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Meet America's Youngest Female Billionaire, An Heiress To The In-N-Out Burger Fortune

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lynsi torresLynsi Torres, the 30-year-old owner and president of In-N-Out Burger, is one of the youngest female billionaires on the planet, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index.

How did that happen?

She inherited the fast food chain after a series of deaths in the family, Seth Lubove at Bloomberg News reported.

In-N-Out was founded by her grandparents, Harry and Esther Snyder. Harry died in 1976 and one of his sons, Rich, took over. Rich died in a plane crash when he was 41, and Torres' father, Harry Guy Snyder, took over in 1993. Guy died in 1999 of a prescription drug overdose at the age of 49. Esther, Torres' grandmother, controlled In-N-Out until 2006, when she died at 86.

That left Torres as the only heir to In-N-Out. She currently has half ownership through a trust, but will get the entire company upon turning 35.

Torres doesn't have a college degree and is on her third marriage. Oh, and as Gawker's Hamilton Nolan noted, she's also a competitive drag racer.

She's pretty mysterious, too. Apparently, even people in the restaurant industry don't know much about her.

“I have no clue about her,” restaurant consultant Janet Lowder told Bloomberg. “I was even surprised there was a granddaughter.”

We do know that she owns a $17.4 million, 16,600-square-foot mansion in Bradbury, California. It has seven bedrooms, 16 bathrooms, and a whole bunch of amenities.

SEE ALSO: Smashburger Is Trying To Revolutionize 'Better Burgers' [PHOTOS] >

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Sushi Chefs Accused Of Selling Whale Meat Could Face Jail Time

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Riyou Sushi

Three years ago, a Santa Monica Airport restaurant known as The Hump was caught serving illegal whale meat in an undercover sting operation.

The restaurant was closed, and the two chefs and parent company seemed to get away with only slap-on-the-wrist misdemeanors that were soon dismissed by federal prosecutors. But the story wasn't over.

Now, a federal grand jury has indicted the owners and two chefs with nine counts of conspiracy and smuggling felony charges. If convicted, chef Kiyoshiro Yamamoto could face 67 years in prison, and the restaurant's parent company could face a $1.2 million fine, according to a report in the LA Times.

The second chef could get 10 years if convicted.

The original charges were levied after a sting operation led by rock singer Zoli Teglas and the documentarians of The Cover, which exposed dolphin hunting in Japan.

A waitress at The Hunt described a dish as containing "whale," and the meat was then analyzed in a lab and determined to be the endangered Sei whale meat. Sei whales are protected under both the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

SEE ALSO: The 10 Restaurants Wall Streeters Love When They're Stuck At Their Desks For Dinner

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A Minnesota Couple Was Amazed By What They Saw On A Luxury Cruise To Antarctica

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DNU Sandy and Steve Antarctica

High on our list of 13 Places You Need To Visit In 2013, Antarctica is one of the most strange and breathtakingly beautiful places on earth.

The continent has become a hot tourist destination — 35,000 visitors are expected to visit this coming season alone. (To put that in perspective, Antarctica's "permanent" population typically ranges between 1,000-4,000, most of whom are international scientists).

Click here to jump right to photos of Antarctica >>

The most common ways to see Antarctica are commercial cruises with shore visits, land expeditions, or sightseeing by air. In 2011, Sandy and Steve, two retirees living in Minnesota, hoped to try the 11-hour Antarctica-flyover excursion from Punta Arenas, Chile to see the frozen scenery for themselves.

There was only one problem — that flight is known as one of the most cancelled excursions in the world due to bad weather, and Sandy and Steve's trip was no exception. They wrote off ever visiting the continent again.

But when Sandy received an email from Abercrombie & Kent, a cruise and adventure company, touting the itineraries on its cruise ship Le Boréal, she decided to give it another shot. "I searched for 'Antarctica Le Boréal' on Flickr and was blown away by a set of photos from a January 2012 cruise," she told Business Insider in an email. "Almost immediately we booked our trip!"

The couple — whose previous travels have included destinations such as China, central Asia, Tanzania, Bora Bora, the Falkland Islands, and much of Europe — was impressed by the unique wildlife, pastel wilderness, and sense of exploration Antarctica offered its visitors.

They were also struck by the level of environmental awareness on the cruise, which travels through some of the world's most at-risk wilderness. Sandy explained: "Only 100 people could be off our ship at a time. Each time before boarding a zodiac, we walked through a disinfecting liquid to clean our boots. We were told that if a plastic bag were to fly away in the wind, we’d be chasing it down to retrieve it. Major efforts are important for keeping Antarctica pristine."

In total, the Minnesota couple spent five full days in Antarctica, getting close to penguins, hiking Cuverville Island, whale-watching, and touring the world's least-populated continent and last frontier. Abercrombie & Kent's Antarctica trips start at $9,895 per person.

Click here to explore Antarctica >

Have an amazing travel story and photos to share? Send an email to thelife@businessinsider.com and we could feature your adventure next.

For reference, here's the trip route. The couple took a plane from Buenos Aires down to Ushuaia before starting their cruise along the Antarctic Peninsula.



An idea of how much luggage Sandy and Steve brought with them as they pose outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.



On board Le Boréal in port at Ushuaia, Argentina and ready to leave. In the background is the National Geographic Explorer, one of several ships that cruise to Antarctica.



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A Wall Streeter Put His Gorgeous Ocean-Front Greenwich Home On The Market For $9.5 Million

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Old Greenwich Viton House

There's really nothing like living on the ocean, perhaps that is why investment banker Rick Viton and his wife bought this Old Greenwich, CT home for $7 million and completely redesigned it inside and out (h/t WSJ).

The five bedroom house sits on one acre and comes with a private deep water dock, 4 full bathrooms and two half baths, a pool and a spa. Paul Larson of Sotheby's International in Greenwich has the listing.







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A Couple Of Parenting Tricks From The French, Who Are Great At Raising Kids

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french kid boy

Last year, author Pamela Druckerman caused a firestorm when she published an essay in The Wall Street Journal called "Why French Parents are Superior."

The story, an excerpt from her book Bringing Up Bébé, concluded that French kids were better-behaved because their parents weren't obsessive, and because they taught their kids how to wait.

A year later, Druckerman's back in The WSJ. She's put some of the French parenting strategies she described in the article to use in her own Paris home, and details her interactions with her three kids over the course of a typical weekend.

Here are some of the parenting strategies that were most effective. Her full weekend timeline is worth a read, and can be found here.

  • Make it clear that the parents' bedroom is off-limits to the kids: "Our bedroom is our castle. Or at least we act like it is. Like our French friends, we believe this isn’t just selfishly good for us. It also teaches our kids to cope with boredom, and to understand that we have needs too," Druckerman writes. Instead of letting them barge in at the crack of dawn, she has taught her kids to play quietly in their own room when they wake up.

  • Let the kids pick a vegetable at the grocery store: Having a say will make them more interested once the veggie is on their plates, she writes. And serve the vegetables first; they're more likely to be eaten when the kids are still hungry.

  • Give your kids a responsibility at mealtime: Let them set the table or load the dishwasher. "Autonomy – being able to manage without lots of parental micromanagement – is a big theme in France. It’s also supposed to be good for kids," Druckerman writes.

  • Education vs. Discipline: One of the biggest points in Druckerman's original article is that French parents don't discipline, they "educate" them – teaching them to be patient and play alone. In her follow-up article, she elaborates: "When a child interrupts, parents ask her to please wait a minute. And conversely, they try not to interrupt the child. If he’s absorbed in something and playing happily, they don’t barge in and offer her a snack. Of course the child will try to interrupt again. But her parents keep saying, 'please wait.'"

SEE ALSO: Meet The Most Spoiled Kids In The World

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HOUSE OF THE DAY: This $100 Million Estate In California Comes With A 75-Year-Old Resident

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de guigne estate hillsborough

In what could be one of the biggest residential real estate stories of the year, a historic estate in Hillsborough, Calif. has hit the market for $100 million.

The 47-acre spread has belonged to members of the de Guigne family for 150 years, and is finally being sold by Christian de Guigne IV for "estate-planning purposes," according to The Wall Street Journal.

The sale has one unusual stipulation: de Guigne, 75, comes with the home. He's retaining a "life estate" on the property, meaning he will have exclusive use of the home until he dies, according to The WSJ.

The 16,000-square-foot mansion has seven bedrooms and a servants' wing. The property also has formal gardens and two reservoirs. It's being sold by Sotheby's International Realty; Gregg Lynn and Bernadette Lamothe have the listing.

This map gives an idea of how big the de Guigne estate is. The 47-acre spread sits on the top of a hill and has views of San Francisco.



A 4,500-foot driveway leads up to the main home.



The centerpiece of the property is the mansion, which is 16,000 square feet.



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Boneless Chicken Wings Are Getting A Whole Lot More Popular

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boneless wings

What's your wing of choice: boneless, or bone-in?

Right now, it looks like people getting quite excited about the boneless variety.

A study from hospitality research firm GuestMetrics showed that boneless chicken wings are getting increasingly popular.

Total chicken wing sales grew 10.7 percent in 2012 compared with the year prior. Orders increased 7.3 percent in 2012 and menu prices jumped 3.4 percent.

Most of that growth had nothing to do with traditional bone-in wings though. It was all about the boneless.

Boneless wings made from chicken breast made up a whopping 81 percent of that growth. Those wings were around 14 percent of total wing sales in 2012.

GuestMetrics VP of strategy and insights Peter Reidhead explained in a release:

"In further analyzing the chicken wing category, we see that about 80 percent of the incremental growth in chicken wings was due to strength seen among boneless chicken wings, which accounted for about 14 percent of chicken wing sales in 2012. Given the average price of boneless chicken wings is $7.99 versus $6.87 for regular chicken wings, this shift in consumer preferences should prove to be a further positive for restaurants selling chicken wings.” 

SEE ALSO: Step Inside The Building Where McDonald's Runs Its Global Empire >

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Burger King Has A Weird Cult Following In France

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burger king perfume

Burger King is as mainstream as a fast food chain can get in the United States, but over in France, it has a cult following.

“They have the name recognition, that weird cult following in France,” Michael Schaefer, an analyst at Euromonitor International, tells Bloomberg.

You see, Burger King is finally returning to France after a 15-year hiatus. In December, it opened its first store since being forced out by overwhelming competition from McDonald's. Now, it's planning to open more.

And French mouths are watering.

“As soon as French people get to London or Ibiza, they go to Burger King,” said Gauthier Boche, a lecturer at Paris Sorbonne university. He said the brand is like "a lover who lives far away.” 

Lunchtime at Marseille airport — Burger King's sole French location right now — can spawn wait times that reach up to 45 minutes.

That's a long time to wait for a Whopper.

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10 States Where The Most People Live On The Edge Of Financial Ruin

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balance converse shoes edgeAmerica's image is that of a place where anyone can grow up to be president, and even a college dropout can found a multi-billion-dollar empire. 

But one need only look at our finances to see not everyone gets out of the gate on equal footing.  Overall, consumer household income has continually dropped over the the last decade, and at the same time, the costs of basic necessities like health insurance, housing, and education have continued to soar.

What has resulted is a deep divide between the rich and poor, and even more people  –– both low- and middle-income earners –– who find themselves unable to save for even short-term emergencies. 

A sobering new report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) shows nearly half of U.S. households (132.1 million people) wouldn't last three months if they ran into bumps in the road like unemployment, natural disasters, or a medical emergency.

In fact, more than 30 percent don't have a savings account at all, and another 8 percent don't even bank, period. 

Using the CFED's detailed analysis of each state's financial security, we honed in on the 10 places where Americans would be least likely to cope in the face of unexpected disasters.

10. Louisiana

Louisiana arguably has no shortage of consumers who are aware of the damage that unexpected disasters like hurricanes can cause.  Yet the state ranks No. 10 for residents' ability to reach financial stability. 

Nearly half of adults are considered liquid asset poor, and about 40 percent have no savings account to rely on in times of need. 

The average worker takes home about $45,000 in salary, but nearly one-third of jobs on the market are considered low-wage by the CFED. 

Consumers carry about $7,400 in credit card debt, and more than two-thirds have subprime borrower status, which only ups the risk factor with unfavorable interest rates and fees. 

The state is also home to nearly 20 percent of uninsured consumers, 7 percent of whom are low-income children. 



9. Arizona

Despite the fact that Arizona has one of the higher savings account usage rates on this list, the state still has more than 45 percent of residents living in liquid asset poverty. 

There are nearly 20 percent of consumers who are uninsured, the vast majority of whom are low-income children (17.4 percent). 

Even educated adults carry quite a load of debt –– $19,950 for a four-year college degree –– while the average credit debt burden is $12,000 for all adults. 

The average take-home pay, $44,626, is hardly enough to match that kind of debt, let alone potentially disastrous emergencies. About a quarter of jobs are considered low-wage. 



8. New Mexico

In New Mexico, more than two-thirds of households have a savings account, but about half are still considered liquid asset poor. 

That could have much to do with debt burdens. The average consumer carries $8,055 in credit card debt, but 62 percent of adults have subprime credit, which means they're subjected to high interest rates that can make it even tougher to pay down those debts.

What's more, about one-third of jobs in the state are considered "low-wage," and 24 percent of adults are either unemployed or underemployed. 

The state has a 23 percent rate of uninsured consumers, about half of whom are low-income children. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The Best Public Golf Courses In The US

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Bethpage State Park

The Golf Channel released its 40 best public golf courses in America and a New York course came out on top.

Golf Channel chose Bethpage Black, in Farmingdale, NY,  as the number one course in the country not only because it's been good enough to host two U.S. Opens but also because:

"The Black is the perfect combination of all that I look for in a golf course: it has history and character; it is walking only; caters to locals with an affordable rate; it’s challenging but fair; there are memorable holes with a climactic finish; and as soon as you walk off the 18th green you wish you could go back to the first tee."

Here's the top ten, which Golf Channel says are all a "must play":

  1. Bethpage Black, Farmingdale, NY
  2. Pacific Dunes, Bandon, Ore.
  3. Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.
  4. Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst, N.C.
  5. Pasatiempo Golf Club, Santa Cruz, Calif.
  6. Spyglass Hill, Pebble Beach, Calif.
  7. Bandon Trails, Bandon, Ore.
  8. Bandon Dunes, Bandon, Ore.
  9. Forest Dunes Golf Club, Roscommon, Mich.
  10. Whistling Straits, Sheboygan, Wis.

Catch the whole list over at The Golf Channel >

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Marissa Mayer And David Sacks Are Backing San Francisco's Bison

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Golden Gate Park bison paddock signSan Francisco's Golden Gate Park has long featured a herd of bison in their own fenced-in paddock.

Apparently Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Yammer CEO David Sacks are fans. They and their spouses have donated to support the animals, Bloomberg's Mark Milian reports.

In September, Financial Times reporter Tim Bradshaw noticed a sign recognizing the financial support of Mayer and her husband, tech investor Zack Bogue.

Bradshaw tells us he later saw the sign a bit worse for wear, having "taken a beating."

Weird. Who dislikes bison?

The San Francisco Parks Alliance, a nonprofit which helps support the city's parks, recognized Mayer and Bogue as a "First Family" and David and Jacqueline Sacks as "Park Heroes."

The "First Family" level requires a donation of at least $20,000, while $2,500 or more gets "Park Hero" status.

We also noticed that Yahoo executive Adam Cahan, who was recently promoted to be Yahoo's senior vice president of mobile and emerging products as a key member of Mayer's team, attended a Party for the Parks event in September.

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Incredible Aerial Photos Show Moscow's Snowiest Winter In 100 Years

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Moscow Airplane

Russia's winters are the stuff of legend, inspiring centuries of writers and defeating both Napoleon and Hitler.

Amazingly, this year's winter may be one for the history books, with Russia Today reporting that Moscow's winter may be the "snowiest" for 100 years.

Late last month Russian blogger and photographer Kirill Umrikhin took posted aerial shots of Moscow to his LiveJournal blog. He has kindly let us republish the photos to give you an idea of what a city of 11.5 million people looks like completely blanketed in snow.

Umrikhin says he was impressed most by the smoke flowing out of chimneys across the city.



He points out that you can see the main building of Moscow State University, the top college in Russia, on the left here. It is one of Moscow's "Seven Sisters", a number of skyscrapers designed in a Stalinist-style.

Read more about the Sevin Sisters here >



Umrikhin says that the city looks "unrealistically huge and great", but adds it also looks "threatening".



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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9 Little-Known Ways Moving To A New Town Can Cost You

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movingIf you're planning to relocate to a new place, whether within your state or across the country, you have a lot to consider. What should you take with you? What should you leave behind?

Should you buy or rent in the new location? What are the school districts like? How much will it cost to move your stuff, and can you write off this move on your taxes?

That's just the tip of the iceberg. If you think moving costs are limited to just paying moving professionals to pack and transport your belongings, think again.

Moving oftentimes comes with surprise costs. Here are some of the unexpected expenses that come with moving and a few tips for sidestepping them.

Auto insurance costs

Your auto insurance profile may change because of your new location. "When you move from a more rural market, less population, to a highly densely populated urban environment, you can see swings (in your car insurance rates) probably anywhere from 15 (percent) to 50 percent," says Dan Young, senior vice president of insurance relations for Carstar, a network of 400 body repair shops located in the U.S. and Canada.

The exact amount depends on the area's accident rate and the customer's driving and claims history.

If moving out of state, you may have to buy more insurance coverage, too. Each state has its own minimum liability requirements and some require drivers to purchase personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage.

Also, if you're moving from an area where incomes are modest to a place where they're higher, you may need more coverage, Young adds. "In rural Iowa, you may not run into Lamborghinis or a vast amount of Mercedes Benzes," he says, "but you move to New York City and you're out driving around, you'd better be fully covered."

When planning a move, Young advises consumers to ask their insurance company about rate changes and whether they need to purchase more coverage.



Parking fees

Along with higher car insurance costs may come increased parking fees, says Bryan Pritchard, owner of Tricap Preferred, a luxury apartment locator service in Chicago.

"Parking is typically not included in rent," he says, adding that a primo parking space can easily tack on an extra $200 to $300 to your monthly rent in a big city.

The best way to avoid extra parking fees along with increased car insurance and servicing costs is to ditch your vehicle entirely, says Pritchard.

While public transportation may suffice in larger cities, those living in areas without bus or subway access may be able to use car sharing and car pool services instead of having their own ride.

If getting rid of your car isn't a viable option, make sure you're aware of what it costs to park in or near your building and workplace.



Health insurance hikes

Like car insurance, health insurance can change when you switch homes, especially if you're moving out of state.

"Not every health insurance company is licensed in all 50 states," says John Egan, managing editor of InsuranceQuotes.com, a Bankrate site. Even if it is, your insurance provider can change the plan you're on, the health care network you have access to and the rate you're charged.

Egan adds that health insurance mandates vary among states, too. "There may be some types of (medical) procedures, for instance, that are covered in one state and that are not mandated to be covered in another state," he says.

Unless you're getting health insurance from an employer or spouse's employer, switching insurance companies as a result of a move will likely mean undergoing medical underwriting, Egan says, which could result in a substantial change in premium or a flat-out rejection if you have certain pre-existing conditions.

The only way to fight escalating health care costs is by careful comparison-shopping. An independent broker may also be able to help compare policies apples to apples.



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Control Your Entire Home With The Belkin WeMo Switch

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This is the Belkin WeMo Switch.

Why We Love It: This app/plug combination package allows you to use your home Wi-Fi network to turn on and off electronic devices. The intuitive app is easy to set up, and allows you to activate switches manually, on a schedule, or by activating the motion sensors when you walk into a room. There's no set range for WeMo, meaning you can use your mobile internet to turn off electronics in your home from miles away or to switch your settings.

It's only compatible with devices running iOS 5 or later, but otherwise WeMo is compatible with any Apple smartphone or tablet. It's backed by a one-year warranty, and the accompanying app is completely free with the purchase of a plug.

Belkin WeMo Plug Swith

 

Belkin WeMo Plug Switch

Where To Buy: Available through Belkin, Amazon, or the Apple store.

Cost: $49.99.

Want to nominate a cool product for Stuff We Love? Send an email to Megan Willett at mwillett@businessinsider.com with "Stuff We Love" in the subject line.

SEE ALSO: Mix And Record Like A Professional With The Audio iDJ

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An Investor Is Selling His Gorgeous, 6 Bedroom Park Avenue Townhouse For $13.5 Million

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1211 Park Avenue

Investor Sagi Genger expected to have a big family, so not only did he buy a Park Avenue townhouse, but he and his wife also added a floor — making it 5 stories high (h/t WSJ).

The 5200 square foot house has 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, a library, exercise room and three separate outdoor areas.

The top floor is the master suite complete with private outdoor space, dressing room and entertainment center.

Beth Benalloul of Corcoran has the listing.







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This Tranquil Luxury Resort Completely Blends Into The Utah Desert

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amangiri luxury resort hotel utah desert

Last week, we traveled to the Utah desert at the invitation of Jaguar Land Rover, to test drive the brand new Range Rover.

While there, we stayed at Amangiri, the luxury resort nestled among some of the country's most stunning scenery.

Part of a network of Aman resorts around the world, Amangiri, in Big Water, Utah, is all about offering luxury and peace, along with top notch massages.

The decorations are simple, the service is excellent. More than anything, this is a place to relax, and get away from it all. Rooms start at $1,050 a night.

Disclosure: Jaguar Land Rover paid for our travel and lodging expenses to drive the Range Rover.

This winding road is actually the resort's driveway.



And here's the Amangiri. All of the buildings are low like this one.



There are no ostentatious decorations, and the only 'hallways' are outside.



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10 Awesome Travel Apps You've Probably Never Heard Of

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phone, shock, tweet, social media

Traveling is expensive enough—save your money for the actual trip by downloading these helpful and little-known travel apps that are all free.

From personalized audio tours to currency converters to international-texting messengers, these apps have you covered at home and abroad.

Find. Eat. Drink.

Want to eat at the best spots in town while you're on vacation? Don't mess around with online reviews from average Joes.

Instead, download the Find. Eat. Drink. app, which sources recommendations from industry insiders—the chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, and bakers who work with food and drink for a living.

Going to be out of cell-phone range? Download one of the PDF guides for the city you're traveling to and you'll get all the info without any of the roaming charges.

Free for Apple



WhatsApp

Want to stay in touch with international friends?

Download the WhatsApp messenger and you can text all your buddies for free—no matter where they live or whether or not they have the same phone you do.

The app uses your Internet data plan (rather than your SMS plan) to send text messages, so you won't have to pay international-texting or overage fees.

Free for Apple, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia, Symbian, and Windows



iDotto

When in Rome, put down the map and put in your headphones.

The iDotto app is an audio guide that follows you around the city and gives you a personalized guided tour (fully customizable to your interests).

It's currently only available for Rome, but there are plans to expand to more cities soon. If you are going to Rome, this app has more than 25 hours of audio information for you to listen to.

Free for Apple



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How Christie's Sells $157 Million Worth Of Art In A Single Evening

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modiglianiAs Christie’s prepares to raise an estimated £100 million in one evening, Alice Vincent visits the auction house to find out how the rich buy art.

Christie's has all the hallmarks of one of London’s smartest establishments: doormen in tails, a St. James's postcode and a whiff of French polish in the air. It also has an open door policy. “We love children coming here!” enthuses Jay Vincze, the auction house’s International Director of Impressionist and Modern Art.

On Wednesday, Christie’s expects to make up to £145 million at its bi-annual Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale which includes The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale each February.

Many of the pieces haven’t been on public display for decades, but during the five days before the auction the artwork is on show to the public for free.

The star of the sale is Amadeo Modigliani’s 1919 portrait of his wife Jeanne Hébuterne (au chapeau), which is listed for £16-22 million. A pensive painting, Hébuterne’s graceful demeanor belies the trauma in the couple’s relationship: just six months after it was created, Modigliani’s premature death from tuberculosis led Hébuterne to commit suicide the next day. She was pregnant with their second child. Vincze, who is in charge of Wednesday’s sale, explains the painting’s appeal: “It’s very elegant and yet there’s a power to it. There’s often this power in Modigliani’s portraits of Jean which you don’t get from the other portraits he did. You can really sense this passionate relationship they had.”

While the Modigliani went on sale to its current owner in 2006, it hasn’t been on display in a museum since 1953. It’s not the only one: the majority of work coming from private collections, 60 per cent of the art up for sale on Wednesday has never appeared at auction, and others haven’t gone under the hammer for three generations. Vincze explains that it makes them all the more appealing: “There’s an incredible freshness to the sale - it tends to cause quite a bit of excitement when works come up that are so fresh.”

Another highlight of the evening sale is a mysterious Wassily Kandinsky painting, Balancement. Created in 1942, it dates from Kandinsky’s post-Bauhaus period when the artist was living in Paris, perfecting his influential Abstraction and struggling to find large enough canvasses in the midst of war. Most from this era hang in New York’s Guggenheim gallery or the Pompidou Centre in Paris, leaving very few in private hands. “It’s a pretty exciting piece, they’re very rare to the auction market”, says Vincze. He won’t let on who the anonymous seller is, but Balancement is valued between £5-8 million.

Another exciting prospect is a portrait of Picasso’s last great muse, and later wife, Jacqueline Roque, which was completed on Valentines Day 1960. Displayed just once in New York in 1962, the figure ripples with femininity.

There’s also a Renoir up for grabs. Last auctioned 25 years ago, L’ombrelle is a painting Vincze reckons will be at the centre of a bidding war on Wednesday; it’s estimated to reach between £4-7 million. The 1878 painting is quintessentially Impressionist - Renoir’s rich impasto celebrates a fashionable Parisienne, and the use of color in shadow is one of the earliest examples of the influential technique. L’ombrelle was originally owned by one of the earliest American collectors of Impressionism, Erwin Davis, who donated two Manet pictures to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1889.

Of course, it’s not by chance that these 76 exclusive works are on sale all at once. “This auction has probably taken 30 years to compile”, Vincze says, “we try and edit the sale. You want to keep the quality high and offer good pieces to buyers.” Christie’s manage it by nurturing good relationships with valued collectors. Sales of this size have a gathering period of six months. But before that begins, some potential sellers have been involved in a process of discussing the best time to sell for many decades.

Vincze says there’s a sense of stability in the market for Impressionist and modern art. However, the demand for it is increasing. Last year 20 per cent of all buyers at Christie’s were first-time purchasers, and that number doubled to 40 per cent in 2012’s online auctions, which started in 2006, with online-only auctions launching in December 2011. There are over 30 online only auctions planned for 2013. While recent art sale news has focused on Chinese buyers bailing on agreed sales and a struggling market in India, Christie’s seems to be bucking the trend. “Partly it’s accessibility, partly it’s that art and people’s interest in art is really burgeoning”, Vincze explains. “There seems to be growth in the whole art market, the museum side too. The interest and passion for it translates very well into our sales.”

If you’re one of the few who has a couple of million to spend on art, then the process is surprisingly transparent and simple - regardless of if you’re spending £200 or £22 million. Buyers must register before they bid to show they have the funds, but Christie’s doesn’t take deposits. Once the auction catalogue has been unveiled to people a few weeks before the sale, buyers can bid online or over the phone well in advance. Meanwhile, these valuable works are on a complex shipping schedule to exhibitions in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo, as well as to prospective buyers who can’t make it to London.

At 7pm on Wednesday night, 600 aspiring buyers will cram inside Christie’s two main salerooms to bid for works, and an increasingly global audience will participate through commission and telephone bids. “It’s a refreshing sign of the market”, says Vincze, “our buyers aren’t confined to one area of the globe.” He says there’s been a great deal of Russian and Asian collecting over the past few years, which shows “no sign of abating.”

Over 100 members of Christie’s staff will join auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen, the Christie’s President EMERI. Once the hammer comes down, the auction house then takes its buyer’s premium, which is charged on top of the amount bid. For lots up to £25,000, this is 25%. But at an auction like this, an additional 20% is charged on the amount over £25,000. For items over £500,000, an additional 12% is charged.

And then, from Thursday, the auction house will start the process all over again. Christie’s next big sale is in just a week’s time when work by Francis Bacon, David Hockney and Damien Hirst and others are estimated to generate between £50-70 million. Another Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale follows in June. While few people will be able to indulge in a Paula Rego painting the price of a family home, the opportunity to see it on display for the first time ever, and for free, is something art fans can genuinely get excited about.

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It Takes Years To Perfect The Art Of Making Sushi

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sushi making

"Sometimes I cry, but only when I'm at home on my own," says Tetsuya Sakurai, one of a select few who has paid $6,000 for an intensive -- and stressful -- training course to become a sushi chef in Tokyo.

To the untutored, a little ball of rice with a slice of raw fish on top may look like a simple affair.

But students on the twice-yearly course in the Japanese capital soon learn that for masters of the art, there is so much more to it than meets the eye.

"The best students will take at least two years before they can do this properly," said teacher Kazuki Shimoyama. "The slowest may take four."

And before they even get to the stage where they are allowed to combine the delicately formed nigiri (rice balls) with a slice of sashimi, they have to learn how to cut the fish.

For Sakurai, hunched over a fresh mackerel as he slips the razor-sharp knife through its firm flesh, it's a nerve-wracking experience, made all the worse by the presence of three glowering teachers, watching his every move.

"It's very hard," he tells AFP, a month into his course. "I train at school every day. Cutting the fish is like performing surgery. But what I really don't enjoy is removing the innards from a shellfish. It's really difficult."

Like his fellow students, Sakurai eagerly answers when their tutor asks if they understand.

"To cut the fillet lengthways, pull the tail and slide the knife along. You follow?" bellows the teacher. "Yes!" the 20 shout in unison.

"Then cut each piece diagonally, making the tail end a little bigger. You follow?"

"Yes!" they reply again.

But Sakurai has not pleased his mentor this time.

"That's your attempt at cutting a mackerel? Terrible. Do it again," he is told.

Students work in silence in a classroom where harsh neon lights glint off steel knives, threatening to expose the tiniest imperfection on the bleach-white clothes they wear.

Sushi rice -- perfectly plump Japanese shortgrain into which precisely measured quantities of rice vinegar, salt and sugar are folded -- is pressed into a large pellet in the hands.

Too much rice and it will be more than a mouthful; too little and it will be overpowered by the fish; too much pressure and it will be hard; too little and the pellet will fall apart.

A delicate smear of wasabi -- a fiery green root that is grated into a paste -- is applied to the rice and a sliver of fish is placed on top.

"It sounds easy, but it's really hard to make them the way they are supposed to be," admits a student who gave his surname as Yamanaka. "The teacher makes it look so easy, but it's really difficult."

If they complete the three-month course, run by the restaurant chain Sushi Zanmai -- whose boss paid a record $1.8 million for a single fish in the first auction of the year at Tsukiji market -- students will receive a level 5 diploma.

Two years' hard graft in a restaurant and they get their level 4.

Reaching level 1 can take years.

For Sakurai, who spent two decades working as an accountant in the US and in England, the sushi school has been something of a culture shock.

"My teacher is a bit aggressive, it's almost military," he says.

"It's so different from what you might expect in a Western education system where they praise you when you do something well."

Here, not being shouted at is the only indication students get that they are making the grade.

"I have two more months," says Sakurai. "After school I practise in the evenings at home, especially cutting some of the shellfish. I cannot do it at all, but I'll get there."

"There" for Sakurai, is his own sushi bar "in Asia, in Japan, maybe in France. Why not?" he muses.

For teacher Shimoyama, making sushi properly is not supposed to be easy. It's a vocation, something into which a chef pours his whole heart again and again.

"Chefs gain speed and should strive to achieve the best possible sushi. They should give it their body and soul. And no matter what, they should always smile for customers."

And even when the diplomas are finished and a chef has his own place, his own regular customers, there is still more he can do to perfect his art.

"I have made sushi for 29 years," said Shimoyama. "And I am still learning."

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How The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Went From Conservative To Tops Optional

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kate upton

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, which will be on newsstands next week, debuted in 1964 as a five page supplement meant to increase readership during the winter sports lull after the Super Bowl.

The very first cover featured a model in a conservative, non-revealing bikini. The photo was shot at a wide angle, almost focusing more on the beach background than the model.

Throughout the 60's, 70's, and 80's, the covers remained fairly tame; they generally featured a beautiful model wearing a bathing suit any young woman would wear to the beach.

In the 90's and 2000's, a trend began. The models started wearing less and less, and the camera focused more and more on their bodies, and less on the surrounding scene.

Here's the first swimsuit cover from 1964. The bathing suit is hardly revealing and the camera angle is wide



A few years later in 1969, the model wore a skirt over her bikini and someone else was in the background of the shot



In 1970, the model wore a very conservative long sleeve top



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