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Andy Warhol's legendary Hamptons mansion is back on the market for $85 million

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PRINT Ranch Road 7789a

Feast your eyes on Eothen, which is Greek for "from the east."

The family behind Arm & Hammer baking soda built the estate back in the '30s as a mere fishing camp.

Pop art godfather Andy Warhol scooped the compound up in the '70s, using it to host the likes of Jackie O. and John Lennon. 

Now, for $85 million, the Montauk stunner can be yours. Douglas Elliman's Ronald White and Paul Brennan hold the listing. 

J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler bought the 30-acre, oceanfront property for $27 million in 2007.



Eight years later, the compound — which includes six cottages restored by architect Thierry Despont — is back on the market for more than triple its selling price.



But even at the bloated listing price, who wouldn't want to live here?



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






Men's Wearhouse is coming to Macy's

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Men's Wearhouse

Tuxedos are coming to Macy's.

The corporation just announced a 10-year agreement with Men's Wearhouse to open tux rental shops at 300 of its department stores, according to Market Watch

Men’s Wearhouse will staff and control the tuxedo shops in Macy’s stores.

17 pilot tuxedo shops will open in the fall of 2015 in New Jersey, San Francisco and Houston, according to Fortune

All stores are expected to open by fall of 2016.

Doug Ewert, Men's Wearhouse CEO, feels that the partnership can create new opportunities for customers shopping for formalwear. 

"This transaction benefits both Macy's and Men's Wearhouse," said Ewert in a press release.

"Most importantly, it benefits formalwear customers by creating additional channels for brides and grooms when they're choosing tuxedos, shirts, shoes and accessories for their weddings."

Men’s Wearhouse Inc. recently reported strong first quarter results.

Given the incredible size of the Macy's corporation and Men's Warehouse's reputable reputation, these tux shops will be great additions to Macy's nationwide and help generate revenue in the company's successful wedding department.

“We see weddings and special occasions as strategic growth opportunities for Macy’s,” said Tim Baxter, Macy’s chief merchandising officer.

Macy’s and Men's Warehouse are also combining forces to create a digital space to offer tuxedos through Macy’s.com.

SEE ALSO: The top 50 brands for millennials

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NOW WATCH: Everything a modern gentleman should know about buying a suit








How to sleep well on a long flight

This National Geographic photographer has one of the most breathtaking Instagram accounts you'll ever see

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Instagram David Doubilet

Whether you have a passion for scuba diving or haven't interacted with marine life since your last goldfish died, David Doubilet will be your favorite new Instagram follow.

The National Geographic photographer and ocean conservancy expert travels around the world to document the wonders of the sea.

His photographs are astonishing, allowing his followers to explore the magical undersea world without looking up from their iPhones.

Doublet began exploring the underwater world at the age of 8, when he used a snorkel at a summer camp in the Adirondacks, according to his website.

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This baby green sea turtle was photographed off the beaches of French Polynesia.

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He began photographing underwater at the age of 12, when he put a Hawkeye camera in a rubber anesthesiologist bag. The very first pictures he took weren't great, but he's mastered the underwater photograph since then.

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See the rest of the story at Business Insider






12 things that surprise foreigners when they visit the US

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Tourists Taking Pictures in Times Square

It's hard to imagine people experiencing culture shock in your own country.

But it happens.

We took a look at a Quora thread that asked, "What facts about the United States do foreigners not believe until they come to America?"

Answers ranged from tipping customs to the need for healthcare to the lack of public transportation.

Put yourself in a tourists' shoes and take a look at some of the highlights from the thread below.

1. Customers can return almost anything they buy.

Quora user Aniruddh Chaturvedi is originally from India and couldn't believe how lenient the return policy is in many stores in the US.

Chaturvedi pointed out that in some cases, shoppers don't even need to cite a problem with the product in order to return it and receive a full refund."Most stores actually have a 'Buyer's Remorse' category under Reason for Return options while returning the product."

2. Americans have a strong sense of patriotism.

american flag kid

Chaturvedi also noticed that the American flag is on display almost everywhere in the US. According to Chaturvedi, the Indian flag is not displayed nearly as prominently in India. "I was surprised to see that the US flag is displayed in schools, on rooftops of houses, etc. India has very strict rules governing the display and use of the national flag."

3. The US is a pretty clean country.

Quora user Dan Holliday had a friend visit from Spain who commented on the fact that, compared to Spain, America was relatively litter-free. The friend was especially surprised when he saw a police officer give someone a ticket for littering.

4. Healthcare is expensive and necessary.

Quora user Aditya Lesmana — who is from Asia — thinks the cost of healthcare in America is insane. "It seems that all aspects of healthcare are designed with a 'patient must be insured' assumption. Any uninsured small procedure will leave a lasting impression in your financial health for many years to come."

5. Cabs aren't cheap.

NYC Taxi

Shubhojit Chattopadhyay, a Quora user from India, was shocked that, for the most part, Americans don't use cabs for their everyday commutes. "Here, cabs are expensive enough to be called only when you don't have a car or cannot get a ride or if there's no public transport. In India, a cab is public transport and cheap enough to use for everyday commute."

6. People who work in customer service are actually helpful.

Riona MacNamara is from Ireland, but has been living in Seattle for 17 years. According to MacNamara, the service customers receive from sales associates in the US is much better than the service received in Ireland. "In Nordstrom, when a sales assistant says 'Can I help you?' she or he actually means 'Can I help you?' and not, say, 'You're distracting me from my phone. Can you please leave?'"

7. Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere, so not many Americans pay with cash.

Quora user Triya Bhattacharya is from India, a place she says requires cash since most establishments don't accept credit cards. Bhattacharya encountered the opposite in the US. "Every place accepts credit cards. Even a small picnic I went to, which had an entry fee, had some sort of mobile app and a device attached to accept credit cards. It was amazing."

8. Americans tip for most services they receive.

Restaurant Counter Tip Jar

Bhattacharya also mentions her frustration at almost always having to leave a tip. She says she doesn't really understand the concept. "So I pay you for cutting my hair. And then I tip you because you were gracious enough to cut my hair?"

9. Public transportation isn't always available.

According to Quora user Natalia Rekhter — who is from Russia — unless you live in a big city in the US, you probably need a car to get around. "There is almost no public transportation except in a few large cities. People actually have to have cars to get places. Cars are a necessity, not a luxury."

10. A good part of the population is religious.

Quora user Olof Åkerlund is from Sweden, and was surpised by the number of Americans who believe in creationism. "The role of religion is much stronger here than in other Western nations. Things like creationism are usually believed by a handful of people in other places, but here it seems to be at least a force to be reckoned with."

11. Americans love sports, and they care about their overall fitness.

According to Quora user and Toronto native, Lana Kolupaeva, Americans are obsessed with living an active lifestyle. "Everyone runs or rides a bike or skates or does yoga in the park. Public tennis courts and pools are full all summer long, not to mention fitness clubs."

Tourist at Bright Angel Point

12. The US is a huge country, so distances between places are vast.

Quora user Candace Dempsey describes herself as Italian-American. Although she is originally from the West Coast, she has Italian relatives, all of whom can't believe how far American cities are from each other. "My Italian relatives come here thinking they can visit me in Seattle, plus also see New York City, Miami, the Grand Canyon and Hollywood all in a week — by car. I can't get them to understand that it's 3,000 miles from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts."

SEE ALSO: 10 things about China that shock foreigners

FOLLOW US: BI Travel is on Twitter!

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How to skip long lines at the airport — just like the 1%








62 things you can do with your old mismatched socks

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Losing socks is par for the course when you do laundry, but don't feel bad for that lone, pair-less sock — there are still plenty of uses for it in your daily life.

Socks can sweep floors, keep car windows from fogging, be used as decorative flourishes, plus so much more. 

So instead of tossing your old socks or wearing your mismatched pairs, keep reading to see the 62 things you can do with them.

You might even be glad the next time one mysteriously vanishes, leaving you with a spare.

STORAGE

rows of socks

Protect golf clubs: Use old socks to cover the heads of golf clubs so they don’t scratch or ding during transit.

Store golf or tennis balls: Keep old tennis balls or golf balls in a sock for easy access in the garage.

Protect valuables while movingWhen you’re moving, place valuables into old socks to protect them in transit. The sock will cushion your valuables and if they do happen to break, it will do a good job of containing the damage.

Store shoes: If you’re traveling or moving shoes, slip them into socks to protect them from getting banged up or scratched when they rub against each other.

Preventative moth balls: Place mothballs or moth crystals inside a clean sock and hang from the ceiling of your closet, place on a shelf, or store with winter clothes. To counteract the odor of the mothball, add a sock filled with potpourri.

Keep game pieces together: Fill socks with game pieces for board games like Yahtzee, Monopoly, and more and tie them at the end. You’ll never lose a set again.

Keep sticky bottles from making a mess: Place a sock on the bottom of any bottles that can get sticky or oily in the cabinet, such as olive oil or vinegar. The sock will absorb any liquid that could run down the bottle and keep rings from forming on your shelves.

Glasses holder: Store safety goggles or glasses in a sock in the tool shed. Hang up the sock and keep the glasses in the sock when not in use to keep your work space organized and keep any dust or residue off glasses.

OUTDOORS 

foggy car windows

Keep car windows from fogging: This is a weird life hack that not many people have heard of — you can keep your car windows from fogging up by filling socks with cat litter. Tip the cat litter into the sock and fill it up to the ankle. Secure the sock by tying a knot, and slip another sock over it. Place it by your windshield or anywhere in the car, and it will absorb moisture and keep windows from fogging.

Knee pads: Whether for your crawling baby or for yourself, socks can make excellent knee pads. See easy instructions here.

Ice-proof windshield wipers: Cover windshield wipers with tube socks to keep them ice-free. All you need to do is remove the socks when you’re ready to drive for perfectly preserved windshield wipers.

Soap pouch: Whether for the garden or the tool shed, place a bar of soap inside a clean sock. The sock will help you get grit off your hands and make the soap less slippery. Plus, it will make the soap last longer and lather better.

Clean your car: Use socks to clean your car or motorcycle. You can use it to wash down your car, polish the chrome, and then throw away without guilt once the sock has become too dirty to use.

Bird feeder: Cut the sock at the ankle so that it’s one long tube. Sew one end shut, fill with bird seed, and then sew the other end shut. Then hang it on a tree to attract birds.

HOME

Dryer balls

DIY dryer balls: Dryer balls help fluff your clothes and are an alternative to fabric softeners and dryer sheets, especially useful for bed sheets or pillows. Because they can be expensive, you can make your own by placing tennis balls inside clean socks.

Prevent furniture from scratching: Place socks on the bottom of chairs or table legs to keep them from scratching during a big move or just in general.

Decorate planters: Instead of painting planters or using them as-is, you can cover boring pots with a sock. Place the terracotta or plastic planter inside the sock and then tuck the top of the sock into the pot before filling with soil. Here’s a picture of what it will look like.

Avoid paint stains on shoes: If you have a big painting job, slip a few pairs of socks over your shoes. You’ll prevent paint from getting all over your favorite pair and can simply remove the socks once you’re done.

Use socks to clean up errant paint: The thicker weave of a sock is better to wipe off drips of paint then a paper towel since it’s more absorbent. Keep a sock on your hand for easy touch-up jobs.

Level a table: Using a piece of a sock, you can level a table by placing it under the shorter, wobbly leg. If the table still isn't even, add more strips of sock.

DIY potpourri bundle: Fill an old, clean sock with potpourri and secure the end with a ribbon or rubber band. Stick it in a closet, gym bag, or drawer to freshen up your belongings. 

CLEANING

dry erase board

Clean a dry erase board: Instead of wasting a paper towel or using the eraser that came with it, a better method to clean marker off of a dry erase board is with socks. This also works well with chalk boards, too.

Rescue small, lost items: Place a sock over your vacuum hose to save small items like jewelry or nuts and bolts from getting lots in cracks.

DIY cleaning rags: When socks have holes in them, cut them apart to create cleaning rags that you won’t feel bad about getting dirty. Once they’re too far gone to reuse, simply throw them away, which is what you would have done anyway.

Dusting: Throw a sock over your hand and get to work dusting around the house. The sock will trap dirt, hair, and dust on appliances, tables, blinds, and anything else that needs cleaning.

DIY Swiffer refill: Chenille socks can make reusable Swiffer covers. Just slip the sock over the Swiffer head, positioning the sock opening in the center so the entire underside is covered. See a good direction here.

BEAUTY AND RELAXATION

sock bun

Sock bun: To get the perfect ballet bun, all it takes is a sock. Cut the toe portion of the sock off and roll up the sock until it resembles a donut. Make a pony tail with your hair and then roll the donut down your hair and secure. There are tons of DIY tutorials on YouTube.

Aromatherapy pillow: Aromatherapy pillows can cost a lot of money, but it’s easy to make one with an old sock. Fill your sock with rice and the essential oil of your choice, such as lavender. Secure the sock by tying it or sewing it, and then heat it in the microwave or place in the freezer to cool and drape over your neck for tension relief.

Save dry hands and feet: If your hands and feet are still chapped and cracked from the winter months, cover in Vaseline or lotion and cover with clean socks overnight. The sock will help your skin better absorb the moisture and keep it from rubbing off on your sheets.

Cover ice packs: Make ice packs feel more tolerable on bare skin by slipping a sock over the ice pack. This will let it touch your skin without giving you freezer burn.

DIY drink cozy: Make a beer or coffee cozy by cutting the top section off your sock (for your ankle and calf). Make sure to measure your mug or coffee cup first before choosing your sock.

Stress ball: Made a homemade stress ball with play dough, a sandwich bag, and socks. Place play dough in a sandwich bag or wrap with cellophane and then put it inside your sock. Secure and tie with a ribbon.

PETS 

dog sweater

Dog sweater: You can turn a large sock into a dog sweater for smaller canines. All it takes is a little bit of cutting and sewing — this is a good instructional video.

“LuvSocks” for male iguanas: This is a weird one, but male iguanas need a “friend” when they’re in breeding season since they can become super aggressive. Placing uncooked rice inside two socks and sewing shut will make a good toy for your pet — bonus points if you microwave it, too, as iguanas are attracted to warmth.

Cat toy: Filling a clean old sock with some catnip will keep your cat entertained for hours. With a bit of sewing, you can also get creative with the design.

Dog toy: Fill a sock with unwanted socks rolled into balls. Secure with a shoe lace and let your dog go to town on their new favorite toy. You can also place a treat inside or a chew stick as an alternative.

APPAREL

leg warmers

Leg warmers: Perhaps the easiest sock DIY is to cut off the toe section for instant leg warmers. Choose tube socks if you’re making the leg warmers for yourself, and regular socks if you’re making cute baby leg warmers.

Warmer mittens: Place your hands inside clean socks before placing into mittens for an extra layer of warmth from the cold.

Ear warmer: You can sew two socks together and make a fashionable ear warmer that rivals $30 pairs you can buy elsewhere. See good step-by-step instructions here.

DIY Scarf: Cut old socks into tubes and sew them all together to make a colorful scarf, perfect for kids. This blogger made a cute version, complete with pompoms.

Arm warmers: Cut a thumb opening in the heel of the sock and slip it on your hand. Measure where you want the cut off to be for your fingers (around where your knuckles are), and save the discarded fabric to make a cuff. Click here for full instructions.

Elbow patches: To add some dimension to a sweater or to keep children’s clothes from wearing through too quickly, you can make elbow patches out of socks — just make sure you cut them into even shapes. Click here for sewing instructions.

Polish and buff shoes: Instead of using a cloth or towel, use old socks to add polish to your shoes and buff them after. Make sure to use two different socks for buffing and applying polish.

HOLIDAYS 

sock snowman

Sock snowman: For Christmas decorations, you can create a sock snowman out of a white sock, rice, googly eyes, bits of felt, and white pom poms, plus 3 clear hair elastics. See instructions here.

DIY sock wreath: Using a foam wreath and pairs of socks, you can make a really easy “sock wreath” DIY. Cut a foam wreath and cut the toes off your socks. Slip them onto the foam roll until it’s completely covered, and then secure the foam wreath with glue. See some cool versions on Pinterest.

Wrap wine bottles: Wrap wine bottles with a new sock and tie a ribbon at the top. They’ll look super cozy and perfect for winter gifts — especially if the sock has a winter-inspired pattern.

Christmas ornaments: Make DIY sock ornaments by wrapping a dollar store Styrofoam ball with a Christmas-themed sock. See easy instructions here.

KIDS

sock puppet with a cat

Sock puppet: Sock puppets are still a solid use for old socks. You can be as classic or creative as you want — head over to Pinterest for some ideas.

Sock animals: Pinterest is chock full of ideas for making stuffed animals out of socks, from penguins to sloths. Click here to see some amazing ideas and DIYs.

Wash your baby: Instead of using a scratchy wash cloth, you can use a clean sock to wash your child since it will be a lot softer. Place it over your hand and lather up.

DIY doll clothes: A fun activity for parents and kids is to cut up socks and use rubber bands and string to make different outfits for dolls. Pinterest has some ideas to get you started.

Cloth wipes: You can use socks to make reusable baby wipes by cutting them up into rags. See instructions and cleaning solutions here.

Chicken pox relief: Keep layers of socks on your kids’ hands to keep them from itching chicken pox. You can also fill the sock with oatmeal and take a bath with it for less mess and a clean up, but all the benefits of the oatmeal.

Baby rattle: With a jingle bell, stuffing, and an old sock, you can make an easy DIY baby rattle. The best part about it is that it takes barely any sewing and can be chewed on and won’t scratch furniture if your baby keeps banging it against objects. See a really easy DIY here.

DIY chia pet: Dump grass seeds into a sock and pour a few hand fulls of dirt on top. Tie off the sock and add eyes, na ose, and a mouth to your sock pet’s eyes with felt. Spray the sock with water until its damp, and keep misting daily. The sock pet will sprout hair just like a chia pet.

MISCELLANEOUS

draft stopper

Draft stopper: To keep drafts from getting under doors or windows, make a draft stopper with an old tube sock, un-popped popcorn, and stuffing. The popcorn will help weigh the draft stopper down without going rancid and the stuffing will stop wind from getting through the crevasse. Get instructions here.

Pin cushion: Make a custom pin cushion with toy stuffing and a sock. Pinterest has a lot of cute ideas.

Weapon: Fill a sock with nuts, bolts, pennies, and other hard or heavy objects. It will just look like a lumpy sock, but you can swing it as a weapon if you’re in danger.

Hacky sack: Make a simple hacky sack by adding rice or plastic beads to a sock and securing. See a tutorial here.

Potholders: You can make attractive quilted potholders by using a loom from a craft store and cutting strips of socks. Thread the strips of socks through the loom and secure. See how it's done here.

Mobile device arm band: Instead of buying a fancy arm band for your phone or iPod, you can use a sock. Cut the sock at the ankle, and place the tube around your arm. Fold it once and place your phone or iPod inside.

Wrist rest: If you need wrist support while using a computer, you can make your own with a long sock and polyester filling. Stuff the sock and secure by sewing the end shut.

SEE ALSO: Don't throw dryer sheets away — here are 45 different ways to use them

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A Japanese lifestyle guru explains how to organize your home once — and then never again








So you want to buy a 'starter' mansion? Here's what it will cost you ...

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So your startup has been acquired, or you've won the lottery. Either way, you've suddenly come into a large amount of wealth, and are ready to buy your first mansion.

Do you buy a glassy penthouse in midtown Manhattan? A sprawling villa in Rio de Janeiro?

If you really want to get the biggest bang for your buck, consult the map below, which comes from Christie's International Real Estate's latest Luxury Defined report

"Based on our survey, the average starting price for a luxury home across all markets is around $2 million, ranging from $750,000 in markets such as Durban in South Africa, and an astounding $8 million in Beverly Hills," the report says. 

real estate

The report goes further into the cost of "starter" mansions, breaking down average prices by home type. Generally, homes in cities and their immediate surroundings are considered to be primary residences, and those located in "global economic hubs" — major cities — have the most expensive residential properties.

"Resort" markets are smaller, and are often popular with people buying second homes. They include weekend destinations and "jet set" spots like Côte d’Azur, France, St. Barths, and Telluride, Colorado.

The graphic below show the average starting price for luxury properties based on type of home.

real estate

 If you only have $5 million to spend on your first mansion, you may want to check out this chart to see where you'll get the most bang for your buck.

SEE ALSO: 22 stunning aerial photos of Cuba

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's how Floyd Mayweather spends his millions








Cindy Gallop was sexually harassed at Cannes and that's why she thinks half of all managers should be women

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cindy gallop

Cindy Gallop is an extremely impressive public speaker and the founder of a number of startups including IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn.tv.

She is also a former senior advertising executive, having spent many years in agencies including JWT London and rising up to become a director at BBH. 

It's that experience that makes her come back every year to speak at the 3% Conference, so-called because at the time it was founded, just 3% of creative directors were women.

It's not that much better now, to be honest.

Gallop believes advertising businesses — and the wider business world — should be comprised of 50% females and 50% males. That should continue to management level, Gallop says. And she even goes as far as saying there should be a higher ratio of females to males. Doing so, Gallop says, would "manage out negative dynamics" like sexual harassment.

Speaking at the 3% Conference in London on Friday, Gallop gave an example from her own life as to why having a higher ratio of females in business may have stopped a nasty case of sexual harassment even happening in the first place.

A few years back at the biggest advertising event of the year — Cannes — Gallop was invited to an intimate dinner at a villa with lots of prominent industry people.

She was sat at the end of the table next to a man she didn't know. Over the course of the dinner it became very obvious this gentleman was "extremely drunk."

He began asking Gallop inappropriate questions. "I did what we do in these situations," she said. That is, attempting to to laugh it off while hoping it wouldn't head where she thought it was going. 

Then he propositioned outright that they go back to one of their hotel rooms and have sex. Again, Gallop tried to be nice. She felt, given the stature of people in the room, she didn't want to kick up a fuss and disrupt the entire occasion. She was also seated in an awkward position at the end of the table, where nobody was overhearing what was going on.

Gallop rebuffed the man's advances and he became abusive and angry. At the time, she said she thought: "Wow, this is what virtually every young woman in the industry goes through, that men ... never go through. It's a fact of life in our industry."

Afterwards Gallop made the person who invited the man aware of what had happened. Her host was horrified and ensured the man was a persona non grata going forward.

Cindy Gallop

While it was a horrible experience to go through, Gallop said it emphasizes the point that there should be more women in the workplace, particularly in prominent positions.

She told the 3% Conference audience in London on Friday: "In 50/50 male/female environments, men cease to regard us as a secretary, or girlfriend material. Because if you're not used to working in a situation where women are treated as equals, that's how you frame women in your mind. But if you have more women, it simply doesn't. You can manage out more things in the industry simply by changing the ratio."

She implored bosses to "think in numbers terms" when it comes to hiring women.

The argument to that kind of approach can sometimes be that women are simply just hired to meet a quota, rather than for their talent or suitability.

But Gallop has a response to that: "I hear a lot 'I don’t want to be hired just because I’m a woman.' Well, all around you are masses of mediocre creatives who got hired just because they were men. It's not a problem. Get hired because you're a women. Then in that position, you can demonstrate you are a shit hot creative talent."

SEE ALSO: Female tech CEO: Marissa Mayer's view on gender 'sets us back'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: REVEALED: The science behind the super-powerful T-shirt cannon








37 gorgeous pools everyone should swim in once

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pools

There are stunning pools all over the world, but some pools are worth trekking to. 

From the world's largest pool in Chile to a pool that makes it feeling you're swimming at the top of the Swiss Alps, here are 37 pools you'll want to cross off your bucket list. 

An earlier version of this post was written by Sara Bower. 

Rio de Janeiro's Hotel Fasano has a rooftop deck that overlooks Sugarloaf mountain and Ipanema beach.

Find out more about Hotel Fasano here >



The Hotel Haciende Na Xamena resort in Ibiza, Spain, is suspended 180 meters at the top of a cliff to offer amazing panoramic mountain and sea views.

Find out more about Hotel Haciende Na Xamena here >



The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur, India, has a gorgeous pool that guests can swim in directly from their private rooms.

Find out more about The Oberoi Udaivilas here >



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






21 easy habits to start today that will help you 5 years from now

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color runWhat can you do today to help out your future self?

One Quora thread is full of such contemplations, originally addressed to a 23-year-old physics student but applicable to everybody. 

Here are the takeaways. 

1. Work on your public speaking skills. It's scary. Even Warren Buffett used to throw up before giving a speech. But it's crucial: As you advance in your career, you're going to need to address groups of people again and again. So you might as well get good at it. —Gerard Danford

2. Learn to program. Computers aren't going away in the future. So being able to communicate with them is a very good idea, for you career and otherwise. —Sean Clark

3. Listen to podcasts. They let you learn without using any extra time. So when you're toiling away at chores or stuck in traffic, you can be learning about a staggeringly broad range of topics. —Mohammed Kabbani

4. Take an interest in psychology. It's the discipline that has the best tool set for understanding our own thoughts, actions, and motivations. In this way, it's an ally in the pursuit of self-improvement. —Francisco Sáez

5. Pick up an athletic hobby that you can do through the years. Otherwise, the sedentary lifestyle you start in college — and continue into the office — will do awful things to your posture, back, and gut. Your office job is trying to kill you. It's your job to prevent that from happening. —David Cannon

6. Write down the key points of what you did for the day. This may seem trivial, but it will show how you spend your day. Harvard Business School research shows that as little as 15 minutes of written reflection at the end of the day can make you way more productive on the job. —Stan Hayward

writing outside

7. Talk to one stranger every day. Strangers = opportunity. Opportunities to make new friends, to get new ideas, to get rid of that fear of talking to strangers, to start a business venture, and much more. Who you know predicts your career, happiness, and health, so expand your network as much as you can. —Ashraf Sobli

8. Learn to listen well.People love to talk about themselves, so cultivate the ability to let them do that. —Charles Tips

9. Waste less time. Life is composed of days, days of hours, hours of minutes. And you only get so many in a lifetime. —Anonymous

10. Find happiness in the process of accomplishing your dreams. Avoid the "deferred life plan." Instead of "doing what you have to do" now and then "doing what you want to do" at some hazy time in the future, find a way to do what you like today. —Dan Lowenthal

11. Build strong friendships, and be kind to people. You're more like your friends than you think. —Edina Dizdarevic

12. Diversify your experiences. The broader your life experiences, the more creative your ideas and the better you can relate to people.Dan Lowenthal

13. Save money. Put a little bit away with each paycheck, and do it automatically so you don't miss it. —India L. J. Mitchell

14. Drink with old people. They've been there, done that, and have lived to tell the tale. —Ben Hinks

15.Start meditating. It trains your brain to be able to deal with the madness of each day. —Anonymous 

meditation

16. Learn to cope with shame and doubt. Everybody experiences these emotions, as sociologist Brené Brown has evidenced, but few people learn how to healthfully cope with them. —Diego Mejia

17. Go outside. It's easy to stay indoors all the time. Go for hikes. Cognitive psychologists have shown that a little "wilderness bathing" can be a tool against depression and burnout. —Stephen Steinberg 

18. Get to know people who are different from you. If you're a liberal, make friends with conservatives. If you're part of Occupy Wall Street, befriend a banker. If you're a city mouse, get to know a country mouse. Why? Many reasons, one of them being that we make better decisions in diverse groups. —Judy Tyrer

19. Date everything. Whether you're connecting with a person, taking notes during a meeting, or stuffing takeout into the fridge, knowing the date of when something happened is useful in ways you can't predict. —Dee Vining

20. Read novels. Fiction is "emotional and cognitive simulation;" novels train you in understanding other people's experiences of life. —Anunay Arunav

21. Set minimum goals. Read 15 pages a day, do 20 pushups, floss one tooth. This way you can break gigantic projects into day-sized tasks. —Christopher Webb

SEE ALSO: How to make friends when you're a grown-up

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37 things you didn’t know you could do with vodka

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Vodka may not be your liquor of choice for drinking, but what about making an ice pack or treating dandruff?

The European liquor has amazing capabilities such as killing bacteria, drying without an odor, and binding essential oils to water. This means it can help with everything from making insect repellents to soothing a toothache.

So forget cocktails and shots — there's a whole other reason to buy that bargain bottle of vodka.

Here are 37 things you didn't know you could do with vodka:

MEDICINAL 

feet walking

Cure stinky feetSoak a washcloth in vodka and rub them on your feet. The vodka is an antiseptic and will destroy any fungus or bacteria, and it will dry odorless.

Make an ice pack: Make a quick and easy ice pack by mixing two cups of water with a half cup of vodka in a Ziploc freezer bag. The vodka will keep the water from completely freezing, creating an easy, bendable ice pack you can inexpensively replace or refill.

Treat dandruff: Rinsing with vodka after shampoo and conditioner can help clear away any product build up and flakes. One blogger recommends mixing one cup of vodka with two teaspoons of rosemary and letting it sit for a few days, then straining. Keep the mixture in the shower.

DIY mouthwash: The Discovery Channel show "MythBusters" confirmed that vodka can be used as a mouthwash. Combine one cup of vodka with nine tablespoons of cinnamon and keep the concoction sealed for two weeks before using.

Soothe an earache: An at-home remedy for an earache or infection is to combine a shot of strong vodka and honey. Heat the mixture to help dissolve the honey and apply a few drops every four hours or so. Keep the concoction warm when applying for some added relief.

WARNING: Do not do this if your earache also has signs of pus or bleeding, or you have a fever, since all of these are signs you'll need antibiotic treatment.

Numb a toothache: Alcohols such as whiskey and vodka can help reduce a toothache. Soak a cotton ball in vodka and then place it on your tooth and hold it inside your mouth. You can also swish vodka around in your mouth to numb the pain if you don't mind the taste.

CLEANING 

lipstick stain on clothes shirt

Stain remover: Vodka can be used as a stain remover for grass, ink, lipstick, and other oil-based stains. Soak the area in vodka, rubbing with a clean toothbrush to dislodge grime if necessary, before rinsing thoroughly and throwing the item in with the regular wash.

Clean your eyeglassesVodka works as a lens cleaner since it won’t leave streaks. Pour a little on a microfiber cloth and rub on glasses to get rid of dust, fingerprints, and grime.

Remove rust from screws: Soaking screws in vodka for a few hours will clear away any rust they’ve accumulated. Wipe away rust after soaking.

Clean kitchen surfaces: Combine one part vodka with two parts water to spray on countertops and tables, shine the kitchen sinks, and clean any other surfaces. For really tough stains, let the mixture sit for 20 minutes before wiping down with a clean rag.

Shine chrome: If your bathroom fixtures have hard water or soap scum stains, polish them up with a clean cloth soaked in vodka — it will cut right through the grime.

Remove tarnish from jewelry: Soak silver jewelry or gemstones in vodka to leave them sparkling. You can also pour vodka on a clean cloth to wipe dirt or tarnish from jewels by hand. Finish by buffing with a clean rag. 

Clean bathroom surfaces: Spray undiluted vodka on the bathtub, tile, and shower walls, and let sit for 20 minutes. Wipe down with a damp rag or sponge, and brush any remaining mildew away with a scrub brush. The smell will evaporate when dry.

Help clean dishes: Add a splash of vodka with your soap while soaking dishes in the sink — it will help cut through the grease and give your glasses a streak-free shine. 

Remove sticky goo residue: If you have a price sticker or sticky tag that you want to get rid of, pour vodka on a rag and rub the adhesive for around a minute. The goo will come right off.

DEODORIZING 

reed diffuser

Make your own reed diffuser: Reed diffusers are easy to DIY — all you need is water, a binding agent (like alcohol or rubbing alcohol), and essential oils. The vodka will bind the essentials oils to the water and the original smell of the vodka will completely dissipate.

Remove odor from shoes: Combine water and vodka in a spray bottle and then mist on the inside of your shoes after wearing. The vodka will get rid of odor-causing bacteria and the smell will disappear once they're dry. You can also add an essential oil to the mix for an extra boost of freshness.

DIY room freshener: Since vodka’s odor disappears as it dries, combine high-proof vodka, water, and essential oils in a spray bottle for an easy DIY Febreze.

Deodorize clothes: Using a spray bottle, mist vodka on clothes, concentrating on the interior and exterior of the garment. Hang to dry in a well-ventilated area. The vodka will kill the bacteria and doesn’t leave a scent as it dries. Just make sure to spot test first. 

Clean windows and glass: Combine a cup of vodka, one-third cup of white vinegar and a half a teaspoon of liquid soap. Mix in a bucket with a half gallon of water and stir to combine before pouring into bottles. Spray on windows and glass and then dry with a lint-free cloth or crumpled up newspaper.

BEAUTY

woman cleaning face cotton swab ball bathroom

DIY astringentYou can use vodka as an astringent for your face. Dip a cotton ball in vodka and wipe. It will kill bacteria and tighten your pores, but make sure to moisturize afterwards since it can dry out skin significantly.

DIY eye packs: Soak makeup sponges in vodka and water before freezing in plastic wrap. The vodka will prevent the sponges from freezing completely and will make easy DIY-cold-eye packs for under the eye.

Make hair feel cleaner: Add a shot of vodka to your shampoo — the vodka will help remove the hard water minerals from your hair, making it feel lighter and cleaner. Just be sure not to overuse since it can strip your hair of natural oils if used too often.

DIY hairspray: Instead of buying hairsprays with tons of chemicals, make your own with vodka. Boil 1.5 cups of water, two tablespoons of white sugar, one tablespoon of vodka, and 10 to 15 drops of an essential oil together. Once cool, pour into a spray bottle and use.

FOOD

gummy bears

Vodka-infused gummy bears: For a grown-up twist on a classic candy, you can soak gummy bears in vodka for a few days and let the alcohol dry. The bears will look normal, but taste like alcoholic versions of their formerly sweet selves.

Make candy-infused vodka:Skittles, Jolly Ranchers, and Starbursts can all be transformed into candy-infused vodka in a few simple steps. Sort the candy by type, soak in the vodka, filter with a coffee filter (multiple times if necessary), and bottle.

Make booze-soaked fruit:Strawberries, pineapple, and watermelon all make delicious “drunken fruit” recipes. These are great for topping a dessert or snacking on responsibility. 

Make gin: Many gin distillers start the process with a flavorless grain-alcohol base, which is essentially vodka. That means you can DIY your own gin by soaking cheap vodka with spices and add-ins like juniper, coriander, and more, and then straining with a funnel and cheesecloth. There are also gin-making kits on the market you can buy.

DIY vanilla extract: Vodka makes a good base for a DIY vanilla extract. Split open the vanilla beans lengthwise and place them in a jar submerged in vodka. Infuse them for a month and then strain out the pods and seeds with a coffee filter. 

Penne alla vodka: This delicious pink Italian sauce — made with tomatoes and cream — also uses a cup of vodka (hence its name). The vodka releases the flavors in the tomatoes and will keep the sauce stable, too. See a classic recipe here.

Flaky crust: Adding chilled vodka to pie crust can actually make it flakier and more delicious. Pie lovers will be shocked by the difference a few drops can make.

MISCELLANEOUS

Putting on Band Aid

Band-Aid removal: Take a vodka-soaked cotton ball and apply to the sides of the Band-Aid. This will ease the pain of removal as the vodka breaks down the adhesive.

Clean engine parts: Vodka can be effective as a cleaner for car parts that have carbon on them, like spark plugs. Use a cheap, high-proof vodka and rub with a clean rag.

Kill weeds: If you’re out of weed killer or don’t use it on principle for environmental reasons, you can fill a squirt bottle with vodka and apply to the weeds instead. This works best for weeds in sunny areas since the vodka and sun will work together to kill the plant.

Insect repellent: Essential oils mixed with vodka will work well as bug repellents. Add one-eighth of a cup of vodka with one-eighth of a cup of apple cider vinegar, one-eighth of a cup of water, and 80 drops of mixed essential oils like eucalyptus, lemons, peppermint, lemon, cinnamon, or cloves. Shake well and apply often. 

Keep flowers fresher for longer: According to flower experts, you can add a little bit of vodka to your vase to make your cut flowers last longer. Just make sure to dilute it significantly first.

Disinfect razors and keep them sharp: By placing your razor in a cup of vodka, it will disinfect the razor and keep it from rusting. Make sure to rinse before use.

Did we miss your favorite thing to do with vodka? Let us know in the comments!

SEE ALSO: 43 genius things you can do with a sponge

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How to drink espresso like an Italian

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Espresso drinkerJust like you’d scoff at a European for putting mayonnaise on a hot dog, Italians might disapprove of your espresso drinking, as they have their very own, very serious coffee culture.

Yes, there's both a right and a wrong way to drink espresso, which is why we tapped a real live Italian — Luca Di Pietro, coffee industry vet and founder of Tarallucci e Vino in New York — to give us the inside scoop on how to drink it like a local.

1. Understand what an espresso is

Coffee beans are coffee beans. Despite what the coffee industry (at least the American one) is trying to convince you of, there's no such thing as an espresso roast.

The way coffee is extracted is what makes different coffee drinks — like brewed coffee, a French press, or espresso.

Espresso machines use 132 pounds per square inch of pressure to extract coffee, which differentiates it from brewed coffee, for example, which just uses gravity. One cup, traditionally, is seven grams of coffee, and should take no more than 25 seconds to make. 

Di Pietro says that espresso should not be bitter, and shouldn't give you heart palpitations.

"One of the huge issues I have with the new wave of coffee shops is that they make espressos with 18 to 20 grams of coffee. Basically, they give you two to three times the caffeine of a traditional espresso, and in that small dose of liquid… the ratio of caffeine per ounce is incredibly high and makes the coffee over extracted and bitter," he says.

2. Be a snob

Italians are serious about their coffee, so you should be too.

"These new wave coffee shops, they say 'oh we use a local roaster and he uses only small batch,' and that's all good and fine, but how consistent is he? How is his packaging?" Di Pietro asks. "Coffee goes stale very quickly if not treated properly. There are a lot of misconceptions about coffee, but the big equalizer is taste. Coffee needs to taste good, and needs to taste good 365 days a year."

3. Have it made expressly for you

Di Pietro explains that espresso means express, as well as made expressly for you. It should be made to order, and fast.

4. Order it at the bar

Very rarely would a coffee drinker in Italy sit down and order an espresso.

Espresso

5. Drink it quickly

"Espresso needs to be made expressly for you, but it also needs to be drunk very quickly," Di Pietro says, explaining that it needs to be drunk while the "crema" is still on top. The crema is a creamy emulsion of the coffee's oils, and acts as a lid covering the espresso, keeping all the aromas in. That said, it dissipates quickly.

6. Never drink an espresso that doesn’t have crema on top

Either it's been sitting around for too long or it’s decaf. "That's why coffee purists would never order it at the table," he explains. Because the crema thins out and disappears so quickly, ordering it anywhere that's not the counter means you're likely to get it too late. "By the time they make it, and it gets to you, especially if it's busy, it's done and the crema is gone.

7. Take a second to enjoy the tradition surrounding it

"Order it at the bar and start a conversation with the barista" Di Pietro says. "It's about the conviviality, it's the little taste, the pick-me-up in the morning, and it's something quick."

8. Know that you can drink espresso anytime, but never order a cappuccino after breakfast

You can have an espresso any time of day. Cappuccino, however, is frowned upon after 11am. "In Italy, people will look at you very strangely if you have a cappuccino after 11. They absolutely frown upon someone who has a cappuccino after dinner or with a meal, as milk based coffees are reserved for morning and breakfast."

Espresso cups

9. Don't add milk

If you add milk you're making it an espresso machiatto, and shouldn't be drinking it after 11 am. However, Di Pietro does encourage turning your espresso into a caffe corretto by adding liquor. But that's for much later in the day, of course.

10. See it as a way of life, not a special occasion

"Have a quick espresso, maybe a little pastry, exchange some words and you're on your way. It’s not something you linger over for a long time," Di Pietro says. "Having an espresso in the morning is not a special occasion, it's a way of life. Some people here treat it as a special occasion and so they're willing to wait for a barista with an attitude, who’s going crazy with the grinder. Cut your mustache, take off your wool hat, it's summer. It's not about the show, it's a way of life."

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9 fascinating 'micronations,' and where on earth to find them

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Imagine escaping the confines of bureaucracy and founding your own state, where you make all the rules.

Sounds like the stuff of fantasy novels. But some people actually make it a reality by creating their own "micronations."

A micronation is a piece of land that claims to be an independent or sovereign nation, but is not recognized by world governments. They are founded for many reasons, some as protests, some to boost tourism, and some just for fun.

Reports put the number of current micronations at over 400

While all micronations are interesting, some are more strange and storied than others. We picked nine of our favorites to share with you.

 

1.) Republic of Molossia

Molassia

Founded by His Excellency President Kevin Baugh in 1999, Molossia is comprised of two pieces of land in Dayton, Nevada which take up about 6.3 square acres. But its small size doesn’t stop it from having its own postal service, space program, and currency, the value of which is tied to the price of cookie dough. Molassia also has unofficial claims on a patch of sea 470 miles off the coast of Mexico, as well as almost an 50,000 square-mile parcel on Neptune.

 

2.) Conch Republic

Conch Republic

The Conch Republic is a tongue-in-cheek micronation located in Key West, Florida. Originally founded as a way to protest highway blockage limiting visitors to the area, it has been kept alive as a tourist attraction. In 1995, the US Army Reserves held a training exercise in Key West which simulated an armed invasion on foreign soil. The Conch Republic retaliated by declaring war, blasting water from fire-boats, and throwing stale loaves of bread at offenders.

 

 3.) North Dumpling Island

North Dumpling

Summer home of Dean Kamen, the man who invented the Segway, North Dumpling Island is a small piece of land off the coast of Connecticut. Kamen, or “Lord Dumpling” as he likes to refer to himself, even got then-president George H. W. Bush to sign a “non-aggression” pact with the nation of North Dumpling. The island is powered by a wind turbine, solar panels, a helipad, and a replica of Stonehenge.

 

4.)Republic of Saugeais

Republic of Saugeais
Saugeais, a collection of towns in a northeast region of France, started as a joke and has lasted almost 70 years. The Republic, which has it’s own banknote and French government-issued stamp, has seen four presidents, all from the same family. The area is now a popular tourist attraction, with many of the locals selling novelty entrance passes and official stamps.

 

5.) Principality of Seborga

Seborga

In 1963, citizens of the Italian town of Seborga argued that because their land was not mentioned in any documents issued during the unification efforts of Italy in the 1800s, their town was an independent zone. In 1995, Seborga’s citizens voted 304 in favor, 4 against, to support independence from Italy. While Italy does not recognize its sovereignty, Seborgia continues on as one of the oldest surviving micronations.

 

6.) Liberland

Liberland 2

The newest micronation on our list, Liberland was founded in April 2015 on an unclaimed parcel of land near the Croatian-Serbian border. Founded by a Libertarian activist, it is roughly three square miles and is currently uninhabited, mostly because its very hard to get to. Nevertheless, Liberland has a government of 10 to 20 members, an economy based around cryptocurrency and bitcoins, and has already received hundreds of thousands of applications for citizenship.

 

7.) Freetown Christiania

Christiania

Founded in 1971 on an abandoned military base in Copenhagen, Denmark, this micronation is a haven for liberal-leaning squatters, anarchists, and hippies. While officials cracked down on open cannabis selling in 2004, the area still has little rules and runs much like a commune, priding itself on its collectivist and self-sustaining ethos. The neighborhood nation features many brightly colored walls and buildings but no cars, which are outlawed within its limits.

 

8.) Principality of Sealand

sealand

About seven miles off the coast of Suffolk, England sits a small abandoned World War II sea-fort, rising out of the metal legs. Since 1967, one family, the Bates, has resided their, claiming it as their own sovereign nation with its own flag, currency, and passports. 

After an electrical fire damaged the facility in 2006, Prince Michael attempted to sell the platform for $906 million, sources say. Finding no buyer, Sealand's government and the Bates family have decided to renovate the base and keep it for themselves, making sure the Principality lives on. It currently has a population of four and holds the Guinness World Record for “the smallest area to lay claim to nation status.”

 

9.) Principality of Hutt River

hutt river 1

Founded in 1970 by “Prince” Leonard George Casley as a protest over government quotas on wheat farmers, Hutt River is the oldest micronation in Australia. Sitting on a 18,500 acre parcel of land north of Perth, the Principality is known for its wildflowers and its various array of official coins. In 2004, the government began accepting company registrations, turning the Principality into a tax haven for international businesses, though it remains unrecognized by the Australian government.

SEE ALSO: Meet the eccentric president of Liberland, the world's newest micronation

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I'm not your average Taylor Swift fan, but now I understand why millions of people are obsessed with her

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I'm a 28-year-old guy who lives in New York — not your typical Taylor Swift fan.

But I decided to attend the megastar's "1989" World Tour when it came through Pittsburgh in early June after hearing she put on a good show.

I came away from the experience with a new understanding of why so many people are obsessed with Swift.

She has emerged as a mega-celebrity, built an entire brand around her image, and amassed some $200 million in wealth.

But at the same time, Swift manages to appear down-to-earth and approachable, a reputation she's cultivated by interacting with her fans relentlessly on social media and also in real life

It was also clear how meticulously she had prepared for the show — she was a master of controlling the crowd and their emotions.

For me, the experience started as I approached the venue. Unlike other concerts I've attended, the crew's equipment trucks were parked on the walk leading up to Heinz Field.

The brightly colored trucks made the perfect background for concertgoers who wanted to pose for photos before the show — and everyone did. It also got fans psyched about the concert well before Swift appeared onstage.

Anyone within a half-mile of the stadium knew what was going there on that evening.

Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour

It was also the only show I've been to where there were huge lines to get into the 55,000-seat stadium a full two hours before the opening acts were scheduled to go on.

Those Swifties were dedicated.

Once inside, I was handed a bracelet without much explanation (more on that later), and headed to my seat. I quickly realized how carefully constructed the Taylor Swift concert experience was.

It's not uncommon for venues to play recorded music ahead of the opening acts, but every five minutes, we would be shown a short video feature featuring Swift. There were several categories: quizzes ("what are the names of Taylor's cats?"), behind-the-scenes video shoots, and scenes from her "1989" "secret sessions" — private events where she invited fans in several cities to come to her house, eat freshly baked cookies, and listen to her new album before it came out.

1989 World Tour Crowd

All of these clips made me feel like I knew Swift personally, like I was right there with her as she completed her album and started her tour. The woman sitting next to me had had a chance to meet her backstage, and she said that in person, the pop star seemed very approachable and "smells really good." She told me she thought Swift made a good role model for her daughter, which turns out to be a pretty common sentiment among moms.

The opening acts, Shawn Mendes and Vance Joy, were solo male guitarists who made a stark contrast for the spectacle to come. Both acts took numerous opportunities to thank Swift and say how lovely she was. It was fascinating to see how much the star had permeated the stadium.

Finally, at 9 p.m. on the dot, Swift came on stage. The roar from the crowd was deafening.

Once the show started, I finally figured out why I'd been handed a bracelet. The wristband started to light up in tune with the music, increasing in frequency and vibrancy as the show went on. I've never seen something like it before, and thought it was a stroke of genius. The bracelets made the entire stadium pulse to the beat of the music, and heightened the experience for everyone.

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Even when I didn't know a particular song, I could watch the LED fireworks lighting up the whole stadium, so I was never bored. The fans were truly a part of the show, and even as the small children in attendance fell asleep, their little wrists still flashed along as they slept on their parents' shoulders. 

It looked incredible when 55,000 of them went off at once: 

Bad Blood - Taylor Swift

There wasn't a single flaw in the entire production; the lights, sound, and everything else went off without a glitch. Many concerts have some kind of error that humanizes the experience, but not this one.

Swift's music was as catchy as ever, and I don't think I had realized that she is an extremely talented musician. She plays the piano, guitar, banjo, and ukulele, and on top of that, she's an excellent singer.  

Her programmed set built up energy over time, and during her wardrobe changes, the jumbotron lit up with Taylor's famous friends telling stories about their friendship and growing together.

Lena Dunham said it best when she told a story about how she was walking up to Swift, and Swift's security stopped her.

"It's OK, I actually know her," Dunham said. "That's what they all say," a security officer replied.

Taylor Swift 1989 Tour

Swift's unique charm is that she can make everyone feel like they know her, even though they don't and most likely never will. I guess it isn't so surprising that someone who grew up on a Christmas tree farm (another quiz question!) could make 55,000 people feel special at one time, because her family business does it every year.

I definitely fell for Swift's relatable persona, even though I knew that we would never (ever, ever, ever) meet in person. It was the most captivating thing about the musician, and her tour was a physical representation of it. I was so immersed in the experience for two solid hours — and then the music stopped. 

As I walked home, still wearing my bracelet — which, after the concert, became a party favor that lit up on demand — I heard countless cars drive by playing songs from "1989." I get why they'll keep coming back for more.

SEE ALSO: Taylor Swift is incredibly good at being a celebrity

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A postman collected pebbles every day for 33 years and what he created is astounding

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More than 120,000 people travel to the commune of Hauterives in southeastern France every year to see the Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval, a stunning palace constructed entirely from handpicked pebbles. 

ferdinand chevalOriginally called "The Temple of Nature," the man-made wonder was built one stone at a time from thousands of pebbles that postman Joseph Ferdinand Cheval collected for 33 years. 

He combined the stones with mortar and limestone to create the impeccably detailed castle.

chevalAt 26 meters long and 12 meters high on one end, and 14 meters long on the other, the palace is complete with pillars, buttresses, a terrace, and animals constructed from the postman’s memories of the postcards he delivered everyday. 

chevalThe palace has a fascinating history. 

When Cheval was 43 years old, he stumbled across an oddly shaped rock while delivering mail on the same 18-mile route he took through Hauterives every day. 

He was so fascinated by the rock’s shape that he put it in his pocket and took it home. 

"It was a stumbling block shape so bizarre that I put it in my pocket to admire at my ease ... I thought: since nature wants to do sculpture, I will do the masonry and architecture," Cheval wrote in his journal

That day began the next 33 years he spent collecting uniquely shaped pebbles to construct his palace, carrying them home first in his pants pockets and eventually in a wheelbarrow before beginning work alone overnight with an oil lamp for light. 

ferdinand chevalHe would mark the stones he found interesting while delivering mail, pick them up at the end of his work day, and take them to his collection garden, soon to be the home of his palace. 

After years of construction, the palace was officially opened to visitors in 1907. 

ferdinand chevalSince then, it has since been a treasured destination for visitors and a popular location for concerts by renowned pianists like Arthur H, quartets, and a variety of musicians during the end of June and July. 

chevalBut Cheval’s work with the pebbles did not end at his palace. You can also see the tomb he built for himself at the age of 78, known today as “The tomb of silence and endless rest.” The tomb is located 1 kilometer from the palace and free for visitors to see.

chevalCheval was able to build his magnificent creation without any formal artistic training, which is why his work has been a major source of inspiration for artists including Picasso, Jean Tinguely, and French writer André Breton, who dubbed the palace the precursor of surrealistic architecture. 

Today, the palace is open to the public year-round. Tours cost 6.50 euros for adults and 5 euros for children ages 6 through 16. 

If you have the chance to visit the palace, take a close look at the walls where you can see Cheval’s poetry, which he etched himself. Perhaps one of the most touching inscriptions is the one that reads, “The dream of one man.” 

SEE ALSO: The only way to see this incredible museum in Mexico is by scuba diving

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These students were mystified for a year by a flattering anonymous Instagrammer — and they just found out who it was

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high school compliments

A high school student in Spokane, Washington, created an anonymous Instagram account and used it to compliment his classmates all year long.

No one knew who was behind the account all year — until Konner Sauve admitted it had been him during his co-valedictorian speech.

Sauve, 18, had kept his identity under wraps all year as he published 650 photos of students from East Valley High School, ABC News reports.

"Everyone makes mistakes and I wanted to focus on the better aspects of people," Sauve told ABC News. 'To shed a positive light on each individual, make them feel appreciated, and to know that someone cares."

The Instagram photos were published under the account @TheBenevolentOne3. Sauve used yearbook photos and selfies of students from every class in his high school.

Sauve's project stands in stark contrast the other ways teens are known to use the internet when they can remain anonymous. Stories about teen cyberbullies and vicious comments on Yik Yak are much more common than uplifting stories like Sauve's.

Here are some of the nicest things Sauve said about his classmates, along with their photos.

 

To Kyle Riley: "A man with firm morals and values... I hope you continue to spread your wisdom and morals unto others as you make your journey through life."

 

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To Casey Oldham: "Even if most teachers wanted to try and nail some trouble on you, you didn't care. You kept living how you were living and working your butt off in the process."

 

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To Kelsey Ramirez: "Your undying sarcasm and extreme sense of humor gets me every time!"

 

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To Vanessa Salinas: "You're one of the nicest and most genuine people at this school and I'm sure you'll find many successes in the future!"

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To Jayme Steen: "You're 'steen'ing beautiful!"

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To Ryan Dilbeck: "Let me introduce all of you to one of East Valley's most creative, expressive, and individualistic men!"

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To Vanessa Nieto: "You've just got the right personality for becoming an influential leader in our society because sometimes the quietest of voices speak the LOUDEST."

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To Michael Jones: "[I] can assure you that Michael will come striking back with his name in the big lights, he has some amazing dreams to fulfill and I believe he'll achieve them and MORE!"

 on

 

 

To Jorge Lopez: "I've admired you since we were little because you seem to be content with your life and where you're headed."

 on

To Joslyn Magana: "Always the hint of a subtle smile on your face, but just seeing you light up can make a room explode in smiles."

 on

To Jose Gutierrez: "When people are around you they CANNOT STOP LAUGHING."

 on

To Maria Valencia: "I believe I have never seen you without a smile... Never lose that sparkle that you got!"

 on

SEE ALSO: This man donated his late wife's wedding dress to be sold on eBay — and the note he included will make you cry

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NOW WATCH: A bunch of teens used Skype to meet and learn from kids from all over the world








The most unusual ethnic neighborhoods in different cities around the US

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Solvang, CAPretty much any city can claim a Chinatown, but not many cities can lay claim to a Little Persia or Greektown.

From Baltimore to Los Angeles, here are 11 exotic ethnic neighborhoods around the US.

Andersonville, Chicago, Illinois

Swedish flags line the streets of Andersonville, a Swedish sounding, European feeling 'hood that's only 15 minutes from Lake Michigan.

Founded by Swedish immigrants in the 1850s, it's allegedly still one of the most concentrated areas of Swedish heritage in the country.

Clark Street is the neighborhood's nucleus, and home to Swedish bakeries and restaurants galore, the famous Swedish American Museum of Chicago (whose opening ceremony was attended by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden himself), and one of Chicago’s most popular street festivals: Midsommarfest.



Fredericksburg, Texas

Nestled in Texas Hill Country you’ll find Fredericksburg, a small town named after Prince Frederick of Prussia that proudly preserves its unique German heritage.

German was Fredericksburg's primary language until World War II, and today it’s still home to “Texas German,” a dialect that started when the German settlers who founded the town in 1846 refused to learn English.

Here you’ll find the Vereins Kirche (society church), now a museum, as well as the Old German Bakery and Restaurant, Der Lindenbaum restaurant, Opa’s Smoked Meats, and the Fredericksburg Brewing Company, to name a few authentically German haunts.



Greektown, Baltimore, Maryland

Formerly known as The Hill, the neighborhood’s name was officially changed to Greektown in the '80s.

As you may have guessed, the area is home to a thriving Greek community, as well as thriving Greek businesses like Akropolis, Ikaros, Samos and Zorba restaurants, and the annual Greek Folk Festival, a four-day celebration of everything Greek. 



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The 15 Best Used Cars For First-Time Drivers

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Ford Mustang GT Convertible 2005For most young people and their parents, buying a first car is a major step.

One great option is to look at used cars, which can often be had for a fraction of the cost of brand-new versions.

We came up with 15 used cars we think are the best for the young car buyer on a budget. 

To make our list, we focused on cars that are available on the market right now for under $15,000. We looked for ones that are reliable, fun to drive, comfortable, attractive, economical, practical, and most of all, safe.

For safety, we checked out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) moderate front overlap crash test ratings for the cars we selected. Prices are based on current prices on Autotrader.com and reflect the lowest price we think a decent example may cost. 

2001-present Honda Civic

Starting price: $5,000 and up

IIHS crash test rating: Good

Why buy it: The Honda Civic is bulletproof. If properly maintained, the car can go for well over 250,000 miles without any issues. As one of the most popular cars in the world, spares are easy to come by and repairs are relatively affordable.

Being popular means that there is large aftermarket support for the car, so kids can customize a Civic to their liking for not much money. Also, the sporty and practical Si hatchback from the early 2000s is now available for under $10,000. And since it was only available with a manual gearbox, it teaches a good lesson.



1999-2006 Toyota Celica

Starting price: $5,500 and up

IIHS crash test rating: Good

Why buy it: The Toyota Celica sub-compact sports car is quick, fun to drive, reliable, and offers a surprising level of utility. Powered by either a 140 or 180 horsepower four-cylinder engine, the Celica's spirited performance does not diminish is high fuel economy ratings.

As a sports car, beware of copies that have been abused by boy racers or have had low-quality after market modifications, as they may diminish the long-term durability of the car. 



1998-2004 Toyota Tacoma

Starting price: $5,900 and up

IIHS crash test rating: Acceptable

Why buy it: Toyota's Tacoma pickup makes our list as the only representative of the pickup segment. The Tacoma offers rugged off-road capability in addition to Toyota's strong build quality.

The truck's available four -and six-cylinder powerplants offer good performance, but some may find them to be a bid thirsty when it comes to fuel. 



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The 9 best summer reads under 400 pages

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Summer is a time for travel and lazing about with a good book, preferably something you can rip through by the time your getaway ends.  

To make those plane, train, and car rides fly by, Goodreads, the world's largest website dedicated to readers and book recommendations, has curated a list of popular short reads in various genres.

And they're all under 400 pages. 

"The Wright Brothers" by David McCullough (336 pages)

Dive (or should we say fly?) into Wilbur and Orville Wright's past with this book about the two brothers who invented, built, and flew the first airplane.

Two-time Pulitzer winner David McCullough pulls from private diaries, letters, notebooks, and scrapbooks to tell their soaring tale. 

Learn more or buy now.



"Modern Romance" by Aziz Ansari (288 pages)

Comedian Aziz Ansari teams with New York University sociologist Eric Klinenberg in this humorous book about romance in the age of smartphones and online dating.

The duo interviewed hundreds of people from all over the world, hosted focus groups, and created online surveys to gather their information. It’s insightful, funny, and light without being too fluffy. 

Learn more or buy now.

 



"The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins (336 pages)

Goodreads has dubbed this psychological thriller the “it book” of the season. 

On her daily commute to London, main character Rachel always admires the same "perfect" couple from afar — until one day when everything changes and she suddenly becomes entangled in their lives.

Learn more or buy now.



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We tried the 'belly button challenge' that's taking over China — and it's way harder than it looks

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The belly button challenge has taken Weibo – China's Twitter – by storm. Over 130 million people have tried to reach around their back to touch their belly button within a couple of days.

We tried it in the BI offices — with very mixed results.

Produced by Matthew Stuart

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