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Friday, February 18, 2011

How the Kardashians Made $65 Million Last Year

The Kardashians are a business empire

Ka-ching — it's the Kardashians!

The new issue of The Hollywood Reporter goes in depth with Kardashian mom and manager Kris Jenner about the inventive — and controversial — ways she's monetized reality fame for her family since their arrival on E! in 2007.

Last year, THR reveals, the tightknit family made more money than what Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, and Tom Cruise are estimated to have earned combined: a staggering $65 million (a source close to the family confirms the figure).

Below, a round-up of the shocking amounts of money they've scored:

- The family splits a six-figure paycheck per E! episode. The shows might provide a steady paycheck, but their larger purpose is to serve as a marketing platform for their endorsements and best-selling products, which include book, fragrance and clothing lines. "These shows are a 30-minute commercial," admits Khloé, co-star of the first spinoff, "Kourtney & Khloé Take Miami," which focused on the opening of a Florida outpost of their clothing store, Dash.

- Kim now charges as much as $25,000 to simply mention and link to a brand or company in a tweet. It's so effective a tool that businesses have begun including Twitter clauses in their contracts with the family, committing the girls to a set number of tweets about their product.

- Kim commands a personal appearance fee of $100,000 to $250,000 per event, and can even demand up to $1 million internationally, according to a high-profile talent wrangler. It's been rumored that she signed a seven-figure deal with a Las Vegas club owner for a handful of 2011 appearances. (Kris will not confirm.) "Kim sells," a nightlife source says.

[Photos: Hollywood's Highest-Grossing Actors]

- Kourtney sold news of her 2009 pregnancy to Life & Style magazine for a cool $300,000. That included multiple stories: the pregnancy announcement, sex of the baby, birth announcement, first baby photos and body-after-baby reveal. (Life & Style declined comment.)

- Khloé and husband Lamar Odom scored nearly $300,000 from OK! magazine for their wedding. Kris also had everything from the Lehr & Black custom invitations to Khloé's 9-carat engagement ring "donated" for the lavish affair; sources say she promised vendors massive product promotion that would come from the media circus surrounding the wedding. In the event that an item wasn't gifted, E!, it is believed, picked up the tab (E! declined comment).

- Certain paparazzi agencies also have agreements with the family to stage photos, sell them and split the profits. Kourtney and beau Scott Disick recently earned $7,500 for an afternoon laying poolside in Cancun.

- The Kardashian Kard, a prepaid credit card the sisters launched in November with financial service company Mobile Research Card, also was to give the Kardashians $3 for every card activated or sold, 25 percent of fees, a $75,000 advance on royalties and a $37,000 signing bonus. But when then-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal castigated the card for its predatory hidden fees (of which the family, as stated by the contract, would receive a percentage), Kris attempted to quietly terminate the agreement. The card's issuer is suing the family for $75 million.

[Photos: THR's 80th Anniversary Issue]

The Kardashians have no plans to slow down. "My fantasy is to have 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians,' season 26," Jenner, 55, tells THR. "Who knew it would be this profitable? I should have had more kids."

Team becomes highest-earner in history

For the sixth consecutive year, Real Madrid tops the Deloitte Football Money League, and in doing so, became the highest-earning sports team ever, reports Business Insider. Despite not winning any trophies, the club's earnings jumped from $541 million for the 2008/09 season to $592 million for the 2009/10 season, enabling it to continue funding Cristiano Ronaldo's most extravagant purchases. Like exclusive yet unenforcable baby rights.

Barcelona came in right behind Real for the second straight year (even though the standings were the other way around in La Liga) and for the first time ever, the combined earnings of Deloitte's 20-club Money League topped $5.4 billion.

By comparison, the top earning NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys, made $420 million according to Forbes and the top earning MLB team, the New York Yankees, made $441 million. That would only put them fifth and fourth, respectively, in Deloitte's list of football clubs.

The biggest chunk of Real Madrid's revenue came from its ongoing $1.4 billion TV rights deal, but it also makes nearly as much from numerous sponsorships and matchday earnings. And if there's one thing Real likes more than making money, it's spending it. Over the last decade, it's spent more than $1 billion on player transfers as it keeps breaking its own transfer records for individual players to fill out club president Florentino Perez's live-action fantasy team.

Here's the full Football Money League Top 20...

1. Real Madrid -- $592 million
2. Barcelona -- $537 million
3. Manchester United -- $472 million
4. Bayern Munich -- $436 million
5. Arsenal -- $370 million
6. Chelsea -- $345 million
7. AC Milan -- $318 million
8. Liverpool -- $308 million
9. Inter Milan -- $303 million
10. Juventus -- $277 million
11. Manchester City -- $206 million
12. Tottenham Hotspur -- $198 million
13. Hamburger SV -- $197 million
14. Lyon -- $197 million
15. Marseille -- $190 million
16. Schalke 04 -- $189 million
17. Atletico Madrid -- $168 million
18. Roma -- $166 million
19. Stuttgart -- $155 million
20. Aston Villa -- $148 million

Fun, right? Well, it's not so much when you look at how quickly those earnings disappear. As the Andersred Blog points out, just one of the seven English clubs on Deloitte's list turned a profit (Arsenal). Barcelona had to take out a loan to pay player wages last summer and Real's debt is in the hundreds of millions. So keep that in mind when imagining club executives diving into warehouse-sized safes full of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Famous heirs who could inherit billions

Every parent wants to be able to help their child. In some cases, this means coming up with the down payment on a car, and in others, it means co-signing an apartment lease. Then there are times when it means offering them a controlling stake in a major U.S. corporation.

The fortunes passed down from billionaire parents to their children have allowed businesses to continue under well-known family names long after the principals are gone. Those fortunes have also provided the resources to get a new venture off the ground.

Whether they're passing down a longstanding empire to the next generation or providing the backing for a new investment, the wealth that billionaire parents have handed down has created opportunities that otherwise might not exist.

Here are the children of several high-profile billionaires. While it's uncertain if the parents will pass down all of their riches, some of children have already used their parents' wealth and influence to their advantage.

©Getty Images

David, Dylan and Andrew Lauren

If you don't know who Ralph Lauren is, then you're not much of a fashionista. Born Ralph Liftshitz in the Bronx, Lauren is a world-famous clothing designer who entered the business in 1967 as the owner of a necktie store. He sold his own designs there under the name "Polo," and 30 years later, Polo Ralph Lauren was a publicly traded company that took in over $5 billion in revenue, according to SEC filings.

The designer and his wife of over 45 years had three children -- Andrew, David and Dylan. Andrew is a producer of low-budget films and documentaries. David works at Polo Ralph Lauren as senior vice president of advertising, marketing and corporate communications. And daughter Dylan founded Dylan's Candy Bar, a chain of candy stores that she claims was inspired by seeing "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" at the age of 5.

©Getty Images

Emma and Georgina Bloomberg

Mike Bloomberg is the mayor of New York City and one of the richest people in the U.S. He founded Bloomberg L.P., a financial data, media and software company that, according to The New York Times, has an estimated revenue of almost $7 billion. Two of the primary beneficiaries of this massive wealth are his daughters, Emma and Georgina. Emma has worked alongside her father, helping to implement the 311 phone number system that consolidated the city's thousands of agencies under a single, three-digit number.

Bloomberg used his considerable fortune to support his youngest daughter Georgina's love of horseback riding. Today, she is a professional equestrian who's considered one of the best in her field, but the pursuit is not without its risks. In 2002 she broke her back at the Hampton Classic, and in 2010 she suffered a concussion at a Syracuse riding show. However, days later, she announced to the New York Daily News that the accident would change nothing. "I'm going to get all better and go right back."

©Getty Images

Amanda Hearst

Media tycoon William Randolph Hearst made his fortune at the turn of the 20th century by founding newspapers all over the United States, and he became so powerful and so influential that the main character in "Citizen Kane," Charles Foster Kane, was based on him.

His family fortune sometimes made them a target, as his granddaughter Patty Hearst found out when she was kidnapped in 1974 by a militant leftist organization, the Symbionese Liberation Army. However, her sister, Anna Hearst, has led a life much more consistent with that of a socialite.

Anna's daughter Amanda benefited from her family's wealth. She attended the prestigious Choate boarding school in Connecticut, and she has had a successful career as a model, appearing in advertisements for Ralph Lauren and on the cover of Cosmopolitan. She was quoted in Harper's Bazaar as requiring a yearly "maintenance cost" of over $130,000, although she now claims that the quote was taken out of context.

©Getty Images

Paris and Nicky Hilton

The nationwide Hilton Hotels chain was founded in 1919 by Conrad Hilton. His grandson, Rick Hilton, is chairman and co-founder of Hilton & Hyland, a Beverly Hills real estate firm that caters only to people who can afford the most extravagant properties in the 90210 zip code. When he met Kathy Avanzino, it was love at first sight and the two married in 1979. Over 30 years later, they're still going strong, and they have raised two sons and two daughters.

One of their daughters, Nicky, has launched clothing lines and walked the runway in Australian fashion shows. Their other daughter is Paris, and you may have heard of her. She gained national attention when she starred in "The Simple Life" on Fox in 2003 with fellow socialite Nicole Richie, but her ambitions didn't stop at TV. She also wrote an autobiography in 2004, starred in the horror movie remake "House of Wax" in 2005 and released her debut album, "Paris," in 2006.

©Getty Images

Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump

Donald Trump may be a celebrity thanks to the television show "The Apprentice," but his real estate enterprise is what made him a billionaire. "The Donald" has five children, and while 17-year-old Tiffany and 4-year-old Barron are unlikely to have plotted a career path just yet, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric have all taken positions alongside dad within The Trump Organization.

Donald Jr. holds the position of executive vice president within the company, and he also serves as ambassador for Operation Smile, a charitable organization that fixes cleft palates for children in developing nations. Eric also serves as executive vice president in the Trump Organization, as does sister Ivanka. However, Ivanka is the most well known of all of Trump's children, thanks to her work as a runway model and her appearances by dad's side on "The Apprentice."

Reggae star Buju Banton faces life in US prison

Buju Banton AP – FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2003 file photo, Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton poses at the Source Hip-Hop …

MIAMI – Grammy-winning singer Buju Banton checked out some cocaine, put some on his finger and tasted it — all of it caught on law enforcement video inside a Florida warehouse. Now he has another chance to explain why.

His second trial is scheduled to begin Monday, just a day after his 2010 album "Before the Dawn" won the Grammy award for best reggae album. The trial comes five months after a previous jury hung on federal drug trafficking charges that could put him in prison for life.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, claims he was entrapped by a confidential informant and got in over his head while trying to impress the man, who implied he could help Banton's music career. The U.S. government says Banton conspired with two associates to buy a shipment of cocaine from an undercover officer.

The two other men pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Their sentencing hearings are scheduled next month.

Banton, 37, was arrested in December 2009 at his Miami-area home.

He remained in custody until November, when another Jamaican singer, Stephen Marley, reggae legend Bob Marley's son, posted his South Florida home as bond. Banton has been on house arrest except for a Miami concert last month to raise money for legal expenses.

Federal prosecutors initially charged Banton with drug conspiracy and gun charges, and in November added two more drug-related charges.

"Buju is not guilty. The number of charges doesn't change that," Banton's attorney, David Markus, said in an e-mail. "The prosecution wasn't happy with the first trial, so now it is trying to throw as many charges against the wall in the hopes something sticks."

Markus has argued the singer, who rose from the slums of Kingston to massive success in the 1990s, was a victim of entrapment by an informant who's been paid $3.3 million for working with law enforcement over several years.

During his first trial, the Rastafarian singer, his long dreadlocks tied in a braid, testifed that he talked a lot about cocaine with the informant, Alexander Johnson. But he said he was only trying to impress the man, who claimed to have music industry connections. He said he had no interest in buying or selling drugs.

"I talk too much, but I am not a drug dealer," Banton said on the stand.

In excerpts from their recorded conversations from July 2009 through December 2009 that were played for the jury, the husky-voiced singer told Johnson that he financed drug deals and that he wanted to sell drugs in Europe, buy drugs from the Caribbean and South America, and use Johnson's boat to transport drugs. The men met on a trans-Atlantic flight at the end of Banton's European tour for his album "Rasta Got Soul."

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Preston argued Banton's conversations with the informant put the conspiracy into motion. Banton testified that he never wanted nor expected Johnson to set up a cocaine deal, despite what he said in the recordings.

Johnson testified that he surprised Banton with cocaine at an undercover police warehouse in Sarasota on Dec. 8, 2009. Surveillance video shows Banton tasting the drugs.

The singer was not present two days later when his two associates, Ian Thomas and James Mack, were caught on video trying to buy the drugs at the warehouse.

His Grammy-winning album's 10 songs were recorded in Kingston, Jamaica, before his arrest. The singer worked with producers and engineers over the phone from jail to finish the album before its September release.

In an e-mail from his manager last week, Banton thanked his fans for their support and celebrated his fifth Grammy nomination.

"'Before The Dawn' is a prophetic album and if it happens to win I am grateful," Banton said. "If it doesn't, I still say thanks for the appreciation and the recognition because music is an art form that cannot be denied by any living soul. Music is my life."

In Jamaica, some fans have theorized Banton was framed by the U.S. government or gay activists who have protested violent, homophobic lyrics from early in Banton's career as a brash dancehall singer. Shows in several U.S. cities were canceled on his 2009 tour because of the protests.

Banton jabbed at his detractors during his Jan. 16 performance in Miami, referencing one of his controversial songs and the messiah of his Rastafarian faith.

He said: "Why they want to see Buju Banton cry? Is it because I said 'Boom Bye Bye'? Is it because I say Selassie I? Is it because I'm black and not shy?"

Friday, February 4, 2011

Turmoil in Egypt rages: Key questions and answers

Violent clashes continue in Tahrir Square Play Video AFP – Violent clashes continue in Tahrir Square
A pro-Mubarak supporter apprehended by opposition demonstrators is led away during rioting near Tahir Square in Cairo Reuters – A pro-Mubarak supporter apprehended by opposition demonstrators is led away during rioting near Tahir …

By Steve Clemons

Clashes between protesters and government supporters intensified Thursday in central Cairo and began to spread around the city. Meanwhile, the government claimed foreigners were partly to blame for more than a week of demonstrations demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, the country's ruler for nearly three decades. (Latest developments)

The ongoing turmoil raises numerous questions about what really is happening now and where it will lead. Here are some answers:

What can the United States do to influence Mubarak and the situation within Egypt?

American influence over President Hosni Mubarak and the situation in Egypt is often overstated. The dynamics at play in protests against the government are like an enormous storm and the United States can't do much to change its course. That said, the U.S. provides about $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt, $1.2 billion of which goes to the military, which also has excellent relations with the U.S. defense establishment and Pentagon. Withdrawing the aid could harm the Israel-Egypt equation and diminish influence with the military. Thus, the real influence that the United States has is through international opinion, focusing a spotlight on abuses and Egypt's fake democracy.

What are the likely scenarios if Mubarak stays or if he leaves?

President Mubarak was expected by many observers to transfer authority for his "political franchise" to his son, Gamal Mubarak, who is a senior official in the ruling National Democratic Party. Thus the question is not whether Hosni Mubarak leaves Egypt but whether the Mubarak political franchise, which his son has helped reinvigorate, holds on. If Mubarak remains in Egypt, it is likely that his own power will decline. He may also be marginalized in the debates over what the next political order will look like and which parties will be legitimately included. But the NDP as an institution may try to argue that it has as much right to participate as any other.

If Mubarak leaves, then the military is likely to become the backbone of a caretaker government that puts forward a plan to broaden the number of political parties that can participate in government. It's unclear whether the military, which will want to be perceived as an impartial arbiter between the various political factions, will ultimately be trusted by the protesters to perform this role.

The real problem today is the ticking clock. The military and even the Mubarak administration are making moves that two weeks ago seemed impossible and thus they feel that they are responding to the public at a fast and deliberate pace. But the expectations of the protesters, and the international community are reflected in White House spokesman Robert Gibbs' words: "Change needs to start yesterday."

The other possible scenario is that the public fails to give ground; that Mubarak staying or going becomes irrelevant, and that Egypt slips into civil war and anarchy. There is a chance of this happening given the increasingly tough and inflexible military posture towards the protests and the seeming dissatisfaction among protesters with the government's moves.

Most of the images we see are from Tahrir Square, the center of the protests. What do we know about what is going on in Cairo outside of the Square? What is life like for ordinary Egyptians during this crisis?

Egyptian life is hard. Money dispensing machines are shut down. Banks are closed. Department and grocery stores are shut down. Transport and distribution of everyday goods is inconsistent and mostly paralyzed. People's lives are paralyzed — and much of Egypt either in the square or in the environs around Cairo and elsewhere in the country is surviving on the adrenaline of large doses of hope and fear. World wheat, corn, and basic staples prices are extremely high on global markets — and prices are spiking higher. Egypt is one of the world's largest food importers, and these trends make life for an already large impoverished population even more difficult. The political stakes going on are also stakes that involve human and food security throughout the country.

Egypt's Vice President promised elections within 200 days. What evidence is there to suggest that these elections will be any different from those the country has held for decades?

Nine days of protests have completely transformed Egypt's political landscape. It is impossible to predict what will happen 200 days from now. That said, there is no evidence that left to their own devices Mubarak and the current government will allow free and fair elections. In fact, most evidence points to the contrary. The more time Mubarak and current power brokers have in power, the more chance they may have to manipulate the political process. Elections in the future will only be different than those in the past if the Egyptian people, supported by the international community, force the government to allow them.

Another important, though not often discussed, issue is that the basic constitutional laws on political participation, elections, and the power of the presidency may need to be altered before a free and fair election can take place. And at this point, there is no clear way to see how a paralyzed government with a reluctant incumbent president will accede to these needed changes.

Who is behind the attacks on journalists and anti-Mubarak protesters?

The preponderance of evidence points to part of the current government. The real vexing question beginning to emerge now is what is the government? Previously, the National Democratic Party, the police, and the national army were all part of the same operation and were recognized as the government. Today, the army is purporting to be the backbone of and protector of the government — and the National Democratic Party and police seem to be arms of the Mubarak franchise, no longer "the government" per se.

Reporters on the ground, like The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof, say it was "an organized government crackdown, but it relied on armed hoodlums, not on police or army troops." Earlier today, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley announced that the situation in Egypt "was an intimidation campaign to scare journalists." There is considerable uncertainty over who is personally accountable.

Steve Clemons is founder and senior fellow of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. He is part of a group of foreign policy experts that the White House has consulted with in recent days concerning the situation in Egypt. He also is publisher of The Washington Note.

The man who isn’t there

You might say that Liu Bolin likes to blend in.

But the Chinese artist does more than just wear camouflage pants and stand next to a bush. With the help of some assistants, Bolin paints himself, head to toe and unassumingly just stands there--in grocery stores, next to piles of coal, on staircases, you name it. And, unless you look really closely, you'll miss him entirely--which is pretty much the point.

It turns out that the process of making oneself truly invisible is quite painstaking. According to a report in the U.K.'s Daily Mail, Bolin spends hours perfecting his poses to ensure that he'll mesh with his background. Bolin then stands "in front of backdrops with a team of two assistants to paint the camouflage on his clothes." The "camouflage" can be anything, so long as Bolin segues seamlessly into the backdrop.

Aside from looking cool, Bolin's work does have a deeper meaning. Again according to the Daily Mail, the living sculptures are "designed to show how we all can just disappear in today's mass production world." And how! The photo of Bolin standing in front of a grocery store shelf full of soda cans and bottles is full of color, shading and shadow.

Bolin, who has been at this for several years, has built up an impressive portfolio. A gallery of his work can been seen at Eli Klein Fine Art. You can check out the full collection of photos here. You can see a slideshow of some Bolin's most impressive work in the slideshow below.

Click image to see more of Bolin's disappearing act

Liu Bolin/Eli Klein Fine Art

Thursday, February 3, 2011

6 Rose Colors and Their Meanings

While no woman would turn down a dozen red roses, find out the other messages you can send by giving a different color or blending the colors in your bouquet.

Red: Love and Romance

One of the most universal of all symbols, the red rose represents true love. It has also appeared throughout history and across cultures as both a political and religious symbol.

Yellow: Friendship, Joy, Get Well

Throughout history, yellow has been closely associated with the sun, making these roses excellent for cheering people up. Yellow roses send a message of appreciation and platonic love without the romantic subtext of other colors. The color represents feelings of joy and delight.

Pink: Love, Gratitude, Appreciation

Pink carries with it the connotation of grace and elegance, as well as sweetness and poetic romance.

Dark pink roses are symbolic of gratitude and appreciation, and are a traditional way to say thanks.

Light pink roses are associated with gentleness and admiration, and can also be used as an expression of sympathy.

PLUS: 5 Ways Love Makes You Smarter

White: Purity, Innocence, Sympathy, Spirituality

Early tradition used white roses as a symbol for true love, an association which would later become the hallmark of the red rose. Also known as the bridal rose, the white rose is a traditional wedding flower. In this sense, white represents unity, virtue, and the pureness of a new love. White roses are also associated with honor and reverence, which makes them a fitting memorial for a departed loved one.

Orange: Desire, Enthusiasm and Passion

A literal mixture of yellow and red, orange roses were seen as a bridge between friendship symbolized by yellow roses and love represented by red roses. They can be an expression of fascination, or a gift to say 'I'm proud of you.'

PLUS: 13 Things Your Florist Won't Tell You

Lavender: Enchantment, Majesty, Love at First Sight

The color purple has a traditional association with royalty. In this regard, shades of lavender roses suggest an air of regal majesty and splendor.


The worst Valentine's Day gifts ever, 2010 edition

    • A coupon for any kind of love
    • Self-help books
    • Anything sharp
    • 'Romantic' Facebook gifts
    • Exercise gifts
    • Office supplies
    • Candy underwear
photo 1 of 13

A coupon for any kind of love

Don't hold on to it--just give away the love!

We know what you're going to say: It's the thought that counts. But, honestly, it's really not thoughtful to buy your mate a terrible gift—on Valentine's Day or ever. So, please, we beg you, significant others everywhere, don't drop your cash on any of the cutesy-bad or clueless-gross presents we've outlined above. No one wants them. Don't waste your money on this stuff! We're in a recession!
Let's just all love each other, OK?

6 mistakes men make on Valentine's Day

Don't let a bear do your bidding, guys. (Photo by Think Stock)

Don't let a bear do your bidding, guys. (Photo by Think Stock)

Memo to men: Valentine’s Day is on February 14. In years past, has noticed a spike in men searching for an answer to the question: “When is Valentine's Day?” as the day fast approaches. Of all the holidays on the yearly calendar, the one designated for romance never fails to trip guys up. Blame mixed messages: While retailers consider the holiday worthy of diamonds, many women take the stance that it's no big deal.

Don’t fall for any of it. Valentines Day is when a guy’s affection, compatibility, and commitment are put to the test. Forgetting the day is just the first mistake to avoid. There are six other common mistakes men make on February 14. Here's a cheat sheet.

Mistake #1: Getting words of wisdom from your local drug store.
There's a time and a place for Hallmark poetry and it's never on Valentine's Day. No matter how cursive, heartfelt, and close-to-home the text, you still didn't write it.
Why it’s bad: Women want to feel special. Giving a card that’s designed to cater to millions of women on Valentine’s Day sends the message that your love is a lot like everyone else's. It also suggests you bought some Rite Guard in the next aisle while you were at it. Nobody wants to feel like one of two birds.
The fix: Cliché as it seems, the thought really does count. More than 75 percent of women claim to want nothing more than a heart-felt love letter on February 14. Relationship psychologist Dr. Terri Orbuch also suggests a personal note trumps even chocolate. "Which says 'I love you' more: a box of candy or a handwritten note telling your partner you'd still choose him/her if you had to do it all over again?" asks Orbuch. "Show your partner why he/she matters so much to you."

Mistake #2: Letting a bear do your bidding.
Stuffed animal tricks are for kids. Giving your special lady a teddy bear holding a balloon with a pun like "I Yearn Fur You" is sweet if you're both in junior high. But in a poll by ShopRunner, a women's shopping site, members claimed teddy bears were the worst gift they had ever received on February 14. Flowers and chocolates (standard accompaniments to the stuffed animal) aren't going to win her over either.
Why it's bad: A stuffed animal not only suggests you don't take your partner seriously, it's also generic. Flowers, candy, and anything that's stamped "buy this for Valentine's Day" suggests limited thought went into the gift.
The fix: Don't run to your nearest jeweler. It's not about the money—besides, a dozen roses and a build-a-bear don't come cheap. "In fact, depending on where a couple is in their relationship, extravagant gifts like expensive lingerie or fancy chocolates can seem overwhelming," author and etiquette expert Leah Ingram tells "If you've just started dating, a big gift can imply more depth to the relationship than is really there. It can also be awkward if the guy splurges on a big Valentine's gift, but the woman doesn't do the same." Instead, find a simple gift that shows you've been listening to your lady, like a DVD of her favorite series, or a book by an author she's mentioned. Dr. Orbuch has a more direct approach: "Think of something your partner really needs," she says. "Get the car detailed. Replace her tattered briefcase. It may not sound romantic, but thoughtfulness is a turn-on and shows you really care about your partner."

Mistake #3: Declaring Valentine’s Day a ploy for consumers

No matter how you rationalize it, the holiday is not going away. Even if your partner trumps your own disdain for the day, the risk of going along with her is too great.
Why it’s bad: It feels like an excuse. Despite all the arguments against the day, it comes down to celebrating your relationship. “In the larger picture, cultural rituals like Valentine’s Day structure opportunities to do good things that we could do any day, but usually do not,” writes social scientist Bill Doherty in Psychology Today. “The year I took my wife to Subway on February 14 was the low point. Eventually I realized that the cost of minimizing Valentine’s Day—the disappointment and the missed opportunity to connect—is greater than the benefits of maintaining my freedom to be spontaneously romantic on my own timetable.”
The fix: If if really pains you to observe the date, celebrate your valentine the day before. You can also keep it low-key. Dinner is optional. The most important thing is to set aside time to talk about things that aren't "important." "Have a 10-minute conversation with your partner about anything besides kids, work, money, or domestic responsibilities," says Orbuch. "I found that the '10 Minute Rule,' practiced daily, increases intimacy, bonding, and happiness." Take a drive or rent the movie you watched on your first date: external triggers that don't cause stress can help take you back to the way you were before your everyday lives trumped romance.

Mistake #4: Sharing the day with your BlackBerry
One in five guys will text their loving message on Valentine’s Day and one in ten will take to email. That doesn't even factor Facebook and Twitter professions of love. As sweet as 140 characters can be, old-school letters are more romantic. One survey found the obvious: women would be disappointed by an electronic gesture of affection.
Why it’s bad: In terms of effort, it’s minimal. It also brings a third party into your affair: your P.D.A. (your Personal Digital Assistant, not public displays of affection). It should be a given to turn it off during your candlelit dinner, but using it to profess love is detached.
The fix: Buy a blank card or take a photo of the two of you and write a message on the back. It doesn't have to be long, it can even be a quote from your favorite song. But in this technological world, handwriting holds a certain intimacy. If words just aren't your thing, make a mix CD and write out the songs in pen. Your music choices will do the talking.

Mistake #5: Expecting her to make the plans
In the United States, 64 percent of men do not make V-day plans in advance. That can be a problem when at least 30 percent of women expect guys to map out the entire evening, according to Women's Health. Who's right? Who cares. To avoid conflict, just make a plan.
Why it’s bad: Making plans is a sign of commitment, even if they're not exactly what your partner had in mind. The task of putting forethought into your time together suggests you see a future together. It may sound like a leap, but on Valentine's Day, it's nothing to take lightly.
The fix: Even if you’re strapped for cash or shut out from overbooked restaurants on what might be the busiest day for reservations, there's still hope. Preparing a meal she’ll love or simply plating a prepared meal on a candle-lit table will do the job. Providing dessert and a little wine will suggest you’ve really put thought into the night, even if you just went to the supermarket.

Mistake #6: Under-dressing
Don't wear jeans. No matter how well they fit, denims are not invited to your romantic evening for two.
Why it's bad: It suggests the day isn't as important to you as it it may be to her. Plus, getting a little dressed up adds an element of excitement that breaks the casual routine you may share on a standard date night. And excitement boosts oxytocin, the bonding hormone released during new, exciting activities that brings couples together.
The fix: Whether you're staying in or partying like a rock star, let Daniel Craig, aka James Bond, be your style muse, says men's fashion site Dappered. For a night in, try casual khakis and a crisp white shirt, like Craig wore during a scene in an Italian villa in "Quantum of Solace." For a red carpet look, try a skinny tie, or a slim-lined gray suit, like Craig has donned at premieres.