By Paul O' Donnell, CNBC.com
Sitting On a Small Fortune
While stock markets have mostly marched crabwise for the past decade, the trade in fine modern furniture has boomed.
A Jean Prouve banquette"There were five stores like mine in the city 10 years ago," says James Elkind, owner of Lost City Arts, a purveyor of 20th century furniture in New York's Greenwich Village. "Now there are at least 50 in Manhattan alone."
These businesses are still bustling for a good reason, adds Elkind. "It's one of the few areas that didn't decline as precipitously as other forms of investment."
It might seem strange to consider furniture collecting - furniture made in recent memory, especially - as an alternative for active investors. Isn't the point to hold onto the stuff until it's an antique?
For most of the 20th century, that proposition was true. "Blue chip" furniture was equated with FFF, or fine French furniture - not just old, but ancien regime. You inherited the stuff, or else you announced that you arrived by
Blog Posts by CNBC
By Paul O' Donnell, CNBC.comRead More »from Sitting on a Small Fortune
By Phil LeBeau, CNBC.comRead More »from Are We Safe Drivers? Americans Say Yes
Are We Safe Drivers? Americans Say Yes
Progressive Insurance has a new poll out that reveals what Americans think about their own driving.Given the steady flow of headlines about distracted driving and how American drivers seem more interested in everything but staying focused behind the wheel, a new study on how we see ourselves paints an interesting picture.
Progressive Insurance commissioned Harris Interactive to poll just over a thousand Americans about their driving habits.
Here's how those drivers view themselves behind the wheel:
-84 percent of drivers define themselves as cautious (49%) or defensive (35%)
-82 percent of those surveyed said they either leave at least two car lengths between their car and the car in front of them (49 percent) or follow the 2-3 second rule (33 percent).
-Approaching a yellow light, two-thirds of drivers (63 percent) say they slow down and prepare to come to a full stop.
-In the past three years, 72 percent of drivers have not been in an accident or received a moving -violation.
Progressive Insurance says the
By Colleen Kane, CNBC.comRead More »from Successes that Almost Weren't
It's Business 101.
Anyone who has ever tried to achieve a goal knows rejection and failure are a normal and healthy part of the process. It's more prevalent in some occupations, especially in the arts (and particularly among, ahem, writers).
The following examples show a pattern: Persistence pays off. Woody Allen said, "Ninety percent of life is just showing up." But judging from the tales ahead, perhaps an amendment to this quote is in order: "Ninety percent of success is showing up, and showing up and showing up."
See the Slideshow: Successes That Almost Weren't
As for the parties doing the rejecting, for those who shy from the new and different, refusal to look ahead can mean being left in the dust. When a struggling Bell Telephone offered the sale of its patents to Western Union, the famous reply rejecting the offer makes for an entertaining read today: "Why would any person want to use this ungainly and impractical device when he can send a messenger
By Margo D. Beller, CNBC.comRead More »from Sur La Table Stokes the US Food Obsession
Couples DiningAmerica's obsession with food and restaurant-style meals they can make at home are cooking up some fine holiday sales at Sur la Table, CEO Jack Schwefel told CNBC Tuesday.
Unlike Williams-Sonoma, which he said is a great place to buy a cooking-related gift, his privately held company is "a hardware store for cooks, where people who really get excited about cooking come because of our breadth of assortment" and the employees who show them how to use the products.
Television's Food Network, supermarkets including Whole Foods and the ubiquitous Martha Stewart "opened up everyone's eyes for what could be and what you can do at home. Many people go out to eat, have a great meal and say, 'I can do that at home now,' and we're here to help provide the tools to do that."
He said the company, with 92 stores, did very well over the Black Friday weekend.
"It's been an interesting season so far," he said. "It remains to be seen how strong this holiday season is"
By Coeli Carr, CNBC.comRead More »from Vintage Makeup: A Thing of the Present
"I want to preserve the idea of makeup as a ritual." - Gabriela Hernandez CEO, Besame Cosmetics
Bésame Cosmetics is ready for its close-up.
Vintage-inspired cosmetics.The vintage-inspired cosmetics company couldn't have asked for a more authentic platform to display its products. They are in full view, displayed on a vanity table in "The Artist," a film that was recently voted this year's best movie by the New York Film Critics Circle and by many accounts is on the fast-track to an Oscar nomination.
"It was an authentic vanity, and our products looked like they belonged there," said Bésame Cosmetics CEO Gabriela Hernandez. She said the movie's props manager, who knew about Bésame, had approached her for products and historical information during the production of the film and decided to use her products in a scene. The film is set in 1927 Hollywood.
It was the products' authentic packaging that helped seal the deal to get her products in the film, which have also been featured in the
By Valerie Reiss, CNBC.comRead More »from Holiday Gifts....That Give Back
Gifts That Keep On Giving
Are you looking for more meaningful gifts this holiday season? One way to do that is to pick a present that not only surprises your loved ones, but also gives back by helping those in need.
We've rounded up gift ideas that will be enjoyed by a range of recipients - from women to men to the kiddos - that also donate to a wide array of charitable causes. These charities use a portion of the profits from their products to support causes, such as employing women in war-torn Uganda, teaching kids in U.S. cities to write, finding medical cures, and more.
See the slideshow: Holiday Gifts That Give Back
So that pretty necklace? It makes her look great and gives people hope. Now that's a trend worth following.
Check out some ideas for holiday presents that keep on giving, and double your generosity with a single gift.
TOMS SunglassesA Bright Future
You may have heard of TOMS one-for-one footwear program: The company has donated more than one million
By John Carney, CNBC.comRead More »from Why Do Men Avoid Women Who Negotiate?
Women are often paid less than men because women tend not to negotiate their salaries.
The common response to this is to tell women to negotiate more. The trouble, however, is that men seem to be biased against women who negotiate.
.Kevin Drum at The Nation describes a study on the subject.
Their study...found that women's reluctance [to negotiate] was based on an entirely reasonable and accurate view of how they were likely to be treated if they did...."What we found across all the studies is men were always less willing to work with a woman who had attempted to negotiate than with a woman who did not," Bowles said. "They always preferred to work with a woman who stayed mum. But it made no difference to the men whether a guy had chosen to negotiate or not."
Megan McArdle at The Atlantic adds:
When I was in business school, I learned about a case that had been run experimentally. I may hash some of the details, but the gist is that half the classes that
By Christina Cheddar Berk, CNBC.comRead More »from Why Can’t a Woman Shop More like a Man?
Not surprisingly, the way men and women shop online mirrors very closely how they shop offline, according to Andrew Robertson, CEO at advertising agency BBDO.
The differences in how men and women shop online mirror very closely how they shop offline, says BBDO CEO Andrew Robertson.Men tend to be very task-focused when they shop online, Robertson said. "They don't shop, they hunt," he said, adding that they tend to make purchases at night.
Women, however, tend to think of shopping as "a journey" and they are more likely to buy during their lunch breaks between noon and 1 p.m., he said.
The result: When it comes time to make a purchase, men shop online for an average of 10 minutes before they complete their purchase, while a woman may take about 14 minutes or so - or about 40 percent longer.
So why can't a woman shop more like a man? The answer is: she can. But that tends to occur when the pressure is on to make a speedy purchase. For example, on a day like Black Friday or Cyber Monday the gender gap narrows, according to Robertson.
He thinks retailers need to keep
By Cindy Perman, CNBC.comRead More »from The Most Shocking Thing People Steal
Want to know how the economy's doing? Check the meat aisle.
.In the middle of the recession, grocery stores were slashing prices on everything, including high-end food items - some offered lobster at lunchmeat prices and others offered steak for $5.
That all seemed pretty shocking, but the situation seems to have gotten even worse. Now, filet mignon has made the top 10 list of things people shoplift, according to a list compiled by Adweek.
There are some predictable items on the list - like booze, razor blades and Elmo dolls.
But filet mignon?
Yep. Police say that choice cuts of meat are the most common thing people steal at grocery stores. And, for that matter, grocery stores are the No. 1 place thieves go to steal. The loss rate for "luxury meat," as it's called, jumped 21 percent between 2009 and 2011, according to Justice Department statistics.
A pack of gum or razor blades? Easy to toss into your pocket. But how do you just casually slip a drippy
By Katie Little, CNBC.comRead More »from Stupid or Cool? 10 Gift Ideas
Have a friend who would squeal with joy at receiving bacon-scented soap? How about a relative who's always dreamed of owning a Barack Obama Chia pet?
Well, you're in luck. Retailers are selling another batch of gag gifts this year that may be perfect for those on your list whose sense of humor is slightly off the beaten path.
But we're still on the fence about whether these gifts are on the cool side of stupid or the stupid side of cool. It's a tough call.
See the slideshow: You Decide -- Stupid or Cool? 10 Gift Ideas
We've scoured the Web, searching everywhere from ThinkGeek.com to the aptly named PerpetualKid.com to the Home Shopping Network, to find some ideas for the jokester on your list.
Many gifts were pretty far-fetched, but mostly they just made us giggle.
We came up with 10 of the wackiest gift ideas for the upcoming holidays - everything from instant underpants to a Harry Potter remote control.
But as we said, it's a close one. So, you pick: