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The latest news on Features from 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 workout clothes women

    • With the right clothes, you’ll actually want to get to the gym and show off your style before meeting friends for a much-deserved drink afterward.
    • Sweaty Betty makes our favorite workout gear for women that’s as functional as it is fashion-forward.

    Faking it until you make it becomes a lot easier when you look the part. So when it comes to feigning enjoyment at the gym, you’re going to need some gear to get yourself in character. Luckily, there are plenty of options these days to help you look as though you’re ready for the toughest kickboxing session, because who better to motivate you than the person staring back at you in the mirror?

    One of our favorite aspects of today’s workout gear for women is that it’s no longer relegated to the spinning studio or the weight room. Rather, some of our favorite options will take you from barre class to the neighborhood bar, and have the technology to ensure that you don’t have to worry about sweat stains or smells when you make that transition. With moisture-wicking fabric, cleverly-placed mesh panels, and thoughtful cut-outs, much of today’s athletic clothing is truly meant for athletic pursuits. It’s a far cry from our days of grabbing the oldest shirt in our closet, cutting off the sleeves, and calling it a top.

    When it comes to figuring out what workout gear will best suit your needs, listen to your body. After all, it’ll be your primary tool during your workouts, so if you’re uncomfortable in any way, everything else is moot. You’ll also want to consider the type of workout you’re most likely to engage in. If you prefer running to yoga, you’ll be in need of different support.

    You’ll also want to keep durability in mind. You’re not only putting your workout gear through the ringer at the gym, but you’re also going to be putting it through the laundry quite a few times. So even if you’re able to save a few dollars on the initial purpose by buying something that’s a bit flimsier, you’ll have to exercise your credit card again when you find your gear starting to rip after a few cycles.

    Finally, of course, price comes into consideration. Given that most workout gear doubles as everyday attire these days, you can (to some extent) think of these pieces as serving two purposes for the price of one. That said, there are some options that are more costly than others, so your budget may be a determining factor. 

    Here are the best workout clothes for women:

    • Best workout clothes overall: Sweaty Betty
    • Best workout clothes that you can wear all day: ADAY
    • Best high-end workout clothes: Live the Process
    • Best beachy workout clothes: Vuori
    • Best comfortable workout clothes: Bandier
    • Best workout clothes from a fitness company: Nike
    • Best affordable workout clothes: Old Navy

    Updated on 01/09/2018 by Malarie Gokey: Updated prices and formatting.

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

    SEE ALSO: The best women's running tights to keep you going on long runs

    The best workout clothes overall

    Why you'll love it: Sweaty Betty makes workout gear that can withstand a tough time at the gym and take you out into society without breaking a sweat.

    Much of today’s workout gear seems so focused on taking you seamlessly from barre to the bar that it forgets its primary function — being functional during your workout. But that is certainly not the case with Sweaty Betty.

    As this brand’s name suggests, you’ll be able to perspire in these workout clothes without getting uncomfortable, and more importantly, you’ll feel supported throughout your time at the gym.

    Sweaty Betty’s Zero Gravity leggings are made of ultra-lightweight Italian fabric, which is both sweat-wicking and quick drying for even your most intense sessions. Plus, the leggings are muscle-compressing to help you get even more out of your workout. They’re great for just about any type of exercise, whether you prefer to spend your time spinning or doing a HIIT class.

    And while all those squats will certainly help shape your bum, so too will these leggings. A super satisfied customer gave a five-star review, commending the “very flattering” print and the pocket that is perfect for holding your smartphone during your run.

    When paired with the High-Intensity Run Bra, you’ll feel prepared to spend your whole day actively. The high support sports bra features sweat-wicking fabric, and more importantly, extremely comfortable soft padded straps that won’t bite into sensitive skin. While some “sports” bras seem suitable only for rather anaerobic activities, the High Intensity Run Bra was designed for running and HIIT workouts. Popsugar also calls this bra one of the best for women with larger busts.

    Both pieces are sleek and stylish but don’t sacrifice their usefulness for the sake of aesthetics. Sweaty Betty also makes our favorite running tights for the gym and many other great leggings and sport bras.

    Pros: Quick drying material, snug fit, great for any type of workout

    Cons: Some customers found that the High Intensity Run Bra does not provide enough side coverage

    Buy the Zero Gravity Leggings for $135

    Buy the High Intensity Run Bra for $65

    Shop all Sweaty Betty workout gear

    The best workout clothes that fit in at the office

    Why you'll love it: Workout clothes from ADAY look just as appropriate for the office as they do for your morning yoga session.

    If you don’t want to carry around three outfits for before, during, and after the gym, ADAY may be the solution for you. The Smoke It Up Bra and Crop And Roll Leggings can be worn in just about any scenario.

    ADAY is all about simplicity and seeks to create fabrics and clothing that are multipurpose, long-lasting, and sustainable. The Crop And Roll are the best if you’re looking for something to take to your workout. Made of material that is quick drying, sweating wicking, sun cream and oil resistant, these leggings also feature an elastic waistband with an adjuster that can make the fit tighter or looser.

    Thanks to the slightly cropped length, you won’t feel encumbered as you run, duck, and jump. But once you’re done at the gym, simply pair these leggings with a nice pair of pumps, and they’ll be ready for the office. With details like the gunmetal snaps, these leggings are just as much a statement piece as they are sweat-appropriate.

    The Today Show called ADAY leggings “trendy” but “incredibly functional,” while Refinery 29 said simply, “straight up, they look really good.”

    The Smoke It Up Bra is made of an Italian fabric that wicks moisture, and also features mesh panels for extra breathability. If you always find yourself dabbing at your cleavage, this may be the choice for you. I’m particularly taken by the A-shaped cutout in the back — not only does it help alleviate heat buildup, but it’s also an attractive design detail.

    Really, this is one sports bra you wouldn’t mind to have peeking through your shirt. As Huffington Post noted, this bra’s “fashionable back details ... make it perfect for layering under regular clothes.”

    Pros: Comfortable, versatile, with many neutral color options for a wide range of occasions

    Cons: The Smoke It Up Bra only offers medium support

    Buy the Crop and Roll Leggings for $135

    Buy the Smoke It Up Bra for $55

    Shop all ADAY clothes

    The best workout gear for the ethical yogi

    Why you'll love it: Live the Process’ workout gear is not only comfortable, but it’s eco-friendly, too.

    Live the Process produces simple, beautiful clothes that just might kickstart your entire wellness journey. Founded by a certified yoga instructor, Live the Process isn’t so much a clothing store as it is a wellness brand.

    Despite its relatively new status on the scene (it launched just a few years ago in 2014), it’s already a mainstay in a number of retailers across the country (and the web), including Barney’s and Net-a-Porter.

    All of Live the Process’ pieces are ethically produced in the United States, and the company promises to employ careful practices throughout the supply chain to reduce its environmental impact, including using recycled (and recyclable) packaging and carbon-neutral shipping. So not only will you look and feel good in your workout clothes, but you’ll feel good about yourself, too.

    Live the Process’ Bra is a classic and classy answer to the traditional sports bra, providing full coverage across both your chest and your back.

    The leggings are certainly great to wear to the gym, but you’ll also want to wear them all day long. Indeed, founder Robyn Berkley told the Observer, all of Live the Process’ clothes are meant to “make you feel beautiful and motivated,” not distract you with unnecessary bells and whistles.

    Customers have sung the praises of the wellness brand as well, particularly calling out the “very good quality” of the bra and leggings’ material, which has four-way stretch, is breathable, moisture wicking, and water and wind repellent.  

    Pros: Simple, clean lines with straightforward design and serious comfort

    Cons: These are pricey articles of clothing, even if you are looking to go from the gym to the office

    Buy Live the Process leggings on Net-a-Porter for $110 

    Buy Live the Process sports bras on Net-a-Porter for $120

    Shop Live the Process on Net-a-Porter

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    MedinaSeattle (12 of 35)

    • Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced Wednesday that he and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, will be getting divorced.
    • The Bezos family lives in the secluded Seattle suburb of Medina, Washington, which is home to numerous tech execs.
    • In January 2018, Business Insider visited the neighborhood to see what a billionaire neighborhood really looks like.

    On Wednesday, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted that he and his wife, MacKenzie, will get divorced

    The Bezos family, which is the richest in the world, lives in the tiny waterfront city of Medina, Washington, located just outside of Seattle.

    Microsoft founder Bill Gates is perhaps the most famous fellow resident, although the town's inhabitants include numerous other Microsoft bigwigs, tech entrepreneurs, and telecom magnates.

    We visited in January 2018 to see why the sleepy town has become a haven for the 1%.

    SEE ALSO: The world's richest people are flocking to these 17 cities

    DON'T MISS: Meet the kids of the world's richest tech billionaires

    Medina is located on a peninsula just across Lake Washington from Seattle, and it has long been a haven for tech bigwigs in the area.

    Visitors enter the town from the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge. Measuring 7,708 feet in length, it is the longest floating bridge in the world.

    Source: The Seattle Times

    Medina is a city of about 3,000 people. The Medina Beach Park doubles as the city hall and police station.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    DC trash lede

    • America's national parks are overflowing with garbage and human waste as the US government shutdown prevents federal employees from cleaning toilets and picking up trash.
    • While it's common for national parks to close during a shutdown, the Trump administration has opted to leave them open to visitors. 
    • Many parks have been forced to close their campgrounds due to health and safety concerns. 

    As the US endures the second week of a partial government shutdown, national parks have taken a major hit

    With few rangers or staffers to clean toilets or pick up trash, parks in the American West have started to overflow with garbage and feces. 

    Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California is set to close on Thursday due to safety and sanitation issues. The park has already shuttered is campgrounds due to "human waste in public areas." 

    Read more:Depressing photos show closed Washington, DC monuments and attractions as the government shutdown continues

    Overflowing toilets have also caused a problem for Yosemite National Park, which was forced to close its campgrounds and snow play areas on Sunday. 

    Excess trash along Generals Highway, which runs through Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park, contributed to the road being shut down. 

    Even the National Mall in Washington, DC, is strewn with garbage near the Washington Monument and US Capitol. 

    The filth is unprecedented, even for a shutdown, when it's common for the government to suspend all operations at national parks — including visitor access.

    The Trump administration has opted to leave gates open to the public in the absence of any federal employees.  

    Many parks are now closing anyway due to health hazards and threats to wildlife safety. Take a look at the state of the nation's beloved parks and monuments. 

    Visitors have reportedly witnessed piles of trash spilling out of a public bathroom at Lassen National Forest in Northern California.

    Stray belongings have been pitched against the side of a restroom.

    Broken sleds and discarded beer cans line the snow-covered ground.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    woman listening boss smiling work

    • LIfe skills to master before you turn 50 include providing mentorship to someone else, learning how to detect a lie, and tempering your expectations around relationships.
    • We put together a list of skills you should master by the time you enter your sixth decade of life, based on science, expert opinion, and other sources.
    • Each one will help you become the very best version of yourself.

    Approaching midlife can be scary.

    One thing that makes it scarier is feeling like you haven't accomplished all the life stuff you set out to in your teens or 20s. We're not talking about climbing Kilimanjaro (though that certainly would be cool) — we're talking about becoming the happiest, healthiest, all-around best person you can be.

    To that end, we've put together a list of some the skills you'll want to master by the time your 50th birthday rolls around — as well as the ones you should have already learned by age 40. Read on and see which ones you've yet to tackle.

    SEE ALSO: 11 things to master before you turn 40

    Mentoring someone

    By this point in your life, you've probably amassed a ton of knowledge about your career. Take the opportunity to share that wisdom with someone else — whether they're younger or whether they work in another field.

    It can be a formal mentorship, but doesn't necessarily have to be. Leadership experts recommend finding a peer mentor or a "leadership buddy" with whom you regularly exchange feedback and advice. That way, you both benefit from the relationship.


    To err is human. But to apologize is not something that comes naturally to everyone.

    According to marketing communications professional Kerry O'Malley, the steps to a successful apology at work include acting quickly, showing up in person, explaining what happened and how you're going to avoid the problem in the future, saying "I'm sorry," and making restitution.

    Not only will apologizing help the person who was offended forgive you; it may also help soothe your guilty conscience, Real Simple reports.



    Spending time alone

    Close relationships are important for health and happiness. So is solitude. You don't always want to be in the company of other people, real or virtual.

    As Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, wrote for Business Insider, alone time allows you to "process and regulate complex emotions." Plus, it affords you the opportunity to do what Newport calls "deep work," the kind that requires deep concentration and focus.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    woman laptop online banking

    • Tax Day 2019 is Monday, April 15.
    • If you work as an independent contractor, you are entitled to certain tax deductions for your business expenses.
    • Even if your contract work is just a side gig, you're still running a business, so it's important to track your expenses.
    • We spoke with CPA and certified financial planner Harvey I. Bezozi about the deductions that independent contractors can use to reduce the amount of tax they owe.

    With the rise of the gig economy, many more people are now having to consider the tax implications of working as independent contractors. When you are an independent contractor, the IRS considers you a business owner, even if you contract full-time for one client.

    Independent contracting comes with additional tax burdens (e.g., there is no employer contribution, so the entire payroll tax burden falls to you). On the other hand, you can deduct expenses that you couldn't take as an employee.

    Harvey I. Bezozi, a CPA and CFP, has worked with small businesses for more than three decades. He shared with us this list of tax deductions that every independent contractor should know about.

    SEE ALSO: 6 expensive things that are totally worth the money

    1. First, form an entity

    Before he talked about deductions, Bezozi said, "When somebody starts a business, especially if they're new at it, they'll usually become a sole proprietor. That's mistake number one."

    He suggests that you form an LLC, S-corporation, or some other business entity, even if your business is very small. He believes that the tax benefits and the protection from personal liability are worth the extra paperwork.

    2. Use of your car for business

    As an employee, your work commute is not tax deductible. "But as an independent contractor, it's no longer a commute," Bezozi said.

    If you're going from your office to your client's office, keep a log and take your mileage off your taxes. You can also deduct transit expenses for travel to a client.

    3. Home office dos and don'ts

    "There's no reason why you can't deduct that portion of the apartment and/or home expenses, based on square footage" that you use for a home office, Bezozi said. To be deductible, your home office "has to be regular and exclusive use and your principle place of business," he added.


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Hyundai Motor Co car with legs

    • The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas features more than 4,400 exhibitors showcasing the very latest in gizmos, gadgets, and doodads.
    • This year, more than 180,000 people are attending CES. 
    • Some wacky technology has been on display thus far, including a Lamborghini-themed massage chair and cars with foldable legs. 

    The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the place where companies like LG, Samsung, and Sony show off their latest TVs, laptops, and other state-of-the-art high tech. 

    But it's also the place where some of the weirdest and wildest gadgetry gets its time in the spotlight. 

    Lamborghini-themed massage chairs, cars with foldable legs, and Roomba-like lawn mowers are just a few of the bizarre products seen thus far at the world's largest tech show. 

    Read more:Here's all the major tech we're expecting at CES 2019, the biggest tech convention of the year

    Things haven't quite escalated to the degree it hit last year, where a pole-dancing robot performed at a nearby gentleman's club. But you never know — CES doesn't end until Friday. 

    Here are the 33 best and wackiest photos from CES 2019 thus far: 

    LG unveils its futuristic Signature OLED TV that rolls-up with the press of a button.

    These LG OLED TV screens were used to create a colorful light display for attendees.

    The Bodyfriend LBF-750 is a Lamborghini-themed massage chair.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    steven john family

    • There's no way to prepare for every surprise and challenge a first child brings, but by planning as much as possible, new parents can mitigate the madness.
    • Making the most of the free time you have before the child is born to prepare for life with a new baby can make those days (and nights) of early infancy much more tolerable.
    • Accepting that life will never be the same is critical part of the process of planning for a first child (and accepting that that's as it should be).

    Life with a newborn baby is filled with joy, but it's also disorienting, challenging, and, arguably above all, tiring. Before our son was born, I'd had plenty of nights of bad sleep, but I had never had them for many weeks in a row.

    The sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn is unlike anything my wife or I had experienced, though it did set me up to appreciate a peaceful night like never before. (That started at about the year mark for us the first time around. And now we have baby number two.)

    Of course, there was also the wonder of looking at my child in the eyes, of holding him as he slept, of seeing his first smile, hearing his first laugh, and all the other many moments unlike anything I'd experienced.

    Thorough planning and preparing for life with a baby can reduce the surprises associated with parenting a first baby, though nothing can help with the fatigue. If you're expecting a first child, don't worry; you'll be fine. Especially if you take heed of the six points included here.

    SEE ALSO: 15 ways to be more productive and manage your time better, according to career experts

    1. We read our baby books and went to class

    President Dwight Eisenhower (General Eisenhower, at the time) once said: "In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." This insight holds true for first time parents, who will have a wild ride no matter what, but can at least know more or less what to expect after that natal day.

    By reading several baby books and multiple articles, by consulting websites, by attending Lamaze classes, and by generally digesting as much literature about pregnancy and infant care as we could, my wife and I prepared ourselves mentally and learned how to prepare our home physically for the arrival of our first child. In fact, I read, watched videos, took notes in class, and listened to podcasts so thoroughly that in an odd way I felt more prepared for the birth of our first kid than of our second.

    2. We prepared the house

    Doing things when you have a baby around is really, really hard. Especially when said things are major projects like painting rooms, building or moving furniture, decorating a nursery, and so forth. Within weeks of learning we were expecting, my wife and I had an architect and contractor working on adding a new master suite to our house so we wouldn't outgrow the place, and the day it was done, we began setting up what had been our room as our son's nursery.

    We also baby proofed much of the house before he was born (and long before he'd be crawling) because we had the time then and wouldn't later.

    3. I got myself in good shape

    I had been running five times a week and working out a couple times weekly for years before our first kid was born, but I knew my schedule would be rocked and my free time slashed as soon as he showed up, so in the weeks before we had our first child, I worked extra hard to get in even better shape hedging against the reduced exercise I'd get for a while.

    It was also a great way to alleviate some of the stress and nerves that came with anticipating parenthood, as excited as I was. (And if you don't already exercise regularly, the pre-parenthood days are a good time to start; life is about to change anyway, so you might as well make some personal changes, too.)

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    dog digging hole

    • Sometimes dogs engage in perfectly normal behaviors that humans might think are strange. 
    • When your dog gets the "zoomies," they're probably just feeling a burst of energy or excitement. 
    • It's normal if your dog loves to dig, but if they're scooting their bottom on the floor often they might require medical attention or a bit of help getting cleaned up. 

    Dogs are lovable and loyal creatures that often delight their owners with oddball antics. But have you ever wondered why dogs get the "zoomies" or seem fascinated by sniffing their own poo? Even though some of these behaviors seem strange to humans, they can be quite normal for dogs. 

    INSIDER consulted with dog behaviorist  Nick Jones, MA about the real explanations behind all of the seemingly strange things that dogs do. 

    Here's the explanation behind 12 common dog behaviors. 

    Dogs get the "zoomies" because they’re just really happy or excited.

    Dog owners all over the world are probably familiar with the "zoomies"— when dogs start to run around excitedly for no obvious reason. Apparently, this sudden burst of energy is exactly what it looks like: a dog's way of expressing just how happy he is.

    "This behavior is often seen at key times of the day such as after a meal or when the dog has been exercised or bathed. Dogs can feel bubbles of excitement and a joy to be alive and this is often seen during the ‘zoomies,'" Jones explained to INSIDER.

    Eating grass typically isn't very harmful to your dog.

    Most dog owners probably discourage their pooches from eating grass, but Jones says it's actually pretty normal. And surprisingly, experts actually aren't exactly sure why dogs love eat the lawn.

    "Dogs can enjoy eating spring grass and will often graze on this doggie delicacy. There remains a degree of uncertainty as to the precise reason for eating grass," he told INSIDER.

    Jones also clarified that munching on grass doesn't cause vomiting as often as owners might think. If you dog is regularly throwing up after a romp in the yard, you might want to get her checked out for other medical issues.

    Eating their own vomit is an instinctive urge for dogs.

    It can be stomach-turning to any human observers, but dogs actually think that eating their own vomit is perfectly natural.

    "What sounds repulsive to us can be second nature to dogs as they do not have social standards to consider! Eating regurgitated food is a natural behavior and puppies will often eat food in this way as the mother regurgitates partially digested food," Jones explained.

    Of course, just because eating vomit doesn't perturb your dog doesn't mean that regular vomiting isn't a problem. Be sure to check in with your vet if you notice that your dog can't ever keep his dinner down.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Kingdom Hearts 3

    • A huge new Disney game is almost here: "Kingdom Hearts 3" arrives on January 29.
    • The game features a massive cast of Disney characters, many of whom are instrumental to the game's story.
    • Even if you've never played a "Kingdom Hearts" game before, there's plenty of reasons to be excited for the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 game.

    It's rare that a game comes along where Disney's all-star cast of characters — from Mickey Mouse to Buzz Lightyear to Bambi — all play a part.

    "Kingdom Hearts 3" is an exception.

    When the game arrives on January 29 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, players will take on the role of Sora as he finishes his multi-game journey. Whether you're new to the series or a longtime fan, there are plenty of good reasons to be excited for the upcoming game.

    Here's a quick primer to get you started:

    SEE ALSO: The 29 hottest video games you shouldn't miss in 2019

    Other than the central heroes — protagonist Sora and his friends Riku and Kairi — the majority of other characters in "Kingdom Hearts 3" are major Disney characters.

    And yes: One of those characters is Mickey Mouse himself.

    Notably, you don't play as those major Disney characters. The main playable character in "Kingdom Hearts 3" is Sora, who wields a weapon called a "Keyblade."

    The "Kingdom Hearts" franchise is a mash-up of Disney's biggest characters with the design sensibility of Japanese gaming powerhouse Square Enix — the folks behind "Final Fantasy." 

    The reason that Sora looks like a "Final Fantasy" character is because he was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, the man behind the original look of the "Final Fantasy" series. The general vibe of the "Kingdom Hearts" series is a distinct mix of Eastern and Western artistic history. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    furniture moving couch

    • Amazon and Wayfair are two popular options when it comes to shopping for furniture online.
    • But how do these competitors compare?
    • Amazon and Wayfair boast different strengths, but Wayfair ultimately offers a more straightforward furniture-shopping experience.

    These days, people who need furniture and hate shopping have a ton of options.

    Plenty of retailers — both digital and store-centric — offer customers the opportunity to make major furniture purchases online. And Amazon and Wayfair are two of the biggest players in the game.

    Amazon got its start shipping books, but it now offers all sorts of goods across different categories. Wayfair specializes in home goods and furnishings. Wayfair has been in the furniture business since 2002, but Amazon recently encroached on the home goods retailer's territory by unrolling private-label furniture brands Rivet and Stone & Beam.

    Business Insider recently decided to compare the two companies when it comes to shopping for furniture. Here's what we found:

    SEE ALSO: Wayfair's end-of-year clearance sale has some amazing finds — here are 18 deals you don't want to miss

    DON'T MISS: Amazon stopped selling certain furniture designs on its website after West Elm called them 'knockoffs' in a new lawsuit

    SEE ALSO: I tested out furniture from Amazon's new private-label brands — and the quality is surprisingly comparable to my higher-end furniture

    Amazon, famously, functions as an "everything store."

    So, unless you've recently been shopping for furniture, that category won't necessarily pop up for you on the site's main page.

    On the other hand, furniture takes the top spot on Wayfair's category tabs. To effectively compare both sites, let's use the example of buying a futon.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • The global economy started 2018 with strong, synchronized growth.
    • However, as the year progressed, momentum faded and growth trends diverged.
    • With anticipated escalation in trade conflicts, a contraction in world trade could drag down the global economy even more.
    • These risks point to the increasing vulnerability of the global economy to further shocks, and the rising probability of a recession in the next couple of years.

    The global economy started 2018 with strong, synchronized growth. But as the year progressed, momentum faded and growth trends diverged.

    The US economy accelerated, thanks to fiscal stimulus enacted early in the year, while the economies of the Eurozone, the UK, Japan, and China began to weaken.

    These divergent trends will persist in 2019. IHS Markit predicts global growth will edge down from 3.2% in 2018 to 3.1% in 2019, and keep decelerating over the next few years.

    One major risk in the coming year is the sharp drop-off in world trade growth, which fell from over 5% at the beginning of 2018 to nearly zero at the end.

    With anticipated escalation in trade conflicts, a contraction in world trade could drag down the global economy even more. At the same time, the combined effects of rising interest rates and surging equity and commodity market volatility mean that financial conditions worldwide are tightening.

    These risks point to the increasing vulnerability of the global economy to further shocks, and the rising probability of a recession in the next couple of years.

    Economic growth forecast

    1. The US economy will remain above trend

    Based on estimates about sustainable growth in the labour force and productivity, we assess the trend, or potential, growth in the US economy to be around 2.0%.

    In 2018, US growth was well above trend at 2.9%, though the acceleration was almost entirely due to a large dose of fiscal stimulus in the form of tax cuts and spending increases.

    The impact of this stimulus will still be felt in 2019, but will diminish as the year progresses. As a result, we expect growth of 2.6% in 2019 — less than in 2018, but still above trend.


    2. Europe's expansion will slow even more

    Eurozone growth peaked in the second half of 2017, and has declined steadily since then. IHS Markit predicts a further decline to 1.5% in 2019.

    Political uncertainty, including Brexit, challenges to Emmanuel Macron's government, and the winding down of Angela Merkel's chancellorship, are contributing to a decline in business sentiment.

    Economic factors such as the tightening of credit conditions and heightened trade tensions are also driving the deceleration in growth.

    3. Japan's recovery will remain weak, and its economy will grow less than 1% in 2019

    Japan's economy is expected to expand by 0.8% in 2018, with this rate increasing only slightly in 2019 to 0.9%. The slowdown in China's economy and the fallout from trade tensions between the US and China are drags on growth.

    Monetary policy will continue to be ultra-accommodative next year. The cyclical decline in Japan's growth is occurring in an environment of very weak long-term growth.

    Adverse demographics — specifically a declining labour force — are not being offset by strong enough productivity growth.

    The "third arrow" of Abenomics, which was supposed to implement significant structural reforms and boost productivity, has been slow to materialize.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    clean market nyc

    • Clean Market is a luxury wellness center in New York City that offers treatments such as facials and vitamin IV drips. It also has an infrared sauna and a shop that sells wellness and beauty supplements, and treats like CBD smoothies.
    • The center is part of a wave of businesses, in the US and beyond, that deliver health- and wellness-based services to clients — often at a high premium.
    • I took a tour of Clean Market and tried some of the treatments. The experience was even more luxurious than I'd expected, and I've never felt so pampered.


    In NYC's Midtown East neighborhood, just steps from the posh Upper East Side, a new holistic wellness center has opened for New Yorkers who are looking to relax and detox.

    Clean Market, started by blogger and certified holistic health coach Lily Kunin, soft opened in June 2018 and had its grand opening in September.

    The space is one of many businesses, in the US and abroad, that is delivering on wealthy clients' appetite for health- and wellness-based services. As Forbes reported in 2017, "wellness is the new luxury," and fittingly, treatments like cryotherapy — the super-cold treatment LeBron James swears by — and IV vitamin drips, either as hangover cures or general health boosters, have an avid fan base.

    Notably, however, they also tend to come at a high premium. A one-time cryofacial at Clean Market costs $55, while whole-body cryotherapy is $85 for two to three minutes. The vitamin IV drips are included in packages that range from $109 to $359.

    In addition to spa services like the ones mentioned above, Clean Market has an infrared sauna. It also sells snacks at its café, along with an array of nutritional supplements and beauty products. And, like an increasing number of restaurants, cafés, and retailers, it carries a host of CBD products, including smoothies, coffees, and tonic drinks.

    Kunin said the majority of customers coming to Clean Market are neighborhood regulars who want to feel their best, boost energy and immunity, reduce stress, and increase their metabolism. She noted that the center has also had clients like NFL quarterbacks, Victoria's Secret Angels, and Real Housewives.

    I visited Clean Market and tried some of its services, and I've never felt so pampered in my life. Here's what it was like.

    SEE ALSO: A bygone luxury destination 2 hours outside of NYC is now attracting millennials with tiny house resorts, Instagrammable lodges, and wellness retreats

    DON'T MISS: A day in the life of a luxury interior designer, who starts her day with a 'caffeine cocktail,' has designed homes for Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, and goes to a SoulCycle class every night

    Clean Market is a holistic wellness center in New York City that offers services including cryotherapy, vitamin IV drips, infrared saunas, and smoothies infused with boosters such as collagen and CBD.

    SourceClean Market

    It also sells an array of wellness and skincare products, as well as dietary supplements.

    SourceClean Market

    "We want [Clean Market] to be a one-stop shop for all things wellness," owner Lily Kunin told me. "Wellness should be accessible and easy to reach and there should be one place that you can go to fill a lot of your needs around feeling well."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Jeep Gladiator Rubicon

    • The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) runs January 8-11 in Las Vegas.
    • The event has become an increasingly important venue for automakers to show off their ideas for the future of transportation.
    • This year automakers like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW brought concept and upcoming production vehicles to the event.
    • We also saw aircraft, a motorcycle, and a yacht.

    As the automaker industry moves toward electrification and autonomy, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has become an increasingly important venue for automakers to show off their ideas for the future of transportation.

    Last year Toyota unveiled a concept for a self-driving delivery vehicle, and Ford outlined its efforts to create communication technology for autonomous vehicles.

    This year, automakers like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW brought concept and upcoming production vehicles to the event, which runs January 8-11 in Las Vegas.

    Beyond the auto industry, we also saw aircraft, a motorcycle, and a yacht.

    These are the 20 coolest vehicles we saw at CES:

    SEE ALSO: The best car we saw at CES 2019

    Nissan IMx

    When you'll be able to drive it: possibly in 2020.

    Source: Inside EVs

    Nissan Leaf Nismo RC

    When you'll be able to drive it: Nissan said it's making only six of its newest Leaf Nismo RC, and it does not appear it will sell them to consumers.

    Jeep Gladiator Rubicon

    When you'll be able to drive it: this spring.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    R. Kelly

    • For nearly the entire span of his decades-long career, allegations of sexual misconduct have followed singer R. Kelly.
    • Several celebrities have spoken out against Kelly, while other former collaborators and friends have remained silent.
    • Some of the accusations against Kelly include allegedly having a "sex cult" of young girls, allegedly abusing his ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, and allegedly keeping a 14-year-old girl as his "pet."
    • Kelly denies all the claims against him.

    For much of his career, allegations of sexual misconduct have followed singer Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as R. Kelly.

    Recently, the accusations have culminated not only into a movement called #MuteRKelly, but also "Surviving R. Kelly,"a Lifetime documentary featuring his alleged victimsKelly has been accused of having a "sex cult" of young girls hostage in his home, abusing his ex-wife, Andrea Kelly, and keeping a 14-year-old girl as his "pet."

    Kelly has maintained his innocence, writing a song denying the claims and his lawyers have reportedly threatened legal action against Lifetime.

    In the wake of these accusations, many are calling on celebrities who have collaborated with Kelly in the past to speak out. Here are 15 stars who have worked with Kelly and whether or not they've commented publicly on the allegations.

    Chance the Rapper said making a song with R. Kelly was a mistake.

    Chance the Rapper has had a long history of collaborating with R. Kelly, including bringing Kelly out onstage during a 2014 Lollapalooza performance, appearing in the background of Kelly's "Backyard Party" music video in 2015, and even making a song together called "Somewhere in Paradise" that same year. 

    In May 2018, Chance the Rapper expressed regret for working with Kelly. The rapper told Cassius' Jamilah Lemieux that "making a song with R. Kelly was a mistake." Weeks later, Chance the Rapper tweeted to clarify his comments, standing by the sentiment.

    "I apologize to all of his survivors for working with him," Chance the Rapper wrote."And for taking this long to speak out."

    John Legend has taken a strong stand against Kelly.

    Singer John Legend has been vocal about the allegations against Kelly for over a year, pledging support for the #TimesUp movement's social media vow to #MuteRKelly. Kelly would later mention Legend in a song, accusing Legend by name of tearing him down.

    Though Legend and his music production team have previously sampled Kelly’s music in his past songs, Legend now has no qualms about being one of the few artists to speak out in the documentary "Surviving R. Kelly." Before his appearance, the singer tweeted that taking a stand "didn’t feel risky at all.""I believe these women," Legend wrote.

    During his portion of the three-night special, Legend maintained his stance. "Time’s up for R. Kelly," Legend said.

    Omarion has vowed to stop playing Kelly's music.

    Singer Omarion is a member of B2K, a boy band whose roster includes songs written by R. Kelly. Currently, the band is on a reunion tour, but in light of the recent allegations, Omarion announced that they'd no longer be performing any songs written by Kelly after the tour's conclusion.

    Omarion tweeted that he "felt compelled" to voice his stance, despite not seeing "Surviving R. Kelly."

    "EVERYONE has to be RESPONSIBLE," Omarion said."Many have bared witness to the unthinkable and yet have remained silent."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Rod Rosenstein

    • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein plans to leave the Department of Justice after a permanent replacement for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate, multiple news outlets reported Wednesday.
    • Rosenstein is currently overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which Trump decries as a "rigged witch hunt" against him.

    • NBC's Pete Williams reported that he intends to stay in his current position until Mueller submits his final report on his investigation to the DOJ.
    • Legal experts and DOJ veterans said Rosenstein's departure does not necessarily put the Mueller probe in danger. 

    Multiple news outlets reported Tuesday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein plans to leave the Department of Justice after a new attorney general to replace Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate. 

    Rosenstein, who previously served as a US Attorney from Maryland, became a target of hardline Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump for his work overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    Read more: All the times Rod Rosenstein was publicly criticized by Trump, and all the times he hit back

    Some observers feared that Rosenstein's departure could spell danger for the Mueller probe. William Barr, the Trump administration's nominee to replace Sessions as attorney general, recently sent an unprompted letter to the DOJ laying out his concerns with the legality some aspects of the Mueller investigation.

    But DOJ veterans and legal experts aren't concerned that Rosenstein's departure combined with Barr's skepticism of some aspects of the Mueller probe mean Mueller is in danger. Here's what they said: 

    SEE ALSO: Republicans are worried about a 'Kavanaugh 2.0' scenario with Trump's attorney general nominee

    William Barr came under scrutiny for sending an unsolicited 20-page memo to the DOJ criticizing the Mueller probe's line of investigation into possible obstruction of justice and witness tampering by Trump.

    Source: Business Insider

    The memo called Mueller's inquiry into whether Trump obstructed justice by when he fired FBI director James Comey "legally unsupportable" and "potentially disastrous."

    Source: Business Insider

    "Either Barr is very worked up about Mueller’s obstruction investigation or he was angling for a job," wrote former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti of the memo.

    Source: Renato Mariotti/Twitter

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler

    • Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens met on the set of "High School Musical."
    • They began as friends but their friendship blossomed into a relationship.
    • Starting in 2005, here is the couple's relationship timeline.

    It's been seven years and counting since things took a romantic turn between former Disney stars Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler.

    Here’s a complete timeline of Hudgens and Butler’s relationship, from its early beginnings in the "High School Musical" franchise to making long distance work to the "Princess Switch" star christening her beau her "rock” in a December 2018 interview.

    2005: Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler reportedly met on the set of High School Musical.

    According to the Daily Mail, Hudgens and Butler were first introduced while the actress was filming the very first "High School Musical," thought Butler was not in the film. Hudgens had just begun dating ex-boyfriend Zac Efron at that time, but the pair quickly became friends — a natural progression as they were both a part of the Disney universe.

    September 2011: Butler was reportedly seen leaving Hudgens' house, sparking romance rumors.

    After Hudgens' split from Efron in December 2010, she was linked to Josh Hutcherson and then Butler after the "Zoey 101"actor was reportedly spotted leaving her home one night in September 2011. At the time, a source told Hollywood Life that it was a "friends with benefits situation," but the pair packed on the PDA just days later at Bob's Big Boy in Los Angeles.

    "They were together but in a large group," a source told People. "They were not doing anything to show that they were really together romantically but they were definitely hanging out and having fun."

    September 2012: The pair took their romance out on the town.

    While Butler and Hudgens didn't appear in any hurry to put a label on their relationship, they enjoyed keeping fans guessing during most of 2012. In September, the couple was spotted on a romantic Italian dinner in Venice and in December, they were seen kissing at a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    aomori trains

    • The snowiest city in the world, with an average of 26 feet — or eight meters — of snowfall every year, is Aomori City in Aomori Prefecture, Japan. 
    • For comparison, the average snowfall in Sapporo, Japan, — which comes in at number two on the list of snowiest cities — is 16 feet, or almost 5 meters. That's a 10-foot difference!
    • During the winter you may find yourself driving alongside a wall of snow that's several feet high. 
    • Locals celebrate the snow with winter festivals at castles and parades down the city streets. 

    Aomori City, Japan, is the snowiest city in the world, according to AccuWeather.

    The coastal city located in the northern Japan prefecture, Aomori, — a prefecture in Japan is equivalent to a county in the US — sits between the Hakkōda Mountains and the edge of Mutsu Bay — which means it gets a ton of snow during the winter. 

    The winter months in Aomori prefecture can mean delays and stoppages in public transportation and roads filled with abandoned cars, among other things. 

    But the city and the surrounding area also find ways to celebrate the snow.

    There are a number of festivals and beautiful snowy sights to see throughout the season. 

    From train delays to annual walks in the snow, here's a look at what life is like in the snowiest city in the world.

    Construction on a seaport-turned-city began during early Edo period Japan, and was named Aomori City in 1624.

    Source: Aomori Sightseeing Guide

    The city is now home to more than 279,000 people and is annually buried in the heaviest snowfall worldwide, according to AccuWeather.

    Source:  AccuWeather, and City Population

    Its location in the north of Japan ...

    Source: TripSavvy

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    border wall map full border

    • The US government is currently shut down because President Donald Trump is demanding billions of dollars to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, and Congress won't fund it.
    • Of the 1,933 miles along the border, 1,279 miles is unfenced.
    • Most of the barrier that currently exists, and that the Trump administration has built, isn't the high concrete wall Trump talked about on the campaign trail, and instead resembles a fence.

    From western California to eastern Texas, across four US states and 24 counties, the 1,933-mile US-Mexico border criss-crosses arid desert, rugged mountains, and winding rivers.

    For 654 of those miles, fencing separates the two countries from each other.

    The 7.3 million people who live in the border counties on each side of the line have watched for years as security grew tighter and illegal crossings tapered off.

    In just the last 12 years, the US government built the barriers, deployed troops, and started using advanced surveillance technology — all in an effort to tame and control some of the wildest and remotest land in the United States.

    In an effort to make good on campaign promises to "build that wall," President Donald Trump has refused to back down on his demand that Congress allocate $5.7 billion for the project, plunging the government into a weeks-long shutdown after Senate Democrats refused to back a spending bill with the wall funding.

    Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, have long opposed Trump's wall and placed the blame for the shutdown on Trump.

    The shutdown comes amid controversy over US immigration and border policies, after two young migrant children died in Border Patrol custody last month. The deaths also come on the heels of outrage over the Trump administration's family separation policy over the summer, which split thousands of children from their parents.

    With public outrage has growing toward the government's immigration policies, it's worth taking a look at the complexity of the borderlands to understand the daunting task of securing them.

    From the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Gulf of Mexico in the east, here's what the entire US-Mexico border looks like.

    SEE ALSO: The 8-year-old migrant boy who died on Christmas Eve was held in US custody for nearly a week — against Border Patrol's own rules

    DON'T MISS: The Trump administration just released new photos of 'the president's border wall' — and it looks more like a fence

    California has stood more defiantly than any other state against Trump's immigration agenda and his long-promised wall. Yet the Golden State's southern boundary is one of the most thoroughly fortified along the entire US-Mexico border.

    Source: Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and OpenStreetMap contributors

    Roughly 105 miles of the 140-mile border California shares with Mexico are walled off by pedestrian fencing or vehicle barriers, beginning on the west coast with a tall, metal fence that juts into the Pacific Ocean.

    Source: GAO analysis of Customs and Border Protection data

    Though some Trump critics have seized upon his deployment of the National Guard in California, the San Diego coastline already hosts around 55 guardsman who assist in "counterdrug missions" and conduct surveillance support.

    Source: USA Today

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    cauliflower rice bowl

    • Too much rice can mean too many carbs.
    • There are lots of alternatives that you can add to your next meal.
    • Registered dietitians share tips on what you can try instead of rice.

    Although carbohydrates are an important aspect of a balanced diet, too much of anything is a bad thing.

    The good news is that if you're looking to limit your carb intake, there's plenty of options for you — especially when it comes to replacing grains.

    While all of the alternatives won't have the exact same taste and texture of grains like rice, if you experiment with them you will definitely find something that makes you traditional dishes just as delicious.

    Here are 11 substitutes for grains that can help you keep your carb intake in check.

    Cauliflower is low-carb and has more nutritional value.

    Cauliflower rice is not only a great low-carb alternative to regular rice, but it also has "more nutritional mileage than rice," Dallas-based registered dietitian Louise Chen told the MyFitnessPal blog.  

    One cup of cauliflower contains 5 grams of carbohydrates compared to 45 grams that come in a cup of rice, according to MyFitnessPal.

    Cauliflower also contains a high amount of fiber, which promotes good gastrointestinal health.

    Broccoli is similar to cauliflower rice.

    Similar to cauliflower, broccoli also can serve as a tasty plant-based, low-carb alternative to rice. You can make riced broccoli using the florets and stems in the same way you do with cauliflower,in a food processor or with a box grater, according to the online food magazine Kitchn.

    Quinoa is a super-food.

    They don’t call quinoa a super-food for anything. This plant provides a wide range of benefits for anyone who consumes it, including not adding unnecessary carbs to a diet.

    White ricecontains almost 15 times the carbohydrates and half the protein that quinoa does, according to Everyday Health.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    wine toast glasses red wine

    • There are a lot of great wines to try from around the world.
    • Some come from South Africa, like Peter Max Pinot Noir.
    • Other surprising picks come from New York, like Nathan K. Wines Riesling.

    There's no fancier feeling than pouring yourself a glass of wine. Although you may be familiar with some top wine-producing regions, the most adored concoctions come from places like South Africa, Chile Napa Valley, and Tuscany.

    We asked sommeliers which wines were at the top of their recommendation list. Whether you're dealing with a bottle of Pinot Noir or Syrah, their overall advice was simple: keep an open mind and don't stay married to any one brand.

    Antoine Arena makes a Corsican wine from a grape that was at one point considered extinct.

    France is the world's second largest producer of wine, so it's not surprising to see a bottle listed here. Bianco Gentile, a grape used for making white wines, was indigenous to Corsica but considered extinct for a period of time until some vines were discovered and replanted.

    Kristie Petrullo Campbell, the founder of the Petrullo Wine Company, recommends trying a bottle of Antoine Arena Bianco Gentile Vin de France.

    "The richness of the wine is balanced by its acidity and minerality," she told INSIDER. This wine has notes of almond, citrus, and wildflowers, which is great for anyone looking for a slightly nutty flavor.

    Peter Max Pinot Noir is an example of how South Africa's cool climate can affect the taste of a product.

    Climate isn't a one-size-fits-all when it comes to wine. Some varieties, like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc, ripen to perfection in cooler climates since they are able to stay on the vine longer.

    Those looking for an earthy, black tea taste should try Crystallum Peter Max Pinot Noir. It's a red wine that also packs a slight cherry punch to it. 

    A bottle of Louis Bovard Dezaley Grand Cru Medinette may be difficult to find if you don't live in Switzerland.

    The Dezaley wine region is located on a steep hillside along Lake Geneva, which allows it to take advantage of the sun's reflection coming off the lake. The wine is made from the Chasselas variety, which can have a mineral-y taste due to the wine's ability to take on the character of its soil.

    Petrullo notes that this wine has a more delicate taste, however, this one is harder to find since Switzerland only exports 2% of its wines.  

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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