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People in DC waited in lines around the block for hours this morning to drink Russian vodka and watch Comey testify


james comeyFormer FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, less than a month after being fired by President Donald Trump

Bars across the country are opening doors early to screen Comey's testimony. Some are serving politically themed cocktails, others are offering free rounds of drinks.

It seems to be a genius move on their behalf. Photos on social media show massive crowds are gathering at some bars — particularly those in the nation's capitol.


Shaw's Tavern, a Washington DC bar, set up a Facebook event to host "The Comey Covfefe Hearing," where they will be serving $5 Stoli vodka and "FBI" sandwiches. "Grab your friends, grab a drink and let's COVFEFE!" the organizers said on Facebook.


The testimony was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. EST — early Thursday morning, there was already a massive line outside the bar.




The line reportedly stretched down an entire block.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

These 7 luxurious trains offer breathtaking views for your next vacation


belmond andean explorer

Long-distance train travel is a great way to see the natural beauty of a country.

Naturally, taking a train doesn't have to break the bank. But for anyone interested in splurging on comfort for trips that can last a week or more, there are several ways to ride in style.

Scroll down to see the most luxurious train options out there:

SEE ALSO: 15 of the coolest customized Teslas we've seen

South America: Belmond Andean Explorer

The Belmond Andean Explorer offers sweeping views of the Peruvian Andes with stops in Cusco, Puno, and Arequipa. The train is South America's very first luxury sleeper train and comes with a library car and piano bar car.

The price of a one-night itinerary in a double room is $480, according to Travel + Leisure. More specific pricing information is available upon request.

Africa: Rovos Rail

The Rovos Rail has been selling tickets for nearly three decades and offers a variety of trips to places like Cape Town, Victoria Falls, and Durban. Guests can enjoy Champagne and lobster tail in the luxury train, which offers Royal Suites that come with a tub and shower. 

The price of a room starts at $1,475 per person.

London to Venice: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is one of the most iconic luxury trains in the world. It features Art Deco interiors, plush fabric, crystal glassware, and a champagne bar.

It's best known for its classic route from London to Venice, with a stop in Paris. But you can also opt for a journey from Paris to Istanbul or from Istanbul to Venice. Tickets start at roughly $2,500 per person.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We went to a Comey watch party at a bar in Brooklyn — here's what it was like


Brooklyn on Bond

When it was announced that James Comey, who was fired as FBI director in May, would be testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, many people across the country had the same thought — I need a drink. 

Bars across the country seized the opportunity organizing testimony watch parties on Thursday everywhere from Washington, DC, to Houston, Texas.

Business Insider decided to visit the lone bar in Brooklyn that was holding a viewing party — Building on Bond, a cafe-bar mashup in the scenic, tree-lined neighborhood of Boerum Hill. 

We arrived at 9 a.m., about an hour before the testimony began, and one thing was clear — the media was ready for the watch party, even if Brooklynites hadn't yet shown up.

When I entered the bar and bought an iced coffee, there was just one customer settled in to watch the testimony. Meanwhile, there were close to 10 reporters, videographers, and photographers from various media outlets. 

comey testimony

While people were lining up down the block for $5 vodka shots and "FBI" sandwiches at Shaw's Tavern in Washington, DC, most people who came into Building on Bond before 10 a.m. were there for their morning cup of coffee.

One college student, grabbing her cup of coffee to go, told me she planned to watch the testimony from the back of her lecture hall. 

As the 10 a.m. start time neared, more reporters and locals entered the bar. People who had come to watch and drink were baffled by the increasingly packed room. 

"What a party!" one woman said. 

"What's going on?" replied another. 

The booze finally started flowing at around 9:45 a.m.

dennis villasana

Dennis Villasana, an attorney who lives in New Jersey, was one of the first people to get the party started and order alcohol. Villasana saw Building on Bond on Business Insider's list of bars showing the testimony, and decided to make the trek to Brooklyn.

"I hate Donald Trump and that's what it comes down to," Villasana said when asked about his political views. 

Aside from Villasana, most people hadn't traveled far. One local was dodging news cameras so his boss wouldn't find out why he was skipping work. Another decided to drop by and watch after having been laid off a few months ago. Others knew the owner, and had watched the presidential debates at the bar.

Building on Bond

At 10 a.m. — after some struggles with the cable box — the testimony kicked off.

The first mention of Russia was greeted with cheer and what looked like vodka shots at one end of the bar. And, Comey raising his hand to take his oath was met with cheers.

"No tiny hands here!" one bar-goer yelled. 

The bars' scene was unabashedly pro-Comey, or perhaps, just anti-Trump. Two locals who regularly visit Building on Bond offered sotto commentary, while the bar burst into applause and laughter at various Comey lines. 

Two hours into the testimony, the bar was still packed. Some people peaked in from the broad glass windows, while others crowded around the door. 

It may have not been the booze-soaked scene that seems to have taken over parts of Washington, DC, but, with eyes glued to the screen, the mood had become one of community.

SEE ALSO: People in DC waited in lines around the block for hours this morning to drink Russian vodka and watch Comey testify

Join the conversation about this story »

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This is the best advice an interior designer has for guys who want an awesome bachelor pad


michael dublin house tour

Designing a new space can be an intimidating task on your own. 

James Tabb, an interior designer working with the startup Laurel & Wolf, has some advice for guys looking to create a comfortable bachelor pad: don't go it alone.

"Bring in a professional," Tabb said in an interview discussing his work on Michael Dubin's home in Venice, California. Dubin is the cofounder and CEO of Dollar Shave Club, the razor subscription startup that sold to Unilever for a reported $1 billion in July 2016.

However, for those who "can't or don't want to," Tabb has a very important piece of advice he thinks all men should heed.

"Stay away from comfortable 'looking' things," he said. "It's a huge mistake a lot of people make: they buy the sofa or chairs that LOOK comfortable, but in a matter of months, they wear out or just start looking slumpy and sad."

Tabb instead recommends buying ergonomic furniture that "looks sexy and is comfortable to boot," noting that the those pieces will last longer and look better. 

michael dublin house tour

SEE ALSO: Go inside the bachelor pad of Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin, who sold his startup to Unilever for $1 billion last year

Join the conversation about this story »

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I spent 3 nights at a luxury camp with the amenities of a five-star hotel — and I’m convinced it’s the best way to go camping


Firelight tent

Camping is a lot of work. To do it right you need a ton of equipment, and planning takes time.

Plus, spending a night in the woods might not be for everyone, especially city dwellers like me.

Enter glamping — my new favorite way to escape to nature for a couple of days. The term is a combination of the words "glamour" and "camping," and it's exactly what you might think: camping with many of the comforts of a hotel, like clean showers, flushing toilets, and a real bed.

Sound appealing? Sure is. Take a look at what sets glamping apart from traditional camping.

SEE ALSO: Employees at this Silicon Valley startup don't eat on Tuesdays

This is Firelight Camps, where I went glamping last summer.

Firelight is located in Ithaca, New York, right in the heart of the Finger Lakes region.

The drive from New York City, where I live, is about 5 hours long. 

Here's a look at one of Firelight's tents from the outside.

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Glamping isn't cheap. At Firelight, rates range from around $189 to $224 per night for tents that sleep up to four people. That rate includes breakfast and complimentary wine tastings each night. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The founder of the Discovery Channel is selling his enormous Colorado ranch for $149 million

The 13 most over-the-top billionaire toys


musashi yacht

Billionaires — they're just like us. Well, kind of. 

Whether it's on a yacht, fancy car, or avant-garde collection of art, the wealthiest people in the world are willing to lay down some serious cash on the things they love. 

We've rounded up some of the best billionaire toys here. 

SEE ALSO: We flew to the Hamptons like the 1% with Blade, an 'Uber-for-helicopters' startup — and it was as fabulous as it sounds

Steve Cohen's 14-foot shark

Billionaire hedge funder Steve Cohen has an art collection that has been valued at as much as $1 billion. In 2004, he paid between $8 million and $12 million for a shark that had been suspended in formaldehyde — a piece called "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" by British artist Damien Hirst. He later paid Hirst for a replacement after the shark (which was once actually alive) began to detiorate.

Elon Musk's spy submarine

In 2013, Tesla CEO Elon Musk paid $866,000 at auction for the Lotus Esprit submarine that appeared in the 1977 James Bond flick "The Spy Who Loved Me." He has said he wants to try and make it "transform for real."

Mikhail Prokhorov's virtual ski machine

Billionaire Russian businessman Mikhail Prokhorov owns lots of cool toys (including that sports team he bought for $200 million). But he's also got some unique possessions, including a virtual ski machine. Prokhorov is a known daredevil; he once filmed himself doing stunts on a jetski and had a production company set the movie to music.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

San Franciscans went to bars to drink 'Comey-Kazi' and coffee during the Comey testimony — here's what it was like


comey testimony bar 4802

San Franciscans poured into bars at 7 AM on June 8, to drink alcoholic coffees and watch former FBI director James Comey testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Bars as far as Washington, DC, Houston, and New York City opened early to screen Comey's testimony— his first public comments since he was fired by President Trump, without warning, in May. Dozens of people turned out at Clooney's Pub, an old-school bar in San Francisco's Mission District, to commiserate while drinking "Comey-Kazi" and "Im-PEACH-mint" beverages.

Here's what it was like.

SEE ALSO: We went to a Comey watch party at a bar in Brooklyn — here's what it was like

This is Clooney's Pub. It opens at 6 a.m. seven days a week.

I knew I was in the right place for the Comey watch party when I saw the menu board out front. Drink specials included the "Comey-Kazi," the KGB (a mixed drink made with Kahlua, ginger, and brandy), and the "Im-PEACH-mint (a blend of peach schnapps and mint liquor).

Jim Hutchinson has been the morning bartender at Clooney's Pub for 20 years. His regulars come in for a cup of coffee before starting their days. June 8 was very different.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 16 most expensive skyscrapers built in the last 30 years



Over the last few decades, skyscrapers' heights — and thus their costs — have continued to climb.

Business Insider rounded up the most expensive towers built in the last 30 years, defining a skyscraper as a building that measures at least 500 feet tall. As you will see, not all skyscrapers feature a slender design.

Check them out below, in order from lowest to highest construction cost.

SEE ALSO: The 22 most beautiful buildings in the world, according to architects

In Hong Kong, the Bank of China completed its 1,204-foot-tall headquarters in 1990.

The $1 billion building thins toward the peak and features sharp edges.

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The Petronas Twin Towers, located in Malaysia, was constructed in 1999.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Barack Obama has adopted a "work uniform" — here's how to make yours


woman clothing jacket 1950s fashion

Dressing for success is always a good idea.

Nowadays, that could mean wearing the same outfit to the office every day — a sort of "work uniform."

It's a concept that's been adopted by plenty of successful people. Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, and Steve Jobs have all put work uniforms to use.

As the New York Times reports, assembling a standard "work uniform" allows you to streamline your routine and eliminates one more potentially stressful choice from your daily life.

Experts say that making lots of small decisions like what to wear and what to eat throughout the day saps your mental energy for when you need to make more pressing decisions, a phenomenon called "decision fatigue." This mental fatigue makes people more likely act impulsively or do nothing at all when more important matters come up.

Penny Geers, stylist and owner of Your Closet, Your Style, has some tips on assembling a work uniform of your own.

Check out your closet before you go on a shopping spree

"Take note of your favorite go-to pieces," she tells Business Insider. "Those will be the basis for what you need to purchase to make the full uniform."

Most likely, you'll need to buy at least three to five bottoms and no less than five tops.

Be prepared to splurge

"When purchasing, you need to think quality first," Geers says. "If you typically wear t-shirts of a less-expensive, lower quality, you will need to invest in some that will withstand constant wear and laundering. Also, this collection is your work uniform only and should only be worn for that purpose."

Breathable, easy-to-care-for materials like wool and cotton blends are also a must, as are wrinkle-resistant tops. Geers says to avoid incorporating hyper-trendy items into the ensemble. Those are perishable, as far as style goes, and you can always get your trendy fix by investing in accessories.

1935: A man being measured by a tailor for a new suit

Don't limit yourself

"Just because it's a work uniform doesn't mean it has to be boring or dull," she says. "Add your own style through the accessories and the color of the items you choose. Shoes, belts, scarves, jewelry all play a major part in you creating and proudly showing your style and who you are."

Consider your uniform's influence

If you decide to go the route of adopting a work uniform, just remember that clothes are important. What you wear can alter how you think and feel. A California State University study found that formal-wear may make men feel more powerful, The Atlantic reports. What's more, your choice of garments can also effect how others see you. As "Flex: Do Something Different" author and University of Hertfordshire professor Ben C. Fletcher wrote in Psychology Today, "Our clothes say a great deal about who we are and can signal a great deal of socially important things to others, even if the impression is actually unfounded."

Most of all, make sure that your work uniform reflects your style and makes you feel comfortable.

"The trend towards a work uniform makes sense to me," Geers tells Business Insider. "I believe that what you wear strongly affects how you project yourself whether in the workplace or socially. If you feel great in what you're wearing that immediately comes through in how you carry yourself."

SEE ALSO: 22 business-etiquette rules every professional should know

Join the conversation about this story »

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How to figure out how much sleep you really need


Woman Sleeping

In theory, sleep takes up about 8 out of every 24 hours, one-third of our lives. But many of us don't actually sleep that much and are tired all the time — more than a third of Americans don't get the seven to nine hours of sleep a night that the CDC recommends.

Yet we spend additional time worrying about our sleep. According to research by the National Sleep Foundation, more than a third of Americans say their sleep quality is "poor" or "only fair."

But how much sleep do we really need?

First, let's get the bad news out of the way: there isn't going to be a one size fits all answer — sleep needs really do vary from person to person.

You could be one of those incredibly rare people that can actually get by on a few hours of sleep a night (almost definitely not), or you could be on the opposite end of the spectrum, what doctors refer to as a "long sleeper," who might need 11 hours a night.

But there are some things we do know about sleep, and these can help you figure out how much sleep you actually need — and how to better get a night's rest.

Here are five facts that will help you figure out what your personal sleep patterns are and how they compare to the rest of the population.

internaltime21. There's a reason that doctors usually recommend seven to nine hours of sleep.

The amount of sleep that people need falls into a bell curve type distribution, with the vast majority of the population needing between seven and nine hours of rest each night to be refreshed.

The chart to the right, from the book "Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You're So Tired" by German chronobiologist Till Roenneberg, shows the general distribution of sleep needs. (Chronobiology is the science of our internal clocks.)

2. You have a natural chronotype, or body clock, that determines when you are most comfortable sleeping and being awake.

Most of us think of ourselves as morning or night people, but those divisions aren't scientific — they're just ways of comparing ourselves to one another. 

"Where you define owl or lark is really arbitrary," says Dr. David Welsh, an associate professor studying circadian clocks at UC San Diego. Welsh says that if you look at large surveys of populations, you get a normal distribution of chronotypes — most people have fairly "average" chronotypes, some prefer to get up a bit earlier or later, and small groups naturally rise extremely early or late. There's no line that distinguishes different chronotypes.

But we all do have an internal schedule that makes us feel awake or sleepier at different times of day. Because of factors including hormone levels, genetics, and light exposure, some of us are more alert in the mornings and some of us prefer times later in the day.

If your schedule isn't aligned with your chronotype, you will feel tired and out of sync.

sleep needs

3. The amount of sleep you need changes throughout your life.

The seven to nine hour recommendation is standard for adults, but kids need much more sleep, while some older people need less.

This chart by the National Sleep Foundation shows how these requirements change as kids grow up.

In addition to length of sleep needs changing, chronotypes change throughout life as well.

According to Roenneberg's book, young children naturally tend to be more morning oriented. Around puberty, they're more likely to shift into a night owl chronotype, which tends to shift back to an earlier chronotype after age 20.

4. There are some things you can do to adjust your natural chronotype.

While your sleep needs (both chronotype, when you are alert, and length, how much sleep you need) are mostly genetic, there are certain things you can do to adjust your schedule and at least make it a bit easier to get up earlier.

Our bodies respond to light, especially the powerful natural light of the sun. Being exposed to that light in the morning tells our body that it's time to be alert and moving. At night, sitting in the dark stimulates the production of the hormone melatonin, which helps us relax and fall asleep (we mess with this process by looking at bright light from smartphones).

But we can adjust this to a degree by controlling our exposure to light. This process, called entrainment, is what our bodies have to do when we go to a different time zone — this is why we get jet lagged. But we can also use this to train our bodies to get up and go to sleep earlier by exposing ourselves to natural light in the morning and avoiding bright light at night.

This won't turn you into a morning person, but it can make prying the covers loose just a little less painful.

5. Your sleep needs are personal; try to figure out what works for you.

Sometimes new research will come out, and people will claim something like "studies have found that seven hours is the optimal amount of sleep — not eight."

But as interesting as any sleep research is, we do know that people are different and have different needs. The findings of one study don't translate into recommendations for everyone. In the case of sleep, experts recommend figuring out what personally works best for you.

If you can let yourself sleep naturally for a few days to a week, going to bed when you are tired and waking up whenever is natural, preferably while limiting alcohol and caffeine, you'll have a better idea of your individual needs. Get some sun during the day, along with some exercise.

If you do all that but still have trouble sleeping, it might be time to talk to a doctor. You could be one of the large percentage of the population with undiagnosed sleep apnea, especially if you snore. Or you could have some other disorder that can be addressed.

It's worth taking the time to figure out what you can do to sleep better though. Not getting enough raises some serious health concerns.

SEE ALSO: Biological factors determine whether you're a morning person or night owl — this scientific quiz tells you where you fit on the spectrum

Join the conversation about this story »

These are the only 4 hair products guys should ever use


Eddie RedmayneIf you don't know your gels from your pomades, you're not alone. 

The world of men's hair product is daunting, but don't be afraid. We've distilled it down to four basic categories that should suit any kind of hair.

No matter what kind of hair you have, at least one of these products is bound to tame your mane and make it look great.

SEE ALSO:  This is the best advice an interior designer has for guys who want an awesome bachelor pad

1. Hair wax (a.k.a. putty, clay, glue, molding creme, or styling paste)

For guys with straight or wavy hair, wax is the perfect product to use on a daily basis. It makes hair look effortlessly styled with a medium hold and the lowest shine of all hair products.

Another benefit comes from the heaps of texture it adds to all types of hair. It's good for a "messy look" that actually doesn't look messy at all.

Though it comes in many variations, most are made with different waxes like beeswax. They're also water soluble and will easily wash out of your hair. 

American Crew Fiber is the tried-and-true hair wax favorite, but other good choices include proprietary brands made by popular barber shop chains like Blind Barber and Fellow Barber.

2. Pomade

Pomades are hair wax's classic cousin. They combine a lot of hold with a lot of shine and are the best product to use for a slicked-back pompadour look or "Mad Men"-style side part. Again, pomades work best for men with straight or wavy hair, especially if it's on the long side.

The shiny finish and superior hold of pomades are what really separates them from hair waxes. Pomades are ideal for hairstyles that don't need a lot of movement, since they can sometimes feel waxy or greasy to the touch.

All of our favorite hair wax brands also make very suitable pomades, including American Crew. Uppercut also makes an extra-strength pomade called Monster Hold.

3. Styling cream

While hair wax and pomades can be similar, styling cream is a different beast altogether. Instead of a waxy solid like our first two products, styling cream is more of a thick liquid and is suitable for curly-haired men. It offers a light shine with no hold at all, and it takes care of the frizz and unruliness in your hair.

In short, styling cream will leave your hair manageable without drying it out.

For styling cream brands, you really can't go wrong. Moroccanoil has gained a lot of popularity recently for taking good care of both men's and woman's hair, but men's-focused creams like the Fellow Barber's Styling Cream and Malin + Goetz's sage styling cream are also excellent choices. Finally, Bumble and Bumble makes another good unisex alternative.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The biggest reason you gain weight as you age has nothing to do with your metabolism



You've probably heard that once you hit 40, it's all downhill when it comes to your weight.

That inexplicable force we call our metabolism does begin to grind a bit slower every year from age 30 onward.

Here's the good news: The rate at which your metabolism slows down is actually rather minimal. In reality, most weight gain that happens in midlife isn't the result of a slower metabolism at all.

Instead, it comes down to a simple but changeable truth: As we get older, we get less and less active.

While this might sound depressing, it's actually great news. There's plenty we can do to counteract the slow, seemingly inevitable onset of poundage. But first, here are some basics about what metabolism is — and what it isn't.

How your body burns energy

Our resting metabolic rate is a measure of how much energy we expend — or "burn" — when we're at rest. It's determined by a combination of factors, including your height, sex, and the genes you got from your parents, and it can't be altered much, no matter what you do.

Beyond that, our bodies appear to enter into three more distinct phases of calorie burning, depending on what we're doing. These three are the types of metabolism that most people are referring to when they say doing certain things, like eating spicy food or working out, can "boost" your metabolism.

Most of the things that people say will boost your metabolism won't

When we're eating, we burn a small number of calories (roughly 10% of our total calories burned for the day). This is called the thermic effect of food, and it's the first of those three phases I mentioned earlier. We can turn up the heat on this process a tiny bit (but not by a whole lot) by doing things like drinking stimulant beverages like coffee and eating large amounts of protein.

healthy eating"Eating foods like green tea, caffeine, or hot chili peppers will not help you shed excess pounds," notes an entry in the ADAM Medical Encyclopedia, hosted by the National Institutes of Health. "Some may provide a small boost in your metabolism, but not enough to make a difference in your weight."

Instead, get active

Unsurprisingly, the most important calorie-burning activity we engage in is just that — activity.

Whether we're taking the stairs, stepping away from our desks for a coffee, or sweating it out in a hot yoga class, we're expending energy. Researchers call this second phase physical-activity expenditure.

After a strenuous workout, we continue to burn more calories than we would while at rest — and that's the third phase, or what's called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

When it comes to counteracting weight gain, these two phases — the ones related to physical activity — are the most important. Your best bet for burning more calories throughout the day is to increase your levels of any kind of activity, be it running or walking.

woman running stretching fitness exercise joggingMany people think strength training or weight lifting fits into this category, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

Weight lifting can only do so much for your metabolism. Why? Because muscles don't burn a whole lot of calories, as the NIH points out. As far as calorie-melting organs go, your brain is actually far more efficient than your bicep.

"Brain function makes up close to 20% of" resting metabolic rate, Dr. Claude Bouchard, a professor of genetics and nutrition at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of Louisiana State University, told The Los Angeles Times.

"Next is the heart, which is beating all the time and accounts for another 15-20%. The liver, which also functions at rest, contributes another 15-20%. Then you have the kidneys and lungs and other tissues, so what remains is muscle, contributing only 20-25% of total resting metabolism," Bouchard said.

So while strength training is a healthy habit that will certainly have a helpful effect on things like agility and balance, it won't change your metabolism a great deal.

"This idea that one pound of muscle burns hundreds of extra calories per day is a myth," Gary Foster, Weight Watchers' chief scientific officer and an adjunct professor of psychology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, told Business Insider.

And be mindful about eating

According to the NIH, in addition to getting less active as we get older, we also appear to become less perceptive about our body's nutritional needs over time.

Our natural appetite-control mechanism seems to dull. A good way to be more mindful of how full you're getting is to eat smaller meals and get more only when you're still hungry, rather than sitting down with a large plate of food, which might encourage you to overeat.

"By staying active and sticking with smaller portions of healthy foods, you can ward off weight gain as you age," the NIH website says.

SEE ALSO: Americans have been making a huge diet mistake for 100 years — here's what they should do instead

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The key to a lasting relationship isn't necessarily marriage


marriage relationship proposal couple love

The sun is out, flowers are blooming, and your refrigerator is so cluttered with wedding invitations you can hardly find the handle.

There's nothing quite like wedding season to get you contemplating the next phase of your relationship. So you're probably wondering — let's just say theoretically— how might tying the knot affect my partner and I? Will it make us happier? Strengthen our relationship?

Aside from the enthusiastic friend or extended family member, you probably have loads of anecdotal evidence suggesting that the answers to both of those questions is yes. After all, thousands of Pinterest boards can't lie — or can they?

Interestingly, the bulk of sociological research on this topic actually suggests that it isn't marriage that's the key to lasting happiness, but something far more basic. It all comes down to finding a romantic partner who also happens to be the person you'd call your best friend.

In a recent study of thousands of couples on marriage and happiness, John Helliwell, a University of British Columbia economist and the co-author of the UN World Happiness Report, found evidence suggesting that the most important factor for a lasting, happy relationship was whether or not you see your romantic partner as your best friend.

Helliwell and his research team looked at data from two large British surveys and the Gallup World Poll. After accounting for couples' age, gender, income, and health conditions, they found that couples who were best friends and lived together were just as happy as couples who were best friends and married.

In other words, marriage didn't appear to matter much at all.

Here's a chart from the study comparing the "life satisfaction" of couples who were married (blue bars) with couples who lived together but were unmarried (red bars). Couples who said their partner was their best friend are on the left.

marriage happiness chart"What immediately intrigued me about the results was to rethink marriage as a whole," Helliwell recently told the New York Times.

Other research seems to support Helliwell's findings.

young coupleFor their 2012 survey of American couples, researchers found that couples who lived together but were not married had higher self-esteem and were happier overall than their married counterparts.

In a recent blog post for Psychology Today, social psychologist Bella DePaulo took a look at a large 2012 review of more than 20 studies of married and divorced couples. Initially, the researchers concluded that marriage made people happier. But taking a closer look at the numbers, DePaulo came to the opposite conclusion.

"Except for that initial short-lived honeymoon effect for life satisfaction," she writes, "getting married did not result in getting happier or more satisfied. In fact, for life satisfaction and relationship satisfaction, the trajectories over time headed in the less satisfied direction."

Other studies back up DePaulo's assertion: A 2011 review of the impact on happiness of major life events found that couples who got married generally felt less happy and less satisfied with their lives over time.

Helliwell prefers to look on the bright side of these findings.

"Maybe what is really important [in a relationship] is friendship, and to never forget that in the push and pull of daily life," he said.

SEE ALSO: Giving thanks could be the key to lasting relationships

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Join the conversation about this story »

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These eerie photos of deserted golf courses reveal a new normal in America


Apple Ridge Country Club 7495

Once a community staple in suburbs across America, the golf course is now a slowly dying breed.

According to new data from Foursquare, foot traffic to golf courses has gone down in the last year. While overall visits to golf courses were up 8% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2017, the number of unique visits also decreased by 11% in the same time period. 

This could mean that while regular golfers are continuing to enjoy the sport, the number of occasional or new players — who are trying it out for the first time — is going down. The Foursquare data was drawn from both implicit and explicit visits to golf courses, compared to the same period in 2016. 

Over 800 golf courses have shuttered across the US in the past decade, and data from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association has shown that millennials between the age of 18 to 30 have a lack of interest in playing the game. From Las Vegas, Nevada, to Mahwah, New Jersey, many courses are being replaced with housing developments.

We recently explored two closed golf courses in northern New Jersey, both of which are being turned into housing developments, to see firsthand what courses across the country look like as they become abandoned.        

SEE ALSO: 10 eerie photos of drive-in theaters that have been abandoned across the US

The Apple Ridge Country Club, located in Mahwah, New Jersey, opened in 1966.

Clinton Carlough bought the property, which was originally an apple orchard, and built the country club. It was family-owned and operated by the Carloughs until it was sold in 2014.

Source: NorthJersey.com 

Complete with an event space, 18-hole golf course, swimming pool, and tennis courts, Apple Ridge was a place the whole community could enjoy.

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Here's how often you should buy a new mattress — and tips on how to get the best one for you


Dr. Alan Hedge is a professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University. He is also a certified professional ergonomist. Dr. Alan Hedge explains how to buy the best mattress for a good night's sleep. Following is a transcript of the video.

We spend about a third of our lives sleeping.

Most people go and buy a mattress in a mattress store, and what they do is they'll sit on the edge of the mattress, and bounce up and down, and say, "hey, this feels good!"

Unfortunately, that's not how you sleep. You actually lay on the mattress, and you move around at night. And the same with the pillow. You'll see people saying, "Buy this pillow. It'll keep your head in the same position all night long."

You want to be able to move around because movement really helps circulation in the body. And it helps the muscles so that you wake up feeling more refreshed. There's been a lot of interest in the idea of memory foam.

Memory foam is something that, when you lay on it, conforms to whatever shape it is: the shape of your body. But remember that you want to be able to move around. You don't want to sink into something that locks you in one position.

So, the key is that, if you can, is to get at a store that will let you try a mattress out. Then, you can really know how it works. If you can't do that, then take your shoes off, lay on the mattress, roll on your side, roll back and forth. Figure out: "is this really going to work for me?"

You want to get a new mattress at least every 10 years and a new pillow every 2 years because when you're in bed, you actually shed a lot of dead skin. And that skin goes into the mattress, and then, there are little critters called dust mites that will eat that skin. So, after 10 years, you've got a lot of stuff in there that you really don't want to be sleeping on.

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Professional chef reveals the 7 most common mistakes made by beginner cooks


cooking eggsCooking is an invaluable skill, but sometimes it can take a long time to master the art. 

Professional chef and restaurant owner Johnathan Law has revealed the top mistakes of amateurs on Quora

Law, who operates The Year of the Ram Cafe and Diner in Shenzhen, China, said that most of these mistakes are easily avoidable once you know about them. 

1. Overseasoning. Law said he used to use a dozen spices to season his dishes, but it only confused his palate. "A good dish should have at most 3-4 different primay flavors, coupled with some aromatics," he writes. 

2. Underheating the pan. If you're stir-frying or searing meat, the pan should heat for 5-7 minutes, Law writes. "I have fired an employee before for consistently failing to do this," he said. 

3. Constantly stirring food with a spatula or spoon. "Lots of people seem to think of sauteing as simply cooking something on high heat, and it's not," Law said. "The idea is to make sure the foods being sauteed never steam in the pot, and that means constantly 'jumping' the food, not stirring it with a spatula."

4. Not using an oven thermometer for baked goods. This $10 instrument ensures your cakes or brownies turn out perfect, Law said. 

5. Adding too much liquid to a braise. "I've seen some people add enough water or wine to a braise that the meat is nearly completely submerged," Law writes. "NO! Don't do that! There's a difference between boiling and braising!"

6. Substituting baking ingredients because they taste similar. Make sure you know the chemical properties of the items you're using before doing this, Law says. Otherwise, the consistency of your dish could be totally off. 

7. Adding too much starch to thicken sauces. People get impatient prematurely and add flour or cornstarch to thicken sauces, Law explains. But it's better to wait. "If you add too much starch, you will end up with a bland, grainy, nasty sauce," he says. 

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4 grooming mistakes you should stop making in the warmer months


underarm sweat

With summer nearly here, it's time to get serious about your warm-weather grooming habits.

Though most of your routine will stay unchanged — you're still going to get haircuts every month and apply moisturizer every day— some are important to adjust.

Here are the biggest grooming mistakes you're making each summer, and how to avoid them.

SEE ALSO: 13 things guys can buy once and wear forever

Neglecting sunscreen.

If there is one thing keeping dermatologists up at night, it's the consistent and steadfast refusal of men to wear sunscreen.

Despite their increased risk of developing melanoma, many men just aren't willing to use a sunscreen every day. Still, it's a necessary tool to prevent sun damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

In the warm, sun-drenched months, that danger only becomes more pronounced.

Washing your face too much.

Dr. Terrence Keaney, a dermatologist working with Dove Men+Care, recommends his male patients wash their face twice a day — and only twice a day.

"When you wash your face, the soap or cleanser that you're using not only strips away the oil and sweat, but also strips away some of the natural lipids in the skin, so it can be potentially irritating," Keaney told Business Insider.

So, even if you get sweaty, try to limit the times the times you wash your face in a single day. And always moisturize afterwards to replace the lost moisture.


Not taking the proper underarm precautions.

The worst part about summer is sweat, especially in sweat-prone areas like the underarms. Many men don't know the proper way to prevent sweat in the underarms: it's all in when you apply the antiperspirant.

It takes time for your antiperspirant to work its magic and close your armpit's sweat ducts. After this process happens, good antiperspirants and deodorants usually last 24 to 48 hours. Therefore, the best time to apply antiperspirant is at night, before you go to bed.

Your white shirts will thank you.

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