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So This Is What The Guggenheim Museum Would Look Like If It Were Tripled In Size


The Guggenheim Museum in New York City is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's — and America's — most classic buildings. But what if it had an extra 13 floors?

That's what the architects at Athens- and New York-based Oiio Architecture Office asked themselves when they created their new renderings for the world-famous ramped museum. First reported by DeZeen, their solution to making the museum larger to accommodate new collections would be for the building to grow in circumference as it extended skywards. The last floor of the museum would be entirely level and would house Wright's iconic glass dome.

The addition is pure fantasy, The Oiio Architecture Office assures Wright die-hards. "Even if his own creator were to propose an alternation of its form, New Yorkers would suddenly feel as if they have lost a dear old friend. In a building loaded with symbolism even the story of its alteration could become its extension."

Either way, it still looks pretty cool.

Guggenheim 13 Floors


Guggenheim 13 Floors

DON'T MISS: This Classic Frank Lloyd Wright House Has Been Spared From Demolition

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YACHT OF THE WEEK: Cruise With Your Friends On The $12.75 Million 'Deep Blue II'


yacht luxury deep blue ii

During the winter months, few vacations are as tempting as a cruise around the Caribbean. If you want to do it in style, consider the "Deep Blue II."

The luxury yacht has room for 10 guests in five staterooms, including one made just for kids, so there's plenty of space for everyone you want to take with you, whether friends or family.

Built in 1996 and refit last year, "Deep Blue II" has won at the ShowBoats International Design Awards for Best Semi-Displacement Yacht over 40 meters.

The yacht is now listed for sale on International Yacht Collection. The asking price: $12.75 million.

The 'Deep Blue II' cruises at 15 knots (17.2 mph) and has a top speed of 19 knots (21.9 mph).

The yacht is nearly 144 feet from bow to stern.

The main salon is simply furnished, with couches that look very comfortable.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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HOUSE OF THE DAY: Hard Rock Cafe Founder Buys Elvis Presley's LA Mansion For $9.8 Million, Plans To Tear It Down


elvis beverly hills home

In an ironic twist, the founder of the Hard Rock Cafe the restaurants dedicated to preserving musician memorabilia  is rumored to be tearing down Elvis Presley's old Beverly Hills mansion to construct a brand new house, according to Curbed LA.

The home, which has four bedrooms, five bathrooms, and spans 5,367 square feet, was previously on the market this past October for $12.995 million and sold to Hard Rock's Peter Morton in December for $9.8 million.

The gated property sits on 1.18 acres of land, with stunning views of Los Angeles from the backyard. Morton is a bit of a real estate buff, with another home in Holmby Hills and a mini-compound on Carbon Beach in Malibu, according to Curbed.

Welcome to Hillcrest Road.

The house was built in 1958.

About $1.836 million worth of improvements went into the home in 2010, according to the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor website.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Why Model Cameron Russell Says 'Modeling Isn't A Career Path, It's Like Winning Powerball'


Model Cameron Russell

Although Cameron Russell has been a model for brands such as Victoria's Secret and Chanel for the past 10 years, she says the profession is not all it's cracked up to be — and it's definitely not for everyone.

"The real way I became a model is I won a genetic lottery and I became the recipient of a legacy," she says in a recent TEDxMidAtlantic Talk"Saying you want to be a model when you grow up is akin to saying you want to win the Powerball when you grow up. It's awesome and it's out of your control and it's not a career path."

Russell went on to display numerous photos of herself, explaining the contradictions between what people think when they see the images and then the reality.

Cameron Russell

"These pictures are not pictures of me, they're constructions," says Russell. "They're constructions by professionals — hairstylists, make up artists, photographers stylists and all of their assistants and pre-production and post-production and they build this. That's not me."

Model Cameron RussellRussell went on to explain that she was sexualized for modeling jobs as a teenager before she even had a boyfriend. She says the first time she ever wore a bikini was for a shoot between real life soccer matches.

Russell says that while, yes, the perks of being a model — such as traveling and working with creative people are great, that's only half of the equation.

The other half isn't as shiny, as Russell reveals she's filled with insecurities.

"If you are ever wondering 'if I have thinner thighs and shinier hair will I be happier?' you just need to meet a group of models because they have the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes and they're the most physically insecure women on the planet."

Watch Russell's complete talk below:

SEE ALSO: Plastic surgery requests for Kate Middleton's nose have tripled since 2011 >

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The 10 Most Outrageous Items People Bought In January


1960 ferrari 250 scottsdale auction

2013 started off with some impressive sales, including record prices for a mansion in California and Ferrari 250 GT.

One famous baby even got a diamond-encrusted Barbie doll for her first birthday  you won't believe what it cost her parents.

A mansion in Woodside, Calif. sold for $117.5 million

Most expensive home ever sold in California

We learned this month that a 9,000-square-foot mega-mansion in Woodside had quietly traded hands for the staggering price of $117.5 million dollars, making it the most expensive residence ever sold in California.

The mansion was designed by Virginia-based architect Allan Greenberg, and sits on nine acres of property.

It was never publicly listed, and the buyer remains anonymous. The seller was Tully Friedman of Friedman Fleischer and Lowe LLC, a San Francisco investment firm.

A silver dollar from 1794 sold for $10 million

The most expensive coin ever sold at auction

A 1794 silver dollar that experts believe was the first such coin struck by the U.S. Mint sold for a record $10 million at auction at Stack's Bowers Galleries.

The coin, called the Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, sold for more than double the previous $4.1 million record for a coin, which was set in 1999.

It was purchased by Legend Numismatics, a rare-coin firm based in New Jersey, according to Reuters.

A 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta 'Competizione' sold for $8.14 million

Record price for a Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta sold at auction

The top lot at RM Auctions' Scottsdale, Ariz. sale this month, a Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta sold for more than $8 million after a bidding war.

It's the fifth owner for the 1960 auto; the buyer remains anonymous.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Ben & Jerry's Revealed A New Flavor During The '30 Rock' Finale Tonight


liz lemon ice cream

Update: Ben & Jerry's new "30 Rock" flavor is Liz Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt, a "Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt with a Blueberry Lavender Swirl, coming this spring," according to the ice cream maker's Facebook page.

Sounds tasty, but a little too healthy for the likes of Liz Lemon.

Earlier: "30 Rock" fans who are mourning the sitcom's series finale this evening will get a sweet consolation prize: Ben & Jerry's is planning to unveil a new "30 Rock"-inspired flavor during tonight's show.

The company said it would post the new flavor on its Facebook page sometime during the show, which airs tonight on NBC at 8/7c.

It's not the first time that an NBC show has inspired a Ben & Jerry's concoction. The ice cream maker released "Schweddy Balls" in 2011 in homage to a "Saturday Night Live" sketch starring Alec Baldwin as bakery owner Pete Schweddy, who hawks his aptly named Christmas sweets on NPR.

The flavor caused an uproar among conservative moms, who called for a boycott of the ice cream.

We can't imagine what Ben & Jerry's has cooked up for the "30 Rock" finale, but whatever it is, there's no better way to honor Liz Lemon than with her own flavor of ice cream.

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Taste-Testing 9 Wineries On Long Island



If you don’t like crowds, an early December visit to the wineries of Long Island, NY is right up your alley. The tasting rooms are open, the people are friendly, and the wines taste as good in the late fall as they do in summer. If you would rather take advantage of everything Eastern Long Island offers in the summer, you’ll have to deal with crowds who are looking for the same thing you are.

Although it was cloudy and drizzly our entire stay, the temperatures weren’t too cold for a confirmed Floridian. We missed a couple of stops I was looking forward to, but 9 wineries wasn’t a bad trip. We visited Palmer, Paumanok, Jamesport, Diliberto, Pindar, Bedell, Peconic Bay, Lieb, and Shinn. With a couple of notable exceptions, I thought the reds were more impressive than the whites. Lots of good Cabernet Franc and Merlot. These are the highlights of each winery.

The photo is of Shinn Estate because its rustic style is representative of many wineries on Long Island.

Palmer Vineyards

2010 Pinot Blanc: I was told this wine was barrel fermented with 9 months barrel aging. This added some toastiness to the citrus and pineapple flavors. Interesting Pinot Blanc.

2010 Reserve Chardonnay: 100% French oak and malolactic fermentation. If you were expecting California style here, the conditions (terroir to wine geeks) won’t allow it. Medium body with apple and pear flavors and butterscotch on the finish.

2009 Cabernet Franc: I preferred this to the Cabernet Sauvignon, which was a 2008. It was also much more fruit forward than some Virginia Cab Francs I have tasted. In addition to the fruit flavors, there was an edgy spiciness. Very nice.

NV Reserve Red: This wine is a blend of vintages and grapes. This offering was my favorite wine at Palmer. It is a Bordeaux blend and has been oak aged (40% new) for 2 years. I got some smoky tobacco notes along with cherry and spice. Very good stuff.

Paumanok Vineyards

2011 Dry Riesling: I am a big fan of dry Riesling, especially this one. It won Double Gold in a NY State wine competition against Rieslings from The Finger Lakes region of NY. This is quite a feat. Dry and crisp, with apple and lime flavors. Great stuff. (I also heard that a Riesling from Martha Clara on Long Island did very well in that competition).

2012 Chenin Blanc. The surprise of the entire trip. You have to try this Chenin Blanc. Chenin Blanc is hard to find from US producers as a varietal bottling, but this one is probably better than the others anyway. Publications such as Food & Wine and the NY Times have raved about this wine. I have tasted a few Chenin Blancs from South Africa as well, and this one is better. Floral and crisp. Great wine.

2010 Assemblage: This wine is only made in very good vintages. It is a Bordeaux blend, and if it were made in California it would be called a Meritage. It is concentrated and juicy with lots of berry flavors.

The Tuthill’s Lane Vineyard wines: There is a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot from this vineyard. The current offerings are a 2005 Cab, and a 2007 Merlot. Both are more restrained than their California counterparts, and both are ageworthy. I liked the Merlot a little better than the Cab. I found out later I agreed with Robert Parker, who rates the Cab a 90 and the Merlot a 92.

Jamesport Winery


2011 East End Dry Rose’:  Dry rose’ is an underappreciated wine in my opinion. This one is unusual because it is 100% Petit Verdot, normally a blending grape. It is steely dry with cherry and pepper flavors. Think summer picnics with this one.

2008 Sara’s Hill Pinot Noir:  This grape in unusual in Long Island, and this one is pretty good, but maybe not what you’re accustomed to with Pinot Noir. The nose has tobacco notes with dark fruit on the palate.

2007 Melange De Trois:  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, and it spent 24 months in new French oak. The nose is a bit soft, but t has intense blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. Very Nice

2007 Sidor Reserve:  62% Syrah, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The wine shows some spice, tobacco and dark fruit. This was my favorite from Jamesport.

Diliberto Winery

2008 Tre:  As you would expect from the name it is a blend of 3 grapes. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. The wine is definitely an old world style with good fruit and acidity. This is a very good food wine.

2009 Cantina: This is a 50/50 blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The winery calls it rustic, earthy, and reminiscent of Chianti. Perhaps more so in style than flavor. This wine also calls out for hearty Italian food.

2009 Syrah:  A bit softer than many Syrah wines, this one is somewhat earthy with flavors of tart cherry. This and the Tre are my favorites from Diliberto.

Pindar Vineyards

2010 Gamay Noir:  Gamay is the grape of Beaujolais, and it is not often seen in the US as a varietal wine. To me, the nose had a bit of Pint Noir funk (a good thing). Although it did not taste like a Beaujolais, it stands very well on its own. With red fruit flavors, it would work well as a picnic/BBQ wine

Pythagoras NV:  This is another non-vintage blend we found on our Long Island visit, and it is a good one too. The blend is classic Bordeaux. It has a good acidic backbone and would be very good with a wide variety of foods.

2006 Port of Cabernet:  Port is a dessert wine and therefore sweet. I like Port, and I will rarely pass up a chance to taste one. This one is almost a brick color and is not as “in your face” as some I’ve had. As with most Ports, this one would be very good with chocolate or cheese.

Pindar is the largest winery on Long Island, and they make 23 different wines. Sad to say I wasn’t able to taste them all. If I had stayed to do that, I would have lost my ride.

Bedell Cellars


2010 First Crush White: A blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling, this is dry and crisp with flavors of apple and lemon. This wine has never heard of oak, much less touched it. Good stuff.

2010 Taste White: Another blend, – Bedell is known for this – this one includes Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Viognier. If I had tasted this wine blind, I would have guessed Sauvignon Blanc. There is a lot going on in this wine; it was rated 90 points by wine writer James Suckling.

2011 Taste Rose’:  I’ll admit I’m a fan of dry rose’, and I’ll always jump at the chance to taste one. This is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. It is crisp with predominantly strawberry flavors. It was also rated 90 by James Suckling.

2011 Cabernet Franc:  2011 was a light year for this grape, so instead of new oak, the winemaker decided to go with stainless steel and old oak for the fermentation. The weight is much like a Pinot Noir. A nice wine. It shows how a good winemaker can adjust to conditions.

On Long Island, the winery architecture is mostly rustic. Bedell is more like refined rustic. The publication The Wine Enthusiast calls Bedell’s tasting room “One of the top 25 in America”.

Peconic Bay Winery


2011 Gewurztraminer:  This grape is an acquired taste, and my wife and I acquired it a long time ago. Most famous in the Alsace region of France, it has successfully moved to other places. This one has the characteristic floral/spice nose of a Gewurz (wine geeks say Gewurz because we’re too lazy to say Gewurztraminer) It is fairly soft and dry on the palate. A very good picnic wine. Nice Gewurz.

Lot 4:  A Bordeaux blend, which is pretty typical on Long Island. This one is 60% Cab. Sauv. and 20/20 Malbec and Merlot. Lighter in color than I expected. Nice up front fruit.

2010 Reserve Malbec: You see some Malbec on Long Island, but not nearly as much as Merlot or Cabernet Franc. It has a tight minty nose, and good dark fruit. A very nice wine.

My favorite from Peconic Bay was the Gewurztraminer. Not that it was better than the Reserve Malbec. I just like Gewurz.

Lieb Cellars

2008 Blanc de Blanc:  This sparkler is made from 100% Pinot Blanc grapes, and it is a real Methode Chapenoise wine. This means the wine is made with the same method as in Champagne. It is more in the crisp style than big or yeasty.

2005 Reserve Merlot:  Many of the wineries let some of their wines have some bottle age before release. This means they are ready to drink upon release. This wine has a minty nose and the soft mintiness is also apparent on the palate along with dark fruit.

2010 Reserve Syrah: You get pepper and pencil shavings on the nose and pepper with  dark fruit on the palate. This is my favorite from Lieb, although at this writing it doesn’t appear on their website. Perhaps it hasn’t been officially released yet.

Shinn Estate Vineyards


2011 Coalescence:  This white blend is made from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer. The nose is very clean, and the wine is both juicy and crisp on the palate. The citrus notes make it an excellent summer sipper.

2009 Estate Merlot:  This old world style wine has black cherry notes initially. The dark fruit and some vanilla carry through on the palate.

2009 Wild Boar Doe: Although I had tasted a good bit of wine at this point in the day, I did not miss the word play with “Boar Doe”. It is indeed a Bordeaux blend with Merlot, Cab Sauv, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cab Franc. This is big enough to stand up to grilled meats and hearty stews. This is my favorite of the wines we tasted at Shinn Estate. They make a lot of wines, and I did not have an opportunity to taste the 2010 Late Harvest. It is a dessert wine made like a French Sauternes. They use Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon just like they do in Sauternes. Next trip I’ll be sure to try some.

Barbara Shinn is very committed to sustainability with how they care for the vineyard land. You can learn a lot about this from her. On the property there is also a well regarded bed & breakfast. It is called the Shinn Estate Farmhouse.

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A Bizarre Anecdote About Mayor Bloomberg Criticizing Fashion Decisions


Christine Quinn

Jonathan Van Meter has written a big cover story on New York City mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn for New York Magazine.

In it, he shares a anecdote about Quinn, Bloomberg, and... women's fashion?

Dhani Mau at Fashionista calls it "oddly catty" and "frenemy-sounding."

We're inclined to agree.

Then she said, “The mayor is going to yell at me when I get out of the car because I have flat boots on. The mayor has no use for flat shoes.” Really, I said. Why would he care? “I was at a parade with him once and he said, ‘What are those?’ and I said, ‘They’re comfortable,’ and he said, ‘I never want to hear those words out of your mouth again.’ ”Everyone in the vehicle, including the security detail in the front seat, cracked up. “He likes me in high heels. Let’s see how long it takes before he notices.” She scrolled through her BlackBerry. “Another big thing with the mayor, when I am rooting … like, the couple of days a week before I need to get my hair colored, he’ll say, ‘Do you pay a lot to make your hair be two colors? Because now it’s three with the gray.’ And I’m like, ‘Did you wake up being this big of an asshole? Or did it take, like, all day to ramp up to it to be able to insult me like that?’ ”

Quinn insisted that the pair have a good working relationship despite all that.

Bloomberg has often supported the New York fashion scene and he views events like Fashion Week as big wins for his city.

SEE ALSO: The Zombie Websites Of Dead Retailers >

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Get Ready For The 'Downton Abbey' Cookbook


Downton Abbey

Sizzling British hit "Downton Abbey" has stolen the hearts of its legions of avid fans, but one viewer hopes the television show will steal its way to their stomachs as well.

Canadian culinary historian Pamela Foster has crafted a cookbook based on the early 20th century British cuisine featured in the show -- though she's given it a modern, and more healthy twist.

So don't expect to find a recipe for kidney souffle in Foster's book, no matter how much Downton's lords and ladies -- and their maids and footmen -- may have enjoyed it.

"Some of the food, people nowadays just wouldn't like it," she said of the dishes that use "parts of animals that most people aren't used to eating anymore."

Foster also reduced the fat content and amended the cooking methods so the recipes could more easily be replicated by today's cooks. And she took out some of the butter to lighten up the rich pastries served with tea "to make them healthier."

"There are some recipes (Scotch eggs or fritters) I wouldn't touch because they're fried," Foster said in a telephone interview from her Toronto-area home.

Foster, whose blog DowntonAbbeyCooks.com chronicles her thoughts on the show with recipes to fit the mood, started the project last year after a marathon viewing of the first season.

"Each episode, I paid close attention to what was being served. Some was just mentioned, and some you saw on camera," Foster said.

The author told AFP she had long been interested in the cuisine of Britain's nobility, because her husband traces his roots to a family like Downton's Crawleys.

Foster's blog turned into an e-cookbook "Abbey Cooks Entertain" and now, due to its huge popularity, a print version is being considered.

She explained that the cuisine of the Edwardian period was influenced by both French and Indian foods.

"Edward VII loved food, sauces and curries in particular, and people did then as (royal watchers) do now: they did what the king did and his food passions spread," Foster explained.

Many of the recipes are easy even without kitchen staff, she said, because French chef Auguste Escoffier simplified them at the end of the 19th century.

However, she cautioned that Downton's fans probably won't want to eat exactly like the aristocracy did back then.

The English aristocracy, wary of fresh vegetables they believed caused scurvy, ate a lot of meat and fish bathed in French sauces in the upstairs dining rooms, while servants ate mostly vegetables downstairs.

Moreover, "if you were the king, you ate five or six times a day, multiple courses... and then had a midnight snack. To eat like they did, you'd spend all day eating," she said.

Her cookbook includes 220 recipes, including the roast chicken Mrs Patmore dropped on the floor in the first season of the show and the apple charlotte that she refused to make.

"I tried to give a flavor of the cuisine," Foster said. "It's nice to give British cuisine a boost in popularity and respect. They were known as the worst cooks in the world, except for the Scots and their broth."

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10 Tourist Traps That Are Actually Worth The Money


niagra falls, new york, ontarioThe best travel experiences happen when you get off the beaten track, but that doesn't mean all so-called tourist traps are no-nos. While many are overcrowded and underwhelming, a choice few are worth their inherent hassles.

So here are 10 that we love in spite of ourselves, crowds and all.

Niagara Falls, New York And Ontario

Say what you will about the casinos and restaurants built up around the Niagara River, but there's no dampening our enthusiasm for the natural spectacle of North America's mightiest waterfall.

We love Niagara Falls for its views, its accessibility, and for the Maid of the Mist, which gets you as close to the falls as possible (short of an ill-advised barrel ride).

We think Niagara is especially enchanting at night when the sky is lit with fireworks or rainbow-colored lights.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Best experienced after days of walking the fabled Inca Trail, the sudden appearance of the Lost City of the Incas through the mountain mist is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill.

And while it feels great to earn your visit with sore muscles and fresh blisters, you're unlikely to regret the trip no matter how you get there.

(The train from nearby Cusco will do the trick just fine.) Don't sweat the crowds, either; the Peruvian government limits visitors to just 2,500 per day.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon swells with visitors in the summer months, but you don't have to venture very far to leave the maddening crowds behind.

Park rangers say an average visit to the South Rim lasts about 15 minutes, and most people never leave the rim. We think the park is best explored on foot or by pack animal.

Even if you only have a few hours, take one of the well-marked trails from the South Rim to see this geological phenomenon up close.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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'Rent A Boyfriend' Services Are Popping Up All Over China


asian couple newlyweds red umbrella happy up

Selling a kiss online, accompanying a stranger overnight for a fee -- none of the "rent-a-boyfriend" services popping up on some Chinese websites sound at all family-friendly.

Yet the budding market aims to help young singles address the most traditional of values: respecting their elders, meeting their demand to find a mate and bringing him home for the country's biggest holiday, the Lunar New Year.

The extreme measure reflects the extraordinary pressure that some young Chinese -- especially women -- feel, burdened by family expectations and battered by the vicissitudes of modern love.

"Not getting any younger and still dreading facing the nagging parents?" read one advertisement. "Need a boyfriend to face the family?"

"Your parents worked so hard to raise you, bringing a boyfriend home is the best way to repay them," promised another.

More than 300 results appeared on the popular shopping website Taobao.com to rent a pretend partner ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, known as the world's largest annual human migration, which falls on February 10 this year.

"Young people both want to go home yet are afraid to go home," said Meng Guangyong, 29, who is from Guizhou province in the far southwest but lives in Beijing, where he operates a boyfriend-broker business online and is also renting himself out.

"If they haven't found a partner yet, when they go home parents will nag them or send them on blind dates or find someone to introduce them to people," he said.

"Then even though all you wanted was to enjoy a happy new year, in the end nobody in the family is happy."

Yet for young people like Meng, fending off the parents once a year is the easy part, as finding a spouse in China has grown notoriously difficult.

Monumental urbanisation has seen more people moving around, living among strangers and working long hours, fracturing the social networks of smaller, more stable hometowns.

And as the economy has boomed over the past few decades so too have material expectations, not least in marriage, said Hu Xingdou, an economist and social commentator at the Beijing Institute of Technology.

Men increasingly find themselves priced out of the marriage market by the sky-high cost of the most desirable asset they are expected to bring to the table, a house, not to mention a car and good job.

Meanwhile women's marriage stock plummets after the relatively young age of 27 -- when they become known as shengnu, or "leftover women", a social stigma that is now mainstream parlance.

Parents still expect children to settle down at a reasonable age, Hu said, so that sons can produce grandsons who continue the family line and daughters can avoid becoming old -- 28-year-old -- maids.

"It's not like in the West where the individual is very independent, and their love life has nothing to do with their parents," he said. "China cares more about the family point of view. Parents must be made happy."

At the same time, he added, in recent decades "marriage in China has really begun to look like a business transaction".

Hu cautiously endorsed the rental boyfriends solution as "it makes the parents feel better".

But as with other business deals, terms and conditions apply -- so many that finding a fake Mr Right can seem nearly as complicated as settling on a real one.

The menu one fake boyfriend offered online was exhaustive. Chatting: 30 yuan ($5) an hour. Eating a meal, bill paid by renter: 50 yuan an hour. Chatting with elders: free. The package for a whole day: 1,000 yuan.

Holding hands, hugs and kisses are also common options, which one advertiser priced at 10, 20 and 500 yuan per display of affection.

Some ruled out anything more intimate while others left the door open -- although demanded the right to see health records on request.

Then came the guarantees for safety and payment. "I want money but I also want to stay alive," one rent-a-girlfriend exclaimed on her ad. She charged 15 yuan an hour to attend parties but insisted on "no unsafe places".

Meng said that brokering fake couples required a fair amount of back and forth -- with one female inquirer demanding a stand-in who would be tall, handsome and charming enough to make her ex-boyfriend back home jealous.

Once they have hashed out an agreement, Meng said he encourages pairs to meet and try to develop a rapport.

Perhaps the play-actors could not only hearten parents over Lunar New Year but also bring each other a little joy, he said, especially with Valentine's Day following four days later.

"If you rent yourself out or rent someone else to spend the holiday together and resolve that lonely feeling... you might not have that special someone but at least you have a pretend Valentine."

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If You Hate Airport Security, You'll Love This Product


airport security line

Clear is a company that makes it possible for you to save loads of time as you check in for your next flight at the airport.

A six-month membership is $79.

This fee gets you a personalized ClearCard, which works with Clear kiosks at participating airports.

After inserting your ClearCard, the machine will verify that you are who you say you are by scanning your retinas and fingerprints.

Once confirmed, you get to hop to the front of the security line. You don't get to skip security, of course, but you don't have to while away your time at the back of the line.

There are other frequent-flier programs that offer similar functionality, but those tend to be airline-specific. The difference here is that it's airport-specific. So if you frequently fly out of a participating airport, this might be a good investment for you.

Clear is currently supported at Orlando International, Denver International, San Francisco International, Dallas/Fort Worth International, and Westchester Airport.

Head over to their site to learn more >

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Fewer Private Jets Will Be Flying To The Super Bowl This Year



For super-rich sports fans, the path to the Super Bowl will be in a private jet.

More than 1,000 private jets are expected to fly into New Orleans this weekend, just under last year's tally of around 1,100 planes in Indianapolis – one of the biggest ever.

So many Gulfstreams, Learjets and Citations will be landing in New Orleans that airport operators are having to close down taxiways to make room for private-jet parking.

"It's going to be a very busy weekend here," said Michelle Wilcut, deputy director of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

(Read more: Private Jet Traffic Down for Second Inaugural)

About 200 private jets are expected to land New Orleans International and around 700 expected at New Orleans Lakefront Airport, which is the main private-jet airport. Up to 100 planes could be arriving at other, smaller airports nearby.

Lakefront is closing one of its taxiways to make room for private-jet parking. And other airports are shuffling planes and tarmac space to make room for the flock of planes.

Private jet companies say demand for this year's game has been dampened somewhat by the lack of a New York team in the big match-up. Since New York's tri-state area is far and away the largest private-jet market, New York teams tend to be big winners for the industry.

Another big market for private-jet travel is Boston and the New England region. Last year's game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots was a dream match-up for the industry.

While the San Francisco is a strong jet market, Baltimore is less of a draw. Flexjet "isn't seeing significant demand for travel to the Super Bowl this year – due to the participating teams," the company said in a statement, but added that travelers who are flying private to the game are going earlier and staying for a few days – a contrast to last year when they flew in and out the day of the game.

(Read more: Private Jets Getting Bigger, Faster, Cheaper)

"Based on what we've historically seen in the past, East Coast match-ups tend to generate the highest private jet travel demand," Flexjet said.

Others say last-minute bookings may push this year's total close to last year's total. And they say fans from around the country are flying private to the game.

Adam Johnson, senior vice president of sales, marketing and service at NetJets, said the company has about 120 planes going to New Orleans. He said the company "may see demand slightly above last year," since clients are flying in from around the country.

He said San Francisco and Baltimore account for only about 25 percent of the traffic, while the rest is coming from the Northeast, South and other areas.

"The traffic is coming from all over the country," he said. "It's such a popular event, that it's not limited to one area."

Many of the super-rich Super Bowl fans are asking jet companies to fill the planes with NFL swag, from T-shirts and jerseys to footballs and hats. Many are planning big feasts for the trip down, making for the ultimate jet-tail-gating party.

Catering companies say clients are ordering sushi, cheese plates, New Orleans-themed gumbo and oysters. But the big demand this year is for sliders, wings, nachos and pigs-in-a-blanket. And clients are often pairing the party foods with fines wines and vintage champagnes.

"This is a guy's weekend," said Todd Rome, president of Blue Star Jets. "They know how to order."

What does it cost to fly private to the game?

Rome said that for a light jet, the charge is about $2,800 an hour – as long as the round trip is the same day. That means a round trip from New York would run around $17,000. Larger jets cost more like $35,000.

Yet many private jet clients are staying in New Orleans overnight – given the city's legendary night life and flight restrictions that prevent jets from taking off from Lakefront before midnight on Sunday.

Johnson said that NetJets has set up private cars, catering and other services for its fliers over the weekend – whether they stay or not.

"We cater to whatever they want," he said.

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Former Goldman Sachs Partner Is Having Trouble Selling His Glorious 7-Bedroom Vacation Home In South Carolina



Would you like a home on South Carolina's Kiawah island? How about one with tons of office space and a humidor for cigar storage?

Very attractive, of course, even more so because it's on sale.

Former Golman Sachs Partner Jeffrey Weingarten has reduced the price of his vacation home from $26 million to $18 million, according to the WSJ.

And he's also chaged broker. The house used to be listed with Daniel Ravenel Sotheby's International Realty and now it's with Cynthia Noble.

The full view.

A serene entrance

Look at all the light going into that dining room.

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The 15 Most Impressive Students At MIT Right Now


Shannon Taylor, MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the best college in America for many reasons.

It has outstanding faculty, a top-notch engineering program, and alumni who have gone on to become notable politicians, historians, and physicists.

But many of its current students have already done some pretty incredible things.

These are the 15 most impressive undergraduate students on MIT's campus this semester.

Arfa Aijazi is creating affordable innovations for impoverished communities.

Class of 2013

Arfa Aijazi is a senior who is majoring in materials science and engineering with a minor in applied international studies. She's using her studies to change the world, particularly in the ways of housing and food.

She has done research on polymeric molecules, materials for fuel-cell cathodes, and bamboo as a structural material for stronger, sustainable, and affordable housing.

When Aijazi traveled to Tanzania, she developed a hand-powered grain mill that could grind corn kernels into flour, a life-changing machine for the village she worked with. She also worked to create better housing in Brazilian slums, and has conducted research at Oxford and Cambridge.

Aijazi also writes for the campus life section of MIT's newspaper, The Tech, and serves as the vice president of the Muslim Students' Association. She hopes to pursue a career where she can work to reduce the environmental impact of buildings.

Lizz Albany is an aspiring teacher who is researching the ways young children come to understand the world around them.

Class of 2013

Lizz Albany is a senior at MIT studying Brain and Cognitive Science, with a focus on early childhood cognition.

She conducts research in MIT's Early Childhood Cognition Lab on how children come to understand their environments through social interaction and play.

Albany is an active leader in many organizations on campus, including her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, in which she serves as the chair of its annual philanthropy event. She is also an associate advisor for the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming, a founding member of the Returning Students Mentoring Program, a member of the inaugural Student Advisory Committee on Diversity and Admissions, and a member of the Community Catalyst Leadership Program.

This past fall, Albany gave a TimTalk lecture on why she thinks all MIT students should graduate with at least two degrees, given that they learn so many valuable and different lessons while in school.

While she is working toward her Massachusetts teachers certification in elementary education, Albany is also a SMART Scholar with the Department of Defense, and plans to work for the Army after graduation. 

Noam Angrist is engaging youth in athletics and academics with a new approach.

Class of 2013

Noam Angrist is persistent. After he suffered from a blood clot that almost killed him and effectively ended his rowing career (he was a strong athlete and a member of his high school's crew team), he switched to coaching and led his high school's crew team to win gold medals in the Massachusetts state championships.

Now a senior at MIT, Angrist continues to coach crew. He has also found ways to share his love of crew: he co-founded the Amphibious Achievement program, in which he and fellow mentors teach swimming and rowing to Boston youth while also tutoring them and helping them with college prep.

The economics major gave a TIMTalk lecture in May about what he calls a "Do Now" approach to learning, which he uses to engage students in charter schools.

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Dogwalker Finds Rare Whale Barf Worth Up To $150,000



Ken Wilman, 50, was walking along Morecambe beach in northern England when his dog, Madge, discovered a large, hard smelly rock.

Upon returning home he looked the object up online and realised that Madge may have found ambergris, a waxy by-product of sperm whale digestion that has traditionally been used in perfumes, spices, and medicines.

Mr Wilman went back to the beach and brought the rock to home immediately.

After contacting companies in Europe, he learnt the musky material could be worth as much as £100,000.

Ambergris has been used in fragrances for centuries and is a component of many popular perfumes.

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Men Should Stop Wearing Square-Toed Shoes

square-toed shoes

Square-toed shoes are a polarizing topic in men's fashion.

Some feel the shoes are unattractive and unfashionable (they've been likened to Pilgrim's shoes), but fans insist the shoes are more comfortable.

And when respected retailers continue to sell the footwear, it's easy to see why men are confused.

We asked four leading style experts for their opinions about square-toed shoes. 

The verdict? A resounding "no."

"I think it's great for people with square feet or people named Frankenstein. Other than that, I try not to think of square-toed shoes," said Scott Schuman, the author of popular style blog The Sartorialist.

Jake Davis, a photographer and director known for his personal style, said the shoes are "generally a sign of a douche, Wall Street type with no sense of style."

"I do understand some corporate environments have dress codes but there are plenty of stylish options out there to avoid the notorious square toe," Davis told us.

Marcus Troy, who offers style advice to thousands of men on his Twitter and blog, cited some of the more comfortable options.

"Advancements in footwear design have bridged that gap between function and fashion beautifully," Troy told us. "Brands like Cole Haan have amalgamated Nike Lunar outsole technology with brogues, wingtips, chukkas, and saddle shoes, making them more awesome than ever before."

But Matthew Rubinger, style expert and director of luxury accessories at Heritage Auctions, told us that fans of the shoes can hold out hope they'll come back in style.

"I personally would never wear square-toed shoes, which were popular 15 to 20 years ago, and aren’t anymore," Rubinger said. "But, who knows? Maybe they’ll come back, double-breasted suits did!"

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We Are Totally Baffled By Burberry's Metallic Menswear Collection


Burberry Metallic Collection

When you think "Burberry," chances are classic trenches or the brand's famous check pattern comes to mind.

But Burberry Prorsum decided to go in a very different direction with this season's coats, shirts, and t-shirts by making their designs with shiny metallic cloth in electric colors.

The new Metallic Runway collection is made with Italian foil-bonded silk or cotton that requires hand washing. Made for both their men's and women's spring lines, the sheen is available in six shades, including pale green, electric blue, and lavender.

Since it's Burberry, we're sure that the quality is impeccable, but these look more like cheap plastic than what the expensive $350-$2,995 price range would suggest.

The shirts look like they were made from tin foil instead of foil-bonded cotton.

The up-close shots don't do the shirts any more justice.

Instead, they look like something out of the '90s.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Tour The Exclusive Cigar Club Where Wall Streeters And Charlie Gasparino Love To Hang Out


cigar, havana

Fox Business News senior correspondent Charlie Gasparino told Cigar Aficionado recently that The Grand Havana Room is "one of the best places" to meet Wall Street sources.  

We've been to the private cigar club located in the penthouse of 666 Fifth Avenue a few times before.  It's definitely a hot spot for those in high finance to relax and socialize with fellow members over cigars and drinks. 

Of course, it's not just Wall Streeters who frequent the place.  Rev. Al Sharpton has also been spotted hanging out there, too. 

Now let's take a photo tour of this members-only cigar club. 

The address is 666 5th Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Street. The other Grand Havana Room is in Beverly Hills.

The private cigar club is located on the 39th floor, which is the penthouse. The Top of The Sixes restaurant used to be the tenant there. People still call it 'Top of the Sixes', though.

Source: NYTimes

Here's the entrance. Notice that it has an 'A' rating.

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These Are The Best And Worst Things To Buy In February


Alessandra Ambrosio Victorias SecretFebruary may be our shortest month of the year, but it's certainly not lacking when it comes to savings.

You might not score as big a discount as you would like on a Valentine's Day gift, but this month you'll find deals on several necessities like winter coats, home goods, and (obviously) big-screen HDTVs.

We've rummaged through the dealnews archives of sales, coupons, and daily deals to find out what the best and worst things are to buy in February.

SEE ALSO: Here Are 10 Essentials For Every Great Super Bowl Party >

V-Day Deals Won't Shine, But Savings Will Be Sweet

Since many Valentine's Day gift categories are at their most in-demand during the first two weeks of February, the discounts on these items are generally pretty modest. However, that doesn't mean you should give up and pay full-price for things.

At the very least, look for coupons at lingerie stores like Victoria's Secret (last year it took $15 off $100 orders) and value-driven jewelry sites like NetayaICE.comLimoges Jewelry, and Ross-Simons. Even department stores are worth sorting through, if you can find a storewide shopping pass that applies to V-Day worthy goods. Expect discounts of 15% to 30% off before Valentine's Day, with sales that take up to 50% off or more after.

And if you don't have a date to shower with gifts, buck up: several restaurants and food chains like Waffle House and Krispy Kreme offered freebies last year to help you forget this fact. (That said, in 2012 Qdoba required that you kiss someone to get a free second entrée, so make sure you're prepared for that possibility this year.)

Don't Buy The iPad Mini Just Yet

Since the iPad mini supposedly won't receive an upgrade until July, some Apple fans may be considering buying the diminutive tablet now, if they don't already have one.

However, if you can wait until at least late April or early May, then you can likely score a high-quality refurbished model at the Apple Store, which will carry a 1-year warranty, the same as new units.

We predict that the 16GB WiFi model will drop to $289 or $299 at this time, and if you wait until the iPad mini 2 debuts in July, then refurbs could fall even lower to $249.

Tax Software Deals Have Been Coming In Hot

We mentioned in the January buying guide that tax software deals will pop up throughout the weeks leading up to April 15, and we noted that Editors' Choice sales specifically picked up steam in February last year.

So far in 2013 though, the deals have offered stronger discounts than they comparatively did in 2012. In fact, we've already posted markdowns of up to 58% off programs from H&R Block and Turbotax.

Thus, it's reasonable to expect that these deeper, early cuts could translate into even better sales in February and March. As a point of reference, look for 2013 software titles to drop to $20 or less.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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