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People Are Buying Legal Ingredients Online To Make Illegal Drugs


doing drugs

Drugs are illegal ... except on the internet. Or rather, drugs are illegal on the internet but the ingredients that make them are not.

And they're widely available.

A lot of them can be made pretty easily in your kitchen with ingredients you can buy online.

It's an enforcement gray area: People looking for a high of questionable legality will find that the internet is loaded with weird knowledge about alternative uses for what's in your pantry, and online stores that will gladly sell you the other ingredients you'll need.

Mushroom spores

Drug it's used for: Spores give way to mushrooms. The right spores will produce hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Effects: Hallucination, mood lift, sensation of insight.

Where people buy it: Specialty shops online can't sell mushrooms since they contain psilocybin, currently a Schedule III prohibited substance, but the spores can be bought from a number of online specialty shops, like Spores 101.

Morning Glory seeds

Drug it's used for: Morning Glory seeds contain lysergic acid, the same potent psychoactive found in LSD. These seeds can be eaten raw or you can perform an extraction and drink it.

Effects: Mild hallucination, nausea.

Where people buy it: Any store carrying seeds will have these. Just make sure you buy them untreated since many are treated with chemicals that can make you sick. These are readily available on Amazon – 3,000 of them cost just $2.49.

Mimosa hostilis root bark

Drug it's used for: DMT.

Effects: Immersive hallucinations, spiritual experiences.

Where people buy it: The legal status of Mimosa hostilis bark is a bit ambiguous right now. Some storefronts aren't willing to sell it, but Botanical Spirit is.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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10 Ways Technology Is Forcing Us All To Be Ruder


on phone theater rude

It's a scene so familiar that it's a cliché – you're out seeing a brand new movie, arm-deep in a tub of popcorn when someone's "Stayin' Alive" ringtone goes off. A million eyes shoot to the direction of the sound while the phone's owner wrestles with the settings to turn it off, his smile simultaneously reassuring yet apologetic.

There's almost no way to say it without coming off as some wily old codger, but our gadgets are making us impolite.

Technology has presented some tremendous boons to the world, but at least a little of it comes at the cost of our etiquette.

Some people think it's now rude to leave a voicemail.

Some people just aren't feeling the voicemail lately. The New York Times recently proclaimed that voice mail had become "another impolite way of trying to connect with someone."

But phones are first and foremost for voice calls. There are still plenty of people who enjoy (and even prefer) using a smartphone for talk instead of text, but we're noticing that this is changing.

Some people regard it as rude to call someone without first having introduced themselves in a less intimate medium.

When did talking on the phone become more important than talking to the person in front of you?

We noted recently that Mark Zuckerberg suggested that using your phone while you're at dinner with someone else was not, in fact, a negative thing.

Trying to handle two conversations at once is the new normal. Whether it will ever become acceptable or not is still up in the air: This coffee shop in the U.K. refuses to serve customers who are using a phone.

There's no pressure to get anywhere on time if you can just text an excuse when you're running late.

When excuses are easier to make, people are glad to pick up the slack and make lots of excuses.

There's a drastically reduced need to get somewhere at a predetermined time when you can instantly let everyone know you'll be late with a few button presses.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The Netherlands Has A New King


Dutch King Willem Alexander

In a formal act of abdication the Dutch queen has become a princess handing over her throne to the Prince of Orange who is now King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands .

"Today I make way for a new generation," said Queen Beatrix.

Before signing the state documents of the "act of abdication" inside the royal palace in Amsterdam, Queen Beatrix smiled, winked and took her son's hand, giving it a gentle squeeze in front of the cameras.

"I Queen Beatrix abdicate in favour of my son Willem-Alexander," said the legal act.

At that moment, as Queen Beatrix gave away her throne, a crowd of tens of thousands of Dutch people gathered on Dam Square burst into emotional applause, shouting "Thank you Bea", then to fall silent as giant televisions screen showed her in the act of signing away her throne.

The cheering began again and bells rang out eight minutes later after the signing by all 10 members of the royal House of Orange-Nassau and state officals.

To rapturous applause at 10.30 am, princess Beatrix appeared on the palace balcony with King Willem-Alexander and his wife, Queen Maxima.

"I am happy and grateful to introduce to you your new king, Willem-Alexander," she said.

To more cheers, King Willem Alexander then turned to his mother Princess Beatrix. "Dear mother. You have given the kingdom 33 moving and inspired years, which we are intensely grateful for," he said. Facing back to the crowds, he shouted "Thank you".

As the crowd shouted "long live the king", Princess Beatrix told her son, "maybe you should wave a bit" before fetching her granddaughters to the balcony for the national anthem.

The investiture of King Willem Alexander means that his daughter Catharina-Amalia aged nine, becomes the Princess of Orange, the new heir to the Dutch throne.

Princess Catharina-Amalia attended the ceremony wearing identical yellow and white dresses.

King Willem-Alexander is the first Dutch king for 123 years and, at 46, the youngest crowned head in Europe.

In her farewell speech to the nation on Monday night , Queen Beatrix thanked the Dutch people for over three decades of support and popular affection.

"Since I announced my intention to retire, I have been struck by overwhelming expressions of warm sympathy," she said.

"Without your heartwarming and encouraging signs of affection, the burden would have weighed very heavily. Now my oldest son will take over this beautiful and responsible task. It is my sincere wish that the new royal couple will feel, through your behavior, loving trust. I am convinced that Willem-Alexander will be committed to doing everything a good king should."

Among more than 2,000 guests attending the abdication and investiture will be heirs to monarchies including the Prince of Wales, 64, Prince Felipe of Spain, 45 and Japan's Princess Masako, 49.

The ceremony will have extra significance for Prince Charles, who attends with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall because he also attended the investiture of Queen Beatrix 33 years ago.

After abdicating her throne, the popular queen has become a princess and King Willem-Alexander and his wife, Queen Maxima, will become the heads of the Dutch royal House of Orange Nassau.

Millions of Dutch people will celebrate and Amsterdam's population is expected to double with at least 800,000 visitors flooding the city with orange painted faces, orange hats, wigs, flags and banners, the official color of the Dutch royal house.

Over 10,000 police officers from all over Holland are on duty in the Dutch capital amid a security scare following the Boston marathon bombings.

The security focus has shifted from public order, there were riots when Beatrix was crowned in 1980, to loners after an attack on the Dutch royals in 2009.

Four years ago to the day, a man drove his car at high speed into a Queen's Day parade which included Beatrix, King Willem-Alexander and other members of the royal family.

The vehicle drove at high speed through people lining a street watching the parade, killing eight people and missing the royals before crashing into a monument at the side of the road, killing the driver, Karst Tates.

No motive for the attack was ever established.

Thirty three years ago when Beatrix was crowned queen, riots were started by radical-left and anarchist squatters over the housing shortage in Amsterdam under the slogan, Geen woning, geen kroning or "no home, no coronation".

In today's Amsterdam, police monitoring crowds for loners like Karst Tates while putting the famous Dutch tolerance on display by allowing anti-monarchy protests

"The climate has changed, Amsterdam is a tolerant city. A placard saying 'Down with the queen' won't worry us," said Jan Pronker, the Amsterdam police commissioner in charge of security.

"But when more people demonstrate we will intervene and refer them to the designated protest areas in a friendly manner."

King Willem-Alexander's informal approach has won public support with his approval rating rising 10 points in the opinion polls to 69 per cent after a television interview last week where he said that people did not have to address him as "your majesty" unless they wanted to.

He faces some difficult decisions in the early days of his reign as the Netherlands, in the grip of eurozone austerity, debates the cost of its monarchy, which is the most expensive in Europe.

An IPSOS opinion published on Monday, found that half the Dutch population thinks that the £10 million cost of the investiture ceremony is too high, with 44 per cent wanting cuts to state funding of the royal house.

SEE ALSO: 20 Iconic Photos Of Kate Middleton's And Prince William's Royal Life

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Here's The Biggest Mistake Shoppers Make At The Store


grocery store shoppersMore than 90% of consumers said they're always looking for ways to save in a new survey by RetailMeNot.

But wanting something and doing the legwork to get it are two entirely different concepts. Whether shoppers like to admit it or not, sometimes we're just too busy getting in and out of the grocery store to bother hunting down sales.

In fact, when a Stanford University professor tracked shopping trips of more than 100,000 consumers, he found the majority of people missed sales. 

In order to tempt shoppers, Professor Stephan Seiler used on one of the hottest household buys on the market as bait –– laundry detergent discounted from 20% to 30%.

Still, he found customers missed the promotions on about 70% of their trips to the store. 

What gives?

According to the study, most consumers make one big weekly shopping trip and spread the rest of their purchases out in smaller trips as needed throughout the week. And on smaller trips, people often miss discounts as they try to dash in and out of the store as fast as possible, Seiler found.

People also often tend to buy items like detergent in bulk to cut down on "purchasing frequency," Seiler notes. And even if there is a deal, they won't buy a new pack because they don't have the room to store it. But the money they save by buying in bulk is likely less than they could save by taking advantage of a 20% to 30% off deal.

"If people are really price-sensitive, and they really like the lower price from the larger sizes, then I should also see massive reactions to promotions," Seiler says.

The takeaway: Don't let your busy schedule cost you at the register. Take your time at the store and spend a few minutes browsing for the best deals on the shelves. Your budget will thank you.

SEE ALSO: 13 money lies you should stop telling yourself by age 40 >

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Know These 8 Rules Before Investing In Diamonds And Gems


But then, he checked out the storage costs, and that was enough to scare him away from his great idea. Today, he is content to invest in indexfunds.

But there are alternatives to the stock market. And they don't require hundreds of dollars in storage facilities. You have to know what you're doing, however, and you have to be patient.

In fact, I have one idea in particular. I'll tell you about it in a minute.

There are clear advantages to this investment. If you are looking for a different type of market exposure, and you have the time to spend on it, you can keep up with inflation with this instrument.

In some ways, it is like gold and silver and has intrinsic value.

What is it? Gems.

That's right. Gemstones such as diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. They hold their value, they are attractive, and they are always in demand.

But first, there are eight things you need to know about investing in gemstones.

1. There are two ways to invest. You can buy stock in a company that is related to the industry, such as a mining company. I'm going to talk about how to buy the actual stone.

2. Your average rate of return on stones is typically the rate of inflation. While there are cases when they grow faster, these tend to be due to a specific piece's history. Perhaps a famous person owned it before you did. Or there might be changes in mining: For example, if mines are depleted, the stone becomes less available and perhaps more valuable. Or technology was developed that allows for the growth of mining, thus expanding the available quantities.

3. Gemstones are not liquid. Sure, this may sound obvious, but it's important. It means you need ways to get your hands on cash while you look for a buyer. With diamonds, you can't just walk into the local diamond buyer's premises and get the going rate for diamonds, as you can with gold. Instead, a diamond's value is determined by many factors, including the quality of the diamond and how much the person you are selling it to is willing to pay.

4. You make your money on the buy side of the investment. Since gemstones only increase around the value of inflation, it can be a challenge to get a return that is worth the risk you are taking. To get that, you will need to buy the stone enough below retail that you are making money when you sell. How do you do that? In order to buy diamonds below retail, you will need to find primary wholesalers (those mining the stones) or secondary wholesalers (those buying from the primary), or you will need to look for deals at places such as flea markets, estate sales or pawnshops.

5. You may need to get professional help. It's crucial to know as much as possible about what you're looking for before you go shopping. That can be tricky for the inexperienced buyer. Can you recognize a fake? Do you know the differences in quality? Every diamond is different, and that affects the value. Depending on your knowledge level, you may need a good appraiser, and that will add to your purchasing costs.

6. Fraudsters are prevalent. In a highly specialized industry, there is plenty of room for fraud. If someone is pushy and uses terms such as "investment grade," leave and buy somewhere else. They are trying to prey on the new buyers who have heard gems are the place to invest. Instead, you want to hear terms that relate to the actual quality of the stone, not a broad description. For example, with a diamond, you want the salesperson using terms such as clarity, cut, color and carat.

7. The sell side is as hard as the buy sideWhen you are ready to sell, you won't get retail prices for your gemstones unless you own a store. Instead you will sell to other buyers, auction houses or stores. You will have to find the buyer and handle all negotiations and logistics of delivering the goods.

8. The tax man still wants his cut every time you make a profitCapital gains taxes apply, so track all of your expenses and work with an accountant.

The Investing Answer: While investing in gemstones seems like a great way to diversify, it is full of potholes that can easily trip you up. Do your homework so you can understand more about the stone you will be buying. You will also need patience, liquidity and the desire to do the legwork for buying and selling. It is more like running a business than investing in a financial instrument, so be prepared for the work.

SEE ALSO: 21 clever uses for household items >

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10 Foreign Airports That Put America To Shame


vertical garden and Green wall at Singapore airport

Congress's solution to flight delays caused by sequester-mandated budget cuts is going to cause pain in the long run.

To avoid further furloughing air traffic controllers, the FAA will be allowed to draw on funds that had been set aside to improve the nation's airports.

American airports aren't great to begin with, and now they won't be getting much better.

To give American travelers a look at what they're missing, we've put together a list of the world's best airports, based on the 2013 World Airport Awards, announced this month by leading airline reviewer Skytrax.

The awards, which include categories for best terminal, shopping, security, cleanliness, dining, and more, are determined by public opinion. More than 12 million people responded to this year's survey.

As President Obama noted in a press conference Tuesday, the highest ranked U.S. airport is Cincinnati at #30. Not very impressive.

10. London Heathrow Airport

london heathrow airport

Yearly passengers: 70 million

2012 rank: 11

Why it's awesome: Despite London Mayor Boris Johnson's concern that Heathrow gives visitors "a terrible impression of the UK," the overcrowded airport made it into Skytrax's top ten.

The third busiest airport in the world in 2012, it took home the awards for Best Airport Shopping and Best Airport Terminal, for T5, which opened in 2008 after a $6.2 billion, 19-year design and construction process.

Heathrow's Skytrax review includes four or five out of five star rankings for ease of use, flight information, public transport, security staff efficiency, and more.

Source: Skytrax World Airport Awards. Yearly passenger figures are preliminary rankings for 2012 provided by Airports Council International.

9. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)

tokyo Haneda Airport Terminal 1 Marketplace

Yearly passengers: 66.8 million

2012 rank: 14

Why it's awesome: Haneda moved up five places this year, partly thanks to how clean it is.

With a third, international terminal that opened in 2010, Haneda can accommodate 90 million passengers annually.

More construction is already in the works: The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced plans to expand the new terminal with eight more gates, more parking, and a hotel, by March 2014.

The airport won the Skytrax awards for Best Airport Terminal Cleanliness and World's Best Domestic Airport, and took second place for Best Airport Immigration Service.

Source: Skytrax World Airport Awards. Yearly passenger figures are preliminary rankings for 2012 provided by Airports Council International.

8. Vancouver International Airport

vancouver international airport

Yearly passengers: 17.6 million

2012 rank: 8

Why it's awesome: The least busy airport in the Skytrax top ten, Vancouver International offers visitors a large collection of Pacific Northwest Coast Native art.

Skytrax named Vancouver International the Best Airport in North America for the fourth year in a row in 2013, a streak that justifies the $1.4 billion the airport spent on recent expansion.

Volunteers, known as Green Coat Ambassadors, work in the airport to help travelers get where they're going.

Source: Skytrax World Airport Awards. Yearly passenger figures provided by Vancouver International Airport.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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13 Reasons You Should Start Biking To Work


cyclists bike helmets bikingThough the U.S. has seen a 40 percent growth in bicycle commuters since 2000, their numbers have yet to surpass 1 million. In contrast, there are 204 million personal vehicles on the road on a given day.

That's a shame.

Not only does biking to work have the potential to improve individuals' health, wealth, and standard of living, but the combination of more cyclists and fewer cars on the road could give the entire country a much-needed boost. 

It would make cycling safer for everyone.

Much unlike cars, the more bicycles on the road, the safer it becomes for cyclists, research shows. 

"It's a virtuous cycle," Dr. Julie Hatfield, an injury expert from UNSW, says.

"The likelihood that an individual cyclist will be struck by a motorist falls with increasing rate of bicycling in a community. And the safer cycling is perceived to be, the more people are prepared to cycle."

It is vastly cheaper than driving.

Due to rising fuel costs and tire upkeep, the cost of owning a car increased nearly 2 percent in 2012 to $8,946, according to AAA. 

It costs just $308 per year to keep bikes in shape––nearly 30 times less than cars, according to the Sierra Club:

"If American drivers were to make just one four-mile round trip each week with a bicycle instead of a car, they would save nearly 2 billion gallons of gas. At $4 per gallon, total savings would be $7.3 billion a year."

It's a free gym on wheels.

On average, bicycle commuters lose 13 pounds in their first year of cycling alone.

"[Bike commuting] can be a very effective cardiovascular benefit," says Lisa Callahan, MD, of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

"If you're overweight and start an exercise program, sometimes it's harder on your joints because you are overweight ... so something like swimming or biking that's not pounding on the joints can be a good thing." 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The World Is About To Fall In Love With The Netherlands' New Queen


Queen Maxima Netherlands princess of orange

It's a happy day in the Netherlands as orange-bedecked cheering crowds welcome King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima as the newest Dutch monarchs.

And it was quite a day for Máxima in particular, who was born a commoner and had never dreamed of becoming a royal, let alone queen.*

The Argentinian-born beauty has been a beloved royal in the Netherlands for more than 10 years now, and with her new title she is about to take the world by storm.

*NOTE: Technically, Maxima only takes the style and title of "Her Majesty Queen Máxima, Princess of the Netherlands." She will not receive the title "Queen of the Netherlands."

Máxima can speak three languages — Dutch, Spanish, and English — and has a degree in economics. She worked as the Vice-President of Institutional Sales at Deutsche Bank in NYC before marrying the prince.

Source: Het Koninklijk Huis

She met Prince Willem-Alexander in April of 1999 in Spain during the Sevilla Spring Fair. He introduced himself only as "Alexander," and she didn't know he was a prince until he later told her. She assumed he was joking.

Source: The Examiner

Maxima is not just any commoner. Through her father Jorge Zorreguieta she is a descendant of King Afonso III of Portugal and his son King Denis of Portugal as well as many other noble families.

Source: The Examiner

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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13 Money Secrets From The Amish


Amish farmer

The number of Amish in the U.S. has doubled since the 1990s.

Though they're typically known for for their traditional, family-based Christian values and austere lifestyles, there's one thing most people probably wouldn't guess about them –– the Amish are a lot better at managing their money than the rest of us.

"Some Amish do quite well and have a lot of success in business," Erik Wesner, founder of AmishAmerica.com, told us. “An Amish millionaire is not something unheard of.”

Their business and financial savvy goes far beyond rebuking modern conveniences like electricity and technology. 

We asked Wesner, along with Lorilee Craker, author of "Money Secrets of the Amish," to let us in on how the Amish have mastered their money.

The Amish value experiences more than material goods.

The Amish make sure they buy things that are built to last, and don't often buy something because of a splashy marketing campaign at the store, Craker said.

"They always have their eye on the big picture and the long-term," she said.

That's not to say they don't spend any money on fun. Many Amish enjoy going on hunting trips, for example, Wesner said. But for the most part, they spend their money on value-oriented purchases.

They're huge savers, often setting aside up to 20% of their income.

In contrast, the average American only saves about 6% of their income.

Craker met one man who had managed to stash $400,000 in the bank in 20 years while renting a farm and raising a family of 14 kidsHe planned to use his savings toward a down payment on a farm and wanted to buy his children a trampoline during the summer.

Another man told Craker he's content knowing he wakes up a little richer every morning from interest accrued on savings, instead of interest accrued on debt.

They loathe debt and try to avoid credit cards.

Though there are some members of less traditional Amish communities who use credit cards, many are "absolutely phobic" toward debt, Craker said.

"They're literally horrified by it," Craker said. "When you and I might be awake at night thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I have so much debt,' they sleep very peacefully."

On the other hand, the average American carries three to four credit cards with an average of  $16,000 in total debt.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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H&M Subtly Used A Plus-Sized Model For Its Swimsuit Collection


h&m plus size model beachwear

H&M decided to use plus-sized model Jennie Runk to be the face and body of its new beachwear collection.

Click here for more photos>

But what makes H&M's decision so laudable is how casually it handled breaking fashion norms. There was no press release or loud declaration on its website.

It just so happened that when consumers clicked on the "new beachwear" section on the retailer's website home page, they were greeted by images of a six foot tall woman with curvy proportions you're more likely to see in a normal setting rather than on a runway.

"Models whose bodies differ from the straight-size standard should be visible in fashion, outside of the stigmatizing magazine "Size" issues and the dedicated "Plus" categories, which retailers always seem to bury," Jezebel's Jenna Sauers wrote. "Why shouldn't Jennie Runk, and other women like her, get [to] be on the homepage, too?"

This quiet integration seems to be H&M's style. 

The Swedish retailer began using mannequins with size 12 bodies in its lingerie departments in March. But even though H&M did so quietly, critics loudly complained once they noticed the figures, saying that the company was promoting obesity.

Although looking at Runk's photos, she looks anything but unhealthy, which only emphasizes the bizarre norms that the fashion industry has created.

Consumers visiting H&M's homepage were greeted with this invitation to click through its new beachwear collection.

At first it was hard to tell that Jennie Runk wasn't your "typical" model.

She has curves like most average, healthy looking women.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Here Is Martha Stewart's New Match.com Profile


Yesterday we learned that Martha Stewart was signing up for Match.com, and the TODAY Show has just confirmed the existence of Stewart's dating profile.

The profile certainly appears to belong to Stewart: it has the handle "thegoodlonglife" — the title of Stewart's latest book — and describes a 71-year-old woman seeking men 55-70 years old with incomes over $150,001.

It also has two pictures of Martha, and she looks fantastic.

Check out the screen grabs from the media mogul's supposed profile below.

Martha describes herself as, "Curious, intelligent, entrepreneurial, hard working, fun, and adventurous" as well as a "social drinker."

Martha Stewart Match.com

"You may recognize me from my pictures. Yes, It's really me."

attached image

Martha's flexible on occupation, past relationships, and children.

Martha Stewart Match.com

And describes herself as a frequent exerciser, "Very Liberal," and lover of both the British and American "House of Cards."

Martha Stewart Match.com

See the complete profile here.

SEE ALSO: Stunning Photos Of Martha Stewart As A Young Model

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An Inside Look At The Best Restaurants In America

This 20-Something NYU Student Wants To Change The Way Young People Manage Their Money


Scott Gamm headshotAt 21 years old, NYU undergrad Scott Gamm is not your typical co-ed. 

Since the ripe age of 17, Gamm has been an avid student of all things finance. 

He launched a blog, HelpSaveMyDollars.com, soon after the recession took hold as a way to help people his age grow into conscious, responsible spenders and savers.

"You know, my parents' finances were one of the main causes of their divorce, and right after that [happened], there was the recession," Gamm told Business Insider. "Those were two reminders within a few years of each other that finance is a serious topic and it's not something I want to leave up to trial and error."

Gamm released his debut personal finance book, "More Money, Please: The Financial Secrets You Never Learned in School," on Tuesday. We asked him to share a few tips that every 20-something should learn to master their finances early:

1. Ignore the minimum payments on credit cards. 

The only way you should be using a credit card is by paying off the entire balance every month –– no matter what your minimum balance says. By paying the minimum payment, you’ll wind up leaving a balance on the card and your interest rate will kick in. Minimum payments are calculated to keep you in debt. Ignore the minimum and pay the entire balance, or at least as much of it as you can.

2. Use credit cards for one or two small expenses.

You're young and you're just starting to build up you credit history. So use credit as a useful tool to get there –– not as a free pass for a fancy lifestyle. Do that by picking one or two small expenses each month to charge on your credit card. And try to keep your spending under $100 per month. That’s at least a manageable amount of money to be able to pay off the bill in full. A good rule of thumb: Never spend more than you earn.

3. Prepaid cards are stupid. Don't you forget it.

If you’re looking to build up a solid credit history, you won’t have any luck by signing up for a prepaid debit card. Why? Because none of the activity on a prepaid card is reported to the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Plus, you’re going to get slammed with fees on prepaid cards like monthly fees, dormancy fees and, get this, a fee just to load money onto the card –– that’s the entire point of a prepaid card!

4. Stop paying bank fees.

The days of free checking are disappearing. And unless you maintain the bank’s minimum balance requirement, which can be $1,000-$1,500, you’re throwing away $10-$12 per month. If you’ve been charged this fee before, consider switching to an online bank or a credit union. You'll find there are either no or fewer fees to deal with.

5. Do yourself a favor and unsubscribe from store emails.

When you get an email from your favorite store letting you know they’re having a sale, this reminds you to head over to the store. If you hadn’t received that email, the store wouldn’t have even been on your mind. Unsubscribe. The same goes for those daily deal sites – unless you’re in the market for something specific (a trip to Europe, new shoes or a restaurant deal), being reminded of random flash sales is a sure-fire way to start spending beyond control.

6. Negotiate a higher salary.

Most of us are too scared to ask for a higher salary. But if you don't, you’re leaving money on the table. Negotiating on your first job out of college might be a tad risky, but don’t feel afraid to ask for more money on future job offers. Plus, negotiating reflects persistence and that “stop at nothing” attitude that employers expect. Do some research in your field to find out what someone at your level is earning, so you'll know whether to ask for more during the hiring process.

7. Face it –– 401(k)s aren’t that into you.

If your employer contributes to your 401(k) (a retirement account that lets you automatically contribute a portion of each paycheck), then you should contribute, too – up to the employer’s match. If you don't, you're basically throwing away free money. If they don’t contribute anything, you might be better off going a different route.

The fees are exorbitant (employers hire large asset managers to take care of the employee’s 401(k) accounts, and that isn’t free). In fact, a survey last year from Demos showed that on average, a couple could spend $155,000 in 401(k) fees over a lifetime. Instead, take ten minutes and open up a Roth IRA online from a discount brokerage firm. This is an account where you contribute money that you’ve already paid taxes on and your money will grow tax-free. Who knows where tax rates are headed (probably up), so get the taxes over with now.

SEE ALSO: 13 money lies you should stop telling yourself by age 40 >

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How To Live Like A Modern Day Great Gatsby


attached image

Jay Gatsby may have been an illegal bootlegger, but his wild parties, love for Daisy, and smooth talking ways are why he is one of the most beloved protagonists in literature.

And with Gatsby's return to the big screen less than two weeks away, we began to wonder what the famous '20s character would be like if he was real and living today.

Since Gatsby was a bootlegger, the modern Gatsby would also come by his fortune through underhanded means. Maybe he'd be dealing ecstasy, which can bring in a surprising income in NYC, or maybe a modern Gatsby would earn his dough from good old fashioned insider trading.

But nevermind how a modern Gatsby would get his money. To know how he'd live today, we have to know how he'd spend his money. 

Gatsby lived in a 12-bedroom mansion in the "new money" fictional West Egg. As the Modern Gatsby, you'd live in this expansive East Hampton property that just went on the market for $75 million. (Not to mention all your homes in Miami, NYC, and London.)

Source: Curbed Hamptons

And just like Gatsby, you'd be dating your very own Daisy Buchanon — might we suggest either of the gorgeous socialites Tinsley Mortimer or Olivia Palermo?

Gatsby drives a yellow Rolls-Royce in the book. You'd obviously have a garage full of cars, but your favorite would be the flashy new Ferrari LaFerrari supercar, which is expected to cost $1 million.

Source: Business Insider, NYT

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A Local's Guide To The Kentucky Derby


kentucky derby girls hats

Are you ready for Derby? You may have your hat and know who you're betting on, but you'll really want to make the most of this epic race that is, for many, a bucket list experience.

Derby fever is well underway here in Louisville, so I want to share some last-minute tidbits that can save you some trouble and make this an even more memorable trip.

Know What You Can—and Can't—Take to the Track

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, Churchill Downs officials are battening down the hatches. See their What To Know page for the latest, but worth noting:

1. Your purse can't be more than 12 inches in any dimension. You can bring a baby/diaper bag, but only if you have a corresponding child with you.

2. No cameras with detachable lenses.

3. No coolers this year, but you can bring sealed plastic water bottles.

4. Hope for no rain, or take a poncho—no umbrellas allowed

5. Infield folks: No tents, but you can bring chairs (Gate 3 only). A regular tells me caution tape and a tarp/blanket will protect your site (Gates 1 and 3 only).

Eat Well

If you don't want to wait in line or eat track concessions, you can bring a "box lunch"—if it's in clear plastic containers no bigger than 18" x 18", maximum two per person. You can take a chance and put together your own but several area restaurants know the drill and can make them up for you. Try Red Clover, Farm to Fork, Paul's Produce, Anchorage Cafe, and Sullivan's Bakery (order now!).

Speaking of food—do you have dinner reservations pre-Derby (Oaks night) or Derby night? What? You didn't do that weeks ago? It's slim pickings now, but here's a thought: Locals love our thriving ethnic food scene, and the other tourists probably aren't clamoring for Thai or Indian. Local favorites include DakShin, Simply Thai, Vietnam Kitchen, Queen of Sheba, and Al Watan. Bonus: Besides experiencing under-the-radar Louisville, these casual places mean you won't have to fuss with dressing up after an exhausting day track-side. If you do have reservations and are running late, call the restaurant and tell them you're coming or you might lose your table.

Neighborhood Tip: As you leave Churchill Downs, stop by Dairy Kastle on Eastern Parkway. This beloved institution serves up classic ice creams and American fare to a takeaway crowd that will tell you it's worth the (long) wait.

Don't Fight the Insanity

I hear the sweet spot for infielders looking for a place on the fence is arriving an hour and half before gates open.

Get your Derby bets in early or maybe not at all. Write your bets in the program before you go to the window to keep track.

If you are in reasonable shape and packed good shoes, walk to the track. The closer you try to park the more maddening it is. Enterprising homeowners nearby will rent space in their yard, but you'll still have to maneuver through a logjam. Taxis are slow-going too. If you insist on driving, I have no good news, but you can park at Papa John's near the stadium. Don't tell my neighbors I said so, but there are plenty of street spaces in neighborhoods northeast of the track about two miles away.

Derby isn't the final race of the day—stick around for more and let the crowds clear out.

And sorry about that amazing Instagram snap, but cell service can be spotty on race day. Save your updates for later.

The Race is Only Two Minutes, but There's More Stuff Going On

Head to Dawn at the Downs Tuesday-Thursday to see the horses work out.

Hit the Post Oaks Party at Old 502 Winery and check out food trucks like Grind burgers and Holy Mole Tacos.

Sample some local favorite treats: Any of the bourbon-y coffee treats from funky drive-thru Red Hot Roasters; bourbon balls from Cellar Door Chocolates; and speaking of bourbon, a tasting Wednesday at Westport Whiskey & Wine features under-$25 bourbons.

(Thanks to fellow Louisvillians who shared some of these tips: Brent Dunne-Gillies, Andrea Ream-Duvall, Anne Shadle)

SEE ALSO:  A Horse Named After A Controversial Oil Drilling Method Will Run In The Kentucky Derby

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DEBUNKED: Michelle Obama's Arms Are Not Inspiring Thousands Of Women To Get Plastic Surgery


michelle obama inauguration dressPublications around the world would have you believe that Michelle Obama's arms inspired a 4,378% increase in upper arm lift surgeries in America over the past decade.

"Women opting for surgery to get Michelle Obama arms" declares the Los Angeles Times.

"Baring arms! Gals opt for surgery to look like Michelle" blares the New York Post.

There's a problem with this theory, which derives from a press release from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

The huge spike in upper arm lifts occurred from 2000 to 2006, before Michelle Obama became First Lady.

ASPS data shows that the number of female upper arm lifts jumped 4,199 percent between 2000 and 2006. The rise dropped off the following year, with a 6 percent drop from 2006 to 2007. Since then, there have been only single-digit increases or decreases year-to-year for the cosmetic procedure.

So why is everyone crediting Michelle? The Obama theory was inspired by a several quotes in the ASPS press release about celebrities inspiring surgery, along with a non-scientific survey which concluded that women "most admire" Michelle Obama's arms.

A plastic surgeon we spoke to said that the truth is not that simple.

"I think that it would be hard to say that (the upper arm lift increase) is due to any one factor," said Alan Matarasso, a Manhattan plastic surgeon and spokesman for the ASPS. "Where (Obama) comes in is there was always buzz about that and our society did a little survey and they found that people admired Kelly Ripa, Jennifer Aniston, Michelle Obama's arms."

The increase in upper-arm lifts could also be related to the rise of bariatric surgery — an obesity treatment — after which patients often go for follow-up nips and tucks.

The ASPS press release cites a 24-year-old woman who said she got an upper arm lift because she wanted to remove the excess skin on her arms after her 170-pound weight loss.

"That's definitely part of it," Matarasso said. "It takes people a while for people to realize that they have all this extra skin they don't want."

The surgeon also pointed to new fashion trends as an explanation for the spike in arm surgeries.

"Women 10 years ago didn't walk around with shirts with their bra straps hanging out. When I was growing up, only the class bad girl did that," Matarasso said. "Now, it's like a fashion statement."

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NYC Real Estate Brokers Can No Longer Use Titles They Haven't Actually Earned


real estate agent couple financial planning

Brokers with inflated business titles are now prohibited by state regulators from identifying themselves by titles that they haven’t actually received, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to a letter sent Friday by New York’s Department of State to the Real Estate Board of New York, brokers using titles such as vice president or executive vice president may no longer use them unless they have actually been appointed to those positions. In many cases, brokers were arbitrarily using those titles, and the letter termed their actions “dishonest” and “misleading.”

“Agents [are] prohibited from falsely advertising that they hold such a position within the brokerage,” according to the letter written by Whitney Clark, an attorney with the department.

REBNY’s legal counsel Neil Garfinkel told the Journal that the letter was drafted in response to an earlier inquiry by the board. “It is an opinion that affects the industry in a widespread way,” he said. “I’d say there are many, many brokers this affects.”

“I think there are some agents who are going to be upset but, at the end of the day, the law is the law,” he added.

Some brokers have expressed their disappointment with the decision. “A title to a broker is very important,” one brokerage spokesman told the Journal. “Even though they’re not voting titles, it designates a sort of level of achievement. How would you present yourself in the industry without a title?” [WSJ]

More from The Real Deal:

1. Westbrook puts $1B NYC portfolio up for sale
2. Developers’ mad dash for land is driving prices sky high
3. Rubicon Property founders launch real estate tech firm 

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Budget Airline Ryanair Has Figured Out How To Save Greece's Tourism Industry


RyanAirRyanair made a bold proposal this week when it claimed increased routes flown by a European low-cost carrier (named Ryanair, of course) could revive Greece’s stagnant tourism industry.

In a recent press release, the airline refers to itself as an “ultra-low cost carrier (ULCC)” and lays out its reasoning for how Ryanair could fuel tourism in the capital of the Mediterranean destination:

Unfortunately, Athens continues to miss out on Ryanair’s traffic growth and the tourism jobs it brings because of the airport operator’s refusal to engage with Ryanair, at a time when Athens’ passenger traffic has fallen by 22%, from 16.4m in 2008 to just 12.8m in 2012, its lowest figure in a decade.

Ryanair could deliver up to 4m passengers p.a. if a realistic low-cost deal were made available at Athens Airport, with a further 2m passengers at Thessaloniki and 4m passengers across Ryanair’s 10 other Greek airports.

What Ryanair poses as an altruistic endeavor is really a bid to get into two of Greece’s airports in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Current airport taxes are too high for the fiscally conservative Ryanair, which often flies into the smaller airports that are farther away from cities’ business centers and main airports. For example, it flies into Paris’ Beauvais Airport instead of Charles de Gaulle. Some flyers joke that Beauvais is in Belgium.

The proposal comes as Ryanair opens its first Greek base in Chania; it’s current summer 2013 schedule offers 85 Greek routes from 10 airports.


SEE ALSO: All The Crazy Things Ryanair Has Done To Keep Flights Cheap

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The 9 Tallest Skyscrapers That Are Being Built Right Now


One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center is about to reach the dizzying height of 1,776 feet, when the spire is placed on top of the building today. The addition of the spire will make it the new tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Meanwhile, architects around the world are reaching to infinity and beyond with new construction. In addition to One World Trade Center, there are several notable skyscrapers that are currently undergoing construction.

Emporis, a database of construction projects, tracks the tallest skyscrapers that are currently under construction (meaning they have a foundation laid). The buildings sport an average height of 1,857 feet — or more than one-third of a mile high. China leads the way, with six buildings on this list.

Even amongst all this construction, Dubai's Burj Khalifa will still keep its spot as the world's tallest building at 2,717 feet tall. If other proposed building plans are put into motion, there could soon be skyscrapers that dwarf the Burj in height.

But for now, these buildings are the tallest in progress.

Callie Bost contributed to this story.

#9 Busan Lotte Town Tower — Busan, South Korea. Height (when completed): 1,675.02 feet

Source: Emporis

#8 Pentominium — Dubai. Height (when completed): 1,692.91 feet (construction is currently on hold)

Source: Emporis

#7 Dalian Greenland Center — Dalian, Liaoning, China. Height (when completed): 1,699.48 feet

Source: Emporis

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