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Friday, December 28, 2007

The Dos and Don'ts of Regifting

How to give gifts with past lives — without getting caught

C'mon, stop being such a goody two-shoes. Everybody's doing it. Well, maybe not everyone, but according to a recent Harris Interactive survey, more than half of us admit to regifting — that is, passing off unwanted gifts as if they were being bestowed for the very first time. For years considered a clear social no-no, regifting is shedding its stigma. Here are some ‘rules of regifting’, and tips on the right way to regift from msnbc.com (by way of The Motley Fool).

The rules of regifting

There are plenty of obvious "tells" that a gift has been resurrected from one of your holidays past. To avoid them...

  • Don't confuse "barely used" with "brand-spankin' new": If there are any signs of wear and tear — a broken seal, scratched part, pit stains — the item's a no-go for regifting.

  • Do not pass off items that were clearly purchased for you: If it's monogrammed, sorry, you're stuck with it.

  • Don't give away anything handmade by someone you know: Handmade items are off the list of possible regiftables for two reasons: First, it was likely given with much more sentimental intentions than, say, a coffee grinder. Second, such gifts tend to be extremely recognizable.

  • Don't use different sentimental criteria for regifts: Re-circulating a problem gift just to get it out of your sight is bad form. Same goes for slapping a new bow on an old tchtotchke just to check someone's name off the holiday gift list.

  • Don't give unused (or even "lightly loved") gift cards: A gift card with a $43.22 balance is an obvious regift.

  • Don't declare "It's vintage!" when it's really just plain bedraggled: Just because it's old doesn't mean it's a cherished collectible.

  • Don't regift an obvious giveaway: Skip the office- and trade-show schwag — you know, key chains, coffee mugs, and outerwear with some random company's logo emblazoned upon it. If it was free in the first place, it's worth even less in round two.

  • Do not bestow a white elephant re-gift out of spite: Funny, sure. But that flicker of sheer horror on the recipient's face will come back to haunt you.
The right way to regift

Follow these regifting tips to come off like a sentimental big lug during the big reveal.

  • Keep track of the flow chart of gifting: There's no bigger horror than returning a gift that was bestowed to you back to its original giver. Avoid this by keeping track of each item's past (formally, on a spreadsheet, if you want to be a regifting pro). In fact, regifting pros suggest that to play it safe, its best to repurpose in an entirely different social circle than the one from which original item was bestowed.

  • Make sure all original packaging is intact: Does it pass the shrinkwrap test? If the item originally came hermetically sealed from the factory, it should move up the gift chain in the same condition.

  • Triple-check for all telltale regifting signs: Gift tags stuck in the bottom of the box's folds, gift receipts, the whiff of someone else's perfume, an actual picture of someone you know in the frame (and not the standby camera-ready studio family shot) — remove all signs (dust for fingerprints if you must) that the gift has a past. Finally, before you present it, step back and re-evaluate the regift from the recipient's perspective to make sure it passes the test.

  • Wrap it like it's new: Repurpose the gift, not the wrapping paper, bow, or heaven forfend, the card.

  • Give with good intentions: The sentiment behind your regift should be the same as the thought behind any new gift: You're passing it along because you think the recipient will appreciate it.

  • Give it away anyways: If you received something in the past that doesn't pass the regift test, you're not necessarily stuck with it forever. Pass it along without the guise of the "new gift" (minus wrapping paper, bow and card) and give the recipient an easy out (e.g. "I wore this once and was told it made my complexion come off as puce. If you like it — or know someone else who would — it's yours.").

  • Finally, we all know that when it comes to gifts, that whole "it's the thought that counts" yarn really doesn't fly with anyone but your parents. For all others, it is all about the gift (though no one will cop to it, at least on the record). So put some thought into your gift — er, regift — and pat yourself on the back for finding it a permanent home.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

End of the Year Sale at AnniesCostumes.com

End of the Year Costume Sale
End of the Year Blow Out Sale on Costumes!

Select costumes up to 60% off. Look for the red SALE tag and SAVE!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Last Minute Christmas Gift: Holiday Sweets
Ok, I admit that I am a huge procrastinator. My motto: "Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?"

Luckily for me, I am actually done with my holiday shopping this year, so I thought I would help out my fellow procrastinators with some last minute Christmas gift ideas. I took a little help from The Food Network and came up with a great idea: "Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen!"

  • Home made cookies baked with love are always a winning gift, sure to bring a smile to recipients of all ages.
  • Chocolates, and chocolate covered pretzels are another great and yummy gift. Place them in a gift box with parchment paper or wax paper, add a bow or ribbon and you're all set!
  • A beautiful basket of wine, crackers and cheese is sure to please!
  • A huge theme on The Food Network website is holiday treats and customs from all over the world, so what about a special treat from your ancestral lands?
  • Everyone loves those candies nuts! Choose then recipient's favorite nut or mix a bunch together and coat with sugars and spices - YUM!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Exclusive Cloverfield Video

What kind of Cloverfield costume do you think will be popular next Halloween?

Still Time for Delivery by Christmas!

Christmas Eve Delivery
Procrastinator Alert!

There is still time to get your holiday costumes and last minute gifts delivered in time for Christmas. Just place your order by 3pm EST on Friday, December 21, 2007 and choose next day delivery. Your package will arrive on Christmas Eve - December 24th. Feel free to contact customer service (1-877-413-8747) for details and confirmation.

So, no worries if you waited to the last minute, just had another gift added to your list, or just opened up your holiday costumes from last year to discover a problem. Extreme Halloween and SantaSuits.com has got you covered!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Over the Top Christmas Decorations

This should get you into the Christmas spirit!

Check out these over-the-top Christmas decorations (the lights on this house are synchronized to music!) in this YouTube video.

And remember, celebrate Christmas with an authentic-looking Santa costume from anniescostumes.com.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Annie’s Costumes Seeks to Raise Donations for the Broward Children’s Center

Broward Children's Center
Holiday season is a season of giving. With the launch of the Christmas Village at our Second Life Costume Store, Annie’s Costumes is holding a fund raising event in Second Life on December 20th at 6pm SLT (9pm EST) for the Broward Children’s Center. The event will include music, ice skating and photos with Santa Claus.

Broward Children’s Center specializes in helping infants, children and young adults with physical and developmental disabilities, including some of the most fragile children in the nation. Founded in 1971, our nonprofit facilities in Pompano Beach, Florida, offer a range of health, wellness, education, recreation, therapeutic, daily living and advocacy services. During more than three decades of service thousands of children and their families have benefited from the Center’s programs.

We invite you to visit the Broward Children’s Center and make a donation to this worthy charity.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bloggers Night Out at Mystere in Las Vegas

Mystere at Treasure Island
I have just returned from PubCon 2007 in Vegas - more on PubCon in another post, because this post is about the awesome opportunity I had to see Mystere, the fabulous Cirque du Soleil show at Treasure Island. Extreme gratitude to Joe Marin who was instrumental in setting up this night out for bloggers to see different shows around Vegas and review the shows on our blogs.

The Cirque du Soleil shows have been one of my favorite things in life since I saw Mystere for the first time 10 years ago. I have seen many different Cirque du Soleil shows since and found it rather poetic when I realized it has been 10 years since I first started loving this brand of entertainment. I had not seen Mystere again since July 1997, so this was a sort of anniversary for me.

The creators of this show and the performers bring such joy to so many people in this world. It is absolutely amazing to me. Just hearing the intro music on the web page while grabbing the link above invoked such emotion in me: memories, joy. . . . even peace. If that doesn't make sense to you, then SEE Mystere and you will KNOW what I mean.

Not only is the show visually amazing, it is also some of the best live music you will ever hear. If you have never seen a Cirque show, I have one word for you, GO! Even if you think you don't like that sort of thing, even if you think you won't like it, YOU WILL! I cannot imagine any human being not liking this show, it is just that amazing.

Mystere is an assault on your senses from start to finish. It brings forth so may emotions, joy, laughter, happiness, romance. . . a whole spectrum of feelings & thoughts. So many things happening at once: up, down, all around, left right, even behind you. I wonder how many hundreds of people it takes to put this show on nightly. The performers are amazing. There are acrobats, contortionists, and performers that I don't even know what to call, other than uber-talented. There are singers, musicians, comedians, this show has everything.

Out of everything this show encompasses, of particular interest to me is, of course, the costumes of Mystere. Add the costumers to the above list of superb, creative talent associated with Mystere. The vibrant colors, the glitter, the glitz and the odd shaped costumes all add to and enhance the drama of the performers. Each aspect of the show is an invaluable piece of the puzzle that is needed to put on the magic. Each aspect adds to the visual, the music, the emotion and completes the dramatic and welcome assault on your senses. Before seeing the show, one could never imagine the significance of a single feather perched on top of a headpiece. The way it moves when the performers bob their heads and stick their necks out makes a single feather such a significant part of the individual costume and the show itself. Only in a Cirque performance does a costume with a rounded, protruding belly and bottom transport your mind to think of an alien world rather than someone who gorged too much at the Vegas buffet line.

And then there is the makeup. The makeup used in Mystere transforms the performer into something surreal. It is so unusual and yet recognizable as "Cirque" at the same time. How does one accomplish that? Magic, plain, pure and simple, it is magical. The combination of talent attached to one project is astonishing.

How so many aspects of this show come together in such a perfect blend is just beyond me. The costume colors, the lights, the smoke, the music, the voices, the movement of the performers, and planning of hundreds, if not thousands of people come together to bring to Vegas one of the most spectacular things I will ever see.

I was so happy to share my Mystere experience with Amanda Stewart from Print-It-Quick.com. We were both amazed and thoroughly entertained! What an awesome time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Village Displays Come to Second Life

Annie's Costumes has added a virtual Christmas Village to our Second Life costume store where avatars can explore Santa's workshop, skate on a lake and shop for Christmas decorating ideas and clothing.

Second Life Christmas Village

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world with millions of residents registered from around the globe. As a member of this virtual community, Annie's Costumes created these Christmas village displays and holiday themed costumes, such as life-like Santa suit, a sexy Mrs. Claus, and Male and Female Elf costumes, with the Second Life residents in mind.

Ten Golden Rules and LeftBank Studios were instrumental in helping Annie's Costumes expand the Second Life Store for Christmas. Additionally, we were able to partner with ChristmasTreeforMe.com so we could offer virtual Christmas trees for avatars looking for holiday decorating ideas.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tried, tested and true Christmas recipes

Looking for tried, tested and true (and interesting!) Christmas recipes?
Here’s a taste of the articles from allrecipes.com!

Cookie Countdown 2007. Visit their Cookie Countdown from December 1st until Christmas, as they reveal a new cookie recipe every day.

Christmas Drinks and Cocktails. Fruity and fun, warm and wonderful. No matter what strikes your fancy this holiday season, you’ll find an exciting drink recipe that fits the bill.

Recipes for Christmas Dinner. Whether its prime rib, turkey or ham you're after, find recipes here to help you plan your Christmas dinner menu.

And remember, have an authentic-looking Santa show up at your holiday gathering, with a costume from anniescostumes.com.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sexy Christmas Costumes for Holiday Parties

SantaSuits.com offers sexy Christmas costumes for women. With holiday parties right around the corner, sexy Christmas costumes, including sexy Santa outfits and naughty Santa's helper dresses are the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.

The sexy Christmas costumes include:

  • Cutie Claus
  • Naughty Santa's Helper
  • Christmas Gift

A complete list can be found at http://santasuits.com/costumes.htm.