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The latest news from Life

older | 1 | .... | 1646 | 1647 | (Page 1648) | 1649 | 1650 | .... | 2006 | newer

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

    lulas garden

    You spend the majority of your day with your coworkers, and if you like them enough, you might even plan on getting them a gift as a thank-you for all the good times in and out of the office. 

    Another person you're probably thinking about gifting is your boss. Though not always easy to come by, a good boss makes a big difference for how you approach daily work activities and grow professionally. 

    Since they're your manager, it's important that your gift maintains professionalism — but still gets the message across that you appreciate their hard work. 

    These 22 affordable gifts for your boss do just that. 

    Note: Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few 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.

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

    SEE ALSO: 31 clever stocking stuffers they’ll actually use — all under $10

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

    READ MORE: 55 creative and unexpected gifts for her that are all under $50

    A fun desk toy

    Speks Blocks, $24.95, available at Amazon

    The makers of our favorite magnetic desk toy have a new way to reduce stress and keep your boss entertained. With these colorful magnetic blocks (which also come with a travel bag), they can take a mental break or use the opportunity to refocus their mind as they build creative sculptures. 



    A gift card to a popular women's workwear shop

    Gift Card, $50, available at MM.LaFleur

    Popular women's workwear brand MM.LaFleur makes excellent pants and blazers that are definitely an investment, but worth the price. Its Bento Box contains these stylish and comfortable wardrobe staples to take the headache out of getting dressed in the morning. 



    A set of notebooks with a bullet journaling system

    Word. 3 Pack Lined Pocket Notebooks, $10.99, available at Amazon

    These small books are the perfect size for jotting down quick notes and to-do lists. Each page is printed with circles to help them set up an efficient, organized bullet journal. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    harrison jacobs bali.JPG

    • While most people know about the Indonesian island of Bali as a beach paradise, I found the interior jungle, and specifically the city of Ubud, to be a far more interesting place to explore.
    • Ubud has a bustling community of local Balinese, digital nomads working on startups, and vacationers exploring Ubud's mix of rice terraces, temples, spiritual retreats, yoga and meditation classes, and villas set into the countryside. 
    • Ubud would be easy to make fun of due to its proliferation of New Agey seekers, vegan and raw food establishments, and more, but it's the earnestness and positivity that permeates the city that makes it a place you want to experience and return to.

    Bali is the kind of place you visit more than once.

    When my driver, a burly man named Wayan, picked me up from the airport during a trip to the island this past May, the first thing he said to me was, "Welcome back. So, how many times have you been to Bali?"

    In most places, I'd think he was making a joke. It was my first time to the island, after all. But, in Bali, the vacationers, expats, and travelers always seem to come more than once.

    From a Filippino yoga teacher to a German programmer to a Australian cafe owner and countless others I met, again and again, I heard a similar refrain: I came here the first time not knowing what to expect, but after being in Bali for a few days, I knew I'd be back. Now it's my fourth, fifth, or tenth time.

    It didn't take me long to figure out why. While Bali has become known for its endless parade of Instagram influencers, honeymooners lying in infinity pools, and beach sunsets to end all beach sunsets, I think it's the city of Ubud and the jungle interior of the island that keeps people coming back.

    Ubud has been known as a spiritual and mystical center to Balinese for centuries — Ubud means "medicine" — but, over the last few decades, it has sprouted a community of New Agey seekers and expats seeking to live the good life.

    Add in a new generation of digital nomads working on startups by night and yoga during the day and you have the mix for a dynamic community that keeps people coming back. 

    While overtourism is a problem — the number of annual tourists has jumped from 2.2 million in 1990 to 13.7 million last year — many foreigners are beginning to work with locals to build sustainable tourism businesses and many of the best guesthouses, shops, restaurants, yoga studios, tour companies are run by local Balinese or Indonesians.

    In May, I spent a week in Ubud and never even bothered to hang out on the beach. I didn't need to. There was far too much to do in Ubud. Here's what I did:

    SEE ALSO: I visited Singapore, the wildly rich setting of 'Crazy Rich Asians,' and was surprised by how much fun you can have even without billions

    SEE ALSO: I visited outlandishly wealthy Dubai, known as the 'city of gold,' and there's a lot more to the city than its extravagant landmarks

    I arrived on the outskirts of Ubud late one evening in May. While Ubud has been known as a spiritual and mystical center to Balinese for centuries, it grew in popularity among Westerners starting in the 1960s, but has really picked up since Elizabeth Gilbert set part of her best-selling book, "Eat, Pray, Love" in the area.



    I decided to stay at Roam, a co-working/co-living concept started in Bali in 2015 to cater to digital nomads. Ubud has recently become a haven for digital nomads, with numerous businesses set up to serving new population of traveling programmers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.

    Roam Ubud



    Roam combines the best aspects of a backpacking hostel (communal vibe, instant friends, weekly events) with that of a boutique hotel. Roam has been critiqued for allowing residents to have little to no interaction with Balinese or their culture, with some likening it to a "bubble," but I can't see why it's any more like that than any other hotel or hostel. Personally, I think the critiques have more to do with perceptions about what kind of people might stay at Roam and who owns it than what it actually is.

    Roam Ubud



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    melania white house christmas

    • December means homes across America are decking the halls, and the nation's most famous address is no exception.
    • The White House halls have been decked for the holidays every December since John and Abigail Adams held the first White House Christmas party in 1800.
    • The decorations have only gotten more elaborate with time. These photos show how White House Christmases of years past compare to today.

    It's the most beautiful time of the year at the White House.

    The West Wing, East Wing and every room in-between have been decked out in elaborate decorations to celebrate the holidays, and President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania are preparing to celebrate the holiday with their family.

    This year's official theme is "American Treasures," for the latest round of holiday decorating to take over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Here's a look back at presidential Christmas celebrations, going all the way back to the 1800s.

    SEE ALSO: 27 photos show the White House all decked out for Christmas 2018

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

    The White House halls have been decked for the holidays every December since John and Abigail Adams held the first White House Christmas party in 1800.

    Source: History.com



    Every president has brought their own traditions into the White House. Grover Cleveland, for example, lit up the first Christmas tree inside the White House to the delight of his young daughters.

    Source: WhiteHouseHistory.org



    Calvin Coolidge was the first president to host a public Christmas celebration at the White House, with the first National Christmas Tree lighting in 1923.

    Source: WhiteHouseHistory.org



    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.

    Timberland Super Boot

    • I own dozens of winter-ready boots from a variety of brands, but the Timberland Super Boot is always my go-to choice for cold weather and snow.
    • The brand just released a Winter Extreme Collection, featuring a shearling-lined pair and true-to-original Gore-Tex lined pair.
    • The Timberland Winter Extreme Super Boots are super warm, 100% waterproof, and well worth the $300 price tag — and that's coming from someone who has purchased three different pairs prior to reviewing this release.

    I got my first pair of Timberland boots when I was in kindergarten. The year was 1998 and I was only five years old, but I can vividly remember those classic Wheat six-inch boots being my favorite shoes at the time. Over the years, I've worn a handful of other Timberlands — and I'd probably still have a majority of them today, had I not outgrown them. 

    Twenty years later, my feet have since stopped growing, so I don't have to replace my shoes nearly as often. When I shop for boots now, I look for build quality that can last a lifetime — and Timberland is still, without a question, my number one choice.

    Out of the 10 different pairs of Timberlands I currently own, the Super Boot is by far my favorite silhouette because of its longevity in both quality and style. I own three pairs of the Super Boots, but the brand just released two new "extreme" pairs in time for winter, which have quickly become my go-to for seriously cold weather.

    Timberland Super Boot

    Originally released in 1979, the Timberland Super Boots were designed for Alaskan frontiersmen and hunters in need of footwear that was durable, waterproof, and warm for extended periods of time. Often referred to as the Iditarod boot for its popularity among Alaskan dog sled racers or the 40 Below boot for being said to withstand -40° Fahrenheit temperatures, they have a strong reputation for cold-weather wear.

    The new Winter Extreme Shearling Super Boots feature an eight-inch height, a black Nubuck upper, 400 grams of PrimaLoft for insulation, authentic shearling interior linings, and durable Vibram outsoles. 

    Also coming in an 8-inch height, the Winter Extreme Gore-Tex Super Boots feature a full-grain brown leather upper, Gore-Tex membranes, 400 grams of PrimaLoft for insulation, and Vibram outsoles. Despite having a tan and black midsole in the lifestyle images, the boots actually come with an all-black midsole like photographed here. Timberland decided to make this change late in production in order to make it identical to the 1979 original and the mid-90s re-release.

    Timberland sent me a pair of the Winter Extreme Shearling Super Boots, but to be completely honest, I would've bought them with my own money had they not. Having already owned the traditional Super Boots in three different colors, I figured that the shearling-lined version would be a worthwhile addition to my collection — and I was completely right. 

    It just so happened that I was already wearing my Super Boots in "Hazel Highway" leather from 2016 when the new pair arrived in the mail, so I was able to get a feel for how much of a difference the shearling makes. While the regular pairs have been my go-to boots for cold weather and snow, the new shearling-lined pair is a lot better in terms of comfort and warmth. The shearling is super soft and packs that coziness you'd want out of slipper into a rugged winter boot.

    hazel highway

    Although I've never been to Alaska or stepped foot outside in sub-zero temperatures, I've worn my non-shearling-lined Super Boots countless times during harsh New York and New Jersey winters. Even with normal socks, I've been able to comfortably stand outside in them without frozen toes. So as you can imagine, the shearling-lined pair is just that much warmer.

    The boots are on the heavy side, but it's something you should expect considering its eight-inch height, thick Nubuck upper, shearling lining, and sturdy Vibram sole. If you're looking for a lighter weight yet extremely durable Timberland boot, I recommend the 1978 Waterproof Hiker, which became my second favorite silhouette from the brand after reviewing it last year.

    Another thing that I really like about this year's Super Boot release is that they're more readily available. On two separate occasions in the past, I was able to secure releases just minutes before they sold out completely. Being limited to 1,973 pairs (the number they released for Timberland's year of establishment), the third pair was so hard to get that I resorted to eBay. This time around, both pairs are available in all sizes on Timberland at the time of publishing this post four days after the release.

    Both the Winter Extreme Shearling Super Boots and the Winter Extreme Gore-Tex Super Boots are priced at $300. As someone who's paid that on three separate occasions before receiving the shearling pair for review, I can say that they're well worth the money. I've tried a handful of boots that are similarly priced or higher that don't match up to the Timberland Super Boots.

    Whether you're going for the true-to-original Gore-Tex-lined version or the new ultra-warm shearling pair, the Timberland Super Boot Collection can handle anything that might come your way this winter. If you're looking for winter boots that will last a lifetime, you've just found them.

    Shop the Timberland Super Boot Collection here

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Delta Airlines

    • Two Delta Air Lines flights were delayed Monday morning in Los Angeles after one plane clipped the wing of another plane at Los Angeles International Airport
    • According to ABC 7 Los Angeles, a Delta 737 bound for Salt Lake City clipped the wing of another plane while backing out from its gate at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). 
    • Flight 2377, bound for Salt Lake City from Los Angeles, was delayed nine hours, according to FlightAware, while the second aircraft, Delta Flight 696, a 757 traveling from Los Angeles to Atlanta, was delayed for two hours.

    • There were no reported injuries and maintenance teams are evaluating the aircrafts. 

    Two Delta Air Lines flights were delayed Monday morning in Los Angeles after one plane clipped the wing of another plane at Los Angeles International Airport, ABC 7 Los Angeles reported.  

    According to ABC 7 Los Angeles, a Delta 737 bound for Salt Lake City clipped the wing of another plane while backing out from its gate at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). 

    ABC 7 reports "the right winglet clipped the left wing of a parked plane." 

    Flight 2377, bound for Salt Lake City from Los Angeles, was delayed nine hours, according to FlightAware, while the second aircraft, Delta Flight 696, a 757 traveling from Los Angeles to Atlanta, was delayed for two hours.

    LAX's public relations office declined to comment when asked by Business Insider for a statement, calling the incident "a Delta matter."

    Read More:Delta is testing out 3-course meals and sparkling wine for economy passengers

    Delta Air Lines did not respond to Business Insider was asked for a comment or statement. 

    In a statement to USA Today, a Delta Air Lines spokesperson said, "On pushback from the gate, the right winglet of flight 2377 made contact with the left wing of flight 696 parked at the adjacent gate," adding that, "Delta apologizes to the customers for the delay this has caused." 

    ABC 7 reports there were no reported injuries and maintenance teams evaluated the aircrafts. 

     

     

    SEE ALSO: A Delta passenger found dog feces all over his plane seat while boarding, and he claims the crew gave him just 2 paper towels and told him to clean it up

    FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This Rolls-Royce feature might be the world's fanciest way to tailgate


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    michael flynn

    • US District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled to delay former national security adviser Michael Flynn's sentencing until March following a tense hearing on Tuesday.
    • "Arguably," Sullivan told Flynn earlier in the day, "you sold your country out."
    • Flynn pleaded guilty last December to one count of lying to the FBI as part of the bureau's Russia investigation.
    • He has been cooperating with investigators for nearly a year since then, and prosecutors said it was possible Flynn would cooperate more.
    • Sullivan said "this crime" that Flynn committed "is very serious," adding that he would not hide his "disdain" for Flynn's actions.
    • "In the White House!" Sullivan said. "In the West Wing! It's a very serious offense. You can't minimize that."

    US District Judge Emmet Sullivan agreed to delay the sentencing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday following a request from Flynn's defense attorney.

    The request came after Flynn faced harsh blowback from Sullivan on Tuesday after nearly a year of cooperating with federal investigators. Prosecutors hinted on Tuesday that Flynn may cooperate more going forward.

    Flynn pleaded guilty last December to one count of lying to the FBI about his communications with Sergey Kislyak, then-Russia's ambassador to the US. He also admitted to lying about the lobbying work he did for the Turkish government.

    President Donald Trump has frequently suggested that Flynn was duped into lying to the FBI. On Tuesday, Flynn threw cold water on that assertion and said he "was aware" lying to the FBI was a crime when he misled investigators.

    During his sentencing hearing, Sullivan asked Flynn whether he wanted to challenge the circumstances under which he was interviewed by the FBI.

    "No, your honor," Flynn replied.

    Sullivan later gave Flynn another chance to withdraw his guilty plea if he felt he had been unfairly coaxed into pleading guilty.

    "I would like to proceed," Flynn said.

    Asked whether he wished to proceed because he was guilty, Flynn said, "Yes, your honor."

    Sullivan asked prosecutors whether Flynn was still cooperating.

    "It remains a possibility," they said, but added that their decision to move forward with his sentencing was based on the fact that he had already given them the "vast majority" of potentially useful information. They emphasized an indictment unsealed on Monday against his former associate, who was charged with acting as an illegal agent of the Turkish government.

    Nonetheless, Sullivan said, "this crime" that Flynn committed "is very serious."

    "In the White House!" he said. "In the West Wing! It's a very serious offense. You can't minimize that."

    He added: "Arguably, you sold your country out."

    Sullivan also asked the government whether Flynn could be charged under the Logan Act, and even whether he could face charges of treason. Prosecutors declined to broach that territory.

    "I'm not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal action," he said.

    After the court returned from its recess a little after noon on Tuesday, Sullivan walked back some of his comments, saying he was merely asking about treason, not implying that Flynn committed it.

    "Don't read too much into the questions I asked," he said.

    Robert Mueller

    What Flynn lied about

    According to a memo the special counsel Robert Mueller's office released late Monday, Flynn portrayed his conversations with Kislyak as more benign than they were during a January 2017 interview with FBI agents.

    The memo said Flynn told investigators "no," he had not tried to influence Russia's vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution about Israeli settlements.

    But investigators knew Flynn had asked Russia to vote against or delay the resolution, according to charging documents filed in his case last year.

    Mueller's memo said Flynn also lied when FBI agents asked him about then-President Barack Obama's expulsion of Russian diplomats and closing of Russian diplomatic facilities in response to the Kremlin's meddling in the 2016 election.

    Investigators asked Flynn whether he had asked Kislyak during a phone call in December not to retaliate following Obama's move, and Flynn replied, "Not really. I don't remember." He added that he didn't tell Kislyak, "Don't do anything," the memo said.

    But his answers contradicted signals intelligence the FBI had collected that indicated Flynn had asked Kislyak during the phone call not to punch back.

    Read more:Mueller sent a clear message — and a warning — with Flynn's sentencing memo

    In a sentencing memo Mueller's office filed in Flynn's case last week, prosecutors recommended that Flynn get little to no jail time, citing the "substantial assistance" he provided to the special counsel's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election — as well as other, separate ongoing investigations.

    Flynn was among the first defendants to plead guilty in the Russia probe. His sentencing was delayed five times after prosecutors said they needed more information from the former national security adviser, who served as a key surrogate on Trump's 2016 campaign.

    Flynn emerges as a valuable asset

    Donald Trump Mike Flynn

    In their sentencing memo, prosecutors emphasized that Flynn began cooperating early, that his assistance was critical in encouraging other witnesses to come forward and be candid, and that he helped the investigation in several ways.

    In typical fashion, Mueller's office revealed very little information, if any, about the specifics of what Flynn told them. Prosecutors also attached a largely-redacted six-page addendum to the sentencing memo laying out how Flynn had cooperated in what appears to be a separate investigation not being conducted by Mueller's office.

    In the original sentencing memo, prosecutors laid out the crux of what Flynn was charged with: his lies to the FBI about conversations he had with Kislyak about US sanctions on Russia.

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

    But that's not the only thread of which Flynn may have had valuable information.

    The former national security adviser was also not forthcoming about his involvement in three key areas: his now defunct lobbying firm's work for the Turkish government in 2016, his efforts with Russia and Saudi Arabia to develop nuclear reactors in the Middle East, a project that would have benefited from the US lifting sanctions on Russia, and payments he received from the state-owned media outlet Russia Today that he failed to disclose when he applied to renew his security clearance in January 2016.

    Flynn was also a participant in a controversial meeting with Kislyak and senior adviser Jared Kushner during the transition period, in which Kushner reportedly discussed setting up a secret back channel between the Trump team and Moscow using Russian diplomatic facilities.

    And he also served as an adviser to the campaign when Kushner, then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Donald Trump Jr. met with two Russian lobbyists offering dirt on the Hillary Clinton campaign. The meeting, which took place at Trump Tower in June 2016, is a key investigative focus for the special counsel and congressional committees.

    'Flynn gave up the goods'

    Jared Kushner

    Flynn's sentencing memo said he provided "firsthand information" about contacts between Russian officials and members of the Trump transition team.

    "We do not yet know everything about Flynn's cooperation," said Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, in an interview with INSIDER. "The heavy redactions in the filing hide nearly all the details that Mueller provided to the court."

    Jens David Ohlin, a vice dean at Cornell Law School and an expert on criminal law, echoed that view.

    "There is more to come, but we don't know what that is," told INSIDER. The substantial redactions in Flynn's sentencing memo indicate that the targets of other investigations he's cooperated with have not yet been charged, he said. "It could be a reference to an obstruction of justice investigation, possibly involving the president, but we don't really know. So this is a known unknown."

    Honig emphasized, however, that "if you read around all that black ink, Mueller did say enough to let us know this: Flynn gave up the goods, and Mueller's work is far from over."

    SEE ALSO: A new report found that Russia's disinformation operation in the US picked up speed even after it was caught by Mueller

    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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    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.

    Bonobos

    1. Save 30% sitewide at Bonobos

    Any guy looking to add new pieces to his winter wardrobe should head over to Bonobos. For a limited time, you can 30% sitewide by using the promo code "LOVEMYSELF" at checkout. With everything from sweaters, sweatshirts, and dress shirts to jeans and outerwear, there are plenty of great basics to choose from.

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    Instant Pot

    2.Save $70 on the Instant Pot Duo Plus 8-Quart 10-in-1 Cooker on Amazon

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    Instant Pot Duo Plus 8-Quart 10-in-1 Cooker, $89.95 (Originally $159.95)[You save $70]

    Ralph Lauren

    3.Save 40% when you spend $125 or more at Ralph Lauren

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    The Echo Dot and Fire Stick are two of Amazon's most popular products for creating an interactive smart home and entertainment system. With the use of Alexa, you can easily watch movies, listen to music, order pizza, check the weather, and so much more. Right now, you can save $35 by bundling the two items together on Amazon.

    Fire TV Stick 4K and Gen 3 Echo Dot Bundle, $64.98 (Originally $99.98)[You save $35]

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The world's largest cruise ship just landed in Miami — here's what it's like on board


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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.

    $16

    Unless you won the lottery or lost a bet, not everyone in your life is expecting a brand new car from you for the holidays.

    And for the many instances in which it's better to give a small gift, most of us would love to give something that's both inexpensive and impactful — more than just a token space filler in a stocking. For that, you'll probably have the best luck on Amazon. It's home to a ton of great, affordable products people actually want, and you get the added perks of easy, fast shipping and prices that are nearly always the lowest on the internet. 

    The trade off is that you need to be willing to invest the time, eye strain, and concentration wrinkles necessary for going through 30+ pages of product results. To save you the time, we curated a few of our all-time favorites and other great products from a wide range of interests below.  

    If you're looking for something even more budget-friendly, we also have 30+ stocking stuffers you can get for under $10 here

    Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few 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.

    Below, you'll find 50 of the best stocking stuffers you can find on Amazon for under $20.

    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: 33 unique and interesting last-minute gifts you didn't know you could get on Amazon

    A mini, functional waffle maker that takes up minimal countertop space

    Dash Mini Waffle Maker, $8.99

    This small but mighty waffle maker looks more like a gag gift than a functional one, but they'll be surprised by how often they end up using it. It takes up minimal counter and storage space, is easy to clean, and is perfect for when you're craving just one or two waffles and don't want to make a whole spread. 



    A protective cover for their AirPods case

    PodSkinz AirPods Case Protective Silicone Cover, $7.95

    Apple AirPods: incredibly convenient, but also incredibly easy to lose and scratch up. A silicone cover is a cheap and attractive way to protect the case protecting their beloved earbuds. 



    A pair of $10 headphones with over 30,000 5-star reviews

    Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Headphones, $8.98

    These $10 in-ear headphones are sort of like finding cheap diamonds in the rough. They have over 30,000 5-star reviews on Amazon and are one of few cheap tech products with universal praise. The best features include: noise isolation, good sound, and staying put.  



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Rolls Royce Phantom first drive

    • The Rolls-Royce Phantom is all-new for 2018.
    • The eighth-generation Phantom is powered by a new 563-horsepower, 6.75-liter, twin-turbocharged V12 engine.
    • The new Rolls-Royce Phantom starts at $450,000 while our decked-out test car left the factory with a price tag of $644,000.

    The Rolls-Royce Phantom represents the peak of automotive luxury. It's a car whose plushness is the gold standard to which all others are measured.

    For the first time in 15 years, we get a brand-new, from-the-ground-up Phantom. 

    "The Phantom is the pinnacle of the Rolls-Royce brand in its truest sense," Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös told Business Insider in an interview ahead of the car's unveiling last July. "It embodies all of the qualities Rolls-Royce is well known for. It starts with the magic carpet ride, the quality, the precision design, and engineering."

    "It embodies what Sir Henry Royce said, 'Take the best that exists and make it even better,' and that is exactly what the Phantom is in every single detail," Müller-Ötvös added.

    Read more: We drove a $246,000 Bentley Bentayga SUV to see if it's ready to do battle with Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini. Here's the verdict.

    Earlier this year, Business Insider got to take a short drive in a long-wheelbase Phantom through the streets of New York City. Even though we only got to spend about an hour with the car, it was enough for us to get a feel for its luxury and performance. 

    We will have a full review of the Phantom at a later date, after a comprehensive road test of the new Rolls flagship. 

    The standard wheelbase Phantom starts at about $450,000. But our test car is an extended wheelbase model that is eight inches longer than the standard Phantom and starts at $530,000. With bespoke optional extras, our black-and-emerald-green Roller costs nearly $644,000.

    Here's a closer look at the new eighth-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom. 

    SEE ALSO: Bugatti boss reveals what kind of people buy its $3 million hypercars

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    The all-new eighth-gen Rolls-Royce Phantom in all its glory on the streets of New York City. In case you're wondering, it's 19.5 feet long.



    Our stunning emerald-green test car made a scene everywhere we went.



    Tourists and jaded New Yorkers alike gawked at the sight of this magnificent beast.



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    ulta beauty 7841

    • Ulta Beauty is opening new stores while many other retailers are closing them. 
    • One reason for Ulta's success is that it carries both luxury and drugstore brands, allowing it to appeal to shoppers on a variety of budgets.
    • Rival beauty store Sephora, on the other hand, focuses on stocking luxury brands. 
    • We went to an Ulta and a Sephora to see how the two stores stacked up against each other. 

    While many other retailers close their doors, Ulta Beauty reportedly plans to open at least 100 new stores in 2018. 

    According to CNBC, the beauty retailer is entering new markets, adding stores in existing markets, and remodeling old stores to stay relevant. Ulta carries upwards of 500 brands, ranging in price from $3 to more than $100, which is nearly double what luxury beauty rival Sephora carries.

    Since its stores offer a full suite of beauty services, Ulta competes not only with other beauty retailers, but with drugstores and salons as well. Recently, a report by research firm Piper Jaffray revealed that Ulta has become the top beauty destination for average-income teens, overtaking Sephora for the first time in a year. 

    Another reason Ulta is seeing success is that 90% of its locations are in suburban strip malls instead of enclosed shopping malls, meaning that it isn't heavily affected by the ongoing decrease in shopping mall foot traffic. 

    Sephora has more locations in shopping malls than Ulta, though it's taking action to move out of malls and open smaller locations, called Sephora Studios, to supplement decreasing mall traffic. It's also bringing in more exclusive product releases and running programs such as Sephora Accelerate, a beauty startup accelerator. 

    To see how Ulta and Sephora stacked up against each other, we visited both stores back to back. This is what we found:

    SEE ALSO: We visited American Eagle and Abercrombie to see which resurgent teen store was better to shop at — and the winner was clear

    My first stop was Ulta. The only Manhattan location is on the Upper East Side, right next-door to a Sephora.



    The inside was bright, and the employees were all very bubbly. A Benefit Cosmetics promotion was advertised in the entryway, with high-end cosmetics to the left and drugstore brands on the right.



    Ulta had a few good deals to offer right away, including a bin that offered five products for $10 in the front of the store.



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    le creuset, $50

    Whether they have a cookware collection that rivals Martha Stewart's or their most prized kitchen accessory is their drawer of takeout menus, they'll appreciate a nice new kitchen tool to add to their space.

    From solving common cooking aggravations to just making mealtime more fun, there's really a kitchen gadget for everyone, and every budget, out there. 

    For a solid gift you can bank on them loving, check out our list of 21 kitchen accessories below. It runs the gamut from practical to quirky and everything in between, plus you can find all of it for $50 or less. 

    Most of these items are available with two-day shipping if you have Amazon Prime, 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.

    SEE ALSO: 35 clever presents for coworkers that they'll actually be happy to receive

    DON'T MISS: The 36 best products we discovered in 2018

    A stovetop espresso maker

    Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Coffee Maker (1-cup), $24.95, available at Amazon

    For the coffee-loving types who have already tried just about every way to get their morning brew, give them this moka pot. Bialetti actually invented the first stovetop coffee maker in the early 20th century and, even after all these years, it's original model is our favorite option out there. 



    A cheese melt pan

    Cuisinart BBQ Cheese Melt Pan, $9.99, available at Amazon

    If they're not already melting cheese on all of their favorite foods... they should probably start. Help them out with this pan that makes the ooey, gooey, cheesy topping of their dreams a reality. 



    A smoothie set

    Chef’n Smoothie Set, $24.99, available at Williams Sonoma

    This set has all the little prep tools they never thought they needed. A strawberry huller, citrus juicer, and kale and green stripper will help them quickly turn their favorite fresh produce into a delicious smoothie. 

     



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    46516393_10156883199154837_5392548735408406528_n

    • With the holidays approaching and online retailers' shipping windows rapidly closing, you might be starting to worry about all those last-minute gifts you still need to buy
    • Luckily, for those situations where it looks like the standard shipping estimate is cutting it a little too close, there's the "Buy Online, Pick Up in Store" option. 
    • This handy service provided by some of your favorite department stores and retailers lets you browse and purchase your gifts online, then pick them up in the physical store as early as the same day.

    Other than decreasing your stress over whether your gifts will ship in time, the "Buy Online, Pick Up in Store" option is also useful for:

    • When you don't want to deal with other shoppers or long checkout lines
    • When you'd like to keep your gifts discrete  
    • When you live close to a local store and it's more convenient to just pick it up 

    While the basic premise of "Buy Online, Pick Up in Store" is similar across stores, they do differ in some ways that could affect the way you approach your holiday shopping strategy.

    For each store below, we've broken down the different pick-up options, what to do after you place your order, what you need at the store, what to do if you'd like someone else to pick up the order, and how long your order will be held at the store. 

    Looking for more last-minute 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: 34 cool stocking stuffers you can get on Amazon for under $20

    Target

    Pick-up options: Look for "Free order pickup" when adding an item to your cart on Target's website. You can also shop from a list of Order Pickup eligible items by browsing any category and selecting "Free order pickup" from the availability drop down.

    What to do after you place your order: Wait until you receive a pickup notification email before you go to the Guest Services counter at the store to pick up your item.

    What you need at the store: A photo ID.

    If you'd like someone else to pick up the order: You can add or change an alternate pickup person on the order details page by editing the "Delivery" section. This new person needs to bring their own photo ID. 

    How long your order will be held at the store: Two days. If your order isn’t picked up after this time period, your order will be canceled and you won't be charged. You can extend your pickup window by one day by signing into your online account or visiting your order details page.

    Shop online and pick up in store at Target

    Shop 33 awesome under-$50 gifts you can find at Target



    Nordstrom

    Pick-up options: When you're looking at a category or search results, go to "Shop your store" and enter your zip code to filter the results accordingly. Then select the store at checkout. 

    The order is usually available for pick up within two hours, though it can take longer during busier times like the holidays. 

    What to do after you place your order: Wait until you receive a pickup notification email (usually within four hours of order) before you go to the store to pick up your item, or, in some locations, have an employee bring your order directly to your car. 

    What you need at the store: A photo ID and the credit card used at checkout.

    If you'd like someone else to pick up the order: Contact the store directly to update the pick up information about the new person. 

    How long your order will be held at the store: 14 days. If your order isn’t picked up after this time period, your order will be canceled and you'll be refunded your payment.

    Shop online and pick up in store at Nordstrom

    Shop 50 awesome gifts you can find at Nordstrom



    Macy's

    Pick-up options: Click the "Free pick up" tab in the search results page, then choose the pick up option at checkout. If you order by 12 p.m. local time, the items should be ready for pick up later that day. 

    What to do after you place your order: Wait until you receive a pickup notification email before you go to the designated location at the store to pick up your item.

    What you need at the store: A photo ID and a copy of the notification email. 

    If you'd like someone else to pick up the order: Forward the notification email to them to take to the store along with their photo ID.

    How long your order will be held at the store: Seven days. If your order isn’t picked up after this time period, your order will be canceled and you'll be refunded your payment.

    Shop online and pick up in store at Macy's

     

     



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    sonos alexa gifts

    The desire for speed and convenience seems to be hardwired into human behavior. The less energy we expend to accomplish our tasks, the better — that's why voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa are thriving right now.

    Alexa is primarily known for living inside Amazon devices like the Echo Dot, but it turns out you don't actually have to own an Echo speaker to take advantage of Alexa's capabilities. Many everyday devices like headphones and car dash cams have Alexa built in, allowing you to do things you thought you could only accomplish with an Echo speaker. 

    These gifts are all perfect for anyone who loves the convenience of Alexa and is always tinkering around to create the most seamless smart home setup. 

    Most of these items are available with two-day shipping if you have Amazon Prime, 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.

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

    Sonos One

    Sonos One Smart Speaker, $179, available at Amazon

    If your main priority is a good music listening experience, splurge for this smart speaker, which fills your room with clear, rich sound. You can use Alexa to play and control your music without ever lifting a finger, and you can also control the other smart home devices in your home. 

     



    Portal from Facebook

    Portal from Facebook, $149.99, available at Amazon

    Frequent Facebook users should consider Portal, the Alexa-enabled device that keeps them connected to their friends and family. It has a smart camera for video chatting and taking photos that adjusts and widens the camera view automatically as you move in and out of the frame, and a Super Frame feature that displays Facebook photos, videos, and birthday reminders. 

     



    Bose QuietComfort Wireless Headphones

    Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones, $299, available at Amazon

    These headphones cut out surrounding noise so you can focus completely on the music and your task. Ask Alexa to turn down the volume, add to your to-do list, and tell you about tomorrow's weather without skipping a beat. 



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    sustainable organic gifts 15

    The holiday season can come under fire for encouraging excess and consumerism, but it doesn't have to represent unnecessary waste. 

    Often the source of the most waste, the clothing industry is slowly making amends by using more environmentally friendly, sustainable, and ethical processes to make its products. It's not too difficult nowadays to find shoes and jackets made from plastic water bottles that would otherwise end up in a landfill, or from renewable rather than non-renewable sources. 

    These apparel gifts are better for the planet and a more thoughtful option for your environmentally- and socially-conscious recipient. They tend to be a little more expensive than traditional clothing, but the extra bucks are a small price to pay for longer-lasting, sustainable apparel that makes smarter use of the planet's resources. 

    Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few 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.

    Be a more sustainable gifter this year with these 14 apparel gifts:

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

    Comfortable work flats

    The Point in Persimmon, $145, available at Rothy's

    Gift Cards, $50-$165, available at Rothy's

    Rothy's has repurposed more than 20 million plastic water bottles to make women's shoes that are both stylish and comfortable. They come in four simple silhouettes and a host of pretty colors and prints, but we love the sleek Point style because it's perfect for work. If you're not sure about their size or shoe preference, you can get a gift card instead. The Sneaker and Flat are $125, The Point $145, and The Loafer $165. 



    A boxy, short parka

    The ReNew Short Parka, $165, available at Everlane

    55 plastic bottles received another life in this jacket. It has a roomy fit ideal for layering up underneath, and oversized, fleece-lined multi-entry pockets to warm up their hands. Even the Primaloft insulation is recycled, and it's very warm, protecting wearers in sub-freezing temperatures. 



    A waffle weave robe

    Unisex Organic Waffle Robe, $78.40, available at Coyuchi

    Make every day a spa day with this soft robe made from GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)-certified cotton. The company takes careful steps to partner with sustainable mills and ship and package its products with environmentally friendly methods, so your recipient can truly relax and enjoy this comfortable robe. 



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    fossil smartwatch

    From the first smartphone I owned, I've always been an Android user. Much to the chagrin of nearly all my friends and peers, I really do like the operating system and my Samsung phone. However, I do have to admit the world of tech accessories is made for iPhone users and the number and variety of options are tipped in their favor. 

    If you have an Android phone user in your life who you generally regard with suspicion and is already causing you a lot of stress in the gift-hunting search, fear not — and just be glad they don't have a Windows phone. We're here to help you find some cool Android accessories they'll appreciate. Some are specially optimized for Android devices, while others are just great accessory gifts for all types of phones. 

    These 25 phone accessories and compatible gadgets prove gifting an Android user isn't actually as difficult as you think. 

    Most of these items are available most of these items are available with expedited or 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.

    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

    A camera lens kit for enthusiastic phone photographers

    Xenvo Camera Lens Kit Pro, $39.99, available at Amazon

    Take breathtaking landscape photos and detailed close-ups with the 140-degree, wide-angle lens and the 10x macro lens in this kit. Simply clip it to the phone and align it with its camera to start snapping high-quality pictures. 



    Comfortable, high-quality wireless earbuds

    Master & Dynamic MW07 True Wireless In-Ear Headphones, $299.98, available at Best Buy

    These true wireless earbuds topped even the Apple Airpods in our guide, a testament to their beautiful design and excellent sound quality. Since it's more expensive than most models, it makes sense to splurge for them during the holidays. 

     

     

     

     



    A flexible car mount

    iOttie Easy One Touch Qi Wireless Fast Charge Car Mount, $49.94, available at Amazon

    This accessory pulls double duty by charging their phone while holding it securely on their dash. The telescopic arm extends up to eight inches and pivots on a wide arc for easy readability and access. 



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    iRobot

    The holiday season is meant to bring joy, happiness, and all of those warm fuzzy feelings, but gifting can inevitably bring the exact opposite feelings into your life. With so many people to shop for, and so many products you could buy, you're left to wonder how you could possibly find the right gifts to give everyone on your list.

    Luckily, some things just have a universal appeal, like tech gadgets. They're useful, can make life more efficient, and let's face it, they're straight-up cool.

    We scoured the web for awesome tech products for the home that everyone from your best friend who majored in computer science to your tech-averse uncle can get on board with. Whether you're looking for something small and practical, like a shower speaker, or something with a little more of a wow-factor, like a powerful, portable projector, we've got you covered with 33 cool home tech gifts for everyone on your list.

    Most of these items are available with two-day shipping if you have Amazon Prime, 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.

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

    SEE ALSO: The best Alexa-enabled speakers you can buy that aren't made by Amazon

    A portable projector that turns any space into a mini home theater

    Anker Nebula Capsule Projector, $299.99, available at Amazon

    This device is about the size of a soda can, but don't let its looks deceive you — it's a surprisingly powerful projector that boasts 360 degree sound, Android 7.1 software, and is wire-free to boot. Whether they're traveling or relaxing at home, this portable projector will help them turn any device into a big screen experience. 



    A convenient, wireless charging dock

    Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad, $39.99, available at Amazon

    Sure, you could give them a regular charging cord to juice up their phone, but a wireless charging pad is undeniably cooler. This is one of our favorites for its compatibility with many iPhone and Android models, speedy charging abilities, and minimalist design that looks nice in their space.



    A turntable with modern specs

    Audio Technica Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo, $89, available at Amazon

    This makes a thoughtful gift for the vinyl aficionado in your life. They can plug this turntable into speakers of their choice to hear that clean, authentic sound that you really can only get with vinyl. Your loved one will thank you for helping them finally put that old record collection to use. 



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    apartment real estate

    • Quality financial investments can come from unexpected sources.
    • From starting a "family 401(k)" to paying for renter's insurance, several financial experts detail six worthwhile forms of investment that might fly under your radar. 

    Your investments don't have to be typical.

    Although the most common types of financial investments are bonds, stocks, and mutual funds according to Money Management International, those methods certainly aren't the only types of worthwhile investments out there.

    That's what got us thinking.

    With nearly 40% of Americans not investing at all, and almost half of them chalking it up to "not knowing how," according to a recent NerdWallet study, we wanted to round up some atypical investment suggestions.

    We spoke to financial experts from across the country and asked them for suggestions on the best unexpected financial investments a person could make.

    Here are six of our favorites:

    SEE ALSO: 6 things you should know before opening an investment account

    1. Start a family 401(k)

    Nicole Middendorf, the founder and CEO of the wealth management company Prosperwell Financial, said the best way to teach a kid about saving money is to start them young. That's why she suggests starting a "Family 401(k)" plan — essentially a Roth IRA where the kids contribute and the parents take on the "employer" role and match their contributions.

    "Teaching your kids the value of money is priceless," Middendorf said. "Also, the money will likely go to stuff you help your kids save for and you would probably just buy anyway."

    Financial service companies like Fidelity and Charles Schwab have hopped on board the process to make investing easier for children and families. In 2016, Fidelity followed Schwab in launching a "kid-friendly" IRA account, available to investors under the age of 18, according to Money.

    For further reference, the author Dan Kadlec detailed how he started Roth IRAs for his children in a 2010 article for CBS Moneywatch.



    2. Collect toys or comic books

    Misty Lynch, lead financial consultant at John Hancock, told Business Insider that collections of all sorts can become clever investments.

    "As an '80s child, I owned several valuable investments before I even knew what that word meant," Lynch said. "Sadly, my toys often received bad haircuts and random attacks from our dog. If I had kept them in the box they could have helped put my own kids through college."

    Retro toys can have increasing, and even surprising, value over the years. The original Xavier Roberts Cabbage Patch doll that Lynch said she owned could be worth hundreds of dollars today, according to the Williamson Daily News. And toys aren't the only item geared toward kids that have shown collectible value.

    Fueled by countless movies revolving around superheros, villains, and anti-heros, and the increasing popularity of events like Comic Con, the comic book market continues to rise in value. As Wired reported, books that have originally sold for less than a dollar can now sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Vincent Zurzolo, the co-owner of New York's Metropolis Comics, told Business Insider that he has made thousands of dollars in the blink of an eye through his collection of self-proclaimed "kiddie fare." Zurzolo said that a comic book can jump in value from a few dollars to $100 and that anyone can benefit — if they do their homework.

    Zurzolo's steps to take part in the trend include studying the market trends and looking at new movies slated to come out, setting a budget for yourself, and figuring out if you're trying to hold onto books for a short or long period of time.

    Lynch added that other valuable collections can include musical instruments or even bottles of wine.



    3. Pay off your debt

    Author Sharon Marchisello said that before even thinking about investing in anything else, people need to pay down their own debt.

    "It's 100% risk free, and the return is guaranteed," Marchisello, who wrote the book "Live Well, Grow Wealth" based on her own financial experiences, told Business Insider about debt payments. "Because consumer interest is usually higher than investment interest, you're getting a higher rate of return than you would by putting your money into another investment vehicle."

    And with Americans' total household debt hitting an all-time high of $13 trillion last year, according to the New York Fed, debt payoff is an investment that applies to virtually everyone.

    Marchisello said that the best investment a person can make is to nip their debt in the bud now.

    "Eventually, you'll free up cash flow that can be used toward other, more conventional investments," she said.  



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    In theory, Secret Santa is a great idea. In practice, it can be a little underwhelming. You could end up with that cozy scarf your best friend knew you wanted — or, you could end up with lackluster socks from your neighbor that will definitely end up in your re-gift pile.

    Whether you're responsible for getting a gift for someone you know really well or someone you barely do, get them a gift they won't relegate to the storage closet. If you're spending money, make it count with something they'll actually want. 

    Don't worry, we already did the grunge work and found 50 gifts that your secret Santa recipient will love. We've got everything from the more generically-appealing, like a pretty candle for your sweet coworker, to the more personal, like a portable cheese melter for your cheese-obsessed friend. Plus, they're all $25 or less, so scroll with abandon.

    Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few 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.

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

    A scratch-off bucket list to spur their next adventure

    100 Things To Do Scratch Off Poster, $15, available at Uncommon Goods

    This bucket list suggests 100 unique activities from little things like "take a cooking class" to big ones like "see the Northern Lights." They can scratch each box off after they complete it to reveal a colorful image. It's a cool poster to have hanging and a definite conversation starter.

     



    A set of cool coasters that's worthy of Instagram

    Stone Coasters Agate Look, $20 (set of 4), available at Etsy

    Let’s be real — nobody wants water stains and rings on their nice tables, but admittedly, telling guests to put down coasters first isn’t the coolest move. These agate-style coasters are practical, but also add a nice aesthetic, so you’ll actually want to leave them out to be used.



    A plant they can grow themselves

    Palm Tree Grow Kit, $15, available at Uncommon Goods

    Anyone with a green thumb will love the chance to grow, nourish, and care for their own plant. Not only do they look cute, but studies say having plants makes you happier too.

     



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    Chase_Sapphire_Preferred_01_022

    When Chase released its popular Sapphire Reserve credit card in 2016, the new offering generated a lot of buzz. With a high sign-up bonus, plus an annual $300 travel credit, 3x points on dining and travel, access to Priority Pass airport lounges, and many of the same benefits — in some cases enhanced — as it's older sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the card offered more than enough value to make up for its hefty $450 annual fee.

    However, that fee is still a lot of money to have to pay upfront. Plus, while the Reserve is excellent, the older Sapphire Preferred is still a useful card with rich rewards and valuable benefits. In fact, there are a few reasons you may want to consider signing up for that older card, the Sapphire Preferred, instead. 

    Read on to see reasons that you might want to go for the Sapphire Preferred instead of the Reserve.

    Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these two cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

    When you're working to earn credit-card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.

    1. The Sapphire Preferred has a (much) lower annual fee

    I often argue that the Reserve's $450 annual fee is actually just $150. That's because each cardmember year with the Reserve, you'll get $300 of statement credits on travel purchases. In other words, the first $300 of travel purchases you make, whether it's one big purchase, or a lot of smaller ones, will be cancelled out by the credits. It's basically a rebate of $300 of the annual fee.

    However, $150 is still a decent bit of money. Plus, even though you'll get value back in the form of travel statement credits, you'll still need to pay $450 for the fee on your first statement, and not everyone has that amount of cash to float, or is willing to put up that much.

    The Sapphire Preferred, on the other hand, has an annual fee of $95, which is waived the first year, a relatively standard fee for a rewards card.

    Looking at the fees over the first 24 months makes the differences even clearer — you'll pay $900 for the Sapphire Reserve (with up to $600 in statement credits) compared to just $95 for the Sapphire Preferred.

    Readmore: 11 lucrative credit card deals you can get when opening a new card in December — including a 200,000-mile bonus

    2. The Sapphire Preferred has fewer perks than the Reserve, but offers many of the same crucial benefits

    The Sapphire Preferred doesn't come with the more premium Reserve's airport lounge access, concierge service, or a credit to cover the cost of enrolling in Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, but other than that, the two cards have almost the same benefits — that's impressive, considering the Preferred's much lower fee.

    Both cards offer trip delay insurance. If you're traveling by common carrier — airplane, train, ferry, bus, and similar public forms of transportation — and your trip is delayed, you can be covered for up to $500 of expenses, including a change of clothes, hotel room, toiletries, meals, and more. Both cards' trip delay insurance kicks in when the delay forces an overnight stay, or, if you aren't stuck overnight, the Preferred's coverage kicks in after 12 hours, and the Reserve's after six hours.

    Similarly, both cards offer primary rental car damage/loss coverage, trip cancellation/delay insurance, lost luggage insurance, and various purchase protections. There are minor differences in some of those benefits between the cards, but for most instances, they're effectively identical.

    3. You'll still earn bonus points on dining and travel with the Preferred

    There's no question that the Sapphire Reserve's earning rate of 3x points on dining and travel makes it easy to earn points quickly. However, you'll earn bonus points on the same categories with the Sapphire Preferred, even though they won't add up as fast. For every dollar you spend on dining and travel, you'll earn 2x points, and 1x point per dollar on everything else.

    These categories are particularly useful because of how broadly they're defined. Dining includes restaurants, bars, cafes, bakeries, ice cream shops, fast food stands, brewery tap rooms, delivery services like Seamless and Grubhub, and more.

    Travel, similarly, includes just about everything, big or small. You'll earn 2x points on taxis, Uber/Lyft rides, subways, commuter trains, parking, tolls, rental cars, airfare, hotels, cruises, and tours.

    4. The Chase Sapphire Preferred has access to the same great transfer partners as the Reserve — and offers similar flexible ways to redeem points

    As with the Sapphire Reserve, Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Sapphire Preferred can be exchanged for cash back, with each point worth 1¢, or points can be used to purchase travel through Chase. When you do that, you'll get a 25% bonus, effectively making your points worth 1.25¢ each (the Sapphire Reserve offers a 50% bonus, making points used to purchase travel through Chase worth 1.5¢ instead).

    However, a potentially much more valuable way to use points is by transferring them to one of Chase's nine partnering airline frequent flyer programs or four hotel loyalty programs. Both cards have access to the same exact transfer partners.

    While this is more complicated, you can generally get more value by booking frequent flyer award tickets than you can by using your points as cash or through Chase. You can even book flights in business or first class for fewer points than it would cost if you used them as cash or through Chase's website to buy the flights. For example, my wife and I used the points from our Sapphire Preferred cards to fly to Japan in first class for our honeymoon.

    You can read more about why transferable points are so valuable here.

    5. Both cards offer the same exact sign-up bonus

    Although the Sapphire Preferred doesn't have an annual fee the first year, it offers the same exact sign-up bonus as the Sapphire Reserve— 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. When you have the Sapphire Preferred, that's worth $500 as cash, $625 as travel booked through Chase, and potentially even more when you transfer those points to a hotel or frequent flyer partner.

    Readmore: 3 tips for maximizing your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for holiday shopping

    6. The Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn't charge a fee for authorized users

    If you're planning to add a partner, child, friend, or anyone else as an authorized user on your account, you might be better off with the Sapphire Preferred. That's because you can add as many users as you want to your account for free. You'll even get 5,000 bonus points if you add an authorized user and they make a charge within your first three months. The Sapphire Reserve, on the other hand, charges $75 for each user you add. Those users will each get access to Priority Pass lounges, at least.

    7. It's easier to get approved for the Sapphire Preferred

    While there's no official publicly available formula for how banks approve credit cards, common knowledge is that the Sapphire Reserve— which is a Visa Infinite card — has higher standards for approval than the Sapphire Preferred— a less-exclusive Visa Signature card. You'll still need a solid credit score for the Preferred, but you have better odds of getting approved if you have a shorter credit history.

    The bottom line

    Regardless of which card you choose, both offer class-leading value. Although the Sapphire Reserve is an excellent card — I personally went with the Reserve over the Preferred — the annual fee is a lot to stomach. Depending on your cash flow, how you budget, or how you view these benefits and rewards, the Sapphire Preferred might be a better option for you.

    Don't forget to also check out the reasons you might want to consider the Reserve over the Preferred, instead.

    Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card from Insider Picks' partner The Points Guy.

    Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve card from Insider Picks' partner The Points Guy.

    For more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred:

    SEE ALSO: The best Chase cards you can sign up for right now

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    mark zuckerberg

    • Facebook has changed its policy around location data collection and now makes it impossible for users to avoid being tracked for ads purposes, according to a Gizmodo report on Tuesday
    • “There is no way for people to opt out of using location for ads entirely,” a Facebook spokesperson said told Gizmodo. 
    • Such is a change of policy for Facebook, which said in a blog post back in 2014 that users "will only see ads based on their recent location if location services are enabled on their phone.”
    • Facebook contends that providing relevant ads based on a user's location provides a better experience.

    Facebook has changed its policy around location data collection and now makes it impossible for users to avoid being tracked for advertisement purposes, according to a Gizmodo report on Tuesday

    A Facebook spokesperson told Gizmodo that the company does not use WiFi data to track locations for ads if a user has "Location Services" turned off, though it does use IP information, and other information like check-ins and the current city on a user's profile, regardless. 

    “There is no way for people to opt out of using location for ads entirely,” the Facebook spokesperson said told Gizmodo. 

    Aleksandra Korolova — an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California —confirmed in a report, also published on Tuesday, that is was indeed impossible to avoid being followed by Facebook. 

    "The Location Controls provided by Facebook give an illusion of control over the data that informs one’s ad experience, not actual control," Korolova said in her report. 

    Facebook wants to provide a 'good service'

    Taking away the ability for users to keep their location information private is a change of policy for Facebook, which said in a blog post back in 2014 that "people have control over the recent location information they share with Facebook and will only see ads based on their recent location if location services are enabled on their phone.”

    According to Gizmodo, Facebook said it would need to update the out-of-date blog post.

    Read more: Facebook's latest privacy scandal: The private photos of millions of users were accidentally shared with 1,500 apps

    Facebook contends that providing relevant ads based on a user's location provides a better experience.

    The company told Gizmodo that it uses location data to "ensure we are providing people with a good service—from ensuring they see Facebook in the right language, to making sure that they are shown nearby events and ads for businesses that are local to them.”

    But in an age when online privacy is becoming an increasing concern, wouldn't complete control over location tracking be the ultimate user experience? 

    Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. 

    SEE ALSO: From Elon Musk to Satya Nadella: Here are the 29 top tech CEOs of 2018, according to employees

    Join the conversation about this story »

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