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Photos reveal what Trump's inner circle looked like when they were younger

We looked inside the $100,000 gift bag Oscar nominees take home, and it's beyond extravagant


emma stone gift bag oscars

Some of the stars up for Oscars on Sunday night will lose, but they'll still come away with six figures worth of free stuff.

The "swag bag" given to Oscar nominees has become a regular part of the awards for years now. The company Distinctive Assets puts together "Everyone Wins" bags for major nominees in the best actor, best actress, best supporting actor, best supporting actress, and best director categories.

The items for the 2017 Oscar nominees total over $100,000 in value and include a wide assortment of both luxury and everyday products — from destination trips to ChapStick. Plus chocolates, jewelry, skin cream, and the more uncommon products like a pelvic exercise tracker and a vaporizer.

So Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling, Damien Chazelle, and more have a lot to look through in their haul this year.

Distinctive Assets sent Business Insider some of the items from this year's bag for a look inside.

Here's everything we checked out in the 2017 "Everyone Wins" gift bag that Oscar nominees will take home:

SEE ALSO: 26 stars who shockingly still don't have Oscars

The "gift bag" we got was actually delivered as a box... a really, really big box.

It has a lot in it.

The Haze vaporizer ($249.99) is a staple of the gift bag, combining portability and options.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A little-known Mexican-food chain run by a former Chipotle exec is crushing it


rubios coastal mexican grill tour 1033

If Rubio's is the David to Chipotle's Goliath, David is catching up.

The San Diego-born chain, founded by a college-aged surfer and made famous for its fish taco recipe, rose to fame when it toppled Chipotle to become the top-rated Mexican restaurant chain in America in a 2015 Consumer Reports survey.

Since then, Rubio's has expanded from 163 locations on the West Coast to 206 nationwide, with an East Coast launch planned for 2017. By comparison, Chipotle has over 2,000 restaurants across the US.

We visited Rubio's in Vallejo, California, to see what the buzz is about.

SEE ALSO: This fast-food chain you've probably never heard of is making a killing selling $8 burgers

During a sunny weekday afternoon, we stopped by a newly renovated Rubio's restaurant.

Here's a photo of a Rubio's location before the brand-wide remodel. The kitschy, beach-themed décor featured thatched umbrellas, surfboards, and laminated bikinis on the wall.

"The brand has grown up," Rubio's president and CEO Marc Simon told Business Insider. The new look on display in Vallejo felt modern and sleek, with natural wood tables, glass bauble lighting fixtures, and blue and green hues to match the chain's ocean-inspired menu.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Sonos plus Tidal is a high-end, user-friendly wireless audio setup that's hard to beat


Sonos Tidal Review

I spent almost two years researching a new audio setup for my house. By way of background, I don't own any TVs and although we pay for a variety of video-steaming services, I don't watch them all that much (everybody else does, on laptops, tablets, and iPhones).

However, I do listen to a lot of music. Before I moved from Los Angeles a couple of years ago, I had a kind of evolving hybrid old-school/new-school audio setup. At any given time, there was a component hi-fi stereo plus a Wi-Fi streaming rig and of course the car radio. There were CDs and even some survivors from my once-vast vinyl record collection. There were cassette tapes. There were iTunes libraries and a stray iPod or two.

When I came back to New York, I decided to commit to a simple Bluetooth setup. So for a while, it was iPhone + Bluetooth speaker. But it wasn't a very good Bluetooth speaker. I missed the old component configuration I had lugged around for two decades, in the 1980s and 1990s. I realized that I wanted to listen to music and have it sound good.

So began the quest. Fortunately, I wasn't in a hurry. And I had reference points. It boiled down to whether I had in mind a static or dynamic listening experience. Or perhaps better stated as stationary or ambient. 

A key point of reference was my father-in-law's budget audiophile arrangement, with NAD components mated to a pair of excellent Ohm speakers. Good sounds!

But to really enjoy that setup — which I was familiar with from my own systems — you have to commit to sitting in a chair or on a couch, figuring out how to best position the speakers, and in this day and age go for an amplifier-turntable-speakers rig and start rebuilding the vinyl. It's also a wired system, so there are, you know ... wires.

The listening experience is unparalleled, of course. But as I worked through my options, I realized that I don't listen to music that way anymore — unless I'm in a car, where I get to sample no end of multi-speaker, high-end audio systems.

We listen to music holistically, and we want to fill our house with it. So you can probably guess where I'm heading here.

Yep, we took the Sonos plunge. But what an odyssey it was before we finally made that decision!

SEE ALSO: The best audio system I've ever heard in a car also sounds amazing at home

We have a kind of medium-sized, three-story house, with small and medium-sized rooms. Acoustically, the living room or family room is quite good, but it's also not an ideal place in which to locate an elaborate audio system.

We had been making do with a group of Bluetooth speakers. We had some old component systems and some refugee speakers, but they weren't going to work as the main rig.

I used to own about 500 vinyl records. But I sold them and made the switch to digital, not always with great results, audio-wise. So I explored setting up a new, vinyl-centric system.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

All the looks from the 2017 Oscars red carpet


Emma Stone

Hollywood's finest came out for the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Stars on the red carpet include Scarlett Johansson, Michelle Williams, Janelle Monáe (it's her first Oscars), Ryan Gosling, and Justin Timberlake and wife Jessica Biel.

Silver, gold, and white gowns turned out to be one of the biggest trends of the night. 

See the best looks from actors and celebrities:

SEE ALSO: 26 stars who shockingly still don't have Oscars

Felicity Jones

Isabelle Huppert

Jackie Chan

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This watch company is the perfect example of why Trump's 'made in America' initiative is easier said than done


weiss watches

No one knows how difficult it is to manufacture in America like the people who actually do it.

Los Angeles-based workshop, Weiss watches is the perfect example. Its founder Cameron Weiss, is passionate about reviving US mechanical watch manufacturing.

"Making my timepieces in America is important to me because I am very passionate about watchmaking, and I believe this is the best way to resurrect the industry in the US," Weiss told Business Insider.

He quickly ran into some issues. 

The watchmaking industry left the US a long time ago, taking all the infrastructure that supported it. That means very few watches can actually be labeled "Made in the US," as that FTC demands that it be made with "all or nearly all" American-sourced components.

To get around that, Weiss essentially had to develop his own methods to build these parts in the US. He started a new business for parts: Pinion Precision Technology. It produces parts mostly by machine, but there's difficulties there too.

"The biggest challenges of producing a complicated product is that we are machining components at machine shops that have never dealt with watch parts before," Weiss said. "The finish of our components is more important than other industries like aerospace, as these inconsistencies will affect our product."

weiss watches

Weiss purchased a lathe machine that can make multiple types of parts for watches, to bring some of the machining in-house. Weiss even had to develop a new shipping process, as the parts are so fragile they cannot simply be thrown into a box and shipped. Weiss hopes to some day supply American-made parts to other US watchmakers seeking the coveted FTC designation.

"Creating is not easy, and since we are a global economy, it may not fit every industry to make each part of their product here," Weiss said. "I think it is important not to lose sight of the product - for us, we are focused on creating a timepiece to last generations.

Weiss' challenges highlight potential obstacles to President Donald Trump's plan to restore American manufacturing. 

Trump recently held the largest yet of his White House meetings with high-powered executives, assembling 24 CEOs to discuss how to make more products in the USA.

But beyond discussions, Weiss shows that companies will have to invest significant capital to make 'made in America' happen. 

SEE ALSO: Here's what 'Made in USA' actually means

Join the conversation about this story »

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This eco-friendly coffee brand wants to rid landfills of plastic coffee pods



The coffee pod market has ballooned so much in recent years that it is expected to overtake instant and ground coffee as soon as 2020 — but its popularity represents a huge environmental problem.

The majority of those handy, single-serve plastic coffee capsules are never recycled. Halo, a UK-based ethical coffee pod brand that launched on Monday, claims more than 20 billion coffee pods containing aluminum or plastic are produced each year.

Halo cofounder Nils Leonard — the former executive creative chairman of ad agency Grey London (and Business Insider's "most creative person in advertising 2015") told Business Insider: "We believe it [coffee capsule waste] will be illegal in a few years' time."

Halo claims to have created the "world's first" fully compostable coffee capsule, which is compatible with home Nespresso machines.

haloThere are other compostable coffee capsules on the market, but they usually require being sent to a municipal composting facility. Halo's pods can be tossed in the kitchen food bin and biodegrade completely within 90 days — compared to the 150 to 200 years it takes for aluminum to begin breaking down.

haloCofounder Richard Hardwick tells us they're so compostable, he is even growing tomatoes from them.

The product itself is high-end: Kopi Lawak Diamond, Panamanian Geisha, Royal Kona, and Three Mountain — bespoke blends of rare coffees, roasted by Antica Tostatura Triestina in Italy.

As to be expected, the price point is high too: £10 ($12.46) for a box of 10 capsules. Nespresso pods usually retail at around £0.30 to £0.40 per capsule ($0.37 to $0.50). But as well as household consumers, Halo is also targeting businesses like luxury hotels and restaurants as it looks to spread its ethical message.

In a press release, Hardwick, a former UK Barista Championship judge, said:

"Most people don’t understand the irreversible damage coffee capsules are inflicting on the planet. Aluminum and plastic coffee capsules are very difficult to recycle so most end up in the bin and that’s why up to 75% are currently being sent to landfill every minute. It’s a design challenge no-one has cracked. Until now. I’ve been creating premium expresso for 23 years and capsules for over 10 years and this is the culmination of what I’ve been trying to deliver to coffee lovers for all this time."

Halo's two other cofounders are former Nespresso business director Andrew Richardson and David Foster, a trained barista and master coffee brewer.

The coffee pods are only currently available to order online from Halo's website, but its FAQ section states: "Having spent a long time creating the capsules and crafting the coffee we are launching online and in the future we hope to work with like minded partners who share our core values and ethos."

SEE ALSO: The most 30 creative people in advertising 2015

NOW READ: The 30 most creative people in advertising 2016

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One of the best-dressed guys at the Oscars broke all of the rules


mahershala ali

Men hear a lot about rules when it comes it dressing. Generally, you should follow them.

Unless you know what you're doing — then you can do whatever you want.

Take as an example Mahershala Ali, who on Sunday won the best supporting actor Oscar for his role in the best picture-winning "Moonlight."

Ali wore an all-black Ermenegildo Zegna Couture tux, black shirt, and black bow tie, with black shoes. The pocket square: a white and black pattern.

According to the rules, Ali should look like a disaster, but he doesn't. Far from it.

Not only does Ali stand out on the red carpet's sea of blue and black, but he's definitely among the best-dressed men attending the awards. 

How does Ali do it? The answer is, as you may have suspected: carefully. 

None of the parts of his ensemble is the same texture. Move in closer, and you realize that there are contrasting micro patterns embedded into each piece to further separate them from each other.

The blacks aren't the same shade, but they're not so different as to distract the eye. Accessories like the pocket square, silver jewelry, and two-tone shirt buttons serve to give the outfit the depth that a monochrome tuxedo definitely needs.

Make no mistake: this is an expert-level ensemble. It's definitely harder to pull this off than a normal tuxedo, but Ali is able to do it precisely because he knows the rules — and the exact way to break them in order to create something beautiful.

SEE ALSO: This is the only correct way for men to dress for a black tie event like the Oscars

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NOW WATCH: 'It was a disrespectful moment to "La La Land"': Watch cast and crew from 'Moonlight' react to the Oscars mix-up

A CEO and former Wall Street banker shares his dinner party-ready loft in Soho — take a tour


Tasting Table CEO 7294

Before following his passion into the arena of food media, Geoff Bartakovics was working in finance as a business manager in fixed income trading at UBS. He says his seven years in banking helped set him up for success when founding Tasting Table, his growing food media empire that focuses on sharing quality recipes, food trends, and longer-form features on must-try restaurants.

We recently visited Bartakovics' home in Soho, Manhattan — a delightful two-story, one-bedroom apartment that's situated in an old carriage house — to find out how he divides his time between his work as CEO of Tasting Table and continuing one of his oldest passions: hosting dinner and cocktail parties.

Below, take a tour of his home and get his best tips for being an excellent dinner host.        

SEE ALSO: A former J.Crew exec just opened a menswear paradise for the modern guy who 'wants to look American'

Bartakovics' apartment is located across the street from the Tasting Table offices, which makes commuting a breeze.

Since he was a kid, Bartakovics has been cooking. "I was cooking dinner five nights per week starting at age seven," he said. "Psychologically speaking, you get a lot of love and kudos from neighbors and family friends for doing something weird like being the kid who cooks."

While Tasting Table covers all the basis within the food world, Bartakovics' passion lies specifically in playing host, rather than going out. "Waiting 45 minutes for your seat even though you have a reservation is not my core passion," he said.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Ivanka Trump's Manhattan apartment just got a price chop — take a look inside


Ivanka apartment

Ivanka Trump has packed her bags for DC, and she no longer has any use for her Manhattan pied-à-terre.

But instead of sitting empty while listed for sale for $4.1 million, the two-bedroom apartment has arrived onto the rental market. First listed for $15,000, it was recently knocked down to $13,000 a month.

Trump reportedly bought the apartment for $1 million in 2004, according to Luxury Listings. It sits underneath the four-bedroom penthouse the family also owns in the same Park Avenue building.

It is listed, appropriately, with Trump International Realty.

SEE ALSO: See inside the $5.5 million Washington, DC, home where Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are reportedly moving

The apartment is located in Trump Park Avenue, a doorman building on the Upper East Side.

Trump also owns the penthouse of the building with her husband, Jared Kushner.

A wide foyer offers a grand entrance to the 1,500-square-foot condo.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

What the Chinese saying 'The ugly wife is a treasure at home' actually means

Why you should start saving up to have kids as soon as you get married


wedding couple

Having kids is expensive.

The average American family pays over $11,000 just in the first year of a child's life, and nearly $250,000 by the time they're 18. The cost of childcare for young children has even eclipsed the cost of tuition at in-state colleges in 33 states.

With those numbers in mind, it's never too early for parents to start putting money away to cover the cost of having kids.

On a recent episode the "Listen Money Matters" podcast, Kim Palmer, author of "Smart Mom, Rich Mom: How to Build Wealth While Raising a Family" and mother of two, said that she and her husband started saving up to have kids as soon as they got married — even though their daughter wasn't born until five years later. Why so early?

"That was when it was easy, before we had kids," Palmer told Andrew Fiebert and Thomas Frank of Listen Money Matters. "That was the easy time to save."

Having kids brings a mountain of added expenses that don't exist when you're younger and newly married. Parents need to fork over cash for everything from a new car seat to months worth of diapers — not to mention the rising cost of childcare — making it much more difficult to save diligently for future outlay at the same time. So once you and your partner know kids are in your future, it's time to start saving for them. 

For Palmer, taking time off of work to have a baby also meant a dip in income.

"Like a lot of people in America, I didn't have fully funded maternity leave, so I had to have the savings for that because I took six months off with each baby," she says. "That's a big loss of income and it's hard to keep up with your other costs."

If you're planning on having kids someday, it doesn't hurt to start saving up right away. As a new parent, you'll thank yourself when money is one less stress to worry about.

SEE ALSO: I saved 50% of my income for a month and the hardest part wasn't cutting back my spending

DON'T MISS:  11 mistakes holding you back from becoming a millionaire

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TERRY CREWS: Here's how I stay positive every day


Terry Crews, actor, former NFL player, and the host of Netflix's upcoming show, "Ultimate Beastmaster," discusses how he trys to stay positive and happy everyday. 

You can watch our full interview with Terry Crews here.



I stay positive by actually choosing things to be thankful for. An attitude of gratitude literally gives you energy.

But I also found that I used to be the opposite. And my wife will tell you, ‘cause we’ve been married 28 years, she knows the other side. I was not a nice person to live with. And … when I saw, personally, the differences in my life from once I was a pessimist to the switch to being an optimist, it’s like night and day.

Instead of looking for what’s wrong with everything, I started to look for what was right with everything. And you start to realize that you only get where your habits take you. So, the way you think gets you what you want in life. If you think everybody is against you, if you think you’re not going to get something, usually you don’t. And it kinda becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But when I started shifting and saying, “Okay, I’ma go into this place like they want to see me” and say “Hey! Wait! Things are going to be better.” All of a sudden, things got better. And, listen, you can say, “It’s a Jedi mind trick on your own head.” Well, I say do it.


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New York City's most iconic hotel is closing indefinitely this month — take a look back at its star-studded past


New York City's Waldorf Astoria is one of the most legendary hotels in the world. Its suites have hosted every US president since Herbert Hoover, and Hollywood legends Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, and Frank Sinatra have all at different times called the residential towers home. Countless lavish social events were held in its ballrooms, and its kitchens were the birthplace of red velvet cupcakes and the Waldorf salad.

Now, the historic hotel is closing at the end of the month for major renovations that could take as much as two years.

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Unilever celebrates the asparagus season with a bizarre erotic cooking ad (ULVR)


UFS Germany Asparagus ad

Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) has launched a bizarre, erotica-themed ad for its German-speaking markets – Austria, Germany, and Switzerland – to promote its products and services around asparagus dishes for restaurateurs.

The B2B ad, spotted on German ad industry news site W&V, titled "Give me more asparagus: warning hot," is about the fantasies of a chef as he cooks asparagus in his kitchen.

As the chef chops up asparagus, the ad plays out scenes of scantily-clad girls sleeping on a bed of the vegetable and playing with a leg of ham.

The ad promotes Lukull's Hollandaise sauce and is part of a larger campaign around asparagus dishes. Asparagus is a popular food in Germany during spring, during which the country eats over 70,000 tons of the vegetable.

UFS, which supplies restaurants, is Unilever's professional food services division.

What's a little strange about this fact is that at the 2016 Cannes Lions advertising festival, Unilever's consumer arm pledged to stop stereotyping women in advertisements saying females were misrepresented in role, personality, and appearance. 

Watch the full ad here:

SEE ALSO: Burger King used photos of real restaurant fires in its latest campaign to show it always flame-grills its burgers

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The top 15 presidents according to historians


It should come as little surprise to anyone that, for the third time in a row, historians agree that Abraham Lincoln was the best US President, but what about our newest former president?

As part of C-SPAN's third Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership, almost 100 historians and biographers rated the 43 former presidents on ten qualities of presidential leadership: Public persuasion, crisis leadership, economic management, moral authority, international relations, administrative skills, relations with congress, vision, pursued equal justice for all, and performance within the context of his times.

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London mansions are selling at a discount after Brexit — and the wealthiest buyers in the world are rushing to cash in


Anthony Lassman Nota BeneAnthony Lassman is well-acquainted with the desires of the ultra rich. 

Lassman and his wife, Elaine, launched Nota Bene Global — 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. 

Membership with Nota Bene costs $26,000 a year, and members get exclusive access to destinations and events, as well as bespoke-level service.

Before he founded Nota Bene, however, Lassman worked as a realtor and property developer in London's luxury market. Using that expertise, Lassman has aided Nota Bene's members in purchasing high-end real estate in destinations around the world. His clients are looking to buy everything from full-floor penthouses to historic townhomes in cosmopolitan cities. 

According to Lassman, one of the destinations that affluent buyers are most interested in these days is London. There had been a cooling in the market there following the imposition of a higher stamp duty tax in 2014, and prices across the board fell by about 10-15%, Lassman said. 

"However, with a weak pound following Brexit, those buying in dollar-related currencies are seeing an additional 18%-20% currency bonus so the actual gain can be as much as 30% off the peak point in the market of 18 months ago," he said. 

This has led to a growing interest in London real estate from foreign buyers. Lassman says this trend is most pronounced with buyers he's worked with from China, the Middle East, Scandinavia, and North America. 

eaton square penthouse

"As January closed and we entered February we started to see demand pick up with the canny buyers, especially those holding dollars, realizing that now might be a good time to enter the market," Lassman recently told Business Insider. 

He added that while there are still many political and economic uncertainties to consider — some of which may prove detrimental to real estate developers and businesses — foreign buyers who are looking for a deal are currently finding themselves in a good position. 

"2017 will be interesting as there are still many factors affecting decision-making in general terms. Brexit is one," Lassman said. "Yet, the super rich chasing the super-prime look for the long term. As long as they believe they are purchasing the best at a fair price, we see momentum building."

Other real estate professionals also seem optimistic about the market's recovery post-Brexit.

"Prices are firming up, although they are still considerably off since the top of the market," Property Vision's Charlie Ellingworth told the Financial Times. "Where [a home] is good, there is competition — if something looks like a bargain, people will go for it."

SEE ALSO: This watch company is the perfect example of why Trump's 'made in America' initiative is easier said than done

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Tommy Hilfiger is selling his whimsical Miami mansion for $27.5 million — take a look inside

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