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The Latest Bridal Trend: Renting Your Gown


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For traditional brides, "carrying something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue" has long been a way of inviting good fortune and prosperity into a marriage. But what if the borrowed something is the big white dress?

A host of new retail outlets are offering all of the glitz and glamour of a fairy tale wedding gown experience, but with a return-by date akin to Cinderella's famous midnight curfew.

Ladies and gentleman, you may now rent the bridal gown.

"When we recently launched Little White Dress rentals for brides, we received orders for events the next day," said Kelsey Doorey, whose new e-retail site Vow to Be Chic, launched with rentals for bridesmaids and then quickly expanded its offerings. "It's clear that women are looking for ways to make the experience more affordable and convenient without sacrificing style or dress quality."

Popular designers featured on the Vow to be Chic site include Jenny Yoo, Nicole Miller, Jill Jill Stuart, Tadashi Shoji, Watters, Theia, Joanna August, LulaKate, Alvina Valenta, Jim Hjelm and Swoon.

And it's not alone in its business model.

With an increasing number of women shifting away from preserving gowns for family heirlooms, many of today's brides are more interested in saving some money on the way from the boutique to the chapel.

Longstanding designer rental website Rent the Runway, which offers 4- and 8-day rentals of upscale gowns by designers ranging from Badgley Mischka to Monique Lhiullier, recently debuted a bridal category after its brick-and-mortar store in the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas saw a steady stream of women shopping for their wedding day.

"I think some women value the experience over the ownership of their gown," said a representative for Rent the Runway. "If they already use Spotify or Uber, services where you’re not necessarily owning something versus experiencing it, they will also feel comfortable with renting a wedding gown."

Plus, the savings of renting are not insignificant.

A sleek, long-sleeved, cocktail-length wedding dress by Dsquared that would normally retail for approximately $830 can be rented for $125 on Rent the Runway. And at Washington, D.C.-based bridal rental atelier Borrowing Magnolia, a Jenny Packham "Aspen Gown" featuring a draping silhouette, meticulous bead work and an illusion lace back that would typically sell for $5,000 before alterations, can be rented for $1,250.

Those discounts leave lots of funds still in the wedding budget for food, music or other desirable decor elements. And if your groom isn't planning to keep his morning jacket, proponents say there's no reason why his betrothed can't follow suit with her tulle.

"Guys have been renting tuxes forever," Doorey told ABC News. "It finally dawned on me: Why can't women enjoy the same concept?"

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Why a Former Letter Carrier Says Drones Will Never Replace Postal Workers


Credit: Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Google, Amazon and Domino's Pizza are big fans. The FAA is feeling it out. But one person clearly not a part of "Team Drone" is Matty Rose, a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran and retired mail carrier.

Google announced Wednesday that it tested drone delivery of items like dog treats, vaccines and candy to farmers in Australia. Though companies like the search giant are figuring out the legalities of FAA rules regarding commercial drone use, the realities of food and product deliveries by small aircraft appear to be closer than ever before.

Though no companies have declared they will replace mail delivery, Rose says you can count him out of the fan club if they ever decide to do so when it comes to packages and letters.

"I don’t think letter carriers can be replaced. Everything else can be automated or bar-coded to every state for the same price," he said. "But somebody has to deliver it."

A former union officer for the National Association of Letter Carriers, Rose delivered mail for more than 12 years in Hollywood, Florida, north of Miami, after his military service in 1966. He is now the president of Nalcrest Trustees, a 500-unit retirement community in Central Florida for former letter carriers.

"The Postal Service is part of the fabric of this nation," said Darleen Reid, a spokeswoman for the United States Postal Service. "Postal employees make a difference in every community across the country."

Here are some of the reasons mail carriers may be better than drones:

1. Drones can't cheer up lonely residents.

"Everybody’s working and busy these days, but in most neighborhoods, especially with people who are seniors, letter carriers are sometimes the only people they get to meet during the course of the day," Rose said. "Letter carriers keep an eye on the elderly and the neighborhood.

2. Mail carriers have saved lives.


"Letter carriers are saving people’s lives and they can stop crimes," he said.

Exhibit A: One mailman in Akron, Ohio, Keith McVey, is credited with saving three lives, including saving a drowning girl from a lake, helping a teen who jumped off a bridge on a snowy day and performing CPR on an unconscious man.

Reid said that in 2013 the Postal Service recognized 262 "employee heroes."

3. Drones can't be Santa Claus.


Since 1912, postal employees, charities and individual and corporate volunteers have helped children and families in need experience the magic of the holiday season by answering letters to Santa.

4. Mail carriers won't drop packages on your head.


"A drone could hover over your head. I don’t know if people would trust drones," whereas many Americans would prefer the "personal touch" of a letter carrier, said Rose. "Something about delivering a letter is special. Look at what we have now. Drones dropping packages on your head. You certainly don’t want that."

5. Your postal worker knows everything about you, hopefully, in a good way.


"The letter carrier knows everything about you: the kind of mail you get, your hobbies, magazines and who you’re fooling around with," Rose said.

6. Drones can't hold food drives.


Reid said the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers held the largest one-day food drive in the nation. In 2013, more than one million pounds of food were collected. More than one billion pounds of food have been collected since the drive began in 1993.

7. Postal service workers will take a dog bite for you.


Medical expenses from dog attacks cost the Postal Service more than $1.4 million last year, based on data through June 2013. Each year in May, the Postal Service supports National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The campaign raises awareness concerning animal attacks. Last year, 4,734 postal employees were attacked in more than 2,200 cities.

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Wall Street Rebounds from Thursday Losses, Google Testing Drone Delivery


iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After a day of losses, Wall Street returned to its form from the beginning of the week, with all three major indices posting gains and the S&P 500 posting a record close.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17098.38, up 18.81 from Thursday.

The Nasdaq gained 22.57, finished the day at 4580. 27, while the S&P 500 climbed 6.62, finishing the day at a new high close of 2003.36. The S&P 500 finished the month up 3.8 percent, its best August in 14 years.

The market gains come after Google, earlier this week, announced that it is working on a system that would allow the company to delivery goods using drones. Other companies, including Amazon and Dominos Pizza have previously tested similar drone delivery systems.

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Thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge, ALS Association Reaches $100 Million in Donations


iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association announced on Friday that through approximately one month of Ice Bucket Challenge donations, they have received over $100 million in charitable contributions.

"The ALS Association is tremendously grateful for all of the gifts by individuals, corporations and foundations," a statement on the ALSA's website read. Individual donations to the cause have ranged from less than one dollar to $200,000.

"People have responded with such generosity it is truly remarkable," President and CEO of the ALSA, Barbara Newhouse said. "We couldn't be more appreciative." She noted that the donations will "help fuel our fight against ALS in ways that were never before possible."

The ALSA also acknowledged the individuals and corporations who donated in the highest tier, between $100,000 and $200,000. Included in that list were actors Leonardo DiCaprio and David Spade; John Legere, President and CEO of T-Mobile US; and Micky Arison, Chairman of Carnival Cruise Lines and the National Basketball Association's Miami Heat. The ALSA also recognized corporate gifts from Wells Fargo, Spring, The Parsons Foundation, Carnival Cruise Lines and the New York Yankees.

During the same time period last year, the ALS Association says that it received $2.8 million, meaning the ice bucket challenge has spurred a 3500 percent increase in contributions.

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New Citi Credit Card Rewards You for Paying Down Your Debt


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Citi is introducing its first credit card that rewards customers for paying off their debts.

The Double Cash credit card offers an unlimited one percent cash back on purchases, plus another one percent once you pay your credit card bill for that expense. While some credit cards offer five percent rewards, these are typically opt-in quarterly promotions. Citi's Double Cash two percent rewards does not require any additional enrollment.

Once you earn $25 in rewards, customers can choose to receive their cash in a statement credit, gift card or a check. Another feature of the Double Cash card is a free pass on your first late fee, if you forget to pay your credit card bill.

"This looks like a simple straightforward reward card with a benefit everyone can use: cash. As long as you can pay your bills in full each month you can definitely come out ahead," said Gerri Detweiler, credit card expert with Credit.com.

And with all Citi cards, customers can register to sign up for Citi Price Rewind, which refunds the price difference on purchases you've made within 60 days, with the exception of tickets, and certain large ticket items like jewelry and boats.

Detweiler said the two percent cash back on all purchases with no limit makes Double Cash an "attractive" cash-back reward card. In Credit.com's most recent analysis, Cash-Back Credit Cards in America, the number one card was Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card, which also offers 2 percent unlimited cash back.

Bank of America has offered a card that rewards customers with $25 each quarter when they pay more than the minimum balance, Detweiler notes.

The best way to use Citi's Double Cash card would be to pay it in full, Detweiler said.

"You get the reward whether you pay in full or not. If you carry a balance I'd suggest looking for a low-rate card, or even a personal loan, rather than a reward card," she said.

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