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The latest news from Life

older | 1 | .... | 1651 | 1652 | (Page 1653) | 1654 | 1655 | .... | 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.

    rei $20

    We commonly associate the word "gift" with a neatly wrapped box holding a tangible product inside, but the best gifts can sometimes be more than a piece of jewelry, a phone accessory, or a home tech gadget

    Don't forget about services and memberships as viable gift options. They're just as thoughtful and useful, sometimes even more so, because they tend to be more customizable and centered around convenience. 

    With the following gifts, you can purchase a gift card with an amount of your choice, or gift the membership directly to your recipient. We found services and memberships you probably didn't think of, like a grocery delivery service and a city-wide studio fitness pass. 

    If you need a thoughtful last-minute gift that doesn't reveal you procrastinated (again) this year, a membership gift is the way to go. Since it isn't a physical present that arrives at their door, there's usually an option to inform your recipient of their gift when you place your order.

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

    A designer clothing rental membership

    Rent the Runway Unlimited Membership, $159

    This disruptive company has made a name for itself by changing the way women dress and approach clothing ownership. Instead of wasting money and letting seldom-worn clothes pile up in their closet, they can rotate through designer clothing for a set price each month. Use it for work, weddings, or just everyday life. 



    An Amazon Prime membership

    Amazon Prime Gift Membership, from $39

    If you're tired of your sibling or roommate mooching off your Prime account, give the gift of their very own Prime membership this year. You'll find all the benefits of a membership here, but a few highlights are of course, free two-day shipping, movie and TV streaming through Prime Video, and access to Amazon Fresh.

    You can gift a three-month membership for $39, or an annual membership for $119. 



    The best way to help your parent friends find a good babysitter

    UrbanSitter Gift Card, $25-$200

    Parents who desperately need a night to themselves but have trouble finding a sitter will surely benefit from using nationwide service UrbanSitter, which is home to over 150,000 trusted babysitters.

    A $34.95 one-month access pass (or $99.95 annual membership) allows parents to browse, interview, and book a sitter that meets their needs. The site also gathers mutual connections and recommendations from their community of fellow parents. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    corkcicle $40

    The gift-giving season is upon us.

    Here to help you choose the perfect gifts for everyone on your list, from your coworkers to your dad, or the person you pulled for a White Elephant gift exchange, are the editors and reporters from the Insider Picks team.

    If you need some inspiration for what to get for her this holiday season (whether she's your sister, mom, daughter, wife, or otherwise), we have you covered with some truly excellent gift ideas. Though you can never go wrong with a new leather wallet or festive, holiday-themed beauty gift set, we've also included some more unique gifts, like a custom map poster and a book about everything "Friends" in our list.

    Check out all 64 gifts for her, and happy shopping!

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

    DON'T MISS: 55 creative and unexpected gifts for her that are all under $50

    A stylish and comfortable pair of shoes

    Allbirds Wool Loungers, available at Allbirds, $95 (9 colors)

    Popular shoe startup Allbirds came out with a new high-top sneaker this month, dubbed the Tree Toppers, but for the uninitiated (and honestly really anyone), the classic Wool Loungers make an excellent gift. 



    The Amazon Echo Spot

    Amazon Echo, available at Amazon, $69.99 (6 colors)

    The Echo is the perfect addition to her nightstand or countertop. It uses Alexa to accomplish any number of tasks, from answering questions to reordering supplies on Amazon. 



    A reusable bag that comes in dozens of fun prints

    Standard Baggu, available at Amazon, $9 (29 colors)

    You can never have too many reusable bags, especially when they're as cute as the ones Baggu makes. The Standard Baggu is design to hold 50 pounds and folds into a flat 5-inch by 5-inch pouch for easy storage in her purse. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Jim James Mattis

    • James Mattis announced his resignation as President Donald Trump's Defense Secretary on December 20.
    • The four-star Marine general served in Trump's Cabinet for the first two years of his administration.
    • An intellectual man, he has amusing, enlightening, and often funny quotes.

    Outgoing Defense Secretary James Mattis was legendary long before he agreed to join President Donald Trump's Cabinet.

    The retired four-star general spent 44 years in the US Marine Corps, working his way up to Commander of US Central Command.

    He's been called "Mad Dog" Mattis (a nickname he detests), "Warrior Monk" (because he's such an intellectual), and is beloved and respected by fellow Marines.

    Mattis also has some of the best quotes of any general around. Here are 17 of his best.

    This post is based on a previous story by Paul Szoldra.

    SEE ALSO: The incredible career of Jim Mattis, the legendary Marine general turned defense secretary

    DON'T MISS: MEET THE CABINET: Here are the 24 people Trump has appointed to the top leadership positions

    On meeting new people:



    On collateral damage:



    On taking a life:



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    winter sunrise

    • Seasonal Affective Disorder is a serious depression that affects a small minority of the population.
    • But changing seasons and darker days affect most people's behavior, even down to our cell phone activity.
    • Psychologists say there are a few simple ways to help boost your mental health in the winter.


    The idea that our mood can darken in the dark winter days has been around for millennia. 

    The coldest months of the year were a terrible time for the Greek Gods: Persephone was banished to the underworld every winter, while Boreas ushered in the cool winter winds and his nasty temper. Later, Shakespeare wrote, "a sad tale’s best for winter."

    Well, bring on the sad tales, because the darkest day of the year is here. On December 21, people in New York will get just over 9 hours 15 minutes of sun, while in Anchorage, Alaska there’ll be fewer than 5.5 hours.

    Although there's medical debate around Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), most people feel a little down in the winter months — it's a time of year when depression rates spike (though suicides don’t).

    So here's what to know about the various types of winter blues, and how to counteract them.

    A correlation between lower latitudes and less seasonal sadness

    The idea that darker days could make a portion of the population susceptible to depression wasn’t picked up by modern clinicians until the 1980s, when South African psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal moved to the US and noticed a change in his mood during the New York winters.Snow In Central Park

    He wondered whether darker days explained why he felt more glum and low-energy.

    Rosenthal put the question to the masses in the Washington Post in 1981, saying he wanted to hear from anyone who felt sad in the wintertime and had "gone through enough cycles to know that this is going to happen again." 

    The results of his subsequent telephone surveys showed a clear correlation between lower latitudes and sunnier dispositions. Only about 1% of people living in Florida reported experiencing winter sadness, Rosenthal found, while nearly 10% of those in places like Alaska and New Hampshire said they were feeling down.

    Read More: These 4 short L-words can help reveal if you might be depressed

    Rosenthal also found that women between the ages of 20 and 40 were twice as likely to have seasonal blues compared to men. He hypothesized that may have to do with the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

    Rosenthal's new term for this seasonally-linked depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), was first included in the DSM — the go-to-guide for psychologists and mental health experts — in 1987.

    According to the DSM, people who have SAD are excessively fatigued, lose interest in their hobbies, tend to crave more starches and sweets, may gain seasonal weight, and have difficulty concentrating during darker months.

    If you suspect you have this type of depression, it's best to see a professional — don’t try to diagnose it on your own.

    But is SAD a real thing?

    Recently there's been some debate about whether SAD deserves its place among other disorders. Psychologist Steven LoBello published a study of nearly 35,000 Americans in 2016 that found no variation in their depression that could be explained by latitudes or seasonal changes.

    "The belief that winter is a cause of depression, sadness, 'the blues' is very widespread in western culture," LoBello told Business Insider. But just because we believe we have SAD, he said, doesn't mean we actually do.

    LoBello's study, however, didn't rule out the possibility that major depression with seasonal variation exists for a very small portion of the population.

    That’s an assessment other clinicians largely agree with. Kelly Rohan studies adult mood disorders and SAD therapies at the University of Vermont. She said estimates that suggest up to 10% of people in places like Alaska have SAD are likely due to overstated self-reports.

    The real number of people with SAD is probably between 1-2%, she said.

    "It's going to be a pretty pervasive mood state that is going to affect the person for four to five months of the year,” Rohan told Business Insider. “It’s not going to wax and wane depending on what’s going on at work.”

    What you can do about SAD

    There are at least three ways that people who’ve been diagnosed with SAD can combat the problem. 

    Light therapy boxes

    sad light box light therapy

    Artificially adding some bright light to the dark days via a light therapy box (some people call these "happy lamps" or phototherapy boxes) can help — when the tool is used regularly and as prescribed. The boxes are meant to mimic natural, outdoor light, and researchers believe they can cause some chemical shifts in a depressed brain. Most such devices emit more than 10,000 lux (for comparison, a typical house lamp emits around 50-80 lux, and office lights about 500 lux).

    Good light therapy boxes are designed to filter out damaging UV light; however, these are not FDA-regulated so it can be tricky to find a reliable one.  

    The bulbs, which are usually white florescent and may carry the full spectrum of light, can also come with other side effects like mild sunburns, eye strain, and migraines. On the more serious side, some research has suggested the lights can increase thoughts of suicide or trigger mania. 

    The Mayo Clinic says the lights should be used in the morning, and patients should spend around half an hour in front of their lights after waking up. But again, it's not a device that should be self-prescribed.  

    "Just because you can walk into Costco and buy one doesn’t mean that you should," Rohan said.

    Drugs

    Because SAD is a form of depression, antidepressants that increase serotonin in the brain and pharmaceuticals that treat major depressive disorders — particularly Bupropion, or Wellbutrin XL — have also been shown to work.

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    CBT is a form of talk therapy that's meant to change a person's patterns of doing and thinking. Rohan said that with this approach,"we're working with a person to identify negative thought patterns and habits" and then break them. 

    For example: "If the person is having the repetitive thought of 'I hate winter,' we might change that to 'I prefer summer to winter,' which is more of a neutral thought," she said. 

    Unlike light therapy, which is palliative (meaning you have to keep doing it to reap the benefits), CBT can have a lasting effect, so the treatment is a more long-term solution, Rohan said. Startups in Silicon Valley are even working to bring this kind of talk therapy to the masses with inexpensive texting apps and chatbots.

    What to do about winter blues, even if you don't have SAD

    Some clinicians refer to the sub-syndromal type of winter blues as "S-SAD."Sunrise_Karkonosze_winter

    Regardless of the official designation, there’s little doubt that seasonal changes impact our routines. A November 2017 study looked at the cell phone use data from 1 million people who lived in densely packed, artificially lit European cities. The researchers found that people were up and on the phone well past 11 or 11:30 p.m. in the summer months, while in the winter, they stopped gabbing by 10:30.

    Here are some things that can help if the darkness makes you feel down.

    Go for a walk first thing in the morning, just after the sunrise.

    “Light therapy is based on the theory that the biological clock becomes sluggish in the wintertime due to later dawns,” Rohan said.

    With a morning walk, you’re getting aerobic exercise (always helpful for mental health) while the natural light helps jump-start your circadian clock.

    cold

    Don’t shift your routine to the couch.

    The fact that it's dark and cold at the end of a work day isn't a good reason to ditch your gym routine. Keep staying active, and if you enjoy winter sports, bundle up and get out there.

    Make an effort not to change your activity level too much.

    During the darker months, continue seeing people, making dates with friends, and keeping appointments. You could even take a cue from the Swedes, who deal with their 24-hour dark days by celebrating 'mys': an annual winter tradition of getting cozy, relaxing with friends, and eating delicious food. 

    SEE ALSO: Some people have a strong urge to snack in the winter — but you probably won’t gain as much weight as you think

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A psychologist reveals how to get rid of negative thoughts


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    Allbirds

    If you're looking to make a big difference with a gift, shopping for a college student is a good place to begin. They have classes, internships, second jobs, social lives, and relationships to manage, and they probably have far less money to support themselves than they wish they did.

    Useful, thoughtful gifts can make a disproportionate difference in their quality of life — especially when it's something they'll both use frequently and couldn't afford on their own.

    As a recent college graduate, I can tell you from experience that the list below is a really good place to start your shopping.

    Many 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.

    Below are 35 of the best gifts for college students:

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

    DON'T MISS: The 18 best subscription boxes you can gift from Amazon this holiday season

    Popular wireless over-ear headphones for quality noise-canceling during studying, traveling, and working out

    Beats by Dre Wireless Solo3 Headphones, available at Best Buy and Amazon, $239.95

    If there's one thing every college student needs, it's good wireless headphones. They'll use them at the gym, at the library, and commuting to class and internships. This pair has great sound, cushioned ear cups, and 40 hours of battery life so they have one less thing to think about. And if they let the battery run out, a five-minute charge is the equivalent to three hours of play time.

    If they like to study in public spaces, you can't go wrong with Bose's pricey but unbeatable QuietComfort headphones for noise-cancellation. If they're a runner and need something lightweight and in-ear, you should opt for Jaybird RUN

    Note: Some colors are expected to arrive after Christmas. 



    An Amazon Echo Dot for hands-free calls, alarms, music, updates on the weather, recipes, and more

    Echo Dot (3rd Generation), available on Amazon, $29.99

    The Amazon Echo Dot is the most popular Amazon device for a reason — it's compact and has all the capabilities of Alexa (weather updates, recipes, music, news), which is the main reason most people buy an Echo device. The newest version — the third generation — has a speaker that's 70% louder than the second, and comes in a fabric design that better matches home decor. Find an Insider Picks comparison of the Echo devices for fast reference here

    Note: Some colors are expected to arrive after Christmas. 

     



    An inexpensive way for them to get the iced coffee they love at home

    The Takeya Cold Brew Maker is an inexpensive, easy way to make cold brew from home — something that can save them hundreds of dollars per year. Find a full review here.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    away carry-on

    • For those who are always on the road, the right gift can help make life easier, more comfortable, or more efficient.
    • From luggage and backpacks to plane-friendly workwear and headphones, this gift guide has the perfect travel gifts for any road warrior.

    People who travel often, whether for business or leisure, tend to be one of two kinds of packers: light, or organized (of course, they can also be both).

    If you have friends or family on your shopping list who spend a lot of time on the road or in the air, this guide has the perfect gift for them, no matter what kind of packer or traveler they are.

    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.

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


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

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

    The most comfortable travel shoes you can buy

    Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $95

    Allbirds wool runners come in all colors and sizes and are comfortable enough to wear on the plane, in the city, or even in the hotel gym.



    The latest and greatest e-reader

    Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $99

    The Kindle Paperwhite is thin, light, waterproof, and has an absurdly crisp screen.

    Note: Expected to arrive after Christmas 



    A collared shirt made from performance material

    Performance Shirts, available at Ministry of Supply, starts at $115

    The right kind of shirt can take you straight from a red-eye to a meeting.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    k9 sports bag

    When it comes to gifting the dog owner in your life, you know that few things would make them happier than something that either speaks to them as a dog fanatic or directly benefits their pups. Sure, you could get them the usual, tried-and-true calendar of cute dog photos or a fun chew toy and call it a day, or you can go the more unconventional route. 

    With these unique gifts, you can ensure their dog is always hydrated, comfortable, and entertained. Meanwhile, there are also a few gifts in here for the owners themselves, to remind them of their utter devotion to the world's greatest animal.

    Next time you want to gift a dog parent, check out these 22 gift ideas first.  

    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 custom printed pillow

    Custom Photo Pillow, $39, available at Canvaspop

    Most owners have framed photos of their dogs, but how many do you know that have entire pillows dedicated to them? On Canvaspop, they just upload their favorite photo onto the 18"x 18" plush pillow to make a unique home decor piece. 



    A portable water and food bowl

    Grab and Go Dog Dinette, $20.95, available at UncommonGoods

    This on-the-go accessory includes both a water and food compartment for those all-day trips. The canine canteen is attached to a five-foot nylon leash, so they can still hold everything with one hand. 

     



    A blueprint of a specific dog breed

    Dog Blueprint, $185, available at UncommonGoods

    These detailed, mid-century blueprints include "design specs" and information about the breed origins and temperament. There are over 100 dog breeds are available to choose from. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    American Flag USA US

    The US is a huge, diverse country, and the characteristics of the states that make it up vary widely.

    We used 38 demographic, social, and economic indicators that cover several aspects of American life, mostly from the US Census Bureau's recently released 2017 American Community Survey estimates.

    We looked at how far away each state was from the average of each of those metrics among the states and Washington, DC. Adding those distances together, we found an overall "averageness" score for each state and DC.

    Read more:See our method and detailed sources for this ranking

    Here's all 50 states and DC, ranked from least to most average, along with some of the metrics for which they were outliers or average.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how much the typical millennial, Gen X, and baby-boomer worker earns in every US state

    51. Washington, DC

    What's average: The 90.2% of residents of DC with at least a high school diploma was very close to the average share among the states and DC of 89.5%.

    What's not average: The nation's capital is demographically and economically very different from the rest of the country, largely because it's a city with no suburban or rural areas. For example, DC's median age of 34.0 years is much lower than the average of 38.4 years, and its median household income of $82,372 was the highest in the country.



    50. Hawaii

    What's average: About 92.1% of households in Hawaii have access to at least one car, right in line with the average rate of 92.2% among the states and DC.

    What's not average: Hawaii's median home value of $617,400 was the highest in the country, and, perhaps not surprisingly, the 9.3% of Hawaii residents who self-identified as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander was by far the largest share among the states and DC.



    49. California

    What's average: California's poverty rate of 13.3% was just above the average rate of 13.1% among the 50 states and DC.

    What's not average: California's median gross monthly apartment rent of $1,447 was the third-highest in the country. Only 83.3% of California residents had at least a high school diploma, the lowest rate among the states and DC.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    donald trump mitch mcconnell

    • President Donald Trump went on an extended Twitter tirade about the looming government shutdown on Friday.
    • Trump demanded that the Senate pass a funding bill that includes border wall funding, a prospect that is dead on arrival in the Senate since Democrats could filibuster the bill.
    • So Trump urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to get rid of the legislative filibuster, a move known as the "nuclear option."
    • The Senate passed a clean short-term funding extension on Wednesday, which looked to spare Washington the shutdown drama. But Trump suddenly flipped on the Senate bill after receiving pushback from conservative pundits.
    • The federal government will enter a partial shutdown at midnight. 

    President Donald Trump urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to get rid of the legislative filibuster, a move known as the "nuclear option," to avoid a government shutdown prospect that was created by the president.

    "Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done! Our Country is counting on you!" Trump tweeted.

    The message was part of a Twitter tirade from Trump on Friday focusing on the government funding fight. Trump has pushed the federal government to the brink of a shutdown over demands for $5 billion in funding for his long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border.

    In an attempt to form a cohesive strategy on the shutdown fight, Trump invited Republican Senate leaders to the White House on Friday.

    "President Trump will meet with Senate Republicans this morning at 10:30 to discuss the Funding Bill and the importance of Border Security," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

    "Senator Mitch McConnell should fight for the Wall and Border Security as hard as he fought for anything," Trump tweeted. "He will need Democrat votes, but as shown in the House, good things happen. If enough Dems don’t vote, it will be a Democrat Shutdown! House Republicans were great yesterday!"

    In an Oval Office meeting last week with Democratic leaders, Trump said he would be "proud" to shut down the government over the border wall.

    Read more:Trump is abruptly threatening to veto the spending bill and force a government shutdown over the border wall»

    While Trump is now attempting to pin the blame on Democrats for not agreeing to the wall funding, the shutdown appears imminent only after he flip-flopped on his begrudging support for a short-term funding extension through February 8. The clean, short-term funding bill — known as a continuing resolution, or CR — passed the Senate on Wednesday.

    But after pushback from conservative pundits like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, as well as members of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, Trump suddenly decided not to sign the Senate's CR on Thursday. The about-face led to a mad scramble among GOP lawmakers.Eventually, a CR passed in the House that includes $5.7 billion for border security. 

    Trump applauded the move via Twitter on Thursday night.

    "Thank you to our GREAT Republican Members of Congress for your VOTE to fund Border Security and the Wall," Trump said. "The final numbers were 217-185 and many have said that the enthusiasm was greater than they have ever seen before. So proud of you all."

    But the House's CR has no chance of passing the Senate, since the bill would need the support of nine Democratic senators to avoid a filibuster. Any bill with less than 60 votes can be subject to a filibuster. 

    Given these seemingly insurmountable odds, Trump urged McConnell to get rid of the legislative filibuster — a move known as the "nuclear option."

    Trump has repeatedly called on McConnell to employ the "nuclear option" in the past, but the majority leader has resisted and shot it down every time. Getting rid of the filibuster would result in a more volatile chamber and destroy the last concrete rule that forces bipartisan agreement.

    But some GOP senators appeared to be cracking under Trump's pressure. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana agreed with Trump's call for the "nuclear option."

    "House just passed a bill that fully funds government and enables @realDonaldTrump to secure our border/build the wall," Daines tweeted Thursday. "Senate can do same by eliminating the filibuster. 51 votes, same as we do for judges!"

    The elimination of the filibuster for judicial appointments, carried out by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, was a highly controversial move. Many consider the move a mistake in retrospect.

    SEE ALSO: Here's what happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a government shutdown

    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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    best duvet cover

    • Your cozy down-filled duvet needs a stylish cover to keep it clean and add some spice to your bedroom’s décor.
    • Our favorite is the Classic Duvet Cover from Brooklinen with its reasonable price tag and high-quality fabric.

    Once mostly limited to European bedrooms, today, duvets and their covers are a popular bedding choice around the world. And why not? Cozy and comfortable, stylish and versatile, available in a huge range of fashionable colors, designs, and fabrics: There’s a duvet cover for every taste, whether you’re young, old, or somewhere in between. Sometimes, however, too much choice makes it nearly impossible to make a decision; your brain bogs down in an overload of options. That’s where we step in.

    Here at Insider Picks, we’re determined to make your life easier by whittling down your buying choices to just those options that really deserve a second look. We do the research for you — visiting all the top consumer buying websites, as well as listening to what experts in the field and actual buyers of the products have to say — and then present our findings to you. So if you’d like to give your bedroom a style makeover — after all, changing your bedding is the fastest and easiest way to give the space a whole new look — then read on. We’ve rounded up the five duvet covers likeliest to suit your style, your budget, and your needs.

    Here are the best duvet covers you can buy:

    Updated on 12/21/2018 by Malarie Gokey: Updated prices and added links to more bedding buying guides.

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

    The best duvet cover overall

    Why you'll love it: Not too hot, not too stiff, and not too boring — The Classic Duvet Cover from Brooklinen is just right.

    Here at Insider Picks, we’re pretty jazzed about Brooklinen. We chose their bed sheets as one of our best picks in that category, and we’re in full agreement with all of the internet buzz garnered by the new-to-the-scene bed linens company. So it’s no surprise that we picked its Classic Duvet Cover as our best-of-the-best duvet cover as well. 

    The Classic Duvet Cover is crafted from 100% premium long-staple cotton and has a 270-thread count. One of the things we love about Brooklinen is that it doesn’t artificially inflate thread counts like so many other manufacturers do. The lightweight percale weave is slightly crisp against your skin, but still pleasantly soft enough to fuel your sweet dreams. There are internal ties to simplify bed making, and large buttons to close the duvet cover once the duvet is inside.

    Brooklinen customers heap praise on the duvet cover. Out of the 862 reviews on the site at the time of this writing, 732 are 5-star. “Cool,” “comfortable,” “soft,” and “crisp” are the words that appear over and over in customer reviews, along with “I love it!” and “One of the best duvet covers I’ve ever owned.”

    Choose from several neutral solid colors, including navy blue. Brooklinen also offers the duvet cover in stripes or dots. If you aren’t pleased with your duvet cover, Brooklinen has a 60-nights risk-free return policy, plus a lifetime warranty on its products.

    But don’t just take our word for it: The Wirecutter also chose Brooklinen’s duvet cover as its favorite, praising its reasonable price, long-fiber cotton, and the crisp, breathable feel of the fabric. We can't help but agree.

    Pros: High quality, soft feel, lovely colors

    Cons: A bit pricey, does not include shams

    Buy the twin Classic Duvet Cover from Brooklinen for $99

    Buy the full/queen Classic Duvet Cover from Brooklinen for $109

    Buy the king/CA king Classic Duvet Cover from Brooklinen for $129



    The best zip-up duvet cover

    Why you'll love it: Crane & Canopy's Nova Duvet Cover has a clever zip-up design that makes it easy to use, plus, it has attractive piping along the edges for added style.

    Putting your comforter into your duvet and making sure it stays put is a difficult task more often than not, but if you have Crane & Canopy's Nova Duvet Cover, it's a lot easier, thanks to built-in ties that hold the duvet and comforter in place and a clever zipper that seals the comforter inside. 

    Decorative piping along the edges of the duvet cover effectively hides the zipper from view, too, so you're left with a sleek, attractive bed that looks like it belongs in a fancy hotel. A couple members of the Insider Picks team — myself included — have tried the Nova Duvet Cover in our own homes, and we love it.

    The 400 thread count, extra long staple cotton fabric is exceptionally soft right out of the package, thanks to the sateen weave Crane & Canopy uses. You can get the Nova Duvet Cover in a wide range of colors and patterns to suit your style.

    I had a remarkably hard time choosing between the many lovely patterns and colors but settled on the Avery Blue with its classic diamond pattern that mixes a heavenly shade of blue with crisp white and subtle green accents. It is the softest duvet cover I own, and it's also the easiest to put on top of my Ikea comforter. — Malarie Gokey

    Pros: Easy to use, great zipper, fun colors and patterns, soft cotton, innovative design

    Cons: Pricey

    Buy the Nova Duvet Cover from Crane & Canopy for $139 to $179 

    Read our full review of the Crane & Canopy Nova Duvet Cover



    The best patterned duvet cover

    Why you'll love it: The Word of Dream Duvet Cover with its subtle leaves print adds just the right splash of color and style to your bed.

    While admittedly, choosing patterned bedding is mostly a matter of preference, if you’re having a hard time picking the perfect design that combines sophisticated style, soft colors, nature themes, and overall good looks, it’s hard to go wrong with Word of Dream’s Duvet Cover in the leaves pattern.

    As the name suggests, the pattern is a swirl of botanical leaf images, all softly colored in various tints of gray and light blue, with a reverse side of solid gray. But this duvet cover doesn’t just get by on its good looks; it also offers excellent quality at a terrific price.

    The duvet cover set includes two matching shams with the queen or king size, one matching sham with the twin duvet cover. All are made of 100% combed cotton with a 250-thread count. The soft and comfortable fabric won’t overheat you while you snooze. There are inside ties to make it easy to slip the duvet cover over your duvet, and an invisible zipper to close the cover once your bed is made.

    Amazon customers are united in their praise of the Word of Dream duvet cover. Out of 200 reviews, 94% are 4 or more stars. Buyers love the pattern, and also repeatedly comment about the duvet cover’s softness, comfort, and quality. One complaint, however, that did come up more than once had to do with size. Some customers claimed the duvet cover was a bit too large for their duvet. Also, some buyers complained about the duvet cover wrinkling, but if it is removed from the dryer right away, that shouldn’t be a major issue.

    Pros: Pretty pattern, comfortable feel, reasonable price

    Cons: Will wrinkle if not removed from the dryer right away

    Buy the twin Word of Dreams Duvet Cover set in leaves on Amazon for $39.99

    Buy the full/queen Word of Dreams Duvet Cover set in leaves on Amazon for $46.99

    Buy the king Word of Dreams Duvet Cover set in leaves on Amazon for $49.99



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    Prince Harry Meghan Markle

    The past two years have been huge for the royal family.

    With engagements and weddings, two pregnancies and a birth, the family has grown and found news reasons to celebrate even as the usual packed schedule of events and foreign trips continues.

    For people constantly in the public eye, the royals are unsurprisingly great at shaking the right hands, smiling at the right moments, and generally keeping it all together to make sure they get things done.

    But every now and again, even watching from a distance, we get a bit more than that. Away from the setpiece events, these are photos of the royals laughing, gawping, eye-rolling, and generally acting like normal folk.

    Here are the best from 2017 and 2018 so far.

    In January 2017 Prince William made a solo venture to Centre Point, a homelessness charity in London. Here he plays a game with a young woman being helped by the charity (he has to guess the name on the note — which says "David Beckham").



    It's not all relaxed though — here's all three royals making a run for it at a sports event in east London in February.



    Prince William had more fun and games trying to put up a tent blindfolded in Abergevenny, Wales, while launching a children's award scheme.



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    water tower bar

    • I visited The Water Tower in Brooklyn, New York, a brand-new rooftop lounge and nightclub designed to look like a water tower.
    • Cocktails start at $20 — and one special white truffle-infused beverage costs $150, while a grilled-cheese sandwich will run you $70.
    • Although the views were stunning, and the space was beautiful, I don't see myself ever going there again because of the high prices.

    One of New York City's newest bars is perched on top of a Brooklyn hotel and designed to look like one of the many industrial-looking water towers that dot the borough's rooftops.

    The Water Tower, which opened in November 2018, is super-exclusive: It's reservation-only and seats only 45 people. Cocktails at the club, which is open from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and features a rotating set of international DJs, start at $20 — and one specialty drink, infused with white truffles, will cost you $150. 

    The food menu includes items such as a $70 white-truffle grilled cheese, an $80 seafood platter, and caviar service ranging from $95 to $525. 

    Berton Rodov, the club's creative director, said they aim to cultivate a specific vibe at The Water Tower.

    "We have a fun, diverse crowd," he told me when I went to check out the club one afternoon. "Honestly, we try to curate the experience here, being that it's a small space, and it's the most luxurious extension of this brand."

    But, he added, that's "not saying you have to be rich to come in." He said the crowd tends to be, "cool kids, models, people just here to have fun," and they "try to look out for locals, too."

    After visiting the club one early December afternoon, I can't say I was entirely convinced that their target audience isn't just rich people.

    Here's what The Water Tower looks like inside.

    SEE ALSO: I visited New York's new Playboy Club, where Playboy Bunnies serve drinks in their iconic costumes and members pay up to $100,000 a year — and it wasn't at all what I expected

    DON'T MISS: 5 restaurants in NYC earned the highest Michelin rating for 2019 — and 2 of them have topped the list every year since the ranking started

    The Water Tower is perched on the rooftop of Brooklyn's Williamsburg Hotel, which already includes an outdoor bar and a pool.



    It was built as an "homage" to the iconic water towers that dot many Brooklyn rooftops.



    Rooms at the Williamsburg Hotel start at around $200 per night, according to its website.

    Source: The Williamsburg Hotel



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    Breville Pizza Oven

    • If you're looking to splurge on yourself or your resident gourmand this holiday season, the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo by Breville (currently on sale for $800 at Williams-Sonoma) is the best way to treat yourself to truly gourmet pizza.
    • By heating up to 750 degrees in just a few minutes, the Pizzaiolo made me one of the best pizzas of my life in 120 seconds flat.
    • Whether you're an amateur cook or perhaps looking to start a new pizza joint, this may just be the investment for you.
    • If you're not looking for that level of innovation, then Breville's Crispy Crust Pizza Maker (currently on sale for $150 at Williams-Sonoma) as a good alternative. At just $150, this is a much more accessible oven, and still offers quick turnarounds on delicious pizzas.

    There's no way around it. An $800 pizza oven is a splurge.

    But splurges are not necessarily wastes of money, because the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo by Breville couldn't be farther from money not well spent. Rather, this clever countertop pizza oven is capable of turning any household into the most delectable pizzeria in any neighborhood, complete with the smells of a wood-fired oven. So if you're looking for something a little extravagant this holiday season (or to start churning out professional pizzas in your kitchen), Breville can lend a helping hand.

    Heralded as the world's first indoor countertop pizza oven, this is one machine that has impressed both amateur pizza makers (like me) and the pros (like Daniel Parillo of Da Legna fame) alike. Chef Parillo, the man behind the best pizza in New Haven, Connecticut (seriously, if you're ever in Connecticut, check them out), known for its unbelievable crust and distinctive wood-fired taste, helped me demo the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo (and turn me into a burgeoning pizza connoisseur).

    What truly sets this oven apart is its unprecedented ability to heat up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit in a snap, resulting in pizzas that are perfectly ready to eat in just two minutes.

    In fact, Chef Parillo and I were turning out pizzas literally faster than anyone could eat them, and if I had any interest in opening up a pizza restaurant myself, the Pizzaiolo would be one of my first purchases.

    So why does that 750-degree mark matter?

    As Catherine Ruspino, global business manager of cooking at Breville told Business Insider, "We know that pizza is universally loved, however, our research indicated that people weren't making it at home that often. The reason: They couldn't replicate the results of buying it from an establishment." That's because a true Neapolitan-style pizza requires extremely high temperatures previously achievable only by wood-fired ovens.

    "Traditional home ovens simply couldn't get that hot," Ruspino continued. "So unless our customer wanted to invest a lot of money, $25,000 to be exact, and had a lot of space, they would never be able to be able to achieve the same result. It turns out your conventional oven at home simply doesn't get hot enough to achieve that distinctive wood-fired char that distinguishes Neapolitan pizza from all other slices.

    Part of what makes the smart oven so impressive is its unique Element IQ System, which is actually found not only in the Pizzaiolo, but in all of Breville's ovens. Essentially, this system can detect how hot the interior of the oven is, helping to create and maintain an ideal baking environment. While Parillo and I still gave our pizzas one spin at about the 1-minute mark, it's remarkable how evenly the pizzas actually baked. You won't have to worry about burnt crust on one end and raw dough on the other.

    Breville Pizza

    Beyond making pizza, the smart oven can also make a number of other dishes and sides thanks to its heating technology.

    Whether you want to char vegetables of make flatbreads, the Pizzaiolo can help. It also comes with seven convenient pre-sets so that you can quickly select the ideal temperature for your dish (though the manual dial works just as well). The oven comes with an auto-eject door that automatically pulls out the pizza stone so you don't have to worry about burning yourself, and double glass pane doors that help insulate the oven surprisingly well.

    "We find that when we make it easier for home cooks to get a better result, it opens up their creativity and desire to try new types of baking and cooking," Ruspino said. "The Pizzaiolo oven does that in the realm of pizza — giving people the confidence to make, for example, Neapolitan, Chicago, or classic New York pies. Moreover, the oven's manual mode, which allows users to control the deck temperature as well as the temperatures of the crust and toppings, is an incredibly versatile tool that we've already seen embraced by the most serious pizza makers; they are, frankly, astounded by the temperature combinations and possibilities that the manual mode affords."

    Of course, it's not the case that this $800 oven will be for everyone, and Ruspino recognizes this.

    "If you are looking for a Neapolitan-style pizza, or seeking a pizza oven with the technology to control a range of individual temperatures, then the Pizzaiolo is for you.  No other domestic indoor pizza oven can give you the same degree of control to perfect the craft of home pizza making."

    However, if you're not looking for that level of innovation, then Ruspino suggests making out Breville's Crispy Crust Pizza Maker (currently on sale for $150 at Williams-Sonoma) as a good alternative. At $150, this is a much more accessible oven, and still offers quick turnarounds on delicious pizzas.

    Buy the Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo Pizza Oven for $799.95 from Williams Sonoma

    Buy the Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker for $149.95 from Williams Sonoma

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    best coasters

    • Coasters protect your furniture from unsightly water rings and they add a hint of fun to your decor.
    • The Thirstystone Cinnabar Coasters are the best coasters you can buy because they solve the ongoing problem of sweaty drinks that leak all over your furniture. thanks to an attractive sandstone material that also absorbs liquid.

    I used to believe all coasters were basically the same, functionality-wise. How different could squares of material designed to hold your mugs or water glasses really be? When I shopped for them in the past, I typically focused on style rather than asking myself, will this keep condensation from leaking all over my glass coffee table?

    But a coaster shouldn’t just elevate your decor, it should elevate your entire beverage-drinking experience by making sure you aren’t stressed about leaving rings on your furniture or having to sop up a ton of liquid after drinking ice water in the heat.

    Researching this article has certainly inspired me to hold potential coasters to a higher standard going forward. Thanks to the commentary of many intrepid online shoppers, I’ve rounded up the best coasters money can buy. Some of them look great, some of them look okay, but all of them protect your favorite pieces of furniture from coffee stains and water rings.

    Here are the best coasters you can buy:

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

    The best coasters overall

    Why you'll love them: Thirstystone Cinnabar Coasters do the impossible — absorb water and protect your furniture while looking stylish.

    Coasters often seem to fall into one of two camps: Hideous and effective or super cool and inefficient. At the bare minimum, most coasters will prevent your nice furniture from water damage and staining. Some of them just do that job better than others, and Thirstystone Cinnabar Coasters are the best of the best.

    Thanks to a water-absorbing sandstone, Thirstystone basically swallows up the condensation from your cold beverage so that it doesn’t eventually slide off the surface of the coaster and onto your table. Each one is unique, thanks to the natural grain of the sandstone, and the material prevents cups from sticking to the coaster when you lift them.

    The Spruce named Thirstystone Cinnabar Coasters its favorite coasters overall, giving them top marks for how well they protect furniture. “The thick stone prevents heat transfer to surfaces underneath a steaming cup of coffee or tea. With cold beverages, this absorbent coaster can take in a fair amount of condensation,” they write.

    Thirstystone is also highly reviewed by Amazon shoppers, who give these coasters a 4.4 out of 5 rating based on almost 1,000 reviews. “These are pretty much the best coasters money can buy in my opinion,” writes one fan. “They cost more than the cheap wooden ones but they will never warp, fade, or grab onto the bottom of a wet cup like the cheap ones will.”

    Pros: Natural sandstone material looks pretty and unique, absorbs water and protects furniture from heat, doesn’t adhere to your glass

    Cons: Breakable

    Buy the Thirstystone Cinnabar Coasters on Amazon for $13.44



    The best dishwasher-safe coasters

    Why you'll love them: Enkore Silicone Coasters do the dirty work of keeping your favorite furniture safe from liquids, and are easily cleaned with a trip through the dishwasher.

    Let me be clear: Enkore’s silicone coasters are only second on this list is because they are kinda ugly. Not ugly in a cool way, like chunky slides; ugly in an ugly way. They come in both black and rainbow colors.

    But they really work. And, hey, they’ll hardly be noticeable once you put a glass over the top, right? These oversized coasters are 4.3 centimeters in diameter as opposed to the typical 4 centimeters. You can get them in sets of six for $13.95 and they're made of dishwasher-safe silicone. The material will cling to all surfaces, minimizing the chance of spillage.

    Enkore coasters are crazy popular — The Spruce recommends them and they have a 4.8 Amazon rating based on more than 1,000 reviews. “OK, they are not beautiful,” admits one fan. “I have beautiful coasters but these are the best I have ever used.”

    Another reviewer notes that they are multifunctional because “[t]hey're big enough to also be a trivet for a bowl of soup or cereal.”

    Pros: Durable silicone material clings to surfaces, dishwasher safe, larger than the average coaster

    Cons: Not the most attractive

    Buy the Enkore Coasters on Amazon for $13.95



    The best quirky coasters

    Why you'll love them: Music lovers and general-interest hipsters alike will love to rest their coffee cups on Record Coasters from UncommonGoods.

    Maybe your furniture isn’t that delicate or you’re buying a set of coasters as a gift and want to get something unique and attractive. Either way, you might want to check out these Record Coasters, available at UncommonGoods.

    They are made using actual record labels, giving them an authentically vintage look. Each set of six comes with different record labels, so no two sets are alike. You can’t choose which records you get, though, which may be a downside depending on your taste.

    These coasters don’t offer any special features, but they will keep your surfaces free of damage from glasses and bottles. Plus, the labels are sealed so that condensation won’t damage them, so they should last a long time.

    The Record Coasters were featured on Best Products and have a 4.3 out of 5 rating based on more than 800 reviews. “This is my second set that I've bought, one for me and one as a gift. The first set has held up for a couple of years now with no issues. Super fun and a great addition to any room,” writes one reviewer.

    Pros: Cool design made from real vintage records, sealed to protect the records from water damage

    Cons: You can’t pick the labels on the records, material won’t absorb liquid

    Buy the Record Coasters at UncommonGoods for $18



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    Trump Pelosi Schumer

    • President Donald Trump is trying to shift the blame after his last-minute flip-flop on a government funding bill is set to push the federal government into a shutdown.
    • Last week, Trump said he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security" and told Democratic leaders he would "take the mantle of shutting it down."
    • But on Friday, Trump tried to point the finger at Democrats for the predicament, saying they "now own the shutdown."
    • The retreat comes after multiple polls found a shutdown over Trump's promised border wall would be unpopular with a majority of Americans.

    Now that a government shutdown appears to be imminent, President Donald Trump is trying to shift responsibility.

    In a tweet on Friday, just hours before the federal government is set to enter a partial shutdown, the president attempted to point a finger at Democrats for the standoff over border wall funding.

    "The Democrats now own the shutdown!" the president said.

    That sentiment is vastly different than Trump's declaration during a meeting with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi at the White House just 10 days ago. In that meeting, Trump put the possibility of a shutdown entirely on his shoulders.

    "I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck, because the people of this country don't want criminals, and people that have lots of problems, and drugs pouring into our country," Trump said. "So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I'm not going to blame you for it — the last time you shut it down, it didn't work. I will take the mantle of shutting it down. And I'm going to shut it down for border security."

    Trump's about-face comes less than 14 hours before the government is set to run out of funding. A solution to avoid a shutdown and keep the government open until February 8 sailed smoothly through Senate on Wednesday, but Trump's sudden change of heart has pushed the government back to the brink.

    Read more:Trump urges Mitch McConnell to use 'nuclear option' to pass border wall funding in morning tirade about likely government shutdown»

    After pushback from conservative TV pundits and the hardline House Freedom Caucus, Trump decided not to support the short-term continuing resolution, or CR, since it did not include money for his long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border.

    The House then added an amendment to the CR on Thursday that would allocate $5.7 billion in additional border security funding, but the revised bill is likely dead on arrival in the Senate.

    The president is set to huddle with Senate GOP leaders at the White House on Friday morning to try and find a way forward.

    Trump's flip-flop on blame also comes after numerous polls found that the American people do not want a government shutdown over a border wall. An INSIDER poll found that 60% of people would not tolerate a shutdown over the issue.

    SEE ALSO: Here's what happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a government shutdown

    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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    donald trump

    • President Donald Trump is reportedly telling people to stop calling it a "border wall" and use the term "steel slats" instead.
    • Trump met with top Republicans on Thursday and spent at least five minutes telling them that "steel slats" will be a more popular phrase, according to The Washington Post.
    • Trump even implied on Thursday that more Democrats might be on board to grant him his requested $5 billion in border-wall funding if it's called "steel slats" instead.

    President Donald Trump reportedly spent at least five minutes in a meeting with top Republicans on Thursday, trying to convince them to refer to the border wall as "steel slats" because he believes the phrase will be more popular.

    According to The Washington Post, Trump met with House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in the Oval Office, where he went on an unexpected, six- or seven-minute tangent on how best to market the barrier he wants to place along the US-Mexico border.

    Trump had originally called the meeting to insist that they pass a spending bill including at least $5 billion in wall funding. The Republican-controlled House later passed a continuing resolution that included $5.7 billion for border security, sending it back to the Senate, where it is almost certain to fail.

    Read more: Trump urges Mitch McConnell to use 'nuclear option' to pass border wall funding in morning tirade about likely government shutdown

    border bollard fence

    But Trump, who has promised since 2015 to build a "wall," has in recent days taken to promoting the bollard-style fencing that has been erected in areas like Santa Teresa, New Mexico; San Diego, California; and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

    He said Thursday at the White House that calling it "steel slats" would give his Democratic critics in Congress "a little bit of an out" to vote for the $5 billion funding.

    "We don't use the word 'wall' necessarily, but it has to be something special to do the job — steel slats," he said.

    Trump has even been demanding for days that people should "stop calling it a wall," The Post's Josh Dawsey reported.

    Read more: The Trump administration just released new photos of 'the president's border wall' — and it looks more like a fence

    Trump border wall prototypes

    Earlier this week, Trump even clarified on Twitter that his administration is not building a "Concrete Wall," but "artistically designed steel slats, so that you can easily see through it."

    The wall Trump has envisioned has evolved significantly over time. During his presidential campaign he often said he wanted the wall to be made of "hardened concrete" and "rebar," but upon taking office he began describing it as "see-through" so that Americans wouldn't be hit by sacks of drugs catapulted overtop.

    The eight border wall prototypes erected in San Diego last year are made from a mix of materials, two of which do feature slat-like components.

    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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    1060x596_watt_j_0547

    On December 21 only, Patagonia is offering free next-day shipping on orders of $75 or more. That means you can last-minute order plenty of the company's bestsellers in time for Christmas.

    That also means if you've put off your holiday shopping until the very last minute, you can still gift something other than the pine candles, gas station candy, and Hallmark cards still in stock within a 15-mile radius of your home. 

    Below are 18 of the best Patagonia items to consider for a last-minute gift. They're popular, well-loved, and pretty much timeless. And, now you can get them in time to put them under the tree. 

    Check out our picks for 18 of the best styles to gift this year, or shop the sale sections directly:

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

    Synchilla Snap-T Pullover

    Women's Synchilla Snap-T Pullover, $119

    Men's Synchilla Snap-T Pullover, $119

    The Snap-T Pullover is a lightweight Synchilla fleece made from 80-85% recycled materials. Choose between twelve colors for women and nine for men. 



    Black Hole Pack

    Black Hole Pack, 25L, $129

    The cult-favorite Black Hole Pack has enough space for the daily essentials and then some, and has weather-resistant protection and a heavy-duty molded back panel for more comfort and durability. 



    Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece

    Women's Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece, $99

    Men's Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece, $99

    The Better Sweater is a warm, low-bulk quarter zip-pullover that's soft, durable, and meant for mobility and all-day comfort. 



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    Delta Boeing 777 200LR Aeromexico

    • Airlines For America or A4A expects 45.7 million passengers will fly on US airlines during the Christmas holiday travel season between December 20 and January 6, 2019.
    • That's an increase of 5.2% over 2017.
    • A4A is a trade group that represents major US airlines including American, United, JetBlue, Southwest, and Alaska
    • The busiest travel days are expected to be December 21, December 20, and December 26.
    • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Chicago O'Hare, and Los Angeles International are expected to be the busiest airports in the US. 

    The holiday travel season is in full swing.  Airlines For America or A4A expects 45.7 million passengers will fly on US airlines between December 20 and January 6, 2019.

    That's a 5.2% increase over the same period last year, according to the trade group that represents major US airlines including American, United, JetBlue, Southwest, and Alaska.

    This growth represents an increase of 126,000 passengers per day. To cope with the surge in demand, A4A expects airlines to offer an additional 143,000 seats per day during the peak travel period. 

    Read more: Delta's CEO just reignited the nastiest feud in the airline industry by accusing Qatar Airways of violating a deal with Trump administration.

    "With airfares at historic lows, travelers are choosing to fly on U.S. airlines in record numbers, especially during the busy holiday season," John Heimlich, A4A vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. 

    The busiest travel days are expected to be December 21, December 20, and December 26. 

    As a result, airports around the country are going to be packed even more so than usual. Last year, five of the 20 busiest airports in the world were located in the US. This included the busiest airport in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, which hosted nearly 104 million passengers.

    Los Angeles International or LAX is the second busiest airport in the US and the fifth busiest in the world with just under 85 million travelers. Chicago's O'Hare International comes in third place in the US and sixth place worldwide with nearly 80 million passengers annually.

    To give you a better idea of which US airport will likely be the most crowded, here's a breakdown of the 10 busiest airports in the US based on passenger numbers.

    busiest US airports

    SEE ALSO: Delta's CEO just reignited the nastiest feud in the airline industry by accusing Qatar Airways of violating a deal with Trump administration

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    gatwick airport drone

    • A drone sighting at London Gatwick Airport closed the airport's runway again on Friday, LBC first reported.
    • A Gatwick Airport representative confirmed the closure to Business Insider and said the sighting occurred around 5:10 pm London time. The airport was reopened about an hour later around 6:30 pm London time (1:30 pm ET).
    • The representative said the airport was not able to offer additional information about the drone sighting, as of Friday afternoon.

     

    A drone sighting at London Gatwick Airport closed the airport's runway again on Friday, LBC first reported.

    A Gatwick Airport representative confirmed the closure to Business Insider and said the sighting occurred around 5:10 PM London time. The representative said the airport was not able to offer additional information about the drone sighting, as of Friday afternoon.

    The airport reopened about an hour later around 6:30 pm London Time (1:30 pm ET). 

    "Flights have now resumed. Airfield movements were suspended while we investigated this as safety remains our main priority. The military measures we have in place at the airport have provided us with reassurance necessary to re-open our airfield," the airport said in a statement via Twitter. 

    Read more: Whoever used a drone to shut down Gatwick Airport for 32 hours has evaded capture, and could easily do it again

    The airport closed for more than 32 hours beginning Wednesday evening after drones flew over the runway. More than 120,000 people's flights were affected by the closure.

    The airport re-opened on Friday morning, but Gatwick chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe said on Friday before the most recent drone sighting that the drone would force the runway to close if it returned, The Guardian reported.

    Woodroofe told the BBC on Friday that the airport had taken measures designed to protect it from the drone but did not specify what those measures were. As of Friday afternoon, the drone operator had not been identified.

    Using a drone to interfere with airport operations is a crime in the UK and can result in five-year prison sentence.

    Gatwick is the second-busiest airport in the UK, handling over 45 million passengers each year.

    SEE ALSO: The 18 most shocking airline stories of 2018

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    gifts

    We've been talking about last-minute gifting for a while now. If you still haven't finished your holiday shopping, with Christmas in just four days, it's really down to the last-minute. That means if you were planning on buying something online, at this point some of your options might be out of the question. 

    Gift cards and services like GiftNow make thoughtful last minute gifts, but physical gifts are not a lost cause. Plenty of our favorite online retailers are offering free or low cost expedited shipping so you can guarantee your gift arrives just in time for the holiday. There's no strings attached — you don't need a membership to take advantage of these speedy shipping options. Time is ticking, so check out this list which outlines the details, deadlines, and anything else you might need to know to get your gifts in a snap. 

    Read on to find out which of your favorite online retailers are offering expedited shipping, so you can get your gifts by Christmas:

    Amazon:

    • December 22 is the last day for Prime members to get free two-day shipping. December 23 is the last day for Prime free one-day shipping (in select areas). December 24 is the last day for free same-day delivery (in select areas). Shop amazon.com

    Bed Bath & Beyond:

    • Order by December 21 to guarantee delivery by December 24. Expedited shipping starts at $5.99. Shop bedbathandbeyond.com

    Best Buy:

    • Order on December 24 before 12 p.m. local time (only available in select areas) for same-day delivery. Shop bestbuy.com

    Jet.com:

    • Get free same- and next-day delivery on select gifts. Same-day delivery cutoff is 9 a.m. local time, next-day delivery cutoff is 8 p.m. local time. Only available in select New York metro zip codes, on orders of $35 or more. Shopjet.com.

    L.L. Bean:

    • Order by December 21 at 12 p.m. ET for express shipping, for an extra $15. You'll also get a $10 gift card when you spend $50 or more by December 24. Shop llbean.com

    Neiman Marcus:

    • Order by 12 p.m. CT on December 22 for free overnight delivery. Use code "NMQUICK" at checkout. Shop neimanmarcus.com

    Nordstrom:

    • December 21 is the last day for free standard shipping that should arrive by Christmas. Saturday delivery is $35 on qualifying merchandise if you order by 12 p.m. ET. December 22 is the last day for next-business-day shipping, which costs $20 if you order by 12 p.m. ET. Shop nordstrom.com

    Patagonia:

    • Get free next-day shipping on 0rders over $75. Order by December 21 to guarantee it arrives before Christmas. Shop patagonia.com

    West Elm:

    • Order by 10 a.m. PT on December 22 for next-day delivery for an extra $26. Shop westelm.com

    Williams Sonoma:

    • Order by 1 p.m. ET on December 22 for next-day delivery for an extra $26. Shop williams-sonoma.com

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

    Join the conversation about this story »


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