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The shutdown over Trump's border wall has also shut down a major program employers use to check immigrants are in the US legally


border fence

  • The ongoing government shutdown has also halted one of the government's main programs used to vet immigrant workers.
  • E-Verify is meant to check whether the candidates employers want to hire are in the country legally.
  • But a note on the program's website says the service is "currently unavailable."
  • Immigration judges have also reported massive disruption to the asylum cases they were set to hear, in some cases causing them to be canceled and rescheduled years in the future.
  • Border Patrol agents are also working without pay.

The ongoing government shutdown over funding for President Donald Trump's border wall has already yielded some apparently unintended consequences — particularly on one of the government's main programs to vet immigrant workers.

Due to the shutdown, which is stretching into its 14th day at midnight on Friday, employers across the United States are no longer able to use a government program that checks whether the candidates they want to hire are living in the country legally.

"E-Verify and E-Verify services are currently unavailable due to a lapse in government appropriations," a message on the system's website reads.

E Verify_and_E Verify_Services_are_Unavailable

"There's an irony there," Julie Pace, a Phoenix immigration and employment lawyer for Cavanagh Law Firm, told NPR. "We have an electronic wall for E-Verify that should be being used, that the government has not funded."

Though the effectiveness of E-verify is debatable — immigration experts have previously described the program to INSIDER as riddled with loopholes that fail to flag unauthorized workers — the program is mandatory for some or all employers in at least 20 states.

Until the program is back up and running, those employers will be unable to hire workers.

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

Immigration judges can't hear immigration cases and Border Patrol agents are working without pay

donald trump

Beyond just the E-Verify program, immigration judges have expressed frustration that they were furloughed and unable to hear immigration cases that were scheduled years in advance.

The US asylum system currently has a backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases, and though the National Association of Immigration Judges said many judges have been told to return to work without pay, the shutdown has already forced an "immense" number of cases to be canceled and rescheduled for 2021 or beyond.

"The irony is not lost on us that the immigration court is shut down over immigration," the union's president, Ashley Tabaddor, told The Washington Post.

Some 54,000 Border Patrol agents are also working without pay as they've been deemed "essential personnel." They'll likely receive back pay when a spending deal eventually gets approved.

Trump appeared in the White House's Rose Garden on Friday to defend his demands for border-wall funding. He said he didn't intend to back down, and confirmed to reporters that he told top Democrats the shutdown could last 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."

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

DON'T MISS: As the government shutdown over Trump's border wall rages, a journey along the entire 1,933-mile US-Mexico border shows the monumental task of securing it

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'

Rebag sells authentic second-hand designer bags for half the price of retail — and you can make money selling bags you already own


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.


  • People love luxury handbags, but for many, the price is a huge obstacle. 
  • Rebag gives you the opportunity to buy authentic second-hand designer bags that look like new, for less.
  • By acting as the middleman between those who want to sell their old luxury bags and those who want to buy new ones, Rebag can get great prices for both parties.
  • Now through January 7, you can save up to $150 on your purchase of a designer handbag at Rebag.

Over the past few years, there has been serious growth in the luxury-goods market. In 2017 alone, Millennials contributed to an 85% surge in the sector. When one thousand dollars can pay your rent and then some, it can seem excessive to drop that money on a single purse. Yet, for many, the appeal of luxury handbags is undeniable. The leather is softer, the structure sturdier, and many of the designs iconic.

A beautiful, designer handbag can take an outfit from average to avant-garde. On an average budget, though, luxury bags might be out of the question. That's when you turn to Rebag, a site that lets you buy and sell authentic designer handbags.

Rebag sells authentic second-hand bags from the most sought-after brands. The company only accepts bags from an exclusive list of fewer than 50 designers — Gucci, Prada, and Chanel among others.

How to buy and sell second-hand designer handbags on Rebag

Rebag won't just accept any bag from a luxury brand, either. There are strict guidelines on what condition bags must be in in order to be accepted.

You'll need to send in some photos and details on the condition of the piece, and if Rebag deems it worthy of resale, you'll be given a quote. Best of all, you get to keep 100% of the quoted price once you send the bag in to be resold.

As a buyer, Rebag makes the process easier for you, too. If you're questioning the authenticity of the bags on the site, Rebag outlines the methods its team uses to spot a fake.

You can shop the site by collection, price, brand, color, and more. When you stumble upon a bag you love, you'll a great deal of information on everything from the model to the condition it's in, so you won't be surprised by any unexpected scratches or wear and tear. You'll also see the estimated retail price, which sometimes can be $1,000+ more than the Rebag price — so you can decide for yourself if you think it's a good deal. 


Rebag also has an app, which you can download on your smartphone to speed up the buying or selling process — or to just browse the beautifully curated selection whenever. 

At the end of the day, the bags you'll find on Rebag are by no means cheap — they're still very expensive. If you really want a luxury bag though, you can save a lot of money by choosing to purchase one second-hand on the site.

Additionally, you can find some cool, vintage pieces that you wouldn't be able to find in a retail store today.

Because it's well-organized, well-presented, and well-curated — Rebag is sure to make any hangbag aficionado swoon.

Now through January 7, you can save up to $150 on your purchase of a designer handbag at Rebag.

Join the conversation about this story »

We compared Chick-fil-A with Raising Cane's to find the best chicken chain — and the winner is clear


Chicken sandwich chick fil a raising cane's comparison

  • But on the flip side is another fast-growing opponent: the Louisiana-based Raising Cane's, with its no-nonsense chicken-finger-centric menu and deliciously mysterious sauce.
  • Business Insider recently visited Raising Cane's and Chick-fil-A to compare apples to apples ... or rather chicken to chicken. Here's why we thought Chick-fil-A was better.

SEE ALSO: We ate at dozens of fast-food chains in 2017 — here's the best

First up was Raising Cane's.

We visited a location in Austin, Texas, near the University of Texas campus. It's one of the chain's more than 400 nationwide stores.

Source: USA Today

Longhorn paraphernalia fills the space.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

San Francisco prices are so out of control that one hotel is charging the equivalent of $21.25 for a cup of coffee during a JPMorgan conference


Coffee cup dollar sign $ money expensive

  • San Francisco's Parc 55 hotel is charging every company holding an event on its property during the annual JPMorgan Healthcare Conference $170 for a gallon of coffee, according to a menu obtained by STAT. 
  • That's about $21.25 for a 16-ounce cup of coffee.

As if San Francisco wasn't already ridiculously expensive, some attendees of the annual JPMorgan Healthcare Conference will be paying upwards of $21 for a single cup of coffee at one participating hotel in the city.

The Parc 55 hotel, based in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood, charges $170 for a gallon of coffee (that breaks down to about $21.25 for a 16-ounce cup) to any company holding a JPM Week event on its property, according to a menu obtained by STAT.

Can you imagine trying to expense a $170 gallon of coffee?

The conference, which in the past has featured keynote speeches by Joe Biden and Bill Gates, runs from January 7 to 11.

Some past attendees have said they have a hard enough time scoring an affordable hotel reservation — not to mention other essentials when visiting for the conference. 

"I understand why hotels want to take advantage of it, (but) they're kind of killing off the golden goose," Biotech Showcase founder Sara Jane Demy told San Francisco Business Times back in December. Biotech Showcase is the second-largest conference held during JPM Week. 

Despite the exuberant prices for even the most basic needs, like coffee (obviously), biotech companies don't plan on abandoning the San Francisco-based conference just yet.

Why? Because that's where the conference has been historically held! And, according to the STAT report, a contract has been signed with the Westin hotel and the conference's namesake Wall Street investment bank for another 17 years!

Anyone want to place bets on the cost of coffee for next year's conference?

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: These are the top 7 smartphones of 2018

Meet the 20-year-old 'king' of Jaipur, India, a polo star who spends his multimillion-dollar fortune traveling the world and studying in NYC and Rome


Maharaja Padmanabh Singh


At 20 years old, Padmanabh Singh controls a fortune of between $697 million and $855 million and is called a "king."

Padmanabh Singh, full title Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur, is the young monarch of Jaipur, a city in northwestern India famous for its pink architecture and imperial palaces.

Singh's royal title is not officially recognized by law, as India is a federal parliamentary democratic republic with a president and a prime minister. But it "still inspires respect in this deeply hierarchical country where the aristocracy is venerated despite rapid social change," according to the Guardian.

The wealth of the royal family is estimated to be between $697 million and $2.8 billion.

Singh spends his time playing polo, studying liberal arts, walking in fashion shows, and traveling the world.

Here's a look at the young royal's life.

SEE ALSO: Meet the Ambanis, the richest family in Asia, who live in a $1 billion skyscraper and mingle with royals, politicians, and Bollywood stars

DON'T MISS: The top 10 trips Americans wanted to take in 2018, according to Google

Padmanabh Singh is the 20-year-old king of Jaipur, India. His full title is Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur.

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Source: Elle India


Singh, whose family and friends call him "Pacho," is the 303rd descendant of the royal family of Jaipur.

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Source: Elle India

He became king in 2011 after the death of his grandfather, Sawai Man Singhji Bahadur, who was called "the last Maharaja of Jaipur" when he died because he ascended to the throne soon before royal privileges stopped being recognized in India.

Source: The Guardian, Getty Images

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Mueller's office may have dropped a hint about the mystery grand-jury subpoena case that has Washington enthralled


Robert Mueller

  • Prosecutors working for the special counsel Robert Mueller indicated Thursday that their case against several Russian entities accused of carrying out a social-media disinformation scheme to interfere in the 2016 election is tied to an ongoing "matter occurring before the grand jury."
  • The revelation prompted fervent observers of the Russia probe to say that prosecutors may be referring to a separate and secret legal battle between Mueller and an unknown foreign company fighting a grand-jury subpoena.
  • The subpoena case has been shrouded in mystery since last summer, and the Supreme Court is weighing whether to force the unidentified company to pay fines that were imposed on it by a lower court for refusing to comply with Mueller's subpoena.

In a new court filing Thursday, the special counsel Robert Mueller's team asked the US District Court in Washington, DC, to file a sealed response to lawyers representing an indicted Russian company because the government's response "discusses 'a matter occurring before the grand jury.'"

Fervent observers of Mueller's investigation into Russia's election interference were quick to say that the court filing could be tied to a separate and ongoing legal battle between Mueller and an unknown entity over a grand-jury subpoena.

Thursday's filing was related to Mueller's case against Concord Management and Consulting LLC and the Internet Research Agency (IRA), two of three Russian entities the special counsel indicted last year on charges of conspiring to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election via a social-media disinformation campaign.

Concord is owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Kremlin-allied Russian oligarch who was also indicted and is accused of using his companies to bankroll the IRA.

Concord asked to share millions of pages of evidence turned over by Mueller with Prigozhin, but the documents first have to be reviewed by a "firewall" counsel working for the US government because of Prigozhin's suspected ties to Russian intelligence.

Last month, Concord asked a federal judge to allow discovery regarding how the US government turned over confidential information to the firewall counsel. Prosecutors then asked to file their response under seal on Thursday, citing an ongoing grand-jury case.

Read more:Washington is buzzing about a mysterious grand-jury fight between Mueller's office and an unknown witness

Meanwhile, the grand-jury subpoena case, which has been shrouded in mystery since it was mounted in August, took an interesting turn last month when the DC appeals court issued a ruling revealing that the unnamed witness in the case isn't a person but a foreign corporation, described in documents only as being "owned by Country A."

The ruling indicates that the company has been fighting a subpoena from Mueller's office to hand over information to the grand jury, saying that doing so would violate the law in "Country A."

The document said the court rejected the company's rationale for not complying with the subpoena and ordered it to hand over the information. It also revealed that the corporation is being fined every day that it doesn't comply with the subpoena.

The unnamed company took its case to the Supreme Court after losing at the appeals court, and Chief Justice John Roberts allowed a temporary freeze on the mounting fines last month.

The company and the Justice Department made written arguments to the court last week, and the company submitted a reply under seal to the court on Wednesday. The full court is now gearing up to decide whether to compel the company to pay its fines or to keep the freeze in place.

SEE ALSO: Washington is buzzing about a mysterious grand-jury fight between Mueller's office and an unknown witness

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: China just made history by being the first to ever land on the far side of the moon

ClassPass is running an amazing New Year's deal for new members — its free trial period is now a whole month long


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.


  • ClassPass is offering a free month-long trial— double their standard trial period offer.
  • With the trial, you can go to up to six boutique fitness classes in January for $0. 
  • It's the perfect way to jump-start that New Year's resolution.
  • Find out how ClassPass works below.

ClassPass is a relatively inexpensive way to drop into boutique fitness classes in your area without any commitment or membership. You pay a monthly ClassPass fee and get credits, and you use those credits to sign up online for classes that pique your interest: boxing, yoga, cycling, weight training, martial arts, pilates, and a seemingly never-ending list of others.

And, since budget-friendly options can often mean second-rate options, it’s nice to know ClassPass typically features top-tier studios, including a majority of the fitness classes you’ve likely heard of or have actually been meaning to try.

Right now, ClassPass is offering a free month-long trial for the new year.

Their standard offer is typically two weeks. You can take up to six classes during your free month, and you can cancel your membership whenever. If you don’t cancel, though, you’ll be auto-enrolled in a monthly membership.

Screen Shot 2018 12 27 at 12.11.19 PM

Here’s how ClassPass typically works:

  1. After your free trial, you pay a monthly membership fee that’s based on your city and how many classes you want to take each month. For reference, the lowest tier membership starts at $15, though you should expect to pay something closer to $59 (the rate in cities like Minneapolis) to $79 (the rate in New York City) per month for five to eight classes. That works out to be about $7-$12 per class in Minneapolis or $10-$16 in New York.
  2. Use the app or online site to book yourself in one of the thousands of participating fitness classes in your area. Every class has a different credit value, and you can book in advance or last-minute—even up to five minutes before it starts when you use the mobile app.
  3. Add more credits anytime if you use yours up.

The perks are plentiful. You pay as much as 50% less per month for multiple specialized fitness classes (for comparison, a single class can normally run for $30), you can get class recommendations and read reviews so you know what’s good before you try it, and you can stream workouts from home if you’re not up to leaving the house. You don’t have to buy class packs or commit to a membership that penalizes you if you decide in February that you’re really not interested in getting into fitness in 2019.

Plus, the versatility means working out can actually be fun and engaging — and you can rope friends into trying out new classes with you, in the hopes that you’ll discover you actually love something like martial arts but just never knew it. And if you’re traveling, you can switch your account location and use ClassPass wherever you are (given you're in one of the 80 participating cities). 

The risks you run, depending on the city, are popular classes booking up quickly, falling in love with a high-credit class, needing to buy more credits because you exercised too much that month (is this really a bad thing, though?), or paying for a month and never using the credits. If you end the month with a bunch of unused credits, you can use them on the considerably higher credit spa treatments ClassPass also offers. Otherwise, up to 10 credits roll over each month. And if you love a workout spot that isn’t listed, submit it as a recommendation to ClassPass.

You can go to most studios an unlimited times per month (or per “cycle”), though it’s possible more credits will be charged if you go often, in which case you’ll see a message explaining the change.

Overall, ClassPass is ideal for relatively inexpensive access to variety and top fitness classes. But, with a month to try it, you don’t have much to lose. If you’re thinking about trying it, now is a good time. 

Sign up for your free month-long trial of ClassPass here

SEE ALSO: 90+ of the best end-of-year sales on the internet — from big-box retailers to your favorite small startups

Join the conversation about this story »

I visited Trump's childhood neighborhood on the outskirts of NYC, and it didn't take long to see why he's called it an 'oasis'


jamaica estates queens trump house

  • President Donald Trump grew up in Queens, New York City.
  • His family lived in a 23-room home in Jamaica Estates, a secluded, upper-middle-class community in Queens.
  • I took a tour to see what the neighborhood was like, and it was immediately clear why Trump has called the area an "oasis."
  • It was peaceful and secluded, filled with stately homes and quiet leafy streets. 


President Donald Trump grew up in New York City, on the outskirts of Queens.

Jamaica Estates, where he lived until age 13, is an affluent community, filled with stately homes and wide, tree-lined streets. 

"Different parts of Queens were rough; this was an oasis," Trump told the New York Times in 2015. He said Jamaica Estates "was safe — it was very family oriented."

I walked around the neighborhood and visited the two houses where the Trump family lived, and I immediately saw why he called it an oasis.

Here's what it was like.

SEE ALSO: I visited a tiny NYC nightclub that has a $150 cocktail and was designed to look like a water tower, and it didn't take long to see why it's a hotspot for models and influencers

DON'T MISS: 5 restaurants in NYC earned the highest Michelin rating for 2019 — and 2 of them have topped the list every year since the ranking started

President Donald Trump spent his childhood until age 13 in Jamaica Estates, a wealthy community in Queens on the outskirts of New York City, at least a 45 minute drive from Midtown Manhattan.

Source: The New York Times

The neighborhood was partially built by the president's father, Fred Trump.

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Source: The New York Times

I decided to visit the neighborhood to see what it was like. The train ride from my office in lower Manhattan took about an hour and 10 minutes. I got off at the Hillside Av/179 St. stop in Jamaica, Queens, at the end of the F train line.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

8 popular meal kits with New Year’s deals for new members to kick-start healthy-eating resolutions


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.


  • Popular meal kits like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, and Sun Basket are all offering discounts in January. We've listed all of the promos below.
  • If your New Year's resolution is to eat healthily, these promos can help you make sticking to that goal easy, tasty, and educational. 
  • Make sure not to miss our guide to the best meal kits you can buy for more details.

In 2019, we're all going to eat better, get more sleep, head to the gym at least three times per week, and stick to a budget that doesn't send us spiraling into debt. From day one to 365, it all seems so doable.

But around day 15, when the frustrations and responsibilities of everyday life have sufficiently humbled us, we're maybe only doing one or two of those things consistently. That's why we return to these resolutions year after year, never satisfactorily crossing them off and opening up space for something new.

The key to consistency may be convenience. In other words, make it easy on yourself. If you want to eat well in 2019, it pays to outsmart your usual roadblocks: the time grocery shop requires, the energy of making diverse and balanced meal plans, and the lack of interest or creativity in cooking. If not a forever solution, meal kits — at least in January — may be one life hack for making your transition easy enough to turn it into a full-blown habit by March.

Thankfully, healthy meal plan services are wise to the fact that we all want to eat better — and eight of the most popular are offering coupons and deals that make committing to one cheaper in January. 

Here are 8 healthy, popular meal plans offering discounts right now:

SEE ALSO: I tried PlateJoy, an online service that customizes healthy meal plans for $8 a month — and it can be adapted to suit any type of dietary needs

Blue Apron

The deal:Get a total of $60 off for a limited time ($20 off each of your first three boxes).

Blue Apronsends all the pre-portioned, fresh ingredients you need to make specific meals to your doorstep, including options that adhere to specific diets, so you can eat healthy foods and stick to a lifestyle choice without feeling any friction typically associated with doing so.

We've tried the Mediterranean diet recipes before (regarded as a #1 tie for the best diet overall according to US News & World Report), and it didn't feel like following a diet at all. You can also find ample vegetarian options. A two-person plan starts at $9.99 per serving, while a four-person plan starts at $7.49 per serving.

Daily Harvest

The deal: Get three free cups with the code “TRYTHREE” at checkout

Daily Harvest sends farm-frozen, pre-portioned ingredients to your door for delicious smoothies, soups, lattes, harvest bowls, and more. Meals are packed with superfoods in recipes designed by a nutritionist and a chef, and none of them take more than 10 minutes to prepare. Most of the instructions are easy — for example, add a dash of water or milk and blend, or heat the contents. And if you're heading out the door, you can return your meal to the cup it came in for a to-go case. Find our full review here.


The deal:Take 25% off any purchase with the code “GRINCH now through December 28.

Veestro is a meal delivery service that makes eating tasty and convenient plant-based foods easier for the average person. And by "easier," I mean they will just send fully prepared, 100% plant-based meals to your door.

You can find a full personal review here, but, basically, you can choose between a few options: a la carte meals that are available for one-time delivery (starting at $10 per meal), meal packs (starting at $10 per meal), and weight loss plans (starting at $11 per meal).

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Keto and Whole30 are exploding in popularity, but they can be dangerous if you're not careful. Here's what to know before starting them.


Salmon healthy eating zucchini noodles

Diet and exercise resolution season is back, and with it, some of the trendiest fad diets are on the rise.

Popularstrategies include the high-fat low-carb keto diet, and the incredibly restrictive Whole30 plan. 

Neither of these diets are easy to maintain as long-term eating plans. The keto diet typically takes about five days to become effective after dieters abandon carbohydrates, forcing their bodies to start burning fat for fuel.

Whole30 dieters, meanwhile, cut out grains, dairy, and beans for a month, so it's no small wonder people lose weight on that plan, at least for a while, as they're forced to forgo some staple food groups. 

Experts in nutrition science have long said that fad dieting isn’t a good long-term strategy for maintaining a healthy weight. Dieting can have serious long-term consequences for your heart and your overall health: a 2017 New England Journal of Medicine study found that the more yo-yo dieting a person does, the more likely they are to suffer deadly heart attacks, strokes, and other fatal conditions.

Below are a some tips for keeping your weight in check without harmful yo-yo diets, as well as some important reminders regarding some of the most popular eating plans out there.

Read More: A Harvard doctor says it's harder than ever to lose weight right now, but there are 5 ways to do it well

Fat is not the enemy, and carbs don't have to be either

quinoa squash vegan grain bowl

The ketogenic diet has been around for about a century, and was first introduced clinically as a treatment for epileptic seizures. Lately, it's become popular with Hollywood celebrities and Silicon Valley biohackers alike, who tout it as a brain-fog reducing, appetite-suppressing plan.

The keto diet is centered on fats, which constitute anywhere from 70-80% of a dieter's daily calories. People who adopt a keto lifestyle often drink coffee black (or add some fatty butter to their brew), chew salads without too many carrots or apples inside, and trade traditional pizza crusts and pastas for cauliflower "breads" and zucchini "noodles." 

People who go keto also load up on limited doses of protein and very, very few carbs. This puts their bodies into a fat-burning mode called ketosis, relying on fats as fuel instead of carbohydrates. 

The plan makes sense in some ways: There are carbs we know are bad for us. Sugar is 100% carbohydrate, and because we burn through it so fast, it sends our insulin levels soaring, setting us up for a hangry crash.

But if a low-carb keto diet leads you to load up instead on red meats and expensive, unproven supplements, you're not doing your body any long-term favors. Keto dieters and other meat-eaters who abandon fiber can suffer severe problems.

"In the absence of adequate fiber, the bacteria in the colon consume and thin the protective mucus lining, which then leads to impaired immune function and inflammation," Christopher Gardner, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, recently told The Guardian

In fact, wise keto dieters know they don't have to completely forgo the healthiest carbs. Foods like carb-laden tomatoes and fatty carb-loaded avocados can be incorporated into a keto diet without ruining ketosis, since they're heavy in fiber. For example, more than 75% of the carbs in spinach are fiber, making it a relatively safe choice for keto-ers.


Whole30 is aimed at improving people's relationship with food, at least temporarily, by severely limiting what they eat for 30 days, without cutting specific nutrient groups like carbs. Whole30 dieters are restricted to eating only fruits, veggies, meat, seafood, eggs, and some fats including avocados, cashews, and olive and coconut oil.

The diet isn't a scientifically sound one, though, as nutrition experts say it takes more than 30 days for your body to perform a truly complete nutrition re-set if you want to reduce inflammation.

Fiber-rich foods, which the Whole30 diet strictly limits, can actually improve inflammation and help stave off all kinds of diseases. They take more time for the body to break down, and can fuel us for hours. They're also rich in potassium, iron, and B vitamins.

Whole grains including oats, cracked wheat, and brown rice are a great way to satisfy your appetite, even though they're strictly off-limits for Whole30-ers. 

As with keto, if Whole30 simply pushes you into eating a ton of meat for a month, it's not a stellar plan. As scientists from Oxford University noted in a January white paper, while additional portions of beef and pork in a diet can up a person’s risk of death, more protein from wheat, beans, and peas boost potassium and fiber intake while reducing mortality. A diet rich in whole grains, beans, vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, and shying away from sugary, cakes and processed foods is also linked to lower cancer rates and may even help reduce symptoms of depression.

There are no hard-and-fast rules that apply to everyone for a "right" way to eat. While it's true that relying too much on sugar is never a solid strategy, even a glass of sugary, chocolate milk can be a solid go-to post-workout recovery drink for serious athletes — because it's hydrating and loaded with both protein and carbs (for quick energy), as well as some electrolytes. 

Here are a few simple go-to tips for any diet plan

Portion Sizes 1 Almonds

Get enough sleep. This helps keep the regions of the brain that tell us when we’re full sharp, so we won’t mindlessly indulge. 

Give your gut a break. Studies show that intermittent periods of fasting, whether it's 10 hours each day, or a few times a month, can help stave off aging and keep your gut humming along.

Consider a high-fat plain yogurt-and-nuts breakfast. It’s the favorite morning regimen of a ton of nutrition pros, from Harvard physician Monique Tello to keto evangelist David Harper. Just make sure your yogurt isn't sugar-loaded, setting you up to crash before mid-day. 

If you're going keto, remember meat shouldn't be your go-to. Too much meat can cause kidney problems and even prompt gout. Go with more salads and veggies, remembering that fibrous carbs like avocados and tomatoes are OK for keto.

If you're trying Whole30, reserve more time for preparing meals at home. Sticking to a diet of fruit, veggies, fish, meat, and eggs can make dining out difficult. 

Stay full with more healthy, fat-rich foods like savory pine nuts and walnuts, oily salmon or lake trout, as well as creamy avocados. "Eating healthy fats helps people control their weight," Dr. Meir Stampfer, an epidemiologist and nutrition expert at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, wrote in a recent blog post

Eat real food and skip processed and packaged goods. Harper said in his own diet, "there's nothing processed and it's all real food that comes from plants." Even carb-loving experts agree that's a winning strategy. 

One of the most straightforward ways to lose weight is to eat a bit less. Remembering that American portion sizes have ballooned as much as 138% in the past 50 years, cut down on your daily dose of food just a little, and whatever meal plan you choose can be a winner. A cut of chicken should fit in an imaginary deck of cards, and your serving of cheese should be about as big as three stacked dice.

No single diet is right for everyone

diet vegetables healthy eating salad

David Harper, an anatomy and physiology professor and cancer researcher who's been keto for over six years, says the extremely high-fat routine isn't for everyone, and that "real food that comes from plants" is always some of the best for our health. 

In general, it's hard for rigorously controlled studies to show us long term-effects of most eating plans, because (thankfully) scientists don't require us to eat every meal in a lab and record every single thing we eat or time we move. 

"We now know there is no diet or dietary intervention that is right for everyone, or even for an individual throughout their lifespan," a group of nutrition and medical researchers from Scripps Research wrote in a January Lancet article.

While people with Type 2 diabetes are increasingly toying with the keto diet and getting good short-term results, those with kidney or liver issues shouldn’t try it.

People with irritable bowel syndrome might gravitate to the Fodmap diet, which cuts out carbs like beans and lentils as well as avocados and other fruits, to help with constipation, bloating and gas. Many others can do just fine on a plan that includes more whole grains and vegetables, without worrying too much over specific concentrations of carbohydrates or fats. The Mediterranean diet, which can include portions of bread, nuts, fish, and cheese is a time-tested plan to help prevent heart disease and promote healthy aging.

SEE ALSO: 17 simple tricks people around the world use to avoid gaining weight

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what losing weight does to your body and brain

7 reasons I'd choose a hotel over Airbnb any day



  • I've found that Airbnb combines the negative aspects of being at home with none of the amenities of a hotel. 
  • Comparing check-in processes and other aspects, here are seven reasons why I'd rather stay at a hotel than an Airbnb.


Airbnb was founded to allow homeowners and tenants to make extra money by renting a room or a whole apartment when they were away.

Ideally, travelers could find a place to stay for a fraction of the price of even a cheap hotel.

It seemed like a good idea, but, like so many tech startups, the online rental platform has had unintended negative consequences.

On that note, here are seven reasons why I'd choose a hotel over Airbnb any day:

SEE ALSO: I've been using the personal-finance app Digit for nearly 3 years, and it's helped me save $20,000

1. Hotels have an easier check-in

To check into a hotel, you just walk into the lobby any time of the day or night.

I've found that checking into an Airbnb is more like a treasure hunt. You likely won't know the address until a couple of days before your stay. And you'll have to be in detailed communication with the room's host to figure out the variables of your check-in situation, which can lead to directions that involve lock boxes and combinations.

Personally, this is not what I want to deal with when I'm exhausted and jet lagged.

2. With a hotel, what you see is what you get

With Airbnb, the photos for a room could look great online but appear completely different in person. The space may not be as advertised or the neighborhood could be a nightmare.

My last Airbnb stay, at a small apartment in Chicago, was advertised as work-friendly, but there was no desk and the only table was outside, on the balcony. The kitchen was so narrow that the fridge door couldn't completely open. The furniture looked like it had come from the dumpster behind a Goodwill. And the air conditioner sounded like a freight train. A hotel – any hotel – would have been better.

3. Hotels won't cancel on you with short notice

Airbnb penalizes hosts who cancel reservations, but it happens, and it can ruin your vacation. One traveler reported to Consumer Affairs that he was stranded in Shinjuku, Japan, when his host cancelled without notice, and his story is just one of many.

In addition, the platform's cancellation policies for guests aren't particularly flexible. That's why I prefer a hotel: the hotel won't cancel on me, and I can change my reservation on short notice.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

H&M is struggling to keep up with its sister stores Cos and & Other Stories. We shopped at all three and saw why.


cos 4202

  • Though H&M's business has been struggling as of late, other H&M group brands have been doing well, according to the company's CEO, Karl-Johan Persson.
  • Cos, which launched in 2007, is focused on timeless, minimalist designs sold in a modern setting. 
  • & Other Stories, launched in 2010, offers shoes, bags, accessories, beauty products, stationery and women's clothing. 
  • H&M tries to follow trends and sells an abundance of styles in stores, but its sister stores tend to be more timeless and high-end.
  • We compared H&M with its sister stores and saw why Cos and & Other Stories are helping keep H&M afloat. 
H&M may be struggling, but its more high-end sister brands and thriving. 

H&M is the largest brand owned by H&M group, with 4,353 stores worldwide. The brand struggled throughout 2017, and it has spent this year trying to correct issues like high prices and low-quality clothing. 

"Customers have responded positively to the changes we are making, for example, in those H&M stores where we are trying out various adjustments to the selection, product presentation and store image to better suit the taste and shopping patterns of the local customers," CEO Karl-Johan Persson said in the brand's most recent earnings call in September. 

It also has struggled with inventory — in June, the brand had over $4 billion worth of unsold clothing. Persson said in September that inventory is still higher than planned, but the brand is  "increasing automation" and "optimizing the logistics network," putting H&M in a better position than it was in this time last year.

While H&M is struggling to fix its brand issues, its sister stores appear to be on a better track.

Cos, short for Collection of Style, is known for its high-quality, thoughtful, and timeless designs meant to "last beyond the season," according to its website. While the philosophy is similar to that of H&M in terms of creating relatively affordable fashion, the brand has previously stated that "Cos prices start where H&M's finish." 

& Other Stories, launched in 2010, offers shoes, bags, accessories, beauty products, stationery and women's clothing. According to its website, & Other Stories is a "a one-stop styling destination filled with collections from three design ateliers in Paris, Stockholm and Los Angeles." As with Cos, the brand is typically more expensive than H&M. 

Cos currently has 255 stores, and & Other Stories has 63. 

"We keep expanding our brands online through our own channels as well as through digital marketplaces. Later this year, Cos will open its online store in China," Persson said.

"Our new brands benefit from the group’s economies of scale and infrastructure, enabling them to grow successfully – and we can already see several examples of this, such as Cos, & Other Stories and Monki.”

We shopped at H&M, Cos, and & Other Stories to see why H&M is struggling to keep up:

SEE ALSO: Lululemon is jumping on the cozy trend by opening a homey library space in one of its stores. Here's what it's like to visit.

The first store we went to was H&M.

The front of the store held a lot of business casual clothes...

... but a lot of the clothes were wrinkled and cluttered together.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This graphic shows how much more diverse the House of Representatives is getting


house of representatives before and after 2x1

  • The 116th Congress was sworn into office on Thursday, January 3.
  • The incoming House of Representatives is shaping up to be the most diverse class in history.
  • There will be more women, women of color, openly LGBT members, and millennials serving in the House than ever before.
  • Those gains in representation are largely concentrated among Democrats.
  • See how the demographics of the House are changing with our interactive graphic.

The 116th Congress was sworn into office on Thursday, and the incoming House of Representatives is shaping up to be the most diverse House class in history.

The 2018 midterms saw historic gains in Congressional representation for women, people of color, LGBTQ+, and younger candidates — with the vast majority of those gains coming from Democrats.

A record 106 women were elected to serve in the 116th House, an increase of 15% over the 92 women who served in the 115th House. Combined with five new female Senators and 10 female Senators not up for re-election, a total of 131 women will serve in the 116th Congress.

Read more:12 records the 2018 midterm elections smashed

While 52% of the 67 incoming House Democratic freshmen are female, only two, or 4.5% of the 44 incoming Republican freshmen are women — West Virginia's Carol Miller and Arizona's Debbie Lesko. Lesko won a special election earlier this year to replace Rep. Trent Franks, who resigned in the wake of a sexual misconduct scandal.

Republicans saw their roster of female House representatives gutted 43% from 23 members to 13, as many Republican women either stepped down to run for higher office — like Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee and Kristi Noem in South Dakota — or were unseated by Democratic challengers.

As the blue wave swept through suburban America, it unseated many Republican women in its wake, including Karen Handel in the Atlanta suburbs, Barbara Comstock in the DC suburbs of Northern Virginia, and Mimi Walters in Orange County, California — formerly reliable Republican areas.

Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland,

The 116th House also boasts more women of color than ever before, including the first Native American women to serve in Congress and the first African-American women to represent Illinois and Massachusetts in the House, respectively.

As with gender, the gains in representation for people of color are heavily concentrated in the Democratic Party. A full 34% of the incoming House Democrats but 2% of their Republican colleagues identify as people of color. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio will be the only incoming non-white freshman Republican.

Read more: 2 photos show the stark difference in the new representatives Democrats and Republicans are sending to Congress

Furthermore, four of the 15 Republican representatives who were identified as Hispanic or African-American in the 115th House either retired or lost-re-election to Democratic challengers, including Florida's Carlos Curbelo and Utah's Mia Love. Among the 200 Republicans in the 116th House, 90% will be white men.

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

While two of the 115th House's LGBT members, Krysten Sinema of Arizona and Jared Polis of Colorado, resigned to pursue higher office, four new Democratic LGBT candidates were elected: Chris Pappas of New Hampshire, Sharice Davids of Kansas, Angie Craig of Minnesota, and Katie Hill of California. There have been no openly LGBT Republicans in the House or Senate since 2006.

The 115th House was one of the oldest in history, but 2018 midterms also ushered in a wave of younger Gen X'ers and Millennials elected to Congress. The average age of an incoming member of Congress is 47, a full decade lower than the average age of the 115th Congress. 

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'

I visited a tiny NYC nightclub that has a $150 cocktail and was designed to look like a water tower, and it didn't take long to see why it's a hotspot for models and influencers


water tower bar

  • I visited The Water Tower in Brooklyn, New York, a brand-new rooftop lounge and nightclub designed to look like a water tower.
  • Cocktails start at $20 — and one special white truffle-infused beverage costs $150, while a grilled-cheese sandwich will run you $70.
  • Although the views were stunning, and the space was beautiful, I don't see myself ever going there again because of the high prices.

One of New York City's newest bars is perched on top of a Brooklyn hotel and designed to look like one of the many industrial-looking water towers that dot the borough's rooftops.

The Water Tower, which opened in November 2018, is super-exclusive: It's reservation-only and seats only 45 people. Cocktails at the club, which is open from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and features a rotating set of international DJs, start at $20 — and one specialty drink, infused with white truffles, will cost you $150. 

The food menu includes items such as a $70 white-truffle grilled cheese, an $80 seafood platter, and caviar service ranging from $95 to $525. 

Berton Rodov, the club's creative director, said they aim to cultivate a specific vibe at The Water Tower.

"We have a fun, diverse crowd," he told me when I went to check out the club one afternoon. "Honestly, we try to curate the experience here, being that it's a small space, and it's the most luxurious extension of this brand."

But, he added, that's "not saying you have to be rich to come in." He said the crowd tends to be, "cool kids, models, people just here to have fun," and they "try to look out for locals, too."

After visiting the club one early December afternoon, I can't say I was entirely convinced that their target audience isn't just rich people.

Here's what The Water Tower looks like inside.

SEE ALSO: I visited New York's new Playboy Club, where Playboy Bunnies serve drinks in their iconic costumes and members pay up to $100,000 a year — and it wasn't at all what I expected

DON'T MISS: 5 restaurants in NYC earned the highest Michelin rating for 2019 — and 2 of them have topped the list every year since the ranking started

The Water Tower is perched on the rooftop of Brooklyn's Williamsburg Hotel, which already includes an outdoor bar and a pool.

It was built as an "homage" to the iconic water towers that dot many Brooklyn rooftops.

Rooms at the Williamsburg Hotel start at around $200 per night, according to its website.

Source: The Williamsburg Hotel

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Most people believe 6 myths about millionaires, and it can keep them from building their own wealth


rich person

  • There are six myths people believe about millionaires, according to an author who studied more than 10,000 millionaires.
  • They think rich people didn't earn their money, took risks with their money, and have a leg up with education and careers.
  • Believing these myths can prevent one from building their own wealth.

If you don't believe you can be a millionaire, you'll never be one.

That's according to Chris Hogan, author of "Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth — and How You Can Too."

The book, out January 7, explores Hogan's findings from a seven-month study of more than 10,000 American millionaires (defined as those with a net worth of at least $1 million) with the Dave Ramsey research team.

They discovered there are several myths circulating the wealthy and how they built their wealth — and believing them can be one of the biggest hurdles preventing you from becoming a millionaire.

"Believing the myths about wealth and the wealthy will prevent you from ever becoming wealthy yourself," Hogan wrote. "Saying, 'I can't' or 'It's not possible for someone like me' will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You'll be short-changing your potential and guaranteeing your own failure."

Non-millionaires believe that the wealthy didn't earn their money, took risks with their money, and have a leg up with education and careers.

Hogan breaks down the six biggest myths everyday people believe about millionaires that can prevent wealth building:

1. Millionaires inherited their money

"Most millionaires are first-generation rich," Hogan wrote. "That means they worked hard, made sacrifices, and lived on a plan."

Less than a quarter of the millionaires Hogan studied received an inheritance — of those, 16% received $100,000, while only 3% received a minimum of $1 million. 

2. Millionaires are lucky

"People view wealth like lightning strikes, as though they have no control over when and where the millionaire lightning will strike next," Hogan wrote.

On the contrary, his research found that most millionaires are self-made, meaning they worked hard to build their wealth from the ground up. More than three-fourths of the millionaires Hogan studied said anyone can build wealth with discipline and hard work.

But hard work isn't the only attribute characteristic of millionaires — another researcher found that resilience and perseverance are key to building wealth.

Read more: An early retiree who interviewed 100 millionaires discovered nearly all of them got rich using the same 3-step strategy

3. Millionaires make risky investments

"Millionaires understand that risk is something to be managed, not avoided," Hogan wrote. "They simply tread carefully, weigh the risk and potential reward, and then move forward cautiously and confidently, knowing that their success is in their own hands."

The majority of millionaires in his study hit seven figures thanks to their employer-sponsored retirement plan. 

Many millionaires also use a simple investing strategy that's low in risk, according to a self-made millionaire who spent three years interviewing other millionaires: Investing in low-cost index funds.

This strategy, recommended by experts like Warren Buffett, is favored for its high returns and low costs.

4. Millionaires take stupid risks to quickly build wealth

Hogan called building wealth a "long-term play." Most of the millionaires he studied built their wealth "low and slow," he said.

Hogan found it took many millionaires decades to become a millionaire — only 5% reached millionaire status in less than a decade, while nearly half didn't become millionaires until they were almost 50.

"They balanced risk and reward with a long-term mindset, and now they're sitting pretty," he said.

One of the best ways to build wealth is taking advantage of compound interest, in which both the balance and older interest payments earn even more interest over time. The sooner you start putting money away in a high-interest savings account, the more compound interest you'll be able to accumulate.

Read more: A researcher who studied over 600 millionaires found they do 3 things to forge a clear path to financial independence

5. Millionaires have prestigious educations from a private college

An overwhelming number of millionaires Hogan studied didn't attend a prestigious private school; more than half graduated from public state schools, while less than 10% never even graduated college at all.

What makes a difference, Hogan said, is how involved one is. Millionaires were more likely to be involved in extracurricular activities in high school — a sign of "the drive and initiative that would ultimately lead to financial independence," he wrote.

Dr. Kat Cohen, the founder and CEO of college-counseling firm IvyWise, previously told Business Insider that the value of a student's education comes down to what they make of their experience on campus. Being involved, she said, will help them secure long-term career success in the future — which can lead to higher earnings.

6. Millionaires make a lot of money at their job

Around 33% of millionaires never earned more than $100,000 as a household in a single working year, according to Hogan's study, and only 31% averaged $100,000 a year.

"Salary is a factor in building wealth, but it isn't the biggest factor," he wrote. "Millionaires know that how much you make isn't nearly as important as what you do with it."

No matter your salary, what you should be doing with your paycheck is saving at least 20% of it — and living well below your means.

Bottom line: Wealth isn't random and doesn't involve a leg up. The average millionaire has a regular job and used the typical retirement plan and hard work to build their wealth. 

"The average millionaires rejected the myths that told them 'someone like them' couldn't do it," Hogan wrote. "They chose a different path; they chose to swim upstream."

SEE ALSO: The author of 'The Millionaire Next Door' explains 3 ways anyone can build more wealth

DON'T MISS: A woman who studied 600 millionaires found 5 major differences in how they spend their time and energy compared with the average American

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Tim Cook's estimated net worth is $625 million — here's how he makes and spends his money

I tried a science-backed eating plan tied to a better mood and longer life — and never felt like I was dieting


erin brodwin eating avocado

  • I tried the Mediterranean diet, a whole-foods meal plan based on vegetables, fish, and healthy fats like those from olive oil and avocados.
  • The plan has been linked to benefits like a lower risk of disease, a healthier mind, and reduced symptoms of depression.
  • I learned a lot while trying the regimen, and I'd like to stick with it for a long time. 

You could say I've been around the diet block. I've been vegan, restricted my eating to an eight-hour window as part of an intermittent fast, and given the ketogenic diet a try — all in an attempt to give myself more energy, feel healthier, and power through the activities I enjoy, like yoga, hiking, and rock climbing.

The one regimen I've never tried, however, is the one I write about most: the Mediterranean diet.

The plan's cornerstones are vegetables, fish, olive oil, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Items like processed foods, red meat, poultry, and dairy get slashed. 

Studies suggest that people who eat this way have a reduced risk of diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer, so it's no surprise that dietitians and clinicians say the approach is a great way to fuel the body. An expert panel convened by U.S. News & World Report also called the Mediterranean diet the best overall diet, for the second year in a row.

Leafy greens provide key vitamins and minerals needed for healthy skin, hair, and nails, while whole grains support good digestion, and fish and nuts provide protein to maintain muscle and keep energy levels steady. The Mediterranean diet is also rich in several ingredients that may be critical to a healthy mind, and one recent study found that people with depression who were put on the diet saw a significant reduction in symptoms.

Two types of healthy fat — monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids — are staples of the plan, as well as several antioxidants found in berries and dark chocolate. Previous studies have found a link between both of these ingredients and a lower risk of dementia and higher cognitive performance.

Research has also suggested that two other Mediterranean ingredients — leafy greens and berries — could help protect against a phenomenon called neuro degeneration, which often characterizes diseases including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

I'm a sample size of just one person, so it's worth taking my experience of the diet with a grain of salt. That said, I learned a ton on the plan. Here's a glimpse.

DON'T MISS: There's even more evidence that one type of diet is the best for your body and brain — and it could save you money, too

SEE ALSO: The best ways to lose weight and keep it off, according to science

I initially thought that adopting the Mediterranean diet wouldn't involve dramatic changes to my existing habits. I love crunchy veggies like broccoli and put avocados on everything. But I also eat a lot of ready-made items full of ingredients that the plan shuns, like white rice.

One of my favorite go-to meals at the end of a busy day is a Trader Joe's chicken tikka masala frozen dinner. With a big helping of white rice and chicken as the main ingredients, however, it's not very Mediterranean-diet-friendly.

So I hit Trader Joe's for basics: olive oil, frozen and fresh produce (depending on what was on sale), several kinds of frozen fish (half the price of fresh), canned beans, lemons, Greek yogurt, whole-grain bread, brown rice, and roasted nuts.

Research suggests I'm not the only one who's found the Mediterranean diet easy on the wallet. People put on the plan as part of a recent study saved roughly $26 per week — or $1,344 per year — compared to those who stuck to a traditional diet.

Source: There's even more evidence that one type of diet is the best for your body and brain — and it could save you money, too

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

These $120 sneakers made me hate running less — I no longer count the minutes until my run is over


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.

Saucony White Noise ISO Sneakers

  • Even though I hate running, the Saucony Ride ISO sneakers have helped me run longer and faster — and maybe enjoy it a little more.
  • The sneakers are lightweight and supportive for neutral runners, with lots of cushioning throughout the shoe.  
  • The White Noise colorway works with every outfit, and also aims to promote mental clarity and focus while running.

A few years ago, I started running with my fiancé as an easy couples' exercise. I hated it. Even at my sloth-like pace, I couldn't go a half a mile without stopping and I would complain every few minutes that my feet or my sides hurt.

Even now, it's almost like once my body realizes I've run a mile or two, it just shuts down. Part of it is my mentality — I dread running, counting down the minutes until I'm done and telling myself that the faster I run, the less time I actually spend running.

But while I still can't run as long or as fast as he can, these Saucony Ride ISO sneakers have definitely helped.

The Ride ISOs have been a popular Saucony sneaker style for a few years and are a good pick for runners who have a basic or neutral pronation like me, or exhibit underpronation in which the feet roll outward a bit. They're also pretty lightweight despite a good amount of cushioning and support in the heel, so it doesn't feel like you're running with weights around your ankles.

One of my favorite things about the Ride ISOs, aside from all the technical benefits, is the White Noise colorway that launched earlier this year. Inspired by white noise that masks annoying background sounds like clinking glasses from the bar below your apartment, the mostly-white shoe has a bespeckled mesh upper and pastel soles aimed to help the runner block out mental distractions. For runners with different degrees of pronation, the colorway is also available in several other styles — the Freedom ISO2, Kinvara 9, Kineta Relay, and Liteform Feel.   

"Running should be one of the best ways to clear our mind and activate our senses," says Sharon Barbano, head of Saucony Communications and certified coach from Road Runners Club of America. "Yet, when we go out for a run, most of the time we're thinking about work deadlines, hitting a certain pace, or the music playing in our headphones. Running mindfully teaches us to disengage from our mental chatter and instead focus on the actual act of running, reconnecting with our breath and redirecting our attention to our body."

Whenever I lace up my Ride ISOs, I do find myself zen-ing out instead of thinking about how much I hate running, the movie soundtrack I'm listening to, or the other million random things going through my head. And because I'm focused on my run, I usually run longer and faster than normal. I even find myself taking better care of my body afterwards, like recovering with a protein shake from Core Power or stretching instead of just plopping on the couch for a Netflix marathon.  

Don't get me wrong — nothing can make you suddenly love something you hate and that causes your body to cramp up, but at least now I've stopped counting down the minutes until I can stop running.

Buy the Women's Ride ISO White Noise Running Sneakers for $120 from Saucony

Join the conversation about this story »

Another top Pentagon official just resigned


pentagon building dod 2010 mariordo camila ferreira mario duran ccbysa3

  • Department of Defense chief of staff Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney resigned on Saturday, following other high-profile Pentagon departures.
  • Sweeney said a statement that he "decided the time is right to return to the private sector."
  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also stepped down last month, after President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw US troops from Syria.

Another top Pentagon official announced Saturday he would step down from his role, following the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last month and President Donald Trump's controversial decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.

Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, who has served as chief of staff to the Secretary of Defense since January 2017, said he would leave the department and move to the private sector.

"After two years in the Pentagon, I've decided the time is right to return to the private sector," Sweeney said in a statement. "It has been an honor to serve again alongside the men and women of the Department of Defense."

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White also resigned earlier this week.

Read more: Trump says 'the generals' asked for more time in Syria, but he said 'Nope' because 'We've knocked them silly'

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks during the 2018 POW/MIA National Recognition Day Ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.

Mattis stepped down last month after Trump decided to withdraw troops from Syria, writing in a searing resignation letter that Trump should find a replacement whose "views are better aligned with yours" on issues like respecting allies and recognizing enemies.

Another prominent resignation following Trump's Syria decision was that of Brett McGurk, the top US official leading the 79-nation fight against ISIS. McGurk told his colleagues he could not in good conscience carry out Trump's orders to withdraw 2,000 troops.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: I'm a diehard iPhone user who switched to Android for a week — here's what I loved and hated about the Google Pixel 3 XL

The government shutdown is now in day 15 and is now the fourth-longest on record


harry reid shutdown

  • The government shutdown is now in its 15th day.
  • This is the 21st time the federal government has had a funding lapse since the modern budgeting process began.
  • Most of those times the shutdown has been short and not involved employees being sent home, but that has changed in recent years.

After aides for both Democratic leaders and President Donald Trump met on Saturday, the partial shutdown of the federal government remained ongoing.

Trump's sudden reversal on a bipartisan funding extension before the Christmas holiday forced a sizeable portion — but not all — of the government into a partial shutdown.

Read more:Here's what the government shutdown means for federal agencies and employees»

This is 21st time since the modern budget process began with the Budget Act of 1974 that the federal government has entered a shutdown or had a funding lapse.

On average, the 20 previous shutdowns lasted eight days, though they have been longer in recent decades. The six shutdowns since 1990 have lasted nine days on average, and removing the short, nine-hour funding lapse caused by Sen. Rand Paul in February, recent shutdowns have averaged 11 days. The longest shutdown in history, lasting 21 days, came in 1995-1996.

Most of these shutdowns weren't severe, with 11 of the 20 lasting five days or fewer, and seven lasting three days or fewer. By making it to the third week, the current 15-day shutdown is now the 4th longest of the modern era passing the first of three shutdowns in 1977.

The current shutdown also bears some major differences from the past because federal employees aren't working. Around 380,000 federal employees are now on furlough, meaning they do not report to work or get paid. In 11 of the previous shutdowns, employees were not placed on furlough.

Sending employees home has become more frequent in recent shutdowns, with furloughs occurring during five of the last six funding lapses (the only exception being the short Rand Paul lapse).

Another newer wrinkle is the fact that this is just the second shutdown during which employees were placed on furlough while one party controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House, which was the case for the beginning of the shutdown. The other instance was the three-day shutdown in January 2018.

Additionally with the changeover to the 116th Congress with its Democrat-controlled House, this is the first shutdown in which control of a chamber of Congress changed parties.

The current shutdown also means the president has set some historic firsts as well.

Trump is the only president to furlough employees while his party controlled both chambers of Congress, the only one to achieve that dubious feat multiple times, and is second in total shutdowns for a president whose party controls chambers of Congress. Jimmy Carter presided over five shutdowns while Democrats controlled both the House and Senate, none of which resulted in furloughs.

The latest shutdown also moved Trump into third place with three total funding lapses during his presidency, behind Carter's five and Ronald Reagan's eight. Trump also ranks fourth in totals shutdown days for modern presidents behind Carter's 67 days and the 28 day mark shared by Clinton and Reagan. 

2018 also became just the second year of the modern era to have three funding lapses, tying with 1977.

Here's a breakdown of all the previous shutdowns:

Government Shutdowns

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

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'

I'm a neurosurgeon, and there's a 4-step strategy anyone can use to make good habits stick



  • To build better habits, you should understand how your brain reacts to your behavior
  • When we are pleased by the results of an action, dopamine is released, which makes us feel good. Over time, this association with feeling good can make a behavior automatic. 
  • The key to building habits is to establish a good foundation that makes better behaviors automatic. 
  • Know how to build in failure, focus on time-based activities, find pockets of underutilized time, and avoid cues that trigger bad habits.

It's that time of year when we put the empty Champagne bottles into the recycling bin and haul out the resolutions. Unfortunately, these best-laid plans often become waylaid, and before long, we tell ourselves, "Well, maybe next year."

As a neurosurgeon, I know very well the brain's role in determining whether resolutions succeed or fail.

Resolutions are typically about habits, and habit formation involves a part of the brain called the basal ganglia. Patterns of signals between neurons in the basal ganglia shift as we perform a new behavior. When we are pleased by the results — whether we're eating a delicious piece of cake or serving a tennis ball — there's a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good.

Over time, this association with feeling good can make a behavior almost automatic.

Read more: I'm a neurosurgeon, and the best morning routine I've found consists of just 3 simple steps

Unfortunately, we often don't establish the right foundation to allow new, more desirable habits to become automatic. Taking an "all-or-nothing" position can derail our efforts and can result in discouragement when we fail to live up to our high expectations.

We also may be unaware of cues that trigger our behavior. Neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins University demonstrated the power of those cues with a study, wherein 20 participants were given $1.50 for every red object and $0.25 for every green object they saw on a computer screen.

The next day, while their brains were scanned, these same subjects were asked to spot certain shapes on a screen, regardless of color. The participants automatically focused on red objects when they appeared, even though no reward was given this time. As this was happening, dopamine was released into the part of the brain involved in attention; the good feeling from the day before had been retained.

Knowing the cues for our behavior can help guide us to better habits. When trying to lose weight, for example, it may be a good idea to bypass the dessert aisle in a grocery store.

The bottom line: You need to think about your behavior and its context differently if you really want to make a change. Here are four recommendations for giving a new habit staying power:

1. Build in failure

Bumps in the road are normal when changing behavior, so don't worry if things don't go exactly as planned. As Stephen Covey, the best-selling author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," tells us, an airplane in flight is off course at least 90% of the time. This doesn't matter, because the pilot or autopilot computers continually make adjustments to adhere to the overall flight plan and get to the destination on time.

The same principle applies to other goals.

Instead of telling yourself that you must meditate every day, try for five out of seven days a week. If you're beginning a new exercise regimen, start off with twice a week and then build up from there.

Read more: A psychotherapist says there are 3 common reasons so many people's New Year's resolutions end in failure

2. Focus on time-based, rather than task-based, activities  

I often say to myself: "I'm going to read this chapter," "I'm going to clean my office," or "I'm going to clean out the car." Invariably, I run out of time because I underestimated the amount of work needed to complete the task and, instead, must run to my next commitment. Rather than feeling good that I was being productive, I feel like a failure because I didn't complete the task.

I've found that instead of saying "I'm going to read this chapter," I tell myself  that I'm going to read for 30 minutes. Then even if I don't finish the chapter, I am able to feel good about completing my task. Chipping away at a big task ultimately leads to success.

By setting a time and completing that commitment, I find I'm more successful in moving in the right direction.

3. Find pockets of underutilized time

Haven't got time to for your usual workout? It can take 15 minutes to eat a leisurely self-packed lunch bag. So, if you invest five minutes packing your own lunch, you can reward yourself with 45 minutes of free time during your lunch hour to work out or meditate.

If your resolution is to exercise 30 minutes a day, you can rack up those minutes in a lot of ways, like taking a vigorous walk during your lunch hour. A friend of mine who works in a tall building walks up and down 15 flights a few times when he knows he must work late and won't get to the gym. The opportunities are always there … so be creative!

4. Monitor your progress

Smartphones and smartwatches can be great "assistants" for tracking your progress. And some new apps help you recognize where you waste your time. I've found the app Moment has been eye-opening, allowing me to see how much time I spend on social media.

You can also use an alarm to trigger action at a desired time or a stopwatch to time your activity, so you feel more in control of your efforts. If you're not into using your smartphone for these activities, you can also keep track in a day planner that allows you to compare, at a glance, your performance from week to week.

Of course, there's nothing magic about January for making resolutions. You can start a new habit any time.

And you shouldn't be disheartened if you've been stuck in a bad habit for many years. As Charles Duhigg wrote in "The Power of Habit," "Habits are malleable throughout your entire life."

Mark McLaughlin, MD, practices neurological surgery at Princeton Brain and Spine Care and believes that we can all use the core principles behind brain surgery and apply them to our daily lives. His mission is to use the lessons he has learned from his career to help others manage stressful situations and engage with problem-solving.

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