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    carrie underwoodSince its premiere in 2002, American Idol has scoured the nation for the next big singing sensations. Originally starring judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson, the show has helped launch the careers of some well-known musicians like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. 

    The singing competition initially premiered on Fox and aired its "farewell season" in 2016. Shortly after, ABC revived the show and aired its 16th season in 2017. It has since been renewed for another season that's set to air between late 2018 and early 2019.

    Here are some surprising things you probably didn't know about "American Idol" to help hold you over until the season 17 premiere.

    1. Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini dated after "Idol."

    The two were the final two contestants on the first season of "American Idol."

    Clarkson herself confirmed she dated fellow contestant Justin Guarini, but not until after the show finished filming. 

    2. "American Idol" isn’t an original American show.

    The competition show was inspired by "Pop Idol," a UK-based show of a similar concept.  Simon Cowell was a judge "Pop Idol" before becoming a judge on "American Idol."

    3. Ryan Seacrest initially had a co-host.

    Although Ryan Seacrest is still the host of "American Idol," it wasn't always a one-man job. 

    In the first season, Seacrest was a co-host with Brian Dunkleman. Dunkleman eventually left the show but appeared on "American Idol" once more during the season 15 finale.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Freeway Interchanges LA

    It's no secret — roads in the US could use some serious help. 

    The American Society of Civil Engineers 2017 Report Card gave roads in the US a "D," finding that 32% of urban streets and 14% of rural roads were in poor condition.

    There are some states showing signs of hope, however.

    On Tuesday, lvl5 — a company founded by ex-Tesla engineers that are building HD maps for self-driving cars —published a list of US states ranked by road quality.

    The company analyzed over 15 million photographs captured by its iPhone dashcam app, Payver, which pays users (typically Uber or Lyft drivers) up to $0.05 per mile to record their driving using their cell phone. To rank the states, Lvl5 measured four distinct areas: road paint fading, pavement cracking, potholes, and surface flatness.

    Think your state has the smoothest rides around? 

    Think again if you're in Michigan — lvl5 found the Great Lake State to have the worst roads in the country. Iowa had the second-worst road quality in the study, followed by Indiana in 3rd. Lvl5's full findings can be found here.

    Below, we've listed the 10 states with the best driving conditions:

    SEE ALSO: America's highways and roads are crumbling — here are the 10 states that have it the worst

    10. Minnesota

    9. Colorado

    8. California

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    best airplay 2 speaker

    • Great AirPlay 2 speakers offer Apple’s latest and greatest connectivity standard, to be sure, but they also boast other smart features, look good, and sound great, too.

    • That's exactly why we’ve chosen the Sonos One as our top pick — it has all the features you want in an AirPlay 2 speaker with the added benefit of a smart voice assistant, thanks to Alexa support.

    The concept of the multi-room speaker is only getting more popular as companies increasingly adopt new wireless standards to deliver excellent audio experiences that you can enjoy throughout the home. While early multi-room experiences were limited to companies like Sonos, these days the likes of Apple and Google have their own multi-room standards, so you can buy different speakers from different companies for different rooms and still connect to all of them from your phone.

    The most recent of these standards is Apple’s AirPlay 2, which is an updated version of the original AirPlay. The new standard adds a number of great features, including multi-room support. That means you can stream content to multiple different devices at once, straight from the apps that you’re used to using on your phone.

    Only a few months after the launch of AirPlay 2, there are a number of compatible speakers, and they’re not all created equal. Some are more expensive, yet offer a superior sound-quality, while others are built more to be portable and inexpensive rather than deliver a top-quality sound.

    When buying an AirPlay 2-compatible speaker, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is other standards. Some speakers don’t just have AirPlay 2, they also feature other connectivity standards like Bluetooth. That is important for homes with both Android and iPhone users.

    Next up, you’ll want to keep in mind digital assistants. While speakers that aren’t Apple's HomePod unfortunately don’t offer Siri support, some might have Alexa or Google Assistant built in instead.

    Here are the best AirPlay 2 speakers you can buy:

    Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

    The best AirPlay 2 speaker overall

    Why you'll love it: The Sonos One is well-designed, sounds great, and boasts plenty of smart features — easily ensuring it gets the top spot amongst other AirPlay 2-compatible speakers.

    The Sonos One has topped our list of speakers a few times, and after the company added AirPlay 2 support, it was a no-brainer that it should be the top pick for this guide, too. The One is well-designed, sounds great, and boasts a ton of connectivity.

    Perhaps the best thing about the Sonos One is just how smart it is. Apart from offering support for AirPlay 2, it also has Amazon’s Alexa built in to it, and Sonos says it will get Google Assistant support by the end of the year. Safe to say, while you might want Siri to feature on the speaker, getting both Alexa and Google Assistant certainly isn’t a bad compromise.

    Of course, the best thing about the speaker is how it sounds. The bass on the speaker is nice and thick, offering a nice cut to kick drums and a smooth bass tone. The midrange is well-tuned, offering warm low mids and cutting high mids, though there does seem to be a slight cut in the high mids, which is something for the audiophiles among us to keep in mind. The high end is clear and detailed, helping cymbals shimmer through.

    The speaker is also well-designed and easy to control. There are touch-sensitive buttons on the top of the speaker for things like playing and pausing, plus there’s a microphone button to mute Alexa if you so choose.

    So what are the downsides? Well, the main one is that the Sonos One isn’t overly cheap — though it’s not too expensive if you buy multiple One speakers in a bundle. Also, as mentioned Google Assistant isn’t yet featured on the device.

    Pros: Nice design, good sound quality, smart features

    Cons: A little pricey, Google Assistant not yet featured

    Buy the Sonos One on Amazon for $199 

    The best AirPlay 2 speaker for loud bass

    Why you'll love it: If you want a speaker with a little extra oomph, then the well-designed B&O Beoplay M5 is the best way to go. 

    While the Sonos One is the way to go for the vast majority of shoppers, those who want a bassier sound should get the B&O Beoplay M5 — providing you’re willing to shell out the cash for it.

    The Beoplay M5 has a lot going for it. For starters, it’s absolutely beautifully designed. It offers a nice cloth outer design that should look great in any modern home. The design of the speaker is optimized for 360-degree use, so you’ll get a nice even sound even if you place it in the middle of a room.

    It’s also a very smart speaker. Apart from AirPlay 2, the speaker also boasts Google Cast, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, and even B&O’s own Beolink Multiroom. In other words, if down the line you decide you don’t want to use AirPlay 2 and switch to Google products, you’ll still be covered.

    Perhaps the best thing about the BeoPlay M5 is the sound quality. As mentioned, there’s a ton of bass on offer, which is great for those who like the idea of a heftier sound. That’s not to say there isn’t excellent high-end response, though. The high-end boasts a ton of clarity and detail.

    There are, of course, a few downsides to the B&O BeoPlay M5. For starters, it’s certainly not cheap, coming in at a cool $590 on Amazon. On top of that, while it certainly sounds great it doesn’t quite offer the most natural sound, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you may want to keep looking.

    Pros: Plenty of bass, great design, lots of connectivity

    Cons: Expensive

    Buy the B&O Beoplay M5 on Amazon for $589.40 

    The best portable AirPlay 2 speaker

    Why you'll love it: The Libratone Zipp features a unique design and a good sound-quality, plus it’s got a battery that will help it last more than 10 hours on a single charge.

    Perhaps you’re looking for something a little more portable, in which case, it’s worth considering the Libratone Zipp. This particular speaker is built to offer a great sound quality in a well-designed body, while still containing a battery for portability. In other words, it’s a great option for those who want a speaker they can use both at home and on the go.

    The Libratone Zipp is perhaps one of the most unique-looking speakers in our guide, but certainly not in a bad way. True to its name, the Zipp features a zipper three-quarters of the way down the speaker, and while you can’t do much with the zipper, it’s a neat design idea.  It also comes in a striking red color if you want a change from black, white, and gray.

    Like the other speakers on this list, it’ll connect to your listening device through AirPlay 2 and through Bluetooth, so even if you don’t use AirPlay, you’ll still be able to listen.

    What truly sets this speaker apart, however, is the fact that it has a built-in battery, so you can easily take it on the go too. The battery in the device offers up to 10 hours on a single charge, which should be more than enough for most day trips.

    There area few downsides to the Libratone Zipp. The device is a little big and heavy, which is something to keep in mind if you do plan on taking it out on the road with you. On top of that, it’s a little pricier than some of the other options on this list, coming in at $250 — though that price may drop when the newer Libratone Zipp 2 becomes available.

    Pros: Nice design, great sound, battery power

    Cons: A little pricey, a bit heavy

    Buy the Libratone Zipp on Amazon for $249.99

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    gossip girl

    It is no secret that "Gossip Girl" is one of the most iconic TV shows of all time. 

    The show follows a group of high school students (turned college students) who live in Manhattan's prestigious Upper East Side, so it's no surprise that these characters have an abundance of beautiful designer clothes.

    Here are 36 of the best looks from the show. 

    Serena's Grand Central outfit — Season one, episode one.

    The series kicks off with Gossip Girl spotting Serena at Grand Central Station, returning from her boarding school adventures in Connecticut.

    This combination of a striped shirt, necktie, and tan leather jacket is a classic one, and set the tone for the preppy yet edgy outfits that the characters would wear throughout the show.

    Blair's white brunch dress — season one, episode two.

    Is there anything better than an episode of Gossip Girl where they have brunch? Blair's white eyelet dress makes her seem innocent but contrasted with her black, lace tights gives the audience an idea that there's a side of Blair that we haven't seen yet.

    Serena and Blair's matching backless dresses — season one, episode four.

    One of the best scenes of season one had to be the iconic matching photo shoot that Serena and Blair do in their Eleanor Waldorf (really ghost designer Abigail Lorick) dresses in front of the Plaza hotel.

    The long-sleeve dresses in red and blue each have a low back and are accented with a slim belt.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    autumn wedding

    Your wedding is often said to be one of the biggest and most important days of your life. There are months, sometimes years, of planning required to ensure that everything goes perfectly, and it's easy to get caught up in all of the details and the options out there. At some point, you're almost guaranteed to make a decision you'll probably regret later on.

    Of course, no one's wedding will be perfect, but that doesn't mean you can't try to avoid some mistakes from the very beginning. One way to keep things running smoothly is to learn from what people have done before you.

    Below, a few people on Reddit share the biggest regrets of their wedding day. These stories just might prevent you from making a decision you won't be happy with after the big night.

    Of course, this is just for fun as INSIDER cannot independently authenticate these stories.

    "Inviting people I really didn't want to invite."

    "They just cost you money, you don't interact with them at all, and they usually don't bring a nice gift to makeup for it." - Redditor Arctic_Walrus

    "Registering for china."

    "I didn't want it. Knew we would never use it. Received everything. Never have used it in 25 years." - Redditor supertinypenguin

    Paying for "paper invitations and RSVPs."

    "Set up a wedding site and have people RSVP there. The amount of stress I put myself through trying to get paper mailed back to me in an era when no one uses mail anymore was so unnecessary. Save yourself the headache and the money. It's my biggest wedding regret." - Redditor Shireysparrow

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    halo top ice cream

    At just 280 to 360 calories per pint, Halo Top has taken over the ice cream aisle. The low-fat, high-protein concoction comes in 38 flavors that are designed to be eaten a pint at a time.

    Here are facts you didn't know about the ice cream brand Halo Top.

    The brand came into being because its founder "wanted a snack."

    CEO Justin Woolverton told Delish, "I don't do well on sugar." His initial aim was to make a snack he liked himself, without Greek yogurt's tang or the sugar of regular ice cream.

    The ex-lawyer said he was miserable at his job, so he tried making a big batch to see if he could grow his hobby into a business.

    People buy Halo Top pints in multiples.

    Unlike standard ice cream pints, which consumers tend to eat over the course of several days or weeks, Halo Top devotees "often buy a pint for practically every night of the week,"Inc. reported

    In 2016, when Halo Top exploded, their biggest challenge was increasing production, the founders told Entrepreneur. "We couldn't make it fast enough. When people are buying the stuff and clearing out shelves in like a day or two, they've never seen this in their life with ice cream."



    There's no sugar in the product.

    Halo Top uses organic stevia, which is a plant native to Brazil and Paraguay and has almost zero calories. According to Halo Top's website, they also add erythritol, a sugar alcohol that "doesn't affect blood glucose or cause bloating."


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Big Little Lies

    How much are networks shelling out to bring Hollywood stars to TV?

    In this age of proliferated programming, marquee names have become essential to bring sizable audiences to shows. And the competition among networks and producers has driven industry salaries to new heights.

    Norman Reedus is now making $1 million an episode for "The Walking Dead" as co-star Andrew Lincoln prepares to leave the show, according to Variety. Earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the stars of HBO's "Westworld" would be getting big raises ahead of the sci-fi drama's third season.

    At its height, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman reportedly negotiated $1 million salaries for the upcoming second season of HBO's Emmy-winning drama, "Big Little Lies."

    Jim Parsons of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" made headlines in August for walking away from a reported two-year, $50 million paycheck for two more seasons of the sitcom, which CBS subsequently decided to end in 2019.

    Here's how much the highest-paid stars on TV are earning per-episode:

    Note: Some salaries may include producing fees.

    Jethro Nededog contributed to a previous version of this story. 

    SEE ALSO: Warner Bros. triumphed over Disney in public sentiment after hiring James Gunn for 'Suicide Squad 2'

    $1,000,000 – Norman Reedus, "The Walking Dead" (AMC)

    Source: Variety (2018)

    $1,000,000 — Elisabeth Moss, "The Handmaid's Tale" (Hulu)

    Source: Variety (2018)

    $1,000,000 — Nicole Kidman, "Big Little Lies" (HBO)

    Source: The Hollywood Reporter (2018)

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Use a thermos to keep gravy hot and free up stove space

    Many might argue that the best thing about Thanksgiving, besides a feast, is having leftovers.

    There are countless recipes, casseroles, and yummy innovations you can make from leftover turkey, stuffing, and other holiday dishes, but some leftovers simply aren't meant to be saved.

    Dairy-based gravy will start to separate, and reheated mashed potatoes and certain mushroom dishes can even give you food poisoning if they're not properly stored.

    Keep scrolling to see more foods you may want to consider tossing instead of saving this Turkey Day.

    Dairy-based gravy does not have a long shelf life, as the dairy will separate.

    Homemade gravy can go bad after just one day in the fridge.

    Many gravies have a dairy base, which doesn't take well to the cold — once the gravy is thawed after a day in the fridge, the dairy will separate. Also, the longer it's stored, the more potential it has for bacteria growth. 

    If you want to make the most of your dairy-based gravy, Food52 recommends immediately reheating it to a boil after it thaws, as heat helps combat bacteria. But if you'd rather be safe than sorry, it's best to toss the gravy after a day or two.

    Stock-based gravy, however, is fine to keep as a leftover.

    Improperly stored potatoes can cause food poisoning.

    As a report from The Independent says, "the problem with reheated potatoes is not the reheating, but how you store the potatoes after they are cooked."

    If you cook your potatoes and leave them on the counter to cool, a harmful bacteria called Clostridium botulinum (botulism) could form. The longer they sit without being put in the fridge, the higher the risk.

    So use caution if you choose to keep your Thanksgiving 'taters after they've sat out for a while, as reheating them the next day could put you at risk for food poisoning

    Yam and marshmallow casseroles are tricky, too.

    Per The Independent's report, you should be careful of reheating potato-based casseroles for the same reason. Even though they may be topped with yummy marshmallows, storing them properly is crucial for avoiding food poisoning.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Jurassic WorldThe greatest thing about good science fiction is that it lets viewers explore a new reality. But, some sci-fi movies have a little more fiction than science, which can lead to some major scientific flaws in the film's plot. 

    Of course, these movies aren't always meant to be scientifically accurate. And, regardless of the science, they're pretty fun to watch. 

    Here are some sci-fi movies that got some of their science wrong. 

    Recreating dinosaurs from DNA — as seen in the "Jurassic Park" franchise — doesn't seem plausible.

    BBC science writer Mary Halton spoke to paleontologist Steve Brusatte earlier in 2018 about this series, and he essentially said the likelihood of cloning a dinosaur is close to impossible. 

    "In order to clone a dinosaur you would need the whole genome, and nobody's ever even found a little bit of dinosaur DNA," Brusatte told BBC. "So we're talking about something that's pretty difficult, if not impossible."

    Director Michael Bay may have consulted NASA experts on "Armageddon"— but the premise of the movie is still scientifically questionable.

    A line of dialogue from Billy Bob Thornton's character — meant to be a NASA scientist named Dan Truman — described the asteroid the film hinges upon as being "the size of Texas."

    The team only has 18 days to do something about the asteroid before destruction ensues. The entire premise of the movie is founded on an asteroid that, in reality, would have been detected a lot sooner.

    University of Manchester senior science communication lecturer David Kirby told Smithsonian Magazine, "Any astronomer would tell you, if you have an asteroid the size of Texas, it would have been visible probably years before."

    "Gravity" did a good job at many things — except perhaps the concept in its actual title.

    In a piece for Slate, astronomer and science communicator Phil Plait wrote that Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" got a lot of things right — but it had a major flaw.

    As Plait explained, gravity works differently in space than it does on Earth. George Clooney's character, Matt Kowalski, didn't have to die. It turns out, all Bullock's character had to do was give a gentle tug to save him. 

    "... Gravity wasn't pulling Clooney away from Bullock; there were essentially no forces on him at all, so he had no weight for Bullock to bear," Plait explained. "... Literally, an ounce of force applied for a few seconds would've been enough."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    McDonald's Meal Deal 6

    • McDonald's is debuting the new $6 Classic Meal Deal on Thursday. 
    • For $6, customers can buy one entrée, a small fry, a drink of any size, and an apple pie or seasonal pie.
    • We put together each variation of the deal to see how much money customers can save, as well as how many calories each option packs in. Half of the options contain at least 1,000 calories.  

    McDonald's has a new way to get an enormous amount of food for just $6. 

    On Thursday, the fast-food chain will debut the $6 Classic Meal Deal for a limited time. 

    For $6, customers can purchase one entrée, a small fry, a drink or sweet tea of any size, and an apple pie or seasonal pie. Customers can pick from one of four classic entrées: a Quarter Pounder with cheese, a Big Mac, 10-piece McNuggets, or a Filet-O-Fish sandwich.

    The $6 Meal Deal "enables us to attract different customer segments, ultimately driving traffic into our restaurants while protecting margin," Morgan Flatley, the chief marketing officer of McDonald's US, told Business Insider when we first reported on the deal last week. 

    Read more:McDonald's is debuting a new $6 deal that represents the chain's 'most aggressive' weapon in the battle for budget shoppers yet

    Since the deal doesn't involve any new menu items, Business Insider decided to test out the $6 Meal Deal options before the official launch. Doing so allowed us to take stock of how much money customers will actually save — plus, how many calories will be consumed. 

    Here's what you need to know about the deal: 

    SEE ALSO: Leaked documents reveal McDonald's is expanding its breakfast menu for the first time in years with sandwiches that contain 3 times the meat

    There are four classic entrées that customers can pick from for their meal, each served with a small fry, a soda or sweet tea of any size, and an apple or seasonal pie.

    If you're looking to save, the McNuggets are the best option. In addition to being my personal favorite entrée, you save $4.77 with the new deal.

    Pre-deal cost: $10.77

    Calories: 910 (assuming a zero-calorie drink)

    If you're simply trying to get the most calories possible for $6, get the Big Mac deal, which comes in at 1,010 calories for the burger, fries, and apple pie.

    Pre-deal cost: $10.47

    Calories: 1,010

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    blake livelyFrom making history as Serena van der Woodsen on "Gossip Girl" to building mystery in "A Simple Favor," Blake Lively has been acting for over a decade. 

    Here are 13 surprising facts about Blake Lively. 

    She went on a double date with her now-husband, and he wasn't her date.

    When she and her husband Ryan Reynolds met on the set of the 2011 film "Green Lantern," the two were both in separate relationships— Lively with "Gossip Girl" co-star Penn Badgley and Reynolds with then-wife Scarlett Johansson.

    After both relationships ended, Lively told Vanity Fair that the two longtime friends decided to go on a double date together, but with other people. Those relationships didn't work out and Lively suggested that she and Reynolds try dating instead.

    She calls Martha Stewart her "idol."

    In an interview with Vogue, Lively revealed that Martha Stewart was her idol. The actress stated, "I've only ever found her to be completely generous and kind. She's one of those people who connect people with each other. She's there for you."


    Her first kiss was on-screen.

    In a game of Fact or Fiction with Michael Kors, she told him that her first kiss was on camera, in a movie at the age of 16.

    "I was so terrified," she told Kors. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    freelancer at coffee shop

    • Author Jessica Thiefels, who's been working for herself for seven years, has several helpful tips for prospective participants in the gig economy.
    • From following up persistently to quantifying your value, here are five key lessons to learn if you're ready to leave your 9-to-5 for freelance work.


    While the term "gig economy" feels like just another buzzword, the reality is that our global workforce is moving in this direction.

    In May 2017, the BLS released a report saying that, within the month of May, 10.6 million people engaged in independent contractor work. Upwork's 2017 Freelancing in America report found that, in total, 57.3 million people in the US were freelancing last year.

    I've been freelancing and working in the gig economy since 2011, when I got my first freelance writing job. I've been in and out over the last seven years and now still take on freelance clients, even after starting my organic content marketing agency.

    Along the way, I've learned a few key lessons that may help if you're ready to leave the 9-to-5 behind you.

    SEE ALSO: A 7-step plan to building an emergency fund, even if you're starting from scratch

    You have to be the follow-up queen (or king)

    In many cases, you need your clients or potential clients more than they need you. That's why you can't send a single email, or pass through your resume just once, and never get in touch again.

    Not only are there more than 280 million emails sent and received per day worldwide — which means your email can easily get lost in someone's inbox — but follow-ups show you're serious about the job.

    A good follow-up flow looks like this:

    • Day 1: Initial email
    • Day 5: Follow up, referencing your last email
    • Day 10: Follow up with something like, "I just wanted to send a gentle reminder…"
    • Day 15: Follow up with something like, "I'm sending along one more follow up, if I don't hear from you, I'll assume you've gone in another direction with the project. I'd still like to be considered, so please get in touch if you're interested in working together."

    Continue this as you get responses; if they respond to your first email and not to your second, get your follow-up flow going. To remind yourself, use a tool like Boomerang, a reminder app for Gmail. I love this extension because it lives in your inbox and once you send an email, you can choose when you want it returned to your inbox.

    I can't tell you how many gigs I’ve gotten by being the Queen of follow-ups. For example, I got an email on August 30, 2018 about a potential project. After following up for nearly two months, we kicked it off this past month, on October 11, 2018.

    If you want to be successful in the "gig economy," follow-ups are a must.

    You control your growth, so grow

    The exciting and challenging part of working for yourself is that you're in total control of what you get paid. It's exciting because you don’t have to wait for your boss to give you a raise. But it's challenging because you have to know your financial value as a freelance or contract worker and update your pricing on a regular basis.

    The first challenge, quantifying your value, can be simple or tricky, depending on your industry. In most cases, you can find data on what others in your industry are charging with a simple Google search.

    For example, you can see the average per word and per hour rates for freelance writers in this Clearvoice study. You can also scan Upwork to see what typical hourly rates are for people in your industry or ask others doing similar work as you.

    What's even harder, however, is increasing your rates. In the past, I've worried about about losing current clients (if you pass the rate hike on to them) and future clients for fear that my new pricing is too high. Yet, in the last seven years, I've raised my rates dozens of times, going from $6 an article to $500+ depending on the client.

    While I've had some clients push back on new rates, we almost always come to an agreement somewhere in the middle. In many cases, however, I raise my rates when working with a new client — as opposed to doing so with current clients— so I simply state my rate and if it isn't within their budget, I can come down or walk away.

    I've learned that if you want to grow in this economy, and build a business out of it, you have to scale your prices so you can continue to earn more and keep a manageable workload.

    People will always want to pay you less (don't say yes)

    It's easy to have a scarcity mindset, thinking: "Any money is good money." In some cases, this may be true — if you're struggling to pay rent, for example.

    However, it's important to remember that taking on a project means you're not only getting paid, but you have to do the work, and that takes time: Time away from better paying projects, time away from reaching out to old contacts for new work, and time away from networking with local groups to find people who want to pay what you deserve.

    It took me a long time to realize this. I would take on a project that paid less than I wanted and inevitably feel resentful to the client, and worse, frustrated with myself. I would do whatever I could to get it done quickly and easily, because I wasn’t being paid what I know I should have.

    Not only does this mean the project is a time-suck, but it also means your work will likely not be as good. That could potentially get in the way of future projects — that client may not want to work together again and may not refer you to others. Worse, they could recommend that others not work with you.

    The best way to avoid these consequences is to use a simple checklist for every project that comes across your desk. Your checklist will help you decide whether to take on a project. If you answer "yes" to any of these, you can take it. If not, say, "Thanks, but no thanks."

    • I will get paid my asking rate or more.
    • It will allow me to expand my portfolio in a way other projects can't.
    • There's a lot of potential for well-paying referral work.
    • I’m passionate about the project, cause, or organization.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    stylish traveler

    A recent survey from travel tour company Contiki found that many 18- to 35-year-olds would give up everything from sex to coffee to Netflix to satisfy their wanderlust. But given the time and expense, traveling the world is easier said than done.

    INSIDER spoke to travel bloggers and experts to find out how to budget time and money for a vacation without sacrificing too much. 

    Here are nine tips that will help you to go on the vacation of your dreams. 

    Set up a bank account specifically for saving travel funds.

    Alexis Tiacoh, PR specialist for Expedia and travel blogger, said she simply became smarter about her budget.

    "I've had to sacrifice excessive spending in order to travel. Whenever I start planning a trip, I have to put my debit and credit cards on ice! That means refraining from $10 customized orders at Starbucks, buying shoes, and going crazy at HomeGoods," Alexis told INSIDER.

    She also transfers money from every paycheck to a bank account dedicated to travel so she's not tempted to use it.

    Cut out impulsive, unnecessary purchases — and track your spending.

    Giving up Netflix? It might not seem significant, but the money accrues over time. By examining what you spend each month, you can figure out what you'd be happy to spend less on or eliminate completely.

    "Make a list to calculate your expenses and figure out where you can cut back. $10 saved here, $30 more there ... it adds up quickly!" he told INSIDER.

    Sally Elbassir, the Los Angeles-based foodie travel blogger behind Passport & Plates and social media manager, agreed.

    "When I worked in West Los Angeles, lunch near the office would often cost me anywhere between $10-$15 each day. Pre-made salads or wraps from the grocery store cost $5 and making my own meal cost me even less. Being a little more conscious of how you spend your money can go a long way in saving for travel," Sally told INSIDER.

    That especially includes spending on fashion.

    "Some of the things I gave up for my journey abroad are mainly related to fashion," Mo, Bali-based scuba instructor and travel blogger at Travelust 101, admitted to INSIDER. She said before traveling she would spend hundreds of dollars each month on makeup and clothes.

    Now, she only adds to her wardrobe as needed.

    "After spending 13 years in New York City, capital of world fashion, it was an enormous relief (particularly to my bank account) when I stopped worrying about how I should look, and instead focus on how to live a life I love."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    johnny depp

    • In January 2017, Johnny Depp filed a $25 million lawsuit accusing his former business managers of fraud and mismanagement. 
    • His managers countersued, claiming that the actor led an "extravagant and extreme" lifestyle, which included buying 14 properties and a 156-foot yacht and spending $3.6 million a year to pay his 40-person staff.
    • The lawsuit was settled in July. No details were released at the time, but a spokesman for Depp said in a statement that the actor was "pleased" with the outcome.
    • Take a look at some of the insane real estate that he has loved, lost, and held on to over his career.

    In January 2017, Johnny Depp filed a $25 million lawsuit against his former business managers, accusing them of fraud and mismanagement that has cost him millions of dollars. 

    The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star was then hit by a countersuit from his managers, who claimed that the actor led an "extravagant and extreme" lifestyle.

    His business managers, Joel and Robert Mandel of The Management Group, said that Depp made $650 million in the more than a decade they worked with him. But Depp reportedly splurged this money on a lavish lifestyle that included buying 14 properties and a 156-foot yacht and spending $3.6 million a year to pay his 40-person staff, The Hollywood Reporter wrote in May 2017.

    The lawsuit was settled in July, but no details were released. At the time, a spokesman for Depp said in a statement that the actor was "pleased" with the outcome.

    Take a look at some of the insane real estate that he has loved, lost, and held on to over his career:

    SEE ALSO: These photos reveal why the 26-year-old organizer of the disastrous Fyre Festival has been sentenced to 6 years in prison

    Johnny Depp's business managers alleged that he spent over $75 million to "acquire, improve and furnish 14 residences," according to the lawsuit.

    Source: Hollywood Reporter

    His managers persuaded him to sell some of these properties to keep up with monthly bills that totaled $2 million. One of those monthly costs was upkeep for his 150-foot luxury yacht, "Amphitrite," which he reportedly spent $18 million on.

    Source: The Telegraph

    His managers claimed that Depp would not be able to afford the $350,000 monthly upkeep he had laid out for this yacht. Joel Mandel, his accountant, convinced Depp to sell the yacht, and it was reportedly bought by JK Rowling in 2016.

    Source: Business InsiderAOL, and Hollywood Reporter

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, dubbed the “statue of unity”

    India has taken the crown from China for building the world's largest statue, a 182-meter memorial to politician Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

    It was inaugurated on Wednesday at a ceremony in Narmada district, Gujarat State.

    Twice as big as the Statue of Liberty in New York, the $400-million "Statue of Unity" was commissioned in October 2010 and is 54 meters taller than China's Spring Temple Buddha, which it dethroned.

    Patel was India's first Deputy Prime Minister and was key to Indian reunification after British colonial rule ended in 1947.

    These photos of the statue from the ceremony, and when it was being constructed, show just how huge it is.

    Here's the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, standing at a huge 182 meters.

    It stands near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada River in Gujarat state, western India.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    best baby thermometer

    • Dealing with a sick and feverish baby can be very stressful and scary, which is why having a great baby thermometer is so important.

    • Our top pick is the iProven DMT-489 Thermometer because it is an FDA-approved digital ear thermometer that also takes forehead readings. 

    There’s nothing scarier than having a sick child with a fever. Especially when it's a baby that’s less than three months old because if they have fever above 100.4, it can be very dangerous and you need to call your pediatrician immediately. That’s why being able to get a fast and accurate temperature reading is so important.

    Thankfully, you no longer have to wait minutes to find out a baby’s temperature with the mercury-in-glass thermometers our moms used when we were sick growing up. Nowadays, baby thermometers not only deliver faster and more accurate readings, but they are also much safer and easier to use.

    Most thermometers offer accurate and consistent digital readings in the matter of seconds in both Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures. Some thermometers are non-invasive and can take temperatures by scanning skin, while others record the last 20 temperatures taken so you can keep track and see if your child’s fever is getting better or worse throughout the day.

    With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to find the right baby thermometer for your family’s needs. To help you make sick days a little easier, we’ve rounded up the best-reviewed baby thermometers you can buy.

    Whether you are looking for a traditional ear thermometer, one that can read forehead temperatures, or even a Bluetooth thermometer that can track temperatures and symptoms with an app, these are the baby thermometers to keep on your radar.

    Here are the best baby thermometers you can buy:

    Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

    Best baby thermometer overall

    Why you'll love it: The iProven DMT-489 Thermometer is an easy-to-use baby thermometer that offers accurate and fast temperature readings. 

    The iProven DMT-489 Thermometer is an FDA-approved thermometer that gives precise temperature readings in seconds. While the thermometer can take temperatures from both the ear and forehead, the brand recommends taking temperatures using the forehead scan for squirmy infants and from the ear for babies older than six months.

    It features a backlit display that makes nighttime readings that much easier and has a color-coded screen that helps you classify different levels of a fever. It not only works on babies, but people of all ages, making it the only thermometer your family needs.

    The thermometer made Wirecutter's list of best thermometers in 2018 and won The Bump's award for the best baby thermometer in 2017. It also has 3.8-stars on Amazon with over 4,000 reviews.

    One customer raved, “Great product, easy to use! I like the fact there are really only two buttons to use, not complicated. Also, easy to read directions. I’m a pediatric nurse and I don’t have a lot of time to read long directions. Easy to use on children and they are fascinated with it!”

    Pros: FDA-approved, fast and accurate readings, backlit digital display, takes temperatures two ways, works on the entire family

    Cons: Pricey

    Buy the iProven DMT-489 Thermometer on Amazon for $29.99

    Best forehead baby thermometer

    Why you'll love it: The Exergen Temporal Scan Forehead Thermometer is an accurate thermometer that is non-intrusive and won’t disrupt a sleeping baby.

    The Exergen Temporal Scan Forehead Thermometer gives a fast, accurate temperature reading with a gentle scan of the forehead. Simply swipe the thermometer from the forehead to the hairline to capture the naturally emitted heat from skin over the temporal artery.

    The thermometer’s Arterial Heat Balance then computes the correct temperature. A Harvard Medical School study said that this thermometer gives a more accurate reading than a regular ear thermometer, and a study done at the Hospital for Sick Children reports that its readings are as accurate as rectal readings, which are typically the gold standard.

    It is a fan favorite with nurses and shoppers alike on Amazon, where it has a 3.5-star rating with more than 3,000 reviews.

    One buyer wrote, “These are great thermometers. I bought my first one because it was recommended by my pediatrician, and we are so glad we did. It's easy to check a temperature, even when my toddler is asleep. I just bought one for a friend who's about to have a baby. This is indispensable for new mommies and daddies!”

    Some reviewers did note that it took a few tries to figure out how to properly use the thermometer. They recommend doing a few trial runs to get the hang of it, before anyone in your house gets sick.

    Pros: Non-intrusive, very accurate readings, works in seconds, safe and easy to use

    Cons: Some people may need to practice at first to get the hang of it

    Buy the Exergen Temporal Scan Forehead Thermometer on Amazon for $23.50

    Best ear baby thermometer

    Why you'll love it: The Braun ThermoScan 5 IRT6500 Digital Ear Thermometer is a very accurate ear thermometer that is highly recommended by pediatricians. 

    Ear thermometers can sometimes have a bad reputation as it can be difficult to get an accurate reading if the device isn’t positioned properly, but the Braun ThermoScan 5 IRT6500 Digital Ear Thermometer is here to change that.

    Unlike other ear thermometers, this one has a patented ExacTemp positioning system that will confirm when you have the thermometer in a good position in the ear by omitting a light and a beep. This helps guarantee the most accurate temperature measurement.

    The thermometer also comes with a pre-warmed tip to ensure the accuracy of the temperature reading and it records the last temperature reading to help you keep track of temperature fluctuations. The thermometer does not need to be cleaned between readings, instead, it uses disposable lens filters to help prevent the spread of germs.

    It is a best seller on Amazon, where it has a 4-star rating with more than 3,200 reviews. One shopper named Yadira wrote, “I got this thermometer after noticing this are the ones they use now at hospitals and at pediatrician clinic, it is so convenient, easy to read, and FAST! Great thermometer.”

    Each thermometer comes with comes with 21 disposable lens filters, but after that, you’ll have to buy them separately. You can buy a box of 40 for $5.84.

    Pros: Hygienic, very accurate, lets you know if it’s not in the proper place, pre-warmed tip

    Cons: Have to purchase disposable lens filters

    Buy the Braun ThermoScan 5 IRT6500 Digital Ear Thermometer on Amazon for $26.78 and up

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Publix, a popular supermarket chain in the Southeast US, is beloved by Southerners for its selection and deals.
    • Author Chelsea Greenwood visited her local Publix location to get an inside look at what the store has to offer.


    Publix — a supermarket chain with 1,202 locations across the Southeast— claims to be the place "where shopping is a pleasure."

    I certainly think so. I'm a 20-year resident of Florida, where the company is headquartered, and Publix has long been my go-to grocery store— not just for its great selection and killer deals but for its deep-rooted tradition of Southern hospitality.

    Service with a smile is the foundation of Publix, which was founded in Winter Haven, Florida, in 1930 by George W. Jenkins, who grew up working in his father’s general store. He aimed to treat his supermarket employees and customers "like family," and 88 years later, his legacy is still going strong.

    Publix is a popular grocery store nationwide — it tied with Wegmans for first place in Market Force Information's 2018 survey of best US supermarkets — but it has an extra-special place in the hearts of many Southerners.

    To find out why Southerners love Publix so much, I visited my favorite location and observed its offerings with fresh eyes. Here are my findings.

    SEE ALSO: This regional chain just beat Trader Joe's and Kroger as America's favorite grocery store

    Publix promises to do right by you — or your money back.

    You'll find a sign like this, stating the Publix Guarantee, in every store. It promises that Publix will never knowingly disappoint you and that you'll be cheerfully refunded your money if your purchase doesn't meet your satisfaction.

    The store backs up that credo with positive reinforcement: If a team member goes the extra mile for you and you tell a manager, that staffer will receive a reward certificate for a free meal from the store’s deli, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

    The floral department offers fresh blooms and premium services.

    At this store, guests are greeted by fresh blooms in the floral department. Shoppers can order fresh-cut flower stems, custom arrangements, and even bridal bouquets, according to the Sun-Sentinel— services you'll be hard-pressed to find at most grocery stores. Southern belles can buy their hydrangea en masse here.

    The bakery caters to kids with free cookies and 'smash cakes.'

    Children flock to the beloved Publix bakery for free cookies. And, for Southern moms who love to throw unforgettable parties, the bakery provides a complimentary seven-inch "smash cake" with the purchase of a first-birthday cake, so the birthday baby can adorably destroy it while the real cake remains intact. Custom Publix cakes are a mainstay of birthday parties in the South. (I’m partial to their buttercream frosting.)

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    depression anxiety mental healthWhether or not you or anyone close to you has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you've almost certainly heard the term tossed around in media or daily life.

    As the name suggests, bipolar disorder involves vacillation between extreme highs and lows in mood, activity level, and more.

    But, bipolar disorder is frequently misunderstood, despite being a relatively common diagnosis — an estimated 4.4% of adults experience bipolar disorder in their lifetime, according to Harvard Medical School.

    Here are some common myths and misconceptions about bipolar disorder, and the truths behind them, according to experts.

    MYTH: Bipolar is just another word for moody.

    Technically, this one is a misuse of terminology. In colloquial speech, it's common for the word "bipolar" to be used as an adjective, said Lauren Pedersen, LMFT, a psychotherapist based in Connecticut.

    "It is often 'tossed around' as an explanation or description of a person who is 'moody' or whose anger is not understood," she told INSIDER. "The overuse of the name contributes to stigma and misunderstanding of mental illness in general.

    Separating the term from the illness, and using it instead to describe erratic or otherwise unfavorable behavior, can be disrespectful to those who actually have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

    Being precise and accurate with language is one way to work against the negative connotations that are often associated with mental illnesses and the people who have them.

    MYTH: Bipolar disorder really just means mood swings, which everyone has sometimes.

    Just like sadness is not the same as depression and nervousness is not the same as anxiety, bipolar disorder is a recognized mental illness which is distinct from neurotypical experience.

    "Bipolar has a full set of diagnostic criteria that have to be met in order for the diagnosis to be assigned accurately," Pedersen told INSIDER. "Regular mood swings that are attributable to hormonal changes, seasonal changes, social stressors, life transitions, grief or loss, drug or alcohol use, do not equal bipolar disorder."

    If you think you may be experiencing bipolar disorder, a licensed psychotherapist can help you sort out whether or not your symptoms signal the presence of bipolar or another disorder according to recognized criteria.

    MYTH: There's only one kind of bipolar disorder.

    Unbeknownst to many who don't have personal experience with bipolar disorder, there are actually multiple subtypes of the diagnosis.

    "Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by mood swings from depression to periods of excessively high energy, difficulties with sleep, and changes in thinking and behavior," Gwen Kesten, Ph.D., a privately practicing licensed psychologist based in Connecticut, told INSIDER.

    Within that general description, there are distinct subtypes: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic disorder, and "Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders," according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

    Within those subtypes, there are individual differences. Bipolar disorder, like any mental illness, affects people in a wide variety of ways. Symptoms can vary in presence and severity even between those diagnosed with the same sub-type. Dr. Kesten also mentioned that not all bipolar disorder symptoms are strictly emotional.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Lion Air JT610 relatives

    A plane carrying 189 people between two Indonesian cities crashed Monday morning.

    Lion Air Flight JT 610 was traveling from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang when the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed into the sea at about 6:30 a.m. local time. Everyone on board is presumed dead, and recovered remains have been brought to hospitals for identification.

    So far, around 49 body bags of human remains have been uncovered. Rescuers say that most people on board are likely trapped inside the wreckage.

    The Reuters news agency reported Monday that "Yusuf Latief, spokesman of the national search and rescue agency, said there were likely no survivors."

    Deputy National Police Chief Ari Dono Sukmanto said at a press conference Tuesday that the identification will be difficult as so few bodies are intact.

    SEE ALSO: The pilot of the downed Lion Air flight asked to turn back shortly before it crashed into the sea off Indonesia

    SEE ALSO: A previous Lion Air flight crash-landed in the sea in 2013, but with far less deadly results

    Bhavye Suneja, the pilot

    Suneja had logged more than 6,000 flight hours, according to Lion Air.

    Indonesia's Indian Embassy said on Twitter that Suneja "lost his life."

    His co-pilot, whose name was Harvino

    Harvino had logged more than 5,000 flight hours, according to Lion Air, which named him alongside Suneja.

    It is common for Indonesians to use only one name.

    6 other crew members

    Lion Air named the six crew members:

    • Shintia Melina
    • Citra Noivita Anggelia
    • Alviani Hidayatul Solikha
    • Damayanti Simarmata
    • Mery Yulianda
    • Deny Maula.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Even though it's been 20 years since Disney Channel's fourth original movie Halloweentown first aired, '90s kids still look forward to watching the Cromwell kids get into some supernatural mischief once October rolls around.

    And though you might consider yourself a wiz when it comes to Halloweentown trivia, there are some behind-the-scenes secrets not even the most loyal of fans know about the film. To brush up on your facts, here are 12 things you definitely didn't know about the magic behind this cult-favorite movie.

    The movie didn't have a large budget.

    The first installment of the Halloweentown franchise was presented to director Duwayne Dunham as a $20 to $30 million project. But they were only given $4 million to film with.

    "I liked the story of the kids and their grandmother and the mother and the secret and all of that stuff. But it was like a $20 to $30 million movie when they presented it to me, and at that time, Disney Channel had just started production on their first movie, which was "Brink," and we were the second one,"Dunham said in an interview with MTV.

    "Our concept was great, but the scope was too much for us and our budget. So the trick was how do you keep the tone and the concept intact, and pare it down so we could afford to do this?"

    Obviously hey made it work. The film was shot in full over the course of a quick, 24-day span, with actors doubling up costumes on set to create the illusion of a busy town.

    You can visit Halloweentown in real life.

    The original Halloweentown was filmed in the town square of St. Helens, Oregon, and every year since its release in 1998, the town celebrates All Hallows' Eve by hosting the Spirit Of Halloweentown Festival from mid-September through October 31.

    "They kick off the festival every year with an annual lighting ceremony. We say a spell from the movie, and the jack-o-lantern is lit. It's lit you guys," Brown said of the festival in a YouTube video.

    The month-long event also features activities like family-friendly haunted houses, photos with the original orange pumpkin from the film, a museum of peculiarities and oddities, pumpkin picking, a costume contest, and more.

    Benny, the sassy skeleton taxi driver, was actually a robot.

    Benny the taxi driver wasn't an actor dressed as a skeleton, nor was his character completely digitized. During a Q&A with Baltimore Media Blog, Kimberly J. Brown who played 13-year-old Marnie Cromwell outed the man behind the curtain — or, I should say, the robot behind the skeleton — for what he truly was.

    "One specific memory [I have from filming Halloweentown is] of the character Benny," Brown told the blog. "The actor dubbed his lines after filming, so we actually worked with a robot. I'll always remember the ‘errr err' sound it made."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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