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A NYC Steakhouse Icon That Lets Customers Pick Their Own Cuts Has Been Saved From Closure


Gallagher's steakhouse steak

Last year, with heavy hearts, we reported the news that Gallagher's Steakhouse would be closing. Now according to the NY Post, the restaurant has been saved.

Sure, there are other steakhouses, but Gallagher's has been in its West 55th Street location since the 1920s. Plus, last year saw the closure of another great steakhouse, Ben Benson's so frankly, we were already bruised.

Thankfully, Gallagher's won't be going that way. Owner Marlene Brody sold the restaurant to Dan Poll, the operator of Boathouse. Gallagher's was set to close on January 16th.

From the NY Post:

“It’s part of the fabric of New York, and I’m privileged to own it,” Poll said.

He said the restaurant will continue to be called Gallagher’s and retain its classic, early- and mid-20th century look, including a meat locker at the entrance and wood-paneled dining rooms festooned with vintage photos of entertainers, politicians, athletes — and racehorses...

Customers often bumped into regulars like Shirley MacLaine, Jackie Mason, Broadway hoofers and even boxers heading for press conferences in the private upstairs room.

Gallagher’s benefited from the theater district’s cleaned-up street environment and tourism boom — but lost its appeal among a younger crowd enamored of modern steakhouses offering leaner, grass-fed and “artisanal” cuts.

Leaner shmeaner... those cuts look pretty good to us.

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The Best Eats In New York City's West Village


mac n cheese home restaurant nyc

The West Village is known for its trendy restaurants, charming cafes, and incredible specialty food shops.

In our opinion, it's the best neighborhood for food in Manhattan. (Disclosure: we are both West Village residents who might be a bit biased. But still.)

Though there are no definitive boundaries, the West Village is loosely defined as the area that's bounded by 14th Street (to the north), Houston Street (to the south), 6th Avenue (to the east), and the Hudson River (to the west).

From the best burger joints to the best fine dining restaurants, these are our favorite eateries in the West Village.

Best Roast Chicken: Barbuto

775 Washington St.

Chef Jonathan Waxman is famous for his divine roast chicken and simple yet refined Italian cuisine.

In Barbuto, there's a wood-fired oven for excellent homemade pizzas.

The large and minimalistic dining room feels even more spacious during the summer months when the sliding garage doors open and diners spill out onto tables outdoors.

Best Burger: Corner Bistro

331 W 4th St.

This place is a New York institution that's perfected the art of the burger. The limited menu means that the hamburger is the focus here, and it's served either with or without cheese and bacon.

The unpretentious setting has been untouched since the Corner Bistro opened over 50 years ago.

The bargain prices and cheap beers mean that Corner Bistro is always busy — especially since they don't take reservations.

Corner Bistro just opened another branch in Long Island City.

Best Brunch: Joseph Leonard

170 Waverly Place

Joseph Leonard serves new American cuisine in a small shabby-chic space.

Helmed by restaurateur Gabe Stulman, Joseph Leonard definitely has a cool factor and attracts a hip crowd.

Though they serve all meals, brunch is one of the best times to try the farm fresh cuisine, like avocado toast with eggs or shrimp and grits.

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Fab.com Is Poised To Become The 'Ikea Of Fashion'


fab, fab.com, december 2011, bi, dng

Fab.com now boasts more than 10 million members. 

That's an impressive feat for the design-based social shopping site, which went live in 2011. 

Because Fab prides itself on making fashion accessible to the masses, its the "Ikea of fashion," writes Kerry Folan at Racked.com

The two businesses have many similarities. Both are focused on a clean design aesthetic and offering products that are affordable to everyone. 

Bradford Shelhammer, Fab.com's co-founder, told Racked about his company's philosophy, which isn't about selling heavily-marked down designer gear. 

"We will not be selling, for example, last season's Tory Burch inventory. That's not Fab," Shelhammer said "In many ways, we're doing for fashion what we did for home and product design—we're making it more accessible to everyone. We're reinventing the way people discover fashion and at the same time creating a marketplace for indie designers. It's the democratization of fashion and it's a very a big deal."

Sales in the fourth quarter were up five-fold from a year earlier, a huge jump, Mashable reported

While Fab doesn't have the brick-and-mortar presence of Ikea, it's definitely a leader in the democratization of fashion. 

DON'T MISS: How Tory Burch Became A Fashion Billionaire In Less Than A Decade >

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The Winners Of The National Geographic Photo Contest


don't use Kamelia, nat geo 2012National Geographic just announced the winners of its 2012 National Geographic Photography Contest.

Over 22,000 photos by professional and amateur photographers from 150 countries competed in three categories — people, places and nature.

The top winner was selected among the finalists in these groups and awarded $10,000 among other coveted prizes.

The guidelines for entries required that photographs be un-manipulated and real, and that they capture those special moments in time.

Nat Geo shared the winning images and honorable mentions with us for 2012 here. 

Honorable Mention: Red Fox catching mouse under snow

Honorable Mention: Chinese traditional dragon boat racing

Honorable Mention: Stilt Fishing

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This English Valet Kit Keeps Your Shoe Collection Spotless


This is the Tricker's Valet Kit from British clothing store End.

Why We Love It: You've got your wingtips, your loafers, your lace-ups, and your oxfords. But half the battle with men's formal shoes is keeping your leather shining and your shoes clean. For that, you need a valet kit.

Tricker's has been hand-making bespoke footwear since 1829 in England, so they know a thing or two about men's shoes. The kit comes with four tins of polish, five jars of leather cream, a metal shoe horn, a buffing cloth, and a total of eight brushes for your collection. The polishes and creams are all high-grade, and come in a range of colors from neutral to jet black. The handsome black case measures 7.75'' x 14.5'' x 6''.

Shoe Vallet Shine Kit


Shoe Vallet Shine Kit

Where To Buy: Through U.K.-based store End.

Cost:£350, or roughly $570. End does offer a 20% discount for non-EU customers, and price does not include shipping.

Want to nominate a cool product for Stuff We Love? Send an email to Megan Willett at mwillett@businessinsider.com with "Stuff We Love" in the subject line.

SEE ALSO: This Electric Kettle Heats Water For Your Specific Beverage

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13 Money Lies You Should Stop Telling Yourself By Age 30



I'm not quite 30 yet, but I'm more than familiar with the notion that this age is the new benchmark for people to get their lives together.

There are books, blogs and Twitter accounts dedicated solely to helping people cross that line in the best shape for their future. They do this by telling you to get rid of debt, stop shopping so much, start a 401(k) and brace yourself for wrinkles. 

But in my opinion, it takes a lot more than a healthy bank account and nice skin to live a full and happy life, whether you're 29 or 59. Most of us know how to succeed, we just happen to let ourselves –– and a few convenient lies –– get in the way.

So long as my job pays well, it's OK if I hate it.

The job market may not be what it used to be, but by age 30 no one should be toiling away at a job that leaves them stressed out and dissatisfied with life.

We were inspired by a young woman who wrote about turning her back on a lucrative job on Wall Street when years of 14-hour work days made her overweight, burnt out and miserable. 

"I’m a few months into my new job [as an asset manager for a nonprofit] and it’s made my life richer. I’m making an effort to breathe, smile, eat healthier and have positive thoughts about my future," she wrote.

"I took a pay cut of about 30% to change positions, but I don’t think that I should be applauded for making the choice to accept less pay – I don’t view it as a sacrifice."

If I turn a blind eye, somehow my finances will figure themselves out.

The worst thing I did in my early 20s was ignore financial red flags when I saw them.

I didn't check my bank account for fear of how low the number would be; I left my credit report untouched for five years; and I didn't realize my first job even offered a matching 401(k) until I quit because I stuffed that folder in my desk and never looked at it. 

Look: If you're broke, you might as well know it and own it. It's the only way you'll ever truly be able to do something about it. 

I should get married because it's the 'next step.'

I'm a few years shy of 30 myself and it baffles me how many couples –– men AND women alike –– tell me they're planning on tying the knot by 30. 

There are few people my age who can actually afford the $27,000 the average American wedding costs these days. 

Why kick off your lifetime union with a massive pile of debt that will only cause stress and inevitable arguments down the line? If you're truly in love, chances are The One will still be around by the time you're both financially fit to face those bills together. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Supermodel Bar Refaeli Is Now A Go Daddy Girl


bar refaeli ad hurley

Kate Upton isn't the only Sports Illustrated swimsuit model starring in a Super Bowl spot.

Go Daddy, known for its overtly sexual Super Bowl spots, picked Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli to star in its 30-second spot.

"The opportunity to be in a Super Bowl commercial is thrilling ... and to partner with Go Daddy is something I just couldn't resist," she said in a statement. "I feel like the 'Perfect Match' commercial is a chance to be in an iconic Super Bowl spot that not only leaves people talking, but shows everyone what Go Daddy is really about."

Refaeli, who was ranked No. 1 on Maxim's Hot 100 for 2012, will star alongside original Go Daddy girl Danica Patrick.

Patrick was actually the source of much media fodder since Go Daddy very publicly waffled over whether or not she would continue serving as a spokesperson in the big game.

While Mercedes definitively decided that Kate Upton will be covering up for its spot, it's unclear how much skin Refaeli will be baring in the spot.

After all, Go Daddy made a huge deal about classing up its act and substituting its scandalous platform to more technologically-oriented campaigns this summer. It is also using an agency, Deutsch NY, to make its spots for the first time, rather than doing it in-house.

We'll keep you updated when we get more information.

SEE ALSO: Here's what Kate Upton and Usher will be doing in the Super Bowl ad>

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The UK Has A Plan To Cut Obese Peoples' Benefits If They Refuse To Exercise



London's Westminster Council has come up with a drastic plan to help end the UK's growing obesity problem: cutting benefits for any obese person who refuses to exercise.

Under the proposals, doctors would be able to "prescribe" exercise such as swimming or fitness classes. Those who refused to attend penalized. Smart cards would used to monitor attendance.

The plan is described in detail in a report titled "A Dose of Localism: The Role of Councils in Public Health".

The hope is that by fighting obesity the UK's taxpayer funded health service can save £5 billion ($8.12 billion). The report was created as public health responsibility shifts from the NHS to local government later this year.

Reaction to the plan seems to be leaning on the negative side. British Medical Association GP committee chairman Dr Lawrence Buckman told the BBC that the plans were "some of the silliest things I've heard in a long time".

"When I was first told about this I thought it was a joke," Dr Buckman said.

Alex Thomson, chief executive think-tank Localis believes that the concept simply wouldn't work. "Even if you check into the pool how will they know if you just sit and have a latte in the café instead?" Thomson told the Telegraph.

Finally, over at the New Statesman, Martha Gill points to some analysis that explains why punishing fat people just doesn't work.

"Part of the problem is that a great deal of those who have problems with their weight are not cheerfully waiting for sufficient motivation to become thinner," Gill writes. "They are unhappy with their size already, which can make the problem worse - compulsive eating is a common reaction to stress."

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Here's A Time-Lapse Video Of A Man Scarfing Down Denny's Entire Hobbit Menu In 20 Minutes


Jamie "The Bear" McDonald undertook the task of eating Denny's entire Hobbit-themed menu in 20 minutes.

McDonald is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, and he works as a technical analyst for an aerospace company, according to ESPN.

It took him three tries to pull it off, but that's because his camera overheated and shut down during his first two attempts.

The 10 items, including Gandalf's Gobble Melt and the Shire Sausage Skillet, were swiftly annihilated.

Watch McDonald's wolf down the Hobbit menu below, time-lapsed down to 4 minutes:

SEE ALSO: Step Inside The Building Where McDonald's Runs Its Global Empire >

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20 Cool Minimalist Design Pieces That Will Simplify Any Room


houzz minimalist design

The minimalist approach to furniture and decor is one I come back to time and time again.

See the designs >

Whether or not you actually intend to live with the concept, I think most of us are drawn to the clean lines and quiet yet strong presence that minimalist pieces deliver without fuss—as the saying goes, "Clear space, clear mind."

But don't be fooled by the simplicity of minimalism: The most uncomplicated-looking designs usually have the most thought behind them.

— Denise from The Swelle Life

Large Cube Planter: $130

This is such a minimalist piece, but it has so much going on. This glass cube planter sits on one flat edge to appear as if it's floating, and the askew design forces you to think carefully about the composition of your living arrangement. Or you can just leave it empty and call it art.

Check It Out >

Curve Pet Bed: $200

For those who insist their pets don't mess with the sleek lines of their minimalist abodes, there is an alternative to the fluffy, furry bed that lies on the floor.

This version mounts on the wall, and while I'm not sure how your cat or dog gets up there (unless it's close to the floor), don't you think your little guy would make a neat wall hanging?

This is also a great way to get texture into your space, unless you've got a Mexican hairless.

Check It Out >

Box Sofa Compact, Oak: $6,775

On profile, a sofa doesn't get much more minimalist than this one fashioned from a solid wooden box. However, the combination of the wood grain and fabric in a sleek rectangular form make it a standout piece that will pop with a few thoughtfully chosen pieces.

Check It Out >

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Mario Batali Teaches Us How To Cook Three Types Of Spaghetti Dishes


Mario Batali Jake Gyllenhaal Spaghetti

Today is National Spaghetti Day.

In honor of the holiday, we dug up some footage of Mario Batali teaching Jake Gyllenhaal to cook spaghetti on his ABC show, The Chew.

In this segment, Batali and Gyllenhaal make three easy pasta dishes: Spaghetti all'Amatriciana, Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, and Spaghetti all'Arrabiata. We broke down how Batali and Gyllenhaal made these dishes, and we included helpful photos and recipes.

Now go make some pasta to celebrate!

Mario and Jake made three pasta dishes: Spaghetti all'Amatriciana, Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, and Spaghetti all'Arrabiata.

First up, the Spaghetti all'Amatriciana.

Cook guanciale in a large pot over medium-high heat until light brown and softened.

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Check Out This 'Scandalous' Never-Before-Seen Photo Of Princess Diana


Princess Diana

Apparently lounging on a male friend next to a bottle of Johnnie Walker pre-1980 is today equivalent to a nude photo scandal.

While Prince Harry was blasted by the media in August after naked photos of him partying in a Las Vegas hotel suite hit the web, turns out his late mother had been hiding a photo scandal of her own all these years.

That is, if you consider tame PDA a scandal.

A never-before-seen black and white photo showing "a young Diana lying in bed, with a young man seated behind her, and a bottle of Johnnie Walker sitting on the window sill" has just hit the public auction block.

The photo, which is marked with the words "Not to be published" handwritten on the front, was purchased by Britain's Daily Mirror on February 26, 1981 – just two days after the then-Diana Spencer was engaged to Prince Charles. 

The photo, featuring an 18 or 19-year-old Diana with an unidentified man on a Swiss ski holiday, was kept hidden in the paper's archives until it was purchased seven years ago by the private Caren Archive.

"This would certainly not be in the way the Royal Family would have Diana to have been presented," said Eric Caren, owner of the Caren Archive, to the Daily Mail.

It is now set for auction by RR Auctions in New Hampshire, and is being described as an 8x10 "salacious teenage image of the future princess."

You can start your bidding at $200.

Princess Diana Photo

SEE ALSO: How Reddit helped a dying man see the new 'Star Trek' before anyone else >

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HOUSE OF THE DAY: Kelsey Grammer Lists His Brand New Malibu Mansion For $7.25 Million


kelsey grammer new house beverly hills $6.5 million

Last year, former Frasier star Kelsey Grammer and his wife Kayte purchased a $6.5 million home in Beverly Hills.

The move sparked controversy at the time due to the mansion's proximity to the home of Grammer's ex-wife, Camille.

Now the Grammers are listing listing the Spanish-style estate for $7.25, according to a TMZ report— just nine months after they moved into it and one month after Grammer's latest TV show, Boss, was canceled.

The home has five bedrooms, six full bathrooms, and spans a total of 6,093 square feet. It was built in 1926 and designed by architect Ralph C. Flewelling.

If you don't want to shell out $7.25 million for the home, it's also available to rent for $30,000 a month. The home is currently listed on Christophe Choo Real Estate Group's website.

The Grammers purchased this Spanish Colonial Revival back in April 2012.

Source: Christophe Choo Real Estate Group

The home is located on North Linden Drive.

Source: Christophe Choo Real Estate Group

The two-story entry leads to a galleria and living room.

Source: Christophe Choo Real Estate Group

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44 Beloved Snacks You'll Never Be Able To Eat Again


planter's cheez balls

These foods and drinks used to grace the pantry shelves of many American households. 

But their glory days have passed, and now these items are discontinued. 

A recent Reddit thread explored the items that people are the most nostalgic for, and we decided to do our own research on some beloved lost brands. 

Some soda varieties just didn't click. There are also lost fast food and snack items. 

A certain discontinued flavor of Doritos has people especially upset. 

Altoids' Tangerine Sours were discontinued in 2010.

Butterfinger BB's were mini peanut butter and chocolate candy balls. They were discontinued in 2006.

Black Pepper Jack Doritos were released about a decade ago and discontinued around 2008.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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HBO Crashes A Salon Chain's Website After Offering Free Blowouts For 'Girls' Fans


Lena Dunham Girls Season 2 HBO

To promote the January 13 return of hit show "Girls," HBO tried to appeal to, well, girls, by offering free blowouts (including the tip!) to fans January 11th, 12th and 13th at every Drybar blowout salon location in the U.S. between 6 and 7pm.

Drybar currently has 25 locations in six states and normally charges $40 to blow women's hair straight, smooth, curly, big or beachy.

"At roughly 12 chairs per location, that’s 300 appointments for an estimated tab of $12,000 for the HBO promotions," as noted by Forbes.

But apparently the promotion was too much for the blow bar to bear, as the inundation of people trying to book appointments crashed the site and angered regular customers.

Drybar founder Ali Webb emailed out an apology Thursday to potential customers:


I know a lot of people have been unable to book appointments both online and via the phones.

Unfortunately, despite staffing up our phone receptionists for this promotion, we dramatically underestimated the response here and are terribly sorry for any inconvenience. I have read all the frustrated emails and truly feel awful.

Please know we are doing everything we can to rectify the situation as quickly as possible. And will do a better job of planning next time, I promise.

Alli Webb

Webb’s cofounder and CEO (and brother) Michael Landau also addressed the promotional problems on Thursday, telling Forbes, “When HBO approached us with this idea, we thought it was a no-brainer because we love 'Girls' and loved the idea of giving our clients free blowouts,” he said, while acknowledging the company “dramatically underestimated how strong the response would be.” 

In case you're still wondering, all of the appointments are booked.

But it looks like now you can try getting into a SoulCycle class instead (HBO really knows the show's demo), as we just received this in our inbox:

SoulCycle Girls HBO 

Something tells us HBO's next promotional partnership for "Girls" will be with a juice bar ...

SEE ALSO: The 'Girls' season 2 trailer was just released and everything is different >

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See The Exotic Animals On Richard Branson's Private Island


Necker Island Wildlife,lemur

Sir Richard Branson's 74 acre private island in the British Virgin Islands, Necker Island, is known for its luxury accommodations, beautiful views and celebrity guests. But once you get there, there's another element of the surroundings that quite literally jumps out at you: its exotic wildlife.

Necker Island is home to at least 140 different species. On a given day, visitors can see everything from lemurs to tortoises to macaws and even flamingos.

While the island has many creatures that are part of the area's diverse tropical environment, some animals were brought in by Branson as a way to repopulate the Caribbean with species that have become nearly extinct in the region, mostly due to human behavior such as hunting or development.

When we visited the island last year, we got a glimpse of some of the beautiful wildlife of Necker up close.

Disclosure: We were flown out to Necker Island, BVI by Virgin Limited Edition, which covered our travel and lodging expenses.

Ring-tailed lemurs are one of the signature animals of Necker. Branson has brought them to the island as a way to conserve the species that is threatened by deforestation in their native Madagascar.

The lemurs are kept in their own part of the island which is enclosed by an electric fence.

They spend some time in cages...

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The 8 Best Dim Sum Restaurants In New York City


Pacificana, Dim Sum, Dumplings, Chinese Food

New York is home to the most authentic Chinese restaurants outside of China, many of which serve dim sum.

New Yorkers love their dim sum — the morning smorgasbord of dumplings, buns, and other small plates served on pushcarts— and love to argue over their favorite dim sum spots.

Fortunately, the editors at Zagat settled the argument for us. They put together a list of the eight best dim sum restaurants in New York City, and we've got them here for you.

#8 Ping's Seafood

22 Mott St.

Food: 21

Decor: 13

Service: 15

Cost: $31

Ping’s is a Chinatown institution that serves authentic and flavorful dim sum, with a focus on seafood.

Be prepared to wait for a table on Sundays, when the place is packed.

#7 Golden Unicorn

18 East Broadway

Food: 21

Decor: 14

Service: 15

Cost: $27

This Cantonese-style dim sum restaurant is mobbed on weekends with families and large groups.

They serve an endless array of dim sum dishes that change with the seasons.

#6 Nom Wah Tea Parlor

13 Doyers St.

Food: 22

Decor: 13

Service: 18

Cost: $22

Opened in 1920, Nom Wah was the first dim sum restaurant in New York City.

It retains its original neighborhood charm while operating with a more modern kitchen and an updated-yet-traditional menu.

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San Francisco's 'Mansion Discounts' Are Luring Tech Millionaires


Tobin Clark Estate San Francisco $29 million

Jeff Paster, a developer of luxury homes in California’s Marin County, couldn’t find a buyer for the brand-new waterfront mansion he listed in January for $45 million.

He’s expecting that one will turn up at an auction this weekend, with a starting bid set at $25 million.

“People at this income level always have money,” Paster said in an interview at the 15,000-square-foot (1,400-square- meter) residence on Belvedere Island, a tony enclave north of San Francisco that’s known for views of the downtown skyline and Golden Gate Bridge.

“We had qualified buyers circling for months, but with no sense of urgency. This sets a deadline.”

Technology executives paying discounts to listed prices have been active buyers of luxury properties this year in the San Francisco Bay area, where the growth of social-media and Internet firms including Twitter Inc. and Yammer Inc. has created a new wave of millionaires.

Some older homes sat unsold for years before finding buyers, said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage of Northern California.

In 2012, there have been 13 publicly recorded transactions for more than $10 million in exclusive San Francisco neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Sea Cliff, according to DataQuick, a research firm. That’s up from six sales last year and a dozen in 2007, the previous high mark. The numbers don’t include deals in expensive areas outside the city, such as Belvedere or Tiburon, in Marin County; Atherton in San Mateo County; or Palo Alto in Santa Clara County.

Home Demand

“Over a long listing period, it’s hard to say what will happen, because obviously the market is constantly changing,” Turley said. “The success of tech and social media means people are looking very generally at San Francisco and the Silicon Valley as places to live because these businesses are sourced here. It’s highest on their radar.”

Initial public offerings in 2012 by Bay-area companies raised a record $17.5 billion in public equities markets, including sales by Menlo Park-based Facebook Inc., Yelp Inc. in San Francisco and Workday Inc. of Pleasanton, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The total is more than double the $8.3 billion reached in 1999, the height of the dot-com boom.

This year’s Bay area IPOs generated $9.4 billion in cash for selling shareholders. Other investors have been able to generate money before initial stock sales through the rise of secondary-share markets such as SharesPost Inc.

Yammer Founder

Yammer founder David Sacks, who sold the social-media company to Microsoft Corp. in June for $1.2 billion, earlier this year bought an unfinished home in Pacific Heights that had been listed for $38.5 million. The transfer tax indicated a $20 million sale.

Sacks’s new residence, built in the style of a French chateau, was last purchased by John Sperling, founder of the University of Phoenix, who paid $32 million in 2002, said David Barrett of listing brokerage Warwick Properties Group.

“It’s built to be the finest residence in San Francisco, from limestone quarried in France and with the same glaziers who worked on the Eiffel Tower renovation,” Barrett said.

This month, Jay Paul, the San Francisco-based developer of 6 million square feet of Silicon Valley offices, including Google Inc.’s four-building complex in Sunnyvale, completed a purchase in the same neighborhood, said a person with knowledge of the transaction who asked not to be named because it hasn’t been made public. The house sold for $28.25 million, said Dona Crowder of TRI Coldwell Banker, a co-listing broker on the home. She declined to comment on the buyer.

Seller Deals

The deal was at a 48 percent discount to the asking price in 2007, around the time U.S. housing prices peaked. The seller had most recently sought $34 million, Crowder said.

Paul didn’t return a telephone message seeking comment.

In some cases, luxury discounts this year in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley are a reflection of aged homes built decades ago that needed extensive renovations, Crowder said. Sellers were also motivated by the prospect of higher capital gains taxes in 2013, she said. Her listing on Broadway in Pacific Heights received higher bids in the past, including one earlier this year, which were rejected by the seller, she said.

“The generations are turning over in this neighborhood,” Crowder said in a phone interview. “If it were understood back then that record prices were being offered, it would have been wise to sell” in 2007.

Dorsey, Benioff

Jack Dorsey, a Twitter co-founder, paid $9.9 million in February for a “humble” two-bedroom house in Sea Cliff that had been listed for $12.5 million, said Olivia Hsu Decker, owner of Tiburon-based Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty and Dorsey’s agent on the deal. Salesforce.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff bought a nearby house in 2009, Decker said.

The Sea Cliff neighborhood is named for its location high above the Pacific Ocean, west of the Golden Gate. In May, Dorsey, who is known to take public buses to work, tweeted a quote from the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, “I need the sea because it teaches me,” Decker said in an e-mail.

Other multimillion-dollar homebuyers this year include Mark Pincus, founder of online game maker Zynga Inc. He purchased a Pacific Heights house in July for $16 million after a $500,000 price cut, said Decker, who represented him in the past and also is the listing agent for the Belvedere home.

Rising Prices

The region’s broader housing market is also showing strong demand, bolstered by the addition of 32,400 new jobs in the San Francisco metropolitan area in the year through November. House and condominium prices in the nine-county Bay area last month rose almost 21 percent from a year earlier to a median $438,000, the highest since August 2008, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

Paster has been developing the Belvedere estate since 2008, when he acquired two adjacent lots for $9.3 million, and put the property up for auction in November after two price reductions, the most recent to $35.9 million. The decision was made with the aim of “causing those interested to act,” he said. There is an undisclosed reserve beyond $25 million.

“This is one-of-a-kind property,” he said in an interview at the home earlier this month, seated behind a French antique desk in the library, the town of Sausalito visible through floor-to-ceiling windows behind him. “It’s like a Picasso. How much is that worth?”

The 1.14-acre (0.46-hectare) site hugs the shore, with the house laid out in two wings on three levels. The seven bedrooms and living areas have mahogany flooring, and the nine bedrooms are tiled with marble and limestone. Terraces paved with fossil stone from India are accessible from most rooms on the main floor through oversized folding doors.

‘Beautiful Spot’

Belvedere, about 17 miles (28 kilometers) north of San Francisco by car and less than a square mile in size, became a favored spot to build summer homes at the end of the 19th century, said Dave Gotz, archivist of the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society. The community, connected to Tiburon by a natural causeway so not technically an island, had the virtues of a warmer climate compared with the windy city.

“It’s a beautiful spot, with small streets and steep hillsides coming down on the west side,” said Mike Fuson, Belvedere’s interim city manager. “The housing stock is expensive.”

--With assistance from Ari Levy in San Francisco and Lee Spears in New York. Editors: Christine Maurus, Kara Wetzel

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Levy in San Francisco at dlevy13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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See What It's Like To Spend An Epic 22 Days Rafting Through The Grand Canyon


Matador Ambassador Henry Munter Recently spent 22 days in November rafting and kayaking through the Grand Canyon and brought back this gallery to give us a glimpse of the majestic canyon on the edge of winter.

self portraits grand canyon

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The 5 Best Hotel Spas In America


Spa Vitale at Hotel Vitale

Most of us spent New Year's Eve popping bottles of (cheap) champagne, passing cheese platters, or ordering in MSG-loaded Chinese food.

Regardless of which indulgence you chose, there’s definitely at least a tinge of holiday hangover still – alcoholic or otherwise.

Start the year off right by heading to one of these super-sleek spas in a city near you to detox 2012 away.

The Spa at the Beverly Hills Wilshire, Los Angeles

The Detox Treatment: The Detox Massage ($180 for 60 minutes)

The Deal: As if complimentary use of the 8,000-square-foot spa’s saunas, steam rooms, and experience showers (which feature the likes of colored lighting and variable pressure) wasn’t rejuvenating enough, every treatment at the Beverly Hills Wilshire is top-notch, which is why we’d head straight for a Detox Massage. Therapists at the Rodeo Spa use specific massage techniques to flush out kidney, liver, and other bodily toxins that will relax your mind, too.

Spa at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago

The Detox Treatment: Organic Skin Renewal Wrap ($150 for 50 minutes)

The Deal: If you’re sensitive to the touch, give a luxe body wrap a try at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago— you’re literally enveloping yourself in a warm blanket. (Warning: Don’t do this if you’re claustrophobic!) Kick off the year with renewed, glowing skin thanks to varying antioxidants, jojoba oils, and butterfly-bush extract.

Spa Vitale at Hotel Vitale, San Francisco

The Detox Treatment: The Bathing Ritual ($60 for 25 minutes)

The Deal:Who wouldn’t want to simply luxuriate outdoors amidst a rooftop bamboo garden? An esthetician will draw you a private whirlpool tub at Hotel Vitale's spa with seasonally-sourced ingredients while you sip on fruit-infused water (lemon aides in the body’s natural detox process). Bonus? Your bloodshot peepers will be soothed thanks to a cucumber eye wash.

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