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The latest news from Life

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    trump oval office

    • President Donald Trump is set to depart the White House for two weeks of Christmas vacation later this week.
    • Trump often mixes business with pleasure on his vacations, but overall cuts down on official meetings and appearances.
    • Here's the daily rhythm that he'll be breaking.

    President Donald Trump is expected to spend 16 days away from the White House for this year's Christmas holiday.

    Most likely headed for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump will be escaping the daily pressures of life in Washington, which include daily briefings with top aides, meetings with world leaders, and running into the press.

    Take a look at the daily schedule that includes Fox News, "executive time," and built-in breaks from his presidential duties.

    SEE ALSO: A new mobile app lets you take a virtual tour of the White House — and you can even see this year's Christmas decorations

    DON'T MISS: 21 scandals that rocked the Trump administration in 2018

    Trump reportedly wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and sometimes begins making calls around 6 a.m.

    According to CNN, Trump doesn't drink coffee to wake up.

    Source: Business Insider



    Trump reportedly sleeps only three to four hours a night, which he described as a success tactic. "How does somebody that's sleeping 12 and 14 hours a day compete with someone that's sleeping three or four?" he asked.

    It's not clear whether or not Trump is part of the 1% of the population that appears to actually need less sleep, scientifically speaking. If he is not, Trump is severely sleep deprived, according to health professionals that generally recommend seven to eight hours of sleep.

    Source: The Daily News



    Breakfast isn't often a part of the president's routine, but when he does eat, he said his "favorite would be bacon and eggs — bacon medium and the eggs over-well."

    Trump told Jesse Watters in 2016, "I will have a lunch, but my big thing is dinner."

    Source: People



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    best deep fryer

    • The best deep fryers make it simple to fry French fries, chicken, donuts, fish, and other food from scratch. They are also easy to clean, safe to use, and packed full of features.
    • The Presto Dual Basket Pro Fry Deep Fryer has all of these characteristics, is affordable, and can fry large batches of food.

    Americans are in love with fried foods. From fast food to fine dining, menus are packed full of deep-fried offerings. Whether you are an adventurous cook who likes to recreate or tweak meals you have tried elsewhere or you want to save a few bucks (and calories) by making your family’s favorite foods at home, a deep fryer is a terrific addition to kitchens with extra counter space.

    There are several aspects to choosing a deep fryer that you should take into consideration. Since your deep fryer will likely live on your kitchen counter, pay special attention to the dimensions of the models you are interested in to ensure they will fit. Also, some units feature filtration systems and dishwasher-safe parts that will make cleanup easier. If this is important to you, make sure you choose a fryer with these options.

    Since hot oil can burn you severely, look for fryers with plenty of safety features, including splatter guards and magnetic power cords that will come unplugged when tugged, rather than yanking the entire machine and its scalding contents off the counter.

    To put together this comprehensive buying guide of the top deep fryers, we poured over the reviews of users and experts to find which models are affordable, reliable, and versatile.

    Here are the best deep fryers you can buy:

    Updated on 12/19/2018 by Malarie Gokey: Updated prices and formatting. Added our guide to the best air fryers.

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

    SEE ALSO: The best stand mixers you can buy

    The best deep fryer overall

    Why you'll love it: When you are in a hurry to make dinner, the Presto Dual Basket Pro Fry Deep Fryer can cook a meal for the entire family in one batch at an affordable price.

    The Presto Dual Basket Pro Fry relies on a 1800-watt immersion element that you can remove for easy cleaning. The fryer features an adjustable thermostat and a signal light that lets you know when it’s fry time. The baskets are made of lightweight metal and are shaped to fit large pieces of chicken and fish. The device comes with a one-year limited warranty.

    The Pro Fry is versatile enough that you can steam vegetables with it, too. You basically just fill the fryer with water instead of oil, turn up the heat, and put the cover on. It’s also helpful to keep the cover on when frying with oil to avoid splattering. When done, you can store the oil in the fryer and reuse it until your food starts to come out too greasy.

    Crispy & Golden, a deep fryer niche site, ranks the Presto Pro Fry among the top five best deep fryers because of its many features, affordable price, and quality design. Ratingle put the Pro Fry at number three on its list of the top 10 deep fryers because of its versatility and how easy it is to use. The reviewers also liked that they could make up to twelve cups of fried foods in one batch, which makes it ideal for entertaining. Fryer Guide, another industry site, also liked the reasonable price tag, the quality of the food produced, and ease of use, but pointed out that this model lacks features commonly found in more expensive units.

    Some 88% of reviewers on Amazon gave the Pro Fry a positive review. Buyers have had excellent experiences cooking chicken and French fries in the fryer. One verified purchaser commented that they found beef tallow works well in this model. There are a few complaints. With the large size of the unit, you need a minimum of 100 ounces of oil to use it. The oil takes about fifteen minutes to heat. And, the fryer overall appears to be made of a thin metal, but we didn’t find any complaints about the Pro Fry’s durability.

    Pros: Cooks up to 12 cups or five pounds of food at once, affordable

    Cons: Requires a lot of oil, which takes a while to heat up

    Buy the Presto 05466 Stainless Steel Dual Basket Pro Fry Immersion Element Deep Fryer on Amazon for $59.90 (originally $99.99)



    The best deep fryer on a budget

    Why you'll love it: The Presto DualDaddy Electric Deep Fryer is the most cost-effective model on our list, and it’s easy to use out of the box.

    The 1500-watt Presto DualDaddy Electric Deep Fryer is great for what it is: an inexpensive beginner deep fryer. There are no controls to watch or set, and it automatically keeps the oil at the optimum temperature for cooking. The DualDaddy comes with a snap-on storage lid, magnetic safety cord, and slotted scoop. The divider that separates the compartments is removable so you can have just one big, durable cast aluminum bucket of oil for frying up a whole chicken. The unit comes with a one-year warranty.

    The DualDaddy is what I use for my personal, “day-to-day” frying. I purchased mine about two-and-a-half years ago and have not had any issues with it. It heats the oil at a reasonable speed and produces delicious donuts, fries, beer-battered bacon, onion rings, and more. The slotted spoon it comes with has proven to be a terrific all-purpose utensil that I use for a variety of different tasks besides deep frying.

    The Presto Dual Daddy was reviewed by Deep Fryer Reviews. The site's reviewer called it “one of the best electric deep fryers available," and recommend it because it is reliable and so simple and straightforward that anyone can figure out how to use it. Appliances Reviewed gave it 4.7 stars due to its design, quality, and value. However, the reviewer found the utensils it came with were not very useful.

    Around 79% of the reviewers on Amazon gave the Presto DualDaddy five stars. Buyers liked that it heated up quickly in about ten minutes, was easy to use, cleans up effortlessly, and can hold larger food items. There were some safety concerns since the unit doesn’t have much insulation, and the plastic lid isn’t designed to be a splatter guard.

    Pros: Inexpensive, easy to use, heats quickly

    Cons: Doesn’t have a splatter guard

    Buy the Presto 05450 DualDaddy Electric Deep Fryer on Amazon for $35.24 (originally $59.99)



    The best deep fryer without oil

    Why you'll love it: If you would like the flavor of fried meats without the guilt, the Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Oil-Less Turkey Fryer is the way to go.

    The Big Easy Oil-Less Turkey Fryer from Char-Broil is unlike any other deep fryer on this list. Instead of putting your food in a vat of oil, you put it in a large chamber that holds turkeys that weigh up to sixteen pounds. The food is then cooked using infrared technology, which eliminates hot and cold spots, prevents flare-ups, and produces flavorful results. To operate this model, you need to have a propane tank, and it is only for outdoor use.

    The Spruce likes that the Big Easy Oil-Less Fryer makes frying turkeys easier, safer, and cheaper. The site also gives it high marks for quick heating. Epicurious tested out this model using a 14-pound turkey, six 2-pound Cornish hens, and a 5-pound ham. In the end, the reviewers found that the fryer was better for homes with plenty of space for operating and storing the device, but they were impressed with the results. The Healthy Kitchen Shop gave this Char-Broil fryer 4.7 stars because of its excellent cooking results, versatility, and quality construction.

    The Big Easy Oil-Less Fryer has more than 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. Users have had good experiences frying chicken, turkey, duck, and prime rib. The most common comments are that it cooks food quickly and the results are delicious. There were a couple negatives, though. One buyer didn’t like that the included basket is unhinged, which causes the rub and crispy skin to come off when removing a turkey. Another reviewer found that putting the fryer together was too time-intensive. It took them an hour to assemble the unit.

    Pros: Cooks fast, moist, healthier meals

    Cons: Requires propane, only for outdoor use

    Buy the Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-Infrared Oil-Less Turkey Fryer at Walmart for $148.03



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    work personal finance budget planning saving money finances

    • The best way to build your savings is with automation.
    • When you automate contributions to your savings, investment, or retirement accounts, you'll be able to put away a little bit from each paycheck with virtually no ongoing effort.
    • Without thinking about it, your accounts and your net worth will grow.
    • One technique is to use a dedicated long-term savings account, so that you aren't tempted to withdraw from it — unless it's to invest funds.

    In best-selling books "The Automatic Millionaire" and "I Will Teach You to Be Rich," authors David Bach and Ramit Sethi explain unique approaches to managing your money with as little work as possible and a focus on long-term success.

    One major tool these money pros both love is automation.

    But how do you take this idea and apply it to your actual money? Let's put theory into action and build a money blueprint you can use to automate your savings and investments — making it easy to build up the value of a savings account or investment portfolio.

    Savings account offers from our partners:

    Put your paycheck in the right places

    The automated money process starts with your paycheck. According to the National Payroll Association's annual Getting Paid in America survey, 92.8% of Americans get paid via direct deposit. If you are a part of this group, you may have more options than you realize when it comes to how you get paid.

    For example, you should start with an automatic 401(k) contribution from your employer, taking at the minimum the full employer match. You may have other payroll deductions available for investments, including employee stock purchase plans and health savings accounts.

    Next, you can split your direct deposit into more than one account. In this case, you may want to split your direct deposit to fund an IRA or Roth IRA account. For those up to 50 years old, you can contribute a maximum $6,000 in either IRA in 2019. If you are paid bi-weekly with 26 paychecks per year, a contribution of $230.76 per paycheck will give you the maximum savings rate per year. The maximum you can save for 2018 is $5,500, or $211.53 per paycheck. If you are 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $1,000 per year.

    Once it's there, you can automate the investments with a recurring monthly investment of your choice, or just log in to your investment account periodically and funnel the money into your favorite low-cost mutual fund.

    Alternatively, or in addition, you can direct funds to a cash savings account to build an emergency fund. Then, as your savings build, you can periodically take some funds and move them into an investment account.

    Learn more: A Betterment account can help you save money and build wealth — here's why robo advisors are the future of investing

    Automate your recurring bills

    If you have good credit card habits and pay off your bills in full every month, you should consider a rewards credit card and put every possible bill on your card. Trash service, utilities, mobile phones, home telecom services, and other bills often give you the option to pay automatically with a card. If you can, take advantage!

    Other recurring bills can be automated for payment through your online bill pay system at your bank or through the biller's website for an automatic payment from your bank account. Again, turning these on saves you time and eliminates the opportunity for late fees.

    I use my bank's online bill pay to automatically pay my mortgage each month. Without thinking about it, the payment goes to the mortgage company on time by the end of the month.

    Put your credit cards on auto-pilot

    Just like your other bills, you can pay your credit cards and other loans automatically. If you have any debt, the debt snowball or debt avalanche payoff methods, popularized by money guru Dave Ramsey, can be achieved with automated payments on the majority of your accounts.

    If you don't carry debt, which is ideal, you can automate your payments monthly from your checking account. Just make sure you have enough cash in there to cover the payments and avoid overdrafts.

    Learn more: Here's how to collect valuable credit card sign-up bonuses while helping your credit score

    DRIP your way to wealth

    In your investments, you can set up recurring monthly investments based on recurring monthly transfers or direct deposits to any investment account, just like with your IRA. In any account, you should consider turning on automatic dividend reinvestments, which keep your money working for you.

    Some stocks allow automatic purchases directly through stock servicers at little to no cost. These offer dividend reinvestments through a DRIP, short for Dividend Reinvestment Plan.

    As long as you have a long time horizon in front of you, most investors should focus on a recurring investment in diverse assets regardless of market conditions. Because you have the time to survive a downturn and ride the wave back up on the other side, you should just keep on investing regardless of what the market does.

    Those with a shorter time horizon or more loss aversion should create an appropriate portfolio for their needs. If you have any doubt, consult with a trusted investment professional for advice or assistance.

    Learn more: Why this seemingly expensive credit card is worth its annual fee — especially for anyone who travels

    Let the system work in your favor

    Once everything is up and running, just leave it alone and let it work for you. Check in regularly with a favorite money management app, such as Mint, Personal Capital, Clarity Money, or YNAB.

    At least once per year, you should check in and make sure things are running as expected. You can always fine-tune your system to better work for you. Most importantly, however, is that your debt will go down and your savings will go up without you having to remember or do a thing. Stay within budget and sit back watching your wealth grow with financial automation.

    Savings account offers from our partners:

     

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    obama family

    • Michelle Obama appeared on the "Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon Tuesday night.
    • During the interview, Obama joked that her husband was fueled to seek a second term so that their daughters would spend their teen years under the guard of the Secret Service.
    • "He was like, 'We've got to win, because I don't want those girls walking around,'" Obama recalled.

    Forget gun control and healthcare reform — former President Barack Obama had a personal reason for wanting to win a second term so badly.

    During an appearance on the "Tonight Show" Tuesday night, former first lady Michelle Obama said her husband was fueled to win re-election because he wanted to keep their daughters under the guard of the Secret Service.

    "I've always said, as quiet as it's kept, the second term of the presidency was really fueled by Barack's desire to keep them with their agents into their teen years," she said.

    "He was like, 'We've got to win, because I don't want those girls walking around.' He wanted men with guns with them. He worked extra hard on those votes. He's like, 'Come on voters!'" Obama recalled.

    The couple's daughters, Malia and Sasha, were 14 and 11 years old respectively when their father was inaugurated to his second term in the White House.

    Read more:Michelle Obama and Jimmy Fallon surprised people in the 30 Rock elevators, and their reactions were priceless

    The family decided to stay in Washington, DC after Obama's second term was up so that Sasha, now 17, could finish high school. Eldest daughter Malia, now 20, is in her second year at Harvard.

    Malia Obama

    During the interview, Obama said she enjoys the relationship she has with her daughters, now that they are older.

    "I love the baby stage. I'm like you — I love every age, but now they're really interesting. We're friends," she said. "There are boyfriends we can talk about. You know, they drive, so they can earn money, so they ask for less. I love it."

    Obama appeared on the show to promote her new memoir, "Becoming," which is currently at the top of the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover nonfiction.

    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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    canvas pop, $39

    When it comes to gift swapping games like White Elephant, Yankee Swap, or Nasty Christmas, the master gifters must first forget everything they know about holiday gifting.

    Gone are the cashmere scarves, Belgian chocolates, and those porcelain baby angel figurines Aunt Sharon collects. In their place, Ron Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness, cookbooks punctuated by expletives, life-size cardboard cut-outs of your face, and door stoppers with "HODOR" emblazoned upon them. 

    Gift swaps reward the niche, novel, and irreverent, with bonus points going to those who can check the boxes of funny and useful. So, below, we rounded up 55 last-minute gifts that are perfectly primed for this occasion, and, admittedly, perhaps no other.

    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 55 of the best last-minute White Elephant gifts under $50 on the internet.

    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

    A calendar of dog-shaming photos

    Dog-Shaming 2019 Day-to-Day Calendar, available on Amazon, $11.53

    Whether they also have a dog whose diet consists of chair legs, car keys, and their favorite pair of slippers, they'll get a kick out of this dog-shaming calendar. 



    An adult coloring book full of swear words

    Maybe Swearing Will Help: Adult Coloring Book, available on Amazon, $7.24

    Adult coloring has had a resurgence in recent years as a great de-stressor (Kate Middleton is a fan). But before then, humans used swearing as the next best thing. Why not pair the two together for a truly balanced catharsis?



    A parody cookbook

    Fifty Shades of Chicken: A Parody in a Cookbook, available on Amazon, $14.05

    Useful, funny, unexpected, and — dare we say it — provocative ... this spoof cookbook is one of the best conversation starters and White Elephant gifts under $15 you're likely to find. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    best foot massager

    • We tested the top-rated foot massagers to find the best ones you can buy to relieve chronic foot pain.
    • The Belmint Shiatsu Foot Massager is the best foot massager we tested, thanks to its perfect application of pressure, heating function, and reasonable price.

    I'm getting an expert foot massage as I write this — not by a person, but by a machine that looks like a tiny spaceship. This is Belmint's Shiatsu Foot Massager, and it has become an integral part of my daily routine.

    While training to run a half marathon over the past few months, my feet took regular beatings. The soreness only increased when I had to switch from my running sneakers back to shoes appropriate for office work. I needed a remedy, and daily visits with a masseuse proved financially prohibitive. So I did the next best thing. I tested a bunch of at-home foot massagers.

    Every foot massager I tried had something slightly different to offer, and I learned more than I ever imagined I would about the ins and outs of getting a massage from an inanimate object. Kneading is better than prodding, slight smelliness can be difficult to avoid, simple squeezing can be surprisingly effective, and mobility and power don't often go hand in hand. Ultimately, the range and style of at-home massagers impressed me. It also impressed my friends who picked out their favorites from my growing collection.

    The half marathon came and went, and I'm still devoted to my favorite foot massager — and, to be honest, a couple others. Foot massagers, it turns out, do more than just relieve pain in your feet. They also help improve circulation and stimulate your muscles. The calming effects are key to curbing my everyday stress. Whether you're preparing to run 13 miles or just unwinding from a long art class where you had to stand for three hours in a row — a weekly occurrence, for me — a well-done foot massage is an effective and relaxing way to recover.

    While I didn't test every at-home foot massager on the market, there are a few common, general prototypes that multiple companies offer. From these types, I've chosen a range from electronic massagers with multiple pulsing nodes and plug-in parts to simple, analog pressure-relievers. Some are best for home use, and others can come with you to the office. 

    Here are the best foot massagers you can buy:

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

    The best foot massager overall

    Why you'll love it: The Belmint Shiatsu Foot Massager feels like a person massaging your feet, and the pressure is spot-on.

    In testing out a number of foot massagers, I learned a lot about comfortable pressure. There's the kind of squeeze that leaves you groaning in relief, and there's the kind that leaves you limping. Of all the electronic foot massagers I tested out, Belmint's Shiatsu Foot Massager proved the best at causing only the former — as long as you learn what pressure setting best meets your personal needs.

    Some massagers tickled and others prodded. This one felt like a massage and a hug, perhaps in part because you're sliding your feet into two snug, cloth-lined nooks. Nothing eyebrow-raising, like repeated jabs to the back of my sole, happened during the 15 minutes of the Shiatsu Foot Massager's timed session.

    The heat made me feel like I was a melting puddle of Jell-O, and the massager never got too hot, even though my feet were sitting in compact, heated chambers for a quarter of an hour at a time. When I removed my feet from this massaging cocoon, it felt like a butterfly emerged.

    What makes this electronic foot massager seriously great is the combined effect of kneading motions that differentiate between areas of your feet and overall pressure. While one roller hits that key relief point in the middle back of your heel, another set of rollers glides firmly from your arch over the balls of your feet, all with alternating pressure. Lastly, another set kneads and squeezes around your toes.

    While all of this is taking place, the air pressure in both foot compartments constantly fluctuates. Sometimes, the compartments get tight around your feet for a deep squeeze and other times they loosen up. The combined squeezing and kneading sensation is swoon-worthy. When there's free space in the compartments, I usually like to flex my feet so I can partially control how deep the kneading nodes penetrate my muscles.

    Heat can be turned off and on during a massage session. I usually like to start with it on to loosen up my muscles and turn it off midway, when I start getting warm.

    It's not only the movement, pressure, and temperature of this massager that made me fall in love (yes, this is romance!). It's the fact that it leaves no part of your foot untouched. The nodes in this shiatsu massager correspond to the rise of your arches, the space between your toes, and your often-ignored heels, hitting all the key points on your foot. Many at-home foot massagers fail to reach every single one of these spots, or they just graze them. 

    Belmint's Shiatsu Massager gets in there to quell aches and alleviate stiffness you may not have even realized you had. If you get tired of the repetitive kneading, the massager offers two settings. One consists of constant, back and forth kneading. The other kneads in spurts and then pauses while applying increasingly more pressure to eat foot.

    Pressure is adjustable on a scale of one to five. I find anything over two overwhelming. The lowest setting usually suffices, unless I'm particularly sore. Then I opt for two or maybe three. More than that and I would fear actual injury, but I have relatively slight feet and my job mostly consists of sitting at a desk. A day after a particularly long run is when I opt for the higher pressure settings, but I would advise anyone trying this massager for the first time to increase the pressure level with care.

    Pay attention to what your feet are telling you. If something hurts more than a reasonable good hurt, stop the massage or decrease the pressure. 

    The Belmint Shiatsu Massager is also fairly compact. While you're not going to want to lug it with you to work, it's easy to stick under a table by your couch or in your closet between uses. The fact that it looks like a cute, miniature UFO doesn't hurt. It appears sleek and unobtrusive, but not clinical.

    Since this is a heated massager that you stick your feet into, you do have to consider sweaty foot smell. Luckily, the cloth lining in this massager is washable. The only other downside is the lack of physical flexibility. You have to pretty much keep your feet put during the massage, which can be frustrating if you're used to more control over your massage. If you want a comprehensive massage in which you get to sit back and relax, this machine is for you.

    Pros: Varies pressure and movement during session, sleek design, pays attention to all parts of your feet

    Cons: You can't move your feet when using it, not immune to foot smell, clunky to move

    Buy the Belmint Shiatsu Foot Massager Machine with Heat Function on Amazon for $144.99



    The best foot massager for chronic pain

    Why you'll love it: The TheraFlow Dual Foot Massager Roller relieves the pain of plantar fasciitis.

    I don't have plantar fasciitis or chronic foot pain, but from pouring through numerous reviews, I learned that people who do adore this massage roller. Made of high-quality Theaceae wood, this TheraFlow massager is durable. Unfortunately, after looking it up, I found that this plant species is threatened due to environmental factors and logging.

    Unlike electronic massagers, it doesn't need a warranty. You can use one of these for years without worrying about upkeep or servicing. For something so low-tech, it's shockingly effective.

    The raised, pyramid-shaped parts on each of the four front rollers are pronounced, digging deep into users' foot muscles and paint points. The intense pressure relieves the pain of plantar fasciitis.

    Plantar fasciitis occurs when the band of tissue that extends from your toes to your heel bone becomes inflamed, often due to exercise like dance and long-distance running. Obesity and jobs that keep you on your feet, like serving at a restaurant or teaching, are also risk factors. The worst symptom is stabbing pain near your heel, which peaks first thing in the morning and usually gets better throughout the day.

    To be clear, this massager doesn't cure plantar fasciitis. However, many people said it provides the best temporary relief they've found, including compared to other similar massagers with less distinct protrusions. In addition to the four rollers with the pyramid-shaped points that hit the front of the feet, the TheraFlow Dual Massager Roller includes a back roller with longer, cylindrical knobs that directly attack the pain caused by plantar fasciitis.

    You can also turn the massager around, so those longer nodes hit your toes and the balls of your feet. Tip: Let the longer nodes rest between your toes and then try and squeeze them all together. Toes often get ignored, so giving them a good squeeze feels surprisingly satisfying.

    When using this massager, you have the freedom to position your feet so that the nodes hit a number of different tight muscles and pressure points. Myofascial pain, like the inflammation of tissue that occurs in sufferers of plantar fasciitis, is said to manifest in certain trigger points. Being able to stretch out those points can help cause relief, which the combination of this massager's rolling motion and its raised nodes can provide.

    The TheraFlow Dual Foot Massager weighs only 1.6 pounds, so it's easy to drag around the house. The sturdiness means this at-home massage roller can withstand the weight of a heavy, standing adult.

    If you need a break from serious, regular foot pain, this massage roller does not mess around. It's also affordable and portable.

    Pros: Durability and strength of material, portable, combines a deep massage with ability to tailor it to the specific pain points on your feet, low cost

    Cons: Made of wood from a threatened plant species, lack of heating mechanism makes it harder for your feet to ease into the massage

    Buy the TheraFlow Dual Foot Massager Roller on Amazon for $19.95



    The best high-end foot massager

    Why you'll love it: The Belmint Foot Calf and Leg Massager with Heat treats your entire lower leg.

    This foot massager is a dream. The only reason why I didn't stick it at the top of this list is because it can be overwhelming. Between the multiple air pressure settings and the calf attachments that look and act like blood pressure cuffs, there's a lot going on with the Belmit Foot, Calf and Leg Massager. It also weighs close 30 pounds and has been a challenge to store in my small, New York City apartment.

    Each foot platform consists of four separate sections. By your toes, there's a vibration area, then there are rolling and massage sections for your front sole, your arch, and your heel area. The arch section includes optional heat. Surrounding your feet, an air bag offers increased compression, and between your feet, a console features many adjustment options.

    On the console, you'll find a button for turning the heating element on and off, buttons that adjust vibration frequency, and buttons that change the air pressure. There's also a button to switch between three different "modes" of massage.

    When the light on the "mode" button turns green, that means it's air pressure only — the machine vibrates but the kneading stops. This is nice if you want to relieve pressure after you've been standing for hours but not necessarily exercising. Squeezing the feet alone is a unexpectedly effective massage.

    When the "mode" button is red, the air pressure turns off and you get a massage consisting exclusively of kneading and vibration. This works best for when you're experiencing tightness in specific areas of your foot. The blue mode incorporates all of these features at once. All massages start off with intense vibration to loosen up your muscles, preparing you for the squeezing and/or kneading to follow.

    This foot, calf, and leg massager includes an adjustable bar that you can use to position it at an angle, meaning you don't have to have your calves positioned 90 degrees from the ground while you use it. This machine lets you recline in your chair and put your feet up during your massage.

    Now for the leg attachments. Calf muscles do a lot of hard work because of their position between your active knee and ankle joints. Improving circulation in your calves promotes blood flow throughout your entire body. Having attachments that focus on your calves while your feet get a simultaneous work-through takes relief to the next level.

    This elaborate massager is fabulous for a day after rigorous exercise or, let's be honest, the morning after a night of drinking. It will bring your sore, tired muscles back to life and flush metabolic byproducts that build up when you exercise — and that have trouble breaking down when you drink.

    Pros: Comprehensive — pays attention to calves and all parts of your feet individually, multiple adjustable settings lets you customize your massage

    Cons: Difficult to store, clunky to move, some set-up required

    Buy the Belmint Foot, Calf and Leg Massager With Heat on Amazon for $199.99



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Trump Pelosi Schumer

    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday that the Senate will vote on a short-term funding bill to avoid a government shutdown at week's end.
    • The bill would fund parts of the government through February 8.
    • This would also avoid a prolonged fight over funding for President Donald Trump's wall along the US-Mexico border.
    • The bill still must go through a few procedural hurdles in the Senate, pass the House, and be signed by Trump.

    Congress moved a step closer toward avoiding a government shutdown later this week.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday that the Senate will vote on a short-term funding bill to keep the government open until February 8, which would avoid a shutdown but also delay the fight over President Donald Trump's proposed border wall.

    "Later this morning, we’ll introduce a continuing resolution that will ensure continuous funding for the federal government," McConnell said in a statement. "The measure will provide the resources necessary to continue normal operations through February 8th."

    A slew of government agencies are set to shut down absent continued funding, putting around 800,000 federal employees at risk of being placed on furlough or made to work with no pay.

    The delay would also push back the fight over Trump's border wall, which has been the key sticking point in funding negotiations.

    The president demanded that Democrats allocate $5 billion to the construction of his long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border. But Democrats pushed back and only offered to include $1.6 billion in funding for border security that was restricted in its use.

    A shutdown seemed all but inevitable last week when Trump declared that he would be "proud" to shut down the government over the wall funding during a meeting with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. But the White House seemed to signal that the president was softening on that position on Tuesday.

    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the Trump administration would look for the desired $5 billion in wall funding in previously approved funding, backing off the demand for a clear appropriation in the new bill.

    "At the end of the day we don't want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border," she said.

    In the statement announcing the move, McConnell placed the blame for the brinkmanship at the Democrats' feet.

    "I’m sorry that my Democratic colleagues couldn’t put partisanship aside and show the same good-faith flexibility that the President has shown in order to provide the resources our nation needs to secure the integrity of our borders and the safety of American families," McConnell said. "But this seems to be the reality of our political moment."

    Schumer, on the other hand, said that the agreement only came together after Trump backed off demands for a large amount of border wall funding.

    "For the past several weeks, the president's insistence on $5 billion for a wall has been the biggest obstacle to keeping the government open past Friday," Schumer said.

    Senate Democrats will support the short-term funding bill, according to Schumer.

    "Leader McConnell has proposed a short-term CR just a few minutes ago. We would have preferred one of our two options but I’m glad the Leader thinks the government should not shut down over the president’s demand for a wall," he said during a floor speech Wednesday. "And Democrats will support this CR. The president and the House should follow that lead, because shutting down the government over Christmas is a terrible idea – one of the worst to come down the pike in a very long time."

    The bill must go through procedural hurdles before a Senate vote and then be cleared by the House before going to Trump's desk for a signature. While the softening stance on the wall from Sanders seems to indicate Trump's willingness to sign, there is also a chance that the unpredictable president vetoes the bill.

    The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

    SEE ALSO: Chuck Schumer just poked a huge hole in Trump's logic in the government-shutdown fight

    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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    barack and michelle obama

    • During an appearance on the "Tonight Show" Tuesday, Michelle Obama spoke about going to marriage counseling.
    • She said when she first started therapy, she thought she was "perfect" and that it was really to "fix" her husband, former President Barack Obama.
    • The former first lady soon learned that she had room for improvement, as well.
    • Sharing the story in her new memoir "Becoming" was important because she wants "young people to know that marriage is work."

    Michelle Obama spoke about her experience going through marriage counseling with her husband during an appearance on the "Tonight Show" Tuesday.

    The former first lady said that when she first decided to go to therapy, she thought it would "fix" her husband. At the time she thought she was "perfect," but soon learned she had things to work on to improve their marriage.

    "I was one of those wives who thought, 'I'm taking you to marriage counseling so you can be fixed, Barack Obama.' Because I was like, 'I'm perfect.' I was like, 'Dr. X, please fix him,'" she said with a smile. "And then, our counselor looked over at me. I was like, 'What are you looking at? I'm perfect.'"

    She continued: "But marriage counseling was a turning point for me, understanding that it wasn't up to my husband to make me happy, that I had to learn how to fill myself up, and how to put myself higher on my priority list."

    Barack and Michelle Obama 16

    Obama said she wanted to share the experience in her new memoir, "Becoming," so that young people know that marriages take effort and nobody's relationship is perfect.

    Read more:Michelle Obama reveals she and Barack have gone to marriage counseling: 'We get help with our marriage when we need it'

    "There are a lot of young people who look at me and Barack... and they think, 'Oh, I want those #relationshipgoals,'" Obama said. "But I want young people to know that marriage is work. Even the best marriages require work."

    barack michelle obama bangs

    She concluded:

    "I don't want young people to quit the minute they have a hardship. Because I always say, 'Look, if you're married for 50 years, and 10 of them are horrible, you're doing really good.' Anybody would take those odds."

    The Obamas celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary in October.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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    malibu california

    • PropertyShark put together a list of the most expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles for Business Insider.
    • Malibu and Santa Monica, two of LA's ritzy beach communities, dominated the list.
    • The top 10 most expensive neighborhoods in LA had a median sale price above $3 million in 2018.

    Los Angeles' beaches are teeming with wealth.

    PropertyShark put together a ranking for Business Insider of the most expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles in 2018. All but three of the top 10 neighborhoods on the list are in either Malibu or Santa Monica, two of LA's ritzy beach communities.

    Malibu Colony Beach topped the list with a median sale price over $10 million. 

    Malibu was recently named one of 17 of the world's "ultra-prime" markets by real-estate consultancy company Knight Frank. The designation means the coastal enclave had at least three home-sale transactions over $25 million every year since 2015. 

    "Malibu started as a second-home destination for the entertainment industry, originally dubbed 'Malibu Movie Colony.' This heritage heightened the iconic status of the area and broadened the appeal for many international buyers," the report states

    Malibu was one of the cities ravaged by the Woolsey fire in November. The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 400 single-family homes valued at a total of at least $1.6 billion were damaged in the wildfire.

    Los Angeles appears separately on Knight Frank's list and includes Beverly Hills, where the highest volume of multi-million-dollar sales took place between 2015 and 2017. 

    Keep reading for the most expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles, along with the median sale price in each, ranked from lowest to highest. 

    SEE ALSO: The most expensive New York City neighborhoods in 2018, ranked

    10. Las Flores Beach (Malibu)

    Median sale price: $3,137,000



    9. Broad Beach (Malibu)

    Median sale price: $3,200,000



    8. La Costa (Malibu)

    Median sale price: $3,412,500



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Hotel President Wilson 1

    • Some luxury hotels avoid posting their most expensive and exclusive rooms online.
    • Many of the rooms are available only for well-connected clientele who have heard of the rooms via word of mouth — and have the funds to pay for them.
    • Hotels keep their rooms unlisted for a variety of reasons, including to protect their assets and to create buzz.

    How are you supposed to book a room that isn't listed on a hotel's website?

    Well, the point, as reported by Bloomberg, is that you probably can't, unless you're connected enough to have heard about it by word of mouth.

    That's often the case with ultra-luxurious rooms and suites that high-end hotels purposely omit from their listings. There are no photographs, no descriptions, and no prices available; to anyone who isn't in the know, it's as if they don't exist.

    Hotels keep such rooms secret for a variety of reasons, whether protecting the hotel's assets or protecting the guest's identity and privacy.

    Then, of course, there's the thrill of exclusivity. As The New York Times put it, hotels use these unlisted rooms "as a way to delight valued guests or generate buzz."

    Read more:A 5-star boutique in Switzerland with a world-famous infinity pool no longer has to pay for advertising, thanks to Instagram

    These rooms go by a variety of terms — owner's suites, partnership suites — but one thing they have in common is a hefty price tag.

    Take, for example, Blue Lagoon— one of Iceland's most recognizable tourist attractions. The Retreat is a luxury hotel with 62 suites that can be booked online, some of which offer direct access to the lagoon. But tucked away within The Retreat is The Blue Lagoon Suite. There's no mention of it on The Retreat's site, but, according to Bloomberg, it goes for $10,050 a night — and requires a minimum two-night stay.

    Booking details vary for these unlisted rooms. In some cases, an interested guest has to call ahead and specifically request the suite. Other hotels require that their penthouse suites be booked by email in advance, so that managers have time to vet the guest before making a decision.

    Even if booking an unlisted hotel room is a bit (or a lot) out of your budget, there are still ways to customize your five-star hotel experience with some semisecret perks. That can include free Champagne or chocolate-covered strawberries and even special decorations in your room.

    And hotels aren't the only businesses that build a name for some of their products — if not their entire brands — by choosing not to advertise them. Consider Goyard, a two-century-old Parisian brand.

    As Business Insider's Hillary Hoffower previously reported: "Goyard's prime press strategy is silence. It forgoes any advertising, e-commerce, and celebrity endorsements. It rarely grants interviews and very occasionally makes products available to the mass market."

    Clearly, in some cases, not talking about your luxury product is the best way to make people want it.

    SEE ALSO: The world's 10 most expensive hotel suites

    READ MORE: This futuristic hotel is going to be built at the base of a glacier in remote, northern Norway — and it looks like it's straight out of a sci-fi movie

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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    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.

    A chocolate and coffee sip and taste set

    Whether you're looking to rag on dad or show him all the love and kindness in the world (which are really one in the same, right?), we've got gift ideas for every sort of dad, from the hapless car-key-losing fool to the history buff and the masterful (and not-so-masterful) home chef.

    Whatever it is that dad's into, something below is bound to make him smile, laugh, cry, or, hopefully, all of the above. You've been a pain and a nuisance all along; why change now?

    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.

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


    A sleek, eco-friendly lunch box

    GreenLunch Bento 3-in-1 Bento Lunch Box, available at Amazon, $30.95

    Don't send dad off to work (or school, as the case may be) with a brown bag. If you think it's embarrassing for you, it's definitely embarrassing for him.



    A copper waiter's key

    Wine Waiters Corkscrew, available at Williams Sonoma, $34.95

    A nice piece for the bar to replace that ratty old plastic thing he stole from Holiday Inn before you were born and life was good.



    A 3-month Amazon Prime Subscription

    An Amazon Prime membership, available at Amazon, three months for $39

    He'll pick up on it. Just get him started.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Koi fish can be worth millions — the most expensive koi fish ever sold was worth $1.8 million.
    • Koi are a type of carp, a common fish that can be found all over the world, but what makes Koi so special is their coloring and lineage.
    • There are regular competitions to name the top koi and just like prized dog breeds, Japanese people take koi breeding very seriously.

    Anything strike you as special about this fish here? Well, it's worth 1.8 million dollars. It won grand champion at the All Japan Koi Show in 2017, and is the most expensive koi fish ever sold.

    Koi may just look like an oversized goldfish, but they're not even remotely related. Koi are actually a type of carp, and today they're some of the most expensive pet fish in the world. But why? Koi were originally raised in Japan in the 1700s when rice farmers first began breeding them for their distinct colors and patterns, similar to how we breed dogs for their specific traits. And just like prized dog breeds, Japanese people take koi breeding very seriously.

    There are regular competitions to name the top koi. Judges and buyers pay attention to how healthy its skin looks, its size and body shape, and how gracefully the fish moves in the water. But the most important trait of all is the koi's coloring. The best koi have a good balance of colors and patterns according to their variety. For example, there are koi with light blue spots, ones with large red patches on their backs, or all-metallic gold.

    But the most winning fish often just boil down to these three varieties. They're often the most valuable. They dominate the shows, winning nearly every major category each year. And the better-looking the fish, the more a buyer is willing to pay.

    Yvo: Yeah, it depends. You can buy some small and cheap koi fish for a couple of bucks, but also, yeah, it can get up really, really high to thousands, ten thousands of dollars.

    Narrator: That's Yvo de Wal. He's a koi hobbyist and seller in the Netherlands, and he heads up the YouTube channel Koi Partner. Each year he visits Japan to shop for koi.

    Yvo: The breeders are located there, and they have experience with their bloodlines for many, many generations.

    Narrator: You see, bloodlines are just as prized in koi as they are in dogs because some of these koi are the result of decades of selective breeding. I mean, just take a look at the koi's wild relative, the common carp. Its dark colors would be considered unattractive for a koi, but it's perfect protection against predators in the wild. So how do you get from this to this? Well, it's actually similar to how we got from this to this, except koi breeders mainly select for size and color and ignore... Fluffiness.

    Koi have six types of color cells in their skin. Their cells can be red, yellow, black, white, blue, or metallic. Now in order to get a beautiful, reddish-orange pattern like the one on this 1.8 million dollar fish, you need to select for fish that have a white body and lots of red cells that concentrate in large patches. Red and white are important colors in Japanese culture, representing joy and purity. But having the right colors is only part of it.

    A koi's color cells sit at different depths in the skin, some right near the surface and some deeper in, which ultimately determines how bright the fish appears. The brighter the fish, the bigger the price tag. Today there are about 120 varieties. To compare, there are about 200 breeds of dogs. But when it comes down to it, breeding koi is a lot harder. A single koi can give birth to hundreds of thousands of baby fish at a time.

    Yvo: I think we are talking about millions and millions of fish per breeder.

    Narrator: So breeders must choose wisely. One breeder, for example, reports that he starts with 3 million fish and selects 15,000 to raise over the first year. From that he chooses 1,000 to continue to raise the second year.

    Yvo: Yeah, it's a really hard job for the breeders.

    Narrator: But in the end, all that hard work is worth it. The breeder of this grand champion waited until she was nine years old to sell her at auction. And by bringing in a world record of 1.8 million, the breeder got not only a huge return on investment but a priceless reputation boost in the koi community.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    jack whittaker lottery winner

    • Lottery players everywhere dream of hitting a multimillion-dollar jackpot with a winning ticket.
    • But there's a dark side to coming into a windfall of sudden wealth if you're not careful.
    • Here's what it's really like to win the lottery.

    Becoming substantially wealthier thanks to a tiny piece of paper would make your life so much better, right?

    In fact, recent research has suggested that lottery winners are more satisfied with life than those who lost the lottery and that this happiness is lasting, Business Insider previously reported.

    But winning a lottery jackpot can also have some unwanted side effects.

    Here's what it's really like to win the lottery.

    SEE ALSO: 20 lottery winners who lost every penny

    Lottery players everywhere dream of hitting the jackpot.



    The idea of striking it rich is enticing enough for the average American to spend $207 a year on lottery tickets.

    Source: CBS News



    In reality, though, your chance of winning is pretty slim — you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than you do of winning a Mega Millions or Powerball contest.

    Source: CBS NewsNational Geographic



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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

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

    J.Crew

    1. Save up to 40% on new arrivals at J.Crew

    J.Crew is helping you stock up on winter wardrobe essentials with a big sale — and the more you buy, the more you'll save. Now through December 21, you can save 20% when you buy two styles, 30% on three styles, and 40% on four or more styles by using the promo code "MOREISMORE" at checkout.

    Shop the J.Crew sale now.

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    2.Save up 50% on toys at Target

    Toys are on every kid's holiday wish list — and Target has a huge selection at great prices. Right now, you can save up to 50% on hundreds of the hottest toys of the season. Order by tomorrow, December 20, for guaranteed Christmas delivery.

    Shop the Target sale now.

    Bose QuietComfort 35 II

    3. Save $50 on Bose QuietComfort 35 Noise-Cancelling Headphones

    Named a travel essential by Insider Picks' senior reporter David Slotnick, the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 Series II headphones feature premium sound quality, active noise cancelling technology, superb comfort for extended us on long trips, and up to 20 hours of battery life. Right now, you can save $50 by purchasing them on Amazon. Order today for delivery by Friday.

    Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II Noise Cancelling Headphones, $299.99 (Originally $349.99) [You save $50]

    Echo Dot Kids Edition

    4. Save $20 on the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition

    The Echo Dot Kids Edition uses the power of Alexa to act as a kid-friendly DJ, comedian, and storyteller. When you purchase this bundle, you'll also receive a year of FreeTime Unlimited, which gives your kids access to hundreds of hours of fun and educational content, audio books, ad-free radio stations, and more. The Kids Edition smart speaker comes with a protective case and a two-year worry-free guarantee, so if they manage to break it, you'll get a replacement. Order today for delivery by Friday.

    Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition, $49.99 (Originally $69.99)[You save $20]

    REI

    5. Save up to 50% on outdoor gear and apparel at REI

    With the holiday season just days away, REI is having a huge holiday clearance sale that's worth taking advantage of while completing your gift list. Right now, you can save up to 50% on outdoor gear and apparel. Order by December 20 at 9 a.m. PST for delivery before Christmas.

    Shop the REI sale now.

    Bonobos

    6. 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 save 30% sitewide when you use 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.

    Shop the Bonobos sale now.

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    7. Save up to 24% on FireTV Edition Smart TVs

    If you're shopping for a new TV, it only makes sense to buy a smart TV — and Amazon has a great selection of Fire TV Editions on sale. With Fire TV technology built in, you can enjoy thousands of channels, apps like Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu, and utilize the power of Alexa. Right now, you can save up to 24% on models from brands like Toshiba and Insignia.

    Shop Fire TV Edition Smart TVs on Amazon now.

    DNA Testing 23andMe

    8. Save up to $50 on 23andMe DNA Test Kits

    23andMe won't be able to give you all of the answers, but the popular DNA test will be able to tell you more about your heritage than most of us know off the top of our heads. All you need to do is provide a saliva sample using the tools you'll find in this kit and send it back to 23andMe for testing. Within six to eight weeks you'll receive your results, and you'll be able to prove where you come from once and for all. Originally priced at $99 each, you can get one kit for $69 or two or more kits for $49 each. If you're running out of gift ideas, this is a solid choice for anyone on your list.

    Shop the 23andMe DNA Kit sale now.

    Leesa

    9. Save up to $225 on Leesa mattress and get a free pillow

    The Leesa Mattress is designed to use pocket springs and high-performance foams to help you sleep better. Leesa's mattresses are always a great value, but the startup is offering $150 off the Leesa mattress, $225 off the Sapira mattress, and a free pillow (a $75 value) for the holiday season. The offer ends soon, so you'll want to take advantage of it now. If buying a mattress online concerns you, know that you can try it out for 100 nights free of risk. If it's not the best sleep you've ever had, you can return it hassle-free.

    Shop the Leesa sale now.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    santa claus

    • Tipping is a tricky beast.
    • Figuring out how much to tip — and who to tip — during the holidays can get even more complicated.
    • DealNews broke down how much to tip during the holidays, and we compiled their recommendations here.

    Figuring out how much to tip for a typical service is often more complicated than it needs to be — but it can get even more tricky around the holidays, when tipping can depend on how often you received a certain service throughout the year.

    What's the rule of thumb for tipping the guy who walks your dogs every week or the gardener who stops by your house once a month? And did you know you should tip your garbage collector during the holidays?

    To help simplify the confusion, controversy, and complication that is tipping, DealNews previously broke down the most common situations in which tipping is expected and how much to tip for each one. We took all their holiday tipping recommendations and compiled them here. 

    From your dog groomer to your personal trainer, see just how much to tip everyone in your life for the holidays.

    SEE ALSO: How much to tip in every situation, from Uber drivers to your hairstylist

    SEE ALSO: How much to tip servers, taxi drivers, and hotel staff in 49 countries around the world

    Apartment/building supers

    Tip:$75 to $150 



    Babysitters

    Tip: One week's pay, to be gifted beforehand



    Dog groomers

    Tip:$10 to $100, depending on the frequency of your visits throughout the year



    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.

    book of the month, $44.99+

    She's your confidante, rock, mentor, and built-in best friend. She's been there through it all and this holiday season she deserves something really special. Yet, mom can be one of the hardest people to shop for on your list. After all, what do you give someone who literally gave you life?

    The good news is that the perfect gift for your mom is out there, and it doesn't have to be expensive to make her smile. When it comes to gifts for mom, whether you want to go with something big or small, thoughtfulness is key. That's why we scoured the web and collected 50 really special gifts that show your mom you care, all under $50.

    Pick a gift that embraces nostalgia, her favorite hobbies, or some quality time with you — whatever you give, mom will love it. 

    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.

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

    A bath caddy with room for everything she might need

    Pristine Bamboo Bathtub Caddy Tray, $42.90, available at Amazon

    The only thing that could make a bath more relaxing than some luxurious bubbles is this bathtub caddy. It can hold a device so she can watch her favorite show, a glass full of her favorite drink, and even a candle she can light for ambiance. 



    A Blue Apron meal kit for convenient, healthy meals

    Blue Apron Meal Kit, two-person plan starting at $47.95, available at Blue Apron

    Whether she loves to cook or is looking to improve her skills, she'll appreciate the convenience of this meal kit. Each meal kit comes with pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes for seriously delicious home cooked meals that can be made on busy weeknights. 



    An air plant that shows your appreciation

    You Are My Rock Air Plant, starting at $26, available at Etsy

    She's your rock, so let her know. This air plant, which comes in a pretty rose quartz planter, will make a cute piece of decor — and the packaging box will remind her how important she is to you. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    1TopRatedHotel NewYorkCity Beekman (38 of 45)

    • Condé Nast Traveler recently released its 2019 Gold List ranking of the best hotels in the world.
    • The editors selected the 78 best hotels around the world, which included the top 13 hotels in the US.
    • Only three American cities had more than one hotel on the list: New York City, LA, and Chicago

    From waterfront resorts in Miami and Hawaii to an oasis in the middle of the Utah desert, the best 13 hotels in America represent a wide range of luxury experiences.

    Condé Nast recently released its 2019 Gold List, in which the editors select the top hotels around the world. The list features 78 hotels, 13 of which are in the US.

    The hotels cover a wide range of prices, starting in the mid-$100s for a night at The Robey in Chicago and all the way past $1,000 for a night at Amangiri in Utah.

    Read more: 31 incredible hotels everyone should stay at in their lifetime, ranked by price

    Notably, several of these top-ranked hotels are repeatedly mentioned on lists of top hotels across the world; The Peninsula in Chicago and Four Seasons in Hualalai, for example, both also appeared on the US News & World Report's 2018 hotel ranking, as Business Insider previously reported.

    If you're more interested in personalized experiences at smaller hotels, consider taking a look at the top 14 boutique hotels in the world, from a romantic retreat in South Africa to a private villa in Thailand.

    Keep reading for a look at the best hotels in America. We also took a look at prices for rooms booked out one month in advance, and noted the starting rates.

    SEE ALSO: A 7-bedroom Swiss cabin has been named the world's best ski chalet for 2 years in a row — and an inside tour quickly proves why

    READ MORE: The 50 best restaurants in the world in 2018

    The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel, New York

    Rates starting at: $299/night



    The St. Regis New York

    Rates starting at: $779/night



    The Carlyle, New York

    Rates starting at: $1,000/night



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    • As 2018 draws to a close, the Insider Picks team has evaluated the business credit cards currently available, and picked a few of our favorites.
    • If you own a small business — whether it's a personal side gig or something with multiple employees — it's important to keep your business and personal expenses separate from each other.
    • It's best to have either a business checking account (or a second personal account), as well as a separate business credit card.
    • Take a look below at our picks for best small business credit cards of 2018.

    Whether you're a freelancer, someone with a side-gig, or you run a business with 15 employees, an HR team, and a brick-and-mortar store or office, keeping your personal and business finances is vital. Even if you're a sole proprietor using your personal checking account, things can get muddy quickly when you're cutting personal and business checks from the same account, or charging drinks with friends and your monthly Microsoft Office subscription to the same credit card.

    To make your own day-to-day life easier, and to save yourself a tremendous number of headaches when it comes time to file taxes, you're best keeping business purchases separate — I learned this quickly when I started to do some freelance work on the side.

    There are a few other reasons to use a business card, though. 

    Your personal card might not facilitate the kind of spending your company does. Business cards can have higher credit limits, and in most cases, the activity on a business card won't affect your personal credit report (although if you default on the business card, the card issuer can still come after you personally).

    If you're a "sole-proprietor" business, where you work solo and work under your own name and social security number (rather than a business name), getting a business card is more about the convenience of keeping your expenses separate, and protecting your own credit profile and assets — even the smallest of businesses are eligible, such as freelancers, individuals with side gigs, or even people who resell things on eBay.

    If you're a bigger business, though — or aspire to grow into one, with employees and more resources, having a business card is a must — not only to separate expenses, but to establish business credit, so that you have flexibility later on with loans and leases. Plus, you can get additional authorized cards for employees as needed.

    Take a look below at our picks of a few of the best small business credit cards to open in 2018. 

    1. Chase Ink Business Preferred

    Welcome offer: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $5,000 on the card in the first three months.

    If you're looking to earn valuable, flexible rewards points on your small business spending, the Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) ecosystem is among the best options. If you already have one of Chase's popular personal rewards cards — like the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve — the Ink Business Preferred is an ideal business card companion.

    Like those cards, the Ink Preferred earns UR points, and while you can keep them on that card and separate from the rest of your stash, you can also combine them with the rest of your points. These points can be traded for cash back, transferred to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty partners, or used to purchase travel with a 25% bonus (or a 50% bonus if you move your points over to your Chase Sapphire Reserve). 

    The card also earns 3x points per dollar on the first $150,000 your business spends on combined purchases each cardmember year in several categories, including travel, shipping, internet/cable/phone, and advertising on social media sites or with search engines, such as Google Ads. Purchases after you reach $150,000, or in any other category, earn 1x point per dollar.

    That earning rate, plus the card's 80,000 point sign-up bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first three months — the highest bonus currently offered by Chase — should make for a nice stash of Ultimate Reward points.

    Among other benefits, the Ink Business Preferred offers cell phone protections. When you use the Ink  Preferred to pay your cell phone bill, you're covered for up to $600 for damage, loss, or theft of your cell phone — or your employees' work-provided phones, if you provide them. You're limited to three claims per rolling 12-month period, but this can save you a fortune. That insurance alone makes up for the $95 annual fee.

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

    2. The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

    2

    Welcome offer: Up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points (50,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first three months, and another 25,000 if you spend an additional $15,000 in that same time frame).

    The small business version of American Express's famed Platinum Card used to be our pick for the top business card, but recently announced changes have made it a bit more of a niche product — potentially useful for mid-sized businesses, but less valuable for sole proprieters and very small operations.

    The changes don't take place until February, so it's still possible to grab this card and enjoy its current perks — and, for the first year, its lower annual fee.

    After the changes, card holders will receive a complimentary year of WeWork Global Access membership, allowing them to use any of WeWork's 335 facilities, which are spread across 83 cities throughout the world. The benefit is worth $2,700, according to AmEx.

    After the changes, Business Platinum card holders will also get up to $200 of annual statement credits to use when shopping at Dell.

    The card's current perks will remain, but the annual fee will increase from $450 to $595, beginning with your first billing cycle after the changes in February — if you apply before then, you'll lock down the lower fee for your first year.

    The Business Platinum is ideal for small businesses that spend a lot on flights and travel — when you book flights and prepaid hotel stays through Amex Travel, you earn 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent (and 1x points on everything else). You also earn a 50% bonus — so effectively 1.5x points per dollar — on purchases of $5,000 or more, up to 1 million extra points per year.

    The card includes $200 in airline fee credits each calendar year, essentially rebating part of the annual fee. Plus, because the airline fee credit is valid each calendar year, not cardmember year, you could get it twice in your first 12 months of having the card.

    The card offers a slew of other benefits, including access to more than 1,200 airport lounges, including Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when you're flying with the airline, and proprietary Amex Centurion Lounge locations.

    When you have the Business Platinum card and use points to book a flight through Amex Travel on one airline that you pre-select — or business or first class flights on any airline — you'll get 35% of your points back. You'll get 10 complimentary Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes each year, as well as automatic Gold elite status with Hilton, Marriott, and Starwood hotels.

    Click here to learn more about the Business Platinum Card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    3. The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

    1

    Welcome offer: 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months. This offer is only available until September 26.

    This card usually doesn't have a welcome offer, and that might be enough to turn many people away from it. However, it's currently offering a limited-time bonus, and despite the fact that you usually won't be able to jump-start your points balance with a massive haul, you'll earn more through regular spending: the card offers 2x points on every dollar spent, on your first $50,000 in spending every year (after that, it's 1x point).

    There's also a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, and then a variable rate (currently 12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99%). While funding your startup with a credit card may not be the best idea, the introductory APR can help if you have a few larger purchases coming up and are still working to get cash flow regular. Best of all, the card has no annual fee.

    Click here to learn more about the Blue Business Plus from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    4. Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

    Welcome offer: $500 (or 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 in the first three months

    The newest card in Chase's business portfolio, the Ink Business Unlimited is a simple one at first — earn unlimited 1.5% cash back.

    However, just like the consumer Freedom Unlimited card, the Ink Business Unlimited has a trick up its sleeve: although the card is marketed as "cash back," it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points that you can redeem for cash (1 point = $0.01).

    That means that you can combine the points earned from the Ink Unlimited with the ones you earn from cards like the Ink Preferred, or the personal Sapphire Reserve, and either earn a bonus when you redeem them for travel through Chase, or transfer them to travel partners. Combined with an Ink Preferred, you'll get a guaranteed 1.5–3x points per dollar spent.

    The card offers a 0% introductory APR for 12 months (with a variable 14.99–20.99% APR after), and has no annual fee, making it a no-brainer for every small business owner, freelancer, or side-gig hustler.

    Click here to learn more about the Chase Ink Business Unlimited from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    5. Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card

    1

    Welcome offer: $500 (or 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 in the first three months

    The Ink Cash is another solid Chase entry, and just like with the Ink Unlimited, you can pool the "cash" you earn with points from a points-earning card, effectively converting your cash into (potentially) more valuable points.

    The Ink Cash earns 5% cash back (or 5x points) on the first $25,000 in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services each card holder year. It earns 2% back (or 2x points) on the first $25,000 in purchases at gas stations and restaurants each year, and 1% (or 1x point) on everything else with no cap.

    Like the Ink Unlimited, the Ink Cash offers a 0% introductory APR for 12 months (with a variable 14.99–20.99% APR after), and has no annual fee.

    Click here to learn more about the Chase Ink Business Cash from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    6. Capital One Spark Cash for Business

    Welcome offer: Up to $2,000 ($500 after spending $5,000 in the first three months, and $1,500 when you spend a total of $50,000 in the first six months). For a limited time only

    This is probably the simplest, easiest-to-use card on this list, but simple doesn't mean bad — this can be a fantastically rewarding card.

    Plus, Capital One is offering a rare limited-time sign-up bonus of up to $2,000. Your business will have to spend a whopping $50,000 in the first six months to earn the whole thing — however, if you have a business that spends a lot of money — for instance, fronting expenses that are billed to clients, or purchasing supplies — the bonus requirements could be easy to hit.

    The Capital One Spark Cash earns unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. That's it. No categories, no points values or conversions, no redemption minimums. Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem any amount of cash back.

    The card has a $95 annual fee, waived the first year. At first glance, the Amex Blue Business Plus might seem like a better option, since it earns 2x points and doesn't have an annual fee.

    However, keep in mind that while 2x points may be more valuable than 2% cash if you redeem strategically for travel by transferring to partners, Membership Rewards points can't be redeemed outright for cash. You can redeem them for a statement credit, but they'll only be worth 0.6¢ each. That means that effectively, the Amex card only offers 1.2% "cash" back, compared to the no-strings-attached 2% from the Capital One Spark Cash.

    Click here to learn more about the Spark Cash from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    7. Airline business credit cards

    delta airlines

    Welcome offer: Varies

    If you fly often for work, and you're loyal to one particular airline, then it could be worth getting an airline's business credit card instead. In addition to earning frequent flyer miles on every purchase, you'll get a variety of perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and more. 

    Each airline card's terms and benefits are slightly different, so click on your preferred airline card below to learn more.

    Delta

    United Airlines

    American Airlines

    SEE ALSO: The best credit card rewards, bonuses, and perks

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    1942

    Every year, over a million people pack into New York City's Times Square to revel in the new year.

    2019 marks the 112th anniversary of the ball drop — the tradition of watching a glowing sphere that slides down a pole until midnight.

    Let's take a look at how the celebration has evolved over the past century.

    SEE ALSO: 19 of the most beautiful public spaces in the world, according to urban designers

    Since the tradition began in 1904, New York's New Year's Eve celebration has been one of the world's largest. The first celebration had about 200,000 attendees.

    In the early years, crowds gathered at Wall Street's Trinity Church to listen to church bells at midnight before the Times Square festivity became more popular.



    New York had its first ball drop in 1907 after the city banned fireworks. The 700-pound ball had 100 bulbs, was made of iron and wood, and appeared every year until 1920.

    Source: The New Yorker



    Over the next few decades, the number of spectators swelled. This was the crowd on December 31, 1941.



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    avocado slicer

    • In most cases, if a product seems too good to be true, it probably is and will underperform when used in real life.
    • But sometimes a given gadget really can simplify your life; when it comes to cooking products, that can mean meal prep that's quicker, cleaner, and safer, too.
    • From an avocado slicer to non-stick pans, these ten cooking products might seem like gimmicks that over-promise results, but try them yourself and you'll see they really are a cut above.

     

    Certain pieces of kitchen accouterment are indispensable. No kitchen is complete without a few great knives and a good set of pots and pans, for example, and there's really no way to improve upon a sharp knife and a large pan.

    Still other kitchen tools are basically useless, adding layers of complexity to the culinary process for no appreciable reason. (Banana slicer, I'm looking at you. Also garlic presses make a wretched mess — just use your knife and slice away.)

    There are, however, a plethora of kitchen gadgets that might seem like gimmicks but really do work, making cooking and meal prep faster, cleaner, and safer, too. Some can even help you cook healthier foods without sacrificing flavor.

    If you love preparing food at home but wouldn't mind a few hacks to make your time in the kitchen more efficient, then treat yourself to a few of these kitchen products that actually work.

    SEE ALSO: A Canadian photographer who built his 104-square-foot tiny house with his own hands says he 'house-hacked' his way into 'living for free'

    1. Air fryers

    When you fry food in oil, it's simply delicious — it's crispy, it's greasy, it's a delight. But frying food not only breaks down some of its nutritional value, it also adds a lot of fat from the cooking oil.

    So-called air fryers are actually just compact convection ovens that circulate superheated air all around the food in their cooking chambers, thereby creating the same crisp, tasty foods without the use of oils. An air fryer can cook significantly faster than a regular oven, produce a food that tastes almost as though it were fried, and requires only a quick and easy cleanup of its removable basket.



    2. Immersion blenders

    Also called hand blenders, immersion blenders are one of those devices that will become indispensable to you the first time you use one. Think about it like this: a traditional blender has rotating blades at the bottom of a large pitcher toward which your foods are hopefully drawn during the blending process.

    A hand blender, on the other hand, lets you move those whirling blades wherever you need, whether you're blending up the contents of a single bowl or a large stockpot. I've perfectly pureed soups prepared to serve twelve people in about 20 seconds using my immersion blender, and I have a feeling the last 10 seconds weren't even necessary.



    3. Vegetable choppers

    I'm pretty handy in the kitchen, but I'd still say it takes me about two minutes to dice an onion. With a vegetable chopper, it takes about three seconds.

    OK, actually it takes about 30 seconds, but 27 of those are spent peeling the onion, slicing off the top and bottom, and then halving it, with the last few seconds devoted to pushing the top of the chopped down onto a half of the onion, forcing it through the grid pattern of blades. The chopped onion pieces fall into a large plastic chamber from which they can be immediately retrieved or stored for later use.



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