former consultants.

    LuLaRoe

    In October 2016, LuLaRoe CEO Mark Stidham urged sellers not to contact the company about their missing items, which he called "backorders." 

    "There are some times when we don't have the product to deliver, and we get a backorder. If you get a backorder, please do not email, write, etc.," he said during a company-wide meeting, according to a LuLaRoe-issued transcript of the meeting.

    Then on November 1, 2016, he announced in another meeting that LuLaRoe would start automatically applying credits to orders with missing items. 

    "I know you're all frustrated I don't blame you... we created a bit of a monster," Stidham said, after admitting that "people were frustrated and yelling trying to do business in a company that could not get the products shipped on time."

    "Our backorder process will be this: by the end of this week, you'll have a credit on your order account that you can use to order new product."

    A month later, LuLaRoe changed the process for dealing with missing items.

    An email sent by the company on December 2, 2016 stated: "If you have missing items and backorders, we ask that you send an email for your missing items to missingitems@lularoe.com. Then a separate email with your backorders to backorders@lularoe.com."

    LuLaRoeA couple days later, Stidham said in a company-wide meeting that LuLaRoe would offer only credits for missing products. 

    "The fastest way to resolve this matter (backorder or missing items) is to issue credits on your account," he said, according to a LuLaRoe-issued transcript of the meeting. "Some would say, I want the product — but in order to solve a problem of this magnitude, in a timely manner, we need to put a credit on your account."

    He also urged people to not let the problem stress them out. 

    "Some of you are unable to receive the pieces you ordered," he said. "Don't make that the focus of what is going on in your life. Remember, you have plenty of other pieces people want."

    He added, "Don't let it stress you out. Let it bring you joy, excitement, and fun!"

    On December 20, 2016 LuLaRoe once again changed its process for handling missing items.

    The new process required sellers to file tickets for undelivered goods using an online form, according to a transcript of the meeting where LuLaRoe announced the new policy. An executive said credits for backorders would be issued within 30 days. 

    Ten months later, in October 2017, the company appeared to yank that credit processing system, and instead told sellers that it would send all their products once they became available,=. 

    "Going forward, all incomplete shipments will contain a 'Not A Back Order' form, indicating that one or more of your items could not be fulfilled by the initial Distribution Center and that the unfulfilled items have been submitted to another Distribution Center for fulfillment," an email from the company stated. "Please note, if you receive a shipment with this form — there is no need to submit a ticket."

    Eventually, the company went back to automatically providing credits for missing items, sellers said.

    Some people who questioned the policy were shut down, while others successfully won refunds

    Some people said they were afraid to question the policies around missing inventory.

    Questioning company policies, in general, is highly frowned upon within LuLaRoe, and can result in sellers being kicked off their "team" Facebook pages, which are critical to running their businesses, according to accounts from several current and former sellers. 

    "I got kicked out of all my team pages for asking questions," said Adrianne Kuntz Merkling, who was missing several items from her initial order in August 2016 and eventually quit the business in May 2017. "I think they were really dependent on people not knowing how the industry works, which is why they tried to control communication. They knew if people got together and started brainstorming or sharing information, it wouldn’t take long to unravel it."

    Jennings, who recently quit her LuLaRoe business, said, "Any negativity would get you blocked and basically no support from anyone above you. You learned to not question things and go along with whatever they were saying: 'Buy more! Everything sells! Recruit, everyone can sell this... Tell them how much the top earners make. This stuff sells itself.'"

    Some said they fought the policy, and failed to get a refund. 

    "My onboarding package was short 35 pieces and several orders after were missing items as well," an FTC complaint filed in August stated. "I spent hours on the phone for months trying to secure my missing items or a refund. After three months, LuLaRoe finally shipped my items and told me repeatedly that a refund was not an option."

    More recently, one seller has fought the policy successfully.

    A current seller told Business Insider that when LuLaRoe recently issued her credits for missing items on two separate occasions, she called the company and demanded a refund, citing the FTC rule, and the company complied.

    LULA emails

    Dunne, who is still owed $351.50, might finally get her refund, as well.

    On November 30, she got the most hopeful sign yet that she might get her refund: a company representative said in an email that they had "initiated the process" for her to get a refund in the form of a mailed check. But she said she's still not holding out hope that she'll get the money.

    Danielle O'Meara got a similar email from LuLaRoe on October 29, after she demanded a refund for her LuLaRoe credit of $152.96, according to copies of the emails viewed by Business Insider. As of December 3, she still had not received payment, and five of her follow-up emails have gone unanswered.

    Recently, she tried a new tactic: messaging the company's founder, DeAnne Stidham, directly on Facebook. 

    "I hear you have such a big heart you would pay refunds out of your own pocket, and well since I still haven't received my refund I figured I'd request it out of your pocket.... thanks. I dumped a lot of money into your pocket over the past two years and now my kids are hardly getting a Christmas because of it," she wrote in a message on November 25.

    O'Meara said the message was read immediately, and she was promptly blocked by Stidham's Facebook account. 

    If you have information to share about LuLaRoe, email hpeterson@businessinsider.com.

    SEE ALSO: LuLaRoe supplier sues for $49 million and accuses the company's founders of hiding assets in 'shell' companies

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How ketchup started as a fish sauce from Asia


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    Mike Meldman sitting on a paddleboard

    • Mike Meldman is the third partner in George Clooney's billion-dollar Casamigos tequila.
    • He also happens to be a real estate tycoon as owner of Discovery Land Company.
    • Discovery owns 23 properties that cater to "CEOs, presidents, and athletes."
    • To become a member of one of the resorts, people have to buy land on the property and build a home.
    • They boast golf courses, restaurants, bars, and other sports.

    George Clooney and multimillionaire Rande Gerber shook up the drinks industry in June 2017 when they sold their tequila company, Casamigos, to Diageo for a whopping $1 billion.

    However, the pair actually have a third business partner — real estate tycoon Mike Meldman, who everyone we've asked seems to call "one of the most well-connected people I know."

    Meldman's road to success has been an impressive one.

    Born in Milwaukee, he told Business Insider that he went to Stanford as a history major with dreams of being a lawyer but "bombed the LSATs" and didn't apply.

    "I ended up dealing blackjack in Harrah's Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino," he told BI — though that didn't last long.

    "I met a guy who asked me if I wanted to make as much money as I wanted to and work as little as I wanted to, and he hired me [to] his startup commercial real estate company," he said.

    He started as a broker selling land and leasing properties in Freemont, California, across the bridge from Palo Alto, where Stanford is.

    "I had no training, but I went out and learned how to make deals," he said, adding that within a year and a half he went from a broker working weekends to make money to "selling all of Freemont."

    He started taking the money he earned and buying properties to develop himself, which he said had its "ups and downs" in the 80s.

    "I bought a ranch outside of Palo Alto with 300 acres and [space] for 35 houses which had every environmental constraint known to man," he said. "It took me 18 years to get 28 lots on the property, [but it] taught me how to develop property through the environment and not kill the vegetation."

    See more: The incredible life of multimillionaire Rande Gerber: George Clooney's business partner, Cindy Crawford's husband, and father to 2 budding supermodels

    And the experience has certainly paid off now.

    "I say I got a PhD in property development," he said. "I was able to take that education and experience and move that to other places around the country."

    'Everything taken care of in a casual way'

    Aerial shot down fairway toward green, silos and Comfort Station_Discovery Land Company

    Meldman officially founded Discovery Land Company in 1994.

    His first big project was in Pinnacle Peak, Scottsdale, Arizona, where he set out to develop a "massive resort" and ended up with 250 homes.

    His next project was also centred around golf, but by the time he set up his third resort in Whitefish Montana, he had two kids, aged six and eight at the time, who were living a city life in San Francisco.

    "I figured the golf would sell to the men, but I wanted to do something that the wife and kids would enjoy," he said.

    So he started the "Outdoor Pursuits" programme, which allows members to hire local people to teach them things like paddle boarding or take them swimming with sharks. "I wanted to teach [my kids] things I never learned, [like] flyfishing, wakeboarding," he said. 

    His kids also acted as "guinea pigs" for his next project in Hawaii, where he incorporated surfing and swimming.

    "[We] turned it into a way of life, not only for me and my kids but for other families," he said.

    Step-by-step, Discovery "exploded" and became 23 real estate projects.

    Now, CEOs, presidents, and athletes are among those who own property, according to Meldman, who once called the resorts "frat houses for families."

    To become a member of the Discovery resorts, people have to buy land on the property and build a home, which Meldman says "creates a trust and community where you know your neighbour."

    The community is private and low-key, providing somewhere that successful people can go and "have everything taken care of in a casual way," from playing sports in the morning to eating and drinking in the afternoon and evening.

    Back of Ridge House with view of surrounding landscape_Jeff Lipsky

    The resorts are designed to "take the stress out of vacation planning."

    Even the "comfort stations" are "styled like the inside of an editor's closet," according to Meldman.

    Here's the outside of one at Silo Ridge Field Club, a private, gated, 800-acre resort 90 minutes from Manhattan which was the first to open on the east coast. 

    Comfort Station_Discovery Land Company

    Inside the comfort stations, Meldman says you'll find everything from frozen margaritas to ice cream sundaes and hot dogs.

    Comfort Station interior and snacks display 2_Jeff Lipsky

    There are also outdoor bars like this, as well as pools and a hot tub.

    Outdoor bar with surrounding landscape views_Jeff Lipsky

    Good food is a focus throughout at properties like Silo Ridge, which has a vegetable garden and an executive chef serving up five-star farm-to-table or dock-to-table cuisine "styled beautifully but still casual" — as well as kids' menus.

    Chef Jonathan Wright preparing dish_Jeff Lipsky

    Still, Meldman claims the resorts — and the golf clubs — are super casual.

    "People now go to the Bahamas and even professional golfers play in bathing suits and no shirt," he said.

    "A golf club can be very intimidating, but because I wasn't a golfer from a country snob background, I made it a little more casual."

    Despite the fact the company claims to have some of the best golf courses in the world, there are "no rules — you don't have to wear a collared shirt, you can golf barefoot, it's fun.

    "You're not sitting at a pool like you are at a Four Seasons with people snapping videos with their phones, you're comfortable being yourself." 

    'George was always entertaining'

    It was thanks to this friendly, chilled atmosphere that Meldman met Clooney and Gerber — and with them embarked on the Casamigos journey, now his side project.

    "George has a pretty tight-knit group of guys, and every year they go on his birthday golf trip," Meldman said. "A long time ago, they started going to my projects, and I ended up hanging out with them and we all became friends."

    "They built their houses in my project in El Dorado... Their houses were two beautiful homes next to eachother that they called Casamigos. George was always entertaining and had his friends around, and we a generous and gracious host, and we were drinking a lot of tequila, and decided to make our own."

    casamigos

    "We didn't ever really make it to sell it, [we just thought] my projects and Rande's bars and [it being] what George drank would be enough to make it successful."

    However, without even realising, the trio were bringing in about 1,000 bottles, and were told by their distiller that they needed to get licensed.

    Once they did, the brand "immediately took off" due to word of mouth and started winning awards.

    "There weren't roles that were drawn up, but Rande had a creative role and ran things," Meldman said. George, we just put a shirt on. [He thought] "if paparazzi is going to chase me I might as well sell my tequila."

    Meanwhile, Meldman was the one with the connections. "For almost every major [restaurant or grocery] chain in the country, either the money behind it or the CEO was a member of one of my projects," he said.

    "I don't use the membership for anything because it's a private club, but I was able to at least make a call and ask for favours. Everyone was really nice to us about it, we were able to get into a lot of places faster than we would if we didn't [have those connections.]"

    See more:The $1 billion sale of George Clooney's tequila company just made him 2018's highest-paid actor — here's the story of how the brand was set up by accident

    'We have money to do things we couldn't do before'

    Now, he added: "We are wholly owned subsidiary of Diageo so nothing has really changed that much other than that we have a lot more money. They're trying to open up the rest of the world for us but we're still running the US.

    "We have money to do things we couldn't do before... Since we sold to Diageo we doubled our sales."

    Gerber also confirmed to Business Insider that the involvement of the trio has remained the same.

    "Absolutely nothing has changed... It's business as usual," he said. "George, Mike, and I are passionate about Casamigos and everything we do."

    Meldman added: "Casamigos is probably the fastest-growing spirit of all time, and we did it all in four years. It's successful because it's a good product. There are going to be a lot of people who are going to imitate it and try to do it, but it was a lot of work from all three of us — we underestimated the amount of work. If we knew how much effort and work it took I don't know if we actually would have done it.

    "For me, it became part of my everyday life but it was a lot of work to get the brand out there, to get distribution."

    There's some fun that comes along with being involved with Casamigos, though.

    Meldman got to attend the royal wedding of Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank, Casamigos' European Brand Manager, back in October.

    See more:Jack Brooksbank says he's in charge of drinks for his royal wedding to Princess Eugenie — and there'll be plenty of George Clooney's tequila on offer

    The company also continues to throw its annual star-studded Halloween parties each year.

    'Successful people rewarding themselves for their success'

    Mike Meldman holding a coconutHowever, Discovery, which claims to have consistently sold $1 billion in real estate a year, remains the main focus for Meldman, who now lives in Arizona, where the company's corporate HQ is based.

    Discovery launched onto the east cost for the first time last year with its Silo Ridge property and also opened Dune Deck Beach Club in Westhampton, New York.

    "We have a lot going on," Meldman said, adding that the company is launching a project called "Driftwood" in Austin, "Troubador" in Nashville, and "Barbuda Ocean Club" in Barbuda, which will start as a hurricane relief effort re-building schools, hospitals, and infrastructure.

    Philanthropy has become a big part of the business, and Meldman founded the Discovery Land Foundation in 2007 to support the places and people (particularly children) around the resorts.

    The charity claims to put "hundreds of millions a year into the community," contributing funds from Discovery and hosting events and tournaments and the resorts.

    See more:Inside George Clooney and multimillionaire Rande Gerber's star-studded Halloween parties, hosted in both LA and Vegas

    Now with three sons, aged five, 28, and 30, allowing successful people an opportunity to connect with their families is a clear focus for Meldman.

    "The demographic is really just successful people rewarding themselves for their success, and also investing in their family," he said.

    "One of the only regrets a lot of successful people have is not spending enough time with their families, and the clubs are places families want to go."

    SEE ALSO: Inside George Clooney and multimillionaire Rande Gerber's star-studded Halloween parties, hosted in both LA and Vegas

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 4 lottery winners who lost it all


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    London UK

    Mastercard has released its annual Global Destination Cities Index, which measures the rise and fall of travel to and within 162 cities around the world.

    The ranking measures visitor volume and spend to forecast the growth in visits to those cities in 2018.

    This year saw Bangkok retain the top spot from last year, which is unlikely to change due to a strong projected growth of 9.6% this year.

    Meanwhile, Dubai came out on top in terms of visitor spending — the average visitor spends $537 a day in the Middle Eastern city.

    Scroll down to see the 20 most visited cities in 2018,, ranked in ascending order by the projected number of international visitors in 2018.

    SEE ALSO: These will be the 15 most popular cities for tourists by 2025

    20. Bali, Indonesia — 8.43 million international visitors.



    19. Osaka, Japan — 8.78 million international visitors.



    18. Barcelona, Spain — 9.06 million international visitors.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Former President George W. Bush greets former First Lady Michelle Obama at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday.

    • Former President George W. Bush appeared to pass former First Lady Michelle Obama a mint as they greeted each other — a nod to a similar gesture between the two that went viral earlier this year — at former President George H.W. Bush's Wednesday funeral.
    • The two have a surprisingly warm friendship, especially for a pair who hold different worldviews in a time of deep partisan and cultural divisions. 
    • Obama has called Bush "a beautiful, funny, kind, sweet man" and her "partner-in-crime," and Bush has said that Obama appreciates his sense of humor. 

    Former President George W. Bush appeared to pass former First Lady Michelle Obama a mint as they greeted each other — a nod to a similar gesture between the two that went viral earlier this year — at former President George H.W. Bush's funeral at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday.

    The two have a surprisingly warm friendship, especially for a pair who hold different worldviews in a time of deep partisan and cultural divisions, and Obama has called the former president a "beautiful, funny, kind, sweet man" and her "partner-in-crime" at official events, where the two often sit next to each other. 

    The gesture on Wednesday appeared to mimic the moment when Bush was caught on camera passing Obama a cough drop during Sen. John McCain's funeral service at the Cathedral in September.

    A clip of Obama mouthing "thank you" as Bush passed her the cough drop while Sen. Joe Lieberman delivered his eulogy went viral online — and became a symbol of bipartisanship and human decency at a time of deep political and cultural division.

    Obama later said the gesture may have struck a chord because people are "hungry" for leaders who can rise above the political fray.

    "Party doesn't separate us. Color, gender — those kinds of things don't separate us. It's the messages that we send," Obama told NBC News. "If we're the adults and the leaders in the room and we're not showing that level of decency, we cannot expect our children to do the same."

    The two have a friendship stretching back to former President Barack Obama's first inauguration.

    "She kind of likes my sense of humor,'' Bush told People magazine last year. "Anybody who likes my sense of humor, I immediately like."

     

    SEE ALSO: Three times Michelle Obama and George W. Bush proved friendship can cross party lines

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    lularoe

    • LuLaRoe's chief clothing supplier, Providence Industries, has demanded that a court immediately seize nearly $34 million in assets from the company. 
    • The demand, made in court filings on Tuesday, claimed LuLaRoe CEO Mark Stidham is a flight risk due to his access to a private jet and his alleged threats to "jump ship" with the company's riches.
    • The filings come after Providence Industries sued LuLaRoe last week for nearly $49 million in a lawsuit claiming the multi-level marketing company has failed to pay its bills for seven months.
    • A sworn statement from LuLaRoe's head designer of five years, Patrick Winget, claimed that Stidham has made several alleged threats to flee with the company's money.
    • LuLaRoe did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the filing.


    A LuLaRoe supplier has demanded that a court immediately seize nearly $34 million from the multi-level marketing company, claiming its CEO is a flight risk because of his access to a private jet and his alleged threats to "jump ship" with the company's riches.

    The supplier, Providence Industries, filed the demand on Tuesday in California state court, along with a number of sworn statements by key executives from both parties. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday. 

    "These are not empty threats," one of the filings states. "Because of the close-knit and largely family-nature of the … business, Mr. and Mrs. Stidham will be able to immediately abscond with all of the cash assets… (as he has threatened to do), particularly because they have ready access to a private jet which they may use on a moment’s notice."

    The filings come after Providence Industries sued LuLaRoe last week for nearly $49 million in a lawsuit claiming the company has failed to pay its bills for seven months.

    Read more: LuLaRoe supplier sues for $49 million and accuses the company's founders of hiding assets in 'shell' companies

    LuLaRoe did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest developments in the case. In a previous statement on the lawsuit sent to Business Insider, LuLaRoe said, "We believe the claims in this case are completely without merit and will fight vigorously against them."

    The newest filings include a sworn statement from LuLaRoe's head designer of five years, Patrick Winget, in which he said that LuLaRoe CEO Mark Stidham had made several alleged threats to flee with the company's money. Winget quit working for the company in September.

    "While I was flying with Mark Stidham in his jet in 2018, Mark complained about the conduct and accusations by the retailers, and told me that he could just 'jump ship' from LuLaRoe and that he would take hundreds of millions of dollars from LuLaRoe and move to Wyoming or the Bahamas with DeAnne," Winget's statement said. "This was not the only time he made such statements to me, and he would frequently tell me that he would leave the company and take its money out for his and his wife’s personal benefits. Mark Stidham told me his goal is for people to ask: 'Have you seen Mark?'"

    Read more: LuLaRoe is facing mounting debt, layoffs, and an exodus of top sellers, and sources say the $2.3 billion legging empire could be imploding

    In another sworn statement, Joseph Choi, the president and cofounder of Providence Industries, claimed he witnessed Stidham make an alleged threat to flee. 

    Choi said  in his statement that he and another Providence executive confronted Stidham on September 7, 2018 about bills past due, and Stidham allegedly said, "Look guys, I am not going to pay you guys a f***ing dime unless a judge orders me to pay it, and DeAnne and I will take our two to three hundred million dollars to the Bahamas, and f*** everything."

    The filings also claim that LuLaRoe recently contacted a liquidator to sell more than $46 million of products. The filings include an email from this liquidator, which details the items LuLaRoe allegedly tried to sell. 

    "There is imminent risk that Obligors will abscond with the proceeds of this liquidation unless they are restrained from doing so," the filing states.

    Claims of mounting debt, fleeing sellers, and a hunt for new suppliers

    LuLaRoe Patrick Winget

    Providence Industries' lawsuit claims that LuLaRoe is insolvent, based in part on information from Winget, who was the fifth employee to be hired by LuLaRoe in 2013. 

    According to Winget's sworn statement, LuLaRoe's monthly revenue abruptly dropped from roughly $250 million to $100 million in mid-2017 after it changed the structure of its bonuses. These bonuses had previously been paid to sellers, also called consultants or retailers, based on how much their teams (or those sellers under them) purchased wholesale from LuLaRoe. The new structure based bonuses instead on retailers' sales to customers.

    Over the next several months, a rush of retailers started exiting the company and returning their unsold goods to LuLaRoe for refunds. This is because LuLaRoe had a buyback policy promising refunds for unsold goods.

    Business Insider has previously reported on sellers fleeing the company, and how hundreds of people are still waiting on refunds one year after sending their inventory back to the company.

    Between April 2017 and September 2017, Winget said he had weekly meetings with LuLaRoe's chief supply chain officer and chief financial officer "in which they appeared worried about mounting debts to retailers for returns and LuLaRoe's obligations to repay the retailers," Winget's statement said. 

    "By August 2017, LuLaRoe was having difficulties paying the supplier for products ordered, and was concerned that it would be unable to sell all of the pre-cuts it already ordered from the supplier," the statement said.

    Stidham allegedly had a plan to revive the business by recruiting more sellers, Winget claimed. 

    "Mark Stidham informed me that his plan was to recruit more retailers to try and sell more of the products and to make up for the significant reduction in retailers, sales, and revenues," Winget's statement said. 

    Then in June 2018, Stidham allegedly complained that the costs of doing business with Providence Industries were too high, according to the filing. During this discussion, Stidham's son-in-law allegedly said that he had found a supplier who could provide LuLaRoe with clothes at half the price of Providence Industries, according to the filing. 

    Winget said he voiced concerns about factory conditions and clothing quality from a supplier promising such low prices.

    "Mark Stidham told me, 'I don’t give a shit what this new guys’ factory looks like, I just want new product.'"

    Winget said in his statement that by the time he left the business in September 2018, LuLaRoe's number of active sellers had dropped to 35,000, down from the more than 77,000 it had in February 2017.

    LuLaRoe CEO says the lawsuit is 'just the normal course of business' and he's 'not too worried'

    In a video meeting with LuLaRoe sellers on Tuesday, Stidham said he's not worried about the lawsuit. 

    "I do want to take one brief moment and just address the lawsuit, ok, I think most of you have heard of it or you know something about it," he said, according to a recording of the meeting obtained by Business Insider. "I’m not too worried about what’s going to happen and where things are going to go. This is just the normal course of business."

    He said the company is excited about the upcoming year encouraged LuLaRoe sellers not to be alarmed.

    "It’s great to be aware," he said. "Don’t be alarmed. Focus on what your business needs from you and trust me, and trust our legal team,  and trust those of us at home office that we will take care of the things we need to take care of so that you can continue to build your business. We’re committed to that. We love you."

    SEE ALSO: LuLaRoe is facing mounting debt, layoffs, and an exodus of top sellers, and sources say the $2.3 billion legging empire could be imploding

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Target has a few sneaky ways it gets customers to spend more money


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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.

    Ancestry

    1. Save $40 when you discover your family tree using Ancestry.com

    Ancestry.com is the perfect resource for anyone looking for more insight into their family history. Once you submit a DNA sample to the company, Ancestry will send information on everything from your ethnic background to relatives you didn't even know you had. Now through December 24, you can save $40 on Ancestry's DNA kit and if you'd like to give the kit as gifts this season, you can get one for free when you buy four.

    Ancestry DNA Kit, $59 (originally $99) [You save $40]

    Mizzen+Main

    2. Save up to 50% on performance dress shirts at Mizzen+Main

    Since its launch, performance dress shirt Mizzen+Main has relied solely on the quality of its products rather than discounts and promotions to move units, but that's changing. Now, you can save up to 50% on previous seasons' styles. If you're interested in new arrivals, you can use the promo code "MAINMAN3" to save $50 when you buy three shirts.

    Shop Mizzen+Main shirts now.

    levis

    3. Save 30% sitewide 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 December 9, you can save 30% sitewide by using the promo code "HOL30" at checkout. You'll find selections for men, women, and children.

    Shop the Levi's Holiday sale now.

    5afc3ebacc061c33008b4ba8 960 720

    4.Save $200 on an HP Envy x360 2-in-1 Laptop at Best Buy

    Best Buy is having 20 Days of Doorbusters with sales on great items every day. Today, one of the best deals you can get is on a  15-inch HP Envy x360 2-in-1 Laptop. The 15-inch 1080p HD display is great for streaming movies, surfing the web, and using as a touchscreen tablet. Originally priced at $229.99, you can save $121 on it at Best Buy.

    HP Envy x360 2-in-1 Laptop, $649.99 (Originally $849.99) [You save $200]

    Brooks Brothers

    4. Save 40% on pants at Brooks Brothers

    This week, Brook Brothers is having a "7 Days of Savings" sale with new deals every day. For day three, you can save 40% on pants for men, women, and kids. Whether you're looking for dress slacks or casual pants, you'll find them here. 

    Shop the Brooks Brothers sale now.

    Timex

    5. Save an extra 20% on select Timex watches

    Timex is undoubtedly one of the most well-known watch companies, and for good reason. With a rich brand heritage, handsome details, and great prices, Timex appeals to all types of people, from casual watch-wearers to die-hard collectors. Now through December 9, the brand's timepieces are even more appealing with an extra 20% off select styles for men and women. Use the promo code "CANDYCANE20" at checkout to take advantage of the offer.

    Shop Timex watches for men here.

    Shop Timex watches for women here.

    music

    6.Get a 3-month Amazon Music Unlimited subscription for only $1

    Amazon Music Unlimited is a paid music streaming service that has steadily grown into a worthy Spotify and Apple Music competitor. While most music streaming services charge $9.99 a month for unlimited listening, Prime members pay just $7.99. If you want to give Amazon's music service a try, new subscribers can sign up for four months for only $0.99 right now.

    Try Amazon Music Unlimited for four months for $1 now.

    Backcountry

    7. Save 20% on one full-priced item at Backcountry

    Backcountry is a one-stop shop for all things related to the outdoors — and their latest sale is helping adventurers save money this winter. Right now, you can save 20% on one full-priced camp and climb item at Backcountry by using the promo code "TAKE20CC" at checkout. You'll find backpacks, ropes, climbing shoes, helmets, tents, and much more.

    Shop the Backcountry Camp and Climb Sale now.

    J.Crew

    8. Save 48% on your order at J.Crew

    J.Crew is in the finals hours of its two-day flash sale with nearly half off everything. Today only, you can save 48% by using the promo code "48HOURS" at checkout. The sale includes fleece jackets, sweaters, jeans, office attire, accessories, and much more. You'll want to take advantage of this now before it expires.

    Shop the J.Crew Flash sale now.

    bear mattress

    9. Save up to $200 on a Bear Hybrid Mattress

    As one of our favorite mattress startups, Bear revolutionized the way we sleep by creating a mattress that supports every body type and sleeping style. Today, you can save $100 on orders over $500 with promo code "HOL100" or save $200 on orders over $1,200 with promo code "HOL200" at checkout. Plus, you can save 20% on select accessories, like sheets, pillows, and mattress protectors.

    Shop the Bear Hybrid Mattress in Queen, King, and California King sizes now.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    vermont farm

    Some city-dwelling millennials are investing in property in rural locations for an ominous reason: in case their urban homes are ravaged by disasters related to climate change.

    They're buying up land in places such as Vermont, Oregon, and New York's Catskill Mountains to have refuge if (or rather when, in their view) the coastal cities where they live are overwhelmed by rising sea levels and extreme, destructive weather as a result of climate change, The New York Times reports.

    These young professionals are building homes to be self-sufficient and sustainable, and some are betting that the land they buy now will grow astronomically in value in the future.

    Mark Dalski, a 33-year-old who lives in Greenwich, Connecticut, and owns a company that builds green roofs in New York City, told The Times he bought 4 acres of land in the Catskills in upstate New York. He's building a small home there that The Times says will have its own well, power lines, and septic system as well as a vegetable garden.

    If his home city of Greenwich, a coastal city just north of New York City, is ever rendered uninhabitable, "I'll have a safe space," Dalski told The Times.

    Read more: A 15-story underground doomsday shelter for the 1% has luxury homes, guns, and armored trucks

    Buying real estate in remote areas as a backup plan in case of an apocalyptic catastrophe isn't a new idea, but it seems to be becoming more mainstream. Silicon Valley's ultrawealthy have been buying up underground doomsday bunkers in New Zealand that cost up to $8 million, Business Insider previously reported. The Paypal cofounder Peter Thiel bought a $4.8 million home there in 2011 and recently had a panic room installed.

    And a group in Kansas is building an elaborate doomsday shelter— complete with a gym, an indoor dog park, and a climbing wall — that will cost $20 million to build and could support a dozen families.

    Dalski predicted that others would follow in his footsteps, ultimately making him money for his land in the Catskills.

    If "I can pick up a few acres, it is going to triple in value," Dalski told The Times. "In 100 years' time, it will be worth something. People are going to have to move north at some point."

    SEE ALSO: David Attenborough warns of the 'collapse of our civilizations,' if climate change continues to be ignored

    DON'T MISS: Super rich people are paying up to $500,000 for luxe panic rooms — and as gun violence picks up, they're more popular than ever

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The Pilgrims actually stopped at Plymouth Rock because they were running out of beer


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    male birth control trial begins

    • A man in Washington state just became the first US patient to start a trial of a male birth-control gel.
    • The gel is a once-a-day treatment that men rub into their shoulders, and it reduces sperm count.
    • Roughly 420 other couples in seven countries are also set to try the gel in the coming months.

    Shower, shave, and apply your male birth-control rub. 

    Daily personal-care routines are changing for at least two US couples this week, as a worldwide trial of male birth control gel kicks off on the West Coast. 

    The couples are the first two of about 420 around the world who will eventually participate in a groundbreaking study of a form of male birth control that gets rubbed into a man's shoulders once a day.

    The gel works by inhibiting a man's natural testosterone production. Using a combination of progestin (Nestorone) and testosterone, the treatment interrupts the normal hormone production processes in the testicles, thereby preventing men from producing viable, mature sperm.

    "That's why it works, because sperms require all that testosterone inside the testicle," Dr. Stephanie Page, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington who's leading the trial, previously told Business Insider.

    The gel, which takes about eight to 12 weeks to become fully effective, is administered in a single pump on each shoulder. Study leaders suggest that men apply it after they shower, then wait to swim or bathe again for at least four hours (even though the goo dries in about five minutes).

    After they rub the birth control on, men are instructed to wash their hands. They're also advised to wear a shirt if they're going to be getting cozy with women or children, since the gel contains male sex hormones. 

    "If they are preparing for intercourse or close contact ... they need to be wearing clothes. Or they need to shower," Dr. Christina Wang, the project's principal investigator said.

    The quest to develop a reversible form of male birth control that's not condoms

    condom snorting challenge

    The first couple participating in the year-long trial began on Tuesday in Washington state. A second couple is set to receive their first gel pump on Friday at LA BioMed, the research center where Wang works. A third man in the US has been pre-screened at the University of Kansas and is set to start his trial soon as well.

    Couples are also being recruited at sites in Chile, England, Scotland, Kenya, Sweden and Italy. The study is set to run until at least fall 2021, with each couple using the gel birth control for a full year. 

    There are many reasons — biological, political, and financial — why commercial male birth control hasn't gotten off the ground yet. For one, pharmaceutical companies have focused on developing birth control for women because it's easier, biologically speaking, to block one or two eggs per month than it is to stop millions of sperm from coming out of men's bodies.

    But some women can't take birth control pills, and some men want their own reliable way to prevent pregnancies (condoms are only about 85% effective) that doesn't require an irreversible and expensive vasectomy. 

    "The goal of the whole field of male contraceptive development is to try and create choices for men and for families," Page, who's been working on male birth-control solutions for roughly a decade, previously told Business Insider. "A lot of women can't use contraceptives, and men want to share the burden of contraception."

    Read More: A new form of male birth control is being tested around the world — and men only have to rub it on their shoulders once a day

    That’s true of at least one couple starting the trial this week. Wang said they came to her California clinic because female birth control wasn't a good option for them. Page also said she personally answered messages from at least 20 interested couples in the Seattle area after news broke last week that the trial was kicking off with funding from the National Institutes of Health

    The male gel keeps other tissues in the body functioning at normal testosterone loads, so it won't chemically castrate the men, which has been a concern in the past with some male birth control pill trials. 

    The researchers have already completed a six-month trial of the gel, and found that more than nine out of 10 men saw their sperm levels suppressed "to levels compatible with effective contraception," Page said.

    But so far, the new gel has yet to pique the interest of a pharmaceutical company that wants to take male birth control to market.

    Male birth control might come with fewer side effects than the female version

    Some women are already lamenting on social media about how simple and side-effect-free the new men's gel sounds. 

    "I’ve had no shortage of painfully inserted IUDs dislodge and stab my uterus," Dr. Kehaulani Watson wrote on Twitter, "but yes, let’s invent a birth control GEL for men. #maleprivilege" 

    gel pumps

    Researchers say they hope the gel will have fewer side effects than female birth-control pills, which have been on the market for nearly 60 years yet can still heighten a woman's risk of developing breast and cervical cancer, increase her risk of depression, and cause her blood pressure to rise.

    "We hope to be better," Wang said. "Or, at least, not worse!" 

    Previous tests of male birth control have come back with mixed reviews. The World Health Organization recently ended a trial of a male birth control injection early, after participants complained about acne and mood swings (both of which are common side effects for women who take the pill). 

    When researchers conducted the first large-scale trial of female birth control in Puerto Rico in 1956, they didn’t seem to have such concerns about potential side effects (which at the time included nausea, dizziness, headaches, and blood clots).Part of the reason that birth control went to market just four years later is the fact that for women, "pregnancy is still a life-threatening condition," Page said.

    Couples have to clear a high bar to participate in the gel study

    Because the gel study lasts for over a year, participating couples are required to have been in a stable, committed, monogamous partnership for at least a year before they start the trial. Men can range in age from 18 to 50, as long as they have no skin conditions, while the women must all be under 35 with regular, monthly periods.

    The study asks male participants to keep a daily log of when they rub their gel on and come into the clinic for a monthly check up. Men can also choose to get a daily reminder text message, if they want it. That could be critical to the study's success, given that one of the most common reasons female birth control fails is because it's hard to remember to take a pill once a day

    Christina Wang

    "Clearly, if you don't apply the gel, like you don't take an oral contraceptive pill, you will fail. " Wang said. 

    The couples also have to keep track of when the woman has her period and mark on a calendar every time they have sex. Additionally, all participating men and women will complete surveys every few months to track whether their views on contraception shift, Wang said. 

    Despite the study's stringent preconditions, the hassle of putting on a shirt or showering before sex, and the awkward coital tracking, couples in the study get a few perks. The birth-control gel is given to them for free, and they're paid for their participation.

    If this worldwide trial winds up being a success, the study results would then need to be replicated among several thousand people before the Food and Drug Administration would allow male birth control to be sold on pharmacy shelves.

    SEE ALSO: A male birth control pill that dramatically lowers testosterone levels is moving forward into a 3-month trial

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A gynecologist reveals the most effective birth control


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    Santa party drinking holiday booze

    • If you plan to attend an office holiday party this year, keep in mind that it's still a work event.
    • One of the biggest mistakes you can make is drinking too much.
    • You should also avoid too much business talk. 

    'Tis the season — for your office's annual holiday party.

    Here's hoping your bash is merry and bright. But, before you put on your Santa hat and go to town, just remember these kinds of wintery events are inherently risky. Mixing booze, coworkers, and the stress of the holiday season can be truly volatile.

    So, take steps to avoid humiliating yourself at this year's festivities. The night could be fun ... or it could mutate into an evening of drunken disaster.

    It all depends on your attitude.

    Here are 17 tips to make sure your office holiday party is a definitive success.

    SEE ALSO: Even if you're dreading your office holiday party, you still have to go. Here's your survival guide

    DON'T MISS: Holiday office parties as we know them are dying

    Show up

    To show that you're committed to the company, make sure you show up for at least 30 minutes. Always assume company gatherings are "must attend" events.

    "If you never show up at company events, you lose brownie points," Karen Wickre, author of the recently published "Taking the Work Out of Networking: An Introvert's Guide to Making Connections That Count," previously told Business Insider.

    Read more: Even if you're dreading your office holiday party, you still have to go. Here's your survival guide



    But don't show up perfectly on time

    Even if the party takes place at the office, Drew Magary at GQ advises you go home after work, then come back.

    If you can't do that, just continue working until you see that 75% of your colleagues have turned on their holiday mode. Magary wrote: "You know who shows up on time? That one creepy lady who works in human resources who you never talk to. Now it's just you two, standing there while the DJ spins 'Gangnam Style.'"



    Ask about the dress code ahead of time

    You need to find out what the dress code is and stick to it, career coach Barbara Pachter previously told Business Insider.

    Pachter, the author of "The Essentials of Business Etiquette," said you don't want people talking about what you wore the day or night after the party. Whatever you wear, remember that it's still a business event.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    IP gift guide banner

    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.

    book of the month, $44.97 2

    Shopping for a book lover can be difficult unless you know the entire contents of their bookshelf well enough to avoid buying them the dreaded duplicate of a tome they already own (unless it's a special version like a first edition or a fancy illustrated one — those will be received with enthusiasm).

    Don't worry, though — We're here to help. Writers are more or less professional bookworms and wannabe authors, so you can trust that our recommendations will go over well with anyone else who loves the written word.

    Whether your giftee prefers ebooks or physical books with that intoxicating new book smell, we have gifts that will send them into their reading nooks with big smiles on their faces.

    Just don't expect to see your beloved bookworm any time soon — they'll be awfully busy enjoying these thoughtful gifts.

    Still shopping for more gifts? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here. Keep scrolling to check out the best book lover gifts.

    SEE ALSO: 15 fun and unique gifts for tea lovers to spread holiday cheer

    An ebook subscription

    Scribd subscription, 3 months for $25, 6 months for $50, or 1 year for $100

    Kindle Unlimited subscription,$9.99 a month

    If the bookworm you're shopping for is all-in on ebooks and doesn't own or want a Kindle, get them a Scribd subscription. For less than $10 a month, they'll have access to hundreds of thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and newspapers. Your giftee can read and listen to Scribd books on the apps for Android, iOS, Fire Tablet, or on the Scribd webpage. Ebooks and audiobooks are downloadable for offline reading. To learn more about Scribd, read our full review of the service on Insider Picks.

    It's important to note that you cannot get Scribd ebooks on a Kindle, so if your giftee has or wants a Kindle, get them signed up for Kindle Unlimited, which is a similar service for Amazon's Kindle ebook reader and its Kindle apps for iOS, Android, and the Fire Tablet.



    A physical book subscription

    Book of the Month Club, $44.99 for 3 months, $79.99 for 6 months, $149.99 for a year

    Of course, some people don't like ebooks, so we're also recommending a subscription to Book of the Month Club. This subscription gets your bookworm their pick of the best new books for $11.99 to $14.99 a month depending on the length of subscription you choose to give them. They can also request extra books for an additional $9.99 each if they read more than one book a month. You can read our full review of the service on Insider Picks for more details.

     



    An ebook reader

    Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis, available on Amazon, $129.99 or $249.99 

    Kindle Unlimited subscription, $9.99 a month

    No matter which Kindle you buy, you really can't go wrong. I personally think the Kindle Oasis and Paperwhite are the best ones to buy because they are both waterproof, have a backlight, and are comfortable to hold. If your book lover prefers page-turning buttons, the Oasis is the one to get. It's also a good idea to get them a Kindle Unlimited subscription so they can access hundreds of thousands of books for free.

     



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Kayla Itsines

    • Kayla Itsines is an award-winning certified trainer and entrepreneur whose Bikini Body Guide Workout program and SWEAT app has a following of more than 30 million.
    • Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide 12-week program includes three 28-minute workouts, four cardio sessions, and two recovery sessions each week.
    • I just finished Kayla Itsines' BBG Round 1. Here's what has happened.

     

    Kayla Itsines, an award-winning certified trainer and entrepreneur, was running one-on-one sessions in Australia, when her cousin recommended she post client's transformations to Instagram, she told Business Insider. As her Instagram following grew, people started asking how to do the workout.

    So Itsines and her partner, Tobi Pearce, founded Bikini Body Training in 2013. In 2014, they released the Bikini Body Guide (BBG), a 12-week workout program that users could purchase as a PDF and use wherever, whenever.

    Next, Itsines and Pearce developed their program into a top-ranking fitness app, Sweat, where users can find Itsines' curated workouts and other features like a nutrition plan, cool downs, a place to save progress photos, and a weekly workout schedule. The Sweat app has been downloaded by more than 30 million people, according to TechCrunch, which estimated that BBG will have generated $77 million this year.

    The weekly schedule (which builds up slowly at first) consists of three 28-minute workouts — legs, arms, and abs — four cardio sessions, one recovery session with guided stretches, and a rest day.

    I decided to complete the viral 12-week BBG program to see if I would have results like the hundreds of thousands who tag their before and after pictures using #BBGtransformations on Instagram.

    Here's how I feel now that I'm done.

    SEE ALSO: 10 of the best keto meal options at popular chain restaurants

    I am used to working out.

    I have run four half-marathons, completed the Physique 57 workout program and Ruth Bader Ginsburg's workout, and exercise regularly. I also finished one round of the Bikini Body Guide last year.

    Even though I workout often, I was prepared to be sore because the exercises are tough and you complete them as many times as you can during the two circuits that you repeat at least twice. 



    I was motivated by the community of BBG fans who encourage each other online and offline.

    The Bikini Body Guide hashtag on Instagram has over seven million posts. BBG fans share their BBG progress and BBG transformations and frequently leave encouraging comments and advice. People even plan local meetups to do the BBG workouts together.



    Each high-intensity plyometric training workout targets a different muscle group: abs, arms, and legs. Every workout incorporates two series of four exercises that are completed in seven-minute circuits, twice. You do each of the four exercises as many times as you can in the seven minutes for each circuit.

    I usually did each exercise (for example 15 pushups, 15 burpees, 60 bicycle crunches, 30 weighted step-ups) twice per circuit. You get a one-minute break between circuits and a guided stretching session when you're done for the day.

    I find the abs day to be the most difficult, in part because I have scoliosis and can't do all of the crunches correctly. I make modifications, like doing regular crunches instead of full-body crunches. Listen to your body and don't be afraid to modify the exercises. If you download the app, you can also check the alternative exercise to see if it works better for your body.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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