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You can now drop off Rent the Runway rentals at select Nordstrom stores — and that's not all you can expect from this partnership


053_Norstrom 9 26 19 Local Melrose

  • Rent the Runway has partnered with Nordstrom to expand its drop-off box network to four Nordstrom stores in the LA area.
  • RTR customers can drop off their rentals in person and immediately pick their next rentals on the spot.
  • RTR customers will also have access to Nordstrom services like try-on and gift-wrapping. 
  • In 2018, the company partnered with select WeWork offices to bring drop-off boxes to its lobbies to increase the convenience of subscriptions, which now accounts for 70% of its business.

In its early days, women came to Rent the Runway (RTR) to rent an aspirational $500 designer dress for a wedding for $50. Fast-forward one decade later to 2019, and that limited usage is a foreign concept.

The advent of two highly successful subscription services beginning in 2016 — RTR Update (four items per month, $89) and RTR Unlimited (unlimited rentals of four items at a time, $159)— has shifted the company from helping women shop designer for special occasions to altering the way women shop for their day-to-day wardrobes. Subscriber acquisition is up 160% year-over-year. In response, RTR's selections emphasize women's daily lives —workwear, weekend, and date-night clothes — far more than a rotating carousel of floor-length gala options. Subscriptions now represent nearly 70% of the business and, according to the company, the most active RTR subscribers wear rented clothes more than 120 days (over 30%) of the year.  

Read more: We used RTR to rent $4,862 worth of designer clothes in a week — here's how it works, and why we're so willing to pay the $160 monthly fee

In 2018, the company partnered with WeWork to bring RTR drop-off boxes to select WeWork office lobbies, making it so that subscribers could return clothes in person and select their next rentals immediately after — skipping the waiting period of sending it through the mail. By nature, WeWorks are located in highly central locations, making the service even more convenient for 90% of RTR customers who work.  

Now, Rent the Runway has partnered with Nordstrom to bring drop-off boxes to select Nordstrom locations.

As of Thursday, June 27, RTR subscribers can find drop-off boxes in four Nordstrom stores in the LA area, including Brentwood, Downtown LA, and West Hollywood.

033_Norstrom 9 26 19 Local Melrose

In addition to the new drop-off boxes, the company says the partnership will allow RTR members to experience Nordstrom services like try-on, tailoring, styling, gift-wrapping, easy returns, and a variety of beauty services. In the future, it will also include the opportunity for RTR customers to ship their orders directly for pick-up and make RTR x Nordstrom styling appointments in which a trained stylist will work with RTR members to build out their ideal closet with a mix of rented and owned items from RTR and Nordstrom.

Since both RTR and Nordstrom are highly data-driven, an expansion of these drop-off locations will inevitably hinge on customer feedback and utilization. But it wouldn't be crazy to assume that, given RTR's aggressive growth and Nordstrom's 370+ stores, that this could be the start of something much larger.

Sign up for your first month of RTR Update now to get your first two months for $69 (originally $89) [use code "FF40" at checkout]

Sign up for your first month of RTR Unlimited now to get your first two months for $119 (originally $159) [use code "FF80" at checkout]

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Mount Everest is not the hardest mountain to climb — here's what makes K2 so much worse

Bombas has launched rainbow socks for Pride Month — and it's sending 40% of all the socks it donates to LGBTQ youth homeless shelters


bombas pride month socks

  • The sock brand Bombas has launched a line of rainbow socks in both ankle and calf length ($12 each) to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month.
  • Since its founding in 2013, Bombas has donated a pair of socks to a homeless shelter for every pair sold.
  • For the month of June, Bombas is sending 40% of all the socks it donates to LGBTQ youth homeless shelters to raise awareness that 40% of homeless youth identify as a member of the queer community.

This June, more brands than ever are launching rainbow lines in celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month. While it's a reassuring sign of mainstream acceptance of the queer community, it's made it difficult to discern which companies are truly invested in giving back to the community and which are just looking to make a quick buck and raise their image at the expense of the cause. As a bona fide Queer Person™, I have a vested interest in ensuring that any Pride products I purchase are benefiting the most vulnerable members of my community, not just padding the pockets of corporate CEOs.

Bombas has launched a line of rainbow socks, available in both ankle height ($12) and calf height ($12) that directly benefit the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community — homeless youth — making them a stand-out in an overwhelming sea of rainbow options. The space-dyeing process ensures that each pair is unique, celebrating the individuality and diversity of the LGBTQ community. 

Each pair of Pride socks features all the markers of great Bombas quality: its signature honeycomb technology, enhancing arch support where you need it most; a Y-stitched heel that prevents it from bunching at the back of your shoe; and a hand-linked toe seam that completely eliminates that annoying rubbing across your toes as you walk. They are far and away the most comfortable and substantial pair of socks I own, and consistently the first ones I reach for after doing a load of laundry. 

Since its launch in 2013, Bombas has donated a pair of socks to a homeless shelter for every pair it's sold. Unused clothing is the most requested donation item at shelters, and to date Bombas has donated over 21 million new articles of clothing, including socks and T-shirts to shelters. Bombas has engineered the apparel with antimicrobial finishes and reinforced seams specifically to benefit those who are unable to put on clean clothes each day. This month, they are extending their charitable mission to the LGBTQ community in honor of Pride Month.

The Human Rights Campaign reports that LGBTQ teens are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their straight or cisgender peers. Forty percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, even though LGBTQ people comprise 10% of the general population.

To raise awareness of this statistic as well as to directly improve the lives of queer homeless youth in a small way, Bombas is giving 40% of the socks they donate to shelters that directly serve LGBTQ homeless youth in the United States. And that's not just donations as a results of their Pride line, that's 40% of all donations Bombas makes this month up to one million pairs of socks. So even if the rainbow socks aren't to your taste, you can be sure that any purchase you make from Bombas through June 30 is directly benefiting queer youth.

This Pride Month, I invite you to take a deeper look into the rainbow-painted products and offerings to see what contributions (if any) the companies behind them are making to LGBTQ causes. If they're anything like Bombas, you can feel confident in your purchase. 

Find the Bombas Calf Socks for $12 here

Find the Bombas Ankle Socks for $12 here

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30 photos of Princess Diana that show the lasting impact she had on our world


Princess Diana

  • Princess Diana was a teacher before marrying Prince Charles.
  • After divorcing Charles, Diana became a world famous advocate for different causes, like better treatment for AIDS and HIV patients.
  • Her sons Prince William and Prince Harry remember her as a loving and "informal" mother.
  • Visit Business Insider's home page for more stories. 

Princess Diana tragically died at the age of 36 over 20 years ago, in 1997.

She was first propelled into the national spotlight at the age of 20, when she wedded Great Britain's Prince Charles at the age of 20.

Their troubled marriage ultimately imploded, turning the couple in tabloid fodder.

However, Diana went on to become an international icon in her own right. Her sophisticated style dictated fashion trends. Her dedication to charitable causes won her admiration and accolades.

And, in the wake of her death in Paris, then-UK Prime Minister Tony Blair famously referred to her as "the people's princess." The mass, global outpouring of grief that her death sparked proved it an apt observation.

Here's a look at the life of Diana, Princess of Wales:

SEE ALSO: Princess Diana once broke hearts by leaving hundreds of charities — and it teaches an important lesson in time management

Diana Frances Spencer was born on July 1, 1961 to a British noble family. Her brother, the Earl Spencer, reminisced that she was 'incredibly brave,' even as a young girl.

Source: Royal.uk, USA Today

In school, the future princess failed all her O-levels — twice. However, Diana had a sense that she was destined for something important. "I knew that something profound was coming my way," she said in the documentary "Diana: In Her Own Words." "I was just treading water, waiting for it."

Source: The Independent, Diana: In Her Own Words

Before her marriage, Diana reportedly shared a flat with three roommates and worked as a part-time kindergarten teacher in London’s Pimlico district.

Source: People

She first met Prince Charles in 1977 when she was 16. The prince was dating her older sister at the time. Their romance didn't begin until three years later when Diana watched Charles play polo at Balmoral Castle.

Source: PopSugar, British Royals

Reports indicate that the 32-year-old Charles was under pressure to marry at the time. The prince proposed to Diana in February 1981, after only a few dates. She accepted straight away. In total, Charles and Diana only met 13 times before they were married.

Source: British Royals, PopSugar

Their lavish, fairytale wedding ceremony received plenty of attention from the press and the public — 750 million people around the world tuned in to watch. CBS reported that the total cost of the wedding was close to $70 million in today's dollars.

Source: CBS, People, PopSugar

However, Diana would later describe her wedding day as "the worst day of my life," according to Brides.com.

Source: Brides.comCBS

The subsequent honeymoon on Royal Yacht Britannia provided Diana with a chance to "catch up on sleep," according to Vanity Fair. Upon returning home, the newlyweds moved into London's Kensington Palace and Tetbury's Highgrove House.

Source: Vanity Fair

The following summer, Diana gave birth to the couple's first son, William Arthur Philip Louis.

Source: The Guardian

A second son — Henry Charles Albert David, or "Harry" — followed on September 5, 1984.

Source: Toronto Sun

Prince William and Prince Harry have described their mother's parenting style as informal, loving, and mischievous. "She understood that there was a real life outside of Palace walls," William said.

Source: Express

Diana grew used to accompanying Charles on official visits around the world, although she reportedly expressed hope privately that "we won't have to do any more traveling this year" in 1983. However, she quickly became a popular international figure. On her 1985 trip to the US, she turned heads by dancing with John Travolta in the White House.

Source: YoutubeVanity Fair

But all was not well in the royal marriage, which had been on the rocks from the start. The prince and princess both reportedly engaged in extra-marital affairs.

Source: Daily Mail

Charles is said to have continued seeing his current wife Camille Parker-Bowles, who he had been in a relationship with before his marriage to Diana. Diana would later quip, "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."

Source: Daily Mail, The Telegraph

The couple formally separated in 1992. Diana ultimately went public about the breakdown of their relationship, speaking candidly about her husband's alleged infidelity and her own struggles with bulimia, depression, and self-harm. Their divorce was finalized in 1996.

Source: Business Insider

In the wake of her much-scrutinized separation from Charles, Diana hid from the spotlight. However, by 1994, she chose to resume her public life.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, People

During and after her marriage, Diana was one of the most photographed women in the world. She also traveled the globe, meeting with many luminaries...

Source: Telegraph

... like Mother Teresa...

... Nelson Mandela ...

... Pope John Paul II ...

... and Elton John, who became a personal friend.

Source: Telegraph

During her marriage to Charles, Diana attempted to support a huge number of charities. Upon becoming single, she resigned from about 100, in order to better focus on a few projects.

Source: Independent

She famously became a major advocate for AIDS patients. She was photographed shaking patients' hands without gloves. The Princess of Wales is credited with helping to change mainstream stigmas about interacting with AIDS and HIV patients.

Source: Rare Historical Photos, BBC

Diana also advocated for the removal of dangerous land mines. In 1997, she even walked through an active minefield in Angola and hosted a television special on the topic.

Source: Newsweek, PRI

On that same trip, she visited an orthopedic workshop where she met 13-year-old Sandra Thijika, who lost her leg to a mine.

Source: Town and Country Magazine

Diana also sat on the board of the Royal Marsden Hospital, which specializes in cancer treatment.

Source: Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fund

In her personal life, Diana found love again with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan in 1995. However, the couple broke up in 1997. That year, Diana began dating Dodi Fayed, the son of an Egyptian billionaire.

Source: Vanity Fair

While fleeing the ever-present paparazzi, Diana, along with Fayed and driver Henri Paul, was killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.

Source: The New York Times

Her sudden death swept the UK up in a massive display of collective grief and mourning.

Source: The Guardian

Today, Diana is still remembered for her drive to help others. She once recommended that people should "carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."

Source: The Huffington Post

Here are the US counties where people earning average incomes can’t afford mid-priced homes — and where they can


couple buying home

According to a 2019 US Home Affordability Report by ATTOM Data Solutions, a majority of median-priced homes are still not affordable to workers making the average wage in each area of the country that was analyzed.

In 353 of 480 US counties analyzed in the report (74%), workers making the average income could not afford to make monthly house payments on a median-priced home in their area.

The study determined whether or not workers earning the average wage could afford a median-priced home by comparing the average weekly annualized salary in each county with the monthly expenses associated with median-priced homes in each area. Mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, plus an assumed 3% down payment and a 28% maximum "front-end" debt-to-income ratio resulted in the final cost to own a mid-priced home.

Research showed that 67% of markets require workers to turn over more than 30% of their annualized weekly wages in order to buy a home. Housing markets still favor sellers, as the study revealed that a majority of median-priced homes are less affordable than historic averages.

Median-Priced Homes Not Affordable heat graph

The counties where median-priced homes were not considered affordable for average wage earners included Los Angeles County, California; Cook County (Chicago), Illinois; Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona; San Diego County, California; and Orange County, California.

However, things seem to be looking up for average age earners looking to buy a home. In the 480 US counties analyzed in the study, 82% of markets were considered more affordable to the average wage worker than they were a year ago. The study found that ave rage wage workers could still afford median-priced homes in Harris County (Houston), Texas; Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan; Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio; and Franklin County (Columbus), Ohio.

SEE ALSO: The most expensive and affordable states to buy a house, ranked

Join the conversation about this story »

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Here are the 22 US cities and towns with more Spanish than English speakers


cbsas with more spanish than english alone speakers v2

  • Several candidates spoke in Spanish during the first 2020 Democratic presidential debates Wednesday.
  • The US is home to 41 million Spanish speakers, a key voting bloc for Democrats.
  • Here are the cities where more people speak Spanish than English-only.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The ability to speak Spanish has become an asset in the race for US president.

Several Democratic presidential candidates spoke in Spanish during the first 2020 presidential debate on Wednesday, notably former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas. The trend may continue into Thursday's debate, when the remaining candidates will face-off. 

Democrats are likely to court the Hispanic vote to win the race, as Hispanic Americans are projected to make up a little over 13% of the electorate for 2020, and 69% of Latinos voted democratic during the 2018 midterms

According to the Pew Research Center, 41 million people speak Spanish in the US, and the majority of Latino adults are bilingual. In some areas of the US, especially in cities around the Southwest, you're more likely to hear Spanish than English. 

The US Census Bureau's American Community Survey asks over a million Americans each year dozens of questions about their social, demographic, and economic situations. One of the questions asks respondents to indicate what primary languages they speak.

Based on results from the 2013-2017 American Community Survey, the 22 metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas highlighted in the map above have more residents who speak Spanish than who just speak English and nothing else. 

Here are the areas where there are more Spanish speakers than people who only speak English. 

SEE ALSO: Despite Trump's border wall and immigration rhetoric, a third of Latino voters still support GOP

Salinas, California: 47.5% of this county speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English:45.9%

Total population (over age 5):400,322

Las Cruces, New Mexico: 49.6% of this city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 48.3%

Total population (over age 5): 199,100

Deming, New Mexico: 50% of the population speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 48.6%

Total population (over age 5): 22,523

Española, New Mexico: 50.6% of the population speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 38.8%

Total population (over age 5): 36,772

Othello, Washington: 51.3% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 45.1%

Total population (over age 5): 17,276

Uvalde, Texas: 51.5% of this city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 47.7%

Total population (over age 5): 24,887

Hereford, Texas: 51.9% of this city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 47.4%

Total population (over age 5): 17,232

Yuma, Arizona: 51.9% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 46.2%

Total population (over age 5): 18,9176

Liberal, Kansas: 53.6% of the area speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 41.%

Total population (over age 5): 20,871

Las Vegas, New Mexico: 54.7% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 42.6%

Total population (over age 5): 26,812

Raymondville, Texas: 58.7% of the area speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 40.4%

Total population (over age 5): 20,442

Pecos, Texas: 61.2% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 37.3%

Total population (over age 5): 13,869

Del Rio, Texas: 67.2% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 31.6%

Total population (over age 5): 44,777

El Paso, Texas: 69.7% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 28.2%

Total population (over age 5): 772,589

Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas: 72.5% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 26.6%

Total population (over age 5): 38,4007

El Centro, California: 74.6% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 23.9%

Total population (over age 5): 164,834

Nogales, Arizona: 77.6% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 21.4%

Total population (over age 5): 43,062

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas: 83.2% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 15.7%

Total population (over age 5): 759,143

Zapata, Texas: 89.7% of the area speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 9.6%

Total population (over age 5): 12,969

Laredo, Texas: 90% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 9.4%

Total population (over age 5): 242,931

Eagle Pass, Texas: 92.2% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 6.9%

Total population (over age 5): 52,025

Rio Grande City, Texas: 96.3% of the city speaks Spanish.

Share of the population that speaks only English: 3.6%

Total population (over age 5): 56,972

Tuft & Needle’s newest mattress is a more supportive and breathable upgrade from its original — I've been sleeping on it for 3 months and never want to get out of bed


tuft and needle mint mattress

  • Tuft & Needle's Mint Mattress ($445-$995) improves on the online brand's popular original mattress by adding more support, breathability, and coziness throughout. 
  • The top layer's Adaptive Foam construction, particular to Tuft & Needle products, is a standout feature. It combines the contouring comfort and pressure relief of memory foam with the breathability and bounciness of latex. 
  • Graphite and open-cell foam technology make it cool to sleep on, even during the summer, while the plush, knitted cover gives the mattress an added element of soft comfort. 
  • Since switching to this mattress, I've fallen asleep faster and stayed asleep for longer — a wonderful albeit sometimes dangerous effect. 

In the last few months, my punctuality at work and social events has taken a dip. It's not because of train delays or because I lost my watch. It's just so much harder getting out of bed now that I'm sleeping on Tuft & Needle's Mint Mattress ($445-$995). 

Only the second mattress release from the popular brand, it'll quickly wrap you up in its soft and comfortable embrace. If you want to try to get work done while sitting in this bed, here's my recommendation: don't. My experience with the mattress is that you'll simply end up horizontal, slumped into an impromptu nap.

Read on for details of my Mint Mattress experience, from initial set-up to night after night of sweet slumber.  

tuft and needle mint mattress 2

My review of the Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress, a follow-up to a customer favorite 

The Mint mattress is an upgrade from the company's best-selling original mattress, a 10-inch, medium-firm mattress with almost 6,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and more than 100,000 total reviews on the Tuft & Needle website

Comparatively, the Mint Mattress is a little thicker at 12 inches tall, but also softer, cooler, and better for pressure relief. The company recommends the Mint if you're a side sleeper or you run hot while sleeping. With more support on its sides, the Mint is also good if you often sit on the edge of your bed. 

Unpacking and setting up the Mint Mattress

The mattress comes rolled up and packed tightly in a box. I tested the Full size, which weighed 66 pounds and admittedly wasn't fun to carry up the stairs of my fourth floor walk-up (another set of hands will definitely help if you live in a similar situation). However, once I got the mattress up to my room, the rest of the set-up process was much easier. 

After I cut through the plastic wrap, the mattress unfurled and rose to its full size. Though the company says there may be a new mattress smell, I personally didn't notice one. Regardless, this potential smell is a result of the packaging process, not chemicals. The mattress is CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold certified, so it's free from harmful chemicals and gases. 

What it's like to sleep on the Mint Mattress

I positioned the mattress on my new Zinus bed frame, threw on one of my favorite sheet sets, and slept on it that same night. Tuft & Needle gives you 100 nights to test out its mattresses risk-free. If you don't end up liking it, you'll get a free refund and the company will also coordinate free pickup and send it to a donation location of your choice. 

I, for one, won't be returning my Mint Mattress. It's incredibly comfortable, supportive, and adaptive to both the way my body moves and the changing temperatures of my room. 

The mattress features Tuft & Needle's signature Adaptive Foam, which contours to your body and provides pressure relief like memory foam, but is also breathable and bouncy like latex. This top-layer construction combines all the features many sleepers look for and is what also makes the original mattress and its Pouch bean bag chair so invitingly comfortable.

In the Mint Mattress, the Adaptive Foam is further enhanced by 30% more graphite, which maximizes its cooling abilities. Meanwhile, "open cell foam technology" allows air to flow freely through the mattress and improves breathability, so you won't overheat like you would on a memory foam mattress.

tuft and needle mint mattress 3

Even as the weather has gotten exponentially warmer, my body hasn't while sleeping on this mattress. It has a soft and thick knit cover with a bit of texture you can feel through your sheets — cozy and comforting, and something that sounds perfect for colder temperatures. But, surprisingly, this cover doesn't get overwhelming or hot in the summer, and that's because of the rest of the mattress' cooling and breathable design.

Between the Adaptive Foam layer and base layer, there's a transition layer filled with gel beads that add more support. The base layer is the most firm and gives better edge support. Instead of sinking downwards every time I roll too closely to the edge or I perch on my bed putting on my shoes, the mattress seems unaffected by the shift in weight.

The core of the mattress is of course also supportive. I sleep in all sorts of positions (side, stomach, back), and each feels comfortable. I've found that I'm also able to rest on my side for longer periods of time than on my previous mattress. If you sleep with a partner, the mattress is firm and adaptive enough that you won't disturb the entire bed when you reposition yourself or get out of bed early in the morning. Overall, the mattress simply feels stable yet comforting, which is exactly what you want to collapse into at the end of a long day. 

Final thoughts on the Mint Mattress 

My first introduction to Tuft & Needle was its Pouch bean bag chair, which remains one of my favorite products I've ever tested. I shouldn't have been surprised that its flagship product, its mattress, would be a hit, too. From the very first night, it proved to be supportive, breathable, and comfortable, and it's been consistently so in the few months I've been testing it. Although only time will tell how it continues to perform, my experience so far has been virtually complaint-free. 

Right now, Tuft & Needle is running a 4th of July sale on the Mint Mattress. You can take $150 off each of its mattresses, which now start at just $445 for the twin size and go up to $995 for the king and California king sizes. 

Shop the Mint Mattress, $445-$995 (originally $595-$1,145), at Tuft & Needle

Join the conversation about this story »

How to hide the camera notch on a Samsung Galaxy S10 by adjusting your screen, or downloading a custom wallpaper


notch 3

  • Knowing how to hide the camera notch on your Samsung Galaxy S10 can massively improve the aesthetics of your phone.
  • If you find the Galaxy S10's camera notch unappealing or distracting, you can hide the notch by turning on a digital black bar that goes across the top of your screen.
  • You can enable this black bar in the Display section of the Galaxy S10's Settings app.
  • If you prefer not to turn on the black bar, you can also download specially designed wallpapers that disguise the Galaxy S10's notch whenever you're on the Home screen.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Ever since Apple released the iPhone X with its infamous notch, other phone makers have been jumping onto the notch bandwagon as well. And for better or worse, the Samsung Galaxy S10 (as well as its siblings like the Galaxy S10 Plus) has its own cut-out for its front-facing cameras.

You may not mind the Galaxy S10's small notch, which looks like a small black oval near the top right of the screen, but if it bothers you, Samsung provides an easy way to hide it. You can turn on a digital black bar that covers the top of the screen, rendering the notch essentially invisible.

The downside: you lose a little real estate from the screen, and it looks like an asymmetric bezel, which might be a case of the cure being worse than the disease. If you want to give it a try, though, here's how to do it.

notch 1

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Samsung)

How to hide the camera notch on a Samsung Galaxy S10

Finding the setting to hide the notch only takes a few taps.

1. Start the Settings app.

2. Tap "Display."

3. Tap "Full screen apps."

notch 2

4. Turn on "Hide front camera" by sliding the button to the right.

notch 3

How to hide the camera notch on a Galaxy S10 with wallpaper

If you don't want to turn on the black bar, you have another option as well: You can install a custom wallpaper that's been specially designed to disguise the notch.

Of course, this fix isn't perfect, as it only works on the Home screen, where the wallpaper appears. You'll still see the notch in apps. But if you want to give it a try, a popular source for notch-hiding wallpaper is the S10wallpapers subreddit.

1. Open the S10wallpapers subreddit in your Galaxy S10's browser.

2. Browse until you find a wallpaper you want to try. There are a lot of options from movies like "Star Wars," popular games, and TV shows. Be sure you choose a wallpaper for the right phone though, as each wallpaper is designed for a specific model of the S10, and a wallpaper for the S10 won't line up properly on the S10 Plus, or vice-versa.

3. Tap the image so it displays full screen.

4. Tap and hold the image until a menu appears, then tap "Download image."

notch 4

5. After you've downloaded the image to your phone, open the Settings app.

6. Tap "Wallpapers and themes."

7. In the "My wallpapers" section at the top of the page, tap "Gallery."

8. Choose the image you just downloaded from Reddit and then choose whether you want it to appear on the homescreen or the Home and Lock screens.

9. Tap "Set as wallpaper."

notch 5

There are hundreds of unique wallpapers to choose from, with new ones being added all the time.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:


SEE ALSO: The best cheap phones you can buy unlocked on Amazon

Join the conversation about this story »

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'How does Google Photos work?': Everything you need to know about Google's photo storage app for iPhone and Android


google photos app

  • Learning how Google Photos works can go a long way towards optimizing your photo storage, no matter what device you use.
  • Google Photos lets you store, share, view, and edit photos and videos, and includes an AI-powered assistant to help manage your media.
  • It works for both Android and iOS devices, and provides an automatic backup for your media.
  • Google Photos can be free with unlimited storage — but there are caveats. Those who can't stick to those caveats can opt to upgrade and pay a monthly fee.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Launched in 2015, Google Photos is a tool that can store photos, videos and screenshots taken by your phone.

It's a solid media backup to have at your disposal. And, because it's a cloud-based tool, it can free up space on your phone. Plus, it works on both Android and iOS devices.

Here are a few more things to know about how Google Photos works:

How does Google Photos work?

Google Photos users can upload new photos, view, edit, save and create new videos, animations, collages, albums and photos books. You can also download everything, meaning your cloud-based backup can itself be easily backed up onto your computer or external hard drive.

For those who don't have a Google device (like the Pixel phone), you can opt to automatically backup and sync your photos and videos as you take them. If you have an Android device, you can limit backup data usage, so you don't run out of data uploading things in the background.

You can also set your Google Drive to keep a copy of your photos and videos by going to your Drive's settings, turning on "Create a Google Photos Folder," and clicking save. As photos are added to your account, they will be sorted into categories.


You can easily share photos and albums using the share feature, whether they have photos in them or not. And, provided you have the "backup and sync" feature turned on, you can retrieve your files from the trash for up to 60 days after hitting delete. Or you can always archive photos to get them out of the way, but have them remain searchable within your account.

It has free, unlimited storage — with a few caveats

Google Photos comes with free, unlimited storage — but that's only if you opt to save "high quality" images, as opposed to original quality images which may actually be higher resolution. That means those larger files will be compressed to save space, unless your account's settings say otherwise. The resolution limit for photos is 16MP, while videos are compressed to 1080p.

You can allow auto-compression for future uploads by going to your settings and selecting "high quality". And you can apply that change to past photos by clicking "recover storage," which is also located within settings.

For those who prefer to go with original file sizes, it's free up to 15GB, and that includes everything from Photos to Gmail to everything else in the Drive. After that, you could upgrade, via the Google One subscription plan, starting at $1.99 per month for 100GB.

It features an AI-powered assistant

Google Photos provides users with a lot of auto-generated extras. For example, it can create photo-book collections, grouping together pictures based on factors like the date, people, and the places featured. Users are also given the option to print and ship those books (for a fee of course.)

The Assistant will also take photos that were captured in rapid succession and turn them into GIFs (referred to as "animations"), while individual photos can be saved as motion photos — meaning they record video of a few seconds before and after you've taken the shot. These may also be known as Live Photos to iPhone users.

It has other smart features

The robust search option is a major draw for the platform. It lets you search for generic subjects, like "dogs" or "beach" to narrow your options, which is especially useful if you haven't yet sorted your pictures into albums.

It also gives you the option to identify different people in your photos by manually putting a name to the face. After that, pictures with those people are automatically sorted so you can later search for pictures featuring specific people.


In a similar vein, you can also set it to create "live albums," which automatically populate with photos of friends and family members.

For those looking to backup their physical photo prints, you can quickly 'scan' those to have them uploaded by taking a quick pic using your phone or other Photos-friendly device. And for those who photograph paper documents, Google Photos also lets you highlight desired sections of text, and even crop out backgrounds to make it easier to do things like upload and expense a receipt from a work trip.

Google Photos is a powerful and versatile tool that requires little effort to use to its fullest. And, given the fact that it provides free, unlimited storage without sacrificing too much on photo and video quality, it can be a solid option for backing up your media files.

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How to transfer photos from any phone to a Samsung Galaxy S10, using either a Mac or PC


Galaxy S10+

Transitioning all your data to a new phone can be a painful process, but it doesn't have to be if you follow the right steps.

Simply moving photos from any smartphone to the Galaxy S10 is simple, regardless of whether you're moving them from an iPhone or another Android handset. All you need is a computer — Windows or Mac — that will serve as an intermediate stop for copying the photos. 

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Galaxy S10 (From $599.99 at Best Buy)

iPhone Xs (From $999 at Apple)

iMac (From $1,099 at Apple)

How to transfer photos from an older phone to the Galaxy S10 using a PC

1. Connect your old phone to a Windows computer using a USB connection cable and be sure to unlock it.

2. Open a folder on the desktop and click "This PC" in the Navigation pane on the left.

3. You should see an icon for the old phone appear. Right-click it and choose "Import pictures and videos."

photos 1

4. Depending upon how many photos you have on your phone, this might take a few moments. When it's done, click "Import all new items now" and name the folder that the images will be copied to, like "Old Phone."

photos 2

5. Click "Next."

6. Wait for the photos to be copied to your computer (again, this might take a while).

7. Connect your Galaxy S10 to the computer using its USB connection cable and make sure it is unlocked.  

8. Open a folder and click "This PC" in the Navigation pane on the left. 

photos 3

9. Double click the icon for the Galaxy S10. Inside it, you should see an icon called "Phone." Double click that as well. 

10. Double click the folder called "DCIM" and then double click "Camera." This is the folder where photos are stored. 

11. If your computer automatically opened the folder with your old phone's photos, find it now. If not, open that folder — it's located in your Pictures folder, named with today's date, followed by any name you gave it, like "2019-06-25 Old Phone."

12. Select all of the photos and drag them into the Galaxy S10's Camera folder. 

All of your old photos have now been transferred to your new Galaxy S10. If you want to save space on your computer's hard drive, you can now delete the folder of photos from your old phone. 

When it comes to transferring your photos from a Mac, however, things are a bit more complicated. Depending on what kind of phone you have, you'll have to follow different steps.

How to transfer photos from an iPhone to the Galaxy S10 using a Mac

1. Install Android File Transfer, a program which you will use to copy the photos to your Galaxy S10

2. Connect your iPhone to the Mac with a USB connection cable. Be sure that you turn on and unlock your phone. 

3. Start Image Capture, a photo transfer utility that comes pre-installed on your Mac. The iPhone should automatically appear on the left side of the screen under "Devices."

Photos 4

4. At the bottom of the screen, choose the folder where you want to import your iPhone photos. You can select the desired photos and tap "Import" or simply tap "Import All." Wait for the photos to copy to the Mac.

5. Connect your Galaxy S10 to the Mac using a USB connection cable. Make sure the phone is on and unlocked, and if you see a window on the phone asking permission to allow access to phone data, tap "Allow."

6. Start Android File Transfer on your Mac.

7. Navigate to the folder where you want to copy the photos (this is typically DCIM/Camera). 

photos 5

8. Open the folder where you copied the photos from the iPhone. Select the photos and drag them to the desired folder in Android File Transfer.

Transfer photos from an Android phone to the Galaxy S10 using a Mac

1. Install Android File Transfer, which you'll use to copy photos to your Galaxy S10

2. Connect your old Android phone to the Mac using a USB connection cable. Make sure it is turned on and unlocked. If you see a window on the phone asking permission to allow access to phone data, tap "Allow."

3. Start Android File Transfer on your Mac.

4. Find the photos you want to transfer to your Galaxy S10 (such as in the DCIM/Camera folder).

Photos 6

5. Select the photos you want to transfer and drag them into a folder on your Mac

6. When the file transfer is complete, disconnect the old phone and connect your Galaxy S10. Again, make sure the phone is on and unlocked, and if you see a window on the phone asking permission to allow access to phone data, tap "Allow."

7. In the Android File Transfer window, navigate to the folder where you want to copy the photos, such as DCIM/Camera. 

8. Open the folder where you copied the photos from the iPhone. Select the photos and drag them to the desired folder in Android File Transfer.

SEE ALSO: The best portable power stations you can buy for your Galaxy S10

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How to set up and listen to voicemail on Google Voice, using an Android or iPhone


google voice app

Google Voice is a completely mobile, internet-based phone line that you can connect to multiple phone numbers, which lets you stay in contact even if you change phones or have multiple phones for home and work. 

Google Voice has been around since 2009, but Google has been slow to update the service — it was only recently, in fact, that Google added the ability to record voicemail messages within the app; before that, you had to do it in a browser. 

Here's what you need to know to get your Google Voice voicemail set up.

How to set up voicemail on the Google Voice app on your phone

The Android and iPhone Google Voice apps work almost exactly the same, so you can follow these steps to set up your voicemail no matter what kind of phone you have. 

1. Start the Google Voice app. 

2. Tap the three horizontal lines at the top left of the screen (sometimes called a hamburger menu), and then tap "Settings."

3. In the Voicemail section, tap "Voicemail greeting."

voice 1

4. Tap "Record a greeting."

voice 2

5. On the New greeting page, tap the green microphone and record your message. When you're done, tap "Stop."

6. You can play back the greeting. If you like it, tap "Save" and give it a name. Then tap "Save again." You can tap "Redo" to start over.

voice 3

7. Your newest recorded greeting will automatically become your new active greeting. To change the active greeting, tap the three dots to the right of your preferred recorded message and tap "Set as active."

8. Finally, specify how you want to be notified about new voicemail messages. You can receive them by email (turn on the option for "Get voicemail via email"), and you can also choose to get messages via text message. For that, tap "Get voicemail via messages" and then select which phones to send the texts to. 

How to set up voicemail on Google Voice using a web browser

If you prefer to use a computer, you can set up Google Voice voicemail in a web browser. 

1. In a browser, go to the Google Voice webpage. If necessary, log into your Google account. 

2. At the top right of the page, click "Settings," and then on the left side of the page click "Voicemail."

voice 4

3. In the Voicemail section, tap "Record a greeting." 

4. On the New greeting page, tap the green microphone and record your message. When you're done, tap "Stop."

5. You can play back the greeting. If you like it, tap "Save" and give it a name. Then tap "Save" again. You can tap "Redo" to start over.

voice 5

6. Your newest recorded greeting will automatically become your new active greeting. To change the active greeting, click "Manage all greetings," and then click the three dots to the right of the recording you want to use and click "Set as active."

7. You can also specify how you want to be notified about new voicemail messages. You can receive them by email (turn on the option for "Get voicemail via email"), and you can also choose to get messages via text message by selecting which phones to send the texts to. 

SEE ALSO: The best noise-cancelling headphones you can buy

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NOW WATCH: Apple just launched a $6,000 Mac Pro, available this fall

How to change the band on your Apple Watch and customize it to match your style


apple watch

Changing the band on my Apple Watch was one of the first things I did upon opening the watch. 

I have a Series 3 watch, and it came with Apple's Black Sport Band. The Medium/Large band was already attached, and I changed out the Medium/Large with the Small/Medium band that Apple also included with the watch.

Here's how you can swap out your Apple Watch band for another band: 

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Apple Watch Series 4 (From $399 at Apple)

How to change the Apple Watch band

1. Turn over your Apple Watch.

2. Find the band release buttons. There's one for the top band and one for the bottom. They are thin oval buttons at the very top and bottom of the back side of the watch.

3. Press the band release button and, as you're pressing, slide the band across in either direction to remove it.

band release

4. Repeat with the other half of the band, if necessary.

5. Slide the new band in. It should click into place.

How to correctly fasten your Apple Watch band

Apple Watch

1. Make sure it fits closely (but not uncomfortably) against your wrist. The watch needs to be in contact with your skin to allow the sensors to do their job and optimize watch performance.

2.Apple recommends tightening your Apple Watch during workouts (for more accurate reads and safety, presumably), and loosening the band post-workout.

3. Wear your Apple Watch the way you'd traditionally wear a watch. Apple notes that the sensors only work when the watch is worn on top of your wrist.

Which bands work with Apple Watch, and where to find them

Whether you have a 1st generation Apple Watch, the latest Series 4, or anything in between, you can use an Apple Watch band designed for any of these models — as long as it corresponds to the case size (height) of your watch.

Apple notes that bands for 38mm and 40mm are compatible and work interchangeably, and the same goes for 42mm and 44mm cases.

While Apple offers a variety of in-house bands you can purchase from its site, you can also equip your Apple Watch with third-party bands, which can cost significantly less than Apple's bands. 

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

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How to clear the cache on your iPhone to free up storage space and help it run faster


iPhone 6s Plus

  • Clearing your iPhone's cache can speed up your phone, free up storage space, and reduce the risk of it crashing.
  • You can clear up space on your iPhone's cache by manually deleting information from your individual apps and browser or by deleting and reloading apps to automatically clear the cache.
  • Here's an easy step-by-step process to clear your iPhone's cache from Safari and third-party apps.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Ever wonder why your iPhone's loading speed is slower than usual? Contrary to what you might think, it isn't necessarily because your phone is getting old or because your network is slow. It could be that your iPhone is bogged down by too many useless files and app data, which likely means it's time for you to clear out your cache.

Cached data encompass all the files and images that your phone has hidden away in its memory. That includes passwords and scripts from previously visited websites that your phone keeps handy for easy access.

In theory, the feature is supposed to make things easier and faster for you because your phone doesn't have to repeatedly ask you for your passwords and other information. While Apple hasn't confirmed it directly, the general consensus of the tech community is that when your iPhone gets backed up with too much data, your phone's cache can make the device run at slower speeds.

Clearing your cache can be a healthy habit to adopt to keep your phone operating at full capacity. Lucky for you, it's a quick and easy process that even those who aren't exactly iPhone-savvy can do themselves.

So if you feel your iPhone is in dire need of a spring cleaning, then follow these simple steps, starting with the app you probably use the most, Safari.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone Xs (From $729 at Apple)

How to clear your iPhone's cache for Safari

clear cache

1. Before you go deleting data, make sure you know your essential passwords. This process will log you out of the websites you frequent.

2. In "Settings," find the "Passwords & Accounts" sections and tap "Safari."

3. Past the toggles, you'll see "Clear History and Website Data." Click that.

4. Your device will double-check that you want to clear Safari's data, so click through the message that follows.

How to clear your iPhone's cache for third-party apps

iphone storage

1. As for the third-party apps that you've downloaded — Facebook, Instagram, Google Maps, and the like — you can manage your storage in "Settings." In "Settings," go to "General" and click "iPhone Storage."

2. In "iPhone Storage," you'll find a list of your apps, with the ones holding the most data at the top.

3. If you tap any of these apps, you can see exactly how much space its "Documents & Data" is taking up.


4. If your device is getting full, it will offer you recommendations for what to clean up on the "iPhone Storage" page. Just tap the "Show All" button next to "Recommendations" to read the each one's description.

5. If you would like to take any of the recommendations, simply tap "Enable."

6. If you'd rather clear out space manually, then go into the app and start clearing out unnecessary files, such as old text conversations, playlists, photo albums, emails, and the like.

How to delete and redownload apps to clear the cache

 If you have one app that's taking up a tremendous amount of space unnecessarily, then it could be worth deleting the app and redownloading it, according to PCWorld. That's because your social apps are storing away images and videos that you've already watched, and sometimes the only way to clear that cache is to just erase it and clear out a significant portion of its cached data.

To delete an app, just tap said app under the "iPhone Storage" menu and hit "Delete App" at the bottom of the page.

Redownload it by going into the Apple Store and searching for it or finding it in your "My Purchases" list. If it's a paid app, you will not have to purchase it again.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

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The 50 worst commutes in America, ranked


manhattan new york traffic

  • Greater New York has the longest daily commute to work, according to the 2017 American Community Survey.
  • The top 50 worst commutes in the United States range from 25.3 minutes to 37 minutes, each way.
  • Some studiesshow time added to a commute translates to poorer performance, less satisfaction with work, and more stress at home.
  • Commuting data include where people work, when their trip starts, how they get there, and how long it takes. Here are the 50 cities with worst commutes in the US.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Everyone may feel like their commute is the worst at times.

People with long commutes tend to pay more for gas, typically get less sleep, have more fat, and are less happy than people who don't, according to the Dallas Business Journal.

A half-hour commute adds up to 125 hours spent commuting every year (using a 50-week, five-day schedule as the baseline).

Across the United States, some areas are definitely getting a rougher deal than others.

We've ranked the top 50 worst commutes in the country, using data from the 2017 American Community Survey.

SEE ALSO: The 5 best US cities to commute from — and the 5 worst

50. Deltona – Daytona Beach, Florida.

Average trip to work: 25.3 minutes

The City of Deltona took things into its own hands after new developments and increasing traffic caused frustrated drivers to ignore speed limits and take local roads.

The city decided to release a Traffic Calming Handbook outlining how to reduce excessive traffic and speeding.

49. Greater New Haven, Connecticut.

Average trip to work: 25.4 minutes

Despite spending millions of dollars on improving the area, including new train cars, a new rail line, and a completely redesigned highway interchange, the area's transportation infrastructure is still failing to meet the needs of the city, the New Haven Register reported in October.

48. Minneapolis – Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Average trip to work: 25.6 minutes

According to Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Twin Cities metro area has more available jobs than workers, so more than 242,000 people commuted into the Twin Cities from outside the seven-county region in 2014.

47. St Louis, Missouri.

Average trip to work: 25.7 minutes

While the city still makes the ranking for worst commutes in the US, its population is declining. The city even started selling single-family homes for $1 this year to save the Rust Belt town from decay.

46. Richmond, Virginia.

Average trip to work: 25.7 minutes

Ridership on trains and buses in the city has dropped by more than 20% since 2013, according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch.

Fears around security and the low cost of driving to work in a spread-out region have been two major factors for the drop.

45. New Orleans, Louisiana.

Average trip to work: 25.8 minutes

Commuters using public transport dropped from 13% in 2000 to 6% in 2017, according to The Data Center. But the share of bikers in New Orleans rose to 3%, giving the city the fifth-highest share of bike commuting of the largest 70 cities in the United States.

44. Charleston, South Carolina.

Average trip to work: 26.2 minutes

Between 2009 and 2017, pedestrians and cyclists were more likely to die in the Charleston region than anywhere else in South Carolina, especially if they were people of color, The Post and Courier reported.

43. San Diego, California

Average trip to work: 26.3 minutes each way. 

San Diego Magazine put together some tips on commutes to avoid in the area.

42. Providence, Rhode Island.

Average trip to work: 26.3 minutes

I-95, which connects Miami to Maine, runs straight through the Rhode Island capital.

41. Jacksonville, Florida.

Average trip to work: 26.3 minutes

Jacksonville has nine major bridges to get commuters to work, taking them over rivers, canals and the Intracoastal Waterway.

40. San Antonio, Texas.

Average trip to work: 26.5 minutes

According to the US Census Bureau, 79% of San Antonio drivers commuted to work alone in 2016.

39. Raleigh, North Carolina

Average trip to work: 26.5 minutes

As bad the average is — it could be worse. One local couple run a restaurant in Wilmington, Delaware and drove 292 miles (round trip) every time.

38. Birmingham, Alabama.

Average trip to work: 26.6 minutes

Interestingly, and definitely not helping daily commute times, 52% of city-based jobs are held by non-residents, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

37. Santa Rosa, California

Average trip to work: 26.7 minutes

The city in California's wine country has a population under 200,000.

36. Detroit, Michigan.

Average trip to work: 26.7 minutes

This might seem like a long time every day, but it could be worse. In 2015, Detroit man James Robertson made headlines due to his 21-mile walk to and from work, which no doubt took a lot longer than 27 minutes.

35. Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Average trip to work: 26.7 minutes

In 2018, only 1% of all commuters used public transport to get to work, according to Business Report.

34. Phoenix, Arizona.

Average trip to work: 26.7 minutes

According to the Arizona State Climate Office, Phoenix is sunny 86% of the time, so at least the daily commute is pleasant.

33. Greater Austin, Texas.

Average trip to work: 27 minutes

Here are some tips from Austin traffic reporters: Understanding Austin's toll road system and staying on top of construction could pay dividends.

32. Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

Average trip to work: 27.2 minutes

The area is home to two Amazon fulfillment centers, and a few large healthcare networks.

31. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Average trip to work: 27.3 minutes

Pittsburgh had 1,704 bike commuters in 2010 and 2,964 in 2016. But with 77.5 % of commuters driving alone, cars are still by far the most popular transport choice, Pittsburgh City Paper reported in 2018.

30. Charlotte, North Carolina.

Average trip to work: 27.3 minutes

Here's a list of five of the worst commutes in Charlotte, courtesy of the Charlotte Agenda.

29. Greater Sacramento, California.

Average trip to work: 27.6 minutes

While Sacramento is the state capital, it's only the sixth-largest city in California.

28. Portland, Oregon.

Average trip to work: 27.7 minutes

In 2016, 70% of commuters drove alone, and 48% of fatal crashes involved walking or biking, according to Oregon Metro.

27. Tampa Bay Area, Florida.

Average trip to work: 27.9 minutes

Between 2017 and 2018 Tampa had the ninth most growth of any city in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. At least there's sunshine and Gulf Coast beaches.

26. Nashville, Tennessee.

Average trip to work: 27.9 minutes

Commuting 28 minutes each way might be getting to people, because nearly a quarter of Nashville employees said they quit their job over a bad commute, four percentage points higher than the national average.

25. Cape Coral – Fort Myers, Florida.

Average trip to work: 27.9 minutes

Fort Myers is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country, with the Census Bureau ranking it No. 7 in April, the Fort Myers News-Press reported.

24. Winter Haven, Florida.

Average trip to work: 28 minutes

Set in the middle of Tampa and Orlando, Winter Haven is home to attractions including LEGOLAND and Cypress Gardens.

23. Thousand Oaks, California.

Average trip to work: 28.1 minutes

The city is 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It was ranked the 3rd-safest city in a nationwide ranking, before a mass shooting left 13 people dead in November 2018.

22. Denver, Colorado.

Average trip to work: 28.1 minutes

Despite 70% of commuters driving alone, Denver's mayor Michael Hancock has his sights set on getting 30% of commuters out of single-person cars by 2030, unveiling a $2 billion plan to increase the number of people taking public transit, walking, and biking to work.

21. Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas.

Average trip to work: 28.6 minutes

Dallas-Fort Worth grew the most out of any metropolitan area in the country between 2017 and 2018, according to the US Census Bureau.

20. Worcester, Massachusetts.

Average trip to work: 28.7 minutes

One thing Worcester commuters can hold onto, at least, is that on average their commute is about a minute faster than the rest of the state.

19. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii.

Average trip to work: 28.8 minutes

Back in 2012, a transportation analytics firm ranked Honolulu the absolute worst city for traffic in the US, so this is at least an improvement.

18. Greater Orlando, Florida.

Average trip to work: 29.4 minutes

Orlando is a booming tourism destination with 68 million visitors every year, which likely doesn't help the daily commutes of people who live there.

17. Greater Miami, Florida.

Average trip to work: 29.9 minutes

It's not all cars and buses  — the Miami Herald reported that at least one man commutes by paddleboard, among dolphins and pelicans.

16. Greater Houston, Texas.

Average trip to work: 29.9 minutes

At 600 square miles, Houston is a sprawling city, making the daily commute hard to avoid. Houston could fit Manhattan, Chicago, and D.C., and Boston inside its borders.

15. San Jose – Santa Clara, California.

Average trip to work: 30 minutes

The Mercury News rounded up Bay Area commuters' horror stories, including one man who built his own "Mad Max" cargo bike he folds up and takes on the train, and one couple who drive, take the lightrail, take a shuttle, and walk to get to and from work.

14. Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Average trip to work: 30.3 minutes

Interestingly, nearly 40% of city workers leave Philadelphia to get to their jobs, the Inquirer reported.

13. Modesto, California.

Average trip to work: 30.5 minutes

The commute time in Modesto might be a hard one to swallow for director George Lucas, whose first film "American Graffiti", was based on his memories of growing up and cruising around the city.

12. Los Angeles, California.

Average trip to work: 30.8 minutes

While this is based on a daily average, a 2018 University of Southern California study showed commuters spend a lot more time traveling home from work. The study found this was because people clog the roads after work to run errands or go to dinner.

11. Seattle – Tacoma, Washington.

Average trip to work: 31 minutes

Seattle Magazine highlighted Kent, SeaTac, and Issaquah among the best suburbs for a "quick" commute, and they all ranged from 30 minutes to an hour.

10. Greater Boston, Massachusetts.

Average trip to work: 31.4 minutes

There are nearly 500,000 more jobs in Massachusetts than 10 years ago, putting some serious pressure on Boston's transportation system.

9. Central Maryland, Maryland.

Average trip to work: 31.5 minutes

Home to the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and Johns Hopkins University, Maryland is a biotech powerhouse, driving $17 billion in economic activity.

8. Greater Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Average trip to work: 31.6 minutes

A 2018 study from the Connecticut Department of Transportation found commute times could substantially improve if Interstate 95 was widened, Patch Reported.

7. Chicago, Illinois.

Average trip to work: 31.8 minutes

A report from location and data analytics company INRIX ranked Chicago the third-most congested city in the US and the 23rd-most congested city in the world. According to their data, the average driver spent 138 hours stuck in traffic in 2018.

6. Metro Atlanta, Georgia.

Average trip to work: 32.3 minutes

And most Atlantans are making the trip solo — 73% drive alone, and only 7% take public transit, according to Flowing Data.

5. Inland Empire, California.

Average trip to work: 32.7 minutes

This Californian area used to be called "Orange Empire" due to a booming citrus industry.

4. Stockton – Lodi, California.

Average trip to work: 33.5 minutes

The commute might be near the longer end for the United States, but at least it's a repeat winner of the All-American City award, which recognizes civic engagement.

3. San Francisco, California.

Average trip to work: 34.4 minutes

Unfortunately on top of a long daily commute, the cost of living in San Francisco is also 62.6% higher than the rest of the country.

2. Washington Metropolitan Area, Maryland and Virginia.

Average trip to work: 34.9 minutes

The United States' capital comes in at No. 2 for the longest commutes in the country. Reason called D.C.'s metro system a "national embarrassment" and the Washington Examiner called it "the worst in the world".

1. Greater New York, New York.

Average trip to work: 37 minutes

Greater New York has the longest commute in the country, and a huge proportion of commuters don't live in New York City — over 1.6 million people come to Manhattan from another country every day. With most New Yorkers taking the crumbling subway to work, getting to the office in New York isn't always a breeze.

This $80 smart light switch automatically turns off lights when I leave a room so I can finally stop patrolling my home


Ecobee Switch+

  • A high-quality smart light switch should be easy for even a novice to install, have an auto shut-off function, and feature an intuitive app that helps you automate your home.
  • The ecobee Switch+ Smart Light Switch (currently $79 on Amazon) turns off my kitchen lights a minute after someone leaves the room and has Alexa so I can voice-operate the connected devices around my house and set timers while cooking.
  • Though it's more expensive than most other smart light switches (currently $79 on Amazon), the Switch+ is backed by the user-friendly ecobee app and comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Ever since Hanna-Barbera gave us The Jetsons in the early '60s, we've had an idea of what the perfect automated home of the future could be like. Thanks to the many smart home devices on the market, home automation has never been more attainable. But I don't think even Hanna-Barbera could've imagined that we'd be able to talk to light switches to access a virtually limitless database of information and controls.

Yet, this is exactly what the ecobee Switch+ can do.

It's a smart light switch made by ecobee, a Canadian home automation company founded in 2007. The company is best known for its smart thermostats found in residences and businesses alike. Since my ancient home's wiring isn't compatible with its smart thermostat, I decided to test out the ecobee Switch+ Smart Light Switch with Alexa built in (currently $79 on Amazon) instead and see how it holds up.

Read more: The best smart outlets you can buy


The Switch+ works with any lights that are controlled by a single switch and have a neutral (usually white) wire. To check compatibility, turn off power to your current switch at the breaker, remove the wall plate, and check for a neutral wire before buying the Switch+.

The smart light switch works with Alexa-enabled devices (since it has the system already built in), Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT, as well as a mobile app for iOS and Android. The light switch can be used for interior and exterior lights, and the app has separate settings and features for each set.

The Switch+ has several buttons that control Alexa (putting it on Do Not Disturb mode, turning it off, and more) as well as indicator lights that let you know Alexa is responding. There's also a speaker, occupancy sensor, old-fashioned on/off button for the light, and an optional night light at the base that makes finding the Switch+ easy at night.

In terms of set-up tools, the Switch+ comes with a wall plate, four wire nuts, and two mounting screws.

Set-up process

I had the smart light switch for a few weeks before I got around to installing it. I kept procrastinating because ecobee advertises that installation only takes 45 minutes, so I assumed that with my novice skills, I could expect an hour and a half of struggling. It didn't help that the installation guide is covered with scary warnings about electrocution hazards. But, in the end, my apprehensions were unfounded. The whole process took me 30 minutes and I felt like a capable handyman afterward.

For installation, you need both Phillips and flathead screwdrivers. Pliers aren't necessary, but I found they helped for straightening out the wires. But before you do anything, you must, must turn off the breaker that supplies power to the light switch you're replacing. For this reason, you might want to install the Switch+ during the day when you have natural light to help you see or have a good flashlight (and holder) or buddy nearby.

Next, you remove the old switch and identify the wires you'll be using. You then connect the wires to the Switch+ using the included wire nuts. Then, you fit the wire nuts into the wall, mount the Switch+, turn the power back on, and test it out.

There's no need to memorize the above steps, I'm just trying to be helpful here. Thankfully, Ecobee provides incredibly easy-to-follow steps and videos to guide you through the process. There's even a lesson on how to work with wire nuts, which I needed. Overall, the process was painless.

Read more: The best smart light bulbs you can buy

What makes the smart light switch stand out

At first, I had a long list of negative adjectives in my head to describe the Switch+ —  ridiculous, extravagant, bougie, and so on. Why would I need a light that's connected to Alexa? It just seemed like another smart gadget that my five-year-old would be able to use to drive me nuts. But over time, I learned to use the light switch to my advantage.

My favorite use of the Switch+'s Alexa capability was cooking. When following recipes or making several dishes at once, it's helpful to have a timer. Previously, I would set an alarm on my phone, but that requires the use of my busy hands. But with the Switch+ nearby, I was able to set the timer without skipping a beat.

The ultimate dad move is walking around and turning off lights to shave pennies off the electric bill — which I am not ashamed to admit doing. But now I don't have to because I can set the light to turn off when no one is in the room. Through the app, you can choose to have the light turn off automatically one to 60 minutes after someone leaves the room. If I had a nickel every time it worked like a charm...

The Switch+ uses built-in motion detection sensor to turn the light on when someone enters the room. You can choose to have the light turn on whenever motion is detected; with daylight detection, it will only turn on when there isn't natural light so the lights don't come on at 3 p.m. when someone gets home. I chose to only have the light on when the room was dark.

I also like that the app offers a vacation mode. With this feature, you enter the dates and times you'll be on vacation, and the app makes it so each of your connected ecobee products gives the appearance that someone is home while you're away. For example, when vacation mode is engaged, my kitchen light turns on and off randomly to make it look like I'm there.

Read more: This $80 light strip adds accent lighting wherever you need it — here's how I use it around my home

Cons to consider

The "Smart On" function worked well, but I wish I could adjust the level of sensitivity to ambient daylight. There were times when it was overcast outside and I wasn't getting as much light as I wanted. Overall though, I'd prefer that the switch err on the side of not turning on because I kind of like the environment and would rather not overuse resources.

If you're buying the Switch+ for its bumping speaker, you'll be disappointed. The sound quality is not impressive, which is to be expected from such a small speaker. However, it does get up to 90 decibels from a foot away. I found the speaker to be good for alarms and information, but not music.

The bottom line

Overall, the Switch+ is a fun addition to my household. My favorite part is not having to worry about turning the kitchen light off. And I've slowly found ways to use Alexa to my advantage, like setting timers and telling my robotic vacuum to get to work. I'd recommend the ecobee smart light switch to anyone interested in integrating smart lighting into their overall Jetsons-like arrangement.

Pros: Eco-friendly because it can turn off lights, works with Alexa and other popular smart home systems, vacation mode makes potential intruders think someone is home, smart capabilities adjust the amount of light depending on weather, easy to install

Cons: Expensive for the category, non-adjustable sensor sensitivity, speaker isn't ideal for music

Buy the ecobee Switch+ Smart Light Switch on Amazon for $79

Buy the ecobee Switch+ Smart Light Switch at Best Buy for $79.99

Buy the ecobee Switch+ Smart Light Switch at Target for $79.99

Join the conversation about this story »

What George Soros' life is really like: How the former hedge-fund manager built his $8.3 billion fortune, purchased a sprawling network of New York homes, and became the topic of international conspiracy theories


george soros

  • Former hedge-fund manager George Soros is the 178th-richest person on the planet, with a net worth of approximately $8.3 billion, according to Forbes
  • Soros is well known for his philanthropy, having given away more than $32 billion, according to his personal website
  • He has purchased a sprawling network of homes in the New York area, including a Southhampton estate and an Upper East Side townhouse.
  • The billionaire spends big on causes he believes in, including politics.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Conspiracy theorists accuse former hedge-fund manager George Soros of aiding Nazis, conspiring to fill Budapest with refugees, and trying to start a Civil War in the United States. While these theories lack support, little is actually known about how the 88-year-old billionaire passes his days. 

Soros built his fortune running what was once the world's largest hedge fund — Quantum Fund. After he passed his hedge fund to his sons in 2011, Soros has largely focused his personal goal of creating a more open society through giving to both his personal foundation and a variety of progressive politicians, according to his personal website.

Keep reading to see how George Soros built his fortune, how he spends it — and why.

SEE ALSO: Meet Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder of SoftBank and one of the richest men in Japan, who has a $16.3 billion fortune and owns a $117.5 million Silicon Valley estate

DON'T MISS: 11 famous people who built their fortunes off their side hustles

Soros was born as Gyorgy Schwartz into a Jewish family in Budapest on August 12, 1930. They later changed their surname to Soros.

Source: Bloomberg

Soros and his family stayed in Budapest through the city's Nazi occupation from 1944–1945, using fake IDs to hide their Jewish heritage. "Instead of submitting to our fate, we resisted an evil force that was much stronger than we were — yet we prevailed. Not only did we survive, but we managed to help others,” Soros is quoted as saying on his personal website.

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

Soros' family fled Hungary for London as the Soviets swept the country in 1947. In London, he worked part-time as a waiter in a night club and as a railroad porter.

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

He later enrolled in the London School of Economics, graduating in 1954.

Source: GeorgeSoros.com, Bloomberg

Soros moved to New York in 1956, and got a job trading foreign stocks for F. M. Mayer.

Source: Bloomberg

Soros founded Quantum Fund in 1973. Quantum would later become the largest hedge fund in the world.

Source: Bloomberg

Quantum's success made Soros a billionaire. His net worth is now $8.3 billion, according to Forbes.

Source: Forbes

“My success in the financial markets has given me a greater degree of independence than most other people,” Soros said.

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

He retired from managing money for clients in 2011 and passed control of his firm to his sons.

Source: Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Washington Post

Soros returned $1 billion to his investors and established a family office to manage his family's fortune and the assets of his foundation.

Source: Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Soros has been married three times, first to Annaliese Witschak from 1960 to 1983 and later to historian Susan Weber from 1983 to 2005. Soros married his current wife, Tamiko Bolton, in 2013.

Source: Biography.com

Soros has five children, although none with Bolton.

Source: Bloomberg, The New York Times

The Soros family has several homes, including the Southampton estate where the billionaire hosted his 80th birthday party in 2010.

Source: The New York Post

Read more: Meet The Fabulously Rich And Famous Residents Of Southampton

He's also a longtime Manhattan resident. He once owned 116 East 70th St., a lavish Upper East Side townhouse, with his ex-wife Susan Weber.

Source: Bloomberg Billionaires Index,Curbed

He now owns a duplex on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue that has a view of the Central Park reservoir.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Soros also owns a residential compound in Katonah, New York.

Source: AP

A pipe bomb was sent to that home on October 23, 2018.

Source: AP

The bomb was later detonated by authorities in a secluded area. Prominent Democrats including Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, George Soros, former President Barack Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Former US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper were also sent bombs. No one was hurt.

Source: The New York Times

Soros is often vilified by conservatives for his large contributions to liberal politicians in the United States, Hungary, Russia and elsewhere.

Source: The Chicago Tribune

He identifies as an agnostic Jew.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Much of the criticism of Soros by media and political figures is anti-Semitic.

Source: Al Jazeera

Soros was featured in ads sponsored by the far-right Hungarian government accusing him of colluding to bring Muslim immigrants into Hungary. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban campaigned on a promise to pass a "Stop Soros" bill aimed at silencing his critics, including Soros.

Source: AP, The Chicago Tribune

Closer to home, conspiracy theorists have accused Soros of attempting to start a civil war in the US and funding the violence at the 2017 "Unite the Right" protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Source: Al Jazeera

Soros is also often accused of collaborating with Nazis during the Holocaust. Comedian Roseanne Barr repeated this conspiracy theory on Twitter in 2018 in one of a series of tweets that resulted in the cancellation of her ABC sitcom.

Source: Al Jazeera

In response, Soros said that such allegations "annoy me greatly." He also said that they are "a total fabrication."

Source: Chicago Tribune

"The bigger the danger, the bigger the threat, the more I feel engaged to confront it," Soros said.

Source: Chicago Tribune

The controversy around Soros isn't limited to conspiracy theories, however. Soros is sometimes called "the man who broke the Bank of England," after he made $1 billion betting against the British pound as it crashed on "Black Wednesday" in 1992.

Source: Forbes

Soros has said that his opponents fuel him to fight for what he believes in: "I'm painfully aware that they are against the ideas that I stand for."

Source: The Chicago Tribune

The billionaire spends big on causes he believes in, including politics. He spent at least $25 million on voter mobilization efforts to help Clinton and other Democrats during the 2016 elections, one of his spokespeople told the Chicago Tribune.

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Soros was surprised by Clinton's defeat. "Apparently, I was living in my own bubble," he told The Washington Post.

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Clinton lost because "she was too much like a schoolmarm," Soros said. "Talking down to people... instead of listening to them."

Source: Chicago Tribune

Soros also unsuccessfully supported several candidates during the 2018 midterm elections, despite donating $17 million. Several district attorney candidates he supported in California lost to incumbents.

Source: The Chicago Tribune, The Guardian

Soros has also referred to President Trump as a "narcissist" who "considers himself all-powerful."

Source: Chicago Tribune

Soros said he and Trump had been friendly "decades" before Trump took office. The pair spent time together at the home of a mutual friend.

Source: Chicago Tribune

"I had no idea he had political ambitions, but I didn't like his behavior as a businessman," Soros is quoted as saying in June 2018 Chicago Tribune article.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Soros hasn't publicly announced who he will support in 2020, but has said who he won't back: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Soros takes issue with Gillibrand's calls for the resignation of former Sen. Al Franken.

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Soros has not always been liberal, however. He supported Republican candidates until the invasion of Iraq under President George W. Bush in 2003 turned him against the party.

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Soros doesn't just give money to politicians. He is the founder and chair of Open Society Foundations, a non-profit that disperses grants for education, human rights, criminal justice, and journalism projects.

Source: Open Society Foundations

Soros first became active in philanthropy in 1979, when he funded scholarships for black South Africans during apartheid.

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

Soros has donated more than $32 billion of his own money to his foundation, according to his personal website.

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

Soros named the foundation after a book by Karl Popper, titled "Open Society and Its Enemies." In it, Popper writes how societies succeed only when they are democratic and protect human rights.

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

In Hungary, the attacks on Soros are so vicious that the foundation announced that it would relocate from Budapest to Berlin in May 2019. "The government of Hungary has denigrated and misrepresented our work and repressed civil society for the sake of political gain, using tactics unprecedented in the history of the European Union," Open Society Foundations president Patrick Gaspard said in a statement.

Source: Al Jazeera

Central European University, a graduate school founded by Soros, also plans to relocate from Budapest to Vienna due to tensions with the Hungarian government.

Source: Central European University

"It makes it very difficult for me to speak effectively because it can be taken out of context and used against me," Soros said about the conspiracy theories, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Russian President Vladimir Putin pushed Soros' foundation out of Russia in 2017, where it had funded numerous projects, including an anti-torture program.

Source: Chicago Tribune

"He intervenes in things all over the world," Putin said of Soros in a 2018 television interview in Austria. "But the State Department will tell you that it has nothing to do with that, that this is the personal business of Mr. Soros."

Source: Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg

Outside of his philanthropic work, Soros has also written 14 books on a variety of topics, including the European Union and the global financial crisis.

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

At his 80th birthday party, Soros told his 350 guests: "I am a philanthropist. Some maybe think I’m a philanderer. My philosophy is very simple. I like to make a lot of money, so I can give away a lot of money.”

Source: The New York Post

Elon Musk is worth about $22 billion and has never taken a paycheck from Tesla — here's how the notorious workaholic and father of 5 makes and spends his fortune


Elon Musk

Elon Musk may be the world's richest rocket scientist.

The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and cofounder of OpenAI, who will turn 48 on June 28, 2019, has said he won't be happy until we've escaped Earth and colonized Mars. Luckily, he has the mind and the money to make it happen.

Despite a massive net worth hovering around $22.3 billion, Musk has never taken a paycheck from Tesla, refusing his $56,000 minimum salary every year.

Back in March, Tesla shareholders approved a plan awarding Musk $2.6 billion in stock options, reports CNBC, which will vest in 12 tranches, or portions, as the company hits key milestones over the next decade. The $2.6 billion amount was March 21 current stock value. U.S. News notes that if Musk meets the goals and the stock value rises during that time period, it "could net him more than $50 billion."

In January, Tesla announced it would pay Musk nothing for the next 10 years — no salary, bonus, or stock — until the company reaches a $100 billion market cap. If and when that happens, Musk could potentially overtake Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world.

A notorious workaholic, Musk doesn't spend cash on lavish vacations or expensive hobbies. Instead, the entrepreneur spends most of his time at the office or in factories, retreating to one of his four Los Angeles mansions at the end of the day.

Scroll through to find out what we know about how Musk, a father of five, amassed his fortune and how he spends it.

SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg and his college-sweetheart wife, Priscilla Chan, are worth $74 billion — see their houses, cars, and travels

DON'T MISS: A look at the demanding schedule of Elon Musk, who works in 5-minute slots, skips breakfast, and largely avoids emails

As a child growing up in South Africa, Musk taught himself to code. By the time he was 12, he sold the source code for his first video game for $500.

Source: MONEY

Just before his 18th birthday, Musk moved to Canada and worked a series of hard labor jobs, including shoveling grain, cutting logs, and eventually cleaning out the boiler room in a lumber mill for $18 an hour — an impressive wage in 1989.

Sources: MONEY, Esquire Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Musk got a pay cut to $14 an hour when he started a summer internship alongside his brother, Kimbal, at the Bank of Nova Scotia after cold-calling — and impressing — a top executive there.

Sources: MONEY, Esquire Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

After he arrived for his freshman year at Queens University in 1990, Musk quickly picked up a side hustle selling computer parts and full PCs to other students. "I could build something to suit their needs like a tricked-out gaming machine or a simple word processor that cost less than what they could get in a store," Musk said.

Sources: MONEY, Esquire Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Within two years, Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania on a partial scholarship.

Sources: MONEY, Esquire Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

To cover the rest of his tuition, Musk and a buddy would turn their house into a speakeasy on the weekends, charging $5 at the door. "I was paying my own way through college and could make an entire month's rent in one night," Musk said.

Sources: MONEY, Esquire Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Musk graduated with a bachelor's degree in physics and an economics degree from the Wharton School and moved to Stanford to pursue his PhD.

Source: MONEY

He left the program within days to found an internet startup with his brother. They started Zip2, a city guide software for newspapers, with $28,000 in seed money from their father.

Source: MONEY

Four years later, in 1999, they sold Zip2 for $307 million, earning Musk $22 million. He invested more than half of his earnings to cofound X.com, an online banking service.

Source: MONEY

The company quickly merged with its rival and became PayPal with Musk as the majority shareholder. In 2002, eBay bought PayPal and Musk walked away with $180 million.

Source: MONEY

Musk turned his attention to his new space exploration company, SpaceX, after leaving PayPal. A few years later he cofounded electric-car maker, Tesla, and then SolarCity, a solar power systems provider. The success of these companies eventually launched him into the billion-dollar club — but not before he went broke.

Source: VentureBeat

In late 2008, Musk divorced his first wife and it took a toll on his finances. A year later, Musk said he "ran out of cash" and had been living off loans from friends while trying to keep his companies afloat.

Sources: VentureBeatForbes, TechCrunch

But when Tesla debuted on the stock market in 2010, Musk's fortune sky rocketed. By 2012, he appeared on Forbes' richest list for the first time with a net worth of $2 billion.

Source: Forbes

More than five years later Musk has amassed a $22 billion fortune — and he's not shy when it comes to spending it.

Source: Bloomberg

The CEO owns more than $70 million worth of residential property in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles. His fifth and latest home purchase: a $24 million as-of-yet unfinished estate.

Source: The Real Deal, Variety

Musk initiated his Bel-Air buying spree in late 2012, when the then-bachelor purchased a 1.67-acre estate for $17 million. The 20,248-square-foot mansion has a two-story library, a home theater, a gym, and 1,000-bottle wine cellar.

Source: Variety

As the leader of one of the preeminent auto-makers, it's no surprise Musk has an affinity for cars. Back in 2013, he paid $920,000 at an auction for the Lotus Esprit submarine car used in a James Bond movie.


In addition to driving Teslas, Musk owns two gas-powered cars: a Ford Model T and a Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Roadster.


Despite having funds to spare, Musk isn't a fan of lavish vacations — or any vacations for that matter. In 2015, he said he'd only taken two weeks off since founding SpaceX about 12 years earlier.

Sources: Inc., Quartz

Musk has five children. In a 2014 tweet, Musk said he takes the kids on an annual camping trip. "I'm a pretty good dad," he said. "I have the kids for slightly more than half the week and spend a fair bit of time with them. I also take them with me when I go out of town."

Sources: TwitterElon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

But by August 2018, Musk told The New York Times that he had taken to working 120 hours a week. "There were times when I didn't leave the factory for three or four days — days when I didn't go outside," he told The Times. "This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends."

Source: The New York Times

Musk said on an earnings call in 2017 that he doesn't have a desk at the Tesla factory: "I always move my desk to wherever — I don't really have a desk actually — I move myself to wherever the biggest problem is in Tesla. I really believe that one should lead from the front lines, and that's why I'm here."

Sources: Business Insider, Fortune

Musk admitted to spending "many late nights" at Tesla's Nevada Gigafactory re-writing software during a production sprint for the Model 3.

Source: Fortune

For a story published in August 2018, Business Insider reporters spoke with 42 Tesla employees, who said Musk is a visionary, but also unpredictably demanding.

Source: Business Insider

Musk said in June 2019 that he even plans to spend his 48th birthday at work, improving the company's "global logistics."

Source: Business Insider

Musk told CBS' "60 Minutes" that he is, in fact, "somewhat impulsive" and doesn't "really want to try to adhere to some CEO template."

Source: Business Insider

Not only does Musk spend a ton of time at Tesla, he also spends a lot of his money on the company. In the first six months of 2018, he bought more than $35 million worth of shares in Tesla.

Source: CNN

Musk also invests a lot of time, energy, and resources into SpaceX.

Source: Business Insider

SpaceX has raised more than $2.2 billion to develop, build, and launch Starlink, an effort to cover Earth in ultra-fast broadband internet and build the prototype of its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), a gargantuan reusable space vehicle designed to bring people to Mars, reported Business Insider's Dave Mosher. The company was valued at $33.3 billion in June 2019.

Source: Business Insider, CNBC

Musk also helms The Boring Company, which he founded in 2016 to develop and construct an underground tunnel in Los Angeles in an effort to mitigate traffic. In December 2018, Musk debuted the first prototype.

Source: Business Insider

According to The New York Times, The Boring Company raised over $112 million in 2018 — and more than 90% of it came from Musk.

Source: The New York Times

In 2012, Musk signed The Giving Pledge, vowing to donate the majority of his wealth during his lifetime. Though he's already in the business of improving our environment and the future during his day job, Musk has made sizable donations to causes he cares about, including a $10 million gift to the Future of Life Institute to regulate artificial intelligence.

Sources: Twitter, Business Insider

Musk found himself in legal trouble with the SEC in 2018 after he tweeted that he had obtained the funding to take Tesla private, which moved the company's stock price. Musk reached a settlement with the SEC in April 2019.

Source: Business Insider

At the end of the day, the multi-billionaire enjoys inexpensive hobbies like listening to music, playing video games, and reading books. "Hang out with kids, see friends, normal stuff," he said. "Sometimes go crazy on Twitter. But usually it's work more."

Source: Quartz

Alkaline water can be found in gyms and grocery stores everywhere now — here's what it tastes like and what it does


essentia water

  • Essentia is the leading ionized alkaline water brand you've probably seen in grocery stores and gyms.
  • It has a pH of 9.5, so it's less acidic than regular tap water, and contains electrolytes like calcium chloride and sodium bicarbonate.
  • Curious about what it tasted like and whether it lived up to its hydration claims, we tried it and found it had a clean, smooth taste and effectively rehydrated us through both regular work days and intense workouts. 

It is well-documented that I like drinking water, and usually I'm perfectly happy drinking plain old tap water to hydrate myself.

Sometimes, however, if I feel like I need an extra boost, I turn to alternatives like electrolyte powders. I've also been curious about "supercharged" waters like the ones I see everyone toting at the gym or airport. 

These waters usually contain electrolytes or have been ionized to increase its pH. Water with higher pH, or alkaline water, can improve cardiovascular function and help people retain more fluids in the body, leading to more efficient rehydration than regular water.

I don't love that they're only sold in plastic bottles and are typically more expensive than regular water, but there has to be some real reason why people love them, right? 

I took a closer look at an ionized alkaline water called Essentia, a leader in its category whose bold black, red, and white bottles you've no doubt seen everywhere as well. In 2018, the company reported nearly $196 million in retail sales and it's only growing, in both sales and reputation. 

Read more: The best water bottles you can buy

essentia water 2

To make its water, the company employs a three-step process. First, it purifies potable tap water to remove any chemicals and heavy metals. Then, it infuses the water with electrolytes like calcium chloride and sodium bicarbonate. Finally, it uses a proprietary ionization process to get the pH of the water to 9.5. 

Though the scientific benefits of ionized pH water have yet to be corroborated by multiple research studies, many reviews of Essentia water have mentioned that it has improved their acid reflux and morning sickness.

It's also supposed to taste better and hydrate you better than traditional waters. According to a published study conducted by Essentia's Director of Clinical and Scientific Research, Dr. Ralph E. Holsworth, Jr., Essentia water resulted in 88% "better hydration" than regular bottled water. 

Read more: This electrolyte powder is a low-sugar way to replenish fluids and prevent dehydration after workouts or long nights out

essentia water 3

Ultimately, the only way to see whether Essentia water really did offer significant taste and hydration benefits was to try it ourselves.

Some would argue that it all tastes the same, but I can definitely taste the difference between various bottled waters. Some leave strange aftertastes, while others feel dry in your throat as you drink it. Essentia tastes noticeably cleaner and smoother than other waters I've tried, and other Insider Picks team members agreed. 

I drank Essentia throughout a work day as well as after a workout, and I have to admit that it was a subtle but welcome change from usual tap water. The taste was just different enough, but not as drastic as a sparkling or flavored water, and I felt rehydrated and re-energized after drinking it, whether I had it while diving into a writing session or after coming out of a strength workout class. 

Having tried it now, I'd still stick with regular tap water for my everyday needs, but if I do want an extra rehydration supplement that also tastes good, I would buy a bottle of Essentia. It's sold in a variety of sizes, from 12 fl. oz. to 1 L, so you can get the one that best fits your needs and habits. 

Shop Essentia Water in a variety of sizes, starting at $19.98/pack, at Amazon

Shop Essentia Water in a variety of sizes, starting at $26.11/pack, at Jet.com

Shop Essentia Water 1L 12-Pack for $19.99 at Boxed

Join the conversation about this story »

The best water bottles you can buy


the best water bottles

  • A great refillable water bottle will help you stay hydrated while you're on the go.
  • Of all the water bottles we've tested and researched, the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth is the best one you can buy with its rugged construction and great temperature retention.

Reusable water bottles are a must for anyone who wants to quench their thirst without leaving a trail of landfill-clogging plastic in their wake. But just like travel mugs, choosing a water bottle isn't as simple as picking the prettiest option or the cheapest one. If your bottle is mostly going to sit on your desk at work, your needs will be very different than if you want a lightweight companion for an epic weekend hike or a leak-proof bottle that can rattle around in your gym bag without soaking everything inside.

Experts have conducted a lot of water-bottle tests, evaluating criteria including weight, design, ease of use, and durability. We read through the most recent tests, as well as thousands of owner reviews on major retail sites to make our picks. We've also used a few of these water bottles ourselves.

Our favorite water bottles include a versatile stainless-steel option for the majority of buyers, an inexpensive but reliable plastic bottle when budget is a concern, and a sturdy bottle for glass lovers. We also include picks for anyone who wants a bottle with high-end design and a collapsible water bottle for situations when weight and portability are paramount. You should also check out our guide for the best travel mugs you can buy.

Here are the best water bottles you can buy:

Updated on 06/28/2019 by Les Shu: Updated selections, prices, links, and formatting.

Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.

SEE ALSO: The best travel mugs you can buy

The best water bottle overall

The Hydro Flask Wide Mouth water bottle is durable, keeps water ice cold for hours on end, looks cool, and is easy to use. 

Hydro Flask is a great choice if you hate gulping warm water in the summer. It also offers some much-appreciated versatility, with a wide opening that fits three lids depending on your needs: A flip lid with a loop, a flex cap with an even larger loop (included), and a straw lid for more convenient sipping. Users like having the option to switch out lids, and the wide mouth also makes it easy to load this bottle up with ice. You can choose between 18-, 32-, 40- and 64-ounce capacities and a number of fun colors.

During Outdoor Gear Lab's testing, ice resisted melting for nearly a full 24 hours, and water was ice cold for more than a full day. Outside found that the bottle's contents warmed one measly degree after 24 hours and noted that it kept a gin and tonic "ice freaking cold" after 14 hours in 90-degree heat. The insulated stainless steel also keeps drinks warm for several hours, so Hydro Flask can pull double-duty as a travel mug for coffee and tea. 

This thing is seriously rugged, too. Like all stainless-steel water bottles, it can dent when dropped, but in Outside's tests, it managed to survive being pelted with large rocks and getting backed over by a Toyota Camry and a Chevy Silverado. After all that punishment, it sustained a quarter-inch dent and one small scratch.  It also has a loop on the lid that makes it easy to carry one-handed.

In our Insider Picks review, Owen Burke calls Hydro Flask water bottles "lightweight and nearly indestructible" (he tested the 24-ounce version). But he found the silicone loop on the lid to be "not the most durable thing in the world, and it will eventually break." Nearly every member on the Insider Picks team uses a Hydro Flask. You can read about their experiences on why they like the company's products.

What's not to like? The Wirecutter notes that it's heavier than other bottles (the 18-ounce version weighs in at 11.6 ounces, the 32-ounce closes in on 1 pound) so serious hikers looking to save on weight might want to consider lighter options.

Some Amazon customer complain that the flip top is prone to leaks, so consider sticking with the flex cap if you want to toss your bottle in a bag without worrying. A few also complain of a slight metallic taste. Finally, this bottle is hand-wash only – steer clear if you live and die by the dishwasher. — Saundra Latham

Pros: Very durable, great at keeping drinks cold or hot, easy to use,compatible with three kinds of lids, comes in high-capacity options

Cons: Heavy, expensive, flip top may leak, not dishwasher-safe

Buy the 32-ounce Hydro Flask Wide Mouth from Hydro Flask for $39.95

The best plastic water bottle

If you prioritize price or weight over temperature retention, consider the inexpensive and easy-to-use Camelbak Chute water bottle

Stainless-steel water bottles like the Hydro Flask have a lot of pros, but they're heavy. A plastic water bottle like the Camelbak Chute is cheaper and a lot lighter. In fact, the largest 50-ounce Chute weighs a measly 7.6 ounces. If you're not quite that thirsty, no worries: There are 20-, 25-, and 34-ounce versions, too.

Like the Hydro Flask, the Chute has a wide mouth that makes it easy to fill and load up with ice, and the large spout means you can gulp until you're content instead of dealing with a valve that restricts flow, which is common on other water bottles. It also has a loop on the cap, making it easy to clip to a backpack or hook around a finger or two.

Though the Chute may not be as tough as stainless steel, it's still relatively rugged for a plastic water bottle. It's made of BPA-free, dishwasher-safe Tritan plastic that is engineered to resist cracking. Several Amazon reviewers say it has been dropped repeatedly on concrete without shattering or showing any signs of wear. Even better, most say the bottle doesn't impart any funky plastic taste to their water.

A few minor issues: Other testers have found that it can be tricky to lock the cap down onto the lid while drinking, though they still appreciate having the option to keep the cap from springing back and bonking them in the nose. Of course, plastic isn't great at regulating temperatures, so if you need to keep drinks hot or want to keep them cold for longer, take a look at the pricier stainless-steel Chute.  — Saundra Latham

Pros: Lightweight, inexpensive, durable, easy to carry, gulp-friendly spout, dishwasher-safe, comes in high-capacity options

Cons: Lid is tricky to lock down, won't keep your water cold for long, may "sweat" with condensation on a hot day

Buy the 34-ounce (1 liter) Camelbak Chute on Amazon starting at $34.80

The best glass water bottle

The Lifefactory Glass Water Bottle is a better choice for the most discerning palates and a more eco-friendly choice for anyone concerned with green living.

If you hate that metallic or plasticy taste you get with other water bottles, you'll love the Lifefactory Glass Water Bottle, which testers say keeps water fresh and untainted, even after a full day sitting in the bottle. You don't get the aftertaste that seems to impart on metal or plastic.

The Lifefactory is also a good option if you're worried about the chemicals in plastic and want something that is more readily recyclable.

No, glass bottles won't survive as many drops as stainless steel or shatter-resistant plastic, but he Lifefactory is protected by its substantial silicone sleeve. Several Amazon reviewers confirm that they've dropped this bottle without incident, even on hard surfaces. The sleeve also provides a grippier surface for holding the bottle. Since glass "sweats" more than other materials, this is a feature most users should appreciate.

You have a few lid options with Lifefactory water bottles: A silicone flip cap (included), a straw cap and a leak-proof classic cap meant for those who want to toss the bottle in a bag without worrying. Other testers have said the wide mouth makes it easy to fill, though they do note it can be easy to misthread the cap, raising your risk of leaks. The bottle is dishwasher-safe, even with the silicone sleeve on.

Other issues are minimal: The flip cap can pop off and doesn't regulate flow well enough for users who may just want a sip. Of course, like all glass bottles, the Lifefactory is heavy — the 22-ounce bottle is just over a pound — so it isn't the best pick when weight is a big concern. — Saundra Latham

Pros: Glass won't alter taste of water, more recyclable than other options, silicone sleeve provides good grip and protection from bumps and drops, compatible with three kinds of lids, dishwasher-safe

Cons: Heavy, glass is less durable than plastic or stainless steel, flip top may not regulate flow well enough for sippers, may "sweat" with condensation on a hot day

Buy the 22-ounce Lifefactory Glass Water Bottle from Bed Bath & Beyond for $19.99

The best water bottle for design lovers

S'well Stainless Steel Water Bottles are a great blend of form and function, keep your water cold, and look amazing doing it.

S'well has become something of a phenomenon in a few short years, thanks in part to powerful backers like Oprah and massive retail partners like Starbucks and Target. Stainless-steel S'well bottles are always a standout on store shelves thanks to their eye-catching designs, whether you like wood grain, marble, metallic, animal print, or more.

Business Insider's Guides Editor Malarie Gokey loves her stone-style S'well bottle for its slick design, ability to keep drinks cold, and its trusty lid. There are three sizes  — 9, 17 and 25 ounces — and the smaller two bottles can fit in standard cup holders.

It's easy to get wrapped up in the design of a S'well bottle, but its triple-walled body means it's just as good as the Hydro Flask and similar bottles at keeping drinks cold or hot – up to 24 or 12 hours, respectively. Users note that the bottle doesn't sweat, keeping their hands dry. S'well bottles should stand up to a good amount of abuse, but reviewers note that like any steel bottles, they can sustain dents and dings if dropped.

S'well features a simple twist cap that receives high marks for its ease of use, and Hydration Anywhere says that it really is leak-proof. Though there is no wide-mouth lid (or any other cap) compatible with S'well bottles, many reviewers say they're still able to fit standard ice cubes inside. If a straw lid or a flip top is more appealing, S'well won't be an option. You'll also want to hand-wash these bottles, a common recommendation for stainless steel.

These aren't the lightest water bottles around – the 25-ounce bottle weighs in at a pound, similar to the 32-ounce Hydro Flask. You can't ignore the fact that S'well bottles are on the pricier side compared with others. Target offers the less budget-busting Sip by S'well bottle, which also gets great reviews.  — Saundra Latham

Pros: Wide range of beautiful designs, great at keeping drinks cold or hot, relatively durable, doesn't "sweat"

Cons: Heavy, expensive, narrow mouth won't accept anything other than original lid, not dishwasher-safe

Shop all S'well bottles for $25 to $50 depending on style

The best collapsible water bottle

The collapsible Vapur Element weighs just one ounce unfilled, so you may even forget it's in your bag.

"Water bottle" may not be the best way to describe the Vapur Element. In fact, Vapur bills the Element as an "anti-bottle," which does sound a lot cooler than "water pouch." Made of a flexible BPA-free plastic, the Vapur can be squished, folded and rolled up when empty. Best of all, it weighs only about an ounce. There are two sizes: 24 and 34 ounces, though Vapur makes similar anti-bottles that are smaller and larger.

It's the perfect water bottle for backpackers and anyone who's always on the go. Business Insider's Guides Editor Malarie Gokey brings the Vapur with her every time she travels because it's so easy to carry. It's often in her bag during the weekend, too.

As if weighing next to nothing and flattening for easy packing isn't enough, the Vapur has a few more tricks up its sleeve. It's freezable, which means your water stays colder longer, but Your Best Digs notes that the mouth is also wide enough to accommodate ice cubes. Despite its flexibility, it's still designed to stand up on its own. The cap has an integrated carabiner that can be used to clip the bottle onto a backpack or belt, or keep it neatly rolled up when it's empty.

Speaking of the Vapur's cap, Amazon reviewers give it high marks for staying tightly shut. Your Best Digs also likes the flip-top design, which it says "closes securely with an audible click and will not pop off accidentally in your bag." The mouth is also large enough to allow a brush inside, and the bottle is dishwasher-safe.

As for cons, most have to do with durability and cleaning. Other reviewers noted that it leaked from its seams when it was twisted during testing, and some Amazon reviewers also report leaks forming near seams. Some reviewers say it's also difficult for the Element to thoroughly dry out between uses. While the lining is antimicrobial, germophobes may want to look elsewhere.  — Saundra Latham

Pros: Very lightweight, inexpensive, freezable, can be rolled up when empty, integrated carabiner makes for easy carrying, easy-to-use flip-top design

Cons: Slow to dry out, may spring a leak after extended or heavy-duty use

Buy the Vapur Element on Amazon for $11.45 and up

The best rugged water bottle for adventures

The Bear Grylls Triple Wall Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle is extra durable, keeps water ice cold, doesn't weigh much, and is easy to use. 

It can be difficult to call one water bottle better than another these days, what with the sheer volume of bottles available. But when a water bottle is good enough for Bear Grylls, known best for his escapades in the popular series "Man vs. Wild," chances are it's hardier, longer-lasting, larger, and just all-around better than most. The Bear Grylls Triple Wall Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle can keep beverages hot for 12 hours or cold for 24 hours, and this isn't just a claim — it's absolutely a promise.

The bottle's three walls really do their job. Constructed with stainless steel and food-grade materials, this water bottle is BPA-free and won't retain odors or flavors from whatever you kept in it before.

The water bottle is part of Grylls' Bear Gear line, so it's "built tough so that you can explore further." And "tough" isn't a word that Grylls throws around lightly. He's a former British Special Forces soldier, as well as a high-altitude mountaineer, and most famously, a survival expert. So when he puts his name on a water bottle, you can bet that it's one that'll last.

My favorite aspect of the bottle is how lightweight it is. When you're on a backpacking trip or looking to hike the Appalachian Trail, you don't need to carry around any more weight than necessary. The Bear Grylls bottle will only add 9.6 ounces to your pack. Moreover, the outside of the bottle is scratch-resistant, and thanks to its no-sweat powder-coated exterior, you can keep a grip on your beverage even in the sweatiest, hottest situations.

To ensure that this really is a bottle that you'll use for the rest of your life, the Bear Grylls Triple Wall Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle comes with a lifetime warranty. It's available in a wide range of colors, including aqua teal, midnight black, lavender, and stainless steel in both 20- and 32-ounce sizes. — Lulu Chang

Pros:  Very effective at keeping beverages' temperatures, no-slip grip, lifetime warranty, durable

Cons: While customers seem universally aligned on the bottle itself, there are some complaints about the construction of the lid

Buy the Bear Grylls Triple Wall Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle on Amazon starting at $17.99

The best collapsible water bottle for travel

If you feel like you spend much of your life on the road or on a plane, the Hydaway Collapsible Water Bottle is the travel essential you can't go without.

Not all collapsible water bottles are bottles. Some are pouches, some are basically water bags, but none of these are quite as cool as the Hydaway Collapsible Water Bottle. It's cylindrical, maintains its shape even as you empty it of liquid, and has a lid with a sippy top. But once you're done drinking or need to get through TSA, you can collapse the Hydaway into a flat disc that won't take up a huge amount of space in your bag.

Rather than toting about a bulky bottle that has nothing in it, you can simply compress the Hydaway and, as the name suggests, hide it away. Even though the water bottle can be collapsed to take up no space at all, when it's full, it can actually contain up to 20 ounces of water. So don't think that you're cheating yourself of much-needed hydration simply by choosing a bottle that's super portable.

The Hydaway is made with food-grade silicone and plastic, which have both been tested by third-parties and certified safe. The bottle is also BPA-free and dishwasher safe for added convenience. Thanks to its watertight seals throughout, you won't have to deal with any leakage from this bottle, and there's a carry handle that easily fits your finger or a carabiner so you can attach the Hydaway to a backpack or piece of luggage.

While some silicone leaves its contents with a rather plasticky taste or odor, I didn't have this problem at all when I tested out the Hydaway. — Lulu Chang

Pros: Lightweight, collapsible, great for travel or for folks on the go, easy to carry

Cons: Some customers have noted that it's difficult to "un-collapse" the bottle after being collapsed

Buy the 21-ounce Hydaway bottle on Amazon for $21.95 

Coworkers said my androgynous look was scaring clients, so I switched jobs and found a boss who helped me accept my true self


Joannie Fu

  • Joannie Fu is the chief of staff and technical assistant, Programmable Solutions Engineering Group, at Intel.
  • When she began her career in tech, she was told she didn't look feminine enough and that she had to change her appearance.
  • She eventually found a workplace that accepted her for who she is. Now, Fu is a prominent LGBT advocate who wants employees to embrace what makes them unique.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When I was in my mid-20, I had to make an overwhelming decision. After years of studying engineering and business, I received job offers from five companies. They all had similar compensation, attractive opportunities, and welcoming teams. But as a first-generation immigrant, Asian-American, and lesbian, I desired more: I wanted to work for a socially responsible global company where I could be out as my true self.

In the early 2000s, acceptance for gay, lesbian, and transgender employees was not a given. At a company I'd previously joined after college, the management team made it implicitly clear that I could either be myself or advance my career — but not both. I was routinely given feedback that I appeared too androgynous. I was also told that I should not attend client meetings since I might cause distraction or discomfort for those clients, even though I had performed the research and developed the presentation with high praise.

This message came from the exact same management team that continually told me I had great capabilities and an incredible future. After being mired in these mixed messages to the point of dressing femininely and wearing make-up, I eventually realized that I would never get ahead at a company that didn't accept me. I simply would not reach my full potential if I had to invest my energy worrying daily about what I was wearing.

Read more: This top Accenture exec came out as gay to coworkers at an office party 32 years ago. He says it was one of the best career decisions he's ever made.

Finding allies is the best way to grow in the workplace

When I eventually joined Intel in 2000 as a Colorado Fab Senior Buyer and Team Lead, I knew from the start that I never wanted to be in a similar situation again. On my first day, I cautiously came out to my manager and told him that I did not want special treatment, that all I wanted was to be treated like everyone else.

He absolutely surprised me when he responded, "Why do you want to be ordinary when you can be extraordinary?!" He encouraged me to start a local chapter of Intel's IGLOBE employee resource group for LGBT+ employees in Colorado. He also sponsored me to attend conferences to speak about diversity, and pushed me to be vocal when I saw inequalities in the workplace. He was an exceptional ally pioneer, planting leadership seeds in me ― professionally and personally ― that continue to bloom today.

Read more: The 23 most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech

Several years later, I was offered an expatriate assignment to start Intel's first factory in Dalian, China, which I knew I couldn't pass up. But same-sex marriage was and still is illegal in China. My domestic partner and I had just welcomed our first child, and I was adamant that I would not go to China without them.

It's one thing for a company to claim equal protection for LGBT+ individuals under official policies and another to truly ensure they have access to the same rights, benefits, projects, and opportunities as other employees. My company very well could have pointed to official Chinese government policies and left me to handle the logistics of getting my partner and child to China on my own. But Intel HR, the legal team, PR, and the management team surprised me by providing all the necessary resources to avoid separating our family, from support in coordinating with the government, to help with securing my partner's visa, to ensuring our safety while abroad.

Employees feel motivated when they have managers with diverse backgrounds

My experiences in Colorado and China (as well as the freedom to be my authentic self) are some of the reasons why I've thrived at Intel for 19 years and counting. And they provide lessons that other companies would be wise to take to heart if they want to retain talented employees and build employee satisfaction. According to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 69% of millennial employees who believe their senior management teams are diverse describe their working environments as motivating and stimulating, versus 43% who don't perceive their leadership teams as diverse.

Being able to embrace my identity with pride has also helped me grow both professionally and personally in ways that I could not have anticipated. It's given me new leadership opportunities, sharpened my skills, and helped me coach others on their journeys.

Today, I am part of the Intel LGBT+ leadership council and actively lead several initiatives within and outside of Intel, including Lesbians Who Tech, and Out & Equal. It's also led to a tremendous sense of personal fulfillment when I know my efforts have made a positive difference for others. After China, I moved to California to work at an Intel campus that was part of a recent acquisition. While raising greater awareness and acceptance for the LGBT+ community within my new campus, a colleague let me know that after 12 years in the workforce, she finally felt safe bringing her best self to work.

My advice: Find a workplace that will accept you as you are, and not force you into a single mold. Identify allies within your organization that will speak up and advocate for you. And most of all, embrace what makes you unique and learn how to leverage it to reach your full potential. Love your uniqueness even more fiercely than you love your strengths, for they are one and the same. Don't be ordinary ― be extraordinary!

Joannie Fu is the chief of staff for the Intel's Programmable Solutions Engineering group. She partners directly with Engineering VPs as a key trusted advisor to set strategies and imperatives for the PSE Exec Office for an org that spans silicon, hardware, software, IP, platform, manufacturing, and quality engineering which deliver multi-billion dollar revenue for the Intel FPGA business.


SEE ALSO: The 23 most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech

Join the conversation about this story »

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16 products we swear by to keep us cool on hot summer days


Caudalie Grape Water

  • Summer can be brutal when you live in a city, and sweaty subway platforms with no air conditioning don't help.
  • I asked my coworkers to share their tips and tricks for how to cool down when it's burning hot outside, and they had a lot of great ideas to share.
  • From misting sprays to roll-on peppermint oil, here are some clever ideas for how to beat the heat this summer.

New York City can be extremely brutal in the summer. It's hot, muggy, full of tourists, and pretty smelly, too. Factor in that most of us who live and work here have to wear full-coverage clothing when it's burning hot outside (not to mention that underground subway platforms aren't air conditioned), and you've got a recipe for about four months of complete and utter overwhelm. 

As the weather heats up, we find ourselves desperately reaching for things that keep us cool — not just ice cream and air conditioning, but also portable fans, facial mists, cooling clothes, and refrigerated eye-masks.

I asked my coworkers to share the products they swear by for surviving sweltering weather, and pretty much everyone had some sort of clever trick up their sleeve that I felt was worth sharing. 

This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Hydro Flask and that also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*

Here are the products we carry around or use every day to beat the heat and humidity:

Caudalie Grape Water Facial Misting Spray

Caudalie Grape Water, available at Sephora, $18

I do not mess around when it comes to staying cool in the summer. The second it starts to get hot in NYC, I start to carry this spray with me everywhere I go. It comes in both a full size and a travel size version, is super hydrating for the skin (both the face and body), and because the mist is so fine and gentle, it won't wash away the sunscreen or makeup you have on. Honestly, there's nothing better than having a cool mist wash over your face in the breeze when you otherwise feel completely decimated by the sun. — Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor

Kimkoo Gel Eye Mask

Kimkoo Gel Eye Mask, available on Amazon, $7.97

Though you likely won't want to carry this around with you for fear of scaring everyone, a gel eye mask is a godsend to have at home in the summer. After a long day in the sweltering heat, I love coming home to excavate my cold gel mask from the refrigerator. I pop it on while I watch TV, but it's also comfortable to sleep in on hot nights. Pro tip: You can also get the same effect by refrigerating regular sheet masks for a chilly skin-care treatment. — Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor

Hydro Flask 24-ounce Standard Mouth Water Bottle

Hydro Flask Shave Ice Limited Edition 24-ounce Standard Mouth, available on Hydro Flask, $26.96

Aside from air conditioning, the most effective way I stay cool is with refreshingly cold water. When I know I'm going to be outside for long periods of time, I make sure to fill up my Hydro Flask. Compared to normal water bottles that do nothing to insulate drinks, the Hydro Flask does an excellent job at keeping drinks cold all day long. It's also great for carrying to the gym. — Amir Ismael, Insider Picks reporter

* Sponsored by Hydro Flask

Haptime Battery-Powered Mini Fan

Haptime Battery-Powered Mini Fan, available on Amazon, $9.99

I just ordered this little fan because the one I've been using recently died. I don't even care how touristy or silly it makes me look — when it's 105 degrees in Manhattan and I'm stuck on a subway platform, you better believe I'm pulling this pen-sized baby out of my purse. I opted for a new one that's battery-powered so it lasts longer than my previous one.

One year update: Still works! — Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor

Mission HydroActive Large Cooling Towel

Mission HydroActive Large Cooling Towel, available on Amazon, $22.99

I'm not much of a fitness person, but I do spend a lot of time walking around outside in athletic clothes. On days when I'm out adventuring, hiking, going on extra long walks, or even just hanging out in the park, I bring this little towel along with me and keep it draped around my neck.

When you get it wet and then snap it a few times, the fabric gets really cold — and I'm not kidding you in the slightest when I say that it works. I thought the snapping part was optional until I actually tried it and compared it to a second one I got for my partner. It turns out that step is what activates the cooling technology (or magic) in the fabric. — Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag, available on Amazon, $44.99 - $200 (depending on size and color) 

Although I prefer to carry a backpack, I switch to a messenger bag during the summer because it keeps me cooler — with the ability to move the bag around a bit more, and the fact that it sits looser against my body, I don't get as sweaty as I would with a backpack pressed against my back. I've been using the Timbuk2 classic for years, it's definitely my go-to. — David Slotnick, senior Insider Picks reporter

Rowenta Silence Extreme Table Fan

Rowenta Silence Extreme 12-inch Table Fan, available at Bed Bath & Beyond, $79.99

"Silence Extreme" may sound like a really dramatic name for a fan, but this one from Rowenta is so silent it's almost scary. When I have it on night mode while I sleep, I can't hear it at all. There's no buzzing, no whirring, or anything else — just blissful silence so you can sleep and stay cool. Although this fan is super quiet, it's also very powerful.

It has three speeds and it oscillates, so if you do need more air than night mode is getting you, you can have it, though the fan will get slightly louder. Even so, this fan is extra quiet, and it's made sleeping in hot weather so easy. It comes in a larger size, too, and we recommend both models in our buying guide. — Malarie Gokey, Insider Picks guides editor

Aromine Peppermint Halo Roll-On

Aromine Peppermint Roll-On Essential Oil, available at Amazon, $12.30

I've been carrying around a similar roll-on peppermint oil stick and slathering it onto the back of my neck when it's excessively hot out in NYC, and it feels really amazing. The peppermint gives you a cooling, tingly sensation that I can't get enough of, and it's also super small so you can carry it in your pocket. This one is blended with a coconut oil as a carrier, so it's been diluted enough that it shouldn't irritate your skin. -Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor

Japanese Folding Fan

Japanese Hand Fan, available on Etsy in multiple designs, from $13.80

NYC summers are suffocating — especially when you venture down into subway stations where the air is still as death and muggy as a swamp. To get that air moving and to keep the various smells away, I carry a foldable fan in my bag. Truth be told, I didn't actually buy the one I have — I got it from a Japanese tech company at a tech trade show — but this one from Etsy looks just like the one I have and it ships straight from Japan. — Malarie Gokey, Insider Picks guides editor

NIGHT Pillow

NIGHT Pillow, available at Bed Bath and Beyond, $149.99 

I've tried many pillows, but the one I return to most often is this because it's so cool and comfortable. The memory foam is light and airy so you're not sinking into a dense, warm hole and the silk case keeps that coveted cold-side-of-the-pillow feeling going all night long. A silk pillowcase has additional benefits: it's better for your hair and skin. — Connie Chen, Insider Picks reporter

Mack Weldon Silver Crew Neck T-Shirt

Silver Crew Neck T-Shirt, available at Mack Weldon, $42

It's basically impossible for me to stay cool in the summer so my strategy is about damage control. My favorite item is Mack Weldon's Silver T-Shirt. It's not a cheap T-shirt at $42, but having the moisture-wicking and anti-microbial silver woven into the fabric means that it's easier for me to stay comfortable all day.

I've been using this shirt for a couple of years, and it's always my go to on a hot day. And despite tons of washes and uses, it hasn't worn out a bit. The color hasn't faded and the fit hasn't changed, which speaks volumes about Mack Weldon's attention to detail and quality. — Breton Fischetti, VP of Insider Picks

Ministry of Supply Easier Than Silk Shirt

Ministry of Supply Easier Than Silk Shirt, available at Ministry of Supply, $69

Ministry of Supply's Easier Than Silk shirt is one of my all-time favorites. It has the draping of a silk shirt, but none of the high-maintenance care. It's odor- and wrinkle-resistant and machine washable, and the breathable performance material means sweat dries fast. It's one of my best shirts both in comfort and how polished it looks on. It's worth every penny, and in frequent rotation for me in the summer.

I own what's now considered the previous generation of the shirt. You can find the newest version here. — Mara Leighton, Insider Picks reporter

Ministry of Supply Apollo Dress Shirt

Apollo Dress Shirt, available at Ministry of Supply, $125

I'm not generally a fan of short-sleeved shirts, so having button-downs that breathe is extremely important to me. The material used in Ministy of Supply's Apollo shirt was developed by NASA scientists to be 19 times more breathable than cotton, and its piqué knit construction doesn't restrict mobility. Having tried and reviewed the shirt myself, I can say for certain that its designers did an excellent job. On the hottest days, the Apollo is the work shirt I reach for. — Brandt Ranj, Insider Picks associate editor 

VETTA Tapered Pant

VETTA Tapered Pant, available at VETTA, $119

I think it's worth mentioning this whole capsule because you can mix and match the five linen pieces to make a month's worth of breathable outfits, but these tapered pants are my favorite. They're flattering, go with everything, and are wonderfully breezy. I walk 20 minutes to and from the subway every day, and each day I wear these is already that much better. I'm planning on grabbing a second pair in black just so they're always in rotation. — Mara Leighton, Insider Picks reporter

Vivobarefoot Kanna Shoes

Vivobarefoot Kanna Shoes, available at Vivobarefoot, from $95

Aside from being super convenient for traveling (or for rolling up and sticking in your purse as a backup on days you think you'll "like wearing heels"), the VIVO Kanna barefoot shoes are a lifesaver in the heat. They're made from a stretchy, breathable mesh sock upper that breathes in a way you can actually feel. They also don't trap heat like sneakers with foam or bulky layers either, and the ultra-lightweight construction means my feet never feel heavy or clumsy. You can find my full review here. — Mara Leighton, Insider Picks reporter

Helix Cool Pillow

Helix Cool Pillow, available at Helix, $115

This pillow is one of few "sleep cool" essentials that really make a difference for me. It's made out of a polyethylene fabric that has an especially high heat transfer, so it virtually always feels cold to the touch. It also has a great, cushy density that makes it especially competitive in my opinion for $115. You can find my full review here. — Mara Leighton, Insider Picks reporter

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