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The latest news from Life

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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.

    Screen Shot 2018 09 04 at 9.22.08 AM

    • The Casper adjustable bed frame works with all foam mattresses. I don't have a Casper mattress, and it functions just fine with my alternative foam-based choice.
    • The controller for the bed frame is about twice the size of an Apple TV remote and includes six buttons: Two adjust the top part of the bed, two move the bottom part up and down, and two control both halves of the bed simultaneously.
    • For $1,195 for a queen size, the bed frame isn't cheap, but it only took a few nights of sleeping on it to convince me that it's well worth the price.
    • I'd recommend it to people with sleep apnea, indigestion, bad backs, swollen legs — the list goes on. 

    As someone who's in the habit of stacking three flimsy pillows behind my head to read or watch TV in bed, switching to an adjustable bed frame was a greater comfort than I'd expected.

    Honestly, sleeping on an adjustable bed frame had never occurred to me before I was sent Casper's queen-size version to review a few weeks ago. For $1,195, it isn't cheap, but it only took a few nights of sleeping on it to convince me that it's well worth the price.

    I discovered one of the handiest uses of the adjustable bed frame when I developed a cold shortly after my purchase. Congestion always gets worse when you're lying down, so having the bed frame to prop my head up while sleeping saved me from waking up unable to breath.

    Sleeping with your upper body lifted also helps prevent snoring. Elevating your whole upper body (and not just your head) can remove pressure from your airways, making it easier to breath through the night. It can even stave off indigestion. As someone who suffers from acid reflux, sleeping upright let gravity do its work by stopping stomach acid from reaching my esophagus, something that occasionally wakes me up at night.

    While I quickly learned that I'd be using the adjustable frame to lift my upper body, I hadn't thought about the positive effects lifting my lower body would have on my feet, legs, and back. After long days of pounding pavement (in New York City's summer heat, no less), letting the blood drain from my swollen legs has proven to be a huge relief.

    I recently spent a day at the beach, during which I plodded through sand to get as far away from the boardwalk as possible to avoid the weekend crowds. Walking for so long in the hot sun, my feet and legs needed some extra TLC when I got home, which the adjustable bed frame easily provided through targeted elevation. Kicking your feet up at the end of the day can also provide relief from aches related to varicose veins and can help you avert blood clots (though luckily I'm not accustomed to worrying about either of those issues).

    My partner, who experiences knee and back pain, particularly enjoys the lower body lift. He usually puts a pillow beneath his legs while lying in bed. Now, being able to angle his legs upwards brings him improved comfort (and frees up an extra pillow).

    That being said, the biggest hazard of the adjustable bed frame is that there's just one controller, and my partner and I can fight about it like we do the TV remote. However, Casper does have a two-person adjustable bed frame option, which requires the purchase of two twin mattresses so each sleeper can customize their own experience without disturbing the other. My partner and I are both happy sleeping just short of 180 degrees on most nights, though, and we've had fun experimenting with alternative angles (yes, the adjustable bed frame can also be a pretty decent game for the less than mature).

    The controller for our bed frame is about twice the size of an Apple TV remote and includes six buttons: Two adjust the top part of the bed, two move the bottom part up and down, and two control both halves of the bed simultaneously. At first, I felt a little weird about sleeping on an electronic bed base — what if it malfunctioned in the middle of the night? However, that hasn't happened, and even if it did, the worst-case scenario is that the slow, gentle movement could wake me up.

    Besides that unlikely hazard, plugging the bed into a nearby outlet could prove a challenge, what with air conditioners and phone chargers often taking up the most convenient spaces. However, a power bar easily solves that problem. (I happened to have one near my bed anyway.)

    1

    The Casper adjustable bed frame works with all foam mattresses. I don't have a Casper mattress, and it functions just fine with my alternative foam-based choice.

    Another plus — it's not ugly. My previous metal bed frame certainly didn't add to my bedroom décor. Meanwhile, the sleek, subtle design of Casper's bed frame is pleasing to look at and works with the various eclectic furniture items adorning my bedroom. It doesn't stand out as particularly ornamental or industrial and can fit into nearly any design scheme.

    My last concern when opting for the new bed frame was the storage space. Living in a small, New York City apartment means I need all the extra space I can get, so I've long used my under-the-bed area to store out-of-season clothing and extra towels and bed sheets. Fortunately, Casper's adjustable frame is 15 inches off the ground, providing even more space than my old bed frame — my four under-the-bed storage containers fit with room to spare. And the movement of the frame never obstructs access to my belongings.

    Though it's a bit of an investment, my new adjustable bed frame has brought both me and my partner relief we didn't previously think a bed frame could provide. I'd recommend it to people with sleep apnea, indigestion, bad backs, swollen legs — the list goes on.

    Buy the Casper Adjustable Bed Frame for $1,095 (twin XL), $1,195 (queen), or $1,995 (split king/California king)

    SEE ALSO: I tried Buffy, a popular down-alternative comforter made of recycled plastic bottles — and it was super effective at regulating temperature

    DON'T MISS: A new bed-in-a-box went through over 200 mattress prototypes before it landed on the perfect design — it offered me excellent pressure relief and it slept cool

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Hotel TwentySeven amsterdam

    A hotel has the possibility to make or break your vacation — but, if it's one of the best boutique hotels in the world, chances are you'll be in very, very good hands.

    In 2018's Boutique Hotel Awards, fourteen hotels around the world took home top honors in a range of categories.

    The hotels were judged on "all aspects of the guest experience covering six categories: dining and entertainment, design, facilities, location and, most importantly, staff service and overall emotional impact," according to the news release.

    A hotel in Bali was named the best overall boutique hotel, while hotels in Portugal, South Africa, Greece, New Zealand, and other countries also won top spots. Categories include World's Best Beach or Coastal Hotel, Best Honeymoon Hideaway, Most Stunning Views, and more.

    Here are the top boutique hotels in the world, from a beachside retreat in the Maldives to a wellness resort in Austria.

    SEE ALSO: Disappointing photos show what 9 top luxury destinations look like in real life

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

    World's Best Beach or Coastal Hotel: Reethi Faru Resort

    Location: Filaidhoo, Maldives
    Rates starting at: $171



    World's Best City Explorer: Corpo Santo Lisbon Historical Hotel

    Location: Lisbon, Portugal
    Rates starting at: $133



    World's Best Classic Elegance Hotel: Relais & Chateaux Hotel Heritage

    Location: Bruges, Belgium
    Rates starting at: $222



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    the plaza new years eve nyc

    • The Plaza, a five-star hotel overlooking Central Park, is one of the city's most legendary and luxurious hotels.
    • The hotel is throwing a lavish New Year's Eve bash that will include aerialists, decadent desserts and hors d'oeuvres, live music, and of course, plenty of Champagne at an open bar.
    • Tickets start at $1,200 for two people and include a night's stay at the hotel.
    • For non-hotel guests, one admission to the party is $850.

     

    One of New York City's most iconic hotels is hosting a New Year's Eve party to remember.

    The Plaza, a five-star hotel that overlooks Central Park, is holding a lavish black-tie masquerade ball on December 31, and it will include aerialists, live music, a decadent dinner and dessert, and of course, free-flowing Champagne. Tickets start at $1,200 for two people.

    "Welcome 2019 with an evening fete unlike you've seen before," reads the Plaza's description of the event. "Just steps from the comfort of your room, embrace a black tie affair complete with delectable hors d'oeuvres, a decadent dinner and an evening of dancing under the legendary laylight in the selection of Fine Wines and Champagne."

    The Plaza promises glitz, glamour, and a midnight balloon drop.

    Read more: A luxury hotel in Times Square hosts a rooftop New Year's Eve party where guests are only 150 feet from the ball drop and box seats cost up to $125,000

    The party will take place at the hotel's glamorous and iconic Palm Court, with its palm trees and soaring ceilings.

    Everyone has a Plaza story, and we’d love to hear yours! What’s your favorite memory from The Palm Court? 📷: @rachelannjensen

    A post shared by The Plaza Hotel (@theplazahotel) on Jun 8, 2018 at 11:17am PDT on

    Tickets to the party start at $1,200 for two people and include a night's stay at the hotel, a representative for the Plaza told Business Insider. But at the time of publication, the cheapest New Year's Eve packages available was $2,767, which includes a night in a deluxe king room, one admission to the Palm Court party (with each additional ticket costing $900), and a $100 in-room dining credit.

    For non-hotel guests, a ticket to the party will cost $850 and can be obtained by emailing or calling the hotel.

    SEE ALSO: Rich people can now celebrate New Year's Eve twice with a private jet company that flies them around the world in a Gulfstream G550 for $250,000

    DON'T MISS: I stayed at New York’s most iconic luxury hotel that charges up to $50,000 a night and was once owned by Donald Trump

    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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    Maharaja Padmanabh Singh

     

    At 20 years old, Padmanabh Singh controls a fortune of between $697 million and $855 million and is called a "king."

    Padmanabh Singh, full title Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur, is the young monarch of Jaipur, a city in northwestern India famous for its pink architecture and imperial palaces.

    Singh's royal title is not officially recognized by law, as India is a federal parliamentary democratic republic with a president and a prime minister. But it "still inspires respect in this deeply hierarchical country where the aristocracy is venerated despite rapid social change," according to the Guardian.

    The wealth of the royal family is estimated to be between $697 million and $2.8 billion.

    Singh spends his time playing polo, studying liberal arts, walking in fashion shows, and traveling the world.

    Here's a look at the young royal's life.

    SEE ALSO: Meet the Ambanis, the richest family in Asia, who live in a $1 billion skyscraper and mingle with royals, politicians, and Bollywood stars

    DON'T MISS: The top 10 trips Americans wanted to take in 2018, according to Google

    Padmanabh Singh is the 20-year-old king of Jaipur, India. His full title is Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur.

    Instagram Embed:
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    Width: 540px

    Source: Elle India

     



    Singh, whose family and friends call him "Pacho," is the 303rd descendant of the royal family of Jaipur.

    Instagram Embed:
    //instagram.com/p/BlFmWfkh5c1/embed
    Width: 540px

    Source: Elle India



    He became king in 2011 after the death of his grandfather, Sawai Man Singhji Bahadur, who was called "the last Maharaja of Jaipur" when he died because he ascended to the throne soon before royal privileges stopped being recognized in India.

    Source: The Guardian, Getty Images



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    girl eating a burger hungry appetite 12

    Going on a diet is a losing game. Some research suggests more than nine out of every 10 people who try to diet will fail.

    Even people who are able to diet successfully often fight a tough battle against the body's evolutionarily savvy attempts to store extra energy. In fact, scientists have found that the bodies of severely overweight people who lose weight can actively work against them: as they slim down, their metabolism drops, making it harder to lose more weight. 

    Experts agree that extreme diets and juice cleanses aren't good long-term strategies for maintaining a healthy weight. To that end, the US News & World Report's 2018 ranking of the best diets put the trendy ketogenic diet dead last. 

    But there are a few simple things you can do to stay trim and satisfied in the long run. 

    We asked dietitian Jason Ewoldt from the nation's top-rated hospital, the Mayo Clinic, for his simplest, sanest ideas for staying lean. Here's his advice:

    SEE ALSO: The most surprising foods Weight Watchers considers zero points — and why

    Stay hydrated. If you hate drinking water, zest it up with citrus or drink it carbonated (without adding empty calories into your diet).

    Ewoldt noted that patients often end up misinterpreting thirst for hunger.

    "A lot of times, people just seem to be a little dehydrated," he said. 

    A 2016 study of more than 18,000 people in the US found that those who drank more water were consistently more satisfied and ate fewer calories on a daily basis. They also consumed lower amounts of sugar, fat, salt, and cholesterol than more dehydrated participants. 

    There's also some limited evidence that drinking water can help you burn through more calories, at least for a little while. So keep sipping.

     



    Whatever you drink, it's best to steer clear of sugar and probably artificial sweeteners, too.

    Drinking a lot of sugary coffee , tea, soda , or juice could increase your risk of an early death, according to a study of over 17,000 Americans above the age of 45. 

    But researchers are starting to discover that consuming drinks with fake sugar may not be any better when it comes to developing dangerous diseases.

    Scientists studying the blood vessels of rats discovered that while sugar and artificial sweeteners act in very different ways inside the animals' bodies, they can both up the odds of developing obesity and diabetes.

    The researchers think that artificial sweeteners may mess with the way our bodies process fat. 



    Aim for seven to eight hours of shut-eye per night.

    Most of us like to think we can operate well without a full night's sleep. But neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker says that's wrong. According to Walker, a lack of sleep is literally killing us.

    And it makes us eat more unhealthy food, too. 

    Research published in 2013 in the journal Nature Communications revealed that sleep-deprived eaters are more likely to reach for high-calorie foods and gain weight than well-rested people. That's because being sleepy also snoozes the region of the brain that helps tell us when we're full.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    New Year's Eve Times Square

    • What's open on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day?
    • Many restaurant chains will remain open on New Year's Day — and some will even offer New Year's parties to celebrate 2019.
    • Other big-name retailers, like Costco and Sam's Club, will close on New Year's Day.

    It's time to ring in 2019.

    But before you schlep out into the cold, it's best to check what exactly is open on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Offers.com compiled a list of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day store hours for some of the top retailers and restaurant chains in the country.

    Keep in mind that hours vary based on location for most chain stores and restaurants. So if you're pressed to pick up last-minute champagne or party supplies, or you're banking on treating your family or friends to a holiday dinner, make sure to call ahead.

    Here are stores that are open on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day:

    SEE ALSO: From entire lawn sets to used toilets, these are the most ridiculous returns workers from Costco, Walmart, and Target say they've ever gotten

    DON'T MISS: We covered a ton of wild retail stories in 2018, but Sam's Club's sudden store closures was the most shocking moment of the year

    SEE ALSO: Here's what happens when you show up at Costco without a membership card, according to employees

    Bahama Breeze

    Bahama Breeze will host a New Year's Eve party starting at 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve. The tropical celebration will go on until the eateries close at 1 a.m.



    Baja Fresh

    Most Baja Fresh restaurants will remain open on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. The casual Tex-Mex chain also offers catering options.



    Bar Louie

    A number of Bar Louie locations across the country will be hosting a masquerade party to ring in the new year. Hours and admission prices may vary.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Ariana Grande

    • Business Insider has compiled the most-followed Instagram accounts in 2018. 
    • The list is dominated by reality TV stars, musicians, and professional soccer players. 
    • Here are the top 50 most-popular accounts. 

    In the world of Instagram, musicians, reality stars, and soccer players rule.

    Business Insider has compiled the most-followed people on Instagram for 2018, and well-known faces like Cristiano Ronaldo and Kim Kardashian top the list. 

    Up until this year, singer and actress Selena Gomez has been the most-followed person on Instagram, a title she's held for the last two years running. But in 2018, Ronaldo nabbed the top spot. 

    Besides Ronaldo and Gomez, stars like Dwayne Johnson and musicians like Ariana Grande are in the top 10.

    Here are the 50 most-followed people on Instagram in 2018:

    SEE ALSO: Our 17 most-read tech stories of 2018

    50. Gal Gadot

    The "Wonder Woman" star, whose handle is @gal_gadot, has 27.1 million followers. 



    49. Ed Sheeran

    The singer-songwriter, who goes by @teddysphotos on Instagram, has 27.2 million followers.



    48. Robert Downey Jr.

    The "Ironman" and "Avengers" star, whose handle is @robertdowneyjr, has 27.3 million followers.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The dropping of the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square in New York City has been a tradition for over 100 years. We spoke with the agent for the ball itself, Jeffrey Straus, and climbed to the top of One Times Square to find out why millions join together on December 31st to watch a lighted ball drop down a pole.

    Following is a transcript of the video.

    The New Year's Eve ball drop started over 100 years ago.

    Based on a 19th-century maritime tradition, "time balls" were once dropped down poles in ports at noon. Ships would use the balls to adjust their clocks to the local time.

    Lightbulbs, a new technology at the time, were used to create a lighted time ball. It would drop over Times Square for the first time on New Year's Eve, 1907.

    That first ball was six feet in diameter, made of iron and wood, weighed 700 pounds, and contained 100 lightbulbs. The tradition has continued ever since. 

    There have been seven different versions of the ball.

    The one we use today was introduced in 2008. It's 12 feet in diameter, weighs 11,875 pounds, contains 2,688 Waterford crystals, and 32,256 LED lights. It's the largest crystal ball in the world. 

    It can produce 16 million colors and billions of patterns. The LED lights make it more energy efficient so it can now stay lit year-round.

    This video was originally published in December 2015.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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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.

    91BTedEJLtL._SL1500_

    • My Purple Royal seat cushion has made sitting through the workday a much more pleasant exercise, and thanks to its effect on my posture, it's also improved my time spent standing up.
    • The cushion's grid shape collapses into itself to help accommodate your pressure points, and makes sitting comfortable even if you've, say, left your phone in your back pocket.
    • Purple makes a variety of seat cushions, from one that's specifically designed for lumbar support to one that's meant for portability. Prices start at $39 for the portable and lumbar-support cushions and go up to $129.

    Sitting up straight can feel like an impossible feat. I'm constantly slouching while I work, and it seems like as soon as I correct my posture, I find myself nearing a 45-degree angle again. Constant posture vigilance is impractical when I'm focused on my job (or just scrolling through Twitter), so I continually let myself fall back into slouching. It's my default position — my resting pose. And it leaves me with a perennially sore back.

    I've tried a few techniques to help snap me out of this bad habit. I go to yoga classes, I try to keep it so both of my shoulder blades are touching my chair back at all times, and I write reminders to sit up straight on Post-it notes on my desk. So far, none of those strategies have had a lasting effect (though I'm sure the yoga classes could if I went more consistently). Then, I got a Purple seat cushion, and it's never been easier to avoid hunching over my desk.

    Perhaps better known for its mattresses, Purple makes a variety of seat cushions, from one that's specifically designed for lumbar support to one that's meant for portability. I opted for the Royal seat cushion. At $79, it falls somewhere in the middle of the Purple seat cushion price range (which starts at $39 for the portable and lumbar-support cushions and goes up to $129 for the “Ultimate” cushion). Besides improving my seating posture, my new cushion has made sitting down all day for my desk job significantly more comfortable.

    But first, how does a seat cushion make you sit up straighter?

    Purple cushions come in grid patterns — or they look like large, purple waffles, depending on how hungry you are. The grid shape collapses into itself to help accommodate your pressure points, and makes sitting comfortable even if you've, say, left your phone in your back pocket (guilty). This pattern helps distribute your weight evenly across your seat, and lets extraneous pocket items like cell phones sink into the cushion instead of poking into your behind.

    I get antsy throughout the workday, especially because I spend so much time sitting down. The cushion also keeps me from constantly shifting around in my seat — instead of stiffly perching on top of it, like I do on my cushion-less chair, I'm relaxing into it. Not only does this accommodate for items left in my pants pockets, but it's also good news for my sit bones. They start to feel pain after balancing throughout the long workday atop a hard surface. The Purple cushion, made of hyper-elastic polymer, means I don't have to balance on those bones.

    Plus, the edge of my seat no longer cuts off the circulation in my legs. Because the Purple cushion has give, it doesn't obstruct my blood flow. All of this helps keep my back and hips in line, making it much easier to maintain good posture.

    81TJ4vkkMVL._SL1500_

    Something to be wary of with this cushion is that it's not exactly light. While the Portable cushion weighs only 2.75 pounds, that's still adds up if you're carrying it around in a bag with your lunch and other work gear. My Royal cushion weighs 5.4 pounds, so the most I move it around is from one hardwood chair to the other in my kitchen (where I did the majority of my sitting when I worked at home for the past year). However, transporting a 2.75-pound cushion in your car is hardly an inconvenience.

    I also wish I could mold my cushion to be the exact shape of my chair. As it is, my cushion hangs off the edge — more of an aesthetic issue than anything, but still something that would be nice to be able to tailor. That being said, different Purple cushions come in different dimensions, and the Royal is the third biggest of seven varieties. And admittedly, I didn't measure my chairs before buying.

    Different jobs require different amounts of sitting. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent data, people who worked in office jobs (like lawyers, human resource managers, accountants, and software developers) spent somewhere between 75 and 90% of their workdays seated. Professional drivers sat for over 82% of their time on the job.

    If you fall into any of these job categories, I fully suggest giving a Purple seat cushion a try. Enduring pain in your sit bones, tail bone, and legs all day while hunching over your laptop (or steering wheel) isn't worth avoiding the relatively small cost of adding daily comfort to your routine. My seat cushion has made sitting through the workday a much more pleasant exercise, and thanks to its effect on my posture, it's also improved my time spent standing up.

    Buy the Purple Royal Seat Cushion for $79 — and check out 6 other seat cushion varieties on the Purple website. Also available to buy on Amazon.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

    Chase freedom

    • The Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash back — or 5x points — in different categories each quarter.
    • The categories for the first quarter of 2019 have been announced.
    • You can combine your cash back with the points earned from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, making it even more valuable.

    Chase offers two strong cash-back cards — the Chase Freedom, and the Chase Freedom Unlimited— that offer great rewards that you can combine with the points you earn from other cards. While both cards are slightly different, they're both great options and both earn points quickly. I personally have both cards.

    What's unique about the regular Freedom is that while it generally earns 1% cash back — or 1x Chase Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent, if you combine that "cash back" with the points you'll earn from a card like the Sapphire Preferred— it earns 5% (or 5x points) in a different bonus category each quarter.

    Chase has announced that this year's Q1 bonus categories are:

    • Gas stations, including convenience stores like 7 Eleven when they have gas pumps
    • Tolls, which includes loading up an EZPass account with credit 
    • Purchases made at drugstores, including major brands like CVS and Walgreens

    Any purchases that fall into those three categories will be eligible to earn 5% throughout January, February, and March. The category list is a decent one, especially since drugstores sell such a wide variety of essentials — and, of course, if you drive often, gas and toll expenses can add up quickly.

    The bonus is capped at $1,500 of spend each quarter. After that, you'll still earn the normal 1% back. Keep in mind that in order to get the bonus, you need to activate your account each quarter. To do so, just log into your account or visit this site.

    Chase usually announces Q2's categories sometime in March; and activation is scheduled to start on March 15.

    If you don't have the card, this is a good opportunity to sign up. In addition to points you earn from spending, you'll get a sign-up bonus of $150 (or 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points) when you spend $500 in the first three months.

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

    DON'T MISS: The best credit card rewards, bonuses, and perks in 2018

    SEE ALSO: 5 reasons the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a powerhouse within the increasingly competitive credit card space

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Udemy Hero brand supplied

    Another year, another myriad of “new year, new you” campaigns. But what if we told you that this year really is different? This will be the year you learn a new skill, discover a new hobby, or achieve a lifelong dream. How? Because this year, you’ve got a helper that can teach you exactly how to make your resolutions a reality: Udemy.com.

    With over 80,000 expert-led courses, Udemy is an easy-to-use and affordable platform where you can learn just about anything for as little as $9.99. Sounds pretty good, right? To give you an idea of just how much you can do with Udemy, here are five popular resolutions and courses you can take to achieve them.

    1. Get a new job

    Udemy new job

    Looking for a change of pace in your career? Switching companies (or even careers) can be a rough road to walk. But brushing up on your professional skills, learning about emerging technologies, or even practicing your interview skills can give you a leg up on the competition.  

    Students like Mohamad Alaloush have launched completely new careers just by taking Udemy courses. Though he had no prior experience, Mohamad was able to get a job as a software engineer in just eight months.

    2. Boost your financial health

    Udemy financial health

    Trying to pay off student loans or that pesky old credit card bill that’s been hanging over your head? The start of the new year is a great time to evaluate your finances and create a plan to eliminate debt and save more money. But, combing through the hoards of conflicting information on the web is tedious.

    In order to develop healthy financial habits that last a lifetime, try taking a comprehensive financial wellness course. This will allow you to get a firm grasp on your current financial situation and learn how to develop positive financial behavior for the future.

    3. Get in shape

    Udemy Get In Shape Brand Supplied

    With the months of holiday eating that lead up to each new year, it’s no surprise that getting in shape is one of the most common resolutions. The thing is, starting a healthy lifestyle is a bit trickier than just stocking your freezer with low-calorie, microwavable foods. Learning nutrition basics can help you understand how your body works and how to best take care of it.

    Of course, exercise is also a key component to building a healthier you in the new year. But that doesn’t mean you have to force yourself into a monotonous treadmill routine. Developing exercise habits you actually enjoy is the best way to make sure your New Year’s resolution turns into a lifelong commitment. For instance, try learning to dance, or balancing fitness and mental wellbeing through meditative yoga.

     

    4. Learn a new hobby

    Udemy Music Brand Supplied

    When work and life get busy, it can be easy to slide into a rut. That’s why it’s important to make time to indulge in a little creativity. Exploring your creative side can help you feel more fulfilled, broaden your perspective, and even increase productivity in your professional life.

    Whether you want to brush up on an existing hobby or learn something completely new, the new year is the perfect time to commit to a more creative you. Want to be more musical? Try learning guitar or piano. Want to capture the beautiful moments in life? Try your hand in photography. You can even take a stab at writing the next great American novel with a course in creative writing.

    5. Reduce stress

    Udemy stress

    While adding more than one goal to your 2019 to-do list is a good thing, it’s also important to remember not to tack on extra stress. So, whether it’s your only resolution or in addition to another, learning stress management could help you be more successful in your objectives.

    Courses in meditation or mindfulness can also help you relax and be present and attentive in your tasks, which will allow you to learn better and faster. Additionally, you may want to consider a time-management course to help you prioritize tasks and ensure you never take on too much.

    Feeling empowered to crush your 2019 goals? Good news — the biggest sale of the new year is happening right now on Udemy. So, you can get a headstart on the “new you” with courses as low as $9.99.

    This post is sponsored by Udemy. | Content written and provided by Udemy. 


    Udemy is a global marketplace for learning and teaching online. More than 24 million students learn from an extensive library of 80,000 expert-led courses in over 50 different languages. Whether learning for professional development or personal enrichment, students can master new skills through self-paced, on-demand courses.

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    shiatsu massager

    • I recently purchased the InvoSpa Shiatsu Back, Neck, and Shoulder Massager with Heat from Amazon for $50, and it is a game changer for anyone like me who struggles with back and neck pain on a daily basis.
    • My life is very different now that I get daily, professional-grade massages. If I were to visit a masseuse that regularly in New York City, I'd be down close to $100 per week at minimum.
    • What makes this at-home massager even better than going to a professional, however, is that you remain in total control as you use it.
    • This massager also has a timer, so it automatically shuts off every 15 minutes.

    As a freelancer in New York City, I'm regularly hauling around a backpack filled with my computer, its charger, a work book, a fun book, hand sanitizer, a water bottle, a just-in-case umbrella, and about 14 inkless pens. My bag not only burdens my back, but it also strains my neck, shoulders, legs, and arms as I contort my body to fit into crowded subways and carry it in one hand while the other roots around for an elusive, working pen. Then when I arrive at my destination, I sit down and type for hours, hunching over my laptop like Golem guarding his precious.

    None of this activity helps ease my back pain. After I tried repeatedly to hand-massage myself for relief (about as satisfying as scratching that itch at the middle of your back), my friend whose job entails a lot of upper body work let me try her at-home shiatsu back, neck, and shoulder massager with heat. I'm not exaggerating when I say it changed my life. I immediately went home and ordered my own off of Amazon for $50.

    Those times when I've tried to get a knot out of my upper back by using the edge of a door frame? This kneading massager from InvoSpa is infinitely more effective in its ability to dig deep into my muscles, relaxing tensions I barely even knew I had. Its pack-like shape — featuring two straps you can slip your arms through while positioning dual massagers comfortably on your neck, back, or shoulders — mimics that of my backpack, allowing me to hit all the sore spots that wearing my bag daily creates.

    The apparatus has a groove for your neck, with one massager on either side, each consisting of four, rotating nodes. The four larger nodes loosen up your muscles while the four smaller nodes really get in there, tackling the most stubborn knots. Four controllers on one strap let you turn the massagers off and on, change the direction of the rotation, alter the speed, and switch on and off the heat, respectively. I find that the direction of the nodes changes regularly enough, so I end up pressing the heat button most. Using heat at the start of the massage helps relax my muscles before I apply more pressure for heavy kneading, at which point I turn the heat off.

    I mentioned that this massager has changed my life, and it's true — my life is very different now that I get daily, professional-grade massages. If I were to visit a masseuse that regularly in New York City, I'd be down close to $100 per week at minimum.

    invospa

    What makes this at-home massager even better than going to a professional, however, is that you remain in total control as you use it.

    The straps make it very easy to manipulate its position, letting you reach the nagging sore parts that are nearly impossible to explain to other people ("No, a little more to the left…"). And even though it's called a "back, neck, and shoulder massager," it feels amazing on the soles of my (clean) feet.

    However, you can't use the massager on any old body part. I learned this the hard way. The manual warns you're not supposed to put it on "joints and bony parts of the body," which I didn't read until after I'd ended up with some sore knees joints — a fate people who read manuals (or this article) can easily avoid. As with all massagers, it's also not good for you to use it for too long. Luckily, this one has a timer, so it automatically shuts off every 15 minutes.

    This massager's only other minor downside is that it has to be plugged into the wall to work. That being said, the cord is plenty long. I've never had a hard time getting it to my couch, bed, or desk chair, some of which are closer to outlets than others. Impressively, it's still portable. It comes with a car plug and a convenient, handheld case.

    Even if you don't lug around a full backpack every day and hunch over your computer, doing any kind of physical work, exercising, or even just experiencing stress can lead to tight, painful muscles. I use my at-home massager both after work and after runs, and I'd highly recommend others do the same. It's giving me a foot massage right now.

    Buy the InvoSpa Shiatsu Back, Neck, and Shoulder Massager with Heat at Amazon for $50.

    SEE ALSO: This $60 posture corrector from 'Shark Tank' might seem gimmicky — but it actually eliminated my back pain at work

    DON'T MISS: 6 affordable products that have helped me deal with back pain and muscle tension

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    jared kushner ivanka trump

    • Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have been a high-profile couple long before they became fixtures in the White House.
    • Coming from two prominent real estate families, the couple is estimated to be worth a collective $1.1 billion.
    • Despite holding unpaid positions, Trump and Kushner raked in at least $83 million in outside income during their first year in President Donald Trump's administration.

    Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are worth an estimated $1.1 billion combined.

    Both hailing from prominent New York City real estate families, Kushner and Trump have had impressive houses and habits since before they settled in Washington, D.C.

    Though their roles as White House advisers are unpaid, the couple reported earning at least $83 million in outside income the first year President Donald Trump was in office.

    This is how they spend their family-built fortunes.

    SEE ALSO: From rich kid to first daughter: The life of Ivanka Trump

    DON'T MISS: How Jared Kushner rocketed to the top of American politics by his mid-30s — and found himself in more hot water than ever

    Sources have estimated that Ivanka Trump's net worth is roughly $300 million, and Jared Kushner's net worth could be $800 million.

    Source: CelebrityNet Worth



    An ethics filing shows that Trump and Kushner earned at least $83 million in income last year, despite being in unpaid roles with the administration.

    Sources: AP, The Guardian



    Outside of the administration, both Jared and Ivanka have a number of ongoing professional interests.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Chevy SS

    • In 2019, numerous cars will vanish.
    • Some will be updated, but others could be gone for good.
    • The biggest trend is carmakers killing sedans and small cars in favor of SUVs and crossovers.

    There's no point in being nostalgic in the auto industry — cars come and go with regularity.

    Still, it's always a bit sad when a vehicle says goodbye. The only solace is that nameplates have vanished for years, only to return in revised form.

    In 2019, we'll witness the effects of a major strategic shift in the US market, as consumers move away from sedans and embrace SUVs and crossovers. Hybrids could also be in trouble, as all-electric vehicles start to arrive. The Detroit Big Three — General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — are already executing the shift.

    Other types of rides are being updated in 2019, while some beloved high-performance machines are vanishing due to slow sales.

    Here's a quick roundup of some of the cars that are going away in 2019 (by no means exhaustive, and based mainly on cars I've driven):

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

    Front-engine C7 Chevy Corvette: I'm not 100% sure if the front-engined Vette will vanish, but it seems clear that the eighth-generation of the iconic sports car will have its motor behind the driver's head — a mid-engine design. It's possible that Chevy would produce the Vette in two configurations. We'll see.



    Chevy SS: The simple V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive beast is based on the Australian-spec Holden Commodore. It will disappear in 2019, and with it Chevy's budget alternative to BMW's M cars.



    Third-generation Chevy Silverado: Don't worry, though, because the 2019 redesign has already arrived.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    hong kong

     

    Hong Kong is a city full of millionaires and billionaires.

    The city now has the highest concentration of super-rich people in the world, surpassing New York City, Tokyo, and Paris. One in seven residents is a millionaire, and the city is home to approximately 93 billionaires.

    Hong Kong is also the most expensive city in the world for housing. The Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey has ranked Hong Kong the least affordable city for housing in the world for eight years in a row.

    While many Hong Kong residents struggle to pay astronomical prices for "nano apartments" or "coffin homes," the city's ultra-rich residents live in multimillion dollar mansions in ritzy neighborhoods like Deep Water Bay or the Peak, drive Porsches, and eat at one of the city's 82 Michelin-starred restaurants.

    Here's what life is like for a billionaire in Hong Kong.

    SEE ALSO: This $446 million mansion in Hong Kong could break the record as the most expensive home ever sold in the world's most expensive housing market — and it's surprisingly modest

    DON'T MISS: Meet the Ambanis, the richest family in Asia, who live in a $1 billion skyscraper and mingle with royals, politicians, and Bollywood stars

    Hong Kong is a city full of super-rich people.

    Source: Business Insider



    The dense metropolis of nearly 7.4 million people is a major port city and manufacturing and financial center.

    Source: World Bank, Britannica



    It has the highest concentration of ultra-wealthy individuals in the world, surpassing New York City, Tokyo, and Paris.

    Source: Business Insider



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    irobot braava

    Mentally, I'm a very organized person, but I've never claimed the same for my physical surroundings. The various apartments I've lived in over the years would never win any compliments or prizes for cleanliness, and I can chalk this reality up to a couple of reasons: lack of time and, more often than not, pure laziness.

    I know logically that a clean living environment contributes to happier, more productive inhabitants, but like many people, I just hate cleaning. 

    With so many rooms and appliances to clean, and a strong desire to do literally anything else with my time, I found a variety of tools and gadgets that will do most if not all the work for me. While a few of them may take some initial setup and getting used to, in the end they'll cut down on time and labor, and you'll definitely notice the difference. 

    Keep scrolling to see how you can make your life a lot easier with these cleaning tools.

    SEE ALSO: This $10 fix makes cleaning your dishes way more sanitary than what you're doing right now

    A robot vacuum that connects to Wi-FI

    Earning our pick for best robot vacuum, iRobot's three-stage cleaning system cleans several floor types, navigates around objects, responds to voice commands with Alexa or Google Assistant, and runs for an hour of continuous cleaning. Its strong suction and effective spinning side brush along with its ability to be programmed and controlled from an app make it a worthy competitor to high-end bots. 

    iRobot Roomba 690, $349.99, available at Amazon



    A self-cleaning litter box

    While cats are known to be more low-maintenance than dogs, you do still have to clean up after them. This futuristic litter box almost completely eliminates one of the more unpleasant tasks associated with being a cat owner by automatically separating the clean litter from the clumps and dropping the waste into a carbon-filtered drawer. It has a large entry for cats of all sizes and is ideal for multi-cat households. 

    Litter-Robot III Open-Air Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box, $499

     



    A self-cleaning dog potty

    Another gadget that makes cleaning up after your pets less of a hassle is this automatic potty for dogs under 25 pounds. Its adjustable timer automatically advances the highly absorbent pad once, twice, or three times a day, while the sensor ensures that the timer will never start while the dog is on the machine.

    BrilliantPad Self-Cleaning, Automatic Indoor Dog Potty, $149.99, available at Chewy



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Sapira

    • With the competitive "bed-in-a-box" market, it has never been a better time for consumers to try out mattresses in the comfort of their own home.
    • Launched in 2014, Leesa quickly made a name for itself with its excellent flagship memory foam mattress and commitment to making a positive social impact.
    • I was impressed with how well Leesa's luxury Sapira mattress balances firm support with cloud-like softness.
    • The Sapira mattress is a hybrid that combines innersprings and memory foam so it carries a heftier price tag than its memory foam counterparts (it's currently $1,595 for a queen size on the Leesa website), but it provides more support while containing motion transfer.
    • As a special, limited-time New Year's deal, you can take $235 off the Sapira Mattress, plus get a free pillow ($75 value). The discount is automatically applied at checkout.

    By some estimates, there are currently more than 100 brands that deliver compressed memory foam beds to your door. Though brick-and-mortar stores are still king, these "bed-in-a-box" companies are taking advantage of consumer dissatisfaction with the high-pressure sales environment offered by traditional mattress showrooms. The new online companies are even offering risk-free trials that allow you to spend several nights on a mattress to see if it's right for you.

    One of the biggest names in the industry is Leesa. They recently sent me their luxury hybrid Sapira mattress, the Leesa Foundation, and two hybrid pillows for free to test. Below, I will examine what you should look for when shopping for a mattress, share my experience with the Sapira mattress and Leesa Foundation, and let you know who this bed is best suited for.

    What to look for in a mattress

    I have experience with several bed-in-a-box brands, and arguably the most important factor to look for when shopping for a mattress is the length of the trial period offered. When you go into a store to shop for a mattress, you can lay down on the actual bed before buying it. Though some online mattress retailers have showrooms in big cities, for the most part, you don't get the same brick-and-mortar experience shopping online.

    To address this, online companies offer significant trial periods where you can return the mattress if you are not completely satisfied. There are some brands that will give you a full year to try their mattress but most offer a risk-free trial of about 100 nights. Check to make sure you get a trial of at least 90 nights with a mattress so you don't get stuck with something that doesn't meet your individual needs. Also, read the fine print to ensure you don't get stuck with a hefty return charge.

    The most popular mattresses continue to be the traditional innerspring mattresses. They feature a steel coil core and a foam comfort layer. Their benefits are strong edge support and excellent bounciness, but they are prone to sagging, producing the classic squeaky bed sound, and they don't contour well to the body.

    Some innerspring mattresses feature individually wrapped pocket coils. This construction helps to minimize motion transfer. Think of the old commercials where a bowling ball is dropped on a mattress. If you share a bed with a partner, you may want to consider individually wrapped coils to ensure they don't wake you up as they move in the night.

    Memory foam mattresses keep growing in popularity. They consist of several layers of foam that conform to your body. Though they last longer than innerspring mattresses, they tend to trap heat.

    Hybrid mattresses combine innersprings and memory foam. They have many layers of foam on top of a core of pocket coils. This combats the heat-trapping problem commonly found with memory foam while contouring to the body. However, hybrid mattresses tend to cost more than memory foam and innerspring.

    Two other less common and more expensive options are latex mattresses and airbeds. Latex offers rounded body support and bounce, but it emits a long-lasting off-gassing odor. Airbeds combine foam comfort layers with air chamber support. An air pump lets you adjust your firmness, and airbeds are surprisingly durable.

    Firmness is another important consideration. Firmness is rated on a scale of 1 – 10, where 10 is as firm as it gets. According to Sleepopolis's guide on firmness, 80% of sleepers prefer mattresses in the 5 to 7 range, regardless of sleep position. Therefore, many mattresses are right around 6. However, preference is incredibly subjective. In general, side sleepers should look for softer mattresses to avoid putting too much pressure on your joints. Back and stomach sleepers will typically benefit from medium-firm mattresses.

    Leesa Sapira Mattress

    Why consider Leesa

    If you regularly listen to podcasts, you have likely heard an ad for Leesa mattresses. They are perhaps best known for their social initiatives. For every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one mattress to a nonprofit. So far, they have donated over 30,000 mattresses to homeless shelters and other organizations that help at-risk men, women, and children. Additionally, they plant one tree for every mattress sold and volunteer within their community. They have earned B Corp certification for their social and environmental performance.

    Based in Virginia Beach, Leesa was co-founded in 2013 by CEO David Wolfe and Chief Product Officer Jamie Diamonstein. Diamonstein already had decades of experience in the mattress industry when Wolfe contacted him about redesigning the mattress. Their goal was to make simple mattresses that improved the sleep experience, streamlined the buying process, and gave back.

    What Leesa options are available?

    With more than 12,000 5-star buyer reviews, the Leesa Mattress is by far the most popular product offered by Leesa. Their flagship mattress has three layers: a cooling foam top layer, contouring memory foam layer in the middle, and a 6" core support foam base. This is covered by the company's iconic four-stripe cover. Visit the Business Insider review for more info about the Leesa Mattress.

    In 2016, Leesa introduced the Sapira Mattress, which differs from the original in that it's a hybrid featuring individually wrapped coils. The 11-inch-thick Sapira has five layers: the cooling foam top layer, contouring memory foam, and a 6" pocket coil system sandwiched between two layers of core support foam. The Sapira is what I tested. Both Leesa mattresses come in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king sizes. I tried out a king.

    Leesa also offers four different bed frames: a platform bed, adjustable base bed, a simple metal bed frame, and the Leesa Foundation, which I received. There are also several other accessories, including pillows, sheets, and blankets. Other colleagues reviewed the Leesa Hybrid Pillow and the Leesa Adjustable Base.

    leesa

    Leesa offers a 100-night risk-free trial period. They just ask that buyers try their mattress for at least 30 nights. If you aren't satisfied, they will coordinate pick-up of the mattress or foundation. You don't have to worry about attempting the impossible task of fitting everything back into the box. There is no fee for returns unless you're in Alaska or Hawaii, in which case it will cost $100.

    There is also a 10-year mattress warranty. The warranty is limited to physical flaws in the cover or mattress craftsmanship and mattress deterioration that results in an indentation of more than an inch. The warranty covers full replacement of the mattress, but the buyer has to pay for shipping.

    Leesa offers a "white glove" delivery service in select locations. For an extra $100, a two-person team will deliver your mattress and foundation, unbox it, set it up, and remove the packaging. And, for $50 more, they will remove your old mattress and box spring, which is helpful since most municipalities charge extra for disposing of mattresses. I chose not to go with the white glove service because I wanted to get the full buyer experience.

    My first experiences with the Leesa Foundation

    My king-sized Leesa Foundation arrived in a long skinny box that weighed over 80 pounds. I recommend having a strong friend help you carry the box to where you plan on putting your bed. I advise against setting it up anywhere but where you intend on keeping it.

    Upon opening the box, I was struck by the foundation's simplicity. There are essentially the four sides that fit together using thick plastic pins at each corner and two support rails that slide into place. Within the frame and on top of the support rails, you place two sets of slats. The slats are spaced about four inches apart inside of a fabric cover. Working alone, the whole setup process only took me 15 minutes.

    My first experiences with the Sapira mattress

    download 1

    Once the foundation was in place, it was time to unbox the Sapira mattress. The box is a beast, and I encourage you to tip your delivery person generously. The king-sized mattress weighs 142 pounds, which you may want to have a couple friends help you with. My wife and I were able to carry it up a winding staircase to our second-floor bedroom, but it took at least a few cuss words.

    Once the king-sized mattress is out of the box, do not plan on moving it. In other words, open it where you plan on keeping it. With this in mind, I opened the box alongside my foundation. I like to try to do as much of an assembly/installation as I can on my own so I can give a full report on what needs to be done. So, I did unbox this mattress, put it on the foundation, and removed the plastic without help. I don't recommend anyone do this on their own. The unboxing and positioning of the mattress took me about 15 minutes.

    I was surprised by how odor-free the mattress was right out of the packaging. Since I was in the process of renovating my home when the mattress arrived, it sat in the box for over a month. Longer storage times usually worsen the memory foam odors, commonly called "off-gassing." You should allow the mattress to air out for a couple days before sleeping on it.

    How the Sapira mattress performed

    The feature that stood out to me most was the pocket spring coil system. You can feel the springs along the sides of the Sapira mattress. Why does this matter? When you have springs that go right up to the edge, you can count on excellent edge support, which allows you to make the most of the entire area of your bed without feeling like you're going to fall off. And, in my experience, the Sapira did provide superior edge support.

    Since I could feel the coils, I thought I might as well count them. There were 46 along the width and 50 along the length for an estimated grand total of 2,300. All factors being the same, the more coils there are, the more support and durability you can expect. The better innerspring mattresses have 600 to 1,000 coils.

    The individually wrapped coils also kept motion transfer to a minimum. I'm a light sleeper. Whether it's sounds, odors, or something moving around on the bed, I will wake up. However, movement didn't wake me up with the Sapira. If my wife had to get up early or our four-year-old jumped into bed with us, I would rarely wake up. To put the motion transfer to the test, I dropped a 20-pound weight from 3 feet above the bed approximately 12 inches away from a can of sparkling water. I did this several time, and the can did not move at all.

    download 3

    Before the Sapira, I slept on a medium-firm mattress that would be about a 7 on the firmness scale. It was just a little too firm for my tastes. The Sapira is closer to a 6.5, which provided the balance of comfort and support that I need as a side sleeper. Also, I'm a roller derby player, cyclist, and runner. I basically beat the crap out of my body. Often after roller derby bouts, I can't sleep because of the pain. This was not the case with the Sapira. So far, I have not had any trouble falling asleep. My wife has had a similar experience.

    Speaking of my wife, I should probably touch on the romantic aspect of using the Sapira. Sleepopolis has identified five areas that make a mattress ideal for intimacy: comfort, edge support, minimal noise, bouncing, and ease of movement. I've already touched on the impressive edge support and comfort. When it comes to noise, the Sapira mattress coupled with the Leesa Foundation is completely silent, a must when you have kids sleeping in the next room.

    When applying pressure to the bed, it bounces back into shape, which aids in creating a bouncing motion. And, since the mattress is firm, you don't sink into it, and movement is effortless. Basically, the Sapira checks all the right boxes for romantic intimacy.

    Lastly, I did not find that the Sapira trapped heat, a common problem for memory foam. I'm a hot sleeper, and we were using the mattress during the height of summer heat. Regardless, I did not experience night sweats, which are an occasional problem for me.

    Some concerns about the bed

    The Sapira is outstanding and finding flaws was difficult. Yet, I was somewhat disappointed in the foundation. During assembly, I found that some of the screws used to mount the corner connectors to the ends of the frames were loose. And, the connectors didn't fit together smoothly.

    With other frames I've assembled, the slats are held in place with Velcro, and sometimes, the slats feature sticky strips that loosely adhere to the mattress to prevent sliding. There isn't anything holding the Leesa Foundation's slats in place. That said, I have not experienced any slat-related problems.

    My only other complaints about the foundation are really just a matter of preference. It's nice having some clearance under the bed for storage. The Leesa Foundation doesn't offer that, but they do sell a platform bed. Fortunately, there is no need to clean under the bed since there's little chance for debris to sneak in. 

    Though I think it is worth it, the Sapira mattress is more expensive than the vast majority of online mattresses. However, it is a hybrid bed, which tends to run more expensive. And, when you consider that the mattress will last you for more than a decade, the added expense seems trivial.

    Another concern is how incredibly heavy and unwieldy the mattress is. Fortunately, we just bought our first home and hopefully (knock on wood) won't have to move any time soon. But, if you are someone who moves frequently, you may want to enlist the help of professionals when it comes time to move this massive mattress.

    What others are saying about the mattress

    Sleepopolis recommends the Sapira mattress to stomach and back sleepers due to its medium-firm support. The reviewer also noted that it's ideal for couples since it contains motion. This model actually performed well on each of his tests, including providing great edge support. The reviewer at GQ shared a story of sleeping through all of his alarms the first night he slept on the Sapira. He was just that comfortable. He recommends the mattress because the combination of springs and memory foam made the bed soft and supportive.

    There are more than 800 customer reviews of the Sapira on Leesa's website, and over 84% of those are positive. But, though I trust Leesa, it's hard to tell how trustworthy reviews of any company's product are when they are published on the said company's website.

    For a more objective customer experience, I turned to Amazon, where about 69% of the Sapira reviews are positive. The most helpful review shared that the materials felt luxurious and high-grade. He noted it took about 24 to 36 hours for the mattress to decompress, and the off-gassing smell went away in about the same amount of time. He also appreciated that he got the support he needed no matter what sleep position he tried. Other buyers have tried various motion transfer tests that reveal excellent motion containment.

    Other alternatives you may consider

    As I mentioned in the opening sentence, there are over 100 brands to choose from in the online mattress space. However, most of these companies only offer memory foam mattresses. They don't have a hybrid alternative.

    Bear is one company with a hybrid option that is priced about the same as the Sapira. A fellow writer for Business Insider reviewed it and was floored by the comfort. The layering construction is pretty similar to the Sapira, only there is a layer of gel memory foam instead of Leesa's patented LSA200 foam. Also, at 14.5", the Bear hybrid is much thicker. They also offer a 100-night trial.

    Another hybrid option available online is the Allswell mattress backed by Walmart. I had the opportunity to test the Allswell before the Sapira mattress and found it to be slightly firmer. The Sapira fit my personal comfort preferences more closely. Although, at $585 for a queen size (the largest it comes in), the Allswell is much more affordable than the Sapira.

    Bottom line

    Thanks to my job and my living arrangement, I have the opportunity to try several different bed-in-a-box brands. And, I choose the Leesa Sapira as my main bed. The edge support is outstanding. There is very little motion transfer if my wife decides to get up early, which isn't really much of an issue because she rarely wants to leave the comforts of the bed before me. I have not had any trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

    However, if the Leesa Foundation were to break for some reason, I would not replace it. It looks nice and appears to support the mattress well, but I was not impressed with the construction of it, and I think there are better alternatives out there for the price.

    As a special, limited-time New Year's deal, you can take $235 off the Sapira Mattress, plus get a free pillow ($75 value). The discount is automatically applied at checkout.

    Buy the Sapira Mattress from Leesa for $995 (twin), $1,095 (twin XL), $1,205 (full), $1,595 (queen), or $1,795 (king/California king)

    Buy the Leesa Foundation from Leesa for $235 (twin/twin XL), $265 (full), $295 (queen), $360 (king), $395 (California king)

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Cadillac CTS-V

    • The Porsche Panamera Turbo carries a hefty price tag.
    • The Cadillac CTS-V is essentially a Corvette Z06 with four doors.
    • Can the awesome Caddy face down possibly the greatest sedan on Earth?

    The Porsche Panamera is an incredible machine — so incredible that we named it Business Insider's 2017 Car of the Year.

    The Panamera in Turbo trim is monumental: There's a stonking twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8 under the hood, cranking out 550 horsepower. But behind that motor is a cabin of unparalleled luxury.

    For those who want it all, the Panamera Turbo doesn't disappoint. But it will cost you more than $150,000. Face it: one doesn't get to be a Porsche owner without doing some damage to the bank account.

    That's a rich sticker, but for about half the price you can get your hands on even more power. It won't be German power — it will be Detroit oomph. And it will have a Cadillac badge.

    The CTS-V is probably my favorite high-performance four-door on Earth. If you like the Corvette Z06 and its 6.2-liter, 650-horsepower V8 widowmaker, the CTS-V has the same powerplant, just tuned down by 10 horses, to 640. You would be hard-pressed to notice the dropoff in power. In both the Caddy and Vette, you're getting some extreme performance at a cost that's sort of difficult to overlook.

    So let's call this comparison a showdown between perhaps the greatest sedan in existence and the extreme value proposition. Read on to see who wins.

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

    The CTS-V in "Red Obsession." I enjoyed the vehicle immensely. Our test car cost over $90,000 and was very well-optioned. Base, the CTS-V is about $86,000.

    Read the review »

    The "V" cars are Caddy's answer to high-performance versions of European sports sedans: BMW's M Sports, Mercedes-AMGs, and the Audi RS. And, of course, dedicated high-end rides such as the Panamera.

    It's tough to climb higher in the General Motors lineup than the CTS-V, however. With the Z06 and ZR1 'Vettes, you get mountains of power but no back seats, and the flagship CT6 Caddy doesn't yet come in V trim.

    I will at this point acknowledge that one might not be cross-shopping a CTS-V and a Panamera Turbo. But then again, a lot of folks don't think they should cross-shop a Z06 and, say, a Ferrari 488. That doesn't mean they shouldn't.



    I also more recently checked out the car in a fetching "Crystal White" paint job. It got some serious stares, but I still liked the CTS-V better in red.



    The heart of the Caddy is the savage, 640-horsepower, supercharged V8 LT4 motor, which the CTS-V shares with the Corvette Z06.

    This engine is sublime. For my money, it's better than the Porsche's 550-horsepower V8, but I tend to think that big V8s get along better with superchargers than turbochargers. (Both increase the compression of airflow headed in an engine's cylinders for combustion, but superchargers are powered by the motor, whereas turbos are spun by engine exhaust.)

    The best part of driving a CTS-V, in many ways, is starting it up and hearing the gutsy roar and rumble. Because we're dealing with a luxury sedan, out on the road, the CTS-V isolated the driver and passengers from the exhaust note, but you can sure as heck feel those 640 horses doing their thing.

    The eight-speed automatic has a manual mode, so you can use the paddles behind the steering wheel to shift your gears. The CTS-V also has various drive modes, including a ferocious "track" option. I found that skipping the paddles and going with "comfort" and "sport" modes were the best route.

    "Driving the car is glorious," I wrote in 2016. "The Z06 requires constant attention ... The CTS-V, by contrast, is an insane beast when you want it to be, possessed of earth-splitting violence delivered via a 0-to-60 time of 3.6 seconds."



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    orimade bathroom shelf

    • The easy organizational fix for all the products cluttering my bathroom costs less than $20 and is sold on Amazon by an unknown brand. 
    • The Orimade Bathroom Shelf ($18) is a simple and strong stainless steel shelf that adheres to the wall with no tools or additional hardware and can hold a good amount of weight. 
    • If you want an organization solution that's effective and requires very little effort on your part, look no further than this affordable and versatile shelf. 

    The result of 1) a job that requires taking home and reviewing various products and 2) a typical New York City apartment design where countertop and living space is half the size it should be, is unsurprisingly, a very cluttered bathroom. 

    After one last foolish attempt at playing the delicate game of product Tetris, I knew I had to do something about this unorganized lifestyle and looked to Amazon for inspiration. When I buy for my home, I like splurging on good-looking kitchenware or houseplants, but take on a more utilitarian approach when looking for organization and storage products, whether they're for my closet or for my kitchen

    Wanting something cheap, simply designed, and durable, I found my match in this $18 bathroom shelf by Orimade.

    A big factor that drew me to it was the description of easy, tool-free installation. These magical words have previously led me to finds like the $100 Zinus platform bed frame and will continue to be my guiding light as long as I remain a lazy and impatient nomad wandering between short-term lease commitments. 

    The stainless steel shelf measures 15.8 x 4.2 x 2.4 inches and attaches securely to the wall with adhesives, so you won't damage the walls. However, the damage-free promise only applies to smooth, hard surfaces like ceramic tile, flat marble, and plank. If you stick it to wallpaper or a painted wall, it will take paint off when you remove it. 

    The instructions to install the shelf were easy to follow: clean the wall surface, apply one adhesive (both have two sets of hooks to hold the shelf), measure the appropriate distance with the included ruler, apply the second adhesive, then snap the shelf into the grooves of the hooks. I waited 24 hours before placing my products on, as suggested by the manufacturer instructions, but other online reviewers didn't wait and the shelf appeared to hold up well anyway. 

    The shelf was an instant fix to my bathroom clutter. Nearly all the skincare and personal care products I use on a daily basis — the creams, gels, toner, lotion, contact lens solution, toothpaste, retainer, and more — currently sit on it and it hasn't budged in the last two months of use, even after I've bumped into it a few times. It's as simple of a look as a shelf can go, which is an advantage if you're looking for a versatile style. 

    If you need to free up space in your bathroom, or even your kitchen, the shelf is the perfect solution and makes efficient use of wall areas that would otherwise go to waste. I have it next to my sink as my personal morning and night routine station, but it's water-proof and also works well to hold your bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in the shower. It only costs $18, and for an extra $2, you can get the version with an adjustable, attached towel barWhen it comes time to remove the shelf, all you need to do is direct a hot hair dryer at the adhesive to peel it off. 

    Buying stuff off Amazon can be hit-or-miss when the product is suspiciously cheap or is made by a brand no one has ever heard of, but I'm glad I trusted the existing reviews and bought the Orimade shelf for my bathroom organization dilemma. Upon seeing how quickly and easily the shelf made a difference, my roommate bought one for all her products, too, and our apartment is looking better than ever. 

    Shop the Orimade Bathroom Shelf, $17.99, available at Amazon

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    random

    Welcoming in the new year usually comes with a load of ambitious New Year's resolutions. One resolution that comes up often is to read more books. If this happens to be one of your goals for the new year, you can start right now — all you have to do is pick up a book.

    If you're not sure just which book to begin 2019 with, check out Amazon's Best Books of the Month section. You'll find a selection of the best new releases handpicked by Amazon's editors. This month, you'll find "Maid" by Stephanie Land, the spotlight pick, along with nine other unique titles. One is sure to kick-start your desire to read more. 

    If you're looking to start off 2019 with a great book, check out this list to see what Amazon's editors are loving right now. 

    Captions have been provided by Erin Kodicek, editor of books and Kindle at Amazon.com.

    SEE ALSO: This is the best book of 2018, according to tens of thousands of avid readers

    "Maid" by Stephanie Land

    Stephanie Land’s aspirations to go to college and become a writer were derailed by an unplanned pregnancy. In "Maid", she describes the struggle to keep her American dream alive.

    Buy it here >>



    "Sugar Run" by Mesha Maren

    Debut author Mesha Maren’s ability to engender compassion in deeply flawed characters shines in this Southern noir about a parolee who tries to rebuild her life, but is stymied by her past and terrible taste in romantic partners.

    Buy it here >>



    "The Current" by Tim Johnston

    When a car is pulled from the Black Root River, only one occupant makes it out alive. The incident mirrors one from a decade prior, so this no accident, and the further the surviving woman delves into the mystery, the more imperiled her life becomes.

    Buy it here >>



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