Category Archives: Blog

Gift Receipts More Popular Than Ever Among Holiday Shoppers Says NRF

Understanding there are times their gift may not be the biggest hit, more gift givers are offering their loved ones the option to return their gift guilt free.

According to NRF’s 2011 Holiday Returns Survey, 61.9 percent of holiday shoppers say they provide a gift receipt most or some of the time, the highest percent in the survey’s history. They survey also found more people are paying attention to and agreeing with retailers’ return policies as nine in 10 Americans (90.1%) say they find stores return policies to be fair, up from 88.4 percent last year.

“Gift givers would rather their loved ones enjoy and make the most out of their gift than feel guilty for returning it, and providing a gift receipt guarantees a seamless and efficient return process,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

While gift receipts are increasing in popularity, many gift recipients said Santa brought just what they wanted last year. According to the survey, six in 10 (64.5%) holiday shoppers say they didn’t return a single gift last holiday season.

“For the past several holiday seasons, gift givers have focused primarily on recipients’ needs, and it appears those practical gift ideas hit just the right note, keeping the majority of shoppers out of the return line after Christmas last year,” said BIGresearch Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow.

NRF’s tips for stress-free returns after the holidays

1. Know the retailer’s return policy before you buy. Most retailers have return policies
prominently displayed, especially at this time of year. Gift-givers should read and remember them. If policies are not clearly displayed, ask a sales associate or a manager to explain them to you. Most retailers also outline their return policy on their website.

2. Save and file all receipts! Receipts are still the key to hassle-free returns. Some retailers will allow consumers to exchange merchandise without a receipt, but oftentimes will only provide merchandise credit for the lowest markdown price at which the item was sold during the holiday season. Make sure to provide the recipient with a gift receipt to save hassle after the holidays.

3. Provide all original packaging and all parts (including tags) when giving a gift. Some retailers won’t accept returns unless the item is in its original package. If you plan to take back a gift after it is unwrapped, resist the urge to open it or play with it. No one wants to buy someone else’s merchandise.

4. Make online returns easy. Returns are a part of shopping, no matter where you buy. In addition to the other rules of returns, here are a few things to find out before you purchase a gift online:

- Know the process: Who pays for return shipping – you or the merchant? Some merchants will pick up the delivery charges for exchanges, but not for returns; others offer free return shipping on every return.

- Where to make returns: Does the retailer have a physical store, and can returns or exchanges be made there? Make sure you have the correct address if you need to mail returns back to the company. Some merchants have offsite service centers to handle returns that may be in a different location from where the merchandise is sent.

5. Be patient. Remember, the week after Christmas is one of the busiest weeks of the year for retailers. With people’s frustration high and tolerance low, be patient when returning merchandise.

Chic Gift Suggestions for That Friend Who Has Everything

The Classic Keepsake: Marie-Lise Lachapelle Fine Jewelry

If you want to give a gift your friend or loved one will treasure for years to come, a piece from jewelry designer Marie-Lise Lachapelle’s beautiful, refined collection is the perfect choice.

The Adelaide Oval Frame Pendent ($480) is available in gold vermeil and solid yellow, white or rose gold and comes in a variety of stones such as white diamonds, black diamonds, rubies or sapphires so you can truly personalize it to perfectly match its recipients taste. Can be worn alone or layered to create a quirky, vintage feel.

To view the entire Marie-Lise Lachapelle collection, please visit:

For the Edgy Fashionista: Julia deVille Jewelry

Who says Holiday gifts have to be bright and cheerful?! Bring a touch of the dark and edgy to the Holidays with this amazing Pave Sparrow Ring ($575.00) from jewelry designer and taxidermist Julia deVille.

Dark but still undoubtedly beautiful, it’s a fierce statement piece which is right on trend this winter season, perfect for those hard to buy for fashionista friends.

Or, for your friends with a slightly more girly sense of style, this Diamonte Bow Ring ($245.00), available in black or white cubic zirconia, is a cute alternative.

To view the complete collection, please visit

The Gift Fit for a Queen: Young&ng Couture Headpieces and Jewelry

If there’s any time of the year that calls for a crown or headpiece it’s the Holidays. It’s the perfect excuse to go that extra step and really top off your look with a statement crown from Young&ng. Our holiday favorite is this gorgeous Encrusted Antique Gold Headpiece ($995.00) which will add a touch of sparkle to any outfit without being overly tacky or flashy. Definitely an item which might be just too hard to give to a friend and could end up in our own closets for years to come.

The Young&ng Collection is available online at:

Not-So-Basic Basics: Mimi & Coco

As the cold winter weather sets in, all most of us will want to do is to cozy up with a cup of hot chocolate in our comfiest clothes. Why not indulge that desire and give your friend the excuse to have a lazy night in with the finest quality, oh so soft loungewear from Mimi & Coco. Lacie ($54.00), this gorgeous 100% cotton pointelle camisole with lace detailing and dainty butterfly design is feminine, elegant and irresistibly soft, because a cosy night in doesn’t have mean a night off looking stylish!

My NapPak: Kids & Toddlers Must-Have

If Peanuts is still running, then Linus van Pelt, Charlie Brown’s friend and younger brother of Lucy van Pelt would exchange his security blanket with the new My NapPak, a combination mat, blanket and pillow all rolled into one.

Invented by stay-at-home mom Beth Clampitt in Dallas, Texas, in September 2001, My NapPak epitomizes “necessity is the mother of invention”.

Ten years ago, Beth Clampitt when picking her 18 month old son up from a mothers-day-out program, realized that her son was stuck to the mat from sweating and drooling and the blanket that he was using was twisted around his legs.

Convinced that there was a strong interest for a sleeping product that was all-in-one, comfortable, durable enough to handle weekly washings, and which kept the child from direct contact with a mat that another child had napped on the day before, she decided to make them herself.

The result – My NapPak, which became an overnight success! Versatile enough to use for a variety of situations – school and day-care, traveling and sleeping over, My NapPak became an instant favorite by mothers and day care centers.

And just in time for the heavy travelling days of the holiday season, My NapPak releases two new designs: Under The Sea and Cowboys & Indians.

Under The Sea will send that little preschooler dreaming of great adventures with mermaids and fish friends swimming around the bubbling blue sea, while the yellow cover blanket will make them feel as warm as a summer’s day.

For the ruff and tumble type, the Cowboys & Indians design will be sure to have the young buck dreaming of riding horses with his friends on a magical blue sky day, with decked out cowboys all patch worked around, and a warm brown and white cowhide patterned blanket to match.

Holiday Gift Guide: ghd Scarlet Collection limited edition

LONDON, Nov 6, 2011/ — The same way that the 1920s hairstyles revolutionized women’s hair fashion with the bob, ghd is revolutionizing hair straighteners with the limited edition ghd Scarlet Collection.

Inspired by the revelry and glamour of the roaring 1920s, the slick new styler offers a dramatic twist with its art deco indulgent gift set options that just fit perfectly under the tree this holiday season.

Available in two distinct styles, the ghd Scarlet Collection and the ghd Scarlet Collection Deluxe are both equipped to recreate the iconic 1920s hairstyles – the original “straight, plain and relatively simple” short hair to the more feminine curls and waves of the bob, finger wave, Marcel wave and shingle.

With ghd paying homage to the Roaring Twenties, Katy Perry, the face of ghd was given a 1920s makeover bringing to life the decadence and sophistication of the time. Katy is immortalised as a mystical Snow White for the Scarlet Collection campaign, shot by world renowned photographer David LaChapelle.

Shown in the photo with Katy is the ghd Scarlet Collection Deluxe in its eye-catching art deco inspired red vanity case that features a ghd Gold Classic styler featuring limited edition red plates and accents, plus protective plate guard, a ghd travel hair dryer and two sectioning clips – plus a luxury satin heat resistant clutch.

For those who only need the styler, the ghd Scarlet Collection is the perfect choice. Inspired by the slick trend of the 1920’s, the ghd Scarlet Collection includes the ghd Gold Classic styler with seductive red plates and accents, protective plate guard, two ghd sectioning clips – beautifully presented in a stunning red art deco inspired satin styler roll bag.

For the fashionista on your list, get a pair of hair straigtheners this holiday season for a gift that keeps on giving them beautiful hair the whole year round.

Zang Toi Spring 2012: The Meaning of Couture

A French couturier once told me that haute couture is as much as creating beauty as it is deemphasizing some unflattering features of the wearer. I thought I understood what he meant, i.e. until yesterday when Zang Toi completed for me the true meaning of that statement.

To the TV audiences of today, Kirstie Alley is a contestant at Dancing with the Stars. To Star Trek fans, she was Lt. Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. To comedy fans, Kirstie Alley is the Emmy-Award winning actress who played Rebecca Howe in the long running “Cheers” which made Ted Danson and Kelsey Grammer household names.

But, unfortunately, today, thanks to the tabloids, to many, Kirstie Alley is the actress who is struggling with her weight.

Enter Zang Toi… Unafraid to put a plus size model on the runway and a celebrity at that, the New York-based designer showed that plus size is beautiful with Kirstie Alley closing his show wearing a jewel encrusted “One Thousand Nights and One” Imperial coat and a sapphire couture silk gazar strapless imperial gown.

The audience was surprised! Five long seconds of stillness as jaws dropped because they could not believe it was Kirstie Alley on the runway. Then a thunderous applause followed Kirstie to the end of the runway and back as the audience showed their appreciation.

Zang Toi made plus size beautiful! And I will not mince my words this time – Zang Toi shaved off about 20 lbs from Kirstie Alley in the gown that he chose to dress her in. Oh, don’t get me wrong… there is still a curvaceous woman inhabiting that dress, but she is so beautiful, she is a dream!

Kirstie Alley is not alone in having weight problems, especially for her age group. Struggling with weight is a bane for women over 40. But, one does not need to suffer from low self esteem because of that.

If you’re in doubt, just ask Zang Toi. He can work miracles and the proof is on the runway!


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