Roger Daltrey says fame has cost him friends

The Who frontman became a global star in the 1960s with the rock band’s success but he admits it distanced him from his old pals.
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Coronavirus: The human cost of virus misinformation

A BBC team tracking coronavirus misinformation has found links to assaults, arson and deaths – and the potential for even greater indirect harm.
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Facebook will allow half its staff to work from home permanently, but it will come at a cost

Facebook says it is going to permanently embrace remote working once the coronavirus pandemic ends – but this could come at a cost for employees.
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Tesla's 'full self-driving' package will cost $1,000 more by July

Tesla's 'full self-driving' package will cost $  1,000 more by JulyHe also said that the package’s value would be in excess of $ 100,000 at that point.



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Elon Musk: Tesla raises cost of ‘self-driving’ cars

Elon Musk hikes the price of Tesla’s “self-driving” option by $ 1,000 and says it will continue to rise.
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Coronavirus: Amazon to make face shields and sell at cost

The online retailer will sell protective equipment without making a profit in the United States.
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Coronavirus: Amazon to make face shields and sell at cost

The online retailer will sell protective equipment without making a profit in the United States.
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50 Cent: ‘Fame and greed cost me relationship with eldest son’

Although 50 doesn’t keep in touch with Marquise, he is close to his seven-year-old son Sire, whom he fathered with model Daphne Joy.
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Analysis: Sports vanishing to cost at least $12B

The meltdown is historic, touching every sector of the $ 100 billion U.S. sports industry.
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DJI's Mavic Air 2 will reportedly cost $799

DJI's Mavic Air 2 will reportedly cost $  799According to the publication, a DJI partner site accidentally posted Mavic Air 2’s photos and price — it’ll cost $ 799 like the first Mavic Air — under a different drone.



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How one hit cost an NFL player $1 million

It came on a routine play. When Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers hit the Ravens center, Matt Skura felt the pain of the NFL’s brutal unpredictability — and the resulting financial reality.
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Dyson straighteners’ cost will make your hair curl

The product uses flexible plates to protect hair but manufacturing has been affected by coronavirus.
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New York's Governor Cuomo requires insurers to waive cost sharing for COVID-19 tests

New York's Governor Cuomo requires insurers to waive cost sharing for COVID-19 testsIn a move that other states might want to emulate, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said that the state’s Department of Financial Services is requiring health insurers in the state to waive cost sharing associated with testing for the new coronavirus, COVID-19. The Governor also said that New Yorkers receiving Medicaid coverage will not be expected to pay a co-pay for any testing related to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Any tests that are being conducted at the State’s Wadsworth Lab are fully covered.



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Dame furious after missed call: ‘Cost us a game’

Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers were livid Friday night after a missed goaltending violation at the end of their game against the Utah Jazz denied the Blazers a shot at tying things up.
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In Jerry Jones’ ‘lost’ years, Jason Garrett will be defining lesson about cost of patience for the Cowboys

Garrett-era guys like Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith and others will largely be remembered as relics in the “lost” years of Jerry Jones lore — a span that is now 24 years and running without a single Super Bowl berth. For many Cowboys fans, that will be depressing. For Jones, it had better be instructive.

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Jacqueline Jossa’s husband apologises for ‘mistakes that almost cost me my family’

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! winner Jacqueline Jossa’s husband Dan Osborne has issued a public apology for his “mistakes” following allegations of cheating.
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‘My $19 Uber ride cost 100 times that’

Passengers reportedly paid 100 times more than they should have after Uber’s payments system goes awry.
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5 Times Kendall Jenner’s Clothes Cost More Than Your Rent

For all the times Kendall Jenner steps out in something affordable, there are dozens of times when she wears $ 2,550 T-shirts. Whether or not she paid for these things (and we have a feeling she did not), the fact that $ 995 sweatpants exist is a bit of a mystery to us. 

We know that the reality star has made a very successful career for herself as a model, but it still pains us when we see her in a garment that cost more than our rent. We officially give up — we can’t keep up with the Kardashians. 

Also on HuffPost:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




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5 Times Kendall Jenner’s Clothes Cost More Than Your Rent

For all the times Kendall Jenner steps out in something affordable, there are dozens of times when she wears $ 2,550 T-shirts. Whether or not she paid for these things (and we have a feeling she did not), the fact that $ 995 sweatpants exist is a bit of a mystery to us. 

We know that the reality star has made a very successful career for herself as a model, but it still pains us when we see her in a garment that cost more than our rent. We officially give up — we can’t keep up with the Kardashians. 

Also on HuffPost:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




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10 Fun Fall Date Ideas That Cost Less Than $25

This fall, there are plenty of enjoyable ways to spend a day or night with your special someone that don’t include dropping a fortune on a five-course meal. Try these fun date ideas that will bring you closer, all less than $ 25!


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Slavery vs. Freedom?: A Cost Analysis

Is there an advantage to being a slave rather than a minimum wage worker, who lives on a subsistence salary? A slave is a piece of property that needs to be maintained, just like a car or tractor. Hence from a health point of view, the situation of the slave is better than that of many workers in America, who still struggle with health costs, despite the advances of Obamacare.

A slave, like a pet, also has to be fed and treated with plenty of TLC, otherwise it will become squirrelly and indolent. Repeated punishments and beatings have not been found to increase the effectiveness of slaves. Minimum wage workers, however, require little TLC. If a worker in a fast food joint doesn’t perform his job, there’s always a replacement waiting in the wings. Of course, freedom is the one thing that slaves don’t have. Everyone talks about freedom and dreams of it, but once it arrives its benefits fall far short of the promise that was once held out. Sure it’s nice to be free, but freedom like independence means that you end up having to fend for yourself. It’s nice to be free if you can hack it, but if you end up having a hard time in an increasingly competitive marketplace, then you may want think about relinquishing your freedom.

In general, when you create a spreadsheet and list all the pluses and minuses of freedom versus slavery, you’re going to find that it’s a very close call. Would you rather be enslaved by a relatively nice owner, say a Thomas Jefferson type, or work for McDonald’s for the rest of your life?

This was originally submitted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy’s blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




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Cost of Capital

Cost of Capital


Praise for Fourth Edition of Cost of Capital Workbook and Technical Supplement “Pratt and Grabowski went the extra mile to supplement their magnum opus by providing this Workbook and Technical Supplement. As a finance professor for many years, I know from experience that students and teachers really value supplements to textbooks. It allows the teacher to help the student to review and apply what was presented in the text, and the PowerPoints are a great service to teachers in course preparation. The website provides various worksheets that show the inner workings of the models. I enthusiastically recommend the Workbook and Technical Supplement to finance professors and teachers and their students. -Daniel L. McConaughy, PhD, ASA, Professor of Finance, California State University, Northridge, Valuation Services, Crowe Horwath LLP “The Workbook and Technical Supplement provides a detailed tutorial on understanding and executing the theoretical concepts explained in the Fourth Edition. This supplement is three books in one. Part One is a step-by-step tutorial on estimating certain key components of the cost of equity capital. Part Two provides a bridge between the theory and some practical applications, such as estimating the cost of capital for real property. Parts Three and Four allow the readers to test their comprehension of the concepts and identify areas for a review. It is almost as good as having Professors Pratt and Grabowski looking over your shoulder to ensure that one is both comprehending and correctly implementing the complex concepts.” -Ashok Abbott, PhD, Associate Professor of Finance, College of Business & Economics, West Virginia University “This text provides the most comprehensive coverage of cost of capital issues that I have seen to date. Messrs. Pratt and Grabowski have created a very accessible and lucid treatment of what most would consider an opaque subject. The Fourth Edition is especially important for its new topics as well as expanded co

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The Future of Fashion: Earth Day, Fash Rev, True Cost

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It feels like divine momentum that Earth Day and Fash Rev Day are only 24 hrs apart. A multitude of good can spring from even the most dire circumstances — so how can we best harness the energy of change?

By becoming it, Baby. As individuals, we can consciously decide what we allow into our space; we can vote with our $ , supporting what we value & want to see flourish; we can stand up for the beauty of both our planet & our very own; we can take charge of what is being produced because we demand what we desire. Take today as the bouncing-off place into a brighter present, and ask #WhoMadeMyClothes?

The future of fashion is in our hands (and hearts, hopefully). It’s beautiful to witness the change in culture that’s being created by conscious companies and individuals alike. Looking for organic materials? There’s a filter for that. Want vegan couture? There’s a badge for that. Love made in the USA? It’s right here for you. Fair-trade? Sustainable? Recycled? Artisan-crafted? All at your finger tips thanks to prescient people who know that sustainability in its manifold expressions is the currency of the future.

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On Earth Day, a panel of fashionable movers & shakers hosted by Amanda Cole discussed the state of the fashion industry. “Only in fashion is the idea that you get rid of it after three uses,” says David Dietz, founder of Modavanti. This wastefulness and disregard for oneself and the planet is at the core of the fashion catastrophe. “There are more slaves today than at any point in history,” states Ben Skinner of Tau Investment. “And guess what, we’re buying what they’re producing.” From the mud, beauty is emerging, though. What I had felt subconsciously for a while rang true when pronounced: New luxury is value-based. “Not everybody wants to be the next Valentino,” Sass Brown of EcoFashion Talk says. “There’s a shift in what people value in their lives.” And make no mistake, doing good and doing well can be a stylish pair.

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Since we get dressed (most) every day, every fresh sunrise presents the opportunity to feel good and make a choice. Personally, I find it funny that while all of my food choices and beauty care are organic, green, and glorious, my wardrobe isn’t. There’s a lag in the fashion industry regarding sustainability, style, and availability. We’re getting there, for sure, but it’ll take more than my desire to see organic cotton tees become part of the permanent collections at global chains. If you demand quality, you’ll create a bigger market for quality products. And wouldn’t you treasure one well-made piece way more than three throw-away things? (Your closet will thank you too).

During the panel on Earth Day I got to meet Andrew Morgan, the immensely kind and smart director of The True Cost. His documentary, which debuts in NYC on 5/28 and will be available globally the next day, highlights the blinding contrast between the tricky triangle of the glamorous fashion set, the reality of the garment workers, and the fashion clients who (for the most part) really are consumers at this point. The movie’s not a downer trying to induce pity and guilt; rather, The True Cost intends to draw attention to the current practices of the fashion industry so that we as creators and clients can bring about positive change. Executive-produced by Livia and Colin Firth and spear-headed by Andrew and his team, this clear-eyed documentary inspires us to take a closer look at what we wear. “Maybe the whole story line of clothing needs to be reinvented,” Morgan shares. “We have to take this story,” he continues, “and have to make it something that overwhelms the old story. A story so much more beautiful that it crushes the old story.” Find the movie trailer at the end of this post.

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What’s the true cost of the clothes produced thousands of miles away from us? What’s the true cost of skins we didn’t need to take, of crops that didn’t grow naturally, dyed with chemicals that poison our water, touched by hands whose lives are shadows of humanity? What’s the true cost of cheap, mass-market fashion? Also, what’s the true cost of designer fashion? The fact that it’s sold for a lot doesn’t mean it cost a lot to make.

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The True Cost has the potential to lead us full circle to Earth Day, every day. And the fashion industry could actually become a guardian of the environment, if we as clients vote for change with our dollars. Go watch the movie and let yourself be moved. Sometimes, it’s easier to create change as part of a group than shift patterns in the nitty-gritty of our personal lives. But you know how it goes: once one thing changes, everything changes. From macro to micro; from micro to macro. You have so much more power than you sometimes think. Go change and be part of the change. It’s good for your health, too (and makes you look hot).

Ten years from now, we’ll look back at who we were and what we wore, and we’ll be glad we made the decision to call all of our power back to us. We can take pleasure in fashion and love the earth and all her beings at the same time because true style is priceless.

Shift shopping from medication to mindfulness.
Conscious clients rule.
Shop better. Love more.
New luxury is value-based.
Doing good and doing well can be a stylish pair.

Find The True Cost HERE.

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Hometech Remodeling and Renovation Cost Estimator: 2nd Half 2013 – Ontario 4 – Ottawa & Vicinity

Hometech Remodeling and Renovation Cost Estimator: 2nd Half 2013 – Ontario 4 – Ottawa & Vicinity


The HomeTech Publishing Remodeling & Renovation Cost Estimator puts an entire estimating system in your hands that lets you estimate complete jobs in 20% of the time it takes using the old fashioned stick method. Using this manual, you will have specifications for hundreds of jobs at your fingertips and get fast, easy access to labor and material costs for virtually every job you’ll ever do. We publish books for over 200 local regions of the country, each one containing costs specific to those individual areas, assuring that the costs you use are accurate for your local area. We have organized the best unit cost information in the industry into 25 categories designed specifically for remodelers, organized in the same order that you build a remodeling project. This allows you to mentally walk through each step of the production process while doing an estimate and catch all the small items that you might otherwise miss with other methods of estimating.

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My Business Almost Cost Me My Marriage

One Saturday afternoon while driving to the mall, I expressed concern to my husband over our relationship. Nothing was really wrong, we weren’t arguing or fighting. In fact, we weren’t really talking much at all — that was the problem. More and more, I felt as though I were living with a roommate, not a lover.

We’d sit side-by-side on our recliners each night, but never said more than five or six words to one another. There was no connection.

On this drive I looked over and said, “Babe, I’m worried that if we don’t get on the same page

“I’ve thought the same thing,” he replied.

I was stunned. I felt like someone had sucker-punched me in the stomach. He’d thought the same thing? He’d considered divorce? What? When? Why hadn’t he said anything? If I hadn’t said anything, would he have?

I swallowed hard and said, “You have? OK, then it’s a good thing we’re talking now. What are you feeling?”

My husband isn’t one to share his feelings or emotions, so I knew that I was making a tall request. And in a split-second, it was as if a dam had burst. He began telling me, firmly and deliberately, his perspective on our marriage.

Many of his concerns were valid. I’m not the best housewife. I’ve never enjoyed cleaning, which is why we have a housekeeper come twice a month. I do let my daughters dress themselves, which means that at times they walk out of the house looking a little crazy. I let dishes sit overnight and I’m ok with a pile of books and papers stacked at the bottom of the staircase.

And then he hit me with, “I resent your business.”

“I know this could blow up for you, I can see that. But I don’t see what your business is doing for our family,” he continued on. As he spoke, I heard his words in slow motion.

How could he be saying this to me? I thought we were making progress? Just this past year we had been accepted into a couple’s mastermind program and I thought he was finally starting to climb on board with the business — our – business.

But I said nothing. I listened. I validated. And then I shared my own concerns about our marriage.

I felt lonely. I felt like I was a single mom who happened to live with the father of her children. I wanted a partnership. I wanted to know that we were equally sharing the load of maintaining a household and raising our children.

He wanted us to establish roles. I wanted him to be more present. He wanted to see the financial impact of my business. I wanted to talk to him about the numbers. He wanted to see the numbers, but wanted nothing to do with business talk.

In talking for nearly two hours, we realized we both wanted the same things, we just wanted them in different ways.

My story isn’t unique. In fact, in speaking with many of my entrepreneurial colleagues, this story is the norm and the exceptions are those rare, unicorn-like partners who are completely supportive, 100% on board and who are interested in helping the business in any possible way.

The rest of us have to battle with a variety of scenarios ranging from not-at-all supportive to kind-of-supportive when it’s convenient and everything in between.

So how do we divorce-proof our marriages while also following our passion and confidently building the business of our dreams?

The truth is, you really can’t “divorce-proof” a marriage. There’s no set it and forget it system. It takes intentional action every single day.

Notice I used the word action and not work. Too many people say marriage is work. And that’s part of the problem. We’re treating our relationships like business transactions — scheduling, planning, creating to-do lists — rather than treating them as opportunities for loving acts of kindness.

Here are three steps you can take to ‘divorce-proof’ your marriage and keep your business:

1. Establish Roles

When my husband looked at me and said, “There are certain roles men and women have,” I literally rolled my eyes and considered slapping him in the face. What, are we back in the 1950’s? I immediately made assumptions about what “roles” he believed I should fill.

But as we began talking, I realized he didn’t necessarily mean that my role had to be the “traditional stay-at-home mom.” More so, he meant that we each needed to identify what position we were playing on our marital team.

Who was the dishwasher? Who was the checkbook balancer? Who cooked and on what days? Who made the bed? Who made the coffee? Who took the kids to school and who picked them up? Who gave them baths and who read the bedtime stories?

Once we sat down and went through our list of responsibilities and divided up the workload there was an immediate shift in our energy. We both breathed a sigh of relief.

As you consider your own relationship, ask yourself, “Do we have our roles and responsibilities defined or are we just leaving it up to chance, assuming one of us will get it done?”

If you’re each thinking the other should do it, but it’s never been clearly defined, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and resentment. Make the change right now.

2. Have a Monthly Money Date

As an entrepreneur, you should already be having a monthly money date with yourself to make sure you know exactly how much you’re bringing in and where it’s all going. But if you’re married, then you should definitely consider sequestering your love for a desert night out with your financial statement and look over the numbers together.

Not only does this keep you accountable as the CEO of your business, but it also helps your partner see how your business is (or can) impact your financial future.

A quick note: If you’re not making money in your business yet, that’s okay. Have your money date anyway and let your spouse know your projections for the following month or explain why you invested where you did and the return you expect to get. Transparency is key.

3. Make an Excuse

The most important of all, make an excuse to spend time with your spouse and to meet their needs! The chief complaint most partners make of their entrepreneurial mates is, “She’s always on the phone or computer working.”

Your partner only feels this way because his or her needs are not being met. If your spouse has ever said to you, “You work too much,” it’s their way of saying, “You’re not giving me what I need.”

Make an excuse every single day to do something for your partner. Shutting down your laptop an hour earlier, preparing a favorite meal or just sitting next to each other, holding hands while watching some mindless show. Think of your partner and do something that would make them feel thought of, loved and more important than your business.

Take action right now: Grab a sheet of paper and make a list of 30 simple things you could do for your partner. That’s your action plan for this month! Remember, your time and attention are the most valuable gifts you can give the person you love. Be sure and add that in a few extra times.

I almost lost my marriage because I wasn’t doing these 3 simple things. Ever since we’ve made these steps common practice in Casa de Luna, it’s as though a new relationship has sprung. My husband and I are working together as a team, he’s amazing with the kids – especially the few evenings each month when I have coaching calls – and overall, our house feels like a loving, supportive, encouraging home.

The key is infusing LOVE into each step. Because after all, isn’t that what we all want most – to love and be loved?

Now over to you. Which of these steps will you implement first? Do you have your own story of how your business has threatened your relationship? Let’s chat in the comments.

And if you’re looking for more tips on how to confidently build your business and still have fulfilling relationships, be sure to sign up for my FREE Confident Entrepreneur Webinar Series. We’re covering everything from time management, leadership, decision-making and more! Click HERE to sign up.

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Rachel Luna is the best selling author of the book: “Successful People are Full of C.R.A.P. (Courage. Resilience. Authenticity. Perseverance): A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Together & Achieving Your Dreams” available on Amazon and the Chief Confidence Creator at RachelLuna.Biz Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Nursing Homes Using Hospice Care More, But at a Cost

Spending increased about $ 6,800 for those getting end-of-life comfort care, study says
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French Parliament Passes Draft Law To Curb Public Health Cost And Fight Unhealthy Stereotypes

PARIS (AP) — Too-thin models, too much drinking, sexy cigarette packs: France’s parliament is cracking down on all of these in a sweeping bill designed to improve public health and trim public health costs — while tackling unhealthy stereotypes along the way.

The National Assembly, parliament’s lower house, voted 311-241 on Tuesday to approve the draft law. It now goes to the Senate before a final vote back in the assembly. The Socialist-led government hopes the bill will take effect by the summer.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine, the bill’s champion, said it is “crucial to tackle the challenge of aging and the emergence of new diseases” while preserving France’s generous and highly vaunted health care system.

Here’s a look at some of the key reforms:

ANOREXIC MODELS

In a measure that could cause ripples in France’s famed fashion industry, the bill would make it a crime to use anorexic models or encourage anorexia.

It would forbid anyone with a body mass index, or BMI, below a certain level from earning money as a model. The exact level — based on height and weight — would be defined later by decree if the bill becomes law.

Any modeling agency or individual who pays a model with a BMI below the designated level would face up to six months in prison and 75,000 euros ($ 80,000) in fines if convicted.

Some 40,000 people are estimated to have anorexia in France — 90 percent of them women, according to the Health Ministry.

PLAIN CIGARETTE PACKS

The government’s plan includes a measure that would require manufacturers to package cigarettes in plain containers by May 2016. Packs would have the same shape, size, color and typeset. Brands would still be mentioned, but would be restricted to a small discreet place on the packaging.

The government believes less attractive packaging would help discourage young people from starting to smoke. Around 30 percent of French people smoke — a habit linked to some 73,000 deaths a year in France, according to official statistics.

UNDERAGE DRINKING

People who encourage minors to drink excessively could face a year behind bars and a $ 16,000 (15,000 euro) fine.

The sale to minors of products inciting people to get drunk, such as T-shirts, would be forbidden.

Touraine, the health minister, has cautioned against the ills of binge-drinking, and has used the English-language term to describe the act of excessive imbibing over a short period of time.

As many as 49,000 people die every year in France from the consequences of drinking alcohol, according to a 2013 study published in the European Journal of Public Health.

Other measures, including requiring the labeling of alcohol-related risks in advertising, were scrapped during the Assembly debate, under pressure from the conservative opposition and France’s influential wine lobby.

CHILD OBESITY

In a step that would require changes to the business model of some fast-food chains, the bill would ban free-refill soda fountains in restaurants in a move aimed at combatting obesity.

Touraine, speaking in parliament, noted that the free-refill policy was “common in other countries, … is spreading in our country and could be attractive to young people.”

SUN-BED BAN FOR MINORS

Amid concerns about skin cancer, the bill would bar tanning salons from selling sun-bed services to customers under 18 years old or to engage in advertising targeting minors.

FACILITIES FOR DRUG USERS

The bill would allow for a six-year test period in which intravenous drug users would be given access to clean needles under medical supervision and in the presence of drug counselors.

The conservative opposition — which controls the Senate — has criticized the measure as a “very bad signal” to French youth, saying it trivializes the use of drugs.

Under France’s legislative system, the National Assembly has final say in the passage of laws — so even if the Senate alters or rejects the bill, it could become law.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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20 Gifts That Cost Nothing to Make — But Just Might Be Priceless

My husband and I are very lucky — my husband teaches school and I am a stay-at-home mom, which means that we are both currently doing exactly what we want to do. Like I said, we are very lucky indeed.

But around this time of year we notice (to put it delicately) that we aren’t as well off financially as we would have been if we had chosen other career paths. And that makes it difficult to buy gifts for others.

Which means year after year we make a pact with each other not to spend any money on ourselves (so that we will have funds to spend on our kids and other family members). But this pact hasn’t stopped us from finding a way to have something to give each other on Christmas morning.

And after 16 years of marriage, I feel that our holiday financial situation may have been a blessing in disguise… we’ve been forced to think about each other and what is most important. Sure, one of these years I’d love to have iPads, televisions, bikes, and the like under the tree, but I can say without any reservation that even though we don’t have money, I have never gone to bed on Christmas night feeling poor.

So this year as I’ve been thinking gift giving, I thought maybe I would share with you some of the gifts that we’ve given to our kids, our family members, and each other. Because when I reflect on my most favorite gifts, they are the ones that have cost virtually nothing.

The following list is a collection of some of my favorites:

1. The Board Game Challenge.

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Have a board game lover at your house? (Like my 10-year-old?) Well, print them out one of these cards and slip it in an envelope. Then together, after the envelope has been opened, fill out the five board (or card) games that you will be playing with each other and get started! You won’t regret it… unless of course you get schooled by your 10-year-old!

2. Memorize a Favorite Passage.

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This may take some time and some sneakiness. Step one… find out the favorite written passage of your loved one. Is it a scripture? A sonnet? A monologue? Or a paragraph from a beloved book? Got it? Good. Now it’s time for step two, which is: memorize!

With memorization complete, all that’s left is step three: the delivery. (When I did this, my husband opened a box that only held a piece of paper with a reference to the passage written on it. When he questioned what it was, I told him… and to this day he will say it was one of his favorite gifts of all time. He even still has that piece of paper hanging on the wall in his office.)

3. Housekeeping Card.

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Does your spouse, roommate, or significant other have a household chore that they just hate to do? Taking out the garbage? Scrubbing toilets? Sorting laundry? If so, this is a great gift. Give them a card, letter, or note explaining that you will take over that job for them for a certain period of time.

WARNING: Be specific about this gift… If you say you are going to do their chore, then you really need to do it, so let them know exactly what you are going to do and how long you are prepared to do it. For a day? A week? A month? Let them know what to expect from you and then don’t offer more than you can deliver. This will make both you and the recipient of the gift happy campers.

4. _____ of the Month Club.

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What is your speciality? Soup? Bread? Cookies? Casseroles? Whatever it is, you should share it with someone who would appreciate it! A grandparent, an aunt or a neighbor… Just print out the card and you are good to go! Then the recipient of your gift not only gets something delicious once a month, but they also get a visit from you. (Which will probably be just as appreciated as your tasty vittles are!) So go ahead and do it! Make someone you love an official member of your salsa (or cake or chicken dish) of the month club! The possibilities here are endless…

5. When Skies Are Gray…

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Is there someone on your list this year who is going through a hard time? If so, maybe a “When Skies Are Gray” Kit could help. All you need to include in this kit is a bundle of letters or images that you put together into different envelopes. What kind of letters and images? Well, things to help get them through a rotten day… maybe a funny “remember when” story… or an “I love you because” letter… or a “10 Reasons Why You Are Awesome” note. Other things you can include in the envelopes are quotes or thoughts that help you through tough times as well as some photos of good times together. Put something different in each envelope.

Try to gather together a small bundle (10-15 envelopes) and then tie them up with a bow. It’s surprising how something as simple as an “I’m lucky to have you in my life because…” can help you through a tough day.

6. A Tell-Me Notebook.

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This is a gift that I have given to my grandparents and love! All you need is a simple notebook. (I gave my grandparents these spiral bound notebooks because I wanted them to just sit down and write whatever came into their minds and not worry about handwriting or doing anything fancy in a nice book.)

Now of course you don’t just give someone an empty notebook… you need to fill the book with questions (I did one every three pages so there was plenty of room to write if needed).

The questions will vary depending on who you are giving the notebook to. The questions I asked my grandparents were like: “Tell me about your first house.” “Tell me about something you are proud of.” “What do you remember most about your mother?” “Tell me about three memorable friends.”

Think about what you want to know from the person you are giving the gift to… and then be prepared for some really terrific conversations.

7. Daily reading date.

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Our kids read every day… but that doesn’t mean that I read out loud to them every day. Recently, as I was reading aloud to the 3-year-old, I noticed that my older two had gathered around to listen to the story. When I asked them what was going on, I was surprised to discover that they said they miss me reading out loud to them. That is when I thought about this card.

Each one of my kids is going to get one this year. The triangles will count as the punches on the card, which makes the card above a 20-punch card. Then I will have the kids redeem them when they want me to read one of their chapters out loud to them, or just feel like reading a picture book together.

8. 50 Things I Learned By…

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Is there someone on your list who is reaching a milestone? Turning 40? Celebrating 30 years together? Then making them something like this is perfect. When my mom turned 50, I made her a framed sign that told her the 50 things I learned from her by the time she turned 50.

Later, when my grandparents turned 80, I made them these books with simple illustrations on card stock sharing the ways they influenced my life and what I’ve learned from them. These gifts have been some of my most favorite to make, and are wonderful for anyone who has helped to shape your life.

9. Magic Car Wash.

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This gift may have to be given before Christmas… because for this gift you will need to have access to the recipient’s vehicle. I usually do this while my husband is at work. I drive over to his school, take his truck, zoom over to the gas station and give it the once-over, quickly cleaning it inside and out, and then return it to its space before he even knows it was gone. When he leaves work, he finds a clean vehicle and a note on the dashboard.

10. Freedom From Responsibility (a.k.a. “I Will Take the Kids for the Night”).

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Sometimes what one really needs is just some quiet time alone. We all love our children and our homes, but sometimes we need a break with time to ourselves to regroup. If that’s the case with anyone on your list, then one of the best gifts you can give is to take his or her responsibilities away for a few hours and let them recharge their batteries.

Do this by giving a card, letter, or note tied up with a bow. Then, once the gift has been given, decide right then and there when the gift will be redeemed… pick a day and a time right away! (And then stick to it! The gift is meaningless unless you follow through!)

11. Read This When…

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This gift is perfect for college students who are away from home. For this gift, you will be writing a number of short letters, putting them in separate envelopes and then labeling the envelopes with when they should be read. The topics of the letters you write will depend on the relationship you have with your college student, but some ideas for these letters are: Read this when: you fail a test, you have a terrible date, you’ve had a rotten day, you feel homesick, you think you are in love, etc. Seal each letter and tie the bundle up with a bow.

12. A Personalized Playlist.

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Think back to junior high, when we made those awesome mixtapes for each other… you know, on cassettes… that was pretty cool. And you knew that your friend chose those songs because she knows you so well or that guy chose those songs because he was secretly trying to let you know how much he was madly in love with you? Well… how great would it be to get one of those tapes again?

Nowadays we can either burn a CD or download a personalized playlist for that friend, sibling, or special someone. Maybe a list of songs for a sibling from back in the day, a woman power list for a good friend who needs a pick-me-up to and from work — or my husband made a running playlist for me that I love. Be creative!

13. Park Tour Permit.

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Find five local parks and tour each one. (Not all in the same day!) Have your children compare slides, big toys, open space, etc., and decide which park is the best.

14. Netflix Night Punch Card.

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I’m not sure an explanation is needed here… and my husband has already asked for another one of these this year.

15. A month of meals.

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This gift takes a little bit of prior planning, but it is so worth it, and I have given this gift to both my parents and in-laws for Christmas several times.

To make a month’s (or a few weeks’) worth of meals, I choose meals that freeze well and then for the next few weeks that is what I make my family for dinner. As I am preparing these dinners, I just make extra… as long as I’m already cooking… and when the meal is finished, I freeze the extra portion and before I know it I have quite a collection of meals that I can take to my working parents and in-laws.

16. “I Love You” Now and Later Letters.

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Simply choose the recipient of your gift and then write them two letters about why you love them. Write one for them to read now, and then write one to be read later on a date you determine… in a year… five years… Just be sure to write “Do not open until____” on the front of the letter to be opened later!

17. Favorite Recipes Pack.

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My mom gave me these recipe cards a few years ago, and I love them! She put together a collection of recipes we grew up eating. Everything from my grandma’s cookies, to my uncle’s BBQ sauce, to her homemade rolls. They are the recipes from my childhood, and I am so happy to have them!

18. A Personalized Screen Saver.

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One year my husband made me some personalized screen savers and snuck them onto my computer. Then every time they popped up on my computer it reminded me of him. Nerdy? Yes. Completely! But I LOVED it!

19. Remember This Book.

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For our second married Christmas, I had a blank book that I filled with short written memories of things my husband and I had done. It was nothing fancy. It wasn’t scrapbooked. There are no pictures. Just short stories, inside jokes, and song lyrics. And it’s a favorite… we laugh every time we read it.

20. Time Capsule Kit.

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I have made time capsules with school classes many times, but this year we are doing it with our children. What they will get is an empty box (I know it sounds like a practical joke…) with a sheet explaining what a time capsule is.

Then, on New Year’s Day, we will fill the box together, with things like predictions, favorite candy wrappers, newspaper clippings, photos, notes, and whatever else the kids want to include. When it is filled, we will wrap it in duct tape and write on the outside the date it can be opened again.

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These Wedding Splurges Are Worth The Cost (And Then Some)

By Kristen Klein for Bridal Guide

With wedding costs on the rise, it can be harder than ever to keep your wedding budget on the right track. Rather than stressing over every little detail, we recommend focusing on the aspects that your guests will really notice — and that’ll improve their experience at your wedding. Here, check out the top seven areas worth the splurge.

Lighting
Nothing transforms a room quite like lighting. “As guests arrive to the reception, lighting gives them the wow factor,” said Jennifer Taylor of Taylor’d Events by Jennifer. Whether you go for colorful uplighting, romantic candles, or vintage chandeliers over each table, you can make even the most drab space look like an ultra-luxe venue with the right lights.

All You Need is Love Events recommends using lighting to play up key features of the room and draw attention away from less desirable aspects. “So many ballrooms have terrible carpeting — by using uplights around the room, you draw the eye up and guests will barely even notice it. And by pinspotting your flowers, they shine brilliantly and make a bigger statement then they would without lighting.”

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With an intelligent lighting package, you can actually transform the mood of the party throughout the night simply by changing the colors. “The lighting can make you feel like you are at different parties all in the same night,” said Personal Touch by Covesa.

Related:25 Ways to Wow Your Wedding Guests

A Fun Activity
Throw in a little something extra — a photo booth, a stop-motion video booth, a cigar-rolling station, yard games to play during the cocktail hour, ice-breaker games for the tables, dancers to liven up the dance floor, a magician or tarot card reader… the options are endless, and they’ll give your guests something to talk about for years to come.

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Related: 15 Ways to Make Your Reception More Fun

Alcohol
Not only is a cash bar poor etiquette (your guests should not have to open their wallets at your wedding), but an open bar will keep the party going. “Asking your guests to pay is just not cool and is the fastest way to end your reception early,” said photographer Thomas Robert Clarke. If a full open bar is beyond your budget, consider at least offering unlimited wine, beer, and a signature drink or two.

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Entertainment
Nothing kills a party quite like a terrible DJ or band. You need someone who can read the crowd; an experienced DJ will notice that no one is dancing to the ’80s party jams and will switch it up to something more contemporary to see if that gets the crowd moving.

If you can afford it, go for a live band: “A live band creates an incredible party atmosphere and elevates the reception to the next level,” said The Graceful Host. “Everyone will walk away wanting more — and isn’t that the goal?!”

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Marta Segal Block, wedding specialist for GigMasters.com, recalled, “My husband really wanted to invest in a good band, and I’m glad we did. Twelve years later, people still talk about how much fun they had at our wedding and how much they danced. I really believe that great entertainment adds to the wedding and makes it memorable.”

Consider splurging on a unique and unexpected musical act that fits your wedding location or your culture. For Shannon Leahy of Shannon Leahy Events’ own wedding in New Orleans, she chose a New Orleans-style brass band to lead the guests from the ceremony to the cocktail hour playing “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Related: Best New Wedding Songs for 2014

Transportation
Give your guests one less thing to worry about by arranging transportation. “You don’t want your guests trapped at the end of the evening or slightly tipsy trying to find their way back from a remote wedding venue,” said Lauren Randolph of MyHotelWedding.com. Provide a shuttle to and from the hotel where your out-of-towners are staying, give your VIPs a lift home in a limo, and have taxis on stand-by for guests who planned on driving but took a little too much advantage of your open bar.

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“Sometimes, guests don’t notice the little details that a wedding couple may spend months planning (and hundreds of dollars) on, but when it comes to guests comfort and the ease of getting to and from the wedding, guests notice,” said First Pick Planning. “Transportation for wedding guests is not only becoming a norm, but it’s something that can add a unique element of surprise to any wedding and make for fun photo opportunities. From trolleys to stretch limos to horse and carriages and even segways, getting your guests to and fro in a unique way has definitely become something to splurge on!”

Late Night Snacks
You’ve likely put plenty of thought into your cocktail hour, dinner, and desserts, but after dancing all night, your guest will probably get hungry again before your reception ends. Go for something fun here, like a food truck or bite-size comfort food.

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Related: Wedding Food That Won’t Bore Your Guests

Photography
When all is said and done, your photos are the only tangible memories that you have. You’ll regret it if you choose to cut costs in this area. “My family has a horrible history of skimping on professional photography and then being disappointed and not having decent photos of events,” said Block. “So for my wedding, photography was one of the places I was willing to pay big money. I’m glad I did. The photos are one of the few things that really last from a wedding.” If your dream photographer is above your budget, see if you can customize the package — perhaps get only a disk with high-resolution images, and plan on making an album and prints at a later date when you have a little more money.

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Tell us: Which splurges do you think are worth the cost? Where are you trimming your wedding budget?

More from Bridal Guide:
25 Biggest Makeup Mistakes Brides Make
25+ of the Most Unique Wedding Themes We’ve Ever Seen
The Hottest Wedding Gown Trends for 2015
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The Average Cost Of A Wedding Rises To $30,000, Survey Says

Till debt do us part?

From beachside nuptials to extravagant floral arrangements, it’s no shocker that weddings can cost a pretty penny. Just how much, though, may surprise you. According to wedding planning website TheKnot, the average cost of a wedding in America last year was roughly the price of a new car, or about $ 30,000 (excluding the honeymoon).

For its annual Real Weddings Study, released March 27, TheKnot surveyed 13,000 brides and grooms across the country and sourced statistics on everything from “location fees” to tuxedo costs. It found that tying the knot just keeps growing more expensive, despite the trend for casual weddings. The average wedding cost in 2013 was the highest since the website began monitoring prices in 2007.

One cause may be couples’ greater attention to guest experience.

“Couples are more focused than ever on creating a unique, personalized and once-in-a-lifetime experience for their guests — plus they’re doing so in a modern way, by planning from their smartphones, publicizing details on social media and more,” Carley Roney, co-founder of The Knot, said in a statement.

Overwhelmed by images of celebrity wedding extravagance and a surplus of wedding planning glossies, couples are pressured to put on a show-stopping Big Day.

“We’ve created this fairy tale thought in our mind of what our wedding has to be, and it has to be perfect,” Stacy Francis, the CEO of financial planning and wealth management firm Francis Financial, told USA Today.

The survey of TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com members revealed some other interesting data about modern weddings:

Most expensive place to wed: Manhattan, $ 86,916 on average

Average marrying age: bride, 29; groom, 31

Wedding dress cost: New York City (and Long Island) brides spent the most money on their gowns ($ 3,027 and $ 2,160, respectively), while brides in Alaska and Oklahoma spent far less ($ 804 and $ 859, respectively)

To trim costs and score vendor deals, financial planning website LearnVest has some incredible tips from recent bride Jane Bianchi, who saved $ 21,000 on her big day.
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The Essential Wedding Planning Guide: Cost Saving Tips, Checklists, Vendor Interview Questions, Budget Worksheet and More