Channel: Business Insider
Browsing All 49095 Browse Latest View Live
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

'Sugar Daddy' Dating Website Says A Lot More College Girls Are Signing Up To Help Pay For School


sugar daddy hooker prostitute money date

College tuition is expensive, and more and more women are turning to "sugar daddies" for a leg up, claims Brandon Wade, founder of "sugar daddy" dating website SeekingArrangement.com.

The sometimes controversial, always entertaining online dating guru just released a list of the 20 universities with the most "sugar baby" signups in 2012. Both Columbia and NYU made the list  perhaps not surprising considering they are some of the most expensive colleges in America.

According to Wade, the website saw a 58 percent increase in co-ed signups in 2012, and 44 percent of the "sugar babies" on the website are now college students. The site seems to be encouraging the trend: anyone who signs up for the website with a college ".edu" email address gets a free membership upgrade.

In a press release, Wade blamed colleges and their ever-increasing tuition rates for the rise of co-eds on his "sugar daddy" site.

"College should be an opportunity to expand the mind and experience new things," Wade said in the release. "Unfortunately, because of the of recent tuition hikes, the college experience has become greatly unbalanced."

The average cost of tuition and fees at a private, 4-year university were $29,056 in 2012, a 4.2 percent increase over the previous year, according to CNN Money.

The site, which claims to have over 2 million members worldwide, is based on the concept that it's perfectly OK to pay for relationships. It works by pairing "sugar babies"  cash-strapped women looking for companionship and cash  with "sugar daddies," benefactors who are willing to pay for their company.

Here are the universities with the most signups last year, according to the company. Southern schools dominate the list.

  1. Georgia State University 292 (#11 in 2011)

  2. New York University 285 (#1 in 2011)

  3. Temple University 268 (#5 in 2011)

  4. University of Central Florida 221 (#14 in 2011)

  5. University of Southern Florida 212 (#7 in 2011)

  6. Arizona State University 204 (#8 in 2011)

  7. Florida International University 187 (#20 in 2011)

  8. University of Georgia 148 (#2 in 2011)

  9. Indiana University 131 (#17 in 2011)

  10. Texas State 128

  11. Kent State University 123 (#15 in 2011)

  12. Penn State 121 (#13 in 2011)

  13. University of North Texas 112

  14. Florida State University 111

  15. Tulane University 109 (#4 in 2011)

  16. Michigan State University 108 (#9 in 2011)

  17. University of Ohio 103

  18. Columbia University 100

  19. University of Alabama 96

  20. University of California Los Angeles 91

SEE ALSO: The 20 Most Expensive Colleges In America

Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

The 20 Best & Worst Dressed Of The Golden Globes


Jennifer Lopez Golden Globes 2013The Golden Globes honor the year's best in television and film.

But the red carpet brings out not only the best, but also the worst, in Hollywood's top talents.

While we loved Kerry Washington and Kate Hudson's gowns, we weren't as keen on the dresses worn by Globe winners Debra Messing and Julianne Moore.

BEST: Kerry Washington looked perfect in her nude Miu Miu dress adorned with Swarovski crystals.

WORST: Debra Messing in this ill-fitting Donna Karan gown.

BEST: Presenter Kate Hudson looked chic in Alexander McQueen. But perhaps an updo would have been better to show off that collar?

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Please follow The Wire on Twitter and Facebook.

HOUSE OF THE DAY: A Russian Royal Is Selling Her Lincoln Center Condo For $8 Million


43 West 64 Street

Kristina Kovalenko may not have political power as the princess of a tiny Russian republic, but she certainly knows how to turn a profit on NYC real estate.

The royal purchased her Liberty Lofts condo in August of 2009 for $4.2 million, and after three years of living in her luxurious penthouse is now flipping the home for $8 million, according to a report in The New York Observer.

Natalia Gavrilov, the broker handling the sale at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, said that the 50% price hike was due to the property's unique layout and NYC location. "There's really no inventory like this, especially the high-end apartments," she told The Observer.

The princess originally bought the pad as a four bedroom, but transformed one of the rooms into her own personal walk-in closet. The barrel vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, and Juliet balconies all add to the dramatic and opulent decor as well.

The Liberty Lofts building is just steps away from Lincoln Center and Central Park.

Source: Douglas Elliman Real Estate

The gourmet kitchen features marble counter tops, a chef's stove, and top-of-the-line appliances.

Source: Douglas Elliman Real Estate

The entire condo is approximately 3,700-square-feet.

Source: Douglas Elliman Real Estate

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

These Will Be The Hottest Neighborhoods In America In 2013


Mandi, Faircrest Heights, Los Angeles, California

It seems that the housing market is slowly but surely rebounding in America.

Existing home sales and asking prices have crept up, and analysts report decreasing delinquencies and foreclosure filings. 

As a result, some of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the U.S. are beginning to see high listing prices and a shrinking inventory. 

Seattle-based brokerage firm Redfin has honed in on the American neighborhoods that show the most promise for 2013.

Click here to go straight to the hottest neighborhoods >

In its study, the company analyzed data* from 10,000 active homebuyers and 130,000 listings in 16 of the biggest real estate markets around the country. 

"The results surprised us," said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. "The hottest neighborhoods aren't the well-known bastions of privilege. They're once-gritty urban areas and far-flung suburbs with school districts on the rise."

Overwhelmingly, California neighborhoods dominated the list, a trend Kelman chalks up to the state's improving economy and the lure of a thriving tech scene. 

"Across the state, there are far more buyers than sellers, and we see bidding wars on almost every reasonably priced listing in Silicon Valley and Orange County," he told BI. "It’s probably also true that what happens to America happens first in California: the real estate bubble burst in California first, so buyers there have been waiting longer to make their move than just about anywhere else."

*Methodology: This ranking was based data from December 2011 - 2012 for housing markets in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Southern California, and Washington DC-Baltimore. Redfin highlighted the top three neighborhoods in each metro area, then whittled the list down from 48 to round out its top 10. See the full ranking here

10. North Maple Leaf, Seattle

Number of 2012 listings: -44.4%
Number of sales: +15.4%
Median listing prices:  +22.2%

"North Maple Leaf is in the Roosevelt School district and has lower prices than some of the surrounding neighborhoods like Wedgewood and Ravenna," says local agent Chad Pluid.

"There is easy access to I-5 South to commute to downtown. Homes that go on the market sell very quickly in this area." 

9. The Mission, San Francisco Peninsula

Number of 2012 listings: -28.6%
Number of sales: 16.7%
Median listing prices:  79.8%

"The Mission used to be thought of as a rough area, but it's started to emerge as a highly desirable area over the past year," says local agent Landon Nash.

"There's great diversity, tons of cultural activities and great restaurants and shopping. People are getting priced out of Noe Valley and the Castro, so the Mission is right there and great alternative." 

8. Logan Square, Chicago

Number of 2012 listings: -10.3%
Number of sales: +93.8%
Median listing prices:  +19.6%

"Logan Square has many attractive features, including wide park-like boulevards, a unique mix of housing types, public transportation, bike and walking paths, progressive local shops and a really cool vibe," explains local agent Greg Whelan.

"The convenience of two Logan Square blue line stops makes it a destination for those wanting to get more for their money." 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Please follow Your Money on Twitter and Facebook.

The Code Of The Professional Erotic Webcam Girl


Chongqing Sex Scandal Wu HongIt sounds simple — you just buy a webcam and start charging money to take off your clothes in front of your virtual clientele. 

But most people don't understand that "camming" is just as personal as being physically next to your clients.

So what are the rules for professional camgirls?

An anonymous camgirl shares her code of conduct on the forum "Cam-girl Notes":

1. Don’t sacrifice your comfort level for a potential show. If some guy wants you to do an incest role play show, and that totally weirds you out, you are completely in the right to turn it down. If you know of a girl that is okay with that sort of roleplay, do both of them a favor and refer your customer to her. This brings me to my second rule...

2. Don’t promise to do something in a show and not follow through. Not only are you making yourself look like a douche, you’re giving all of us camgirls a bad reputation. If the customer asked ahead of time if you do anal, and you say yes, it’s implied that anal is included in your price. Don’t wait until the show has begun to say anal is extra. You’re doing yourself a disservice by not creating repeat business. You’re only hurting your own income by not following through. 

3. Don’t badmouth other camgirls. It’s unprofessional and it makes you look insecure. Not to mention, it’s very rude. If you don’t like another girl’s style, or she puts up a bad photo, and you feel the need to vent about it, talk to your friends in real life. Don’t attack her on a social networking site. You will look like an insecure troll.

4. Don’t beg. This is a two way street. It makes you look like you’re not in demand. People aren’t going to buy shows from you if it looks like no one is already paying for your shows. It implies that your shows are not worth paying for.

5. Don’t give fans or customers your personal information. This is common sense. Even if they beg for it, don’t do it. You never know when someone is going to end up stalking you. I will admit that I’ve become good friends with some customers, but it wasn’t until I felt 100 percent comfortable with them that I was willing to chat with them outside of work. Once you decide to cross that bridge with them, assume they are no longer a customer. Think hard about it before you sacrifice that income.

6. If you must break rule #5, sell your information. Make a Google Voice account and sell your phone number that way. Make an email specifically for your stage name.

7. Don’t be afraid to ban or block guys. If a guy is harassing you, begging, trying to chat you up for free, or seems to be a time waster, he probably is. Firmly, but politely, ask him what you can do for him. If he says 'I just wanted to chat,' tell him you charge $__ for 20 minutes of chat time. Or you could ask if he’d like to know what your rates are for shows. You’re in control of the situation. If he dodges your questions, it’s pretty safe to say he’s a timewaster.

8. Be careful of payment methods that give away your personal information.PayPal is the big one. If you’re going to use Paypal (I advise against it, they are not adult friendly and they will freeze your funds and ban you for life!) create a merchant account. This way, when a customer pays you, they see your business name. If you just use your buyer/seller Paypal account, it will give the person your real first and last name. Google Checkout and Amazon Payments give out your first and last names, too. Accept money through NiteFlirt, MFC, AlertPay, or CCBill to be safe. Also, don’t use ChipIn to raise money for a boob job. If you must, be vague, and say 'surgery.' If they catch you, you’ll get kicked out of Paypal.

9. Have plenty of photos and videos available on your website for potential customers. This will help your business. Don’t give away the good stuff – just a short intro video talking about you will give them an idea of your persona. People watch videos more than they read. Customers are inevitably going to want to see photos of you before they buy. Set aside a few good ones that you don’t want to sell (or if you do, put a lower quality version up) to put up on your website.

10. Create a blog post about how to buy a show from you. It’s so much easier than explaining to each customer how to buy a show from you and what you do/don’t do. Include your rates, payment methods, what you do and don’t do, your personal rules, and what toys and outfits you have.

11. Think of a stage name that is easy to pronounce and remember. If your customers can’t remember your name or how to pronounce it, it’s not going to do you any good. You want them to tell their friends. You also want something that can be easily Googled.

NOW SEE: Everything you ever wanted to know about prostitution in Nevada > 

Please follow Careers on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

Luxury Condos Have Replaced Co-Ops As New York City's Hottest Buildings


15 central park west penthouse

Manhattan’s once-fabled co-op addresses no longer command the biggest sales prices in the city, and have been upended by newer destination condominium addresses, real estate author Michael Gross writes in the Daily Beast.

Co-ops, which often require the buyer to go through a rigorous board approval process, are losing ground to condo buildings that offer an unmatched range of amenities, such as concierges, in-house restaurants, room service and swimming pools.

Beginning in 2003, with the Mexican financier David Martinez’s $54.7 million purchase of a penthouse at the Time Warner Center, condos have held the record for highest sale prices. And condos command a higher price per square foot than comparatively-sized co-ops.

In the past, 740 Park Avenue, where the city’s financial elite rubbed shoulders with the crème-de-la-crème of international buyers, was the richest building in New York. But it was overtaken by 15 Central Park West, the Robert A.M. Stern-designed luxury condominium developed by the Zeckendorfs—the most profitable building in the city’s history.

Gross, who penned a book on the owners of 740 Park, is in the process of writing a follow up that focuses on 15 Central Park West.

Last week, a four-bedroom unit at the building closed at $32.5 million, representing a whopping 92 percent markup over its last sales price.  [DailyBeast]

SEE ALSO: The Most Expensive Homes Sold In NYC In 2012

Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

Chinese Millionaires Are Flocking To Europe For Vacation


chinese touristsA growing number of China's millionaires are choosing Britain for their holidays, according to a new survey.

Attracting Chinese tourists has been a key priority for the Government. In December, David Cameron overruled Theresa May to make it easier for Chinese visitors to get visas.

Now the annual Hurun survey of wealthy Chinese has seen Britain leapfrog Italy, Australia, Dubai and the Maldives as a tourist destination.

This year, the UK is in fifth spot behind France at number one and the United States in second.

France has always been a popular draw for Chinese tourists not just because of the romance of Paris, but also because they can apply for a Europe-wide visa that allows them entry into any of the 25 countries covered under the Schengen agreement.

"There has been a surge in popularity of Britain as a luxury travel destination. It is a significant leap," said Rupert Hoogewerf, the founder of Hurun. "The key driver I guess was the Olympics," he added.

Hurun surveyed 551 Chinese millionaires, 69 of whom had fortunes of more than 100 million yuan (£10 million). Their average age was 39 and they made an average of 3.4 trips abroad annually.

Mr Hoogewerf said most of the visitors planned to visit London and remain "around one hour's drive of Heathrow". Some of them left considerable chunks of their fortune behind.

"I met someone last night who has bought a unit in One Hyde Park," he said.

Prices in the central London residential complex begin at £20 million.

While the UK's fortunes rose, Japan and Australia fared worse.

"Japan has had a terrible year – not helped by the Diaoyu Islands and the tsunami," he said. Japan and China have been clashing over the Diaoyu, or Senkaku, islands, an uninhabited chain that lie between the two countries.

British luxury brands were also on the up, Mr Hoogewerf said, noting that Burberry has risen into the top ten for the first time.

Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

10 Reasons You Should Visit Montana This Winter


Old one-room schoolhouse, Montana

Montana is one of the most underrated destinations in the American West.

It has mind-blowingly majestic scenery, rampant wildlife, and lots of opportunities to explore them both in the great outdoors.

It's got the same quality of skiing as Colorado and Utah, but without the pretensions and high prices. And it has fresh food sourced from local farms and ranches, along with a growing number of microbreweries that churn out delicious craft beers.

With its endless miles of ski-able terrain, its serene snow-covered national parks, and its bizarre winter festivals, winter is one of the best times to visit Big Sky Country.

There's mind-blowingly majestic scenery.

The state is about 147,000 square miles, and encompasses vast mountains, sweeping valleys, placid lakes, and roiling rivers. The scenery is, in a word, spectacular.

The state is covered in gorgeous mountains. In fact, it's named for it: Montana comes from the Spanish word montaña, meaning mountain. Some of the mountain ranges, like the Bitterroot, Absaroka, and Beartooth ranges, are part of the Rockies.

There's unparalleled downhill skiing — without the crowds, prices, or pretensions of other ski resorts.

Montana has 16 downhill ski resorts that have over 17,000 acres of ski-able terrain.

Some of the biggest and best-known resorts are Big Sky and Whitefish Mountain, but smaller mountains like Bridger Bowl and Red Lodge are equally challenging and less crowded.

You'll meet some colorful local characters.

When I visited Montana, I met a woman covered in beaver pelts who called herself "the beaver lady," a gruff man who wore a kilt all year round (even the most frigid winters), professional skiers, and tons of real-life cowboys.

They were all colorful characters full of life and enthusiasm for their state.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

Alex Rodriguez Took His $38 Million Mansion In Miami Off The Market


Alex Rodriguez selling Miami home for $38 million

Yankee star Alex Rodriguez put his gargantuan Miami mansion on sale for $38 million in August, and after months of not selling, A-Rod has taken it off the market, according to the New York Post.

The Post is reporting that A-Rod took the house off the market because he does not want any distractions while he is recovering from hip surgery and getting ready to play baseball again.

The mansion is right on the water and has nine bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. A-Rod bought the land in 2010 for $7 million and spent more than $20 million constructing the house.

The view from the outside

Views from every room

Cozy in-home theater

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Please follow Sports Page on Twitter and Facebook.

Sleep In A Gigantic Beer Barrel On Your Next Trip To Germany


Beer barrel bed, Germany

In the heart of Ostbevern, Germany, beer lovers will think they've died and gone to heaven.

Weary travelers can lay their heads to rest in a bed carved out of a 19th century historic beer barrel at the Landhotel Beverland. The barrel comes from Pott’s, a local brewery, and was in use until 1995.

There are three beer barrel-themed rooms in the hotel, and while each room sleeps four, only one of the beds is a barrel, which can be used as a single or double bed. Be prepare for a coin toss over that one.

The room also has a 32-inch flat screen TV, DVD player, and free internet. For just 20 Euros hotel staff will serve you breakfast in bed—er, barrel. And if that wasn’t enough barrel for you, there is also a beer barrel sauna on the property that seats 12 people. Guests can use the sauna for 10 Euros, provided they don’t mind the smell of hops.

Beer Barrel Sauna, Inside and Outside

In addition to the beer barrel-themed rooms, the Landhotel Beverland has more than 60 other themed rooms, including the Mini Cooper room, the sailboat room, the Star Wars room, and the treehouse suite. Prices vary by room and can be booked on the hotel website or through Airbnb.

DON'T MISS: Now Tolkien Fans Can Check Into The Intricate 'Hobbit' Guest House In Montana

Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

This Instant Coffee Is Supposed To Ward Off The Flu


This is the Probiotic Instant Coffee from Tipton Mills.

Why We Love It: Probiotics are live microorganisms (like those commonly found in yogurt) that are said to battle bad bacteria in your body without harming beneficial bacteria. These tiny do-gooders are thought to be beneficial to digestion, as well as a possible preventative measure against contracting the common cold and flu by improving the body's immune system.

Marketed as the "world's first probiotic coffee," this Tipton Mills instant pack is said to support your digestive and immune health. Recommended to be taken with a balanced diet and lifestyle, the coffee is described by the company as a, "bold Colombian coffee with a complex identity. It's instant coffee that tastes freshly ground and brewed."

It comes in either a standard package of six coffee packets, or a bigger pack of 36.

Tipton Mills Probiotic Coffee

Where To Buy: Available through the Tipton Mills website.

Cost: $5.49 for a pack of 6, $32.49 for a pack of 36.

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

DON'T MISS: The BROpener Turns Any Surface Into A Bottle Opener

Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

This Couple Condensed Their Lives Into A 140-Square-Foot 'Tiny House'


chris malissa tack tiny house

Most couples who live together know that they can get on each others' nerves sometimes. Now imagine a situation where you and your partner are living together in just 140 square feet.

It's not for everyone, but Chris and Malissa Tack have made it work. They gave up their high-tech lives in 2011 and condensed their world into a "tiny house" in the town of Snohomish, Wash.

The Tacks say that living in such close quarters has actually made them more courteous to one another, they told the Huffington Post.

Chris now works as a photographer and Malissa as a freelance 3D artist. The couple shared some photos of their tiny living space, which they designed themselves.

The Tiny Tack House welcomes you with its rich, dark orange door.

The sitting nook is nestled right in front, sandwiched between two of the house's many windows.

Opposite the sitting nook is a large Mac screen. It can be used as a TV or, when you swing forward the table attached to a hinge on the wall underneath, a desktop computer.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

Everything You Want To Know About The Habits Of Business Travelers


When you're trying to secure a business deal and your client is in another location, you have to be ready to jump on a plane at a moment's notice to finalize the deal.

A new study from Expedia Media Solutions found that 69 percent of business travelers book their flights and hotels — usually luxury 5-star properties — less than three days before they travel.

Expedia Media Solutions studied the purchasing habits and travel patterns of business travelers. They looked at data measuring a business traveler’s occupation and household income, likelihood to drive a luxury car, and tendency to book trips to exotic locales like Dubai or Bangkok.

They found that the majority of business travelers work in the finance or advertising industries and tend to have a household income of more than $100,000. Business Travelers also like luxury cars; they are 38% more likely to buy an Infiniti, 27% more likely to buy an Audi or Land Rover and 23% more likely to buy a Mercedes compared to the average traveler. These travelers also traverse the world for business; the most popular cities for business travelers are Hong Kong, Florence, Mexico City, and Sydney.

See the infographic below for more information on the habits of business travelers.


Business travelers infographic, Expedia

SEE ALSO: These Are The Best Airlines For Leisure And Business Travel >

Please follow Getting There on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

Somehow Credit History Is No Longer A Taboo Topic For A First Date


date, dating, couple

A few years ago, credit scores were taboo. The idea that a credit score could be used for more than just determining qualification for a loan was at best unfair and at worst discriminatory. Employers in some circumstances can use credit scores or credit reports to determine whether to offer jobs to applicants. If you sign a credit authorization form, which some employers might imply or outright say is necessary to be considered, the company can use your credit against you.

Auto insurance companies can use credit scores to set your rate because they’ve found that there is a correlation between higher scores and safe driving. If you intend on renting an apartment, the landlord can choose to perform a background check, and credit history could be included. If there are red flags on your report, such as a history of being unable to pay rent, you could be denied the lease.

It’s clear that good credit is becoming more important in life. Credit scores and the quality of your credit histories determines not only the price of major borrowing needs, but whether you can live where you want, whether you can get the job you want, and the cost of required insurance. It’s no longer a mystery that companies evaluate the quality of an individual using their credit, and as a result, any one person might benefit from adding the credit score to their own list of filters for dealing with other people.

It’s getting harder to live a life without a credit score. It’s a noble goal to exist in modern society without taking on any debt and to try to stay off the credit grid. The need for credit permeates life now more than ever. It’s still possible to buy a house with cash, rent an apartment without a credit history, get a job with an employer who doesn’t perform a background check that includes a credit inquiry, or buy insurance without a credit score. But if you haven’t built up a credit history, it’s just another obstacle standing in your way, and can end up costing you more money.

People with poor credit histories, low scores, or no scores might be starting to find it more difficult to find long-lasting love. According to the New York Times, more people are adding credit scores to their social filters, as mentioned above. Credit quality has, in some cases, become the subject of first dates. It’s no surprise that a couple benefits in the long run when both members of the pair have solid approaches towards their finances. Money problems often come to light late in relationships, sometimes when couples are already married and beginning to combine their finances for the first time.

Asking about a credit score on the first date and using the credit score as a proxy for the quality of an attitude towards money and responsibility is one way to prevent reaching the point where the relationship has progressed too far. On one hand, discovering late that your partner does not share your responsible approach to money creates a challenge, that if overcome, could strengthen the relationship.

Then again, disagreements like these often represent a larger issue or disagreement about responsibility that might not easily be overcome. Using the credit score as part of early criteria would help prevent wasted time and effort on a relationship that might never work out. What’s my credit score.

With a responsible approach to handling personal finances, one should be able to expect that a partner has the same. There is room for different philosophies. Someone who identifies himself as a “saver” could have a positive, healthy, long-term relationship with someone who identifies herself as a “spender.” In some situations, one person’s strengths may complement another person weaknesses. If the underlying goals and philosophies are too disparate, it might cause tension and eventually dissolution.

The credit score is just one clue. A good credit score says someone has not made any grave financial missteps, while a bad credit score, by itself, is a little more ambiguous. It could mean someone has a record of bad financial habits. It could mean they’ve missed paying rent. It could mean they have more credit card debt than they can handle. But it could also mean they trusted a family member when co-signing a loan. There’s even the possibility that a family member used and destroyed their credit without their knowledge, and they were unable to work with the credit reporting agencies to change the report.

Your FICO score, or any one of the various numbers published and sold by credit reporting agencies, doesn’t contain any detail. That’s why background checks often contain more than just a credit score. Along those same lines, if you plan on discussing your financial situation with a potential future spouse, you might want to go deeper than the superficial number. It doesn’t make sense to waste time with someone with whom you won’t be compatible, but a credit score alone isn’t going to provide enough information to judge your financial compatibility.

While it might be more common to ask about your date’s financial situation at your first dinner, and I certainly understand why some would not want to waste any time beyond a first date in the search for a match in love, I tend to think it’s best to leave the discussion about finances until a later date, unless the situation calls for it specifically. Personally, I wouldn’t take a first date to a real estate investing sales pitch, but if there’s any time it’s appropriate to ask someone you just met about their credit score, that might be it.

Your credit score is shorthand, and people may judge you incorrectly based on your score, whether it’s low or it’s high. There’s often a story to tell, and while it might be an entertaining story for a first date, you might want to find other areas in which you’re incompatible before releasing a love interest from your life due to his score of 650 compared to your 790.

If you’re the one who feels the need to improve your credit score to make yourself more appealing to the pool of available partners with increasing demands, here are some tips for increasing and improving your credit score. You can check your credit score here.

SEE ALSO: 13 money lies you should stop telling yourself by age 30 >

Please follow Your Money on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

Now We Know Who Dropped A Record $75 Million On Howard Marks' Malibu Estate


james jannard

Last week, we learned that legendary investment manager and Oaktree Capital chairman Howard Markshad sold his 9.5-acre estate in Malibu for $75 million, a record price for the beachfront city.

At the time, it was reported that an unnamed Russian billionaire couple had picked up the estate, which had been quietly shopped around for $125 million.

Now, celebrity real estate blogger The Real Estalker says that the buyer was actually James Jannard, founder of eyeglass and apparel maker Oakley Inc., citing sources familiar with the sale. Jannard sold his company in 2007 for more than $2 billion.

He now runs RED, a manufacturer of digital movie cameras.

Brokers told the WSJ it was the second most expensive residential real estate sale in Southern California, behind the $85 million sale of the Spelling Manor to Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone last year. The property has 300 feet of beach frontage, as well as two guest houses and a gym.

Marks and his wife Nancy bought the estate in 2002 from the estate of late Herbalife founder Mark Hughes for $31 million.

If you're itching to know what the estate looks like, you can see some interior photos on the website of architecture firm Ferguson & Shamamian (via Homes of the Rich).

SEE ALSO: The 20 Most Expensive Homes Sold In 2012

Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

Brazilian Bikini Waxes Blamed For Near Extinction Of Pubic Lice



Pity the poor pubic louse. Every few years, a story comes along predicting its demise, most recently a Bloomberg article that blames the increasing number of women – and men – who remove their pubic hair. Think of it as deforestation on a massive, global scale.

It wasn't much different in 2006, when doctors Nicola Armstrong and Janet Wilson, two sexual health specialists, in a letter titled "Did the Brazilian kill the pubic louse?", raised the possible link between the decreasing number of people coming to their clinics with public lice, and increase in the number with shaved, trimmed or waxed pubic hair. Where does this leave the woman who has so far resisted all patriarchal and capitalist pressures to wax her bits until they resemble a child's, but would like to do her bit for parasite annihilation? Tricky.

The problem with all such reports is data. Armstrong and Wilson acknowledged their study had "many important methodological flaws", such as not studying pubic-hair removal rates, and whether people with pubic lice were finding it hard to get appointments. (They also didn't mention the possibility that people are self-medicating with over-the-counter products rather than going to an STD clinic.) Reliable figures elsewhere are non-existent – a spokesperson for the Health Protection Agency says, rather aptly: "We don't have anything in that area."

Bloomberg quoted doctors who have gone years without seeing a case of pubic lice, and in the UK doctors are reporting seeing fewer cases: Peter Greenhouse, a consultant in sexual health in Bristol says "I've probably gone about six months without seeing a person with pubic lice; 20 years ago, we would have seen several a week". But doctors in other areas of the country don't believe they are really declining. "I have seen a change in people's pubic-hair grooming practices," says Dr Claudia Estcourt, consultant in sexual health at Barts and the London NHS trust. "But in terms of pubic lice we've still got a problem and I'm not sure we're seeing fewer cases. We're also facing problems in lice becoming resistant to some of the treatments available."

Ian Burgess, entomologist and director of the Medical Entomology Centre, who was also quoted in the Bloomberg piece, admits data is scarce. Even back in the hirsute 70s, when researching the insects, he had an arrangement with several STI clinics to collect samples (although he says people would often remove any lice they could find before they even went to the clinic), the prevalence "was considered low even then". If there is any truth in the extinction of the pubic louse, is the trend for removing some, or all, pubic hair to blame? "It will certainly contribute," he says. Will they ever become extinct? It's possible, he says. Young adults have always mainly been at risk, "and if that particular group change their sexual habits or their hygiene habits such that you eliminate large parts of the population from the risks of infestation, then they go. Obviously, that has to happen worldwide."

One naturalist, Kees Moeliker, writer and curator at the Rotterdam Natural History museum, was worried enough by the 2006 report that he started collecting lice. "I wanted to have the last specimen for the museum," he says. On a trip to the UK to give some lectures, he called on the British people to donate their pubic lice. Sadly, nobody did, "but here in the Netherlands, over the course of the years I have built up a nice collection. It's part of the collection now, just like all of the other little creatures we collect." He says he won't mourn Pthirus pubis if it ever does become extinct, but he uses their plight to "make people aware of biodiversity and problems of habitat destruction".

This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk

Please follow Science on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

McDonald’s Puts A Baguette Sandwich On Its French Menu


baguette, bread, bakery Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- McDonald’s Corp. has put a baguette sandwich on its menu in France in an attempt to appeal to local tastes, and it has won the approval of a veteran French chef.

“I’m lovin’ it,” Pierre Koffmann said after tasting for Bloomberg Television at a McDonald’s on Rue de Rivoli, in Paris. “If I was hungry walking by, I’d buy it with pleasure.”

“The garnish is good: There’s plenty of salad and plenty of everything. The bread isn’t a pure baguette because this one is shorter, but it’s good bread. Not the top bread in Paris but it’s good. I’m not disappointed by it,” said Koffmann, who held three Michelin stars at La Tante Claire in London in the 1990s.

McDonald’s effort to cater to the local palette coincides with a French economic slump and a 13-year-high unemployment rate that’s driving more of the country’s citizens to throw their culinary pride to the wind and embrace fastfood offerings. France is Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s most profitable market after the U.S., with 1,228 outlets in 934 towns, 4.2 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in 2011 sales and 66,000 employees.

“We are looking for a balance between our DNA, our roots, and points of local reference,” Nawfal Trabelsi, chief marketing officer of McDonald’s France, said in an interview. “Local reference is a path that has to follow certain steps.”

More Garnish

The McBaguette features ham, cheese and potato, topped with lettuce and mayonnaise. It costs 4.50 euros with a drink. (There are also chicken & pepper and spicy-beef options.) It appears on a new “Casse-Croute” menu after being tested last year. Casse- croute is the French expression for grabbing a lunch sandwich.

Koffmann preferred it to a baguette from a local baker.

“I’ll go with McDonald’s,” Koffmann said. “The garnish is better. This other one was probably made this morning at 6. It looks better, with good-quality bread, but McDonald’s has a lot more garnish. The McDonald’s is warm. Bread is always better warm. It’s a trick, but McDonald’s is doing the trick.”

Not everyone is a fan of the McBaguette. Lionel Picot, a baker at Boulangerie Julien -- which has won the “Meilleure Baguette de Paris,” or the “best baguette in Paris,” award -- says McDonald’s is misusing traditional French fare.

“A baguette is long: It’s not this,” he said in an interview. “It should be forbidden. It’s unbearable that they were allowed to use the word baguette. It’s not real baguettes they use, so using the word is terrible.”

Going Local

Picot joins those who in the past have complained about the growing reach of McDonald’s in France. Jose Bove -- an activist farmer who ran for president in 2007 -- famously accused McDonald’s of serving up “malbouffe,” or junk food.

Picot, whose bakery sells baguettes said McDonald’s shouldn’t be allowed to co-opt the term baguette.

“We try to keep the artisanal side and these people use everything without asking anyone,” he said. “They would probably sue us for a small thing if we used something from them, but we let them do whatever they want here. It’s not normal.”

McDonald’s sees it as an attempt to go local.

“People come to McDonald’s mainly for the slice of America they can get out of it and as you grow in a country, you are expected by people to start proposing proof points of local relevance,” said Trabelsi. “We’ve been on this journey now for 10 years, by changing the decor, by extending or adapting the offerings, and the baguette comes as a symbol of French culture at the right time.”

Familiar Fare

Koffmann, 64, agrees.

“If I come to McDonald’s, I know what I will get,” he said. “I will have it today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, I’ll have the same. If you go to a fantastic baker, it will be my first choice, of course, but there are a lot of rubbish bakers, too.”

Koffmann was born in Tarbes, southwest France, and traveled to England in 1970 to watch France play rugby. He never returned, cooking at Le Gavroche before becoming head chef in 1972 at the Waterside Inn, which holds three Michelin stars. He won three stars of his own at La Tante Claire in London. He now cooks at Koffmann’s at the Berkeley Hotel in London.

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)


Muse highlights include Scott Reyburn on the art market and Ryan Sutton on New York restaurants.


--Editors: Vidya Root, Mark Beech.


To contact the writer on the story: Richard Vines in Paris at rvines@bloomberg.net or . twitter.com/Richardvines


To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vidya Root at vroot@bloomberg.net; Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net

Please follow Retail on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

The Best Food Tours Around The World This Year


spices india micato safaris

When Tiffany Sommer began organizing a group trip to India this past October, she knew that the focus had to be on food.

“Food in India is such an enormous part of daily life,” says the Utah-based corporate-event planner. “Families spend hours a day preparing dishes and eating together…the colors and the smells of cooking are just everywhere.”

Jump ahead to see these exotic food tours >

Consequently, she made sure that the bespoke itinerary organized for her by Micato Safaris included such memorable food experiences as cooking demonstrations, trips to local spice markets and meals that showcased chefs’ distinct regional specialties.

“It was a full sensory experience,” Sommer says of the culinary forays. “I know we all came away with a deeper appreciation of where we’d been.”

Many travelers already understand that cuisine provides a particularly vivid peek into the inner workings of a culture. More and more, however, tour operators are offering trips that specifically cater to their guests’ desire to taste—and cook—their way through a destination. These newer excursions go far beyond familiar gastronomic pilgrimages to Tuscany.

Hungry globetrotters are keen to visit goat-cheese producers in Iceland, with the likes of food writer and chef Jody Eddy; sample street food in Vietnam on a trip with Artisans of Leisure; or press their own olive oil in Egypt during a journey with Backpacker Concierge.

“Even people who eat adventurously at home find that their experience is completely different” when traveling to a cuisine’s native country, says Marion Miller, Micato’s director of operations. “Ordering a dish in an Indian restaurant is one thing…but going into an actual kitchen in India, seeing all the steps that go into creating that dish, smelling the aromas and then sitting down to enjoy it with, say, a view over the Taj Mahal—that elevates eating to a new level.”

See the exotic food tours >

More from Departures:

A Taste Of Ancient Greek Food >

Top American Chocolate Tours >

World's Most Bikeable Wine Regions >

Top How-To Vacations >

Artisans of Leisure, Vietnam

Following the S-shape curve of the country from north to south, Artisans of Leisure’s private, custom Vietnam for Foodies tours take in both cultural and gustatory attractions along the way.

Trips start in Hanoi, where guests explore the city’s famed markets, colonial architecture, historical sites and French-influenced restaurants. Next they hop on a traditional junk for a sail across Halong Bay, whose waters teem with prawns, oysters, squid and snapper that are staples of the local cuisine.

Visits to the former imperial city of Hue, a vegetarian Buddhist monastery and the herb farms around Hoi An follow (participants pick lemongrass, basil and cilantro and use them to make fresh spring rolls).

The final stop, in Saigon, includes both chef-led cooking classes and a street-food tour—and boundless opportunities for trying snacks like banh mi, pho (spicy noodle soup), goi du du (green papaya salad) and banh xeo (rice pancakes with pork and shrimp).

11-day trips (by appointment), from $6,810; 800-214-8144; artisansofleisure.com.

Austin-Lehman Adventures, Athens and the Cyclades

Travelers who envision Greece as a never-ending series of secluded beaches, ancient ruins and whitewashed fishing villages won’t be disappointed here.

The weeklong itinerary manages to fold in all the can’t-miss sights: the Parthenon in Athens, the sparkling shores of Santorini, the cerulean lagoons of Antiparos, the ever-photogenic sugar-cube buildings of Mykonos. But it also provides an in-depth appreciation for the food and flavors of the region.

Guests make visits to groves and farms where they can sample local produce like honey, olive oil, feta and graviera (a sheep’s-milk cheese).

They also take cooking classes—sometimes in the island homes of local chefs—and learn to prepare local dishes like revythada (slow-cooked chickpea stew), domatokeftedes (tomato fritters) and tsipoura (fresh-caught sea bream).

8-day trips (May–October 2013 departures), from $5,298; 800-575-1540; austinlehman.com.

Backpacker Concierge, Egypt

Daydreams of an Egyptian holiday usually include lots of stock imagery: the soaring pyramids and Great Sphinx at Giza; the riotous, colorful crowds of the market stalls at Cairo’s Khan al Khalili.

But until recently most travelers haven’t wondered much about the flavors of this desert country—a situation Backpacker Concierge aims to change with its new bespoke culinary excursions there.

While guests on the tours can see all the quintessential Egyptian sights, they also partake in some truly unusual gastronomic experiences, including touring the country’s little-known northern wineries; learning to make Egyptian specialties like mahshy (stuffed zucchini and cabbage leaves) and duqqa (roasted ground hazelnuts and spices) in a local chef’s home kitchen; and, in the remote village of Siwa, pressing olive oil and making date honey by hand.

7-day trips (by appointment), from $1,700; 248-507-4666; backpackerconcierge.com.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

The 20 Best Hotels In America, According To Travelers


Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, luxury hotel, Hawaii

Hawaii is the ultimate dream vacation for many Americans, and part of what makes it such an extraordinary destination are its incredible luxury hotels.

TripAdvisor has just released the results of its annual Travelers' Choice awards, which rank hotels around the globe based on reviews submitted by millions of the website's members.

We looked at the top 20 hotels in the U.S., and were not surprised to find that hotels in Hawaii nabbed the top spots on the list. In fact, the number one hotel in both the U.S. and the world is the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu, according to TripAdvisor users.

#20 Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

#19 Koa Kea Hotel & Resort, Poipu, Hawaii

#18 Tivoli Lodge, Vail, Colorado

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

Architect Frank Gehry Is Still Obsessed With Fish


Frank Gehry — one of the most celebrated and prolific architects living today — has a thing for fish. He's been quoted as saying, "The fish is a perfect form," and previously devoted an entire gallery to showcasing hollow Fish Lamps he created himself back in 1984.

And now he's doing it again in two brand new Fish Lamp exhibits that are concurrently on display in Larry Gagosian's Los Angeles and Paris galleries.

For the latest exhibit, Gehry decided to create a brand new group of Fish Lamps rather than re-display the 1984 originals. The sculptures range from life-size to out-size, and use ColorCore, a type of material used for outdoor signs, for the jagged scales attached to the wire-molded fish frame.

The designs are whimsical, sometimes arranged individually or in groupings of two or three, and the softly-lit fish seem to swim throughout the Gehry-designed gallery layout.

The joint exhibit will run until February 14, 2013 in LA, and March 9 in Paris. See preview images for the Fish Lamps below.

Frank Gehry Fish


Frank Gehry Fish


DON'T MISS: Frank Gehry's Undulating NYC Highrise Was Just Named The World's Best New Skyscraper

Please follow The Life on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

Browsing All 49095 Browse Latest View Live