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Here's The Menu For An 8-Course Dinner Inspired By 'Arrested Development'

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bluths

"Arrested Development" fans have been gearing up for this weekend's premiere of Season 4 on Netflix in all kinds of ways.

But one of the most creative homages will come from the kitchen of Three Letters, a Brooklyn, NY restaurant that's offering an eight-course tasting menu featuring dishes inspired by gags from the sitcom.

Chef Pip Freeman even manages to make palatable versions of gross-out dishes from the show, like the "mayonegg" and "ham hot water," according to the New York Daily News.

The $45-a-head event on May 26 is nearly sold out, but Freeman says he plans to do more pop culture-themed dinners in the future.

Here's the menu ... do you recall the episodes these dishes were inspired by?

CORN BALLS: Brown butter Corn Croquettes

HOT HAM WATER: Ham Consommé with Fried Country Ham, Asparagus, and Chive Oil

MAYONEGG: Eggs Mayonnaise in a Lettuce Cup, with Sorrel Gribiche

CHICKEN GENE PARMESAN WITH SPICY CLUB SAUCE: Chicken Confit, Parmigiano Incognito, with Chili-Horseradish-Tomato Sauce

CARL WEATHERS' STEW, BABY: Chicken Bone Broth, a Potato, Carrots

IKE AND TINA TUNA, PLATE OR PLATTER: Seared Tuna, Sweet Sauce, Bitter Greens

ICE CREAM SANDWICH

FROZEN BANANA: Double Dipped, Double Nuts

SEE ALSO: The Sexiest Chefs Alive!

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17 Of The Highest-Calorie Chain Restaurant Items

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subway chicken bacon ranchMcDonald's just announced its highest-calorie single menu item ever

Oof. 

While the Japanese Mega Potato has more than 1,000 calories, that number is not shocking for fast food or even chain restaurant menu items. 

Stalwarts of indulgence like Cheesecake Factory and Burger King also made our list for their calorie-coma concoctions, along with a massive smoothie from Smoothie King.

Check out the gallery to see what you can eat to challenge the structural integrity of your waistband. 

Burger King's Triple Whopper has 1,020 calories.

"Our Triple Whopper Sandwich boasts three savory fire-grilled beef patties topped with juicy tomatoes, fresh cut lettuce, creamy mayonnaise, crunchy pickles, and sliced white onions on a soft sesame seed bun," the fast food giant writes. 



Quizno's large Veggie Deluxe sandwich has 1,060 calories.

Cheese and guacamole add calories to this otherwise healthy sub. 



Burger King's Ultimate Breakfast Platter has 1,070 calories.

The dish comes with generous helpings of sausage, pancakes, eggs, and hash browns. If that isn't enough, you also get a biscuit. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Lunch Break Ragers Are Totally A Thing In New York City [PHOTOS]

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crazy fun at the lunch party

Media company Flavorpill, along with Absolut Vodka, have come up with a new party concept called Lunch Break.  

Lunch Break is a one-hour, full-on dance party that brings the free spirit of nightlife culture to the middle of the day.

This one's for the salad warriors — for the people who normally spend their lunch hour munching on chickpeas, replying to clients' e-mails, or fiddling with their excel models.

Lunch Break offers an alternative. It encourages you to once in a while get out of your seat, bypass your usual chopped salad spot, and go to a rager for an hour. Have one drink. Dance. Then go back to work, sit in your seat, and get back to your normal routine.

How's that sound?

That's what Flavorpill has been trying to get workers around NYC to do since last summer. The media company has been planning some of the most innovative parties in the country for the last 12 years. They like mashing things up — having dancers in the Guggenheim, putting house DJs in the MoMA.  Unique experiences are in their DNA. 

Business Insider checked out the last edition, which was held Thursday afternoon in downtown New York City. Questlove, as you probably know, DJ'd.

Already know about Lunch Break? Click here to check out our experience >

Questlove is a serious DJ. Lunch Break's spinners have all been top quality. Flavorpill has picked serious New York City nightclubs as the venues. Lunch Break isn't an amateur attempt at a gimmick party, it's the real deal. 

Founder Sascha Lewis explained that the combination of aesthetics is an important part of the experience of escape. At the party, he's everywhere — part host, part hype man, dancing hard and moving incognito among the crowd.

Flavorpill is trying to use culture to transport you to a different place where all that matters is the party, he explained in a phone interview.

The music wakes people's bodies up.

"That's part of the mission of Flavorpill," said Lewis, "to get people off the couch and away from their computers and out having amazing cultural experiences."

Lunch Breaks are an idea that may have come at just the right time as more and more workers have flexible schedules and can work remotely.

Nate, a 38-year-old ad salesmen we met at the party said plainly: "As long as I get my work done, my boss doesn't care."

Nate has been to Lunch Break parties before. As he flirted with us, he said the concept was good, the music was always top notch and the women were always good looking. 

It's light-hearted fun in the middle of a work day. There were suits and creatives there. We met lawyers and even a banker, and no, he wouldn't tell us what he does. At the end of the party Flavorpill sends partiers home with a brown paper bag lunch.

Lewis is now working on expanding Lunch Break to Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

Think it'll catch on? We think it just might. See you at the next one!

The party was held at Avenue, a popular NYC nightclub, at 12:30 p.m. It was pouring, but the line kept growing.



Just so you know, this is the space before. Keep this picture in mind.



In true Flavorpill fashion there were party favors — sunglasses (pictured) and glow sticks.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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ENDING SOON: Enter To Win A Kindle Fire From Business Insider

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We're giving you a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD.  Become a newsletter subscriber now to enter.  If you're the lucky winner you will have a host of features at your fingertips.  

Entry deadline is May 31.

As a newsletter subscriber, you'll get daily updates and alerts on topics that matter most to you. You must subscribe to at least one newsletter to be eligible, so if you haven't already, be sure to choose one or more before submitting your entry.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER >

On or after May 31, 2013, we'll announce the lucky winner.

You must be a legal resident of the U.S. and a newsletter subscriber to win.

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Yep — I Am A Trust Fund Baby And I Did Nothing To Earn It

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trust fund baby

Just before my 16th birthday, my mom wrote a check from my account to buy me a BMW 328i, and that is where I learned to drive a stick shift.

That car had a lot of power under the hood, and I used and abused it. I almost crashed twice, once racing someone on the highway.

I didn’t realize how quickly I was coming up behind another car—it looked like it was standing still—until my friend riding shotgun started screaming. The car saw me and swerved out of the way just in time (thank God). The other time, I was racing another young brat in his BMW on a backcountry road. I spun out and narrowly avoided sliding into a copse of trees.

That’s what happens when you give something powerful and shiny to a 16-year-old. When I blew out the clutch on my toy, I traded it in for a luxury SUV and started driving a little more like a grown-up. So I survived high school.

Coming Into My Inheritance

I am a trust fund baby. Ever since I can remember, I knew that there was an investment account with my name on it with enough money to buy a home, in cash.

Every month, money drops into my checking account. It’s a solid middle class salary, untaxed, and it’s contingent on nothing. I don’t have to work for it, nor can anyone take it away from me if I behave badly. I did nothing to earn it, unless you count growing up without a dad—it stemmed from a wrongful death lawsuit. Every year the annuity increases by 3%, and it will continue to show up, every month, until I die.

RELATED: What Do You Do When Your Kid Inherits Money?

As far as trust funds go, it’s no Hilton fortune. My mom claims she could have negotiated for a much larger settlement, but she chose an amount that meant my sister and I could do what we love but still be motivated to earn money. (For the record, that was a really smart move.)

However, that was the extent of her financial education. In our household, budgets were not discussed: Money showed up, and we spent it. My mom seemed to take pleasure in cultivating two young women with a taste for fine dining and expensive clothes.

Then, when I turned 21, I was handed a shit ton of money. Here’s something to consider if you ever want to do the same for your kids. (When you’re done laughing, I’ll continue.) The prefrontal cortex, which helps you make responsible decisions, isn’t fully developed until you’re 25. So I wasn’t really capable of making the best decisions concerning my money. I didn’t even get a financial adviser to go along with it, just my mom’s advice to “Always pay off your credit card bill every month.” Well. That was easy.

First, I took a summer in Europe and brought along a little guide to shopping. Whenever I was bored, I took off for a new boutique. I had enough sense to back out of the stores selling $4,000 gowns. But I racked up about $15,000 on my new card in three months. Then I paid it off by selling some stocks. No big deal. When I missed my flight home, I just bought a new ticket.

Being a trust fund baby felt like a core part of my identity. You couldn’t understand me without understanding that—but I didn’t want people to know.

Managing My Money

I researched heavily before taking over my investment account. I was petrified (and still am) of making a stupid mistake that could decimate it.

When the market tanked in 2008, a year after the documents had been signed giving me control, I took the lazy route and left my investments as is. An excellent decision, it turns out.

RELATED: How to Keep Your Cool When You’re Investing

After college I moved to New York City, land of a thousand trust fund babies. As I searched for apartments, I pulled a rent number out of my butt, without ever looking at my supposed budget. “$1,400 seems reasonable, right, Mom?” She agreed. Finding a job took some time, but I was more bored than panicky.

In fact, I was the cliché everyone loves to hate. I spent my days eating organic eggs benedict at the local café, doing The New York Times crossword puzzle, then traipsing off to afternoon yoga. I fell into a group of friends who, like me, had outside financial resources (read: rich parents). We spent our money on shopping, ski trips, all-night parties with $50 entry and drugs. I could blow $350 in a weekend on coke, ecstasy and alcohol.

I felt like I was being reasonable. I enjoyed dressing well, but felt good about not buying the quilted Chanel bag I coveted. I would do weird things like walk 30 minutes downtown to avoid paying subway fare, then blow $250 on a purse when I got there. I donated lavishly to charity. One time I wired $6,000 to Thailand to help out a former tour guide who was in a financial scrape.

RELATED: Are You an Over-Giver? When Generosity Is Bad for Your Friendships

I did finally land a job I loved, and worked hard at it. I still partied, but I had the sense to keep my partying to the weekends, showing up on time and never coked up or drunk.

Leading a Double Life

Still, I felt guilty.There were clues, of course, that I had something unusual going on in my bank account. Editorial assistants are notoriously low-paid (which is probably why it attracts so many entitled white girls). At work one day, I kicked off my shoes and a coworker sang, “Caroline is wearing Prada sandals!” “They were on sale,” I retorted. (True, but they were still $350.) I felt like I was secretly being judged.

When friends embarked on apartment hunts, they’d email and ask how much mine cost, leaving me no choice but to break the news that, no, they couldn’t afford something in my neighborhood. The few vacation days I had I spent in Europe and the Caribbean. After dating a guy for a month, I would invariably blurt out, “I’m a trust fund baby!” I was sure he’d figured it out already.

RELATED:  Quiz: Do You Have Money Comparisonitis?

Being a trust fund baby felt like a core part of my identity, like my sexual orientation or being a writer. You just couldn’t understand me fully without understanding that—but I still didn’t want people to know. When I told close friends, I did it in the hushed tones of an ex-convict. Every time she got jealous, my very best friend told me, she’d remind herself that my dad was dead and hers was alive.

My sister had blown through her account on one and a half graduate degrees and five career starts. But she gave me excellent advice: Don’t pay for other people’s stuff. It can ruin a friendship. So when a friend would say she couldn’t afford dinner and just wanted to drink some wine at the apartment, I bit my tongue and agreed.

A Double-Edged Sword

I was spending $1,000 more per month than I was taking in, but it didn’t register; my investments were appreciating as the stock market recovered. I wanted to live within my means, to “live like a normal 25-year-old,” but when I wanted to buy something, I couldn’t tell myself no.

There were never any consequences. I could pay off any credit card bill with a click of a button. I knew that I wanted to keep my trust fund intact, but for what? I didn’t want to buy a home yet. I could start a business, but doing what? The only thing I really wanted to do was enjoy my life while I was still young and cute.

But I was also besieged by self-doubt. Would I be a better person if I had to struggle? Would I actually go out and get freelance assignments (instead of partying on the weekends) if I needed them to pay the bills? Should I just donate it all to charity?

RELATED: Your Ultimate Budget Guideline: The 50/20/30 Rule

Every time I had a hard day at work, I would think, “I could just quit. It doesn’t matter.” What saved me was my inherent love of writing, and the recognition that quitting would make me an insufferable brat that even I wouldn’t want to live with.

Having that money sitting there gave me license to do anything. I would always be able to bail myself out of jail, pay off a hospital bill, hire a fancy lawyer. The only thing stopping me was a sense of propriety and concern for my reputation.

Hitting (Spiritual) Bottom

Still, I knew this couldn’t be the point of life. I started to study Buddhism, with its emphasis on non-attachment to worldly things. I read nonfiction books, which told me that strong relationship bonds, not money, were the best predictor of happiness. And I discovered that there is a peculiar emptiness that comes with leaving a snobby boutique loaded down with $1,500 worth of clothes and nowhere to wear them.

Then, one day, I woke up. Literally.

I was staring at the ceiling in my apartment, remembering the fight I’d had the night before with my friend (something about her offering coke to my straight-edge sister and me complaining about it to a mutual friend). She’d stomped out and left me at the club, alone, as  the lights came on. My heart was still racing from too many uppers, and suddenly I was having a panic attack. I was sobbing, barely able to breathe. I felt hollow. Were these real friends? Was this real life? Money, I realized, had bought me a well-lined, suffocating nest.

RELATED: Fact: Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness!

It was my 25th birthday when I realized the rules applied to me too. By that I meant the rules of personal finance, like budgets and savings accounts, but also the rules of life, like choosing good friends and treating your body well. Money, I had discovered, was not a magic bullet. Working hard, a little bit of self-denial and being nice just might be.

A Fresh Start

Slowly, I started to change. I moved into an apartment with ugly brown carpeting in a boring neighborhood with a nice roommate. I started an emergency savings account, so I would stop selling off stocks to fund my whims. I made new friends who were struggling to make ends meet on their meager salaries. And I enthusiastically embraced $5 tacos for my 25th birthday dinner. I stopped doing coke.

Shopping … well, it’s still a little bit of a problem. I’m working on it.

Am I happier? I think so. I haven’t had another panic attack. I get satisfaction from watching my emergency savings rise. And I adore my friends, especially since they keep me grounded. Case in point: I’ve learned to love a summer stay-cation.

I’m also grateful for the huge safety net I have beneath me. Let me repeat that: I am so outrageously grateful for the fact that I will never end up homeless, that I can afford to have a job I love, that I don’t have student loans. Money buys me freedom from stress and worry.

But it’s true what they say: Money doesn’t buy happiness. It’s just a tool. If I use it wisely, I can inch closer to the life I want: an apartment of my own in the big city, a byline in a respected magazine and a tight-knit group of friends. As I found out—thankfully early on—it can also be a dangerous vehicle for self-destruction.

So there you go, that’s the whole, unvarnished truth. Have at me in the comments.

*The name of the contributor has been changed to protect her identity and her financial accounts.

Love reading other people’s financial tales? Check out more great LearnVest-exclusive personal stories.

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The Best Restaurant In Los Angeles Is Providence

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Providence Restaurant in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold recently released his list of the best restaurants in Los Angeles.

This is the first annual list the Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic has done for the paper.

Gold chose Providence, a fine dining restaurant in Hollywood, as the best restaurant in L.A.

But his list isn't only high-end restaurants: Kogi BBQ Taco Truck came in at number five, and pizzeria Mozza came in at number four.

Here's the list of Gold's top 20 restaurants in L.A.:

1. Providence
2. Urasawa
3. Spago
4. Mozza, etc.
5. Kogi
6. Lucques
7. Animal
8. Cut
9. Jitlada
10. Shunji
11. Rivera
12. Spice Table
13. Ink
14. Baco Mercat
15. Tasting Kitchen
16. Sea Harbour
17. Night + Market
18. Bestia
19. Hinoki and the Bird
20. Melisse

And here's a map of all the restaurants from the Los Angeles Times:


View Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants on latimes.com

SEE ALSO: The 10 Best Bars In Los Angeles >

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Inside The Stress Epidemic That Is Crushing College Students [INFOGRAPHIC]

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As if the promise of a $27,000 student debt load wasn't enough to have college kids sweating in their cargo shorts, research shows that younger generations are becoming the most stressed out people in the country.

In a telling infographic based on data from the American Psychological Association, the folks over at CollegeDegreeSearch.net take a look at what has young people so worked up.

infographic

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FAST AND FURIOUS: Check Out The Real Illegal Street Racers Of Los Angeles

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los angeles drag racing august 1997

"Fast and Furious 6" hits theaters this weekend, packed with an amazing roster of cars and over the top action sequences.

But the movie franchise would never have started without real life inspiration.

Before you head to the movies, here's a look at the real street racers of Los Angeles, where the original "The Fast and the Furious" film began.

Their driving may not be as outrageous as that of their movie counterparts, but those who choose to race illegally face the same serious, even deadly consequences.

Southern California is considered the birthplace of drag racing. Here's driver Don Garlits in 1961, racing his Chrysler Swamp Rat.

[Source: AP]



It has always been a sport that embraces unusual vehicles. Art Arfonts of Ohio named his ride the Green Monster, and he dressed to match.



Today, the cars look a bit different, but not much else has changed.



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This Waiting-List Only, Curated Site For Gadgets Just Got $1.3 Million In Funding

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GRAND ST TEAM

Grand St. might just be the hippest, most exclusive New York startup we've ever seen.

It's a curated, super-thoughtful, new gadget flash-sale site that's currently waiting-list-only for new customers — and it just closed a $1.3 million investment round

The boutique offers new products to members every other day. But, if you want to grab a product you have to move fast, the goods are only sold over the course of a week.

Imagine the Wirecutter hooked up with Gdgt, while Gilt watched, you'd have Grand St. (If you don't know what any of those sites are you should check them out, but still, keep reading.)

Grand St.'s products have included the MindWave Mobile (a headset that lets you control a toy helicopter just by thinking), unique high-tech watches like the Nooka, the Lapka, a set of environmental smart sensors that let you measure how organic your apple is, and a handful of break-out Kickstarter products.

MIND THING GRAND ST

Grand St. was started by three young, ambitious, and focused individuals. Joe Lallouz and Aaron Henshaw, both co-founders and application engineers; and Y-Combinator alum Amanda Peyton, who is the CEO. The trio has since expanded its operation bringing on four other staff who all keep the young but well-oiled gadget machine running.

Grand St. isn't just bridging the gap between the average consumer and the latest tech, its also, "creating an outlet that is educational for the everyday consumer," Lallouz says.

grand st site

Grand St. is unique in that it tests each gadget it sells, the length of time varies by product but can sometimes last weeks. The curation process is also rigorous but Grand St.'s merchant partners are delighted with the site because the start-up can convey the gadgets capabilities sometimes even better than the people who made it.

The gadget lovers initially imagined creating something like Jarvis, the futuristic butler in the popular Iron Man, films but the feat proved a little too ambitious. "We started talking to a lot of our friends who worked in hardware, and essentially realized that we'd need tens of millions of dollars to really make [Jarvis] a reality," Peyton says. Instead of venturing into a hardware start up, the three decided to sell the best hardware they could get their hands on, and Grand St. was born.

Jarvis Iron Man

Lallouz further explains Grand St.'s vision: 

...the tech-obsessed and geekier, individuals are still involved and very active in our community, but for them [Grand St.] is more or less about discovering new things. Which is great, they can go to one place where they can discover all these new things.

But we're also about educating the mainstream consumers. We're both filling the void where traditional brick and mortar stores that exist now are falling flat, as well as helping the producers and makers do a better job creating editorial content, and creating photos and videos and consumable media.

grand st gadgets

Although still in a invitation-only beta mode, Grand St.'s data suggests its user base is very diverse, "it's not only geeky people, audiophiles or the bike-obsessed...the factor that really brings people in and ties the audience together is people who are interested in new technology presented in a digestible and understandable way," Peyton said.

You may be wondering how Grand St.'s business model works and how it makes money, "we envision a liquid inventory model where we buy a certain number of products and sell through them. If we see that we're selling a lot of a particular item we'll place a second order. We take a traditional retail margin on the products," Peyton explains. "We buy directly from the manufacturer."

Grand St. is planning on opening up the site to everyone this summer, "for us, the whole invite-only period was really about testing a couple assumptions about our business model and how we wanted it to work. It also allowed us to test copy, and making sure the experience is great for our consumers. We want to make sure we have enough inventory, we want to make sure people don't come to a site that has nothing on it," Lallouz said.

Check out Grand St. and sign up for the waitlist, you just might find your new favorite toy.

SEE ALSO: Looking For Better Things To Do? Ditch The Yelp App And Use Sosh Instead >

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Vintage Apple Computer Sells For $668,000

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Apple 1 Advertisement

BERLIN (AP) — An auctioneer says one of Apple's first computers — a functioning 1976 model — has been sold for a record 516,000 euros ($668,000).

German auction house Breker said Saturday an Asian client, who asked not to be named, bought the so-called Apple 1, which the tech company's founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built in a family garage.

Breker claims it is one of only six known remaining functioning models in the world. Breker already sold one last year for 492,000 euros.

It says the computer bears Wozniak's signature. An old business transaction letter from the late Jobs also was included.

The Apple 1, which was sold for $666 in 1976, consisted of only the circuit board. A case, a keyboard and a screen had to be bought separately.

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An Architecture-Lover's Guide To New Orleans

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new orleans jackson square houzz

These days New Orleanians describe their lives using the terms "pre-Katrina" and "post-Katrina."

The devastating hurricane and its aftermath are still felt nearly eight years later. But since post-Katrina New Orleans has shed its storm-sacked facades, a canvas of design opportunity has taken root.

There's a new buzz in the city, and signs of real recovery are showing in repopulated neighborhoods where rebuilt and renovated homes in both traditional and contemporary styles are springing up.

And the energy has certainly spread outside the city's borders. The city had the second-highest number of visitors in its history in 2012. The record before that was in 2004, the year before Katrina hit.

The resilient city has endured many hardships over its past 300 years, but that's what gives it a uniqueness revered around the world.

As the celebrated birthplace of jazz and dozens of culinary specialties — gumbo and the po' boy, to name two — what has emerged is an extreme mix of ethnicities nestled between the largest saltwater lake and the largest river system in North America. If you plan to visit New Orleans — pronounced "new OR-luhns," not "new or-LEENS" or "new or-le-ANS" or "NAW-lins" — the following design-minded destinations will help peel back the storied layers of its history.

Click here to see the highlights >

More from Houzz:

See Jackson Square, a historic central area in the French Quarter, from a mule-drawn carriage.

Location: Along the Mississippi River on Decatur Street

Noteworthy: Across the street, the historic Cafe Du Monde isopen 24 hours and sells powdered beignets, a deep-fried pastry that's ubiquitous in New Orleans.

Over the centuries this historic central square in the French Quarter neighborhood once held public executions of criminals; it now hosts regular art sales and live music events. The Saint Louis Cathedral across from Jackson Square is worth a visit. The design of Jackson Square mimics the Parisian Place de Vosges.

A mule-drawn carriage, like the one seen here, can take you on a guided tour of the area. The carriages line up along the Decatur Street side. Or pop into the French Quarter Visitor Center and join a ranger-lead tour along the riverfront beginning at 9:30 a.m.

More info: Jackson Square,Cafe Du Monde, Saint Louis Cathedral, French Quarter Visitor Center



Tour the National WWII Museum that was designed by Voorsanger Architects.

Location: 945 Magazine St.

Cost: Adults, $22; seniors, $19; grades K through 12 and those with a military ID, $13

Devote a few hours to the National World War II Museum, on the edge of downtown's Warehouse District. Voorsanger Architects of New York designed this new addition — The Freedom Pavilion; it's an impressive contemporary complex with a 4-D theater, restored pieces, interactive exhibits and historical World War II–era machines.

More info: National World War II Museum



The Freedom Pavilion is a 100-foot-high space with multiple mezzanine levels. Fully restored Boeing airplanes with engines and mannequin pilots hang from above.



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20 Things We Wish Someone Had Told Us At Graduation

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Walter_Hickey

It's graduation time, and everyone is sharing their best advice for graduates.

So we decided to ask our editorial and senior staff here at Business Insider, "What do you wish someone had told you at graduation?"

Our colleagues had a lot to say, from how important it is to take care of your finances to not worrying about the first five years after graduation (you read that correctly: the first five years aren't all that important, according to SAI Senior Editor Jay Yarow). 

But advice is all relative.

As Politics Reporter Walter Hickey says, "Ignore all the advice. Statistics insist."

Alyson Shontell, Senior Reporter, SAI

"Join a startup when you graduate run by seasoned, smart founders. In an ideal world, you'll pick one that will grow far bigger than it is when you join it. Either way, you will get tremendous experience and get to try your hand at a number of different roles, which can help you decide what you actually want to do with your life. And if the company grows, your career can grow with it."


Steve Kovach, SAI Editor

"My advice is to not settle. There's a good chance your first job will be something you hate. If that's the case, don't stop looking until you land somewhere you can see yourself working for several years."



Alex Davies, Transportation Reporter

"Leave the country for at least a year. Chances are you can find a job in Europe, South America, or Asia teaching English.

You'll have a good time, and won't have to worry about a career for a year. When you come back you will seem more interesting to everyone, including potential employers.

It's not like you'll be missing out on a booming economy, either, and none of the people in my graduating class who left the country for a year had more trouble than usual finding a job upon their return."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Money Is What Keeps Couples Together — Not Love

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Bride and groom

Money, not love, is the glue that keeps couples together.

This may seem like a very shallow statement. But if you hang in there with me I think you’ll see exactly why money is more important than love . First, let me explain what I mean.

I’m not saying that money should be the objective of your relationship. Quite the opposite.

Financial success results from a partnership that works. Creating wealth can’t be your primary objective when you deal with other people if you want to be successful.

Anytime you do something just for the money you are going to feel empty and unsatisfied. Based on my own personal and professional experience I feel very strongly about that. And this goes for all relationships. Marriage, friendship and even business.

And I’m not saying that having a lot of money will make your relationship successful either. No amount of money in the world can guarantee that. So what am I referring to? I’m talking about the agreements you have with your partner about finance (how money works and what it’s for).

Without agreement on your goals, values, attitudes and financial behaviors, your relationship is doomed. One of you will dump the other or you’ll live a miserable life together. This may take weeks, months, years or decades to manifest but it absolutely will happen sooner or later. I know this sounds harsh but only because it’s true.

This is not to say that you have to agree on all things financial from the get go. Often, it takes time to see eye-to-eye on money. But if you or your “lovie dovie” aren’t willing to discuss these issues openly and honestly and be willing to change your financial behavior in a meaningful way when required, you should take a hard look at the relationship and stop kidding yourself.

I’ll give you a few examples of how my wife and I handled our financial differences. I think that might help. When we first got married, we had different opinions about charity, spending and income. Fortunately this didn’t cause too many problems. We divided up the financial responsibilities and resources. And we gave each other complete responsibility and freedom within our respective realms. We also set up separate checking accounts. That’s what worked for us at first.

But this wasn’t a perfect solution. We did have our differences about spending and every now and then, it caused angst.

My bride is anything but a spendthrift but she was more willing to open up the purse strings to enjoy life. I was still living in a great deal of financial fear when I started my career. I can honestly tell you that I was way too tight for no good reason. But we were both convinced that we were right and the other was being silly.

We eventually learned that we had to honestly address each other’s values and concerns. And we each had to compromise. We had to listen to each other. Really listen and hear what the other was thinking and understand what they were feeling. Then we had to actually implement the agreements we came up with. Agreement without action has no value. Until we did that, we figuratively slugged it out.

So when I say that money is more important than love I’m really saying that a relationship is in jeopardy as long as money disagreements go unaddressed. All the love in the world isn’t going to solve that problem. Money problems will beach your love boat whether or not you fight about them, ignore them or lie to yourself and tell yourself that everything is fine and/or will work out.

Until you fix what’s broken, the problem isn’t going to disappear. And as long as there is a basic structural fault in your financial foundation, you are walking on very thin ice. You are wasting your time and your partner’s time. You are either being enabled or enabling. Either way, you are being unfair to each other because you are both stuck.

Money symbolizes security and happiness. That’s because, to some extent, money provides those things. Take the time to listen to how your other half thinks and feels about money. As you listen, ask yourself,”what is right about what they are saying” rather than thinking of ways to protect your position. Make sure your partner/spouse does the same. If you are willing to do this and your huggie bear isn’t – it may be time to find a new companion.

Come up with tangible and meaningful ways to improve your joint financial life over the short and long run. Then put those changes in place immediately. If either of you are unable to do this, I strongly recommend that you seek counseling.

There is a lot at stake when it comes to money and your relationship. My experience tells me that you can never be happy with another person if there is wide disagreement on money and/or disconnects between shared values and actions. This is true no matter how much two people love each other.

What has been your experience? Have you seen this issue come up in your own life or in the lives of others you are close to?

SEE ALSO: Make Your Life Completely Paperless In 14 Days

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3 Teeth-Whitening Products That Actually Work

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smileRemember that episode of Friends when Ross be-bops his way around a black-lit dance club with his glowing smile as the center of attention (and the butt of all the jokes)?

That slightly irrational fear has kept me from whitening my own teeth, but beauty experts all stress how a bright smile contributes to maintaining your youthful looks. 

So, as I approach 30, I'm finally succumbing to the idea of brightening up my chompers. True to Jessie form, I've researched and experimented with a handful of different ways to de-stain and whiten teeth in order to find the best options.

And naturally, I just had to share my findings with you here. Ahead, my three picks on how to whiten your teeth before it's time for dentures. 

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, $6.60, available at Soap.com.

I always like to try natural versions of a treatment before relying on something chemical-based, and one of the first things I tried was the long-standing remedy of brushing with baking soda. 

At first, I assumed that it was an old wives' tale, but after hearing so many positive accounts, I decided to give it a go for one week. I mixed a teaspoon of baking soda with water and brushed with the paste twice a day, and noticed a subtle brightening. The best part? I already had a box of soda in the fridge, so it cost me literally nothing.

Rembrandt Intense Stain Dissolving Strips, $22.99, available at Rembrandt.

I tried these back during my college days, and while I remembered them working quite well, I hated how look it took and the sensitivity they left behind.

But once I saw what a difference baking soda made in my overall look, I thought whitening strips might be worth another stab. So, I tried Rembrandt Intense Stain Dissolving Strips. While I whiled away the short 10 minutes, I tried to not annoy my husband by lisping through my sentences. When I went back into the bathroom to do a quick rinse and check out the results, I was totally blown away at the difference after only one strip. Bonus: They dissolve during use and taste quite nice! 

I used it three more times that week, every other day, and experienced zero sensitivity. I actually had to stop myself from continuing in fear that I really would overdo it like Ross.

Your dentist's teeth-whitening technology

Thankfully, I never needed to move on to this step, but if your stains are more than surface-level-deep, you may want to explore having the procedure done at your dentist's office. My editor tried this route using Zoom, the latest in LED technology by Philips. And, while it will cost you, she was beyond ecstatic with the results. Her enamel hue brightened by three shades. Plus, it only took 45 minutes. 

Alright, now it's your turn to dish: Have you whitened your teeth before? You've got to share what did or didn't work here in the comments, and I'd love to know what other methods I might've missed!


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People Have No Idea What Movie Will Win At Cannes

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steven spielberg oscars

For the last week and a half, people in Cannes have been trying to figure out the tastes of Steven Spielberg’s jury – and now that the festival is reaching a conclusion without any one film asserting itself the way “Amour” did last year or “The Tree of Life” the year before, the guessing game has gotten more difficult and more feverish.

The Palme d’Or is harder to call than it’s been since 2009, when a jury headed by Tim Burton opted for the aggressively weird “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” over “Of Gods and Men,” “Biutiful,” “Certified Copy” and “Poetry,” among others.

And it has left festival-watchers grasping at the thinnest of clues, or trying to create clues out of thin air.

Spielberg makes movies about kids and parents – does that mean he’ll respond to “Like Father, Like Son?”

Nicole Kidman was spotted wiping away tears as she left “The Past” – is that a good sign?

Directors outnumber actors on the jury five to four – will the choice be a real director’s statement (“The Great Beauty,” “A Touch of Sin”) as opposed to a movie with a dominant lead performance (“Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Nebraska”)?

Also readCannes Juror Nicole Kidman: I’ll Judge on the Purity of the Filmmaking

Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past” was the festival’s first movie to get a Palme d’Or buzz, the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” seized a little momentum last weekend, and Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color” was the critical sensation of the last few days.

(It doesn’t hurt the buzz to have a critical sensation with a graphic 20-minute teen-lesbian sex scene, but what will it mean to the jury?)

The bottom line is that most people have little idea what’s liable to come out on top, though everybody in Cannes will be watching the red carpet at Sunday’s awards ceremony to see who’s still in town – or more importantly, who’s back in town.

That’s because while Cannes organizers don’t reveal any of the winners ahead of time, they do suggest to the appropriate people that it’d make sense for them to attend the ceremony, even if it involves returning to town. So if somebody shows up for the ceremony, there’s a decent chance their movie is going to win something.

Before those clues become evident, speculation swirls around a handful of titles. AtRogerEbert.com, Ben Kenigsberg predicts “Blue Is the Warmest Color” for the Palme, with “The Immigrant” taking the second-place Grand Jury Prize and “The Great Beauty” winning the Jury Prize.

Duncan Houst at FilmMisery agrees about “Blue” on top but puts “Like Father, Like Son” second and “The Past” third, while John Gilpatrick at the John Likes Movies blog goes with “The Past” to win, “Like Father” to place and “Borgman” to show. And Neil Young, who’s been doing this longer than most at Neil Young’s Film Lounge, goes with “The Past,” followed by “The Great Beauty” and “Grisgris.”

And perhaps this tweet from filmmaker Jamie Stuart is worth bringing up at this point: “One thing to remember as you read the Cannes tweets from journalists: they’re ALWAYS wrong with their awards predictions. Pay no attention.”

The last two films to screen at Cannes, Roman Polanski’s “Venus in Fur” and Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive,” don’t show up in many predictions.  The Polanski film, an adaptation of the David Ives play about a theater director mounting a production of the Sacher-Masoch novel “Venus in Furs,” won raves for his leading lady (who also happens to be his wife), Emmanuelle Seigner, and plenty of comments about how its other character, the director played by Mathieu Amalric, was clearly a Polanski stand-in of sorts.

“Both funny and strangely sensual, it begins with the air of a throwaway screwball comedy and ends up  more weird and biting,” said Dave Calhoun in Time Out London.

Jeff Wells called it “one of [Polanski’s] modest, minor efforts a la ‘Death and the Maiden.’”The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw found it to be an “enjoyably hammy, stagey two-hander…daring in its verbose and middle-aged way.”

Griped Jessica Kiang at the Playlist, “beneath a brittle veneer of verbal dash and cleverness this stagebound adaptation has little insight to give us into anything except the sexual hubris of an aging man, and frankly, we’re not sure we give a damn.”

Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive,” meanwhile, was lauded in many circles as an entertaining and stylish vampire flick – but let’s face it, vampire flicks don’t really win the Palme no matter how entertaining and stylish they are.

“It’s a designer doodle of a dream, like much of Jarmusch’s work, though it’s clear some effort has gone into making it appear this cast-off,” wrote Guy Lodge at In Contention. “…I suspect this is a fans-only effort, however en vogue the vampire genre may be these days.”

On the other hand, Jarmusch and stars Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston certainly make one of the most eye-catching trios to hit the Cannes red carpet this year.

And finally, I guess we missed this one while reporting on the winners in the Un Certain Regard and Directors Fortnight sections, and the Fipresci critics’ prize, and the Cinefondation awards … but the Palme Dog, which and goes to the best canine actor at each Cannes (really, it does), went to Baby Boy, who plays Liberace’s poodle in “Behind the Candelabra.”

Some people thought they were going to have to rename the award this year and give it to the cat from “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Goes to show you how nobody knows anything when it comes to Cannes awards.

Answers will be forthcoming, in the evening in Cannes and the morning in Hollywood.

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How Liberace Hid The Fact He Was Gay During The Homophobic '50s

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liberace in his home

The ‘50s, like the decades leading up to them, were an intensely homophobic period. Muscle cars and macho men were the order of the day. Although Lee knew that many of Hollywood’s most famous and desirable men were gay or bisexual, none of them dared reveal the truth.

Lee confessed to me that he began dating women to suppress the growing rumors about his own sexuality. If anyone dared to question his masculinity, he needed to be able to flaunt pictures of his latest girlfriend.

Also read: 'Behind the Candelabra' Review: Sex, Lies & the Closet at Cannes

He had no trouble getting all the dates he wanted and he gloried in escorting well-known entertainers to parties, getting his picture taken with Susan Hayward, Gale Storm, Rosemary Clooney, Mae West, and Judy Garland. Mae was the only one of his so-called lady friends I actually met. As they say in Texas, Mae was a hoot! She and Lee were an unpredictable twosome who enjoyed trying to outdo each other’s outrageousness.

The girl he almost married didn’t compare to Mae when it came to nerve. JoAnn Del Rio, a Las Vegas dancer, had good looks and a sweet personality. Undoubtedly the entire Liberace family heaved a sigh of relief as they watched her relationship with Lee progress. For a while, it must have seemed as if Lee would finally settle down to a “normal” life and have a family.

Lee and JoAnn became engaged in 1953 and even set a date for a wedding -- a year away. From all reports, Lee liked JoAnn a lot, a first for him when it came to women. He courted her with gifts of flowers and perfume, gifts that foreshadowed the truly extravagant presents he would later give his male lovers.

When it came to JoAnn, the problem was not that he didn’t like her; it was that he still loved men. After Lee’s death, JoAnn’s father was reported to have claimed responsibility for ending the engagement because he knew Lee was gay. But Lee told me he never planned to walk down the aisle, with JoAnn or anyone else. His engagement served to squelch the rumors about his sexuality --period!

Many homosexual men enjoy relationships with women. There are a few who even come to love them, as friends or as temporary sexual partners. Not Lee! He had to forcibly control his dislike and distrust of most of the women he dated. He complained that all of them were too demanding, an opinion of females that he’d formed in childhood.

Also read: 'Behind the Candelabra': First Trailer for Soderbergh's Liberace Film (Video)

When I asked if he’d ever had sexual relations with a woman he told me he’d had a couple of experiences, but complained that the way women smelled revolted him. While dating JoAnn publicly, he confessed that he continued to have secret dates with young men. By the end of 1955, JoAnn Del Rio was just a footnote to Liberace’s history.

The older Lee got, the more younger men appealed to him. In that regard, he was a Dracula who never wearied of the taste and touch of youth. By his 50s he preferred dating boys in their teens.

There have been rumors that Lee had an affair with Rock Hudson early in their careers. But Rock wasn’t any more Lee’s type than Lee was Rock’s. The supposed affair never happened. In the years we were together, Lee never mentioned knowing Rock. Although hundreds of celebrities came to Lee’s shows, Rock never made an appearance. The two men moved in completely different circles, socially and professionally.

However, the books I’ve read about Hudson’s life reveal startling parallels to Lee’s. Both men had been abandoned by their fathers and dominated by their mothers. As adults the two of them devoted a great deal of time and energy to creating a fictional personal history for public consumption.

liberace scott thorsonNeither man could deal with anything distasteful -- an argument, the illness of a parent, getting rid of a lover -- and both used others to do their dirty work.

Lee never used male prostitutes. He was an intensely romantic man who preferred the thrill of the chase rather than the cold reality of a cash transaction. Young men eager to make a connection with a big show-business personality usually jumped at the chance for a date with him. He used his success, his fame as foreplay. If they pleased him he would keep them around for a while -- a week, a month, a year or two. If not, he would send them on their way with a gift. generous to friends who granted him favors.

During those first years of fame, he became even more skilled at leading a double life. Onstage he smiled sweetly and flirted with his fans. In private he built an enormous and expensive collection of pornography that he shared at all-male parties. Although the family never discussed Lee’s sexual identity, they had to know he was gay. His mother may have known, too. But she undoubtedly thought there was nothing wrong with her son that the right woman couldn’t cure.

Touring abroad gave him an occasional break from his problems. He said he felt safer, more free to be himself in countries where his name was not yet a household word. In the mid-‘50s he was invited to play the famed London Palladium and he jumped at the offer. To be asked to perform there signaled Lee’s arrival as a star of international magnitude. He would have other, greater thrills, but that first show at the Palladium ranked right up there with his first appearance in the Hollywood Bowl. London, he said, sounded like heaven. Before he returned to the States it was to feel more like hell.

Lee’s enthusiastic British audiences were very much like the ones he attracted in the States -- mostly middle-aged, working- class housewives. He enjoyed a huge box-office success in Britain, but the critics united in attacking him. One columnist for the London Daily Press launched an all-out war, describing Lee as a “deadly, sniggering, snuggling, giggling, fruit-flavored, mincing, ice- covered heap of mother love.”

For the first time in his career Lee was publicly branded as gay, and it devastated him. He imagined himself stripped of his fame, success, wealth, and power -- all the things he’d worked so hard to achieve. He burned with impotent rage for days. In Vegas, where he had connections, he’d have known exactly how to handle the situation. He’d have used his influence, his power, or his dangerous friends. But in London he felt helpless. So he struck back in the only way he could. He sued.

Lee didn’t care what the lawsuit cost in time, effort, or money. Money was surely no obstacle to the highest paid performer in the world. In the past he’d used his wealth to attract friendship and love. In England he used it as a tool to buy vindication and revenge.

Lee made up his mind to prove, for all time, that he wasn’t gay, even if it meant bringing another woman into his life. This time she would be far better known than JoAnn Del Rio.

Sonja HenieSonja Henie had been the world’s premiere figure skater in the 1920s and ‘30s. She’d parlayed 10 world championships and three Olympic gold medals into an enormously successful show-business career. Blonde, blue-eyed, she had an attractive figure and, more important, a celebrity name.

Sonja was seven years older than Lee and her fame was waning when they met. I think mutual need drew them to each other. Together, they generated more publicity than either one could separately. The aging skater merited a lot of space in movie magazines and tabloids when she became the woman Liberace spent his evenings with.

Lee’s acquaintances describe Sonja as a motherly type; but Lee told me they had an affair. If he was being honest -- and with Lee you could never be sure -- it would be his last relationship with a woman. After the London court case came to an end Lee never again felt the need to camouflage his true nature by dating ladies.

In 1959 Lee was completely vindicated and his name cleared. On June 9, the New York Daily News ran an article under the headline “I’m No Home, Says Suing Liberace.” Before the year ended he was completely vindicated; his name and reputation were freed of any blemish.

Lee’s lawyers had managed a miracle. They’d actually convinced a judge and jury that black was white. Lee was awarded a $22,500 settlement. He gave every penny of it to charity.

From 1959 on Lee turned to the courts whenever he failed to get his way by other means. His lawyer soon found that handling Liberace’s considerable legal affairs provided a lucrative livelihood. Given Lee’s stubbornness, his power, and his money, he usually got what he wanted by simply wearing his opponents down. When Lee and I finally confronted each other in a court of law, the bitterly contested case dragged on for five years.

In the coming years Lee’s vindication in the British courts would have one penalty. As America’s social climate became increasingly liberal, other gays came out of the closet. Lee felt compelled to keep his silence.

“I can’t admit a thing,” he said, “unless I want to be known as the world’s biggest liar.”

Adapted from "Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace" (Tantor Media; May 2013) by Scott Thorson with Alex Thorleifson, now with an afterword written by Scott Thorson.

SEE ALSO: Seth MacFarlane won't host the Oscars next year >

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Now There's A New Thing For Thrill-Seeking Idiots To Do: 'Slacklining'

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Austrian slacklines in Frankfurt
FRANKFURT
, May 25 - An Austrian man tip-toed along a line strung 185 meters (607 feet) off the ground in Frankfurt on Saturday, attempting to set a new world record for "highlining" despite his fear of heights.

Reinhard Kleindl, 32, used only his arms to balance as he walked twice along a 30-metre-long polyester rope anchored to the two wings of Frankfurt's U-shaped skyscraper Tower 185 above hundreds of cheering supporters.

Kleindl said he was trying to set a new record for walking the highest urban highline, but no one was immediately available from the World Slackline Federation to confirm if this was a new record.

According to Kleindl, the previous record was set by a group of French adrenaline junkies on a line about 120 meters above the ground, between the Les Mercuriales twin towers in Paris, two years ago.

Unlike tightropes, slacklines are not held rigidly taut, making it harder to balance.

After completing his walks, Kleindl whooped with joy and admitted he was a bit afraid of heights.

"The effect of the height was worse than I had expected. The straight lines of the building just seem to drop down into infinity," said the long-haired and bearded Austrian.

Kleindl, who studied particle physics before becoming a professional slackliner, was due to repeat his walk three times during a two-day skyscraper-themed festival that started on Saturday.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

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SEX-AT-WORK SURVEY: The Results Are In!

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pam pregnant


Last week, BusinessWeek columnist Liz Ryan stirred things up by publishing a column titled "The Truth About Sex At Work."

Sex at work, Ryan suggested, is a lot more common than most people think.

So instead of acting like a bunch of mortified Puritans about sex at work, Ryan continued, we should just acknowledge the reality and talk about it.

Well, we wanted to find out just how prevalent sex at work really is these days, as well as what folks think about it.

So we put together a sex-at-work survey.

Some of the results were quite startling.

And with about 2,500 responses, this was one of the most popular surveys we have ever done.

So, without further ado...

Almost everyone thinks we should be allowed to have sex with our colleagues.



Even more people think we should be allowed to have sex with colleagues we don't work directly with. (So some people, presumably, think that we should NOT be allowed to have sex with colleagues we work with.)



But there is a limit! Most people do not think managers should be allowed to have sex with their subordinates.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Why You Should Do Absolutely Nothing This Memorial Day

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Hammock_sleepLOS ANGELES

Michael Ray Smith and his wife, Barbara Jean, are exceedingly pleased about what they are not going to do on their coming vacation: travel or sightsee; visit museums; go to plays, movies, or amusement parks; window-shop; gamble. The list goes on: They will not visit family or friends, play cards, hike, water-ski, sky-dive, or go bungee jumping.

Instead, the college professor and his wife, an elementary school teacher, have chosen to fill their daily activity schedule for four weeks straight with just two agenda items:

(1) diddly, and (2) squat.

"We do read, but the main event is to do absolutely nothing," says Mr. Smith, a communication studies professor at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. "Our goal is to recharge, reboot, disconnect, mentally let go." He says they still have to water the plants and cut the grass, "but mostly we practice the fine art of porch- or gazebo-sitting."

RECOMMENDED: Top 5 ways to save on your summer vacation

The North Carolina couple has a 20-by-30-foot wooden deck facing a stand of trees that blocks sight of the neighboring house. They have an electric fan to foil mosquitoes, and several sofas and deck chairs arranged for relaxation – and nothing else. This will be their third year in a row in which they have spent a month exploring the virtues of idleness over activity. "I think this is what everyone needs, especially educators," says Smith. "Time off is not just time off, but time to recharge."

The Smiths represent a growing trend in America. Evidence is mounting that as people eye the beckoning barn door signaling "summer" – Memorial Day weekend – most don't seem able to disconnect from the workplace like they did in the old days. The word "vacation" originates from the Latin "vacatio," meaning freedom from occupation. Yet, despite all the wistfulness that term might evoke – for Arcadian days of youth frolicking at beaches, lakes, or mountain cabins – more and more people can't free themselves from their laptops or daily lives that have become as frenetic as a food processor.

Here is some of the mounting evidence from a 2012 survey from Fierce, Inc., a Seattle-based leadership development and training firm, that queried more than 1,000 executives and employees in multiple fields about their vacations:

• 58 percent said they received no stress relief from their time off.

• 27.3 percent of employees, in fact, felt more stressed after vacations.

• 41.6 percent of workers checked in with the office at least every other day.

• Only 8.9 percent of respondents achieved what they considered a state of complete relaxation while on vacation.

If all this lack of letting go smacks of hired consultants defining a problem so they can sell you a solution (more on this later), consider the growing lexicon being born before our eyes. In just the past few years, several terms have popped up and become commonplace to describe an America that is too plugged-in and overactive, including "nomophobia" (fear of being out of mobile phone contact), "attention fragmentation disorder" (focus flitting incessantly from one medium to the next), and "FOMO" (fear of missing out on any social media missive, from an iguana video to a recipe for lutefisk).

The solution to these problems, of course, has its own vocabulary: "techno-fasting," "braincation," "digital detox." There are also new definitions of "roughing it" (leave your cellphone charger at home) and "back to basics" (cancel your cellphone plan altogether).

Vacations are no longer about just getting away for a few days, or even weeks, but rather figuring out how to pursue nothing during your time off. Take that cooking course you've been putting off for years? No. Hammock time? Yes. Bike through Patagonia? No. Meditation retreat? Yes. Pound the pavement of Boston's Freedom Trail? No. Feet up on Aunt Mina's creaky wooden porch in Akron, Ohio? Yes.

"In short," says Janet Sternberg, an assistant professor at Fordham University in New York who studies societal responses to stress, "unplugging has become fashionable, and unplugging can be an important step on the path to doing nothing."

"Unplugging has become fashionable, and unplugging can be an important step on the path to doing nothing."

Somebody call Jean-Paul Sartre and ask him to crack off a tome on the existential goal of "no goal." Actually, check that. People are already writing that treatise.

According to Dr. Sternberg, Douglas Rushkoff, a social critic, and Tiffany Shlain, a digital-media expert, have suggested that people set aside "technology sabbaths" – periods of time, each week, in which families disconnect from technology and focus on alternative activities. Sternberg also points to Susan Maushart's 2011 book, "The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale," which describes a six-month experiment at untethering her family from their media habits.

Relevant as well, says Sternberg, is writer Richard Louv, whose 2005 bestseller about saving the Digital Generation from "nature deficit disorder" – by introducing them to that quaint thing called the woods – was followed up with another book: "The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age."

"[T]he future will belong to the nature-smart – those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of nature, and who balance the virtual with the real," writes Louv. "The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need."

* * *

Renée Peterson Trudeau and her husband, John, had been looking forward to a wedding anniversary trip to New Orleans for more than a year. The couple from Austin, Texas, had plans to feast on decadent food and late-night beignets, soak up cultural sites, and ply the world-famous jazz haunts of the French Quarter. But when the trip was just three weeks away, both saw spikes in their workloads, so they mutually agreed to dramatically shift course.

"We both frankly confided to each other that although we had been looking forward to this romantic getaway for a long time, upon reflection, what we really needed more than the rich food and stimulation was to keep things simple, rest, relax, and immerse ourselves in nature," says Ms. Trudeau, a life coach and author.

They booked a remote cabin in an old-growth forest in Big Sur, Calif., where they hiked, explored the coast, and took naps. They came home refreshed, rested, and happy.

"This change of plan taught us that sometimes when we do less, we experience more," says Trudeau. "Being more intentional and designing a vacation that allowed us lots of time to rest and soak in natural wonders was exactly what we needed."

George Simpson will be relaxing by overlooking a body of water early this summer, too – just from a different vantage point. Mr. Simpson, who owns a public relations business in Connecticut, will be going with his family on a Mediterranean cruise from Athens to Istanbul, Turkey, in June. They want to get away from friends, neighbors, the office, teachers, employers

The only iron-clad rule for the trip: no electronic connectivity to the rest of the world. No video games, computers, cellphones, or anything with the prefix "i" (iPhone, iPad, iPod). His children were initially iRate.

"What you notice when you unplug is how utterly pervasive media is around you," says Simpson, who purposely left his BlackBerry at home when taking his kids on a spring break vacation in 2011. "On the beach, at the pools, in the restaurants, folks all around us were plugged into an electronic this or that. Suddenly, even the muzak at every venue, including the weight room and the spa, was annoying."

Since that outing, he has forbidden his kids – now ages 16, 18, and 22 – from texting at the dinner table, or even having a cellphone or computer in their rooms at night.

One reason it's so hard to unplug and relax is because of the blurring lines between work and play. Sternberg notes that "we use the same devices for work that we also use for entertainment, making it more difficult than ever before to separate the professional from the personal."

Stephanie Nash has a way to get around that conundrum: a complete cocoon of quietude. The actress and meditation teacher plans to camp on a hill this summer overlooking the Pacific. She will have no electronic – or human – companions.

"My goal is to not see or talk to another human being the entire time and to otherwise do nothing," says Ms. Nash, who has lived elbow-to-elbow with people for the past 35 years in either New York or Los Angeles. "My careers all involve frequent, intense, and intimate contact with other people, and I used to call this trip my 'people fast.' We go without food to cleanse our system. Well, I go without people to cleanse mine."

* * *

Not surprisingly, as more people become interested in disconnecting from technology and the omnitasking of everyday life, more businesses are catering to those impulses.

Marriott, the big hotel chain, is offering what it calls technology-free "braincation" zones at eight luxury resorts in the Caribbean and Mexi-co. Inside these designated areas, signs politely ask people to refrain from using cellphones and other electronic devices, and encourage guests to unplug and unwind. For those who might become dyspeptic from such deprivation, the resorts often stock the marked-off areas with books, magazines, and board games.

Marriott decided to set up the zones after surveying travelers about technology use. They noticed the ubiquity of electronic devices, at the beach and in hotel lobbies, and wanted to know, as Terence Gallagher, executive vice president of Lou Hammond & Associates, which represents Marriott, puts it, the "role technology was playing in adding to consumers' stress."

Apparently, quite a bit. Eighty-five percent of respondents reported being annoyed by someone speaking loudly on a phone, and 50 percent acknowledged checking their e-mails and voice mails multiple times a day. Perhaps most telling, 31 percent said they had been tempted to throw their mobile device into the ocean. Marriott decided to set up the equivalent of no-smoking zones for the Twitter era rather than end up with an underwater iPhone reef.

Other resorts are taking the cold-turkey concept even further. At Little Palm Island, a 5-1/2-acre retreat in the Florida Keys, vacationers can swim, dive, snorkel, sail, and enjoy massages. The tropical bungalows have no phones or TVs, and Wi-Fi is limited to a specified "great room" unless otherwise requested. Signs posted all over the island remind guests to refrain from using mobile devices anywhere – including the beach. A pool attendant once received a standing ovation for asking someone breaking the cellphone rule to take the conversation to his room.

Destinations are trying to attract the "let's decompress" crowd with more primal pursuits, too. A whole network of farms has sprung up across the country offering vacationers the chance to leave the hubbub of urban life and mingle with pigs, poultry, and Holsteins.

"Awake to the crow of the rooster and a homemade breakfast like grandma used to make," says one website (Pafarmstay.com) promoting agricultural bed-and-breakfasts across Pennsylvania. "Enjoy the antics of our barnyard animals. Take the time to enjoy life and relax with a farm stay!"

Another network, Feather Down Farms, pitches "haycations" for families who can participate in the chores on a working farm or just watch how it's all done. Guests stay in European-style tents that are anything but the canvas Boy Scout kind. They have wood stoves, plank floors, bunks, and working toilets – all softly lit by oil lamps. It's part of an experience that, according to the Feather Down website, is far away from "mass and plastic fun."

* * *

Americans have good reason for wanting to take a respite from the demands and tweets of daily existence. A growing body of research shows that relaxing vacations can help people be less intense at home and more productive on the job.

Just taking a vacation, period, seems to help. Americans are notorious workaholics: A 2012 survey by Harris Interactive found that Americans were expected to leave an average of 9.2 days of vacation unused – a 48 percent increase from just the year before. Another poll, by workplace consultant Right Management, part of the ManpowerGroup, found that one-third of employees have lunch at their desk each day, and another one-third take no lunch at all, or only occasionally.

All this is leading to a growing group of theorists arguing that the best way to be healthier, happier, and more productive is to spend more time doing less.

[Theroists argue] that the best way to be healthier, happier, and more productive is to spend more time doing less.

Sleep alone can make a difference, which is something many people say they do while on do-nothing vacations. A recent Harvard Medical School study estimated that sleep deprivation is costing US businesses $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.

Regular time off can boost focus and creativity, too. One study conducted for Air New Zealand by former NASA scientists found that vacationers experienced an 82 percent increase in job-performance after their time away from work.

Some companies, as a result, are tracking workers who are not taking enough vacation days, reminding them that a week of idleness can be as important as what's in their in-box. A small but growing number of firms are also allowing unlimited paid vacations. Instead of a fixed-vacation plan – say, three weeks a year – workers can take time off when they want it.

It's one way to attract new employees – particularly in Silicon Valley, where much of the experimentation is going on – but it's also seen as a tool to prevent turnover and burnout. Firms adopting the policy have reported little abuse of the concept so far: Employees usually give plenty of notice before they take off and don't take an inordinate amount of vacation time.

Still, not everyone believes people need to unplug to be better human beings and that doing nothing on vacation is a particularly high-minded idea. They argue that people are perfectly in control of their habits and choices. Paul Levinson, a communications and media studies professor at Fordham University, for one, says going "phoneless or Internet-less is one of the worst ideas to come along in years."

"Communication scholars have known for decades that people thrive when in contact with the information they need," says Mr. Levinson, author of "New New Media," in an e-mail interview. "Indeed, Arthur C. Clarke pointed out decades ago that we can survive longer without food and water than we can cut off from essential information."

Critics of the disconnect theory believe that living like a Luddite for a few weeks, or sitting passively in a recliner, is more mindless than recuperative.

"We're perfectly capable of not using [technology] to check in online if we prefer to do something else," says Levinson. "But by having it in reach, it's available whenever we need information – whether the location of a good restaurant, the start time of a movie, or just to send a message to people in our family that we're thinking of them."

Sensing money in this logic, some resorts are working in the opposite direction – going out of their way to chase the hyperconnected crowd. Many of these efforts are aimed at people in their 20s and 30s who seem to be deeply preoccupied with gadgetry and social media. To feed the high obsession, hotels have created lounge areas with techno furniture, chai lattes, designer cocktails, and lots of electrical outlets to provide Millennials with a venue for their isolated togetherness.

"They can be having fun in a crowd while being on the cloud," says Chris Klauda, a vice president of D.K.Shifflet & Associates Ltd., a travel research firm in McLean, Va.

Fine. Just don't tell that to Mark and Lori Russo. The couple from Odenton, Md., doesn't care about clouds or computers or even hotels, for that matter. When they are on vacation, they are on vacation.

A few years ago, they discovered "The Three Chimneys," a B&B on the Isle of Skye, off the west coast of Scotland, and they go back regularly.

"We love getting up in the morning and not being sure what day it is or what time it is, and not having a desire to even check," says Mr. Russo, who runs a golf school in the United States. He says they have "done the tourist thing and seen the country, but for us, we need this time to reconnect with each other and to recharge our batteries."

The couple's favorite activity is to sit in their room and ruminate on the rocky outcrops of Dunvegan Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland (800 years). No cell service exists in the area. There's only books, scenery, and what Ms. Russo, a public relations executive, calls "great conversation."

"We wouldn't have it any other way," she says.

RECOMMENDED: Top 5 ways to save on your summer vacation

Barbara O'Connor would concur. Retired after 42 years as a communications/media professor, Ms. O'Connor goes out of her way to disconnect from her life with students and other incessant demands. Her new ritual is to disappear several times a year, often to the mud and hot-spring spas of Napa Valley, about an hour from her home in Sacramento, where she remains a professor emeritus at California State University. Her only requirement: that none of the spas have an Internet connection.

"Being quiet for an extended period helps me think more deeply...," says O'Connor.

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Where To Stay And Party In The Hamptons This Summer

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hamptons poolFor many New Yorkers, heading to the Hamptons isn’t just about the beach — it’s about the hopping nightlife.

When the weather gets warm, it’s the Hamptons, not Manhattan, that becomes the place to see and be seen after dark.

The first step in planning your Hamptons party weekend is choosing where to sleep when the partying is done, and we’ve saved you time by selecting five hotels to suit different tastes — and pairing each with a cool party spot of a similar style.

Don’t forget your designated driver.

Stay: The Trendy Hot Spot

The 24-room Capri Southampton received a beach-chic makeover in 2011, and the new owners brought in a BLT Steak and Lacoste uniforms for outdoor staff.

These brand names attract a certain social crowd — the kind that drinks champagne and munches on seafood while mingling poolside.

Party: The Bathing Club

At this trendy hotel, the party is at your front door — literally.

The rooms are all on the first floor and doors open up right to the grounds that surround the pool lounge, dubbed The Bathing Club.

Lounge music pumps through the outdoor speakers, and live DJs spin on Fridays and Saturday nights.

Guests can relax on daybeds and cushioned chairs, and on the weekends cocktails are served by the pool until 2 a.m.



Stay: The Cheap Crash Pad

Finding an affordable spot to crash in the ritzy Hamptons is no easy feat — but it does exist.

The Enclave Inn is a basic 10-room motel with close proximity to Bridgehampton and nearby beaches.

Rooms are uninteresting and starting to show wear and tear, but the front porches, outdoor pool, and a pretty lawn allow some breathing space.

If you need a cheap place to sleep within driving distance to all that the Hamptons has to offer, then this is a good choice.

Party: Boardy Barn

Boardy Barn is a Hamptons institution, known for its cheap beer, cheap hot dogs, and smiley face stickers that patrons are encouraged to stick on each other (expect to leave covered in them).

The raucous daytime drinking scene starts on Sunday afternoons over the summer, and there is always a line.

It’s located in Hampton Bays, but those in town for the weekend may prefer to stay in neighboring Bridgehampton as it’s more convenient for hitting up the beach.



Stay: The Chichi B&B

Those looking for a quiet, romantic, upscale Hamptons experience should consider Mill House Inn, a meticulously maintained historic home turned bed and breakfast in East Hampton.

It’s just a short walk from the village center and offers 10 understated, sophisticated rooms that are full of thoughtful personal touches.

The top-notch breakfast and easy walk to restaurants and shops help make it a stand-out option.

Party: SL East

The chic trendsetters who can afford Mill House Inn may appreciate this upscale nightclub located just down the road.

It’s the Hamptons outpost of SL in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, and the line can be very long (be prepared to shell out for bottle service if you want to get in).

Once you do get in, you’ll find a huge dance hall and terrace with cabanas; there are live DJ and music performances certain nights.



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