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The latest news from Life

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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.

    Takeya Actives 18oz Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with Insulated Spout Lid

    Everyone has a fitness goal whether it's to gain muscle, tone up their core, or increase their flexibility. No matter what goal they have for 2019, we've got a gift that'll help them get there. 

    From ugly Christmas sweater-inspired sneakers to grippy pilates socks and even ready-to-blend smoothies, there are plenty of gift ideas that work within your budget and their fitness level. And if their fitness level is nonexistent, there's a boutique gym membership to get them started too.

    Help them carry out their fitness goals for 2019 — or at least until the end of January — with these 22 picks.

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

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

    DON'T MISS: 32 last-minute gifts that are Amazon Prime-eligible and guaranteed to arrive in time

    Grippy socks perfect for pilates, barre, or just walking around their apartment

    Gaiam Grippy Yoga Socks, from $4.95, available at Amazon

    These socks have durable grips along the bottom for stability during pilates or lounging around the apartment. No judgments here.



    A membership for delicious ready-to-blend smoothies

    Daily Harvest Subscription, $6.99-$7.99 per cup, available at Daily Harvest

    If they're not switching up their diet along with their workout regimen, all that cardio and weightlifting might just be going to waste. Encourage them to eat healthier with a membership to Daily Harvest for delicious smoothies, harvest bowls, chia bowls, and more.



    A cooling towel that'll feel so good after hot yoga

    Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel, $8.03, available at Amazon

    This cooling towel will be so appreciated after a serious hot yoga or cardio class. They can just rinse the towel in cold water, wring it out, and it'll stay cool for hours.



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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.

    fridge organizers

    There's nothing more frustrating than uprooting the contents of your entire kitchen in order to find the one ingredient, supply, or cooking tool that you need.

    Pots, pans, utensils, accessories, dry ingredients, liquids — the list goes on. It's amazing how much stuff we keep in our kitchens, and how just one cooking stint pushes our pantries, cabinets, and fridges into states of entropy that can't be tamed. That is, unless you use the following organization methods to keep everything nice and neat. 

    The difference in organization, free space, and your own mental state in the kitchen will be noticeable once you try storing all your kitchen foods and tools with these products. You can find all of them on Amazon, and most cost under $30, proving that the most effective fixes can also be affordable. 

    Organize your kitchen with these top-rated and best-selling products from Amazon

    Air-tight food storage containers

    Royal Air-Tight Food Storage Container Set (5-Piece Set), $29.97, available at Amazon

    See the before-and-after photos when we tried these containers here.

    Transferring your packets and boxes of food into these containers of various sizes will immediately declutter your pantry. They have a lip lock mechanism to guarantee maximum freshness and are also safe for storing liquids. 



    Magnetic spice tins

    Talented Kitchen Magnetic Spice Tins (Set of 12), $18.75, available at Amazon

    Stick these tins on any metal surface (like the side of your fridge) to save space. The clear lid and name labels make it easy to find the right spice quickly. 



    A heavy duty pan organizer

    Extreme Matters Heavy Duty Pan Organizer, $26.97, available at Amazon

    Arrange this organizer horizontally or vertically on your countertop or in your cabinets. The no-assembly-required rack prevents your pans from scratching against each other and lets you remove your desired pan without disturbing all the others. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    climb

    • World Economic Forum says the global gender gap will take 108 years to close around the world.
    • When it comes to economic gender disparities, the gap will take in excess of 200 years to eliminate.
    • The WEF's survey shows that Iceland has the lowest gender gap, while the highest gap is in the civil war stricken state of Yemen.
    • USA ranked 51st globally, while the UK was 15th.

    It will take more than 200 years for economic gender equality to emerge, and 108 years to completely close the global gender gap across politics, health, education, according to the latest report from the World Economic Forum.

    The WEF's annual Global Gender Gap Report compares attitudes towards gender equality around the world. It considered factors such as educational opportunities available to each gender, life expectancy, literacy rates, the number of women in professional positions, and in positions of power in each country.

    The WEF surveyed men and women in 149 countries to compile the list.

    "Stagnation in the proportion of women in the workplace and women’s declining representation in politics, coupled with greater inequality in access to health and education, offset improvements in wage equality and the number of women in professional positions, leaving the global gender gap only slightly reduced in 2018," the World Economic Forum's report said.

    Each nation is given a score out of 1, with higher scores indicating a greater level of gender equality. The USA was right in the middle of the pack with a score of 0.72, ranking 51st out of 149 nations.

    Check out the best and worst countries for gender equality, as well as the global averages, below:

    Countries with highest lowest gender gap

    Average gender gap around the world

    SEE ALSO: 6 charts show how much more men make than women

    DON'T MISS: This is what could happen if Roe v. Wade fell

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Bernie Madoff was arrested 10 years ago today — here's what his life is like in prison


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    tcs

    As someone who is not particularly neat on their own, organization does not come naturally to me. That being said, I still crave a space that is tidy so my place looks nice and I know where everything is. In my quest for tidiness, I have purchased many items meant to keep my space more organized and make my life more efficient. 

    An organized space not only looks great, but it alleviates stress and can make a small space appear larger. There are so many products out there to help you keep your home neat, so you just have to find what methods work best for you and your space. Organizational tools can do wonders for your home, but you shouldn't have to spend a fortune to stay neat. That's why we compiled this list of affordable, easy organizational solutions.

    Shop 50 organizational essentials all under $50:

    SEE ALSO: I slept under a 15-pound weighted blanket for a week — and it was the best sleep I've had in ages

    A simple shelving display to help arrange your spices

    FunDisplay Kitchen Shelving Rack, $17.99, available at Wayfair

    This step style kitchen shelving rack elevates your spice collection, so you can actually see what you own. It can be left on the countertop, but also fits well in most cabinets. If you don't have many spices, this piece works well for holding vitamins and medicine as well.



    A sleek way to store and show off your pencils and pens

    HBlife Acrylic Pencil and Pen Holder, $9.59, available at Amazon

    A pile of writing utensils on your desk is not only impractical, but messy. Keep your pens and pencils corralled with this acrylic container. It's clear, so you know what you're getting before you grab it and it goes with just about anything.



    A mop and broom holder that keeps your useful tools accessible

    Onmier Mop & Broom Holder, $10.99, available at Amazon

    Don't let bulky cleaning tools like mops and brooms make a mess in your space. This simple organizer can hold five larger tools and has six hooks to hang smaller cleaning supplies. The whole organizer can be easily mounted to the wall.



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    Eighty Seven Park Hover Shot

    • A $68 million penthouse in Miami could shatter the state's real-estate record.
    • The real-estate record in Florida was set by the sale of a $60 million penthouse in 2015, according to The Wall Street Journal.
    • The penthouse at Eighty Seven Park will have more than 18,000 square feet of outdoor space, including two infinity pools.

    A penthouse in Miami is set to shatter the state's real-estate record.

    The penthouse at Eighty Seven Park is 25,000 square feet and was designed to offer the resident 360-degree park, city, and ocean views. The building is located in North Beach and is, according to a press release, 80% sold.

    Read more:An $82 million penthouse apartment in NYC's tallest residential building offers 360-degree views of Central Park and the city —but nobody wants to buy it

    According to The Wall Street Journal, the real-estate record in Miami is held by a $60 million penthouse in Miami's Faena House condo complex, which hedge-fund exec Ken Griffin purchased in 2015.

    If it sells at the asking price of $68 million, the penthouse will join the ranks of other real-estate listings that could set local records, including a $20 million penthouse in Brooklyn and a $45 million San Francisco complex that straddles two hillside lots.

    According to the Journal, construction on the building is underway and is expected to be complete by the third quarter of 2019.

    Until then, here's a look at some renderings that reveal what the inside of the penthouse will look like:

    SEE ALSO: Here's what the most expensive house for sale in every US state looks like

    Eighty Seven Park is in North Beach, about an hour's drive northeast of Miami.

    Source: Google Maps



    The building is under construction and, according to a WSJ report, is set to be completed by the third quarter of 2019.

    Source: The Wall Street Journal



    The unfinished building's penthouse, which will be listed at $68 million, is already poised to shatter Florida's real-estate record, which was set by the sale of a $60 million penthouse in 2015.

    Source: The Wall Street Journal



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    Editorial internships

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    NOW WATCH: You've probably been cooking your turkey all wrong — here's how to do it in 90 minutes flat


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    best slow cooker

    • Slow cookers are available in a large variety of sizes and price points, so you have a lot of choices, depending on your needs.
    • For an average-sized family looking for a bargain, we like the 6-Quart Programmable Cook-and-Carry Crock-Pot. It works great, it’s easy to operate, and it has a surprisingly low price point.

    Lots of people like comfort foods, especially during the winter months — even if those comfort foods don’t always help out their waistlines. Unfortunately, most comfort foods can be time-consuming to cook and prepare, which means a lot of hassle for someone who spends eight-plus hours at a job. It’s tough to feel comforted when you’re spending several hours cooking after several hours working.

    So you end up ordering a pizza, picking it up on the way home, and eating your comfort food out of a cheap box, which is not ideal.

    If you’d prefer your comfort foods to be homemade, a slow cooker is the answer for a busy household. These kitchen appliances allow you to combine the ingredients in the morning before work, set the cook time and temperature on the slow cooker, and return home to a great-tasting, fully-completed meal. Now that’s ideal.

    A slow cooker is a simple appliance. Although some models have a series of advanced features, the basic operation of a slow cooker involves setting a cooking temperature and cooking time and then leaving it alone for several hours. 

    Slow cookers are available in many different sizes. The capacity of the slow cooker is measured in quarts. You can pick models with capacities ranging from 1 quart to 10 quarts, although sizes of 4 quarts to 6 quarts represent the most common capacities. 

    Most slow cookers will allow you to cook at low, medium, or high temperature settings. A lot of slow cookers will automatically switch to the warm setting after the cooking time has expired so your food doesn't overcook and disintegrate. Some advanced slow cookers will allow you to set an exact cooking temperature, while others offer multiple cooking features and double as pressure cookers. 

    Here are the best slow cookers you can buy:

    Updated on 12/18/2018 by Malarie Gokey: Updated prices and added links to our picks for the best pressure cookers, Crock-Pots, and Instant Pots.

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

    SEE ALSO: The best Crock-Pots you can buy

    The best slow cooker overall

    Why you'll love it: The 6-Quart Programmable Cook-and-Carry Crock-Pot is big enough for a crowd with a lockable lid for easy transport and it has programmable cooking times.

    Sometimes, a product is so synonymous with a product category is that its brand name becomes a preferred term used in everyday language. For example, in everyday language, an adhesive bandage becomes a Band-Aid, a facial tissue becomes a Kleenex, and a closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam product becomes Styrofoam. (That last one makes some sense, as “closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam” is a mouthful.)

    And when it comes to slow cookers, a lot of people use the brand name Crock-Pot to describe all models of slow cookers. It’s understandable, as Crock-Pot slow cookers were first on the market and have dominated for a long time. The company continues to offer excellent quality slow cookers, including the Crock-Pot Programmable Cook-and-Carry 

    It solves one slow cooker concern: What do you do if you’ll be gone for ten hours, but the meal you’re preparing only needs to cook for eight? No need to worry if you have this convenient slow cooker. Just set the timer for your desired cooking time before you head out. 

    You can set cooking times from 30 minutes to 20 hours and leave your worries behind. The Crock-Pot will cook your dinner to perfection, and then automatically switch itself over to the “Warm” setting once the time is up.

    With a six-quart capacity, this is the perfect Crock-Pot for larger families. You can fit a six-pound roast inside, several pieces of meat along with vegetables, or go ahead and roast a whole chicken in it — you’ll still have room for carrots and potatoes.

    The Wirecutter likes this Crock-Pot, praising its long timer, modern appearance, handles, and locking lid. That locking lid with its sealing gasket is another fine feature of this Crock-Pot — no more spills when traveling with the cooker to a picnic, potluck, or tailgate party.

    Amazon customers are pleased with this slow cooker as well. It has nearly 3,600 reviews and an average of 4.2 stars. Buyers like the large capacity, the programmable timer, and the sleek appearance. Several owners complained that the Crock-Pot seemed to run too hot on the “Low” setting, however. Note that both the “Low” and “High” settings of a Crock-Pot reach the same maximum temperature of roughly 210 degrees. It just takes longer to reach the maximum temperature on low.

    The locking lid is a hit. Says one pleased owner, “The slow cooker tipped over once in the car while full of sloppy joe meat, and to my surprise when I arrived at my destination, not a drop of the sloppy joe meat (or sauce) leaked out.” Michelle Ullman and Kyle Schurman

    Pros: Locking lid with gasket, programmable timer, large capacity, stainless steel finish, and modern appearance

    Cons: Might cook too hot on low setting

    Buy the 6-Quart Programmable Cook and Carry Crock-Pot on Amazon for $49.99 (originally $59.99)



    The best high-end slow cooker

    Why you'll love it: The 4-Quart All-Clad Slow Cooker with Ceramic Insert looks beautiful on your countertop and cooks everything to perfection without making you do anything.

    The 4-Quart All-Clad Slow Cooker with Ceramic Insert is the perfect size for cooking meals for a small family or a full chunk of pork butt for pulled pork. All-Clad is famous for its beautiful high-end stainless steel appliances and cooking utensils, and this slow cooker lives up to the brand's reputation.

    Not only does it look gorgeous on any countertop, it also works extremely well. The slow cooker is very easy to operate with just a few buttons and no complicated settings. It has a 26-hour programmable timer and warm, low, and high temperature settings so your food is cooked to perfection.

    The removable black ceramic insert and glass lid are easy to hand wash or pop right in the dishwasher. The lid's handle is made from silicone, so it never gets hot to the touch. You can leave this slow cooker cooking all day without fear of burning the house down and come back to a delicious meal.

    I use this slow cooker regularly to make beans, stews, and pulled pork for the meat-eaters in my life. I toss the ingredients in, set the temperature, and let it do it's thing while I'm at work or out on the weekends. It makes meals super easy to prepare with minimal effort.

    Buyer reviews are largely positive, though some do complain about the ceramic insert breaking after admitted rough handling. If you treat it the way you treat other ceramics like coffee mugs and plates, it won't break — just be careful with it and don't smash it against anything.

    All-Clad guarantees the slow cooker for two years, so contact the company if you run into problems. — Malarie Gokey

    Pros: Gorgeous, 4-quarts is a good size, decent price, ceramic insert is sturdy, easy to use

    Cons: Pricier than some slow cookers

    Buy the 4-Quart All-Clad Slow Cooker with Ceramic Insert at Williams-Sonoma for $149.95 (originally $250)

    Buy the 4-Quart All-Clad Slow Cooker with Ceramic Insert at Bed Bath & Beyond for $145.95



    The best high-end slow cooker

    Why you'll love it: It has a really high price, but The Fast Slow Pro 6-Quart from Breville successfully slow cooks and pressure cooks food in one easy-to-use appliance.

    The Fast Slow Pro 6-Quart slow cooker from Breville carries a high price compared to other slow cookers, which means it won’t work for some people. But it justifies its big price tag by giving you a multitude of features so you can cook big meals however you want.

    The Breville cooker works as both a pressure cooker and a traditional slow cooker, so yu can make just about anything with it. One Amazon reviewer likes The Fast Slow Pro’s versatility because it can perform the work of multiple appliances, saving storage space in the kitchen cabinet.

    The Fast Slow Pro attempts to make slow cooking easy with eight different pre-set programmable cooking modes. There’s also a custom time and temperature setting that you can use for your favorite family recipe. Using the various settings is easy because of the large and clear LCD screen on the side of the unit.

    One Amazon customer appreciates the high-quality build that all Breville appliances offer, and says this one is no exception.

    As for downsides, Wired says the Breville unit is far too complex for what most people will want in a slow cooker, especially considering they’ll pay five to 10 times more for The Fast Slow Pro than they will for other slow cookers.

    Pros: Offers strong pressure cooker and slow cooker functions, eight different slow cooker pre-set modes, excellent build quality, six quarts of capacity works well for many people, large LCD screen is easy to read

    Cons: Extremely high price versus other slow cookers, may be too complex for some people

    Buy The Fast Slow Pro 6-Quart from Breville on Amazon for $217 (originally $249.95)



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    bad santa

    • From "A Christmas Story" to "Bad Santa," 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



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    atlas coffee gear patrol full lead

    Dads are known to be particularly tricky shop for. When it comes to getting him any sort of gift, your conversation probably goes something like this:

    You: "Dad, what do you want for Christmas?"

    Him: "I don't know. You don't have to get me anything."

    If you aren't sure what to get your dad this year, you've found the right gift guide. I've put together a list of 50 presents all dads will love — even yours — from sleek leather wallets and high-tech cooking gadgets to "Game of Thrones"-themed Monopoly and a cookbook that'll let him recreate his favorite Shake Shack burger at home.

    As a professional product reviewer and as someone who's given her own dad many of the gifts included in this list over the years, I can safely say that your dad will love them all.

    Still shopping for more gifts? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

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

    A sleek leather wallet

    Bellroy Leather Note Sleeve Wallet, $89.00, available at Amazon

    This slim leather wallet from Bellroy is perfect for dads who prefer minimalist accessories. It comes in 11 colors, so you’ll be able to find the perfect match. Bellroy also sells phone cases, work bags and backpacks, and key covers



    A gold and leather watch

    Filippo Loreti Venice Moonphase Gold Watch, $169, available at Filippo Loreti

    You can't go wrong with a watch for a Father's Day gift. This Italian leather and gold watch from Filippo Loreti, Kickstarter's most funded watch brand ever, is a timeless option that any dad will love.



    A box of high-quality steaks

    Omaha Steaks n' Burgers Gift Box, $59.99 available at Omaha Steaks

    For the culinary dad, there's nothing better than a box of his favorite filet mignons, top sirloins, and steak burgers.  



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    google home mini

    Becoming a mother is exhilarating — in a strange way that wraps joy, fear, and a flurry of many other emotions all into one confused jumble. When gifting a new mother, consider that she's going through a lot right now as she navigates her new role.

    Her first holiday season is a time for celebration, but it's also an opportunity to help her relax, indulge, and make her job a little easier. Some of these gifts are specifically related to the baby, while others are simply geared toward a mother who has earned her "me time." New moms are among the busiest people in our lives, and they undoubtedly deserve these gifts. 

    Help a new mom celebrate the holidays with the following thoughtful gifts.

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

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

    A five-year journal

    Gift the Q&A a Day for Moms: A 5-Year Journal, $13.47

    Answer a different question in a few words every day. When the next year rolls around, answer the question again. She'll be amazed at how much has (or hasn't) changed. 

     



    A luxurious bathrobe

    Gift the Snowe Bathrobe, $98

    Deemed the best and most absorbent terry robe on the market, Snowe's bathrobe is super comfortable and fluffy. It's perfect for a mom looking for moments of relaxation during an otherwise hectic day. 

     



    Adorable leather baby moccasins

    Gift Freshly Picked baby moccasins, from $45

    These 100% genuine cowhide leather moccasins have a soft sole to help children who are starting to walk. They're easy to put on, will actually stay on your kid's feet, and come in many stylish prints and colors

     



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    Keurig K Mini Coffee Maker, $79.99

    Going to a different store for every item on your holiday shopping list can be a huge headache, so it's important to start with stores that have a wide selection of gifts.

    Target is a one-stop-shop year-round, so it's a super convenient destination during this time of year. On top of that, the retailer is offering free two-day shipping on almost everything. 

    To help you shop, we rounded up 51 awesome gifts to buy at Target. With everything from bikes and toys to tech to smart home gadgets, and even kitchen appliances and beauty products, you'll be sure to find something for everyone on your list, regardless of your budget.

    Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, or should arrive within two days' time, so don't stress too hard about your last-minute shopping — just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.

    Shop at Target now, or keep reading for our top picks.

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

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

    DON'T MISS: 25 creative and unexpected gifts for 'Star Wars' fans of all ages

    An instant film camera

    Fujifilm Instax Mini 9, $59.99 (originally $69.99) [You save $10]

    The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is a modern take on an old-school way to capture life's moments instantly. Instead of using Instagram, this pocket-sized film camera will print your photos on demand as a fun alternative.

     



    An electronic ice cream maker

    Cuisinart Electronic Ice Cream Maker, $119.99

    Since ice cream makers aren't a kitchen essential, there's a good chance the foodie or chef on your shopping list doesn't own one yet. The Cuisinart Electronic Ice Cream Maker can be used to make up to two quarts of frozen yogurt, ice cream, gelato, and sorbet in minutes.



    A Super NES Classic Edition for throwback Nintendo gaming

    Nintendo Super NES Classic Edition, $79.99

    Loaded with 21 classic Super NES games, this console will bring a nostalgic feeling to Nintendo gamer from the '80s and '90s.



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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



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    red trees white house christmas

    • The White House has unveiled this year's Christmas decorations.
    • The official theme is "American Treasures."
    • The first family's official holiday card and ornament join the elaborate installations on display throughout the White House's main rooms and public areas.

    Each year, the halls of America's most well-known address get decked out to set off the season's festivities.

    This year's official theme for the White House decorations is "American Treasures," and decorations include hundreds of trees and ornaments of all sizes to celebrate America's cities, states, and citizens.

    Thousands of volunteers and staff contributed to make the winter wonderland that takes over several rooms and hallways.

    According to the White House, more than 100 open houses and many receptions will happen through the month of December, and more than 30,000 visitors will see the decorations in person during public tours.

    The White House released a video tour of this year's decorations:

    See the highlights in these photos of the decorations.

    SEE ALSO: See what the Trump White House looked like for Christmas last year

    DON'T MISS: 16 behind-the-scenes photos show the White House being decorated for Christmas

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump kicked off the decorating process by receiving the White House Christmas tree from a horse-drawn delivery.



    National Park Service staff then installed the tree as the first decoration in the Blue Room.



    A week later, the main rooms and halls were fully decked and ready to be unveiled days after Thanksgiving. The US Marine Band played in the glistening Grand Foyer during the 2018 Christmas preview.



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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.

    knock knock $13

    From laptops and fresh groceries to a pair of socks— or even a literal car— it seems like you can find pretty much anything on Amazon. The sheer breadth of products is one of the many benefits of shopping with the e-commerce giant, but it can also become one of the frustrations. With so many options to choose from, you can end up spending far too much time scanning the site for what you want, or in a shopping black hole for something you definitely didn't need in the first place. 

    In a sea of choices that nearly everyone has access to, you might not think of Amazon as a spot to find truly unique gifts. But if you're willing to do some digging (that's what we're here for), you can find some pretty cool things. Amazon handmade offers locally made and artisan products from small businesses around the country and Amazon has even curated gift lists and ideas catered to different hobbies, styles, and more. 

    If you want to get straight to the point, keep scrolling. We skimmed through the site and found lots of unique products that will make great gifts this season.

    Most of these items are available with two-day shipping, so don't stress too hard about your last-minute shopping — just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.

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

    A fruit bowl that adds some design flair to their kitchen

    Alessi “Mediterraneo” Fruit Bowl, $100

    This steel fruit bowl is far from ordinary. The spindly, plant-like stems curve upward to hold food, but also add a very interesting aesthetic to any countertop. 

     



    A trio of handmade sweet sauces

    Bushwick Kitchen Trees Knees Maple Trio, $39.99

    If they can't bear the thought of a meal without something sweet, upgrade their condiments with this set from Bushwick Kitchen. With a spicy, cinnamon, and gingerbread maple syrup, they'll have lots of new flavors to test and love. 



    Buildable magnets that will keep adults entertained

    Speks Magnetic Toy, $27.95

    The fidget spinner had it's moment, and now it's Speks' turn. This set of over 500 magnets can be mashed, rolled, and molded into different shapes. It's a productivity toy that even adults will love to play with.



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    hospital visit

    • Our healthcare system divides conditions into physical health concerns, which are "medical" problems, and mental health issues.
    • My son has a rare illness that falls between the cracks of physical illness and psychological manifestations.
    • Not only does this mean that very few people have any idea how to treat my son, but that treatment falls between the cracks of what insurance will pay for.

    My son, who I won't name to give him some privacy, has a rare disorder that crosses the arbitrary boundaries between psychological and physical illness. It's been a costly struggle to find treatment, and our experience shows the shortcomings of the way we approach medical treatment.

    My son's disease is calledPANDAS, or pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections. It causes children to have tics, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety, fears and other symptoms following a strep infection.

    Because this disease is caused by a physical mechanism — the immune system mistakenly attacking the brain when the body is exposed to infection — but shows up primarily in psychological symptoms, most medical doctors and psychiatrists are stumped by it.

    My son's journey started four years ago with sudden onset throat-clearing tics at age six. The doctor we went to didn't believe in PANDAS.

    The tics went away on their own. A year and a half later, as his fears escalated, he started to experience OCD. Then, a sore throat and a cough preceded a sudden plunge into madness.

    A variety of expensive treatments

    My husband, son, baby daughter, and I happened to be living in Scotland for work at the time, and the UK medical system responded by refusing to test my son for strep and throwing up their hands.

    We ended up paying hundreds of dollars to an out-of-network PANDAS specialist in the US, who kindly helped us get antibiotics sent to the UK, and a couple of thousand pounds consulting a nutritionist. My son barely improved. After eight months of homebound misery in the UK, we came back to the US, leaving jobs in the UK behind.

    julia tell son healthcareIn the US, we decided to get a second opinion, so we went to a prominent children's hospital. Doctors there performed many tests: MRI, lumbar puncture, blood tests.

    Thousands of dollars later, paid for by our insurance, we ruled out many scary possibilities. These tests did not rule out PANDAS, but the neurologist said she couldn't believe that a disease could exist unless she could see it in her tests. She sent us off to a psychiatrist.

    The psychiatrist recommended an OCD intensive at a children's psychiatric hospital.

    Read more:A 24-year old got a mysterious disease where her body attacked her brain — and scientists are learning it's more common than they thought

    After two and a half months of hard work at the hospital, he barely made any progress. He tried various drugs that didn't work. The hospital stay cost over a thousand dollars a day, which our insurance covered. But our whole family stayed in hotels near the hospital in Rhode Island for two and a half months, which we had to pay for, now with our finances running on fumes.

    Back home in New Jersey, we decided to try the medical route again. He had his tonsils removed, which insurance covered. But our insurance denied a doctor recommended, but "experimental," treatment for PANDAS —intravenous immunoglobulin treatment (IViG).  It would have cost $10,000 that we didn't have, so we weren't able to pursue it.

    More drastic and difficult measures

    This past June, after a year and much suffering, our insurance did approve a more drastic and difficult procedure — plasmapheresis, or the process of filtering the blood to remove antibodies — and we decided to risk it.

    On the last day of the treatment, an allergic reaction landed my son in an ambulance and admitted to the hospital through the emergency room.

    Our insurance has told us it won't pay for the ambulance ride and the hospital costs. It should all be covered by our health insurance plan, but I will be sorting this out for months to come.

    My son is almost 11 and getting better. He is able to go to school about 60% of the time, and his thinking is clearer again. The OCD still has him in a vise grip, but other fears are loosening.

    The plasmapheresis seems to be working, though he will likely need another, which, thankfully, is already approved by insurance.

    He also needs psychological therapy to help combat his OCD, but guess what? The only people who treat this aren't covered by our insurance, and our son would need to be seen twice a week, at a cost of $200 a visit.

    So far, we are going without. We will keep looking, but few mental health professionals accept insurance these days.

    One of the hardest parts about my son's illness falling between the cracks of physical and mental health coverage is that none of the specialists who treat PANDAS take insurance.

    They can't. They've told me that insurance gives them a hard time about paying their claims and sets ridiculously low limits for charges. Treating this disease requires long visits to get all the history and symptoms straight.

    Even the tests to help determine the shape of the illness are not covered. We keep delaying or skipping treatments and tests that aren't covered because we can't afford them.

    Read more: 5 mistakes I made when I had my first kid that I wish I could have avoided

    But we are some of the lucky few. We have insurance, we have discovered what this mysterious disease is, and we are getting some treatment to get my son better.

    I work from home as much as I can, but it is hard, because my son often can't go to school. When he's at his most sick, I can't work at all.

    Still, we won't be able to afford all the treatment that my son needs. I want my son to get better. I want the health system to catch us before we fall completely through the cracks — health-wise for my son, and financially for my whole family.

    Want to tell us your healthcare story? Email Zach Tracer at ztracer@businessinsider.com.

    SEE ALSO: I opted out of health insurance and then had a medical emergency. Here's how Medicaid is rescuing me from $50,000 in medical bills.

    DON'T MISS: A 24-year old got a mysterious disease where her body attacked her brain — and scientists are learning it's more common than they thought

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    richest family Asia ambanis

    The richest family in Asia is an Indian family who just threw one of the most lavish wedding celebrations in recent memory, which included a private Beyoncé concert and celebrity guests including Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, Hillary Clinton, and Arianna Huffington.

    The Ambani family is behind the oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries. The company's chairman and largest shareholder is Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in Asia, who is worth $42.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

    Mukesh's daughter, 27-year-old Isha Ambani, married Anand Piramal, 33, heir to a real-estate and pharmaceutical business, in December at the Ambani family home in Mumbai, a 27-story skyscraper that cost an estimated $1 billion to build.

    Here's a look at the Ambani family's fortune, relationships, friends, and lavish lifestyles.

    SEE ALSO: The 25 richest American families, ranked

    DON'T MISS: Everything we know about Isha Ambani, the Indian heiress who got Beyoncé to perform at her wedding

    The Ambani family in India tops the Forbes list of Asia's Richest Families, with a net worth of at least $42.7 billion.

    Source: Forbes



    The Indian family's massive wealth began with Dhirubhai Ambani, who founded Reliance Industries to manufacture fabrics and textiles.

    Source: BloombergFortune



    It's now a Fortune 500 company worth $100 billion.

    Source: BloombergFortune



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    giuliani trump mueller

    • 2018 was another roller coaster year in US politics, and for no one more than President Donald Trump and some of his closest allies.
    • As Trump entered his second year in office, the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election — and multiple congressional inquiries on the topic — picked up speed as well.

    Since January, the public has learned a multitude of new details about Russia's influence operations in the US during and after the election.

    These include the Trump campaign's contacts with Russians; crimes that key Trump allies committed that fell within the scope of the Russia probe, and even some that were outside its scope; Trump's reported efforts to obstruct Mueller's inquiry; and Russia's ongoing campaign to meddle in the US political sphere.

    Here are some of the biggest Trump-Russia bombshells of 2018:

    SEE ALSO: The wildest things we learned from books about Trump's White House in 2018

    Mueller charged 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian entities for meddling in the election.

    In February, Mueller's office charged three Russian entities and 13 Russian nationals with "violating US criminal laws in order to interfere with US elections and political processes."

    The charges were directed primarily at the Internet Research Agency (IRA), an infamous Russian "troll factory" located in St. Petersburg that focused on sowing political discord during the 2016 race by using Russian bots to spread fake news and pro-Trump propaganda on Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media platforms.

    The 13 Russian nationals charged were indicted for working in "various capacities to carry out" the agency's "interference operations targeting the United States."

    Among the defendants was Kremlin-allied Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, who is accused of using his companies, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering, to bankroll the IRA's work.

    The charges did not allege that any American was a knowing participant in Russia's activities, or that the underlying conduct altered the outcome of the race.



    Mueller later indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking into the Democratic National Committee.

    Mueller's office indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in July who are suspected of playing a role in the hack of the Democratic National Committee before the 2016 US election.

    The charges represented the first time Mueller's office directly pointed a finger at the Russian government for interfering in the election.

    The indictment said the conspirators — in this case, the Russia-linked hacker Guccifer 2.0 — communicated with US persons about the release of stolen documents.

    In one instance, it said, the conspirator posing as Guccifer 2.0 contacted a person who was "in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump."



    Rick Gates pleaded guilty and testified against his former boss in a high stakes trial.

    Rick Gates, the former deputy chairman of the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty in February and began cooperating with Mueller's office. He was the star witness in the special counsel's case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who went on trial in August for several financial crimes arising from his political consulting work.

    At Manafort's trial in August, Gates admitted that he cheated Manafort out of millions of dollars to fund an extramarital affair.

    He also testified to several other exchanges with Manafort that appeared to show the two men conspiring to commit bank fraud and tax fraud at Manafort's direction.



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    costco wine

    • Wines at Costco have a reputation for being high-quality and high-value — and they've attracted a whole community of fans through the independently run Costco Wine Blog.
    • Business Insider spoke to Costco Wine Blog founder Andrew Cullen and reviewer Erin Reyes about what makes the warehouse's wines so special.
    • The pair singled out Costco's ability to wrangle tempting deals, as well as its attention to quality.

    Lots of Costco members have a rosy — or should we say rosé? — view of their warehouse's wine selection.

    That's especially true among followers of the Costco Wine Blog. This blog features detailed reviews of Costco's selection of reds, whites, rosés, and bubblies, as well as forums for members.

    Founder and editor Andrew Cullen told Business Insider that he's always been a fan of Costco wines. After one of his early blog posts about wine at Costco blew up, he realized that he'd stumbled into a community of like-minded members.

    "Everyone's looking for the same thing, myself included," Cullen told Business Insider. "We want to find really good wine at really good prices. That's it. Costco's a really good place to do that."

    Business Insider spoke to Cullen and contributing reviewer Erin Reyes about what sets Costco apart, in terms of its wine section.

    Read more: Costco wine experts dish on their favorite picks and deals that you can only get at the warehouse chain

    Both reviewers stressed the fact that the blog is completely independent of the members-only warehouse club.

    "I really felt it was important to retain the freedom to do and say whatever we want, however we want, whenever we wanted," Cullen said. "We're trying to help people find good stuff and avoid bad stuff."

    But according to Cullen and Reyes, most of the offerings out of Costco's wine section qualify as "good stuff."

    Reyes said that the power Costco wields over suppliers is a key factor in its ability to provide members with an array of high-value wines.

    "Costco has a unique purchasing power for wine because they're able to buy so much at one time," Reyes said. "And, for the most part, anyone would want their wine to be stocked in Costco. There's so many people who go through looking for the wine."

    That purchasing power often shows up at the cash register.

    "Just in my experience, their wine prices are from 0% to 40% better than other outlets," Cullen said.

    Beyond the price tags, Reyes said that Costco also takes care to provide a "good variety" of wines, and continuously adds new bottles every week.

    "There's always something to look forward to," she said. "Sometimes, there are unique wines that are hard to find that will just show up and then they're gone. And then they never come back again, so that's kind of intriguing."

    That being said, there is a limit to Costco's wine selection. Cullen added that it's more like a "curated wine collection" than an all-encompassing, expansive stock. But for Cullen, a crucial part of that "curated wine collection" is the warehouse chain's in-store line of Kirkland Signature wines.

    Costco oftentimes partners up with major vineyards to create these Kirkland Signature offerings, so you might just be purchasing a particularly fancy or notable wine at a reduced price and under a different name.

    "Having access to those is a huge, huge benefit for any Costco member and wine shopper," Cullen said. "You can only get them at Costco. There's been a few Kirkland duds, and we definitely call those out. But I think they're a really big benefit."

    SEE ALSO: 8 mistakes you should avoid when shopping for wine at Costco

    DON'T MISS: 13 tips for getting the best deals on wine at Costco

    SEE ALSO: What happens when you show up at Costco without a membership card, according to employees

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried the Costco food court and it totally blew us away


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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 






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    stocking stuffers main

    Not everyone in your life, like your friendly neighborhood mailman or the kid cousins you only see once a year, is going to receive a fancy gift from you this year. However, you might still want to give them a small token of love and appreciation during the holidays because it's simply a nice thing to do.

    Before you tackle the big-ticket gift purchases on your list for your mom, dad, or significant other, it's easier to start small with the stocking stuffers you can buy by the armful. Under $10 is just about as affordable as you can get with gifts, but this low price point doesn't mean your stocking stuffers can't still be useful, thoughtful, and unique. 

    These 31 affordable stocking stuffers, from handy tech accessories to personal care staples, are far from throwaways.

    Most of these items are available with two-day shipping, so don't stress too hard about your last-minute shopping — just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.

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

    DON'T MISS: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    SEE ALSO: 20 cool gift ideas from 'Shark Tank' that you can find on Amazon

    A mini waffle maker

    Dash Mini Maker, $8.99, available at Amazon

    This gadget may be mini, but it's just as functional and versatile as the big version. Plus, they can feel free to eat multiples since the waffles are pretty small.



    Cable clips that keep all your cables organized

    Shintop 6-Piece Cable Clips Set, $6.99, available at Amazon

    These handy adhesive clips prevent cables from slipping around the table and control any cords that run along the wall. 



    Reusable stainless steel straws

    RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel Bent Drink Straws, 4-Count, $7.95, available at Amazon

    Gift reusable metal straws so your friends and loved ones have little excuse not to reduce their plastic waste. 



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