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The latest news from Life

older | 1 | .... | 1637 | 1638 | (Page 1639) | 1640 | 1641 | .... | 2006 | newer

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    • From "A Christmas Story" to "Elf," successful Christmas movies have come in many forms.
    • Here, we've compiled the 45 highest-grossing Christmas movies of all time at the domestic box office.


    The holiday season wouldn't be complete without a laundry list of Christmas movies and a warm blanket.

    Classics like "A Christmas Story" and "Elf" made this list alongside newer titles, including the 2018 version of "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch," which holds the No. 3 spot.

    We compiled this list of the highest-grossing Christmas movies of all time at the US box office with data from Box Office Mojo (unadjusted for inflation). We also included each film's Rotten Tomatoes critic score and a review excerpt for each.

    Take a look at the list below and check it twice for the 45 most successful Christmas movies of all time at the domestic box office.

    Note: Several notable older films, including 1946's "It's a Wonderful Life," are absent for lack of data. 

    SEE ALSO: 13 people reveal how much money they've made from their side hustles

    45. "One Magic Christmas" (1985)

    Domestic box office total: $13,667,222

    Critic score: 47%

    What critics said: "It's a godsend for parents, a movie you can take the kids to, but which won't leave you gnashing at the armrest halfway through." — Paul Attanasio, Washington Post

    44. "All I Want for Christmas" (1991)

    Domestic box office total: $14,812,144

    Critic score: 0%

    What critics said: "Miracle on 34th Street this ain't."— Desson Thomson, Washington Post

    43. "Unaccompanied Minors" (2006)

    Domestic box office total: $16,655,224 

    Critic score: 30% 

    What critics said: "Not for the faint of heart, the movie is unsettling and startlingly true to life." — A.O. Scott, New York Times

    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 may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    diamonds team ring, mejuri

    • Few gifts are as timeless as diamond jewelry. It's something meant to be kept forever.
    • Startups like Mejuri, AUrate, and others make gifting luxury jewelry more accessible than ever. You can spend as little as $170 on high-quality gold and diamonds. 
    • Below are 19 beautiful diamond gifts for every budget, from new companies to household names.
    • Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    Diamonds are not a trend. Unlike many gifts that see their seasons of use and find their way to the donation pile, diamonds are meant to be kept forever. From one person to another, they’re a lasting symbol of sentimentality, reverence, and elegance.

    And, thanks to the burgeoning jewelry startup market, gifting a meaningful luxury is no longer restricted to those who have thousands of dollars to spend, though the options for those who do are better than ever. 

    But before you buy, there are some tips to note: Necklaces and earrings a great gift, and especially so for newer relationships or those shoppers unsure about ring size. If you're unclear on what her metal or color preference is, check what she wears every day or keeps in her jewelry box (most people stick to one metal family once they find what works with their skin tone). When in doubt, ask a mutual friend or customer service representative for help.

    If you're looking for an engagement ring, read this first:A jewelry expert shares everything you need to know before buying an engagement ring

    A diamond-encrusted letter charm

    Mini Letter Charm Pendant with White Diamonds, $450, available at AUrate

    Pick the first letter of her name or something of special significance for a sweet, sentimental gift she'll have forever. The charm necklaces are solid gold and encrusted in sparkling white diamonds, and can be worn at both her collarbones or chest. You can order it in yellow, rose, or white gold.

    A delicate stacker ring

    Diamond Stacker Ring, $240, available at AUrate with optional engraving

    This stacker ring is the perfect foundational piece for a jewelry collection. It’s bright, refined, and elegant — and it can be worn all-day and both on its own or stacked for a customized look.

    You can order it in yellow, rose, or white gold and either 14-karat ($240) or 18-karat ($320). You can also add a personalized engraving.

    A tennis bracelet

    Perfect Diamond Tennis Bracelet, $3,750, available at The Last Line

    The tennis bracelet is a classic, often expensive piece that can spend a while on the wish list before it’s ever bought or gifted. It’s a singular strand of diamonds that benefit by being more understated than a necklace or single-stone ring, and which will never go out of style.

    You can order The Last Line's tennis bracelet in 14-karat yellow, rose, or white gold. You can also opt for a tennis bracelet made from emeralds, blue sapphire, rubies, or a mix of stones for under $1,500.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    avocado and almonds

    • The Paleolithic diet, inspired by our hunter-gatherer ancestors, involves consuming whole vegetables, fruits, meats, and nuts.
    • Not only can the paleo diet result in weight loss, but it may also benefit those with blood-sugar issues, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
    • Though criticized for restricting foods that keep people satiated, like grains, legumes, and dairy, the paleo diet includes a variety of options that should keep you full until your next snack or meal.

    The Paleolithic diet is a popular whole food-based program that mimics the diet we think our caveman ancestors practiced.

    Considering the high rates of lifestyle-induced disease we see today in diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, the paleo diet presumes consuming whole vegetables, fruits, meats, and nuts may reduce biological risk factors for these conditions.

    A small study published in Cardiovascular Diabetology placed 13 individuals with type 2 diabetes on a paleo diet for three months and tracked weight loss and several cardiovascular risk factors. At the end of the three month period, participants lost 6.6 pounds on average, their blood-sugar levels (HbA1c) dropped by 0.4%, and their HDL (good cholesterol) increased by 3 mg/dL.

    "In general, the paleo diet can be a great kick-start for someone to eat a diet rich in whole foods, but it isn't for everyone," McKel Hill, registered dietitian and founder of the healthy-living website Nutrition Stripped, told Business Insider over email. "Paleo diets don't celebrate eating grains or legumes, which some people enjoy and do really well on especially if relying on a plant-based diet."

    While you're not technically required to limit carbs on the paleo diet, the goal is to limit consumption of processed and refined carbohydrates, since you're not allowed to eat common carb-heavy foods like bread, pasta, or grains, according to Healthline.

    Some carbs you can eat on the diet include sweet potatoes, potatoes, and fruits like apples and bananas. But eating too many carbs or excess sugar can lead to a buildup of glycogen, which your body will convert to fat for the long-term storage of energy.

    So if you're looking to cut carbs in an effort to improve your health or trim down on the paleo diet, you might want to instead turn to some of the following foods that are lower in carbs.

    Here are 11 low-carb, yet surprisingly filling, foods that you can eat on the paleo diet.

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

    1. Raspberries

    If you have a sweet tooth or love fruit, berries could be a great option to keep you satiated on the paleo diet since they're sweet, but lower in carbs and sugar compared to other fruits like apples and bananas.

    "Raspberries are considered a low-glycemic food due to the high fiber and low sugar content, making this a great choice for those who are watching their blood sugar, and the amount of carbohydrates they are consuming," Hill told Business Insider.

    2. Strawberries

    "Strawberries contain high amounts of fiber and antioxidants, which have been linked to cardiovascular benefits, helping to stabilize blood sugar levels, and has anti-cancer benefits," Hill said. "These are great in baked goods, topping for salad, and in smoothies for a little bit of sweetness."

    3. Blueberries

    "Blueberries have been shown to help with cardiovascular health, cognitive benefits, eye health, overall antioxidant support, insulin resistance, and anti-cancer benefits. They contain a great amount of fiber, and they’re lower in sugar than some other fruits," Hill said. "They have a low glycemic index which means better blood sugar regulation and steady energy."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Michael Cohen

    • Michael Cohen appeared in court on Wednesday to be sentenced by US District Judge William H. Pauley III for an array of crimes he committed while employed by President Donald Trump.
    • Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in prison.
    • Cohen lied to Congress about his involvement in a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and made hush-money payments in 2016 to two women who said they had affairs with the president.
    • Cohen had asked the judge for no prison time, saying he has tried to be cooperative.

    Michael Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in prison on Wednesday by US District Judge William H. Pauley III for an array of crimes he committed while employed by President Donald Trump.

    Cohen, who was Trump's longtime lawyer, apologized for his actions and said he acted out of "blind loyalty" to Trump.

    "Recently, the president tweeted a statement calling me weak, and it was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying: It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds," Cohen told the court, adding that he took "full responsibility" for his crimes.

    "Today is the day that I am getting my freedom back," Cohen said, adding, "I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real-estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired."

    Cohen had asked the judge for no prison time, saying he has tried to be cooperative.

    His lawyer, Guy Petrillo, said during Wednesday's sentencing that Cohen had come forward "to offer evidence against the most powerful person in our country."

    But Pauley said Cohen's cooperation "does not wipe the slate clean."

    "Each of these crimes standing alone warrant considerable punishment," Pauley said, adding that Cohen "thrived on his access to wealthy and powerful people, and he became one himself."

    "Somewhere along the way, Mr. Cohen appears to have lost his moral compass," the judge said. "As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better."

    Pauley said Cohen was guilty of a "smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct."

    Assistant US Attorney Nicolas Roos on Wednesday said Cohen's crimes revealed a "pattern of deception, of brazenness, and of greed."

    Roos accused Cohen of harming the interests of "free and transparent elections" and eroding "faith in the electoral process."

    Cohen has implicated Trump in multiple felonies

    Cohen lied to Congress about his involvement in a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and made hush-money payments in 2016 to two women who said they had affairs with the president.

    Read more:Trump has been implicated in several federal crimes, but here's why experts say he hasn't faced legal consequences

    The president's former lawyer pleaded guilty in August to eight federal crimes, including tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign-finance violations.

    Cohen implicated Trump in the campaign-finance violations, which were connected to the payments, saying they were made on the president's behalf at the height of the 2016 campaign. More recently, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Trump Tower project in Moscow.

    Federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York released a sentencing memo last Friday recommending Cohen receive 3 1/2 years in prison and pay a $100,000 fine. The prosecutors said Cohen "deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election."

    Read more:Federal prosecutors recommend a 3.5-year sentence for former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

    "With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election," the filing said. "Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments ... And as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1."

    Individual-1 is Trump, who has shifted from denying having any knowledge of the payments to characterizing them as a "simple private transaction."

    Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading an investigation into Russia's election interference, also released a sentencing memo on Friday. Mueller recommended Cohen receive a sentence reflecting that lying to federal investigators has serious consequences, but he also called for "due consideration" to be given to Cohen's cooperation with his probe.

    Trump, who once had a close relationship with Cohen, has called his former personal lawyer a liar and in a recent tweet said he should receive a "full and complete sentence."

    Cohen, who in September 2017 said he would "take a bullet" for Trump, said on Wednesday that his loyalty to the president was what led him to go down "a path of darkness instead of light."

    Cohen's legal team on Wednesday said he planned to continue to cooperate. Lanny Davis, an adviser to Cohen, said the president's former lawyer would "state publicly all he knows" about Trump after Mueller completes his investigation. Davis said this could include testifying before Congress.

    "Mr. Trump's repeated lies cannot contradict stubborn facts," Davis said in a statement.

    Read more: Here's a glimpse at Trump's decadeslong history of business ties to Russia

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

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    soybean farmer

    • China reportedly bought more than 500,000 tons of US soybeans, worth around $180 million.
    • China promised to purchase US soybeans as part of the preliminary deal forged by President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
    • China is the largest market for US soybeans, making up over 60% of total exports in 2017.
    • China's tariffs on US soybeans had caused exports to dive and wrecked many American farmers.

    Chinese state-owned firms made a huge order of soybeans on Wednesday, according to a new report, the first concrete sign that Beijing is following through on promises made as part of the trade war truce.

    Reuters, citing two US commodity traders, reported that state-owned firms bought more than 500,000 tons of soybeans worth roughly $180 million on Wednesday. Chinese purchases of soybeans had collapsed by more than 90% since President Donald Trump's tariffs caused Beijing to respond with tariffs of their own on US crops.

    China was the largest market for US soybeans in 2017, accounting for around $14 billion in sales— more than 60% of total soybean exports. Soybean exports to China accounted for around 10% of the total value of all US agricultural exports last year.

    But tariffs on US soybeans and ongoing trade war caused the amount of soybeans heading to China to drop to nearly zero, despite October and November typically representing the peak season.

    The lack of sales has left US farmers in a rough spot. Prices plunged due to oversupply, and a large number of soybeans were left rotting in fields.

    While the 500,000 ton purchase is small solace for farmers, a continued commitment to increasing purchases by the Chinese would be a welcome sign.

    soybean exports to china

    The move also shows that Beijing is perhaps serious about following through on promises made during Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping's dinner at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    On Tuesday, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He — the country's top trade negotiator — promised US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that China would soon deliver on short-term fixes like soybean purchases and lowering of tariffs on US-made cars.

    The news also comes after reports that Beijing plans to drop its Made in China 2025 plan, a medium-term strategy for economic dominance. While the move may be largely symbolic, Trump has railed against the plan since the start of the trade war.

    The purchases will also ease Chinese concerns about soybean supply. The country uses the beans as feed for the large number of hogs in China and had been relying on producers like Brazil and Argentina to meet the shortfall.

    SEE ALSO: China looks like it's going to give Trump a huge symbolic trade war win, fueling hope for a big deal

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

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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 stud finders

    • By finding a solid piece of wood or metal behind the drywall, a good stud finder can help you hang shelves, cabinets, or decorative items.
    • Many can also help you avoid drilling or hammering into a water pipe or electrical wire.
    • The Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 is the best stud finder because it takes readings rapidly without requiring any sliding back and forth along the walls.

    A stud finder can make the difference between that framed painting hanging majestically for years to come and it crashing to the ground an hour after you hang it as a chunk of drywall rips out in the process. Many stud finders can also make the difference between you drilling a hole or hammering a nail into a water pipe, thereby turning a modest project like putting up a shelf or mounting a TV into a serious home repair almost surely involving pricey professionals.

    In short, a stud finder is an important tool if you value doing a job right and avoiding potentially serious mishaps. But don't worry, this important tool is also affordable and easy to use. Many operate with the push of a single button and use easily interpreted lights to indicate the location of hidden studs. Some have an even more basic operation, simply adhering to the wall near studs thanks to magnetism. And many can also detect electrical wires, helping keep you safe and preventing accidental damage to the wiring in your home, office, or wherever you're working.

    Electric stud finders rely on the dielectric constant of various materials, detecting the density of the surface in close proximity to their sensor plate. In other words, they can tell when they're beaming an electric charge into hollow space beyond the drywall and when they are hovering near a solid wooden stud or a metal stud. Magnetic stud finders literally just magnetize themselves to metal behind the drywall, whether to metal studs or to the screws, nails, bolts, and other materials in a wooden beam.  

    For most DIY projects, a basic stud finder will serve fine. If you're worried about the wiring or pipes hidden in your walls, consider a more advanced unit that can detect various materials. The price of a comprehensive sensor will pay for itself time and time again in the money you save by not ruining your plumbing or electrical system.

    And while you can always aim any stud finder at yourself and say: "Found the stud right here!" note that the best hardware for this activity is a mirror into which you can gaze before coming to the realization that it was only funny the first time.

    Here are the best stud finders you can buy:

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

    The best stud finder overall

    Why you'll love it: The Franklin ProSensor 710 detects studs instantly with no sliding back and forth along the wall required.

    Any decent stud finder is going to ultimately locate a wall stud, but usually not without an annoying process of calibration and sliding the thing back and forth along the wall, usually with a few false positives before you're confident you have indeed found a stud and approximated the location of its center. Not so with the Franklin ProSensor 710.

    This high-accuracy tool simultaneously detects the wall and framing hardware below it at 13 distinct points, instantly creating an accurate readout of the hidden materials. Its extra wide body makes detection easier, and only those lights directly before the stud will illuminate, making end detection easy even without any sliding back and forth to be sure. That wide body design also helps you identify double studs.

    The high sensitivity of the sensors does more than detect quickly and without sliding, too. It also ensures an accurate detection even through uneven materials, such as multiple layers of paint or wallpaper, textured plasters, and more. All that high tech, high accuracy detection requires nothing but the push of one button.

    I will say that I'd expect AC power detection from a stud finder that costs 50 bucks, but the Franklin ProSensor 710 certainly does its primary job with poise.

    More than 3,000 Amazon customers agree with me: The ProSensor 710 enjoys a 4.5-star average rating and positively glowing reviews. A gentleman named Brian hits the nail on the head, as it were, when he calls it "outstanding" and so accurate it "could be used by surgeons."

    A writer from Digital Trends called out the "remarkable stud-finding ability" of the ProSensor 710 that les you "mark exactly where objects begin and end for more detailed work."

    Pros: Instant detection without sliding, wide design for precision readings, can identify multiple studs

    Cons: No AC detection

    Buy the Franklin ProSensor 710 on Amazon for $48.95 (originally $50)

    The best low-cost stud finder

    Why you'll love it: The CH Hanson Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder may be low tech, but it's highly effective in most applications, and it's super affordable, too. 

    The CH Hanson Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder is basically a fancy magnet, to be frank. Or rather it's a collection of magnets oriented in a solid plastic case with a soft grip rubber exterior.

    It locates studs through attraction to a metal stud itself or to the screws and nails sunk into a wooden beam. If the CH Hanson Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder is sticking to your wall, there's a stud under there. If not, no stud. Get it?

    Of course this device is going to be less accurate than an electric stud finder. Some wooden studs have relatively little metal hardware stuck through them, so it's not impossible that you'll miss a piece of framing if you don't move the stud finder up and down and side to side. That extra work is easily justified by the minute $8 price tag of the CH Hanson Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder, though.

    The addition of a bubble level makes it easy to keep track of the stud's position behind the wall, while the fact that the unit stays adhered to the wall hands free allows for easy markings and measurements.

    At the time of this writing, the CH Hanson Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder is approaching a stunning 9,000 reviews on Amazon, and with a solid 4.5-star average rating to boot. A shopper named Leonard calls it "remarkably accurate and dirt cheap," while a buyer named Amanda said it "sticks to the studs perfectly."

    A writer from The Architect's Guide appreciated how the Stud 4 Sure "doesn't require batteries" and "never needs calibration."

    Pros: Very low cost, no batteries needed, features bubble level

    Cons: Misses some wooden studs

    Buy the CH Hanson Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder on Amazon for $7.89

    The best durable stud finder

    Why you'll love it: You can toss your Ryobi LED Whole Stud Detector in the tool box or drop it on the floor and it will keep on working, stud after stud. I know because I have.

    I keep my Ryobi LED Whole Stud Detector in the top of my tool box, where it nestles snugly among a couple of hammers, seven or eight screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, a box of nails, and all the other stuff tossed in as well. In other words, I'm not all that gentle with it.

    But hey, after multiple projects in multiple residences, not to mention 2,800 miles bouncing along during a cross-country move, the thing still works well every time.

    The Ryobi LED Whole Stud Detector uses seven LED lights that do indeed help indicate an entire stud's span as only the lights above the stud illuminate. Even more helpful is the center indication function that clearly displays the middle of a stud for the most solid sinking of nails or screws by illuminating a circle of green light when you have hit the central spot.

    The tool also has an AC detection system that uses both a red light and a beep to warn when you are near active electrical current, a feature I've appreciated many times. There is also a center punch button that can make a small divot on the wall behind the stud finder, so you don't have to use a pen or pencil to mark the spot.

    And while many people complain that this stud finder requires two hands to use, it really doesn't: You just turn the thing upside down and use your index and pinky finger to operate its two buttons. Though single button operation would still be a lot easier.

    One Home Depot customer reported that "being able to identify the edges and center of the stud is something this tool" made easy, while another reported it working well even on "texturized walls."

    Popular Mechanics highlighted the Ryobi LED Whole Stud Detector's ability to "show proximity of [a] stud on either end" of the hidden hardware.

    Pros: Durable construction, center indication light, built in center punch marker, sensitive AC detection

    Cons: Awkward two button operation

    Buy the Ryobi LED Whole Stud Detector at the Home Depot for $36.97

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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

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

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    workout fitness exercise rowing

    The most common New Year's resolutions tend to be vague goals like losing weight, eating healthier food, or exercising more.

    But most people don't successfully follow through on their resolutions — largely because they're so general and non-specific.

    That's where science can help. Using specific, science-backed resolutions, you can boost your chances of successfully transforming your life in the New Year.

    These are some of our favorite resolution ideas, all backed by recent science. Some have to do with fitness, others with diet or health, and others with boosting productivity. A few are simply intended to help you maximize happiness.

    You don't need to attempt all at once, but pick one or two that'll get you closest to your goals.


    This post has been updated. Kevin Loria wrote an earlier version, which was published in December 2017.

    SEE ALSO: How to make this the winter you finally stay in shape

    To help you lose weight, eat healthier, and feel better, resolve to fix your sleeping habits.

    Some research shows that getting enough sleep makes it easier to avoid cravings for unhealthy foods, keep off excess weight, and that it's key for psychological health.

    In the long run, sleep could be even more important: in several studies published in the summer of 2017, researchers demonstrated that after disrupted sleep, individuals had higher levels of proteins associated with Alzheimer's and dementia in the brain.

    And as sleep expert Matthew Walker, author of the book, "Why We Sleep," previously told Business Insider, you really can't get by on six or seven hours of sleep — the vast majority of people need an average of eight hours a night.

    To improve your sleep, experts recommend going to bed and getting up at the same time every night, improving your sleep environment, and avoiding screens for at least a half hour before bed, if not longer. If you're struggling with insomnia, there are science-backed tips for that too.

    Resolve to get moving.

    Exercise resolutions are common, and for good reason. Along with fixing your sleep, little else will have as transformative an effect on your life as working out.

    Exercise provides such a laundry list of physical and mental health benefits that it's basically the closest thing we have to a wonder drug.

    Exercise can improve your heart health, up your sex drive, improve your sleep, and boost your mood. Research has also shown that working out may help keep the brain young, improve memory, and fight cognitive impairment.

    The trick is figuring out the targeted exercise resolution that's going to work for you — saying you'll just "go to the gym (more)" probably won't cut it.

    If it fits your schedule, make an early morning cardio workout a new habit.

    Morning workouts aren't for everyone, but experts say that if you can get some morning exercise that'll get your heart going and expose you to some morning sunlight, that'll kickstart your circadian rhythm, which will wake you up for the day and make it easier to sleep at night.

    Getting a good amount of cardio exercise is strongly linked to many of the biggest benefits of exercise, and some research suggests that morning is best time of day to work out to lose weight.

    To provide motivation to actually get out of bed and complete your morning run, swim, or ride, experts suggest working towards a goal (like a race), training with a friend, or adding in an element of competition. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • The housing market in San Francisco is so expensive that it's commonly referred to as being in a crisis.
    • Restaurant workers are fleeing the city's unmanageable costs, The Guardian reported, and it's changing the way the industry is serving customers.
    • Some restaurants are having customers order at a counter instead of being waited on at a table and are simplifying their menus to decrease the size of their waitstaff.
    • The problem isn't unique to the Bay Area: Restaurants in cities like New York City and Washington have encountered similar staffing issues.

    Michelin recently released its 2019 San Francisco Guide— and awarded the city more stars than it's ever had before, including eight restaurants with the coveted three-star status.

    But there's a grimmer reality behind these numbers: Many restaurants in the city can no longer attract or maintain enough talent to keep operations running as they have been.

    Largely, that's because the San Francisco housing market is so expensive that it's driving people out in droves. In fact, as Business Insider's Melia Robinson reported, the city is so expensive — the median home sale price is $1.6 million— that 60% of tech workers say they can't afford homes.

    The news bodes even worse for many workers in the service industry. Despite a citywide wage hike implemented on July 1, 2018, that raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, rent continues to be unaffordable for many. And it means that restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, once common sources of employment for people in the Bay Area, are struggling to hire enough staff to keep operations running.

    As The Guardian reported, the effect this is having on the restaurant industry is twofold: Restaurants are either closing down, or they are changing how they serve their customers.

    Read more: I've lived in the Bay Area for 30 years, and I'm convinced that tech companies have ruined it

    In an effort to stay open despite staffing shortages, restaurants that previously may have had extensive menus and waiters tending to each table are taking measures to cut back on the size of the staff that both prepares and serves the food.

    Instead of traditional service, The Guardian's Erin McCormick wrote, some restaurants "are having the customers do the work by standing in line to place their orders and picking up their own drinks. Meanwhile, new 'fine casual' establishments are serving scaled-down menus that can be easily prepared by fewer cooks."

    Looking beyond the Bay Area

    While San Francisco is notorious for its rising prices, the problem extends beyond the Bay Area.

    High rent in New York City has had a similar effect on the restaurant industry, The Guardian reported. And Washington, as The New York Times reported in April, is also experiencing staff shortages — but the problem there is that the expanding restaurant scene is simply outpacing the area's ability to staff these establishments.

    "The demand for highly skilled help is especially acute in Washington, where a boom in restaurants run by creative chefs is outstripping the region's labor force," The Times wrote.

    Ultimately, the shortage of restaurant staff creates a problem in which repercussions are felt by both the staff and by the diners.

    For guests, it means at the very least an altered dining experience with less human interaction from the waitstaff. At worst, as the Michelin Guide wrote, it manifests as "lackluster service and food or fewer opportunities to dine."

    And for management looking to fill out staff at these establishments, it means that hiring is an increasingly pressing challenge. As Business Insider's Kate Taylor reported, "Analysts are also calling a lack of employees one of the biggest problems in the restaurant industry today."

    Are you an industry professional who's been affected by staffing shortages or has a story to share? Email the author at lbatarags@businessinsider.com.

    SEE ALSO: Silicon Valley is so expensive that people who make $400,000 think they're middle-class — here's what the middle class actually is in the 25 largest US cities

    READ MORE: A Michelin-starred chef says restaurants should stop serving avocados because they're 'the blood diamonds of Mexico'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: History of the Christmas tree: Evergreens were sacred to ancient Egyptians. Then people started decorating them.

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    mark zuckerberg christmas

    • Facebook threw its annual holiday party for employees last weekend.
    • It was themed around a winter village, with attractions including chainsaw ice-sculpting, a "thumbs up tavern," and costumed dancers.
    • It's been a pretty rough year for Facebook employees, and morale dropping following multiple scandals.
    • Attendees shared photos of the revelry on Instagram.

    Facebook employees blew off steam this weekend with a two-day party at a swanky San Francisco venue that featured a custom-built winter wonderland, chainsaw-ice-sculpting, and Christmas dancers.

    On Friday and Saturday, the Silicon Valley tech giant threw its annual official holiday party for employees. This time around, it was held at the Palace of Fine Arts, and was centered around a winter village with attractions including a Facebook "thumbs up tavern," sweet shop, "toy shop," and ski chalet-like decor. 

    It's been a tough year for Facebook employees, with morale dropping precipitously following multiple scandals — from Cambridge Analytica to the social network's role in the spread of hate speech amid genocide in Myanmar. The company holds festive celebrations for its employees every year; in previous years it has rented out San Francisco's AT&T park, and thrown Great Gatsby-themed shindigs.

    The party may have been held over two nights, but it sounds like that was for crowd control reasons rather than because it was a non-stop bacchanalian carnival — Facebook has tens of thousands of employees in the Bay Area, after all. An attendee told Business Insider that it was incredibly crowded, with queues for everything.

    COO Sheryl Sandberg was spotted there on Friday night, we're told; it's not clear if and when other senior leadership attended. But there was also a private area for execs and VIPs only, so they may have sheltered away from the crowds.

    SEE ALSO: The 18 biggest tech scandals of 2018

    Attendees' Instagram posts provide a window into how Facebook employees let their hair down at the party. There was a life-size bear ice sculpture there, which was carved via chainsaw. (Click the arrows on the Instagram post for a video and more images.)

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    One of the central areas featured shipping containers and a ski-lift gondola.

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    The winter village street was bedecked in holiday lights and festive decorations.

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    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    piers constable

    • A New York-based managing director at Deutsche Bank spends up to 10 days out of the month traveling for work.
    • Piers Constable described his daily routine to Business Insider — and exercise is a huge part of it.
    • On a recent trip to Cote d'Ivoire, he woke up at 5:00 a.m. to exercise, met with clients all day, ate lunch while on an international conference call, and squeezed in another workout before heading back to the airport at 10:00 p.m. for his flight home. 


    Piers Constable, a managing director at Deutsche Bank, wakes up at 5:00 a.m. every day and spends eight to 10 days of the month traveling for work.

    Constable, based in New York City, has traveled to more than 60 countries while working for Deutsche Bank and has also lived in London and Dubai. His team arranges finance for infrastructure projects in emerging markets.

    He wakes up at 5:00 a.m. every day to work out — and often fits in a second workout later in the day.

    "I find getting up in the morning to go for a swim or sit on the bike is basically an hour less sleep than I'd have, but that gives me sort of more energy than I'd have had if I'd have stayed in bed," he told Business Insider. "I think nobody likes waking up at 5 o'clock, but if it becomes a habit, it's much easier to do."

    Here's what a typical day looks like for Constable when he's traveling for business.

    SEE ALSO: A Deutsche Bank exec who's traveled to more than 60 countries for business meetings says he always does the same thing when he gets to a new city

    DON'T MISS: A Deutsche Bank exec says he travels up to 10 days every month — and he's been able to keep doing it for over 20 years because of a 'magic combination'

    Piers Constable, a managing director at Deutsche Bank, is based in New York City but travels all over the world to meet clients for up to 10 days out of the month.

    Constable wakes up at about 5:00 a.m. every morning, whether he's traveling or home in New York City. He said that he travels so much that sometimes it takes him a moment to remember where he's waking up. He recently woke up in a hotel in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, where he arrived on a Sunday evening after a 15-hour flight.

    The first thing Constable does on any given day is exercise. A competitive triathlete, he likes to get a workout in before anyone else is awake. The hotel lobby in Abidjan was empty as he went to the pool at 6:00 a.m. He woke up slightly later than usual, at 5:30, because he wasn't allowed to swim in the pool before 6:00.

    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.

    Away $225

    Startups are often seen as incubators or think tanks making better, smarter, or cooler products faster than traditional companies can. And thanks to the lean businesses models made possible by the internet, those products don't have to cost more than the status quo they're replacing. 

    Their uniqueness, cool origin stories, and — on average — more sustainable and ethical business practices also make them particularly good gifts. Below are 76 up-and-coming startups we love to shop at, plus a cheat sheet for what to buy from each of them.

    Below, you'll find 76 of the best gifts you can buy from startups this year.

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


    What to buy:
    Women's Wool Loungers, $95
    Men's Wool Loungers, $95

    This is the footwear company responsible for the merino wool sneakers and loungers often called the "most comfortable shoes in the world" — a statement we agreed with after trying them. They're great for everyday use or for traveling, and you'll find them in high concentrations in hubs like Silicon Valley and New York City. 

    Allbirds are also a great gift for environmentally-conscious shoppers. The company is well-known for practicing "better business" and engineering its shoes from sustainable wool, eucalyptus leaves, or foam made from sugar cane.


    What to buy:
    Brooklinen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, from $213

    Brooklinen is one of our favorite companies, point blank. We think they make the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Picks team uses Brooklinen on their own beds.

    The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in 15 colors and patterns, and you can mix and match them to suit your taste. As part of the Bundle, you'll receive a core sheet set (fitted, flat, two pillowcases), duvet cover, and two extra pillowcases in soft, smooth 480-thread-count weave. Grab a gift card (delivered digitally or in a gift box) if you want them to have more freedom. 

    Atlas Coffee Club

    What to buy:
    Three-Month Subscription, $55

    Atlas Coffee Club is a monthly coffee subscription that curates freshly-roasted, micro-lot coffees from around the world and sends them to your door. Since the coffees span the globe, each shipment is meant to connect recipients with the culture that produced it. Shipments include a corresponding postcard (plus flavor notes and brewing tips), and the coffee bag designs are inspired by local landscapes and textiles. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    michael cohen paul manafort

    • President Donald Trump's longtime fixer and lawyer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison on December 12.
    • Another Trump associate, his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is facing at least a decade behind bars.
    • The Constitution grants the president sweeping powers to pardon people or grant clemency.
    • Trump has granted clemency to nine people so far, and he could pardon either Manafort or Cohen if he chose.

    President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced on December 12 to three years in prison for what a federal judge called a "smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct."

    Cohen pleaded guilty to a slew of crimes, including tax evasion, bank fraud, lying to Congress about his role in a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, and lying to Congress about payments he made in 2016 to two women who allege they had affairs with the president.

    Cohen's guilty plea and sentencing once again raises questions over Trump's clemency strategy for his former associates convicted of crimes. In Cohen's case, a pardon or commutation appears highly unlikely, given the abrupt about-face his relationship with Trump has taken in the last year.

    Trump even tweeted on December 3 that he believed Cohen deserved to do hard prison time.

    "'Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time.' You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term?" he said. "He lied for his outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence."

    michael cohen

    But the possibility remains open for Paul Manafort, the former chairman of Trump's presidential campaign who was convicted last August of tax fraud, bank fraud, and failing to report foreign bank accounts. He's due to be sentenced in February 2019, and has also pleaded guilty to to two conspiracy charges.

    Manafort faces at least 10 years in prison for his crimes, and Trump has publicly sympathized with him, fueling speculation that a pardon is possible.

    "I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. 'Justice' took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break' - make up stories in order to get a 'deal,'" Trump tweeted in August. "Such respect for a brave man!"

    Read more: While Michael Cohen cooperates with Mueller probe, Paul Manafort appears to be betting on a presidential pardon

    Pardons are a form of executive clemency granted to the president by the Constitution — and that power is sweeping.

    Trump can decide carte blanche to legally forgive or free anyone, so long as the crimes were federal ones.

    Pardons essentially forgive people who have been convicted of crimes, removing any remaining punishments and restoring their rights. Commutations, on the other hand, merely reduce a prisoner's sentence.

    If Trump pardoned Manafort, the move would fall in line with the president's recent trend of granting clemency to political allies, as well as people who have been championed by conservative media, prominent Republicans, or celebrities.

    Here's who Trump has granted clemency to in the past.

    SEE ALSO: Trump floats a pardon bonanza of high-profile people, including Martha Stewart and Illinois' infamous former governor who was on 'Celebrity Apprentice'

    DON'T MISS: 'Kim has been my war angel': The unlikely story of how Kim Kardashian West is trying to get Trump to free a 63-year-old grandmother from prison

    Dwight and Steven Hammond

    Trump pardoned Oregon cattle ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond in July, both of whom were serving five-year prison sentences for arson.

    The ranchers had long clashed with the federal government over public land, and the length of their sentences infuriated many conservatives, who saw the prosecutions as an example of federal overreach.

    The Hammonds' cases even sparked the controversy that led to a 41-day standoff in 2016 at Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by a group of armed protesters who argued that federal control of public lands was unconstitutional.

    In a statement, the White House noted that Dwight and Steven Hammond had already served three and four years in prison, respectively, and had paid $400,000 to the federal government in a related civil case.

    "The Hammonds are devoted family men, respected contributors to their local community, and have widespread support from their neighbors, local law enforcement, and farmers and ranchers across the West," the White House said.

    Alice Marie Johnson

    Trump granted his second-ever commutation to Alice Marie Johnson in June, freeing the 63-year-old grandmother and great-grandmother from a life sentence in prison.

    Johnson was given the sentence in 1996 over non-violent drug offenses she had committed several years earlier. Her case received nationwide attention in recent months after the reality-television star Kim Kardashian West championed her release and paid a visit to Trump in a high-profile White House meeting last week.

    "Ms. Johnson has accepted responsibility for her past behavior and has been a model prisoner over the past two decades. Despite receiving a life sentence, Alice worked hard to rehabilitate herself in prison, and act as a mentor to her fellow inmates," the White House said in a statement. "While this Administration will always be very tough on crime, it believes that those who have paid their debt to society and worked hard to better themselves while in prison deserve a second chance."

    Johnson's daughter Catina Scales told Business Insider the Wednesday afternoon she was en route to pick up her mother from the Aliceville correctional facility in Alabama, where Johnson was released.

    "I have been literally shaking ever since I heard this news — this is the best present anyone could have gave me in my life," Scales said. "Nothing will ever trump this feeling."

    Dinesh D'Souza

    Trump granted an unexpected pardon to the conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza in May.

    D'Souza pleaded guilty in 2014 to illegally using straw donors in 2012 to donate to a Republican Senate candidate in New York. He used the straw donors to funnel his funds to the candidate under their names to try and get around campaign finance laws.

    Though D'Souza fully admitted to knowingly violating the law, he lashed out at prosecutors at the time, arguing he was being singled out because of his conservative beliefs.

    Though he was spared prison time, D'Souza was sentenced to five years of probation and a $30,000 fine. A pardon relieved D'Souza of any remaining punishments stemming from his conviction, and would restore certain rights, such as his right to vote.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    friends private jet champagne

    • An extravagant private jet package will let you celebrate New Year's Eve twice, in Sydney, Australia, and then in Los Angeles.
    • The party starts in Sydney on December 31 at 8 p.m. and then guests make the 13.5-hour flight to Los Angeles.
    • The package costs $255,500 to charter the entire aircraft or $31,950 per person if eight friends book together.
    • The private jet will be festively decorated and outfitted with state-of-the-art entertainment systems, as well as cuvée Champagne, and dishes such as caviar, lamb tartare, and lobster.


    A luxurious private jet package will let you celebrate New Year's Eve twice on two different continents, first in Sydney, Australia, and then in Los Angeles.

    Carol Cork, marketing director of PrivateFly, the private jet booking company offering the package, said in a press release that the package is the ultimate way to ring in the new year "in two of the world's most iconic locations."

    "The flight time from Sydney to LA in a Gulfstream G550 is 13.5 hours, so with the 19-hour time difference, you get to replay over 5.5 hours of party time, by flying eastwards," she continued.

    Cork added that the flight timing is so tight that it's only possible by private jet. The package costs $255,500 to charter the entire aircraft or $31,950 per person if eight friends book together.

    It's quite the jam-packed itinerary. The party starts at 8:00 p.m. on December 31 in Sydney, at "one of the city's glamorous nightstops or VIP parties," according to PrivateFly.

    Guests celebrate the New Year at midnight with a view of the famous fireworks in the harbor.

    Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks

    At 2:00 a.m., partygoers will take off from Sydney in a Gulfstream G550, one of the most popular private jet models.

    PrivateFly notes that the time in LA is 19 hours behind Sydney, so if you can make the journey between the two cities in less time than that, you can fly "back in time" and arrive several hours before you left. 

    The plane lands in Los Angeles at 8:30 p.m. California time, "where the night is still young and there’s time to head to your party of choice," PrivateFly says. 

    Gulfstream g550 interior

    Guests then ring in the New Year a second time in the City of Angels.

    PrivateFly offers two different in-flight experiences: The "Wellness" package or the "Festive Flight."

    For the Wellness experience, the private flight attendant will adjust the lighting and temperature of the jet's cabin for the "optimum restful flight experience," according to PrivateFly. Passengers can lounge in designer pajamas and slippers, pamper their skin with luxury skincare products and masks, and sip detox juices. There's also a "VIP vitamin-packed" catering menu. The cabin includes a master bedroom and separate flat single beds, outfitted with deluxe bedding.

    The "Festive Flight," on the other hand, is for "those looking to continue the celebrations at 45,000 feet," reads PrivateFly's press release. Guests can party in the festively-decorated cabin with the help of state-of-the-art music and entertainment systems, cuvée Champagne, and dishes such as caviar, lamb tartare, and lobster.

    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: The president of a company that designs private plane interiors says ultra-wealthy clients no longer want their private jets to look like private jets

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    michael cohen plea deal court

    • Michael Cohen, formerly one of President Donald Trump's closest allies, was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday.
    • Cohen shocked the world when he implicated Trump in two federal crimes during his guilty plea to eight felonies in August.
    • Between 2017 and 2018, Cohen went from stating he'd "take a bullet" for Trump to placing him in serious legal jeopardy.
    • Lanny Davis, one of Cohen's attorneys, in August gave Business Insider some insight into what motivated Cohen to turn on Trump.
    • Davis on Wednesday said Cohen plans to continue to cooperate, suggesting he has more to reveal about Trump.

    Michael Cohen on Wednesday was sentenced to three years in prison by US District Judge William H. Pauley III for crimes he committed as personal lawyer and fixer to President Donald Trump.

    Cohen's emotional sentencing hearing was emblematic of how drastically his relationship with Trump has shifted over the past year or so. 

    In September 2017, Cohen said he would "take a bullet" for the president. On Wednesday, he said his "blind loyalty" to Trump took him down a "path of darkness instead of light."

    Cohen apologized for his crimes, stating he'd felt he had a "duty" to "cover up" Trump's "dirty deeds." 

    "Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct but for a much different reason than he was implying. It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds," Cohen said to the court.

    Cohen went from a trusted fixer to Trump to implicating him in serious crimes

    Cohen shocked the world in August when he pleaded guilty to eight federal crimes in the Southern District of New York, and directly implicated President Donald Trump in two of them.

    Cohen pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of bank fraud, one count linked to an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count stemming from an illegal campaign contribution. During his hearing, Cohen said he committed the latter two offenses "at the direction" of then-candidate Trump with the intent of influencing the 2016 election. 

    More recently, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his involvement in a plan to build Trump Tower in Moscow, stating discussions on the real estate deal lasted well into the 2016 campaign season. This came after he entered a new plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, who's investigating Russian election interference and the Trump campaign's alleged collusion. 

    A sentencing memo released by federal prosecutors last Friday endorsed Cohen's implications against the president. It stated Cohen carried out both hush money payments "in coordination with and at the direction" of Trump. 

    Both the illegal corporate and campaign contributions refer to Cohen's efforts to quash negative stories about Trump's alleged affairs with porn star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal, just weeks before the election.

    Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York initially began investigating Cohen for potential campaign finance law violations in part because of a $130,000 hush-money payout to Stormy Daniels, but the inquiry expanded to Cohen's potential tax and bank fraud relating to his taxi medallion business. 

    But Cohen's transformation is perhaps most notable because of the dramatic manner in which he turn away from Trump; having gone from saying he would "take a bullet" for Trump, to incriminating him in two serious federal crimes, possibly throwing the US into uncharted constitutional territory. 

    Read more: Trump has been implicated in several federal crimes, but here's why experts say he hasn't faced legal consequences

    Why Cohen took the plea deal

    michael cohen trump

    Jeffrey Cohen, a practicing attorney in New York City (no relation to Michael Cohen), told Business Insider in a phone call in August that, given the severity of the federal charges involved, taking a plea deal was, in his view, the best way for Cohen to hedge his bets in this matter.

    "His lawyers almost definitely knew he was going to lose," he said. "If you take a plea before trial, you do better than if you try to approach a deal after the government has invested the time and money in trying the case, In this case, my feeling is that he just didn't have a choice." 

    Deputy US Attorney Robert Khuzami said Cohen's conduct reflected a "pattern of lies and dishonesty" in a press conference after Cohen's August hearing and said they were "particularly significant when done by a lawyer." Similar statements were made at Cohen's sentencing hearing on Wednesday, as prosecutors accused him of engaging in a "pattern of deceit, brazenness and greed."

    "They were going to crucify him," Jeffrey Cohen speculated. "If he went to trial and he lost, he would have gone to jail for the rest of his life." 

    Cohen could have faced up to 65 years of prison, if convicted. He'd hoped his cooperation would translate into no time behind bars, but Judge Pauley on Wednesday said it did "not wipe the slate clean." 

    'The straw that broke the camel's back'

    trump soccer ball

    In an interview with Business Insider in August, Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, said his client "started to unload on me about Trump's suitability to be president, his temperament, the Twitter, the venom, the anger," long before he pleaded guilty.

    Davis described Trump's controversial summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin as the "straw that broke the camel's back" for his client. 

    He said Trump's public doubting of his intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in favor of Putin's denial made his client "very emotional."

    Davis described Cohen as feeling "liberated" after entering his guilty pleas and having the freedom to now speak his mind.

    Cohen will 'state publicly all he knows' about Trump

    After Cohen was sentenced on Wednesday, Davis suggested his client had even more to reveal about Trump and would continue to cooperate moving.

    Davis said Cohen will "state publicly all he knows" about the president once Mueller completes his probe.

    "That includes any appropriate congressional committee interested in the search for truth and the difference between facts and lies. Mr. Trump's repeated lies cannot contradict stubborn facts," Davis said in a statement.

    SEE ALSO: New York state has subpoenaed Michael Cohen as part of a probe into the Trump Foundation

    SEE ALSO: 'The worst day of the Trump presidency': Manafort's conviction and Cohen's plea deal land within striking distance of the White House

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

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    Los Angeles

    • Los Angeles and Airbnb have battled for years over short-term rental regulations, and home-sharing is technically illegal in the city.
    • On December 11, the Los Angeles City Council approved a new set of home-sharing rules that bars residents from renting out homes that are not their primary residence or are under rent control.
    • The new law, set to go into effect in July, also caps the number of days a host can rent out their home or a room to 120 days a year, though there are exceptions.

    The tide is turning in Los Angeles.

    On December 11, the 15-person Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to approve a new set of rules regarding short-term rentals.  

    The law, set to go into effect in July, finally legalizes short-term rentals in Los Angeles, but places a few significant restrictions on hosts. The regulations affect rental sites including Airbnb, HomeAway, and Vacation Rentals by Owner, or VRBO.

    Most notably, it limits the number of days a host can rent out their home to 120 days a year and introduces a new "extended home-sharing" option to hosts who have been registered for at least six months and hosted for at least 60 days, Curbed reported. To qualify, hosts have to be citation-free and pay a $850 fee.

    It also bars residents from renting out any home or apartment that is not their primary residence (where they live for at least six months of the year), is under rent stabilization rules, or is considered affordable housing. That means multi-family apartment building landlords would not be able to rent out individual units on a short-term basis, unless they live there. The same goes for homeowners who rent out a second property or vacation home on a home-share site.

    The cost to register a short-term rental with the city will be $89 a year, according to Curbed.

    airbnb los angeles

    Under the new regulations, home-sharing platforms will be fined $1,000 a day for processing any booking from a host who is unregistered with the city or exceeds the annual 120-day limit.

    "We crafted an ordinance that allows good operators to thrive and weeds out those who are cited as nuisances to their neighbors," Councilman Jose Huizar, the author of the ordinance, which has been in the works since 2015, said when the ordinance was approved in May.

    Read more:I asked 25 people for the worst things about living in LA — and it's not just the traffic

    There are more than 18,923 Airbnb rentals available in Los Angeles right now, about 65% of which are listings for entire homes, according to Airbnb tracker AirDNA. The average daily rate for rentals is $154.

    The city of Los Angeles does not include Santa Monica, a popular beach community and tourist destination that has its own home-sharing rules.

    It's unclear how many current Airbnb listings will be affected by the new regulations; Airbnb does not release the addresses of its rentals to the public or to the city of Los Angeles.

    los angeles homes

    Accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, have become increasingly popular in Los Angeles since a January 2017 law made it easier for homeowners to build "granny flats," or second units, on their property.

    Under the new law, ADUs for which a building application was submitted on or after January 2017 cannot be rented out as a home-share, unless the resident can prove the ADU is their primary home.

    Read more:Crazy-high rent, record-low homeownership, and overcrowding: California has a plan to solve the housing crisis, but not without a fight

    Los Angeles and Airbnb have been battling it out for years over ways to regulate, and ultimately both benefit, from home-sharing. Some people argue Airbnb disrupts neighborhoods and inflames the housing crisis, while supporters say it's a way for struggling residents to earn extra income and promotes tourism to the city.

    In 2016, the city of Los Angeles reached a deal with Airbnb in which the home-sharing site would collect a 14% transient occupancy tax on the listing price for stays of 30 nights or less, which has net the city $100 million in tax revenue already, according to an Airbnb press release.

    In a statement provided to Business Insider on Wednesday, Airbnb's public policy manager John Choi said, "Today the City Council voted to legalize homesharing in LA, providing thousands of Angelenos a way to earn critical income to make ends meet, and launched a pathway to regulate the city's longstanding vacation rental market with sensible guardrails to protect housing. This is a big step in the right direction and we remain committed to working with the city to develop comprehensive, enforceable rules that are a model for cities around the world."

    Read more: Airbnb is in a war with Booking.com, and taking advantage of that fact can save you a ton of money

    Airbnb has warned city officials that capping the number of days a host can rent their home, or restricting the type of housing, could greatly impact tax revenue. City officials are likely concerned about more than just tax revenue, however. Though home-share horror stories are rare, regulation may be able to make the vacation-rental industry safer for local residents and travelers alike.

    The company has spent about $1.3 million on lobbying efforts related to LA city regulations in the last four years, according to city disclosures reviewed by the LA Times.

    SEE ALSO: Forget Airbnb: The wealthy are spending months at a time in luxury extended-stay hotels that can cost upwards of $4,000 per month

    DON'T MISS: Millennials love this new housing community in a forgotten stretch of California thanks to its ultrafast internet and dirt-cheap home prices

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The man who co-created the legendary club Studio 54 built a massive luxury hotel that's trying to kill Airbnb

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    Facebook happy employees

    • If you're looking for a new job, you might want to check out companies where employees are happier than the norm. 
    • Glassdoor has released its annual ranking of the best places to work, which takes into account its database of 45 million company reviews provided by anonymous current and former workers
    • Tech companies dominated the listing, but plenty of firms in healthcare, consulting, manufacturing, and food got kudos for their excellent workplace cultures


    The average American spends some 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime, but 80% are outright dissatisfied with their work

    For that overwhelming majority, the secret to job satisfaction might just be a new company. Glassdoor, a job site with 45 million company reviews, has just released its annual Employees’ Choice Awards for the Best Places to Work. 

    The rankings are compiled from anonymous employee feedback that former or current workers can provide right on Glassdoor. To compile the listing, Glassdoor scans their massive database of company reviews.

    Workers writing a company review are asked to assess the pros and cons of working at the company, growth opportunities, compensation and benefits, culture and values, senior management, work/life balance, if they would recommend the workplace to a friend, and the company's six-month business outlook. 

    A bonus just for you: Click here to claim 30 days of access to Business Insider PRIME

    Those reviews are compiled in Glassdoor's awards algorithm, which also assesses the quality of reviews represented in its ranking. 

    Then, companies receive a score on a scale of one to five — five being the highest. The scores have been rounded to the nearest tenth in our article, while Glassdoor ranked the companies by looking at their score rounded to the thousandth. The employers on this list scored between 4.2 and 4.6 on Glassdoor; the average company rating is 3.4.

    Here is a countdown of the best 50 workplaces, along with their headquarters location, a description of the company from Glassdoor, and a quote from a current or former employee. You can see all 100 companies on Glassdoor.

    SEE ALSO: Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are worth more than $100 billion — see how they spend it, from trapeze lessons to a 600-foot 'air yacht'

    DON'T MISS: 16 things you should never wear to work — even if you work in a business casual environment

    50. Crowe

    Score: 4.3 

    Headquarters location: Chicago

    Crowe is an accounting, technology, and consulting firm.

    "Very flexible work environment, with the ability to work remotely as needed. The company also strives to push career advancement of every employee." Crowe audit business analyst

    49. Johnson & Johnson

    Score: 4.3 

    Headquarters location: New Brunswick, New Jersey

    Johnson & Johnson is a biotech and pharmaceuticals company. 

    "Great people, great culture, and the company really cares about their employees. Really good work life balance and flexibility to work remote."Johnson & Johnson manager 

    48. SpaceX

    Score: 4.3 

    Headquarters location: Hawthorne, California

    SpaceX is an aerospace company dedicated to making human life on Mars possible. 

    "SpaceX believes in its employees and its missions so much, that they invest in you and you invest in the company. All our employees are owners of the company."SpaceX employee 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Nicole Wegman Ring concierge

    • Ring Concierge founder Nicole Wegman designs and sells bespoke engagement rings on Instagram and advises clients to allocate budgets toward carat weight, not color or clarity.
    • A round diamond is the best-selling shape for engagement rings, but it is not a best seller at Ring Concierge: The classic look costs 25% more than all other shapes.
    • Wegman said she aims to provide clients with the biggest bang for their buck without sacrificing the look of a ring. 

    Since 2013, Nicole Wegman's company, Ring Concierge, has designed engagement rings and sold diamonds on Instagram. As a New York City-based jeweler, she caters to clients looking for the latest trends. Each year she sells hundreds of custom rings ranging from $10,000 to six figures and advises clients to get the biggest bang for their buck without sacrificing the look of a ring.

    And, in large part, that question comes down to the diamond shape a client chooses.

    Round diamonds are the best-selling shape for engagement rings, Wegman told Business Insider. Notably, though, they are not a best seller at Ring Concierge — the classic look costs 25% more than all other shapes, she said. 

    "When we explain that to them, and we show them 'here's an oval that's 25% less, and actually appears larger than the round,' they start to gravitate towards these other shapes anyway," she said. 

    For the most part, Ring Concierge sells fancy shapes — ovals, emerald cuts, radiant, and antique diamonds. Much like fashion at large, engagement ring trends are impacted by celebrities; Wegman said that after Blake Lively got engaged with an oval diamond, ovals were in high demand. 

    4ct comparison, which shape is your fav?? 🤔 (P.S. most already sold, but the Old Mine is available for $57K 💕)

    A post shared by Nicole Wegman (@ringconcierge) on Sep 14, 2018 at 10:41am PDT on

    "We're showing women there are other shapes besides the round," Wegman said. "You can get something a little more unique, you can get something a little more interesting. You don't have to wear a round Tiffany-style solitaire like everyone else is wearing."

    Read more:A woman who sells 6-figure engagement rings through Instagram says lots of people make the same mistake when buying diamonds — and it comes down to which details they overspend on

    Wegman meets with every client in person or remotely for a design session. If a woman is absent from an appointment, Wegman and her team provide a female voice during consultations. She said they take care to ensure a ring has everything a woman is looking for.

    "We’ve never had a girl come back in and say he went too big. We have had a few people come in and say, 'alright how can we go bigger,'" she said.

    "I've made settings with over 170 tiny diamonds set all over it," Wegman continued. "So we definitely have these more lavish designs, but we still try to keep things tasteful and fresh. We don't like them to feel gaudy and over the top. Even if you can afford, you know, a $200,000 ring, you don't want to look like that gaudy lady walking down the street."

    SEE ALSO: A woman who sells 6-figure engagement rings through Instagram says there's a big misconception about the 4 C's of buying diamonds

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This giant blue diamond could sell for up to $55 million

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    • What you learn in college outside of academics can often be more valuable than the lessons of your classes. 
    • Here, author Alexis Reliford details the seven best things she learned in college than had nothing to do with grades. 


    Almost eight years ago, I sat in a crowded auditorium surrounded by a bunch of other bright-eyed college freshmen.

    The sweet smell of summer was fading, and we stumbled onto campus armed with mini-fridges, maps, and class schedules that solidified our statuses as young adults. We listened closely as upperclassmen stressed that we were about to embark on one of the most memorable experiences of our lives.

    At the time it sounded a little cheesy and cliché, but looking back I would've told my freshman self to pay close attention to everything and not just to the professors. Opportunities to learn were all around and that four-year journey provided some much-needed wisdom that I'm still grateful for today.

    Here are the best lessons I learned that had nothing to do with passing finals or writing essays in MLA format (aka the bane of my existence):

    SEE ALSO: 10 life lessons of adulthood that my 20-year-old self would never have understood

    1. I learned who exactly I was

    Interacting with different people, trying new activities, and experiencing situations I never had before helped me piece together the real me. Late nights in the newspaper office showed me how good I was at working under pressure. Planning homecoming week and serving on the campus activities board bolstered my leadership skills and creative spirit.

    Unlike high school, where I felt I had to blend in with a certain group in order to survive, college gave me permission to hone my unique passions and strengths.

    2. On the flip side, I also learned who I wasn't

    Being on the dance line freshman year helped me realize that I wasn't cut out to be a collegiate athlete running stadiums at 6 a.m. (or ever). Going to frat parties every Friday night didn't make me happy. I was a far better yearbook writer than I was as its editor.

    These low points initially made me feel bad, but experiencing them helped build confidence in myself and how to appreciate what truly makes me, me and what simply doesn't. This skill comes in handy now when sticking up for what I believe in even when it's unpopular with others.

    3. I came to appreciate the world around me

    Contrary to what most Netflix movie characters would say, high school was a pretty comfortable place for me. It was a small town. There were plenty of familiar faces, and most of my classmates came from similar backgrounds and families.

    College threw me into a whole new environment. Suddenly, I was surrounded by thousands of people from different states and countries, backgrounds and lifestyles, with even more personalities and perspectives. This diversity allowed me to broaden my outlook on the world and showed me that differences really are what makes humanity so beautiful.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    venice italy disappointing reality

    • Venice, Italy is one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
    • The city sees between 26 million and 30 million visitors per year.
    • But despite its beauty, the hordes of tourists, devastating floods, and cruise ship pollution may make you think twice about visiting Venice. 


    Venice goes by many nicknames, "The Floating City," "The City of Bridges," and "The City of Canals" among them.

    Whatever you call it, it's one of the most popular destinations in Italy, with between 26 million and 30 million people visiting per year.

    But despite its beauty, the city suffers from massive overcrowding, devastating floods, and pollution from the massive cruise ships that pass through every day.

    While many people may still consider a trip to Venice worthwhile, these disappointing photos show the reality of the less glamorous aspects of the city.

    SEE ALSO: The top 10 trips Americans wanted to take in 2018, according to Google

    DON'T MISS: Inside the world's largest underwater restaurant, which has a 36-foot window that looks right out into the seabed so guests can watch marine life swim by as they eat

    Venice, a city on Italy's northeastern coast, is one of the country's most popular destinations.

    Nicknamed the "Floating City," Venice is situated on 118 small islands.

    Source: UNESCO, Venice Gondola

    These islands are connected by more than 400 bridges, earning the city one of its nicknames: "The City of Bridges."

    Source: UNESCO

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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