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Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 10:44 AM
— When your adult child gets married, you double the holiday fun if you're lucky. But you also multiply the gift-giving quandaries.
After all, you've had a whole lifetime to get to know your child's gift preferences. Working another person into the equation can be an occasion for advice-column-level misunderstandings, burst budgets and a new family tradition of re-gifting. As they noted at Grandparents.com, "Even seemingly harmless, well-intentioned gifts can come off as loaded with innuendo."
Care to avoid all that? With some careful planning and heightened sensitivity, you can give couples gifts that will bring glad tidings to your child and the spouse. You may even save a little money.
Here are 20 inspiring couples gifts for married children:
Night out/night in offerings: If you've heard your child or in-law longing for more date nights, make it happen. But only after some careful consulting with at least one half of the couple. Then bring out your best date-night encouragement. A few examples include (1) a gift card for five nights at the bar that hosts their favorite trivia night; (2) a gift card to a movie theater that offers recliner seating and the biggest blockbusters; (3) a Visa card in the exact amount they need to hire their favorite babysitter; or (4) an Uber gift card so they can leave the driving to someone else and just relax on their date.
If the couple in question is more likely to savor a night in, consider (5) a subscription to the classic cable station's TMC Wine Club that includes hand-selected, high-quality wines (a few of them movie-themed) paired with movie-viewing suggestions by the film-loving folks at TCM.
Gifts for the couple on a budget: There is no bigger thorn in a recipient's side than getting knickknacks when each month's budget involves struggling to pay for basics like the water bill. To give a gift that doesn't humiliate or pity but still recognizes that the couple is working on limited means, consider practical but luxurious gifts like (6) new tires, (7) a gift card to an upscale grocery store like Whole Foods or (8) lots of ones and fives with instructions to take them on a spree to their favorite flea market or junk store. If their budget won't allow for many luxuries, a great choice is (9) an Amazon Prime membership, which combines practicality with wallet-friendly entertainment. You can opt for three or 12 months, and your child and his or her spouse will get free two-day shipping on millions of items. They can also read Kindle books, watch movies and television shows on Prime Video and stream songs.
Also, consider giving the couple something luxurious to look forward to this spring with (10) a gift card to a local nursery for plants for the garden or shrubs for added curb appeal. If you imagine they'll need it, a corresponding gift card for someone to work in the yard or to build them a raised bed for vegetables will not go amiss. Just be sure to include an add-on houseplant or a pot of forced bulbs from the same greenhouse so they don't feel like Christmas passed them by.
With all gifts for someone on a budget, you should try to make the gifts less utilitarian by adding something festive to the package: a sample of candy or flowers from the specialty grocery store, for example, or a new CD to listen to in the truck. And double-check that you're not giving anything that would involve an extra expenditure for them, like a restaurant gift card that doesn't include the tip.
Edible and potable inspirations: Many a couple gift has been solved with food. But is the recipient really eating your offering? Make sure your child and in-law will revel in the foods you send as Christmas gifts, instead of thinking ho-ho-hum. Delicacies from foodie landmarks across the country beat the heck out of those so-called "gift baskets" with generic packages, some of them oddly-spiced teas or crackers even the food bank can't accept at holiday's end.
A few classic choices for wonderful food gifts include (9) Ghirardelli chocolate right from the source in San Francisco (the company offers some sweet flat-rate shipping deals), (11) farm-cured country bacon shipped right from where they've been hand curing and trimming it since 1947, Benton's in Madisonville, Tennessee., or unmatchable (12) fresh bagels (and lox, sure, if they want) from Zabar's in New York City. For the foodies who cook, try an assembly of regional specialty ingredients instead of those last-minute pickups from the local gourmet store. Two good choices: (13) a collection of dried heirloom beans or chiles from Southern California's Rancho Gordo, which specializes in New World specialty food, or (14) a selection of flours or other dry ingredients from Norwich, Vermont-based King Arthur Flour, which was founded in 1790.
Another idea in the "everyone loves to eat" category is the omnipresent restaurant gift card, but with a twist. Give them a card for a restaurant they like or will like, and then tack on a cookbook they can use at home to recreate their experience. For example, go for (15) the comfort food favorite Cracker Barrel and add the cookbook A Real Southern Cook in Her Savannah Kitchen by Dora Charles so they can start cooking up a Southern food storm at home if they like.
As for the potent potables, consider a local craft brewery near your kids' house. Get (16) a growler – hipster talk for refillable container – filled with a favorite craft brew and then some gift cards from the same place so they can come back for fill-ups. This is the time it's super important to make sure you talk up the idea with one or both of "the kids" so you can get something they'll both love. Find some breweries in their area for consideration by consulting Craft Beer.com.
Last but not least: You can always resort to tried-and-true couple favorites, as long as you're careful to take into account both halves of the couple's taste. Choices here include (17) a scuba-diving or (18) zip line package or even tickets to (19) a Broadway show. And most any couple will love (20) a couple's massage, once they get used to the idea. If you're feeling extra generous, schedule it while they're visiting you for the holidays and offer to babysit. That way, you can scope out the deal for yourself and your mate, too!
Published: Thursday, January 04, 2018 @ 5:31 AM
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina father watched his baby girl’s birth while he was in handcuffs.
The car was traveling at more than 90 miles per hour when several law enforcement officers started chasing Alewine.
He just kept going until officers eventually boxed him in and forced him to pull over.
They had Alewine in handcuffs when his little girl, Anastasia, came out with one push.
"I'm sitting there, watching her born on the hood of the car, fireworks going off in the background, because it's 1 in the morning on New Year's and then they let me out of handcuffs and all the cops started clapping and congratulating us," Alewine recalled.
The baby was born healthy, even though the mother went through a high-risk pregnancy.
Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 1:35 AM
LOS ANGELES — After a week at Mar-a-Lago with her presidential family, Tiffany Trump headed to California to spend New Year’s Eve with a very different kind of group.
The first daughter was a guest at a Los Angeles bash hosted by heir to the Playboy throne Cooper Hefner. The 24-year-old was photographed speaking to Hefner and posing beside his fiancee, Scarlett Byrne, as well as other friends, multiple media outlets reported, including the Washington Post, Page Six, People and the Daily Mail.
The event marked the first New Year’s Eve bash since magazine founder Hugh Hefner’s death on Sept. 27. He was 91 years old.
The late Hefner reportedly had wanted Marla Maples — Tiffany’s mother and Donald Trump’s second wife — to pose in his controversial magazine just three years before Tiffany’s birth. However, the actress turned down the offer.
“I’m thankful for my body, but I didn’t want to exploit it,” she reportedly said. “How would I ever be taken seriously?”
Published: Tuesday, January 02, 2018 @ 8:34 AM
— It’s the New Year’s resolution that everyone has and virtually no one keeps: We want to get in shape.
Here are 10 tips to help you keep on track:
If you made your decision on New Year’s Eve, that’s only making a decision based on your emotional state that day. Make a plan for big and small goals and particular parts of your body you want to target to help keep you focused. A health professional can help with this.
While you might be adamant that you’ll never eat bread, meat or chocolate chip cookies again, making that one of your goals is setting yourself up to fail. Instead, go for what’s attainable: Instead of having your favorite food three days a week, you’ll only have it once. Start small and build.
Despite all your best efforts, temptation will come knocking. Try to decide in advance how you will deal with wanting to skip that exercise class or have that piece of cake. This could include calling or texting a weight loss buddy, practicing positive thinking and self-talk, or reminding yourself how your “bad” will affect your goal.
Wanting to live a healthier life is something to be proud of, not ashamed of. Don’t treat your resolution like a dirty little secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve.
With any luck, they’ll help you find a buddy who shares your New Year’s resolution and can help you stay motivated.
Why is getting in better shape a good idea? Write down all the reasons that are motivating you, from wanting to be able to walk up the stairs without losing your breath to wanting to look better on the beach. Keep your list with you and refer to it when you need help keeping your resolve.
It sounds like this list has more writing down than working out, but it is important to keep track of your progress. Being able to see where you were and how far you’ve come is an important way to keep yourself motivated.
For example, instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, focus on losing the first five. Keep a food journal to help you stay on track, and reward yourself for each five pounds lost.
Rewards are a good thing. Don’t think that because you’re losing weight, you have to become an ascetic. Instead of going out to eat to celebrate a milestone, treat yourself to new fitness clothes or by going out to a movie.
Exercising and working out won’t become good habits overnight. By Tuesday of the second week, all the newness will have worn off, and it’ll start getting harder to get up and get moving, especially if you’re exercising before work.
Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. Get through that first three-week stretch, and you’ll be making real progress.
It’s not the day missed at the gym or the indulgence in ice cream that’ll knock you off track – it’s the obsessing about it afterward.
Negative thought patterns won’t help maintain your positive plan. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time.
Maybe you hit the Valentine’s Day wall – or even the Jan. 15 wall. But that’s not a reason to give up.
Start with one meal, then one day. You can do anything for 24 hours. Once you start building on the 24-hour increments, before long you’ll be back in the groove.
Published: Sunday, December 31, 2018 @ 12:04 PM
Updated: Sunday, December 31, 2018 @ 12:04 PM
— The thought has probably crossed your mind: someday I'll spend New Year's Eve at Times Square in New York City.
You'll be part of that massive crowd as the whole country watches and counts down to the moment the crystal ball drops. With your friends or significant other, you'll toast the New Year with champagne and, just maybe, one of those TV cameras will take notice and your faces will flash across screens throughout the country.
It's a lovely dream, but the reality? New Year's Eve in the Big Apple means shelling out big bucks on hotels rooms, which need to be booked well in advance. On top of that, if you want any shot of being close to the center of Times Square when that giant crystal sphere falls, you'll have to stand for hours and hours in the cold ahead of the big moment.
It will certainly be memorable and it's a worthwhile bucket list item. But if you didn't plan ahead, don't feel like making the effort or simply want a less mainstream New Year's Eve experience, there's a lot of other great cities to consider.
Here are our five suggestions, all of which are sure to help you bring in 2018 with lots of crazy memories:
The Windy City offers all the excitement and fun you need this New Year's eve. From exciting parties to unique concerts, you'll definitely find something up your alley. For those interested in an epic party, check out the gala at the Congress Plaza Hotel. Canadian electronic duo Adventure Club will also be headlining the Reaction New Year's Eve event at the Aragon Ballroom, for those wanting to party it up at an EDM bash. And if you're looking for the perfect way to mark the start of 2018, swing by Navy Pier for the spectacular annual fireworks display.
Austin is one of those up-and-coming cities that everyone is talking about. So, why not check it out while welcoming 2018. You can bring in the New Year in roaring 20s style at Gatsby House, or party it up at Maggie Mae's Neon Party. For a more family friendly option, check out the city's event at Auditorium Shores. Fireworks go off at 10 p.m., so you can enjoy them with the kids and then go out for a night cap after tucking them in.
New Orleans, Louisiana
It may not be Mardi Gras, but New Orleans promises to be lively as ever on New Year's Eve. Not to be outdone by the Big Apple, the city drops a fleur-de-lis at midnight in Jackson Square. Leading up to the big moment, you can enjoy live music and then ring in 2018 with a giant fireworks display. After midnight, swing by the bars of the city's famous French Quarter to welcome the new year with a toast.
Where better to welcome the New Year than at the most magical place on Earth? Disney World's Magic Kingdom will never disappoint and offers fun for the entire family. For those wanting to catch the Disney magic without shelling out big buck for park passes, Downtown Disney offers great views of the castle's fireworks, and you'll only have to pay for parking.
If you can't wander far this holiday, no worries! Atlanta definitely knows how to ring in the New Year. Don't miss the city's iconic midnight Peach Drop. A slew of concerts and other parties will also be happening throughout the city.
Regardless of where you end up this New Year Eve, make sure you're surrounded by people you love. Whether you're in Atlanta, Chicago or the Magic Kingdom, the people you're with will create the most special memories.