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1,500 happily married people say the key to lasting relationships isn’t communication — it’s respect

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When author and blogger Mark Manson was about to get married, he reached out for some advice. He didn't ask friends or family but instead called upon his considerable readership.

You can read Manson's full post — "1,500 people give all the relationship advice you'll ever need" — on his blog. Following is a transcript of the video.

Mark Manson: People who were happily married for 20-plus years — all of them said communication's overrated; it's all about respect.

I'm a blogger and author. I've been blogging for nine years.

When Mark was about to get married, he asked some of his happily married readers what lessons they could share. More than 1,500 people responded.

I see this as crowdsourcing human wisdom.

He also asked the divorced to explain what went wrong.

Me and my assistant started to notice after about 500 emails, most of the people who talked about their divorce focused on communication. They basically said communication is the problem and the thing you need to fix is communication.

The people who were happily married for 20-plus years — all of them said communication's overrated; it's all about respect.

Basically, the argument was, if you're going to spend decades with a person you're going to miscommunicate, you're going to misunderstand each other, you're going to have situations where you don't get where the other person is coming from or you make the wrong assumptions.

This is just normal. If you spend enough time with anybody it happens all the time.

So they said, what's actually more important is having base-level respect. So that even when you misunderstand the person, you don't assume that they're like this awful, horrible person for disagreeing with you. You respect their differences. You respect that they may see things differently.

Or you respect that they disagree with you, or have a problem that you don't understand.

This video was first published on January 25, 2017.

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Holiday shoppers have a new habit — and it's good news for retailers

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Walmart

  • Shoppers are "self-gifting" this holiday season.
  • The behavior stems from high consumer confidence and the fact that shoppers are often waiting until the holidays to get a deal.
  • This is good new for retailers.


It's better to give than receive, but what if you're doing both?

Shoppers are "self-gifting" more this year, according to an analyst group that spoke with CNBC. That means that as shoppers go about their holiday gift-buying duties, they're also buying a few not-so-little things for themselves.

A study from NPD Group shows that more people plan to buy more for themselves this holiday. Nineteen percent of responders said they would "definitely" spend more on themselves, while 40% said they might.

This reflects high consumer confidence — people have money, and it's burning a hole in their pockets.

Self-gifting has been on the rise for a while, often growing year-over-year, but it's harder to measure than overall spending.

Many customers wait until the holidays to buy for themselves the thing they've had their eye on all year. There are also a lot more advertised sales during the holidays, which can influence shoppers to pull the trigger.

Self-gifting can be treated as a test of consumer confidence, as it's an additional, optional form of spending. Usually, self-gifts include things like electronics, cookware, and certain apparel, like sweaters and boots.

Self-gifting is the impetus behind newer shopping holidays like Prime Day and China's Singles' Day. It's also a big reason consumer spending keeps setting records, especially online.

SEE ALSO: Walmart and Amazon are locked in a bitter retail war — but they're becoming clones of each other in the process

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What 'Dilly Dilly' means — and how Bud Light came up with its viral campaign

How much to tip everyone in your life for the holidays, from your landlord to the dog walker

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santa claus party happy christmas holiday

  • Everyone gets confused about how much to tip during the holiday season.
  • With the help of an etiquette expert, we put together a handy guide on the best holiday tipping practices, and appropriate tip amounts for everyone in your life.
  • If you're not sure how much to tip a service provider, a rule of thumb is to tip the cost of one extra service.

 

The holidays can be stressful.

And one of the things that people tend to stress over is how much to tip everyone in their life.

So, to make things a bit easier, we put together a handy guide on the best holiday tipping practices and the appropriate tip amounts.

"The holidays are the traditional time to show appreciation for the people who make our lives more pleasant through the year," Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, etiquette expert of The Etiquette School of New York, said. "Always show your gratitude in some form, whether it's a monetary gift or a handwritten thank you note."

Here are a few of the best practices when it comes to holiday tipping, according to Napier-Fitzpatrick:

  • If you live in an apartment building and are tipping the staff, the amount you give depends on how long you've lived there, whether you rent or own, how large your apartment is, and how much you use their services. For instance, if you work from home and get a lot of deliveries, you might want to tip more.
  • If you're going to give cash, it's better to give it earlier in the month than later, if possible. Recipients might be using those tips to buy gifts for their own families.
  • You don't want to give less than you did last year, unless you really, truly can't afford to.
  • If you have a personal relationship with a service provider, such as your regular hairdresser or housekeeper, you might want to give a more personalized gift in addition to a cash tip.

Napier-Fitzpatrick also helped Business Insider outline the appropriate tip amounts for everyone in your life, which you can see below. If you don't see a specific service provider you want to thank, a rule of thumb is to tip the cost of one extra service.

SEE ALSO: Here's how to split the restaurant bill in any situation

DON'T MISS: 21 do's and don'ts of holiday shopping







See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This £950,000 lakeside home with a sloping green roof was just voted the best house in Britain — take a look inside

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Spinney Lake Habitat House

  • Habitat House in the Cotswolds has been named the Best House in the UK by the 36th WhatHouse? Awards.
  • The five-bedroom home — which is one of 10 — is made from natural local materials and has floor-to-ceiling windows.
  • Each of its bedrooms boats a balcony with sweeping views of the lake and countryside.


A five-bedroom lakeside home in the Cotswolds, complete with a sloping green wildflower roof, has been named the Best House in the UK.

The 36th WhatHouse? Awards, which celebrate new homes, developments, and builders in Britain across 20 categories, named Habitat House — which is designed to last 1,000 years — as a Gold Winner for the "Best House" category.

The rural home is situated on a 550-acre nature reserve on Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswolds.

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It is one of 10 contemporary detached holiday homes as part of a development from Habitat First Group, which aims to combine holiday home communities with "a deep love for Mother Nature."

Habitat Houses on Spinney Lake

The sustainable houses, designed using local, natural materials by Featherstone Young Architects, are detached and arranged over three floors. A five-bedroom property starts at £950,000 ($1.3 million).

Habitat House Lakeside.JPG

The ground floor boasts an open-plan living room and a kitchen/dining space, both with sliding glazed doors opening onto the deck. There's also a bedroom, a WC, and a separate utility/mud room.

Habitat House Living Area

A light-filled landing leads to the first floor, where you'll find a bathroom and three more bedrooms — two with en-suite bathrooms.

Habitat House Landing

On the top floor, you'll find another en-suite bedroom with a walk-through dressing room. All bedrooms have balconies with sweeping views over the lake and countryside.

Habitat House Bedroom

The homes are flooded with natural light thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. The judges were impressed by "the sense of space and light and the fabulous views from almost every room," according to WhatHouse?.

Habitat House Looking In

Each house has its own garden deck surrounded by a spacious lawn area.

Habitat House Deck & Living Area

Made with local Cotswold stone, Western red cedar cladding, and its own air source heat pump, the judges added that the house "offers exceptional value for money, with fantastic green credentials and a great specification for the price."

Habitat House with Canoe

And if you like the model but are looking for something smaller, three and four-bed homes are also available, starting at £715,000 and £750,000 respectively.

Habitat House in the Morning

SEE ALSO: The 10 best beaches on the planet, according to the world's leading bloggers and travel experts

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is one of the best responses to Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a fraud that we have heard so far

The incredible career of Hope Hicks, the 29-year-old former model in Trump's inner circle who has become a pivotal part of the Russia investigation

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Hope Hicks

• Hope Hicks is the youngest ever White House communications director.

• Before she entered the world of politics, some of her pursuits included modeling and lacrosse.

• She got her start promoting Ivanka Trump's fashion brand, before earning Donald Trump's trust and becoming a part of his inner circle.



Hope Hicks is the youngest person to ever hold the position of White House communications director.

But, according to a new tell-all book written by former aides David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski, US President Donald Trump reportedly wasn't always convinced that the 29-year-old was the right person for the job.

Lewandowski writes the now-president once told him that Hicks had "as much experience as a coffee cup." Lewandowski said he countered that she "was good looking."

"That always helps," Trump reportedly responded.

Hicks may have had zero experience in politics before joining the Trump campaign, but The New York Times reported the Greenwich, Connecticut native was "the third generation of her family to represent a powerful but highly controversial client." Her father ran PR for a tobacco company and the NFL, while her grandfather represented Texaco during the energy crisis in the 1970s. 

"My father has been a huge influence on me, starting with introducing me to lacrosse, then a career in public relations and now politics," Hicks told Lacrosse Magazine.

Here's a look at her career, so far:

SEE ALSO: The incredible life of rumored Tillerson replacement and CIA director Mike Pompeo, a West Point valedictorian and Trump's go-to source on North Korea

DON'T MISS: A look inside the daily life of Kellyanne Conway, the loyal Trump adviser favored to become the White House's next communications director

Growing up in Greenwich, Hicks swam, and played golf and lacrosse. At Greenwich High School, she became captain of the varsity lacrosse team, which ultimately won a state championship. She also landed modeling jobs for television commercials, Ralph Lauren, and Vogue. Ford Modeling Agency represented Hicks and her sister Marcy Grace.

Source: New York Times, NPR



Hicks dreamt of becoming an actor. The New York Times reported she even "read lines for a film role with Alec Baldwin." At the age of 13, Hicks told Greenwich Magazine she wanted to pursue acting, but could see herself in politics.

Source: New York Times, NPR



After graduating from Southern Methodist University, CNN reportedHicks landed a job at PR firm Hiltzik Strategies in 2012 after meeting founder Matthew Hiltzik at a NFL Super Bowl event. According to the New York Times, however, the interview with Hiltzik was set up after Hicks and her father met Alec Baldwin at the Super Bowl.

Source: CNN, Marist, PR WeekNew York Times

 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We asked 2 sommeliers how to impress a date with your wine order, even when you don't know anything

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Wine Riot is an event that aims to take the pretentiousness out of wine culture and lure in millennials with photo booths and grilled cheese hors d'oeuvres.

During the event's 30-minute crash course, "Old World versus New World Wines," taught by two sommeliers, I realized just how little I knew about wine.

After the presentation, I pulled aside two sommeliers — master sommelier Robert Jones and Jason Tesauro, who's also known as The Modern Gentleman— to get their advice on ordering wine with confidence.

Below, see their top three tips, which may come in handy in a situation (on a date, for example) when you want to appear like you know what you're doing. 

SEE ALSO: How to pick the perfect wines for the holiday season

1. Let your waiter know your price range — discreetly.

If you're the one treating your date, both Tesauro and Jones recommended not going over budget just to make it look like you know about wine. Staying in budget is important — and just because a wine is expensive, doesn't mean you and your date are going to like it.

If you have the wine list in hand, simply turn to the waiter and point to a price within your budget and say, "We're looking for something within this neighborhood."

Your date will have no idea what you're pointing to, and now you've let the waiter know that you're open to suggestions.



2. Pair your wine with your food dish using geography.

This is one of the simplest tricks in the book. Eating a pasta dish? Choose an Italian wine from the menu. Most menus don't have descriptions of the wine, but many note the location of the vineyard. 

"The easiest food and wine matching is by geography," Jones said.

"Where did this dish come from? What kind of wine do they make where this dish came from? Chances are it's going to be a pretty good match. The food and wine evolve together over time."



3. Order the one wine on the menu that has a seemingly unpronounceable name.

This advice might seem a bit backwards, but Tesauro said, "It is impossible for a wine to be unpronounceable, from a place you've never heard of, and be awful. It can only be unpronounceable, from a place you've never heard of, and be delicious in order to live on a wine list."

Tesauro added that using this technique could get you a better bang for your buck. Since most beverage directors know that a majority of guests will be reluctant to order a wine they've never heard of, the restaurant might not price a full mark-up on a glass.

As for saying the name out loud, Tesauro said, "In the era of mansplaining, show [your date] that you're humble enough to say, 'How do you pronounce that wine?'"


   



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I tried the up-and-coming burger chain that's beloved by political elites and wants to be the next Shake Shack — here's the verdict

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Good Stuff Eatery

  • I tried the up-and-coming burger chain, Good Stuff Eatery, that is trying to become the next Shake Shack. 
  • The chain already has a cult following in Washington, DC. I ran into two members of Congress while eating. 
  • I liked Good Stuff Eatery better than Shake Shack. 

 

I was driving back to New York City from Virginia when a colleague suggested that I stop in Washington, DC, to try Good Stuff Eatery, an up-and-coming burger joint trying to give Shake Shack a run for its money. 

Good Stuff Eatery opened its first doors in DC in 2008, just four years after Shake Shack started in Manhattan, but has since franchised other locations in the DC metro area, as well as in Chicago and even Saudi Arabia. 

While both burger joints use sustainable ingredients, including grass-fed beef and other meats and dairy products free from antibiotics and hormones, their menus are also a little different.

Here's how Good Stuff Eatery matches up. 

SEE ALSO: We tried the regional burger chain many people say is the best in America to see if it lives up to the hype

Here's Good Stuff Eatery's first location at 303 Pennsylvania Avenue, which sits on a quaint street with trendy bars and restaurants, just steps away from Capitol Hill.



The inside, which is long and narrow, has two floors. The first floor is where orders are taken and food is prepared.



The second floor is for seating.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A high-fashion apparel startup wants to create a better uniform for working women — and millennials are obsessed

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modern citizen fashion 1823

The streets of San Francisco are paved withyoung menwearing hoodies, jeans, and T-shirts — thetech bro uniformpopularized by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and other tech executives.

In 2014, Stanford graduates Jessica Lee and Lizzie Agnew decided to offer a fashionable alternative for women out of their home base of San Francisco. Modern Citizen, their direct-to-consumer apparel company, provides stylish, professional women with a curated collection of fashion-forward pieces, with many items priced under $100. Cashmere knits, wrap dresses, and relaxed-fit blazers provide comfortable alternatives to the Valley wardrobe staples.

At a time when shoppers are fleeing mall chains like J. Crew, Gap, and Abercrombie & Fitch, Modern Citizen is growing. The company opened its first brick-and-mortar in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood in August and has plans for an outpost in New York next year. A spokesperson declined to share revenue but confirmed that yearly sales top $1 million.

Business Insider sat down with Modern Citizen's cofounders, Lee and Agnew, to see what the high-fashion e-tailer is doing differently to evade the retail apocalypse.

Additional photography by Caroline Cakebread.

SEE ALSO: A preppy apparel startup is defying J. Crew's curse and dominating the millennial market

Jessica Lee and Lizzie Agnew make it sound easy starting a women-run fashion label in the city they call "Man Francisco." The idea was to create a brand for "women like us," Lee said.



Both 20-somethings loved designer labels but could rarely afford them. They didn't want to shop fast-fashion brands because the clothes are made as cheaply as they're priced.



Modern Citizen offers items for professional women who want to dress stylishly but comfortably, without breaking the bank. Most items retail for under $100.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

50 thoughtful gifts your dad actually wants this holiday season

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dad gifts

  • Dads can be hard to shop for during the holiday season.
  • From socks to a modern record player, this gift guide has the perfect item for every type of dad.

It can be hard to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones during the holiday season, and dads are known to be particularly tricky.

Whether your dad is sporty, stylish, or outdoorsy, we picked 50 gifts that are suitable for every type of guy. From a durable tumbler cup to an ancestry genetic test kit, we've got you covered when it comes to gifts your dad will love.

Having trouble figuring out what to get people for the holidays? You can check out all of Insider Picks' 2017 gift guides here.

SEE ALSO: 26 gifts your mom actually wants this holiday season

A sleek leather wallet

This slim leather wallet is perfect for dads who prefer minimalist accessories. It comes in 12 colors, so you’ll be able to find the perfect match.

Bellroy Leather Note Sleeve Wallet, available at Amazon, $89.95



A gold and leather watch

You can't go wrong with a watch for a holiday gift. This Italian-style leather and gold watch is a timeless option that any dad will love.

Filippo Loreti Rome Gold Watch, available at Filippo Loreti, $209



A box of high-quality steaks

For the culinary dad, there's nothing better than a box of his favorite filet mignons, top sirloins, and steak burgers.

Omaha Steaks n' Burgers Gift Box, available at Omaha Steaks, $59.99



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 17 cities where the world's richest people want to live

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rich wealthy couple royal ascot top hat

Rich people love spending money on real estate, whether it's a loft in London or a mansion in Beverly Hills — or both.

Wealth-X, a firm that does research on ultra high net worth (UHNW) people, shared data with Business Insider on the residential addresses of people with a net worth of $30 million or more.

The firm found that 14,574 UHNW people own property — whether a primary home or a vacation spot — in New York, the most of any city in the world.

Below are the 17 cities where the world's richest people either live or own a vacation home.

SEE ALSO: Meet the 20 highest-paid celebrities in the world, who made a combined $1.7 billion in one year

DON'T MISS: Beyoncé and Jay-Z bought an $88 million house — here's why their $52 million mortgage might be a smart business decision

17. Munich

Total UHNW population: 1,352

UHNW residents: 1,060

UHNW second homeowners: 292

 



16. Milan

Total UHNW population: 1,731

UHNW residents: 800

UHNW second homeowners: 931

 



15. Toronto

Total UHNW population: 2,021

UHNW residents: 1,760

UHNW second homeowners: 261

 



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Hope Hicks went from mimicking Ivanka Trump's style to ripping off Melania Trump's — and it could reveal a building drama inside the White House

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Hope Hicks

  • Hope Hicks has gone from emulating Ivanka Trump's style to mirroring first lady Melania Trump's fashion picks. 
  • Since President Trump's election, the right has turned against Ivanka. 
  • Hicks' fashion choices could signal a shift in how the White House communications director — once an ally of Ivanka — is thinking about the Trump administration. 

 

Hope Hicks has come a long way since doing PR for Ivanka Trump's fashion line.

And while the 29-year-old White House communications director rarely speaks on the record, the evolution of her fashion reveals some key facts about the direction of the Trump administration. 

During the Trump presidential campaign, Hicks' fashion choices were very similar to Ivanka Trump's. But over the last few months, Hicks has ditched the flattering pastels of Ivanka for the more severe fashion of first lady Melania Trump. 

Here's a look at the evolution — and how it could represent a massive shift in the mindset of one of the most trusted members of President Trump's administration. 

SEE ALSO: Ivanka Trump is stealing a strategy out of the first lady's playbook — and it's a brilliant political move

Hope Hicks began working for Ivanka Trump's fashion brand in 2014, four years after she graduated from Southern Methodist University.



"Hicks grew close to Ivanka and began dressing like the heiress, who seemed worthy of the emulation," GQ reported. "Ivanka was that rare female corporate leader who is also kind to other women, and she affected an air of competence that seemed to temper the boorishness of the Trump brand."

Source: GQ



When Hicks began working on Trump's presidential campaign, she mimicked Ivanka's accessible style — lots of business-casual dresses in pale shades or florals, with heels and long, straight hair.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

American parents are turning away from a 'creepy' and 'disturbing' Christmas tradition

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elf on the shelf

  • Elf on the Shelf dolls are driving parents crazy.
  • Many parents tell their children the doll monitors their behavior and reports it to Santa in the weeks before Christmas.
  • Some parents are exhausted by what they perceive as an obligation to upload photos of their dolls in creative scenarios to social media.

 

What began as an innocent attempt to start a new holiday tradition is starting to drive people crazy. It's called the Elf on the Shelf, and for some parents, it's causing more headaches than it's worth.

Inspired by a 2005 children's book and sold with the book for $30, Elf on the Shelf is part Christmas decoration, part babysitter. Many parents tell their children that the doll is observing them in the weeks before Christmas, reporting to Santa whether or not they've behaved well enough to receive gifts.

The problems are obvious, namely, telling a child he or she is being watched by an inanimate object throughout the day.

"I think it's creepy that parents set it up to monitor their kids. I think it's just another thing mothers are expected to do every day in December. I just can't do it. I don't have time for that," Portland, Maine resident Kate Brogan told the Bangor Daily News.

Parents are encouraged to move the doll to a different location in their home each night to make it appear as if the doll has flown to the North Pole and returned by morning. Some have used this activity as an opportunity to stage a social media competition, battling with other parents to photograph the most creative scenarios for their Elf on the Shelf.

Many parents say they find the maintenance exhausting.

"At first, it's fun, but after a week, you're just tired of it. It's one more thing you have to do for the holidays," New Hampshire resident Kelly Blackadar said to the Daily News. "Not to mention the competitive stuff between parents. You see someone's amazing thing they did on Facebook, and it's like a 'Who's the best parent?' competition. Not cool."

SEE ALSO: 20 insanely crafty 'Elf on the Shelf' ideas you'll wish you thought of first

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 7 things you shouldn’t buy on Black Friday

What those tiny rivets on your jeans are for

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Ever notice those tiny copper buttons all over your jeans and wonder what they are for? Turns out, they might be more necessary than you think. Following is a transcript of the video.

If you’ve ever worn a pair of jeans you’ve probably wondered what these tiny buttons on the pockets are for. They’re rivets.

Jacob Davis — a Nevada tailor — sent a letter to Levi Strauss in 1872. Davis had been purchasing fabric from Levi Strauss & Co. And using it to create riveted clothing for miners in the Reno area. The rivets held the pockets to the clothing. As miners were using them to carry nuggets, tools, and other items that were too heavy for just a seam, as the seams would rip under too much weight.

Strauss & Davis set up a partnership and in 1873 received a patent for an “improvement in fastening pocket openings” and began manufacturing a new type of work clothing called “waist overalls.” Complete with copper rivets on the pockets. The rivets continue to hold pockets together to this day.

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The 17 best icebreakers to use at a holiday party where you don't know anyone

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Party networking talking holiday party

  • Parties where you know virtually no one can be awkward, especially if you're not sure how to start a conversation.
  • You could rely on the classic, "So what do you do for a living?" But then you run the risk of coming off as the least interesting or original person at the party.
  • The following icebreakers should help you get an interesting conversation going with ease.


Maybe you're interested in making a new professional contact, or perhaps you simply want to make a good impression on a friend of a friend.

Whatever the reason, busting out the clichés upon the first introduction is never a good idea.

To mix the conversation up a bit, try using one of these 17 icebreakers. They should help ease you into an engaging conversation with people you've never met before.

SEE ALSO: 11 festive things to do in New York City over the holidays that look fun — but aren't

DON'T MISS: 19 terrible things bartenders wish you would stop doing

'Hello'

This one may seem simple, but a smile, a name, and a confident handshake can sometimes go a long way, writes Ariella Coombs for Careerealism.com.

"Sometimes the easiest way to meet someone is to offer a handshake and say 'hi,'" she writes.



'I'll be honest, the only person I know here is the bartender, and I just met him two minutes ago. Mind if I introduce myself?'

Humor is a good method to put another attendee at ease and jump-start a lighthearted conversation.



'What do you do for fun when you're not working?'

Asking personal questions about people's activities outside of work can help solidify a connection, Shan White, owner of Women's Peak Performance Coaching, tells Refinery29.

Asking about someone's after-work hobbies is "semi-personal, yet still professionally acceptable to ask," White says. "This can bring some levity and humor into the conversation while also letting you see what lights them up — what brings them real joy."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Massage Envy says the company is making major changes after more than 180 people report being sexually assaulted at the chain's spas

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massage envy

  • Massage Envy has announced new measures to prevent sexual assault. 
  • Changes include new policies on reporting and investigating reports of assault.
  • More than 180 people have reportedly filed sexual assault lawsuits, police reports, and state board complaints against Massage Envy and its employees.

 

Massage Envy is making major changes following a bombshell report on sexual assault and harassment at the massage chain. 

Last week, BuzzFeed News reported that more than 180 people had filed sexual assault lawsuits, police reports, and state board complaints against Massage Envy and its employees.

Reporter Katie J.M. Baker uncovered allegations of massage therapists touching women's genitals or breasts without consent, as well as other instances of sexual assault, such as grinding against or ejaculating on customers.

On Tuesday, Massage Envy CEO Joseph Magnacca unveiled a new six-point plan to protect customers moving forward. The company will use an updated background test, as well as new policies for reporting and investigating sexual assault. 

The company is additionally forming the Massage Envy Safety Advisory Council, which will include a representative from RAINN and Danielle Dick, a woman who started a campaign to improve safety at the company after she was reportedly assaulted at a Massage Envy spa. 

massage envy

"By taking the drastic steps outlined in today's announcement, Massage Envy leadership has finally demonstrated that they are taking this issue seriously, and that they are committed to establishing themselves as a leader in this area," Dick said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Massage Envy isn't alone in facing these issues. Investigation into any major massage chain in the US reveals a number of sexual assault claims. 

Customers at Massage Heights — a company with more than 100 spas nationwide — have filed at least 10 lawsuits and complaints after alleged sexual assaults. Massage LuXe, with more than 50 locations, also has a number of lawsuits filed against it. Hand and Stone, another massage chain with more than 100 locations, has similarly been accused in a number of cases. 

"We believe the work we're doing today can serve as a solid foundation for change across the industry, and we're working with industry groups — like the American Massage Therapy Association — to move that conversation forward," Magnacca wrote. 

Here's Magnacca's full response to Dick on Massage Envy's plans to prevent sexual assault: 

Last week we shared the first steps that we are taking to address incidents of sexual misconduct in Massage Envy franchised locations. And we promised that this was just the beginning.

Today, we announced a six-point plan to drive additional, meaningful change. In shaping this plan, we knew that we must do it thoughtfully and we couldn't do it alone. In addition to experts in victims' rights, sexual violence and the massage industry, Danielle Dick provided important insight, and has been a key voice in shaping the plan. This plan, which was designed to create a safe environment for both clients and therapists, will be rolled out and implemented across the network over the coming weeks.

Massage Envy Commitment to Safety:

  • Prevention: We are mandating updated background screening for all massage therapists on an annual basis. We’re also launching a fully-automated, third-party system with UBS (Universal Background Screening), consistently rated the country’s top background screening company, that tracks compliance of service providers’ employment requirements in real time. And, the network has just recently completed a review of all massage therapist files to ensure they have completed background and reference checks, have current licensure or certification and that annual training requirements have been met.
  • Reporting: We are requiring that if a client makes an allegation of sexual assault, the franchisee will provide the client with contact information for local law enforcement and offer a private room to complete the call.
  • Investigations: We are creating a qualified list of independent third-party resources that we will make available to assist franchisees in their investigations of sexual assault claims.
  • Review: We are partnering with RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN works to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice. Experts from RAINN will begin an end-to-end review of our policies and procedures — including reporting and investigation. They’ll recommend changes and together we will put change into action.
  • Support: We are working with RAINN on response services, including victim support, and - through the National Sexual Assault Hotline - free access to immediate confidential assistance, trained staff and other resources.
  • Guidance: We are forming the Massage Envy Safety Advisory Council. This group, which will initially include a representative from RAINN, as well as Danielle Dick, who was instrumental in advocating for this change, will help us develop, maintain and implement strong safety and support standards. We’ve also created a dedicated corporate department that will lead the development and implementation of safety policies, supported by RAINN and the Advisory Council.

We believe the work we're doing today can serve as a solid foundation for change across the industry, and we're working with industry groups — like the American Massage Therapy Association — to move that conversation forward.

The safety and well-being of members and guests has been our mission from day one and our commitment has never been stronger. Thank you for challenging us to do more. 

Joe Magnacca, CEO of Massage Envy Franchising, LLC

SEE ALSO: Dozens of claims of sexual assaults at Massage Envy spas reveal a crisis gripping the industry

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The Great Recession is having an unexpected impact on Christmas tree sales nearly a decade later

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  • The Great Recession caused a drop in Christmas tree sales, which meant there was less space available to plant trees that would now be reaching maturity.
  • This shortage of Christmas trees is leading to an increase in prices.
  • Christmas tree shortages across the US have already been reported.


The Great Recession is to blame for the growing prices of real Christmas trees, CNN reported Tuesday.

Christmas trees are usually cut down as others are sold, so when sales plummeted during the recession there was less space to plant new trees.

And nearly 10 years on, many trees that would be ready to cut down this year don't exist, leading to a rise in prices and decline in sales, according to CNN.

In 2016, consumers who bought real trees paid 5% to 10% more than in 2015. The trend looks set to hold in 2017.

CNN reports many people are therefore choosing fake trees, often imported from China, or skipping the Christmas tree tradition altogether.

Doug Hundley, a spokesman for the National Christmas Association, told CNN the tight market would continue next year.

"We think it will be over in a couple more years," Hundley said.

Christmas tree shortages have already been reported across the US , especially in smaller selling lots like schools and churches.

Each year the National Christmas Tree Association surveys consumers on their Christmas tree purchases to pull together this sort of data.

SEE ALSO: Tree sellers reveal 8 insider tips for choosing the perfect Christmas tree

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16 of the most expensive watches worn by the world's most elite athletes

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Athletes and watches have gone hand in hand for decades now, and have become essential tools for timing car races or for recording moments like Roger Bannister beating the four minute mile.

And while most athletes today sport brand new production watches, the market for vintage sports watches has been growing in recent years. This was made clear when Paul Newman's old Rolex "Paul Newman" Daytona sold at auction for a record breaking $17.8 million (£13.2 million) in October.

Expensive Swiss mechanical watches don't have much practical use in today's sporting world, yet you can't go to a major sporting event without seeing some serious watch game.

Watch brands are champing at the bit to sponsor the the world's most elite and up-and-coming athletes, with most of the big name brands partnering with teams of athletes — from fighters like Floyd Mayweather to half of the tennis world, including Federer and Nadal — to wear and promote their watches. 

Scroll down to see 16 of the most expensive watches worn by the world's most elite atheletes, ranked in ascending order by price:

SEE ALSO: 10 luxury watches that are actually worth the investment

Neymar — Gaga Milano, $2,100 (£1,569).

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Neymar's love of watches is well documented, with his trip to a Gaga Milano store ending in a $180,000 (£13,4620) purchase and an endorsement deal. Spending that much in one go might seem excessive, but when you're one of the highest paid football stars in the world it becomes a bit more understandable. Despite his own line of timepieces being on the lower end of the luxury watch bracket, it looks as though he has some special editions worth much more in his collection. 

Price according to Gaga Milano.



Andy Murray — Rado Hyperchrome XXL, $3,475 (£2,600).

When Andy Murray won his first Wimbledon back in 2013 he was a Rado brand ambassador, and as soon as he won, he reportedly hurried to slap on his Rado Hyperchrome. He put it on so quickly he didn't notice that it was seven hours out. He has since dropped Rado as a sponsor and instead works with brands such as Jaguar and Under Armour.

Price according to the Daily Mirror.



David Beckham— Tudor Black Bay Chrono, $4,480 (£3,350).

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David Beckham is one of the major sponsors for Tudor's Born to Dare campaign and is often seen wearing one of the brand's highly popular watches. Beckham sits alongside other high-profile ambassadors of Tudor such as Lady Gaga and the New Zealnds All Blacks rugby team.

Price according to Tudor.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's how the traffic fumes in cities can wipe out the benefits of exercise

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  • A study has shown that walking around heavily polluted areas could reduce the positive impacts of exercise.
  • It concludes that over-60s and those with lung and heart problems should steer clear of urban areas with heavy traffic.


It's no secret that cities are some of the most polluted places on Earth. In fact, Oxford Street and other roads in London famously often surpass their legal pollution limit just a few days into the year.

But it can be difficult to think about what the pollution is doing to our health with so many other things to worry about. Many of us might think everything will be fine if we are healthy in other parts of our life, like eating well and exercising regularly.

Unfortunately, for some people, this is not true. According to a new study, published in The Lancet, some people who take walks around city streets could be putting their health at risk.

The researchers from Imperial College London and Duke University in the USA recruited 119 people for the study who were either healthy, had stable heart disease, or stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — a type of lung disease.

The participants were randomly assigned to walk around either Oxford Street or Hyde Park. Then, a few weeks later, they walked in the other location.

All the participants who walked around the park benefitted from increased lung capacity after the first hour, but very little difference was seen for those who walked around Oxford Street.

While people doing the park walk had increased blood flow and their arteries became less stiff by 24% in some cases, the Oxford Street walkers saw barely any improvement, with just a 4.6% improvement for healthy volunteers.

Oxford Street has been cleaning up its act recently by introducing electric buses, which has seen pollution drop by a third. However, it is still a notorious area for dirty air, with high levels of black carbon, nitrogen dioxide, and fine particulate matter.

"These findings are important as for many people, such as the elderly or those with chronic disease, very often the only exercise they can do is to walk," said senior author Fan Chung, Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Head of Experimental Studies Medicine at National Heart & Lung Institute at Imperial College London. "Our research suggests that we might advise older adults to walk in green spaces, away from built-up areas and pollution from traffic."

Although the study was fairly small and the walks were short, the researchers concluded that the results suggest the over-60s and those with lung or heart problems should not walk around urban areas with heavy traffic. Chung said traffic pollution could also affect younger people who spend time in the polluted areas.

"For people living in the inner city it may be difficult to find areas where they can go and walk, away from pollution. There may be a cost associated as they have to travel further away from where they live or work," he said. "These are issues that mean we really need to reduce pollution by controlling traffic. That should allow everyone to be able to enjoy the health benefits of physical activity in any urban environment."

SEE ALSO: This map shows the 'toxic' countries that have made the least progress toward clean energy

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Instagram has launched alerts to warn users of the cruelty and exploitation behind 'cute' animal photos and selfies

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  • Instagram now alerts users to the potential animal abuse going on behind nature snaps.
  • The alert is triggered when users search for photos of popular hands-on animal experiences, including koala cuddling and swimming with dolphins.
  • Instagram hopes to make users think twice about what's going on behind the picture.


Vacation snaps featuring cuddly koalas or elephant rides might seem cute, but Instagram wants to warn its users of the potential animal abuse going on under the surface of these operations.

Since Monday, the photo-sharing platform now presents users with a pop-up message if they search for the certain animal or wildlife hashtags. The alerts warn users of the potential behind-the-scenes animal abuse that makes the cute cubs and cuddly koala snaps possible.

If users search or click on hashtags such as "#slothselfie," "#elephantride," or "#exoticanimalforsale," an alert pops up on the user's device which they must acknowledge before they are redirected to the search results.

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In part, the message reads: "You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behaviour to animals or the environment."

Users are then presented with three options: "learn more," "show posts," or "cancel."

A post shared by kerridarnell (@kerridarnell) on

If users want to learn more about the wildlife photography and animal exploitation, "learn more" will redirect them to a page in the Instagram Help Centre that discusses wildlife exploitation and animal abuse.

Instagram compiled the list of animal hashtags over the space of several months with input from the World Animal Protection, World Wildlife Fund, and TRAFFIC— an organisation that works alongside the WWF to monitor the trade of wildlife.

Similar alerts are already set up for many hashtags in dozens of languages related to suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders.

sloth cuddle flickr forntierofficial

The full list of hashtags which issue the alert has not been disclosed by the social media platform. Instead, Instagram would rather users discover them on their own while searching.

By issuing the alert, Instagram hopes to open the eyes of its users to the animal exploitation that could be going on behind the photo.

Cassandra Koenen, who worked with Instagram to compile the list as part of her work with World Animal Protection, told National Geographic: "If someone's behaviour is interrupted, hopefully they'll think, 'Maybe there's something more here, or maybe I shouldn't just automatically like something or forward something or repost something if Instagram is saying to me that there's a problem with this photo.'

"Even if the cruelty isn't right in front of you, [there's] cruelty that's behind the scenes to get to that point."

A post shared by May Miles (@travelwithmaymiles) on

Many tourists and holiday-goers reportedly struggle to tell when a wildlife excursion or hands-on animal experience might be bad for the animal's well-being, according to National Geographic.

A number of animals, including sloths, don't enjoy being held. As a result, being repeatedly cuddled by humans as part of a "hands-on" animal experience can be extremely distressing.

Similarly, elephants and dolphins both have to undergo gruelling and painful "taming" processes before being subjected to the "swimming with dolphins" and "elephant trekking" excursions that many tourists seek out while abroad.

SEE ALSO: A shocking picture of a baby elephant being set on fire has won a wildlife photography contest

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This 18-year-old is raffling off his uncle's £130,000 Porsche Panamera Turbo for £35 a ticket

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  • Faizan Mehdi is holding a raffle to auction off his uncle's Porsche Panamera Turbo and tickets cost £35 each.
  • His uncle bought the car, which is less than three years old, for £130,000.
  • Mehdi plans to draw the winner during an Instagram Live on New Year’s Eve.


18-year-old Faizan Mehdi is raffling off his uncle's Porsche Panamera Turbo just in time for the festive season — and tickets cost just £35 each.

Mehdi told Business Insider that his Uncle Hassan — his mum's brother — has owned the car for under three years, and bought it for £130,000.

It's been on the market for five months and hasn't sold, so Mehdi came up with an alternative way of earning some cash from it, inspired by a Chelsea estate agent who did the same with his Porsche Cayman in April.

The pair agreed to raffle the car online and are aiming to sell 3,000 tickets at £35 each, splitting the profits between them. That's £105,000, or £52,500 each if split equally, assuming they sell all the tickets.

To enter the raffle you need to buy a ticket and answer three trivia questions correctly. Entrants must be 18 and over and UK-based.

Mehdi plans to draw the winning ticket on his Instagram live on New Year’s Eve, and will deliver the car to the winner himself, "because it's the season of gift giving I think the timing is very suitable," he said.

It's easy to see why it's worth the effort for Mehdi...

🇵🇰 #Homeland

A post shared by Faizan Mehdi (@frizz_14) on Apr 18, 2017 at 1:56pm PDT on

...who clearly like fast cars, according to his Instagram.

If the full 3,000 tickets are not sold in time for New Year's Eve, the pair will hold off on selecting a winner until they reach their target. If ticket sales are much lower than their goal — if, for example, just 1,000 are sold — two winners will be chosen to receive 20% of the profits made from the raffle each, while the uncle and son duo will still make some cash for their efforts.

"The main target is to give away the car," Mehdi told Business Insider. "It’s in the circumstance where tickets sales are too low by Christmas that we would choose to do the cash option."

This is Hassan's 64 plate black Porsche Panamera Turbo. Similar models are available starting from about £115,000, according to the Porsche website.

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Mehdi said that the registration plate is blurred because there is a personal, private plate currently on the car.

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The MOT — or test to make sure the car is safe for the road — is due in January 2018, according to the listing, and the car has 20,000 miles on it.

Interior

It has 542bhp (horsepower) and is less than three years old.

Wheels

And, if you're lucky, it could be yours for just £35.

Steering Wheel

SEE ALSO: The Russian billionaire owner of Arsenal reportedly paid for his niece to wed in a lavish Disney-style wedding — take a look inside

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