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The latest news on Features from Business Insider

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    to go cup

    • Small tweaks like flavored syrup can enhance chain coffee.
    • Starbucks' Frappuccinos are a chef favorite.
    • Chefs prefer growing chains like Blue Bottle. 

    Chain coffee may not be the coolest caffeinated beverage around, but sometimes it's the only option. Especially if you work a chef's schedule i.e. all the time.

    We asked chefs their preferred way to caffeinate at chain coffee shops, so you too can get a boost like a professional cook.

    Dunkin' coffee is just sweet enough for some chefs.

    "I don't drink a lot of coffee, but Dunkin' Donuts' coffee lives up to the hype. You can smell the sensuous, caramel roast of a Dunkin' coffee from five blocks away." -- Simone Tong, chef, owner of Little Tong Noodle Shop

    Some chefs find Starbucks Frappuccinos refreshing.

    "Starbucks has the Frappuccino game locked down. The Salted Caramel is a classic but the Maple Pecan is pretty good, too. I always add additional shots of blonde espresso to mine."—Brian Baxter, Chef de Cuisine at Bastion

    "I honestly don't get a chance to go to chain coffee shops too often (perks of living in Brooklyn!) but I do like a Frappuccino on a hot summer day."— Dianna Daoheung, executive chef of Black Seed Bagels

    Blue Bottle has a twist on a classic.

    "I really love Blue Bottle and Sweet Leaf coffee. Both of these chains offer an iced coffee that uses chicory. This surprising ingredient adds a little twist on a classic!"— Leah Morrow, executive pastry chef at the Brooklyn Bread Lab.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    drew brees

    • Elo and Cortana have made their picks for Week 15.
    • Cortana leads the overall race, correctly picking 66% of the games this season.

    Week 15 of the NFL season is here, and Cortana is back to make picks in a head-to-head showdown with Elo.

    We looked at two popular systems used to pick NFL games: Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant, and Elo, the modeling system used by Nate Silver's data-journalism site, FiveThirtyEight.

    In both cases, the computers are picking outright winners and not against the spread. Each gives a likelihood that a team will win, however, which in theory could help measure the strength of certain lines.

    Cortana is off to a strong start this season, correctly picking 66% of the games, including a 9-7 record in Week 14. Elo has nailed 60% overall.

    Here are the picks for Week 15, with each team's percent chance of winning in parentheses. Point spreads are for reference, via Vegas Insider as of Thursday morning.

    "Thursday Night Football"

    • Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) — CHIEFS (Elo 66%, Cortana 60%)


    • Houston Texans (-6.5) at New York Jets — TEXANS (Elo 64%, Cortana 73%)
    • Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos (-2.5) — BRONCOS (Elo 69%, Cortana 57%)

    Sunday-afternoon games — early window

    • Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings (-7) — VIKINGS (Elo 72%, Cortana 69%)
    • Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) — BENGALS (Elo 66%, Cortana 57%)
    • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Baltimore Ravens (-7.5) —RAVENS (Elo 76%, Cortana 77%)
    • Dallas Cowboys at Indianapolis Colts (-3) — COWBOYS (Elo 53%); COLTS (Cortana 60%)
    • Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills (-2) — LIONS (Elo 51%); BILLS (Cortana 53%)
    • Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (-6) — BEARS (Elo 74%, Cortana 66%)
    • Tennessee Titans at New York Giants (-2) — TITANS (Elo 51%, Cortana 53%)
    • Washington Redskins at Jacksonville Jaguars (-7.5) — JAGUARS (Elo 60%, Cortana 73%)
    • Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons (-9.5) — FALCONS (Elo 73%, Cortana 70%)

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • DJ Khaled's waterfront Miami home has been listed for $7.99 million.
    • The waterfront mansion has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, and an enormous sneaker closet.
    • The home is flush with luxury amenities, including a boat lift, an elevator, a wine cellar, and an outdoor entertaining area.

    DJ Khaled's home is the stuff of sneaker-lovers' dreams — and it's now on the market.

    The Miami villa is listed at $7.99 million by Janet Ben Zvi of ONE Sotheby's International Realty.

    DJ Khaled, 43, is a DJ and producer. He also, as Business Insider's Angela Johnson previously reported, launched a luxury furniture line called We The Best Home in September; the line includes lots of "leather, gold, and high-end features."

    A similar attention to detail — and appreciation for the shinier things in life — can be seen throughout his home.

    Read more:A new report reveals the 17 most popular housing markets for the world's richest people, and a notoriously expensive city is missing from the list

    According to a new report from Knight Frank, Miami is one of the world's most popular housing markets for the world's richest people. It's a growing market in which many of the top real estate sales come from penthouses in residential developments. Khaled's house now joins the likes of a $68 million penthouse, which could shatter the state's record, as some of the Miami area's glitzy real estate offerings.

    Here's a look inside the mansion:

    SEE ALSO: Tour the most expensive zip code in Florida — the mysterious members-only island where millionaires pay $250,000 for access

    READ MORE: Here's what the most expensive house for sale in every US state looks like

    According to The Wall Street Journal, the home sits on a half-acre of property on Dumbfoundling Bay in Aventura, about 20 miles north of Miami.

    Source: The Wall Street Journal, Google Maps

    The home is located in an ultra-exclusive gated community ...

    Source: Janet Ben Zvi of ONE Sotheby’s International Realty

    ... and has unobstructed views of the bay and city, according to Janet Ben Zvi of ONE Sotheby's International Realty.

    Source: Janet Ben Zvi of ONE Sotheby’s International Realty

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    U.S. Air Force firefighters, assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, spray water on a fire May 10, 2018 during training exercises at the Toledo Express Airport in Swanton, Ohio.

    • The National Guard turned 382 years old Thursday.
    • US states have faced forest fires, hurricanes, and even volcanoes this past year, and in every instance, the National Guard responded.

    The National Guard, a unique part of the American military, traces its origins to the birth of the first organized colonial militia regiments on December 13, 1636.

    The Guard, which includes some of the oldest units in the US military, is a reserve component that can be called up on a moment's notice to respond to domestic emergencies or participate in overseas combat missions.

    These 11 stunning photos from the past year show the Guard in action — dealing with fires, hurricanes, volcanoes, and more.

    New York National Guard soldiers from Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery, clear a M777 Howitzer, at Fort Drum, Watertown, New York on May 22, 2018.

    A Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS), a C-130 Hercules modified for fire-fighting purposes, releases fire retardant over Shasta County, California, during the Carr Fire in early August 2018.

    Battery B, 2d Battalion 114th Field Artillery Regiment hone their gunnery skills as they conduct table XVIII near Dona Ana, New Mexico on April 28, 2018.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    IP gift guide banner

    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.


    • Part of the fun of hiking, camping, climbing, and other outdoor activities is all the great gear that goes along with the adventure.
    • Buying gifts for the outdoorsman or outdoorswoman on your list is tricky for several reasons, largely because of how much most good outdoor gear costs.
    • We've put together a list of 20 great gifts for the camper, climber, paddler, or general outdoor enthusiast on your list, and all of them cost less than $20.

    As an avid hiker, camper, kayaker, and guy who generally likes to be outside whenever possible, I know I can be hard to shop for when it's the gift-giving season. You'd think someone with a hobby would be an easy mark for holiday gift-getting, but us woodsy types are kind of the opposite: Most outdoor enthusiasts already have all the gear they need. In fact, most already have redundant gear many times over. Don't get me wrong, I can justify my seven puffer jackets, four hiking packs, and six pairs of trail running shoes, but I probably can't justify asking for any more such gear for Christmas.

    Beyond the already having it all problem, there's the fact that great outdoor equipment is rarely cheap. Unless you're looking to drop a few hundred bucks on the best hiking boots, tent, or bivy sack out there, you're unlikely to buy something that will be a game changer for your outdoorsy gift recipient. And, truth be told, outdoorspeople tend to be picky, usually preferring to select their own kit and with strong opinions on brands, product categories, and design attributes.

    So that's three strikes — redundancy, cost, and pickiness — against buying gifts for the outdoorsman on your list.

    What's to be done, just go with an Amazon gift card? No! Not at all, we can do better than that.

    Instead, get that outdoorsy guy or gal one of the great pieces of gear I've curated for this guide; it's a good chance they won't have this stuff yet. And if they do, hey, at least you only spent $20 maximum, right?

    Still shopping for more gifts? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    SEE ALSO: 27 great gifts for travelers — from $400 custom Bose headphones to $16 TSA-compliant cocktail kits

    LED stakes to make your tent visible and secure all day and night

    UCO StakeLight Tent Stakes with LED Ligh and Emergency Strobe, $17.80, available at Amazon

    Any camper will tell you that one of the best parts about a campout is returning to your tent in the dark and tripping over a tent wire. Even better is stubbing your toe on a tent stake that you also manage to dislodge, making the entire tent collapse in the process. And all you wanted to do was pee. Prevent this all-too-common tableau with UCO StakeLights, the tent stakes with built-in LED lights. They softly illuminate the ground around your tent, helping prevent trips or toe stubs, and adding a bit of welcome glow to the campsite beyond.

    A portable straw that makes all water drinkable

    LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, $11.99, available at Amazon

    With a LifeStraw, basically any source of non-saline water is safe to drink. You can plunge one of these water filters into a puddle, a pond, or a glass of water you suspect might be less-than-pure. A LifeStraw cleans about 1,000 gallons of water before it needs a new filter cartridge, so its happy recipient will be covered even on multi-day or multi-week adventures. And don't worry if you get a LifeStraw for someone who already has one; I keep one in each car and with my gear. Redundancy here is a good thing.

    A double-walled, vacuum insulated mug to keep your beverages hot or cold

    SIMPLE DRINK 12oz Stainless Steel Insulated Coffee Mug, $18.99, available at Amazon

    Your camping buddy surely already has one of those ubiquitous titanium camping cups, and those things are great for being so lightweight, but they don't do much at all for keeping a drink hot or cold. For that, you need a double-walled, vacuum-sealed mug with a good, securely fitting lid. And as it happens, Simple Drink makes one that costs less than $20. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    how the grinch stole christmas

    • In many parts of the world, people are expected to love Christmas and embrace all things about it. Anyone who doesn't is quickly labeled a Grinch and advised to keep their views to themselves.
    • But how reasonable is this? And if you are a Grinch, how can you survive the yuletide season?
    • Here are five suggestions, informed by science, that may help you to navigate Christmas.
    The Conversation

    Two years ago, I came into work on December 1 to find a bag on my desk labelled "Karen's Christmas Intervention." It contained many Christmas themed gifts and challenges — such as watching a Christmas DVD and going to a carol service.

    These were all designed to help me find something to like about Christmas. I tried everything — after all, someone had made a big effort. But while I enjoyed completing each challenge, it didn't change my values. I remain a Grinch.

    In many parts of the world, we are expected to love Christmas and embrace all things about it. Anyone who doesn't is quickly labelled a Grinch and advised to keep their views to themselves so that they don't ruin a magical time for others. But how reasonable is this? And if you are a Grinch, how can you survive the yuletide season?

    Quite simply, a Grinch is a person who dislikes Christmas. Some definitions suggest that Grinches try to spoil Christmas for others. However, in my experience, it is not the Grinches who proselytise — people who love Christmas work very hard to try to change the Grinch's standpoint.

    If you are considering calling someone a Grinch, think first about how well you know them. If you are unsure of their circumstances then take care, not because being "grinchist" is against the law (Grinch is not a protected characteristic), but because there are many reasons why a person may not like Christmas. These may range from anti-consumerist political views to loneliness, financial worries, family difficulties, or traumatic childhood experiences.

    Read more: 10 Christmas traditions with surprisingly dark origins

    However, if you are a fellow Grinch, here are five suggestions, informed by science, that may help you to navigate Christmas. Remember that different strategies work in different contexts and for different individuals, so try to find a strategy that fits you.

    1. Get support

    Countless studies show that people who live with long term health conditions hugely benefit from finding other people who understand what they are experiencing.

    Someone who lives with persistent pain may worry that they are a burden on their loved ones and so be reluctant to say how they really feel. Finding other people who have similar experiences provides them with an instant recognition and level of understanding.

    They can say what they really think, and be who they really are, without fear of upsetting their nearest and dearest. So one solution is to find other grinchy people — perhaps with the help of social media — among whom you can stay true to yourself.

    2. Be strategic

    Can't face the thought of Christmas dinner in a restaurant with colleagues but don't want to explain why? Why not conjure up another commitment which means you can only come to the pre-dinner drinks?

    After all, there are always lots of invitations this time of year, so nobody will be suspicious. This means that you show your face and show you are willing to participate. And you get home at a reasonable hour before the mask covering your grinchiness slips.

    To carry this suggestion off, you need to practice your communication skills. Don't fall into the trap of feeling that you need to over-explain your other commitment — this is what people do when they lie!

    Also, remember that you don't have to say yes to everything. Be strategic. Work out which event will gain you the maximum brownie points and politely decline all others.

    3. Fake it till you make it

    If you want to completely conceal your inner Grinch, you may want familiarise yourself with a 1979 experiment by psychologist Ellen Langer from Harvard University. She invited a group of men in their 70s to attend a week of reminiscence at a retreat outside Boston.

    During the week, they were instructed to act as if they were 20 years younger and were banned from talking about anything that had happened post 1959 (the retreat was also styled using objects from the 50s to give context).

    At the end of the week, they demonstrated marked improvements in dexterity, mobility, memory, blood pressure, eyesight, and hearing. Acting as if they were younger had rejuvenated them.

    So if you are a Grinch wanting to hide your grinchiness or even want to see if you can learn to like Christmas, think about how a Christmas-lover might behave and put it into practice.

    Even if you aren't able to convince yourself, you are likely to hoodwink others, hide your grinchiness and so keep at bay the endless questions about why you don't like Christmas.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Kim Kardashian West pocket jacket

    • Fashion was swept by some truly confusing looks in 2018.
    • Many items seemed like they were intentionally designed to go viral or perplex the majority of consumers.
    • Other trends were either difficult to pull off, uncomfortable to wear, or both.
    • It's time to retire bike shorts, boilersuits, sock sneakers, and more in 2019.

    It's safe to say 2018 was a baffling year for fashion.

    Designers and celebrities alike embraced trends that seemed more gimmicky than innovative, like intentionally ugly shoes or transparent plastic handbags.

    Other items that came into style, like bike shorts and tiny sunglasses, proved difficult to pull off outside fashion shows and red carpet events.

    Below, see 11 popular trends that will hopefully end in 2019.

    Neon became fashionable again this year, but it's time to retire the trend for good in 2019.

    In 2018, everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Kim Kardashian West donned head-to-toe fluorescent looks.

    But outside red-carpet events, fashion shows, and maybe the gym, neon's a hard trend to pull off.

    Come 2019, stars and designers will hopefully leave the color palette where it belongs: in the '80s and early '90s.

    Monochromatic outfits left red carpets and street style a bit predictable.

    Tonal dressing made it easy to embrace fashion's love of bright colors in 2018, but the trend lost its charm — and originality — over time.

    Bike shorts, which first took off in 2017, have overstayed their welcome.

    Bike shorts may be comfortable, but they're hard to pull off unless you're a celebrity or work in fashion.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    TRV   Main & Villa One Infinity Pools Evening

    • The Resort Villa in Thailand offers guests private access to a 150,0000-square-foot property that includes seven villas and a full-time staff of 60 people. 
    • The resort was recently dubbed "the world's best private villa" by the Boutique Hotel Awards.
    • The property is two hours outside of Bangkok— the biggest international tourist destination in the world — and prides itself on its privacy.

    The world's best private villa is an unlikely destination: It's a two-hour drive from the world's biggest international tourist destination.

    But you wouldn't guess it from the looks of things inside The Resort Villa, where privacy is key. Seven villas, four bars, and nine dining areas are spread out across 150,000 square feet of property.

    The resort beat out other five other candidates in the Maldives, Spain, South Africa, Fiji, and St. Barthelemy, respectively, to win the award. It also unseats Over Yonder Cay in the Bahamas and Coco Prive in the Maldives, which jointly won the award in 2017.

    Read more: The top 14 boutique hotels in the world

    Thailand has long been a tourist hotspot, largely in thanks to its stunning beaches. In fact, Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, was recognized as the most popular city in the world for international tourists for three years in a row. And, earlier this year, the iconic Thai bay featured in the movie "The Beach" was permanently closed due to long-term damage caused by tourists.

    The Resort Villa, however, is located in the non-commercial area of Rayong and prides itself in offering respite from highly tourist-trafficked areas.

    Keep reading for a tour of the property:

    SEE ALSO: A luxury resort in the middle of the jungle in Bali was voted as having the world's 'most stunning views' and the view from the pool shows why

    READ MORE: A 7-bedroom Swiss cabin has been named the world's best ski chalet for 2 years in a row — and an inside tour quickly proves why

    The Private Villa is located in Rayong, Thailand, on the Gulf of Thailand. It's about a two-hour drive from the closest airport in Bangkok.

    Source: Google Maps

    The 150,000-square-foot property has seven private villas and can host up to 14 people at once.

    Source: The Resort Villa

    It's a mere five-minute walk from the beach ...

    Source: The Resort Villa

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    John Kelly

    • President Donald Trump's third chief of staff will likely face a strenuous time in the White House amid a key point in the Russia investigations.
    • The highly publicized nature of the job and the potential for a highly publicized fallout adds more pressure to a potential successor.
    • Several candidates have been mentioned as potential successors — some more outside the box than others.

    After news broke that John Kelly, the former US Marine Corps general who became President Donald Trump's second chief of staff, would leave the White House by the end of the year, the focus shifted to who could be next.

    Trump's first pick, Mike Pence's chief of staff Nick Ayers, already turned the job down (and said he'll leave Pence's side next year), leaving Trump in a more challenging hunt than expected for a replacement.

    Here are a few candidates that have been thrown around in the last few days as potential Kelly successors:

    SEE ALSO: Nick Ayers will not replace White House chief of staff John Kelly as suspected

    Jared Kushner

    Trump is reportedly considering Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and adviser, for the job. 

    A top Republican close to the White House told HuffPost that Kushner, Ivanka Trump's husband, has made it to the president's shortlist. The source and two others close to the White House confirmed Kushner's interest for the job to HuffPost. 

    On Thursday, December 13, Trump told reporters he is down to five finalists, saying he was now interviewing candidates for the position. 

    Kushner and his wife have faced opposition from both inside and outside of the White House due to concerns about nepotism.

    Mark Meadows

    Trump has asked close advisers what they think of Rep. Mark Meadows as a potential replacement for Kelly, Axios reported on Sunday.

    Meadows, chairman of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and representative from North Carolina, told Politico that serving as Trump's chief of staff "would be an incredible honor."

    "The President has a long list of qualified candidates and I know he'll make the best selection for his administration and for the country," said Meadows, who has already been a close adviser to the president.

    (Update: On December 12, Meadows took his name out of the running for chief of staff.)

    Steven Mnuchin

    Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, has also been floated around as a potential chief of staff, according to Reuters.

    Reuters reported that Mnuchin, who has served the administration since February 2017, sees his role as Treasury secretary as best suited to help the president. However, The Washington Post reported that Mnuchin might change his mind and take the chief of staff position if Trump pleads with him. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    drinking tea coffee

    • Coffee is said to have been discovered by a goat herder.
    • It's the second most popular drink in the entire world.
    • Your average cup actually has more caffeine in it than a shot of espresso.

    Coffee is one of the world's favorite drinks and is enjoyed on a daily basis by millions of people. Water is the only beverage that's more popular and Thomas Jefferson called coffee, "the favorite drink of the civilized world."

    INSIDER found out some fun facts about the world's second favorite drink.

    Coffee was supposedly discovered by a goat herder in Ethiopia.

    While it's unclear exactly where coffee comes from, legend has it that the stimulating effects of coffee berries were accidentally discovered by a goat herder who noticed that his goats were particularly energetic after grazing berries from a specific tree. He passed on his findings to an abbot who made a drink with the berries, which kept him alert through long evening prayers.

    The knowledge of this special berry was then spread to other monks and beyond.

    There are three distinct coffee waves.

    So far there have been three distinct coffee waves, or trends, that have defined the evolution of how people consume the drink.

    In the first wave, coffee was a cheap, accessible commodity where everything pretty much tasted the same.

    Popular coffee shops led the second wave with sweet flavorings and other customizations that added value, though the base roast was generally a blend that's consistent in flavor.

    The third wave of coffee has become a specialty product with an origin, a story, and distinct flavors that tell that story. Roasting has also become an art that unlocks the nuanced flavors of carefully sourced, precisely cultivated beans.


    The average cup of coffee has more caffeine than a shot of espresso.

    When it comes to caffeine content ounce by ounce, espresso wins with about 40 milligrams per ounce versus 10 milligrams per ounce in a brewed cup of coffee. However, the serving size tips the scale. A two-ounce double shot of espresso contains 80 milligrams of caffeine whilst a 12-ounce cup of brewed coffee has about 120 milligrams.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    bethenny frankel

    • Building wealth is a little easier when you have advice from people who've done it themselves.
    • We rounded up some of the best money lessons successful people, like CEOs and entrepreneurs, shared in 2018.
    • Among the most important: Invest in low-cost index funds, save your income, invest in yourself, and know that money doesn't equal happiness or success.

    One of the best ways to build wealth is to learn from those who have been there, done that.

    When it comes to money, they know what works and what doesn't, as well as what the value of a dollar really means — and they're not shy when it comes to sharing their financial wisdom.

    Why wouldn't you take a piece of their advice?

    To help you get your finances in order (since that's your New Year's resolution for 2019, right?), we've rounded up some of the best money lessons from 2018 that successful people have shared.

    From tips on investing and paying off debt to growing your savings and the real importance of money, these lessons are bound to help set you on a path for financial success — or at least shift your perspective.

    Here's what successful entrepreneurs, authors, and CEOs had to say about money this year.

    SEE ALSO: 21 quotes from self-made billionaires that will change your outlook on money

    DON'T MISS: A self-made millionaire who interviewed 100 other millionaires found there's a surprising habit many have in common

    Suze Orman: Invest in low-cost index funds.

    Orman, a New York Times bestselling personal finance author, called investing in low-cost index funds "the winning ticket" on an episode of financial planner Farnoosh Torabi's "So Money" podcast.

    "Here's what I found works so great: women love when things are on sale. They do. They wait, they'll buy it cheaper. They love that. You explain dollar cost averaging to them, and why buying these stocks on sale is exactly what they want to do."

    She suggested investing with a small amount of money each month that you'd be comfortable losing, such as $100. You can even do it through contributions to your 401(k), she said.

    "As soon as they get that, it's okay, and they'll be better off when the market goes down for the long run, because they're buying more shares. We've taken the fear out of it."


    Brad Katsuyama: The amount of money you make doesn't equal success.

    Katsuyama, CEO and cofounder of Investors Exchange (IEX), told Business Insider's Rich Feloni on our podcast "This is Success" that he's learned to differentiate personal and professional success — and neither is tied to money.

    "I could not tell you if you asked me, if you had a gun to my head right now and said, 'What's the value of your stake in IEX?' I would miss it. I would be wrong. I don't know. So that tells me it's not about money.

    "I think people equate success to work. I actually don't, and I learned the lesson early that identifying yourself too much with one thing in a way sets you up to be dramatically disappointed at some point."

    Rus Yusupov: Don't chase money.

    Yusupov, cofounder of the wildly popular quiz app HQ Trivia, working toward solving a problem is better than working toward a dollar figure.

    He told Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz: "Profound motivations will take you a lot further than chasing money or a big exit. Bring something to life, solve a real problem or just build a big vision of the future."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    vanessa hudgens

    Vanessa Hudgens rose to fame starring as Gabrielle Montez in the 2006 Disney Channel movie "High School Musical."Since then, she's gone on to release two studio albums, appear on Broadway, guest-star on shows like "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," and star in films like "Spring Breakers" and " Dog Days."

    Recently, the actress played the lead role in the Netflix holiday movie "The Princess Switch." She'll also hit the big screen alongside Jennifer Lopez and Milo Ventimiglia in the romantic comedy "Second Act."

    In honor of her 30th birthday, here are six things you probably didn't know about Hudgens. 

    Her celebrity crush as a teenager was Zac Efron, who would later become her real-life boyfriend at the time.

    Hudgens revealed her crush in an interview with Huffington Post. The actress also previously named Matt Damon as another favorite.

    "I was 14 years old and I met him,"Hudgens said during an appearance on "The Tyra Banks Show" in 2007. “I completely freaked out. I did to him what my fans do to me. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I love you so much, can I have your autograph?'"

    She's a pescatarian.

    She's not the only celebrity who chooses to eat fish and seafood over other meat. Olivia Wilde, Cam Newton, and A$AP Rocky are also pescatarian. 

    Hudgens is no stranger to live musicals.

    She'll be starring as Maureen Johnson in FOX's live production of "Rent," but she previously played Mimi in the Hollywood Bowl's version. Hudgens also played the titular role in the Broadway show "Gigi," which ran for a few months in 2015.  Additionally, the actress showed off her musical skills as Rizzo in FOX's "Grease: Live," alongside Julianne Hough and Aaron Tveit.  

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Zapier cofounders

    With 2018 rapidly winding down, Zapier has released its annual report of the year's fastest growing workplace apps.

    Zapier which rhymes with "happier"— connects apps through simple integrations that help users automate their work and be more productive. That means it gets good insight on the fastest-growing apps, just by watching which pieces of software its users are looking for. 

    Placing highly on the list is Facebook, oddly enough, as well as a tool for managing chatbots — something that some in Silicon Valley had written off as a fad, but is still finding an audience.

    This year's list points to some general trends in productivity tools. First of all, many of the trendiest tools allow users to customize the way they work. Many of the apps on the report allow users to customize their team's communication tools, their websites, and how they manage projects.

    "They really let you customize what you're doing," Zapier CEO Wade Foster told Business Insider. "I think that's interesting as you see early adopters get more comfortable with technology … We're going to see even more of that in 2019."

    Also spotted in the report are software suites that put lots of tools in one place. Finally, users are also relying on productivity tools that automate work routines, so that they get more done and can focus on tasks that only humans can do.

    Here are the top 10 fastest-growing apps of 2018, according to Zapier:

    10. Zoho Forms

    This tool, part of the Zoho cloud suite, lets users make web forms for users and customers to fill out — for instance, an order form for a catering gig, or feedback for a conference session. 

    9. Mailshake

    Mailshake is used for email marketing. It allows users to customize these emails using tools like templates, bulk email, auto follow ups, and tracking for clicks and replies.

    8. WPForms

    This is a plugin for the WordPress content management system that lets users make their own web forms. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    girl eating burger cheeseburger

    • There are ways to navigate the McDonald's menu and enjoy some healthy options.
    • Take advantage of McDonald's Nutrition Calculator.
    • Seven dietitians told INSIDER what they eat themselves when they dine at the fast-food joint.

    It can be hard to navigate eating at fast-food restaurants while trying to maintain a healthy diet, but there are actually many great options recommended by experts

    INSIDER talked to seven dietitians about what they eat and what they advise others to eat when dining at McDonald's.

    Whitney Stuart orders her grilled chicken sandwiches open faced.

    Whitney Stuart, MCN RDN, registered dietitian-nutritionist and Whole30 certified coach, orders the Egg White Delight McMuffin served open-faced with half the bun removed for breakfast.

    Then for lunch, she orders the Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich also served open-faced, plus a side salad.

    "This is the least saturated fat and carb heavy option that seemed feasible," Stuard told INSIDER. She also said to use McDonald’s Nutrition Calculator to customize and check the nutrition facts for your entire meal, paying close attention to the sodium levels. "Most Americans need less than 1,800 milligrams per day and these meals quickly approach that limit," she added.

    Dr. Caroline Apovian prefers a salad with just a touch of dressing.

    Dr. Caroline Apovian, MD, a nutrition and weight-loss physician and professor of medicine at Boston University, order a Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad for her lunch.

    "I get my protein, no grease, and I dole out the dressing carefully not to get too much fat," Dr. Apovian told INSIDER.

    Joelle Malinowski likes the Sausage Burrito at breakfast because it’s packed with veggies.

    Joelle Malinowski, RD, CDE, CDN, and the media representative for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, orders aSausage Burrito for breakfast. At lunch, she orders the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad.

    Malinowski explained that the Sausage Burrito includes vegetables, which she said makes it preferable to the say, the Sausage McMuffin. "I always find ways to get my vegetables in all meals," she told INSIDER. As for the salad, she opts for the grilled chicken over the breaded option.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    taco bell power menu burrito

    • INSIDER spoke to seven dietitians about what they actually order at Taco Bell.
    • Taco Bell's Power Menu was a favorite amongst the dietitians we spoke to, as were simple crunchy tacos.
    • One dietitian said ordering items "fresco style" is a great way to cut down on calories.
    •  Overall, dietitians cut back on extras like sour cream and sauces.

    Although Taco Bell is a fast-food chain, there are plenty of protein-packed options that even those trying to eat a bit on the healthy side can enjoy.

    INSIDER spoke to seven dietitians who told us their best tips for ordering at Taco Bell and what exactly their go-to order is. 

    This Whole30 Certified Coach likes the Power Menu bowl without cheese.

    Who: Whitney Stuart, MCN RDN, registered dietitian-nutritionist and Whole30 certified coach

    What she orders: A customized Power Menu Bowl with chicken, extra lettuce, extra tomato, pico de gallo, black beans, and guacamole — no cheese and no avocado ranch sauce

    Stuart said the power bowl is high in fat, but cutting out cheese and avocado ranch sauce (which is made of soybean oil) helps lower the sodium and cholesterol in the dish.

    This certified nutrition specialist also opts for the Power Menu Bowl and is sure to splurge for guac.

    Who: Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., CNS, and NY Times bestselling author of the new book "Radical Metabolism: A Powerful New Plan to Blast Fat and Reignite Your Energy in Just 21 Days"

    What she orders: Power Menu Bowl with chicken and a bottled water

    Gittleman likes the power bowl for its protein, fiber content, and zero trans-fat status. She said she adds extra guacamole because it "provides healthy monounsaturated fat that keeps you feeling full longer and can even help with weight loss."


    This registered dietitian likes the Power Menu Burrito but skips the sour cream.

    Who:  Joelle Malinowski, RD, CDE, CDN, and the Media Representative for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    What she orders:The Power Menu Burrito

    Malinowski typically opts for the Power Menu Burrito, but she's a fan of anything on Taco Bell's Power Menu. She said it's a great menu because of its variety of "low carb, veggie, and protein-packed options." She does, however, "go light" on the dressing and sour cream to lower the fat content.

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    CEO Roku Comcast Viacom 4x3 (1)

    2018 has been a year of transformation in the telecom and media industries. 

    Telco behemoths snatched up media and ad tech in an effort to compete against the Silicon Valley giants. Digital upstarts like Netflix or YouTube threaten cable-TV viewership and subscriber counts while the Facebook-Google duopoly has a chokehold on digital advertising.

    What followed in 2018 were megadeals and industry-reckoning antitrust decisions by the DOJ.

    AT&T scooped up Time Warner and AppNexus. Disney acquired 21st Century Fox and Comcast picked up Sky.

    Those deals totaled nearly $200 billion.

    Now, those companies have to hunker down and integrate those businesses. The execs running the businesses know as much. "You will work very hard, and this next year will — my wife hates it when I say this — will feel like childbirth,"newly-promoted WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey told HBO employees after the AT&T-Time Warner merger closed.

    "If 2018 was the year where they focused on their future income statement, 2019 has to be the year where they focus on their balance sheet and make sure that they're strong enough to go compete against companies like the big tech platforms who live and die by their ability to acquire customers and integrate them into some kind of platform structure," Todd Klein, a partner at VC firm Revolution, told Business Insider.

    But there's more M&A to come in the media and telco industries in 2019, analysts and investment banking experts told Business Insider. Here are the companies and sectors they'll be watching most closely in 2019.

    SEE ALSO: As pay TV takes a hit, Dish Network's Sling TV is fighting back with 'synthetic' bundles to retain subscribers

    Digital native companies

    The next wave of M&A will focus squarely on mid-sized digital companies, as ad dollars are hard to come by and these companies are challenged to diversify into other forms of reevenue.

    "This includes companies like Cheddar, Tastemade, mid-sized gaming companies and others who dominate a sub-segment but who are trapped in an endless battle to achieve sustainable scale," Klein said. "Whether they bulk up together or combine with a larger platform, there will be fewer independent niche content players at the end of 2019 than at the beginning."

    A broadband distributor such as Comcast could make a play for millennial business news service Cheddar to complement Comcast's commitment to the digital ecosystem that rests on access to broadband, Klein said.

    Companies that have direct consumer relationships will also be targets in 2019 as their recurring subscription revenue can offset their reliance on advertising.

    Roku also is seen as an acquisition target, with its 24 million active user accounts as of the end of the third quarter. Morgan Stanley analysts predict Roku will continue to pick up users over the next four years.

    Other buyers could include big tech companies like Facebook that are heavily reliant on advertising, Klein said. "Facebook has a very narrow business model ... subscriptions would be extremely valuable to a company like that," he said.

    CBS-Viacom and other entertainment assets

    In entertainment, the focus is on a merger of CBS and Viacom.

    After Les Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS, resigned following allegations he sexually harassed and assaulted women throughout his career at the company, experts have speculated a CBS-Viacom merger would occur in the coming year.

    "You need to be larger player in this environment," said Jim McVeigh, founder and CEO of CyndX and a veteran investment banker who advised on deals for AT&T, Comcast, and Time Warner. "And smaller players, even Discovery, are probably going to need to find a home. By being out there on their own, they are putting themselves at a strategic disadvantage."

    A Viacom-CBS deal is a natural fit because CBS has football rights that would serve Viacom well, said Mary Ann Halford, a former Fox International executive vice president who is now a senior adviser at the strategy consulting firm OC&C Strategy Consultants.

    Other sale targets in 2019 could be Lionsgate and Univision, both of which need scale to compete, Halford said. Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns acknowledged it would be willing to sell, and The Wall Street Journal has reported that Univision is exploring a sale.


    Snap needs a bail out. It's strapped for cash and might need to raise capital by 2019, according to a MoffettNathanson report. It's also facing stiff competition from Facebook. All this points to a possible sale.

    "We would expect Snap to be acquired before it goes bust, possibly by Netflix," Alex DeGroote, an independent media analyst, told Business Insider. Both are video companies that don't compete on product. And with $120 billion in market cap, Netflix could afford it.

    Scott Galloway, marketing professor at New York University, named Google or Amazon as the likely buyer. He gave the slight upper hand to Amazon, given Amazon recently launched a commerce-focused partnership with Snap and Google's failed attempts at social media.

    But Todd Klein, partner at VC firm Revolution, said he thought the possibility of a Snap sale has waned as the company has lost its luster. "They have not really consistently come up with an answer to Instagram," he said.


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    Traders signal offers in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index futures pit at the CME Group following the Federal Reserve meeting September 21, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.

    • Investors should always diversify their portfolio to reduce risk.
    • With limited cash, one can try to bet on the bellwether stocks in each industry.
    • Bank of America Merrill Lynch has published a list of its 11 favorite stocks for next year — one S&P 500 stock from each of the 11 Global Industry Classification Standard sectors.
    • The firm's 2018 list has generated a 3.2% average return rate, outperforming the benchmark S&P 500.

    Investing is all about avoiding putting all your eggs in one basket.

    Usually, the more diversified your portfolio is, the less risk you will bear. However, unless you are a big fund manager, you probably won't buy more than a dozen stocks at a time. So, finding out the bellwether stocks in each industry is a good bet.

    Bank of America Merrill Lynch is here to help. At the end of each year, BAML publishes a list of its 11 favorite stocks for next year — one in each of the 11 Global Industry Classification Standard sectors.

    To be included in the list, a company must have a "buy" rating at the firm, and have exceptional fundamentals.

    BAML says the list has proven to outperform the benchmark. Last year's list has generated a 3.2% average return rate since it was published — versus the S&P 500's 1.6% return, the bank says.  

    Below are the 11 stocks that BAML says have the biggest growth potential in their sector next year:

    Walt Disney


    Sector: Communication Services

    BAML comments:"One of highest quality S&P 500 stocks. Strong free cash flow, medium equity duration, low leverage. Big catalysts in 2019 (Disney Streaming Services, etc.) Underweight by large-cap active funds."


    Source: BAML

    General Motors


    Sector: Consumer Discretionary

    BAML comments: "Strong free cash flow, inexpensive valuations (6x fwd. P/E), underweight by large-cap active funds Positive betas to both real and nominal rates. Both near-term and longer-term potential catalysts in the pipeline (trade war resolution, autonomous driving, etc.)"


    Source: BAML

    Molson Coors Brewing


    Sector: Consumer Staples

    BAML comments: "High quality, inex pensive (13x fwd. P/E), attractive FCF yield, above-market dividend yield Historically does well in periods of rising volatility. Underweight by large-cap active funds."


    Source: BAML

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    pete davidson ariana grande

    • The year was filled with stories of celebrities who went viral.
    • Some were for artistic achievements, like Ariana Grande's "thank u, next" music video and Donald Glover's "This is America."
    • Others were for less flattering reasons, like Grimes's relationship with Elon Musk and Allison Mack allegedly trying to get other celebrities to join a sex cult.

    Making a splash on the red carpet just isn't enough these days.

    The true mark of celebrity success is going viral. If you can dominate the social media conversation, you know you've made it.

    But going viral isn't always a good thing. It could mean, as in the case of Michael B. Jordan, that everyone loves you. But it could also mean, as in the case of Allison Mack, that you've allegedly tried to get other celebrities to join a multi-level-marketing sex cult.

    Here are 16 celebrities who achieved viral success this year — for better or worse.

    Priyanka Chopra's wedding to Nick Jonas was a lavish, multi-day affair.

    Even by the standards of ultra-wealthy celebrities, Priyanka Chopra's wedding to Nick Jonas in  December was a lavish one. It lasted an entire weekend, and photos of her intricately detailed dress and massive, 75-foot veil went viral on social media. The entire event was masterfully orchestrated to captivate not only the guests, but to those following along online.

    Pete Davidson's short-lived engagement with Ariana Grande had way too many plot twists.

    The head-scratching relationship itself was enough to throw Arianators in a tizzy. But her fans only became more obsessed when it generated a series of plot twists. He got two tattoos that referred to her? A $100,000 engagement ring? Then she got a tattoo that honored his dad who died in 9/11? What did his blonde-dyed hair signify? Why did he delete his Instagram account? Did he lie about being a "Harry Potter" fan? And most important, how is Piggie Smallz?

    Ariana Grande turned the relationship into a viral song.

    The dalliance ended as quickly as it began. But in one way, it lived on: Grande reportedly returned the engagement ring, and then made a song about her exes. "Thank u, next"— teased with tweets and clues about mid-2000s movie references— went mega-viral, a demonstration of just how well Grande understands the pulse of her fans.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    dbrand Galaxy S9

    • Technology can be incredible, but it doesn't always feel very personal.
    • Enter Dbrand, a 7-year-old company based in Toronto that makes great-looking customizable skins for your smartphone, computer, or game console, and ships them anywhere in the world.
    • Take a look.

    SEE ALSO: 15 mind-blowing announcements Google made at its biggest conference of the year

    You can buy Dbrand skins for most consumer tech you can think of, but the most popular devices are phones, of course.

    Dbrand uses a high-quality vinyl from 3M that's guaranteed to come off your device without leaving any kind of residue.

    The skins don't add any bulk to your device, but they do bestow some nice benefits, like making them grippier to hold, and preventing scratches and fingerprints.

    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.

    dr dennis gross

    Skin care, and treating acne in particular, is an ongoing process that takes time, consistency, and plenty of experimentation.

    Though everyone's skin is different, sometimes what works for one person might just actually work for you, too. When there are hundreds to tens of thousands of verified reviews that tout similar success stories, it's a good sign you should try the product. 

    The following cleansers, masks, spot treatments, and tools have earned their places at the top of best-selling lists because they're just plain effective. Some are admittedly pricey investments, while others only cost less than $10, so whatever your budget, you'll be able to find a top-rated, best-selling acne product for you. 

    These 11 acne products have the support of tons of satisfied users across the Internet: 

    A $9 clay mask that promises the 'world's most powerful facial'

    Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, $10.95, available at Amazon

    Amazon rating: 4.4 stars out of 18,300+ reviews

    More than 12,000 five-star Amazon reviews, plus the glowing approval of Insider Picks reporter Mara Leighton, confirm that this affordable clay mask is no ordinary mask. Keep it on for five to 10 minutes and it draws out impurities to make your skin clearer and smoother. 

    A plant-based vitamin C serum

    TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum, $19.99, available at Amazon

    Amazon rating: 4.3 stars out of 9,800+ reviews

    Acne sufferers have noticed a marked reduction in the number of breakouts after consistent use of this gentle serum. The great part is that it's not only for acne — it also helps with fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and sun spots. 

    A gentle cream that harnesses the power of tea tree oil

    Keeva Tea Tree Oil, $22.97, available at Amazon

    Amazon rating: 4.4 stars out of 60+ reviews

    If you have to deal with deep, painful cystic acne, you'll appreciate this tea tree oil treatment designed for sensitive skin. The tea tree oil dries out the gunk in your pimples without drying out your actual skin. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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