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- 01/09/19--08:37: _42 baby shower gift...
- 01/09/19--08:48: _Jeff Bezos and his ...
- 01/09/19--09:10: _A scary type of sca...
- 01/09/19--09:16: _My husband and I sp...
- 01/09/19--09:20: _Billionaires Jeff a...
- 01/09/19--09:30: _Trump claimed that ...
- 01/09/19--09:39: _Giorgio Armani is w...
- 01/09/19--09:49: _Luxury travelers wa...
- 01/09/19--10:04: _Local officials in ...
- 01/09/19--10:15: _Amazon's Prime Book...
- 01/09/19--10:28: _We drove a $31,000 ...
- 01/09/19--10:57: _After her divorce f...
- 01/09/19--11:09: _This handcrafted fu...
- 01/09/19--11:39: _11 tax deductions e...
- 01/09/19--11:54: _The 6 smartest thin...
- 01/09/19--12:38: _We compared orderin...
- 01/09/19--12:46: _I spent 2 hours at ...
- 01/09/19--12:48: _Here's what happens...
- 01/09/19--12:57: _The government shut...
- 01/09/19--13:01: _A massive amount of...
- 01/09/19--08:37: 42 baby shower gifts parents will thank you for — all under $50
- Baby showers celebrate the arrival of a new life and help parents stockpile keepsakes and useful, clever gifts that make life easier.
- Below are 42 gifts under $50 that make for thoughtful baby shower gifts.
- For more inspiration, check out the 18 most useful baby products to include on a registry list — recommended by actual parents.
- Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, announced on Wednesday that he and his wife MacKenzie are filing for divorce.
- He's the country's 28th largest landowner, according to a 2017 report.
- He owns property in Washington state, Beverly Hills, California, Texas, Washington, DC, and New York City.
- Phone phishing scams that pretend to be Apple are becoming more advanced.
- The newest technique is that attackers sometimes pretend to call from Apple's help line.
- Because iPhones come with the number for Apple's help line pre-loaded in contacts, that means that Apple's logo and name pops up on the iPhone caller ID when an attacker manages to successfully fake the call's origins.
- The best way to protect yourself is if you get a suspicious call, hang up, and call Apple (or your bank, carrier) directly.
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
- If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
- Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
- If there's a time to splurge on an expensive hotel, your honeymoon is likely an ideal occasion for it.
- Here, author Jamie Friedlander details why she and her husband spent $4,000 in total on a honeymoon trip that included a stay at Pezoules of Oia, a pricey hotel in Santorini, Greece.
- Pezoules is a small, family-owned hotel: It only has seven units.
- Billionaires Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos are filing for divorce.
- In general, wealthy people are more likely to get and stay married, according to research.
- The divorce rate in the US declined 18% between 2008 and 2016, and that's likely because couples today are waiting until they're older and more established, professionally and financially, to marry.
- Money and education tend to protect against divorce.
- President Donald Trump reiterated an argument about the wall along with the US-Mexico border during a primetime Oval Office speech.
- Trump argued that Mexico will pay for the border wall "indirectly" via the new US-Mexico-Canada trade deal.
- Most economists and trade experts say that is not the case.
- First off, the USMCA is not a done deal. Congress has yet to ratify the deal, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have raised concerns with various aspects of the agreement.
- Secondly, even if the USMCA does get approved, there is no mention of Mexico paying for a border wall anywhere in the text of the deal. This means the country has no obligation to pay for the wall.
- Third — as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pointed out in a speech in December — if Mexico was going to pay for the wall, there would be no need to allocate funds for the wall as part of a funding bill. Trump remains insistent that Congress allocate $5.7 billion for the wall in any package to reopen the government.
- Fashion designer Giorgio Armani is worth $5.92 billion, according to Bloomberg.
- The 84-year-old has made his fortune not only in fashion, but also in accessories, perfumes, makeup, sportswear, interior design, real estate, restaurants, hotels, and even chocolate.
- Armani owns a 213-foot luxury yacht and homes in Italy, the French Riviera, and the Caribbean island of Antigua.
- Here's a look at how Armani makes and spends his billions.
- Guests at luxuryhotels want to feel like they're in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes.
- Because of that, personalized hotel services are shaping up to be one of the biggest trends in hospitality in 2019, predicts Alex Shashou, cofounder and president of hotel operations and guest management platform ALICE.
- Much of it comes down to staff — similarly to Netflix, Amazon, and Postmates' algorithms — remembering guests' preferences, and delivering on them.
- The federal government is unable to pay some of its water bill to the city of Washington, DC, due to the federal government shutdown.
- DC Water officials joked about cutting off the White House's water due to the delinquency on Tuesday, according to local radio station WAMU.
- A DC Water spokesperson told WAMU that the utility has the right to cut off any customers water after 30 days of nonpayment, but that it is a final resort and unlikely to actually happen to the White House.
- Prime Book Box subscribers receive a box of carefully curated kids books monthly, every two months, or every three months.
- The service saves customers up to 40% off the list price of the books, which are delivered free through the Amazon Prime program.
- The service offers book selections tailored to babies and young toddlers, kids ages 3 to 5, 6 to 8, and 9 to 12 years old.
- The Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord are two of the best-selling and most respected cars in the world.
- Both the Toyota and the Honda are known for being exquisitely engineered and expertly put together with top-notch reliability.
- The base 2018 Honda Accord starts at $23,570, and our mid-tier Sport model starts at $25,780. The top-spec Touring starts at $33,800. With fees and the optional 2.0-liter engine, the as-tested price was pushed up to $31,200.
- The base Camry starts at $23,495, but our top-of-the-line XSE V6 opens at $34,950. With options, our test car left the showroom at $38,730.
- The Honda Accord's sportier driving dynamics and superior infotainment edges out the Toyota Camry's more attractive styling and silky smooth V6 engine.
- Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos announced they're divorcing after 25 years of marriage.
- The Amazon CEO is the richest man in the world, worth approximately $137 billion.
- Depending on how the billionaire couple splits their assets, MacKenzie could become the richest woman in the world, worth up to $68.5 billion.
- In Washington state, where they live, everything acquired during the marriage is considered joint property to be split 50-50 in a divorce.
- 01/09/19--11:39: 11 tax deductions every independent contractor should know about
- Tax Day 2019 is Monday, April 15.
- If you work as an independent contractor, you are entitled to certain tax deductions for your business expenses.
- Even if your contract work is just a side gig, you're still running a business, so it's important to track your expenses.
- We spoke with CPA and certified financial planner Harvey I. Bezozi about the deductions that independent contractors can use to reduce the amount of tax they owe.
- 01/09/19--11:54: The 6 smartest things I did before I had my first child
- There's no way to prepare for every surprise and challenge a first child brings, but by planning as much as possible, new parents can mitigate the madness.
- Making the most of the free time you have before the child is born to prepare for life with a new baby can make those days (and nights) of early infancy much more tolerable.
- Accepting that life will never be the same is critical part of the process of planning for a first child (and accepting that that's as it should be).
- Amazon and Wayfair are two popular options when it comes to shopping for furniture online.
- But how do these competitors compare?
- Amazon and Wayfair boast different strengths, but Wayfair ultimately offers a more straightforward furniture-shopping experience.
- Clean Market is a luxury wellness center in New York City that offers treatments such as facials and vitamin IV drips. It also has an infrared sauna and a shop that sells wellness and beauty supplements, and treats like CBD smoothies.
- The center is part of a wave of businesses, in the US and beyond, that deliver health- and wellness-based services to clients — often at a high premium.
- I took a tour of Clean Market and tried some of the treatments. The experience was even more luxurious than I'd expected, and I've never felt so pampered.
- The government shutdown is in its 19th day and there is no end in sight.
- The US Department of Agriculture will still send out Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, benefits for January and February despite the shutdown.
- The USDA's Child Nutrition Programs will also be funded into February, but it is unclear what will happen if the shutdown continues after that.
- Other food programs such as Commodity Supplemental Food Program and WIC will not receive federal funding during the shutdown, but may continue using state and local funds.
- The government shutdown is now in its 19th day.
- This is the 21st time the federal government has had a funding lapse since the modern budgeting process began.
- Most of those times, the shutdown has been short and not involved employees being sent home, but that has changed in recent years.
- The government shutdown is now in its 19th day.
- As part of the shutdown, may of the Food and Drug Administration's food-inspection duties are not being conducted.
- The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service is still operational, but employees are not getting paid.
- According to Bill Marler, an attorney specializing in food-poisoning outbreaks, these changes could lead to problems including more outbreaks of food poisoning.
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.
The world of baby products — especially for non-parents — can be daunting and confusing. What's needed? What works? What do new parents want or love?
If you're attending a baby shower, this makes selecting the perfect gift a bit difficult. You want to make the lives of soon-to-be exhausted parents easier and brighter. Plenty of new parents put together a baby registry, but if most of the gifts are already gone or you want to go rogue and pick up something they've never heard of but will absolutely love, you'll find 42 options below — none of which will cost more than $50.
For more inspiration, check out the 18 most useful baby products to include on a registry list — recommended by actual parents.
Below are 42 clever, cute, and thoughtful gifts to give at a baby shower — all under $50:
A personalized bedtime book
Create a personalized goodnight book for a gift they'll always remember. To make it even more sentimental, write a heartfelt inscription inside for when baby grows up.
Funny pacifiers that parents will get a kick out of
Few things diffuse tears and panic for babies like pacifiers. For adults, the same thing can be achieved with a little much-needed chuckle at their child looking like a man from the Wild West.
Adorable, bright baby moccasins
It's not anywhere near as practical as gifting diapers, but these tiny moccasins are adorable — and they come in a huge selection of fun prints and vibrant colors.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
So where does a man like Bezos rest his head at night? Although his company is headquartered in Seattle, Bezos owns six homes across the country and is the country's 28th largest landowner, according to the 2017 Land Report.
With Bezos' announcement that he's getting divorced from his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, many will be wondering how the couple will split up their multiple properties. As Business Insider's Tanza Loudenback reported, in nine US states, including the Bezos' home state of Washington, everything acquired throughout the marriage from real estate to income is considered joint property.
From two neighboring Beverly Hills mansions to a sprawling estate in an exclusive Seattle suburb, here are the six estates the Bezos clan calls home.
Bezos lives in a nearly 29,000-square-foot estate in Medina, Washington.
Bezos owns two homes in Medina spanning 5.3 acres. According to the Wall Street Journal, he paid $10 million for the property in 1998. One home is a 20,600-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom house, and the other is an 8,300-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom home rumored to have cost $53 million. Right on the shores of Lake Washington, the estate underwent a $28 million renovation in 2010 and boasts 310 feet of shoreline and a boathouse.
Medina, located on a peninsula just across Lake Washington from Seattle, is an exclusive suburb that's also home to Bill Gates, as well as other Microsoft bigwigs, tech entrepreneurs, and telecom magnates.
Many of the neighborhood's mansions are hidden away behind gates and protected by elaborate security systems.
Source: Business Insider
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The next time you receive a call from Apple, it might not be from someone actually working there. In fact, it's much more likely that it's coming from a scammer.
Some scammers have discovered a new technique that takes advantage of the fact that it's easy to fake a call to make it appear as if it's coming from any phone number you choose, the security journalist Brian Krebs reports— even Apple's main help line.
That means when a scam call spoofing Apple's number arrives at your phone, the lock screen will display Apple's name and logo.
It's pretty convincing. But that doesn't mean you should give the caller your password or other private information.
"Folks have a learned trust of caller ID that is unearned," Steven Andrés, who teaches cybersecurity at the Fowler College of Business and graduate homeland security program at San Diego State University, told Business Insider. "Most consumers don’t realize that when a modern phone system places a call, it also sends along the caller ID to be displayed. That means the caller is providing the number, not the phone company."
"If I instruct my phone system to call your iPhone and I set the caller ID to be 1-800-MY-APPLE, this will match the pre-loaded contact card which shows the Apple corporate logo, adding incredible legitimacy and increases the likelihood of the victim believing Apple is calling," he continued.
It's not Apple calling. It's just someone taking advantage of the way that the phone system works.
Apple's help line is a 1-800 number. Using widely available and easy-to-use software, a telemarketer or scammer can say its calls are coming from any number it chooses, a technique called caller ID spoofing. It's kind of like how you can write any return address you'd like on a letter.
What makes this scam so scary is that you probably have a contact for Apple in your address book, because the phone number comes pre-loaded on iPhones, and most people don't even know that that information is in their address book.
Phone phishing scams that spoof Apple are getting very good. No doubt other brands will be spoofed in a similar way, if they are not already. Please read: https://t.co/kWbisuLHMbpic.twitter.com/SuiLeyzeXw— briankrebs (@briankrebs) January 3, 2019
"What’s broken here is the cell phone system, and attackers preying on brand loyalty," Andrés said.
According to Apple, its support division never calls up customers unexpectedly and it's been working with authorities to stamp out these kind of scams. It also provides some information on its website about recognizing and avoiding emails and fake support calls, along with an email address that enables customers to report likely scams.
Hang up and call back
There is one way to protect yourself from calls like this: Don't give out personal information to incoming callers.
Instead, you should hang up the phone and call Apple yourself. This is even more important if you get a spoofed call from your bank or wireless carrier.
"There’s very little that everyday consumers can do on the receiving end of the phone call," Andres explained. "My advice is to not trust that the caller ID is genuine. Say thanks for the information, then call up the number on the back of the credit card."
That's pretty similar to the advice that the FCC gives about spoofed phone calls.
What makes this new Apple spoof so dangerous is that it's taking advantage of the contact card likely already in your iPhone. Other scams spoof numbers from your area code, but what makes this particular scam so unique is that you're more likely to trust the Apple call because it displays the phone number and brand logo.
The problem isn't a flaw with the iPhone; to properly fix the spoofing problem would require action from wireless carriers to create authoritative records for who is placing calls. But that would likely require a lot of work and additional systems, and it may be years before Congress or other government bodies require them to curtail this problem.
So in the meantime, smart people will remain suspicious of incoming calls.
"I wouldn't consider pre-loading the Apple contact information a security bug," Andres said. "It’s convenient as you're very likely to need that number to call for help."
SEE ALSO: People are being victimized by a terrifying new email scam where attackers claim they stole your password and hacked your webcam while you were watching porn — here's how to protect yourself
Last year, my husband and I got married. We've been together for nine years, and have spent much of that time traveling — to Hawaii, Aruba, Spain, and Costa Rica, among other places. We're budget-conscious when we travel, always trying to find affordable places and typically booking with points.
We wanted our honeymoon to be both adventurous and relaxing, which is why we settled on Greece. After booking modest hotels in Athens and Mykonos, we knew we wanted to splurge on something a bit more high-end in Santorini.
A friend of a friend who had visited Santorini told me about a place called Pezoules of Oia, in which there are seven rooms built into a cave on the side of the mountain.
There was just one catch. The hotel was $433.15 per night, which meant it would cost us over $1,700 to spend four nights there. In total, we spent around $4,000 for the eight-day trip.
We'd decided to save up for Pezoules in the year leading up to our honeymoon, and it was totally worth the cost in the end. Here's why.
The stunning views.
There are several prominent areas to stay in Santorini. The town of Oia is the one you've likely seen in photos, and Pezoules is located right in the heart of Oia. After a walk down 30 or 40 steps, you arrive at the entrance to Pezoules. This means that the views are stunning in every direction. Directly out our window was a calming view of the Mediterranean, and in every other direction, we were treated to beautiful views of the city itself.
The complimentary breakfast.
I don't eat breakfast. I never have. That changed once I stayed at Pezoules. Each morning upon waking, we would simply call the concierge, and a homemade Greek breakfast would be on our porch within 20 minutes. We were treated to fresh Greek yogurt, eggs, coffee, fruit, pastries — the list goes on. I have celiac disease, and they even made fresh gluten free croissants for me every morning.
Some of my best memories from our honeymoon are rolling out of bed with my husband and reminiscing about our wedding as we ate breakfast in the slightly chilly Mediterranean air.
The private bar.
Shortly after we checked in, we learned that there was a bar on-site. We ordered a few drinks, and they said they'd bring them up to our porch soon. After 20 or so minutes, the drinks hadn't arrived, so we popped in to see what was happening, only to find the bartender hand-chipping ice from a large block. He told us he had just picked a fresh cucumber from the garden (I'm not making this up) for my husband's drink.
Needless to say, these cocktails were pricey — about $18 a pop — but they were some of the best I've ever had.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Billionaires Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos are filing for divorce — but in general, money tends to protect against relationship dissolution.
According to an analysis by University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen, cited in Bloomberg Businessweek, the divorce rate decreased 18% between 2008 and 2016. And it's poised to drop even further.
This isn't because the US population is getting older — or older couples are less likely to get divorced, either. When Cohen controlled for age, the divorce rate declined 8%.
On the surface, these findings might seem like cause for celebration: Relationships are stabler! Yet the reality, experts say, is more nuanced.
Marriage has, over the past few decades, become the province of the elite. Relatively wealthy and educated Americans are more likely to marry than their less well-off counterparts — and marriages between wealthy, educated people tend to be stronger.
People are also waiting longer to tie the knot than they did in the past, often living together before putting a ring on it. That's also a likely factor in the declining divorce rate: People have a chance to run a "trial marriage," as INSIDER's Kim Renfro reported, and see if it's worth making it official.
This is all to say: The couples choosing to get married today are the couples who are less likely to divorce in the first place.
Couples are only getting married after they've established themselves professionally and financially
"Marriage is more and more an achievement of status, rather than something that people do regardless of how they're doing," Cohen told Businessweek. Only once you've, say, completed your education and landed a well-paying job will you think about marriage.
As of 2017, the most common age to get married was 27 for women and 29 for men, according to US Census Bureau data. And research led by Nicholas Wolfinger, a professor at the University of Utah, suggests that couples who marry in their late 20s are least likely to divorce (compared to people who marry younger or older).
Meanwhile, a post on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website highlights results from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979), which looked at the marriage and divorce patterns of a group of young baby boomers. According to that research, over half of marriages between people who didn't complete high school ended in divorce, compared with about 30% of marriages between college graduates.
It may come down to the fact that lower educational attainment predicts lower income — which in turn predicts a more stressful life. As Eli Finkel, a psychologist at Northwestern University and a professor at the Kellogg School of Management, previously told Business Insider, "It's really difficult to have a productive, happy marriage when your life circumstances are so stressful and when your day-to-day life involves, say three or four bus routes in order to get to your job."
To be sure, waiting to propose until you're almost 30 and have hit some career milestones doesn't divorce-proof your marriage — though if you ask a relationship expert, they'll tell you not to equate divorce with the failure of the relationship.
SEE ALSO: 8 things science says predict divorce
During a President Donald Trump's newest argument that Mexico would in fact paying for the proposed wall along the US-Mexico border has been rejected by experts and economists.
During Trump's primetime Oval Office speech on Tuesday, the president reiterated an argument he has adopted during the fight leading up to and during the government shutdown. Mexico, he said, would pay for the wall through the new US-Mexico-Canada trade deal (USMCA), the newly renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
"The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico," Trump said.
Trump first suggested this line of argument during a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders before the start of the government shutdown.
But according to economists and trade experts, it doesn't make any sense:
Kenneth Smith Ramos, the chief Mexican negotiator in the USMCA talks, said the deal contains no provision that would require the country to fund the wall.
"Trump says the border wall will be paid for through the new #NAFTA (USMCA)," Smith Ramos tweeted during the speech. "That's a chapter you will NOT find in the new Agreement, simply because it does NOT exist #MexicoWontPay #factcheckingplease."
"If the president really believes what he tweeted this morning that his new NAFTA would pay for the wall, he wouldn't be threatening to shut down the government unless American taxpayers pay for the wall," Schumer said on December 13. "He can't have it both ways."
So while it's pretty clear that no money from the Mexican government will go toward a wall, as Trump originally promised during the 2016 campaign, the president is now arguing that Mexico will pay indirectly through increased trade and economic growth.
But most economists don't expect the USMCA to boost economic growth much, mostly because the deal is so similar to the existing NAFTA deal. Additionally trade experts have said that, if anything, the deal is now more restrictive in terms of trade with Mexico, and the effect on the bilateral trade deficit will be negligible.
Giorgio Armani, the co-founder and sole owner of fashion house Armani, is worth $5.92 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Forbes, however, estimates his fortune to be a significantly greater $7.4 billion.
Armani's empire spans industries that include accessories, perfume, makeup, interior design, real estate, restaurants, and hotels. The business mogul brought in $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017, according to Bloomberg, which looked at filings with Italy's business register.
The 84-year-old spends part of his fortune on multiple private homes all over the world, from Italy to the south of France to the Caribbean island of Antigua. He also owns a 213-foot luxury superyacht.
Here's a look at what his multiple billions buys.
SEE ALSO: The 25 richest people in fashion
Giorgio Armani is one of the richest people in the fashion industry, with a net worth of $5.92 billion, according to Bloomberg. Forbes, however, estimates he's worth $7.4 billion.
He's the co-founder and sole owner of Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani SpA.
Armani was born in the northern Italian town of Piacenza in 1934 and later attended medical school at Piacenza University for two years before leaving for his military service.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
As the demand for luxury shifts away from goods and increasingly toward experiences, customers don't just want any experience: They want personalized experiences that are either inherently unique or specifically tailored to them.
In fact, as travel industry intelligence platform Skift wrote in June, "Personalization in the hotel industry has ceased to be a trend. Today, it's an obligation."
The hotel industry will be taking more steps in 2019 to keep up with this demand, predicts Alex Shashou, cofounder and president of hotel operations and guest management platform ALICE.
As Shashou told Business Insider, "many industries far outpace hotels when it comes to the personalization
"In a sea of people and travel," Shashou continued, "being recognized by your hotel or going on a unique experience is a luxury [that] hotels cannot afford to overlook."
So, what tangible changes can guests can actually expect to see at hotels?
Much of it comes down to staff — similarly to Netflix, Amazon, and Postmates' algorithms — remembering guests' preferences, be that a favorite drink order that a bartender can offer a guest upon arrival or a bellhop offering to book guests' favorite spa treatment while they're checking in.
At Kimpton Hotels, a boutique chain with over 65 locations primarily across the US, guests who qualify for their Inner Circle benefit receive a personal welcome amenity with their stays.
"Guests can indicate their favorite sweet and savory snacks, drink preferences, and note any special occasions," Faith Yi, senior communications manager for Kimpton, told Business Insider. She noted that they can also add in details like their favorite newspaper; upon arrival, their preferred amenities will be waiting for them in their room.
"It all helps us better understand our guest," Yi said.
Some hotels even have a substantial budget specifically reserved to best help guests resolve problems. As Inc reported, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company encourages employees "to spend up to $2,000 per guest to solve a guest issue or improve a guest's stay."
Personalized amenities are popping up in hotel rooms
Shashou explained that this personalized attention will likely extend to every level of the hotel experience.
He noted that "guests who regularly request more towels will find the room stocked upon arrival and a VIP who always orders the same champagne at the hotel's restaurant or bar might find a complimentary bottle waiting on ice in their room."
And hotels are already making changes to the way they serve their guests drinks. The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, for example, features as "Cabinet of Delights" full of boutique wines on tap as a luxurious and hyper-convenient take on in-room minibars. For those travelers for whom that's still not personal enough, other high-end hotels are offering services like cocktail butlers who mix drinks in your room or drink trolleys in the hallways.
Guests may even have a say in how their rooms are decorated.
"I also anticipate that hotels will give guests a stronger voice in choosing their amenities and stylistic room choices, providing interior décor options and preferred product brands all in an attempt to make the guest feel more at home," Shashou said.
It's all part of making the hotel feel memorable
Sam Shank of HotelTonight previously told Business Insider that the best luxury hotels in the world all have two major things in common: they're photogenic, and they appeal to people's nostalgia.
"Hotels need to have things that are memorable and different," he said.
The goal with all of these personalized tweaks is, ultimately, to make high-end guests feel like they're not in a hotel, but in a home away from home. And, when it's done effectively, the guest is not the only one reaping the benefits.
As Skift writes, giving a guest a memorable and tailored experience at every step along the way — from booking to checking in to the stay itself — is an effective way for the hotel to work toward "higher booking probability, increased user satisfaction, and a greater likelihood of repeat visits to the website, leading to better brand loyalty."
The government shutdown could quite literally leave President Donald Trump and the White House high and dry.
According to WAMU, a local radio station, DC Water officials joked about cutting off the White House's water supply during a meeting on Tuesday, due to the federal government's inability to pay its full bill.
Matthew Brown, chief financial officer at DC Water, told members at their meeting that the Treasury Department informed the board that $5 million of the federal government's $16.5 million first quarter water bill could not be paid due to the shutdown.
"That brings up an interesting question, is there a time from nonpayment when we cut someone’s water off?" asked Tommy Wells, the DC Water board chairman, according to WAMU.
"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is that what you’re talking about?" another board member responded.
Vincent Morris, DC Water's spokesperson, told WAMU that cutting off the White House water was technically an option.
"Conceivably, DC Water can shut off service for nonpayment to any customer," Morris said.
According to DC Water rules, any customer that is 30 days late on payment can have his or her water shut off. But the spokesperson did say that the move is a "last resort" for nonpaying customers and the board would "never want to do it."
While Trump had threatened to shut to federal government down for "months or even years," Brown told board members that the federal government's delinquency wouldn't be a problem for DC Water for at least a year.
As it stands, the federal government is in day 19 of a partial shutdown, with no end in sight. Trump is still demanding that Democrats include $5.7 billion towards a wall along the US-Mexico border in any funding bill, while Democratic leader insist that no border wall funding will be including in a measure to reopen the government.
The strain of the shutdown is starting to impact federal services and the roughly 800,000 government workers who are not receiving pay during the closure.
The shutdown is also tied for the second-longest in modern history as of Wednesday.
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.
You're already an Amazon Prime member, right? Ok good.
And do you have kids? Yes?
Do you hope to foster a love of reading in those kids of yours? Ok great!
Now, final question: Is inspiring said love of reading worth $19.99 a month to you? Spectacular. You're the perfect household to sign up for Amazon's new Prime Book Box book delivery service for babies and kids.
If you want to leave the selection of the books that will be delivered to your kids in the capable hands of Amazon's editors, you can probably complete the sign-up process in the same amount of time you've spent reading this article thus far. But in case you want a bit more information about the program, let's go a bit deeper here:
To sign up for a Prime Book Box subscription, you will indeed already need to be a Prime member. If you're not, well, that's an added expense, but just think of all the free shipping, TV and movie streaming, and music benefits that come along with it (and dozens of other perks too).
The monthly price of a Prime Book Box is just $19.99, and you can choose to have books delivered monthly, every other month, or every three months. (So that's $239.88, $119.94, or $79.96 annually, for the record.) Members save up to 40% off the list price of books by using the Book Box, which includes four board books for kids through age 2 and comes with two hardcover books for kids in each of the other three age categories.
Parents can look through a list of books selected by Amazon's editors and choose the books that will be included in each box, but I recommend you leave the curating in the hands of the company's accomplished editors. According to the Prime Book Box page itself:
Each box features books our customers love and our Amazon book editors couldn't forget. Our editors read thousands of books every year to find selections your reader will enjoy again and again. You'll discover new releases, classics, and hidden gems tailored to your reader's age.
If your family's experience is anything like mine so far, that's not just marketing copy, it's accurate.
The two books included in our preschool-aged son's first box immediately became part of our standard bedtime operating procedure, and as far as we can tell, our nine-month-old daughter loves her board books, though that may be more of a tactile and teething thing, to be honest. I'll ask her once she can talk.
It's little surprise Amazon managed to launch such a successful program, of course. The behemoth of a company has its roots as an online bookstore (do you even remember that? It was all about books back in the day! Now it's... everything) and it's pretty good at the whole delivery thing, too. Staffing up with editors who select excellent books was the last piece of the puzzle for this affordable, elegantly simple book subscription program that just might play a major role in helping your kids grow up loving books.
Sign up for the Prime Book Box subscription for babies and kids for $19.99 per month (with an active Amazon Prime membership)
Not an Amazon Prime member yet? Sign up for a free 30-day trial membership here
Camry or Accord? It's a question that has faced many a car buyer over the years.
For the better part of three decades, the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry have been the cars of choice for American families. Though crossover SUVs have become the dominant force in the marketplace, midsize mass-market sedans like the Accord and the Camry still have a major role to play.
In 2017, Toyota sold 387,000 Camrys in the US alone, making it the best-selling passenger car in the country. The Accord wasn't far behind, with 323,000 sold.
For the 2018 model year, both the Accord and the Camry are brand-new, with the Honda now in its 10th generation and the Toyota in its eighth.
The newest offerings from Honda and Toyota come just in time to compete with the new sixth-generation Nissan Altima and a freshly updated Mazda 6. There are recently revamped models from Hyundai, Kia, and Chevrolet to contend with as well.
Last year, we had the chance to experience both the Marysville, Ohio-built 2018 Honda Accord and the Georgetown, Kentucky-made 2018 Toyota Camry on the roads in and around Business Insider's headquarters in New York.
We came away impressed by both vehicles' comfort, refinement, build quality, tech content, and performance.
Here's a closer look at how the 2018 Honda Accord and the 2018 Toyota Camry match up:
First up is the 2018 Honda Accord.
The base 2018 Accord LX starts at $23,570, while the top-of-the-line Touring model starts at $33,800. Our mid-grade, "San Marino Red" Sport model starts at $25,780, but fees and the optional 2.0-liter engine pushed the as-tested price up to $31,200.
In total, the Accord is available in six trim levels with three engines and three transmissions from which a buyer can select.
Aesthetically, the new Accord is not quite pretty — at least not in the traditional sense. However, it is edgy and eye-catching. I do find it sort of good-looking in an offbeat sort of way.
Though the Accord's hammerhead-shark-esque front grille reminds us a bit too much of the dark days of Acura's controversial silver beak ...
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Billionaire couple Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos are getting divorced after 25 years of marriage, sparking immediate speculation as to how their massive fortune will be divided.
The Amazon CEO is worth $137 billion, making him the richest man in the world. But depending on how the couple ends up splitting their assets, he could be toppled from that position, and MacKenzie Bezos could gain the title of world's richest woman.
Jeff and MacKenzie live in Washington state, one of nine US states where everything acquired throughout the marriage — from real estate to income — is considered joint property. That means their assets could be split 50-50, unlike in the other 41 states, where a marital estate is made up of assets acquired under each spouse's name and isn't considered joint property unless both names are on the deed, as Business Insider's Tanza Loudenback reported.
Jeff founded Amazon after he and MacKenzie got married, Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz reported, which means MacKenzie could have a right to half of her husband's Amazon fortune.
If MacKenzie walked away from the divorce settlement with exactly half of Jeff's fortune, that would make her worth an estimated $68.5 billion — nearly $23 billion more than the net worth of the richest woman in the world.
The richest woman is Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, who controls 33% of L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics-maker, and is worth $45.6 billion, according to Bloomberg. According to Forbes, however, Meyers is worth $44.7 billion, putting her slightly behind Walmart heiress Alice Walton, who is worth $44.8 billion.
Either way, MacKenzie Bezos' net worth could surpass both of theirs after the divorce.
"In my view, the parties probably have a very complicated asset structure," Michael Stutman, a New York divorce attorney, told Business Insider. "I am sure that there are a number of investment vehicles that have been already set up for their children and possibly other parties. While the two of them will be in control of a large portion of their financial empire, it's certainly not clear that it will be in the full amount that has been publicly cited."
In addition to their sprawling Washington estate, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos own several other properties throughout the US, including two Beverly Hills mansions bought for a combined $37.4 million, a 30,000-acre Texas ranch, the largest home in Washington, DC, and a set of four Manhattan condos in a historic building overlooking Central Park.
It's unknown whether the couple ever signed a prenuptial agreement. But it's possible they signed a postnuptial agreement after Amazon took off — MacKenzie was one of Amazon's earliest employees — which is similar to a prenup, but takes place after a couple has married.
"If there was a prenuptial agreement, as long as that prenup is valid, its provisions would be followed, even if a different result was obtained than by following the laws of Washington state," Stutman said. "Similarly, if there was a postnuptial agreement, it too would be followed as long as it is valid."
DON'T MISS: A look inside the 25-year marriage of the richest couple in history, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos — who met at work, were engaged in 3 months, and together owned more land than almost anyone else in America
Growler Domestics has been making furniture since 2010. Here’s how they do it.
This post is sponsored by Elijah Craig.
With the rise of the gig economy, many more people are now having to consider the tax implications of working as independent contractors. When you are an independent contractor, the IRS considers you a business owner, even if you contract full-time for one client.
Independent contracting comes with additional tax burdens (e.g., there is no employer contribution, so the entire payroll tax burden falls to you). On the other hand, you can deduct expenses that you couldn't take as an employee.
Harvey I. Bezozi, a CPA and CFP, has worked with small businesses for more than three decades. He shared with us this list of tax deductions that every independent contractor should know about.
1. First, form an entity
Before he talked about deductions, Bezozi said, "When somebody starts a business, especially if they're new at it, they'll usually become a sole proprietor. That's mistake number one."
He suggests that you form an LLC, S-corporation, or some other business entity, even if your business is very small. He believes that the tax benefits and the protection from personal liability are worth the extra paperwork.
2. Use of your car for business
As an employee, your work commute is not tax deductible. "But as an independent contractor, it's no longer a commute," Bezozi said.
If you're going from your office to your client's office, keep a log and take your mileage off your taxes. You can also deduct transit expenses for travel to a client.
3. Home office dos and don'ts
"There's no reason why you can't deduct that portion of the apartment and/or home expenses, based on square footage" that you use for a home office, Bezozi said. To be deductible, your home office "has to be regular and exclusive use and your principle place of business," he added.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Life with a newborn baby is filled with joy, but it's also disorienting, challenging, and, arguably above all, tiring. Before our son was born, I'd had plenty of nights of bad sleep, but I had never had them for many weeks in a row.
The sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn is unlike anything my wife or I had experienced, though it did set me up to appreciate a peaceful night like never before. (That started at about the year mark for us the first time around. And now we have baby number two.)
Of course, there was also the wonder of looking at my child in the eyes, of holding him as he slept, of seeing his first smile, hearing his first laugh, and all the other many moments unlike anything I'd experienced.
Thorough planning and preparing for life with a baby can reduce the surprises associated with parenting a first baby, though nothing can help with the fatigue. If you're expecting a first child, don't worry; you'll be fine. Especially if you take heed of the six points included here.
1. We read our baby books and went to class
President Dwight Eisenhower (General Eisenhower, at the time) once said: "In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." This insight holds true for first time parents, who will have a wild ride no matter what, but can at least know more or less what to expect after that natal day.
By reading several baby books and multiple articles, by consulting websites, by attending Lamaze classes, and by generally digesting as much literature about pregnancy and infant care as we could, my wife and I prepared ourselves mentally and learned how to prepare our home physically for the arrival of our first child. In fact, I read, watched videos, took notes in class, and listened to podcasts so thoroughly that in an odd way I felt more prepared for the birth of our first kid than of our second.
2. We prepared the house
Doing things when you have a baby around is really, really hard. Especially when said things are major projects like painting rooms, building or moving furniture, decorating a nursery, and so forth. Within weeks of learning we were expecting, my wife and I had an architect and contractor working on adding a new master suite to our house so we wouldn't outgrow the place, and the day it was done, we began setting up what had been our room as our son's nursery.
We also baby proofed much of the house before he was born (and long before he'd be crawling) because we had the time then and wouldn't later.
3. I got myself in good shape
I had been running five times a week and working out a couple times weekly for years before our first kid was born, but I knew my schedule would be rocked and my free time slashed as soon as he showed up, so in the weeks before we had our first child, I worked extra hard to get in even better shape hedging against the reduced exercise I'd get for a while.
It was also a great way to alleviate some of the stress and nerves that came with anticipating parenthood, as excited as I was. (And if you don't already exercise regularly, the pre-parenthood days are a good time to start; life is about to change anyway, so you might as well make some personal changes, too.)
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
These days, people who need furniture and hate shopping have a ton of options.
Plenty of retailers — both digital and store-centric — offer customers the opportunity to make major furniture purchases online. And Amazon and Wayfair are two of the biggest players in the game.
Amazon got its start shipping books, but it now offers all sorts of goods across different categories. Wayfair specializes in home goods and furnishings. Wayfair has been in the furniture business since 2002, but Amazon recently encroached on the home goods retailer's territory by unrolling private-label furniture brands Rivet and Stone & Beam.
Business Insider recently decided to compare the two companies when it comes to shopping for furniture. Here's what we found:
Amazon, famously, functions as an "everything store."
So, unless you've recently been shopping for furniture, that category won't necessarily pop up for you on the site's main page.
On the other hand, furniture takes the top spot on Wayfair's category tabs. To effectively compare both sites, let's use the example of buying a futon.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
In NYC's Midtown East neighborhood, just steps from the posh Upper East Side, a new holistic wellness center has opened for New Yorkers who are looking to relax and detox.
Clean Market, started by blogger and certified holistic health coach Lily Kunin, soft opened in June 2018 and had its grand opening in September.
The space is one of many businesses, in the US and abroad, that is delivering on wealthy clients' appetite for health- and wellness-based services. As Forbes reported in 2017, "wellness is the new luxury," and fittingly, treatments like cryotherapy — the super-cold treatment LeBron James swears by — and IV vitamin drips, either as hangover cures or general health boosters, have an avid fan base.
Notably, however, they also tend to come at a high premium. A one-time cryofacial at Clean Market costs $55, while whole-body cryotherapy is $85 for two to three minutes. The vitamin IV drips are included in packages that range from $109 to $359.
In addition to spa services like the ones mentioned above, Clean Market has an infrared sauna. It also sells snacks at its café, along with an array of nutritional supplements and beauty products. And, like an increasing number of restaurants, cafés, and retailers, it carries a host of CBD products, including smoothies, coffees, and tonic drinks.
Kunin said the majority of customers coming to Clean Market are neighborhood regulars who want to feel their best, boost energy and immunity, reduce stress, and increase their metabolism. She noted that the center has also had clients like NFL quarterbacks, Victoria's Secret Angels, and Real Housewives.
I visited Clean Market and tried some of its services, and I've never felt so pampered in my life. Here's what it was like.
DON'T MISS: A day in the life of a luxury interior designer, who starts her day with a 'caffeine cocktail,' has designed homes for Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, and goes to a SoulCycle class every night
Clean Market is a holistic wellness center in New York City that offers services including cryotherapy, vitamin IV drips, infrared saunas, and smoothies infused with boosters such as collagen and CBD.
Source: Clean Market
It also sells an array of wellness and skincare products, as well as dietary supplements.
Source: Clean Market
"We want [Clean Market] to be a one-stop shop for all things wellness," owner Lily Kunin told me. "Wellness should be accessible and easy to reach and there should be one place that you can go to fill a lot of your needs around feeling well."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
With no sign of ending anytime soon, the government shutdown is starting to take its toll on federal services and workers. But for recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps, there is some good news — for now.
According to a plan released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), SNAP benefits will be available during the start of the shutdown as previously appropriated funding is carried over to meet the needs of the program.
In the initial USDA release about the shutdown, the department said SNAP benefits for January would be available but there was no commitment for February. In a call with reporters on Tuesday, the USDA announced that the department will send money for February's benefits to states that administer the program.
USDA officials could not commit to providing SNAP benefits in March.
But, given the fact that President Donald Trump threatened to shut the government down for "months or even years" during a meeting with congressional leaders on Friday, the uncertainty of SNAP benefits beyond February could become a problem if the shutdown continues for a historic amount of time.
Funding for the USDA's Child Nutrition Programs including "School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk" will also continue into February, according to the USDA's plan.
But while SNAP and the Child Nutrition Program are safe for now, other food programs under the USDA's purview are not as lucky.
Also, other non-SNAP domestic food programs are no longer receiving federal funding, but may be sustained through state and local funding. The programs that are no longer receiving USDA funds include the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, a program focusing on low income seniors; The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
In addition to the food programs, other essential USDA duties including the inspection of eggs, dairy, and other food products will continue. Those services deemed non-essential, such as research or the staffing of some national forests, are discontinued.
The shutdown is now in its 18th day and there is no clear end in sight. Trump administration officials and congressional leaders met over the weekend, but it's unclear if any real progress has been made.
President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders have yet to come to an agreement to reopen the government despite talks continuous talks and as the shutdown moves through day 19, there appears to be no end in sight.
The trouble started just before Christmas when Trump's sudden reversal on a bipartisan funding extension forced a sizeable portion — but not all — of the government into a partial shutdown.
This is 21st time since the modern budget process began with the Budget Act of 1974 that the federal government has entered a shutdown or had a funding lapse.
On average, the 20 previous shutdowns lasted eight days, though they have been longer in recent decades. The six shutdowns since 1990 have lasted nine days on average. And removing the short, nine-hour funding lapse caused by Sen. Rand Paul in February, recent shutdowns have averaged 11 days. The longest shutdown in history, lasting 21 days, came in 1995-1996.
Most of these shutdowns weren't severe, with 11 of the 20 lasting five days or fewer, and seven lasting three days or fewer. By making it to the third week, the current 19-day shutdown is now tied second-longest of the modern era with Jimmy Carter's 1978 shutdown.
The current shutdown also bears some major differences from the past because federal employees aren't working. Around 380,000 federal employees are now on furlough, meaning they do not report to work or get paid. In 11 of the previous shutdowns, employees were not placed on furlough.
Sending employees home has become more frequent in recent shutdowns, with furloughs occurring during five of the last six funding lapses (the only exception being the short Rand Paul lapse).
Another newer wrinkle is the fact that this is just the second shutdown during which employees were placed on furlough while one party controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House, which was the case for the beginning of the shutdown. The other instance was the three-day shutdown in January 2018.
Additionally, with the changeover to the 116th Congress, which has a Democrat-controlled House, this is the first shutdown in which control of a chamber of Congress changed parties during the funding lapse.
The current shutdown also means the president has set some historic firsts as well.
Trump is the only president to furlough employees while his party controlled both chambers of Congress, the only one to achieve that dubious feat multiple times, and is second in total shutdowns for a president whose party controls chambers of Congress. Jimmy Carter presided over five shutdowns while Democrats controlled both the House and Senate, none of which resulted in furloughs.
The latest shutdown also moved Trump into third place with three total funding lapses during his presidency, behind Carter's five and Ronald Reagan's eight. Trump also ranks fourth in totals shutdown days for modern presidents behind Carter's 67 days and the 28 day mark shared by Clinton and Reagan.
2018 also became just the second year of the modern era to have three funding lapses, tying 1977's record.
Here's a breakdown of all the previous shutdowns:
The government shutdown could lead to a perhaps unexpected negative consequence: more food-poisoning outbreaks.
With the fight over President Donald Trump's demands for a wall along the US-Mexico border dragging on into its 19th day, some food-safety functions of the US government are going untended. According to one expert, the shutdown's effects should make Americans concerned about food-poisoning outbreaks.
There are two major agencies that oversee food-safety inspections in the US: the Food and Drug Administration, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services; and the Food Safety and Inspection Service, a division of the US Department of Agriculture.
The FSIS oversees inspections of meat, poultry, and eggs, while the FDA looks after the rest.
According to the USDA's shutdown plan, FSIS employees are deemed "essential," and inspections conducted by the agency will continue. But employees carrying out those inspections are not paid.
By contrast, the FDA's plan determined that while limited inspections would continue during the shutdown — such as inspections of imported foods — a majority of food operations would be shut down.
"FDA would be unable to support some routine regulatory and compliance activities," the FDA plan said. "This includes some medical product, animal drug, and most food related activities. FDA will also pause routine establishment inspections, cosmetics and nutrition work, and many ongoing research activities."
In addition, the FDA deemed that employees responsible for responding to outbreaks of foodborne illness were essential. But those measures are for response, rather than the inspections that could prevent an outbreak.
"I'd say you should be very worried about your food safety, in part because the work that's not being done right now is the work that's needed to prevent the next outbreak of foodborne illness," Sarah Sorscher, a deputy director of regulatory affairs at the consumer watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest, told Public Radio International.
According to the FDA's plan, 41% of all employees are on furlough, meaning the workers are not receiving pay and are barred from coming to work. Only 11% of FSIS workers are furloughed in that agency's plan.
But even those FSIS and FDA employees who are still on the job are facing financial woes because of the lack of pay. Unpaid employees in other agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration, are said to be calling in sick in large numbers, and problems in those departments are adding up.
In its shutdown plan, the FSIS said problems with safety would worsen as a shutdown dragged on.
"A lengthy hiatus would affect the safety of human life and have serious adverse effects on the industry, the consumer and the Agency," the report said.
Bill Marler, an attorney specializing in food-poisoning outbreaks who has won more than $600 million for clients in foodborne-illness cases, pointed out that the real possibility of not receiving a paycheck on January 15 was also most likely affecting the inspectors remaining on the job.
"Seriously, can we expect, as the shutdown stumbles into week two, that inspectors' focus are solely on preventing the next E. coli, Salmonella or Listeria outbreak?" Marler wrote in a blog post.
When asked by Business Insider what people could do to avoid another food-poisoning outbreak, Marler had just one suggestion.
"Call and write the president," Marler said in an email on Tuesday.