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A trendy NYC restaurant didn't find out the Obamas were coming for dinner until 5 minutes before they arrived

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Cosme burata

When the Obamas showed up for dinner at Cosme last Monday night it was a surprise to everyone, including the restaurant's maître d', its waiters, and even its chef. 

That's because when the Barack and Michelle Obama go out to dinner, they make a reservation under a pseudonym and only let the restaurant know they're coming a few minutes in advance. 

I know this because I dined at Cosme, a trendy Mexican restaurant in New York City's Flatiron District, the same night the Obamas were there. And on my way in I got the chance to talk to the president's security detail as they searched my purse and frisked me.

The Secret Service officer I spoke to told me that this was protocol, and most restaurants don't know they're coming. Cosme declined to comment for this story. 

During the meal at Cosme, Michelle Obama and the president were seated behind closed doors in a private dining room. We couldn't see them eating, but we did get a glimpse of them leaving at the end of the meal.

The Obamas entered through the restaurant's front entrance. Their armored limosine, nicknamed "The Beast" was parked outside the entire time, and the block was closed to cars. The restaurant was swarming in Secret Service agents the entire time.

The Obamas reportedly ordered off the restaurant's regular menu, and got Cosme's famous duck carnitas. 

SEE ALSO: What it's like to eat dinner at the same restaurant as the Obamas

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Colonel Sanders’ nephew revealed the family’s secret recipe — here’s how to make KFC’s ‘original' fried chicken

The 20 best colleges for studying abroad

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unviersity of denver study abroad

For students with the travel bug, a college's study abroad program can make or break where they decide to go to school. But before students can jet off to their country of choice, they need to find a program that is the right fit for them. 

The Princeton Review recently released its 2017 college rankings, which included a list of the 20 most popular study abroad programsin the US.

To create the ranking, The Princeton Review asked 143,000 students at 381 schools "How popular is studying abroad at your school?" Students responded on a five-point scale ranging from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree."

Read on to learn why these colleges have the most popular study abroad programs.

SEE ALSO: The 20 colleges with the most school spirit

DON'T MISS: The 50 best colleges in America

20. University of Delaware

Location:Newark, Delaware

The Institute for Global Studies at UDel coordinates over 70 study-abroad programs annually. This fall, UDel is leading trips to a dozen countries including Japan, Italy, Portugal, and France.

UDel also offers winter and summer programs that last anywhere from three to five weeks, and offers one or two courses in a variety of disciplines.



19. Syracuse University

Location: Syracuse, New York

SU Abroad has more than 60 World Partner programs where students can enroll, pay tuition, receive grants, and retain scholarships and financial aid through Syracuse while abroad. These programs appeal to students interested in a specific school, country, or area of study, like attending film school in Prague or studying biodiversity in Madagascar.

Syracuse also has eight centers abroad that host SU students in five European countries as well as Turkey, China, and Chile.



18. Carleton College

Location: Northfield, Minnesota

Carleton College employs a faculty-led program model that extends "The Carleton Experience" off-campus. This year, the school is offering 18 study-abroad programs led by faculty and sponsored by a number of academic departments. Destinations include Ireland, France, and Russia.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

22 clothing items every guy should own before he turns 30

Mercedes created a luxurious $1.7 million yacht that only 10 people in the world will be able to buy

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Mercedes yacht

Mercedes-Benz is known for its luxurious cars, but the company is also behind one of the most anticipated yachts being shown off this year at the Monaco Yacht Show.

On Wednesday, the German automaker debuted Edition 1 of its Arrow460-Grandturismo yacht, a sleek-looking vessel that begins pricing at about $1.7 million. The company originally showed off its yacht concept in 2012, but later worked with the yacht building company Silver Arrows Marine to turn the concept into a reality. 

The two companies plan to only build 10 Edition 1 models of the yachts and aim to only sell one in each country, making the yacht incredibly rare. 

Here's a closer look at some of the other features that make the vessel so special. 

SEE ALSO: Here's how the super rich buy mega-yachts

The vessel is nicknamed "Silver Arrow of the Seas" after Mercedes race car called the "Silver Arrow" built in the 1930s.



The 46-foot yacht may be on the smaller side, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in design.



From the side, the stylish yacht resembles a saloon style car, similar to Mercedes Model S-Class.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 20 hottest housing markets in America

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san antonio riverwalk Real estate is a competitive business. In some markets, if you don't jump on a property you like right away, you risk losing it within days — or even hours.

A new study by Realtor.com found the hottest housing markets in country by zip code, measuring the time it takes properties to sell and how frequently homes are viewed.

Homes in the hottest zip codes go fast, selling in an average of 25 days — a full 53 days faster on average than the rest of the country, according to Realtor.com. These places also have a few crucial similarities: They tout strong job markets and are home to a large population of millennials, one of the largest generations in US history.

Notably, the top three places — Watauga, Texas; Pleasant Hill, California; and Northglenn, Colorado — are all located along the perimeter of major metro areas: Fort Worth, San Francisco, and Denver, respectively. These peripheral locations allow buyers to purchase relatively affordable homes within expensive metro areas, according to the report.

Read on to check out the 20 hottest housing markets in America by zip code.

SEE ALSO: The 25 most expensive housing markets in the US

DON'T MISS: 10 cities where college graduates owe more than they earn

20. 58103 — Fargo, North Dakota

Population: 118,523

Median household income: $46,311

Median home listing price: $193,000

Job growth in the past year: 2%

Jobs added in the past year: 4,700



19. 49508 — Kentwood, Michigan

Population: 51,357

Median household income: $49,201

Median home listing price: $148,000

Job growth in the past year: 3%

Jobs added in the past year: 8,600



18. 14625 — Rochester, New York

Population: 209,802

Median household income: $30,784

Median home listing price: $203,000

Job growth in the past year: 1%

Jobs added in the past year: 3,600



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The fabulous life of Renzo Rosso, the 'crazy' billionaire founder of one of the most iconic denim brands in the world

23 ways to make your life more luxurious without spending a fortune

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Gold Toilet Paper

You don't need a pet tiger or private island to live luxuriously.

As thousands of Redditors recently avowed in an AskReddit thread, sometimes high-quality toilet paper and a soothing cup of tea can make you feel sufficiently pampered.

Here are some easy, cheap ways to live the high life for next to nothing.

SEE ALSO: 21 objects that are perfectly designed and can't be improved any further

Adding a memory-foam mattress topper to your bed can provide added comfort, and it costs far less than a new mattress.

-ironclownfish



Brewing coffee in a French press is simpler and, some say, offers a richer flavor than traditionally brewed coffee.

-Benthazaal



Subscribing to a streaming services like Netflix or Spotify Premium gives you access to huge catalogs of TV shows, movies, and music for around $10 a month.

-WingerRules



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Go inside America's largest diamond factory, which is leading a revolution in the jewelry industry

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engagement diamond ring

New York City's Diamond District — located on 47th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues — glitters and sparkles, the well-lit diamonds in shop windows immediately drawing the eyes in.

But what shoppers might not realize is that behind extremely tight security and a mazes of various locked doors, diamonds are being examined, cut, and polished in the heart of Manhattan's midtown. 

Online diamond retailer Ritani is one of the brands whose diamonds are perfected in a factory in the city, and when it comes to carats cut, it's the largest diamond factory in the US. It's operated by the Julius Klein Group, which is a part-owner of Ritani.

Ritani has partnered with roughly 230 local jewelers across the the US and Canada. The brand allows customers to preview their online order in a store, alongside a knowledgeable jeweler who can answer any questions.

This revolutionary "clicks-to-bricks" business model was built with the millennial male in mind. "Not only is this [engagement ring] generally their largest purchase to date, it's typically the millennial male, and he has no idea what he's doing," Ritani's Vice President of Marketing, Mark Keeney told Business Insider.

If the customer likes the ring as they view it in their local store, they can take it home that day — if not, the ring is sent back to Ritani and melted down.

Business Insider recently paid a visit to the factory to see just how Ritani's diamonds are cut and polished.   

SEE ALSO: 19 photos that show why Berlin is one of the best places to party in the world

Diamonds that come into the factory are uncut and rough. These rough yellow diamonds are about to be measured.



To get the most value out of a rough stone, the pieces are scanned, creating a 3D version that is analyzed closely to determine if, and where, the stone should be cut before being shaped. The workers consider several different factors, including the stone's flaws and weight.



Some stones are cut to create two separate pieces. How they cut the diamond is also determined by the market — what's selling, and what's not.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Clothing companies everywhere are making a crucial change to men's pants

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pants

When men see the word "stretch", they tend to stay far away. They might be thinking of their girlfriend's form-fitting yoga pants, and want nothing to do with it.

But in this era of stretchy elastane-filled activewear, men have grown more comfortable with the idea of incorporating spandex into their pants. 

Elastane (the generic term for Spandex and Lycra, according to Jack Threads) has always appeared in men's activewear (including Lululemon's ABC pants) as well as some niche items, like ultra-skinny jeans (how else would you get them on?). 

But now clothing brands from J.Crew to Uniqlo have all jumped on the flexible bandwagon, and there's a really good reason why. Stretch improves comfort in a way you can actually feel, and it makes doing anything in your pants easier, from biking to flat pack furniture shopping. The material is used in these cases because it can stretch four to seven times its initial size and still return to its original form.

Even Levi's announced that their most popular and cult-favored jean, the 501, are now being produced with stretch, with 1% elastane — the first change to the 501 fabric in 140 years. Levi's acknowledges this may anger denim purists, but "finish technicians ensured this new fabric maintained the DNA and integrity of the original," Levi's wrote in a blog post.

levi's

Men are now used to having elastane in their pants from their athleisure garments they also own, and traditional pant sellers now need to incorporate it to maintain the same level of comfort. Retailers of "rigid clothing" are feeling the pressure to adapt their clothing and make them more comfortable, as that is driving sales and eating away at the profits of non-stretch clothing, according to Quartz.

Retailers, as they push stretch pants, will be dealing with some misconceptions. The biggest guys have about stretch is that the pants will be skin-tight, but that's frequently not the case.

The pant's cuts do not change, and, depending on how much stretch there is, they look very similar the same as non-stretch pants. Levi's claims that the pants look entirely similar to non-stretch 501 jeans, and you only feel the difference when you put them on. They're just now a whole lot more flexible when you bend or flex, and they move with you instead of acting as a barrier.

SEE ALSO: 17 things every modern gentleman should have in his closet

DON'T FORGET: Follow Business Insider's lifestyle page on Facebook!

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Old Navy claims to have created stain-proof pants — we accepted the challenge and tested them

How to prevent common cooking mistakes, according to London's Michelin-starred chefs

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Cooking

Cooking shows are one of the most popular types of entertainment in the world right now, and many people want to practice the techniques of top chefs at home.

When you're hosting a dinner party, you might spend a long time searching for exciting recipes that your guests will love, before cooking everything on the night.

But Phil Thompson, Tony Fleming, Chris Eden, and Jeff Galvin — four of the most celebrated Michelin-starred chefs in the UK — think this is where most people go wrong.

"People always try to be too fancy," Thompson, who owns the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Thompson in St Albans, told Business Insider. "You should never run before you can walk."

Thompson, Fleming, and Eden all agreed that the temptation to wow your guests by cooking everything last minute is something everyone has done from time to time, and that is how most failures start out.

"Most people try to do things at the last minute like we do," Fleming said, who will run the kitchen at L'Oscar hotel in London when it opens later in the year.

But depending on what you're planning to serve, prepping some meals can take days. "We have armies of chefs to help us with this every day, but you don't have that at home."

OneAldwych

If you're cooking with chickpeas, for example, they need to be softened in water for around eight hours. Soaking them overnight saves a rush the next day.

"It's really important to do as much preparation as you can in advance," he said, "so when it comes to the actual cooking process everything runs smoothly."

"If you try to do everything at the last minute, you're setting yourself up to fail," Eden said. "Some of us even fall flat on our faces, so preparation is key."

On Monday, September 26, the Michelin-starred chefs helped Dominic Teague, the head chef at One Aldwych in London's West End, prepare a four-course dinner in aid of Children with Cancer UK.

Even with five celebrated chefs in the room, mistakes can happen. While Eden prepared a chocolate and honeycomb dessert for the guests, Teague helped him count how many biscuit bases were done and ready to be plated.

Dominic the Executive Head Chef helping Mr @pennypots count!!! Bless him

A photo posted by Phil Thompson (@philthompson78) on Sep 26, 2016 at 1:55pm PDT on

 

Eden, who runs Driftwood in Cornwall, said the best practice is to write down all the stages you need to go through before you start cooking — even things as simple as peeling and chopping vegetables.

"Then you know what you're up against and you'll find it easier to do things in stages," he said.

Overthinking your meal can also mean buying exotic ingredients you've never cooked with before to make it memorable. But Galvin, who is currently the executive chef at L'Escargot in London, said even chefs like to keep it simple when they're not at work.

"People can often try to be too clever," he said. "Just buy some simple, fresh ingredients and cook them in a simple way. That's what I do at home."

All the chefs agreed that cooking should always be a pleasure, so you shouldn't give yourself too much work or worry about some meals taking a long time to come together.

"Cooking should be fun," Thompson said. "If you think about a Sunday roast, people take all day to cook one meal, and that's how it should be. It's relaxing and rewarding. Take your time, and don't overthink it."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The secrets to cooking the perfect burger in your kitchen

Nobody wants to buy this $12.5 million Brooklyn mansion with connections to mobsters and Russian heiresses

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brooklyn house of the day $17 million

It looks like Miami, but its soul is pure Brooklyn. At one time, this "bonkers" estate was the most expensive home in Brooklyn, on sale for $30 million in 2013.

But the next year, it was given a price chop down to $17 million. Now it's shed both a neighboring home and another $4.5 million from its price tag, says Curbed. It's now listed for $12.5 million.

The 10-bedroom Mill Basin property is a gated waterfront compound with a storied past and more than 23,000 square feet of interior space. The main house was originally built and owned by John Rosatti, a multi-millionaire with mob connections to the Colombo crime family. He then sold the property to Russian heiress Galina Anisimova (known as the mother of the "Russian Paris Hilton") for $3 million in the late '90s.

Outside, the mansion has a 1,000-square-foot pool, a 40-person pavilion for parties, and 30,000 square feet of outdoor gardens. The main house boasts a downstairs wine cellar, 257 feet of waterfront, a four-car garage, and a two-boat marina. Taken together, this is more akin in style to something you'd see in Miami than in Brooklyn. 

Douglas Elliman now has the listing.

Megan Willett and Raisa Bruner wrote earlier versions of this story.

SEE ALSO: Billionaire hedge funder Ken Griffin is selling his Miami Beach penthouse and condo for $73 million

DON'T FORGET: Follow Business Insider's lifestyle page on Facebook!

Here's the entrance to the home that was at one time Brooklyn's most expensive property.



The home is perched right on the Mill Basin waterfront and has its own private marina.



Mill Basin is pretty deep in Brooklyn — about an hour's car ride (or longer on public transportation) from Midtown Manhattan.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

26 crazy pictures of micro-apartments around the world

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tiny apartment hong kong

Humanity is increasingly moving into cities, but the Earth isn't getting any bigger.

That means our apartments are getting smaller, and our living arrangements denser.

Some people get roommates to avoid living in such small spaces. Others, due to poverty or personal obligations, have no choice but to accept their crowded circumstances.

We don't know how they do it, but somehow they make it work.

SEE ALSO: Here's what cities could look like in 10 years

Wang Cunchun, 90, lives with his 60-year-old son in a 107-square-foot apartment in Shanghai, China.



China's largest developer China Vanke showcases a micro-apartment at the Pearl River Delta Real Estate Fair in Guangzhou province.



In space-deprived China, tiny is the new big.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Brothers share what it was like quitting their corporate jobs to sell ties on the beach and cofound Vineyard Vines, a company worth nearly $1 billion

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Vineyard Vines Founders Shep and Ian Murray

Shep Murray had one particularly bad day at work in 1998.

During his annual performance review at the New York City-based marketing and communications company where the 27-year-old worked at the time, he was told to "think more inside the box."

Instead, he quit.

Later that day, he called his younger brother Ian, who was working in Manhattan at a small public relations firm.

Shep told his brother — who he knew was also unhappy at work — that he'd quit his job, and dared him to do the same.

Ian, then 23, called his brother back about five minutes later to report that he'd followed suit.

Though the brothers were both out of work, they weren't quite falling without parachutes. They had a business idea in their back pockets — and now they'd finally have time to pursue it.

During a 1997 trip to Anguilla, where their parents, who were travel journalists, were on assignment, Shep and Ian had started talking about creating a high-end necktie company that represented "the finer things in life."

After consuming a few drinks at the hotel bar one night, they ended up telling the resort's general manager about their idea.

"We didn't know how to do it," Shep said. "The hotel manager literally pulled out the New York City yellow pages. We started calling neck tie manufacturers. That's how it all started."

But when they got back to New York, they briefly put the idea on hold.

That was, until they quit their jobs the following year.

Vineyard Vines Founders Shep and Ian Murray

Once they were able to start pursuing this dream in earnest, it was time to break the news to friends and family.

"Everyone thought we were crazy for leaving our respectable jobs to go try something new," Shep says. "My girlfriend, who is now my wife, was not happy."

When they first started their company — which would eventually become Vineyard Vines, the preppy clothing brand that's now worth close to $1 billion, according to Reuters— the brothers didn't receive "any money from anybody," says Shep.

But they had a plan and they hit the ground running.

They bought an old Jeep and a Ford Bronco with their last couple of paychecks and applied for as many credit cards as possible while they still had credit. Cash advances from the new credit cards helped to fund Vineyard Vines in the beginning. They used contacts at their old firms to make connections in the fashion and design world. Soon, they accrued an inventory of ties.

"Nobody was really wearing ties at the time, unless they were going to a wedding or a graduation," Ian says. "We thought, people aren't wearing ties because they're boring. But we used that to our advantage."

To make neckties more appealing to more people — especially young, preppy New Englanders — their idea was to create a product line with whimsical and colorful patterns that "could spark conversations."

Vineyard Vines

To build up their brand, the Murray brothers took an outdoorsy approach to finding customers who would appreciate their preppy, nautical-themed ties. They would couch surf up and down the eastern seaboard, carrying backpacks brimming with merchandise. They'd bike and boat around beaches, hoping to find interested customers.

"We would sell a tie to anyone who would listen to us — and to people who wouldn't," Ian says.

They also hawked ties at Junior League fairs, holiday boutiques, bazaars, and church fairs.

While they did encounter some interested customers, the brothers also ran into a lot of naysayers as they embarked on their new careers.

"People were always asking or thinking, 'How could you possibly give up these good jobs to do something seemingly stupid?'" says Shep. Ian adds: "People constantly talked down to us — but we took it as a challenge."

Vineyard Vines Founders Shep and Ian Murray

Almost 20 years after starting their business, the brothers say they've never regretted quitting their "stable jobs." Shep explains that embarking on their new, entrepreneurial path was far more liberating than it was scary.

"People want job security and financial security," Shep says. "The idea of passing on something that was perfectly good didn't make sense. The idea of being able to go out and make money doing something as stupid as making neckties just seemed like a crazy thing. The reality is, we were really passionate about going out and making it on our own. We were really passionate about the products we made. We felt that if we were passionate, other people would be to."

Ian says that despite the rough patches in the beginning, the brothers were able to rely on each other for support and found that their different skill sets often complemented one another. (Ian majored in English in college and had a background in PR, while Shep majored in business and had a background in advertising.)

They also had a trick for keeping themselves motivated each day.

"It would be very easy to just sit on the couch and watch 'The Price is Right,'" Ian says. "So we would make a to-do list every morning, and would make sure every day we added ten things to it."

Writing out their priorities allowed them to stay focused on their goals, even without the structure of the traditional 9-to-5 workday or office environment.

Vineyard Vines Founders Shep and Ian Murray

The Murray brothers worked from home in the beginning, and later began renting larger office spaces in Connecticut, which is where they grew up.

Its proximity to both New York City and Martha's Vineyard — the place they spent a lot of time as kids that inspired the name (and concept) of their brand — was another reason they chose to headquarter their company in Stamford.

Today, there are 91 Vineyard Vines stores across the country. The company is on track to hire 650 employees (to boost its 2,600-person workforce), even as other brands with similar aesthetics face struggles this year, as Fast Company reported.

Vineyard Vines has also expanded its product line to include bags, clothing, and swimwear for men, women, and children — but it's still known for its bright, playful prints.

"Our ties spoke to people," Ian says. "They said something about the person before they even opened their mouth. That's why so many people early on identified with our products. Really early on, we had George H.W. Bush wearing our bonefish ties, because he loved to go bone fishing, and we had John Kerry wearing our lacrosse ties, because he loved to play lacrosse."

Vineyard Vines

Looking back on their old careers, the brothers say they "miss nothing." They especially enjoy not having to wear suits anymore, or commuting to and from New York City every day.

When they first made the leap, Shep says they "felt empowered by being our own bosses, regardless of what anyone else thought."

He adds that his best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to "quit your job while you're young."

He notes it's better to focus on pursuing your passion and gaining varied and interesting career experience than it is to suffer through a job that pays well or looks great on your résumé.

"Quality of life was more important to us than financial gain," Ian says. "That still is what drives us and drives our team. It's extremely rewarding to be around like-minded people."

However, the brothers note that going for your dreams can get harder as you age. They see many peers in their 30s or 40s who feel unfilled in their corporate jobs, but are unable to leave due to financial obligations.

"You don't want to go to your grave saying you wish you had tried something," Shep says. "If you don't try it, how can you know if you're going to succeed? I think a lot of people measure success financially. If you do that, it doesn't necessarily always lead to a happier, more productive life. Make sure you do things for the right reasons."

SEE ALSO: This preppy retailer that refuses to put models in its catalogs might be worth $1 billion

Join the conversation about this story »

Take a rare look inside 6 of the multi-million superyachts on sale at the Monaco Yacht Show

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athena yacht

Yacht enthusiasts hailing from Russia to Italy are gathering at the Monaco Yacht Show that kicks off Wednesday to see some of the most stunning superyachts on the market.

This year, there will be 125 yachts on display — 46 of which will be superyachts. Yachts are priced based on the length of the ship, with them starting (yes, starting) at $1 million per meter (3 feet), said Laurence Shukor, a team member at the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo who helps set up buyers with a personal yacht shopper. Some yachts can go as high as $78 million all in.

We rounded up some of the most stunning superyachts on sale. Scroll down for a closer look of the height of luxury:

SEE ALSO: Here's how the super rich buy mega-yachts

1. Here you see the Galactica Super Nova yacht by luxury yacht manufacturer Heesen. The 70-meter (230-foot) ship will cost roughly $13 million per meter (3 feet). It has six cabins to fit 12 guests.

That means the yacht could cost roughly $910 million all in.

Source:Business Insider



The superyacht comes with a roughly 20-foot infinity pool on the main deck. It comes with spa jets and a waterfall.



It has 3,843 square-feet of deck space in total, giving you plenty of space for seating areas.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

There's a way to get endless professional photos while you trounce around Disneyland for only $39 a day (DIS)

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disneyland photopass plus

If I can make it about me for a second: 

Last Friday, I surprised my girlfriend with a proposal, right in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Calfornia's Disneyland park. It's a little cheesy, but we're both into it, and I'd say it went very well, given that she's now my fiancée. 

Better yet, we were able to share the moment with our friends and family back home: I put a word in the ear of the official Disneyland park photographer before we did our first pose, pictured here, and now we have 30-some-odd photos of the big moment that are ours to keep, forever.

In fact, thanks to a relatively new offering from Disneyland called PhotoPass+, we got all those photos, plus all of our photos from rides like Splash Mountain and Tower of Terror, plus an impromptu meeting with Star Wars' Boba Fett — all for $39, total.

It's amazing. For $39 a day or $69 a week, PhotoPass+ gets you unlimited access to all of the official photo opportunities in Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. We now have enough high-quality photos to fill a photo album, commemorating what turned out to be an extra-special Disneyland visit. 

boba fett disneyland

Here's how PhotoPass+ works:

  • Download the Disneyland app, which is handy anyway — it can tell you wait times for every ride in Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. Plus, it tracks things like dinner reservations for you, and you can even buy park tickets straight from within the app.
  • Within the app, you can buy one day of PhotoPass+ for $39, or a week for $69. You can buy PhotoPass+ in advance, you just need to activate it on your first use. If you don't want to do it via app, you can buy a physical PhotoPass+ card at the park, but I think it'd be easier to lose.
  • If you see a Disneyland photographer, recognizable with their giant cameras, khaki vests, and Disney nametags, you can have them take a photo of you. Some of them are just walking around picturesque spots in the park, like Sleeping Beauty's Castle, and almost every Disney character encounter is attended by a PhotoPass photographer. 
  • After they take the shot, have them scan your PhotoPass+ barcode, either on your phone or your physical card. Within a few hours, it'll appear on the app, where you can download a high-quality version suitable for printing or Instagram, your preference. You have 45 days after the photo is taken to download them.
  • The process is much the same for ride photos: Just find your photo after you're off the ride, and it'll come with a code you can punch into the app to claim it. 

disneyland splash mountain

I had no idea this even existed, before I started frantically Googling for ways to make sure that the proposal was caught on camera. Now, not only did we get the engagement photos, but all of our other photos for the day, too. Dollar for dollar, I'd rather have this than an official Disneyland t-shirt, though I bought one of those too. Oops.

There are some shortcomings to PhotoPass+. We really lucked out when we found our photographer — especially photogenic spots in the park can have long lines before you get the chance to take your photo, which meant we didn't get as much use out of it once Disneyland started filling up later in the day.

And, just to repeat, these are all digital downloads. If you want a print copy to take home, you'll need to pay the $13 or so starting price for an official Disney photo print. Of course, once you have your high-quality photo downloads, you can just take them to your local Target or pharmacy and pay a few cents to have them printed there, too.

Walt Disney World resort in Florida has a similar offering, called Memory Maker, that offers more customization and personalization of the photos, like unique filters and stickers. That one costs $149 if you buy at least three days in advance, and lasts for 30 days.

On a final note, we stopped by Disneyland's City Hall for free "Just Engaged" buttons. They don't get you any privileges, but boy, did it brighten our day to be congratulated by Disney staff and well-meaning strangers during our visit.

SEE ALSO: The one free thing everyone should do when visiting Disneyland for a special occasion

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The 10 best US cities for the class of 2016 to start their lives

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madison wisconsin

What comes after you receive the diploma and toss the graduation cap?

To help the class of 2016 with that decision, real-estate marketplace Zumper analyzed and ranked the 260 largest metro regions in the US across six main factors: millennial population, young professional income, access to amenities and nightlife, employment rate, population of unmarried inhabitants, and rent prices.

Madison, Wisconsin — with its vibrant economy and moderate rent prices — topped Zumper's list of best US cities for recent grads.

Read on to see what other spots cracked the top 10. We also included the percentage of millennials in each metro area (from the US Census Bureau), the gross income of those between age 20 and 29 (from the US Census Bureau), and the median rent of a one-bedroom apartment (from Zumper).

Still unsure where to move? The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) put out a similar report that may help students make the call.

SEE ALSO: Here's the income you need to comfortably pay rent on a 2-bedroom apartment in 15 of the largest US cities

10. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Percentage of millennials: 15.5%

Median income (20 to 29 years old): $44,677 

Median rent (1-bedroom): $641 per month



9. Washington, DC

Percentage of millennials: 14.3%

Median income (20 to 29 years old): $72,737

Median rent (1-bedroom): $2,203 per month



8. Omaha, Nebraska

Percentage of millennials: 14.2%

Median income (20 to 29 years old): $50,102

Median rent (1-bedroom): $769 per month



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Bed bugs are evolving before our eyes

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bed bug

If you live in a big city like New York, you're probably familiar — a little too familiar, perhaps — with bed bugs.

As their name suggests, they start by infesting the places we sleep.

Within weeks, the blood-sucking creatures have turned an entire apartment into an itchy nightmare.

And their numbers are on the rise.

Since the early 2000s, bed-bug infestations have grown more common in the US, UK, Canada, and Europe, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Part of the reason? They've evolved resistance to our defenses against them. The bed bugs of today, for example, have thicker, waxier exoskeletons (to shield them from insecticides) and faster metabolisms (to beef-up their natural chemical defenses).

They're also being transported with increasing frequency by people traveling internationally, according to the British health agency NHS. As they follow us across the globe, the pests get tougher. "In a way, we created the modern bed bug: it evolved to live on us and to follow us," science writer Brooke Borel explained in her recent book, "Infested."

From cave to city

Bed bugs didn't always used to be the terrifying critters we know today. For decades, we lived in peace, undisturbed by these tiny creatures of the night. Our cave-dwelling ancestors, in fact, got along perfectly fine with bed bugs. Back then, biologically speaking, they were practically a different species.

Yet as humans migrated out of caves and into cities over thousands of years, we brought bed bugs along for the ride. Not surprisingly natural selection began to influence their characteristics: The critters with traits that made them better able to survive in their new digs outlived their peers who weren't as well suited for the urban lifestyle. These new bugs were more active at night, when humans sleep, and had longer, thinner legs for hopping away from us quickly.

Bed bugs are still evolving

Scientists still aren't entirely sure why bed bugs have started to come back so strongly in the past decade, Borel writes, but what we do know is that people are playing an important role in their recent return.

It all began shortly after World War II, when scientists created the powerful insecticide DDT. We managed to temporarily wipe out tons of insects, including bed bugs, writes Borel. But all the while, their resistance to insecticides grew. Then, as international travel got more common, bed bugs hitched a ride on everything from travelers' shoes to their luggage, spreading across the globe.

How to spot a bed bug

Adult bed bugs are flat, oval-shaped, and visible to the naked eye, according to the NHS. Their color can range from dark orange to red or brown.

Female bed bugs can lay up to 300 eggs over the course of their lifetime. The eggs stick to surfaces and hatch after about 10 days. Baby bed bugs grow into adults in roughly six to eight weeks, all the while shedding their skin. If you have a bed-bug infestation, you can typically spot these shells, which appear wrinkly and light brown, on your bedding.

Bed bugs aren't limited to hotels or hostels and can be found in all types of housing, the NHS reports.

If you think you have a bed-bug infestation, the NHS recommends getting in touch with your local pest-control company.

SEE ALSO: This scientist had a bed bug breakthrough after subjecting herself to 180,000 bites

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Here's what you get with a $26,000 per year luxury travel membership

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Anthony Lassman Nota Bene

Rich people love to travel as much as the rest of us. In fact, it's a favorite hobby among billionaires.

But when the 1% travel, the word takes on an entirely new meaning.

"Travel is the currency of status; it's far more about the experiences you have as opposed to whether you're driving the latest Rolls Royce or whether your wife has the latest Hermès handbag," said Anthony Lassman, cofounder of London-based luxury travel- and lifestyle-management company Nota Bene Global, in a recent interview with Business Insider.

Lassman and his wife Elaine launched Nota Bene — meaning "note well" or "take note" in Italian — in 2005 to offer tailor-made, travel-planning services to the ultra high net worth crowd. The Lassmans drew knowledge from their careers as publishers of premier travel and destination review guides as well as several years selling high-end real estate.

Nota Bene serves clients with net worths upwards of $200 million, with several in the billion-dollar range. Lassman describes them as "cash rich and time poor" — those seeking once-in-a-lifetime experiences who don't have the time to research and plan to the degree that suits them.

Increasingly, clients are coming from "Silicon Valley kind of money," Lassman said. They're people who made money in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s who push boundaries in order to have unique experiences.

"People who have striven really hard, and achieved really hard, are risk takers," Lassman said. These businesspeople tend to take more risks in their travel, and it's often thanks to the flexibility and security of their wealth. They place their safety — and their money — in the hands of Lassman and his team.

For about $26,000 annually, clients enlist Nota Bene to plan, book, and manage every detail of their travels.

"In the same way that an asset manager manages private wealth, we manage time and experience. We manage curated experiences," Lassman said.

Nota Bene Global

Nota Bene operates in two ways: Clients either approach Nota Bene with destination requests and the company crafts detailed itineraries for them, or Note Bene presents once-in-a-lifetime experiences to clients based on their travel research of what's trending.

Nota Bene's range of possibility is virtually endless and includes experiences like flying privately from Cape Town, South Africa, to Antarctica; taking a private jet through Rajasthan, India, at dawn to glimpse the Taj Mahal before the overbearing crowds gather; and lunching with the Louis Roederer family at their private estate in France's Champagne country.

But no matter the destination or experience they seek, Lassman noted that his wealthy clients always expect two things: exclusive access and one-step-ahead service.

1. Exclusive access

The Lassmans have spent 30 years in travel and real estate cultivating connections with hotel managers, restaurants, tour guides, experts, and businesses around the globe. Their connections grant their clients access to exclusive destinations and events in both the world's largest cities and far-off corners.

"We have one estate that comes with a private plane and a helicopter and it's on Mount Kenya— 3,000 feet above the Great Rift Valley. You wake up in the morning and [the staff] will say 'What do you feel like doing?' You can go to truly authentic markets, go fly fishing up on Mount Kenya ... anything," Lassman said.

Clients also turn to Nota Bene for access to world-renowned events, including couture fashion shows, the Grand Prix in Monaco, the Cannes Film Festival, the Oscars, and the Palio Di Siena horse race in Italy, where balcony seats cost €15,000 for the hourlong event.

As such, there are certain destinations that the wealthiest tend to frequent year after year. Lassman calls these places "the watering holes of the rich" and considers summer spots like Capri, St. Tropez, Mykonos, and the Mediterranean, and winter locations like Jackson Hole, Aspen, and San Moritz, among them.

"Access is key," Lassman said. "There are very few things we can't provide access to."

2. Top-tier service

About one-third of Nota Bene's approximately 150 clients belong to the company's bespoke-level service with several opting to trade up from their lower-tier service, which costs $6,500 and grants access to online travel guides and generic travel planning but does not include the minute-by-minute management enjoyed at the bespoke level. The $22,000 annual fee for the bespoke service may seem steep to outsiders, but Lassman assures the price is justified.

"We're tracking them every single day, we're there for them. We're in constant contact with them and the hotel behind the scenes," Lassman said.

Perks of the top-tier service include private check-in rooms and frequent upgrades to suites at hotels, hand-selected welcome amenities, the option to ship luggage to and from destinations, arrangement of personal security services, and hand-picked staff teams, including chefs, housekeepers, and, if needed, childcare services or nannies.

Nota Bene's travel managers spend time familiarizing themselves with the habits and requests of each client to ensure they'll meet their wants and needs.

"We're always thinking one step ahead, preparing. It really is like putting on a great theater performance — when the curtains go back it all has to be perfect."

SEE ALSO: The 5 favorite hotels of wealthy people around the world

DON'T MISS: Meet the man behind the on-demand helicopter startup that the 1% use to get to the Hamptons

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