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The Marathon des Sables, a 160 mile race through the Sahara dubbed 'The Toughest Footrace on Earth,' is taking place right now. Here's what it's like to take part.

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  • The Marathon Des Sables, a 160 mile race through the Sahara desert, started April 7. 
  • I finished the race in 2016. It was brutally tough.

The Marathon des Sables, a six-day race through the Sahara desert, has a hard-won reputation as "The Toughest Footrace on Earth."

The 34rd edition of the race started April 7, and will cover around 250km. 

The race is not for the faint-hearted.

The route takes in towering sand dunes, airless oueds (dried-up riverbeds), and scrambled jebel (rocky hill) ascents.

The distance comes in at almost a marathon a day, with the longest stage a punishing double marathon.

Competitors run or walk through 104-degree plus temperatures, carrying their food for the week. Water is rationed. Salt tablets are essential.

Competitors sleep in bivouac tents, which do little to retain warmth when the temperature drops overnight and offer limited resistance to sandstorms.

It is no surprise then that a lot of competitors don't make it to the finish. The desert is relentless, and there is a large slice of luck involved in surviving what it has to throw at you.

I finished the 31st edition of the race in 2016. This is what "The Toughest Footrace on Earth" is like:

The event required quite a bit of kit. We had to carry at least 2,000 calories a day for seven days, with the bulk of this made up by caloric freeze-dried meals. We also had to pack survival kit with items ranging from a venom pump to a signaling mirror.



We flew in to Ouarzazate in Morocco on Friday, April 8, before boarding coaches for the six-hour drive to the first bivoauc.



The bivouac camp has around 170 tents, each sleeping a maximum of eight competitors. The tents are organized by nationality, with large British and French contingents dominating camp. I stayed with three friends and a British runner named Dave who we met on the bus.



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The best disinfecting cleaners you can buy

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Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

Purell Surface Disinfectant

The world can be a germy place and as we interact with others, we share bacteria. Some bacteria are actually good for our body systems but other, viral strains like measles, flu, and colds can be dangerous. And, fungal infections like athlete's foot, while not life-threatening, are pretty uncomfortable.

To help combat against them, there are products available that do a great job of killing bacteria. Disinfecting cleaners come in many forms and you are sure to find one that fits your needs. You may see the words "antibacterial," "sanitizing," or "disinfecting," which are used interchangeably by many companies. But take time to look for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number that ensures the product has met EPA requirements for killing germs. If there is no number, you're just wasting your time and money.

Key ingredients to also look for are pine oil, quaternary ammonium compounds, sodium hypochlorite, phenols, and ethanol. Different active ingredients kill different types of bacteria. A good disinfecting cleaner will list which bacteria, fungi, and viruses it is intended to kill.

With a young grandson, I'm particularly concerned about all the germs he brings home from school. So, I've been testing disinfectant cleaners on a regular basis. I'm not a microbiologist, so I rely on the EPA ratings about killing specific bacteria. But along with what I use in my own home, I've been testing products for decades as a home economist for companies and publications. I am giving you the disinfecting products that are the easiest to use, least damaging to surfaces, and the best value.

Read on in the slides below to discover our top picks to disinfect nearly every surface and fabric in your home.

Here are the best disinfecting cleaners you can buy in 2019:

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

The best disinfecting spray overall

Why you'll love it: Bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses are quite common. With Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray you can kill bacteria without needing to rinse counters to remove the cleaner.

Salmonella and E. coli are just two of the bacteria that are common in our food sources, among the many other germs on our hands that we risk bringing into the kitchen. While all of the EPA-registered disinfectants will kill those bacteria if used properly, they require an extra step of rinsing if used around food preparation areas. Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray eliminates that rinsing step.

With a rapid kill time of only 30 seconds, the product is also quick drying. With the designation of a Safer Choice Product by the EPA (registration number 84368-1-84150), it is safe to touch nearly instantly. Simply spray on a cutting board, baby's crib railing, or pet's chew toy and you can use it safely without rinsing.

While it doesn't pretend to deep-clean surfaces, it is safe to use on plastics, metal, granite, sealed wood, and upholstery to kill germs, thanks to its patented ethyl alcohol technology. While it works perfectly to disinfect toys and every room in my home, I use it frequently on kitchen counters, door and cabinet hardware, and appliance handles and touchpads.

First introduced to the mass market in 2016, the product is offered in 32-ounce spray bottles and in a 1-gallon jug that can be used to refill spray containers. If you would prefer an unscented version, try Purell Professional Foodservice Surface Sanitizer.

With more than 100 reviews on Amazon, it has a 4.4-star rating. As Kelsey stated, "If you are looking for a heavy-duty cleaner, this is not it ... but if you are looking for a great disinfectant, you've found just what you need!"

Because it isn't a general consumer product, it may be harder to find at your local store. However, you can easily order it online.

Pros: No rinsing needed, safe to use around food, kills 99.9% of bacteria, designated as an EPA Safer Choice product

Cons: Not readily available in all mass-market stores

Buy Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray in a three-pack of 32-ounce bottles for $13.95 on Amazon



The best disinfecting cleaner for laundry

Why you'll love it: Bacteria can cling to fabrics for several hours after exposure and athlete's foot fungus continues to multiply in our damp clothes hamper. If you are looking for one product that will sanitize your laundry and not damage your clothes, Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive is your best bet.

While most viruses and bacteria are transmitted during human-to-human contact, some can be transmitted from inanimate objects like clothes. Sanitizing laundry is particularly important if someone in your home is ill or has a compromised immune system. Healthcare workers and anyone working with young children should also take precautions, especially during any community healthcare crisis.

We've all heard that hot water kills germs. That's not always true and the water in our clothes washers don't reach the necessary temperature anyway, and many fabrics simply can't stand up to hot water. What to do?

Chlorine bleach is an effective disinfectant but it can't be used on colored clothes or on synthetic fabrics safely. It's time for Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive (EPA registration number 777-128). This product contains a phenolic disinfectant that is safe to use in any water temperature, in both standard and high-efficiency machines, with any detergent, and on any washable fabric.

I simply add it to the rinse cycle and make sure that the cycle is set for at least 16 minutes. To be effective, the product and water must be in contact with the fabrics for a period of time, so be sure to follow the bottle directions carefully. The clothes come out feeling soft and lightly scented with the Lysol Crisp Linen fragrance.

I recommend it for any clothing worn close to the body, children's clothes, and bed linens to protect against possible cross-contamination. Of the more than 500 reviewers on Amazon.com, 68% have given the product 5 stars.  

Pros: Comes in three fresh scents, easy-to-use, kills 99.9 percent of bacteria on fabric, no chlorine bleach

Cons: Does not come in a dye and scent-free formula for those with sensitive skin

Buy Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive, Crisp Linen Scent in a 41-ounce bottle for $5.97 on Amazon



The best disinfecting spray for nonwashable goods

Why you'll love it: Available in a dozen scents and a top performer, Lysol Disinfectant Spray kills 99.9% of bacteria on fabrics and hard surfaces.

When a family member was sick with the flu or a cold, did he stay in bed or wander out to the couch, use the TV remotes, and head to the kitchen to grab a snack from the refrigerator? If it's the latter, he probably left some bacteria for everyone else.

That's why you need a good disinfecting spray like Lysol (EPA registration number 777-127). This is not just an air-freshener: It contains the ingredients necessary to kill bacteria and is safe to use on fabrics and hard surfaces.

The key to proper protection is to cover the surfaces with the mist and allow them to remain wet for 30-seconds or up to 10 minutes. The active ingredients in the spray need time to work. Drying times for a specific virus are listed on the container. If you are spraying surfaces that will be used for food preparation, they should be rinsed with clean water after the Lysol has dried. The same applies to toys that children might put in their mouths.

With more than 400 reviews of the Crisp Linen scent on Amazon.com, 92% rate it as 4 or 5 stars.  Reviewer Shalom says it all: "Am a lifelong user of Lysol products. Can't say enough how great they are for disinfecting. Colds, flu, you name it ... it gets it. Crisp Linen scent is refreshingand& gives the area used a nice clean fresh scent."

If Crisp Linen is not your thing, there are 11 other scents to choose from to protect your family. 

Pros: Disinfects fabrics and hard surfaces, kills 99.9% of bacteria, available in a dozen fragrances

Cons: Not available in an unscented formula, surfaces used for food preparation and children's toys must be rinsed with water before use

Buy Lysol Disinfecting Spray, Crisp Linen Scent in a two-count package (38-ounces) for $10.54 on Amazon



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A revolutionary air-breathing rocket engine capable of hitting more than 2,500 mph just passed a major milestone

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Reaction Engines plane

  • Reactor Engines, a British aerospace company, said it had successfully tested a rocket engine that could eventually allow for supersonic flight to space.
  • The company says its engine can cool air from 420 degrees Celsius to room temperature in less than a second.
  • Traditionally, rockets have to carry massive tanks of fuel to burn, adding to their weight and aerodynamic profile.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

A British company developing a rocket engine that can combust using oxygen from the air, as opposed to carrying liquid oxygen like traditional rockets, said on Monday that it had passed a "significant milestone" for supersonic flight.

Reaction Engines' Sabre engine, along with technology that it says can cool air from 420 degrees Celsius to room temperature in one-twentieth of a second, could allow space-going ships to look more like airplanes than traditional fuel-laden rockets with their ballooning storage tanks.

Reaction Engines

"This is a hugely significant milestone which has seen Reaction Engines' proprietary precooler technology achieve unparalleled heat transfer performance," Mark Thomas, the company's CEO, said in a press release.

"The HTX test article met all test objectives, and the successful initial tests highlight how our precooler delivers world-leading heat transfer capabilities at low weight and compact size. This provides an important validation of our heat exchanger and thermal management technology portfolio which has application across emerging areas such as very high-speed flight, hybrid electric aviation, and integrated vehicle thermal management."

The time milestone reached in testing is equivalent to flight speeds of Mach 3.3, or more than 2,500 mph, the company said. That's roughly the speed of the famous SR-71 Blackbird spy plane and faster than the Concorde supersonic passenger jet.

Reaction Engines' milestone is the result of about 30 years of work by the company's founders, Alan Bond, Richard Varvill, and John Scott-Scott, the Financial Times reported. The company has raised nearly $100 million from backers including Boeing's HorizonX, Rolls-Royce, the Scottish tech investment firm Baillie Gifford, and the UK government, according to PitchBook data.

More testing is set to take place this year in the UK.

SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos hinted that Elon Musk should 'go live on the top of Mount Everest for a year' if he wants to populate Mars

FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Only 5 of these Brütsch Mopetta microcars exist and this man owns 2 of them

This $69 carbon steel pan combines the best traits of cast iron skillets and stainless steel pans — I get why professional chefs love using them

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Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider, Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

made in carbon steel pan 3

  • With Made In's Blue Carbon Steel Pan ($69), you don't have to choose between your favorite stainless steel pan or cast iron skillet because it combines the best properties of both. 
  • The pan is light and thin, with a smooth cooking surface and sloped sides. It heats quickly but also retains that heat well. You season and maintain it like a cast iron pan, and over time it'll develop a nonstick surface.  
  • I generally lean more towards Team Cast Iron, but I have to admit the Blue Carbon Steel Pan has the major advantages of speed, control, and a light weight. 

Of all the debates you can bring up to rile up home cooking enthusiasts, one chasm seems to divide them the most: stainless steel or cast iron? 

Though you could argue that they're good for different things, it's tough to ask someone to choose just one. Stainless steel is light yet durable, heats evenly, doesn't require a lot of maintenance, can cook acidic foods, and tends to be more affordable.

But cast iron has great heat retention and performs well with high heat, develops a nonstick coating over time, has versatile cooking abilities, and is more rugged than stainless steel. 

The only olive branch of cookware that could make both of these camps happy is the carbon steel pan. 

Carbon steel is a hybrid of stainless steel and cast iron that combines the best properties of each. It features the light weight, heat control, and cooking speed of stainless steel and the heat retention, seasoning, and nonstick surface of cast iron.

Read more: I tried the $125 cast iron skillet that raised $1.6 million on Kickstarter — it's lighter, smoother, and worth the extra cost

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Cookware game-changer Made In (if you need proof of their rise in the industry, Tom Colicchio and Grant Achatz are now advisors for the startup) is just the place to get your hands on a pan this versatile and high-performing. 

Read more: These up-and-coming kitchen startups are using the expertise of famous chefs to help build on the success of their cookware

It sells its made-in-France Blue Carbon Steel Pan (10") for $69 and we tried it out to see whether its marriage of stainless steel and cast iron is really as good as it's hyped up to be. 

Immediately, you'll notice its unique look and feel. It has a curved handle, a smooth and thin surface, and sloped sides. If you're a vintage cast iron fan, you'll appreciate the weight and texture similarities. 

Because of the pan's excellent heat retention, it's perfect for searing and crisping meats and vegetables. Anything requiring high heat, it handles with ease. At the same time, it heats up faster than a thick, cast iron. I made fajitas in the Blue Carbon Steel Pan in a shorter amount of time, but their char and flavor were comparable to what a basic cast-iron pan would have achieved.

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Its sloped sides make it better for actively sautéing and tossing ingredients, compared to a cast iron where the straight sides are better for baking foods like cornbread or stationary cooking. Since the pan isn't heavy and the handle doesn't get hot as you cook, holding it is comfortable the whole time you're cooking. 

As with a cast iron, you do have to maintain and season carbon steel properly in order to keep it at its top performance. Made In offers tips on how you can take care of your Carbon Steel Pan. As you cook more and the seasoning develops, the pan will become more nonstick and your food will taste even better, so it pays to be patient and treat your pan well. 

Read more: 6 direct-to-consumer kitchen startups that are changing the way we shop for cookware and knives

made in carbon steel pan

Don't get me wrong, my stainless steel pans and cast iron skillet still have their place in my kitchen. I love that the former is light, reliable, and low-maintenance, while the latter retains heat and imparts a rich flavor to everything I cook. 

However, the Blue Carbon Steel Pan is the rare piece of cookware that comes with few compromises and is packed with characteristics that any frequent cook will love. After trying Made In's carbon steel cookware, it's easy to see why carbon steel pans are so often used in professional kitchens. 

Shop the Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan (10") for $69 at Made In here

Shop all cookware at Made In here

Join the conversation about this story »

How to add any email account to your iPhone

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iphone mail app

  • You can add most email accounts to your iPhone with just a username and password.
  • Certain email accounts — like POP, IMAP, and Exchange — may require additional information, including server names and possibly server port numbers. Check with your email provider for this information.
  • Once configured, all of your email is available in a single integrated inbox on your iPhone. You can also install third-party email apps if you prefer, which have their own account-adding processes.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Adding email accounts to your iPhone is usually a quick and painless affair. And once done, you can read and respond to all of your email messages from a single integrated inbox.

To get started, round up all of your email usernames and passwords. This might be all you need, but if you have an IMAP account hosted by an email service or a corporate Exchange server, you might need additional information.

How to add a webmail account to your iPhone

1. Start the Settings app.

2. Tap "Passwords and Accounts."

mail 1

3. Tap "Add Account."

4. Choose the kind of email account you want to add. Popular webmail services like iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Outlook.com are fairly straightforward. When requested, enter your username or email address, and then add the password.

5. Depending on how much mail is in your inbox, it may take up to a few minutes for your Mail app to update and show all your mail.

iPhone Mail Options

How to add an email account manually

Certain kinds of email accounts require more steps. If you have a POP or IMAP account, for example, you may need information like the host server name and password, and possibly server port numbers.  Your email provider almost certainly provides detailed step-by-step instructions, including the correct names and numbers – perform a Google search for "[name of email provider] email setup on iPhone."

Here are the general steps:

1. Start the Settings app.

2. Tap "Passwords and Accounts."

3. Tap "Add Account."

4. If you're setting up a POP or IMAP email account, tap "Other" and then tap "Add Mail Account." If you're adding a Microsoft Exchange account, tap "Exchange."

5. Complete the New Account form, entering all of the information that's requested. As you complete each page, tap Next. Your phone will attempt to validate your email information with each step along the way, so it'll try to advise you if you entered information incorrectly. If you can't complete the process because you don't have enough information, you might want to contact your email provider's technical support.

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Mail alternatives

After you add email accounts to your phone, they'll appear in the Mail app. But that's not your only option.

There are a number of third-party mail apps you can try instead, including Microsoft Outlook. If you prefer, you can install separate apps for each of your webmail services. Google offers a custom Gmail app, while Yahoo offers its own Yahoo Mail app.

Keep in mind that if you install any of these apps, they will have their own account setups; they won't use the information stored in "Passwords and Accounts."

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

SEE ALSO: The best iPhone for every type of person and budget

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Nintendo Switch is the fastest-selling console of the current generation — here's why Nintendo is dominating video games

Why brands are turning away from big Instagram influencers to work with people who have small followings instead

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  • Brands are increasingly moving away from working with huge influencers to promote their products.
  • Instead, they're choosing to collaborate with micro or nano-influencers, who can have as few as 100 followers.
  • There are many reasons for this switch, but mainly it's because people with smaller followings are much more relatable and trustworthy, and their endorsements seem a lot more genuine and authentic.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The life of an influencer can appear incredibly glamorous — who wouldn't want to spend their days posing for photos, receiving gifts from brands, and being paid to post about them on Instagram?

It's a lifestyle that appeals to many, so much so that "social media influencer" is the second most popular career aspiration amongst 11-to-16-year-olds today (second only to "doctor"), according to one study.

With certain influencers commanding followings into the millions, securing an endorsement from one can seem like an incredibly powerful move for a brand.

However, the tide is slowly turning, and increasingly brands are seeing the benefits of working with micro or nano-influencers — meaning it's actually possible work with your favourite brands even if you only have a few hundred followers.

What is a micro-influencer?

The term "micro-influencer" is bandied around a lot, but exactly what it describes is up for debate.

While some people would consider anyone with 1,000 to 10,000 followers a micro-influencer, and anyone with more than that to be an influencer, others break things down more thoroughly.

Gabby Wickham and Shirley Leigh-Wood Oakes are the co-founders of London-based brand influence agency Wickerwood, which plays the role of middle-man between brands and influencers.

They divide influencers into the following categories:

  • Mega: 1 million +
  • Macro: 200,000 – 900,000 followers
  • Midi:  50,000 – 200,000 followers
  • Micro: 10,000 - 50,000 followers
  • Nano: 800 – 10,000 followers

Why do brands want to work with micro-influencers?

It might seem counterintuitive for a company wanting to boost sales and increase brand awareness to choose to work with influencers with small followings, but there's actually a whole host of reasons to do so.

For starters, people with a few thousand followers generally seem more trustworthy, authentic, and relatable than those with huge followings.

Working with smaller influencers can also mean a brand's message is spread in a more natural-feeling way.

"It's really trusted and curated content," Wickerwood's Gabby Wickham told INSIDER. "[Working with micro-influencers] is one of the strongest marketing platforms of the moment."

Read more: I went on a professional Instagram photoshoot, and the lengths influencers go to for the perfect picture will shock you

What's more, nano and micro-influencers often allow a brand to target specific audiences — if, say, you were opening a restaurant in north London, working with micro-influencers who post about their adventures in the area would likely increase your chances of reaching others who might spend time there.

"A lot of brands prefer to work with nano or micro-influencers because they're a lot more focused and more targeted to their followers and audience," cofounder Shirley Leigh-Wood Oakes added.

"It means the potential engagement is a lot stronger because those influencers will be much more aware and in tune with their immediate following because they've grown them, they're still small enough for them to be able to engage well with and also potentially know on some level.

25-year-old London-based food blogger Nina Ricafort, for example, has 10.6K followers on her Instagram account @feastlondon.

 

Her feed is dedicated to reviews of dishes and restaurants found in central London, and she always discloses when she was invited as a guest for a complimentary meal.

"They'll be much more London-centric and locally-focussed because of the work they've been doing," Leigh-Wood Oakes added.

WickerWood co founders colour

Companies are seeking genuine brand fans

No matter the size of your following, and despite the inclusion of #ad, #gifted, or #spon in your caption, product endorsements on Instagram are a lot more powerful when the person doing so is a genuine fan of the brand.

This is something Amber Atherton, now the founder of a tool called Zyper, realized while running a jewellery e-commerce business.

"We learned our customers were our most relevant ambassadors," Atherton told INSIDER. "Tapping into fans of a brand is far more powerful than using an influencer."

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This was the seed which led to her founding Zyper, which uses a secret algorithm to identify a brand's top 1% of fans and then bring the two together on projects.

"It's the idea that influencers are becoming less and less relevant and every consumer has the power to collaborate with a brand that they love," Atherton said. "We're like a hybrid loyalty programme, it's about rewarding genuine fans as opposed to just paying people to post."

 

She believes real fans are more important than influencers because you know they genuinely like the product. 

Are big influencers losing their allure?

One of the problems with working with huge influencers is that you don't really know who you're reaching.

"With macro- and mega-influencers, it's like throwing sand at a wall," Wickham said. "It's a numbers game, rather than really curating."

What's more, the biggest influencers have become celebrities in their own rights, which makes them not seem like real people any more.

"Some of these much bigger ones with half a million or a million followers, they feel a little out of touch or seem to have propelled themselves into the celebrity space," Leigh-Wood Oakes said.

"So consumers and followers start to see the dollar signs behind that, they're turning into a business, probably being paid a hell of a lot."

[ad] 😏this face means mischief. Watch = @danielwellington. Use code LOUISE for 15% off. Save it for later.... #danielwellington

A post shared by Louise Thompson (@louise.thompson) on Apr 4, 2019 at 12:39pm PDT on

 

Even though a micro- or nano-influencer might have received something for free, they certainly won't have been paid the huge amounts mega-influencers receive for their endorsements. The general public is also becoming more savvy to how sizeable these fees can be — and it's a turn-off.

"People want authentic content and it becomes really disingenuous if you realise someone is paid £10,0000 ($13,000) to do it," said Wickham.

Read more: Instagram influencers are hiring life coaches to help them deal with the pressures of the platform

All of these factors have contributed to a general decline in trust of big influencers, and Atherton says the data backs this up.

"Advertising is not the way to appeal to millennials and Generation Z, and influencers are very much becoming just a new form of paid media," she said.

"That lack of trust is really where we're seeing a shift to going back to this peer-to-peer grassroots level. Because at the end of the day, the most effective form of advertising is peer-to-peer referral.

"I think the whole influencer space is a massive bubble which is going to burst."

How micro-influencers are selected

If the big influencer space has become overcrowded, there are of course even more potential micro- and nano-influencers on Instagram, so how do agencies and brands decide who to work with?

For WickerWood, it's a case of considering analytics but also a person's content creation — that means not only whether what you're posting has been thoughtfully created, but also whether it aligns with the brand's image.

From a personal point of view, you won't be doing yourself any favours by endorsing a product that doesn't fit seamlessly into your Instagram.

"Followers are so much more savvy than they were before, and if it doesn't look real and it doesn’t look like it is part of your world and you would endorse it, there's no point in doing it," said Leigh-Wood Oakes.

"The influencer should want to work with brands that work with their lifestyle because otherwise their followers are just going to get turned off."

 

For Zyper, exactly how brand fans are identified is secret. However, Atherton says the algorithm is largely based around an analysis of a brand's customer data, someone's engagement with the brand, whether you're an existing customer, your aesthetic, and various other metrics.

"They have to have the right metrics to have 1% fan status," Atherton said. "That's how we confirm someone is a real brand advocate — it's obviously completely different to influencers which just comes down to brands choosing different people who'll promote tons of different brands if they're paid."

The size of a person's following doesn't actually come into it at all, and there's no minimum you have to have to become a brand fan: "It's a completely artificial way to determine if somebody is relevant to a brand or in any way influential within their peer group," Atherton explained.

"We generally don't look at that as a defining metric at all."

Read more: Instagram posts encouraging eating disorders are 'spiralling out of control,' psychiatrists warn

While Zyper tends to approach the top 1% of fans on social media after identifying them, they also get people applying, often enticed by the prospect of freebies.

Since launching a year and a half ago, Zyper has had 100,000s of applications from people who want to be brand fans, but the vast majority get turned down if they don't come up in the company's data deep-dive.

"So if you wanted to work with Topshop, we take a deep dive and then match that up with our inbound signup list and see if those people are actually coming up in the top 1%," Atherton said. "A lot of the time they're not."

What does being a micro-influencer actually entail?

Working with brands on a micro- or nano-influencer scale can mean various different things.

In order to maintain authenticity, it's important that you're not just doing a one-off post, but rather that you become an ambassador who is part of a campaign over months or years. 

Zyper works with brands such as Magnum, L'Oréal, and Dior, but how it works with influencers varies.

Usually, once the top 1% of fans have been identified and they've agreed to be involved, they'll be given credit to spend on the brand in some capacity and be asked to feature it in posts a certain number of times per month (disclosing that the products were gifted).

 

Zyper's brand fans double-up as a focus group for the brands too, and they're often brought together to sample new products and provide feedback on what they'd like to see.

"I think that is becoming a huge part of the value we're bringing to brands," Atherton said. "It's a very lean feedback group for insights." 

Zyper also then feeds data back to its brands: for example, if 50% of a beauty brand's fans have Instagrammed something matcha-related over the past three months, this might result in the brand considering bringing out a matcha line of products, or even just giving out matcha kits to fans as a reward.

How to make yourself more attractive to brands

So, you've got a small but engaged following on Instagram and want to get a slice of the micro-influencer action — how do you go about it?

Ultimately, you need to wait for a brand or agency to come to you, but there are certain ways you can increase your chances of this happening, as Leigh-Wood Oakes explained.

1. Understand yourself as a brand

Ask yourself: What's your ethos as a social media influencer? What do you want to tell your followers? What lifestyle are your trying to promote? Make sure this comes across strongly through your posts.

2. Be real

"A lot of brands are starting to work a lot less with influencers who Photoshop too much, use loads of filters, and give off this idea that life is perfect and wonderful and there's not a pimple or a dimple in sight — it's not real life," Leigh-Wood Oakes said.

"So I would definitely suggest an influencer make sure they are really showing real life. Yes it can be curated and tailored, but you have a responsibility and that's very key."

 

Read more: Disappointing, behind-the-scenes photos show what it's really like to be an Instagram influencer

3. Put effort into your content

It helps to show enthusiasm for the brand and show that you care about what you're producing.

"We love it when we see an influencer get really involved, be enthusiastic, and have lots of ideas and creative input," Leigh-Wood Oakes said.

4. Know your audience

If you want your audience to engage with you, you need to engage with them, and this is how you'll get to know them.

"Really understanding and being OK with having a small audience following is crucial," Leigh-Wood Oakes said.

You just need to demonstrate you know how to engage that audience successfully. 

SEE ALSO: A photographer asked teenagers to edit their photos until they thought they looked 'social media ready,' and the results are shocking

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NOW WATCH: Here's how North Korea's Kim Jong Un became one of the world's scariest dictators

This $450 power tool kit helped me complete several challenging DIY projects during our home renovation

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Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

Porter Cable ToolKit

  • The Porter-Cable 20V Max Lithium-Ion 8-Tool Combo Kit comes with a drill driver, an impact driver, three saws, a multi-tool, and a grinder, plus all the batteries and accessories you need to complete just about any DIY project you might have at home.
  • I used the power tool kit to complete a wide range of projects while renovating my house, and I was impressed by how easy it was for a beginner like me to use.
  • Porter-Cable's tool kit isn't cheap with an original price tag of $500, but it's currently on sale for $450.10 on Amazon, making it a great buy.

I'm not a handyman by any stretch of the imagination. I couldn't tell you the difference between a sliding bevel and a bradawl. I just knew that as I moved into a big, old house, I was going to have a never-ending list of projects, repairs, and maintenance to keep up on. And, to get any job done, I was going to need the right tools. This is where Porter-Cable's power tool kit came into play.

Porter-Cable was founded in 1906 — the same year my house was built. And, like my house, Porter-Cable is under new ownership as of 2004. Stanley Black & Decker is a parent company that manages some of the biggest brands in the industry, including Porter-Cable, DeWalt, Craftsman, Bostitch, Stanley, Black & Decker, and more.

About four months ago, Porter-Cable sent me the 8-Tool Combo Kit to test, and it sure came in handy during our major home renovation.

The Porter-Cable 8-Tool Combo Kit comes with everything you need, including:

  • ½ inch Drill Driver
  • ¼ inch Hex Impact Driver
  • Jigsaw
  • 6-1/2 inch Circular Saw
  • Reciprocating Tiger Saw
  • Oscillating Multi-Tool
  • Cutoff Tool/Grinder
  • LED Flash Light
  • 2 20V Lithium-Ion Batteries (4Ah and 1.5Ah)
  • Battery Charger
  • 2 Kit Bags

My first experience with the Porter-Cable Power Tools

I was impressed that all of the tools, the batteries, and the charger fit into the two bags.

As a "newb," I was fairly intimidated by the big box of tools. Thanks to the countless warning graphics, I was well aware that an irresponsible person could easily lose a finger, an eyeball, a foot, or other important body parts if he didn't take all of the necessary precautions and read the user manuals from start to finish.

I was overwhelmed by the volumes of reading materials that came with the kit. Each item had its own user manual with about 15 to 20 pages of small print. As someone who has had limited experience with power tools, I appreciated it. Reading the manuals helped me feel confident that I could use the tools safely.

How the Porter-Cable Power Tools performed

I completed a number of household projects using the kit, and once I had a couple of the easier projects under my belt and I'd watched a number of YouTube tutorials, I started to feel more comfortable with the tools.

They were user-friendly for novices, and I let the more seasoned workers remodeling our house use them to get their opinions, and they noted that the drivers and saws were up to snuff.

One of the biggest projects we worked on with the Porter-Cable Power Tools was cutting and installing shelving in our kitchen. We decided we didn't want wall cabinets. Instead, we chose shelves for a more open look.

Using the circular saw, I cut the boards to the right length. Then, I used the drill driver to drill holes for the screws. Next, I attached the brackets to the walls and the shelves to the brackets with the impact driver. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that my wife did a ton of the work on this, too.

Some other projects I completed:

  • I used the oscillating multi-tool to salvage an old cabinet and turn it into a discrete kitty litter area for our bathroom.
  • Before painting our porch, the oscillating multi-tool came in handy for sanding. This was the only time that we were able to use all of the 4Ah battery's juice in a single project. Fortunately, we had the 1.5Ah battery waiting in the wings.
  • I used the jigsaw to cut a hole in the top of a cooler so that I could cook food in it using a sous vide immersion circulator.
  • There were several pieces of furniture that we ordered online that needed to be assembled. The hex impact driver made quick work of those to-do list items.

The flashlight is incredibly helpful when working in dimly-lit corners of our home. I liked that it could point in just about any direction while sitting on the ground, unlike your standard flashlight. It also freed up my hands or child assistant.

I love that the tools are cordless. The lack of a cable made it effortless to get work done just about anywhere in the house, even in areas where we didn't have electricity yet. The battery charged quickly enough for our needs, and if one died, we could just switch it out and use the spare.

Porter Cable Tool Kit 1

Cordless tools require recharging, and you may need to buy extra bits.

Though I loved that there wasn't a cord in the way, the batteries did make the tools heavier. If you are just using them for a few minutes here and there, it's no big deal. But, for a guy who has skipped "arm day" for decades, driving in dozens of screws starts to tire out the arms after a while.

If you are a professional using power tools all day, you may want to pick up more batteries and chargers so you aren't left twiddling your thumbs when the batteries are recharging. The Porter-Cable Charger Bag is an excellent option.

Lastly, I would have liked it if the kit came with a drill bit set. It did come with a bit for each drill, but the bits did not last long. I prefer all-inclusive kits, and with the Porter-Cable Combo Kit, I still had to purchase bits separately. However, this is a standard practice with tool kits. You have to add to them bit by bit until you have every piece you need.

Bottom line

Overall, this kit is great. Each tool worked as advertised and had little trouble with whatever I threw at it. With a little self-education and reading the manuals, the tools were easy enough for a beginner to use safely. And, the price is comparable to similar kits and much less expensive than buying each tool individually.

I strongly recommend picking up the Porter-Cable 8-Tool Combo Kit if you are interested in taking household projects into your own hands. Additionally, according to the Honey app, the price for the kit has fluctuated significantly in the past couple of months. So, if cost is a concern for you, keep your eye out for deals.

Buy the Porter-Cable PCCK619L8 20V Max Lithium-Ion 8-Tool Combo Kit on Amazon for $450.10 (originally $499.99)

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Here's what you need know about insuring an engagement ring

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whisper thin ring concierge

  • Purchasing an engagement ring is often a big expense. By also purchasing insurance, you can be sure you don’t pay out of pocket for repairs or to replace the ring if you lose it.
  • The best thing to do is to purchase insurance right away: Once you officially make the purchase, you can go ahead and add it to your insurance policy.
  • Insurance options include adding a personal property/jewelry rider to your home insurance or renter’s insurance policy. If you don’t have either of these, you can insure the piece separately through a reputable insurance agency or a company like Jeweler’s Mutual.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Purchasing an engagement ring is often a big financial decision.

Though engagement rings can range in cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars, it's a good idea to purchase insurance as one of the first matters of business. Here's what you should know about how to insure your engagement ring.

Find the best provider and policy for you

"Insurance is very important," says Peter Meksian, CEO of Michael M, a Los Angeles-based luxury bridal and fashion jewelry company. "Most 'home' insurance policies cover jewelry and watches to a certain amount. If you do not have a homeowner's or renter's insurance policy, you can always get an insurance policy from Jewelers Mutual, who specialize in personal jewelry policies."

Readmore: A woman who sells 6-figure engagement rings through Instagram says people make a common mistake when buying diamonds — and it comes down to what they overspend on

"You would not own a car without insurance — insure your jewelry," Meksian added.

If you already have homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance, it's likely the policy covers jewelry and watches up to a certain value, but it might not be for the full amount of the engagement ring. If that’s the case, you’ll be able to add personal property — such as an engagement ring — as a rider to the policy. The cost varies based on the cost of the ring and the provider.

Insure the piece as soon as you can

Experts suggest purchasing insurance before taking possession of the ring. If that's not possible, insurance should be purchased right when you receive the ring.

"Consumers should insure any piece of jewelry that they would not be able to replace on their own if it were lost or stolen. That amount differs from person to person, but can be as little as $1,000,” says Oded Edelman, President and co-founder of JamesAllen.com.

"You also need to find out if the policy covers you fully if the item is damaged or lost outside of the United States,” says Edelman. “You’re probably more likely to be exposed to theft or lose your ring when you’re traveling, so this question is key and many policies will have riders that don’t allow this level of coverage. Finally, ask if your jewelry is covered at the full replacement cost and if you can receive a cash settlement instead of a replacement item."

Gather the right information for the provider

In order to successfully insure the ring, you will need several items of documentation.

  1. Appraisal: Most insurance companies will require an appraisal on the piece if it's of significant value. An appraisal will include details like the 4 C’s: carat weight, cut, clarity and color, and should be done by a reputable company. Though the piece may appraise for slightly higher than you paid, you'll want it close because a higher appraisal may mean a higher insurance premium. Note: You may want to reappraise every few years to make sure the value is correct.
  2. Grading Report: The jeweler may also provide a grading report, like those from GIA, the Gemological Institute of America. This will also list the specifications of the diamond or precious stone, but it is not an appraisal. Rather, it will help the appraiser determine the value and thus would be good to submit with the insurance policy. If the ring were to be damaged or lost, the grading report would be used to determine a suitable fix or replacement for the piece.
  3. Photos: Along with your appraisal and grading report, you may also want to submit photos of the ring to the insurance company so the specifications are met with an exact visual of the piece. This will also aid in helping to repair or replace the item, should you need to.

SEE ALSO: A woman who sells 6-figure engagement rings through Instagram says there's a big misconception about the 4 C's of buying diamonds

SEE ALSO: A jeweler who makes custom engagement rings took me behind the scenes in a diamond workshop — and it totally changed my opinion of people who spend 6 figures on rings

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's why McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sales skyrocket in March

How to clear and manage cookies on your Mac computer's Safari browser

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MacBook Air 00061.JPG

  • You can clear the cookies on a Mac computer through a Safari browser in a few quick steps, whether you block or clear them all wholesale, or pick and choose which sites you wish to stop tracking you and storing your data.
  • An HTTP cookie is a small text file stored on your Mac that helps websites quickly identify you when you visit.
  • Cookies are intended to make your online experience efficient and customized to your preferences, but they can also lead to coercive delivery of ads and make it easier to track your web history and to obtain your data.

Internet cookies weren't created with sinister intent, but the way they work bothers some people nonetheless. An HTTP cookie is a short text file created by a website but stored on your computer that contains a bit of information about you.

The most common cookies include your login data (username and password) that allows for quick access to an account (think Netflix or PayPal), a list of your past search history that can make a shopping experience more efficient (Amazon), or the images featured on a certain website you visit frequently, allowing for quicker loading the next time you click through.

Cookies are the reason online ads are often oddly specific to you; they are one source that helps advertisers tailor the advertisements served to you based on your past web history. And they also make your potentially sensitive data, like a password, more readily accessible to other parties.

The good news is that clearing cookies on a Safari, a Mac computer's default browser, is a quick process, and you can also manage how you are tracked in the future from individual sites. 

How to clear and manage cookies on a Mac via Safari

Launch the Safari browser, and then you can get started clearing cookies.

1. Click the word "Safari" at the top left corner of the screen

2. Click "Preferences..." in the dropdown menu that appears.

Screen Shot 2019 04 08 at 1.49.57 PM

3. Select the "Privacy" tab of the menu. If you want to clear and block all cookies, click the box beside the words "Block all cookies."

block all cookies

4. Click "Block all" to confirm it on the pop up window that appears next. 

block all

5. To remove cookies from certain specific websites, on the Privacy window, click the button that says "Manage Website Data..."

manage website data

6. In the window that appears, sort through the sites listed and click "Remove" as you wish.

cookies

Just know that if you do clear out all your cookies, many websites will take longer to load the next time you visit them, and you will have to reenter much of our login information. And note that websites will start in building new cookies right away unless you have opted to block them. 

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

SEE ALSO: How to clear the cache on your iPhone to make it run more efficiently

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NOW WATCH: Wearable and foldable phones are shaking up tech, making 2019 the year of weird phones

This $90 shower head filter has vitamin C and essential oils to help soothe dry skin and hair — I saw effects immediately after one use

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Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

Vitaclean shower head 4

  • After I moved from from Los Angeles to the Joshua Tree desert last year, I noticed my skin was becoming dry and dull, and my hair looked fried and frizzy. The culprit was hard water, which is filled with chlorine and magnesium that can irritate skin and hair.
  • When I installed the Vitaclean HQ Shower Head + Filter (currently $90 on Urban Outfitters), my issues cleared up almost immediately.
  • Vitaclean's filters feature vitamin C and essential oils, so they add vitamins and nutrients to your water flow while also removing nasties for skin and hair that's soft and healthy.

When I packed up my apartment and left Los Angeles — my home of almost a decade — to live a more low-key life in the Joshua Tree desert last year, I had high expectations. Among them were daily hikes, no traffic, and mornings spent in blissful meditation. Oh, and permanently sun-kissed skin and long, flowing, hippie hair — the perfect accessories for my new desert-dwelling lifestyle, right? Not exactly. While I did manage to opt out of traffic and go on some epic hikes, my skin and hair did not love my new home as much as I did.

My skin became dry and hair become lifeless almost immediately, and I blamed it on the humidity, or lack thereof — desert air is D-R-Y. I bought myself a humidifier, which helped a little bit, but for some reason, my face remained covered in flaky patches and pimples, and my hair still looked fried and frizzy. Eventually, I found the culprit — hard water. As soon as I installed the Vitaclean HQ Shower Head + Filter (currently $90 on Urban Outfitters), to eliminate excess chlorine and mineral content, my issues cleared up.

Vitahead shower head

My experience is hardly unique; anyone's who's made a significant move has likely noticed how the air and water of a brand-new city can affect your beauty routine. "Kristina [Velkova] and I both felt frustrated with the effects of hard water when settling to live in London," Sara Douglas, co-founder of Vitaclean HQ, tells Business Insider. "I have blonde hair and immediately saw how the water made it brassy and dull. Kristina had a very hard time with dry skin and scalp."

Eventually, the friends came to the same realization I did: The water supply was to blame. "We both concluded that the water had to be the cause, as we'd never had problems like this outside of London," Douglas says.

Major cities are most often plagued by hard, mineral-contaminated water; but hard water can really happen anywhere. "Hard water is produced when naturally-soft rainwater comes in contact with the ground," Douglas explains. "Rainwater passing through porous rocks, like limestone and chalk, causes it to collect calcium and magnesium minerals."

When these minerals come into contact with soap and shampoo, they form a substance glamorously known as "scum," which ends up coating hair and skin and can lead to dullness, dryness, and all kinds of irritation. "Minerals, chlorine, bacteria, and pipe rust damage skin and hair immensely," Douglas says. "The water can make hair brittle and skin uneven, as well as causing conditions such as eczema and psoriasis to flare up."

Read more: 16 tools and products we use to get healthy, shiny hair — from $7 shampoo to a $200 luxury hair dryer

Here's a not-so-pretty visual. You know the filmy, white mineral buildup that accumulates on the pipes under your kitchen or bathroom sink? Yeah, that's pretty much what can happen to your hair and face when you shower under a stream of hard water.

Once I figured out that I needed a shower head filter to help soften my water, I stopped by my local hardware store for something suitable, but there wasn't a single filtered shower head in stock. I found Amazon's seemingly endless stream of filters confusing too — it was hard to discern what I needed, what would work with my current shower set-up, and what I could realistically install myself.

And then, I discovered Vitaclean HQ, created by Douglas and Velkova and offers aesthetically-pleasing shower head systems that come with everything you need in order to make your shower a literal oasis of skin- and hair-health.

"Vitaclean's range of plant-based, scented filters are formulated with vitamin C and essential oils to help neutralize chlorine in shower water and create an aromatherapy effect at home, leaving your shower water and bathroom smelling delicious," Velkova tells Business Insider. "Each scented filter is full of antioxidants and includes moisturizing properties for softer skin and hair."

Vitaclean shower head 3

The company sells the filters piecemeal or in a bundle, which I have, with a shower head, microfiber cloth, and ceramic balls. "The microfiber cloth and ceramic balls are also a big part of the filtration system," adds Velkova. "They are responsible for filtering out all the nasties that travel through your pipes." Nasties being things like magnesium, calcium, fluoride, and even heavy metals like lead — which is all the stuff you don't want touching your face. 

The shower head fits in most showers and come in a wall mount or handheld head version. Vitaclean's site made installation sound easy, but I still kind of expected to struggle with it; I'm not exactly a handy woman. But I have to hand it to Velkova and Douglas — it actually was easy.

I noticed an immediate difference after my first Vitaclean shower. My skin didn't have that tight, stretched feeling it usually has post-cleansing, and my hair was noticeably softer. "That's because essential oils leave skin soft and hair smooth, and vitamin C removes 99% of chlorine from shower water," Velkova says.

Over time, the benefits only get better. Vitamin C can help brighten dull complexions and even has the power to help stimulate the skin's natural collagen production, similar to your favorite vitamin C skin-care serum. It's great for hair too; while chlorine can dull shine (especially for blondes), vitamin C can help lift and tone. A week or so into my Vitaclean switch, I noticed my balayage highlights were suddenly golden again without the need for toning shampoo.

In other words, this filtration system doesn't just remove harmful minerals; it also adds nutrients to your shower routine, resulting in hair and skin that looks and feels healthier over time.

Read more: The best leave-in hair treatments you can buy

Vitaclean shower head pack

"The essential oils also create an aromatherapy effect, filling your bathroom with delicious scents and helping with relaxation," Velkova adds. As soon as you turn the shower on, the light smell of citrus wafts through the air, which can make even a Monday morning shower feel like a self-care spa day.

As for how long each filter lasts, that kind of depends on where you live. "We noticed that cities are different from one another," says Velkova. "New York customers have to change their cloths more frequently because they get so full of residual particles, it's shocking."

Personally, my handheld vitamin C filter lasts for about a month before I need to change it out, and the microfiber cloth and ceramic balls are good for at least three months. And if you're worried about the water pressure of the Vitaclean shower head, don't. Pressure-wise, it's the best shower head I've ever used: The stream is smooth, strong, and steady.

Dry skin and hair is caused by a ton of different factors, but I experienced them immediately after I moved out to the desert and realized that hard water was the root of my issues. It might not be what's causing issues for everyone, so definitely take inventory of products you're currently using and the environment you're in, and see a specialist if needed. 

Personally though, I'm convinced that installing Vitaclean's filtration system has changed my life. Finally, my desert dream is a reality: No traffic, less stress, glowing skin, and shiny, healthy hippie hair.

Buy the Vitaclean HQ Handheld Showerhead + Filter for $89 on Urban Outfitters

Join the conversation about this story »

The best cordless vacuums you can buy

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the best cordless vacuums

  • Cords are a pain — especially when you're trying to vacuum.
  • Cordless vacuums keep gaining in popularity, and Dyson's V Series of vacuums are the best ones you can buy with their powerful suction, reasonable battery life, and helpful accessories.

Not many people like cleaning, but it's still something that has to get done. Of course, just because you may not enjoy cleaning, that doesn't mean you should try to find ways to make it as painless as possible. Perhaps the first step in doing so is ensuring that you have tools that actually work.

A great vacuum can make a world of difference when you're trying to suck up that dirt and animal hair. Many prefer the convenience of the cordless vacuum, which eliminates the annoyance of being tethered to a much-too-short cord that limits where your vacuum can reach.

Getting rid of a tether isn't the only reason to choose a cordless vacuum. Normally, cordless vacuums are also a little lighter than their wired counterparts and they're quicker to set up and tear down, so you can get the house tidied up quickly if you're on a time crunch.

So what should you look for in a cordless vacuum? Well, because there is no cord, these vacuums rely on battery power, so you'll want to ensure that the battery can last long enough for you to clean the house. Normally, batteries last anywhere between 15 and 40 minutes, and for most, that will be enough to clean the carpet in the house, but those with larger homes should look for something with longer battery life.

You should also consider things like weight, included accessories and extensions, and whether or not the vacuum can clean hardwood floors or just carpets.

As for the appeal of cordless vacuums? Anyone who's ever had their ankles tangled up while vacuuming, or has gotten to the end of a room only to run out of cord, knows the pain. We've done the research to find the very best cordless vacuums you can buy.

Here are the best cordless vacuum cleaners of 2019:

Updated by Malarie Gokey on 04/09/2019: Updated prices and formatting. Added a pick for less than $300 and updated the list of Dyson vacuums with new models.

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

The best cordless vacuums overall

Why you'll love it: Dyson makes the best cordless vacuums hands down — they're light, powerful, and easy to use.

Dyson is a household name in the vacuum business, and for good reason. The company has built a reputation of delivering powerful, high-quality vacuums. Sure, Dyson vacuums aren’t always the cheapest vacuums out there, but if you can swing it, the extra cash may be well worth it.

The Dyson V7 is older, but it's still a great deal at $230, and the V8 starts at $380 now, so it's a good buy. You can also opt for the newer V10, which costs between $400 and $700, or the latest model, the V11, which costs $600 to $700.

We've tried several versions of Dyson cordless vacuums, and we're always impressed by them. The older V7 and V8 models are still excellent cleaners that will get the job done. You'll get less suction power and shorter battery from them compared to the newer models, but they ares till worth buying. 

The more recent V10 and V11 models are Dyson's top-of-the-line models, and we highly recommend them for people who have the cash. I've been using a V10 in my apartment for months now, and it's the best vacuum cleaner I've owned.

Turbo mode may not last long, but when your cat knocks coffee grounds all over the floor or you break a glass and you need to clean up fast, it works like a charm. The included attachments are also great and make this vacuum versatile. I often use it as a hand vacuum for quick cleaning and only add the big carpet-cleaning attachment when my area rug needs a good cleaning.

Dyson's vacuums are among The Wirecutter's top picks for cordless vacuum cleaners, too. Dyson offers a two-year warranty, too.

If you're looking for the Cadillac of cordless vacuum cleaners, your search will end with Dyson. Devotees of this brand swear it's the most powerful product in its category, but there's a hefty price to pay for top quality, making this an investment that only people who truly enjoy vacuuming (yes, there are some of you out there) will go for. — Malarie Gokey

Pros: Very versatile, can clean both hard floors and carpet, relatively light

Cons: Somewhat short battery life, small dust capacity, relatively expensive

Shop all Dyson V Series cordless vacuums on Amazon for $230 to $700

Read our Dyson V8 and Dyson V11 reviews



The best cordless vacuum for less than $300

Why you'll love it: The Shark DuoClean Cordless IONFlex Vacuum is great at picking up crumbs and pet hair, plus it costs less than a Dyson vacuum.

The Shark DuoClean Cordless IONFlex Vacuum may not be as powerful or as long lasting as a Dyson vacuum, but it is quite a bit cheaper and still a very effective cleaner.

It has a few key features that make it stand out, but this biggest one is the removeable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Most other cordless vacuums have the battery built in, so when it fails, you have to buy a whole new vacuum. With this Shark model, you can just replace the removable battery pack.

The vacuum has a cool feature that makes it flexible for reaching under furniture without making you straining your back or get down on the floor. It's also great at picking up pet hair and crumbs — especially from hard floors.

Shark's vacuum uses a bristle brush and a soft brushroll to pick up dust, hair, crumbs, and debris from carpets and other flooring. In its tests, The Wirecutter found that this vacuum was best at cleaning hard floors, but good enough on carpet. That's why it won the second place position in the guide.

The vacuum weighs 8.7 pounds, so it is a bit heavier than the Dyson. It also comes with a five-year warranty should anything go wrong. You will need to clean the filter and dust cup regularly so it performs well.

In the package, you get several accessories and tools, including the battery, charger, duster crevice tool, dusting brush, wide upholstery tool, and anti-allergen dust brush. You can buy extra batteries to replace yours when it completely stops working. If you'd like to have an extra on hand for when your battery loses juice and you need to recharge it, you can do that, too. — Malarie Gokey

Pros: Effective, good suction, decent battery, light weight, multiple attachments

Cons: Pricey

Buy the Shark DuoClean Cordless IONFlex Vacuum on Amazon for $289.99 (originally $369)



The best cordless vacuum for pet owners

Why you'll love it: The Shark Navigator Freestyle is great for both standard cleanups and for sucking up pet fur.

Perhaps the only thing worse for your floors than crumb-dropping kids is hair-shedding pets. But not to worry, the Shark Bagless Navigator Freestyle will restore your floors to furball-free status in minutes.

Pet owners face a special kind of necessary cleanup, and a good vacuum can mean a world of difference in making that cleanup a quick and easy process. The Shark Navigator Freestyle has been highly rated for all kinds of uses, but it’s especially good at cleaning up rogue pet fur.

The Shark Navigator Freestyle stands out among other cordless vacuums with its ability to easily swivel around furniture and other household items. The vacuum is also relatively lightweight, and instead of a bag, the vacuum has a large dust cup, which is easy to take off and empty.

The Shark Navigator Freestyle is also pretty well-built. It features rubberized wheels to help minimize any scratching on hard floors, and the battery, which will run for around 17 minutes, is replaceable — so if it eventually wears out you won’t have to get rid of the vacuum altogether. It also has a one-year warranty.

What makes this vacuum stand out from others in its category is the longer run time it gets (nearly an hour), and that it only take four hours to recharge.

There are a few negative things to consider about the vacuum before you buy. For example, the vacuum is somewhat bulky despite being light, and it doesn’t come with any attachments to clean up areas above the ground — this is a ground-only vacuum.

Pros: Easy swivel, well-built, replaceable battery, relatively inexpensive

Cons: Relatively short battery life, no above-ground attachments

Buy the Shark Bagless Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum on Amazon for $89.99 (originally $129.99)



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Magic Spoon is a new "childlike cereal for adults" that's high in protein and low in sugar — I tried all 4 flavors and now I'm hooked

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Magic Spoon cereal

  • On April 9, 2019, Magic Spoon launched "childlike cereal for adults." All four flavors (Fruity, Cinnamon, Cocoa, and Frosted) are not only seriously yummy, they're also high in protein but low on carbs and calories.
  • The cereal is keto-friendly, non-GMO, and free from gluten, grain, wheat, soy, and artificial sweeteners. It gets its taste from allulose, a relatively new natural sweetener found in figs and maple syrup that has zero glycemic impact.
  • Available via subscription for $35 per month, Magic Spoon takes the guesswork out of a healthy (and delicious) breakfast for practically anyone — from growing families to millennials who miss their favorite childhood treat.

As I write this, it's 2 p.m. on a Saturday and I'm wearing sweatpants while eating frosted cereal straight from the box, and I feel no shame. Well, I probably should have showered and put on some real pants by now, but at the very least, I can feel good about making solid nutritional choices. The cereal I'm chowing down on is actually healthy, thanks to the geniuses over at Magic Spoon.

The newly launched brand just introduced its "high-protein, keto-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, wheat-free, nothing artificial, childlike cereal for grown-ups" — a direct quote from the side of the pastel-colored cereal box I'm staring at. That's quite a mouthful; but then again, so is every bite of Magic Spoon.

I've tried all four flavors — Frosted, Cocoa, Cinnamon, and Fruity — and they are certifiably delicious, especially for a product with no artificial sweeteners, 12 grams of protein, and only three grams of net carbs. But while the company has clearly cracked some sort of nutritious-meets-delicious code here, it's not magic. Just a mixture of innovation, vision, and a new-to-market natural sweetener.

"Modern consumers, including us, have been eschewing classic breakfast cereal in favor of healthier options," Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz, the brand's founders, tell Business Insider. "The category is in decline only because everything in it today is high sugar, high carb, and full of junk. But most people still love cereal, so we set out to fix the problems with it."

Granted, there are some healthy cereals on supermarket shelves already … you know, anything that ends in "-bran" or boasts a name like "Fiber-Os." Diet-friendly but definitely not taste-bud-friendly, these options leave something to be desired. And that's where Magic Spoon comes in. Armed with a "rare sugar" known as allulose, it's managed to recreate your favorite flavors from childhood, minus the calorie count.

"We only use natural sweeteners: monk fruit, stevia, and allulose," Lewis and Sewitz say. "We spent months working on the perfect blend of natural sweeteners to create the same great taste you remember, without the sugar. We use them in a specific combination that doesn't result in the aftertaste people sometimes experience with sweeteners."

Magic Spoon 3

You're probably familiar with monk fruit and stevia, as they're widely used in the natural health food space, but allulose is a relative newcomer. "It's found in nature in things like figs and maple syrup," the founders explain. "It tastes just like regular sugar" — a point I can personally and enthusiastically confirm —  "but has zero glycemic impact and almost zero calories."

Even though allulose doesn't affect the body like other sugars, the FDA still requires it to be listed under the "Total Carbohydrate" category of the Nutrition Facts; don't let that scare you, though. "Not all carbs are created equal," Lewis and Sewitz say. "Some, like starches and grains, are metabolized and used by your body for energy — these are the sorts of carbs that lots of us are trying to limit."

Carbs like fiber and natural sweeteners, on the other hand, aren't digested and thus, don't affect blood sugar or insulin levels. Strip away the two grams of fiber and three grams of allulose in a single serving of Magic Spoon, and that leaves just three net carbs per bowl, "which is seven to eight times less than most popular breakfast cereals," the founders say. "It's perfect for people who are on the keto diet or just trying not to overindulge on carb-heavy foods."

Each serving also boats 12 grams of protein — or twice the amount of a single egg — to keep you fuller longer, help you sustain energy throughout the day, and even reduce cravings. "Nutritionists tend to disagree on many things — whether fats are good or bad for you, for example — but almost everyone agrees that protein is good for you, regardless of who you are," Lewis and Sewitz say.

Besides the good-for-you factor, Magic Spoon's cereal boxes are seriously cute.

"We looked at the current market and noticed that most ‘healthy' breakfast options were really sleepy and dull," the founders share. "We wanted to transport people back to Saturday morning cartoons, so we created these really playful, colorful, character-based cereal boxes." My personal favorite features an illustration of a cowboy riding a dinosaur — so much more fun to pull out of the kitchen cabinet than that box of Fiber-Os, right?

Magic Spoon cereal

Each box also has an old-school maze puzzle on the back, a great touch for families with kids (or just adults with a little too much time on their hands … guilty).

According to Lewis and Sewitz, "The Magic Spoon customer is really anyone who loves cereal but wants a healthier option."

"That could be a millennial who grew up on cereal but stopped eating it as they started paying more attention to their diet, or it could be a mom who's looking for a healthy breakfast to feed her kids that will actually excite them — and that she can enjoy, too," they say. Best of all, the cereal is a smart choice for those who are on more restrictive diets, like keto, and need to limit their carb intake.

I'm not on a particularly restrictive diet, nor do I have kids, but Magic Spoon has become my new go-to for one simple reason: It's good for me but tastes like it's not, which, really, is the dream.

You can grab all four boxes of Magic Spoon for $39, or subscribe monthly and get 10% off ($35 per month). It works out to a bowl per day, so you can go ahead and cross breakfast food off your grocery shopping list. Lewis suggests stocking up on her favorite flavor, Cocoa, while Sewitz is partial to Cinnamon. I'm a fan of Frosted and Fruity, so really, you can't go wrong.

To borrow a phrase, they're all magically delicious.

Try all four flavors from Magic Spoon for $39, or sign up for a monthly subscription for $35 per month.

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How to diagnose and remove any virus from your iPhone

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It's always a good idea to be cautious about the risk of viruses and other malware, but when it comes to your iPhone,you don't have much to worry about. Dionisio Zumerle, senior director at research firm Gartner, sums it up this way: "The chances of catching malware on Android go from 0.05 to 0.71 percent. I would say that the percentage for iOS would be even lower than that, making the risk of iOS malware fairly low today."

Even so, it's possible to defy the odds — however slim — and end up with an infected iPhone. Or, at least, have a phone that behaves like it might be infected. Here's what you can do to troubleshoot the problem and remove malware from your misbehaving phone.

What problem are you having?

Thanks to the way Apple designed iOS, malware generally can't do a lot even if it finds its way onto your phone. Typically, look for behavior like Safari redirecting itself to web pages you did not request, email and text messages being sent automatically without your permission, or the App Store opening on its own.

Even so, these aren't guaranteed signs of a virus. Depending on what kind of apps you have installed — especially automation apps like IFTTT — some of these things can happen on purpose.  Other potential symptoms, like frequent app crashes, settings changing, or buttons performing different actions than you expect, may actually be the result of a bug or an iOS update changing something without your knowledge.

Read more:Can iPhones get viruses? Here's what you need to know

Determine which app is to blame

No matter what symptoms you are experiencing, the first thing you should try to determine is if the problem you're experiencing happens all the time, or only when a specific app is running. Take note of the problem and see what app you are using when it happens.

If you can narrow the problem down to a single app, see if there's an update available for it in the App Store. That may solve the problem, but if it doesn't, uninstall that app. If the problem definitely goes away after uninstalling the app, you now know the root cause. You can try to reinstall the app again to see if the problem is eliminated, or contact the app maker's tech support.

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Restart your phone

If you can't narrow the problem down to a single app, then your next step should be to restart your iPhone. Just like rebooting your computer, turning your phone off and turning it back on again can solve a lot of unexpected problems.

Clear Safari's cache

Certain problems, especially ones related to web browsing, can be solved by clearing your browser's cache. This is especially true if you find that Safari redirects to web sites you didn't request or links stop working the way they should.

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Restore your phone to an earlier backup

If none of those things solve your problem, it might take more extreme measures to try to get your phone back in top shape. If you have a pretty good idea of when your phone started experiencing problems, you might be able to restore your phone to a backup that dates back before your infection. Remember, though: this will erase everything added to your phone since that backup, including apps, photos, and music, so only do this if you are sure you have a serious problem and nothing else has worked.

If you really want to try this, reset your iPhone to its factory settings, and then – after your phone is completely reset – sign in to your Apple ID from your fresh iPhone and then choose a recent pre-infection backup to restore the phone. Remember not to restore the most recent backup, or you'll be right back where you started.

If that doesn't solve your problem, you can repeat the process and try again with an older backup.

Start fresh with factory settings

If resetting your phone to an older backup didn't fix the problem – you're still affected by the malware or another glitch — you have one last gambit to try. Reset the iPhone to factory settings, and instead of restoring a backup, set up the phone as a new device. Do not restore any apps or data.

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Instead, work with the phone in its new factory-fresh condition. If the problem is gone, start manually downloading the apps you lost.

If the problem remains even after resetting the phone, what you have is a hardware problem. No virus can survive on the iPhone through a factory reset, so you should take the phone to an Apple store for servicing.

Preventative maintenance

As indicated, the chances of your iPhone getting infected by malware are very small. And indeed, there are no true antivirus apps for the iPhone, which is itself a sign of how low the risk actually is. But to stay safe, keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep your phone up to date. Be sure to install iOS updates whenever they're available, and install app updates regularly.
  • Never jailbreak your phone.
  • Don't install apps from any location outside the App Store. Generally, you can't do this without jailbreaking a phone, but developer tools let you circumvent this to install test versions of unreleased apps. Avoid this.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

SEE ALSO: The best iPhone for every type of person and budget

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NOW WATCH: What's going on with Jeff Bezos and Amazon

Save up to $270 on mattresses at Leesa — and more of today's best deals from around the web

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Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

Since you don't have all day to scour the web for noteworthy sales and discounts, we rounded up the best bargains for you to shop in one convenient place. For even more deals and savings across the web, check out Business Insider Coupons.

Leesa sleep

1. Save up to $270 on Sapira and Leesa Mattresses

We named Leesa the best overall mattress you can buy for its superb comfort and great value (mattress prices start at just $595). But right now, you can save up 15% on all mattresses, making them an even better buy. The current discount will save you up to $180 on the all-foam Leesa mattress and up to $270 on the hybrid foam and spring Sapira Mattress. If you're in need of other items, you can also save up to 20% on bedding accessories like pillows, sheets, blankets, and mattress protectors.

Shop the Leesa sale now.

Backcountry

2. Save up to 30% on big outdoors brands at Backcountry

If you're planning a camping trip or you regularly venture outdoors, Backcountry should be one of your go-to sites for gear and apparel — and right now they're having a huge sale on all the greatest brands. Now through Friday, April 12, you can save up to 30% on gear and apparel from top outdoor brands like Patagonia, Mammut, MSR, and more. For more deals and savings at Backcountry, visit Business Insider Coupons here

Shop the Backcountry sale now

JBL

3. Save up to 60% on home speakers, portable speakers, and headphones at JBL

Whether you like listening to music at home, during your commutes and workouts, or outdoors with a group of friends, JBL makes an impressive variety of wireless audio products. Right now, you can save up to 60% on select items including home speakers, Bluetooth boomboxes, compact portable speakers, and headphones.

Shop the JBL sale now

East Dane

4. Save up to an extra 25% at East Dane

Tomorrow, East Dane will be launching a huge end-of-season sale, but you can access the sale early now if you use the promo code "EVENT19" at checkout. Today only, you can save an extra 20% on orders under $500 or an extra 25% on orders over $50o. The sale includes dozens of designer menswear brands like Stuüssy, Alexander Wang, Ralph Lauren, Kenzo, and Helmut Lang. You won't find the sale advertised anywhere on the site, but the code works. For more deals and savings at East Dane, visit Business Insider Coupons here

Shop the East Dane sale one day early now.

Shopbop

5. Save up to an extra 25% at Shopbop

As the sister site to East Dane, Shopbop is also giving secret early access to its sale. Today only, you can save an extra 20% on orders under $500 or an extra 25% on orders over $500 by using the promo code "EVENT19" at checkout. Here, you'll find everything from dresses and shirts to handbags and shoes. For more deals and savings at Shopbop, visit Business Insider Coupons here

Shop the Shopbop sale one day early now

gs appliance primary

6. Save up to 35% on home appliances at Best Buy

Home appliances are expensive investments, so if you're in the market, you should definitely be looking for a good deal. Luckily, Best Buy is having a huge sale right now. Until April 17, you can save up to 35% on home appliances from top brands like Maytag, Samsung, LG, Whirlpool, and KitchenAid. You can get free delivery on orders over $399 (a $69.99 value) and free installation on select products. For even more deals at Best Buy, visit Business Insider Coupons here

Shop the Best Buy home appliance sale now

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7. Save 20% on ViewSonic monitors and projectors on Amazon

Whether you use your computer for basic home office tasks, graphic design, gaming, or home entertainment, the monitor you use can make a huge difference in your experience. ViewSonic has a great selection of monitors for a variety of setups and today only, they're on sale. As an Amazon Deal of the Day, you can save 20% on projectors and curved, widescreen, and 4K Ultra HD monitors.

Shop all ViewSonic monitors and projectors on Amazon now

Fossil

8. Save up to 40% on watches and accessories at Fossil

Ranging from classic analog displays to hybrids and smartwatches, Fossil has a watch style for almost every preference. Right now, the brand is holding a spring sale with many sale styles up to 40% off. Whether you're a fan of simplicity or prefer smartphone integration and fitness tracking, you won't have trouble finding something that works for you. In addition to watches, the sale also includes handbags, sunglasses, wallets, belts, and more. For more deals and promotions at Fossil, check out our coupons page here.

Shop the Fossil sale now.

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I drove a $273,000 Aston Martin DB 11 Volante and a $168,000 Mercedes-AMG GT C — here's my choice for the best luxury two-door

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Aston Martin DB11 Vanquish

  • The Aston Martin DB11 Volante and the Mercedes-AMG GT are powerful GT cars that both have big price tags.
  • Of the two, the DB11 has the much larger price tag — but it also oozes cool. There are few cars on Earth that look this good.
  • The Mercedes-AMG GT C takes the prize, largely because you can get the Aston's V8 at a much lower cost.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


In the rarified world of ultra-luxurious grand-touring cars, there aren't that many choices.

But I've recently driven two: the Aston Martin DB11 Volante and the Mercedes-AMG GT C. (Although in fairness, the Aston is a proper luxury tourer, while the Mercedes leans toward being a sports car and is intended to do battle with the likes of the Porsche 911 GTS).

Read more: We drove an ultra-stylish $273,244 Aston Martin DB11 Volante convertible — here's the verdict.

A whopping $100,000 separated my test vehicles when the price tags were compared. And for the record, Aston Martin does sell a two-door that's priced more closely to the Mercedes: the V8 Vantage.

But I still thought it would be interesting to see how the DB11 Volante and the AMG GT C stacked up against each other. Even more so because both cars have a Mercedes-AMG V8 under the hood (Mercedes owns 5% of Aston and has been contributing engines to the partnership).

Read more: I drove a $168,000 Mercedes-AMG GT C to see if this magnificent 2-seater is worth the price. Here's the verdict.

We're talking about machines that produce epic speed and serious noise while still making you feel as if you need to wear your best suit while driving them. So that's our point of entry. It's possible these days to buy plenty of automotive velocity for not a lot of money. But can you buy the special something that cars like the DB11 and AMG GT C bring to the party? And is it worth it to shoot the Moon on a vehicle such as the Aston?

Read on to find out.

FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!

First up, we have the Aston Martin DB11 Volante, the most recent Aston Martin we've tested.

Read the review.



What we have here is a convertible ...



... But we've also tested the Aston Martin DB 11 coupé. That tester did have a mega-powerful V12 engine, however, while the Volante had a V8.

Read the review.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I spent a year traveling the world and reporting on the road for work — here are the gadgets I couldn't have done it without

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Last March, I left New York behind to travel around the world for Business Insider, carrying only a carry-on suitcase and a backpack.

Packing was daunting.

Not only did I have plans to travel through more than a dozen countries and multiple climates, but I was planning on photographing and reporting along the way. I quickly found that I would need a lot of gear.

By the time I was done packing, half of my suitcase was filled with various gadgets to help me along the way — and that's not including the gear I kept in my backpack.

As something of a gearhead, I did a lot of research on every item I picked for the trip. While I can't imagine most travelers would need to carry half of the items I did, everything listed below ended up being useful on my yearlong reporting trip.

Read on to check out what I brought with me and why:

SEE ALSO: We've been traveling around the world for a year. Here are the 5 essential clothing items we always pack.

DON'T MISS: We traveled around the world for a year for work — these are the 5 most important packing tips we always follow

1. Fujifilm X-T3 ($1,499)

I've been a major Fujifilm aficionado going back to when I only shot film as a teenager. I started buying their digital cameras when the Fuji X100 came out in 2011 and have since worked my way through the Fuji X-T2 and now the Fuji X-T3

The Fuji X-T3 is a workhorse camera that can do just about anything you want while staying compact enough to carry on long trips. I now carry three lenses with me: Fujinon XF 23mm F1.4, Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2, and Fujinon XF Zoom 16-55mm F/2.8.

I could have used a longer zoom lens on safari, but that kit has covered everything else, from photographing falcon trainers in Abu Dhabi to riding camels in the Sahara.



2. Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark V ($857)

As lightweight as the Fujifilm X-T3 is, you can't bring it everywhere. When I need something ultracompact without compromising performance too much, I pull out my Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark V.

It's a point-and-shoot camera that can fit in my pocket and has a sensor that rivals some full-sized cameras.



3. MacBook Pro 13 Inch ($1,099)

I've been using MacBook Pros for over a decade and I doubt it will change any time soon. The computers are light and durable — exactly what you want in a laptop that you have on the on-the-road all the time. My Macbook Pro 2017 could be a bit faster and have a larger hard drive, but these are the compromises you make for an Apple device. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Tatcha's new $70 moisturizer kept my skin hydrated and dewy for over 8 hours — if it's in your budget, it's worth the cost

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  • Tatcha, a Japanese skin-care company known for its moisturizing mists and rice polish cleansers, has been a celebrity and makeup artist favorite for years.
  • Inspired by Kim Kardashian West's makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, Tatcha translated the properties of its cult-favorite face mist into a cream — The Dewy Skin Cream ($68)— for even more powerful moisture and makeup prep.
  • I tried The Dewy Skin Cream ($68) and it made my skin feel noticeably soft, plump, and hydrated for over eight hours. 

Before Japanese skin-care company Tatcha dropped the faintly purple Dewy Skin Cream ($68), it was already internationally beloved for the Cream's original muse, the Luminous Dewy Skin Mist ($48) and itsRice Polish Foaming Enzyme Powder ($65) (a favorite of Meghan Markle).

Enthusiastic fans of the mist include beauty editors, Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner, and Drew Barrymore — and makeup artists like Mario Dedivanovic, best known for popularizing contouring. Fatefully, Dedivanovic also counts Vicky Tsai, Tatcha's founder, as a close friend, and was one of the earliest supporters of the brand. It was with Dedivanovic in mind that Tsai made the Luminous Dewy Skin Mist, a mist that doubled as a long-lasting luminous moisturizer. Recently, the company launched a cream inspired by the mist.

Like the mist, the emollient Dewy Skin Cream addresses dry skin, uneven texture, and loss of firmness using botanical extracts, Japanese Purple Rice, and an efficient proprietary complex of Okinawa red algae and hyaluronic acid. In less scientific terms, it leaves skin looking dewy, like a pastoral milkmaid. According to Tsai's interview with Allure, the formula took about a year and a half — and dozens of formulations — before it was perfect.  

The ingredients

Japanese Purple Rice is known for its ability to survive in harsh environments. Its high concentration of anthocyanin, a strong antioxidant, works to help the skin recover from and protect against environmental damage like pollution, UV damage, and stress. The red algae and hyaluronic acid (the skin-care hero that can retain over 1,000 times its weight in water) help replenish ceramides to build up the skin's natural barrier and replenish its natural moisture reserves. The glow comes from the cocktail of ginseng, wild thyme, and sweet marjoram.  

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My experience using the Dewy Skin Cream

I've been using the Dewy Skin Cream for a few weeks, and the most surprising finding is just how long it works to keep my skin hydrated. I'll wash my face, apply the lotion, and touch my skin eight hours later to wonder absently why it feels so much more hydrated (and mysteriously plump?) than it would on any other day. Most moisturizers sink in and adequately maintain my skin's moisture level, but few appear to demonstrably improve it — and fewer do so without leaving a thick residue on the surface throughout the day. Although, to this last point, I would mention that I did experience the product balling up and pilling post-application occasionally — something that's usually due to over-application of the product (because your skin can't absorb it all). Since the Dewy Skin Cream is more efficient than plenty other moisturizers, I had to adapt to applying less of it (a bonus considering it's almost $70). But, even with the pilling, it's not difficult to rub off the excess from your skin before heading out the door or applying makeup. Either way, the benefits are worth it to me. 

Is it worth the cost?

I'll start by saying that if $68 is out of your price range, there are some great budget options to consider as well. My next favorite moisturizer at the moment, Maelove's The One Cream, comes at a much more budget-friendly $27.95 and absorbs easily without residue. It hails from a skin-care startup backed by MIT grads that churns out nothing but solid products. It's a solid option for much less money, but the Dewy Skin Cream does make my skin feel plumper and look dewier for longer, so I recommend it if you can spring the extra cost. It also doesn't hurt that the packaging is beautiful — like a mini ombre sculpture —  on your vanity, and it comes with a small applicator so you don't have to dip germy hands into your pot continually. 

Tatcha is also generally a great brand to know if you're going to regularly shop for clean, cruelty-free products. Most of its line — including this cream — is vegan, and the product will come in recyclable packaging. You can learn more at Tatcha's site here

Bottom line

All in all, it's not ideal that this cream is $68, but a little goes a long way, and it made my skin look dewy and feel plump and hydrated from morning to night. Even if it takes some adjusting to figure out the right application amount, the pilling was worth it for the glow and bounce it gave to my skin. There are plenty of solid budget options, but, if you can splurge on the Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream, you should check it out. 

Buy Tatcha's The Dewy Skin Cream at Sephora and Tatcha, $68

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4 signs you come across as highly sensitive at work, according to a career coach

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  • You can take a test to determine if you fit the highly sensitive profile, but in general, it refers to individuals who feel everything in the world around them more intensely.
  • If your imagination is always on over-drive, you take feedback seriously, and you're compassionate to others, you might be highly sensitive.
  • If you tap into your deep empathy, you can use it to move ahead at work.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Running a business is hard work. Besides the long hours and never-ending demands, there are more subtle challenges like dealing with rejection and criticism on a daily basis. The inherent uncertainty of entrepreneurship can also take a toll.

These stressors can be especially intense for highly sensitive people who make up an estimated 20% of the population.

How to know if you’re a highly sensitive person

You can take a test to determine if you fit the highly sensitive profile, but in general, it refers to individuals who feel everything in the world around them more intensely. While it’s related to introversion, highly sensitive people (HSP) react more strongly to a range of stimuli including emotions, sights, sounds, pain, and caffeine.

As an HSP, you may have felt weird growing up. Now you may feel out of place as a kind-hearted entrepreneur in a world that glorifies hard-driving hustle.

Fear not, because your sensitivity is a strength you can leverage for success. Here are the four habits of highly sensitive entrepreneurs. Sound familiar?

melody wilding

1. You have a rich inner world

Your imagination is always on over-drive. You’re constantly dreaming up new projects, which makes you an excellent innovator. Just remember to get outside of your own head. Share your vision with others who can help you bring it to life.

2. You take feedback seriously

Criticism can be hard for anyone to digest, but it hits you really hard. It may even derail you for days. But, the upside is that you have a remarkable ability to take feedback to heart and then enact change. You’re the person who leads the charge for sweeping changes and champions deep integrity.

Read more: The 8 words your emails need to get a reply, according to a career coach

3. You’re a compassionate, connected leader

HSPs are able to sense conflict and help mitigate it before it becomes a problem, which keeps their teams running strong. However, due to their difficulty with decision-making, highly sensitive people need others around them who can help them evaluate options without overthinking.

4. You have strong intuition

Have you ever made a tough call based on what your gut told you was right? If you’re highly sensitive, that might be a daily occurrence for you. That’s because your brain is great at making complex associations and spotting patterns, much of which happens outside of your conscious awareness.

Empathy: The highly sensitive entrepreneur’s secret weapon

While being an HSP may come with its fair share of challenges, it’s far from all bad. By leveraging your deep capacity for empathy, you can differentiate yourself.

Selena Soo, a highly sensitive — and highly successful — entrepreneur sums it up perfectly:

"Before I viewed my sensitivity as my biggest weakness. Today, I see it as my greatest strength. My sensitivity allows me to notice all of the subtleties around me. My sensitivity allows me to see things from many different perspectives. Most important of all, my sensitivity allows me to connect with people on a deeper level."

Are you a highly sensitive entrepreneur? How do you protect your energy and keep your stress levels down?

Melody Wilding is an executive coach, licensed social worker, and professor of human behavior at Hunter College.Her clients include high-performing managers and leaders at places like Google, Facebook, and HP.Sign up for your free guide, "The 3-Step Workday Reset," at MelodyWilding.com.

Thispost was originally published at MelodyWilding.com.

SEE ALSO: It’s better to hire a pleasant employee than a superstar, according to Harvard

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These new 'invisible' acne patches are thin enough to wear in public — and they clear my acne in just 6 hours

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Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

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  • The Mighty Patch is the best overnight acne solution I've tried in a decade-long search. 
  • It's a Hydrocolloid patch that acts as a magnet for the gunk inside a blemish, best worn overnight.
  • It also reduces exposure to germs, and is alcohol-, paraben-, and sulfate-free. Once the patch is removed, blemishes are drastically less severe.
  • The new Invisible+ Mighty Patch ($17.99, 39-count) is an ultra-thin iteration designed so you can wear them during the daytime. 
  • All in all, they are less conspicuous, but people will probably still notice if they're prominently featured. If you plan on wearing them out in public, though, they're worth buying. 

If you've dealt with acne before, somebody (or some company) has probably offered you the skin-care equivalent of "magic beans" before: an affordable acne solution that zaps away blemishes overnight. That means that every cursed pimple that shows up right before a big interview, night out, first nerve-racking date, or big beach vacation could be dealt with, damage blessedly erased, before it could really make any difference.

Like a mini Indiana Jones, I spent most of my pre-teen years engaged in a sprawling search for exactly this. I read the beauty articles, stalked the CVS aisles, and spent my minimum wage earnings on products that promised to be the next big thing. And while some were decently effective, none came within throwing distance of working overnight. Spot correctors like Mario Badescu’s famous Drying Lotion helped me recover faster, but it was still days at a time. Discovering an affordable version of Differin in my mid-twenties helped me manage surface-level bumps within two days. And a chance discovery of this cult-favorite Aztec Clay Mask with over 11, 000 five-star reviews has helped me stop most breakouts before they happen.

But that still leaves the only kind of pimples I really cared about anyway — the ones that were a bit more severe than a light, surface-level irritation, and which you’d probably see someone’s eyes wander to in a conversation. 

That's what I swear by Mighty Patch for, which I bought immediately. after reading this Insider Picks review.

To be concise, Mighty Patch is simply the best fast acne solution I've ever found. They're Hydrocolloid stickers that suck the gunk out of blemishes overnight (or, as we'll get into later, during the day) if left on top of the blemish for a minimum of six hours. Originally used to treat wounds, hydrocolloid is a super-absorbent material now being put to use in gentle acne treatments — first in South Korea, where Hero Cosmetics' CEO and Co-Founder Ju Rhyu discovered them, and now in the US thanks in part to Rhyu's startup.

I put a Mighty Patch on at night before bed and wake up to a blemish that seems to have skipped three days of healing; it's not inflamed or raised, and it no longer appears to be active. They're gentle (vegan, alcohol-, paraben-, and sulfate-free), simple, and keep the germs from the outside world and your wandering hands away so blemishes can heal and stay healed. It's my personal "magic beans" product.

And now, Hero Cosmetics has released a Mighty Patch that can be worn during the day: the Invisible+ patches. They're transparent, ultra-thin, matte to avoid reflecting light, and have tapered edges that blend seamlessly into the skin (find comparative photos below). Now, you can treat pimples in as little as six hours, no matter when they appear — no waiting for the cloak of night to get down to business. 

How to use Invisible+ Mighty Patches

Cleanse the skin, pat it dry, and apply the mighty patch on top of your blemish. Leave it on for a minimum of six hours, either during the day or overnight if you choose. Remove it to throw away once the patch has turned opaque (aka sucked up all the impurities from that spot of your skin). 

What the Invisible+ Mighty Patches are like in person

The Invisible+ Mighty Patches are the same technology as the originals, but much less conspicuous. They're thinner, more transparent (the originals have a yellowish hue) and matte so they don't catch and reflect light. They have tapered edges to help the patch blend more seamlessly into the skin. If you wear them during the day, you can add a bit of concealer on top to camouflage it effectively and avoid makeup being absorbed into the blemish.

If the Invisible+ patch is prominently featured (i.e. smack dab in the middle of your face), though, it's not going to magically look like skin close up. Having said that, though, it's preferable to me between making things worse with just concealer and going sans anything at all. And it'll likely go unnoticed in casual interactions — perfect for doing damage control on a surprise breakout while traveling, beach days, running errands, before a big job interview or date, or pretty much any other time. I've used them last-minute to address a surprise blemish in the morning and afternoon so I could go out with clear skin at night. 

Plus, the box includes two size options, so you can opt for a smaller patch for less severe blemishes. And, given their cult status, most people won't know what they are, and they're more likely to assume it's got more to do with a bandage than an active acne solution. But, ultimately, it's also good to note that it's not the end of the word even if someone does notice: as Hero Cosmetics' CEO Ju Rhyu, reminded me, "over 60 million Americans suffer from acne at some point so even though we hate it when we break out, it's a fairly normal thing." More often than not, we're all in the same boat.

My one cautionary note is to check them more frequently while you're out in the daylight if you don't dab concealer on top — once they turn opaque, they're much more noticeable, and you'll probably want to take it off.

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Price

A one-time purchase is $17.99 for 39 patches on Hero Cosmetics and Amazon. Or, you can go with a subscription (opting for a box every 30, 45, or 60 days) and save 10% [You pay $16.19].

The Mighty Patch isn't as cheap as some of our other favorite acne solutions, but it is worth the extra money. It's gentle on the skin, relatively inconspicuous (as opposed to spot solutions), and it dwarfs blemishes overnight. 

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How to get free boxes or store credit

You may end up buying them on Amazon, but Hero Cosmetics also has a loyalty program with perks that you can join. Sign up with an email, and if you spend $1, you get 1 point. After 75 points, you’ll get a free box of the originals, or $13 credit. With 150 points, you get one box of the originals and one of the Invisible+ or $31 dollars credit. If you’d rather earn points faster, refer a friend and earn 20 at once.

The bottom line

All in all, the Invisible+ are a bit less conspicuous than the originals, most so when they're first applied. However, if they're working, both the originals and the Invisible+ will eventually turn opaque and be far easier to spot — though, for what it's worth, the thinness of the Invisible+ is still less noticeable overall. For instance, having used both, I wouldn't wear the Mighty Patch Original out in public because of their thickness and color. I would, however, wear the Invisible+ in public if I thought I could get away with it based on the location of my acne.

Depending on your comfort level and where you need it (side of the face, chin, forehead underneath a baseball cap, etc.) and where you're going (beach, airplane, running errands) the still-there visibility may not matter anyway. Either way you break it down, the fact remains: the efficacy of the Mighty Patch is worth it. The added subtlety of the Invisible+ is worth it if you plan to wear them during the day or out in public. 

Buy Mighty Patch Invisible+ on Hero Cosmetics and Amazon, $17.99

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Here's exactly what millennials should be doing every five years to become rich, according to a financial planner

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rich millennial

  • Becoming a rich millennial isn't impossible.
  • A financial planner shared the key steps people should take at milestone millennial ages — 25, 30, 35, and 40 — to build wealth.
  • Millennials should be all about financial goals: identifying and prioritizing them, carrying out both short-term and long-term goals, and reassessing them as they enter a different life stage.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

There's really no one way to define "rich" — everyone measures wealth in different ways.

"I know many people who make less than $50,000 but consider themselves wealthy because of their health, family, and friends," Douglas A. Boneparth, CFP and president of Bone Fide Wealth, which offers financial planning and advice to high-net-worth millennials, told Business Insider.

But when talking pure dollars, it helps to understand what the top 1% of the country earns and has in terms of their net worth. "From an income standpoint, the top 1% of households earn around $430,000," Boneparth said. "From a net worth perspective, it's north of $10 million."

Whether you define rich as $50,000, $100,000, $1 million, or $10 million — or as quality of life in general — it's never too early to start building wealth. We talked to Boneparth about the key steps millennials should take at their generation's milestone ages to build wealth.

25: Get goal-oriented

Now is the time to focus on identifying, quantifying, and prioritizing your goals, according to Boneparth.

"Build a strong foundation for savings by mastering cash flow. This means diving into the data," Boneparth said. "What did you spend your money on over the past six to 12 months? What can you consistently save? Define a comfortable and realistic lifestyle."

Consider the NFL player Brandon Copeland: At age 27, he saves nearly all of his salary. He previously told Business Insider that saving isn't about how much you earn — it's about how much you spend. Saving money starts with tracking your expenses, which will help you figure out where to cut spending, he said.

In fact, your mid-20s is when you'll have the least amount of expenses, Alicia Butera, CFP at Planning Within Reach, previously told Business Insider. It's a time when you start making real money but are still living the college lifestyle, making for good discretionary income, she said: "Saving when you're young is crucial and most important for compounding — the longer duration you have will reap you the largest benefit."

Read more: 5 things rich millennials do differently with their money than the rest of their generation

30: Continue to build your foundation

"If you haven’t built your foundation at this point, don't delay," Boneparth said. "You should focus on satisfying your short-term goals such as cash reserves, making the standard payment amounts on your student loans, and/or saving for just about anything that you're looking to accomplish in the next four years or less (i.e. a house)."

Business Insider previously looked at the monthly savings needed to buy a home by age 35. If you start saving at age 30 for a 10% down payment on a $250,000 home, you'll need to save $400 a month — a 20% down payment would double that to $800 a month. If you started earlier, at age 25, you should continue socking away $192 for a 10% down payment or $284 for a 20% down payment on the same house.

You should also be saving cash in a high-yield savings account or money-market fund and taking advantage of any matching retirement contributions, according to Boneparth.

35: Focus on the long-term vision

"Start to make greater and greater contributions towards retirement and long-term goals if you've tackled short-term goals or have greater capacity to save," Boneparth said, adding that you should automate all savings. "Out of sight out of mind. It makes increasing savings that much easier."

Automating your finances is "the most important" first step to take in building wealth, according to David Bach, author of "The Automatic Millionaire." 

He calls it the "pay-yourself-first plan" — automating your accounts so that a portion of your paycheck moves into your 401(k) plan or savings account before you even see it, he told Business Insider in a Facebook Live interview: "When that money is moved before you can touch it, that's how real wealth is built."

Business Insider's Tanza Loudenback doubled her savings in 2018 by automating her savings in a high-yield savings account with Ally Bank, a different bank from where she keeps her checking account.

Read more: What to do in your 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s to retire with $1 million, according to financial planners

40: Revisit your goals

"Return to fundamentals and analyze cash flow again," Boneparth said. "Continue to be disciplined in spending and savings. See if your goals shifted at all and if any changes need to be made."

Your financial goals may shift as you enter the decade considered to be mid-career. This is the time when you're most likely to be earning the top tier of your income, so you should focus on outsourcing things — such as hiring an accountant to do your taxes — so you can focus on your career and extending your income and benefits, Butera previously told Business Insider.

Another thing you should be revisiting? Your net worth, and you should be doing so twice a year, according to CFP Sophia Bera in her book, "What You Should Have Learned About Money, But Never Did." Seeing how you're progressing toward your target net worth will help you stay on track with your goals.

SEE ALSO: 7 ways rich millennials spend and display their money differently than rich baby boomers

DON'T MISS: Rich millennials are creating new trends and status symbols — here are 7 ways they're redefining what luxury looks like

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