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The 5 things I learned in college that actually made a difference in my life today


woman runner

  • Some of the most important life lessons that the college experience can offer to students will arise outside of the classroom. 
  • Here, author Kelly Laffey reflects on the five things she learned as a college student-athlete that actually made a difference in her life today.


I've found that the saying "the days are long, but the years are short" is particularly resonant when reflecting on my college years.

I'll celebrate my 10-year reunion in 2020, but when I think back on my undergraduate experience at Wake Forest University, it's hard to fathom that nearly an entire decade has passed since graduation.

As a student-athlete on both the cross country and track teams, I can attribute that feeling to the fact that so much of who I am today has been shaped by lessons I learned in school. Though the academics had value, it's the soft lessons that have ultimately carried the most weight for me.

Here are the five things I learned in college that have actually made a difference in my life today:

SEE ALSO: 15 ways to be more productive and manage your time better, according to career experts

1. Time management and how to ask for help

Student-athletes have to balance academics with hours-long practice sessions and weekends away at competitions. Being on a team instilled in me the importance of prioritization, and of being disciplined.

It also taught me how to ask for help. My teammates and I tended to put immense pressure on ourselves to both run well and to perform well in school. Seeking guidance is an important component of growth.

2. The importance of teamwork and friendship

Being on a team means that you have to work with all different types of people toward a common goal. Those same collaboration and leadership skills are priceless in today's world. Wake Forest track has also given me lifelong friendships, and a network of people who can relate to my undergraduate experience.

10 years ago, my teammates would push me through tough workouts or reward me a with cheeseburger for running my fastest 400m. Though we're at different stages of our lives today and living across the world from each other, the bond of logging hundreds of miles together each year is one that cannot be broken.

3. Don't put limits on yourself

At the end of my senior year, I pulled my only all-nighter to finish my thesis paper. At track practice later that afternoon, I found out that the whole team had to run a surprise one mile time trial. After unsuccessfully petitioning to run it the following day, I reluctantly began my warmup and was so tired that I tripped and skinned both my knees.

Figuring that the worst was behind me, I decided to give it my best effort, and I lined up at the start. I ran the best mile time of my life that day. I think back to this experience almost daily, as there is always a reason not to do something. It's often our attitude that is the greatest barrier to reaching our potential.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The best exercise balls you can buy


The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

best exercise ball

  • A flat exercise ball is as worthless as that idle exercise machine you currently use to hang laundry.
  • If you want a thick-walled exercise ball that holds air well even after it's been punctured, the TheraBand Exercise and Stability Ball will deliver.

Exercise balls have been around for a long time, but not everyone is a believer. After all, how can a big round ball be safe for sitting on or using as an exercise tool that’ll help maintain your balance and support your weight? Or maybe you are like me, and every time you see one, you want to let your inner child try to kick the giant ball over the roof of your house.

The truth is exercise balls may look silly, but they work for a host of exercises where you need flexible support. Even though the exercise balls are round, they’ll give you a base that’s more solid than you might think.

If you can prevent your dog from chasing it or your kids from borrowing it for a neighborhood game of giant dodgeball, you’ll be impressed by the benefits an exercise ball can provide.

Even though it may go against everything you’ve been taught, a round object can provide impressive stability. Your weight compresses the ball to give it a flatter, more stable edge. It certainly isn’t as stable as a chair, but it’s more stable than you might expect it to be.

Exercise balls are great for everything from active seating in the office to working out at the gym. That's why we've done the research to find the best ones you can buy.

Here are the best exercise balls you can buy:

Updated on 01/04/2019: Updated prices and formatting.

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

SEE ALSO: The best foam rollers you can buy to relieve your muscles

The best exercise ball overall

Why you'll love it: The TheraBand Exercise and Stability Ball holds air better than most exercise balls — even if it’s punctured.

One common complaint among exercise ball fans is the inability of the ball to hold air over time. As air ekes out of the ball, it loses its firmness and becomes difficult to use. Luckily, the TheraBand Exercise and Stability Ball is one of the thickest-walled balls you can buy, and it holds air longer than most of the competition.

Even if it’s punctured, the ball will deflate very slowly, allowing you to finish your exercise session. In its review, the Garage Gym Builder says this patented slow deflation technology is a great feature that ensures your safety while exercising with the ball.

Because the Theraband Exercise Ball retains air so well, you won't have to reinflate it that often, which is a very good thing because this ball does take quite a bit of time to inflate in the first place. In fact, one Amazon buyer says the TheraBand ball is difficult to inflate properly.

The ability of this exercise ball to hold air well and maintain its shape gives it a firm feeling that other exercise balls cannot match, according to one Amazon reviewer, and many other reviewers agree.

The TheraBand ball has just the right type of surface for grip-ability, says The Wirecutter, because it isn't too slippery or sticky. Gym Gear Info also likes the durability of the TheraBand Exercise and Stability Ball, which is also latex and phthalate free.

The exercise ball is available in four sizes from 45 cm to 75 cm and it comes in a few colors.

Pros: Maintains its shape and holds air better than other exercise balls, includes a slow deflate technology if the ball is punctured, extremely firm, has a good surface for just the right amount of grip, offered in four sizes

Cons: Takes a long time to inflate, no inflation pump included, only one color per size

Buy the TheraBand Exercise and Stability Ball on Amazon for $20 to $50 (price varies by color)

The best portable exercise ball

Why you'll love it: The DynaPro Exercise Ball is extremely durable and will hold its air pressure nicely, but it’s also portable, thanks to its easy-to-carry hand pump.

When you’re looking for an exercise ball you can take with you anywhere, the DynaPro Exercise Ball is a good idea. It ships with a hand pump and inflates faster than many other balls, so you can be ready to use it within several minutes.

The ball is available in four sizes, ranging from 45 cm to 75 cm, and it features slight ribs around the circumference of the ball to ensure a steady grip. You can get it in a few fun colors, including pink, blue, silver, gray, and black.

In its review, Thoroughly Reviewed says the DynaPro ball is great for gym goers because you can quickly inflate it anywhere with the included pump.

Like many exercise balls, you can also use it for active seating in your office. One Amazon buyer says the DynaPro exercise ball is a perfect option for using as a substitute for a desk chair, because unlike most exercise balls, it’s available in gray or black, which fits in better with an office setting than a brightly colored ball. 

This is a tough, durable exercise ball, too. The Garage Gym Builder points out that it has a 2,000-pound burst rating. The ball will also slowly deflate if it ever suffers a puncture, allowing you to finish your workout safely.

Many reviewers even favorably compare the DynaPro to the high-quality exercise balls you’d find at an athletic club.

However, the ball cannot be inflated fully the first time you use it. You’ll have to inflate it fully after it’s had 2-3 days to stretch out. Additionally, a few Amazon reviewers say the DynaPro ball is not as firm as it should be to provide the proper support for exercising.

Pros: Good price point, easy to fill while on the go because of included hand pump, very durable material in the ball, prevents fast leaks when it suffers a puncture, available in four sizes and four different colors

Cons: Cannot fully inflate the ball the first time you use it, firmness level of the ball seems below average

Buy the DynaPro Exercise Ball on Amazon for $17.99 to $29.99 (price varies by size and color)

The best tough exercise ball

Why you'll love it: The Live Infinitely Exercise Ball receives high marks for its durability and ability to stand up to tough workouts.

We don’t expect anyone to routinely put 2,200 pounds of pressure on the Live Infinitely Exercise Ball, but if you do, you can feel comfortable that this tough exercise ball can stand up to the pressure.

If you’re looking for a tough exercise ball that’s also really large, the Live Infinitely model is one of the few that comes in five sizes ranging from 55 cm to 95 cm. You can also choose between five colors, including blue, green, gray, purple, and silver.

In its review, Runner Click liked the durability and high burst weight rating of the Live Infinitely ball, even though it carries only an average price point. This ball stands up well to rough workouts, according to one Amazon reviewer, and performs well under stress.

The ball ships with a detailed exercise e-book, which Empower Moms says is a great feature for helping you learn to use the ball properly. The Lifevest also likes all of the online tools you gain access to when you buy a Live Infinitely ball, as well as the high-quality materials used in the construction of this ball.

As for downsides, a few Amazon reviewers say fully inflating the Live Infinity Exercise Ball is extremely difficult.

Pros: Excellent price point, durable and tough exercise ball that can withstand 2,200 pounds of weight, available in a diameter as large as 95 cm, five color and five size options, includes a large library of online exercise guides

Cons: There is no 45 cm diameter size option in this model, difficult to fully inflate this ball

Buy the Live Infinitely Exercise Ball on Amazon for $25.90 (95 cm), $23.90 (85 cm), $22.90 (75 cm), $20.90 (65 cm), and $14.90 (55 cm)

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Delta, United, and JetBlue pilots are warning that flying will become more dangerous as government shutdown continues



  • The US government shutdown is a threat to the safety, security, and efficiency of America's airspace.
  • The Air Line Pilots Association International sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday urging him to end the shutdown.
  • ALPA is a union that a represents 61,000 pilots working for a variety of airlines, including Delta, United, JetBlue, and Alaska.

The effects of the latest government shutdown are being felt across the US.

The air-transport system on which America depends is also feeling the pinch. On Wednesday, the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to end the shutdown.

"I am writing to urge you to take the necessary steps to immediately end the shutdown of government agencies that is adversely affecting the safety, security, and efficiency of our national airspace system," Captain Joe DePete, the president of the ALPA, said in the letter.

The union, which represents 61,000 pilots flying for airlines such as Delta, United, JetBlue, and Alaska Air, is concerned that the lack of working inspectors and regulators could compromise the safety of air travel in the US.

Read more: The US government is warning Americans that if they visit China they may not be able to return home

"At the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) there are fewer safety inspectors than are needed in order to ensure the air traffic control infrastructure is performing at its peak levels of performance," DePete said. "There are also airline and aircraft manufacturing oversight activities that either stop or are significantly reduced."

"These safety and oversight inspections will potentially allow for the introduction of safety issues that put passengers and airline crews at risk," the union leader went on to say.

In addition, ALPA expressed concern that a prolonged shutdown will cause long-term financial harm to personnel who are working unpaid.

Read more: The legendary founder of Southwest Airlines has died

"The air traffic controllers, airspace system maintenance personnel, and the airline passenger security workforce are being asked to work unpaid," DePete said. "They are dutifully providing safety of life services while facing increasingly difficult financial pressures to provide for those dependent on their paycheck."

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association last week voiced similar concerns over understaffed and unpaid air-traffic-control centers.

SEE ALSO: The US is warning Americans about the dangers of traveling to China. Here's what to know before you visit the country.

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NOW WATCH: This Rolls-Royce feature might be the world's fanciest way to tailgate

17 exciting startups you didn't know were backed by Silicon Valley's biggest venture capital firms and startup accelerators


The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

burrow 2

If you want an idea of which new startups are going to make it big in a few years, look no further than the portfolios of Silicon Valley's biggest venture capital firms and start-up accelerators. 

Y Combinator, Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Bessemer Ventures, and 500 Startups are among the most recognizable names in the Valley because of their history of success with e-commerce startups and ability to place their fingers on the pulse of consumer retail trends. 

A number of our favorite direct-to-consumer companies and online services are funded in part by these firms, and we're not surprised.

In an environment filled with startups trying to convince investors that they're disrupting stagnant industries, it's only the ones with truly strong products and growth potential that cut through the noise and earn their investments. 

Learn more about the firms backing the best e-commerce startups, from the unicorns to the companies that are just getting started. 

Rent the Runway

Rent designer dresses at Rent the Runway here

Recently named one of the most innovative companies in the world, Rent the Runway makes it convenient and cost-effective for women to dress for work, special events, and everyday life. You can rent single pieces or refresh your wardrobe every month through its subscription options. 

Investors include: Kleiner Perkins

Total funding amount: $416.2 million 


Book an accommodation through Airbnb here

This Y Combinator startup has come a long way since 2009 and has raised an incredible amount of funding. You already know you can book homes anywhere in the world at affordable rates through Airbnb, but you can also find unique experiences like intimate concerts and art walk tours.

Investors include: Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, Y Combinator 

Total funding amount: $4.4 billion 


Shop sofas at Burrow here

Burrow's easy-to-assemble, modular couches fulfill our desire for simple furniture that can keep up with all the activity and changes in our life, from messy movie nights to cross-country apartment moves. 

Investors include: Y Combinator, NEA 

Total funding amount: $19.2 million 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The only 25 things you should buy at Whole Foods — and 25 things to avoid at all costs


Whole Foods

  • Some products at Whole Foods can be a great deal and healthy for you, while other items are either expensive, nutrition-lacking, or both.
  • Here, several food experts and nutritionists list 25 items you should buy at Whole Foods and 25 items you should avoid. 


While the company has worked to combat its "whole paycheck"stigma, Whole Foods can still cost you a pretty penny. But that tide is changing in the wake of its 2017 Amazon deal.

If you shop right, you can not only save money at the high-end supermarket chain, but you can eat healthier food that's actually delicious.

Unfortunately, if you're not careful, you can also be duped into spending big bucks on artery-clogging treats (processed cookies are still cookies even if they're organic).

We spoke to several food experts and nutritionists to compile this list of what to buy and what to skip at Whole Foods.

SEE ALSO: 10 'As Seen On TV' cooking products that actually work

Buy: Eden Foods sauerkraut

Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that colonize our digestive systems, and they're found in fermented foods like sauerkraut. They're great for healthy digestion.

"Boost your intake [of probiotics] with foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, brine cured olives, miso soup, and tempeh," said Melissa Litwak, a registered dietitian and founder of Chickpeas and Chocolate. "Whole Foods has a great selection to choose from, including well-priced sauerkraut by Eden Foods."

Skip: Salads from the salad bar

We'd all love to be Martha Stewart in the kitchen (but who even has that kind of time!), so we're the first to see the appeal in Whole Foods' salad bar. That convenience, however, can prove expensive.

"If you want to make it a robust salad stuffed with veggies other than lettuce, you'll pay a pretty penny — about $8 to $9 per pound, which can easily turn a salad that costs you $5 to make at home into a $25 splurge," said The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, nutritionists and authors of "The Nutrition Twins' Veggie Cure."

Buy: Organic bok choy

You can always count on Whole Foods for good quality and variety when it comes to produce.

"They typically carry both regular and baby bok choy on their shelves and for good reason," Litwak said. "Cruciferous vegetables like this one are highly concentrated in vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids. They're also full of fiber, providing good fuel for your intestinal bacteria."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 13 best hotels in America that every traveler needs to visit in 2019


1TopRatedHotel NewYorkCity Beekman (38 of 45)

  • Condé Nast Traveller recently released its 2019 Gold List ranking of the best hotels in the world.
  • The editors selected the 78 best hotels around the world, which included the top 13 hotels in the US.
  • Only three American cities had more than one hotel on the list: New York City, LA, and Chicago

From waterfront resorts in Miami and Hawaii to an oasis in the middle of the Utah desert, the best 13 hotels in America represent a wide range of luxury experiences.

Condé Nast Traveller recently released its 2019 Gold List, in which the editors select the top hotels around the world. The list features 78 hotels, 13 of which are in the US.

The hotels cover a wide range of prices, starting in the mid-$100s for a night at The Robey in Chicago and all the way past $1,000 for a night at Amangiri in Utah.

Read more: 31 incredible hotels everyone should stay at in their lifetime, ranked by price

Notably, several of these top-ranked hotels are repeatedly mentioned on lists of top hotels across the world; The Peninsula in Chicago and Four Seasons in Hualalai, for example, both also appeared on the US News & World Report's 2018 hotel ranking, as Business Insider previously reported.

If you're more interested in personalized experiences at smaller hotels, consider taking a look at the top 14 boutique hotels in the world, from a romantic retreat in South Africa to a private villa in Thailand.

Keep reading for a look at the best hotels in America. We also took a look at prices for rooms booked out one month in advance, and noted the starting rates.

SEE ALSO: A 7-bedroom Swiss cabin has been named the world's best ski chalet for 2 years in a row — and an inside tour quickly proves why

READ MORE: The 50 best restaurants in the world in 2018

The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel, New York

Rates starting at: $299/night

The St. Regis New York

Rates starting at: $779/night

The Carlyle, New York

Rates starting at: $1,000/night

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This 116-year-old luxury resort may look like a European castle, but it's actually tucked away in the mountains of New Hampshire


omni mount washington resort

  • It may resemble a European castle, but this luxury resort is tucked away in the woods of New Hampshire.
  • Omni Mount Washington Resort was ranked the best hotel in New Hampshire by the US News and World Report.
  • At the resort, guests can fly through treetops on zip line, play tennis, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the winter, and get massages, anti-aging manicures, facials, and many other treatments at a 25,000-square-foot spa.
  • Rates are $350 to $500 a night on average but can range up to $700 for family suites.
  • The hotel is rumored to be haunted by a well-mannered ghost.


The Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire is a "favorite New England retreat of presidents, poets and celebrities," according to their website.

Along with its 200 luxury guest rooms and suites, the resort offers a 25,000-square-foot, full-service spa and salon, fine dining, 27 holes of golf, and activities that include skiing, hiking fishing, and sleigh rides.

Industrialist Joseph Stickney had the hotel built between 1900 and 1902 — and it's rumored that his wife, Carolyn, who died in 1936, still haunts the hotel. Forbes included Omni Mount Washington Resort in a 2017 list of America's 25 most haunted hotels. But not to worry: Carolyn is a well-mannered ghost, according to Town and Country magazine.

Take a look at the hotel and grounds below.

SEE ALSO: This luxury resort on Maine's largest island costs up to $2,000 per night and is a gateway to one of the country's most stunning national parks

DON'T MISS: The 100 most scenic restaurants in the US

Omni Mount Washington Resort is nestled in the White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire, near Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern US.

Source: Google Maps, New Hampshire State Parks

White Mountain National Forest is a landscape of mountain lakes and streams, hardwood forests, and alpine peaks.

Source: US Forest Service

The 200-room resort is more than 100 years old, built between 1900 and 1902 by 250 master craftsmen and originally called the Mount Washington Hotel.

Source: Omni Mount Washington Resort

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This map shows every US state where pot is legal


states where marijuana legal map

Marijuana legalization swept the US last year

President Donald Trump signed the bipartisan Farm Bill into law in December of last year, which legalized hemp — a plant that's roughly identical to marijuana but doesn't contain THC, a psychoactive compound in marijuana — nationwide. 

Hemp is also a source of CBD, or cannabidiol, a popular, if scientifically untested ingredient in many cannabis-infused products. 

Read more: One of the largest publicly traded marijuana companies says the Farm Bill provides a 'pathway' for entering the lucrative US market

In last year's midterm elections, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana, and Utah and Missouri voted to legalize medical marijuana.

Deep-red Oklahoma also voted to legalize medical marijuana last year, joining numerous other states that have such laws on the books.

Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through its Legislature last year as well, rather than a ballot initiative when the governor signed the bill into law.

Ten states and Washington, DC, have now legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults over 21. And 33 states have legalized medical marijuana.

Read more: The top 12 venture-capital firms making deals in the booming cannabis industry that's set to skyrocket to $75 billion

Marijuana prohibition began 80 years ago when the federal government banned the sale, cultivation, and use of the cannabis plant. It remains illegal at the federal level.

Overturning prohibition is one of the few hot-button topics with widespread support.

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 62% of Americans, including 74% of millennials, said they supported legalizing marijuana.

Last year was also a banner year for marijuana legalization globally. 

Last, October Canada legalized marijuana federally, becoming the first G7 country to do so.

Mexico's Supreme Court also ruled that marijuana prohibition is unconstitutional, paving the way for the country's new leader, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to follow Canada's lead.

Melia Robinson contributed to an earlier version of this post. 

SEE ALSO: Marijuana companies are using a 'backdoor' strategy to tap the public markets — and it's fueling an M&A boom


Adults 21 and over can light up in Alaska. In early 2015, the northernmost US state made it legal for residents to use, possess, and transport up to an ounce of marijuana— roughly a sandwich bag full — for recreational use. The first pot shop opened for business in late 2016.

Alaska has pounced on the opportunity to make its recreational pot shops a destination for tourists. More than two million people visit Alaska annually and spend $2 billion.


California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana back in 1996. California became even more pot-friendly in 2016 when it made it legal to use and carry up to an ounce of marijuana.

The law also permits adults 21 and over to buy up to eight grams of marijuana concentrates, which are found in edibles, and grow no more than six marijuana plants per household.

Getting Californians to buy legal weed — rather than from the black market — has been challenging since the law took effect, The New York Times reports


In Colorado, there are more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks and McDonalds locations combined. The state joined Washington in becoming the first two states to fully legalize the drug in 2012.

Residents and tourists over the age of 21 can buy up to one ounce of marijuana or eight grams of concentrates. Some Colorado counties and cities have passed more restrictive laws.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Dyson's best-selling vacuums and air purifiers are up to $200 off at Bed Bath & Beyond — while supplies last


The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


If your resolution for 2019 is saving time and keeping your home a little cleaner, you're in luck. Bed Bath & Beyond is throwing a sale on Dyson upright vacuums, cordless vacuums, air purifiers, and fans with discounts of up to $200 off.

To save you time, we've broken down the deals by category, and included links to our relevant buying guides to help you pick out the right type of vacuum or air purifier for you. 

If you want an even steeper discount, you can sign up for Beyond+, Bed Bath and Beyond's membership program. Beyond+ costs $29 per year, and lets you take 20% off most items — you can find a list of exceptions here. Almost all of the items below are Beyond+ eligible, and would pay for the price of membership on their own.

Instead of having a firm end date, this sale will only be available "while supplies last," which means these deals will be gone once they sell out. To avoid that, you should do your research and take advantage of them sooner than later.

Upright vacuum deals

Cordless vacuum deals

Air purifier, humidifier, and fan deals


For more guidance on what type of vacuum or air purifier you should get, check out our buying guides below:

SEE ALSO: The best vacuum cleaners you can buy

DON'T MISS: The best robot vacuums you can buy

Join the conversation about this story »

The government shutdown is in its 14th day and there's no end in sight. Here's how Trump and Congress got into this mess.


nancy pelosi donald trump

  • The government shutdown is now in day 14, making it one of the longest shutdowns in the modern era.
  • There appears to be no end in sight as President Donald Trump and Democrats dig in on their border wall stances.
  • As the shutdown drags on, more federal workers and agencies are affected.
  • Here's your rundown on how the government ended up in a shutdown and where we go from here.

President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats seem to be dug in over the government shutdown, and after two weeks without a funding bill, there's no end in sight.

At the heart of the dispute is Trump's demand for just over $5 billion toward a long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border. Democrats insist they will allocate no money toward a wall.

Those factors mean the possibility of a record-breaking shutdown seems to be growing. As it stands, the shutdown is in its 14th day — the record is a 21-day shutdown in 1995-1996.

Read more:Here's a history of all the previous shutdowns in the modern era»

The shutdown only affects part of the federal government, as seven of the 12 bills that fund the government were passed in September. But a large number of departments are shuttered, including agriculture, commerce, justice, homeland security, the interior, state, transportation, and housing and urban development.

The problems caused by the shutdown are wide-ranging, from waste piling up in national parks to uncertainty for 800,000 federal workers about when their next paycheck will come.

Read more:Here's what happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a government shutdown»

But despite the growing pain and uncertainty, the two sides appear no closer to a deal.

With all that in mind, here's a rundown of just how we got here:

  • December 6: Congress passes a short-term funding bill to delay the shutdown until after the date of President George H.W. Bush's funeral.
  • December 11: Democratic leaders and President Donald Trumpmeet to discuss the funding deadline. Trump demands $5 billion in border-wall funding, Democrats counter with an offer of $1.6 billion in general border-security funding. Trump rejects the idea and offers to take the blame for the shutdown. The president says he would be "proud" to shut down the government.
  • December 19: The Senate passes a clean short-term funding bill, called a continuing resolution (CR), that does not include border-wall funding but will keep the government open until February 8. Trump supported the bill at the time, Senate GOP leaders said.
  • December 20: Trump flip-flops on the clean CR after listening to attacks from conservative TV pundits and the hardline House Freedom Caucus, and he announces that he will not sign a bill with no wall funding. House Republicans then pass a CR that includes $5.7 billion in wall funds.
  • December 21: Trump demands the Senate vote for the House version of the CR and tells Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to get rid of the legislative filibuster in order to pass the vote with only GOP lawmakers, but the idea is a nonstarter. The Senate votes down the House version of the bill, and the government moves closer to a shutdown at the midnight deadline.
  • December 22: McConnell announces in the afternoon that lawmakers have not reached a deal, and adjourns the Senate until December 27. Senior Trump administration officials also suggested to reporters that the White House would not back down on the wall, indicating that only Senate Democrats could end the shutdown by caving on the funding.
  • January 1: After a relatively quiet Christmas break, Trump suggests Nancy Pelosi should make a deal. "Border Security and the Wall "thing" and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker! Let's make a deal?" Trump tweets.
  • January 2: Congressional leaders from both parties meet with Trump at the White House, it is the first face-to-face meeting in three weeks. The president enlists Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to make the case for the border wall. Following the meeting, Democratic leaders reiterate that no money will be allocated for the wall.
  • January 3: Democrats take over control of the House and Pelosi is elected Speaker. Later in the night, the new Democratic majority passes two bills which would both fund the government that do not include funding for the border wall. The bills even earned a handful of GOP votes. Despite the bills being nearly identical to the measures passed by the Senate before the holiday break, Republican Senate leaders reject the idea of taking up the bills.
  • January 4: Congressional leaders meet with Trump at the White House. It is unclear if any progress is made.

SEE ALSO: Most Americans would rather spend the $5 billion Trump is demanding for the border wall on infrastructure, education, or healthcare

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

An up-and-coming frozen food startup solved virtually all of my healthy eating obstacles


The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


  • Few of us have the time or the will to research, prep, buy, measure, and blend healthy foods into delicious smoothies, chia parfaits, or soups.
  • Daily Harvest is a subscription service that sends healthy, pre-portioned superfood eats to your home either weekly or monthly.
  • I tried Daily Harvest's smoothies and was pleasantly surprised. All of the smoothies, while healthy, tasted extremely good. 
  • In terms of prep, everything could not have been easier to make. Daily Harvest smoothies solved virtually all of my healthy food obstacles.

Ever wished you could have those delicious, super healthy smoothies you see on Instagram without the nutrition degree or piles of perishable ingredients? So did Rachel Drori, a busy mom living in New York.

So she founded Daily Harvest — a subscription service that will send healthy, pre-portioned superfood eats to your home either weekly or monthly. The food combinations are developed by a nutritionist and a chef, and the company is backed by big names like Gwyneth Paltrow and Serena Williams.

It's not hard to see why it's so popular: Few of us have the time or the will to research, prep, buy, measure, and blend healthy foods together habitually. Daily Harvest gets those super smart, balanced foods into your freezer and requires zero thought beforehand and almost zero prep (about 30 seconds' worth).

Extra bonus: According to the company, apples you buy in the grocery store are picked over a year before you get to them. They lose much of their nutritional value along the way. Daily Harvest ingredients are "always picked at peak maturity, then flash frozen to maintain farm-fresh nutrient density and flavor, without using preservatives or added sugar." Frozen foods can be delicious and healthy, even if the word makes you first think about the soft beans in your "vegetable medley" bag.

Right now, Daily Harvest delivers to 95% of the US, though they're not currently shipping outside the continental states.

Here's how it works:

  1. Build your box: Choose any combination of superfood eats (smoothies, overnight oats, chia parfaits, soups, and sundaes) to be delivered to you. You can even choose foods based on dietary needs, key benefits, and your likes and dislikes via options found in the top-most bar.Screen Shot 2017 10 09 at 2.54.27 PM
  2. Check your doorstep: The pre-portioned cups will arrive at your doorstep ready to be popped in the freezer/blended/heated up — whatever the minimal instructions or your schedule demand.
  3. Make it: Just open the lid, add the recommended liquid base and blend, soak, or heat. The cups are meant to be their own carrier, so you can drop the ingredients into a blender or pan, heat or blend them, and then drop them right back into the same container. Minimal cooking and minimal cleanup.

Screen Shot 2017 10 09 at 2.52.38 PM


You can opt for weekly or monthly deliveries.

If you choose weekly, you can get 6, 9, 12, or 24 cups per week. The price per cup decreases the more you order. For 6 cups a week, it’ll be $7.99 per cup (about $48 total, or $7.99 a day) and for 12 it'll be $7.49 per cup (about $90 total, or $13 a day). See more prices here.

If you choose monthly, you’ll be sent 24 cups per month ($6.99 per cup, $167.76 total before taxes), which works out to about $6 a day.

Use the promo code "businessinsider" and get 3 free smoothies in your first order.

Screen Shot 2017 10 09 at 2.50.05 PM

Why I liked it:

Daily Harvest solved some common problems for me. I want to eat healthily and smoothies are one solid way to make "healthy" taste good, as well as being travel-friendly. However, I have to buy single-person groceries, and it doesn’t make sense to buy the volume of veggies and perishable produce it takes to make even two different superfood smoothies — and having the same one every day because I need to use up groceries before they go bad is a fast way to kill a good habit.

It’s also hard to portion single-person smoothies. Unless you’re following a specific recipe and halving your celery stalks and using x amount of kale, which takes time, I always wind up with leftovers that don’t sit well in the fridge, but that I also really don’t want to throw out.

And lastly, I always wanted to eat well, but I wasn’t sure which combinations got me the most health bang for my buck — and also tasted good. I lacked the advanced nutritional knowledge and didn’t want to spend the time figuring it out. For this reason, and not wanting to waste money on food that might not blend together well, I wasn’t exactly adventurous.

These are the reasons why Daily Harvest initially appealed to me. I try to go to the gym in the mornings before work, and a tasty smoothie immediately after that is good for me, pre-portioned, and easy to carry (with an opening for a straw already in the lid) — and also doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to make — is ideal. It’s something I’d be willing to grudgingly commit to for the price simply because it does what I want to do better than I can on my own. If left to my own devices, I'd probably wind up never doing it. 

In reality, Daily Harvest smoothies solved virtually all of my healthy food obstacles. 

My experience:

The company sent a box over and I committed to making one Daily Harvest smoothie every morning after the gym. An immediate upside was 30-second prep time and not having to clean up any dishes aside from the blender, since the container it comes in doubles as a cup post-blend. I loved being able to carry it out the door and drink it on the way to work. Since I know that Americans throw out 500 million straws every day, I ordered stainless steel ones to use with the Daily Harvest straw-enabled tops without extra waste.

I purposefully picked smoothie combinations that I was unsure about — mixes with more leafy greens and unknown ingredients in them than I would comfortably make myself (like Apple + Greens and Pineapple + Matcha). When I put the ingredients into the blender, I expected the result to taste healthy, but not good.

product shot ingredients@3x

I was pleasantly surprised. All of the smoothies, while definitely healthy, tasted extremely good. I really liked all of them, particularly the "green and leafy" ones that initially seemed too healthy to be tasty, as well as the Cold Brew + Almond.

In terms of prep, everything could not have been easier to make. The instructions never required more than throwing the ingredients into a blender and adding liquid before blending (a simplicity mirrored uniformly in all of their food options). 

If you're looking for a way to eat healthy, balanced, and fresh foods without spending all the time yourself grocery shopping, researching, or doing the prep and cleanup, you might want to look into trying Daily Harvest yourself.

It's possible that not all of their mixes will appeal to you equally, but the smoothies at least were a safe place to start. Depending on your budget, it might not be realistic to do it every month, but I can't imagine superfoods for the masses getting any easier than delicious, pre-portioned cups that get delivered to your freezer. 

Try Daily Harvest and get three free smoothies in your first box with the promo code "businessinsider" here.

SEE ALSO: 13 organizing ideas that'll help you make the most of your space

Join the conversation about this story »

The shutdown fight rages as Trump threatens to close the government for 'months or even years' to get border-wall funding


donald trump chuck schumer

  • President Donald Trump met with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders on Friday to discuss the ongoing government shutdown.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters afterward that Trump threatened to keep the government shut down for "months or even years."
  • Newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said the meeting was "contentious."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Friday that President Donald Trump threatened to keep the federal government partially shut down for "months or even years," unless Democrats relent to the president's demands for US-Mexico border-wall funding.

Speaking after a roughly two-hour meeting with Trump at the White House, Schumer said Democrats urged Trump to agree to a short-term funding extension that would reopen the government and allow the leaders to continue discussions over border security without leaving 800,000 federal workers in limbo.

"We told the president we needed the government open. He resisted," Schumer said. "In fact he said he would keep it closed for a very long period of time — months or even years."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who took over the House's top job on Thursday, also called the meeting "sometimes contentious." 

"But we recognize on the Democratic side that we really cannot resolve this until we open up government," Pelosi said. "We made that very clear to the president. Services are being withheld from the American people, and paychecks are being withheld from people who serve the needs of the American people. And our border security will suffer if we do not resolve this issue."

Read more:The government shutdown is in its 14th day and there's no end in sight. Here's how Trump and Congress got into this mess.

Trump spoke subsequently in the White House Rose Garden, sounding more upbeat about the meeting than Democrats.

"I thought it was really a very, very good meeting. We're all on the same path in terms of wanting to get government open," Trump said. "We're going to be meeting — I've designated a group, and we're going to be meeting over the weekend, that group, to determine what we're going to do about the border."

Trump also confirmed that he threatened a shutdown of "months or years" and rejected Pelosi and Schumer's calls to reopen the government before discussing border security.

"We won't be opening until it is solved," the president said.

At the same time, the president also reiterated his demands for a border wall, which Pelosi and Schumer have categorically rejected.  

House Democrats passed two bills on Friday that would reopen the government and extend funding into February for the agencies that are closed. Pelosi and the Democratic leadership said the measures would give the two sides time to come to an agreement.

The Senate passed nearly identical bills before the Christmas break, but they were blocked by the then Republican House majority after Trump flip-flopped on his support for the extension because of blowback from conservative TV pundits and hardline lawmakers.

With no solution reached, the government entered a partial shutdown on December 22.

The shutdown has since been a political staring contest with both sides digging in on their positions and playing the blame game. Prior to the shutdown, Trump seemed happy to take ownership of the shutdown.

"So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down," Trump said. "I'm not going to blame you for it — the last time you shut it down, it didn't work. I will take the mantle of shutting it down."

Read more: Trump says 'Democrats now own the shutdown' just 10 days after declaring he was 'proud to shut down the government'

The shutdown is now in its 14th day, and, with no resolution in sight, there is a good chance the funding lapse will be the longest in modern history.

The shutdown does not close the entire government, as Congress passed five of the 12 bills that fund various departments of the government. But many departments are still closed, including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, the Interior, State, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development.

Employees in those departments will go without pay for the duration of the shutdown, with a total of 800,000 federal employees affected.

Of those workers, 420,000 are deemed essential, such as Coast Guard members and airport security, and are being forced to work with no pay. The other 380,000 employees are on furlough, meaning they do not receive pay and are not allowed to come in to work.

SEE ALSO: Here's what happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a government shutdown

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'

Edureka's online courses help you strengthen your skill set for work — and you can save 30% on key courses


The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


  • With the rapidly evolving job market, it's important to develop new professional skills.
  • Professional development is not only an asset, but a necessity in getting and maintaining a competitive edge in the job market.
  • Edureka is an online-learning platform that teaches hard skills, like coding and data analytics, through interactive, live online classes. You can save 30% on courses for the New Year.

The job market is constantly evolving — that's nothing new. Yet, the significant technological and scientific advancements of late have drastically changed the employment landscape, and continue to do so. What was modern a few years ago is now outdated and skills that were once highly-desired in the workplace may now be deemed irrelevant.

Continuing professional development not only gives you a competitive advantage, but may be necessary to achieve success in certain fields. A Pew Research Center study found that some 54% of employed adults believe that developing new skills through training and education is essential for keeping up with the ever-changing demands of the professional world. 

Given the demand for continuous education, there is a huge market for online-learning platforms. There are plenty of different platforms to choose from, and all offer a myriad of courses and accommodate different budgets and learning styles. Edureka is another online-learning platform that stands out for it's interactive, engaging teaching method.

Edureka is tailored to fit the needs of the professional workforce. On the site, you'll find a few hundred courses — most of these courses are focused on technology, like data science and app development, but you can also find other categories like architecture and digital marketing.

Here's how Edureka's online classes work

Once you pick the course, you have to choose the batch of time slots you'd like to enroll in. Edureka's courses are led by instructors online in real time, so it's important to choose a time slot that works with your schedule. Each course comes with an in-depth description of the curriculum, the unique features, reviews, and a thorough FAQ section. Once a course is chosen, you'll be matched with a learning manager — they'll be your point-person for questions you might have throughout the duration of the course. 

Edureka uses live screen-sharing, demonstrations, and a Q&A to help students engage with the material each session. If you miss the session, it's okay — Edureka keeps all of the coursework and sessions in a learning repository that you can access at any time. You'll be given homework assignments and an industry-related case study to exercise what you've been learning. Upon completion of the course, you'll get a certification of your new skill set, as well as help on how to leverage this new skill on your resume and in interviews.

Edureka courses are more expensive than many other platforms, with prices starting around $200 — but its experienced instructors and interactive curriculum justify the price. Right now, for the New Year, all Edureka courses are currently up to 30% off. 

Keep reading to see what you'll get from five of Edureka's top courses:

Android App Development

Android App Development

What It Costs: $191 (Originally $225) [You save $34]

What You'll Learn:

  • Introduction to Android Development
  • Android Layouts, Widgets, and Implementing Event Receivers
  • Activities, Intents, Fragments and Notifications
  • Customizing Widgets and Constructing Option Menu
  • Storage, Media, and Animations
  • WebServices
  • Location and Google Map
  • Database Framework and Third Party Libraries
  • Localization, Sensors, and Social Media Integration
  • End-to-End App Development and Publishing

Salesforce: Admin 201 and App Builder

Salesforce: Admin 201 and App Builder

What It Costs: $407 (Originally $479) [You save $72]

What You'll Learn:

  • Introduction to cloud computing & SFDC
  • Building blocks of Force.com platform and Introduction to the student master app
  • SFDC Data model, Objects, Relationships, and Fields
  • SFDC Security Model: Org-Level General administrative features and Object Level features
  • SFDC Security Model: Object, Record and Field Level features
  • Business Logic
  • Business Process Automation
  • Introduction to Sales Cloud
  • Introduction to Service Cloud
  • Data handling and processing
  • Reports and Dashboards
  • Salesforce 1, Lightning App Builder, Salesforce A, Outlook
  • Activity Management, AppExchange, Content and folder management
  • Chatter, Global action and Publisher Layouts
  • Salesforce Mobile
  • Deployment
  • Application Cycle
  • Lightning in Salesforce
  • Buttons and Link Management
  • App Exchange

Cybersecurity Certification

Cybersecurity Certification

What It Costs: $231 (Originally $289) [You save $58]

What You'll Learn:

  • Security Essentials
  • Cryptography
  • Computer Networks and Security
  • Application Security
  • Data & Endpoint Security
  • IdAM (Identity & Access Management)
  • Cloud Security
  • Phases of a Cyber Attack
  • Security Processes in practice for Businesses

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

7 gym tools celebrity trainers use to train their high-profile clients — and they're all surprisingly affordable


The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


Behind most of the "is-it-a-Greek-statue-no-it’s-a-person" moments that you had while watching the Met Gala unfold this year is an especially great personal trainer.

Not all of us have the time (or the cash) to employ our own personal trainer. But there are ways to replicate the routines (even if you just follow along on Instagram or Google '30-day ab challenge' as I find myself doing) if you pick up the tools those personal trainers use in their sessions — and then follow through with using them.

So I asked celebrity trainers, Astrid Swan, a Barry’s Bootcamp Instructor and Premier Protein Ambassador whose clientele has included everyone from Julianna Hough to Jessica Alba, and Taylor Walker, a Wilhelmina fitness model, NASM certified trainer, and Premier Protein Ambassador to share what fitness tools they find themselves using most when training clients.

For Swan, it’s all about strength training. “[It’s] so important for so many reasons. It can increase your metabolism which will burn more calories even when you are not working out while also reducing the risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone density.”

And in Walker’s opinion, most of the best training tools are those that go wherever you go, so you can change up locations and stick to a consistent routine. According to her, “you don’t need anything fancy to see increased tone. “body weight, dumbbells or resistance bands listed below will help build muscle and tone your body. The most important thing is that you progress safely. Week by week, up the amount of weight, time spent in a yoga pose, or increase the number of reps or sets of an exercise to see improvements."

Below are the seven tools Swan and Walker use to train celebrity clients, as well as some affordable options for those that might exceed the average budget. 

DON'T MISS: 5 wearables we've tried that do a lot more than count your steps

A Sling Shot Hip Circle resistance band that won't ride up or snap

Swan's recommendation: Sling Shot Hip Circle by Mark Bell, available at Amazon for $27.50

The Sling Shot Hip Circle is a great warmup for the lower body, particularly for the glutes. Instead of wavering when you squat, the Sling Shot cues athletes to push their knees out while squatting, activating more muscles and getting better results all over. It won't snap or roll up on itself, and you can use it at any fitness level for a good burn.

A kettlebell that's perfectly balanced

Swan's recommendation: ONNIT Designer Sculpted Kettlebells, available at Amazon for $159.95

Note: Currently unavailable

Alternate: Yes4All Solid Cast Iron Kettlebells, available at Amazon for $16.99

These designer sculpted kettlebells add some fun to the average workout, (though you can find cheaper options, too). The ONNIT kettlebells are perfectly balanced and built with chip-resistant iron for longevity and durability. If you're looking to stock up on kettlebells in varying weights, you may want to opt for cheaper versions that will still do the trick nicely. 

A jump rope with a multi-directional swivel

Swan's recommendation: Rx Smart Gear Jump Rope, available at Amazon for $45

If you've spent any time on any fitness forum that mentions cardio, you've likely already been told to pick up the play tool of your childhood for a new and calorie-torching workout. This one has a multi-directional swivel axis bearing system to make your movements smoother. If it looks familiar, you might have seen it in a CrossFit class. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

These $100 wool sneakers are comfortable and machine washable — the Swiss startup that makes them even added elastic laces for the ultimate convenience


The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


  • Baabuk's wool shoes are some of the most comfortable, versatile, and aesthetically pleasing options on the market.
  • I'm particularly taken with the Smart Wooler, a sleek, color-blocked sneaker that is easy to put on and you won't want to take off.
  • Available in four different colors (and unisex to boot), this is one shoe that will make a statement all season long.

Walking around in wool has never felt so good.

Long gone are the days when the only wool you wore was either as a sock or as a sweater — in our brave new world, you can now traipse about in sneakers, boots, and yes, even slippers for the out of doors, all made of wool. And here to provide you with one of the more extensive collections of woolen footwear available is Baabuk, a company dedicated not only to making insanely comfortable shoes, but doing the right thing, too. A certified B-corp, Baabuk is one company that can help you both feel and look good, from the feet up.

Baabuk first appeared on my radar when it was naught more than a Kickstarter project for a woolen slipper. Back in 2013, the Swiss company managed to raise nearly $40,000 for its very first offering, which promised to be the warmest shoe ever. Their original slipper was comfortable, to be sure, but stylish? A little less so. But in the five years since, Baabuk has continued to refine its aesthetic, and now has an extensive collection that includes four styles of sneakers, two slippers, and a boot.

Unlike other wool shoe purveyors, which tend to stick to a singular design, Baabuk instead offers a wide range of styles capable of suiting a variety of tastes. But my favorite is undoubtedly the Smart Wooler.

The newest shoe on the Baabuk block, the Smart Wooler is a sleek, color-blocked high top that comes up just high enough on your ankle. While you might expect a shoe made of wool to look rather chunky, the Smart Wooler is anything but. I often have trouble finding sneakers that fit my rather narrow feet (without making them look enormous), but Baabuk was up to the challenge. The tapered design of the Smart Wooler conforms well to the foot, which is not only aesthetically pleasing, but distinctly comfortable as well.


Both the upper and the inner of the Smart Wooler are made of 100% Portuguese mulesing-free sheep wool, which is to say that no sheep are harmed in the process of producing your shoe. As for the sole, it's made of a durable rubber, which should withstand pretty extensive use. That said, I've loved (which is to say, worn) my Baabuks enough that the sole has begun to feel somewhat thinner than it did when I first received the shoe, but that's to be expected with just about any footwear.

When it comes to caring for your Smart Wooler (or any other Baabuk shoe), you can easily toss your pair into the washing machine. If there's a preset wool program, you'll want to use that — otherwise, opt for the gentle cycle, and if you're really going for it, use a wool detergent, too. I've found that even after a trip or two in the washer, my Smart Woolers haven't lost their vibrant color. I'm partial to the Jean color scheme, which juxtaposes two shades of blue, but the orange and confetti colored Cream shoe is also a conversation piece.

Of course, my favorite part about the Smart Wooler is that it requires no shoe-tying at all. Instead, its elastic laces will keep the shoes snug on your feet — really, it's as though you're wearing a slipper all the livelong day. Oh, and seeing as the Smart Wooler is unisex, you and your partner can match footwear (but believe me, you'll get some weird looks about it).

If you're looking for something that may be more winter appropriate, the Baabuk boot is certainly worth a closer look. The body of this shoe is crafted with a single piece of fabric without a single stitch, and is handmade in Nepal. The upper is then completed in Portugal, and the team claims that the shoes have withstood testing at the South Pole. The rubber sole will also help you maintain your grip on the ice. Hopefully, that means that no matter what climate you're in, you'll be plenty protected in your woolen boots.

Regardless of which of Baabuk's shoes you opt for, you'll be doing your feet a favor. And given that wool is one of the more sustainable materials available for shoe-making these days, you're not doing badly by Mother Earth either.

Shop the Baabuk Smart Wooler sneakers from $102 here.

Join the conversation about this story »

I tried Buffy, a popular down-alternative comforter made of recycled plastic bottles — and it was super effective at regulating temperature


The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


  • If it looks like a cloud, feels like a cloud, and moves like a cloud, chances are it's a cloud— or in this case, a Buffy comforter.
  • Organic eucalyptus may just seem like a buzzword to help sell comforters, but in reality, it makes a huge difference in the comfort of your comforter, and consequently, the quality of your sleep.
  • Surprisingly breathable yet still thick enough to be warm, this is a perfect blanket to have on your bed as you begin to consider transitioning from the summer months to the fall.
  • Best of all, you get to try Buffy before you buy it, though chances are, once you take this comforter out of the box, you'll never want to send it back.

The eucalyptus revolution has finally made it into your bed. You're not only finding traces of that Australian tree in your favorite ointments, lip balms, perfumes, and medicines, but also in yet another product meant to make you feel like the most pampered version of yourself. Meet Buffy— not the vampire slayer (a joke I'm sure the company is tired of hearing), but rather a new line of comforters that may just be one of the best things I've ever had in or on my bed.

At its core, the Buffy is a down-alternative comforter constructed with a mix of microfiber and eucalyptus fiber.

The eucalyptus isn't just for show, but rather lends its naturally soothing and anti-inflammatory effects to your nightly skin regimen — all without your having to lift a finger. While I was a bit skeptical about just how useful a eucalyptus comforter could be, I will say that this is one blanket that you'll want to have touching your face.

It's incredibly soft and silky, and while I can't say that I've ever had inflammatory issues with other comforters, Buffy somehow feels slicker (in the best of ways) when compared to other comforters I've tried out. That said, keep in mind that you'll have to sleep with the Buffy sans duvet cover if you want to reap the full eucalyptus benefits — that may be a little iffy, even if you can wash the Buffy in your laundry machine. In any case, here's hoping that the company will soon release a companion cover that still leverages the health benefits of our favorite Australian plant.

buffy comforter review

The interior of the comforter is filled with no fewer than 50 recycled bottles.That isn't to say that they've just crushed up your empty Dasanis and Aquafinas and placed them within a eucalyptus cover, but rather that Buffy's sustainable practices are actively rescuing used plastic bottles and giving them new life as part of your bedtime. Somehow, these bottles are spun into polyester and then "crimped for fluffiness." And fluffy this comforter most certainly is.

Part of this may be attributed to the lyocell found in the comforter — this cellulose fiber is a form of rayon, made by dissolving wood pulp using a jet-wet spinning method. It also turns out to be hypoallergenic, naturally repelling mold, mildew, dust mites, and other microbes or pathogens. The result is a comforter that feels light and airy, and won't get musty over time, and is substantial enough to keep you warm on a chilly evening.

And as for keeping you warm, I'm always a bit concerned about overheating during the night. But the Buffy does a surprisingly effective job at regulating temperature. By leveraging 37.5 technology, this comforter is able to keep you cooler than a similar product of comparable thickness, but is also breathable enough to let warm, sticky air escape during the night. That is to say, I've never woken up in a pool of my own sweat when sleeping with Buffy. Come fall, I'm quite confident that I'll be able to wrap myself in my comforter and face down even the chilliest of evenings without a snuggle partner.

Sustainability has clearly taken a forefront in all that Buffy does, which means that you can sleep comfortably and with a clear conscience, knowing that Buffy has reclaimed over 750,000 plastic bottles from entering the oceans and landfills, and saved over 15 million gallons of water by using eucalyptus rather than cotton.

buffy comforter review

Oh, and because Buffy isn't worried about filling its comforters with down feathers from the birds of the world, you'll also be investing in a cruelty-free product.

As for pricing, the Buffy isn't necessarily the cheapest option on the market, but when compared to similar products, it's still extremely affordable at $120 for Twin size. I should also point out that you don't initially buy the Buffy — instead, you take it out for a 30-day test period, totally risk-free. In fact, you're not even charged for the comforter until you're convinced you've fallen in love with it. That said, if you do decide to return it, the comforter goes to a good cause — the company notes that it generally donates returned products to homeless shelters in the local community.

All in all, if you're looking to give your nightly repose a major upgrade, you may want to take a closer look at what's on top of your bed, and replace it with a Buffy comforter.

Buy a Buffy comforter in the following sizes: Twin ($120), Full/Queen ($150), and King/Cali King ($190).

SEE ALSO: Not all beds in boxes were created equal, and here to prove that is the DreamCloud — I slept on the mattress and loved it

DON'T MISS: The best adjustable bed frames you can buy

Join the conversation about this story »

Trump goes off the rails in freewheeling news conference raging about the shutdown, the border wall, DACA, and Democrats


donald trump

  • President Donald Trump held a raucous, freewheeling news conference at the White House on Friday, answering reporters' questions about the ongoing government shutdown.
  • He confirmed that he told top Democrats the shutdown could go on for months or years.
  • He also told reporters he would consider declaring a "national emergency" to build a wall along the US-Mexico border without congressional approval.

President Donald Trump on Friday addressed journalists in the White House Rose Garden after a meeting with top Democrats about the ongoing government shutdown, but he quickly spun off into a freewheeling rant on his most frequently cited border topics.

Trump confirmed that he told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that the shutdown could go on for "months or even years."

"Without borders, we don't have a country," Trump said. "I hope it doesn't go on even beyond a few more days. It really could open very quickly."

The shutdown over Trump's requested $5.6 billion in funding for a wall along the US-Mexico border is nearing the two-week mark and shows no signs of abating. Top Democrats have said they continue to oppose a border wall, and Trump has insisted he won't sign anything that doesn't include the funding.

Read more: The shutdown fight rages as Trump threatens to close the government for 'months or even years' to get border-wall funding

Trump even told reporters at one point that he would consider using emergency powers to secure the funding and build the wall without congressional approval.

"Absolutely, we can call a national emergency," Trump said. "I haven't done it. I may do it. I may do it. We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly. It's another way of doing it. If we can do it through a renegotiated process, we're giving that a shot."

Here are a few of the topics he touched on:

Making a deal on 'Dreamers' in exchange for the wall

Protesters calling for an immigration bill addressing the so-called Dreamers, young adults who were brought to the United States as children, walk through the Hart Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Trump first raged at President Barack Obama for creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012. It allowed the young unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children known as "Dreamers" to stay in the US.

The president also slammed the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals for ruling against his administration last year and upholding a block on ending the program. He predicted that the Supreme Court would ultimately strike the program down.

Trump also ripped congressional Democrats for attempting to negotiate a similar deal last year that would have allocated $25 billion in border-wall funding in exchange for protections for the Dreamers.

He confirmed that DACA was up for discussion, but not amid the debate over border-wall funding.

"We want to do what's right and do it all at one time. We don't want to take it in pieces," he said. "DACA is going to be a great subject. I look forward to discussing it at another time. There are a lot of great things that can happen if the Democrats want to do that."

Read more: The megadonor Koch network is reportedly planning a major push to get 'Dreamers' legal status in 2019

'Terrorists' coming through the US-Mexico border

border patrol

"I talk about human traffickers, I talk about drugs and gangs, but a lot of people don't say we have terrorists coming through the southern border because they find that's probably the easiest place to come through," Trump said.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen stepped forward to clarify that US Border Patrol last year stopped at least 3,000 "special interest aliens" attempting to cross the southern border whom US intelligence flagged as causes for concern.

"They either have travel patterns that are identified as terrorist travel patterns, or they have known or suspected ties to terrorism," Nielsen said. "So we have 3,000 that we know about."

Immigration experts have expressed skepticism over the "special interest aliens" category, noting that the definition is so broad that it could apply to travelers from just about any country, particularly those with majority-Muslim populations.

"Zero people were murdered or injured in terror attacks committed on US soil by special interest aliens who entered illegally from 1975 through the end of 2017," the Cato Institute said in a report last month. "None of them successfully carried out their attacks and none illegally crossed the Mexican border."

Whether the newly renegotiated NAFTA will pay for the border wall

Multiple reporters pushed back against Trump's frequent claims that the economic output generated by the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, designed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, will fund the wall, noting that Congress hasn't ratified the deal and that taxpayers would still be funding the $5.6 billion Trump is requesting.

"In fact, what we save on the USMCA — the new trade deal we have with Mexico and Canada — what we save on that will pay for the wall many times over in two years and three years," Trump said. "I view that as absolutely Mexico is paying for the wall, and that's fine."

Why he pivoted from a concrete wall to steel slats

bollard fence us-mexico border calexico

Trump falsely told reporters he had never demanded a concrete wall, even though he frequently said during his 2016 presidential campaign that it would be made of concrete.

He has recently taken to describing the wall "steel slats" or a "steel barrier," reportedly in hopes that the phrases would be more palatable to Democrats.

"I know you're not into the construction business, you don't understand something," he told one reporter. 
"Steel is stronger than concrete. If I build this wall or fence or anything the Democrats need to call, it's because I'm not into names, I'm into production. I'm into something that works."

He added: "Listen, if I build a wall and the wall is made out of steel instead of concrete, I think people will like that."

SEE ALSO: Trump reportedly thinks referring to the border wall as 'steel slats' will get more Democrats to agree to fund it

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NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

This new Keurig is the company's most modern coffee maker yet — with a setting for iced coffee


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  • Keurig coffee machines are already mainstays in homes and offices across the United States, but this latest model promises to be the most modern iteration yet.
  • While I'm still not thrilled by the environmental impact of those K-Cup pods, it is the case that this particular coffee maker offers much more customization than previous Keurigs.
  • Perhaps the most compelling function is the Brew Over Ice option, which allows you to make cold yet fully flavored coffee during the summer month (or the winter — whatever your heart desires).
  • The machine itself will cost you $127 (originally $170), but don’t forget about the cost of all those K-Cups you'll have to buy.

If the sound of coffee beans grinding isn’t the soothing melody you’d like to wake up to in the morning, but the smell of coffee is what it takes to get you out of bed, Keurig’s line of coffee makers is likely the right choice for your kitchen. For years, the company has been delivering easy-to-use machines that require as little work as possible to make a cup of coffee — after all, it’s the first thing in the morning. Do you really have the mental capacity to think all that much?

And while simplicity has always been at the heart of Keurig machines, that straightforwardness has also come with some drawbacks. You can’t do much customization when you’re just putting a K-Cup into a Keurig, and there also hasn’t historically been much variation when it comes to how big of a cup of coffee you could make. But this all changes with the introduction of the Keurig K-Elite coffee maker.

I’ll be the first to say that I’m generally not the biggest fan of these instant coffee makers. Not only did they suffer from the aforementioned lack of personalization when it came to my morning cup of joe, but I also couldn’t (and still can’t, really) get over the environmental impact of those K-Cups. Sure, you can separate out the pod components to recycle them separately, but that creates a hassle that the Keurig is supposed to eliminate. But luckily, Keurig has already started selling recyclable K-Cups, and by 2020, the company promises that 100% of its pods will be, in fact, eco-friendly. (You can also find plenty of highly reviewed reusable K-Cup coffee filters on Amazon.)

And when it comes to the customization aspect, that’s where the new K-Elite coffee maker comes in. When Keurig says that its new machine delivers "the most beverage customization in any Keurig single cup coffee maker model," it’s telling the truth.

There are a few standout features of the K-Elite that I found to be quite useful. As far as taste is concerned, there’s a Strong Brew button that does indeed up the strength and taste of your coffee’s flavor, at least when compared to a cup I brewed without selecting the Strong option.

Then, there’s the all-important Iced Setting, which allows you to brew coffee over ice without ending up with the watered-down taste that you normally get when you end up pouring your hot coffee over a few frozen cubes. Instead, I found the coffee to be flavor forward, but blessedly cold. Sure, it’s not as good as cold brew that you might get from your neighborhood coffee shop, but it certainly does the trick. And best of all, this setting only requires the touch of a button, too — to avoid any confusion, the button reads "ICED." And if you’ve a particularly sensitive palette, you may find that the ability to adjust your brew temperature between 187 and 192 degrees Fahrenheit can also make a difference in your coffee’s flavor.

Screen Shot 2018 03 19 at 10.11.05 AM

This new Keurig also boasts a large 75-ounce water reservoir, which means that you can make up to eight cups of coffee before having to refill again. The Keurig I had in college certainly didn’t have this luxury, and I was constantly running back and forth between a sink and my coffee maker to ensure I had enough caffeine for the day. That said, the K-Elite also comes with the option to brew a wide range of cup sizes, all the way from four to 12 ounces. You’ll select these sizes based on the associated icons on the machine. One thing to note — the icons don’t actually tell you exactly how much coffee you’re getting, but for the record, it’s four, six, eight, 10, and 12 ounces.

One of my favorite features of the K-Elite actually had nothing to do with coffee at all. I was a huge fan of the hot water on demand function, which is located right next to the STRONG button on the machine. Rather than having to get out a kettle, I can just turn to my Keurig and have it dispense hot water for my tea or oatmeal. That’s actually even more efficient than the under-a-minute brew time the machine promises.

I’ve never found Keurigs to be particularly loud, but the K-Elite’s Quiet Brew Technology claims to minimize noise when the coffee maker is in use. That comes in handy if you leverage the Auto On feature, which was extremely handy when it came to ensuring that my Keurig was on and ready to go at exactly 6:30 a.m. And seeing as it only takes a minute to brew coffee, that meant that I basically had my coffee in hand at 6:31. Similarly, you can automatically shut off your Keurig to save energy once you know you’ve had your last cup of caffeine for the day.

All in all, if you’re looking for a straightforward and easy-to-use coffee machine, it’s hard to go wrong with Keurig. The K-Elite will set you back $170, and comes in Brushed Silver or Brushed Slate.

Buy the Keurig K-Elite Single Serve Coffee Maker on Amazon for $127.49 (originally $169.99)

SEE ALSO: The best espresso machines you can buy

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I stopped eating breakfast for 2 weeks and I'm never doing it again

  • Skipping breakfast can be a divisive issue, and over the past few years, intermittent fasting has become more popular.
  • But is breakfast good or bad for you? I skipped breakfast for two weeks to find out.
  • To better understand how changes in our diet can affect the body, we talked to Dr. Courtney Peterson, professor and researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Clancy: Stop skipping breakfast. Or, you should skip breakfast? We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But some actors and athletes like Terry Crews are adamant about not eating breakfast. So who's right? Is breakfast good or bad?

I stopped eating breakfast for two weeks to find out. I can't eat anything before 12, when I have lunch. For as long as I can remember, I've had breakfast every single morning. But, I also know a lot of people who don't eat breakfast. And that works great for them. To be honest, I don't think it's going to go very well because I'll be awake from six all the way until noon, a full six hours without eating a single thing. It's a lot different than what I'm used to and it might be really hard, especially at first. Half of you are probably typing a comment about how you never eat breakfast. But making a change to your daily routine isn't easy. And I wanted to find out if my life was better or worse without breakfast.

Today was my first day not eating breakfast. And I've got to say, it went pretty well. I was surprised to find out that when I woke up, I wasn't that hungry. I made coffee, made lunch for the day, and still wasn't feeling like I needed breakfast. I stayed pretty busy. It was already noon and I had barely craved any food at all. I don't want to jinx it, but I'm feeling pretty optimistic for the week.

So it's Wednesday. It's been three days of no breakfast. And I've got to say, it's getting a little bit harder. So yeah, it wasn't going well. I feel like every day around 10:30 or 11, I get really hungry. My stomach starts to growl and I start seeing or smelling food around the office that other people have. And it's a lot more challenging than when I first wake up. And I know it's like okay, that's not actually a problem. But if you're someone who's trying to diet, trying to eat less, trying to snack less, it can be really challenging when you have a lot of options around the office that can be really quick or convenient. I've actually amassed kind of a large store of snacks at my desk, all of the stuff I can't eat until after lunch. And then I'm like "Oh, you can't even eat that." And it just kind of sits there and stares back at me. I think I can make it through the week, but I am a little worried about the weekend.

Waking up at 6 a.m. and not eating until 12 is such a long time. Why do I need breakfast when so many people can live without it? What's actually going on here? I spoke with Dr. Peterson, to find out.

Dr. Courtney Peterson: So what I think has happened in breakfast skipping and why it's so confusing is there's actually not one way to necessarily skip breakfast. You actually have better blood sugar control in the morning and you digest your food a little faster in the morning, as well as you burn very slightly more calories when you eat in the morning. So all this evidence kind of points towards the morning as being optimal for eating.

Clancy: So if the morning is the optimal time for eating, is skipping breakfast hurting me? Was this whole challenge pointless?

Dr. Courtney Peterson: On the flip side, we have also learned over the past decade that it looks like having extended bouts of fasting is good for your health. What's really interesting is that you have hunger hormones. And these hunger hormones adapt to whatever you usually do or to your habits. What this means in the short-term, if you don't normally skip breakfast and then you suddenly skip breakfast, you have to overcome that inertia of changing your hunger hormone patterns. Because your hunger hormone says "Okay, well you usually eat breakfast. And now you're going to skip it, so I'm going to make you very hungry." Any time you have a regular eating pattern and change that, regardless of what eating pattern you're on, you will have an initial barrier where it's quite difficult in the beginning and then over time you adapt.

Clancy: Maybe my new routine is worse than my old one. It's been about a week and a half. And I've gotta say, it's getting easier. I thought not having breakfast on the weekend was going to be a nightmare. But it was actually a lot easier because I woke up later and didn't have as much time between waking up and noon as I do on the workday. But I do still miss breakfast. I just enjoy breakfast and eating something in the morning. Even if I'm not super hungry, I think I'll still miss that aspect. The whole thing has really made me wonder how much breakfast matters. It kind of feels like breakfast was just the routine. It was just my norm. So that's what I liked and that's what I was used to.

After a week and a half of not eating breakfast, it started to seem like I was finally getting used to my new routine. Maybe I could turn into someone who never eats breakfast. But I wouldn't count on it.

It's finally Friday. And tomorrow I can have breakfast once again. After two weeks, I've realized that I can go without eating breakfast and still survive. But I miss breakfast. Not eating before 12 was really tough, especially with all the food around the office. And it definitely brought down my mood throughout the day. But I never really felt a big change in my productivity or even my energy levels before or after lunch. And my weight stayed pretty much the same. Breakfast isn't bad for you, but it's also not essential. You should do what fits best for your dietary needs and your routine. I no longer feel helpless without breakfast and I'm able to create a routine that fits my schedule and my daily needs. Before I started this challenge, I loved breakfast and I thought I needed it to start my day. Now I don't really feel that way. I still like breakfast and will continue to eat it, but I don't feel that reliance on it like I used to have.

So it turns out you can skip breakfast. But Dr. Peterson pointed out that instead of skipping breakfast, it's better to shorten the window of time for meals each day.

Dr. Courtney Peterson: Two broad types of meal timing approaches that we have found to be beneficial. One is the daily intermittent fasting approach where you're eating in a narrow time period. And it looks like probably eating in the middle of the day, say from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. is also good for your health. There is a lot of evidence that even if you can't change the timing of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if you at least make your largest meals earlier, be breakfast and or lunch, that you can still get a lot of benefits from that.

Clancy: Some people love eating breakfast. And good for them. But don't let someone try and tell you that you're throwing the day away if you skip breakfast. The most important meal of the day depends on who's eating it.

Now, this is how breakfast should be.

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Macy’s massive one day sale is a great way to save on thousands of items — here are 50 of the best deals


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Marc New York Suede Moto Jacket

January is great time to take stock of your life and make changes that will have a positive impact on your entire year. If 2019 is the year you're finally going to learn how to cook, update your wardrobe, or take self care more seriously, then you'll want to check out Macy's huge one-day sale

The store has discounted more than 25,000 items across several major categories, but these deals are only going to be available today. 

With a sale this big, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start, so we did the heavy lifting for you by finding 50 deals in five categories to make your life easier. Below you'll find great discounts on men and women's clothing, beauty, home, and kitchen tools. 

But remember, this cheat sheet is only a place to start. Once you've given it a look, you should check out the entire sale for more great deals. 

Keep reading to check out the best deals in women and men's clothing, home goods, kitchen tools, and beauty products:

SEE ALSO: These $100 wool sneakers are comfortable and machine washable — the Swiss startup that makes them even added elastic laces for the ultimate convenience

Women’s clothing

Shop all the 25,000+ items in Macy's one-day-only sale here.

Men’s clothing

Shop all the 25,000+ items in Macy's one-day-only sale here.

Home & bedding

Shop all the 25,000+ items in Macy's one-day-only sale here.

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