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The latest news from Life

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    Money

    • Money-saving tactics can often be unrealistic or forced.
    • There are easy ways to spend and save money every day, like removing stored credit card numbers, implementing a 48-rule of spending, and logging every expense.
    • Here are 12 unusual ways you can save money every day.

     

    While you may already be familiar with some money-saving tactics— such as bringing your lunch to work instead of buying it or getting fewer cups of coffee out — there are more creative ways to save money every day that you may not yet be doing.

    After all, when it comes to money matters, every cent does add up — literally.

    For instance, I used to fall into the buy-lunch-at-work trap. Even though I’d aim to only spend up to $10 per day in the work cafeteria or going out with friends, that number would often inch up.

    Once I added up how much I was spending per week, I realized that money was better off in savings or my emergency fund versus in overpriced lunches that I didn't even enjoy that much.

    Bank of America’s recent Better Money Habits Millennial Report found that 73% of millennials (ages 23-37) said their generation overspends on unnecessary indulgences. In addition, 35% of millennials reported not saving enough, while 17% said they spend more than they should.

    All that said, there are many under-the-radar ways to save more money each day. Below, experts weigh in:

    SEE ALSO: 6 things people who are good with money always splurge on

    1. Automate small amounts of money

    You may already pay your bills and add to your savings through automatic transfers, but once you start automating smaller amounts, they'll add up to bigger ones. For example, once I eliminated buying lunch at work and daily Starbucks runs, that was approximately $20 a day I was not spending, which meant an extra $100 per week toward my savings just from skipping frivolous lunches and coffees.

    "Automate weekly savings for small amounts you won’t miss, even as little as $10 or $20 per week," Andrea Woroch, a nationally-recognized consumer expert, told Business Insider. "These small amounts will build quickly over time and you will learn to live without those extra funds." 

    She also recommended putting the money toward an online savings account that offers a higher interest rate than savings account at traditional banks.



    2. Create a 48-hour rule and remove stored credit card numbers

    The speed and simplicity of online shopping make it easy to fall into the habit of impulse buying clothes and other items. "To prevent impulse purchases, wait 48 hours after identifying something you’d like to purchase," Chris Whitlow, CEO of workplace financial education company Edukate, told Business Insider. "This will separate your need spends from your want spends."

    Similarly, having your credit card numbers stored online may be efficient, but it’s also dangerous as far as spending money is concerned. "Removing this information can save you fromimpulse shopping, and allows you to cut back on the amount of money you spend," Jennifer McDermott, consumer advocate at finder.com, told Business Insider. "Plus, the more time you have to think about a purchase, the more likely you’ll make a better financial decision."



    3. Take public transportation or walk

    Yes, it may be convenient to drive, but is it cost-effective? "Stop driving your own car to work every day," Andrei Vasilescu, CEO of money-saving platform DontPayFull, told Business Insider.  

    "Instead, use public transportation, such as trains, buses, or shared vehicles, or try biking or walking for a few miles every day. This will extensively save your wallet and health at the same time." Plus, there are a lot of extraneous costs involved with owning a car, from insurance to parking fees.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    the best neckband bluetooth headphones

    Headphones are getting better and better. Gone are the days when getting good private audio meant having to buy bulky and expensive over-ear headphones. These days, in-ear headphones sound pretty great — and they're much more convenient, too. Neckband-style headphones help give in-ear headphones a better battery life, more convenient controls, and more.

    Of course, there are a ton of neckband headphones available for purchase, and they're not all created equal. Because of that, it can be hard to figure out which neckband headphones are right for your needs. When buying headphones, there are a number of things to keep in mind. For starters, you'll want to think about the features you want.

    Most neckband headphones have a microphone built in to them for things like phone calls, but you'll also want to think about whether or not you want water-resistance, in case you sweat a lot or get caught in the rain, as well as the connectivity standard you want to use. Pretty much all neckband headphones connect through Bluetooth, but you should lok for the latest standard: Bluetooth 5.0.

    It's also worth considering how long of a battery life you want. One of the advantages of all that extra room around the neck is that you can include a larger battery — and as a result, most neckband headphones offer at least 10 hours of use.

    Here are the best neckband Bluetooth headphones you can buy:

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

    The best neckband headphones overall

    Why you'll love them: The V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless headphones feature a great design, excellent sound-quality, and aren't too expensive — making them easily the best neckband-style headphones.

    V-Moda has an excellent track record when it comes to building headphones that are high-quality and great-sounding, and as a result its headphones have topped this list. When it comes to neckband-style headphones, we think the V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless headphones are the ones to get.

    There are a number of reasons we like these headphones so much. For starters, they feature a great design. On the left of the neckband, you'll get playback controls that are relatively easy to use and feel high-quality, and on the right, you'll find a power button. There's a somewhat large bulge at the back of the headphones, but it likely serves as a way to store a bigger battery. The headphones have a 10-hour battery life, which is good for wireless headphones.

    Then there's sound quality, which is excellent. The headphones offer great bass response, but they don't go over the top. You'll get nice and punchy kick drums and thick bass tones without the bass sounding unnatural. There's plenty of warmth in the low mids, and there's excellent high-end response, too, which ensures that music will sound detailed and exciting.

    So what about downsides? The only real downside is that the battery could be a little longer, but the battery life isn't necessarily bad either — it's just middle-of-the-road. Because of the great features and sound quality, Trusted Reviews gave the headphones 9/10, while Headphone Review scored them a slightly more conservative 8.4.

    Pros: Nice design, excellent sound-quality, comfortable

    Cons: Battery life could be better

    Buy the V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless headphones on Amazon for $129.99



    The best noise cancelling neckband headphones

    Why you'll love them: The Bose QuietControl 30 headphones look good and sound great, too, but the best thing about them is their excellent noise cancellation technology.

    There are plenty of great neckband headphones on the market, but few of them come with noise cancellation technology. If you want noise cancelling neckband headphones, then we recommend the Bose QuietControl 30 headphones, which offer a great sound and good design, with the noise cancelling tech that Bose has become known for.

    There are a number of things that make these great headphones. For starters, they're very well-designed, featuring easy-to-use playback controls on the right arm. They're also pretty comfortable, both around the neck, and in the ears.

    Ultimately, however, the most important thing to consider is how the headphones sound, and they sound great. The headphones offer nice, pronounced bass, a scooped but still good-sounding midrange, and well-tuned high-end. Sure, they may not be the most natural-sounding headphones out there, but for most, having natural-sounding headphones isn't all that important, as long as they still sound good — and they do.

    And, of course, they have noise cancellation, which is well-implemented and good at cutting out any outside noise.

    So what are the downsides here? Well the biggest is perhaps the price. At $299, the headphones aren't necessarily cheap. Despite that, however, many reviewers love the headphones — TechRadar scored them 4/5 stars, while TechHive went further with a rating of 4.5 stars.

    Pros: Good sound, comfortable, well-designed

    Cons: Expensive

    Buy the Bose QuietControl 30 headphones on Amazon for $299



    The best neckband headphones for sports

    Why you'll love them: The JBL UA Sport Wireless Flex headphones look relatively nice, plus they feature a customizable fit, which is perfect for use during sports.

    Looking for a pair of neckband headphones to take to the gym? Neckband headphones may not be the most conducive for sports use, but there are still some great options out there — like, for example, the JBL UA Sport Wireless Flex headphones, which are the result of a partnership between JBL and Under Armor.

    So what makes the JBL UA Sport Wireless Flex headphones so great? Well, for starters, they're relatively easy to use, which is great news for those who need quick access to their headphones when they're running or at the gym.

    The headphones are also pretty comfortable and good at staying on your neck without moving around too much. That's thanks in part to the adjustable design, which allows you to tighten or loosen the neckband when you want. They even have a light on the back, which is great for those who like to run or cycle at night.

    When it comes to sound quality, the headphones are pretty nice. For those that like a bit of an extra kick when they work out, there's plenty of bass, while mids are relatively warm. The high-end sounds fine, but it's not quite as detailed as we might have liked — though for many, bass response will be more important anyway.

    Plenty of reviewers loved the headphones, too. TechHive gave the headphones 4/5, while Headphone Review gave them a slightly more conservative 7.4/10.

    Pros: Well-designed and customizable, relatively inexpensive

    Cons: Don't sound as good as others

    Buy the JBL UA Sport Wireless Flex headphones on Best Buy for $129.99



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Productivity

    • Productivity often begins in the mornings, with productive people tackling many of their tasks in the early hours.
    • Along with health benefits, being a morning person can help you capitalize productivity and achieve success.
    • Here are nine things people do before noon to increase productivity.

    We can’t all be morning people, but according to a recent study, you might extend your time on Earth if you could just wake up a few hours earlier each day.

    Researchers studied over 430,000 people, aged 38 to 73, for six and a half years to see how their "early bird" or "night owl" lifestyles affected their health and wellbeing. The results proved that health-wise, night owls may be at a disadvantage. They have an increased risk of developing a psychological disorder, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and gastrointestinal diseases.

    But getting an early start offers more than just health benefits — being a morning person may increase daily productivity and career growth.

    According to biologist Christoph Randler, individuals who perform best in the early hours may be more likely to achieve their career goals than those who don’t. His research, published in the Harvard Business Review, surveyed about 400 university students and found that morning people tend to be more proactive than those who are at their best in the evening. (The jury’s still out on whether being an early bird is innate or can be learned, however.)

    Here's what nine super-productive people do before noon to keep their momentum going all day.

    SEE ALSO: The 8 smartest things I did when I started my new job

    1. They divide their day in two

    The founder and creative director of Men's Style Pro, Sabir Peele, swears by splitting up his day to keep his creativity flowing.

    "I list a maximum of 10 tasks that I want to crush by noon. To stay interested in what I’m doing, I do the most important tasks at the top of each hour and then handle emails. After I finish two tasks, I do 20 push-ups," he told Business Insider.

    As for the second portion of his day (between noon and 5 p.m.), he takes a different tactic. "I focus all of my attention on meetings and just pure content creation — both of which are extremely time-consuming tasks," he said.



    2. They get in early

    Pediatrician Dr. Meghan Brooks, DO, balances motherhood and caring for her young patients day after day by getting ahead of the curve.

    “I always get in at least a half an hour before my patients are due. Being able to check their charts and call parents with test results or follow-ups is key,” she said. “And on other days I use that time to drink my coffee and make sure appointments and school forms are complete for my own girls.”



    3. They take 'me' time

    By taking some time for herself each morning, New York-based senior editor and new mom Rachel Bowie boosts her mood and overall productivity.

    “It’s so easy to get stressed about my lengthy to-do list when I’m handling diaper changes and my four-month-old’s schedule. So, every morning in the shower I count from one to 180 (three minutes total) and use that time to just be present,” she said. “As silly as it sounds, spending that time appreciating the solitude of my bathroom and a rejuvenating shower instead of letting my brain race through my day has a calming effect that keeps me more centered.”



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    trump putin

    • Thursday marks two years since the so-called Steele dossier, an explosive collection of memos alleging collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia, was published.
    • The document was compiled by the former British spy Christopher Steele.
    • Many of the dossier's claims remain uncorroborated, but several allegations have held up.

    Thursday marks two years since the so-called Steele dossier, an explosive collection of memos alleging collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia, was published by BuzzFeed News for public consumption.

    The largely unverified document, compiled by the former British spy Christopher Steele, consists of 16 separate reports that total 35 pages.

    The FBI and the Senate Intelligence Committee are both known to be using the dossier as a "roadmap" in their respective investigations into Russia's interference in the 2016 US election. The FBI also used the document to support, in part, its application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who has drawn scrutiny over his Russia ties.

    Trump dismissed the memos as a "pile of garbage," and he and his Republican allies frequently accuse the FBI of fabricating the information to oust Trump from office.

    Two years later, many of the dossier's claim remain uncorroborated. But several allegations have proven, at least in part, to have held up over time.

    SEE ALSO: Manafort's lawyers made a formatting error in a new court filing and accidentally revealed a slew of bombshells about his alleged lies to Mueller

    DON'T MISS: The Supreme Court handed Mueller a victory in his mysterious grand-jury subpoena fight

    WikiLeaks, Roger Stone, and the 2016 DNC hack

    The dossier said the "Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to the WikiLeaks platform."

    "The reason for using WikiLeaks was 'plausible deniability' and the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team," the dossier said.

    It added: "Over the period March-September 2016 a company called [redacted] and its affiliates had been using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct 'altering operations' against the Democratic Party leadership. Entities linked to one [redacted] were involved and he and another hacking expert, both recruited under duress by the FSB, [redacted] were significant players in this operation."



    What's been corroborated and what hasn't

    • The special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers last July on hacking and conspiracy charges related to the 2016 DNC hack and the subsequent dissemination of stolen emails via the Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0, the Russia-linked website DCLeaks, and the radical pro-transparency platform WikiLeaks.
    • The charging document alleged that beginning in March 2016, the conspirators "used a variety of means to hack the email accounts" of people working on the Hillary Clinton campaign.
    • In April, the defendants hacked into the computer networks of the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), according to the allegations.

    Once they breached the network, the indictment said, the hackers "covertly monitored the computers of dozens of DCCC and DNC employees, implanting hundreds of files containing malicious computer code ... and stole emails and other documents from the DCCC and DNC."

    In June, the Russians allegedly "staged and released" tens of thousands of hacked documents using Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.

    The indictment said the hackers also used Guccifer 2.0 to pass stolen emails along to WikiLeaks.

    • The charging document did not directly implicate any Americans. But it said that in August 2016, Guccifer 2.0 opened a channel of communication with "a person who was in regular contact with senior members" of the Trump campaign.
    • The longtime GOP strategist and informal Trump adviser Roger Stone is known to have communicated with Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks during the election. He has also publicly stated that he believes he is the unnamed American referred to in Mueller's indictment.

    Additional emails between Stone and the far-right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, which are in Mueller's possession, shed light on the two men's murky ties to WikiLeaks. Three days after the first document dump, the two men discussed how to get "the pending [WikiLeaks] emails," and Corsi also later touched base with Stone to tell him about an upcoming dump.

    "Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps," Corsi reportedly wrote to Stone on August 8, according to NBC News. "One shortly after I'm back. 2nd in Oct ... Impact planned to be very damaging."

    "Time to let more than [Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC," Corsi reportedly added, referring to Clinton. "That appears to be the game hackers are now about."

    A little over two weeks later, on August 21, Stone tweeted that Podesta would "soon" be targeted.

    On October 7, WikiLeaks published a damaging batch of emails belonging to Podesta.

    Trump heaped praise on WikiLeaks on the campaign trail. His son, Donald Trump Jr., is also known to have been in contact with WikiLeaks via Twitter during the election, according to The Atlantic.

    While media reports indicate that Trump, Stone, Trump Jr., and other members of the Trump campaign were interested in the WikiLeaks dumps, there is no evidence corroborating Steele's claim that the hacking operation was carried out "with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team."



    NATO and Russia's intervention in Ukraine

    The dossier said that in return for Russia's help in dumping hacked emails damaging to the Clinton campaign, the "TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue and to raise US/NATO defence commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject."

    The "well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership was managed on the Trump side by the Republican candidate's campaign manager, Paul Manafort," the dossier added.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    best air purifier

    • Fresh, clean air. You need it, but the environment doesn’t always provide it.
    • If you’ve suffered long enough with sinus problems, allergies, or headaches due to pollutants in the air, it’s time for an air purifier. Our top pick is the Coway Mighty Air Purifier.

    You can go up to three weeks without eating. You’ll survive three to four days, on average, without fluids. But it only takes six minutes without air to damage your delicate brain, and survival beyond that is unlikely. The air you breathe is the most pressing life necessity, so why not take as many breaths as possible of pure, clean air?

    To accomplish that, you’ll likely need an air purifier. Far too many of us live in areas with polluted outdoor air, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside our homes can be even dirtier.

    Common pollutants inside your home can include molds and fungi spores, bacteria and viruses, pollen, cigarette smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs emitted from carpeting, paint, and other construction materials), dust and pet dander, and fumes from air fresheners and other cleaning supplies.

    Air purifiers remove some or most of those pollutants from your indoor air. They work by drawing room air in and through a filter or combination of filters, then blowing out fresh, clean air.

    A good air purifier removes allergens, dust, gases, and other pollutants from the room air, leaving behind clean air for your lung’s benefit. There are a lot of air purifiers on the market, though, and that’s why we did the hard work for you. We’ve done our research, and gathered up the eight air purifiers we think do the best job of cleaning your air.

    Here are the best air purifiers you can buy:

    Updated on 01/10/2019 by Lulu Chang: Added the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool air purifier and heater. Updated prices and removed out of stock items.

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

    SEE ALSO: The best humidifiers you can buy

    The best air purifier overall

    Why you'll love it: Highly effective against indoor air pollution and reasonably attractive to boot, the Coway Mighty Air Purifier knows when your air is in serious need of cleaning.

    The Coway Mighty Air Purifier doesn’t fool around. It has four levels of filtration: a pre-filter that captures the largest particles, an activated carbon filter that grabs onto smoke, gases, odors, and other air pollutants, a HEPA filter that catches up to 99.97% of tiny particles, and an ionizing function to increase the air purifier’s ability to freshen the air.

    Its ionizing function is approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which means it’s certified to release less than 0.050 parts per million of ozone, making it safe for use even if you have respiratory sensitivities.  It's best for rooms up to 350 square feet.

    But that’s not the best part. The air purifier has particle sensor technology to check your room air’s quality. The device will automatically kick into high gear when excessive indoor pollution is detected, and once 30 minutes pass with air in the acceptable level, it will shut off the fan to conserve energy.

    The Wirecutter named it the best air purifier, praising not only its superior performance but also its reasonable price both at initial purchase and over the years as filters need replacement.

    Pros: Four types of filtration for superior performance, air quality sensor technology, three speed settings, filter replacement indicator, timer

    Cons: None to speak of

    Buy the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier on Amazon for $199.99 to $229.99



    The best air purifier for allergies

    Why you'll love it: With the smarts to analyze your air before it gets to work, the Dyson Pure Cool will make your allergies disappear. 

    If allergy season has you living your worst life, then fear not: Dyson's Pure Cool Air Purifier is here to save the day. It’s capable of actually calculating the amount of pollutants in your home, and then automatically adjusting itself to filter them out. Because let’s be honest — you literally can’t do that yourself.

    While other air purifiers try to capture most allergens and pollutants, the Dyson Pure Cool ups the ante by removing up to 99.97% of the stuff that’s making you sneeze and your eyes water. As a result, you’ll likely notice considerably fewer symptoms after letting this purifier do its job for awhile — I certainly did, and so did my colleague Mara Leighton.

    Thanks to the 350-degree oscillation of the Pure Cool, purified air won’t be relegated to a single corner of your room. Rather, you’ll get practically comprehensive filtration, which likely contributes to its 99.97% cleansing rate. For easier control, the purifier connects to both the Dyson Link app as well as Amazon Alexa, so you can tell the machine what to do either with the tap of an app or with the sound of your voice.

    When it’s time for you to go to sleep, the night-time mode ensures that the purifier is quieter, and its LCD screen is dimmed.

    Not only is the Pure Cool particularly effective, but it’s also extremely well-designed. This is certainly one air purifier that you won’t be inclined to hide from your guests. — Lulu Chang

    Pros: Automatically adjusts to the level of pollutants in your home, great design, 10 fan speeds for variable volume

    Cons: At $450, it’s quite expensive

    Buy the Dyson Pure Cool Air Purifier on Amazon for $347 to $450



    The best air purifier for pet owners

    Why you'll love it: Your love for the furry members of your family is greater than the pain that the resulting allergies bring you, but you don’t have to suffer anymore with the Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet True.

    If you feel as though you have to choose between Fido and fresh air, put that internal battle to rest once and for all with an external purification system. The Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet True HEPA Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave Technology is one of the most powerful and effective air purifiers on the market, especially when it comes to households with four-legged friends.

    The five-stage filtration system includes a pre-filter, HEPA filter, CleanCel anti-bacterial filter, and an Advanced Odor Control filter, along with PlasmaWave. That technology targets pollutants at their molecular level, thereby eliminating viruses, bacteria, odors, and gases in the air

    The Winix is particularly effective at pet odors and dander because it boasts not one, but two different stages when it comes to carbon filtration. That helps you get rid of pet hair, dander, as well as smells. Plus, this air filter boasts smart sensors, which means it’s always taking tabs on the air around it, automatically adjusting fan speeds to ensure that your environment is always fresh.

    The Winix is strong enough to handle spaces up to 280 square feet, so it works well for moderately-sized rooms or small apartments. More than 800 happy customers on Amazon have given this air cleaner a 4.4 out of 5-star rating, and we heartily agree with that assessment.

    If you're on a budget and the $212 Winix is out of your range, the Hamilton Beach TrueAir Pet Filter Air Purifier is a good option. It has a permanent pre-filter that grabs onto pet hair and large particles, a permanent HEPA filter, and not one, but two carbon zeolite filters that eliminate even the stinkiest pet odors. This is a great choice for your bedroom, the area holding the cat's litter box, or by your dog’s bed.

    The permanent HEPA filter removes up to 99% of small particles, including pollen, dust, pet dander, and most bacteria. Just vacuum it periodically — no need to buy expensive filter replacements. The device has three speeds, is very quiet, and can run standing upright or lying on its side. The Hamilton Beach air purifier is best for rooms up to 140 square feet. — Lulu Chang

    Pros: Effective with pet dander and odor, handles 280 square feet of space, five-stage filtration

    Cons: Pricey

    Buy the Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet True HEPA Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave Technology on Amazon for $210.99 (originally $349.99)

    Buy the Hamilton Beach TrueAir Pet Filter Air Purifier on Amazon for $50.59



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    best tights

    • Tights are a wardrobe staple for many women, and they come in all kinds of colors and styles.
    • We've tested dozens of tights to find the best ones you can buy, and Spanx's Luxe Leg Mid-Thigh Shaping Tights are our top pick for great durability, comfort, and style.

    If there's a staple in a woman's wardrobe, it's a good pair of tights. Whether they're sheer, opaque, fishnet, or bright pink, these pieces of spandex are a blessing and a curse that, alas, we just can't live without.

    While we don't have to abide by the royal British dress code of wearing tights under every dress, skirt, and pair of shorts we own, there are still plenty of occasions in which a great pair of pantyhose can save the day. And when it comes to choosing some of the best tights on the market, you'll want to keep a few things in mind.

    First and foremost, a good pair of tights will be durable. Sure, they're delicate items, but that doesn't mean that you should only expect them to last through one wear. My favorite pair of tights have seen me through several years and several jobs, and that's just the way they ought to be.

    Second, you'll want to keep coverage in mind. Tights can be sheer, opaque, or patterned, and different settings will call for different sets. It's probably best to keep a wide range of tights on hand so that you're never caught unprepared.

    Another potential consideration may come in the amount of control your tights can exercise over your figure. With the right pair of Spanx, for example, you can prevent that much-dreaded muffin top situation, and always look your chicest.

    And finally, you'll want to consider the weather in which you'll be wearing your tights. If you tend to spend most of the year in tropical climates, you probably don't need a good pair of thick, heat-tech tights. If, on the other hand, you often find yourself traipsing through the snow in heels and a skirt, you'll want a warm pair on hand.

    Regardless of which pair you choose from among our favorite tights, you won't go wrong.

    Here are the best tights for women you can buy:

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

    The best tights overall

    Why you'll love them: For tights that will never rip, pill, or leave you hanging, the Spanx Luxe Leg Mid-Thigh Shaping Tights are the best way to go.

    There's a reason Spanx has become synonymous with tights. When it comes to hosiery that is flattering and functional, I always turn to Spanx for a never-fail solution. The Luxe Leg Mid-Thigh Shaping Tights are perfect for cooler days when you need a bit of extra warmth in and around your lower body.

    Capable of sculpting your figure to its most flattering potential, these Spanx are still surprisingly breathable and comfortable. Several women here on the Insider Picks team swear by Spanx.

    The fabric is strong — you can run them through the wash seemingly endless times without worrying about rips or pills — and extremely black. That said, they're not so dark that you can't see your legs at all. Rather, this pair toes the line between sheer and opaque in the best way possible.

    The real game-changer with these tights comes in the form of its built-in mid-thigh shaper, which helps your butt and thighs look firm and perky. Plus, with the premium power leg, these tights feel, as the name suggests, luxe, and allow for great recovery after a long night out. If you slip on a pair of these tights under a form-fitting dress or skirt, you'll truly look like your best self.

    Spanx are quite form-fitting, so going one size up may not be the worst idea in the world. Plus, at just $28 a pop, you can buy plenty a pair without having to worry about breaking the bank.

    Pros: Flattering and sculpting, won't pill or rip, great opacity, reasonable price point

    Cons: You may have to size up

    Buy Spanx Luxe Leg Mid-Thigh Shaping Tights at Spanx for $28 and at Nordstrom



    The best opaque tights

    Why you'll love them: If you judge your tights by their color, then DKNY's Opaque Control Top Tights are the way to go.

    What sets DKNY's Opaque Control Top Tights apart from the competition is the Lycra Living Lights technology, which means that your tights will be the color they're meant to be. And when it comes to black tights, I find that to be absolutely essential.

    DKNY's opaque tights are some of the best out there, and they have the unique ability to seem particularly black without being especially shiny — all in all, this makes your legs seems longer, more shapely, and just generally more like you want them to look.

    But color aside, the best thing about DKNY's tights is their comfort level. While these, like Spanx, are meant to shape and sculpt your middle to help you slip into that slinky dress, I've found that they're far more breathable and far less constricting than the competition. So even though you may look like you're wearing a corset, you won't feel like it.

    I've also found that DKNY's tights are able to stand up to several wears and several washes — even months after I made my purchase, I was able to don the same pair without worrying about rips or tears or rends. They're supremely comfortable and available in three staple colors — black, navy, and white — because yes, you do need white tights in the winter.

    Guides editor Malarie Gokey wears these tights multiple times a week during the fall and winter months, and she loves them.

    While they're slightly pricier than your most basic pair of hose, they're still extremely affordable at just $16 a pair.

    Pros: Great opacity, extremely comfortable, affordable, available in three classic colors

    Cons: Some customers have complained about the lack of a gusset

    Buy DKNY Opaque Control Top Tights at Nordstrom for $16



    The best nude tights

    Why you'll love them: Heist recognizes that there are many different definitions of nude, and the brand has tights for all of them.

    Heist may be a relative newcomer to the tights scene, but that hasn't stopped it from becoming a fast favorite. Heist is hugely popular here at Business Insider, thanks to its incredibly soft material, its comfortable fit, and its high-quality craftsmanship.

    One of my favorite aspects about Heist is the degree of personalization it offers wearers — not only can you choose between a high and a low waistband — which is so necessary and so rare in a pair of tights — but you can also choose among several different shades of nude. Because your nude is not everyone else's nude.

    These tights are available in an impressive seven shades, all of which both look and feel barely there. Thanks to its double-covered yarn construction, each pair is incredibly soft and durable, and also warm enough to withstand the weather.

    Heist has also rethought the overall design of a pair of tights. Not only is its waistband available in both high and low-rise options, but it's also designed to avoid rolling, twisting, and otherwise digging into your skin.

    I also love that there's no gusset to speak of — there aren't any seams where there shouldn't be, which makes for a more comfortable, longer-lasting wear.

    Heist tights also do a remarkably good job of staying up throughout the day thanks to the 5,000 spirals per inch on its yarn. And when they do stay up, they help smooth the appearance of your midsection without doing any serious sculpting.

    So if you're looking for a pair of tights that no one — including you — will know you're wearing, look to Heist.

    Pros: Soft, durable construction, no gusset, low or high waistband, several different shades of nude

    Cons: When taking shipping into consideration, these tights can set you back more than $50

    Buy Heist Nude tights for $32



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    Jeff Bezos

    • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos created the world's most valuable company during the 25 years he was married to MacKenzie Bezos.
    • The couple, who announced plans for divorce on Wednesday, apparently have no prenuptial agreement and live in a state where assets are split 50-50.
    • MacKenzie was part of Amazon's early team, helping to come up with the name and serving as its first accountant. But there's another reason she deserves half of the $137 billion Amazon fortune.

    Jeff Bezos, the world's wealthiest person and the CEO of Amazon, is getting divorced from MacKenzie Bezos, his spouse of 25 years.

    Apparently, there was no prenup. And in Washington, where the couple lives, assets acquired during a prenup-less marriage are split 50-50.

    If you're married to the world's richest person (Bezos' net worth is $137 billion!) who is entirely self-made, do you deserve to get half?

    For MacKenzie Bezos, absolutely. For one simple reason: There would be no Amazon without her.

    MacKenzie Tuttle and Jeff Bezos met in 1992 when they both worked for hedge fund D.E. Shaw. MacKenzie graduated from Princeton and became a research associate at the firm where Bezos was a vice president. Her office was next door to his, and three months after they began dating, in 1993, they were married.

    While at D.E. Shaw, Bezos came up with the idea for Amazon. MacKenzie was supportive from the beginning, despite the high probability that his venture would fail (after all, almost all startups do).

    Brad Stone writes in The Everything Store: "At the time, Bezos was newly married, with a comfortable apartment on the Upper West Side and a well-paying job. While MacKenzie said she would be supportive if he decided to strike out on his own, the decision was not an easy one."

    MacKenzie later told CBS: "I'm not a businessperson. So to me, what I'm hearing when he tells me that idea is the passion and the excitement... And to me, you know, watching your spouse, somebody that you love, have an adventure — what is better than that, and being part of that?"

    In 1994, at ages 30 and 24, respectively, Jeff and MacKenzie decided to blow up their cushy lives.

    They road-tripped across the US in search of a new home and headquarters for Amazon. MacKenzie drove while Bezos punched out a business plan and revenue projections in the passenger seat. After starting in Texas and buying a beat-up car, they wound up in Seattle.

    The pair brainstormed the name "Amazon" together after almost choosing a different name: Relentless.com. MacKenzie became Amazon's first accountant, despite being an aspiring novelist.

    She did a lot of other grunt work, like most early startup employees do, from driving book orders to the post office to handling the company's bank account and line of credit. She met early Amazon investor John Doerr and partied with the team in Mexico after Amazon's IPO.

    But beyond her early role in the company is the significant role any spouse plays in a partner's career.

    Both Warren Buffett and Sheryl Sandberg say that the most important career decision you can make is who you marry.

    Sure, there's the sacrifice one partner might make to allow the other to pursue a demanding career. But that's not what Buffett was getting at.

    "Marry the right person," he said at the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. "I'm serious about that. It will make more difference in your life. It will change your aspirations, all kinds of things."

    Would the notion of opening an online bookstore have taken hold of Bezos as forcibly if he hadn't met MacKenzie? Would he have executed on that vision in the same way, hired the same people and taken the same kinds of risks with a different partner?

    These are impossible questions to answer. But it's not outrageous to suggest that a person's motivations, attitudes, and goals are influenced by the most important person in their life.

    Regardless of whether a spouse is listed as a partner on a business masthead, many couples operate as a team focused on a grand, overarching enterprise and work in tandem to achieve common goals. That's part of the reason many state laws recognize the concept of community property.

    Buffett has said that without his first wife, Susie, who died in 2004, he would not have built his fortune.

    "What happened with me would not have happened without her," he said in a 2017 HBO documentary.

    What happened to Bezos would not have happened without MacKenzie.

    SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos' divorce could soon make MacKenzie Bezos one of Amazon's biggest shareholders

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos is worth over $100 billion — here's how the world's richest man makes and spends his money


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    Southwest Airlines, companion pass deal

    • When you open a new personal Southwest credit card, you can earn the best-ever sign-up bonus offered for the cards: 30,000 points and an unlimited Companion Pass, which is valid for travel through 2019.
    • The Companion Pass lets you book a free ticket for a companion whenever you travel — all you'll have to pay is taxes and fees (which are typically as low as $5.60 each way).
    • The offer applies to all three of Southwest's personal cards, but it ends on February 11.
    • Our pick for the best Southwest card to open is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card; however, read on to see which is best for you. 

    Southwest and Chase announced Thursday that, for a limited time, people who apply for any of their co-branded credit cards will be able to earn Southwest's coveted Companion Pass as a sign-up bonus.

    The new sign-up bonus is effectively the best deal ever offered on any of Southwest's credit cards. In addition to the Companion Pass, which will be valid through 2019, new cardholders can also earn 30,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. 

    To earn the sign-up bonus, new cardholders must spend $4,000 on the card within the first three months of opening it. The bonus is available only until February 11.

    The surprise promotion — coming just one day after a previous limited-time offer ended — represents what can arguably be described as the best-ever sign-up bonus offered by Southwest and Chase.

    The Southwest Companion pass is often seen as the "holy grail" of travel for points-and-miles aficionados and self-described "travel hackers." When you earn the Companion Pass, you can select a designated friend or family member to travel with you for free, as long as the pass is valid.

    Normally to earn the Companion Pass, one has to earn 110,000 qualifying points with Southwest within a calendar year. The pass will then be valid for the remainder of that calendar year, as well as the entirety of the following one.

    Typically, you may be able to earn some of those qualifying points by opening a credit card and earning the normal sign-up bonus, but as Chase has added restrictions on who is eligible — for instance, you can't just open two consumer cards at once, earn the bonuses, and use those points to qualify — it's become harder to earn unless you're a very frequent business traveler.

    The ability to earn the Companion Pass purely as a sign-up bonus makes it significantly easier to acquire. Should new applicants hit the minimum spend requirement quickly, signing up for one credit card can equal 11 months of buy-one-get-one flights. Coupled with competitive fares on Southwest, the pass can be used for everything from longer vacations to easy, affordable weekends away. While taxes and fees are still charged on Companion tickets, these start at $5.60 for domestic flights, and rarely exceed $20 to $25.

    In order to receive the bonus, you can't currently hold a personal Southwest credit card, and you can't have earned a sign-up bonus from a Southwest card in the past 24 months. If you currently hold a card, but earned the bonus from it longer than 24 months ago (or never earned the bonus), you may be able to close that, wait a week or so, and apply for a new card.

    Southwest and Chase offer three personal credit cards. The Southwest Priority Card is the best option for most people because, even though it has the highest annual fee of the three cards at $149, it offers annual credits and anniversary bonus points that are together worth at least $150, meaning the card pays for itself.

    However, if you're dead set against an annual fee in the three-digit range, the other cards are compelling options — especially with the Companion Pass as a sign-up bonus.

    Read on to learn more about the three personal Southwest cards.

    Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card

    The Rapid Rewards Plus is the base level of the three Southwest cards. However, just because it's a bit less featured than its bigger siblings doesn't mean it's a bad option.

    The card earns 2 times points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases, and one point per dollar on everything else. You'll also get 3,000 bonus points each year on your card-membership anniversary.

    That's essentially the gist of this card — there's not too much to it. There are, however, a couple of things worth noting.

    It has a $69 annual fee that isn't waived the first year. Of course, the sign-up bonus — the Companion Pass for 2019 and 30,000 points — goes a long way toward making up for that, while the anniversary points help each year after.

    All in all, while the Plus card has the lowest annual fee, it doesn't offer a ton of value after the first year. If you want to earn Southwest points on your credit card, but absolutely want to pay the lowest possible annual fee, then this card is probably the best option. However, if you're ok with paying a higher annual fee, knowing that you'll get more value from the card than you'll pay for that fee, you're better off considering one of the other two.

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

    Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card

    The Premier card is similar to the Plus, with a few enhancements.

    The sign-up bonus is the same, but it offers 6,000 anniversary points each year instead of 3,000.

    It also offers the ability to earn tier-qualifying points, which count toward the elite "A-list" status. You'll earn 1,500 tier points each time you spend $10,000 within a calendar year, up to $100,000 (or 15,000 tier points) per year.

    Otherwise, the biggest appeal of the Premier over the Plus is that it doesn't have foreign-transaction fees — if you use your Plus abroad, you'll be charged an extra 3% on every purchase.

    The Premier's annual fee is $99, compared with the $69 fee on the Plus, but the extra anniversary points should generally cover that increase.

    Click here to learn more about the Southwest Premier card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card

    Generally, though, the Priority is the best option if you're a Southwest flyer.

    That's because, even though it has the highest fee at $149, it offers at least $150 in value each year, effectively cancelling out the fee.

    The Priority offers 7,500 bonus anniversary points each year, as well as an annual $75 Southwest travel credit, which can be applied to purchases like flights. Assuming that Southwest points are worth $0.01 each — although you can usually get more value than that — that means that you're getting $150 of value each year just from these two benefits, which cancels out the annual fee.

    The card also has a few other benefits, including up to four Upgraded Boarding certificates each year, meaning you can board earlier and choose your seat. You'll also get 20% back on in-flight purchases, and the same ability to earn tier-qualifying points as the Premier card.

    Ultimately, as long as you're willing to front the money for the annual fee, the Priority card pays for itself.

    However, if you're absolutely set against the higher fee, the Plus and the Priority can be good options as well.

    Click here to learn more about the Southwest Priority card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    SEE ALSO: The best credit card rewards, bonuses, and perks of 2019

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 6 airline industry secrets that will help you fly like a pro this holiday season


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    421 broome street heath ledger apartment

    • A lavish, thoroughly updated SoHo loft just got a $5.5 million price cut
    • The previous asking price was $65 million, and now it's $59.5 million.
    • If sold for $59.5 million, it would still break the record for the most expensive single residential unit ever sold in downtown Manhattan.
    • The penthouse was renovated over four years and is filled with oversized windows and skylights.

    A rigorously renovated 8,000-square-foot loft in Manhattan's hip SoHo neighborhood, in the building where the actor Heath Ledger once lived before his death in 2008, got a $5.5 million price chop in November, bringing the asking price to $59.5 million, The Real Deal reported.

    It was previously listed for $65 million.

    If sold at its asking price, the penthouse would break the record for the most expensive single residential sale in downtown Manhattan, according to The New York Times. The record is held by a penthouse in Chelsea that sold in May 2018 for $59.06 million, according to The Times.

    The property, previously listed by Corcoran and CORE Real Estate, is now listed by Douglas Elliman.

    It was last sold in 2011 for $17 million, according to Curbed New York. The owners spent four years making gut renovations but ultimately decided it was too much space for them, Curbed reported.

    "The penthouse at 421 Broome is truly incomparable," J. Eric Becker, previously of Corcoran and now at Douglas Elliman, told Business Insider. "In all of my years in real estate, I have never seen such a stunning home, with incredible attention to detail and unmatched design sophistication."

    Here's a look inside the updated luxury penthouse.

    SEE ALSO: Nobody wants to buy 'Versailles in Manhattan,' a $19.75 million Upper East Side townhouse that has been on and off the market for 15 years

    READ MORE: This $85 million NYC condo comes with 2 tickets to outer space, a $1 million yacht, 2 Rolls-Royce Phantoms, and a Lamborghini

    The apartment is on Broome Street in New York City's SoHo neighborhood, which was once an industrial district.

    Source: Corcoran/CORE



    It's now a hip shopping area filled with designer boutiques.

    Source: NYC Go



    The owners spent four years renovating the luxurious four-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom penthouse, which is in a "landmarked cast-iron condominium dating back to 1873."

    Source: Corcoran/CORE



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    donald trump

    • President Donald Trump compared his border wall to the invention of the wheel on Thursday, saying wheels are effective and still commonly used in modern times.
    • He said even the "really expensive" cars that the Secret Service uses have wheels.
    • Trump made the remarks at a roundtable with lawmakers and local officials in McAllen, Texas, amid a government shutdown over funding for the border wall.

    President Donald Trump drew a bizarre analogy during his trip to the border in McAllen, Texas, on Thursday, likening a border wall to the ancient invention of the wheel and saying wheels are effective and still commonly used in modern times.

    "They say a wall is medieval. Well, a wheel is older than a wall," Trump said, though the earliest known border wall is actually thousands of years older than the wheel. "And I looked, and every single car out there, even the really expensive ones that the Secret Service uses — and believe me they are expensive — I said, 'Do they all have wheels?' 'Yes.' 'Oh. I thought it was medieval.'"

    He continued: "The wheel is older than the wall. You know that? There are some things that work. A wheel works and a wall works."

    Trump made the trip down to the border amid a weekslong government shutdown that shows few signs of stopping anytime soon. The shutdown was caused by a dispute over $5.7 billion in funding that Trump has demanded to construct more than 200 miles of border wall, which Democrats have refused to approve.

    In McAllen, Trump participated in a roundtable with lawmakers and local officials who commended him for calling the situation along the border a "crisis" and holding firm on his demands that Congress supply billions for the wall.

    Read more: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BORDER CRISIS: Experts say there is no security crisis, but there is a simple way to fix immigration — and it's not a wall

    donald trump

    During Trump's opening remarks, he lambasted congressional Democrats for refusing to submit to his demands and said they would lose the fight because a wall is "common sense."

    "The government is shut down because democrats will not fund border security," he said. "Their open-borders agenda threatens all American families, including millions of legal immigrants throughout our nation."

    But Trump has faced criticism in recent weeks for continually calling the state of the border a "crisis" that threatens the lives of Americans.

    In a rebuttal to Trump's televised Oval Office address on Tuesday, top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer denounced Trump for stoking fear about the migrants who cross the US-Mexico border, many of whom are families with young children seeking asylum.

    "Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice," Pelosi said. "The President has chosen fear."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'


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    48370020_2251913594842448_6020613064506736640_n

    • I test a lot of skincare products, and Maelove is one of the brands I'm most excited about in 2019.
    • Each product is under $30, and that includes their cult-favorite $28 vitamin C Serum, the Glow Maker, and their brand-new everyday moisturizer, The One Cream.
    • The One Cream ($27.95) is a standout everyday moisturizer for all skin types: gentle, fast-absorbing without any residue, and intensely hydrating without clogging pores. 

    Finding a face cream that adequately moisturizes — especially in the winter — without clogging your pores is a tall order. At least, it always has been for me, and I'm lucky enough to spend a good part of my year researching and testing skin care products as a career.

    One of the perks of that very specific job is stumbling upon seemingly nondescript gems like Maelove —and, by extension, my favorite everyday moisturizer: The One Cream ($28)

    In the last year, I've become a big fan of Maelove. The company was founded by MIT grads (skincare obsessives, brain and cancer researchers, and chemical engineers) and its formulas are based firmly in research. In an effort to democratize quality skin care, each product is priced under $30. That includes their claim-to-fame vitamin C serum, the Glow Maker ($28), which eagle-eyed customers have been quick to note is quite similar to the $166 C E Ferulic Serum by Skin Ceuticals. You can find a personal review on the Glow Maker here, but, in short, it's a really good value.

    Recently, the company sent over a couple of their latest products, and I've been testing them: The Day Eraser ($19) makeup remover, the Eye Enhancer ($28), and The One Cream ($28)

    The One Cream is billed as a moisturizer that nourishes skin without clogging pores or causing sensitivity. It's gentle, and it's supposed to work on all skin types. It bills itself as velvety soft, lightweight, and quick to absorb. In my experience, it's all of those things. It deeply nourishes without clogging pores, absorbs almost instantly, and its price of $28 pretty much solidifies it as a triple threat. My other comparable go-to is $68, for comparison. 

    The characteristically "obsessively formulated" moisturizer has a blend of squalane, coconut extracts, and glycerin to form a nourishing barrier over your skin, sealing in the active ingredients in any serums you use and maintaining hydration. It's also infused with prebiotics to support the community of good bacteria on your skin — a big part of maintaining clear skin

    I use The One Cream twice a day, once after washing my face in the morning and again before bed at night. Despite — or perhaps thanks to — the fact that I began using it after a combination of Differin gel and the Caribbean sun of my holiday break made my skin a flaky, dry disaster, I was impressed by it. I was stuck between thicker options that gave me semi-greasy hydration all-day long and clogged my pores, or lightweight formulas that helped immediately but withered within a few hours. Maelove's The One Cream is a great in-between and it left my skin feeling hydrated and bouncy for the entire day. In other words, it's a great everyday moisturizer for all skin types, especially sensitive complexions like mine. Wear it alone or under makeup, just make sure to rub it in — it doesn't seem to absorb without it.

    Maelove's product list is a short one — six products total — befitting of a mission to make skincare accessible. Instead of a plethora of variants you have to wade through, Maelove makes one great version of the essential you need that works for all skin types. But, after trying two-thirds of what they make, I'm happy to conclude that they aren't a one-hit wonder, but are, in fact, a really solid line— and an exciting one at that.

    The One Cream, available at Maelove, $27.95

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    benchmark, $35

    • With all of the expectations around it, Valentine's Day gifting can be hard.
    • You don't need a grand romantic gesture to show someone you care about them this February 14th.
    • We rounded up 27 sweet gifts, all on Amazon, that are a great way to show someone you love them this Valentine's Day. 

    Finding the right Valentine's Day gift is hard. Striking the balance between sweet and sentimental, but not too sweet and sentimental, can be difficult. Ultimately, many of us end up in the drugstore aisle, searching for a cute card and box of chocolates at the last minute.

    If you're in a bind, don't worry — you don't need to resort to a Hallmark card or a sweeping romantic gesture. We found some products that make sweet Valentine's Day gifts, whether you're looking for something for your boyfriend, spouse, best friend, sister, or classmate. From nice kitchen gadgets to little gifts that show them you're thinking of them, we covered it all. Plus, everything's on Amazon, so you can get most of these products just in time for the big day.

    Keep reading for 27 sweet Valentine's Day gifts, all from Amazon:

    An Airbnb gift card

    Airbnb Gift Card, E-mail Delivery, from $25

    You know they've been wanting to travel more, so bring them one step closer with an Airbnb gift card that they can put towards accommodations or activities on your next trip together.



    A monthly coffee subscription

    Amazon Bean Box, $26/month

    Coffee connoisseurs will love the chance to try a new bag of fresh beans from Portland and Seattle's top roasters each month. A subscription will get them a 12-ounce bag, along with tasting notes and brewing tips. You can choose from espresso, light, dark, decaf, and medium varieties to ensure they get something they'll love. 



    A classic floral bouquet

    Benchmark Bouquets Dozen Rainbow Roses, $35.62

    Yes, roses may seem overdone on Valentine's day, but it's for good reason. They look beautiful, smell amazing, and add a necessary burst of color to the dark, cold winter months. 



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    andy murray 1

    • Andy Murray, one of Great Britain's most successful athletes, has announced he will retire from tennis this year.
    • The former world number one tennis player was at his peak in 2016.
    • It's thought he will retire with a fortune of $165 million, most of which comes from endorsements and sponsorships.
    • Here's how Murray makes and spends his money.

    Sir Andy Murray, one of the most successful British sports stars of all time, just announced he intends to retire from tennis after Wimbledon this year— although he may be forced to do so earlier, after the Australian Open.

    The athlete has been struggling with hip pain for almost two years, which has prevented him from playing at his best.

    However, Murray's impact on the tennis world is far from over.

    He has made a name for himself as a champion of equality in the sport, regularly speaking out aginst sexism in the industry.

    Read more: Touching tributes are pouring in for Andy Murray, who just announced his retirement from tennis in a tearful press conference

    A successful playing career has also afforded the Scotsman the opportunity to work with sponsors, which often brings in more money than winning Grand Slams.

    In fact, Murray, 31, has earned $61 million in prize money and just over $100 million in earnings from endorsements, bonuses, and appearance fees over his career, according to Forbes.

    But unlike other world famous athletes like Usain Bolt, the Scottish tennis champion is frugal with his money, preferring to invest in small businesses and property to develop his multi-million pound fortune.

    From luxury hotels to book deals and salad chains, here is how Murray makes and spends his $165 million fortune.

    Edith Hancock contributed to an earlier version of this article.

    Tennis great Andy Murray has announced he will retire from the sport this year — and he'll be leaving with a net worth of $165 million.

    Source: Forbes.



    While $61 million of this fortune has come from prize money, just over $100 million is from endorsements, bonuses, and appearance fees.

    Source: Forbes.



    2016 was Murray's most fruitful year, winning nine titles. He picked up a cool $2.5 million after winning his second Wimbledon men's singles title alone.

    Source: Telegraph



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    the best OLED tv

    • The LG C8 is the best OLED TV you can buy because it shows off how powerful OLED technology is with excellent black levels, an attractive design, and a slew of features.

    OLED TVs have been very popular among home theater enthusiasts for the past few years, and the continually dropping price point of this premium product means there's never been a better time to invest in one. If you want the best streaming, gaming, and movie watching experience, there's no substitute for an OLED TV.

    OLED stands for "organic light emitting diode," and while that just seems like technical jargon, it has serious implications for your TV watching experience. Instead of using a traditional backlight, OLED screens use a carbon-based film between two conductors that creates light when an electric current passes through. That means when there's black in an image, the TV won't display light at all, making for the highest dynamic range of any TV technology.

    Like any high-end technology, though, there's a lot of confusion surrounding what you should buy. LG, Samsung, and Sony each have their own marketing lingo, which makes it difficult to know if you're even buying an OLED in the first place.

    We've scoured the internet and tested some of the premium options on the market so you can find the best OLED TV in our buying guide

    Here are the best OLED TVs you can buy:

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

    The best OLED TV overall

    Why you'll love it: With a reasonable price tag and excellent image processing, the LG C8 is the best bang for your buck in the OLED TV market.

    Based on buyer reviews, commentary by experts online, and my own hands-on testing, the LG C8 is where you should look first if you want to invest in an OLED TV. It includes the best features from LG's TV line while maintaining a reasonable price tag. As the mid-tier option in LG's line-up, it's also the centerpiece of most sales.

    OLED TVs also rely on processing power, and the C8 is no slouch in this regard. It uses the a9 processor, which is the same processor used in LG's super expensive W8 series of TVs. The processor provides the C8 TV with the best color accessory and sharpness. LG's C8 even earned an "excellent" rating from Consumer Reports for its picture quality.

    The C8 also supports HDR content which, unlike with many cheaper TVs, isn't just a flat marketing point. The TV supports HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, and Advanced HDR by Technicolor, meaning you can take advantage of just about any HDR content that's available. It's great future proofing, as HDR content is ever growing.

    When dropping this kind of money on a TV, though, none of that should come as a surprise. The C8 may differentiate itself with excellent image quality, but the ThinQ AI is what sets it apart from the pack. It integrates with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can watch anything just by yelling at your digital assistant from across the room.

    Furthermore, the C8 comes with Gallery Mode, which will cycle paintings and photographs across the screen to avoid the dreaded OLED burn-in. It's also got Dolby Atmos support and access to nearly every streaming platform available — though HBO is oddly omitted.

    Pros: Excellent image quality, ThinQ AI, relatively inexpensive

    Cons: No HBO support

    Buy the LG C8 55-inch OLED TV on Amazon for $1,897 (originally $1,996.99)



    The best OLED TV for less than $1,600

    Why you'll love it: LG cut some corners to bring the B8 to a lower price point, and while it's not as good as our top pick, it gets damn close for about $300 less.

    The LG B8 is mostly the same TV as the C8. Like its more expensive sibling, it uses LG's WebOS, supports a range of HDR content, and comes with the same integration with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The only thing that's different is the image processor.

    It uses the now dated a7 processor, which LG only uses in this TV. While it would be great to say there isn't a difference between this processor and LG's flagship one, there is. The higher-end a9 processor helps bring colors to life more and bumps up the sharpness, but only by a thin margin.

    In a side-by-side comparison with other LG OLEDs, the a9 processor reigns supreme. However, when put against competitors, the a7 still shines. The difference between the two is really splitting hairs. The a7 processor helps the B8 beat out TVs that are double its price.

    Believe it or not, the largest difference between the B8 and C8 is the stand. LG opted for the narrow, angled stand seen on 2017's C7 instead of the wider, curved version seen on the C8. When put on a wall, though, the B8 and C8 look identical.  

    Pros: Cheapest true OLED TV on the market, Google Assistant integration

    Cons: Older image processor, no HBO support

    Buy the LG B8 OLED TV on Amazon for $1,597 (originally $1,796.99)



    The best high-end OLED TV

    Why you'll love it: Sony may not have the chops to compete with LG's inexpensive OLEDs, but it pulls ahead in a high-end market with the excellent app support and truly impressive audio quality of the A9F Master Series TV.

    Sony TVs have always had one word associated with them: expensive. The A9F Master Series is no exception to that, touting a price tag that's around $1,200 more than LG's competing top-tier OLED TV. Even so, Sony justifies the price with a unique spin on built-in audio and a wide range of applications.

    TV speakers are notoriously bad, but you should listen to the A9F before blowing money on a speaker system. Sony essentially turned the TV into a soundbar, utilizing the surface area of the panel to distribute sound throughout the room. It's called "Acoustic Surface Audio+," and it's impressive.

    There are six actuators behind the panel that pour sound into the room, with two dedicated woofers handling the bass. It sounds so good that I recommend using the A9F as a center speaker while connecting other bookshelf speakers for a surround setup, which Sony, thankfully, supports.

    You're paying for that tech, mostly. The image quality is about on par with LG's mid-tier OLED TVs, despite Sony's new X1 Ultimate image processor. The colors and sharpness are mostly the same, though Sony falls behind LG when fast-paced action is on screen.

    Movie watchers will be fine with either TV, but gamers should seriously look twice at the A9F. It makes a perfect pairing with the PS4 Pro, handling the detailed and chaotic graphics of AAA games with grace. The PS4 Pro supports 4K HDR gaming, too, which the A9F can handle.

    Pros: Excellent audio quality, wide app selection, great gaming experience

    Cons: Expensive, not the best movie watching experience

    Buy the Sony A9F Master Series OLED TV on Amazon for $4,498



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    dreamcloud mattress review, 1

    • Not all beds in boxes were created equal, and here to prove that is the DreamCloud, the luxury option you and your insomnia have been waiting for.
    • This mattress is nothing like the foam-only options that you've seen from rival companies in the past.
    • Rather, with eight layers (featuring one with micro-coils and another with cooling gel-infused memory foam), this is the mattress you thought you had to go to a mattress store to find.
    • It's not cheap, but when compared to other luxury mattresses on the market, it's still a great price.

    I thought I'd slept on every bed in a box in the land. I had unrolled and awaited re-flation of so many mattresses that I thought nothing short of a bonus kitten in a box could surprise me.

    This isn't to say that there wasn't some variation among the many different brands currently crowding the space. Some are better for side sleepers; some are better for athletes; some really hang their hat on being prettier than the rest (though, please, for sanitation's sake, don't sleep on your mattress sans sheets). But when it came down to it, the standard deviation in the bed-in-a-box set just wasn't that large. That is, until the DreamCloud came my way.  

    Let it be known that it is, in fact, the case that not all beds delivered to your doorstep are created equal. And the DreamCloud really wants to prove that (and itself) to you. It's unclear whether the "dream" or the "cloud" aspect applies best to the mattress — it's certainly comfortable enough for you to begin dreaming almost instantly, and while I've never slept on a cloud, I imagine that if they felt the way they looked and weren't just unsupportive piles of condensation, they'd feel a lot like this mattress.

    The DreamCloud manages to differentiate itself first and foremost with its eight-layer hybrid construction, which features a combination of gel-infused memory foam, natural latex, and most importantly, a patent-pending coil technology that somehow survives being rolled up and shipped from a warehouse to your front door. And because the DreamCloud boasts eight full layers, it's decidedly thick, which is, of course, an excellent quality in mattresses. It comes in at 15 inches, which is notably thicker than the other options on the market.

    36976626_622489974789612_5240491538621923328_o

    The topmost layer of the mattress is a TrueTufted Cashmere Blend EuroTop. Plenty of adjectives, but all your really need to know is that it's remarkably soft, and surprisingly breathable.

    If you're accustomed to waking yourself up mid-summer in a pool of your own sweat (no shame), you should get some respite from that fate with this mattress. The second layer, a gel-infused memory foam, should help, as it both offers cooling qualities as well as that body-conforming aspect that makes memory foam, well, memorable.

    Then, there's another layer of memory foam that is unique to DreamCloud, and is apparently responsible for the luxurious feel of  the bed. You'll then find a layer of Supreme Natural Latex, a hypoallergenic layer that adds a bit of extra bounce. I wouldn't recommend using this mattress for all your bed-jumping antics, but it'll do the trick if you're so inclined.

    The fifth layer is a supportive memory foam that promises deep contouring support, and the sixth is... yes, the fourth memory foam layer  thus far, which is both dense and soft, and helps support your body throughout the night. A quick note on this — as a side sleeper, I'm perpetually concerned that I'll awake the next morning with pain in my shoulder and hips. But thanks to the infinite number of memory foam layers on this bed, this was not an issue.

    Finally, we make our way to the most unique layer of them all — the  so-called BestRest Coils. This encased pocketed micro-coil compression system makes the DreamCloud feel much more like something you'd buy from a brick-and-mortar store, and not something that you found online. It also adds a bit more support throughout the bed, which again, is often lacking in bed-in-a-box purveyors. The last layer is, naturally, the final high-density memory foam you'll ever hear me speak of — it serves as the foundation, providing the base upon which you will enjoy a delightful night's rest.

    36933380_622489904789619_298756095453691904_o

    Setting up the DreamCloud isn't terribly difficult, especially if you opt for the white glove service (an additional $149), which involves DreamCloud specialists unpacking your mattress for you and taking away that old mattress that you never want to see again.

    Of course, if you'd rather exercise your independence, that's fine, too. The DreamCloud is pretty heavy, so I'd recommend grabbing a friend or a sleeping partner to help you unroll the mattress. After all, you'll both be reaping the benefits.

    If you're not entirely convinced about the DreamCloud, don't worry — no hard feelings. But trying is believing, and as such, the company offers a 365-night trial. Yes, that's a full year for you to make an assessment as to whether or not you are, in fact, sleeping on a cloud. In fact, it might even be enough time for science to help us determine exactly what sleeping on a cloud feels like. In addition, DreamCloud offers an Everlong warranty, which is to say that the company guarantees the construction, materials, quality, and durability of DreamCloud for the original purchaser forever.

    All that said, the DreamCloud doesn't have the dreamiest of prices. There are, in fact, beds in boxes that you can order for less than the $1,199 starting price that DreamCloud offers for a queen. But to be honest, you'd be hard pressed to find one that is quite as comfortable. And I'm still trying to decide if you can really put a price on sweet, sweet repose.

    Buy the DreamCloud mattress for $200 off right now: $599 (twin, currently sold out), $799 (twin XL, currently sold out), $999 (full), $1,199 (queen), $1,299 (king/California king)

    SEE ALSO: The best sheets you can buy for your bed

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    1

    • American Express has been tied to travel and experiences since launching a travel division more than 100 years ago.
    • The company has built on its years of experience and its knowledge of customers' preferences, to offer an unrivaled set of experiential and travel benefits for its premium card members.
    • The Platinum Card from American Express offers a lot of tangible value (for example, I got more than $2,000 worth of value in my first year), as well as access to exclusive events, awesome travel perks, and unique experiences.
    • So what kinds of experiences, services, and benefits are available for Platinum card members today? Read on to see.

    It's interesting how credit card have become inextricably tied to travel (and tangentially, experiences) in our minds. Google search trends show that more people search for "travel credit card" than just about any other type of card or reward scheme, while people are fixated on the flight benefits, miles, and exclusive access to events and experiences they can get through their credit cards. 

    It's partly because the first credit card rewards were exclusively frequent flyer miles, tied to co-branded airline credit cards. The very first frequent flyer program was launched by Texas International Airlines in 1979, while the three biggest programs in the United States today — run by American Airlines, Delta, and United — launched in 1981. Within a few years, those co-branded cards offered customers a chance to earn extra miles as a reward for spending, according to the Policy & Economic Research Council. The first cash-back credit card came a few years later, and credit card-specific rewards programs started to pop up in the late-1980s — AmEx launched its program as "Membership Miles" in 1991, according to the company.

    Meanwhile, over the past decades, travel has become a part of a larger "experiential" mindset that people look for.

    If there's one brand that illustrates the link between credit (and charge) cards and travel, it's American Express.

    As opposed to competitors Visa and Mastercard, which process payments on behalf of lenders and were formed in the late-1950s–1960s, American Express has been around since before the American Civil War. Originally a shipping business, American Express began issuing money orders and travelers checks before the turn of the century, and issued one of the first charge cards in 1959. 

    By the time AmEx began issuing travelers checks just before 1900, travel and movement had become a key part of its philosophy and strategy, leading the company to launch a dedicated travel division in 1915, which served as a travel agency and provided a range of other services. By the time AmEx launched the plastic charge card in 1959, travel services were deeply tied to the company's target market and reputation, and therefore linked to the marketing for the new transactional tool. When it launched its premium Platinum card in 1984, "unparalleled access to experiences, and unparalleled service" were the essential offerings, according to Janey Whiteside, EVP of global premium products and benefits at AmEx, during a recent conversation with Business Insider. 

    Today's American Express is similarly focused on experiences and travel, as well as a degree of service that it has used to differentiate itself from competitors.

    Massimo Bottura Amex BIO Event in Hong Kong_2 (American Express)

    In the years since the Platinum card launched, it's also evolved into the premier travel service product within its class. Along with access to airport lounges, credits to cover airline fees, and access to a well-resourced concierge and travel service, the Platinum card offers cardholders exceptional value — I've previously written about how I got more than $2,000 worth of value in my first year having the card.

    When AmEx re-launched the premium Platinum Card in 2017 with a new suite of benefits (which partly offset an increased annual fee), it solidified its positioning within the market as a product for those who seek adventure, experiences, and new things. In the years since the card's launch, according to Whiteside, "[AmEx has] stayed true to [its] origins, and as we've learned more about and from our card members, and seen their taste and interest evolve, we've strived to evolve as well."

    "Now in 2018, we see that our Platinum card members are passionate about travel, entertainment, superior service, and have evolved in how they undertake that," said Whiteside. "When we thought about the re-launch, we kept that at the forefront of our strategy."

    So what kinds of experiences, services, and benefits are available for Platinum card members today? Read on to see.

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

    American Express Platinum House at the Parker Palm Springs_2 (Getty for American Express)

    Platinum Houses

    Over the past few years, American Express has offered exclusive "Platinum Houses" and pop-up lounges at major cultural events that align with the composite interests of the general card membership, according to Whiteside. These events range from major sporting events like the US Open to the annual Coachella music festival, as well as other events like Art Basel in Miami, the Aspen Food and Wine festival,  and more. 

    Access is complimentary for Platinum card members (as well as those with the exclusive invite-only Centurion card, also known as the "Black" card), as well as a few guests. According to Whiteside, these spaces are designed as a respite, a chance to relax, and a chance to enhance the event with exclusive extras.

    There are typically areas to rest and relax during downtime between events, wellness-focused programs such as SoulCycle and yoga classes, fashion displays, pop-up shopping opportunities, and, typically, complimentary food and cocktails.

    There's also generally exclusive entertainment. For example, during Art Basal last December, Drake played a secret show in the Platinum House for just 400 fans, all cardholders. At Coachella, a number of artists performed at the space, including Julia Michaels, Justine Skye, Duckwrth, and more.

    Occasionally, these spaces are also open to all AmEx card members, although there are usually extra amenities for Platinum and Centurion members. 

    Exclusive dining at seasonal hotspots offered by Eleven Madison Park

    Over the past couple of years, American Express has worked with Eleven Madison Park, the legendary Michelin-starred restaurant that last year was named "best restaurant in the world," to open exclusive dining experiences for American Express cardholders.

    Last summer, Eleven Madison Park's Manhattan location closed during the summer for renovations, and opened a temporary pop-up restaurant in the Hamptons. Dubbed "EMP Summer House," the restaurant's dishes were designed by star chef Daniel Humm, the star behind the main location. American Express and Eleven Madison Park recently announced that it would open the EMP Summer House again this year — even though the main restaurant is staying open.

    Instead of a prix fixe menu like the main restaurant, which usually runs around $300 per person, the EMP Summer House features an à la carte menu featuring a seamless blend of fine dining with light, local season fare, according to Whiteside.

    Additionally, AmEx and Eleven Madison Park announced a new EMP Winter House, set to run from December through March, 2019, in Aspen Colorado.

    EMP Summer House in partnership with American Express_Fish Tacos

    While this is less of a Platinum event, as its open to all AmEx card members, it's representative of the broader efforts of American Express to provide experiential benefits to its membership. There will also be an exclusive event for Platinum card holders on June 1, and, according to Whiteside, possibly other special events during the summer.

    An AmEx card will be required in order to make a reservation, and AmEx will be the only accepted payment method. Reservations open on Tuesday, May 1, and can be made at empsummerhouse.com.

    By Invitation Only

    American Express offers hundreds of events each year with exclusive access or benefits for card members. Some of these are things like early access to concert tickets, or preferred seating at shows, but AmEx also has about 100 "By Invitation Only" events around the world each year — these can be exciting.

    By Invitation Only events, which are exclusive to Platinum and Centurion card members, include things like backstage tours at concerts, special trips, VIP access to events like the Monaco Grand Prix, access to cocktail parties with thought leaders and insiders across a range of industries, and more.

    At the time of publication, there were eight events open to registration, including tickets to a small, intimate insider's discussion with designer Christian Louboutin (and a shopping credit), VIP access to the Cannes film festival (including private lunches with prominent film critics, access to talks by film industry insiders, and a VIP invite to the American Pavilion gala), an intimate wine tasting and dinner at the famous Per Se restaurant with chef Thomas Keller, and an incredible, curated weekend away during harvest season in Napa Valley.

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

    Concierge and travel planning

    One of the most underrated benefits of the AmEx Platinum is access to a full in-house concierge service. To be completely honest, when I first opened my card, I figured this was a benefit I would never use. However, as my (then) fiancée and I were planning our honeymoon in Japan, we realized that we had a free night in Tokyo.

    Platinum Card from American Express

    By then we were a little "planned out," and knew that it could be difficult to make restaurant reservations in Japan without a local phone number, so we decided to try the AmEx concierge. I called, and gave them an idea of what we were looking for, and within a day, the service had gotten back to me with a few recommendations. We chose one, and they made the reservation for us. Dinner was incredible, and it couldn't have been easier.

    Despite the incredible amount of information we have at our fingertips, it's still helpful, on occasion, to have the concierge. Whether you're trying to get tickets to a show or concert when they go on sale, or you need to send a gift to a client and just haven't gotten around to it, or you need suggestions for a restaurant that can accommodate a large group at the last minute, the Platinum concierge can help. 

    Centurion Lounges

    One of the most useful benefits of the Platinum card for travelers is access to more than 1,000 airport lounges around the world. These include lounges in the Priority Pass network, as well as Delta SkyClub lounges, but AmEx's proprietary Centurion Lounges are widely considered to be the best.

    Centurion Lounges are only accessible to AmEx Platinum cardholders (and people with the invitation-only "Black" card). Cardholders can also bring two guests for free, and can purchase day passes for any additional travel companions. The lounges feature a ton of complimentary amenities including food and alcoholic drinks designed by top chefs, mixologists, and sommeliers, soft drinks and coffee, lots of comfortable seating, fast Wi-Fi, sound-dampening workspaces, showers, spa treatments in some locations, newspapers and magazines, kids areas, and more.

    Hong Kong Centurion Lounge

    There are currently nine Centurion Lounges. The most recent two opened last fall in Philadelphia and Hong Kong — the only international location. This year, AmEx has announced new lounges at two additional airports — New York-JFK and Denver International Airport— and rumors are swirling about new locations, including in Los Angeles.

    "Watch the space over the coming months for more announcements and information," said Whiteside, the EVP at AmEx, about whether the company is planning future locations.

    Bottom line

    As competition in the premium card and rewards space has grown fiercer, between new, stripped down and straightforwards rewards programs, and high-earning, high-value cards from issuers like Chase, American Express has doubled down on what it knows best — travel, experiences, service, and exclusivity. 

    In building and enhancing the Platinum card, the company has continued to create a product that not only offers more than enough tangible value to outweigh the annual fee, but also provides opportunities for once-in-a-lifetime experiences and elevated travel.

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

    SEE ALSO: I got more than $2,000 worth of value from the American Express Platinum credit card in my first year — despite its $550 annual fee

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Money

    • Money allows you to live the life you want to live, if you spend it appropriately.
    • Certain things are worth splurging on, like products or services that will earn you more money in the future, education, and experiences.
    • Here are six things that are worth buying, according to a financial expert.

     

    When making a buying decision, do you often go cheap because you're saving money for a rainy day? Or do you splurge because you like the best and no one knows what tomorrow will bring?

    There are certain criteria that people who are good with money consider when deciding whether to splurge on a purchase.  

    Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert at Nerdwallet, defined someone who is good with money as "strategic about how they save money and how they spend money."

    "They're not surprised by unexpected expenses, because they have a plan in place for that kind of thing. They also have a plan in place for the good things," Palmer told Business Insider, like vacations or their children's college tuition.

    She also said that splurging is just not for everyone. You shouldn't splurge if you have credit card debt or are already spending more than you have the budget for, Palmer said. "A good rule of thumb to determine if you are overspending is to apply the 50/30/20 budgeting method, where 50% of your budget goes to needs, 20% to savings and debt repayment, and 30% to wants."

    If you're wondering what items are worth spending a little more on, here are six things that smart people splurge on:

    SEE ALSO: 6 expensive things that are totally worth the money

    1. Products that earn you more money

    Purchases that help you advance in your work are a good investment, according to Palmer. Her list includes a professional outfit for your first day of work, a good laptop, or a reliable car, if that’s important to your livelihood. "All the tools that allow you to do better," she said, are worth a bit of a splurge.

    Palmer added that coaching can be a good career investment for entrepreneurs and employees alike. "Whatever is hard for you and challenging for you, investing in a coach to help you with that," she said, is a worthwhile investment.



    2. Services that save you time

    Get your groceries delivered instead of going to the store. Send your laundry out or hire a house cleaner. If you could theoretically spend that time at work and earn more than you spend on those services, you come out ahead, Palmer said.

    A common theme in Palmer's advice is to splurge on things that give you more time to enjoy your life. "To me, money is all about giving you the life that you want, and that usually means spending time in the ways that make you happy," she said. "The best thing you can do with your money is to use it to free up time."



    3. High-value rewards cards

    Premium travel reward cards can come with hefty fees — the Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, costs $450 per year. But for some people, the fee can be worth it.

    "If you spend a lot of money on travel and want to redeem a lot of rewards on travel," Palmer said, these cards offer a better value than mileage cards with no annual fees.

    It all depends on how much you travel and how much you charge to the card, but Palmer noted that you could earn thousands of dollars in miles or points with a premium rewards card, which makes the annual fee a smart splurge.



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    nancy pelosi donald trump

    • The government shutdown is now in day 21, tying the record for the longest shutdown in the modern era.
    • There appears to be no end in sight as President Donald Trump and Democrats dig in on their border wall stances.
    • As the shutdown drags on, more federal workers and agencies become affected.
    • Here's your rundown on how the government ended up in a shutdown and where we go from here.

    President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats seem to be dug in over the government shutdown, and after 21 days without a funding bill, there's no end in sight.

    At the heart of the dispute is Trump's demand for just over $5 billion toward a long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border. Democrats insist they will allocate no money toward a wall.

    Those factors mean the possibility of a record-breaking shutdown is almost inevitable. As it stands the shutdown is in its 21st day, tying the 1995-1996 shutdown for the longest shutdown since the start of the modern budgeting era in 1974.

    Read more:Here's a history of all the previous shutdowns in the modern era»

    The shutdown only affects part of the federal government, as seven of the 12 bills that fund the government were passed in September. But a large number of departments are shuttered, including agriculture, commerce, justice, homeland security, the interior, state, transportation, and housing and urban development.

    The problems caused by the shutdown are wide-ranging, from waste piling up in national parks to uncertainty for 800,000 federal workers about when their next paycheck will come. And as the shutdown drags on, the problems caused by the shutdown are expected to keep getting worse.

    Read more:Here's what happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a government shutdown»

    With all that in mind, here's a rundown of just how we got here:

    The pre-shutdown fight

    • December 6: Congress passes a short-term funding bill to delay the shutdown until after the date of President George H.W. Bush's funeral.
    • December 11: Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer meet with President Donald Trump to discuss the funding deadline. Trump demands $5 billion in border-wall funding, Democrats counter with an offer of $1.6 billion in general border-security funding. Trump rejects the idea and offers to take the blame for the shutdown. The president says he would be "proud" to shut down the government.
    • December 19: The Senate passes a clean short-term funding bill, called a continuing resolution (CR), that does not include border-wall funding but will keep the government open until February 8. Trump supported the bill at the time, Senate GOP leaders said.
    • December 20: Trump flip-flops on the clean CR after listening to attacks from conservative TV pundits and the hardline House Freedom Caucus, and he announces that he will not sign a bill with no wall funding. House Republicans then pass a CR that includes $5.7 billion in wall funds.

    Shutdown kicks in and the Christmas break

    • December 21: Trump demands the Senate vote for the House version of the CR and tells Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to get rid of the legislative filibuster in order to pass the vote with only GOP lawmakers, but the idea is a nonstarter. The Senate votes down the House version of the bill, and the government moves closer to a shutdown at the midnight deadline.
    • December 22: McConnell announces in the afternoon that lawmakers have not reached a deal, and adjourns the Senate until December 27. Senior Trump administration officials also suggested to reporters that the White House would not back down on the wall, indicating that only Senate Democrats could end the shutdown by caving on the funding.
    • January 1: After a relatively quiet Christmas break, Trump suggests Nancy Pelosi should make a deal. "Border Security and the Wall "thing" and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker! Let's make a deal?" Trump tweets.

    Democrats take control and the shutdown gets real

    • January 2: Congressional leaders from both parties meet with Trump at the White House, it is the first face-to-face meeting in three weeks. The president enlists Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to make the case for the border wall. Following the meeting, Democratic leaders reiterate that no money will be allocated for the wall.
    • January 3: Democrats take over control of the House and Pelosi is elected Speaker. Later in the night, the new Democratic majority passes two bills which would both fund the government that do not include funding for the border wall. The bills even earned a handful of GOP votes. Despite the bills being nearly identical to the measures passed by the Senate before the holiday break, Republican Senate leaders reject the idea of taking up the bills.
    • January 4: Congressional leaders meet with Trump at the White House, where the president told Democrats that the shutdown could last for "months or even years" if no border wall money was allocated. Democrats suggested that Trump allow the government to reopen and then fight over the wall.

    Shutdown nears history

    • January 5: Representatives from the White House meet with representatives from Schumer and Pelosi's offices, according to reports the talks go poorly. Trump also floats the idea of declaring a national emergency to secure the funds for the wall.
    • January 6: Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that talks between the Trump administration and Democrats were difficult. "I think this is going to drag on a lot longer," Mulvaney said.
    • January 8:Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office, giving a speech that is carried by all the major networks in primetime. The president largely sticks to previous talking points regarding the situation at the border and does not declare a national emergency. Schumer and Pelosi offer a rebuttal, also sticking to previous talking points.
    • January 9: A White House meeting between congressional leaders and Trump ends abruptly. Schumer claims that Trump "sort of slammed the table" and left the room when Pelosi again rejected border wall funding. Republican leaders dismiss the idea that Trump slammed the table and tell reporters Trump even "passed out candy" to the participants. 
    • January 10:Trump travels to McAllen, Texas to tour the border and meet with local officials. The president once again ignites speculation that he will declare a national emergency to get money for the wall. Pelosi says Trump doesn't really want a wall, just a fight over it because "he loves the distraction that this is from his other problems."
    • January 11: The shutdown ties the record for the longest shutdown of the modern era.

    SEE ALSO: From airport lines to food inspections, here are all the ways the government shutdown is impacting the lives of average Americans

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'


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    The best nail polish remover

    • Most nail polish removers are either harsh or ineffective, but the Zoya Remove Plus 3-in-1 Formula is neither.
    • It’s beloved by experts and shoppers alike for its gentle yet powerful formula that leaves nails clean and hydrated.

    I hate removing nail polish so much that whenever I get a manicure I let it chip off into oblivion for weeks before finally taking a soaked cotton round to the damage. And gel polish? Forget it. I once let that go for so long that I basically tried to create a whole new trend of half-painted nails by letting the polish grow out.

    Part of the problem is that I’ve never found a nail polish remover that I loved. I have always picked up whatever giant bottle of acetone is cheapest at the drugstore. But there are actually a lot of options — acetone vs. non-acetone, wipes vs. caps, conditioning formulas designed to help your nails recover vs. simpler ones aimed toward getting the job done.

    If this all sounds too complicated for you, Insider Picks is here to help. We’ve researched the best nail polish removers in every category, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for — and stop destroying your precious nail beds in the process.

    Here are the best nail polish removers you can buy:

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

    The best nail polish remover overall

    Why you’ll love it: Zoya Remove Plus 3-in-1 Formula is a hydrating, acetone-free formula that strips away polish and leaves your nails happier and healthier than they were before.

    Nail polish remover, like nail polish itself, has a bad reputation. Many formulas strip your nails of essential nutrients, leaving them thin and brittle. Zoya Remove Plus 3-in-1 Formula has been recommended in all corners of the internet for its ability to wipe polish away while restoring moisture and nutrients to dried-out nails.

    The formula is so gentle because it lacks acetone, which is the active ingredient in many popular removers. Acetone effectively clears polish away, but can be harsh on the nails themselves. Despite the acetone-free formula, reviewers can't say enough good things about Zoya Remove Plus’ ability to remove polish quickly and easily.

    Speaking of reviewers, this product has been recommended by countless beauty editors and shoppers. Zoya Remove Plus has a 4.5 rating on Amazon and Influenster, based on 392 reviews and 4,518 reviews, respectively. It’s been featured on best-of lists at The Cut, Allure, Her Style Code, and Wise Bread.

    Fans love the smell, which The Cut editor Ashley Weatherford compared to “baby shampoo,” the no-spill dispenser, and gentle formula that delivers on its promises.

    Pros: Acetone-free, hydrating formula, packaging features a pump, pleasant smell

    Cons: Pricier than most drugstore options

    Buy a 32-ounce bottle of the Zoya Remove Plus 3-in-1 Formula on Amazon for $25



    The best sponge nail polish remover

    Why you’ll love it: Tucked inside the Pretty Nails Regular Nail Polish Remover jar is a soaked sponge that dissolves polish like magic.

    The Pretty Nails Regular Nail Polish Remover certainly sounds too good to be true. Inside the unassuming 8-ounce jar is a piece of foam soaked through with an effective conditioning formula with acetone for easy polish removal.

    You’re supposed to stick your finger through the opening in the foam, swirl around to remove the polish, and voila, all clean! It can’t be that easy, can it?

    Well, it seems like maybe it can be. Reviewers agree that this stuff actually works, and works really well. The remover has a 4.1-star rating on Influenster based on 26 reviews and is an Amazon’s Choice pick.

    “This is easy to use, and it works fabulous. Better than any other nail polish remover I have ever used,” writes one shopper. “No need for cotton balls. Strong but feels a little like it moisturizes the skin around the nails.”

    Another reviewer says, “Pretty Nails is, without a doubt, the best nail polish remover on the market.”

    The only real downsides are the relatively high price tag and the fact that some reviewers note it’s harder to find in stores than online. Unlike most sponge polish removers,this one even comes with a separate sponge to use on toes and hard-to-reach spots.

    Pros: No mess, removes polish quickly without additional cotton pads, good for travel, comes with sponge for toe polish

    Cons: Contains acetone, high price tag

    Buy the Pretty Nails Regular Nail Polish Remover on Amazon for $11.99



    The best drugstore nail polish remover

    Why you’ll love it: A good nail polish remover doesn’t have to cost you — the Sally Hansen Strengthening Nail Polish Remover is one of the best on the market and it’s less than $6.

    If the $10-ish price point seems a little high for such a basic staple, you’re in luck. There are certainly good, effective polish removers to be found at the drugstore for less than the cost of a fancy latte, and Sally Hansen Strengthening Nail Polish Remover is the best.

    This acetone-based polish remover also claims to strengthen nails thanks to the glycerin, vitamins, and proteins in the formula. Don’t expect anything fancy here — this is your classic liquid polish remover that comes in a plastic bottle.

    You’ll need cotton balls or some other absorbent material of your choice to apply the product to your nails, so it’s not a one-and-done kind of deal like the Sephora Collection sponge. But for a simple, effective option that won’t destroy your nails, you can’t beat it.

    Sally Hansen Strengthening Nail Polish Remover is an Amazon’s Choice pick and has a 4.1 rating based on 255 reviews.

    “Most nail polishes make my already thin nails even more weak and brittle, but I truly believe this one helps strengthen my nails,” writes one reviewer. “I'll admit, I don't paint my nails often — once or twice a month — but when it comes time to remove the old polish, this remover makes it effortless. It's perfect!”

    Pros: Affordable, easy to use, contains nail strengthening ingredients

    Cons: Acetone, strong scent

    Buy Sally Hansen Strengthening Nail Polish Remover on Amazon for $5.75



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    house for sale

    • Chinese people represent the largest share of foreign buyers in the United States real estate market. 
    • They tend to invest in foreign real estate as a way to safeguard their money and educate their children abroad, according to a CNBC report.
    • California is the top destination for Chinese buyers, with a specific interest in San Francisco.

    Chinese buyers aren't shying away from the US real estate market in light of President Trump's trade war.

    "The Chinese are basically politically agnostic," San Francisco-based real estate agent Michi Olsontold CNBC's Diana Olick. "What I mean by that is even though there is a great tension between [the] US government and Chinese, the Chinese citizen seems to be able to separate the political turmoil with the sound real estate investment."

    Wealthy Chinese people have long been drawn to the US real estate market, and now is as good a time as any to throw a hat in the ring.

    Securities firm China International Capital Corporation (CICC) said 2019 is forecasted to be the "year of recession" for real estate in China, the South China Morning Post reported. As home sales fall and local panic sets in, Chinese citizens appear to be ramping up their foreign real-estate investments.

    Even middle-class Chinese buyers are "searching for lower-priced homes" in America, and "using mortgages much more often," Olick wrote.

    Read more: Chinese investors are inflating housing markets in the US, Canada, and Australia

    As the Financial Times reported last year, Chinese "elite worry about pollution giving their children asthma, a stiff education system that their youngsters might not thrive in, and losing their rank within China's ever-shifting social hierarchy. Emigrating, or being educated abroad, gives children a boost in status as well as access to societies seen as more stable."

    According to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Chinese citizens have represented the largest share of foreign buyers in the US real estate market for the last six years, outpacing every other country by both number of residential units purchased and total dollar amount spent. Buyers from China bought 40,400 units totaling $30.4 billion between April 2017 and March 2018, the latest data available from NAR.

    They spent a median of $439,100 per purchase in the first half of 2018 — about 17% less than the previous year. And mortgages are becoming more common, perhaps due in equal parts to an increase in specialized lenders and an influx of middle-class buyers who can't afford to hand over cash, Olick reported.

    Fifty-eight percent of all non-resident Chinese buyers paid for real estate in all cash in 2018 — a common behavior of high-net-worth buyers — compared to 65% the previous year.

    "The Chinese people still see the United States as a safe harbor where they can take their assets and park their money not only for their money but also for the future of their children," Olson told CNBC.

    California is a top location for Chinese buyers, with a specific demand for San Francisco, and there's growing interest in Texas, Florida, and Georgia, Olick reports. 

    As Jay Xiao, general manager of the East-West Property brokerage in Shanghai, told the Financial Times, "It's more annoying to move money out, but the vast majority feel it's worth it to secure their kids' health and education."

    Read the full CNBC story here »

    SEE ALSO: The top 10 cities for buying a house in 2019, where jobs are plentiful, construction is booming, and young people are moving in

    DON'T MISS: What a $500,000 home looks like in 25 major cities across America

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 7 science-backed ways to a happier and healthier 2019 that you can do the first week of the new year


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