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Air Canada just added the Airbus A220 to its fleet — see inside the controversial aircraft that Boeing tried to keep out of the US

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A220 Air Canada takeoff

  • Air Canada took delivery of its newest aircraft, the Airbus A220, in December and unveiled it to the public on January 15.
  • The airline plans to deploy the aircraft domestically and to US destinations including Seattle, New York, and San Jose, California. 
  • The aircraft has a long history that saw majority ownership in the program acquired by Airbus after it was designed by Canada's Bombardier. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Air Canada unveiled on Wednesday its first Airbus A220-300 aircraft, showing off the Canadian airplane that was bought by a European manufacturer that plans to also build them in the US. 

The aircraft is one of the most controversial in North America because of Boeing's resistance to and interference in the plane's sales in the US market. The manufacturer unsuccessfully attempted to block the purchase of the aircraft by Delta Air Lines, which had been shifting more toward Airbus products in its medium- and long-haul fleets with arrivals such as the Airbus A321 and A350-900 XWB. 

Though Boeing failed to convince trade regulators of its case, the negative decision opened the door for Airbus to take a majority stake in the program and rebrand it as its own. It was then that the Bombardier C Series became the Airbus A220, though most operators still keep the C Series name on the entryways to its aircraft.

Once it took delivery of the aircraft at the Bombardier-Airbus facility in Mirabel, Quebec, near Montreal, Air Canada became the second North American carrier behind Delta Air Lines to operate the Airbus A220, showing national pride doesn't always come first in aviation. Delta uses the aircraft on a variety of domestic routes with one of its longest being New York to Salt Lake City.

JetBlue Airways placed a large order for the aircraft last year, opting to go for an all-Airbus fleet rather than continue with Embraer.

SEE ALSO: We took a 4-hour flight on the new Delta Airbus jet that Boeing tried to keep out of the US. Here's what it was like.

DON'T MISS: I flew first-class in Delta's 6-month-old A220, the plane Boeing tried to keep out of the US

UP NEXT: Delta is the first US airline to fly the new Airbus A220 jetliner. Here are its coolest features.

Air Canada received its first of 45 Airbus A220 aircraft in December, opting to purchase the larger A220-300 variant for its mainline fleet.



The fleet will be based in Air Canada's central Canadian hubs of Montreal and Toronto, flying both domestically and internationally to cities such as New York.



Air Canada also plans to use the plane to launch new routes from Montreal and Toronto to as far as Seattle and San Jose, California, respectively.



The aircraft was delivered in Air Canada's new black, white, and red livery, a throwback to one of its former paint schemes.



The A220's interior allows for a normal-size business class cabin in a 2-2 configuration, with Air Canada planning to fit its A220s with 12 business-class seats.



The economy-class cabin will have 125 seats, configured in a 3-2 configuration that's ideal for couples or companions traveling together.



Its cockpit is state of the art, with side sticks replacing normal yokes, or control wheels, and screens taking the place of many instruments.



One of the rear lavatories of the aircraft features a window.



The aircraft gained its controversial status when Boeing attempted to block the sale of the aircraft to Delta, saying subsidies from the Canadian government enabled Bombardier to lower its prices.



The US government initially sided with Boeing, proposing a nearly 300% tariff on imports of the aircraft from Canada, which prompted Airbus to step in.



The European aircraft manufacturer took a 50.01% stake in the program, which is why the aircraft is now called the Airbus A220. Airbus slapped its name on it and will build future A220s destined for American airlines at a new assembly plant in Mobile, Alabama, alongside the Airbus A320 family.



The US International Trade Commission ultimately ruled against the tariff, but Airbus' investment, rebranding, and new production facility remained.



Some of the largest operators of the aircraft are in Europe, with Swiss International Air Lines being the largest operator of the Airbus A220, according to fleet data from Planespotters.net.



Air Baltic isn't far behind, primarily using its Airbus A220 aircraft on regional routes across Europe with the goal of operating the aircraft exclusively.



Despite Boeing's efforts, Delta Air Lines debuted its A220 fleet in February after a brief delay because of the 2018-19 government shutdown. Its first two routes were from New York to Boston and Dallas.



Operators of the aircraft still keep the C Series name on its aircraft at the boarding door, reminding every passenger who steps aboard of the aircraft's controversial past.



I clean my dog's paws with this simple, easy-to-use product — it's made the process less stressful for me and my dog

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Dexas MudBuster Portable Dog Paw Cleaner

  • It's important to clean dogs' paws to avoid parasites, infections, allergies, and more. For dogs who are sensitive to handling, this can be a stressful process.
  • The MudBuster is a cup lined with soft silicone bristles that makes cleaning my dog's paws easier and more efficient. It's available in three sizes and colors with prices starting at $11.99.
  • I use the MudBuster to clean my dog's paws after winter walks through salt and de-icing chemicals, after playtime in the yard, and to regularly rinse his feet to help keep his allergies at bay.

If your dogs are anything like mine, they hate having their paws touched. When my German shepherd Silas comes in from playing in our perpetually muddy yard, he becomes very anxious and hangs his head low as I clean off his muddy paws.

In the past, cleaning his paws meant dirtying towel after towel as I tried to wrangle him. Now that we have a Dexas MudBuster Gentle Paw Washer, cleaning his paws is so much easier — for him and for me. 

Other than the fact that it's important for my floors that Silas' paws stay clean, it's important for him as well. "Dog paws can be magnets for intestinal parasites, viruses, and other little nasties as they play in the dog park or even just walk through a field, the yard, or any place dogs [go to the bathroom]. This can lead to an intestinal infection with worms or even parvo when they lick or chew their paws. What better reason to wash your dogs' paws regularly," Dr. Jason Nicholas, BVMS, of Preventative Vet told Insider Picks. 

In Silas' case, he is prone to allergies, especially in the summer and fall, and regularly cleaning his paws is our best defense against them. It also saves us from buying costly allergy medication. Dr. Nichols also emphasized the importance of clean paws for dogs with allergies like Silas. "Keeping them clean can decrease the allergen load, which can irritate the skin or even be ingested by licking or chewing on their paws," he said.

With the MudBuster, I'm more likely to clean Silas' paws, and it gets his paws cleaner than I get them with a towel.

How the MudBuster works

The MudBuster looks like a cup but has soft silicone bristles inside to gently clean a dog's paws. When you're ready to use it, fill it with warm or cool water. Then, put your dog's paws in the MudBuster one at a time, gently twisting the container and moving it up and down.

Every dog will react to this product differently, so it's a good idea to introduce it to them without water in case they try to kick it off. It's also worth noting that there are techniques for making your dog more comfortable being handled. Silas hates to have his paws touched, but he tolerates the MudBuster pretty well.

If you're dealing with extremely dirty paws, you'll want to change out the water between paws, or clean all four and then do a second pass with clean water. If your dog stands on a towel while you're cleaning their paws, you'll barely even need to dry them when you're done.

MudBuster paw cleaner

When you're finished, just dump out the dirty water and rinse the MudBuster with clean water. If your dog's paws were especially dirty or you've been using the MudBuster for a while, you can also take it apart to clean it more thoroughly. Simply take off the lid, pull the silicone bristles out, and clean each piece with soap and water.

The MudBuster isn't only for cleaning muddy paws. When we take Silas on walks in the winter, the roads and sidewalks are always covered with salt and de-icing chemicals, which dry his pads out. We've even dealt with cracked and bleeding paw pads in the past (read more about how to care for dry and cracked paw pads here). Now, we always use the MudBuster after winter walks.

The MudBuster comes in three sizes. Silas is a 95-pound German shepherd, and we use the large size for him. MudBuster recommends the medium for medium breeds such as Australian shepherds, boxers, and English bulldogs, and the small for breeds like dachshunds, Pomeranians, and Yorkies. All three sizes are available in blue, green, or pink. 

The MudBuster has made paw cleaning less stressful for me and my dog

The MudBuster never ceases to amaze me, first and most importantly because Silas actually lets me clean his feet with it. When I used to clean his feet with a towel, he jerked and squirmed, and corralling a 95-pound dog isn't easy. 

Now that I use the MudBuster, I can still tell that Silas isn't completely comfortable, but he doesn't try to wrestle away from me. It makes coming in from outside less stressful for both of us. 

The other way the MudBuster amazes me is simply how well it works. Even when I don't think his paws are that dirty, the water is always very brown, and there's often sediment left at the bottom of the container. 

The bottom line

If you have a dog that likes to spend time outside, the MudBuster is a worthwhile investment. Even if your dog doesn't mind having their paws touched, this product still makes cleaning them easier and does a better job than a damp cloth. 

As Dr. Nichols said, neglecting your dog's paws leaves them vulnerable to parasites, viruses, damage from foreign objects, and more. By keeping their paws clean, you're also protecting your family and keeping your home clean. If this is something you struggle to keep up with, the MudBuster will make this arduous task easier and more convenient.

 

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Rothy's and Everlane both use recycled plastic to make comfortable women's flats — here's how they compare in comfort, style, and price

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Rothy's vs. Everlane 4x3

  • Rothy's and Everlane are two popular brands that offer knit flats. 
  • They're both made from recycled plastic bottles and are comfortable, breathable, and stylish. But they differ in feel, color options, and price (Rothy's are $125-$145, while Everlane's are $98). 
  • If you don't want to spend more than $100, are okay with fewer color options, and prefer a thicker, more structured feel, get a pair of Everlane Day Glove ReKnit flats.
  • If you like shopping many different colors and patterns, want a low-maintenance shoe you can easily wash, and are looking for more flexibility and give, get a pair of Rothy's flats.

Recently, online clothing retailer Everlane released a knit iteration of its popular Day Glove flat. The women on the Insider Picks team reacted accordingly: by exploding with excitement and immediately slipping on the stylish, lightweight shoes the moment we received the boxes. 

Although brands like Everlane and Allbirds have all realized by now that a lot of women love wearing flats, the original startup that made a name of its flats is, of course, Rothy's

With its sleek silhouettes and distinctive blue trim, Rothy's can be seen in cities all over the country, from the hills of San Francisco to the subway cars of New York City. As you consider a new pair of flats to replace your scuffed up, worn down pair, it's probably top of mind in your list of options. However, newcomers like Everlane also look pretty enticing.

If you're stuck between Rothy's and Everlane, we've broken them down by a few factors (color and style options, fabric construction, feel, and price) so you can determine which one is best for your use and budget.

Our team really likes both, so we can't give a conclusive answer on which is better — it all depends on your specific preferences. For a few more women's flats options to consider, check out our guide to the best flats you can buy.

Read our full review of Rothy's flats here.

Read our full review of the Everlane Day Glove ReKnit flats here.

Read on for a direct comparison between Rothy's and Everlane flats, below.

What they're made of

What's really cool about both of these flats is that they're made from recycled plastic bottles. Using these unexpected materials has resulted in surprisingly flexible and comfortable shoes that you would never guess contained recycled materials. 

Rothy's

The knit upper of Rothy's flats is made from recycled plastic bottles specifically, though the company doesn't specify how many. The outsole is made from carbon-free rubber, while the insole is made from caster oil and recycled materials. Converting recycled bottles into something beautiful has been Rothy's intent from its inception in 2016. As of June 2019, it has repurposed more than 32 million bottles. 

Everlane

The knit upper and outsole of the Everlane Day Glove ReKnit flats are made from eight recycled plastic bottles, while the insole is made from Italian leather. Everlane has committed to eliminating new plastic from its supply chain by 2021. In late 2018, it kicked off this initiative with its ReNew collection of outerwear and in 2019 it launched a sustainable leather sneaker brand called Tread, proving that every part of your wardrobe can be responsibly made. 

 



What it's like to wear and maintain them

How different can two knit flats be? There actually is a distinct difference between the feel, as well as the maintenance, of Everlane's and Rothy's flats. 

Rothy's

Rothy's knit material is thinner and slightly tighter-woven, and the 3D knitting process that produces it results in a less noticeable pattern. Rothy's round-toe flats have some more give and flexibility, so they could be ideal for wide feet. The pointy-toe version is best for narrow feet. Since the insole is also made from recycled materials rather than something like leather, it feels drier and slightly more breathable, and it won't stick to the bottom of your feet. If you tend to have sweaty feet, Rothy's might be better for you. They're easy to clean — just take out the insoles to hand-wash and throw the shoes themselves in the cold wash cycle of your washing machine. 

Everlane

The Everlane Day Glove ReKnit knit material is thicker and fashioned into a rib pattern. The flat also has a thicker, more defined "collar" that hugs onto your foot. The cushioned leather insole is buttery soft, smooth, and flexible, providing all-day comfort reminiscent of the original Day Glove. Together, these components make a lightweight, breathable shoe that you can wear straight out of the box. Due to the leather detailing on this shoe, you can only spot clean it. 

 

 



What silhouettes and styles each brand offers

Rothy's

Rothy's flats come in two styles. The Flat has a rounded toe and angular opening, while The Point has a pointed toe and an angular opening. Compared to Everlane, Rothy's has many more color and print options, like this leopard print. However, it regularly "retires" colors and prints and introduces new or limited-edition ones, so if you see a style you like, it's better to buy it sooner than later. 

Everlane

The Everlane Day Glove ReKnit flats are pretty new, so there are currently only five colors available: black, white, pink, red, and yellow. As a basics brand, Everlane doesn't really do prints, but as it expands its color offerings, you can expect more solid color options. There is one silhouette, which has a rounded toe and rounded opening. 

 



How much you'll pay for them

Based on shoe budget alone, you might have an immediate preference for one brand over the other. 

Rothy'sflats are more expensive. The rounded toe flats cost $125 and the pointed toe flats cost $145.

Everlane's Day Glove ReKnit costs $98. 

 



Which flats you should ultimately buy

We own, regularly wear, and love both brand's flats, but the bottom line is this: 

If you like shopping many different colors and patterns, want a low-maintenance shoe you can easily wash, and desire more flexibility and give, get a pair of Rothy's flats.

If you don't want to spend more than $100, are okay with basic colors, and prefer a thicker, more structured feel, get a pair of Everlane Day Glove ReKnit flats.

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9 countries where you can buy a second passport — and what it'll cost you to secure it

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Cyprus

  • The Henley Passport Index, an annual ranking of the most "powerful" passports in the world (based on how many destinations the passport holder can enter without a visa), was just released.
  • A handful of those passports can be purchased — several countries in the Caribbean and a couple in Europe have programs where citizenship is awarded in exchange for a significant investment.
  • Business Insider rounded up a list of the countries where you can secure dual citizenship, how much it'll cost to do so, how long the process will take, and how powerful the passport is.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Lavish superyachts and flashy timepieces were once the bonafide status symbols of the wealthy. Now, the rich are prioritizing more intangible concepts — as Business Insider's Hillary Hoffower reported in March, "luxury goods are out, and luxury lifestyles are in."

One way to signify such a lifestyle? A second passport.

A number of countries in the Caribbean and Europe offer "Citizenship by Investment" programs, where the elite can invest in a country in exchange for citizenship. That investment varies from country to country, but can range from a donation to a developmental fund to a real-estate purchase in a government-approved area.

The reasons for securing dual citizenship and a second passport are many— but one frontrunner is the extraordinary ease of travel it can provide. For example, the US passport allows visa-free access to 184 destinations, while the Grenada passport provides access to only 142 destinations— but the value of holding both is in the variety. The Grenada passport allows holders to enter China without a visa, completely bypassing the time consuming visa process necessary for someone who only holds a US passport.

Henley & Partners, a citizenship planning firm, recently released their annual ranking of the most powerful passports in the world, based on how many destinations a passport holder can visit without a visa. Among that ranking are a handful countries with "Citizenship by Investment" programs, where you can secure a second passport in exchange for a significant investment. We've rounded up 9 countries with such programs below, along with the minimum cost, the expected timeframe for the process, and how powerful the passport is.

If you hold a US passport, you are generally eligible to seek dual nationality. All of the countries below do not require you to renounce your prior citizenship. They are ranked in order from smallest minimum investment to largest, with alphabetical order implemented in the event of ties.

SEE ALSO: The most powerful passports in the world in 2020, ranked

DON'T MISS: These are the top 10 countries to retire in this year, according to US expats who have already made the move

Antigua and Barbuda — $100,000 minimum investment

There are three different avenues for securing citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda:

Each avenue listed above is the cost for a single applicant or a family of up to four. The fifth and any other additional dependents increase the cost of any application by at least $15,000 per person. It is also important to note that additional government processing fees can total $60,000.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four choosing the most economical option: $160,000 toward the National Development Fund, including fees.

The process is estimated to take between three and four months from the initial submission of the application to receipt of the passport. Antigua allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The Antigua passport allows visa-free access to 150 countries and is ranked the 30th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.



Dominica — $100,000 minimum investment

There are two different avenues for securing citizenship in Dominica:

Each avenue listed above shows the cost for a single applicant. The cost increases by at least $75,000 for a spouse or family of up to four for the Economic Diversification Fund option or by $35,000 for a spouse or family of up to four for the real-estate option. It is also important to note that additional government processing fees can total $15,000.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four choosing the most economical option: $190,000 toward the Economic Diversification Fund, including fees.

The process is estimated to take three months from the initial submission of the application to receipt of the passport. Dominica allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The Dominica passport allows visa-free access to 139 countries and is ranked the 37th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.



St. Lucia — $100,000 minimum investment

There are four different avenues for securing citizenship in St. Lucia:

Each avenue listed above shows the cost for a single applicant. The cost increases by at least $25,000 per additional dependent and avenue chosen. It is also important to note that additional government processing fees vary between avenues but can surpass $50,000.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four choosing the most economical option: $207,500 toward the National Economic Fund, including fees.

The process is estimated to take three months from the initial submission of the application to issuance of citizenship. Then, you can apply for a passport, which will take two weeks and can be expedited. St. Lucia allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The St. Lucia passport allows visa-free access to 145 countries and is ranked the 33rd strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.



Moldova — $100,000 minimum investment

 There is one avenue for securing citizenship in Moldova:

The avenue listed above shows the cost for a single applicant. For a couple, the contribution would be €115,000 ($128,000) and for a family of four the contribution would be €145,000 ($161,000). It is also important to note that additional pre-approval government processing fees can total $15,000 ($17,000). Furthermore, secondary post-approval fees of €35,000 ($39,000) per application will apply.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four: €195,000 ($216,000) toward the Public Investment Fund, including fees.

The process is estimated to take no more than three months from the initial submission of the application to receipt of the passport. Moldova allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The Moldovan passport allows visa-free access to 120 countries and is ranked the 49th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.



Grenada — $150,000 minimum investment

 There are two different avenues for securing citizenship in Grenada:

A $150,000 contribution to the National Transformation Fund covers the cost for a single applicant; a contribution of $200,000 covers the cost for a family of up to four, with each additional dependent incurring a cost of $25,000. A $350,000 real-estate investment covers the cost for a family of up to four members, with each additional dependent incurring a cost of $25,000. It is also important to note that additional government processing fees start at $8,000 and can total $70,000.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four choosing the most economical option: $222,000 toward the National Transformation Fund, including fees.

The process is estimated to take two months from the initial submission to approval of citizenship. You can then apply for a passport, which is typically issued within days of the request. Grenada allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The passport allows visa-free access to 142 countries and is ranked the 35th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.



St. Kitts and Nevis — $150,000 minimum investment

 There are two different avenues for securing citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis:

A $150,000 contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund covers the cost for a single applicant; A contribution of $195,000 covers the cost for a family of up to four, with each additional dependent incurring a cost of $10,000. A $200,000 real-estate investment covers the cost for a family, with each member incurring extra processing fees. It is important to note that additional government processing fees start at $7,500 but can surpass $19,500. There is also a post-approval fee for the real-estate track, which varies based on the number of dependents but starts at $35,050.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four choosing the most economical option: $214,500 toward the Sustainable Growth Fund, including fees.

The process is estimated to take two months from the initial submission of the application to receipt of passport. St. Kitts allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The St. Kitts passport allows visa-free access to 154 countries and is ranked the 27th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.



Turkey — $250,000 minimum investment

There are multiple avenues for securing citizenship in Turkey:

Each avenue listed above is the cost for primary applicant, their spouse, and any children under the age of 18.

The process is estimated to take two to three months from the initial submission of the application to receipt of the passport. Turkey allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The Turkey passport allows visa-free access to 111 countries and is ranked the 55th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.



Malta — $900,000 minimum investment

There is only one avenue for securing citizenship in Malta and it includes three financial requirements:

Each requirement listed above amounts to the cost for a single applicant. Any additional dependents increase the the contribution to the development of Malta by €25,000 ($28,000) per person. It will also increase additional government processing fees. For one person, it is important to note, those fees hover around €100,000 ($112,000).

The Maltese process is different in that it requires applicants to be residents of Malta for a full 12 months before being granted citizenship. The citizenship by investment application process, which can happen simultaneously, takes around eight months. All in all, the process, from submission of application to receipt of passport, takes somewhere between 12 and 18 months. Malta allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The Malta passport allows visa-free access to 183 destinations and is ranked the 9th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.



Cyprus — $2 million minimum investment

There are two requirements for securing citizenship in Cyprus:

Then, in addition to those initial donations, applicants must choose one of the following options:

Each avenue listed above is the cost for a primary applicant and all additional family members.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four choosing the most economical option: €2.15 million ($2.4 million)

The process is estimated to take six to eight months from the initial submission of the application to receipt of the passport. Cyprus allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The Cyrus passport allows visa free access to 174 countries and is ranked the 16th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.



5 affordable products that save me thousands of dollars on coffee a year

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Takeya Cold Brew Maker

  • I haven't bought coffee in years, not because I stopped drinking it but because I started making my own.
  • I've saved thousands on coffee over the years with these five items — a cold brew maker, a traditional coffee machine, reusable filters, a stovetop espresso maker, and a milk frother.
  • They're all super easy to use, well-reviewed on Amazon, and the results are probably better than what you'd get at your usual coffee spot.

When it comes to coffee, I'm a purist. I'm brand agnostic and will always take my cup black without any sugar or milk. That's why I hate paying for such an easy order knowing that I can brew my own (and usually better) at home. In fact, excluding business meetings or vacation where I can't BYO, I don't think I've bought coffee in a few years.

Here's how I save thousands of dollars on coffee by making my own.

Takeya cold brew maker

Cold brew is basically a coffee concentrate made by steeping beans in cold water for at least 12 hours. Because it takes a lot of time and beans to develop, it also costs more than regular coffee. But for the price of three cups at your usual coffee joint, you can get this cult-favorite Takeya cold brew carafe and make your own forever.  

It's made of incredibly durable, shatter-proof, and BPA-free Tritan plastic with a fine mesh filter that screws into the airtight lid. There is a 1-quart and 2-quart size; I have the 1-quart carafe and it fits perfectly in the refrigerator door. To use, just dump coarsely ground coffee into the filter (it says 14-16 tablespoons but I just fill up most of the filter), add cold water, and let it sit for up to 36 hours in the refrigerator. Whenever you're ready to take it out, you'll have a coffee concentrate that's stronger than normal coffee and less acidic too. Cut it with water, ice cubes, or milk, and live your best caffeinated life.

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Keurig machine

When I'm not in the mood for cold brew, I'll make a cup of basic hot coffee. My fiancé surprised me with a Keurig machine a few years ago and it's honestly one of the best gifts ever.

We have the older K-Classic that takes up a lot counter space, but it has a large 6-cup water reservoir so we can brew several cups before needing to refill. The newer ones are much more compact but also have a much smaller reservoir.

Using the machine is the same no matter which style you have. Fill the reservoir with water, add in the coffee pod of your choice, and brew one of three available sizes. You can also use it for hot water if you don't add in a pod. At first, we made coffee with the single-use K-cup pods because they came with the machine as part of a combo deal, but once we realized how bad they were for the environment, we bought reusable filters that fit our machine along with our own beans. In fact, our current coffee of choice is an 1820 medium roast that we brought home from Costa Rica that you can actually get from Amazon.

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Reusable K-cup filters

Speaking of reusable filters, these are the ones that I've been using for years. They fit all Keurig-brand machines so there aren't any guessing games when it comes to compatibility and they're easy to use and clean. Just pour your ground beans up to one of two fill lines in the filter, lock it back into the plastic canister, and brew. Once you're done, just rinse the grounds out of the filter. (Side beauty hack: Sometimes I'll use the grounds as a quick hand scrub!)

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Bialetti Moka Express

For a real espresso experience, you'd need a fancy machine that can cost upwards of $300. It ain't cheap, but for a purist like me who prefers cold brew over lattes anyway, it's also not worth my money. Instead, if I'm in the mood for a fancy barista-worthy espresso, I'll make a cup with the humble Bialetti Moka Express.

We've reviewed the stovetop espresso make before, but we can't sing its praises enough. It's inexpensive, comes in a variety of colors to suit your kitchen's vibe, and most importantly, it makes a really strong espresso without any bells and whistles. One caveat is that it's a stovetop espresso maker so you might have to monitor the pot the first few times you're using it to make sure that you don't burn the beans, but at least it'll make feel like a barista since you're not just pressing another button.

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Epica Automatic Electric Milk Frother and Heater Carafe

This sleek little carafe heats and froths up milk for lattes and cappuccinos, takes up minimal counter space, and is super quiet. Oh, and it has a 4-star rating on Amazon with more than 3,000 reviews and costs only $33.

To use, just pour milk into one of two fill lines for heating or frothing, pop the lid on, and then press the appropriate button. I found out the hard way that if you're just heating milk, you'll have to take out the removable steel whisk inside, otherwise the machine will froth and the milk will leak all over your counter. Even though I don't use this frother more than twice a week, I'll leave it out on my kitchen counter because it's so compact; it's actually more annoying for me to constantly move it around.

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Check out our other great coffee gear buying guides

The best coffee makers you can buy whether you want drip coffee or espresso

A great coffee maker can make or break your brew — and your morning. These are the best coffee makers you can buy, whether you want a drip coffee, French Press, espresso, pour-over, or cold brew coffee maker.


The best French Presses you can buy

You can brew coffee in a number of ways, but many caffeine addicts swear by the French Press method. 


The best stovetop espresso makers you can buy

After hours and hours of research, testing, and countless ensuing caffeine overloads, these are the best stovetop espresso makers we've found to make strong, delicious coffee right at home.


The best coffee grinders you can buy

Freshly ground coffee is addictive and delicious. If you want to make the perfect brew each morning, you need a coffee grinder.


The best milk frothers you can buy

If you're a big fan of cappuccinos and lattes with splendid milk foam, you're going to want a great milk frother in your collection of coffee-making products. 



The best yoga mats

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  • The first piece of gear you need to begin your yoga practice is a great yoga mat.
  • Of all the yoga mats we've researched, the Manduka ProLite Yoga Mat is the best with its closed-cell surface that keeps out sweat and its dotted texture that keeps your hands and feet from slipping out of position.

If you've ever done yoga before, you know that not all yoga mats are created equally. Each style and material caters to a different set of needs and goals, and subtle design changes can either help or hurt your unique movement patterns and your usual aches and pains in any pose.

There are a number of factors to consider when you're looking for the yoga mat that best serves your needs. Size and portability are important to many yogis, mainly because you'll have to tote your mat along with you to the gym or yoga studio unless you do your practice in the comfort of your own home. Some mats are longer than others, so keep that in mind, especially if you're taller. Most people will be happy with the typical length.

While certain people like sticky mats that help their feet from sliding around, others find them annoying. The same goes for the relative thickness or thinness of the yoga mat. Most yoga mats are relatively slim, but others are thick for extra protection and cushion for your joints. 

Durability and the types of materials involved are also key things to consider. You want a yoga mat that's going to last through the years, isn't made with harsh or harmful chemicals, and is easy to wipe clean after a sweaty session of hot yoga.

We scoured the internet for yogi reports on the top-ranked yoga mats to put together this guide to finding the best yoga mat for you, depending on your priorities, from perfect pose alignment to eco-friendly materials.

Here are the best yoga mats:

Updated on 01/22/2020 by Jen Gushue: Updated prices, links, and formatting.

SEE ALSO: The best yoga socks you can buy

The best yoga mat overall

The Manduka ProLite Yoga Mat provides just the right amount of padding without being too thick and clunky, and the price stays low even with its sustainable materials and no-slip grip.

When it's time to trade in those bargain yoga steals for a yoga mat that's built to last, the Manduka ProLite Yoga Mat is the way to go. Whether you're practicing yoga daily or just stretching out once in a while, the 4.7mm thick padded mat will keep your hands, knees, and feet cushioned against any hard floor and will support your back as you relax into savasana.

In comparison with the Manduka Pro's 6mm of padding, the ProLite mat sheds thickness without sacrificing comfort. It's much easier to roll up and take with you than the thicker Manduka Pro mat.

If this is your first investment in a well-made yoga mat, you might balk at the price tag. However, the Manduka ProLite mat comes with a lifetime guarantee, so you're safe from losing your mat to flaking, peeling, and fading. Whereas some mats deteriorate over time, Manduka promises that this one will only improve like a well-seasoned cast-iron pan.

In my 13 years of practicing yoga, I much prefer a mat that wicks away moisture, sweat, and dirt instead of absorbing it into the material. The Manduka ProLite's closed-cell surface does just that, and the mat is easy to clean and treat. Vinegar and sea salt are recommended to help break in the mat's texture and restore grippiness to the surface.

The more serious you get with your yoga practice, chances are a non-slip surface will rise to the top of your priority list. Contrary to what you might see on Instagram, even yogis sweat, and there's nothing quite like sliding out of downward-facing dog into a flat pancake because you can't keep your hands in place on your mat. Manduka boasts that its "proprietary dot patterned bottom" prevents the mat from sliding across the floor, no matter how hot your yoga room gets.

Manduka makes the ProLite mat in two lengths — 71 and 79 inches — so that more height-gifted yogis can stretch out without fear. Plus, the icing on the cake is that the mat is completely non-toxic, 100 percent latex-free, and even promises a clean manufacturing process.

When you're ready to invest in a mat that will last a lifetime and treat your yoga body along with it, the Manduka ProLite is your best bet.

Pros: Just the right amount of padding to cushion knees and hands in tough poses, and the no-slip grip texture and eco-friendly materials are all covered under Manduka's lifetime guarantee

Cons: Although it's thin in comparison to the Manduka Pro version, the Manduka ProLite is still a pretty thick mat; the ProLite does take some maintenance and attention



The best yoga mat for perfectionists

The Liforme Mat has a printed alignment system on the surface that will help you find your symmetry, balance, and proper footing in any pose.

No matter what kind of yoga you do, proper alignment is an important part of learning the poses and their transitions. The first thing you'll notice about the Liforme mat is that discreet lines, shapes, and markers are etched into its surface to help you place your limbs accurately and mindfully as you move through your practice. Liforme's mat is also slightly longer and wider than most traditional yoga mats, so you'll never feel cramped or confined.

Alongside alignment, the Liforme mat's other major benefit is the grippy surface. Through its commitment to eco-friendly materials, Liforme created a proprietary "GripForMe" material blend of natural rubber and sustainably-sourced felt to cushion your knees, hips, and hands with 4.2mm of padding. The mix also keeps you from slipping and sliding when the sweating starts.

Continuing the eco-friendly trend, each layer of the PVC-free mat is heat-bonded to avoid toxic glues and adhesives, and even the alignment marking system is etched into the surface to avoid synthetic dyes.

The surface of the Liforme mat is so grippy, you won't be able to glide into downward facing dog anymore, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. So if a sticky, non-slip surface is your idea of the perfect yoga mat, the Liforme mat will do the trick.

If you're not the most flexible of yogis or if you're on the shorter side, you may have trouble hitting the alignments recommended by that pattern on the mat, but if your limbs happen to line up with the printed system and you're looking to go deeper into perfect alignment, the Liforme mat is the one for you.

Pros: Eco-friendly, PVC-free mat is extremely sticky to help avoid that unintentional slip-n-slide feature that happens as other yoga mats get sweaty and wear over time

Cons: Normalized alignment in this one-size fits all system won't work for everyone, this is one of the more expensive mats out there



The best yoga mat for the eco-friendly yogi

The prAna E.C.O. Yoga Mat is made from 100% thermoplastic elastomer, which means it's non-toxic, sustainably made, and completely recyclable.

Synthetic materials and unnatural rubbers used in mats fell out of favor in the yoga community as the practice spread internationally alongside global concerns about the state of our environment. prAna is a recognizable yoga brand name, and the E.C.O. yoga mat ranks highly in many expert reviews.

Since it's made from 100% thermoplastic elastomer or TPE, all the environmental costs of manufacturing synthetic rubbers and plastics are eliminated from the prAna E.C.O. Mat equation. Once you're ready to toss your mat out, the material is completely recyclable so it won't clog up a landfill somewhere.

TPE is also UV resistant, so your E.C.O. Mat won't fade or deteriorate with sun exposure. It's completely latex-free, chloride-free, and PVC-free. The best benefit of TPE is that it's extremely lightweight: a 72-by-24-inch mat with a thickness of 5mm still weighs in at only 2.2 pounds.

On the yoga benefits side, the E.C.O. yoga mat is known to be super sticky so your hands and feet won't slide, but the TPE material may not be the most cushioning option for those looking to protect their knees and backs from the hard pressure of the floor. The mat is double-sided, though, so you can rotate front-to-back and top-to-bottom to get a seriously long-term, even wear on your mat even with heavy use.

Even if you're just looking for a lighter mat or an eco-friendly option to shake things up, the prAna E.C.O. Mat is a low-cost way to try something new.

Pros: Good for the environment from production to deterioration, this mat is made of eco-friendly thermoplastic elastomer that is non-toxic and recyclable

Cons: Everyone has their own idea of the best non-slip sticky surface, and some users reported the eco-friendly material was stretching instead of sticking



The best yoga mat on a budget

The Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mat is highly affordable and features a ton of fun design options to bring a smile to your face while you practice.

The first thing you'll notice about Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mats is the selection of colors and prints you can choose from. There's something soothing about practicing on a mat printed with peacock feathers or a perfectly symmetrical mandala pattern, in bright pastel greens and pinks or soothing shades of grey. Of course, the main benefit of this mat is the price point. It's an affordable option compared to some of the other top-ranked yoga mats out there.

Even so, this mat still bears the Gaiam name which is respected and trusted in the yoga community. The mat is 5mm thick so you'll feel cushioned and padded, but the PVC material keeps it lightweight and portable. Although PVC is often looked down on in the yoga community, this mat is free of the six specific PVC materials that have been banned by Congress for use in children's toys and other consumer goods, so you don't have to worry about health risks.

One thing to plan for: This mat won't last forever. In addition to your basic yoga mat wear and tear, both the material and the printed design are susceptible to sun damage. But you're not spending a fortune on it, so don't stress.

The Gaiam Print Premium Mat's non-slip surface will work well for most casual users, but if you sweat a lot during your practice, you may need more traction and a grippier surface than this mat offers. As an introduction to your yoga practice without a hefty investment, or even as a backup choice for when your heavy-duty mat is drying, the Gaiam Print Premium is a solid option. 

Pros: Serious affordability and fun designs make this mat a good fit for a casual yogi or someone just beginning their practice

Cons: Durability isn't guaranteed with a budget yoga mat, and even though Gaiam is a trusted yoga brand these mats won't last forever



The best lightweight yoga mat

Manduka's Eko SuperLite Travel Yoga Mat is slim and lightweight enough to bring with you no matter how far you roam.

When you're on the go, roughing it with a borrowed or rented yoga mat can be awkward, a little stinky, or just down-right gross. Travel mats hit the scene so jet-setting yogis and nature-lovers alike could pack their mats without the bulk of thick, padded mats they might use when practicing at home. The Manduka Eko SuperLite Travel Mat is the lighter, thinner version of Manduka's top-ranked Eko option, so it's a winner all around.

The Manduka Eko SuperLite Travel Mat is made of a woven scrim material that won't tear or stretch either with use or in your suitcase. It's thin enough to be foldable, so you can tuck the mat away into your backpack or your carry-on without added weight or bulk. The woven material still features a sweat-resistant closed-cell design so your mat will stay drier and cleaner for longer, without soaking up sweat or environmental moisture from wherever you happen to be traveling.

Speaking of environmentalism, the Manduka Eko SuperLite is made from natural rubber that is specifically not harvested in the Amazon — do yoga, protect the rainforests. And while you're practicing yoga in the rainforest on your natural rubber travel mat, you'll benefit from Manduka's trademark grippiness.

It's an affordable option, but the mat isn't perfect for every environment because of its lightweight flexibility. If you're a heavy sweating yogi, the Manduka Eko SuperLite may not grip enough to keep you from slipping. 

Pros: If borrowed hotel yoga mats give you the creeps, this is a great lightweight and foldable option to tuck into your carry-on or checked luggage while you're on the road

Cons: Thin yoga mats don't provide the cushion and support of more padded options, so if you have knee, wrist, or ankle injuries (or if you just like a little more padding), stay away



The best yoga mat for travel

The real rubber YoGo Travel Yoga Mat folds up into a compact package that you can stow in your suitcase when you travel.

When you need to travel, but you don't want to leave your yoga mat behind, you need one that's compact enough to stow in your suitcase or throw in your backpack. The YoGo Travel Yoga Mat is just the one for the job.

It's a full-size yoga mat when you open it up, but it folds to a very manageable size. For those of you who remember the Sunday edition of newspapers, that's about how big it is when folded up. The real rubber mat weighs 2.5 pounds and measures 24 by 68 inches when it's unfolded. It may not be as lightweight as other travel yoga mats, but it certainly is more compact.

You can fold it up like origami when you're done with your practice, and the durable straps and buckles keep everything in place securely. You can also use the handles to hang it up when you wash it clean. I use this mat regularly in my small apartment and love how easy it is to store. I never quite mastered the folding technique, so I fold it in half and roll it up tightly, but it still works.

Because the mat is made from eco-friendly natural rubber with a cotton mesh heat bonding technique, it is a very sticky mat. You won't slip or slide around on the mat at all, which is great if you get sweaty hands and feet like me. 

It's also reassuring to know that YoGo plants a tree in Central America for every mat it sells, so you don't have to worry about contributing to deforestation. YoGo also gives training in organic farming to local communities so as to encourage sustainable farming practices.— Malarie Gokey

Pros: Easy to carry when folded, real rubber, sustainably harvested materials, excellent grip, perfect for travel

Cons: Expensive, initial rubber smell



Check out our other great guides for yoga gear

The best yoga blocks

Yoga blocks are an important tool for yogis at any level. Whether you're looking to deepen your flexibility, venturing into new pose territory, or just trying to go easy on your joints and muscles, yoga blocks are key. These are the best yoga blocks.


The best yoga socks

Built for form and function, yoga socks provide extra stability in your yoga poses, which is especially helpful when you start to sweat during hot yoga. These are the best yoga blocks you can buy.


The best workout clothes for women

With moisture-wicking fabric, cleverly-placed mesh panels, and thoughtful cut-outs, much of today's athletic clothing is truly meant for athletic pursuits. It's a far cry from our days of grabbing the oldest shirt in our closet, cutting off the sleeves, and calling it a top. These are the best workout clothes for women.



The best houseplants you can buy online that are super easy to grow

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the best easy houseplants anyone can grow

  • Just because your thumb is a little less than green doesn't mean you can't grow houseplants. It just means you need to choose plants that are forgiving.

  • We've gathered up a dozen houseplants that are hard to kill and look great in any home.

Few things manmade can match the natural beauty and peaceful vibe of a growing houseplant. But the benefits of plant ownership go far beyond just looking pretty. Houseplants have also been shown to have many positive effects on you and your home environment. Houseplants can:

  • Remove indoor pollutants called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. These health-harming chemicals off-gas from a wide range of indoor products, including carpeting, paper, cleaning products, paint, and cigarette smoke. Many houseplants actually pull VOCs out of the air and then convert the chemicals into nutrients for the plant's roots. Note: According to scientists, a large number of houseplants is needed to achieve this effect. Get a dedicated air purifier if clean air is your main concern. 
  • Increase indoor humidity. It's no secret that plants need water to survive, but just like animals, they also release water vapor from their cells. If you have several houseplants in a room, this "plant sweat" can help raise the humidity, making your skin, throat, and eyes more comfortable.
  • Boost oxygen levels. In direct contrast to animals, plants take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then convert it to oxygen during photosynthesis before releasing it into the air. The result? More oxygen for you.
  • Improve your career. Numerous studies have shown improved focus and memory abilities when people work near plants.
  • Help you heal. In a Kansas State University study, houseplants in the hospital room helped post-op patients feel better and heal faster.

Growing houseplants, however, is a challenge for many people. Watering can be a mystery — too much water will kill your plant just as easily as too little. And what about light? Are there any plants you can grow in your dim bathroom or bedroom?

That's why we've assembled this guide of 12 houseplants that are fairly easy to grow — even for those with a black thumb — and add not just beauty, but health benefits as well, to your home.

Here are the best houseplants you can buy:

Updated on 1/22/20 by Connie Chen: Updated prices, added multiple buying options, and added a note on indoor purification. 

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

Pothos

Probably the easiest houseplant to grow, pothos is a perennial favorite.

Pothos is a climbing plant, although it often forms a mound of heart-shaped leaves before spilling over into trailing vines. It's also remarkably easy to train around topiary forms, such as hoops, stakes, pillars, and arches.

There are lots of varieties of pothos, which is sometimes called devil's ivy. The most common is the golden pothos, which has yellow and green leaves. Another popular species is "Marble Queen," which is attractively mottled in green and white. 

Botanical name: Epipremnum aureum

Water: It's easy to overwater pothos. Let the soil dry out slightly between each watering.

Light: Pothos isn't too picky about light, but does best in a bright window without direct sun, which will scorch the leaves.

Size: A happy pothos routinely grows vining stems that are more than eight feet long, but you can easily clip the plant back to whatever size you'd like.

Toxic to pets? Yes, both cats and dogs.

Buying options:



Snake plant

A snake plant will live on even if you forget to water it now and then.

Also called mother-in-law's tongue, the snake plant has been popular since Victorian times. This super-easy-to-grow houseplant excels at removing toxins from the air, providing an extra bonus to its attractively upright, angular shape. The leaves are long and pointed. Most varieties have darker green mottling in the leaf centers and a yellow or white border around the edges of the leaves.

Botanical name: Sansevieria trifasciata

Water: The snake plant is fairly drought-resistant; in fact, it's easier to kill by overwatering than underwatering. Still, it requires a drink whenever the soil starts to feel dry.

Light: One of the most forgiving plants when it comes to light, your snake plant will survive just about anywhere other than the darkest of rooms. But its preference is for bright light without direct sunlight.

Size: The upright leaves can reach four feet tall, although most remain shorter.

Toxic to pets? Yes, both cats and dogs.

Buying options:



Chinese evergreen

One of the best houseplants for purifying the air, Chinese evergreen is also very easy to grow. 

There are lots of beautiful varieties of the Chinese evergreen: "Silver Queen" is one of the most common, and has silvery leaves with darker green blotches and edging. A new, strikingly gorgeous variety is "Red Siam," which has hot pink and green leaves.

Chinese evergreen grows in a mounded shape and has long, somewhat pointed leaves.

Botanical name: Aglaonema sp.

Water: Chinese evergreen is a very tolerant plant; as long as you don't let it dry out completely for long, it will tolerate fairly infrequent watering, although it will do best on a regular schedule.

Light: This is one of the best houseplants for low-light situations.

Size: Your Chinese evergreen can eventually reach around three feet tall and equally wide.

Toxic to pets? Yes, both cats and dogs.

Buying options: 



Spider plant

Spider plants are classic houseplants that are easy to care for.

If you still associate spider plants with the 1970s and macramé hangers, well, they're back, sans macramé this time around. Spider plants, which are another houseplant shown to excel at air purification, are attractive plants with an airy growing pattern, long pointed leaves, and little baby "spiders" at the ends of their striped stems. The "Curly" variety has wavy, tangled leaves, but the same white and green coloring as the regular spider plant.

Botanical name: Chlorophytum comosum

Water: Keep the soil moist, but not soggy, and your spider plant will stay happy and healthy.

Light: A medium-to-bright location is best.

Size: Spider plants have a drooping growth pattern, and typically don't get much taller than one foot, although their stems can hang down further.

Toxic to pets? Non-toxic to both cats and dogs.

Buying options: 



Dracaena

Dracaena comes in many varieties, all of which are hardy.

Dracaena (pronounce it drah-seen-aw) is actually the genus name of a fairly diverse and quite large group of popular houseplants, most of which are easy to grow. They all have a central stem sprouting long, pointed leaves and many are variegated with red, yellow, or white stripes or blotches.

Some of the most popular are the corn plant, "lucky bamboo," (which despite the name is a dracaena, not a bamboo), marginata, Janet Craig, and reflexa. You'll find dracaenas with open and airy growth patterns, tightly packed growth patterns, and everything in between. Many, such as the corn plant and marginata, can be trained to grow as indoor "trees."

Botanical nameDracaena sp.

Water: Keep your dracaena's soil moist, but never soggy.

Light: Dracaenas appreciate bright, but filtered, light. Keep them out of direct sunlight.

Size: There are dracaena species only a foot or so tall, and others easily trained into eight-foot indoor trees, plus everything in between.

Toxic to pets? Yes, both cats and dogs.

Buying options: 



Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia is a cute, leafy plant with attractive leaves.

Dieffenbachia, which goes by the common name of "dumb cane" due to the sap's ability to inflame the throat and make it difficult to speak, is a very attractive, easy-going, and popular houseplant with many varieties. Most have variegated leaves and leaf edging in various shades of green, white, and yellow.

Botanical name: Dieffenbachia sp. (Pronounce it diff-in-bach-ia.)

Water: It's easy to kill a dieffenbachia by overwatering, but it doesn't like to get too dry, either. Let just the surface of the soil dry out before giving it a drink.

Light: Dieffenbachias don't like it too bright, so keep your plant where it will receive filtered or fluorescent light.  

Size: Although they can eventually reach around six feet, most dieffenbachias stay between two to three feet tall.

Toxic to pets: Yes, both cats and dogs.

Buying options:



ZZ plant

The ZZ plant is as close to indestructible as a living plant can be.

Somewhat new to the houseplant scene, the ZZ plant is mighty hard to kill. The stiff, thick, upright leaves grow very evenly up the branches, and are very shiny, giving the plant an almost artificial look. The ZZ plant is a great choice for anyone brand-new to gardening or growing houseplants.

Botanical name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Water: As a succulent, the ZZ plant is drought-resistant. Let the soil dry between waterings, or the plant will develop root rot.

Light: You'll find the ZZ plant very easy-going in terms of light; it doesn't like it too bright, and will tolerate fairly dim light, but does best with filtered sun.

Size: The ZZ plant grows very slowly. Its eventual size is two to three feet.

Toxic to pets? Yes, both cats and dogs.

Buying options



Arrowhead vine

Arrowhead vine is a pretty leafy plant that can grow quickly.

This popular houseplant has very attractive arrow-shaped leaves. There are many varieties with a wide range of colors, including bronze, green, cream, and pink. The plant has a bushy shape when young, but starts to vine as it matures. Often, the leaves start changing from arrow-shaped to lobed as the plant ages, as well.

Botanical name: Syngonium podophyllum

Water: Give your arrowhead vine a drink as soon as the soil surface feels dry.

Light: This is a great plant for low-to-moderate-light rooms.

Size: The plant can reach three feet in size, but will tend to spread out and vine, rather than growing upright to its ultimate height.

Toxic to pets? Yes, both cats and dogs.

Buying options:

 



Boston fern

Boston ferns are beautiful plants that are surprisingly easy to grow.

While ferns as a group have a well-deserved reputation for being divas, the Boston fern is an exception to that rule. This fairly easy-to-grow perpetual favorite has a lush, cascading shape that looks wonderful trailing over the edges of a hanging basket. They are especially effective as "living humidifiers," and also remove formaldehyde from the air.

Botanical name: Nephrolepis exaltata

Water: Ferns like it moist, so don't let your plant dry out. It will also enjoy extra humidity from a mister several times per week.

Light: Unlike many other ferns that prefer shade, the Boston fern likes a well-lit, but not intensely sunny, location.

Size: Given enough time and proper care, your Boston fern can dramatically cascade up to four feet in length.

Toxic to pets? Non-toxic to both cats and dogs.

Buying options



Cast iron plant

The cast iron plant lives up to its name by being super hardy.

With a common name like "cast iron plant," you know this houseplant is hard to kill, even for those with a less-than-green thumb. The plant has an upright growth pattern, and long, dark green leaves with a somewhat pointed shape. It's a good air purifier, as well.

Botanical name: Aspidistra elatior

Water: While the cast iron plant prefers evenly moist soil, it will tolerate occasional drought.

Light: This is another excellent plant for rooms that don't get a lot of natural light.

Size: Although it grows very slowly, the cast iron plant can reach an eventual height of three feet.

Toxic to pets? Non-toxic to both cats and dogs.

Buying options:

 



Goldfish plant

If you want to have some flowers in your home, the goldfish plant and its subtle blooms will do the trick.

While some flowering houseplants are temperamental, the goldfish plant– so called because its orange or yellow flowers are somewhat goldfish-shaped – is an easy-going plant that blooms almost all year long when happy, and looks good even without its bright, waxy flowers. This is a drooping plant that looks best in a hanging basket or perched on a column or high cabinet where its cascading growth pattern can be appreciated.

Botanical name: Columnea gloriosa

Water: Although not entirely drought-resistant, the goldfish plant can dry out a bit between waterings.

Light: You'll get the most blooms if you set your plant in a window that gets lots of light, but not intense heat.

Size: Generally, the goldfish plant reaches one to two feet in length, but it's easy to prune it back if you'd like to keep it shorter.

Toxic to pets? Mildly irritating to both cats and dogs.

Buying options



Ponytail palm

Who doesn't want a whimsical ponytail palm tree in their home?

Looking like a Dr. Seuss creation, the ponytail palm– which despite the name is a succulent, not a palm – has a large, swollen base that stores water, and a mop-like "head" of droopy leaves atop a bare trunk. It's also called elephant's foot. If you're looking for an extremely easy-care indoor tree, this is one of the best plants you can choose.

Botanical name: Beaucarnea recurvate

Water: Your ponytail palm can go for several weeks without water, but try and give it a drink once a month or so.

Light: While the plant prefers bright light, it's very forgiving and thrives even in a moderate-light location.

Size: Given enough time, the ponytail palm can reach a height of six feet or more, but more often, remains under four feet.

Toxic to pets? Non-toxic to both cats and dogs.

Buying options



Everything you need to watch the Super Bowl in sharp 4K and beautiful HDR for the first time

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Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs

  • This year's Super Bowl will be streamed and broadcasted in 4K for the first time, and it'll also be available in HDR on certain media streaming devices. 
  • Only certain streaming devices from Roku and Amazon will support 4K and HDR. The Apple TV 4K will only support the game in 4K. 
  • To watch the game at the best quality that's possibly available, you'll need a TV with the right features, the right media streamer, the Fox Sports app, and an internet connection that's fast enough to stream 4K video. 
  • Some cable TV providers will also have the game available in 4K, providing you have the right package and set-tob cable box. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

For the first time, you'll be able to watch the Super Bowl in 4K resolution and high dynamic range (HDR).

Fox Sports announced in December that it'll be streaming the game on supported media streaming devices in 4K HDR, and in 4K with certain cable TV providers. 

Now, I should nitpick that this year's Super Bowl won't be streamed or broadcasted in true 4K. The game is being produced by Fox Sports in the more standard 1080p resolution, and Fox Sports is "upscaling" the video and delivering it to you in 4K resolution. Upscaling is an artificial enhancement to convert lower resolution video to higher resolution. It's typically pretty good, but it's not always as good as true 4K. Still, the game will look great regardless.

Fox Sports executives said during an industry summit that true 4K resolution in sports can create blurry scenes during fast-paced action shots, at least when TV standards display a certain number of frames per second (60, in this case). 

If you want to watch the game in the utmost quality possible, check out everything you'll need:

SEE ALSO: This is the first time the Super Bowl is streaming in 4K resolution, but it won't be true 4K

It may be obvious, but the most essential thing you'll need is a 4K, or UHD, TV to watch the game in 4K. Super Bowl LIV will also be streamed in HDR, so it's a bonus if your TV has HDR.

HDR, or high dynamic range, gives you enhanced colors and contrast compared to SDR (standard dynamic range). It's absolutely not the end of the world if your TV doesn't support HDR. But if your TV does have HDR, it should at least support a standard called HDR 10, which is a universal standard that Fox Sports says is necessary to watch Super Bowl LIV with HDR.



The best way to watch the Super Bowl in 4K and HDR will be with a media streaming device, but only a few devices will stream the game in 4K HDR.

The supported Roku streaming devices include Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, Roku Streaming Stick+, and 4K TVs that run on the Roku operating system. 

For Amazon streaming devices, only the Amazon Fire TV 4K will support the game in 4K and HDR.

And as for Apple TV, only the Apple TV 4K will support the game in 4K, but no Apple streaming device will support the game in HDR, according to Fox Sports. 

The above media streamers are only for 4K resolution. Super Bowl LIV will be streamed in more standard resolution on a wide variety of devices, including those from Roku, Amazon, Apple, Android TV, Xbox One, Samsung's smart TVs (models from 2017 or newer), smartphones and tablets, and web browsers on computers. 



You'll need the Fox Sports app installed on your media streamer, and you can watch the game for free if you already have a Fox Sports profile, or by creating a Fox Sports profile.



An internet connection that's capable of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps).

To check whether your internet connection is fast enough to stream the Super Bowl in 4K, you can head to speedtest.net, and click "Go." Speedtest will then check your internet speeds, and if your download speeds are above 25 Mbps, you should be good to go!

If your internet speeds are under 50 Mbps, it's probably best to make sure no one else at home is also streaming a 4K video at the same time as the game.



You'll also be able to watch the game in 4K on cable TV from certain providers.

If you get your cable TV from Altice Optimum, DirecTV, Dish, or Verizon Fios, you may be able to watch the Super Bowl LIV in 4K if you have the right cable package and set-top boxes. To find out whether you have the right channels and boxes, your best bet is to get in touch with your cable TV provider.



I got this play kitchen for my toddler and she still loves it 3 years later — its simplicity leaves plenty of room for imaginative play

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Hape Play Kitchen

  • The Hape Play Kitchen ($117.59) is ideal for small spaces. Uncluttered and compact, it has a two-burner stovetop, oven, and sink — no bells and/or whistles.
  • Its simplicity leaves plenty of room for changing imaginative play over the years by incorporating new accessories.
  • Three years later, the kitchen continues to hold up, and it's fun to watch my daughter, and now her 18-month-old sibling, grow with this toy.

When my first child was born in 2015, my family lived in a 350-square-foot apartment. We didn't have much furniture and decided to incorporate baby stuff into the existing pieces we had until we could move to a bigger space. Unfortunately, this meant that we didn't have many things for our daughter to use for stability while she was in that not-quite-walking phase.

When we moved the following year, the first official piece of "baby furniture" I bought was the Hape Gourmet Play Kitchen. I'd been coveting it for some time because I knew the developmental advantages of having a pretend play station. I liked that it wasn't particularly gendered in color and matched my minimalist sensibility. Uncluttered and compact, it came with a two-burner stovetop, oven, and sink — no bells and/or whistles. 

The design and assembly of the Hape Play Kitchen

At 21 inches wide, 13 inches deep, and 28 inches high, it was just the right size for my newly walking toddler to gain confidence in complex upright activities such as standing and using her hands.

The kitchen is recommended for children 3 years and older (the small parts can present a choking hazard), but under my watchful eye, my daughter could reach the pretend sink faucet with handles on top, perfect for teaching cooking and personal hygiene. She could also sit down and engage with the materials on the front: fake stove knobs and, most importantly, the oven and cupboard doors with a shelf on each side. This satisfies all young children's number one love: hiding things. (True story: My daughter is now 4 1/2 years old, and last summer we left for a month to Nana's house without her beloved sparkly jelly shoes because we simply could not find them anywhere. Pretend roasting in the little oven.)

Assembly of the kitchen was relatively painless. It took my husband less than an hour and required only standard tools, in addition to the parts included in the box. "It's fairly involved but not complicated," he said, fists on his hips and chest puffed out to indicate his Super Dad status.

Hape Play Kitchen2

What makes the Hape Play Kitchen stand out

Once built, I could easily place the pretend kitchen near our real one so my toddler and I could prepare meals together. It's sturdy enough that I could move it occasionally without worrying about the integrity of the construction. Some of the larger play kitchens have more extensive layouts — large shelves above the sink, the addition of another kitchen "appliance" such as a refrigerator — making them heavier and less flexible.

We've moved twice more since that apartment, and I admit that I have occasionally thought about replacing it with a larger pretend kitchen, but I stop myself each time because the kitchen always manages to incorporate well into whatever space we give it.

One move ago, our apartment's much larger living room had enough square footage for a designated play area, and the kitchen was nestled perfectly between the art table and a dress-up box. Now in a house, the pretend kitchen is once again on the perimeter of our real kitchen, making it readily available for now both of my kids — 18 months and 4 1/2 years old — to mirror me as I prepare their nonstop flow of snacks and meals throughout the day.

With the small shelf on top and the four storage compartments on the bottom, it's possible to incorporate lots of kitchen tools and food, typically offered in a wide variety of materials and themes, such as an ice cream sundae kit and your classic picnic lunch.

Hape itself makes multiple collections of food and utensils, as does Melissa & Doug and even IKEA. Plastic, Velcro, felt: the more textures, colors, and sizes, the better! Especially when you have multiple children that may benefit developmentally from handling different styles of food and tools. There are any number of options for you, and it also gives loved ones free range to add to the collection for birthdays or other special occasions.

Hape Play Kitchen3

The cons

That said, because it is small, having an endless stream of new kitchen accessories has not been without its challenges. We use the oven as storage and have also incorporated a large basket to hold all of the pieces.

In the three years we've had the pretend kitchen, the only problem we've had was when one of the little door hinges was popped loose and the door couldn't stay closed. This was remedied quickly by using a little elbow grease to pop it back into place. It hasn't been a problem again since (try as my daughter might).

Lastly, the Hape play kitchen has been lovely for both of my kids from early ages, and we are fortunate to have used it without incident, but it's worth mentioning that it does not come with an anti-tip kit. For those of you with pullers, climbers, and general trouble-finders (or even those without!), take note.

The bottom line

Today, both kids use the kitchen frequently. My daughter puts together elaborate picnics, and happily shows her now 18-month-old sibling how to wash his hands at the sink before he prepares a pizza party. She's also experimenting with pretend play explorations with friends at school and incorporating them into her play at home — for example, learning how restaurant menus work and what it's like to pay for food. The prices are exorbitant and she never gets my order right, but it's great to see her, and now her little brother, grow with this toy.

If you need something simple and practical for your young toddler's playtime and, like me, like to leave a little room for growth, I heartily recommend this Hape play kitchen. If you are looking for something smaller and/or cheaper but like the Hape aesthetic, check out this miniature version. For another, less expensive, option with good value, this retro pretend kitchen from Teamson Kids includes a microwave and some small accessories, among other things.

 

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A venture capitalist is giving free therapy to his portfolio-company founders after his own battle with loneliness and work stress

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  • Tech investor Josh Felser said in a blog post Wednesday that his VC firm, Freestyle Capital, will start paying for founders of its portfolio companies to receive certain mental-health services.
  • Felser, a serial entrepreneur, hopes the benefit signals to founders that time spent on self-care is time well spent.
  • One of the mental-health providers that Freestyle Capital is partnering with is also a portfolio company. Felser said they wouldn't invest or offer the service to founders if they didn't believe it was the best.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

After selling his second startup, Josh Felser started seeing a therapist to deal with the loneliness and stress he had suffered as a founder. He could not have predicted the return on investment.

Therapy gave him a private space to unload his fears and anxiety without judgment. Later, he slept more than two hours at a time, despite having a sleep disorder. His ability to focus and make decisions improved.

"When you're a founder you have everything you live, breathe, and own wrapped up in one effort. There's nothing more stressful," Felser told Business Insider. "If I could have figured out how to have more life balance, I probably would have started a third company."

Instead, Felser entered venture capital because he thought it would be easier.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Felser announced that his VC firm, Freestyle Capital, will start paying for portfolio-company founders to receive mental health services, giving them the nudge he wished he had.

The serial entrepreneur and investor pointed out that while the stigma around seeing a therapist has lifted in recent years, there are plenty of other reasons for a founder to not seek treatment. Therapy is expensive. It can be hard to find a provider, or the time.

The mental-health perk for founders could lower some of these barriers, Felser said. It also signals the investor's belief that time spent on self-care, away from a computer, is time well spent.

"We in venture are in a powerful position to actually provide solutions and leadership to help founders get the help they deserve," he wrote in a blog post. "It's time we started treating mental health like physical health and remove all the friction standing in the way of quality, timely treatment."

The news was first reported by Axios.

One of its mental-health providers is also a portfolio company

Freestyle Capital is a boutique fund, making about a dozen investments a year. Its portfolio includes tech's favorite spreadsheet app, Airtable, and BetterUp, which makes an app for employers to offer executive coaching to their employees on their phones.

Felser wrote that his firm will "curate the solutions" in its mental-health initiative, starting with a three-month subscription to a service provided by one of its portfolio companies, Meru Health. The startup's app bundles a variety of solutions for managing depression and anxiety, including video sessions with a therapist, a group chat, and daily meditation exercises.

Meru Health has raised $4.2 million in a seed round led by Freestyle Capital.

meru health therapy app 1

Felser said the firm invested in Meru, as opposed to its competitors, because clinical research suggests it works. Two separatepeer-reviewed studies of about 100 participants showed a three-month program was associated with decreased symptoms of depression.

Though the company is focused on selling to larger employers like Cisco and Intel, Felser said it's giving free access to members of the firm's portfolio. Freestyle Capital gets the bill but it does not know which founders are using the service.

"The first goal in this whole initiative was to provide the highest quality of service, and if Meru hadn't delivered, then they wouldn't have been included in this release," Felser said.

The firm will also cover the $5,000 cost of a weeklong retreat that the partners have previously attended. The Hoffman Institute uses a combination of guided meditation, presentations, journaling, peer discussions, and coaching to help participants disconnect from negative thoughts and behaviors. The program does not require facilitators to have a medical degree, though it does put them through an internal training that takes two to three years to complete.

Liza Ingrasci, chief executive of the Hoffman Institute Foundation, said she doesn't consider the program a type of therapy, "although there are measurable therapeutic benefits." It's geared toward people who have already tried therapy.

"It's a bit of a soul-searching in a way," Ingrasci said on the phone.

A week away from the job can feel like forever to a founder, Felser said. But he thinks some startup founders will appreciate the retreat's condensed format.

"For me, it was 10 years of therapy in one week," Felser said.

SEE ALSO: A 33-year-old Utah startup founder went to Silicon Valley on business and was found dead in her car a week later. Erin Valenti's family searches for answers following her mysterious death.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Clinical psychologists debunk 25 of the most common myths about mental health and therapy

The best coffee grinders

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There's nothing better than a perfect cup of coffee. If you're a coffee snob, you probably know that freshly ground coffee makes for a better cup of Joe. Coffee goes stale relatively quickly, so when you buy pre-ground beans, you may be losing some of your coffee's flavor. A good grinder will grind your beans to a uniform size so that you get the most out of your beans. Grinding beans every day before you make coffee may sound like a hassle, but a grinder can quickly pulverize your beans to maximize their flavor.

Coffee grinders range from the incredibly affordable to the absurdly expensive. You can get grinders at any point in between as well. We've tested a few coffee grinders and researched dozens more to find the best ones you can buy. Before we get into our picks, these are the key terms and features you need to know.

Blade versus burr grinders

There are two main types of coffee grinders: blade and burr grinders. Purists say that you shouldn't even consider blade grinders because they don't grind the coffee beans to a nice uniform particle size, which results in an uneven and unpredictable brew. Blade grinders are much cheaper than burr grinders, though, and not everyone will be able to afford the pricier burr grinders. As such, we've included one blade grinder and the rest are burr grinders at varying price points.

When you start looking at burr grinder machines, there's a lot more to know. As Wirecutter explains, "burrs work by using two serrated pieces of metal or ceramic that are positioned a specific distance apart from each other (depending on the grind) and rotate to crush the beans to the exact size you want." Here are the different types of burrs used on most machines:

  • Flat versus conical burrs: There's much debate over which type of burr is better, but they perform pretty similarly, so you shouldn't worry too much about this point. Flat burrs are two parallel rings with a space between them where the beans enter to be sheared into coffee grounds, while conical burrs involve a cone in a ring that grinds your beans down to the right size.
  • Steel versus ceramic burrs: Steel burrs are more affordable and more common in coffee grinders, but they don't last as long as ceramic ones do. Ceramic burrs are typically used in manual hand grinders and for grinding espresso beans perfectly.

Having a powerful, consistent, and well-made grinder is essential to making the most out of your beans. These are the best grinders you can buy.

Here are the best coffee grinders you can buy:

Updated on 1/22/2019 by Owen Burke: Updated prices and formatting. We're currently testing Breville's Smart Grinder Pro and Rancilio's Rocky as an espresso grinder. For now, we stand by the Baratza Virtuoso, which is the most affordable grinder we've found that produces espresso-grade grounds. If you're looking to get into espresso and haven't bought an espresso machine yet, consider a Breville Barista (Express or Pro), which is an all-in-one appliance that's much more affordable.

SEE ALSO: The best espresso machines you can buy

The best coffee grinder overall

The Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder produces consistently uniform coffee grounds for most grind settings, and it costs far less than other high-end models.

Every coffee expert will tell you that the least amount of money you should spend on a coffee grinder is $100 because you get what you pay for in the coffee world. Although there are fancier high-end models that cost hundreds more than the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder, this really is the best grinder for most people, save for espresso fiends. You won't get espresso-grade grounds from the Encore (we tried), but you will be able to produce everything from French press to filtered coffee, and you might get away with grounds for your moka pot, depending on your taste.

The Encore is considered the ultimate entry-level burr grinder for coffee enthusiasts at home. You really don't need more than what the Encore offers. It has 40 individual grind settings, ranging from fine to coarse and everything in between. Once you find the perfect setting for your tastes, you're all set.

It runs on a DC motor with electric and gear speed reducers that slow the burr to 450 RPM to reduce noise, static, and unwanted variations in particle size. The Encore is a great all-around grinder that performs nearly as well and consistently as the pricier competition.

Baratza also has a great repair program, so if your machine needs a repair or a full cleaning, they'll take care of it for you for a fee once your outside of warranty.

Wirecutter also named the Encore the best coffee grinder, while Home Grounds, Lifehacker, and Foodal all highly recommend it.

Pros: Conical burr grinder, 40 grind settings, easy to use, reliable, consistent, relatively affordable, a good repair program

Cons: Can't make espresso grounds, one-year warranty is a bit short, it's entry-level — not high-end



The best mid-range burr grinder

The OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder grinds slowly, but that in turn reduces static, noise, and inconsistencies in your grounds.

A burr grinder is a great tool to have if you can afford it, but lower-end grinders can be something of a let-down. Uneven grounds, static mess, and overheating are some of the regular issues with burr grinders in the sub-$100 category, but OXO nearly eliminates them all with a thriftiness you can't help but appreciate — and respect, just so long as you're not after espresso grounds.

OXO includes a grounding prong in the power plug, which grounds the stainless steel grounds bin and keeps static down. Other grinders with plastic bins produce just as much static, which, with plastic, there's no eliminating.

This device also employs a much lower motor RPM, which comes with its own pros and cons. While you'll have to wait for what feels like twice as long as you would with most burr grinders, this allows for a kind of precision most others in the price range won't match. It also makes much less sound, which the rest of the household will surely appreciate. One Amazon reviewer recorded 74 decibels, reporting it to be less than a blender.

PC Verge is a big fan of the OXO Brew grinder, suggesting that at this price, you won't find a better grinder. They do note that the machine doesn't come with a scale, which might be upsetting for certain coffee drinkers, but scales that come along at this price tend to be fraught with difficulties anyhow.

Basically, if you want a burr grinder at an affordable price point, this is your best bet for now. Just know that you won't be able to get espresso out of this one, either.

Pros: Thoroughly well-designed, consistent grounds, low noise level, minimal static

Cons: Slower than other burr grinders, no built-in scale



The best handheld burr grinder

The Brim Electric Handheld Burr Grinder is slim, sleek, tidy, and affordable. 

If the Brim Electric Handheld Burr Grinder looks like an electric pepper mill, that's because, in essence, it is. Wire-free, this tall, lean, battery-powered gizmo will alleviate clutter from your kitchen counter, but just keep in mind that it is small.

Grinding coffee for the whole household could be quite the chore with the small, 30-gram capacity, but for a couple of people each morning, it's the perfect size. It's also portable.

A motor on top of steel burrs with a hopper and container in the bottom keep this thing compact, but nine grinding settings keep it fully functional.

Like the OXO Brew, this grinder is slow — though it's even slower because it's battery-powered. This has its advantages. It's also quiet, and it produces unburned grounds, which can be a common problem with high-velocity grinders whose blades get hot and can burn the grounds.

There aren't many reviews out yet for the Brim Electric Handheld Burr Grinder, but the handful on BestBuy are all enthusiastic, and Insider Picks' Buying Guides editor Malarie Gokey is a big fan, too.

In effect, this is the reliable but no-frills choice for small households. You'll keep very busy running this machine if you're trying to caffeinate more than a few people at once, but other than that, we're pretty confident it won't let you down.

Like the two above, the only thing this machine isn't a great pick for is espresso. Stay tuned for longevity notes.  — Owen Burke

Pros: Quiet, efficient, battery-powered, compact, portable

Cons: Only grinds about 30 grams at a time, won't make espresso grounds



The best luxury burr coffee grinder

The Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is one of the best high-end burr grinders you can get.

If you want perfectly even grounds and are willing to splurge on your coffee grinder, the Baratza Virtuoso's professional-grade 40mm conical burr grinder is the one for you, so long as you're not after espresso.

It has 40 individual grind settings, ranging from fine to coarse and everything in between. Once you find the perfect setting for your tastes, you're all set. It also has a pulse button on the front, so you can grind directly into an espresso machine filter basket. The Baratza Virtuoso's 60-second timer makes it easy to get the perfect grind every time, so you don't worry about running it just a bit too long.

It runs on a DC motor with electric and gear speed reducers that slow the burr to 450 RPM to reduce noise, static, and unwanted variations in particle size. The Virtuoso is slightly more reliable and consistent than the cheaper Encore, and it's French Press particle size is on point. 

Experts at Wirecutter say that the Virtuoso is the best upgrade pick. In microscopic tests, its experts couldn't even tell the difference between the particles it produced versus one of the most high-end and expensive grinders you can buy. Home Grounds also highly recommends it.

Baratza also has a great repair program, so if your machine needs a repair or a full cleaning, they'll take care of it for you for a fee.

Pros: Conical burr grinder, 40 grind settings, reliable, consistent, timer improves grind, a good repair program

Cons: Expensive with a limited warranty, won't make espresso grounds



The best blade coffee grinder

The KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder is a basic blade grinder that won't break the bank. 

Although the experts say that blade grinders are absolutely awful, they are much more affordable for people on a budget. It may not be barista approved, but it's more than enough for most people.

We plugged in the KRUPS Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder at home, poured some beans in the top, and hit the button to grind. A short time after, we had fine grinds of coffee to scoop into our Bialetti Moka Express stovetop espresso maker. The resulting brew tasted delicious.

Of course, it's a blade grinder, so if you're looking for coarse grinds for French Press or pourover coffee, you should pass this one by. You can grind your beans coarsely, but they'll be in little chunks of varying sizes, so you may get a bitter or weak brew out of them. At least at a fine grind, the blade grinder can get closer to a uniform particle size and you won't notice the difference unless you have a very refined palate.

The KRUPS grinder was remarkably easy to clean, too. We simply used a pastry brush to kick out the excess grinds that were left over. It's a best-seller on Amazon, and the reviews are mostly positive. Coffee Bean Grinder+ calls it the best blade grinder you can buy, and Bean Ground says it's great for people on a budget who are just getting into coffee.

Since it's a blade grinder, the KRUPS can grind spices down to powder, too, so if you're looking for a versatile machine that can grind coffee beans and spices like cloves and cardamom or even nuts, this is a good option. 

Pros: Affordable, grinds coffee beans and spices, two-year warranty, easy to use, easy to clean

Cons: It's a blade grinder with one setting, it's not as good as a burr grinder



The best manual coffee grinder

The Hario Mini Mill Slim Hand Coffee Grinder cranks out great grinds if you're willing to put in a little elbow grease.

Got a lot of time in your hands and enjoy some manual labor? Then buy a manual coffee grinder like the Hario Mini Mill Slim Hand Coffee Grinder.

It's as basic as it gets: you pop some beans in, crank the handle, and grind away until all the beans are turned into beautiful coffee particles lying in the glass holder below. You only get one cup's worth of coffee for all your hard work, but the grinds are uniform and high quality. 

The ceramic mill is hardy and should last a lifetime. Be careful with the glass portion, and this grinder should outlast many of the more high-end machines. 

It's easy to clean and very easy to store in your cupboard. Since the Hario is small, you can take it with you when you travel if you're desperate to grind coffee in your hotel room or campsite. 

Experts at The Wirecutter previously recommended the Hario but doesn't anymore because it takes a long time to grind enough beans. If you're on a budget or you're intentionally seeking a manual coffee grinder, this is your best option.

Pros: Easy to use, ceramic mill, easy to store, portable, affordable

Cons: Manual grinders can tire you out fast



How to choose the right grind for your coffee

It's all about the grind. Some smart grinders measure out how much coffee you need for your daily cup of Java, but most just let you grind as little or as much as the capacity allows. 

Most high-end grinders let you choose how coarse or fine you want your coffee beans ground. Different brewing methods require different types of grind. Here is the breakdown of the different grinds and what kind of brewing method you should use as explained by Gear Patrol.

Coarse: Coarsely ground coffee beans look like large particles of salt. This grind is best for cold brew, French Press, and percolators.

Medium: Medium coarse and medium fine grinds look and feel like pieces of grit that you can pick out individually — think sand on a beach. It's best for drip coffee, Chemex, pour-over, and vacuum pots.

Fine: Fine coffee is smooth and silky. You can't see any individual grains, and it feels very close to powdery, but not quite. This grind is best for espresso machines.

Turkish: Turkish coffee is made with the finest grinds of coffee imaginable, and it feels like perfect powder. You can't see any grains or particles at all. It's only good for Turkish coffee pots.



Check out our other great coffee-related buying guides

The best coffee makers you can buy

We've included top picks for all of these different types of coffee makers. We've tested the majority of our top picks and heavily researched those we have yet to use to bring you the best of all coffee makers.


The best espresso machines you can buy 

Coffee lovers start out innocently enough with drip filters, French presses, milk frothers, and stovetop espresso makers; but then next thing you know, they're browsing Amazon for full-on espresso machines with all the bells and whistles. If you've reached that stage of coffee addiction, don't worry, we're here for you. We've researched everything you need to know about buying a shiny new espresso machine for your home.


The best French Press you can buy

Coffee brewing methods are many and varied — there's the pour-over, cold brew, classic espresso, and more. One of the most popular methods is the French press, which lets your coffee grounds swirl around in boiling water to brew before you push the plunger down and pour the coffee right into your mug. There are dozens of great French press coffee makers out there, but they're not all created equal. We've researched the best ones and tested a few ourselves to find out which French presses are the best you can buy.


The best milk frothers you can buy

It's never been easier to make a perfect cup of coffee at home, but you need the right equipment to do it. If you're a big fan of cappuccinos and lattes with splendid milk foam, you're going to want a great milk frother in your collection of coffee-making products. 



Davos isn't glamorous for everyone. Here's what it's really like to attend the exclusive economic conference that brings billionaires together with business and political leaders from across the globe.

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It might sound glamorous to attend an event frequented by billionaires and heads of state, but Davos isn't all fun and games.

Between the long lines, freezing cold weather, and boring panels, attending the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, may not be as fun as it looks if you're not a VIP. Here's what it's really like to attend Davos.

SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about Davos, the invitation-only conference that brings billionaires together with business and political leaders at a Swiss resort

DON'T MISS: 119 billionaires, 53 heads of state, and an $8.3 million security bill: A look at Davos by the numbers

1. It's not the most lively crowd.

Davos is primarily attended by middle-aged men. Attendance is by invitation only, according to CBS News. As a result, the conference has long faced criticism over a lack of diversity among attendees — for example, only 22% percent of Davos' 2019 attendees were women, the BBC reported. The average age of Davos' male attendees is 54.



2. It's impossible to get anywhere close to the rich and powerful.

Not even everyone who is invited to the conference gets to attend the most high-profile panels and parties. The WEF uses a "complicated caste system of coloured badges" to determine who can access which parts of the conference, the BBC reported.

The highest-profile attendees are given white badges with holograms, according to the BBC. Even the Belgian Prime Minister didn't get one of those badges at last year's event, photos show. 

The lowest-level badges are provided by the resort town's hotels and don't provide entrance to the conference center at all, Business Insiderreported. They do get buyers into the after-parties and onto the ski slopes, however.



3. Most of the panels are pretty dense.

With past themes like "Resilient Dynamism" and "Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution," even the topics of conversation at Davos can be hard to decipher. Complicating things further, the conference also has its own jargon. Attendees use phrases like "material improbabilities," "circularity,"  and "resilience imperative" in ways that can only be understood by other WEF members, reports BBC's Joe Miller. He called Davos jargon "a crime against the English language."

Much of the conference's most interesting and consequential discussions take place after hours and behind closed doors, Business Insider reported.



4. Admission may be free for most people, but going to Davos is still super expensive.

The WEF waives the conference's 27,000 Swiss franc ($28,000) admission fee for all attendees who are not there to represent a business, Business Insider reported. However, all attendees do have to be WEF members. The annual membership fee starts at 60,000 Swiss francs ($62,000) and can run up to 600,000 Swiss francs ($620,000), depending on what type of membership you choose, according to the BBC.

The costs don't end there, however. Hotels raise their prices to five times their normal rate during the conference, according to The New York Times. Rooms at two of the most popular hotels among attendees, the Belvedere and the InterContinental, are renting for $231 and $392 on nights in January, their websites show. Both hotels are currently sold out during the event.



5. The parties are just as wild as you'd imagine.

Various companies host a wide range of events for Davos attendees, The New York Times reported. One year, JPMorgan Chase rented out the Kirchner Museum Davos to throw a cocktail party co-hosted by Dimon and former British prime minister Tony Blair, according to The Times. Google throws a party each year at the InterContinental Hotel that The Times called "the hottest ticket in town."

In 2013, former Facebook president Sean Parker threw an infamous party where "specially made stuffed animals illuminated dancers with lasers shot from their eyes" as John Legend performed, according to CBS News. Also in 2013, Benioff flew in fresh flowers and a live band from his adopted home of Hawaii for Salesforce's party, according to The Times.



6. A lot of time is spent waiting in line.

Attending Davos is a lot "like flying... without the actual flying," the BBC's Katie Hope wrote. 

Over 100 billionaires and 53 heads of state are slated to attend Davos this week, requiring tight security. Entry to the conference center requires passage through a security checkpoint comparable to what you find at an airport, according to the BBC. Davos turns into a "veritable fortress" during the event, according to The New York Times' Michael J. de la Merced and Russell Goldman

To make matters worse, the lines often extend outside into the snow, Hope reported.



The Theragun Liv is an intense at-home body massager that relieves my sore muscles and corrects my posture — it's pricey, but a godsend

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Theragun massager

  • The Theragun Liv body massager may seem pricey at $249 but it provides easy relief of sore muscles and even helped improve my posture
  • The Liv is an intense massager that is best used by athletes who exercise regularly and vigorously, or for anyone who experiences extreme muscle pain.
  • For me, personally, the Liv feels amazing — it makes me feel like I'm floating and helped dramatically improve my posture after just one use.

After waking up one morning with an uncomfortable knot in my neck, I figured it would be the perfect time to try the new Theragun Liv body massager. The first step was to download the companion app to get started — thankfully, this was quick and easy. From there, I was able to start testing what I've heard to be the scariest and most intense electronic massager invented. I'm not entirely sure if I was excited or a bit nervous (likely both). 

Describing how good I felt after just two minutes of using the Liv on my neck and shoulders is hard to accurately convey. Throughout the two minutes, my upper body felt as if it was floating and I could sense that if I closed my eyes right then, I'd sleep like a baby. After just that initial use, I could tell my posture both sitting and standing up was markedly better. 

To be clear, the Theragun Liv massager is as extreme a massaging instrument as I'd expected. Before getting fully into just how intense the machine is, let's first talk about how it's built.

 

Hurts so good

The Liv is comprised of a three-sided, easy-to-grip handle, a charging port, and an extension with two interchangeable attachments. One attachment consists of a larger ball designed for more diffuse relief, while the other is much smaller and meant for targeted pain points and sore muscles. To switch between the two, you simply pull one off and pop the other on. 

When you're ready to use the massager, a power button on the handle turns it on and the extension with the attachment starts pulsing rapidly. The sound is reminiscent of a chugging lawnmower. My partner was in the room when I first turned it on (while he was working, no less) and he proceeded to give me a withering look and put on his earbuds.

Theragun massager 2

The sound is an adequate warning for how the massage feels, too. The extension part of the Liv quickly moves back and forth, so if you're not careful, it can easily pummel your body. This is why the Liv comes with an app that includes detailed directions for proper use. 

It's important to float

One of the most important directions is to "float" the Liv over your sore muscles. By float, the app means to avoid applying direct pressure while using the massager. In other words, gently touch it to your body and move the Liv back and forth along the surface. Pressing the vibrating Liv too deep into your body would likely leave bruises (which I've been careful to avoid).

Read more: This $50 heated massager is the perfect antidote to carrying around a heavy backpack — it relieves my shoulder and back tension

The Theragun app also includes instructions for a variety of body parts, medical issues, and specific use cases. For instance, there's a method for helping you go to sleep, one for curing jet lag, and another for helping you wake up in the morning. There are also movements to help relieve plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel, and "tech neck."

Theragun massager 3

You can even take the app's suggestions for how to use it on your lower back, feet, or glutes. Most of the instructions incorporate stretching, which the Theragun app reminds users should be a "non-negotiable part of your daily life."

A cure for what ails you

As someone who spends a lot of time staring at a computer screen, I started out with the "tech neck" exercise. This was the move that made me feel like I was floating and immediately helped straighten my posture.

I then tested out the carpal tunnel sequence. I often work long hours on many typing-intensive projects, so running the Liv gently over the muscles in my forearm, and then lightly around my wrists, worked much better on my stiff hands than my normal relief method of shaking them out with limp wrists.

I also gave the pre- and post-workout exercises a try. Stimulating my leg and back muscles with the Liv before my regular run immediately loosened me up and made starting my routine much smoother. I could feel the lack of stiffness in my legs well before making it through the first block — which is how long I usually have to jog before my muscles begin to loosen up.

Read more: The best foot massagers you can buy

One of the Liv's major upsides how it's designed to be handheld. This also happens to be its main drawback. On one side, the handheld design works great for targeted movements and precision — when you're using your dominant hand, at least.

Theragun massager 4

When you're not, it's harder to keep the Liv close to your body, which creates a jarring rattling sensation instead of the smooth buzz you achieve with your dominant hand. Of course, there's the ability to get used to handling it with your weaker hand over time but at first, it feels quite odd.

The bottom line

 

As I've mentioned above, the Liv is intense. I don't recommend this for anyone just starting to get into at-home, electronic massagers as it's not entirely what you expect it to be. If you accidentally hit a bone or a sensitive spot, it's not going to feel great. Even if you get carried away and use it for too long in one spot, you won't be doing your body a favor. The Liv works best as a rehab tool for anyone who experiences extreme muscle pain or athletes who exercise regularly and vigorously. 

At $249, the Liv certainly isn't cheap, though it does check-in as the cheapest of Theragun's three handheld massagers (the G3 goes for $399 while the G3PRO goes for $599). Plus, it comes with a one-year warranty, meaning if you use it regularly — or even semi-regularly — for a year, you'll get your money's worth. Though it's intense and took some getting used to, the benefits far outweigh the pain. 

  • Should you buy it? The Theragun Liv isn't for everyone. It's an intense handheld body massager that's capable of working out the hardest of knots but it won't be as soothing as visiting a day spa. Because of its intensity, it's meant more for those who exercise regularly, are extremely active athletes, or anyone who experiences muscle pain.
  • What are your alternatives?  Perhaps its biggest competition comes from the Hyperice Hypervolt, a similar, high-intensity personal massager designed to relieve sore muscles. The Hypervolt is a bit more expensive at $349 but runs quietly while working and comes with more interchangeable heads. 

Pros: Helps improve posture and work out knots, relieves sore muscles, is like having a personal masseuse on-call whenever you need it

Cons: Massage can be intense and painful, only features two different massage heads, handheld design can be odd for your non-dominant hand

Buy the Theragun Liv Percussive Massager Muscle Stimulator for $249 on Amazon

Join the conversation about this story »

How much the US minimum wage — and what it can get you — has changed since the year you were born

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minimum wage

  • Today, the federal minimum wage is $7.25, the same rate it's been since it was last raised in 2009.
  • The first federal minimum wage law, enacted in 1938, set minimum hourly rates at $0.25 across the country.
  • Though the minimum wage has risen incremently over the years, it hasn't increased enough to account for inflation and the skyrocketing costs of living in many places across the US.
  • This disparity is clear when you take into account the value of each era's federal minimum wage in today's dollars, as well as the prices of common expenses, like a new home and a gallon of gas.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

While 21 states raised their minimum wages at the start of 2020, plenty of others have remained stagnant at the same federal minimum rate that took effect in 2009. That means 21 states still have a minimum wage of only $7.25.

Despite a September report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that found the minimum wage hike in New York State had no immediate discernible effect on job loss and recent research suggesting that raising the minimum wage by just $1 could lead to a drop in suicide rates, the federally mandated minimum wage hasn't budged in over a decade.

By observing the changing hourly minimum rates over the years, juxtaposed alongside their relative value in today's dollars, we can clearly see that incremental increases haven't been remotely enough to ensure minimum wage workers' ability to live in today's economy.

Here's every minimum wage increase, including its value in today's dollars, the cost of a new home in the given year, and the cost of a gallon of gas in the given year.

All adjusted values were determined using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' CPI Inflation Calculator and are current as of the value of a dollar in December 2019.

SEE ALSO: These maps show how the minimum wage has become another crack in the country's economic divide

DON'T MISS: There's a lot of misinformation around the 'harms' of a $15 minimum wage. Here's why it's really a win for everyone, and how to spot a bogus claim.

1938

The first federal minimum wage (signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt) was $0.25 an hour, effective October 24, 1938. In today's dollars, that's equal to $4.59 an hour.

In 1938, a new house cost about $3,900. A gallon of gas cost $0.10.

Source: US Department of Labor, Business Insider



1939-1945

The federal minimum wage was raised to $0.30 an hour, effective October 24, 1939. It remained the same until October 24, 1945. Thirty cents in 1940 was equal to $5.51 in today's dollars.

In 1940, the median value of a single-family home in the US was $2,938 (equivalent to $53,927.83 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.18.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census BureauEnergy.gov



1945-1950

The federal minimum wage was raised to $0.40 an hour, effective October 24, 1945. It remained the same until January 25, 1950. Forty cents in 1945 is equal to $5.68 in today's dollars.

In 1950, the median value of a single-family home in the US was $7,354 (equivalent to $76,509.59 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.27.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census BureauEnergy.gov



1950-1956

The federal minimum wage was raised to $0.75 an hour, effective January 25, 1950. It remained the same until March 1, 1956. In today's dollars, $0.75 in 1954 is equal to $7.19.

In 1954, a gallon of gas cost $0.29. Home value data from the US Census isn't available for this time period.

Source: US Department of Labor, Energy.gov



1956-1961

The federal minimum wage was raised to $1.00 an hour, effective March 1, 1956. In today's dollars, that's equal to $9.55.

In 1960, the median value of a single-family home in the US was $11,900 (equivalent to $103,660.70 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.31.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census BureauEnergy.gov



1961-1963

The federal minimum wage was raised to $1.15 an hour, effective September 3, 1961. In today's dollars, that's equal to $9.85.

In 1963, the median sales price of newly-constructed homes sold in the US was $18,000 (equivalent to $151,656.79 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.31.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1963-1967

The federal minimum wage was raised to $1.25 an hour, effective September 3, 1963. In today's dollars, that's equal to $10.43.

In 1965, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $20,000 (equivalent to $162,128.71 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.30.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1967-1968

The federal minimum wage was raised to $1.40 an hour, effective February 1, 1967. In today's dollars, that's equal to $10.68.

In 1967, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $22,700 (equivalent to $173,095.25 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.32.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1968-1974

The federal minimum wage was raised to $1.60 an hour, effective February 1, 1968. In today's dollars, that's equal to $11.65.

In 1970, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $23,400 (equivalent to $173,095.25 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.35.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1974

The federal minimum wage was raised to $2.00 an hour, effective May 1, 1974. In today's dollars, that's equal to $10.49.

In 1974, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $35,900 (equivalent to $188,272.79 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.39.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1975

The federal minimum wage was raised to $2.10 an hour, effective January 1, 1975. In today's dollars, that's equal to $10.07.

In 1975, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $39,300 (equivalent to $188,415.64 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.53.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1976-1977

The federal minimum wage was raised to $2.30 an hour, effective January 1, 1976. In today's dollars, that's equal to $10.41.

In 1976, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $44,200 (equivalent to $199,969.20 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.57.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1978

The federal minimum wage was raised to $2.65 an hour, effective January 1, 1978. In today's dollars, that's equal to $10.44.

In 1978, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $55,700 (equivalent to $219,531.47 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.62.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1979

The federal minimum wage was raised to $2.90 an hour, effective January 1, 1979. In today's dollars, that's equal to $10.31.

In 1979, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $62,900 (equivalent to $223,563.83 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.63.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1980

The federal minimum wage was raised to $3.10 an hour, effective January 1, 1980. In today's dollars, that's equal to $9.63.

In 1980, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $64,600 (equivalent to $200,731.81 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.86.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1981-1990

The federal minimum wage was raised to $3.35 an hour, effective January 1, 1981. It remained at that level for nearly a decade.

The value of $3.35 in 1981 was equal to the buying power of $9.50 today. The value of $3.35 by 1990 was just $6.73 in today's dollars.

In 1981, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $68,900 (equivalent to $201,427.86 in today's dollars) and a gallon of gas cost $1.19. In 1990, the median sales price of newly-constructed homes sold in the US was $122,900 (equivalent to $246,735.19 in today's dollars) and a gallon of gas cost $1.00.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1990-1991

The federal minimum wage was raised to $3.80 an hour, effective April 1, 1990. In today's dollars, that's equal to $7.42.

In 1991, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $120,000 (equivalent to $234,322.80 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $1.14.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1991-1996

The federal minimum wage was raised to $4.25 an hour, effective April 1, 1991. In today's dollars, that's equal to $8.00.

In 1994, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $130,000 (equivalent to $224,205.50 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $1.11.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1996-1997

The federal minimum wage was raised to $4.75 an hour, effective October 1, 1996. In today's dollars, that's equal to $7.70.

In 1996, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $140,000 (equivalent to $226,837.07 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $1.23.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



1997-2007

The federal minimum wage was raised to $5.15 an hour, effective September 1, 1997. It remained at that level for nearly a decade.

The value of $5.15 in 1997 was equal to the buying power of $8.20 today. The value of $5.15 by 2007 had decreased to just $6.36 in today's dollars.

In 1997, the median sales price of newly-constructed homes sold in the US was $146,000 (equivalent to $232,598.91 in today's dollars) and a gallon of gas cost $1.23. In 2007, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $247,900 (equivalent to $306,343.64 in today's dollars) and a gallon of gas cost $2.80.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



2007-2008

The federal minimum wage was raised to $5.85 an hour, effective July 4, 2007. In today's dollars, that's equal to $7.16.

In 2008, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $232,100 (equivalent to $277,640.97 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $3.27.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



2008-2009

The federal minimum wage was raised to $6.55 an hour, effective July 24, 2008. In today's dollars, that's equal to $8.01.

In 2009, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US was $216,700 (equivalent to $261,143.62 in today's dollars). That year, a gallon of gas cost $2.35.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



The federal minimum wage today

The federal minimum wage was raised to $7.25 an hour, effective July 24, 2009. It hasn't increased in over a decade. Meanwhile, the median sales price of newly constructed homes sold in the US reached an all-time high of $326,400 in 2018.

Source: US Department of Labor, US Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development via FREDEnergy.gov



22 things I wish I had when I brought my new puppy home

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Maggie

  • Before bringing your new puppy home, it's important to understand the responsibility you're furever committing to. 
  • They'll need basic supplies like a bed, collar, and leash, as well as specific things like dog toothpaste and shampoo to stay healthy. 
  • As someone who's had a dog for 15 years, here are 22 things I'd recommend having when you're ready to bring your pup home.
  • And if you need more suggestions, check out our guide to the best puppy gear

My good friend was recently inducted into the puppy parenthood society when she brought home a spunky Aussie doodle named Maggie (pictured above).

Meeting Maggie reminded me of my own dog Max, who was a mere pup 15 years ago. One time, he pooped on the hardwood floors while my parents were out frantically buying supplies at the last minute, so I scooped him up and kept him in the bathtub while I cleaned up the mess with paper towels.

How hypocritical of me to preach about preparedness while I'm sticking my puppy in the bathtub, right? Well, I learned from my mistakes so you won't repeat them.

Making the decision to get a puppy — or any pet — shouldn't be taken lightly. They're living, breathing creatures that rely on us to take care of them, and that could be a lot of work. If you've done your research and come to the conclusion that your heart, home, and wallet are ready for the life-long commitment, then your next steps are to puppy-fy your home with all the proper supplies. 

Here are 22 essentials like crates, training essentials, and toys you should have before bringing your new puppy home:

1. A dog bed as comfortable as yours

Casper Dog Bed, from $125, available at Casper

Casper is known for its mattresses for humans, but it also makes a durable and comfortable dog bed that we love.



2. A crate that also matches your furniture

Casual Home Wooden Crate, from $95.24, available at Amazon

Crate-training your puppy allows them to have their own space where they can feel safe and comfortable. You can opt for a standard metal crate, or choose a crate that also blends well with your furniture, like our freelance reporter did.  

 



3. A food and water bowl

AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Dog Bow (2-pack), $13.99, available at Amazon

Food and water bowls don't always need to be fancy, but they should definitely be functional. Many puppies will be confused or intrigued when they first encounter bowls, so rubber bottoms will help keep them in place (or at least attempt to) while your new puppy gets acquainted to them.



4. An ID with pertinent contact information

Personalized Engraved Pet ID Tag, $11.24, available at Petco

At the very least, your puppy should have identification tags attached to their collar or harness when they're outside in case they get loose or lost. List all important information like their name and your contact information on it so someone can actually find you and return your pup.

If you want to get fancy, places like Petco can even engrave your tag if you stop by the store. 



5. A harness to wear during walks

Puppia RiteFit Dog Harness, $19.20, available at Amazon

Depending on the size and breed of your puppy, you might want to opt for a harness instead of a collar. Harnesses are a great alternative for dogs like pugs and Boston terriers with sensitive tracheas. This harness is both breathable and weather resistant. Learn more about dog harnesses here and also check out our guide to the best dog harnesses.



6. Absorbent pads to help potty train

Wee-Wee Housebreaking Pads, $14.57, available at Amazon

Depending on the size of your puppy, many new dog-parents will opt to potty train their new puppies on a potty pad, or because they can't walk their dog often. No matter the situation, these can be helpful during the first several months with your new puppy.



7. A training leash for walks

Four Paws Cotton Web Training Dog Lead (10 feet), $7.85, available at Amazon

Once your new puppy is ready, you can start leash training. A long leash will give your pup just the right amount of slack, and keeps you from buying multiple leashes while training. 



8. A clicker to help train your puppy

PetSafe Clik-R Trainer, $3.99, available at Amazon

Clickers are simple and painless tools that can be used when training your new puppy. The sound of the click followed by a treat helps your puppy learn to associate positive actions with rewards.



9. A package of treats specifically for training

Wellness Core Pure Rewards Natural Grain Free Dog Treats, $9.49, available at Petco

Treats can be good to have on hand when teaching your new puppy basic commands like sit and stay, or tackling a larger task like walking on a leash. Pure Rewards are small and soft, so they're easy to eat and won't fill up your puppy during training sessions.

 



10. A simple neck collar

Boots & Barkley Railroad Stripe Dog Collar, $6.99, available at Target

A cute collar just makes your pup look even more adorable in photos.  



11. A puppy play pen

Midwest Foldable Metal Exercise Pen, from $31.99, available at Amazon

Play pens can be used inside or outside to create a designated space for your puppy. Pens still allow your puppy freedom to move around, while also giving you to control over where they go.

They're also great if you're introducing them to grass or bringing guests into your home for the first time, so they can get used to new humans.



12. Dog food designed for puppies

Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Lamb & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food, $47.98, available at Amazon

Once puppies are old enough to consume dry food, they should be eating a formula designed for growth like Purina Pro Plan.

Depending on the breed of your dog, they should consume puppy formula until anywhere from 9 months to 24 months old. Check out our best dog food guide for more suggestions.

 



13. A teething toy

Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Pacifier, $5.94, available at Chewy

Just like newborn babies, puppies will teeth while their adult canines grow in. The ridges and bumps on this toy will help soothe growing pains and simultaneously clean plaque and tartar.



14. A pet gate to block off doorways

Carlson Extra Wide Walk Through Pet Gate, $39.99, available at Amazon

It's not uncommon for new pet owners to want to keep certain rooms off-limits like kitchens or bathrooms, especially if you have a little thief on your hands. Simple pet gates can block off doorways while still allowing easy entrance and exits for us humans. 



15. A squeaky toy to stimulate natural instincts

Leaps & Bounds Little Loves Plush Puppy Toy, $5.18, available at Petco

Plush toys can help encourage a more active playtime. This one features a squeaky center that stimulates natural instincts and can grab dogs' attention quickly and easily. For more ideas, see our guide to the best dog toys.



16. A gentle shampoo for washing

Burt's Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo, $5.18, available at Amazon

Just like babies, puppies should be washed with a gentle formula shampoo that won't irritate their skin or damage their coat. This Burt's Bees puppy shampoo has buttermilk to help soothe and soften skin, honey to help retain moisture, and a pH-balanced formula to help avoid dry skin.



17. A versatile brush that won't damage your puppy's coat

Up & Up Combo Brush Dog Grooming Tool, $7.99, available at Target

A puppy's coat can be finer and more delicate than when they're full grown. The type of hair or fur your puppy has also greatly depends on the breed of dog they are, so short-haired dogs like pugs will need a bristle brush while long-haired dogs like golden retrievers will need a pin brush. Learn more about the different types of dog brushes here.



18. A pet-safe stain and odor remover

Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator, $19.97, at Amazon

Accidents happen, and they're going to happen a lot when you bring home a new puppy. This stain and odor remover can help keep your floors, carpets, and couches fresh, while discouraging further accidents in the house.



19. A disposable and easy-to-use toothbrush

Vet's Best Dental Finger Dog Toothbrush, $5.38, available at Amazon

Using these finger brushes instead of traditional soft bristle toothbrushes allow you to have more control when attempting to brush a squirming puppy's teeth. 



20. Dog toothpaste

Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs, $9.12, available at Amazon

When brushing your puppy's teeth, you should use toothpaste formulated specifically for dogs. Human toothpaste can contain ingredients that might be harmful to your pet if they accidentally ingest it. Plus, the toothpaste is often flavored like beef or chicken, which is far more enticing than mint. Check out our buying guide to the best dog toothpaste, toothbrushes, and chews for more products.



21. A full stock of scented waste bags

Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags, $6.99, available at Walmart

Once your puppy is potty trained, you'll need a large stack of waste bags to clean up after them. These specific bags are scented with lavender to help shield nature's smell. 



22. A waste bag holder that can be attached to their leash

Tuff Mutt Poop Bag Holder, $12.99, at Amazon

This waste bag holder can be attached to any leash so you'll always have bags on hand during walks and outdoor events.



Apple is trying to give you another big reason to use the Apple Watch at the gym, and it's further evidence that it's becoming a force in the fitness industry (AAPL)

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apple watch

  • Apple is launching a new program called Apple Watch Connected, in which gyms will commit to offering incentives for tracking workouts with the Apple Watch, supporting Apple Pay, offering iPhone and Apple Watch apps, and supporting GymKit when applicable.
  • Apple is launching the program with Orangetheory Fitness, Crunch Fitness, Basecamp, and the YMCA.
  • The program is yet another sign that Apple is pushing more aggressively into areas such as health and fitness, digital services, and wearable technology as these verticals become an increasingly important part of its business.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Apple is expanding its presence in the fitness space with a new program that will further incorporate the Apple Watch into the gym experience, a move that underscores the company's burgeoning ambitions in health, wearable technology, and digital services. 

The new initiative, called Apple Watch Connected, is a program that enables participating gyms to offer incentives such as money towards membership costs to those who track their workouts with the Apple Watch. 

As part of the program, gyms will commit to offering an iOS and Apple Watch app, launching a rewards program called Earn with Watch, supporting Apple Pay in their facilities, and implementing its GymKit platform in exercise machines when applicable. The  incentive program gives Apple Watch wearers certain bonuses for meeting fitness goals, but the program varies depending on the gym.

Orangetheory, for instance, is launching a new membership tier that allows members to earn gift cards to Nike, Apple, and other brands for meeting workout goals. Boutique fitness studio Basecamp is also rolling out a new type of membership that allows members to earn back the cost of a non-cellular Apple Watch Series 5, the price of which is initially built into the membership, by attending three classes per week over the course of a year. And the YMCA lets you earn donations that are used to fund community programs, while Crunch will let you earn money to be put toward your monthly membership. 

Apple Watch wearers don't have to actually work out at the gym to get these rewards, however. Any form of exercise, whether it happens at the gym or during a long walk home or an outdoor run, will count toward the program's fitness goals.

Most of Apple's early partners are launching the program on a small scale before offering it more broadly. Orangetheory, for example, is launching at two New York City locations at Astor Place and in the SoHo neighborhood before expanding to its other 1,200 gyms in the United States. The YMCA is launching at the St. Paul Midway location in Minnesota before expanding to 21 other facilities in the Twin Cities area. Crunch is launching Apple Watch Connected in two New York City locations, one in the Financial District and another on 83rd St., and plans to expand it to 28 other signature locations in the city.

It's another sign that Apple has become a growing presence in the health and fitness industry. Apple emerged as the market leader in the wearable technology industry at the end of last year, with the International Data Corporation reporting that it held the position in terms of market share as of the third quarter of 2019. Cook has also said that he believes Apple's "greatest contribution" will involve health. 

"I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, 'What was Apple's greatest contribution to mankind?' it will be about health," the Apple CEO told CNBC's Jim Cramer in early 2019. 

The launch is also very telling of the company's strategy when it comes to the Apple Watch, which has gradually become one of its most important products as revenue from its wearables business has helped offset slowing iPhone sales over the past year. Although it probably won't have a major impact on Apple Watch sales, tying its smartwatch to a user's gym of choice would probably make it more difficult for competitors like Samsung and Fitbit to lure Apple users over to their respective platforms. 

It also gives Apple another way to boost its growing services business, which generated $12.5 billion in revenue in the company's fiscal fourth quarter, since it involves a commitment from gym chains to offer Apple Pay. 

SEE ALSO: Fitbit quietly added a new feature to some of its products that the Apple Watch doesn't have

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It's time to end corporate welfare. Boeing is exhibit A for why.

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  • Paul Constant is a writer at Civic Ventures, a cofounder of the Seattle Review of Books, and a frequent cohost of the "Pitchfork Economics" podcast with Nick Hanauer.
  • In this opinion piece, he writes that the recent Boeing failures showcase the "parasitic relationship" between corporations and local government, as Boeing received large tax breaks.
  • Americans are starting to realize that these tax breaks don't actually benefit the local economy — and, in the case of Boeing, fund "villainy."
  • For more on this topic, listen to the latest episode of "Pitchfork Economics."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Until the next catastrophic oil spill or widespread outbreak of food-borne illnesses, Boeing is the reigning champion of American corporate malfeasance. Since the airplane manufacturer's new 737 Max models started crashing in 2018, killing nearly 350 people in two separate crashes, Boeing has done nearly everything wrong. Reporters at the Wall Street Journal discovered, for instance, that Boeing knew about the model's deficiencies about a year before planes started falling from the sky. 

The story of the 737 Max is a tragedy of cost-cutting in design and an indictment of a system of austerity in which the policing of government regulations have been largely outsourced to the very corporations which are supposed to be regulated. At nearly every turn, Boeing has revealed its willingness to hide the truth, mislead authorities, and ignore the consequences of its own actions.

And Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing's outgoing CEO who ran the company during this whole saga, is walking away with an astonishing $62 million severance package. (For the sake of comparison, Boeing will compensate the families of the hundreds of people who died in the two 737 Max crashes with cash and benefits equaling $100 million dollars, which eventually works out to less than $150,000 per family.)

Perhaps worst of all, if you're a taxpayer in Washington state, you have helped to fund Boeing's bad actors behind the story of golden parachutes, irresponsibility, and avoidable deaths. Washington state leaders in 2013 gave Boeing a jaw-dropping $8.7 billion in tax breaks that are still rolling out to this day. 

Paul Constant

During his presidential run last year, Governor Jay Inslee, who shepherded Boeing's tax breaks through Washington's legislature, says he is "not happy with the Boeing situation" in retrospect.  "If you've ever been mugged, you understand what it feels like," Inslee told Trevor Noah on The Daily Show in March 2019

"These corporations put a gun to your ribs and say you're going to lose 20,000 jobs" unless you hand over the tax breaks, Inslee explained. And even though Boeing got the huge payout that they wanted out of Washington state, they killed those jobs anyway. In 2017 alone, a year in which Boeing enjoyed a $227 million share of that Washington state tax cut, the company laid off 6,000 Washington workers. Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times estimates that Boeing cut nearly 13,000 Washington jobs between the announcement of the tax break and the end of 2017.

Boeing is a particularly egregious example of the parasitic relationship between corporations and local governments, and they're exhibit A for the case against corporate welfare. As Governor Inslee learned, generous tax breaks provide no guarantee that a corporation will be a good neighbor. Boeing received the largest corporate tax break payout in Washington state history by far, and it repaid that taxpayer generosity by slashing and moving jobs, building substandard products that killed users, and delivering outsize paydays to the masterminds who oversaw one of the most embarrassing two-year periods in American corporate history.

Of course, it's easy to paint Boeing as a villain, but the mechanism that Boeing used to fund its villainy is anything but unusual. In the latest episode of "Pitchfork Economics," Nick Hanauer and Zach Silk discuss the many ways in which corporations suck wealth from the taxpayers in order to pay out investors and leadership. David Dayen, the executive editor at the American Prospect, and Rana Foroohar, associate editor at the Financial Times, discuss the relatively short, trickle-down history of governments using taxpayer dollars to subsidize rapacious corporate behavior. This is the real story of welfare abuse, and it's absolutely maddening.

Thankfully, the American people, like Governor Inslee, have seen more than enough evidence to understand that these tax breaks are handouts that do nothing to benefit the local economy. People in New York City, for instance, revolted against proposed state and city tax incentives to bring Amazon's proposed "HQ2" to town. At the time that Amazon announced it would be backing off from the HQ2 plans, anti-Amazon leaders including Alexandria Ocacio-Cortez were painted as "villains" for killing jobs. But even without the tax breaks, Amazon is quietly going ahead with the jobs and investments in New York City that it proposed anyway.

And all that anecdotal evidence is backed up with fresh academic research. A new study by Cailin Slattery and Owen Zidar finds that most states and local governments offer $30 billion a year in welfare — as a "low-end estimate" — to corporations, and in some states the outgoing incentives exceed corporate tax revenues. In their paper, Slattery and Zidar conclude that they "do not find strong evidence that firm-specific tax incentives increase broader economic growth at the state and local level."

Over the last 40 years of trickle-down doctrine in the United States, the prevailing philosophy has been to attract businesses to your area with low taxes, low wages, and few regulations. It has been an unsustainable model that has harmed workers, encouraged lazy and malicious business practices, and destroyed our reputation as global economic leaders. 

At the very least, our leaders need to understand that this rampant system of corporate subsidization must end. It's not just that public investments into our health, our infrastructure, and our future are hurting — it's that our corporations have grown lazy and entitled, and they're taking advantage of the system with no plan to ever pay us back. It's time to kick corporations off welfare for good.

SEE ALSO: Ten years ago, I testified before Congress about drug pricing — and it's only gotten worse. Here's what's wrong, and how we may be able to fix it.

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The biggest mistake most people make when it comes to taking risks, according to a psychotherapist

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  • Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, mental strength coach, and international bestselling author.
  • There's one mistake that people make when taking risks: They fail to equally balance emotion with logic in their decision-making.
  • Excess emotion can cause some people to be overly excited and impulsive, while being too analytical can leave others overwhelmed by fear or anxiety.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Life is full of risks. There are social risks, like inviting an acquaintance to join you for coffee. There are physical risks, like driving without a seatbelt or drinking excessively. And, of course, there are financial risks, like investing money in the stock market.

While some people enjoy risk more than others, the truth is that most people spend little time thinking about why they take certain risks and avoid others.

As a psychotherapist, I see what happens to people who constantly avoid risk — they live far beneath their potential. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychology found that some individuals become so risk-averse that they actually grow depressed as they dodge social invitations and avoid exciting opportunities.

Other people are impulsive risk-takers. To them, carefully examining  the facts can seem tedious or anxiety-provoking, so they jump into new situations without thinking.

And then there are the people who always convince  themselves that nothing will go wrong. They disguise their impulsivity as positive thinking while insisting everything will work out just fine. Yet in reality, they just don't want to invest any time into thinking about the risks they're taking.

But no matter which end of the risk-taking spectrum a person lands on, almost everyone makes one common mistake — they calculate risk based on their level of fear. If they feel nervous about the slight possibility of a negative or embarrassing outcome, they refuse to take the risk. However, the truth is that the level of fear you experience has nothing to do with the actual level of risk you face.

SEE ALSO: 7 things that mentally strong people don't waste time doing

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Risk and fear

Anxiety isn't rational. This is why so many of us are afraid of non-poisonous snakes, but don't fear getting behind the wheel of a car. Yet we're much more likely to die in a car crash than from a nonvenomous snake bite.

We're not all afraid of the same things, because we can't all agree on how risky certain things are. For instance, is eating non-organic produce a risk? What about investing in real estate? Is it a smart idea or a definite way to go broke? The answers depend on who you ask.

Anxiety is meant to keep us safe. We have an anxiety alarm bell that warns us against doing certain things — like running into traffic.

But all of us also experience false alarms — those times when our anxiety alarms ring even though we aren't in any real danger. Speaking in public, meeting our partner's parents, or reviewing our financial statements are a few examples of times when our anxiety alarm might put us on high-alert, even though we aren't about to die.

Too often we allow these false anxiety alarms to affect our behavior. We think that if something feels scary, it must be too risky to do or too uncomfortable to handle, so we avoid it altogether. In these cases, our anxiety causes us to overestimate the level of risk we face.

On the other hand, when something doesn't feel scary — like when we're excited about something — we might take the leap. This is why so many people fall for get-rich-quick schemes. When our excitement is sky-high, we have the tendency to underestimate the level of risk we're taking.  



How we calculate risk

You will best calculate risk when you balance your emotions with logic. If you make all decisions based on logic alone, you'll likely live a pretty boring life. There's no guarantee you won't get hurt when you fall in love, and investments are never a sure thing. But if you're willing to go on that first date, or invest those extra savings, you might find that you hit the jackpot in both scenarios. 

But on the other hand, if you base all your decisions on emotion alone, you probably won't take smart risks. You will only do the things that feel good right now, without understanding the long-term consequences.



How to make balanced decisions

The best way to balance your emotion with logic is a two-pronged approach:

  1. Label your feelings. Acknowledge whether you're anxious, excited, happy, or sad. Not only will naming your feelings take a bit of sting out of your emotions, but it can also help you recognize how your emotions are likely to cloud your judgment.
  2. Create a list of pros and cons. Write down all the potential pros and cons of taking a certain risk. Then, write down all the pros and cons of not taking that same risk. Seeing this list on paper raises your logic and ensures you're thinking about the potential benefits as well as the reality of the risk you face.

Learning how to balance your emotions with logic takes practice. It will sometimes require you to face your fears head-on. At other times, you might need to say no to an attractive  opportunity, even if in the moment you really want to say yes.

Of course, each mistake you make is an opportunity to learn and get better at taking risks. With practice, you can learn to take the best risks — and to tolerate the distress you experience when things don't work out the way you hoped.



MAKING BIG MONEY: The ultimate guides to breaking into careers with 6-figure salaries

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Caroline Stokes

  • You want to increase your salary in your current position but you don't know how to get that promotion, or you're thinking about a career change and hoping to bolster your earnings.
  • These guides will point you in the right direction to start making more dollar signs by shifting toward freelancing or learning new skills.
  • Business Insider regularly interviews career experts about making more money in your current job or at a new one. You can read them all by subscribing to BI Prime.

Looking for a career move that can boost cash flow? These professions and positions help add the good kind of zeros to your salary. Read these articles to help you combine a career you love with a paycheck you want — and for advice on how to get there.

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READ MORE: HOW TO CHANGE CAREERS: Everything you need to know about making a transition in 2020 that will leave you more fulfilled and less stressed

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Chairman of the National Geographic Society and CEO Jean Case on what it means to be 'fearless' and change the world

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I am always inspired by people who challenge themselves and those around them by asking the question: "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" "Be Fearless" tells the stories of innovators and activists, artists and entrepreneurs, scientists and explorers, and individuals from organizations and businesses who answered that question with actions that spoke louder than words. 

One of the five principles of the book is "Reach beyond your bubble." Our society is in thrall to the myth of the lone genius. But innovation happens at intersections. Often the most original solutions come from engaging with people with diverse experiences to forge new and unexpected partnerships. It's amazing what can happen when companies aren't limited by old biases and leaders are open to ideas from the unlikeliest of sources. It is also important to applaud when larger organizations embrace fearlessness. In many cases, as large organizations find success, it becomes difficult to leave the comfort zone to forge new ways forward or to foster innovations that might be needed in a fast-changing world.

Whenever I think about established institutions and their boards facing fearless decisions, I am reminded of an important moment at National Geographic more than 100 years ago. At the time, the editor of National Geographic magazine made what was then a radical and risky decision: to put photographs in the magazine. Back then, photography was a "new tech" that was viewed by many as an unserious and passing fad. So, when the matter was taken up by the board of trustees, there was skepticism about whether photography was befitting of a serious science and exploration journal. The editor described how photos could be used to help bring the stories to life and expand the magazine's appeal, but some trustees simply weren't having it. In the end, the board supported the use of photography in the magazine, but two board members eventually resigned over the decision!

Be Fearless Paperback Cover FINAL

Of course, in the ensuing century, National Geographic became known for the iconic images capturing the front lines of the unknown, both on our planet and out in the universe. And in 2019, that bold decision made more than 100 years ago continues to enable the National Geographic brand to reach further and achieve new milestones, with National Geographic becoming the first global brand in the world to pass 100 million Instagram followers and the film "Free Solo" winning an Oscar.

This venerable institution, which I am so proud to be a part of, continues to be bold and take risks in a wide variety of ways. To update a story that was featured in the book, in early 2019 National Geographic embraced a partnership with the Walt Disney Company (resulting from its acquisition of 21st Century Fox) that holds all the commercial businesses of National Geographic. The same fearless spirit that has been in the DNA of National Geographic for 131 years is alive as ever and encourages us to be vigilant for new opportunities to illuminate science, exploration, and storytelling for people everywhere.

One of the other joys of the days on the road sharing "Be Fearless" was the new ideas and perspectives I gained from readers of the book. One young woman who is a budding entrepreneur came up to me to praise the chapter entitled "Crash and Learn" — and then she told me about her way of expressing the same idea: "Win some, learn some," which I loved! She has applied this thinking as she has confronted some early failures in the building of her new company.

Audiences everywhere have enjoyed hearing the story from the book about chef, restauranteur, and humanitarian José Andrés's efforts in Puerto Rico and around the world to bring food security to communities following natural disasters.

Following the publication of the book, my husband Steve and I were privileged to join José in Puerto Rico, where we saw firsthand the remarkable work he has continued to do there, after serving nearly four million of the victims of Hurricane Maria immediately following the crisis. Today, José and his team at World Central Kitchen are working to transform the island so that it can be more sustainable and self-sufficient and, therefore, more resilient when disaster strikes. Many readers have told me how energized they were by reading José's story.

But here's the thing about José — and it's an important lesson on fearlessness. José didn't just do one thing, as important as it was. He keeps growing his sense of urgency. Since I wrote about his efforts, he has crossed the globe and has continued to work tirelessly and urgently when disasters and crises threaten food security. From the cyclone in Mozambique and earthquakes in Indonesia to the hurricanes in Florida and the food crisis in Venezuela, José has been on the ground taking risks and boldly creating solutions. For his efforts, and since the publication of "Be Fearless," José was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

With all his success, José remains humble. "My name is José Andrés, and I am a cook," he said as he stood in the shadow of the Washington Monument in 2014 to deliver a commencement address to graduates of George Washington University. "When President Knapp asked me to speak at your commencement, I thought, 'why a chef?' Even my daughters said, 'They asked you to speak or to cook lunch for graduates?'" The students laughed, charmed by this man who was anything but a simple cook. 

José embodies the last principle I share in "Be Fearless": "Let urgency conquer fear." Don't overthink and overanalyze. It's natural to want to study a problem from all angles, but getting caught up in questions like, "What if we're wrong?" and "What if there is a better way?" can leave you paralyzed with fear. Allow the compelling need to act to outweigh all doubts and setbacks. People become heroes not because they are blessed with extraordinary powers, but because when they see the urgency, they simply choose to act.

SEE ALSO: Lying for a benevolent reason could actually make people trust you more

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