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Tour The Incredible Real Estate Portfolio Of Microsoft Billionaire Paul Allen

Your Gym Is Ripping You Off — Here's How To Get A Cheaper Membership

11 Stunning Underwater Photos


June 8 was designated as World Oceans Day by the United Nations in 2008.

Oceans cover most of our planet. They provide much of the oxygen we need to survive, regulate weather and temperature, and are home to countless plants and animals. Yet, the oceans face continued threats from pollution, overfishing, and warming temperatures.

The pictures below remind us of the ocean's beauty and how important it is to protect and preserve this system.

A sea turtle says hi.


A humpback whale passes near an iceberg.


A brassy leather coral spotted in the Maldives.Brassy Leather Coral.

An endangered manatee swims with a school of fish in Florida. Manatee

An octopus is photographed on the Caribbean reef.


A diver swims under a tiger shark.


A grey seal swims underwater near the Farne Islands off the coast of northern England.


A body surfer punches through a wave at the Ehukai sandbar near the surf break known as 'Pipeline' on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.


A whale shark, the world's largest fish is seen in Mozambique.

swimming with whale sharks mozambique

A red-reef hermit crab is captured in the Netherlands.

Hermit crab

A scuba diver swims near a school of swirling jacks.


SEE ALSO: 50 Pictures That Will Make You Fall In Love With Earth All Over Again

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38 Nutrition Experts Reveal Their Favorite Things To Eat For Breakfast


Mom always said breakfast was the most important meal of the day — and the research agrees. Study after study shows that breakfast boosts brainpower and helps to control cravings later in the day.

To see what a healthy breakfast looks like, we asked dozens of nutrition experts what they ate for breakfast and why. There are clear favorites — oatmeal and Greek yogurt — but everyone puts their unique spin on these traditional morning foods.

Hopefully these responses will inspire you.

Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD

eggs and avocadoBreakfast: Eggs with avocado and salsa in a soft corn tortilla, or oatmeal with nuts and fruit.

Why it's good: The avocado not only adds creaminess, says Moore, but the fat increases the absorption of certain antioxidants, like lycopene, from the salsa. Salsa is also an original way to sneak in a serving of vegetables. Oatmeal contains a type of fiber known as beta-glucan, which has been shown to help maintain healthy cholesterol and glucose levels, says Moore.

Toby Smithson, RDN, LDN, CDE, author of "Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies"

Breakfast: 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal; 5 ounces plain Greek yogurt with sugar substitute, cinnamon, and three to six chopped whole almonds; freshly brewed tea.

Why it's good: Smithson uses Greek yogurt for an extra boost of protein and prefers to add no-calorie flavorings like cinnamon. Nuts help maintain Smithson's blood-glucose levels, which is important for managing her Type 1 diabetes.

Vandana Sheth, RD, CDE

yogurt/berriesBreakfast: Nonfat Greek yogurt mixed with berries and a small handful of a whole-grain, high-fiber cereal; or steel-cut oatmeal cooked in soy milk with chia seeds, walnuts, cinnamon, and honey; or sautéed vegetables (onion, garlic, jalapeno, tomato, and spinach) topped with cubed tofu or shredded mozzarella cheese along with a slice of whole-grain toast.

Why it's good: Sheth chooses a parfait when she's in a hurry and needs something quick to go. She enjoys sautéed vegetables on relaxing weekend mornings and hot oatmeal on winter days.

Kim Larson, RDN, CD, CSSD, owner of TotalHealthRD.com

Breakfast: Steel-cut oats made with skim milk and topped with sliced almonds, fresh blueberries, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a splash of fat-free half-and-half; a small glass of orange juice or tomato juice; coffee.

Why it's good: Larson says this hearty dish fuels her through a spin class and a core workout after.

Marjorie Nolan Cohn, MS, RD, CDN, ACSM-HFS, author of "The Belly Fat Fix"

oatmealBreakfast: 1/2 cup oats cooked with water; 6 ounces plain fat-free Greek yogurt mixed into the cooked oatmeal; 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds or 1/2 tablespoon almond butter; a Granny Smith apple sliced and dipped into the oatmeal with a generous amount of cinnamon mixed in.

Why it's good: The most important thing about this breakfast, says Cohn, is that it's filling and supports her active lifestyle. "I've been eating it for more than 2 years now," she says, "and it's still not old!"

Judy Caplan, MS, RD, author of the "GoBeFull" series

Hot chocolate

Breakfast: Sweet potato with butter, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper; hot chocolate with raw cacao, almond milk, sweetened with maple syrup.

Why it's good: Caplan likes this wintertime grub because it's warm and filling but also loaded with vitamin A and other nutrients.

Ruth Frechman, MA, RDN, CPT, author of "The Food Is My Friend Diet"

Breakfast: Oatmeal with unsalted peanuts and a heavy sprinkling of cinnamon for flavor.

Why it's good: Frechman finds this meal economical because she buys her oats in bulk. The peanuts add a crunchy quality to the smooth texture of the oatmeal. She can easily add variety by tossing in oat bran or substituting prune juice for water.

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, FAND, author of "Nutrition & You"

smoothie Breakfast: A blended smoothie of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon cocoa, and 1/2 cup frozen strawberries.

Why it's good: The protein in the yogurt gives you staying power in the morning, says Blake. The cocoa provides delicious, heart-healthy flavanols, and the strawberries provide fiber and sweetness. You can top it with a whole-grain cereal for an added crunch.

Ilene Smith, MS, RD

Breakfast: One whole-wheat English muffin with natural peanut butter and half a banana.

Why it's good: "It's filling and keeps me satiated until lunch," says Smith, "and it's delicious!"

Anne Danahy, MS, RD, LDN, CravingSomethingHealthy.com

Breakfast: Steel-cut and old-fashioned oats cooked with 1% milk, mixed with fruit, walnuts, and a scoop of plain Greek yogurt.

Why it's good: This meal hits all the food groups. The walnuts provide healthy fat; the fruit is a great source of fiber; the milk and Greek yogurt provide protein; and the oats are a whole grain. "It holds me for at least four hours," says Danahy.

Sharon Salomon, MS, RD

smoothieBreakfast: A smoothie made with almond milk, powdered peanut butter, Fox's UBet chocolate syrup, frozen bananas, and frozen strawberries, cherries, or mango.

Why it's good: Salomon uses almond milk because she's casein-intolerant. The powdered peanut butter provides protein but is fat-free. "I love that it's so cold and frosty," says Solmon, "almost like soft-serve ice cream."

Colleen Gill, MS, RD, CSO

Breakfast: A cup of oatmeal with some walnuts broken up on top; a cup of tea.

Why it's good: The extra protein and fat from the walnuts help to keep Gill full for longer than eating cereal alone.

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD, author of "Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guide"

Breakfast: 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal, 1/4 cup Grape-Nuts, 1/4 cup granola, 3 chopped dates, and a handful of slivered almonds with a splash milk.

Why it's good: It's tasty and combines a mixture of healthy foods.

Maria A. Bella, MS, RD, CDN, author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Acid Reflux Diet"

Breakfast: Gnu foods Fiberlove bar; Fage o% Greek yogurt.

Why it's good: The Gnu bar is packed with 12 grams of fiber and is only 130 calories. It comes in a variety of flavors, like peanut butter chocolate chip and banana walnut. The yogurt provides protein and calcium.

Georgia Kostas, MPH, RDN, LD, author of "The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate!"

Breakfast: Steel-cut oatmeal with dried cranberries and walnuts, or a blueberry-and-strawberry smoothie made with plain nonfat Greek yogurt and 2% cheese melted on whole-grain toast or a corn tortilla.

Why it's good: Whether they are dried, fresh, or frozen, berries are important sources of fiber, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants, says Kostas.

Peggy Korody, RD, CLT

Breakfast: A homemade smoothie made with yogurt or nut butter, almond milk, frozen fruit, such as a banana, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, or mango, and vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and cucumber.

Why it's good: Korody likes to hit the gym in the morning and doesn't want to exercise on a full stomach. She fuels up by drinking half of her smoothie before her fitness routine and finishes the rest post-workout.

Joshh Rager, RDN

Breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal mixed with 2 egg whites, 3/4 milk, and a handful of frozen berries. Microwave it for 45 seconds, give it a stir, then microwave it for another 45 seconds.

Why it's good: You can't even taste the egg whites, says Rager, but they add protein to a high-fiber dish.

Sara Cowlan, MS, RD, CDN

Eggs on toastBreakfast: Two eggs on toast and fruit.

Why it's good: Eggs are high in protein and they're versatile. To avoid getting bored, Cowlan prepares her eggs in different ways and pairs the dish with different kinds of fruit.

Jan Patenaude, RD, CLT, director of medical nutrition at Oxford Biomedical Technologies

eggsBreakfast: Scrambled eggs with lots of vegetables, such as onion, garlic, pepper, mushrooms, spinach, tomato, and jalapeno and herbs, like basil, parsley, oregano, and chives, sprinkled on top with cheese; a sautéed white or sweet potato on the side.

Why it's good: An egg scramble is a great way to use up whatever vegetables you have on hand in a snap.

Nicole V. Brown, MS, RDN, LD, HFS, nutrition director at the National Center for Weight and Wellness

Breakfast: 1 cup Trader Joe's Maple and Brown Sugar Shredded Wheat with 1 cup fat-free milk; Earl Grey tea with a splash of the fat-free milk.

Why it's good: The cereal provides 5 grams of fiber and doesn't have any sodium, says Brown. It's also quick and inexpensive.

Sandy Nissenberg, MS, RD

Breakfast: Plain Greek yogurt and oatmeal with nuts, fruit, or granola.

Why it's good: It's easy to bring to work, says Nissenberg, and fills her up.

Sophia Kamveris, MS, RD, LD

Breakfast: Cage-free egg whites with avocado and low-fat shredded cheese and a dash of turmeric; a slice of artisan whole-grain bread; organic coffee.

Why it's good: Turmeric adds a peppery flavor to eggs, and Kamveris says she uses the orange spice for its anti-inflammatory properties. Freshly brewed coffee gives her a jump-start for the day ahead.

Karen Ansel, MS, RDN

oatmealBreakfast: Rolled oats and low-fat milk, ground flaxseed, and strawberries.

Why it's good: This is the ultimate power breakfast, says Ansel, thanks to its combination of fiber from the oats, flaxseed, and berries, plus protein and calcium from the milk.

Joy Dubost, RD, CSSD

Breakfast: One-minute oatmeal made with skim milk, topped with blueberries, chopped bananas, and slivers of almonds; or high-fiber cereal with skim milk, topped with blueberries, in addition to a cup of low-fat Greek yogurt; coffee.

Why it's good: Cereal is easy if you don't have time to make oatmeal.

Barbara Ann Hughes, PhD, RD, LDN, FADA

french toastBreakfast: French toast made with whole-grain bread, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, eggs, and skim milk served with chopped fresh, frozen, or canned fruit; or an egg omelet with mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, low-fat cheese, red, yellow, and green peppers, herbs, and skim milk.

Why it's good: During the winter, Hughes likes to warm up with a hot breakfast, like eggs or French toast, rather than cold cereal and milk.

Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD, author of "Flavor Without FODMAPs Cookbook"

Breakfast: 1/3 cup of quick-cooking oatmeal, a pinch of brown sugar, a tablespoon each of raisins and slivered almonds; black coffee.

Why it's good: Catsos enjoys this dish because it's easy to prepare, and filling. She pours boiling hot water over the oats, almonds, and raisins, then pops it in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Victoria Shanta Retelny, RDN, author of "The Essential Guide to Healthy Healing Foods"

LatteBreakfast: Chunky peanut butter or almond butter smeared on a whole-grain English muffin with sliced strawberries or bananas; skim latte sprinkled with cinnamon.

Why it's good: The crunchy peanut butter and fruit make this breakfast the perfect combination of savory and sweet.

Karen Giles-Smith, MS, RDN, owner of At Ease With Eating

oatmealBreakfast: Oatmeal made with milk, mixed with a tablespoon of flax meal, and topped with dried cherries and chopped walnuts; coffee with a little whole milk and caramel mixed in.

Why it's good: "I love it because it tastes so wonderful, is nutrient-rich, and tides me over until lunchtime."

Elizabeth M. Ward, MS, RD, author of "MyPlate for Moms"

Breakfast: A fried egg, cheese, and avocado sandwich on a whole-wheat English muffin.

Why it's good: This savory sandwich includes healthy fats, dairy, and protein.

Jessica Candell, RDN, CDE

Sweet potatoBreakfast: Sweet-potato hash with bell peppers, onions, egg substitute, and whole-wheat toast.

Why it's good: Sweet potatoes aren't just a Thanksgiving food; this root vegetable is rich in fiber, vitamin E, and potassium.

Robert Anding, MS, RD, LD, CDE, CSSD, director of sports nutrition at Texas Children's Hospital

Breakfast: Trader Joes's frozen steel-cut oats with walnuts, raisins, and 2 tablespoons freshly ground peanut butter.

Why it's good: If you have a sweet tooth, this healthy breakfast bowl "tastes like a peanut butter and oatmeal cookie," says Anding.

Krista Ulatowski, MPH, RD

cerealBreakfast: Whole-grain breakfast cereal (containing less than 5 grams of sugar per serving) with unsweetened almond milk, berries, and apple chunks or banana slices.

Why it's good: Cereal is a hassle-free breakfast that doesn't require any cooking time.

Stephanie Song, MS, RD, CDN

Breakfast: Fruit with hot cereal, such as oat bran, with skim milk, or a small homemade bran muffin.

Why it's good: Song makes her own muffins so that she can control the portion size and what goes in them. The premade food is great to grab and go.

JoAnne Lichten 'Dr. Jo,' PhD, RD

Breakfast: Freshly ground peanut butter on a toasted whole-wheat English muffin, a glass of soy milk, and a clementine or other fruit.

Why it's good: Lichten lives in Florida but still loves to eat a warm breakfast. The peanut butter helps her to reach her goal of consuming 20 to 30 grams of protein daily, while adding a nice crunch.

Libby Mills, MS, RDN, LDN

green smoothieBreakfast: A smoothie of vegetables, fruit, and low-fat yogurt. Some examples include spinach, kiwi, and low-fat lime yogurt or ginger, beet, cabbage, apple, and low-fat berry yogurt.

Why it's good: The combinations are endless, says Mills, who puts everything in a blender with a small amount of water. Plus, it's a refreshingly sweet way to get a couple servings of the recommended 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit and, 3 cups of dairy we need every day, she says.

Michaela Ballmann, MS, RD, CLT, founder of Wholify

tofuBreakfast: A serving of fruit (usually seasonal from the farmers market, but sometimes blended with kale, Swiss chard, and unsweetened almond milk into a green smoothie) with raw, cubed Organic Super-Firm Tofu sprinkled with kala namak black salt.

Why it's good: Tofu is a good alternative source of protein and fat for vegans who don't eat eggs. "The salt," says Ballmann, "makes the tofu taste like eggs, which is nice for vegans who are used to eating eggs and miss the flavor."

Lindsay Livingston, RD, founder of The Lean Green Bean

Breakfast: 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup fruit, microwaved for 2 minutes and topped with 1 tablespoon nut butter and a handful of pumpkin seeds.

Why it's good: The nut butter and seed provide extra protein that keep Livingston full all morning long.

Joey Gochnour, BS, BS, MEd, RDN, LD, NASM-CPT

Breakfast: 1 cup old fashioned oats, 1/4 cup soya granules, 1/3 cup dry milk, 1 serving of frozen mixed berries, cinnamon, curry, salt, cocoa powder, paprika, 1-1.5 handfuls of pumpkin kernels, 1 medium carrot

Why it's good: This meal packs a generous amount of protein — 35 to 45 grams — which is important for vegetarians likes Gochnour.  

Ginger Cochran, MS, RDN, HFS-ACSM

Breakfast: A hard boiled egg and whole grain toast with raw almond butter and cinnamon.

Why it's good: Hard boiled eggs are easy to prepare ahead of time. "The cinnamon on the toast also adds a nice little sweetness without using sugar," says Cochran.

NOW WATCH: What Successful People Eat For Breakfast


SEE ALSO: Plan your own morning meal with these tips for putting together a healthy breakfast

NOW WATCH: Scientists Discovered What Makes Someone A Good Dancer

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This Abandoned New York City Island Shows What Would Happen 50 Years After Humans


Payne_NBI_Tuberculosis Pavilion

Imagine that one of New York City's many islands became abandoned, and you came back to see what it looked like 50 years later. It’s hard to visualize. However, the place would likely be overgrown with vegetation, and the buildings would be crumbling.

This is exactly what happened when photographer Christopher Payne visited North Brother Island, a 13-acre island between the Bronx and Riker’s Island that's been abandoned since 1963. After it became inhabited in 1885, North Brother housed a hospital to quarantine victims of contagious disease and later provided housing to World War II veterans. It also held a treatment center for teenage drug addicts.

At its peak, the island had the look of a manicured college campus, full of green spaces, sidewalks, roads, well-kept buildings, street lamps, and fire hydrants. Visit now, Payne says, and you’ll see an island that nature has reclaimed.

“I went there hoping to find the buildings completely intact, full of old artifacts just the way people left them, but what I found was ruins,” Payne told Business Insider. “It looked like it had been abandoned for a century.”

Payne has spent six years documenting the island’s changing nature. He's collected some of the work in a book, "North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City," and Payne has shared some photos from the project with us here.

North Brother Island has been virtually undisturbed by trespassers and left to decay naturally. This is due to the island's natural isolation and its lack of a working dock for boats to land on. In the 1970s, many Bronx kids partied on the island. But after a number of boats capsized in Hell Gate, the surrounding body of water, the city stepped up patrols. People left the island alone after that.

Payne_NBI_View of Riker's Island in WinterYou can only get to North Brother by taking a small boat that lands directly on the shore.  Payne got permission to visit the island by promising to ferry New York City Parks Department employees — who manage the island — to North Brother so that they could carry out various maintenance tasks.

Payne_NBI_Beach at DuskSince it was abandoned in the 1960s, the island has become a nature reserve. New York City is located directly on bird migration routes both north and south and, as one of the few remaining green spots near the city, it has become a natural stopping place for the birds. Nobody can visit from March to September, and only a few guests are allowed on the rest of the year.

Payne_NBI_View of Riker's Island in SummerThe island's longest-running function was as a quarantine facility, so most of the buildings are of a medical nature. This is the Nurses' building, where the island's resident nurses lived. The island famously housed "Typhoid Mary" Mallon, the first carrier in the United States of Typhoid fever.

Payne_NBI_Nurse's HomeWhen Payne visited, he expected to find the interior of the buildings mostly intact and filled with artifacts. However, he found that almost everything had been cleared out of the buildings. This classroom in the male dormitory was one of the few rooms that had anything still in it. The books are mostly cast-offs from the Queens Public Library.

Payne_NBI_Classroom BooksThis is what the male dormitory looks like on the outside. Aside from the birds, there is no wildlife on the island. Not even rats can survive because there is no food.

Payne_NBI_Male DormitoryThe largest structure is the Tuberculosis Pavilion, the lobby of which is shown here. Payne says the pavilion is the only building that could be saved structurally if the city wanted to restore the island. While in operation, the pavilion housed a fully functional medical facility, complete with x-ray machines.

Payne_NBI_Tuberculosis Pavilion LobbyThis is the balcony of the Tuberculosis Pavilion. Payne usually visited the island in either September or late November because it lags seasonally behind the rest of the Northeast. In September, the island is still overflowing with greenery and, in November and December, the leaves are still changing colors.

Payne_NBI_Tuberculosis Pavilion BalconyOne of the most striking aspects of the island is how it changes throughout the year, Payne says. In summer, nature consumes the buildings. In winter, it all recedes and the island becomes barren. Payne took this photo of the coal house from the roof of the morgue in September.

Payne_NBI_Coalhouse from Morgue RoofThis is a view of the boiler plant, also taken from the morgue roof. While it's hard to imagine, Payne says that all of the nature sits over a thin layer of dirt. Below it, one can still find the sidewalks, street lamps, fire hydrants, and streets that used to define the island.

Payne_NBI_Boilerplant from Morgue RoofNorth Brother Island was more or less self-sufficient when it was in operation. It had an industrial plant and a coal house to provide utilities to the buildings and an internal telephone system. This is the collapsing roof of the boiler plant, which provided heat to the island.

Payne_NBI_Boilerplant Roof InteriorNature has demolished most of the island's buildings, like this church. "At the rate they are going, the buildings are going to disappear," says Payne, who is also trained as an architect. "Most of the buildings are so far gone it would be difficult to salvage them."

Payne_NBI_Church FrontHere is another view of the church. As you can see, only the facade still stands.

Payne_NBI_Church SidePayne says he learned this lesson from his many trips to the island: "When people leave, man-made structures break down and get replaced quickly by the natural order. No matter how hard we try, nature will always reassert itself."


SEE ALSO: Incredible Photos Show What Post-Apocalyptic America Might Look Like

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These Frozen Veggie Pops Basically Have No Calories


Innocent Ice Pops

The same health-conscious crowd that has rushed toward the cold-pressed juice trend will likely enjoy a new ice pop made from a blend of fruits and vegetables. 

Innocent Ice Pops, created by Sophie Milrom, 26, include ingredients like mango purée, crushed pineapple, and kale. Unlike most other frozen pops, no sugar or other artificial sweeteners have been added. 

The ice pops, which Milrom said were inspired by the juicing craze, are already a hit with the fashion set.

Despite the negative press linked to all-juice diets, Milrom said her pops aren't meant as meal replacements. They're a healthier alternative to ice cream, frozen yogurt, and other frozen desserts loaded with sugar. "It's a more fun way to consume green juice," Milrom told Business Insider.

The Beginning

The idea for Innocent Ice Pops was born as Milrom was studying for the bar exam last summer. "I loved to eat pretty healthfully but suddenly didn't have time to do that," Milrom said. Everything in the frozen section of the grocery store either had added sugar or artificial sweeteners. She remembers telling her mom: "I'm either going to get really fat or get cancer."

So Milrom took matters in her own hands, literally. She splurged on a Vitamix blender and spent a month tinkering with recipes, making treks to Trader Joe's for fruits and veggies. The budding entrepreneur relied on feedback from friends to choose the best homemade concoctions.

Milrom, who recently graduated with a JD-MBA from New York University, said she developed the confidence to become a pioneer in her own field from friends who had started companies. "I feel so fortunate that there was a diving board and I had other friends who jumped into the water before me."

A Guilt-Free Dessert

Innocent Ice Pops

Innocent Ice Pops come in four flavors: Green Juice, Kale Daddy, Topicarrot, and Sweet Beets. Each pop is between 45 and 80 calories, depending on the flavor.

Green Juice, Milrom's favorite, is a blend of banana, pineapple, and kale. Sweet Beets is a mixture of apple and beets. Kale Daddy has lemon and cayenne pepper, and Tropicarrot is a fusion of mango, pineapple, and carrot. 

The ice pops can be purchased individually for $2.99 or in a box of three for $7.99. They are sold at four stores in New York City: Lifethyme Natural MarketElm Health, Health Nuts, and Garden of Eden. The frozen treats will also be available at Soul Cycle events throughout the summer in the Hamptons and New York City.

SEE ALSO: THE FAST DIET: Get Thin Quick By Starving Yourself Two Days A Week

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One Woman Took Drawings From 600 Little Kids And Turned Them Into Stuffed Animals


In 2007, Wendy Tsao's then-4-year-old son kept drawing his "self-portrait," a stick man with big round eyes and ten long fingers. So Tsao thought it would be cool to create a "softie" (a stuffed animal/doll) based on the drawing. When her son saw the softie he immediately recognized it, and Tsao had an idea.

She started "Child's Own Studio," where parents can send their kids' artwork to be turned into stuffed animals and dolls. 

She's made over 600 pieces, and no two are the same.

Here's how it works:

Tsao receives a drawing, like this one, of a blonde-haired girl holding a baby. 

Tsao normally works only with children’s art, hand-drawn and colored. Child's Own

Then she gets to work in her Vancouver studio. She cuts and draws and sews. 

Tsao is the only person who makes the softies. She says that while it's become a business, creating stuffed creatures out of the artwork of children has become its own form of art.Child's Own 1

She matches everything in the drawing as closely as possible.

If there are some discrepancies, she talks to her client about them before the project is completed. A Child's Own softie ranges between $90 and $140 plus shipping.

The final product

Child's Own

Here are some of our favorites from the Child's Own Facebook page

Child's OwnChild's OwnChild's OwnChild's OwnChild's OwnChild's OwnChild's OwnChild's OwnChild's OwnChild's OwnChild's Own

SEE ALSO: A Photographer Had Adults Recreate Their Childhood Pictures, And The Results Are Uncanny

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We Got Up Early To Take Part In The Latest Trend — A Dance Party Before Work




It's called Daybreaker. It's an early-morning dance party with yoga, fresh juice, heavy beats, spoken word poetry, a live band, and mascots — but no alcohol or mind-altering drugs.

Founders Matt Brimer and Radha Agrawal created a 100% sober rave, where the only thing people get high on is life. They say, "It is about love, it is about mindfulness, and it is about mischief."

We strapped on a GoPro and hit the dance floor at 7 a.m. on a Wednesday in Brooklyn, New York, and then went to work.

Want to get in on the action? Sign up at dybrkr.com and follow the party on Instagram (dybrkr). You can read more about the party from Business Insider's Madeline Stone and Melia Robinson.

Produced by Sam Rega.

NOW WATCH: We Put A GoPro On An MMA Fighter

Follow BI Video: On Twitter

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Egypt's Richest Man Spends $70 Million On NYC's New Most Expensive Co-Op


Nassef Sawiris, the richest man in Egypt, has broken the record for the priciest co-op sale in New York City after purchasing the penthouse at 960 Fifth Avenue for $70 million, according to The New York Daily News.

The co-op belonged to Edgar Bronfman Sr., chairman of the Seagram Co., until he passed away in December 2013. The property was listed with Brown Harris Stevens for $65 million in February 2014, and the buyer has been a mystery since it went into contract for $70 million a little over two months ago.

Before this, the record for the priciest co-op sale belonged to David Geffen who paid $54 million for a Fifth Avenue penthouse in 2012

Sawiris' new home features 16 rooms, five fireplaces, a built-in safe, and a wraparound terrace with views of Central Park, among many other luxurious perks. One real estate source told The New York Post back in April that the new owner will likely gut the place.

See photos of the co-op as it currently stands below.

This living room in Sawiris' penthouse features one of five fireplaces.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 1

The decor in the home is somewhat outdated.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 3

The color palette in the 16-room apartment is reminiscent of the 1970s.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 4

But the penthouse still maintains the architectural details common in a prewar building.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 2

The formal dining room has a classical layout.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 5

The apartment offers sprawling views of Central Park.Edgar Bronfman Penthouse 6

The wrap-around terrace got a lot of praise when the floor plan was released ahead of the interior photos.Bronfman Penthouse Floorplan

Paige Cooperstein also contributed to this story.

SEE ALSO: Seagram Billionaire Charles Bronfman Sells His Fifth Avenue Flat For $19.9 Million

FOLLOW US! Check Out BI's Lifestyle Section On Facebook

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A Famous Paris Bridge Has Partially Collapsed Under The Weight Of Tourists' 'Love Locks'


Locks of Love bridge

Pedestrians had to evacuate Paris' Pont des Arts, the "locks of love" footbridge, when nearly eight feet of railing collapsed due to the heavy weight of 700,000 locks Sunday evening, according to Agence France-Presse. 

Police were quick to rush visitors off the bridge, which crosses the Seine. They installed a barrier to prevent further damage.

Officials told AFP that the bridge would be re-opened Monday. 

Tradition holds that couples who attach a lock with their names to the railing and throw the key in the Seine river will find everlasting love.

However, some residents had a bone to pick with the hundreds of thousands of locks weighing down the bridge. The No Love Locks campaign that launched in February included a petition with close to 8,000 signatures asking the Mayor to remove the locks due to "degradation" and potential damage. 

According to The Guardian, city officials were aware of the concerns, but were slow to take action because of the locks' popularity with tourists visiting the city. Authorities do keep an eye on the structural integrity of the bridges due to the significant weight of the locks.

The locks began appearing in 2008 and were copied from a widespread tradition found in countries like Italy and Germany. They have spread to all bridges across the Seine. 

No reports if there has been any love lost between the owners of the fallen locks. Next time, maybe they should stick to carving their initials into a tree.

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The 'Short Suit' Is Finally Going Mainstream


J. Crew short suit

Retailers are starting to push a new trend in menswear: the short suit. 

The ensemble looks like a regular suit from the waist up, with a sport coat over a button-down shirt and sometimes a tie or bowtie. Instead of trousers, however, the suit's bottoms are cropped at the knee. 

J. Crew, Topman, Asos, and Barneys are among the retailers selling the short suit this season. They may be taking cues from fashion icon Pharrell Williams, who donned tuxedo shorts to the Academy Awards earlier this year.

"It’s definitely having a moment, particularly with younger guys," Jon Patrick, the creative director at menswear company J.Hilburn, told Businessweek

J. Crew is offering four different kinds of short suits that cost about $400.

"We have wanted to make a suit short for a long time but knew it had to be just right for it to look good," reads the product description for one of the suits. "We would like to finally introduce you to the Ludlow short. It has an old-school country club vibe (more 'Gatsby,' less 'Caddyshack') and is almost guaranteed to win the battle for best-dressed at nearly every summer occasion."

J. Crew short suitTopman's short suit runs $390. "For a contemporary and stylish silhouette, our skinny fit suits offer a figure hugging and trend-led shape," reads the item's description.

Topman short suitThe U.K.-based fashion brand Reiss sells a pair of khaki suit shorts for $130. "Ensure that even on warm days your style remains sharp," reads the retailer's product description.

Reiss recommends pairing the shorts with a plain black crew-neck T, suede driving shoes, and a pair of aviator glasses for a look that says "smart and informal."

ReissFor a less traditional look, Barneys New York carries a $859 Comme des Garcons short suit trimmed with chiffon panels. We think it looks pretty bizarre.

Comme des Garcons short suit 

This short suit by Asos is definitely less bold, but it's still pretty expensive at $409.

Asos short suit

SEE ALSO: A Guide To How Men's Clothes Should Fit

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China's Most Famous Ghost City Got Even Worse In The Last 4 Years


ghost mall

China's ghost cities aren't going away. Even as Beijing wants local governments to move away from GDP targeting and is more focused on developing social housing, wasteful construction still plagues China.

A report from CLSA's Nicole Wong, cited by The Wall Street Journal, found that the problem lies in the excess supply in China's third-tier cities. Vacancy rates for homes constructed in the past five years stand at 15% but are projected to rise over 20% in 2016-17, according to Wong.

Rob Schmitz, China correspondent for Marketplace/American Public Media, recently ran a story titled "China's economic boom leaves a trail of ghost cities." We reached out to Schmitz to get an update on Kangbashi and Yujiapu.

Schmitz points out that one of they key differences between visiting Ordos now and back in October 2010 was people's attitudes. Back in 2010, residents of Kangbashi (new city of Ordos) were defensive when the place was dubbed a ghost city, but now many had come to accept it.

Schmitz said that many people had abandoned these ghost cities and moved back home. He also points out what China bulls like Stephen Roach have got wrong when they argue that these cities tie into China's urbanization plan.

Here is an excerpt from our email interview with Schmitz:

Business Insider: How has Ordos changed now from when it first started making headlines a few years ago?

Rob Schmitz: I first visited Ordos in October 2010, the same year many other Western journalists had reported on the city. When I returned this year, there were a lot of interesting differences. Back in 2010, the few people who lived there seemed defensive about the Western media labeling the place a ghost city. This time, everyone I spoke to had come to an acceptance that Kangbashi (the proposed new city of Ordos) was most likely going to remain mostly vacant, and many seemed OK with that.  I spoke to one of the largest developers while I was there and he told me that Kangbashi had a population density similar more to a city in Canada or the U.S. than of a city in China, and he thought this was a draw for the city. But my conversations with folks didn't confirm this. I've never seen a city of similar physical size in Canada nor in the U.S. as empty as Kangbashi is today, and most of the people I spoke to during my latest visit didn't seem very happy to be living in a place where most of the buildings were empty. The same developer also expressed concern

I met dozens of migrant workers who were renting vacant office spaces as apartments for as low as $65 a month.

over the fate of three gigantic sports stadiums built specifically for China's "Ethnic Minority Traditional Sports Games" of 2015 outside of Kangbashi.

Another big difference between this time and last was that the Ordos government has moved its headquarters to Kangbashi, so there are more people there during the day around the city's civic center. That said, the government of Ordos has actually increased the size of the city since 2010 by building more skyscrapers and infrastructure including a park with a large lake, three sports stadiums, and a skyscraper office park on the banks of the lake which are under construction.

I walked through a development of more than a dozen 20-story high-rises built adjacent to this office park, and there were no signs of life. The same developer I mentioned above also expressed concern over the fate of three gigantic sports stadiums built specifically for China's 'Ethnic Minority Traditional Sports Games' of 2015 outside of Kangbashi. It was surprising that after being admonished by China's own state-run press, Ordos' government has continued to build at the same rate as it had done before.

kangbashiThe last difference from last time is that real estate prices in Kangbashi have plummeted since my visit in 2010, and I met dozens of migrant workers who were renting vacant office spaces as apartments for as low as $65 a month. These spaces weren't built to house people, but one office building I visited was full of migrant workers at night, living in windowless office spaces and using an office bathroom down the hall to bathe.

I also visited a government office in charge of mediating disputes between shadow bankers and those who couldn't afford to repay their loans. This is a very big problem in Ordos, as most businesses there would never qualify for a loan from a state bank, and now that the local economy is doing so poorly, many businesses have gone bankrupt. The office was in charge of repossessing whatever assets they could get from those who owed money. Their storage room was full of refrigerators, flat-screen TVs, and shelves full of dozens of bottles of high-priced Baijiu (Rice Wine) which they had seized.

BI: Do the people that you meet in these ghost cities have any plans of returning to their hometowns or are they optimistic?

RS: Many have already returned home. Those who are left are looking to make a little money and then leave when the economy finally fizzles out for good. Keep in mind that nearly twenty miles away from Kangbashi (the largely empty city) is Dongsheng, which is known as the old city, and actually has a functioning economy and population, so many people are watching this unfold from there.

Yujiapu china ghost cityBI: Some, like Stephen Roach, have argued that these ghost cities can be explained away as part of China's urbanization plan. In your experience, does this add up?

RS: Perhaps some of them can, but for the most part, I don't agree with this statement. While it is true that some cities are filling up – the outskirts of Zhengzhou, which the TV program "60 Minutes" profiled a couple of years ago as a ghost town is a good example of a city that has defied early criticisms – other cities like Ordos do not fit neatly into China's urbanization plan.

Roach uses the Pudong district of Shanghai as an example of a place that was built, stood empty for a while, and then filled up, the message being other empty cities like Ordos just need time. It's important to remember that 1. Pudong was built in the 1990s, before China had even entered the WTO and was on the cusp of more than a decade of double-digit GDP growth. China's economy today is very different. It's slowing down and China's economic planners are taking the first steps to rebalance the economy from one built on investment-led growth to one built on consumer growth. That's not an easy transition to make, especially for an economy of this size, and it's going to require years of slower economic growth. 2. Pudong is in Shanghai, which is strategically located and is home to one of the world's largest ports. Ordos is in the middle of the desert and is running out of groundwater.

If all of these ghost cities and ghost suburbs were part of a master plan hatched in Beijing by the central government, I'd imagine we'd see more affordable housing, as that's what is needed in China. Instead, most of the housing that's been built in these empty districts are luxury condos and villas. I have a hard time believing people will eventually move into these empty complexes in the next five years, especially in the scenario of a cooling economy. The other thing to keep in mind is that many of this new housing isn't built well, and it's hard to imagine them retaining their value over the time it may take for China's economy to return to its glory days. I think another danger is that once housing prices begin to plummet – which we are already seeing initial signs of in second tier cities in China – it'll devastate the financial stability of cities like Ordos. 

I think it's important to remember, too, that the ghost city phenomenon in China is partially due to how local governments are forced to finance themselves. Local governments in China are in a perpetual cash squeeze because they have to hand over a bulk of their tax revenue to the central government and because the central government often orders localities to build all sorts of infrastructure projects but Beijing often neglects to help with funding. Because the Party owns all of the land in China, local governments solve their funding problems by seizing land from their poorest residents, giving them a paltry sum in return, and then they sell the land to developers, essentially flipping real estate on a massive scale. Of course this has the added benefit of raising GDP figures, increasing the chance that local leaders will be promoted within the Party.


BI: Do you see more Chinese ghost cities propping up? Is it possible that some ghost cities are worse than others? 

It was a Chinese version of Simon and Garfunkel's 'Sound of Silence' played with a Chinese erhu.

RS: I think each ghost city/ghost suburb should be treated differently – each of them has its own unique background and circumstances. Some of them will survive – we've already seen that happen in places like Zhengzhou and even in some of the exurbs of Shanghai that have filled out – but many won't. I was talking with Arthur Kroeber at GK Dragonomics a couple of months ago, in my mind one of the best experts on China's economy, and he was telling me about the city of Guiyang and how the province it belongs to, Guizhou, has an 80% debt-to-GDP ratio, which is incredibly dangerous. Arthur's usually pretty bullish on China's prospects, but he threw his optimism out the window when talking about the empty suburbs of that city, where hundreds of thousands of apartments sit, empty, while the largely mountainous province continues to plod along as one of China's poorest. The FT's (moving to The Economist soon) Simon Rabinovitch did a great story about all of Guiyang's empty housing, and what's happened there looks pretty scary. 

I think whether we see more ghost cities popping up depends on whether the central government is serious about promises to overhaul the GDP-based local official evaluation system and the way that local governments finance themselves.

rob schmitz BI: What's the most bizarre experience you've had in China's ghost cities?

RS: My first morning in Kangbashi, I woke up and walked through the empty hotel lobby to take a look outside onto the public square. There wasn't a soul in sight, and the first birds of spring were singing outside. The only other sound was Muzak pumping through the speakers from the hotel. As I looked around for any signs of life, I suddenly recognized the song. It was a Chinese version of Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" played with a Chinese erhu.

Click here for Schmitz's full story »

Note: Photos and captions reproduced with permission from Marketplace.

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Google Is Helping Bring A Floating Pool To New York City's East River


+ Pool

Last summer, +Pool, a project to construct a floating swimming pool in the middle of New York City's East River, raised more than $273,000 on Kickstarter.

When complete, +Pool will give New Yorkers a clean place to swim, with a natural filtration system that could clean up to half a million gallons of river water each day. The sustainable project from architectural firm Family and design office PlayLab could be complete by 2016, according to the Huffington Post.

Now the project is another step closer to reality, with the announcement of a partnership with Google Drive to collect real-time data on water quality in the East River.

The team will be taking measurements off of the Float Lab, located off of Pier 40 at Hudson River Park. The floating lab is meant to be a miniature test run of the filtration system that will eventually be used in the  +Pool.

Every 15 minutes, a sonde sensor takes measurements in a variety of categories related to water quality: air temperature, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, rainfall, depth, salinity, turbidity, and chlorophyll. 

The data is then sent to the +Pool Dashboard, an online platform powered by Google Drive. The dashboard presents the data in an appealing way that any curious New Yorker could use. Each category is presented in a different colored block, and you can find out what each one means by clicking on the symbol in the top-right corner.

The largest block, for example, represents the day's measure of Enterococcus, which is the EPA's standard measure of sewage contamination. That block will be blue when the previous day's water was satisfactory, and brown when it was not.+ pool dashboard

"We were happy to help our friends at +POOL make the data from their project easy to access and understand," Google said in a press release announcing the partnership. "Float Lab’s dashboard is built using the Google Drive API, which is free for everyone. This is just one example of how data can be displayed in fun and even playful ways, all while helping support an important cause."+ poolThe Float Lab will run tests for six months to get a wide range of data and see if water measurements vary from season to season.

SEE ALSO: NYC's Startup Scene Is Now So Crazy That People Are Partying Before Work

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The World Is About To Fall In Love With The Fashionable Grandpas Of Instagram


fashion grandpas instagram

Vintage bow ties, pocket squares, and manicured mustaches are currently back in style, but no one wears them better than the gentlemen who rocked them the first time around.

A new Instagram account called @fashiongrandpas is gaining popularity for showcasing the sartorial styles of the 70+ crowd in New York. 23-year-old Christina Belchere, who works in Fashion PR, started the account back in March after noticing dapper old men scuffling about around her office on 57th and Madison.

“My personal style is very androgynous as I have always preferred men's clothing over women’s,” Belchere told Business Insider. “I take pictures of any man or woman (or building, or artwork) in this stylish city for my own fashion inspiration reference, and I started to notice there were a ton of grandpas starting to accumulate in my photostream. I wanted their outfits.”

Belchere began snapping pictures on her iPhone and turned her love for menswear into the adorable @fashiongrandpas account.

“The response has been incredible,” she told us. “I was just surprised to see that no one had come up with it first. The amount of fashion grandpas in New York is obscene once you are aware of the concept.”

Since then it’s been picked up by Refinery29 and My Daily, and has begun to rake in the followers (gaining almost 200 in the last hour).

See some of Belchere’s best snaps below, and check out more on the @fashiongrandpas Instagram.


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How To Make Money Off Your Vacation Home When You're Not There


The house is completely beachfront

It's a major luxury to own a second home. But when you're not using it, a second home can also be a source of income.

Eric Horndahl, VP of marketing for vacation rental website FlipKey, says the company's users make an average of $26,000 per year on their homes, with some making as much as $100,000 annually.

He gave us some tips about how to squeeze most money from your second home.

First, and most important, is marketing, Horndahl said. He suggested hiring a photographer to take professional pictures that would really appeal to renters.

Homeowners should de-clutter their homes and stage photos with the right lighting and angles to "make people feel like this is the best place that they could stay when they're traveling to their destination," he said.

The next tip? Pricing. Horndahl says it's important to price your home properly throughout the year. He recommended browsing the internet to see how much similar homes are going for. 

Another important but underrated factor is how the homeowner represents himself online  always reply to renters quickly and professionally. 

Finally, Horndahl said homeowners should market across a number of different channels. Aside from FlipkeyHomeAway and Airbnb are great avenues. 

And the biggest mistake? Not prepping your home properly. Aside from cleaning up, he suggested storing valuables in locked closet and providing basic items that guests would get in a hotel.

SEE ALSO: Look Inside The Historical Mansion That Sold For Just $1 Before Being Transformed Into A Dream Home

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The 10 Hottest Travel Destinations Of The Future



Instead of fighting the crowds in Paris or Rome, head to a lesser-known travel destination like Montenegro, one of the hottest places to travel in the next ten years.

We recently published a list of the 50 hottest up-and-coming travel destinations from Love Home Swap.

To create this list, Love Home Swap compared growth figures for each country by looking at the annual growth per year figures for travel and tourism's direct contribution to the country's GDP between 2014 and 2024 from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

While some of the destinations on this list are already tourism hotspots, others are just gearing up to enter a tourism boom.

#10 Cape Verde

Located off the west coast of Africa, Cape Verde is an island country that's often referred to as the African Caribbean thanks to its lush mountains, gorgeous beaches, and clear waters. Recently, the country has become more economically and politically stable, which means that tourism will increase in the future.

Cape Verde beach, Africa

#9 Thailand

Over the last few years, Thailand has become one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. Last year, Bangkok was the world's most popular city for tourists, and the country saw a record 27 million visitors. And even though the country is currently in the midst of a military coup, it doesn't seem to be affecting tourists or slowing the tourism industry down. 

Beach in Kho Phi Phi Thailand

#8 Cambodia

Cambodia is finally getting out from the shadow of the Khmer Rouge and is becoming a stable, tourist-friendly country. Angkor Wat, a complex of ancient temples hidden in the jungle, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It will only continue to become more popular in the future.

Angkor Wat ruins

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Meet The Teen Entrepreneur With Fashion Lines At Nordstrom And Saks


maddie stevens fish flops

Houston teenager Maddie Robinson gained national exposure as an entrepreneur last year after her flip flop line was picked up by Nordstrom. 

Today, Robinson is quickly expanding her shoe empire. She recently launched a shoe line of wedge sandals for women. 

She's also venturing into clothing. 

Her tween fashion line, Madison Nicole, is now available at 120 boutiques and Saks Fifth Avenue, reports Adrienne Burke at Profit Minded.

Despite having no design experience, the teen worked with a collaborator in California to create the line, offering input on placement of pockets and embellishments.

Robinson, 16, started designing sandals when she was just 8, reported My Fox Houston. 

"In 2006, I had an idea to make flip flops that showed my love for swimming, fishing and drawing.  I hope you wear them, love them and share them with your friends and I hope they make you smile," the teenager told MyFox Houston

A few years later, her children's sandals were being sold in small boutiques under the name Fish Flops. 

But Robinson's big break happened when she wrote a letter to Nordstrom's buying team about her brand. 

The retailer responded and decided to sell Fish Flops in 60 stores. 

The flip flops feature intricate illustrations and light up when a child walks. They sell for about $20. 

SEE ALSO: The 'Short Suit' Is Finally Going Mainstream

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Gorgeous Photos Of Everything You'll Find At NYC's Governors Ball Music Festival


GovBall (34 of 45)

This past weekend, Governors Ball held its 4th annual event on Randall's Island, a three-day festival packed with big acts, raucous partying, and a laundry list of activities and amenities for festival-goers who wanted a break from the music. 

The sprawling festival was even bigger than years past with four stages of music that featured acts like Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Outkast, and the Strokes. 

Unlike last year, the weather was perfect — bright sunny skies and warm temperatures continued throughout the weekend.

We headed down to the festival to check out what it was all about. 

Festival organizers arranged a number of public transportation options for getting to the festival. We decided to go low-key and walk across the RFK Bridge to Randall's Island on foot.

The festival grounds were already kicking as we made our way over.

The lines looked intimidating when we arrived, but they moved quickly. We didn't wait more than five minutes to make it inside.

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Andrew Zimmern Says This Is The Best Food City In The World


Andrew Zimmern

Andrew Zimmern has traveled all over the world just to eat.

He's tried everything from roasted bats in Samoa to rotten shark in Iceland. But, he's also dined in incredible fine-dining restaurants around the world.

As the host of the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods," it's his job to travel the world and suss out the best, most authentic dishes a destination has to offer. So when he says that a city has the world's best food, we perk up.

We spoke with Zimmern recently about his favorite places to eat, and he said that New York City is the world's best city for food.

"New York is the best city for food," Zimmern said. "It's not even close. It's got the most diversity and greatest quality in any food city on the planet."

Zimmern said that while it's easy to be wowed by a meal at any 3-star restaurant in Manhattan, he is most excited about the varied culinary scene in the outer boroughs — especially Queens.

"Queens is unexplored territory for lots of people," Zimmern said. "There are Russian meats, Kazakh foods, incredible Chinese food in Flushing, and more."

With more than 132 nationalities represented by its residents, Queens is, in fact, one of the most diverse places in the world. And that means that Queens is also home to an incredible array of global cuisine.

Xian Famous FoodsEven though he now resides in Minnesota, the New York native said that he "can't stay away from" Queens institutions like Muncan Food Corporation, a "three-generations-old family deli that makes 400 different types of cured and smoked meats from scratch."  

In Flushing, he likes Xi'an Famous Foods, Biang, Fu Run Restaurant, Beautiful Memory, and the Golden Mall for authentic Chinese food. In Rego Park, he raves about the Rokhat Kosher Bakery, a Bukharian Jewish shop, and in Jackson Heights, he frequents Tawa Food and Phayul for Nepalese cuisine.

Read more about Zimmern's favorite places in Queens here.

SEE ALSO: Andrew Zimmern Reveals His Favorite Places To Eat And Drink In Rio

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8 Real Italian Dishes You Should Order Instead Of The American Knockoffs


When Americans think of Italian food, they tend to think of pepperoni pizza, garlic bread, and chicken Parmesan. But all of those dishes are actually Italian-American hybrid foods created by Italian immigrants who were cooking with U.S. ingredients.

In other words, what we think of as “classic Italian” is not actually from Italy at all.

We rounded up some ways to go more authentic, whether it's in your own kitchen or on your next trip to Italy.

Instead of "Italian dressing," top your salads with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.

olive oil vinegar salt garlic salad dressingItalian dressing — the vinaigrette-style salad dressing with vinegar, vegetable oil, chopped bell peppers, and corn syrup — would never be consumed by most Italians.

Instead, people in Italy eat their salads with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and maybe pepper. That’s it. Diners mix the ingredients at the table themselves, even at most restaurants where customers are provided with an oil and vinegar set and expected to dress their own salad.

Instead of marinara sauce, order pasta al pomodoro or spaghetti alla puttanesca.

spaghetti alla puttanescaMarinara sauce as we know is usually made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions, but its an invention of Italian-American immigrants working with ingredients that were available in America. Italians are more likely to order pasta al pomodoro, with a sauce made from fresh tomatoes, olive oil, and basil.

Another menu item closely related to pasta with marinara sauce is spaghetti alla puttanesca. Though this dish is much more modern — only dating back to the mid 20th century— the ingredients for the sauce are quite close to marinara and include tomatoes, olive oil, capers, and garlic for a salty, tangy taste.

Instead of garlic bread, order bruschetta.

classic bruschettaGarlic bread is an Americanized interpretation of Mediterranean bruschetta (broo-SKET-ahnotbroo-SHET-ah). Italian Americans substituted expensive olive oil for butter, and added chopped garlic and salt for taste.

Bruschetta, on the other hand, is a heavily toasted thick slice of bread rubbed with garlic and then moistened with a generous helping of oil. Recently, restaurants in both America and Italy may also add onions and tomatoes  for an even tastier appetizer.

Instead of shrimp scampi, try langoustines sautéed with olive oil, garlic, onion, and white wine.

langoustinesShrimp scampi is one of those dishes that’s quintessentially Italian-American. Scampi is the Italian word for langoustine (small, lobster-like crustaceans), but Italian immigrant cooks used shrimp instead, substituted olive oil for butter, and added pasta to make the helpings bigger. When they named the dish, the "scampi" moniker stuck.

A more common Italian dish to order is langoustines sautéed with olive oil, garlic, onion, and white wine — no pasta necessary.

Instead of pepperoni pizza, try pizza topped with prosciutto.

pizza prosciutto tomatoesPepperoni may be the most popular pizza topping in the U.S., but if you order a “pepperoni pizza” in Italy, the chef will most likely bring you a delicious pizza topped with bell peppers, or peperoni. Pepperoni pizza as we know it is almost never served in Italy, except in touristy areas. Other popular toppings to try in lieu of pepperoni include broccoli rabe, mozzarella, corn, anchovies, and even potato slices.

It should also be noted that pizzas in Italy have less cheese and thinner crusts, and vary by region (in Rome, for instance, they have flatbread pizza and not the typical Neopolitan pizzas we usually see).

Instead of Fettuccine Alfredo, ask for fettuccine al burro.

fettuccine alfredo al burro pastaFettuccine Alfredo lovers will be happy to know that Italy has its own version of the creamy dish, which also happens to be much tastier. It’s called fettuccine al burro.

The recipe was invented at a Roman restaurant opened by a man named Alfredo di Lelio at the turn of the 20th century. He added together large amounts of cheese, butter, and pasta water to the fettuccine and gently tossed the piping hot pasta at the table for customers, creating a silky sauce of butter and cheese in the process.

Word of the dish spread to America after people started singing di Lelio’s praises. American cooks rushed to achieve the same dish — the only problem was that mixing the butter and parmesan perfectly is time consuming and difficult. Instead, American cooks added cream as a shortcut, which makes the sauce thick, bland, and calorie-filled.

Try the lighter and more flavorful fettuccine al burro once and you’ll never go back.

Instead of “Sunday Gravy,” order Neapolitan ragù or bolognese sauce.

bolognese meat sauce pasta“Sunday Gravy” was something many Italian-American children grew up with. Families would throw all kinds of meat into a pot and and let it simmer with tomato sauce, onions, garlic, and bit of olive oil.

The resulting meat sauce is very similar to both Neapolitan ragù and bolognese sauce. Both styles of sauce are made with soffrito (roughly chopped celery, onions, and carrots), meat, and tomato sauce. Neapolitan typically uses more tomato sauce and whole chunks of meat unlike Bolognese, which uses finely chopped meat and less tomato sauce. Neapolitan ingredients can also vary more widely with additions like red wine, butter, raisins, olive oil, and/or basil leaves.

Instead of those rainbow cookies, order any other Italian dessert cookie.

biscottiRainbow cookies (also known as Napoleon cookies, seven layer cookies, Venetian cookies, Italian flag cookies, and tricolor cookies) are three layers of brightly colored almond sponge cake with apricot and/or raspberry jam with a chocolate coating. Italian immigrants likely made these cookies to pay homage to Italy’s flag.

But these are purely American-made deserts that you will not find anywhere in Italy. Instead, take advantage of the delicious biscotti dunked in Tuscan wine, Cavallucci (pastries made with anise, almonds and candied fruits), and pignoli (a type of macaroon) that Italy does better than almost anywhere else in the world.

SEE ALSO: See Why New Yorkers Are Obsessed With Eataly, Mario Batali's Giant Italian Food Market

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