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December 23, 1988 | NEIL FEINEMAN
If the men in your life are into outdoor sports, Christmas gift-giving just got easier. Until recently, says Douglas Brooks, author of "Going Solo: The Art of Personal Training" (Power Books, 1988), exercise fashion was limited to uniforms. But "uniforms don't flatter or make anyone feel special." And most people don't feel good about working out until they look good. For that reason, he continues, men involved in outdoor sports are now eager to make a fashion statement.
April 22, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - A raft of bills to set tougher ethics rules for California politicians cleared their first legislative hurdle Tuesday as the state Senate prepared for a daylong refresher course on standards of conduct. Lawmakers say better adherence to existing rules and tougher restrictions in the future are needed to win back the public's trust after three state senators were charged with crimes. Eleven proposals approved by a Senate committee included a ban on fundraising during the end of legislative sessions, when decisions on many key issues are made; a reduction in the value of gifts that officials may accept; and a prohibition on such items as spa treatments, golf games, concert and professional sports tickets, theme park admissions and gift cards.
July 25, 2010 | By Ching-Ching Ni, Los Angeles Times
George Bao felt like a rich man the first time he flew back to China from America. He had so many gifts for his family and friends, he was lugging eight cardboard boxes in addition to his suitcase. That was in the 1980s, when flights weren't crowded. The airline didn't even charge him for the extra luggage. As for what the gifts were, the memory makes him laugh. He had brought secondhand clothes scavenged from yard sales. "My father was so happy," said Bao, who watched the elderly farmer put on his first Western suit, beaming even though it didn't fit well.
April 20, 2014 | By Ingrid Schmidt, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Before Mother's Day sneaks up on May 11, put some extra TLC into preparations to spoil that leading lady known as Mom with a gift that is as special as she is. Check out the ideas here, and then think about maintaining favorite child status by adding a spa certificate. The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Los Angeles, for instance, offers a Royal Tea treatment on May 11 with high tea at WP24 restaurant, a massage, manicure, pedicure, hairstyle and makeup application; $310. (Call [213] 763-4400 to book.)
December 13, 2009
Are you buying a gift for a traveler who has everything or wants nothing? Step away from the neck pillow and look for something fun, unusual and/or handcrafted at What's hot: Once someone is labeled a traveler, that person inevitably gets gifts that are never used. Spare your traveling friends (or yourself) and head to's Travel section for gifts that are both humorous and handy. I found pop-up towelettes ($12), a solar-powered backpack ($230)
December 26, 2013 | By Ted Rall
After learning that elected officials in the state of California collected more than $200,000 in gifts during 2012 -- which doesn't include the $6.7 million in donations solicited by officials on behalf of their favorite charities and causes  -- the group Common Cause issued a report calling for tighter limits on this potentially corrupting influence. One suggestion: "Apply the $10-per-month limit on gifts from lobbyists to also include gifts from the lobbyists' clients. Currently, clients can give up to $440 per year to public officials.
November 21, 2012
Re "Romney remarks unsettle his party," Nov. 19 Who was it who received gifts from the government to coax them to vote for President Obama? It must be those in states that received more from the government than they paid in taxes. These states, however, usually vote Republican. How ungrateful. John Harding Palm Springs It's been more than a week since Mitt Romney said that Obama supporters voted for him because they wanted gifts. I'm still waiting for UPS to knock on my door.
December 4, 2012
Looking for affordable, made-in-L.A. gifts with a handcrafted touch? We picked up these earthenware bowls by Lori + Koop at an artisan show last weekend at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts. The larger flower bowl with glossy glazed interior and hand-etched matte rim was $35. The smaller bowls with matte white interiors and subtly striped rims were $25 apiece. All are microwave and dishwasher safe. Lori + Koop ceramics are the latest additions to our holiday gift galleries, which we're updating regularly: Gifts with a handcrafted touch Gifts for the home Gifts for the indoor-outdoor gardener Gifts for under $50 Gifts for $50 to $100 Gifts for $100-plus
December 11, 2012 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Facebook is opening its Gifts feature to all U.S. users, the social network said Tuesday. Gifts is one of Facebook's big attempts this year at creating additional streams of revenue to complement its advertising sales. The feature capitalizes on the birthday and congratulatory wishes people send one another via Facebook by giving them a quick and simple way to purchase someone a present and have it sent to them. Users can also use the Gifts feature to send an another gift cards or donate to charities and nonprofit groups.
November 16, 2012 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Hoping to draw more shoppers ahead of the holiday season, Facebook has expanded its Gifts service to include more products from more partners. The Menlo Park-based social network announced the news Thursday evening, saying it will partner with outlets such as babyGap, Dean & Deluca and NARS Cosmetics. Other new partners include Fab, Brookstone, L'Occitane, Lindt, ProFlowers and Random House. Some digital goods will also be available for purchase from the service: Facebook said users can choose to send each other subscriptions to Hulu Plus and Pandora, among others.  Facebook announced the service in late September.
April 9, 2014 | By Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic
Is Coachella the biggest gift to the fashion industry since Kate Middleton? It certainly seems like it from the marketing blitz that has blown up around the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival , which begins this weekend in Indio. We all know that brands have been flocking to the festival for years, hoping to make an impression on tastemakers who attend by hosting star-studded parties at nearby venues. This year, Old Navy , Lacoste , H&M , Teva , Adidas Originals , Guess  and Opening Ceremony are just a few of the names on the Coachella branding bandwagon.
April 7, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- Former state Assemblyman Jeff Miller (R-Corona) has agreed to pay a $1,000 fine for improperly accepting a gift of two tickets, arranged by a lobbyist, to a San Francisco 49ers football game. The fine is continuing fallout from the state Fair Political Practices Commission investigation into the lobbyist firm Sloat Higgins Jensen and Associates. The probe resulted in a $133,500 fine against the firm in February for improperly making campaign contributions to about 40 politicians and gifts to three others, including Miller.
April 5, 2014 | By David Ng
Less than a week after it announced that it was postponing the deadline for its closure, San Diego Opera said it has received a $1-million gift from a board member that is intended to help the company regroup and develop a new business model.   Board member Carol Lazier said in a release sent by the company late Friday that she is giving the money "to encourage us to rescind the dissolution vote as soon as possible. "  San Diego Opera surprised many in March when it announced that it would cease operations after five decades due to financial difficulties stemming from weak box-office receipts and declining donations.
March 26, 2014 | Bill Plaschke
The Dodgers returned home for the traditional start of the 2014 season with fresh Australian victories, renewed championship hopes, and a battered chunk of familiar baggage. All of this lugging around of the constant turmoil that is Yasiel Puig is getting tiresome. "I know Yasiel is a huge lightning rod," Manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday as he took a deep breath. "Any time I say anything about Yasiel it turns into a story. Any time Yasiel does something it turns into a story.
March 25, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- Librarians aren't known for being loud, but Gov. Jerry Brown might hear some raised voices from that scholarly crowd over his decision Tuesday to appoint a politically connected journalist as the California state librarian. Brown appointed Greg Lucas, 55, a former political reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, to the post. Since 2011, Lucas has been a senior editor for the Sacramento website Capitol Weekly, which provides articles on California politics, and he also writes and edits California's Capitol, a website he created that also explores issues of state politics and history.
March 24, 2014 | By Carol Starr Schneider
Even in the emergency room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at 5 a.m., while waiting to be seen after a fall, my 92-year-old dad knew a straight line when he heard one. "Are you comfortable?" a nurse asked, propping him up with a pillow. "I make a living," he said without missing a beat. My father, Ben Starr, was the son of immigrants who fled Russia with their senses of humor intact, and he put that cultural inheritance to good use throughout his life. Growing up in Brooklyn, he was known as "Peanut" because of his size.
April 26, 2009 | Alana Semuels
Is it wrong to ask friends to spend when you know they're scrimping? And what do you do with an influx of cash -- if you're still getting unemployment checks? :: Dear Alana: My husband and I are about to have a baby. We are both employed as lawyers in Chicago and have -- for the time being -- steady jobs. I am from Flint, Mich., and my mother is planning on throwing me a baby shower there.
August 2, 2012 | By Lisa Boone
See how long it takes your friend to discover you left behind a sweet and surprising hostess gift with HingeHeads, tiny decorative accessories that attach magnetically atop standard door hinges. Founded by architect Michael Schubach, the Pasadena company has more than 150 designs in three finishes: antique pewter, antique brass and antique bronze materials. A new summer collection includes a dog, a peace sign, a skateboarder, a ballerina, a hula dancer and a palm tree. Custom designs are available too. The designs are hand-sculpted and cast in limited editions in Los Angeles.
March 23, 2014 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: In 2007, my parents signed over their house deed to my name. Does this trigger the gift tax? They never filled out a gift tax form. Is it too late? Dad has passed on but Mom is still with us. She has Alzheimer's disease, and I have her power of attorney. Are there no taxes due because of the lifetime exclusion? Answer: Yes, a gift tax return should have been filed, but no, the gift tax itself almost certainly wasn't triggered. In 2007, each of your parents would have had to give away more than $1 million in their lifetimes before gift tax would be owed.
March 10, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- The Orange County Transportation Authority on Monday became the fourth client to drop the firm Sloat Higgins Jensen and Associates as its lobbyist in Sacramento since the company was hit by record fines for making improper campaign contributions to dozens of elected state officials. Others who have dropped the firm in the last month include the San Francisco 49ers Football Co., Verizon Communications and Accenture. Together, the four clients represented $734,0000 of the $4.7 million paid to the lobbying firm last year.
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