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Stunning videos appear to show rockets raining down on the US embassy compound in Baghdad

Videos captured of an attack on the US embassy in Baghdad appear to show the embassy's defense system engaging incoming rockets. The C-RAM defense system uses high explosive incendiary rounds to engage enemy projectiles in midair.U.S. Army US officials blame "terror groups" for a rocket attack against the US embassy in Baghdad that wounded a woman and child on Thursday.  Video captured during the attack appears to show the embassy's C-RAM defense system shooting down at least two rockets. In a statement, the Iraqi military said the attack was launced from the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad. Striking video of a rocket attack on the US embassy in Baghdad appears to show the embassy's C-RAM defense system — meant to detect and destroy incoming rockets — shooting down at least two rockets on Thursday as more got through. —Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) January 13, 2022 US officials blamed"terror groups" for the nighttime attack that was launched from the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad and said a woman and child were injured. Three missiles struck within the perimeter of the US embassy, Iraqi security officials told the Associated Press. At least one of the missiles hit the Elaf school. The videos show the US-made system firing 20mm rounds, some with illumination, through its six barrels so rapidly the sound of the shots blend together. One video appears to show a rocket strike at close range to the person recording.—Nafiseh Kohnavard (@nafisehkBBC) January 13, 2022 Witnesses said they could hear explosions and videos taken by BBC correspondent Nafiseh Kohnavard appear to show the C-RAM defense system engaging around 7:30 pm local time on Thursday. This attack is the latest in a string of attacks targeting bases or installations with U.S. military and diplomatic personnel, some of which have been attributed to militias with ties to Iran. There have been no US casualties as a result of the attacks. Last month, the top commander for the Middle East, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, told the Associated Press that he believes there will be an increase in attacks on U.S. and Iraqi personnel by Iranian-backed militias who are determined to get American forces out.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 14th, 2022

These 9 brands make the best couches and sofas you can buy online in 2021

We talked to interior designers about what makes a great couch. Here's where you can find the best couches and sofas. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Article; Benchmade Modern; Burrow; Crate and Barrel; West Elm; Alyssa Powell/InsiderA new couch can be a big investment. Whether you're planning to relax, work, or even sleep on your couch, you'll need a sofa that's built for comfort. You'll also want to purchase a couch that is durable enough to survive spills, accidents, and everyday wear and tear. We spoke with Stephen Kuhl, co-founder, and CEO of popular furniture brand Burrow, Beth Wangman, an interior designer of over 25 years who currently works as a senior designer for non-profit Digs with Dignity in addition to running her own design business, and Bailey Li, an interior designer and decorative artist who specializes in commercial and residential design. We compiled their advice to curate a selection of brands that combine striking designs, durable materials, and a great customer experience. Our selection also features brands that cater to various price points, making it easy to find a solid couch no matter your budget. Kuhl, Wangman, and Li also shared advice on shopping for couches on a budget, the best materials to look for when shopping, and how to navigate shopping for a couch online versus in-store.Here's where you can find the best sofas in 2021WayfairWayfair sofaPopular home brand Wayfair offers customers multiple designs and styles, all available at a variety of price points.Typical price range: $200 to $10,000Shipping costs: Orders over $35 qualify for free shipping in the contiguous U.S.Experiencing shipping delays: May experience some pandemic-related delaysAverage shipping time: 1 to 3 weeks for large items In-store pickup: NoReturn policy: 30 days for most itemsRestocking/return fees: Return shipping deducted from return amount Warranty: Protection plans available for an additional cost at time of purchaseFabric swatch samples available: NoFinancing options: Wayfair Credit Card, Affirm, and moreSpecial features: Customer service available daily until midnight ESTIf you're unsure exactly what style couch you're looking for or are working with a tight budget and still want tons of options, you'll want to shop with Wayfair as it offers various styles and unique brands. Some of the brands available at Wayfair include pieces from its sister brand AllModern, as well as from family-owned brand, Novogratz. You can also avoid extreme delays some other retailers are experiencing by shopping with Wayfair. However, if you're looking for a custom-designed sofa, Wayfair may not be the best choice as most of its options are pre-made. Wayfair offers some of the most extensive customer service hours in the industry; its team is available daily until midnight EST, ensuring you'll be able to get in contact with someone if you experience any issues. Assembly varies widely by model, but each product page includes assembly instructions, which we recommend looking through before deciding to purchase. Wangman likes Wayfair for its budget-friendly prices but strongly suggests closely reading reviews prior to making a purchase.What to buy:AllModern Hailee 84'' Genuine Leather SofaBest known for offering modern, contemporary designs, AllModern is a great brand to start with if you’re looking for the mid-century modern style. The Hailee Sofa is constructed of durable, genuine tan leather. The sofa also has removable cushions, which is a rare find in a leather couch. This couch is a great option for those that prefer a firmer seating option.$1800.00 FROM WAYFAIROriginally $2550.00 | Save 29%Novogratz Brittany 81.5" Round Arm SleeperFounded by a husband and wife duo, Novogratz offers smartly designed sofas that are both durable and unique. The Brittany Sleeper is beautifully designed and comes in eight bold shades. It’s also constructed for sleeping; the back of the sofa reclines to accommodate comfortable sleeping positions. $409.99 FROM WAYFAIROriginally $622.00 | Save 34%BurrowBurrowIf you're looking to avoid the typical challenges associated with purchasing furniture online, Burrow offers a seamless shopping experience, speedy delivery, and durable sofas and couches.Typical price range: $795 to $4,295Shipping costs: Free on all ordersExperiencing shipping delays: Slight delays due to increased demand and the pandemic Average shipping time: 6 to 8 weeks In-store pickup: NoReturn policy: Within 30 days of receipt Restocking/return fees: 10% return shipping fee, 20% fee for returns without original packaging, fee is capped at $250Warranty: 1-year manufacturer warranty, 3 or 5-year warranty available through third party service Fabric swatch samples available: YesFinancing options: AffirmSpecial features: Free design consultations, AR viewer, Showroom in NYCWhen creating Burrow, its founders sought to address the pain points of shopping for large furniture, including poor delivery experiences, unfair warranties, subpar quality, and high prices. Burrow offers "very simple elegant solutions to designing furniture so that it can be shopped more easily, delivered more conveniently, and be more functional and durable in people's homes," said Kuhl.The brand uses a direct-to-consumer (DTC) model to offer high-quality, customized sofas at a fraction of the cost of traditional retailers and is also very open about its production process, which includes rigorous testing. As "Burrow is meant to be the evolution of furniture" said Kuhl, it offers many modular sofas designed to grow with you as your seating needs change over time.This feature persuaded Insider Reviews' senior editor Lauren Savoie to purchase a Burrow model after a lengthy search. "One concern was how we were even going to get a sofa up our staircase (the previous tenants had to take a chainsaw to their couch to get it out!). When I saw Burrow's Nomad sofa comes apart in chair-sized sections, I was sold," she says. "I love that it's not going to be a nightmare to move, and that we can add or remove sections to suit whatever apartment we end up in next."All Burrow couches are equipped with built-in USB ports, and offer easy, tool-free assembly. Each is designed to prioritize comfort, with a layered foam design. Customers can customize their couch in several ways, such as choosing fabrics and colors, leg finishes, and arm shape. Add-ons are also available, including matching chaises, ottomans, and pillows depending on the design of the sofa. Read our full review of the Burrow Nomad Sofa here.What to buy:Burrow Nomad SofaOwned by senior editor, Lauren Savoie, and one of Burrow’s bestsellers, the fabric Nomad Sofa offers a modern design at a great price point. The sofa can comfortably seat three people and is made with stain- and scratch-resistant olefin fabric. The design is modular, so you can add or remove sections or chaises to accommodate your changing space and needs.$1495.00 FROM BURROWBurrow Field 6-Piece Sectional Double LoungerBurrow's newest sofa line, the Field collection features Burrow's signature modular design but with a sleek, minimalist design that suits a variety of different styles. Like Burrow's other sofas, you can add or remove sections on the Field collection to fit changes to your needs and space over time. $2785.00 FROM BURROWBurrow Range 2-Piece SofaIf you’re looking for a smaller sofa that still offers some customization, the Range Sofa should be your top choice. The sofa’s arm panels can swap sides for more variety and the couch can be added on to in the future if you ever need a larger seating arrangement.$1070.00 FROM BURROWBenchmade ModernBenchmade ModernWhile custom-made sofas can take several months to arrive, Benchmade Modern offers custom options constructed in about five weeks.Typical price range: $2,600 to $3,200Shipping costs: $99 contactless curbside delivery with options to upgrade to white glove delivery for an additional $295Experiencing shipping delays: May experience some pandemic related delays Average shipping time: 5 weeks to make, and about 7 to 15 days to ship depending on locationIn-store pickup: NoReturn policy: 100-day return periodRestocking/return fees: None Warranty: Lifetime frame warranty, 1-year manufacturer warranty Fabric swatch samples available: YesFinancing options: AffirmSpecial features: Sofa printouts available to ensure perfect sofa fitBenchmade Modern specializes in furniture for those looking to purchase custom on a tight timeline. Compared to the industry standard of waiting 14 weeks to receive your handcrafted sofa, Benchmade Modern takes a shorter amount of time, while maintaining high quality.The brand also prioritizes creating sofas that are made to be lived on and enjoyed, so it uses durable family-friendly, and pet-friendly performance fabrics. It also offers a wide color and fabric selection, allowing you to choose from bold pops of color or more neutral tones. You can also customize legs and cushion type depending on whether you'd prefer to fluff your cushions frequently or not. As for assembly, most of Benchmade Modern's furniture is shipped fully assembled and only requires a quick leg assembly. Although the brand specializes in fast construction, it is currently experiencing some pandemic-related delays, so we strongly recommend paying close attention to estimated delivery timelines if you're in a crunch.What to buy:Benchmade Modern OG Couch Potato SofaDesigned to represent relaxation, the OG Couch Potato Sofa offers medium support and a slight recline, which is perfect for movie nights or impromptu naps. The couch is available in multiple sizes including a two-seater size and a wide variety of colors.$3027.00 FROM BENCHMADE MODERNOriginally $3561.00 | Save 15%Benchmade Modern Catwalk SofaThe Catwalk Sofa has a subtle mid-century design, good support, and a lowered seat height for comfortable lounging. Aside from fabric and cushion customizations, the sofa also has two leg finish options.$2580.00 FROM BENCHMADE MODERNOriginally $3035.00 | Save 15%ZinusZinusPopular mattress brand Zinus also offers affordable sofas, all priced under $500.Typical price range: $370 to $480Shipping costs: Free on all items Experiencing shipping delays: May experience some pandemic-related delays Average shipping time: Typically 5 to 12 days In-store pickup: NoReturn policy: 100-day trial periodRestocking/return fees: Free returns Warranty: 1-year limited warranty Fabric swatch samples available: NoFinancing options: Affirm Special features: Generous trial periodWhile splurging on a couch is an option for some, many of us are working on a tighter budget, making Zinus' affordable sofa selection the best place to start shopping. While most of the brand's best-selling items are priced under $500, you'll still be getting something solidly built. The sofas are pre-made, but the brand offers unique designs that you likely won't find elsewhere at a similar price. All of Zinus' couches have a no-tool assembly and take less than 30 minutes to fully assemble. Each model's product page includes assembly instructions just in case you misplace them, as well as care and cleaning instructions. The brand also offers a generous 100-day trial period on all of its products.What to buy:Zinus Mikhail Mid-Century SofaThe Mikhail Sofa has a unique, modern design and eye-catching red fabric color. Its fabric is designed to be easily cleaned in the case of spills or other messes. The sofa also comes in a smaller size, which is perfect for those looking to furnish small spaces.$588.00 FROM ZINUSZinus Jackie Classic SofaA classic design that’s available in four neutral colors, the Jackie Sofa is likely to stay in style for a long time. Although the sofa has two cushions, it can comfortably seat three people and is made with supportive foam. $567.00 FROM ZINUSCrate & BarrelCrate and BarrelCrate & Barrel offers structurally unique couches that can be customized to your liking.Typical price range: $799 to $6,000+Shipping costs: Dependent on cost and weight of item purchased Experiencing shipping delays: Yes, dependent on fabrics and models ordered Average shipping time: Typically 7 to 10 days, longer for custom itemsIn-store pickup: Yes, dependent on availability Return policy: 30 days on pre-made furniture, no returns on custom furnitureRestocking/return fees: Customer's responsibility to handle any return costs Warranty: Reach out to customer service if you experience any issuesFabric swatch samples available: YesFinancing options: Available through Crate & Barrel Credit CardSpecial features: Can go see items in-store, View In Your Room Feature, Free design servicesIf you're looking to add a high-quality piece to your living area, Crate & Barrel offers several options. The brand has more than ten sofa collections, each available in different fabric colors. Many of its models are made of sustainably-sourced materials such as chenille, velvet, and polyester. It also offers full fabric breakdowns, which can be found by simply hovering over each fabric option on the website, and includes information on the fabrics origin and durability. Although on the pricier side, the quality is unmatched, making Crate & Barrel worth the splurge.While assembly varies by sofa, Crate & Barrel offers white-glove assembly for an additional fee. The brand is currently experiencing delays across its wide selection, but offers stock color options that are ready to ship if you don't want to wait for a custom couch.What to buy:Crate & Barrel Axis 2-Piece Sectional SofaAssociate travel editor Hannah Freedman purchased this two-piece sofa when she moved last year and loves its custom nature, comfortability, and stain resistance. Due to its custom construction, the couch did take a few months to arrive, but was definitely worth the wait. The sofa’s deep seats and low back cushions are optimal for comfortable lounging. $2998.00 FROM CRATE & BARRELCrate & Barrel Pershing Curved-Arm 79" SofaOffering a unique design, the Pershing sofa will give a modern pop to your home. The design is a Crate & Barrel exclusive and is constructed with comfortable foam and down.$1699.00 FROM CRATE & BARRELWest ElmWest ElmWell known for its modern, stylish designs, you're sure to find a stunning couch while shopping at West Elm.Typical price range: $500 to $5,000Shipping costs: Dependent on cost and weight of item purchased, white glove service available at an additional cost Experiencing shipping delays: Yes, dependent on model and fabrics purchasedAverage shipping time: 4 to 5 days for in-stock items, up to 12 weeks for customIn-store pickup: Yes, depends on store availabilityReturn policy: 30 days on most items, no returns on custom productsRestocking/return fees: Customers may be responsible for return shipping and processing costs Warranty: Covers against manufacturer's defects only, reach out to customer service if you experience any issues Fabric swatch samples available: YesFinancing options: West Elm Credit Card, Affirm Special features: Free design services, AR room planner West Elm is another must-shop brand if you're looking for a modern, conversation-starting couch. The brand specializes in quality furniture and iwith options to customize size, fabric, color, and more. Assembly varies by item, and instructions, as well as care instructions, are listed on the site, with some couches even having care instruction videos. While the retailer is currently experiencing delays on certain models, it has many options that are in stock and ready to ship. We recommend reading estimated ship times carefully before purchasing. As some customers have experienced issues with certain West Elm sofas, we also strongly recommend reading the reviews of any you're interested in to ensure you'll receive the best quality.What to buy:West Elm Leon Wood Frame Leather SofaAvailable in two size options and 18 leather colors, the Leon Sofa combines modern and antique design. The couch is also available in regular top-grain leather or animal-friendly vegan leather depending on your preference. Although the couch is made of leather it’s also very plush.$1499.00 FROM WEST ELMWest Elm Haven Loft SofaThe Haven Loft Sofa is available in custom materials and colors as well as three ready-to-ship fabric color options. The sofa has deep, plush seating with reversible cushions. A fun feature of the Haven Sofa is its adjustable leg levelers that can fit to different floor levels. $1299.00 FROM WEST ELMArticleArticleArticle provides customers with long-lasting furniture at a fair price point.Typical price range: $899 to $4,300Shipping costs: $49 for orders under $999, free shipping on orders over $999Experiencing shipping delays: May experience some pandemic-related delays Average shipping time: Will receive shipping estimate when placing orderIn-store pickup: NoReturn policy: 30 days on all ordersRestocking/Return fees: $49 return shipping fee, free exchanges, $50 restocking fee for returns without original boxWarranty: Basic manufacturer warranty, reach out to customer service if you experience any issuesFabric swatch samples available: YesFinancing options: Affirm Special features: Sofa Finder featureArticle uses a DTC model to offer its stylish furniture at prices up to 30% cheaper than traditional retailers. The brand has a mix of pre-made ready-to-ship models as well as customizable sofas. Article's designs are both modern and vintage influenced, making it easy for customers to find unique couches that will complement their living spaces. Many of the brand's options are modular and can be arranged to be left- or right-facing depending on your preferences. With few exceptions, Article's sofas either don't require assembly, or have a simple assembly that should take under 15 minutes. Article is also Wangman's top retailer for purchasing a quality couch online; she said she loves the brand's great pricing, high quality, and fair return policy.What to buy:Article Sven Green Velvet Left SectionalThe ultimate statement couch, Article's Sven sofa series comes in fabric, leather, or colorful velvet and you can choose from a left-hand or right-hand sectional. Like many of Article's sofas, this one features 5-minute assembly.$2599.00 FROM ARTICLEArticle Ceni Fresh White SofaA modern twist on the classic mid-century design, the Ceni Sofa provides flexibility through its detachable cushion seats, backrests, and armrests. The sofa is available in six fabric colors and two size options and doesn’t require any assembly. $1149.00 FROM ARTICLERaymour & FlaniganRaymour & FlaniganRaymour & Flanigan has been providing quality furniture at various price points for several decades, and is well trusted by many consumers.Typical price range: $500 to $5,000Shipping costs: Dependent on cost and weight of item purchasedExperiencing shipping delays: May experience some pandemic-related delaysAverage shipping time: 5 to 10 days In-store pickup: Select items available in storeReturn policy: Only items labeled "Free Shipping" are eligible for returns, if item arrives damaged reach out to customer serviceRestocking/return fees: 15% restocking feeWarranty: Covers against manufacturer's defects, protection plans available for purchaseFabric swatch samples available: Yes Financing options: Custom-fit financing and lease-to-own financing options, 6-month layaway program Special features: Free showroom pickup available on select items, price matching, free design consultations, 7-day deliveryRaymour & Flanigan is a well-known option for furniture shopping due to its wide variety of durable, high-quality furniture. Search the site by your preferred back style, color, fabric, reclining features, and more to find the sofa of your dreams. The retailer is great for those looking for classically designed models that will remain in style as home design trends shift. The brand is one of the few in this guide that offers in-person shopping, with some products available for pickup directly from its showrooms, which quickly eliminates long waiting times. Each couch requires different levels of assembly, with instructions available on each product page.What to buy:Raymour & Flanigan Skye Microfiber Power Reclining SofaArguably the best choice for movie nights, the Skye Sofa provides “cloud soft comfort” and seats that recline at the simple press of a button. The couch is also made of stain-resistant materials, which is great news for messy theater snacks. $1529.95 FROM RAYMOUR & FLANIGANOriginally $1699.95 | Save 10%Raymour & Flanigan Glendora Microfiber SofaPerfect for minimalists, the Glendora Microfiber Sofa is simply designed and available in two neutral shades. The sofa features a foam and spring construction for plush comfort. The sofa’s legs are also removable.$1169.95 FROM RAYMOUR & FLANIGANOriginally $1299.95 | Save 10%Interior DefineInterior DefineInterior Define allows customers to create a totally unique custom sofa completely from scratch.Typical price range: $995 to $5,000Shipping costs: $149 flat rate (includes white glove service)Shipping delays: Experiencing some pandemic-related delays Average shipping time: 18 to 22 weeks due to custom nature of sofasIn-store pickup: NoReturn policy: 30 days for in-stock items, 60 days for custom itemsRestocking/return fees: 15% for in-stock items 50% for custom items deducted from total refund amountWarranty: 10-year frame warranty Fabric swatch samples available: YesFinancing options: Affirm Special features: AR app, free design services, option to buy throw pillows and sofa legs separately, Quick Ship page features items that ship within 2 to 3 weeksIf you're looking for a full custom experience, Interior Define specializes in offering its customers total control when designing their sofas. You can choose fabric type and color, legs, couch size, couch depth, seat cushions, and cushion fill for thousands of possible combinations. The brand also offers short clips of people of varying height sitting on each sofa, so that you can get a feel for its true fit. The brand has several different types of performance fabrics available including performance velvet, performance basketweave, performance tweed, and more. These fabrics are key to a durable and stain-resistant sofa. Interior Define also offers options for those who don't want to wait for a custom product to be constructed, with its Quick Ship page featuring items that usually ship within 2 to 3 weeks.What to buy:Interior Define Caitlin by The Everygirl Fabric SofaStunningly designed, the Caitlin Sofa is sure to grab attention no matter what fabric color you end up choosing. The sofa is made for soft seating and will match both minimal and modern decor styles.$1795.00 FROM INTERIOR DEFINEInterior Define Sloan Fabric 2-Seat SofaThe Sloan Sofa has a more structured design while also offering supportive comfort. It features a layered cushion for that extra soft feel. $1395.00 FROM INTERIOR DEFINEFAQsAlyssa Powell/InsiderWhat are the differences between sofas and couches?While many designers prefer to use the word "sofa" to indicate luxury or higher quality, the terms "sofa" and "couch" can be used interchangeably and refer to the same item, so search both while shopping.What are the best materials for couches and sofas? If you're spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new sofa you'll want to make sure your investment will last through everyday wear and tear, spills, and other accidents that are bound to happen. You'll also want a couch that continues to feel comfortable over time. Kuhl recommends looking for products made with olefin yarn as "it's sustainable, it's super durable and soft." What type of couch or sofa should I buy if I have kids or pets?If you have children or pets, you should look for fabrics labeled as "performance." Performance fabric has been treated to be more durable against spills and heavy usage. You can find performance versions of your favorite fabrics including velvet, linen, microsuede, chenille, tweed, and more. Parents and pet parents might want to look for sofas with removable covers that can be washed or replaced as needed. Our experts also recommend parents choose a couch with fewer cushions, as cushions will eventually show signs of heavier use.Where do I start when looking for a sofa online?Start your process by establishing a realistic budget that will ensure quality while also allowing you to avoid overpaying. "Sofas are definitely a category where you get what you pay for, for the most part," said Kuhl. You'll also want to think about the main functions you desire from your sofa. Whether you're looking for a couch based on aesthetic, design, comfort, or durability, you'll want to establish these factors prior to shopping. After you've determined the key functions you're looking for, you'll want to seek out brands that offer those features and go from there. Do some research and become familiar with the brand's return and warranty policies and make sure you have a clear way to contact customer service in the case that any issues arise. Pay close attention to reviews, as they will quickly help you determine quality, comfort, and even if there are any major design flaws. Li suggests ordering swatches of any materials you're interested in as they are a great indicator of true color, quality, and durability. How do I choose the best sofa size and proportions for my space?In addition to taking accurate measurements, it's important to consider size, scale, and proportion when purchasing a new sofa. Wangman recommends that customers sketch out a floor plan of their space that includes the length and width of the room as well as the ceiling height. If you're not comfortable drawing a floor plan out by hand, she also recommends using free floor plan software programs such as SketchUp, SmartDraw, or Draft It.What does a good couch cost?Type of couchBudgetMid-pricedHigh-pricedCustom2-seater$500+$1,000+$2,000+$1,5000+3-seater$800+$1,500+$2,500+$3,000+4-seater$1,000+$2,000+$3,000+$3,500+Sectional$2,000$3,000+$4,000+$4,000+How can I afford a couch on a budget? Many brands currently offer financing through third-party partners such as Affirm, or through opening a store credit card. Many of these options include a 0% APR time period that can last anywhere from 12 to 18 months depending on the price of the items purchased. However, if you don't pay off the entire balance by the end of the 0% APR time period you'll be stuck paying off high amounts of interest. If you don't have a huge budget but are in need of a new sofa, you have a few options. First, consider shopping with more budget-friendly retailers such as Wayfair and Zinus. You can also wait for sales, which typically occur during the summertime and during major sale events like Black Friday. A great way to save money while shopping is to find out if any of the brands you're interested in have a retail outlet. "If you are willing to do a little research and possibly a minor repair here and there, you can score a quality sofa for 30% less than the MSRP by locating the retail outlets of some of your favorite manufacturers," said Li.Our experts recommend, if you can, spending more money initially to ensure you'll purchase a piece that will last you a long time versus having to constantly replace cheaper-made furniture every few years. Another tip is to buy modular furniture (Burrow is a popular option) that can be added on to and adjusted over time, allowing you to slowly expand your seating as your budget increases. You can also purchase a smaller sofa with a chaise, which will allow for additional seating space at a lower price.Should I purchase a pre-made or custom couch?When deciding whether to purchase a pre-made or custom couch, you should consider two main factors: budget and timeframe. While custom products allow you to choose the fabric, style, and even the legs, you'll also have to wait several weeks to months for the couch to arrive. Custom also typically comes at a higher price. While pre-made couches don't allow customers as much design flexibility, they are available in many designs and fabrics, typically have a lower price point, and offer faster shipping times. Overall, if you have time to wait and a higher budget, a custom couch can be a unique fixture in your home and better match the rest of your decor.Check out more furniture guidesArticle; Fully; IKEA; Union & Scale; Gilbert Espinoza/InsiderThe best futonsThe best bed framesThe best outdoor furnitureThe best desksThe best online interior design serviceRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 7th, 2021

The 5 best Android tablets of 2021

Android tablets don't get the love they deserve — here are our five favorite Android tablets tested in 2021. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.Lenovo; Samsung; Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider With Apple's iPad dominating the tablet market, there aren't many Android variants to choose from, but you can still find a few great options. We tested a bunch of Android tablets to find the best, and Samsung's Galaxy Tab S7 is the cream of the crop with its stunning screen, fast processor, and ability to serve as a laptop in a pinch. Android tablets never really caught on in the same way that Apple's iPad did, but that doesn't mean there aren't some good ones out there. In fact, our recommended Android tablets offer some unique traits that set them apart from the iPad.We've tested about a dozen Android tablets over the years, and some have really impressed us with their solid performance, unique features, or low price tags.Whether you're looking for a cheap tablet, a sturdy kids tablet, or the best of the best in Android tablets, there's a tablet for those looking for an alternative to the iPad.Here are the best Android tablets:Best Android tablet overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 seriesBest cheap Android tablet: Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021)Best Android tablet for entertainment: Lenovo Tab P11 ProBest for young kids:  Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition (2021)Best for reading: Onyx Boox Note AirBest Android tablet overallSamsungThe Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 series comes at a high price, but it gives and gives. From the top-notch display to the powerful internals and thoughtful integration of the S-Pen, there's not a lot a tablet can do that this one can't.OS: Android 10Display: Tab S7: 2,560 x 1,500 11-inch TFT LCD display, 500-nit, 120Hz / Tab S7 Plus: 2,800 x 1,752 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display, 120HzChipset: Snapdragon 865+ Octa-coreMemory: 6GB/8GB Storage: 128/256/512GB Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, 5G (optional)Dimensions (Tab S7): 9.99 x 6.51 x 0.25 inches / Tab S7 Plus: 11.22 x 7.28 x 0.22 inchesWeight (Tab S7): 1.1 pounds / Tab S7 Plus: 1.27 poundsPros: Stunning display, excellent stylus integration, high performance, capable laptop mode, powerful speakersCons: Expensive, 5G costs extra, cameras fall short of phonesThe Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 series doesn't leave us wanting for much. It delivers excellent performance from its Snapdragon 865+ chipset with 6GB or 8GB (depending on the storage selected), giving it enough might to handle everything from casual use to the higher demands it'll face as a laptop substitute.Those powerful internals are packed inside an elegantly designed frame and back a truly stunning display. Samsung hasn't held back with the 12.4-inch Super AMOLED panel, which hits a high peak brightness for easy visibility and extra punchy HDR visuals. The smaller 11-inch model has an LCD screen that's technically inferior to AMOLED screens, but it sure doesn't act inferior — everything looks beautiful on the smaller S7's LCD panel, too. Both models  also feature a 120Hz refresh rate, letting animations and scrolling appear incredibly smooth. Pair that quality screen with the four speakers and the Galaxy Tab S7 series works great for entertainment, whether that's streaming or even cloud gaming (something the Wi-Fi 6 support can help with).The integration of the S-Pen is also exceptional. We detect almost no input latency for the stylus whether we're scribbling notes in Samsung's first-party apps or running third-party apps like Google Keep or Autodesk Sketchbook. The stylus also magnetically snaps to the tablet and charges there. Pretty much the only letdown of the tablet is the cameras, which don't quite hold up to the high bar set by Samsung's phones. Of course, it wouldn't hurt if it were a little easier to afford.Read the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 review here. Also note that Samsung has recently released the Galaxy Tab S7 FE — a cheaper version of the Galaxy Tab S7. We haven't checked it out yet, but it may be worth a look if you're looking for a big screen without spending over $600.$529.00 FROM AMAZONOriginally $729.99 | Save 28%$529.99 FROM BEST BUYOriginally $729.99 | Save 27%$729.99 FROM SAMSUNGBest cheap Android tabletAmazonAmazon's Fire HD 10 (2021) provides a large, sharp display on a budget. It'll give you room to enjoy media or browse the web without charging you for a bunch of extra features you might never use.OS: Fire OSDisplay: 1,920 x 1,200 10.1-inch IPS displayChipset: Octa-coreMemory: 3GBStorage: 32/64GB Connectivity: Wi-Fi 5Dimensions: 9.72 x 6.54 x 0.36 inchesWeight: 1.03 poundsPros: Bright and clear display, fairly smooth operation, comparatively inexpensiveCons: Underwhelming design, custom OS, weak cameras, no access to Google or Android appsThe Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) is a trusty and simple tablet for just $150. For the price, you're effectively getting a capable screen for solo entertainment and web browsing. The Fire HD 10 packs in a 10.1-inch IPS panel with a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. It's not incredibly sharp compared to some of the competition, with some noticeable softness on fine details, but that shortcoming isn't distracting and we really only notice it when actively looking for it.The display gets plenty bright to see what we're doing, and it can also get surprisingly dim for comfortable use in the dark. Though the display may be big enough for shared viewing, the viewing angles are a bit weak for an IPS panel. We find the perceived brightness drops considerably when viewing at an off angle from the center. But, for solo use, it's more than adequate, and the stereo speakers can pump out some decent volume while remaining clear.With 3GB of RAM and an octa-core processor, the tablet runs fairly smooth. There are occasional, minor stutters, but nothing that totally disrupted our use in testing. Even browsing the web and loading up lots of videos and GIFs didn't cause major issues while using Amazon's built-in Silk browser. The main compromise with Amazon's inexpensive tablets is the fact that they don't run Google or Android apps. You have Amazon's app store instead, which is fairly comprehensive, but not suitable for everyone. You can check out Amazon's app store before buying a Fire HD tablet to make sure it has the apps you want. If it doesn't, you'll regret buying this tablet.$99.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $149.99 | Save 33%Best Android tablet for streaming and watching videoLenovoThe Lenovo Tab P11 Pro isn't quite as polished or powerful as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, but it's display is a close match and comes at a much lower price.OS: Android 10Display: 2,560 x 1,600 11.5-inch OLED display, 500-nitChipset: Snapdragon 730G Octa-coreMemory: 4GB/6GB Storage: 128GB (expandable via microSD) Connectivity: Wi-Fi 5Dimensions: 10.41 x 6.75 x 0.27 inchesWeight: 1.07 poundsPros: Modest price, excellent display, powerful speakers, elegant designCons: Stylus input lag, doesn't keep up with SamsungThe Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is a stunner. At $449, it feels like getting the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus at a huge discount. In fact, the design of the Tab P11 Pro is every bit as impressive and elegant as Samsung's. Under the hood, it's a bit simpler with a Snapdragon 730G chipset and less memory, so it won't keep up when pushed to the limit. But, in everyday use, it performs quite well for browsing, apps, and games.The real star of the show on the Tab P11 Pro is the entertainment package, though. This tablet squeezes in an 11.5-inch OLED display that holds up quite well in a side-by-side comparison with the panel on the Tab S7 Plus. It hits 500 nits and has all the inky blackness of an OLED display, so it makes for some gorgeous HDR content on the go, and it's quite sharp at 2,560 x 1,600. Lenovo also built in quad speakers, which pump out some quality audio that can hold up even in noisy environments. The Tab P11 Pro isn't quite as impressive when it comes to the work experience, as the keyboard cover and stylus integration are simply not up to the same level of polish as Samsung's. The stylus also has significant input delay when used with third-party apps, and it has no physical integration with the case or tablet. That's why we see this as a better entertainment option, as it holds a candle to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus while costing almost half as much.$449.99 FROM LENOVOBest Android tablet for kidsAmazonThe Fire HD 10 Kids Edition (2021) packs the normal model into a very protective case to keep it safe even in a child's rough-and-tumble life, plus it brings a few extra features for kids and a warranty for peace of mind.OS: Fire OSDisplay: 1,920 x 1,200 10.1-inch IPS displayChipset: Octa-coreMemory: 3GBStorage: 32/64GB Connectivity: Wi-Fi 5Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.2 x 1.1 inchesWeight: 1.58 poundsPros: Ready for growing kids, easy-to-see display, protective case, built-in handle/stand, special warrantyCons: Added cost, case affects speakers, extra setup to prepare for children Amazon makes its best tablets in kid-friendly versions, and the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition (2021) is the latest and greatest. You can pretty much take everything we liked about the standard Fire HD 10 tablet and apply that to this one. Inside a thick case, it's actually the same tablet. You'll still find an octa-core processor with 3GB of RAM that's more than ready to keep up with any activities your young child is likely to get up to on the tablet.The case adds some extra bulk and weight to the tablet, but it offers serious protection. It's very thick and very soft, letting it absorb a lot of shock. Accidental drops shouldn't be much of a worry, and it may hold up against the occasional toss. We tossed our test unit a few feet and the tablet simply shrugged it off. The case also provides a useful handle to help your kid keep a hold on the tablet, and the handle doubles as a stand for hands-free viewing. The case unfortunately distorts the audio at high volumes, so it's better for quiet environments. For older kids that might not need such a thick case, Amazon also offers a Fire HD 10 Pro Kids tablet.Amazon supports parental controls on the tablet, though you'll have to set those up yourself when getting the tablet ready for your child. Though this tablet costs $50 more than the standard (non-kid) model, Amazon includes a one-year subscription Amazon Kids+ to provide access to a ton of kid-friendly books, apps, and games. Plus, there's a two-year "worry-free guarantee" that Amazon will replace the tablet if your kid manages to break it. And, if they grow out of needing the case, you can simply remove itFor kids, the lack of Google and Android apps isn't as big a deal as it is for adults. Amazon has a surprisingly comprehensive kids apps and games selection, and they won't miss — or notice — the missing Google or Android apps. Check out other kids' tablets we've tried and loved here. $139.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $199.99 | Save 30%Best Android tablet for readingMark Knapp/InsiderThe Onyx Boox Note Air is a unique Android tablet that opts for an incredibly eye-friendly E Ink display. It may not be as versatile due to its lack of color and low refresh rate, but it's exceptional for reading, note-taking, and battery life.OS: Android 10Display: 10.3 inch E Ink: 1,872 x 1,404 Carta HD; Wacom digitizerChipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 8-core 1.8GHzMemory: 3GB LPDDR4XStorage: 32GB eMMCConnectivity: Wi-Fi 5Dimensions: 9.03 x 7.69 x 0.23 inchesWeight: 0.93 poundsPros: Long battery life, Google Play access, sharp E Ink display, effective stylus, easy viewing in any conditionsCons: No color, limited performance, atypical Android experience, expensiveThe best tablet overall for reading is Amazon's lineup of Kindle tablets. But when it comes to Android tablets that are great for reading, the Onyx Boox Note Air is definitively the best. If you've ever held an e-reader and thought, "I wish this was an Android tablet," that's what you get with the Onyx Boox Note Air. This is a specialty device, and comes with the price of a specialty device. It's expensive for an e-reader and expensive for an Android tablet, but perhaps will seem more reasonably priced when considering that it's both at the same time. The Onyx Boox Note Air comes running a heavily customized version of Android 10, but it has a modest Snapdragon 636 octa-core chip and 3GB of RAM as well as access to the Google Play store. It's default apps are great for reading all sorts of eBooks, documents, and PDFs as well as for taking notes on them with the included, pressure-sensitive stylus. But, you can load up other apps, like Google Docs, to create your own content.  The E Ink display is sharp and easy to see even in bright sunlight while simply sipping on the battery just like a typical e-reader. Plus, there's adjustable edge-lighting available in two color temperatures for comfortable viewing in darker rooms. The display may not be great for video, but it actually supports a few different refresh modes, including a faster one that will let you view video in a pinch. It's really impressive how much you can do by pairing a great E Ink display with Android.Read our review for the Onyx Boox Note Air here. Also note there's a new model that was recently released called the Onyx Boox Note Air 2, which we haven't yet reviewed.$439.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $499.99 | Save 12%Android tablet FAQsWhat is the difference between Android tablets and iPads?The biggest difference between Android tablets and iPads is the operating system: Android tablets run on Android, and iPads run on Apple's iPadOS. It's mostly the same difference between Android phones and iPhones. Apps are generally slightly better optimized for iPads, but Android versions work just fine. iPads also work with the Apple ecosystem well, which means you can get phone calls and texts from your iPhone right to your iPad.Another benefit of Android tablets is the choice and variety of tablets with different features and price tags. iPads are also available with different features and price tags, but to a lesser degree. Is it worth it to buy an Android tablet?Apple's iPads are the ideal tablet of choice for both Apple and even Android users — iPads complement other Apple devices, and they're a good option for Android users to benefit from the Apple ecosystem. Still, Android tablets can be worth it if Apple's iPads don't offer what you want in a tablet. For example, Lenovo's Tab P11 Pro costs about the same as Apple's 10.2-inch iPad, and it comes with a better screen for watching videos and streaming than the iPad. Or take Amazon's Fire HD line of tablets, which offer value that iPads can't begin to think to compete with. And Samsung's tablets work well within Samsung's ecosystem.How long should an Android tablet last?Android tablets can last as long as you'll let them — something decided by how well you take care of them. However, they also last as long as their manufacturer supports them with security and feature updates.How long a tablet is supported varies by brand. Amazon says its Fire tablets are supported for at least four years, and that they'll even "strive to provide software security updates for as long as we can." Samsung also says it supports its tablet up to four years.Check out our guide to the best tabletsHollis Johnson/Business InsiderThe best tabletsTablets are ideal for kids, travelers, and professionals — it just depends on which one you buy.We've picked the best tablets you can buy in several different categories, including ones that are best for kids, professionals, and travelers. We've tested all but one of these tablets personally, so you can trust our recommendations. If you need more guidance before you choose, read the last slide for everything you should know about buying a tablet.The best iPadsThe iPad is the best tablet for most people's needs, so we've broken down which iPad is best for each person's budget and needs. Whether you want a small tablet that's portable, one that doubles as a laptop, or something a bit cheaper, there's an iPad for you.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 7th, 2021

An astronomer at Japan"s space agency is making simple animations that reveal the surprising physics of the solar system

As a scientist at both NASA and JAXA, James O'Donoghue has studied the planets. In his free time, he makes award-winning animations of them. An artist's concept of our solar system showing a sense of scale and distance. NASA Astronomer James O'Donoghue works at Japan's space agency and makes animations in his free time. His simple, short, award-winning videos illustrate the physics of our solar system. O'Donoghue's best animations show how the planets spin, where the solar system's true center lies, and how slow light speed can be. James O'Donoghue went viral for the first time in December 2018.He was a planetary scientist for NASA at the time, but the federal government had temporarily shut down due to budget disputes in Congress. He'd been told not to work or even check his email. So with extra time on his hands, he took to Photoshop.O'Donoghue and his NASA colleagues had just measured the material raining onto Saturn from its rings, and found that the rings will slowly fall away over 100 million years. He realized that people would probably wonder what that will look like.So a few days before their study's publication, O'Donoghue slapped an expanding black circle onto an image of Saturn and faded most of its rings away. The New York Times featured his animation with the news of the study. O'Donoghue's impression of how Saturn may look in the next 100 million years. The innermost rings disappear as they rain onto the planet. NASA/Cassini/James O'Donoghue Then, as he continued to roam the Internet while waiting for government work to resume, O'Donoghue realized that he couldn't find any videos comparing each planet's spin side by side. So he made one.He pulled together images of all the planets, tilted them to the correct degree, and made them spin at their real-life speeds. He threw numbers next to them for good measure.The video took off."It was viewed by 1.6 million [people] in a couple of days. As someone with 450 followers, I thought that was a bit ridiculous," O'Donoghue told Insider.But he realized that it had taken about 16 hours to make the video, which means he'd reached roughly 100,000 people for each hour of work."I thought, 'This is actually kind of efficient' - an efficient way of doing outreach to people," he said. "If you're from a rural area like myself, that's kind of important. I didn't have any exposure to any scientists where I'm from. You'd have to go very far away to reach one."O'Donoghue grew up in the English town of Shrewsbury, then later among the hills and farms of Newton, Wales. He'd never thought of astronomy as a career option until he left for university. Since the planets video, O'Donoghue has almost always had another idea for an animation bouncing around in his head. He has now created more than 80 such animations for his Youtube channel.The effort earned him the Europlanet Society's Prize for Public Engagement last month. James O’Donoghue at NASA. James O’Donoghue "Among the talented and motivated science communication projects nominated this year, James O'Donoghue's brilliant animations stood out," Dr. Federica Duras, who chaired the award jury, said in a press release. "In their simplicity they are a masterclass in outreach and communication, and the fact that they do not rely on language and translation means that they are perfectly inclusive, easily adaptable and usable all over the world.""A lot of this is just play," O'Donoghue, who now works at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), told Insider. "I kind of just go where I enjoy with it."Here are some of his best videos.After his early successes, O'Donoghue pivoted to illustrating the speed of lightThis series of videos shows a particle of light (a photon) traveling across different distances in space. It zips around Earth faster than you can blink, and ping-pongs between Earth and the moon every 1.255 seconds.But the distance between planets is so large that it takes a photon several minutes to cross. That's why space agencies like NASA will always have a delay in communicating with rovers on Mars - even if they develop the ability to send messages at light speed.Another video shows how the moon has retreated over 4.5 billion yearsAbout 4.5 billion years ago, a Mars-sized object (or perhaps a series of many smaller objects) crashed into Earth, sending bits of our planet's crust into space. They fell into Earth's orbit and eventually coalesced, forming our moon. That newborn moon - a ball of molten rock with a magma ocean - was nearly 16 times closer to Earth than it is today.As it cooled, the moon backed away, retreating thousands of miles.O'Donoghue's sequence starts with the moon's current position and follows it back in time to its birth, tracking its distance from Earth, apparent size relative to our planet, and the speed of its movement.Some videos debunk myths, like the dark side of the moonAlthough there is a side of the moon that we never see from Earth, it's not dark all the time."Remember not to say 'dark side of the moon' when referring to the 'far side of the moon,'" O'Donoghue said on Twitter. "This graphic shows the dark side is always in motion."The video shows how sunlight falls across the moon as it orbits Earth. In one orbit of about 29.5 days, all sides of the moon get bathed in sunlight at some point.Others demonstrate shocking facts of physics - like the true center of the solar systemHint: It's not really the sun."Instead, everything orbits the solar system center of mass," O'Donoghue explained on Twitter. "Even the sun."That center of mass, called the barycenter, is the point of an object at which it can be balanced perfectly, with all its mass distributed evenly on all sides. In our solar system, that point rarely lines up with the center of the sun.His animation shows how the sun, Saturn, and Jupiter play tug-of-war around the barycenter, pulling our star in looping mini-orbits.Earth and the moon have their own barycenter, tooThat point is about 3,000 miles from our planet's center, just below its surface.By the way, Earth has two types of dayThe sidereal day happens each time Earth completes a 360-degree rotation. That takes 23 hours and 56 minutes.But because Earth is constantly moving along its orbit around the sun, a different point on the planet faces the sun directly at the end of that 360-degree spin. For the sun to reach the exact same position in the sky, Earth has to rotate 1 degree further, which takes another four minutes to make a 24-hour spin.The solar day - the one humans count in the calendar - happens when Earth spins that extra degree, and the sun is at the same point in the sky as it was 24 hours ago.Because we go by solar days in our calendars, we count 365 days in a year. But Earth actually completes a full rotation (a sidereal day) 366 times per year.A more recent video shows how fast (or slow) a ball would drop on each planetFor this video, O'Donoghue collaborated with Rami Mandow, who founded the website Space Australia.The speed of the ball's fall depends on the planet's mass - a more massive planet has a stronger gravitational force - and its density. The closer the ball is to a planet's center of mass, the stronger the gravitational force."I really like how this one came out," O'Donoghue said.Many of his animations compare the planetsThis animation also shows how fast each planet spins and how much they're tilted on their axes.He's also compared planets by putting them all on one globeThis video shows how quickly the planets spin relative to one another. Jupiter, for example, rotates 2.4 times faster than Earth.His adaptation of a NASA animation shows the oceans draining awayThis remake of a 2008 NASA video shows what it would look like if Earth's water drained away, revealing the hidden three-fifths of the planet's surface."This animation reveals that the ocean floor is just as variable and interesting in its geology as the continents," O'Donoghue said.O'Donoghue even circled back to his main research subject: SaturnIt may not be obvious in photos, but the ice and rock chunks that make up Saturn's rings circle at rates nearly 70 times the speed of sound. But each ring moves at its own specific pace. The animation above shows how it all moves."In a way, the ring system is like a mini solar system," O'Donoghue said. "Objects close to Saturn orbit faster, otherwise they would fall in, while objects far away can afford to go slower. This is the same for planets."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 24th, 2021

Rockets struck the US Embassy compound in Baghdad, according to reports

Nasser Nasser/AP Three rockets reportedly struck the American embassy in Baghdad on Sunday, with one hitting a dining facility in the diplomatic compound, according to CNN. A lawmaker on the House Foreign Affairs Committee wrote online to c.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 26th, 2020

Activist video purports to show moment of US raid on al-Baghdadi ISIS compound. Photos show the wreckage left in its wake.

Muhammed Abdullah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Graphic photos and videos show widespread wreckage in the same region of Syr.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 27th, 2019

44 sentimental gifts that"ll make anyone feel loved, from a zodiac necklace to a custom painting

Unique mementos are a way to show someone they're valued and loved. Here are 44 of the best sentimental gifts to make them feel extra special. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Birthdate co. For those feeling extra softhearted this year, we put together a list of sentimental gift ideas. From personalized gifts to meaningful flowers, you're sure to find inspiration for anyone. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. If you always give generic gifts, select something off a wishlist, or just send a gift card, you're not alone. It can be difficult to think beyond the practical to pick items that will delight and surprise your recipient. Whether you're on the search for a sweet long-distance gift or looking to truly impress your loved ones, you'll want to choose gifts that are custom, unique, and thoughtful. You can convey just how much you care by referencing fun memories, inside jokes, and hidden interests.We've compiled 44 sentimental gifts, which include a flower subscription, a personalized photo book, and custom socks. Each of these heartfelt gifts are sure to make your giftee feel special and remind them of loving memories and events. If you're looking for more gift ideas, be sure to check out all of our gift guides here.Below are 44 sentimental gift ideas:A book holder for their nightstandCOLwoodCraft/Etsy ColWood Night Stand Book Holder, available at Etsy, $27Your book lover can get rid of their paper bookmark and replace it with this wooden book holder. They can place their book on the stand and pick up where they left off later. You can choose from six different wood color options.A cartoon book illustrating you and your giftee's relationshipLoveBookPersonalized Birthday LoveBook, $54.95LoveBook has customizable cartoon books for you to create your own nonfiction story of you and your giftee. Whether it's a birthday gift for a friend or an anniversary gift for your significant other, LoveBook offers over 10 occasions for you to choose from. A personalized gift boxGreetablPersonalized Gift Box, available at Greetabl, from $19Let them know you're thinking of them with a cute custom gift box from Greetabl. Choose to a mini gift like caramels or chocolates, a gift card, and add a note and photos to be delivered to their door. A monogrammed vegan leather passport coverMark and GrahamFillmore Vegan Leather Passport Case, available at Mark and Graham, $39 ($12.50 monogram fee)For the giftee who loves to travel, a passport cover is a great gift. You can have their initials monogrammed onto the cover to add a thoughtful and special touch to the gift. A name bracelet with handwritten letteringEtsyHandwriting Bracelet, available at Etsy, $27.75A custom piece of jewelry is already a thoughtful gift but this handwritten bracelet from Etsy goes the extra mile. Surprise your gift recipient with a gold, sterling silver, or rose gold bracelet with words on it written in yours or a loved-ones' handwriting. A family cookbook to pass downUncommon GoodsMy Family Cookbook, available at Uncommon Goods, $30The My Family Cookbook is a sweet gift that will keep on giving. After having various family members add recipes, the book can become an heirloom gift that gets passed down to generations. A mug with handwritten wordsLittle Gem Girl/EtsyLoved Ones Handwriting Coffee Mug, available at Etsy, $23.49A mug with a meaningful message is a tender gift for people who may have lost a loved one or who live far away. You can customize this mug with any words you want, printed in your handwriting or someone else's.A floral paint-by-numbers kitUncommon GoodsBirth Month Flower Paint-by-Number Kit, available at Uncommon Goods, $30Inspired by the birth month of your gift recipient, this paint-by-numbers kit is a gift and a fun activity rolled into the one. The kit lets them create a painting of the flowers for their respective birth month, along with an explanation of the characteristics of each month and flower. For example, October is a marigold that represents optimism and positive energy.A monogrammed notebookPapierScallop Spine Notebook, available at Papier, $24.29Whether they love making lists or jotting down new ideas, every writer needs a durable, trusted notebook to store their notes and stories. These unique notebooks can be customized with a monogram and lined, dotted, or plain pages. The notebooks come in solid colors and several fun designs, including the brands The Pahari, Constellation, and Colourblock styles.A fresh flower subscriptionFresh SendsThe Send Bouquet, available at Fresh Sends, from $60Instead of gifting flowers solely during holidays and special occasions, send them beautiful arrangements on a more consistent basis with a subscription from Fresh Sends. Choose from three delivery frequencies and two size options for a unique bouquet every time.A calendar full of cherished personal photosArtifact UprisingPersonalized Walnut Desktop Photo Calendar, available at Artifact Uprising, from $35Photos of loved ones are an instant source of joy. Structuring your daily life around them with a calendar is a great way to fill each day with more gratitude and happiness. Artifact Uprising's desktop calendar is sustainably made from reclaimed wood and fully customizable. You can also choose the calendar's starting month, so you don't have to wait for a new year to create one.A book for your favorite astrology loverBirthdate Co.The Birthdate Book, available at Birthdate Co., $95If they know their sun, moon, and rising sign, this made-to-order astrology book will make the perfect gift. Provide their birthday and time of birth, and the company will create a 70-page book with information and insights customized from their birth chart.One Insider Reviews writer said the book felt extremely personalized, and no two books are the same.A cube of conversation-starting prompt cardsUncommon GoodsTable Topics cards, available at Uncommon Goods, $25Never experience another boring dinner again with these cards from Table Topics. Each cube comes with 135 thought-provoking topic cards to help keep your meals and relationships interesting.With six themed options ranging from card sets for families, couples, and friends, you'll give them the chance to get to know everyone in their life a little better.A customized puzzleEtsyCustomizable photo puzzle, available at Etsy, $34.99Help them stay entertained by gifting them a customized puzzle of their favorite picture. This puzzle also comes with a customized box, making this gift even more special. Choose from any image to commemorate a special event, remember a great vacation, or show love to their favorite pet.A video montage of and from their loved onesMontageA video montage of their loved ones, available at Montage, from $29Ask their friends and family to record and upload videos to be automatically compiled, scored, and delivered for a thoughtful present that's sure to bring on happy tears.An astrology necklaceMejuriA necklace with their zodiac symbol, available at Mejuri, from $90If they're into astrology, get them their zodiac sign in gold. Mejuri offers all signs in its Zodiac Collection in gold vermeil, sterling silver, and 14k yellow gold.A set of socks with their pet's face printed on themTribe SocksCustom Socks with Your Pet's Face, available at Tribe Socks, $24For dog- or cat-lovers, a pair of custom socks with their pet printed on them is a lighthearted but thoughtful gift. For more inspiration for pet-themed gifts, take a look at our guide to the best gifts for dog owners.A custom night sky star map to commemorate a birth, anniversary, or any other dayStarry MapsCustom star map print, available at Starry Maps, from $55Commemorate any special night of their (or your) life by getting it printed on museum-quality 200gsm Matte paper or on canvas.An e-gift card to GoldbellyGoldbellyAn e-gift card, available at Goldbelly, from $25Whether you spend most of your time together trying out different recipes — or they're often treating you to a delicious meal — you may want to turn your gift into a thoughtful, shared experience. Wherever they are in this big old world, they can call in any comforting favorite they please from Goldbelly.A bottle of bourbon as unique as they areReservebarJefferson's Ocean: Aged At Sea Bourbon, available at Reservebar, $79If they're bourbon drinkers, nautical lovers, or both, they might just cherish this forever.An Airbnb gift cardYou could take a coffee masterclass with a national judge in Mexico via Airbnb Online Experiences.AirbnbAn Airbnb Gift Card toward the experience of their dreams, available at Airbnb, from $50Travel might not be an option right now, but Airbnb is currently offering Online Experiences held by instructors from around the world. Treat them to a coffee master class, history lesson, or even a dance class. And in the meantime, they can daydream about their next far-flung adventure or cozy staycation. A custom map posterGrafomapCustom map poster, available at Grafomap, from $49Grafomap is a website that lets you design posters with maps of any place in the world — including their hometown, college town, or favorite travel destination. A personalized photo bookSnapfish/Business InsiderPersonalized Snapfish photo book, available at Snapfish, from $12.99Convert their pile of photos and favorite mementos into one glossy book they can showcase around the home for a cohesive, beautiful keepsake. Expertly framed memoriesFramebridgeFramed photo, available at Framebridge, from $25Framebridge gift card, available at Framebridge, from $25Framebridge makes custom framing for not-custom-framing prices. You can print or paint something on your own and have it framed, or have them print and frame it. You can take advantage of a team of designers to help decide what frame to get.An engraved timepieceUncommon GoodsPersonalized watch, available at Timex, from $75If you're looking for subtle and impactful, engraving a watch is a classic for a reason. They can keep it forever, wear it every day, and know how much personal significance it has without always answering questions from onlookers. It's functional, thoughtful, and timeless.A custom-made comic book telling your shared storyEtsyCustom comic book, available at Etsy, from $549.92If you have the means, few comic book nerds would turn down owning a detailed, beautifully designed comic book featuring them as the lead character or superhero or a comic book version of the story of how they met their partner.Purchase the comic, email the makers telling them the story, and send photos of the characters and event setting to make sure everything looks right. You'll see a rough draft, send back any edits you have, and they'll complete the final copy. Opt for a digital print (emailed) or get it sent to you as a canvas print.A personalized letter necklaceAUrateMini Letter Charm Pendant with White Diamonds, available at AUrate, $560AUrate offers engravings and personalized jewelry, like this necklace with a mini letter charm. Pick a letter and select from 14-karat or 18-karat white, yellow, or rose gold. Learn more about online startups making sustainable, relatively affordable fine jewelry here.A framed quoteMintedPersonalized custom quotes, available at Minted, from $38Frame one of their favorite quotes, lyrics, or sayings and customize everything from font color to matting to make it theirs.A family portrait that includes petsHappyMomentsArts/Etsy/Business InsiderCustom family portrait, available at Etsy, from $15A perfect gift for a couple or a family, you can get a digital download of a custom family portrait that includes their furry roommates.A custom pet portraitCanvasPopCustom pet portrait, available at CanvasPop, from $89If they love their pet more than pretty much anything in the world, a Pet Portrait immortalizing them is a uniquely thoughtful gesture — and decor they're unlikely to have already. You can also get them a custom painting (from $250) if that's more their style or a framed print (from $35.55) of them with their pet.A cute set of mugsUncommon GoodsPersonalized family mugs, available at Uncommon Goods, from $30Turn your family or friends or a newly engaged couple into characters that actually look like them. One side features the artists' depiction of them (personalized through your choices of skin tone, hair, and clothing color) and the mug owner's first name, while the other displays your family name and year established — for friends, this could be the year you met. Turn meaningful audio into artEtsySoundwave art print, available at Etsy, from $70Send in a song and artist or email an audio file of you or a loved one speaking, and this Etsy shop will turn it into personalized sound-wave art. This gift is particularly thoughtful for long-distance relationships or for commemorating a loved one.Long-distance touch lampsUncommon GoodsSet of two Filimin Long-Distance Touch Lamps, available at Uncommon Goods, from $99Everyone is busy these days, and it's not as easy to keep up with loved ones as we all wish. A set of paired lamps, one of which lights up when the other is touched, lets them know you're still thinking of them even when you don't have time to talk. One Insider Reviews editor uses them to keep in touch with her parents.Brightly embroidered pillows of their favorite stateUncommon GoodsHand Embroidered State Pillows, available at Uncommon Goods, $225Bring their favorite state to them with detailed and brightly embroidered pillows that pay homage to each state's cities and cultural touchpoints. A photo print of an important life momentUncommon GoodsIntersection of Love Frame, available at Uncommon Goods, from $75Commemorate the moment their paths first crossed in a sophisticated, unique design.Personalized wine labelsTopBananaPrints/Etsy/Business InsiderCustom wine labels, available at Etsy, from $4.48Celebrate a loved one's birthday, achievements, or new life stages such as a marriage with a bottle of wine and a thoughtful, personalized label they'll want to keep. The blueprint of a beloved ski resortUncommon GoodsSki resort blueprints, available at Uncommon Goods, from $75Whether they grew up on the slopes or drag friends and family along as adults, skiers can take their favorite slopes home with them with this blueprint-inspired art. Featuring iconic ski resorts such as Park City, Vail, and Breckenridge, each officially licensed print is created with a vintage, distressed finish and contains detailed historical and statistical facts about the area.A bound book of love letters, curated from A-ZUncommon GoodsHow Do I Love Thee From A-Z, available at Uncommon Goods, $20Follow 26 prompts laid out in old-school typewriter font to leave your loved one with a bound book of love letters they can keep forever. It's the perfect spot for recording your favorite romantic moments, memories, inside jokes, and all the tiny and enormous reasons why you love them. A poster of you and a loved one styled as your favorite drinksoflifeandlemons/Etsy/Business InsiderPersonalized drinks print, available at Etsy, $23.27Whether you're turning a best friend or a lifelong partner into a cocktail avatar, the quirky Personalized Drinks Print is a sweet and fun approach to sentimental gifting. A portable printerTargetPolaroid Hi-Print Printer, available at Target, $99.99Polaroid's Wireless Mini Printer prints mini photos from your phone or tablet using a WiFi connection. It's small enough to stow in a purse for travel, and there are customizable features like stickers, filters, and borders to edit photos within the Polaroid app. A reel viewer filled with snapshots of old memoriesUncommon Goods/Business InsiderCreate your own reel viewer, available at Uncommon Goods, from $14.95As a kid, flipping through a reel viewer was one of life's greatest joys. Just because they're all grown up doesn't mean they won't like playing with the gadget. Fill the reel with snapshots of their most cherished memories (use the redemption code included with your viewer) for a gift that'll flood them with all sorts of nostalgia.A custom watercolor of their wedding venueJustArtinAround/EtsyCustom watercolor wedding venue illustration, available at Etsy, from $35.99For a deeply thoughtful gift for newlyweds, commission a custom watercolor of their wedding venue or location. All you'll have to do is send the artist a photo of the location, the couple's first and last names, and the wedding date. A candle that smells like homeUncommon GoodsHomesick Candles, available at Uncommon Goods, from $34It's hard to put a finger on just what makes home smell like home, but a whiff of a Homesick candle will transport them there with its nostalgia-inducing scents. Uniquely specific scents are made to capture the ethos of states and cities or memories like road trips, backyard BBQs, and cooking in Grandma's kitchen.If they're far from home, this affordable candle is a small but meaningful gesture that can bring them just a little closer. A cutting board that memorializes a meaningful recipeUncommon GoodsFamily Recipe Cutting Board, available at Uncommon Goods, $100There's something about family recipes that make them taste even better. This cutting board offers a unique way to preserve those special favorites. Ingredients and directions are engraved on solid cherry wood and can even be etched in the recipe writer's handwriting. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 21st, 2022

69 gifts under $50 perfect for any occasion or holiday

We found great gift ideas under $50 that prove you don't have to spend a fortune to get just the right gift for any occasion. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Hollis Johnson/Crystal Cox/Alyssa Powell/Business Insider You don't need to spend a fortune to find a thoughtful gift they'll love.  We found 69 of the best gifts under $50 to suit the interests and tastes of everyone on your list. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. With best friends' birthdays, anniversaries with your significant other (or Valentine's Day), celebratory moments with coworkers, or even just to tell a loved one you're thinking about them,  it's easy for your gifting list to fill up quickly. But you don't have to spend a fortune to get everyone on your list a gift that feels made for them. There are plenty of great gift ideas under $50 to be found if you know where to look.We've done the hard work for you and sifted through hundreds of options to find affordable gifts to suit a wide range of tastes and interests.Our picks for the best gifts under $50 still feel unique and personal. And whether these gifts are complements to a bigger present or are the star of the show, we know your recipient will love them.Keep reading for 69 gifts under $50 that work for anyone on your list.This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Under Armour. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*A bluetooth microphone to make events more funAmazonBonaok Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone, available at Amazon, $30.99This Bluetooth karaoke microphone is the perfect accessory to gift the one who's the life of the party. They can sing along to their favorite songs with this gift that offers premium sound and noise reduction. A cozy knit beanieAsosStormlock Rip Knit Cap, available at Jack Wolfskin, $29.95Cold-weather accessories make a great gift for anyone braving the cold this winter and the Jack Wolfskin's Stormlock Rip Knit Cap is exactly what they need. Built of a blend of wool and acrylic, this beanie also features Stormlock fleece which just about guarantees a warm noggin. It's even available in two different colors to match a variety of outfits.  A set of spa-worthy shower bombsAmazonEuka Wellness Shower Bombs 6-Pack, available at Amazon, $18No bathtub? No problem. With these shower bombs, anyone can transform their bathroom into a makeshift spa, and they don't even need a bathtub to do it. These come in a variety of options including Calm, Detox, Breathe, and Happy (and come 6 in a pack). A sampler box of wineVineboxBe Mine... Wine, available at Vinebox, $45Who doesn't love a sample pack of wine? With the Be Mine... Wine box from Vinebox, you can gift the special person in your life a selection of wine that'll tickle their tastebuds. The box includes three different tubes of wine, two reds and one white, each from a vineyard in Europe. A tracker for lost itemsAppleAirTag, available at Apple, from $29Whether you lose track of your keys or a bag, Apple's AirTag is a sure way to find any lost item. This water-resistant tracker plays a sound or uses its precise distance findings to lead you straight to the item regardless of the distance on the Find My app.An at-home tie dye kitNordstromRit x Thompson Street Studio Dye at Home Upcycling Kit, available at Nordstrom, $11.4oInstead of buying something new, this dye kit can refurbish old clothes from your wardrobe with playful prints. The Dye-at-home kit includes power dyes rubber bands gloves, and an instruction booklet to begin making your closet more sustainable.A pair of stylish wearable weightsBandierBala Bangles, available at Amazon, from $49Incorporate fitness into your daily life with these wearable weights that fit on your wrist or ankles. At one to two pounds, these stylish weights intensify any movement and build strength whether it's a workout or running errands.A hatch decanter to sophisticatedly store alcoholCrate & BarrelHatch Decanter, available at Crate & Barrel, $44.95If their barware collection bares a sophisticated flair, they'll appreciate this elegant hatch decanter. This 32oz decanter is a more affordable price than others thanks to its beautiful molded diamond pattern that resembles cut crystal.A spice and herb kit packed with international flavorsUncommon GoodsGourmet Oil Dipping Spice Kit, available at Uncommon Goods, $42Whether it's a dash of Italian oregano or za'atar from the Middle East, any cook will appreciate this international spice kit that lets them cook with various tastes of the world. A skincare set for combination and oily skin typesSephoraClinique Great Skin, Great Deal Set, available at Sephora, $32.50This Clinique set for combination and oily skin types is a great addition to any skincare routine. This three-step regimen includes a facial soap, an exfoliating lotion, and a moisturizing gel make this three-step routine an easy and quick way for a fresh face.A DIY recipe bookAmazonMy Recipes Cookbook, available at Amazon, $8.99Whether they're a huge foodie or want to preserve a favorite family meal, this DIY cookbook offers 120 blank pages to fill with their favorite recipes. The notebook's table of contents and additional note space at the end will help keep them extra organized.Taking the time to add in your own savory vodka sauce pasta dish or having their loved ones fill in grandma's homemade sweets recipe will make this gift feel extra special.Snacks for movie nightKnackPopcorn Snack Medley, available at Knack, $40.99Help them take their next Netflix marathon to the next level with this popcorn mix set. The mix includes two microwavable Pop on The Cob popcorn cobs, toffee pretzels, dark chocolate-covered cherries, and Virginia peanuts. If they have a particular favorite treat, each snack can also be added in extra quantities at an additional cost.A carafe that helps preserve wineGrommetGlass Wine Saver Carafe, available at Grommet, $42.95Wine lovers will surely appreciate this elegant gift that will allow them to savor and sip their favorite bottle for longer. This glass carafe preserves non-sparkling wine in the refrigerator for up to one week. Simply, pour wine into the carafe, insert the float at an angle, then seal it with the top and serve.Farm-to-skin lip balmsEtsyBeekman 1802 Ten Piece Lip Balm Set, available at Uncommon Goods, $48This farm-to-skin lip balm set is just right for the green beauty obsessive. All 10 lip balms are made from natural goat's milk and essential oils. Beautifully packaged and scented, the fragrances include Ylang Ylang and Tuberose, Orange Blossom, Fig Leaf, Sweet Grass, Grapefruit, Oak Moss, Apricot and Honey, Vanilla, and an unscented balm.A monogrammed clutchMark & GrahamPalm Leaf Rounded Clutch, available at Mark and Graham, from $34.99You can get your giftees initials embroidered on this cute roll-up clutch for a personal touch. The bag is woven from natural palm leaves for a beachy vibe, and the blue and white striped interior adds to the fun coastal feel.A sand-free, quick-dry towelSand CloudSand Cloud towel, available at Sand Cloud, from $28Not only are these thin towels easy to roll up and throw in your beach bag or picnic basket, but they also easily shake off sand and dry three times faster than classic beach and pool towels. Choose from a wide array of vibrant patterns and colors, from a navy blue whale shark print to tie-dye options.An easy way to make their own bubble teaUncommon GoodsBubble Tea Kit, available at Uncommon Goods, $40For the bubble tea lover in your life, this kit comes with two flavors of loose-leaf tea, tapioca pearls, and two reusable stainless steel straws. All they'll have to do is add a little milk (if they like!) and sip on this delicious brew.A personalized video message from their favorite celebrityCameoCameo video, available on Cameo, from $1Whether they have a favorite musician, reality TV star, comedian, or actor, there's a good chance their favorite celebrity is on Cameo. You can even choose from pre-recorded video messages with a personal shoutout, or opt to give them a super special one-on-one video call. Of course, the price will depend on who the star is.Notepads chock full of affirmationsAmazonKnock Knock Notepads, available at Amazon, from $5.25Whether you want to give them a quick pep talk or celebrate them just because, these notepads from Knock Knock provide a creative and encouraging way of doing so. Each comes with 50 sheets, so they'll make plenty of use of these witty notes.A small but mighty smart assistantGoogleGoogle Nest Mini (2nd Generation), available at Best Buy, $24.99Give the gift of a virtual helper. Currently on sale for under $25, the Google Nest Mini offers a compact, affordable smart speaker with Google Assistant built-in. Friends and family members will love being able to dim lights, control the volume on their TV, check the weather, and more, all with just the sound of their voice.Read our full review of the Google Nest Mini here.A face mask designed for working outUnder ArmourUA Sportmask, available at Under Armour, $25Under Armour's Sportmask was designed with athletes in mind, as reflected in its breathability, water resistance, and UPF 50+ sun protection. Thanks to the Sportsmask, they won't have to sacrifice their workout routine or their comfort.*Sponsored by Under ArmourA 52-piece art kitAmazon51-Piece Watercolor Art Set, available at Amazon, $21.98Encourage them to pick up a new hobby (or take advantage of an existing one) with this watercolor set that's built for both beginners and experts. The set includes various cakes and paints, watercolor pencils, paintbrushes, a paint palette, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener — all within a pre-packaged case that can save you the pain of gift wrapping. A streaming stick that turns any TV into a smart oneAmazonRoku Streaming Stick +, available at Amazon, $34.99Upgrade their Netflix binge marathons without actually buying them a whole new TV. The Roku Streaming Stick + offers 4K, HD, and HDR streaming in a portable package and affordable price. A meal kit from their favorite restaurantGoldbelly/FacebookGoldbelly Restaurant Meal Kits, available at Goldbelly, from $25Bring a bit of their favorite restaurant right to their door. From bagels to barbeque, Goldbelly ships food gifts nationwide from iconic eateries in major cities. A Disney+ subscriptionAlyssa Powell/Business InsiderOne-year gift subscription to Disney Plus, $79.99It gives them unlimited access to movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox, and costs just $7.99 a month or $79.99 a year after a free seven-day trial. Read everything there is to know about Disney+ over here.And if you need some binge-spiration, here are all the new movies available to stream.A set of loose-leaf teas that even Oprah lovesAmazonVadham Chai Tea Reserve Set, available at Amazon, $24.99This classy set of loose-leaf teas made it into Oprah's Favorite Things back in 2018. It's filled with three variations of chai tea that any tea lover will appreciate. A smooth olive oil that'll instantly elevate any dishBrightlandAlive Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37If they spend a lot of time in the kitchen, they probably already know the merits of high-quality olive oil. A drizzle of Alive from Brightland adds a vibrant, zesty flavor to any dish, plus the beautiful bottle will look great on display in their kitchen. An affordable electric toothbrush subscriptionQuipToothbrush Starter Set, available at Quip, from $25Help them upgrade their oral care routine with a Quip toothbrush. Not only is it a great electric toothbrush at a reasonable price, but Quip will send them a refill every three months with a new brush head and toothbrush. Delicious mini cupcakesBaked by Melissa FacebookCupcake Gift Boxes, available at Baked by Melissa, from $32Who doesn't love getting a sweet surprise? With delicious flavors ranging from Cookie Dough to Pink Frosted Donut, these bite-size treats are sure to please. You can also add a special gift box to complete the gift. A head-to-toe mini care kitSephoraDrunk Elephant The Littles Head to Toe, available at Sephora, $49Give this mini set for head-to-toe care they can take on the road or just to test out some new products. The set is packed with Drunk Elephant minis, including a glossing shampoo, cream conditioner, scalp scrub, detangler, body cleanser, lotion, deodorant, and a comb. It also comes neatly packaged in a fun, neon bag.An at-home spa kitUncommon GoodsEucalyptus Spa Gift Set, available at Uncommon Goods, $40Let's face it, 2020 has been a hard year. Give them the gift of soothing relaxation with this at-home kit that includes pampering botanical bath salts and natural jute body scrubber. The recipient will also be able to grow their own eucalyptus in the bamboo pot so they can continue to breathe deep and say ahh.A set of magnets that are fun to play with and can boost concentrationSpeksSpeks Magnet Balls, available at Speks, $34.95Almost everyone on the Insider Reviews team has a set of Speks at their desk. The little magnetic balls can be mashed, molded, and built into fun shapes and are a fun fidget toy that even adults will love. A personalized pillow of their favorite fur babyaurespaces/EtsyCustom Pet Pillow, available at Etsy, from $29.99If there's nothing they love more than their cat or dog, this pillow — featuring a blown-up picture of their pet — is sure to make them smile. A cute kitchen gadget that makes breakfast in a flashAmazonDash Mini Waffle Maker, available at Target, $10This compact waffle maker makes a great addition to any college dorm or small kitchen. All they have to do is plug it in and they can make their favorite breakfast treat in a flash.A sugary and fun snackNeiman MarcusSugarfina Champagne Bears, available at Neiman Marcus, $20Elevate their next sugar fix with these fun champagne gummy bears. Don't worry if they're under 21, despite the name and flavor, these gummies are non-alcoholic. They also have rosé options too.    A taste of Japan by way of snacksBokksuBokksu Tasting Gift, 3-month box, available at Bokksu, $44.95Adventurous foodies will love the chance to taste test a curated box of gourmet Japanese snacks. In this Bokksu box, they can expect to find between 10-14 snacks, a tea pairing, and an in-depth guide that details every product included.A best-selling face mask for clear skinAztec SecretAztec Secret Indian Healing Mask, available at Target, $9.99Anyone in on the latest skincare trends will know about this mask. Many claim it has helped clear their skin, and it has over 12,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. The best part is that this powerful facial is just $10.A soft pair of socks made from sustainable fabricUnited by BlueSoftHemp Socks 2 Pack, available at United by Blue, $30With cold weather approaching, there's nothing better than slipping on cozy socks. Made from soft, sustainable hemp fabric, these are sure to do the trick (and why not get them two pairs?).A luxurious exfoliator to keep skin smoothNecessaireNecessaire The Body Exfoliator, available at Sephora, $30Necessaire's clean beauty products come in beautiful, minimalist packaging that looks as good in their bathroom as it feels on their skin. This gentle exfoliator will help them slough off dry winter skin for good.Cruelty-free nail polish in a range of fun colorsSmith & CultNail Polish, available at Smith & Cult, $18Smith & Cult's polish is vegan, cruelty-free, and chip-resistant. With 46 fun colors to choose from, you're sure to find one (or two, or three) they'll love. A sheet mask that'll hydrate dry, stressed skinSephoraDr. Jart+ Soothing Hydra Solution, available at Sephora, $6Fall and winter skin tends to be dry and dull. While you can't change the weather, you can throw on a hydrating face mask to stay moisturized. This one will add lots of soothing hydration to their skin to keep it feeling fresh.Makeup towels that make washing their face less of a choreWeezieMakeup Towels, available at Weezie, $40If they've never thought of washcloths as anything special, Weezie towels will change their minds. The adorable towels are embroidered with either hearts, winky eyelids, or the words "stain me." Plus, the dark navy blue color will conceal makeup stains.A silky-smooth sleep mask to block lightNordstromSlip Pink Marble Sleep Mask, available at Nordstrom, $50If there's nothing they appreciate more than a good night's sleep, they'll love Slip's silk sleep mask. It's made from 100% pure Mulberry silk for a luxe, light feel on their skin. A lip gloss that has all the benefits of a balmSephoraTower28 Beauty Jelly Lip Gloss, available at Sephora, $14This clean-beauty favorite delivers the glossy sheen they'd expect from a lip gloss, but it's loaded with nourishing oils to keep lips hydrated, too. A beautiful way to store olive oilUncommon GoodsHandblown Glass Olive Oil Pourer, available at Uncommon Goods, $45These stunning handmade jars can hold up to 12 ounces of olive oil or vinegar. Plus, they look beautiful sitting out on the kitchen counter.Useful cable clipsAmazonShintop Cable Clips (six-pack), available at Amazon, $5.59Whether their phone charger is always falling under their desk or they simply have too many cables to keep track of, these affordable and efficient clips will allow them to simplify their workspace. Plus, the pink, orange, and green shades contribute a fun pop of color.A bold lip color that'll last all day longSephoraLancome L'Absolu Rouge Lipstick, available at Sephora, $32Whether it's a pale peach or a deep-red look they crave, they'll love this long-lasting lipstick with its saturated colors and hydrating formula.A set of playing cards inspired by music's greatsAmazonMusic Genius Playing Cards, available at Uncommon Goods, $10Whether they love game night, music, or are equal fans of both, they'll surely get a kick out of these playing cards. The pack features illustrations of all the big names in pop, rock, country, and R&B.A spray that any sneakerhead needs in their collectionAmazonJason Markk Repel, available at Amazon, $17If they love shoes, they should have the right products to take care of their favorite footwear. This spray protects shoes from stains caused by water and oil, and there are multiple people on our team who swear by it for every new pair of shoes they get.A set of colorful silicone straws that reduce plastic wasteFood52Five Two Silicone Straws Single Pack, available at Food52, $25Bendable, sustainable, and portable (thanks to the set of carrying cases), these fun straws are the accessory any eco-conscious person should have.A book subscriptionBook of the MonthBook of the Month 3-month plan, available at Book of the Month, $49.99A subscription box that sends them an exciting new read catered to their tastes each month is the perfect gift for a bookworm.A unique case that protects their phoneCasetifyCasetify phone case, available at Casetify, starting from $40Our phones are our lifelines these days and if you know someone who's always glued to theirs, consider giving them a unique case that's as protective as it is pretty thanks to being drop-tested and shock-absorbent. They have options ranging from watercolor forest scenes to cute sayings to cuddly animals. You can even do a customized option and put their initials on it.  A coffee mug that keeps their drinks hot or cold for hoursAmazonHydro Flask Travel Coffee Mug, available at Hydro Flask, $24.95Hydro Flask's Travel Coffee Mug is a team favorite. It combines the classic shape of a mug with Hydro Flask's TempShield insulation to keep beverages hot, or cold, for hours— a great gift for the coffee or tea lover who's always on the move. Unisex House SlippersEtsyUnisex Comfy Linen Slippers Slides, available at Etsy, $27.46Clean space enthusiasts who enjoy a no outdoor shoe policy at their homes will appreciate these unisex house slippers. The waffle cloth pattern, platform bottom, and cushioned sole makes for a cute and cozy fit. These snug slippers are available in yellow, pink, gray, or green colors. A cute reusable tote that can fit tons of stuffBAGGUStandard Baggu, available at Baggu, $12It's no wonder these bags are bestsellers — they can hold up to 50 pounds of stuff and come in a range of fun colors and patterns. Plus, at just $12, they're a great deal. A portable straw that makes water drinkableAmazonLifeStraw Personal Water Filter, available at Amazon, $12.99This portable, personal water filter was one of the bestselling products on Prime Day. It filters water from creeks and rivers, making it perfect for hiking, camping, and travel.A classy carrying case to stash chargersMark & GrahamLeather Charger Roll-Up, available at Mark & Graham, from $39After they fill the three pockets with cables and chargers, all they have do is roll everything up and they're good to go. The soft, supple leather comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns. A cult-favorite cast-iron skilletAmazonLodge 12-inch Cast-Iron Skillet and Handle Holder, available at Amazon, $29.99Every cook needs a cast-iron skillet in their kitchen. Lodge makes some of the best out there, but at prices that won't break the bank. A fitting vehicle for their post-run brewsUncommon GoodsEtched Marathon Pint Glass, available at Uncommon Goods, $20If they like to celebrate a long run with a big pint, they'll appreciate these pint glasses etched with famous marathon routes. A candle that reminds them of their favorite placeAmazonHomesick Scented Candle, available at Amazon, $34This is a great gift that's sure to make anyone sentimental. Whether it's their hometown, college town, or favorite spot to vacation, a Homesick candle, with scents inspired by all sorts of locations, will bring them back to that favorite place. A cold brew coffee maker to keep up with their iced coffee habitAmazonTakeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker, available at Amazon, $19.99If their morning ritual includes a cup of cold brew, they'll appreciate this convenient cold brew maker. All they have to do is fill it with their favorite coffee grinds, add water, let it sit, and they've got a glass of delicious cold brew on the way. A rocks glass etched with a city mapUncommon GoodsUrban Map Glass, available at Uncommon Goods, $18Whether you want to bring back fond memories of a place you visited together or just want a gift that highlights their favorite stomping grounds, you can cheers to these rocks glasses intricately etched with a city map and interspersed street names. Over 30 major US cities are available to choose from.To really up the ante, consider pairing the glass with a nice bottle of bourbon. A dainty pair of gold hoops that go with everythingMejuriMidi Hoops, available at Mejuri, $50Jewelry always makes a great gift, though it's typically pricey. These dainty hoops from Mejuri are the perfect pair for every day, and they're only $50.An apron loaded with plenty of clever featuresFood52Five Two Ultimate Apron, available at Food52, from $25Anyone who spends a good amount of time in the kitchen will appreciate this durable apron with its sturdy fabric, clever pockets made to hold the essentials, and pot-holders built right in. A lifetime of perks with an REI membershipREIREI Membership, available at REI, $20A one-time, $20 payment will get them lifetime access to REI's membership program. The outdoorsy types in your life will appreciate the special offers, 10% back on purchases, member-pricing on REI classes and events, and the host of other membership perks. Learn more about the REI membership program here. A simple and elegant photo calendarArtifact UprisingWalnut Desktop Photo Calendar, available at Artifact Uprising, from $35All of Artifact Uprising's customized photo gifts are simple, beautiful, and made from eco-friendly materials. This simple calendar is an easy choice for anyone on your list. Just pick 12 photos (one for each month) of the people and places they love most to add a special sentiment to their desk setup.A simple necklace that reminds them of their intentionsBandoGood Intentions Necklace, available at Amazon, $38A sweet necklace with an even sweeter mission. Choose from a selection of positive intentions like "optimism," "strength," or "gratitude," which they can carry with them throughout the day. For every necklace sold, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the non-profit Girls Inc.A cult-favorite candleOtherlandOtherland Candles, available at Otherland, $36We love Otherland's candles, whether seasonally inspired or from the classic collection. Notable scent combinations such as champagne, saffron, and leather, gorgeous packaging, and a 55 hour burn time have deemed Otherland's candles as a foolproof gift among the Insider Reviews team.An elevated hand sanitizer that fends off germsTouchlandPower Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $9A lightweight, spray formula and refreshing scents make Touchland's hand sanitizer one they'll actually want to use. It dries quickly and doesn't leave residue or stickiness behind.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 21st, 2022

Online sleuths identified a Proud Boy at the Capitol riot by matching his face to an old photo of him modeling underwear, report says

A photo of a Proud Boy modeling underwear helped civilian investigators identify the Capitol rioter they dubbed the "RayBanTerrorist," per HuffPost. Alan Fischer is seen at the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.US District Court for the District of Columbia Online sleuths identified a Capitol rioter they dubbed "RayBanTerrorist," per HuffPost. The facial recognition hit led them to old modeling photos of Alan Fischer, 28, from Florida. Fischer was arrested and charged with assaulting federal police officers, among other offenses. A 28-year-old man who is accused of involvement in the January 6 insurrection with the Proud Boys was identified by social media detectives thanks, in part, to a photo of him modeling underwear on a catwalk, according to HuffPost.Alan Fischer III, also known as AJ Fischer, was arrested in Florida on Friday.He is charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding an officer, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and civil disorder, among other offenses, court records show.According to his arrest warrant affidavit, Fischer was seen in footage marching with the Proud Boys on January 6, 2021. Screenshots of videos included show him throwing traffic cones, chairs, and a pole towards a line of police.—#SeditionHunters (@SeditionHunters) May 20, 2021 Social media detectives dubbed the man in the photos as the "RayBanTerrorist," due to the sunglasses he was wearing and set about trying to identify him by name.According to HuffPost, Fischer was no. 222 on the FBI's list of individuals most wanted in connection with the Capitol riot.Fischer had deleted much of his social media, the media outlet said. The online sleuths used facial recognition software to match an image of the so-called "RayBanTerrorist" to an Instagram post of Fischer featured in a local Tampa Bay newspaper.From there, they found more photos of Fischer, across different social media platforms, from during his days working as a model. A post shared by 3BBM (@threebbm) One image shows Fischer, who has distinctive tattoos on his arm, on a catwalk modeling black underwear with a gold pouch. —#SeditionHunters (@SeditionHunters) January 14, 2022Fischer's arms were covered in photos from the Capitol, but HuffPost reported that his tattoos were identifiable in a photo of him with a group of Proud Boys from December 2020.It is not known whether the work of the civilian investigators led directly to Fischer's arrest but, according to court documents, a witness at the Proud Boys' Florida events also helped identify him to them.Investigators were then able to link Fischer to a flight from Tampa to DC on January 4 by using a phone number believed to belong to a current or former girlfriend.Frank W. McDermott, Fischer's attorney, told Insider he was unable to comment on the case.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 16th, 2022

Looters Raid Union Pacific Trains In Los Angeles, Searching For Amazon And UPS Packages

Looters Raid Union Pacific Trains In Los Angeles, Searching For Amazon And UPS Packages California leads the way in transitioning the US into what could be considered a third-world country. Progressive leadership in the state has lowered theft of $950 or less from felonies to misdemeanors, allowing for a wave of smash-and-grab robberies.  Organized retail crime gangs no longer target large department and or boutique stores, snatching high-value merchandise from shelves but instead raid containers double stacked on train cars.  "A section of the Union Pacific train tracks in downtown Los Angeles has been littered with thousands of shredded boxes, packages stolen from cargo containers that stop in the area to unload," CBS Los Angeles reported Thursday evening. CBSLA photojournalist John Schreiber tweeted shocking videos of torn-apart packages by looters after they raided containers. Many of the boxes on the ground were from Amazon and UPS.  Keep hearing of train burglaries in LA on the scanner so went to #LincolnHeights to see it all. And… there’s looted packages as far as the eye can see. Amazon packages, @UPS boxes, unused Covid tests, fishing lures, epi pens. Cargo containers left busted open on trains. @CBSLA pic.twitter.com/JvNF4UVy2K — John Schreiber (@johnschreiber) January 13, 2022 "I'm told by law enforcement these UPS bags are especially sought after by thieves opening cargo containers… they are often full of boxes with merchandise bound for residential addresses. More valuable than say, a cargo container full of low-value bulky items like toilet paper," Schreiber said.  I’m told by law enforcement these @UPS bags are especially sought after by thieves opening cargo containers… they are often full of boxes with merchandise bound for residential addresses. More valuable than say, a cargo container full of low value bulky items like toilet paper. pic.twitter.com/Tj5bQNIeby — John Schreiber (@johnschreiber) January 13, 2022 Here's another stunning view of the looting aftermath.  As you can see, trains frequently slow or stop in this area as they get worked into the @UnionPacific Intermodal facility near Downtown LA. The thieves use this opportunity to break open containers and take what’s inside. I’d say every 4th or 5th rail car had opened containers. pic.twitter.com/PHpujyB84M — John Schreiber (@johnschreiber) January 13, 2022 The reporter said containers on this route had been targeted multiple times.  Missing a package? Shipment delayed? Maybe your package is among the thousands we found discarded along the tracks. This is but one area thieves have targeted trains. We were told this area was just cleaned up 30 days ago so what you see is all within the last month. @CBSLA pic.twitter.com/43002DPyZa — John Schreiber (@johnschreiber) January 13, 2022 It appears organized retail crime gangs are becoming more brazen in their thefts as progressive leadership sits back and lets their city crumble under the weight of lawlessness. Some liberals are turning against their party as they see their chances for reelection fade.  Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 21:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 14th, 2022

A Kentucky Capitol rioter who once placed 4th in a "Sexy Farmer" contest pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge

Jordan Revlett was arrested in January 2021 after a tipster alerted the FBI of Snapchat video he posted from inside the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington.Brent Stirton/Getty Images A Kentucky man pleaded guilty to one parading charge in connection to the Capitol riot on Friday. Prosecutors said Jordan Revlett posted Snapchat photos and video from inside the Capitol building.  He made headlines for once placing 4th in a "Sexy Farmer" contest hosted by a local radio station in Kentucky in 2019. A Kentucky man who once found local acclaim as the 4th place winner of a 2019 "Sexy Farmer" contest in Kentucky now faces a new kind of notoriety.Jordan Revlett, 24, of Island, Kentucky, pleaded guilty on Friday to one misdemeanor charge related to the January 6 Capitol riot. Revlett was arrested in January 2021 after an anonymous tipster alerted the FBI to Snapchat photos and video Revlett posted of himself entering the Capitol building on January 6, according to a criminal complaint.Prosecutors said additional videos from Revlett's Snapchat account showed the chaos inside the Capitol and were taken from the perspective of someone in the building.Revlett later posted a "selfie" from inside a vehicle with a caption that said: "Just so you guys know a capitol police officer opened the door from inside to let us in," according to charging documents.Jordan Revlett Snapchat selfie.The Department of JusticeRevlett initially faced four charges, including violent entry and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol building. But as the government works to prosecute the more than 750 people arrested in connection to the attack, federal prosecutors have offered several Capitol rioters the lesser charge of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in front of a Capitol building in exchange for their guilty pleas. The count carries a possible sentence of up to six months in prison, but other rioters who have pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor have received sentences ranging from probation to 45 days in jail.Revlett made headlines following his January 2021 arrest when The Daily Beast reported on his previous title as the 4th place winner of a "She Thinks Her Farmer's Sexy" contest held by a local Kentucky radio station in 2019. Photos from the contest show Revlett smiling in front of a tractor while wearing a cowboy hat.  In a 2019 Twitter post, Revlett acknowledged his success and thanked his supporters."I'd like to thank everyone that voted for me, almost 8,000 votes. This started as a contest, but it turned into much more than that for me," he wrote.—Rev (@JordanRevlett) July 30, 2019Following the insurrection, while out on bond, Revlett maintained his presence on Twitter, frequently showing support for former President Donald Trump, according to The Beast.Revlett is set to be sentence on April 22. An attorney representing him did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 14th, 2022

The 7 best websites you can use to watch free movies online

You can watch free movies online through a number of streaming service websites and apps. These are our picks for the best options. Our picks for the best free movie websites online.damircudic/Getty Images You can watch free movies online through a number of streaming service websites and apps.  Streaming sites like YouTube and Vudu offer a mix of free and paid content, while others are free with ads. Pluto TV has both on-demand free content as well as "live TV" that you access like a cable or satellite channel guide.  Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories. We live in a world with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to streaming channels, but subscribing to Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Amazon Prime and a half-dozen others can be as pricey as an old-fashioned cable subscription — or worse. The antidote to endless streaming subscriptions are free movies online. Here are seven of the best options for watching movies for free.The Roku ChannelRoku offers a mix of contemporary and classic films for free.Dave JohnsonRoku isn't just an excellent streaming media device; the company also has a free streaming channel that you can access from any Roku device or the web. Here you'll find an impressive array of TV shows and feature films you can stream for free. The selection isn't enormous, but there's a mix of classic and contemporary movies ("Driving Miss Daisy" to "Syriana") to choose from. There's no need to create an account (though you can if you want to) and ads, while present, are not overly intrusive. YouTubeYou might be surprised to learn that YouTube has a sizable collection of free films.Dave JohnsonYouTube belongs on this list because in addition to being the place you go for cute cat videos and the clip from last night's late night talk show, YouTube offers hundreds of free movies, making it a convenient one-stop shop. Also, YouTube is one of the few sites where the content is rated by users and you can read  comments about the movies as you watch them. You don't have to randomly search for free stuff; YouTube has arranged all the free movies in a single category. VuduYou can purchase and rent movies at Vudu, but the service also induces you to visit with thousands of free movies.Dave JohnsonVudu is the streaming video arm of Fandango and offers both free and paid videos. It's easy to find the free content thanks to a Free link at the top of the page, and there you'll find thousands of movies, both new and old, popular films, and schlock. The site also does a good job of sorting the movies into categories (like Most Watched, Big Time Movie Stars, Family and Dramas) for easy browsing.  IMDb TVIMDb TV's rich collection of free movies is available via Amazon Prime Video.Dave JohnsonOwned by Amazon, IMDb TV is a standalone service and surprisingly hasn't been rolled into Amazon Prime video. You might know IMDb as the place to go to get information about movies, actors, and filmmakers, but IMDb TV has hundreds of free TV shows and movies. You can watch IMDb TV movies on a wide variety of devices and through the Amazon Prime Video website or app (IMDb TV content is clearly marked as such). CrackleCrackle is one of the oldest free video sites and has a great system for searching and browsing.Dave JohnsonCrackle has been around a long time — it got its start in 2004. And unlike some other streaming channels, Crackle is 100% free, offering all its content at no cost (with ads), so anything you see on the site you can watch without paying. You can browse movies and TV shows by genre, alphabetically, or search for a specific title. PopcornflixTrue to its name, Popcornflix has a lot of goofy, guilt pleasure viewing options.Dave JohnsonPopcornflix is another completely free video streaming site, offering something short of 2,000 movies in a variety of categories. It's available as an app for a variety of devices, and you can also watch in a web browser. There's no account required; just open the website, select a movie and start viewing. Many of the entries at Popcornflix fall into the category of guilty pleasures ("2-Headed Shark Attack") and cheap knock-offs of mainstream properties ("Atlantic Rim" and "Almighty Thor") but there's something charming here about the movies you can binge for free with limited ads. Pluto TVPluto's interface is organized like a cable TV program guide.Dave JohnsonPluto TV is a little different than most streaming video services. In addition to being able to watch movies and TV shows on demand, it also streams live programming that you access in a program guide as if you were watching cable or satellite TV. You can jump into programs in progress after browsing the dozens of categories arranged like channels. Or switch to the On Demand tab, and start any of the thousands of TV shows and movies in the library, arranged into easily browsable categories. And it's all free, supported by ads. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 14th, 2022

The 20 best bride-to-be gifts that she"ll cherish before the wedding

Whether bridal shower gifts or a little token to mark the big day, thoughtful bride-to-be gifts can help her de-stress and enjoy the experience more. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.fizkes/Getty Images Getting married is stressful, but these thoughtful gifts for the bride-to-be can help settle nerves. Friends often give a little gift at the bachlorette party, the bridal shower, or on the big day. Practical, cute, or thoughtful items like slippers, a bouquet of flowers, or champagne flutes are great. Before they officially say "I do," there are a few items a bride may need leading up to their big day. Bride-to-be gifts are typically given any time prior to the wedding, whether it's at the bachelorette party, at the bridal shower, or the actual day of itself. They'll particularly appreciate the gifts that pamper and help them de-stress, or ones that aid them in preparation during this typically-stressful time. So from self-care presents to fun gifts, the bride-to-be deserves something special that's made just for them. Here are the 20 best bride-to-be gifts:A satin eye mask for sleeping beautyAmazonBride Sleep Mask, available at Amazon, $13.99What better way to help the bride-to-be get their beauty rest than with this cute sleep mask. Better yet, the satin sleep mask has their title decorated on it to show everyone not to disturb the bride. A portable, insulated champagne fluteWilliams SonomaCorkcicle Stemless Champagne Flute, available at Williams Sonoma, $19.95Cheers to them saying yes to a loving lifelong commitment with this stemless champagne flute. The insulated flute keeps beverages cold for up to nine hours or hot up to three hours, although it's intended for champagne and prosecco.A gel manicure kit for professional nails at homeAmazonSally Hansen Salon Pro Gel Starter Kit, available at Amazon, $59.99This Sally Hansen nail kit is a lifesaver if they're too busy or forget to get their nails done for the wedding day. The gel polish kit provides flawless two-week wear that makes every manicure and pedicure look professional. You can find other spa-themed gifts here.A game-changing exfoliator toolAmazonLuna 3, available at Foreo, $199The Foreo Luna Go softly exfoliates the skin for a beautiful, clean complexion. This portable silicone cleansing device takes care of fine lines, pores, dullness, and uneven texture while also offering an app-enabled skin analysis. You can find our Foreo Luna 2 review here.A fast-drying hair towelVolo BeautyThe Volo Hero Towel, available at Volo Beauty, $39Soon-to-be brides can protect their hair from damage with the plush Volo Hair towel that's ultra-absorbent and cuts dry time in half. There is also a strap to hold the towel so it will never fall off in any situation. A cute tumbler with her engaged statusKate SpadeMiss to Mrs. Tumbler with Straw, available at Kate Spade, $18In addition to the ring, this tumbler lets the bride show off their soon-to-be status as officially "married." No matter the season or time of year, the bride-to-be will always stay hydrated at any time. A notebook to plan the perfect weddingAmazonWedding Planner & Organizer, available at Amazon, $33.99If they've always dreamed of happily ever after, they've surely planned everything for their wedding to the last detail. This interactive wedding planner organizes everything on 132 pages filled with helpful tips, an 18-month countdown calendar, a 12-month checkpoint list, and more.  A supremely soft robeGirlfriend CollectiveDawn Dream Robe, available at Girlfriend Collective, $98A ridiculously soft robe that's also sustainable like the Dawn Dream Robe is a smart choice for when the bride-to-be finds the time to settle down after all the planning. A clever candle to calm her nervesRyan PorterBride Chilla Candle, available at Ryan Porter, $31If the bride-to-be happens to be a bridezilla, hopefully, this cheeky candle will calm the imminent meltdown. There's no nicer way to tell the bride-to-be to chill than with this Bride Chilla candle. Rosé-infused candies for a sweet celebrationSugarfinaRosé All Day 3 Piece Candy Bento Box, available at Sugarfina, $30Treat them to these delightful rosé infused candies as they get ready for the dream day. A pair of personalized bridal slippersEtsyPersonalized Bridal Slippers, available at Etsy, $18.99Make the wedding day feel even sweeter with these fluffy slippers that are personalized with the bride-to-be's new surname. After all the festivities, slide off the heels and slip into these comfy slippers that feel like a dream. A skincare kit with glowing resultsMaeloveFade Scar Spot Kit, available at Maelove, $67.88A glowy, refreshed face is essential on the wedding day. This Maelove skincare kit provides a flawless complexion with faded scars and spots. It includes a hydrating face serum, night cream, and an exfoliator scrub. A fun bridal accessory for beveragesAmazonFetti Bachelorette Party XL Bride Straw, available at Amazon, $6.99Sip and savor every celebratory drink for the bride-to-be with these reusable bridal straws that are a fun party accessory. A fresh flower bouquet delivered to themUrban StemsThe Amethyst, available at Urban Stems, $95Gifting flowers is as easy as it is thoughtful for the bride. The bride-to-be will feel delighted to receive Urban stem's stunning flowers as a congratulatory gift to kick off the days leading up to the wedding. A classic-styled smartwatchFossilHybrid Smartwatch Carlie Blush Leather, available at Fossil, $155Rather than a classic watch, this Fossil smartwatch is a game-changer that's still a timeless piece. The Carlie watch features an activity tracker, notification alerts, music control, and more. A trinket tray for the bride's accessoriesAmazonMrs Jewelry Ring Dish Ceramic Trinket Tray, available at Amazon, $14.99Small but meaningful gifts are always appreciated. Give them this adorable ring tray to keep their cherished accessories safe. A set of soothing skincare treats for nighttimeLushRelax Gift Set, available at Lush, $39.95A self-care gift is always a good idea. This Lush gift set is filled with lavender-infused items to help relax at night, from an aromatic bath bomb to soothing lotion. A chic canvas toteThings RememberedWhite Canvas Mrs Mini Tote Bag, available at Things Remembered, $22.40Whether it's errands or a quick getaway trip, this stylish canvas bag carries every necessity with ease. The gift feels more personal with the option to inscribe name or date on the charming tote. A humorous mug for the bridezillaFrancesca'sKeep Calm BrideZilla Mug, available at Francesca's, $4.98Even if the bride-to-be struggles with staying calm, at least this coffee mug will give them a good laugh. A wedding survival kitPaper SourceWedding Survival Kit, available at Paper Source, $26.95When it comes to wedding preparations, this survival kit helps the bride to navigate their wedding stress. This comfort pack includes a countdown calendar, eye mask, decision dice, a miniature notebook plus pen, and more survival tools. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 14th, 2022

Howard Marks January 2022 Memo: Selling Out

Howard Marks memo to Oaktree clients for the month of January 2022, titled, “Selling Out.” Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more As I’m now in my fourth decade of memo writing, I’m sometimes tempted to conclude I should quit, because I’ve covered all the relevant topics. Then a new idea for a memo […] Howard Marks memo to Oaktree clients for the month of January 2022, titled, “Selling Out.” if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more As I’m now in my fourth decade of memo writing, I’m sometimes tempted to conclude I should quit, because I’ve covered all the relevant topics. Then a new idea for a memo pops up, delivering a pleasant surprise. My January 2021 memo Something of Value, which chronicled the time I spent in 2020 living and discussing investing with my son Andrew, recounted a semi-real conversation in which we briefly discussed whether and when to sell appreciated assets. It occurred to me that even though selling is an inescapable part of the investment process, I’ve never devoted an entire memo to it. The Basic Idea Everyone is familiar with the old saw that’s supposed to capture investing’s basic proposition: “buy low, sell high.” It’s a hackneyed caricature of the way most people view investing. But few things that are important can be distilled into just four words; thus, “buy low, sell high” is nothing but a starting point for discussion of a very complex process. Will Rogers, an American film star and humorist of the 1920s and ’30s, provided what he may have thought was a more comprehensive roadmap for success in the pursuit of wealth: Don’t gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don’t go up, don’t buy it. The illogicality of his advice makes clear how simplistic this adage – like many others – really is. However, regardless of the details, people may unquestioningly accept that they should sell appreciated investments. But how helpful is that basic concept? Origins Much of what I’ll write here got its start in a 2015 memo called Liquidity. The hot topic in the investment world at that moment was the concern about a perceived decline in the liquidity provided by the market (when I say “the market,” I’m talking specifically about the U.S. stock market, but the statement has broad applicability). This was commonly attributed to a combination of (a) the licking investment banks had taken in the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09 and (b) the Volcker Rule, which prohibited risky activities such as proprietary trading on the part of systemically important financial institutions. The latter constrained banks’ ability to “position” securities, or buy them, when clients wanted to sell. Maybe liquidity in 2015 was less than it had previously been, and maybe it wasn’t. However, looking beyond the events of the day, I closed that memo by stating my conviction that (a) most investors trade too much, to their own detriment, and (b) the best solution for illiquidity is to build portfolios for the long term that don’t rely on liquidity for success. Long-term investors have an advantage over those with short timeframes (and I think the latter describes the majority of market participants these days). Patient investors are able to ignore short-term performance, hold for the long run, and avoid excessive trading costs, while everyone else worries about what’s going to happen in the next month or quarter and therefore trades excessively. In addition, long-term investors can take advantage if illiquid assets become available for purchase at bargain prices. Like so many things in investing, however, just holding is easier said than done. Too many people equate activity with adding value. Here’s how I summed up this idea in Liquidity, inspired by something Andrew had said: When you find an investment with the potential to compound over a long period, one of the hardest things is to be patient and maintain your position as long as doing so is warranted based on the prospective return and risk. Investors can easily be moved to sell by news, emotion, the fact that they’ve made a lot of money to date, or the excitement of a new, seemingly more promising idea. When you look at the chart for something that’s gone up and to the right for 20 years, think about all the times a holder would have had to convince himself not to sell. Everyone wishes they’d bought Amazon at $5 on the first day of 1998, since it’s now up 660x at $3,304. But who would have continued to hold when the stock hit $85 in 1999 – up 17x in less than two years? Who among those who held on would have been able to avoid panicking in 2001, as the price fell 93%, to $6? And who wouldn’t have sold by late 2015 when it hit $600 – up 100x from the 2001 low? Yet anyone who sold at $600 captured only the first 18% of the overall rise from that low. This reminds me of the time I once visited Malibu with a friend and mentioned that the Rindge family is said to have bought the entire area – all 13,330 acres – in 1892 for $300,000, or $22.50 per acre. (It’s clearly worth many billions today.) My friend said, “I’d like to have bought all of Malibu for $300,000.” My response was simple: “you would have sold it when it got to $600,000.” The more I’ve thought about it since writing Liquidity, the more convinced I’ve become that there are two main reasons why people sell investments: because they’re up and because they’re down. You may say that sounds nutty, but what’s really nutty is many investors’ behavior. Selling Because It’s Up “Profit-taking” is the intelligent-sounding term in our business for selling things that have appreciated. To understand why people engage in it, you need insight into human behavior, because a lot of investors’ selling is motivated by psychology. In short, a good deal of selling takes place because people like the fact that their assets show gains, and they’re afraid the profits will go away. Most people invest a lot of time and effort trying to avoid unpleasant feelings like regret and embarrassment. What could cause an investor more self-recrimination than watching a big gain evaporate? And what about the professional investor who reports a big winner to clients one quarter and then has to explain why the holding is at or below cost the next? It’s only human to want to realize profits to avoid these outcomes. If you sell an appreciated asset, that puts the gain “in the books,” and it can never be reversed. Thus, some people consider selling winners extremely desirable – they love realized gains. In fact, at a meeting of a non-profit’s investment committee, a member suggested that they should be leery of increasing endowment spending in response to gains because those gains were unrealized. I was quick to point out that it’s usually a mistake to view realized gains as less transient than unrealized ones (assuming there’s no reason to doubt the veracity of the unrealized carrying values). Yes, the former have been made concrete. However, sales proceeds are generally reinvested, meaning the profits – and the principal – are put back at risk. One might argue that appreciated securities are more vulnerable to declines than new investments in assets currently deemed to be attractively priced, but that’s far from a certainty. I’m not saying investors shouldn’t sell appreciated assets and realize profits. But it certainly doesn’t make sense to sell things just because they’re up. Selling Because It’s Down As wrong as it is to sell appreciated assets solely to crystalize gains, it’s even worse to sell them just because they’re down. Nevertheless, I’m sure many people do it. While the rule is “buy low, sell high,” clearly many people become more motivated to sell assets the more they decline. In fact, just as continued buying of appreciated assets can eventually turn a bull market into a bubble, widespread selling of things that are down has the potential to turn market declines into crashes. Bubbles and crashes do occur, proving that investors contribute to excesses in both directions. In a movie that plays in my head, the typical investor buys something at $100. If it goes to $120, he says, “I think I’m onto something – I should add,” and if it reaches $150, he says, “Now I’m highly confident – I’m going to double up.” On the other hand, if it falls to $90, he says, “I’m going to think about increasing my position to reduce my average cost,” but at $75, he concludes he should reconfirm his thesis before averaging down further. At $50, he says, “I’d better wait for the dust to settle before buying more.” And at $20 he says, “It feels like it’s going to zero; get me out!” Just like those who are afraid of surrendering gains, many investors worry about letting losses compound. They might fear their clients will say (or they’ll say to themselves), “What kind of a lame-brain continues to hold a security after it’s gone from $100 to $50? Everyone knows a decline like that can foreshadow further declines. And look – it happened.” Do investors really make behavioral errors such as those I’ve described? There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence. For example, studies have shown that the average mutual fund investor performs worse than the average mutual fund. How can that be? If she merely held her positions, or if her errors were unsystematic, the average fund investor would, by definition, fare the same as the average fund. For the studies’ findings to occur, investors have to on balance reduce the amount of capital they have in funds that subsequently do better and increase their allocation to funds that go on to do worse. Let me put that another way: on average, mutual fund investors tend to sell the funds with the worst recent performance (missing out on their potential recoveries) in order to chase the funds that have done the best (and thus likely participate in their return to earth). We know that “retail investors” tend to be trend-followers, as described above, and their long-term performance often suffers as a result. What about the pros? Here the evidence is even clearer: the powerful shift in recent decades toward indexing and other forms of passive investing has taken place for the simple reason that active investment decisions are so often wrong. Of course, many forms of error contribute to this reality. Whatever the reason, however, we have to conclude that, on average, active professional investors held more of the things that did less well and less of the things that outperformed, and/or that they bought too much at elevated prices and sold too much at depressed prices. Passive investing hasn’t grown to cover the majority of U.S. equity mutual fund capital because passive results have been so good; I think it’s because active management has been so bad. Back when I worked at First National City Bank 50 years ago, prospective clients used to ask, “What kind of return do you think you can make in an equity portfolio?” The standard answer was 12%. Why? “Well,” we said (so simplistically), “the stock market returns about 10% a year. A little effort should enable us to improve on that by at least 20%.” Of course, as time has shown, there’s no truth in that. “A little effort” didn’t add anything. In fact, in most cases, active investing detracted: most equity funds failed to keep up with the indices, especially after fees. What about the ultimate proof? The essential ingredient in Oaktree’s investments in distressed debt – bargain purchases – has emanated from the great opportunities sellers gave us. Negativity reaches a crescendo during economic and market crises, causing many investors to become depressed or fearful and sell in panic. Results like those we target in distressed debt can only be achieved when holders sell to us at irrationally low prices. Superior investing consists largely of taking advantage of mistakes made by others. Clearly, selling things because they’re down is a mistake that can give the buyers great opportunities. When Should Investors Sell? If you shouldn’t sell things because they’re up, and you shouldn’t sell because they’re down, is it ever right to sell? As I previously mentioned, I described the discussions that took place while Andrew and his family lived with Nancy and me in 2020 in Something of Value. That experience truly was of great value – an unexpected silver lining to the pandemic. That memo evoked the strongest reaction from readers of any of my memos to date. This response was probably attributable to (a) the content, which mostly related to value investing; (b) the personal insights provided, and especially my confession regarding my need to grow with the times; or (c) the recreated conversation that I included as an appendix. The last of these went like this, in part: Howard: Hey, I see XYZ is up xx% this year and selling at a p/e ratio of xx. Are you tempted to take some profits? Andrew: Dad, I’ve told you I’m not a seller. Why would I sell? H: Well, you might sell some here because (a) you’re up so much; (b) you want to put some of the gain “in the books” to make sure you don’t give it all back; and (c) at that valuation, it might be overvalued and precarious. And, of course, (d) no one ever went broke taking a profit. A: Yeah, but on the other hand, (a) I’m a long-term investor, and I don’t think of shares as pieces of paper to trade, but as part ownership in a business; (b) the company still has enormous potential; and (c) I can live with a short-term downward fluctuation, the threat of which is part of what creates opportunities in stocks to begin with. Ultimately, it’s only the long term that matters. (There’s a lot of “a-b-c” in our house. I wonder where Andrew got that.) H: But if it’s potentially overvalued in the short term, shouldn’t you trim your holding and pocket some of the gain? Then if it goes down, (a) you’ve limited your regret and (b) you can buy in lower. A: If I owned a stake in a private company with enormous potential, strong momentum and great management, I would never sell part of it just because someone offered me a full price. Great compounders are extremely hard to find, so it’s usually a mistake to let them go. Also, I think it’s much more straightforward to predict the long-term outcome for a company than short-term price movements, and it doesn’t make sense to trade off a decision in an area of high conviction for one about which you’re limited to low conviction. . . . H: Isn’t there any point where you’d begin to sell? A: In theory there is, but it largely depends on (a) whether the fundamentals are playing out as I hope and (b) how this opportunity compares to the others that are available, taking into account my high level of comfort with this one. Aphorisms like “no one ever went broke taking a profit” may be relevant to people who invest part-time for themselves, but they should have no place in professional investing. There certainly are good reasons for selling, but they have nothing to do with the fear of making mistakes, experiencing regret and looking bad. Rather, these reasons should be based on the outlook for the investment – not the psyche of the investor – and they have to be identified through hardheaded financial analysis, rigor and discipline. Stanford University professor Sidney Cottle was the editor of the later versions of Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd’s Security Analysis, “the bible of value investing,” including the edition I read at Wharton 56 years ago. For that reason, I knew the book as “Graham, Dodd and Cottle.” Sid was a consultant to the investment department at First National City Bank in the 1970s, and I’ve never forgotten his description of investing: “the discipline of relative selection.” In other words, most of the portfolio decisions investors make are relative choices. It’s patently clear that relative considerations should play an enormous part in any decision to sell existing holdings. If your investment thesis seems less valid than it did previously and/or the probability that it will prove accurate has declined, selling some or all of the holding is probably appropriate. Likewise, if another investment comes along that appears to have more promise – to offer a superior risk-adjusted prospective return – it’s reasonable to reduce or eliminate existing holdings to make room for it. Selling an asset is a decision that must not be considered in isolation. Cottle’s concept of “relative selection” highlights the fact that every sale results in proceeds. What will you do with them? Do you have something in mind that you think might produce a superior return? What might you miss by switching to the new investment? And what will you give up if you continue to hold the asset in your portfolio rather than making the change? Or perhaps you don’t plan to reinvest the proceeds. In that case, what’s the likelihood that holding the proceeds in cash will make you better off than you would have been if you had held onto the thing you sold? Questions like these relate to the concept of “opportunity cost,” one of the most important ideas in financial decision-making. Switching gears, what about the idea of selling because you think a temporary dip lies ahead that will affect one of your holdings or the whole market? There are real problems with this approach: Why sell something you think has a positive long-term future to prepare for a dip you expect to be temporary? Doing so introduces one more way to be wrong (of which there are so many), since the decline might not occur. Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, points out that selling for market-timing purposes actually gives an investor two ways to be wrong: the decline may or may not occur, and if it does, you’ll have to figure out when the time is right to go back in. Or maybe it’s three ways, because once you sell, you also have to decide what to do with the proceeds while you wait until the dip occurs and the time comes to get back in. People who avoid declines by selling too often may revel in their brilliance and fail to reinstate their positions at the resulting lows. Thus, even sellers who were right can fail to accomplish anything of lasting value. Lastly, what if you’re wrong and there is no dip? In that case, you’ll miss out on the ensuing gains and either never get back in or do so at higher prices. So it’s generally not a good idea to sell for purposes of market timing. There are very few occasions to do so profitably and very few people who possess the skill needed to take advantage of these opportunities. Before I close on this subject, it’s important to note that decisions to sell aren’t always within an investment manager’s control. Clients can withdraw capital from accounts and funds, necessitating sales, and the limited lifespan of closed-end funds can require managers to liquidate holdings even though they’re not ripe for selling. The choice of what to sell under these conditions can still be based on a manager’s expectations regarding future returns, but deciding not to sell isn’t among the manager’s choices. How Much Is Too Much to Hold? Certainly there are times when it’s right to sell one asset in favor of another based on the idea of relative selection. But we mustn’t do this in a mechanical manner. If we did, at the logical extreme, we would put all of our capital into the one investment we consider the best. Virtually all investors – even the best – diversify their portfolios. We may have a sense for which holding is the absolute best, but I’ve never heard of an investor with a one-asset portfolio. They may overweight favorites to take advantage of what they think they know, but they still diversify to protect against what they don’t know. That means they sub-optimize, potentially trading off some of their chance at a maximal return to increase the likelihood of a merely excellent one. Here’s a related question from my reconstructed conversation with Andrew: H: You run a concentrated portfolio. XYZ was a big position when you invested, and it’s even bigger today, given the appreciation. Intelligent investors concentrate portfolios and hold on to take advantage of what they know, but they diversify holdings and sell as things rise to limit the potential damage from what they don’t know. Hasn’t the growth in this position put our portfolio out of whack in that regard? A: Perhaps that’s true, depending on your goals. But trimming would mean selling something I feel immense comfort with based on my bottom-up assessment and moving into something I feel less good about or know less well (or cash). To me, it’s far better to own a small number of things about which I feel strongly. I’ll only have a few good insights over my lifetime, so I have to maximize the few I have. All professional investors want good investment performance for their clients, but they also want financial success for themselves. And amateurs have to invest within the limits of their risk tolerance. For these reasons, most investors – and certainly most investment managers’ clients – aren’t immune to apprehension regarding portfolio concentration and thus susceptibility to untoward developments. These considerations introduce valid reasons for limiting the size of individual asset purchases and trimming positions as they appreciate. Investors sometimes delegate the decision on how to weight assets in portfolios to a process called portfolio optimization. Inputs regarding asset classes’ return potential, risk and correlation are fed into a computer model, and out comes the portfolio with the optimal expected risk-adjusted return. If an asset appreciates relative to the others, the model can be rerun, and it will tell you what to buy and sell. The main problem with these models lies in the fact that all the data we have regarding those three parameters relates to the past, but to arrive at the ideal portfolio, the model needs data that accurately describes the future. Further, the models need a numerical input for risk, and I absolutely insist that no single number can fully describe an asset’s risk. Thus, optimization models can’t successfully dictate portfolio actions. The bottom line: we should base our investment decisions on our estimates of each asset’s potential, we shouldn’t sell just because the price has risen and the position has swelled, there can be legitimate reasons to limit the size of the positions we hold, but there’s no way to scientifically calculate what those limits should be. In other words, the decision to trim positions or to sell out entirely comes down to judgment . . . like everything else that matters in investing. The Final Word on Selling Most investors try to add value by over- and underweighting specific assets and/or through well-timed buying and selling. While few have demonstrated the ability to consistently do these things correctly (see my comments on active management on page 4), everyone’s free to have a go at it. There is, however, a big “but.” What’s clear to me is that simply being invested is by far “the most important thing.” (Someone should write a book with that title!) Most actively managed portfolios won’t outperform the market as a result of manipulation of portfolio weightings or buying and selling for purposes of market timing. You can try to add to returns by engaging in such machinations, but these actions are unlikely to work at best and can get in the way at worst. Most economies and corporations benefit from positive underlying secular trends, and thus most securities markets rise in most years and certainly over long periods. One of the longest-running U.S. equity indices, the S&P 500, has produced an estimated compound average return over the last 90 years of 10.5% per year. That’s startling performance. It means $1 invested in the S&P 500 90 years ago would have grown to roughly $8,000 today. Many people have remarked on the wonders of compounding. For example, Albert Einstein reportedly called compound interest “the eighth wonder of the world.” If $1 could be invested today at the historic compound return of 10.5% per year, it would grow to $147 in 50 years. One might argue that economic growth will be slower in the years ahead than it was in the past, or that bargain stocks were easier to find in previous periods than they are today. Nevertheless, even if it compounds at just 7%, $1 invested today will grow to over $29 in 50 years. Thus, someone entering adulthood today is practically guaranteed to be well fixed by the time they retire if they merely start investing promptly and avoid tampering with the process by trading. I like the way Bill Miller, one of the great investors of our time, put it in his 3Q 2021 Market Letter: In the post-war period the US stock market has gone up in around 70% of the years... Odds much less favorable than that have made casino owners very rich, yet most investors try to guess the 30% of the time stocks decline, or even worse spend time trying to surf, to no avail, the quarterly up and down waves in the market. Most of the returns in stocks are concentrated in sharp bursts beginning in periods of great pessimism or fear, as we saw most recently in the 2020 pandemic decline. We believe time, not timing, is the key to building wealth in the stock market. (October 18, 2021. Emphasis added) What are the “sharp bursts” Miller talks about? On April 11, 2019, The Motley Fool cited data from JP Morgan Asset Management’s 2019 Retirement Guide showing that in the 20-year period between 1999 and 2018, the annual return on the S&P 500 was 5.6%, but your return would only have been 2.0% if you had sat out the 10 best days (or roughly 0.4% of the trading days), and you wouldn’t have made any money at all if you had missed the 20 best days. In the past, returns have often been similarly concentrated in a small number of days. Nevertheless, overactive investors continue to jump in and out of the market, incurring transactions costs and capital gains taxes and running the risk of missing those “sharp bursts.” As mentioned earlier, investors often engage in selling because they believe a decline is imminent and they have the ability to avoid it. The truth, however, is that buying or holding – even at elevated prices – and experiencing a decline is in itself far from fatal. Usually, every market high is followed by a higher one and, after all, only the long-term return matters. Reducing market exposure through ill-conceived selling – and thus failing to participate fully in the markets’ positive long-term trend – is a cardinal sin in investing. That’s even more true of selling without reason things that have fallen, turning negative fluctuations into permanent losses and missing out on the miracle of long-term compounding. * * * When I meet people for the first time and they find out I’m in the investment business, they often ask (especially in Europe) “what do you trade?” That question makes me bristle. To me, “trading” means jumping in and out of individual assets and whole markets on the basis of guesswork as to what prices will do in the next hour, day, month or quarter. We don’t engage in such activity at Oaktree, and few people have demonstrated the ability to do it well. Rather than traders, we consider ourselves investors. In my view, investing means committing capital to assets based on well-reasoned estimates of their potential and benefitting from the results over the long term. Oaktree does employ people called traders, but their job consists of implementing long-term investment decisions made by portfolio managers based on assets’ fundamentals. No one at Oaktree believes they can make money or advance their career by selling now and buying back after an intervening decline, as opposed to holding for years and letting value lift prices if fundamental expectations prove out. When Oaktree was formed in 1995, the five founders – who at that point had worked together for nine years on average – established an investment philosophy based on what we’d successfully done in that time. One of the six tenets expressed our view on trying to time markets when buying and selling: Because we do not believe in the predictive ability required to correctly time markets, we keep portfolios fully invested whenever attractively priced assets can be bought. Concern about the market climate may cause us to tilt toward more defensive investments, increase selectivity or act more deliberately, but we never move to raise cash. Clients hire us to invest in specific market niches, and we must never fail to do our job. Holding investments that decline in price is unpleasant, but missing out on returns because we failed to buy what we were hired to buy is inexcusable. We’ve never changed any of the six tenets of our investment philosophy – including this one – and we have no plans to do so. January 13, 2022 Updated on Jan 14, 2022, 12:38 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJan 14th, 2022

3 women charged with assaulting Delta employees after flight attendants told them they couldn"t board a flight to Puerto Rico because they were too drunk, prosecutors say

The US Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York said two Delta employees were taken to the hospital following the incident. A Delta aircraft.James D. Morgan/Getty ImagesThree women have been charged with assault in an incident in which they're accused of attacking Delta employees who told them they couldn't board a flight from New York to Puerto Rico because they were too drunk, according to court documents reviewed by Insider.Long Island residents Jordan Nixon, Janessa Torres, and Johara Zavala were arrested on Thursday in connection to a September 22 incident at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to a press release from the US Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York.In the letter to a judge, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said that the women's flight from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico, was delayed nearly five hours on September 22, and surveillance videos and bar receipts show they ordered around nine alcoholic drinks while they waited for their flight. Peace said in the letter that when the women got to their gate, Delta employees determined they should be denied access to their flight because "they were acting belligerent, one of the defendants was refusing to wear her mask properly, and Zavala was visibly disoriented and possibly intoxicated."Delta offered the women an opportunity to rebook the flight later in the day, Peace said. Peace said that the women were then asked to leave the area, and an altercation ensued, during which Nixon is accused of taking a Delta ground security officer's radio and hitting him on the head with it, Torres is accused of stepping on the same security officer, and Zavala is accused of punching a Delta gate agent in the face.According to Peace's letter, flight crews were able to pull one of the employees behind a glass door, but the "three defendants continued to scream and strike at the Flight crew as they attempted to hold the doors closed."The security officer and gate agent were taken to the hospital and have not returned to work since the alleged attack, Peace said in the letter to the judge."The extreme and aggressive behavior in connection with our air travel is out of control," Peace said in a statement. "This Office has zero tolerance for violent conduct that threatens the safety of airline passengers and employees and will prosecute defendants who allegedly engage in such conduct to the fullest extent of the law."Delta did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Peace requested on Thursday that the bail for each defendant be set at $50,000 ahead of their arraignments. If convicted, the three women face up to 10 years in prison.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 14th, 2022

Which Companies Won or Lost Your Affection During Pandemic?

    Did any particular company win your affections during the pandemic? What shops might you have fallen in or out of love with? Who performed admirably under challenging circumstances? Who stunk the joint up? Since lockdown began ~March 2020, I have been observing relationships between consumers and companies. After all, companies are managed by… Read More The post Which Companies Won or Lost Your Affection During Pandemic? appeared first on The Big Picture.     Did any particular company win your affections during the pandemic? What shops might you have fallen in or out of love with? Who performed admirably under challenging circumstances? Who stunk the joint up? Since lockdown began ~March 2020, I have been observing relationships between consumers and companies. After all, companies are managed by people, and people occasionally have lapses in judgment. Every now and again, a company is blind to its relationship with its customers and stumbles. How they respond when these errors are pointed out says a lot about its management team, and how they think about their relationship with the people who keep them in business. There were some broad policy changes and corporate behaviors that altered how some companies interacted with their customers (and society). I wonder how much this has impacted whether or not some customers want to vote with their dollars to encourage that company to keep doing what they are doing — or not. Note I am not discussing a single slight to any one person (What is more tone-deaf than a celeb whining on Twitter about flight delays to airline Twitter accounts?) Where are people “feeling the love” – or not? The pandemic has created very specific winners and losers – but I suspect we have yet to realize the long-term effects of how sentiment might have shifted over time. A few companies that stood out; here are my  subjective observations: Delta: Travel (and espeically airlines) were among the first companies to get hit by lockdowns. Airline had few options, but I greatly appreciate how some – in particular Delta – responded: Their CEO emailed travelers that COVID cancelled flights would be refunded or you could choose to receive a credit in perpetuity (this was greatly appreciated). Frequent flyer miles would continue indefinitely; your flight status (Silver Medallion!) would be rolled over (meaning you wouldn’t be penalized for any lack of flying in 2020). It was just smart customer relations by $DAL, and I will remember that the next time I have to book a flight. Starbucks: I am a long-time consumer of Starbucks coffee (and their breakfasts). When we moved offices a few years ago from the Park Ave South region over to the Bryant Park, I had to shift my local Starbucks. What a difference 3 blocks makes: It always took longer to get an order, even pre-ordering with the app. My favorite breakfast (egg whites / turkey bacon on English muffin) was out of stock four of five days; it’s amazing the difference service and competency a few avenues made. I share that to let you know I was primed pre-pandemic to be disappointed by $SBUX A few articles about how successful the company was with their app and gift cards and how much money their customers had lent to them (note: this was old news) kind of piqued my curiosity. Rather than being grateful for free capital, Starbucks kicked off the pandemic by telling app users their Starbucks points (which had already become much chintzier than they once were) were soon expiring. What a thoughtless way to respond to the pandemic! It was the last straw for me, and – Adios muchachos! – I deleted my Starbucks app. The company has gradually moved away from what made them so successful in the first place. I am not angry, its more of a disappointed shrug. As my buddy Todd Harrison always points out, the opposite of Love is not Hate, its indifference. And that is how I now feel about them. I’m not suggesting anyone boycott Starbucks, I’ll still go, just far less frequently than I used to. They no longer give me the warm fuzzies they once did. Amazon: A funny thing happened during the pandemic: Amazon no longer was my automatic choice for online retail purchases. Pre-pandemic, I’d hit Amazon.com automatically for nearly everything, never thinking twice about it. But during lockdown with items in short supply, I began searching and finding things elsewhere, often at significantly better prices. For the longest time, Amazon was THE low-cost provider; today, this is no longer true. The site is filled with third parties often of dubious quality, occasionally price gouging. Every page is overwhelmed with ugly advertising – and often for the wrong item. It was once a huge advantage having your credit card + address information on file but because of the decline of the entire Amazon experience, people set up accounts at competitors: Chewy, Walmart, target, Google Wallet, lots more. Don’t get me wrong: Amazon will still be the beneficiary of my online spending; but the pandemic has led me to lots of new relationships with many other companies. Assuming others did the same, the net result will be declining Amazon market share over the next decade. YouTube: We all understand Netflix and Amazon Prime and HBO Max, and I thought I understood YouTube. But over the past two years, I have been continually astonished by the breadth and depth of YouTube’s massive collection of videos. My appreciation for what they have created continues to grow and compound. It is nothing short of astonishing. Pre-pandemic, I spent time on a handful of automobile and music videos. Today, I use the site as a resource for cooking, home repairs, figuring out how to change the date on an antique watch, adjusting the carburetor an old Vette, building a bat house, installing nerf bars on the Jeep, potty training a puppy, just about anything you want to learn how to do. And that’s before we get to endless entertainment and education choices. Whatever I previously thought about YouTube, its probably 100X that size. Amazing! What’s App/Google Translate/World Remit/Remitly: I mentioned this previously, but What’sApp ($FB) combined with Google Translate ($GOOG) and global transfer apps has made it very easy to do busines around the world. This made specific overseas sales, purchases, shipping, etc. possible. Just a decade ago, this required incredible expertise and resources. Today, there is an app for that. Local Restaurants: Restaurants were hard hit by pandemic, and we have been saddened by the loss of some that were like old friends to us. But a lot of restaurants exhibited entrepreneurship and savvy as they adapted as best as they could to a challenging set of circumstances. Some built sidewalk sheds, others filled their patios with gas heaters, and all of the survivors tacked towards take out. I have been especially impressed and how productive and efficient some restaurants have become at this. One of our favorable local joints separate the burger from the bun, fixins, and fries to keep everything from getting soggy. Others do something similar with all of their dishes. the effort has not gone unnoticed. Even when you’re doing takeout, you should always tip generously as much of the staff at restaurants are paid via gratuities. Others had mixed results: I was furious at Toyota for being one of the first car companies to back the insurrectionists in Congress, but other car companies (like Ford) soon followed. Live Nation/TicketMaster did pretty okay and they barely stayed alive, but I heard of people who had much worse experiences than I did. There were lots of companies that donated to local food banks and generally were good corporate citizens, but there were too many exceptions to that observations. What companies impressed you over the past year or two? Which ones disappointed you?     Previously: The Cutting Edge (September 30, 2021) America’s CEOs Are Having a Good Year (February 19, 2021)   The post Which Companies Won or Lost Your Affection During Pandemic? appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureJan 13th, 2022

Videos show that Tesla"s Cyberquad for kids is starting to arrive — and the sold-out toy is selling for as much as $4,000 on Ebay

After Tesla's Cyberquad for kids sold out, resellers on eBay are betting that people are willing to pay as much as $5,000 for the product. Tesla Tesla's Cyberquad for kids is being listed on eBay for over twice its original price. The electric carmaker began taking orders for the product on Dec. 6 and it sold out within a week. Several YouTubers posted videos unboxing the ATVs this week. After Tesla's Cyberquad for kids sold out, resellers on eBay are betting that people are willing to pay as much as $5,000 for the product, with some completed listings going for as high as $4,000.Tesla launched the quad bike in December and listed it for $1,900 on its website.  The product sold out within a week.The ATV is marketed toward children ages eight and up and has a top speed of 10 miles per hour. As of Thursday morning, there were over 40 listings on eBay for the product with prices ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 and over 60 Cyberquads appear to have already sold, including dozens for over $3,000.Earlier this week, multiple YouTuber's began posting unboxing videos of the product. Three YouTubers said the Cyberquad took about two hours to put together straight out of its box. The quad bike is made in the same angled style as Tesla's highly anticipated Cybertruck. When Tesla first revealed its Cybertruck in 2019, it also announced it would produce a full-sized two-seater ATV called the Cyberquad, which could be purchased alongside the truck. One YouTuber decided to try out the cyberquad for kids, which has a 150 pound weight limit, himself.The ATV has a lithium-ion battery that can run for about 15 miles and takes about five hours to reach a full charge, according to Tesla's site.One gaming content creator shared a TikTok video of his son frolicking with the new Cyberquad. @lozadamiguel #tesla #teslacybertruck #teslacyberquad #teslacyberquadforkids #cyberquad #gamergoals ♬ Ruff Ryders' Anthem (Re-Recorded / Remastered) - DMX  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

MI5 issues a rare statement naming a woman it suspects is a Chinese agent and warning British politicians to avoid her

MI5 has named a solicitor, Christine Lee, as carrying out political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party. A view of the Houses of Parliament from Westminster Bridge.(Photo by Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) MPs have been warned by MI5 about a woman suspected of working with the Chinese Communist Party. Christine Lee, a solicitor in London, was named as engaging in political interference activities. Lee's firm has given more than £427,000 to Labour MP Barry Gardiner since 2015, records show. MI5 has issued a rare warning to British politicians to avoid a woman suspected of being a Chinese agent.In a letter to British parliamentarians sent on Thursday, the UK's Security Service named Christine Lee, a solicitor, as having "knowingly engaged in political interference activities" on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.Electoral Commission records show Lee's firm has given more than £427,000 in financial support to Labour MP Barry Gardiner since 2015.Lee's son has worked for Gardiner as a parliamentary aide, the Daily Mail reported, in what Gardiner described as an "open appointment process," and he said the son was given the job "on merit."MP Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and chair of the China Research Group, told Insider: "Our security services are rightly focussed on state threats in the UK. It is clear that the challenge from Beijing is increasing and we need to defend our democracy against hostile activity."The woman's law firm, with offices in London, Birmingham, and Beijing, was chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy in London, the Times reported.The alert, sent to Insider by a Westminster source, can be seen below.Alert sent to parliamentarians. The name and contact detail for the point of contact has been redacted by Insider.Security ServiceA spokeswoman for the Speaker's office said: "The Speaker takes the security of Members and the democratic process very seriously, which is why he issued this notice in consultation with the security services. There is no further comment on this matter."Gardiner's office has been contacted for comment. A spokesperson at Lee's office in London said she was not available at the moment.This is a developing story.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

MI5 issues a rare statement naming a woman they suspect is a Chinese agent and warning British politicians to avoid her

MI5 has named a solicitor, Christine Lee, as carrying out political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party. A view of the Houses of Parliament from Westminster Bridge.(Photo by Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) MPs have been warned by MI5 of the activities of an individual working with the Chinese Communist Party. Christine Lee, a solicitor with offices in London, was named as engaging in political interference activities. Lee's firm has given more than £427,000 in financial support to Labour MP Barry Gardiner since 2015, Electoral Commission records show. MI5 has issued a rare warning to British politicians to avoid a woman suspected of being a Chinese agent.In a letter to British parliamentarians sent on Thursday, the UK's Security Service named Christine Lee, a solicitor, as having "knowingly engaged in political interference activities" on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.Electoral Commission records show Lee has given more than £427,000 in financial support to Labour MP Barry Gardiner since 2015.Lee's son has worked for Gardiner as a Parliamentary aide, the Daily Mail reported, in what Gardiner described as an "open appointment process", given the job "on merit".Tom Tugendhat MP, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and chair of the China Research Group, told Insider: "Our security services are rightly focussed on state threats in the UK.It is clear that the challenge from Beijing is increasing and we need to defend our democracy against hostile activity."Her law firm, with offices in London, Birmingham, and Beijing, was chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy in London, the Times reported.The alert, sent to Insider by a Westminster source, can be seen below.Alert sent to Parliamentarians. The name and contact detail for the point of contact has been redacted by Insider.Security ServiceA spokeswoman for the Speaker's office said: 'The Speaker takes the security of Members and the democratic process very seriously, which is why he issued this notice in consultation with the security services. There is no further comment on this matter.'Gardiner's office has been contacted for comment. A spokesperson at Lee's offices in London said she was not presently available.This is a developing story...Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

Fact-checking orgs have called out YouTube for allowing itself to be "weaponized," and say the video platform hasn"t done enough to combat fake news

In an open letter, the fact-checking groups said YouTube "has so far framed discussions about disinformation as a false dichotomy of deleting or not deleting content." A group of fact checkers says YouTube needs to do more to combat disinformation and misinformation.Sean Gallup/Getty Images More than 80 fact-checking groups from around the world called on YouTube to do more to combat disinformation.  They say the company "is allowing its platform to be weaponized by unscrupulous actors." The situation is particularly pronounced with non-English content and in the Global South, they said. A global coalition of around 80 fact-checking groups has called out YouTube for being a significant conduit of disinformation and misinformation. In an open letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, the fact checkers said they do not see "much effort by YouTube to implement policies that address the problem.""On the contrary, YouTube is allowing its platform to be weaponized by unscrupulous actors to manipulate and exploit others, and to organize and fundraise themselves," the letter said. Fact-checking organizations that signed the document include Washington Post's Fact Checker, PolitiFact, and Full Fact in the UK.The letter highlighted groups such as "Doctors for the Truth," which spread COVID-19 misinformation. The movement started in Germany before moving to Spain and Latin America, "all on Youtube," said the group.The fact checkers also cited videos interfering with elections in various parts of the world, and those pushing the false US election fraud narrative.The situation is particularly pronounced with non-English content and in the Global South — a region that includes Latin America, Asia, and Africa.YouTube community guidelines state that "certain types of misleading or deceptive content with serious risk of egregious harm" are not allowed. They include content promoting harmful remedies or treatments.YouTube said in a blog post last September it was banning all anti-vaccine content on its platform and would remove videos that characterize well-known approved vaccines as being harmful.The group said instead of deleting videos, YouTube should work with fact checkers to provide context and offer debunks, as studies show that showing fact-checked information is more effective than removing content.  YouTube's parent company Google did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Company spokesperson Elena Hernandez told the Associated Press that YouTube has "invested heavily in policies and products in all countries we operate to connect people to authoritative content, reduce the spread of borderline misinformation, and remove violative videos."She said while fact-checking is "a crucial tool to help viewers make their own informed decisions," it is just "one piece of a much larger puzzle to address the spread of misinformation," per the AP.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

What Companies Won or Lost Your Affection During Pandemic?

    Did any particular company win your affections during the pandemic? What shops might you have fallen in or out of love with? Who performed admirably under challenging circumstances? Who stunk the joint up? Since lockdown began ~March 2020, I have been observing relationships between consumers and companies. After all, companies are managed by… Read More The post What Companies Won or Lost Your Affection During Pandemic? appeared first on The Big Picture.     Did any particular company win your affections during the pandemic? What shops might you have fallen in or out of love with? Who performed admirably under challenging circumstances? Who stunk the joint up? Since lockdown began ~March 2020, I have been observing relationships between consumers and companies. After all, companies are managed by people, and people occasionally have lapses in judgment. Every now and again, a company is blind to its relationship with its customers and stumbles. How they respond when these errors are pointed out says a lot about its management team, and how they think about their relationship with the people who keep them in business. There were some broad policy changes and corporate behaviors that altered how some companies interacted with their customers (and society). I wonder how much this has impacted whether or not some customers want to vote with their dollars to encourage that company to keep doing what they are doing — or not. Note I am not discussing a single slight to any one person (What is more tone-deaf than a celeb whining on Twitter about flight delays to airline Twitter accounts?) Where are people “feeling the love” – or not? The pandemic has created very specific winners and losers – but I suspect we have yet to realize the long-term effects of how sentiment might have shifted over time. A few companies that stood out; here are my  subjective observations: Delta: Travel (and espeically airlines) were among the first companies to get hit by lockdowns. Airline had few options, but I greatly appreciate how some – in particular Delta – responded: Their CEO emailed travelers that COVID cancelled flights would be refunded or you could choose to receive a credit in perpetuity (this was greatly appreciated). Frequent flyer miles would continue indefinitely; your flight status (Silver Medallion!) would be rolled over (meaning you wouldn’t be penalized for any lack of flying in 2020). It was just smart customer relations by $DAL, and I will remember that the next time I have to book a flight. Starbucks: I am a long-time consumer of Starbucks coffee (and their breakfasts). When we moved offices a few years ago from the Park Ave South region over to the Bryant Park, I had to shift my local Starbucks. What a difference 3 blocks makes: It always took longer to get an order, even pre-ordering with the app. My favorite breakfast (egg whites / turkey bacon on English muffin) was out of stock four of five days; it’s amazing the difference service and competency a few avenues made. I share that to let you know I was primed pre-pandemic to be disappointed by $SBUX A few articles about how successful the company was with their app and gift cards and how much money their customers had lent to them (note: this was old news) kind of piqued my curiosity. Rather than being grateful for free capital, Starbucks kicked off the pandemic by telling app users their Starbucks points (which had already become much chintzier than they once were) were soon expiring. What a thoughtless way to respond to the pandemic! It was the last straw for me, and – Adios muchachos! – I deleted my Starbucks app. The company has gradually moved away from what made them so successful in the first place. I am not angry, its more of a disappointed shrug. As my buddy Todd Harrison always points out, the opposite of Love is not Hate, its indifference. And that is how I now feel about them. I’m not suggesting anyone boycott Starbucks, I’ll still go, just far less frequently than I used to. They no longer give me the warm fuzzies they once did. Amazon: A funny thing happened during the pandemic: Amazon no longer was my automatic choice for online retail purchases. Pre-pandemic, I’d hit Amazon.com automatically for nearly everything, never thinking twice about it. But during lockdown with items in short supply, I began searching and finding things elsewhere, often at significantly better prices. For the longest time, Amazon was THE low-cost provider; today, this is no longer true. The site is filled with third parties often of dubious quality, occasionally price gouging. Every page is overwhelmed with ugly advertising – and often for the wrong item. It was once a huge advantage having your credit card + address information on file but because of the decline of the entire Amazon experience, people set up accounts at competitors: Chewy, Walmart, target, Google Wallet, lots more. Don’t get me wrong: Amazon will still be the beneficiary of my online spending; but the pandemic has led me to lots of new relationships with many other companies. Assuming others did the same, the net result will be declining Amazon market share over the next decade. YouTube: We all understand Netflix and Amazon Prime and HBO Max, and I thought I understood YouTube. But over the past two years, I have been continually astonished by the breadth and depth of YouTube’s massive collection of videos. My appreciation for what they have created continues to grow and compound. It is nothing short of astonishing. Pre-pandemic, I spent time on a handful of automobile and music videos. Today, I use the site as a resource for cooking, home repairs, figuring out how to change the date on an antique watch, adjusting the carburetor an old Vette, building a bat house, installing nerf bars on the Jeep, potty training a puppy, just about anything you want to learn how to do. And that’s before we get to endless entertainment and education choices. Whatever I previously thought about YouTube, its probably 100X that size. Amazing! What’s App/Google Translate/World Remit/Remitly: I mentioned this previously, but What’sApp ($FB) combined with Google Translate ($GOOG) and global transfer apps has made it very easy to do busines around the world. This made specific overseas sales, purchases, shipping, etc. possible. Just a decade ago, this required incredible expertise and resources. Today, there is an app for that. Local Restaurants: Restaurants were hard hit by pandemic, and we have been saddened by the loss of some that were like old friends to us. But a lot of restaurants exhibited entrepreneurship and savvy as they adapted as best as they could to a challenging set of circumstances. Some built sidewalk sheds, others filled their patios with gas heaters, and all of the survivors tacked towards take out. I have been especially impressed and how productive and efficient some restaurants have become at this. One of our favorable local joints separate the burger from the bun, fixins, and fries to keep everything from getting soggy. Others do something similar with all of their dishes. the effort has not gone unnoticed. Even when you’re doing takeout, you should always tip generously as much of the staff at restaurants are paid via gratuities. Others had mixed results: I was furious at Toyota for being one of the first car companies to back the insurrectionists in Congress, but other car companies (like Ford) soon followed. Live Nation/TicketMaster did pretty okay and they barely stayed alive, but I heard of people who had much worse experiences than I did. There were lots of companies that donated to local food banks and generally were good corporate citizens, but there were too many exceptions to that observations. What companies impressed you over the past year or two? Which ones disappointed you?     Previously: The Cutting Edge (September 30, 2021) America’s CEOs Are Having a Good Year (February 19, 2021)   The post What Companies Won or Lost Your Affection During Pandemic? appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureJan 13th, 2022