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The 10 Most Expensive Neighborhoods In New York City

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Two Brooklyn neighborhoods have made it onto a list of the 10 most expensive neighborhoods in New York City released by real estate listing website PropertyShark.com.

Dumbo, which ranked fourth in median home sale prices last year, had the ninth-highest median sale price in 2012, at $869,259. And Boerum Hill, where prices have risen significantly in the past several years, ranked sixth on this year's list, with a median sale price of $950,000.

Manhattan neighborhoods remained firmly at the top of the list: the median sale price in two neighborhoods, SoHo and TriBeCa, topped $2 million.

Check out the top 10 from PropertyShark:

most expensive neighborhoods chart

 

housing

SEE ALSO: Take A Tour Of The Most Expensive Zip Code In America

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This Outrageous Million-Dollar Car Is Targeted At Rich Chinese People

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dartz black snake

China's Year of the Snake starts on February 10, and Latvia's coolest automaker is jumping at the chance to make some money with a ride made for the Chinese elite.

The Black Snake from Dartz is a highly customized version of a Mercedes GL 63 AMG, packed with luxury features rarely seen in any kind of vehicle: leather made from ostrich and crocodile, a hood ornament covered in diamonds, exotic wood paneling, and more.

The Black Snake goes on sale in China at the end of January, for a whopping $1 million.

The engine from the Mercedes GL 63 AMG is a 5.5 liter twin turbo V8 that produces 557 horsepower.



It's strange that the diamond-covered hood ornament (in the model's hand) from Russian jeweler Smolensk Kristall is optional: Everything in a million-dollar car should come standard.



After getting in trouble for offering leather made from whale penis a few years ago, Dartz is bringing the material back for the Black Snake, but it's not clear if it's real or fake.

[Source: Complex]



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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New York Fashion Week Is Quickly Losing Influence

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New York fashion week

New York Fashion Week is losing footing as the industry's top event. 

Many designers are boycotting the show in favor of cheaper alternatives, reports Christina Binkley at The Wall Street Journal.

While more than 280 designers are still participating in Fashion Week, many are large corporations rather than high fashion labels, Binkley wrote. 

Among those snubbing the show are hot designers like Joy Cioci, Nary Manivong and Yoana Baraschi. 

The cost of the putting on a show during Fashion Week costs a minimum of six figures, and in the millions for the largest brands, according to the WSJ

The jam-packed schedule also causes conflicts with designers, who often scout out the same high-caliber models and stylists.

It's virtually impossible for the press to cover every show, making less expensive alternatives like YouTube or style.com videos a safer bet. 

"There are so many ways to communicate fashion today," Tom Florio, a former publisher at Vogue, told WSJ. "You don't necessarily have to tell that story on the runway anymore."

SEE ALSO: The 10 Craziest Looks From Paris Fashion Week >

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It Costs Millions Of Dollars To Live Like Scott Disick

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Scott Disick Kourtney Kardashian

Reality TV star Scott Disick may wake up with a shower and end the day with "Seinfeld" re-runs like the rest of us, but in between those two activities he leads a multi-million dollar life of luxury.

The three cars he chooses between to drive every day alone cost $1,200,000. Add another million for the watch around his wrist, not to mention his dapper, designer wardrobe.

Disick recently opened up to Haute Living magazine to reveal his pricey daily routine. Some highlights:

10:30 AM: I moisturize with Crème de la Mer. [which retails for $150 an ounce.]

11 AM: I prepare an outfit with a fine luxurious blend of the best fabrics out there on the market today, a bespoke suit from Savile Row or Tom Ford. [Tom Ford suit are sold for around $5,000.]

11:45 AM: I choose an important shoe to go with the outfit. [Designer loafers from Neiman Marcus can be priced up to $2,350.]

Patek Philippe watches12 PM: My biggest choice of the day is the wristwatch. If the day is professional ... a Patek Philippe. If my day seems more relaxed I will just wear a Rolex. If I know I have an event to go to and I want to be a little flashy I will wear one of my completely flawless diamond Jacob and Co. watches. [A Patek Philippe watch can cost anywhere from $25K - $11 million!]

Rolls Royce Drophead Coupe12:30 PM: Another hard decision comes to hand: picking the right vehicle for the day. If it’s a nice day and the sun is out, I will take my Rolls Royce Drophead Convertible. If I’m in a sportier mood, I will take my 458 Ferrari. But if I’m just looking to lay back and enjoy my day, I will take my Bentley Mulsanne. [A 2013 Rolls Royce Phantom drophead coupe convertible will put you back nearly $500K, 458 Ferrari nearly $300K and the Bentley Mulsanne nearly $400K — that's $1,200,000!]

1-6 PM: Most of my work is done on the phone ... I’m sure a lot of people have no idea what it is that I do. The truth is I work in various industries. I have done a lot of private label manufacturing in the nutrition biz and have raised money for startup companies. I tend to invest money into nightlife businesses the friends of mine that are involved in nightclubs and what not.

Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse7 PM: I have dinner with my family. [A steak dinner at an L.A. hotspot like BOA, which Disick frequents, costs at least $40 — just for an entrée.]

10 PM: Every night I unwind by watching old reruns of “Seinfeld.” [Priceless.]

To read Disick's full daily itinerary, check out the Haute Living article here >

SEE ALSO: Young Scott Disick was a book cover model >

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Here's Where Americans Spend Their Money

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fast food line wide tout

Last year, Americans spent $10.7 trillion shopping.

With that much dough, you could buy over 2,000 aircraft carriers, 300 private islands, and still have money left over for a latte.

Here’s a taste of the things we bought—and how much we spent on them.

Beer: $96 billion—enough to make 199,937,239 barrels! (Brewers Association)



Pretzels: $550 million (Reuters)



Bottled Water: $11 billion (Beverage Marketing Corp.)



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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These Hand-Painted Chocolates Are A Sweet Gift For Your Valentine

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This is the Bee My Lovebug chocolate package from John & Kira's.

Why We Love It: These chocolates are hand-painted to look like bumblebees and ladybugs, and are a good idea for a last-minute Valentine's Day gift. The bee chocolates are filled with salted caramel with a touch of honey, and the ladybugs have a creamy, 64% chocolate ganache center. The packaging comes with a letter pressed card, and under each chocolate are short little facts about bees and ladybugs.

John and Kira get all their ingredients from sustainable artisanal food growers in their Philadelphia area. Everything from the honey to their cacao nibs come from local producers and farmers.

John & Kira's chocolates

 

John & Kira's chocolates

Where To Buy: Through the John & Kira's website

Cost: $29 for 9, $42 for 16.

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: The Ultimate Cookbook For Meat Lovers

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This Underground Fight Night Is The Most Intense Competition In New York

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When you step into the large, dark basement hall where Friday Night Fights are held in New York City, you immediately feel the energy in the room.

Fighters and fans alike roam through the informal setting, but the big ring, the blasting music, and the ice cold beer remind you this is no amateur production.

Since 1997, Friday Night Fights (FNF) has been putting on Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts events in the Northeast for years, but in 2011 it decided to focus exclusively on Muay Thai kickboxing events.

Once a month in New York City, they organize their namesake production, Friday Night Fights, one of the more incredible spectacles on offer in the city. 

Muay Thai is a form of martial arts from Thailand, known as "the art of eight limbs" (or weapons) because fighters can utilize punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes, providing eight different points of contact.

Unlike Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), which is illegal in New York State, Muay Thai competitors cannot grapple on the ground but must stay upright and fighting throughout the match.

Mixed Martial Arts has been steadily growing as a popular form of entertainment, particularly with brands like Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Justin Blair, president of FNF, told Business Insider that as a result of MMA's rise in popularity, Muay Thai, which can be more palatable to some fans, has great potential to gain audience.

Friday Night Fights events feature amateurs and pros, with about 10-15 matches per event  – two or more being of professional bouts. More often than not, even the pros are not full-time Muay Thai boxers and have side jobs ranging from martial arts instructors to engineers. There are even some prominent bankers among the fighters.

We attended the league's opening event for the 2013 season in January to see what the fights and the fighters are all about:

 

Produced by Business Insider Video

SEE ALSO: The Boxing Gym That Trained Mike Tyson And Muhammad Ali Is Where Wall Street Now Goes To Blow Off Steam

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Grand Central Will Celebrate Its Centennial By Returning To 1913 Prices

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grand central terminal exterior

To celebrate its 100th birthday, Grand Central Terminal restaurants and shops are having a crazy discount tomorrow.

Participating retailers will be rolling their 2013 prices all the way back to 1913 costs on February 1st, which means if you stop by the station, you could get a 10¢ shoe shine or a loaf of rye bread for 6¢. (Unfortunately, the trains will still cost the same.)

That won't be the only way the transportation hub will be celebrating. There will also be a Rededication Ceremony that day with Cynthia Nixon, Caroline Kennedy, and the Vanderbilt family, as well as music performances in the station by the Grammy Award-winning big band Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.

The terminal will also have a slew of other celebratory specials and parties throughout its centennial year, which will be posted on the Grand Central's website.

The station opened officially to the public at midnight on February 2 in 1913, with more than 150,000 people in attendance to see the city's newest landmark. The New York Times even wrote of the day that, "Railroad men viewed the scene with amazement, saying that never before had the public been known to take such a keen interest in the opening of a railroad terminal."

Here's the full list of the 1913 pricing rollbacks and participating stores (via the Gothamist).

  • 19¢ ea. shrimp, 13¢ ea. mussels, 13¢ ea. clams at Pescatore
  • 10¢ for a side of french fries at Tri Tip Grill *From 11am-3pm
  • 5¢ small drip hot coffee at Financier Patisserie *Starting at 12 pm. Limit one per customer
  • 10¢ shoe shine at Leather Spa
  • 10¢ nylon watch straps from Central Watch *Limited to first 500 customers. Limit one per customer
  • 25¢ piece of Legendary Fudge at Li-Lac Chocolates *Limit one per customer
  • 19¢ slice of cheesecake at the Oyster Bar & Restaurant *Dine-in only
  • 10¢ for bambini scoop of gelato or sorbet at Ciao Bella
  • $2 for 100% silk scarves (unisex) at TOTO
  • 6¢ loaf of rye bread at Zaro’s Bakery * Shuttle Passage and Grand Central Market locations only. Limit one per customer
  • 75¢ Adirondack cocktail at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C.
  • 5¢ 1lb box of pasta with purchase of a Ceriello Sauce at Ceriello Fine Foods *until 4pm

DON'T MISS: Amazing Pictures Of Grand Central Terminal From The Early 1900s

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Skip The Hike And Take A Luxury Train Straight To Machu Picchu

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hiram bingham macchu pichu train

The ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu in the mountains of Peru is one of the most famous tourist attractions in South America.

But getting there can be difficult. Some tourists spend days walking to Inca Trail to arrive at the site. Others travel by bus.

For those looking for something a little more comfortable  and who have some money to spend  there's another option: the luxury Orient-Express Hiram Bingham train from Cuzco to Machu Picchu.

The 6-hour round trip can be done as a day excursion or overnight stay, and includes on-board meals, guides, and entrance fee to the sanctuary. Round-trip tickets are $754 in the high season and $737 in the low season.

The train departs from a station outside Cuzco around 9 a.m., six days a week.



From there, it's a 3.5-hour ride to Machu Picchu station, where visitors can board a bus to the ancient site.



The train route traverses the Sacred Valley of the Incas along the Urubamba River, passing ancient ruins and fortresses.



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Deron Williams Bought An Incredible Tribeca Penthouse For $15.8 Million

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deron williams tribeca penthouse

Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams has purchased a posh penthouse in Tribeca for $15.8 million, according to the New York Post.

The penthouse, which was listed with Douglas Elliman, is 6,800 square feet, has six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a wine cellar, a restaurant-grade kitchen, and best of all, 3,000 square feet of outdoor space.

It's a really beautiful place with floor to ceiling windows.

The 3,000 square feet of outdoor space is the best part about this penthouse



You don't get this a lot in NYC



Another view of the outside



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A Must-See For Serious Whiskey Drinkers

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Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel
is the art of distilling mastered. Only 1% of our whiskey makes the cut and is given the Single Barrel name. Single Barrel is a higher whiskey calling, because it is matured in the highest reaches of our barrelhouse and the angels are always happy with their share of our whiskey. Why not demand our Master Distiller’s masterpiece. It’s an experience that’s one-of-a-kind, just like the barrel itself. For more information on the Buy the Barrel Program, fill out our Inquiry Form or call us at 1-888-551-JACK (5225). Your friends at Jack Daniel's remind you to drink responsibly. JACK DANIEL'S and OLD NO. 7 are registered trademarks.

Jack Daniel's wide

©2012 Jack Daniel’s.Tenn Whsky 40% Alc/Vol (80 proof).JACK DANIEL DISTILLERY, Lynchburg,Tenn.

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How Living In A City Rewires Your Brain

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City life requires a lot of attention. Navigating a busy sidewalk while processing loud storefronts and avoiding rogue pigeons may feel like second-nature at times, but it's actually quite a bit of work for the human brain.

Psychologists do know that quick walks through the park can restore our focus, but they're still getting a handle on just what urbanization means for human cognition.

A new series of behavioral studies offers some of the richest evidence to date on the mental exhaustion of urban living. In an upcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, a group of British psychologists reports that people who live in cities show diminished powers of general attention compared to people from remote areas. With so much going on around them, urbanites don't pay much attention to surroundings unless they're highly engaging.

Instead, as the researchers put it, city dwellers have developed a form of attention that puts priority on "the search for potential dangers or new opportunities":

While reduced attentional engagement may be advantageous in high-demanding urban scenarios, it comes at the cost of a generally reduced level of attentional selectivity.

The research team from Goldsmiths' College, part of the University of London system, conducted their studies with a unique population: the Himba people of Namibia. Some Himba remain traditional cattle herders, while others now lead a "largely Western existence" in the nearby town of Opuwo. The scenario created a rare opportunity to examine the urban-rural psychological divide in raw form.

(To be sure their findings had broader relevance, the researchers also ran some tests with Londoners and found the two types of urban brains to be similar.)

In one experiment, the researchers gave the Himba a basic spatial attention task. The study participants identified a target (in this case, arrows pointing a certain way) on a visual screen filled with other distractors (arrows pointing other ways). The traditional Himba, living in remote regions, showed more focused attention during the task than the city Himba did. The poor performance held for all urbanites — those born in the city as well as those who'd moved there later in life.

In a second test, the researchers found they could overload the brains of rural Himba so they'd perform like urban Himba. This time test participants repeated the spatial task but also had to juggle a working memory task (e.g. remembering several numbers) in between trials. With this additional distraction on their minds (known as "cognitive load"), rural Himba had the same reduced focus that city Himba had shown in the initial experiment.

"Indeed, the effect of cognitive load was indistinguishable from the effect of urbanization," the researchers report.

After a few more experiments the researchers formulated a theory about what's happening here. They don't think city life actually depletes one's powers of attention. (That's because, on one test of straight working memory, city Himba scored higher than rural Himba.) Instead, they suspect that city attention only becomes engaged when people cross paths with something especially worthy of notice. (On other tests, city Himba did show the same focus as rural Himba when they looked at highly engaging stimuli, like faces.)

So a quick summary, for those readers on the verge of losing focus: the brains of people in remote places seem ready to focus on the task at hand, while the brains of their urban counterparts seem prepared to explore the ever-changing conditions of city life. Certainly explains why some country folk find the city overwhelming, and some city folk find the country a little dull. Nothing personal — strictly neural.

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Business Insider Is Still Looking For A Few Paid Interns This Winter

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business insider, bi, dng

Business Insider is still on the hunt for a few paid interns to join our editorial team this winter -- specifically for our lists and rankings, lifestyle, and entertainment sections.

Don't be dismayed by the term "intern." At Business Insider, there's no getting coffee or making copies.

Our interns spend their time doing meaningful work: researching, writing, pitching and producing features -- even breaking news if the timing's right.

Interns are encouraged to work full-time if their schedule allows. We do require 3 days a week minimum.

Other perks? We have lots of free snacks, and a ping-pong table where we hold quarterly tournaments.

When it comes to qualifications, a journalism background always helps, as do copy-editing skills and light HTML and Photoshop experience. Knowledge of social media and previous writing experience are both useful, too.

Please send your resume and three writing clips to jliebman@businessinsider.com. Please describe which BI section(s) interest you most and why. And, please note: this internship requires that you work in our Manhattan office.

Interested in a journalism internship but have never heard of Business Insider? Here's some reading on our company and where we're headed. Here's another article on our latest round of financing.

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Russian Billionaire Sues Over Construction At His Time Warner Center Apartment

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time warner center

A Russian lawmaker and billionaire mogul is suing the Manhattan contractor he alleges overbilled him for work done to his Time Warner Center apartment.

Vitaly Malkin is also contending that the firm, Katselnik & Katselnik Group, tried to extort a multimillion-dollar contract to build out the space after the Russian senator decided to go with another contractor for subsequent work.

The $600,000 suit, filed Jan. 25 in New York State Supreme Court, states that Malkin hired the contractor to serve as his pre-construction manager — overseeing the initial demolition at the 3,200-square-foot duplex on the building’s 74th and 75th floors.

K&K, a boutique firm specializing in interior construction, has done work at venues such as Harry Cipriani restaurant, Barclays Bank and Aspen Fitness Center.

The complaint alleges that the firm put a $170,000 lien on Malkin’s apartment after performing unauthorized work and overbilling at the site, but offered a deal to make the lien ‘go away’ if Malkin granted K&K the lucrative renovation contract.

“They were acting as our New York rep in connection with this project,” said Joshua Bernstein, a partner at Pryor Cashman and attorney for Malkin. “What we allege in that K&K, seeking an opportunity to make money off a wealthy foreign investor, took advantage of the confidence that had been reposed of him.”

Jeffrey Rea, attorney for K&K said he does not comment on civil litigation. K&K officials were not immediately available for comment.

Malkin originally acquired the property in August 2010, with records filed with the city Department of Finance showing the purchase price at more than $15.6 million. Malkin hired K&K in March 2011 to   handle demolition work and by May 2011, and retained the firm as its pre-construction manager.

In October 2011, K&K hired CCS Architecture to design the new interior; however by March 2012, K&K offered to become the general contractor on the renovation. Malkin and K&K were unable to come to an agreement on the terms of the contract, according to court filings. “Their prices were out of whack and they had demands that we were not willing to meet,” Bernstein told The Real Deal.

The complaint states that among its demands, K&K asked Malkin to deposit the entire construction amount into a domestic escrow account. A new invoice was sent on May 30 for $170,000 for a range of construction services, including electrical, carpentry, HVAC, dry-walling and other services that the complaint says were never authorized. The complaint said Malkin contacted one contractor, New York Cooling Towers, and was told an invoice for $27,500 was actually for $10,500 worth of work and that K&K was overbilling. K&K then filed the $170,000 lien in August 2012, which is being litigated in a separate case.

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Learn How To Make Paula Deen's Super-Simple Buffalo Wings

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Paula Deen Buffalo Wings

Oh, Paula Deen — it's unsurprising that the maker of the chocolate pizza, butter cake ice cream, and Krispy Kreme pudding would also have a recipe for some killer buffalo wings.

But what is surprising about the recipe is that it only takes 20 minutes to make (including 10 minutes of prep time), and has a total of only five ingredients.

We found an old Food Network video of the recipe and the nearly-unrecognizable Southern cook and broke it down here. No matter your opinion on last year's controversy over Deen keeping her type 2 diabetes diagnosis under wraps, these wings are worth trying for yourself perhaps on Super Bowl Sunday.

Get 12 disjointed chicken wings. Paula used drumsticks and wings.



Pat them dry with a towel — you don't want any water residue before you fry them.



Lightly salt the chicken wings.



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15 Clever And Low-Cost Ways To Spruce Up Your Home

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color-coded bookshelves

Got the itch to make some changes around the house? Before you head out shopping or hit the online stores, why not first see what can be done with what you have?

Sometimes all it takes is a bit of inspiration to see your space with fresh eyes.

Let these 15 ideas spark your imagination and motivate you to see your own space anew.

More from Houzz:

146,076 Living Design Photos

57,787 Bedroom Design Photos

Get Inspired by Accessories and Decor Products

Find a Designer in Your Area

1. Frame illustrations from a book or magazine.

Art magazines and vintage books are great sources of frameworthy illustrations — just cut pages out neatly and pop them into any blank frame you have lying around.

Once I framed a whole series of '70s surfing photos from a feature in The Surfer's Journal (a particularly artsy surfing mag) for a cool retro take on the beach theme.

Look through your stacks with a fresh eye; you never know what you may find.



2. Repurpose fabric remnants as art.

If you do any sewing or crafting, I am willing to bet you have some pretty fabric pieces in your stash, just waiting for the right home.

Stretch a larger piece over a blank canvas, cut a piece to fit in an embroidery hoop or place a small swatch in a frame.

3. Use vases to display jewelry.

Instead of hiding extra vases in a cupboard (which is probably overcrowded as it is), put them to work displaying your favorite necklaces and bracelets atop your dresser. So easy!



4. Use your throws in a fresh way.

Instead of always folding them at the foot of the bed or over the arm of a chair, try using your throws to change the look of your furniture with a bit of strategic folding and tucking.

Try wrapping the loose cushion of your sofa with a throw, or lay a throw folded in thirds across the back and seat of an armchair, as shown here.



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Tumi's New Travel Collection Will Keep You Safe From Electronic Pickpockets

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This is the TICON Collection from the travel brand Tumi.

Why We Love It: Identity thieves have gotten extremely good at what they do — especially when it comes to stealing someone's private information via radio frequency technology. And despite technological advances and safeguards, electronic pick-pocketing is still a major problem.

So the travel accessories brand Tumi created a specially-constructed pocket to store your valuables in. The ID LOCK has metal threads woven into the red lining material of the pocket which repel radio frequency identification signals to shield your credit cards and passports.

ID Lock Tumi

 

ID Lock Tumi

Where To Buy: Collection will be available online and in Tumi stores in mid-February 2013.

Cost: Prices will range between $225 and $1,495.

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:  These Hand-Painted Chocolates Are A Sweet Gift For Your Valentine

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Taiwan's First Barbie Cafe Is Open For Business

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barbie cafe taiwanThe first Barbie-themed restaurant has opened in Taiwan, where Barbie dolls were originally manufactured.

Barbie has inspired many things in her 54-year existence: little girls’ imaginations, artwork and feminist ire among them. Now Barbie Cafe, a restaurant dedicated to the doll, has opened in Taiwan and it’s as pink and plastic as one might expect.

The restaurant has been licensed by Mattel, the US toy manufacturing giant and creator of Barbie, and has opened in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city. Mattel hopes that the café, located in the shopping district of the city, will promote Barbie as a fashion brand. The staff who work at the restaurant sport a not-entirely practical uniform of pink Barbie logo T-shirts, matching tutus, Barbie logo armbands and glitter and tiaras on their heads. The fashion lines available on the Mattel website include a similar pink tutu intended for toddlers.

Iggy Yip, a senior managers at Mattel’s Greater China division, commented on the café: “We picked Taiwan because theme restaurants are very popular and successful here. We are very confident that the Barbie Cafe can promote our brand image ." There are also hopes that the café will attract Barbie fans from China, Hong Kong and Japan. Taiwan used to manufacture the Barbie dolls until the 1980s, when Mattel moved its production lines to China.

The café is 660 square metres of pink dining space, furnished with fashionable illustrations of Barbie in a range of outfits on the walls and chairs, which have red corset-style lacing and tutus around the seats.

Local office worker Jessica Ho, who has a five-year-old daughter, approved of the venture. She said, “My child and I both love Barbie and this lovely and cute place is like a dream come true for us. I will take her here to celebrate her next birthday."

Mattel’s products include the Spa to Fab Barbie and the career-inspiring I Can Be Pancake Chef Barbie, as well as 22 dolls themed around the beauty industry. Barbie has consistently come under attack for presenting an unrealistic image of femininity to young girls.

Rhiannon Williams, editor of feminist website The Vagenda Magazine, commented on the café: “I cannot imagine anything less pleasant and more nausea-inducing than a Barbie themed restaurant. Not only because I prefer low-impact environments and none of the major food groups are pink for a reason, but also because Barbie is an outdated model of stereotypical femininity and needs to die a death.”

A Barbie restaurant opened in China in 2009 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the doll, but it was closed two years later amid reports that the outlet was unsuccessful. Theme restaurants are popular in Taiwan. Taipei has a restaurant based on eating in an airliner, complete with air hostess waiting staff and trolleys and a hospital-themed bar, where customers consume ‘medicine’ drinks from drips or are ‘syringed’ by waitresses. Curious tourists can also enjoy a meal at the Modern Toilet, where food is served from tiny lavatories, and customers sit on loo seats. The cat café phenomenon is popular in Japan, where customers can enjoy contact with cats after a drink.

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Check Out The Winning Dishes From The World's Top Culinary Competition

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Bocuse d'Or 2013

The culinary equivalent of the Olympic Games took place this past Tuesday and Wednesday in Lyon, France, and needless to say, the food looked incredible.

24 international teams battled it out at the biennial Bocuse d'Or to take home the Bocuse Gold, including top toques from Norway, Sweden, France, Denmark, Japan, USA, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, and China.

It was Sri Lanka's first time making it to the French competition, but the underdog team sadly didn't win any of the prestigious awards.

Japan, on the other hand, placed for the first time this year, receiving the Bocuse Bronze. Denmark took second place, and the French team headed by Thibaut Ruggeri took home the Bocuse Gold. Out of the 14 tournaments held since the competition's inception in 1987, this is France's seventh win.

The USA had a strong showing this year, too, with a team headed by executive chef Richard Rosendale and his commis Corey Siegel. The duo came in seventh in the competition — an improvement over 2011's 10th place.

At the beginning of the competition, chefs can pick out fresh produce to take to their station.

Source: Bocuse d'Or



Each two-person team works in identical kitchens for five hours and 35 minutes.

Source: Bocuse d'Or



Each of the international teams had to prepare a fish dish and a meat platter. This is Denmark's fish dish.

Source: Bocuse d'Or



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Here's How To Turn Your Home Into A Money-Making Vacation Rental

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Airbnb House of Collection

According to the Times-Picayune, 8.75 million tourists visited New Orleans during the Mardi Gras season in 2011.

Living a mere three miles from the parties, concerts, and parades gives me a few great opportunities. One, I can have a lot of fun, and two, there are nearly nine million people looking for a place to crash in my city.

This year with New Orleans also hosting the Super Bowl during the Carnival season, a few friends and I are planning on renting our apartments for a few nights to make some extra cash. They’ve done it before and made enough to pay their rent for the month.

But you don’t have to live in a major city or near a huge event to pull this off. If you’ve got the space, you can make some money. Check out the following news story we did on vacation rentals, then meet me on the other side for more:

Now, here’s how to go about it.

1. Price your rental

Since you’re acting as landlord/inn keeper, you get to set your own prices, but they should be in line with what others are charging for similar-sized vacation rentals in your area. I figured out my prices with a little research.

First, I checked the “Vacation rentals” section on my local Craigslist. I found five spots in my area that were roughly the same size and wrote down their nightly prices:

  • $39
  • $100
  • $210
  • $65
  • $95

Then I checked the website of three-star hotels in my area for their nightly prices:

  • $139
  • $129
  • $149

I added up the prices for each spot to find an average rate: $115 per night. This is my base price for a one-night stay. Since I’d like to rent my apartment for a week, I added an incentive: Stay for three or more nights, and I’ll knock 30 percent off the price, making it $80 a night.

2. Advertise

To find guests, you’ll need to advertise your rental, including making an ad, taking photos, and posting the information online.

When I wrote my ad, I started with a list of features my apartment has, including a queen-sized bed and pull-out sleeper sofa, a fully equipped kitchen, alarm system, and Wi-Fi access. Then I threw in some perks to seal the deal, like making my apartment pet-friendly and mentioning that the kitchen comes with coffee, tea, and a few snacks that I always have on hand anyway.

Depending on where you advertise, you might be limited to a few photos. Keeping this in mind, I took photos of the inside of my apartment showing the bedroom and kitchen. Then I walked around my neighborhood and took pictures of the highlights like the local park, a nearby diner, and a coffee shop.

Once your ad is ready, you have a few advertising options online:

  • Craigslist – It is free to post an ad on Craigslist, but the site is unmonitored and anyone can reply to an ad.
  • Airbnb – Airbnb lets you post free listings. They offer a messaging service, guest and owner reviews, and guest profiles to help you choose a guest, but they do charge a fee. You’ll pay 3 percent for every reservation you take.
  • RentalSpot – You can post a free basic listing, but you’ll be limited to short descriptions and few photos.

3. How to prepare

A friend of mine has been renting his pad two weekends a month for the last year. He gave me a quick rundown on how to prepare my apartment for vacationers.

  1. Clean – My friend pays a cleaning service before and after every guest at $50 a pop (roughly $200 a month), but I plan on giving my place a quick once-over myself.
  2. Protect valuables – I’m fortunate in a way; I don’t own much worth stealing, but if you do, consider either taking it with you or locking it up out of sight.
  3. Put out linens – If you have guest towels or sheets, use them. If not, make sure you put yours in plain sight. Not everyone is comfortable digging around in closets.
  4. Make a welcome kit – My apartment has a few quirks so I’ve made a brochure of sorts explaining them with notes such as: “kitchen sink water doesn’t heat up immediately,” and “stove has to be lit with matches.” I plan to pop the brochure in a basket with coffee, tea, and cookies.

4. Words of caution

Screen all potential tenants carefully. Take into consideration why they want to rent your place. Is it a few college kids looking to take a vacation for a local festival? If so, they might be there for some partying – possibly heavy partying. You don’t want to risk your place getting trashed, so remember that you can and should say no to any person or persons who make you uneasy.

It’s also not uncalled for to ask for a security deposit. Any deposit you charge should be smaller than or equal to one night’s stay. If you do decide to charge a deposit, consider writing a small contract stating when and how you’ll return the deposit after their stay.

If you rent, check with your landlord to make sure he’s cool with you subletting your place for a few nights.

Finally, give your tenants a number to reach you at in case they have any questions or concerns and let your neighbors know what’s going on. Then they can call you, not your landlord, if they have any problems. It’s better to get the phone call from an aggravated neighbor than an angry landlord.

SEE ALSO: 15 Gorgeous Vacation Homes For $500,000 Or Less >

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