Previous month:
November 2005
Next month:
January 2006

The Prince of Wales Hotel/Niagara on The Lake!

Prince_of_wales Last month, my husband and I took a lovely trip up to Niagara on the Lake with our good friends, Bethane and Carl. We stayed at the Prince of Wales Hotel, an experience that I would suggest to anyone looking for a touch of European ambience. http://www.vintage-hotels.com/Properties/?pid=pow  The hotel was perfect, the accomodations sublime with a bathroom equipped with a heated towel rack, and a lovely jacuzzi tub. We stayed in "The Blue Room" which was the most gorgeous shade of Indigo, with blue toille fabric on the drapes and beds. The canopy made me feel like a princess, and every evening thay give you a personalized weather forecast, a rose on your pillow and some lovely chocolate. There was a bowl of fresh fruit in our room upon arrival, and our sweet waitress in the tea room packed us each a little midnight snack box, which we enjoyed in the evening when we returned to our very sumptuous rooms! The swimming pool in the spa area was filled with salt water, creating a feeling of relaxation everytime you got into it. The restaurants were extraordinary and the afternoon tea was just as I remembered English high tea to be. The carriage rides through the lovely town were incredibly romantic,and even though it was as cold as could be, we were warmly wrapped in toasty blankets! Niagara on the Lake is as close to Great Britain as you are going to get on this side of the Atlantic. The town is filled with tea rooms, and little Scottish bakeries. Greaves Jams and Jellies are a must have and I am especially addicted to their apple cinnamon jelly and their apricot and almond jam! http://www.greavesjams.com/  The Niagara region is filled with beautiful vineyards that specialize in Ice Wine (a fragrant very sweet dessert wine) and they are all open for tours and generous tastings! In fact, we ate at a lovely vineyard that was highly recommended by our friends. The Peller Estates serves a tremendous five course meal with their own wines that they have chosen for each course and a palate cleanser of a red wine sorbet in between the salad and main course. The food is seasonal, regional , perfectly prepared and FLAWLESSLY served! http://www.peller.com/peller/index.asp  Thankfully, the Prince of Wales Hotel  provided a car and driver to take us to dinner and back, so we were able to enjoy ourselves completely without concern!

In short our experience with Niagara on the Lake was practically perfect!   However, there was one glitch! The chefs at the  Prince of Wales have instructed their wait staff to not give out any recipes. This is a policy that I have never understood. After all, reading Thomas Keller's book "Bouchon" did not keep me from eating at the restaurant of the same name as soon as I got to Las Vegas. Reading an Emiril cookbook will never keep me from going to Delmonico's as soon as I return to New Orleans! Famous chefs are usually generous chefs, who like to share their secrets because they simply love to cook! So my husbands extraordinary breakfast of French Toast with Caramelized apples and Pistachios remains a mystery still......


The Prince of Wales Hotel/Niagara on The Lake!

Prince_of_wales Last month, my husband and I took a lovely trip up to Niagara on the Lake with our good friends, Bethane and Carl. We stayed at the Prince of Wales Hotel, an experience that I would suggest to anyone looking for a touch of European ambience. http://www.vintage-hotels.com/Properties/?pid=pow  The hotel was perfect, the accomodations sublime with a bathroom equipped with a heated towel rack, and a lovely jacuzzi tub. We stayed in "The Blue Room" which was the most gorgeous shade of Indigo, with blue toille fabric on the drapes and beds. The canopy made me feel like a princess, and every evening thay give you a personalized weather forecast, a rose on your pillow and some lovely chocolate. There was a bowl of fresh fruit in our room upon arrival, and our sweet waitress in the tea room packed us each a little midnight snack box, which we enjoyed in the evening when we returned to our very sumptuous rooms! The swimming pool in the spa area was filled with salt water, creating a feeling of relaxation everytime you got into it. The restaurants were extraordinary and the afternoon tea was just as I remembered English high tea to be. The carriage rides through the lovely town were incredibly romantic,and even though it was as cold as could be, we were warmly wrapped in toasty blankets! Niagara on the Lake is as close to Great Britain as you are going to get on this side of the Atlantic. The town is filled with tea rooms, and little Scottish bakeries. Greaves Jams and Jellies are a must have and I am especially addicted to their apple cinnamon jelly and their apricot and almond jam! http://www.greavesjams.com/  The Niagara region is filled with beautiful vineyards that specialize in Ice Wine (a fragrant very sweet dessert wine) and they are all open for tours and generous tastings! In fact, we ate at a lovely vineyard that was highly recommended by our friends. The Peller Estates serves a tremendous five course meal with their own wines that they have chosen for each course and a palate cleanser of a red wine sorbet in between the salad and main course. The food is seasonal, regional , perfectly prepared and FLAWLESSLY served! http://www.peller.com/peller/index.asp  Thankfully, the Prince of Wales Hotel  provided a car and driver to take us to dinner and back, so we were able to enjoy ourselves completely without concern!

In short our experience with Niagara on the Lake was practically perfect!   However, there was one glitch! The chefs at the  Prince of Wales have instructed their wait staff to not give out any recipes. This is a policy that I have never understood. After all, reading Thomas Keller's book "Bouchon" did not keep me from eating at the restaurant of the same name as soon as I got to Las Vegas. Reading an Emiril cookbook will never keep me from going to Delmonico's as soon as I return to New Orleans! Famous chefs are usually generous chefs, who like to share their secrets because they simply love to cook! So my husbands extraordinary breakfast of French Toast with Caramelized apples and Pistachios remains a mystery still......


Making bridal registries FUN!

From Currents/The Chagrin Valley Times/ January, 2005

It’s such a wonderful time of the year to become engaged!  If you have, then you’re already aware with the first flush of romantic fervor and excitement that there’s SO much to be done in such a short amount of time! Choosing the date, finding the perfect place for the reception, creating the perfect atmosphere with flowers and food, and in my mind, the most important choice of all, The Bridal Registry! I remember so many times when couples became engaged in our store moments after he bought the ring that she was just glancing shyly at!  I’ve cried many happy tears, when years later, these same sweet girls, now young mothers, brought their new babies for me to hold when they came home for the holidays! I’ve always loved the fun of the bridal registry, watching our couples begin to create their lives together, listening to them talk about how they wanted to entertain their friends and families!   

It was always such fun watching them when they saw our china room for the first time, laughing with excitement as they realized that their choices weren’t limited to just the few things that they had seen in department stores or magazines! A fine gift store will have beautiful china, crystal and silver from all around the world, and many pieces of gorgeous giftware that you won’t ever see in a “big box” store!  It can be very confusing at that first glance, and I loved my role as navigator through the registry process, so that the gifts that our couples chose for themselves really reflected the two of them as well as the family that they would eventually create. Remember that the responsibility of maintaining your bridal registry is a gift for the store/s that you select and you should be treated with a lot of respect by the consultants who work there! Don’t register with a store if the sales help is unfriendly or if you are treated impatiently.  They are going to become an extension of your family for a while and you’ll, need to be able to count on them to be patient, calm and caring, especially when the wedding date begins to seem too close for comfort!    Make sure that the registry has a good return policy, so that you can take a few months to get settled into your new life without having to worry about being stuck with too many ice buckets or silver trays! Be sure to ask about the store policy for special ordering the pieces from your registry that aren’t in stock. Good stores will have a gift certificate that they will send before the gift is actually ordered for you, so that you can choose whether or not to keep it. If you are registering at more than one store, you’ll need to get a good journal to keep track of your gifts. This way, the stores you’ve chosen don’t have to deal with stocking and handling unnecessary merchandise, and you aren’t aggravated because you’ve received 3 Havilland gravy boats! Once you’ve been given a platter, or anything that you want only one of, please update the other registries quickly so that they can focus on selling all of the other lovely gifts that you want! Keeping pre-stamped thank you notes nearby and writing them as soon as you receive a gift or certificate guarantees that they’ll never become an unfinished chore!

Make sure that you understand what the policy and charges are for shipping your presents, as ideally you will want your gifts shipped as soon as the store receives them unless you have instructed otherwise. It is important to understand how they will handle any UPS tracking issues that they need to when a package is missing. Feel free to ask all of the questions that you need to, so that you understand how your registry will be handled.  Fine specialty stores are usually very busy during the bridal season, and by being as specific as possible in the beginning, you will avoid any unnecessary problems down the road.  Gift wrapping is usually complimentary, but if you are environmentally conscious and don’t wish to have your packages wrapped that’s okay too! Just make sure that the consultant that you’re working with lists ALL of your special requests on your registry so that they are not accidentally overlooked!

My last piece of practical advice is, PLEASE don’t make the mistake of choosing a store based only on heavily discounted price.  The best stores offer wonderful service, knowledgeable help and the newest patterns! Please send your guests to the store that has willingly spent so much time and effort helping you select all of your beautiful gifts.  The service that you are receiving from a wonderful store does come with a price tag but it’s really worth spending the extra percentage that you would be saving if you registered with one of the catalog discounters.  Knowledgeable giftware consultants are expensive to hire but they are so important for guaranteeing the wonderful experience that you, your husband and grandchildren will appreciate for a lifetime!

The chances are far better with a specialty store that you’ll get the level of service that you desire. When something comes in broken, or isn’t quite right, a fine store will have the experience to handle the problem. Most will bend over backwards to deliver a package personally if a guest comes in at the last minute and says “Please, can’t you somehow get it to her today?”  I can’t tell you how many rehearsal dinners I’ve taken gifts to, or how many times I ran to the engravers in the middle of the night to have something redone that wasn’t quite right and needed in the morning! Remember, you deserve the finest service that any store has to offer, but when a store has to compete with a large discounter for a sale, great service becomes too expensive for most specialty stores to provide. Because the process of planning an extraordinary wedding can be so frantic, this is one time when you’ll definitely want fantastic service!

  Spend a lot of time enjoying the process of registering! It is important for you to be able to walk around with the plates and glasses in your hands, living with them for awhile. If you’re leaving the store after the first time without a clear decision, a good rule of thumb is that the first plate that you remember after you’ve left will be the pattern that has captivated you!  Concentrate on choosing the dinner plate first, because if you think of the table as a blank canvas, the dinner plate will become the largest focal point in your painting! If you have them, bring swatches of fabric, pictures of your dining room or anything else that will help you convey the feeling that you desire. A great store will have consultants who know quite a lot about interior design, helping you to choose incredible combinations of color, style and texture that will allow you to create many different looks from your new set of dishes!  For example, the stunning Old Imari pattern which is very formal/traditional and frequently coupled with antique sterling, can be dressed down to an almost contemporary level for an exotic Japanese dinner by using a gilded straw placemat, chopsticks and glassware whose design mirrors the strong shapes that are found in the plate.   After you’ve chosen the plate, have fun getting to know the many crystal patterns available, and finally choose silverware or stainless to complete your gorgeous table setting! Don’t worry about it if you fall in love with more than one crystal pattern, mix them together! If you love colored crystal, it can be mixed with clear crystal to create an enchanting effect! Remember to select a gorgeous pair of candlesticks for your table because mixtures of cut and simple crystal as well as different combinations of flatware are at their loveliest by candlelight! Don’t hesitate to ask the consultant if you can take your patterns home overnight, so that you can get to know them for a bit without distraction.  Most stores will happily let you do this, with the agreement that they are returned unharmed the next day. After you’ve completed your registry, all that’s left  to do is wait with happy anticipation for the first gifts to arrive, and once your wedding day has come and gone, the two of you can spend many quiet romantic dinners together ,  mixing new traditions with the old , creating the perfect blend of family!

      I’m wishing you a wonderful life together filled with all of  the joy and breathlessness that a great marriage can bring!


Inspired Gift Giving!

Originally Published in The Ohio Bar Journal(Lawyers not Bartenders!)/2001

Well the holidays are swiftly approaching and stores are filled once again with people wishing to create a bit of magic in their lives through the time honored custom of gift giving! Many times I found that choosing the right gift was confusing for my customers, and my goal was always to create an environment such that all who shopped at  my store were thrilled and inspired by what they saw. I’ve discovered in this age of mass marketing and mail order that there is a renewed hunger for the tactile experience of purchasing a lovely gift! Although the the experience of internet shopping can be alot of fun and really convenient, the very personal experience of being well served in a beautiful store filled with gorgeous gifts can't be denied. Yet sadly, the thought of shopping during the holiday season fills many hearts with dread, but I truly believe that gift giving during the holidays can be the most fun experience of all!

The vision of any great store hasn’t been fully expressed unless it’s customers feel cared for, understood and related to in a way that satisfies the heartfelt desire to create the gift of an experience, through the giving of a present, whether the recipient is a business acquaintance or a close intimate companion. I know that my choice of the word “experience” in relationship to gift giving may be confusing for some, and yet for me that is precisely where most retailers today fall short. It’s as if they don’t see the tremendous opportunity that they have to serve their community through the simple act of bringing elegance into the world through the wonderful gifts that they sell. It is my desire to create for you a new “experience”, one that is based on the quality of service, and the nurturing of beauty and uniqueness, all things important for sustaining our creative lives. I believe that price comparison shopping and mass market retailing are the by product’s of a society starving for substantive experiences and joyous moments.  Really great stores have beautiful gifts at prices to suit every wallet! There is (and always will be!) something quite exquisite about a hand selected gift from a specialty store, chosen with care, then beautifully wrapped and delivered! Some of my best memories of our store are of Christmastime, when our wrapping room looked like Santa’s workshop, with all of our customer’s running back to request special gift papers and fancy bows! These aren’t experiences that you can have anywhere else other than a jewel box of a store, where the help knows you by name and just how many cubes of sugar that you like for your tea! A wonderful store becomes the lifeblood of its community, constantly giving back, always there when a customer needs a donation for a cherished organization, or an advertisement for a school football calendar! 

The very act of purchasing a wonderful gift for someone that you love in a fabulous store is filled with a sense of renewel for the relationship, excitement and creativity! 

For instance, when a young man wishes to purchase a piece of jewelry for his fiancé, he isn’t the least bit interested in the cut ,color and clarity of the diamond that he is purchasing, or the weight and carat value of the gold that it’s set in. Those are simply the facts, and any GIA trained gemologist can produce those details. They aren’t the most important thing and selling as if they are just cheapens his experience.  What’s really at stake for him are the tears in her eyes as she opens his gift, and the possibilities that he’s created for their life together. He’s got it all planned ..He’s asking her to marry him at Christmas, her favorite time of the year and he wants to pick the piece of jewelry that really reflect his feelings for her and his dreams of her response.   If he doesn’t feel as wonderful purchasing it as he does giving it then he’s missed out on an important part of the whole experience. I always felt that if every customer that came into our store didn’t feel as wonderful through the act of giving as they do receiving that we hadn’t done our jobs. 

I have heard it said that the specialty store is outdated, a relic of the past from a lifestyle  that exists for few anymore, and yet people flock to Europe, hungry for this sort of shopping experience! The gorgeous boutiques on the streets of London or Paris continuously give us

us wonderful examples of merchandising. They are lovely to explore, and their seasonal merchandise, always beautifully presented, is a joy to the eye and a truly engaging experience for the customer. Maybe, what we enjoy so much about these stores is that they maintain a natural relationship to the rhythm of the seasons, not the artificially induced shopping cycles that we have created in this country.   I really believe that this is the way that a store offers the most significant value to its customers. By keeping the atmosphere relaxed and closely aligned to the natural patterns of our lives, we stay happier and less frantic, and more able to enjoy the true essence of the holiday season!

This holiday season, try to shop in stores that care about you, and the experience that   you’ll have sharing yourself with people through the gifts that you choose! Remember, that the gifts that you choose this holiday season or anytime will always convey the essence of you, the gift giver! Gift giving in its purest form is artistically inspired by love and the desire to provide for the recipient a special moment of beauty and timelessness. It is my wish for you this season that your needs for a truly relaxing and wonderful gifting experience are met with elegance, beauty and enchantment, through stores that continue the tradition of providing for you , the customer, all of the quality and expertise that you desire, along with LOTS of fun!

If you remember to request the service and style that you deserve, you will create a space where the exceptional can occur and the possibility of extraordinary retailing and inspired gift giving will continue to exist in the world, through the vision of stores who are committed to  providing you with quality and joy for many decades to come!

Glad tidings to all of you, my best wishes for a sensational New Year! 

   


Making bridal registries FUN!

From Currents/The Chagrin Valley Times/ January, 2005

It’s such a wonderful time of the year to become engaged!  If you have, then you’re already aware with the first flush of romantic fervor and excitement that there’s SO much to be done in such a short amount of time! Choosing the date, finding the perfect place for the reception, creating the perfect atmosphere with flowers and food, and in my mind, the most important choice of all, The Bridal Registry! I remember so many times when couples became engaged in our store moments after he bought the ring that she was just glancing shyly at!  I’ve cried many happy tears, when years later, these same sweet girls, now young mothers, brought their new babies for me to hold when they came home for the holidays! I’ve always loved the fun of the bridal registry, watching our couples begin to create their lives together, listening to them talk about how they wanted to entertain their friends and families!   

It was always such fun watching them when they saw our china room for the first time, laughing with excitement as they realized that their choices weren’t limited to just the few things that they had seen in department stores or magazines! A fine gift store will have beautiful china, crystal and silver from all around the world, and many pieces of gorgeous giftware that you won’t ever see in a “big box” store!  It can be very confusing at that first glance, and I loved my role as navigator through the registry process, so that the gifts that our couples chose for themselves really reflected the two of them as well as the family that they would eventually create. Remember that the responsibility of maintaining your bridal registry is a gift for the store/s that you select and you should be treated with a lot of respect by the consultants who work there! Don’t register with a store if the sales help is unfriendly or if you are treated impatiently.  They are going to become an extension of your family for a while and you’ll, need to be able to count on them to be patient, calm and caring, especially when the wedding date begins to seem too close for comfort!    Make sure that the registry has a good return policy, so that you can take a few months to get settled into your new life without having to worry about being stuck with too many ice buckets or silver trays! Be sure to ask about the store policy for special ordering the pieces from your registry that aren’t in stock. Good stores will have a gift certificate that they will send before the gift is actually ordered for you, so that you can choose whether or not to keep it. If you are registering at more than one store, you’ll need to get a good journal to keep track of your gifts. This way, the stores you’ve chosen don’t have to deal with stocking and handling unnecessary merchandise, and you aren’t aggravated because you’ve received 3 Havilland gravy boats! Once you’ve been given a platter, or anything that you want only one of, please update the other registries quickly so that they can focus on selling all of the other lovely gifts that you want! Keeping pre-stamped thank you notes nearby and writing them as soon as you receive a gift or certificate guarantees that they’ll never become an unfinished chore!

Make sure that you understand what the policy and charges are for shipping your presents, as ideally you will want your gifts shipped as soon as the store receives them unless you have instructed otherwise. It is important to understand how they will handle any UPS tracking issues that they need to when a package is missing. Feel free to ask all of the questions that you need to, so that you understand how your registry will be handled.  Fine specialty stores are usually very busy during the bridal season, and by being as specific as possible in the beginning, you will avoid any unnecessary problems down the road.  Gift wrapping is usually complimentary, but if you are environmentally conscious and don’t wish to have your packages wrapped that’s okay too! Just make sure that the consultant that you’re working with lists ALL of your special requests on your registry so that they are not accidentally overlooked!

My last piece of practical advice is, PLEASE don’t make the mistake of choosing a store based only on heavily discounted price.  The best stores offer wonderful service, knowledgeable help and the newest patterns! Please send your guests to the store that has willingly spent so much time and effort helping you select all of your beautiful gifts.  The service that you are receiving from a wonderful store does come with a price tag but it’s really worth spending the extra percentage that you would be saving if you registered with one of the catalog discounters.  Knowledgeable giftware consultants are expensive to hire but they are so important for guaranteeing the wonderful experience that you, your husband and grandchildren will appreciate for a lifetime!

The chances are far better with a specialty store that you’ll get the level of service that you desire. When something comes in broken, or isn’t quite right, a fine store will have the experience to handle the problem. Most will bend over backwards to deliver a package personally if a guest comes in at the last minute and says “Please, can’t you somehow get it to her today?”  I can’t tell you how many rehearsal dinners I’ve taken gifts to, or how many times I ran to the engravers in the middle of the night to have something redone that wasn’t quite right and needed in the morning! Remember, you deserve the finest service that any store has to offer, but when a store has to compete with a large discounter for a sale, great service becomes too expensive for most specialty stores to provide. Because the process of planning an extraordinary wedding can be so frantic, this is one time when you’ll definitely want fantastic service!

  Spend a lot of time enjoying the process of registering! It is important for you to be able to walk around with the plates and glasses in your hands, living with them for awhile. If you’re leaving the store after the first time without a clear decision, a good rule of thumb is that the first plate that you remember after you’ve left will be the pattern that has captivated you!  Concentrate on choosing the dinner plate first, because if you think of the table as a blank canvas, the dinner plate will become the largest focal point in your painting! If you have them, bring swatches of fabric, pictures of your dining room or anything else that will help you convey the feeling that you desire. A great store will have consultants who know quite a lot about interior design, helping you to choose incredible combinations of color, style and texture that will allow you to create many different looks from your new set of dishes!  For example, the stunning Old Imari pattern which is very formal/traditional and frequently coupled with antique sterling, can be dressed down to an almost contemporary level for an exotic Japanese dinner by using a gilded straw placemat, chopsticks and glassware whose design mirrors the strong shapes that are found in the plate.   After you’ve chosen the plate, have fun getting to know the many crystal patterns available, and finally choose silverware or stainless to complete your gorgeous table setting! Don’t worry about it if you fall in love with more than one crystal pattern, mix them together! If you love colored crystal, it can be mixed with clear crystal to create an enchanting effect! Remember to select a gorgeous pair of candlesticks for your table because mixtures of cut and simple crystal as well as different combinations of flatware are at their loveliest by candlelight! Don’t hesitate to ask the consultant if you can take your patterns home overnight, so that you can get to know them for a bit without distraction.  Most stores will happily let you do this, with the agreement that they are returned unharmed the next day. After you’ve completed your registry, all that’s left  to do is wait with happy anticipation for the first gifts to arrive, and once your wedding day has come and gone, the two of you can spend many quiet romantic dinners together ,  mixing new traditions with the old , creating the perfect blend of family!

      I’m wishing you a wonderful life together filled with all of  the joy and breathlessness that a great marriage can bring!


Inspired Gift Giving!

Originally Published in The Ohio Bar Journal(Lawyers not Bartenders!)/2001

Well the holidays are swiftly approaching and stores are filled once again with people wishing to create a bit of magic in their lives through the time honored custom of gift giving! Many times I found that choosing the right gift was confusing for my customers, and my goal was always to create an environment such that all who shopped at  my store were thrilled and inspired by what they saw. I’ve discovered in this age of mass marketing and mail order that there is a renewed hunger for the tactile experience of purchasing a lovely gift! Although the the experience of internet shopping can be alot of fun and really convenient, the very personal experience of being well served in a beautiful store filled with gorgeous gifts can't be denied. Yet sadly, the thought of shopping during the holiday season fills many hearts with dread, but I truly believe that gift giving during the holidays can be the most fun experience of all!

The vision of any great store hasn’t been fully expressed unless it’s customers feel cared for, understood and related to in a way that satisfies the heartfelt desire to create the gift of an experience, through the giving of a present, whether the recipient is a business acquaintance or a close intimate companion. I know that my choice of the word “experience” in relationship to gift giving may be confusing for some, and yet for me that is precisely where most retailers today fall short. It’s as if they don’t see the tremendous opportunity that they have to serve their community through the simple act of bringing elegance into the world through the wonderful gifts that they sell. It is my desire to create for you a new “experience”, one that is based on the quality of service, and the nurturing of beauty and uniqueness, all things important for sustaining our creative lives. I believe that price comparison shopping and mass market retailing are the by product’s of a society starving for substantive experiences and joyous moments.  Really great stores have beautiful gifts at prices to suit every wallet! There is (and always will be!) something quite exquisite about a hand selected gift from a specialty store, chosen with care, then beautifully wrapped and delivered! Some of my best memories of our store are of Christmastime, when our wrapping room looked like Santa’s workshop, with all of our customer’s running back to request special gift papers and fancy bows! These aren’t experiences that you can have anywhere else other than a jewel box of a store, where the help knows you by name and just how many cubes of sugar that you like for your tea! A wonderful store becomes the lifeblood of its community, constantly giving back, always there when a customer needs a donation for a cherished organization, or an advertisement for a school football calendar! 

The very act of purchasing a wonderful gift for someone that you love in a fabulous store is filled with a sense of renewel for the relationship, excitement and creativity! 

For instance, when a young man wishes to purchase a piece of jewelry for his fiancé, he isn’t the least bit interested in the cut ,color and clarity of the diamond that he is purchasing, or the weight and carat value of the gold that it’s set in. Those are simply the facts, and any GIA trained gemologist can produce those details. They aren’t the most important thing and selling as if they are just cheapens his experience.  What’s really at stake for him are the tears in her eyes as she opens his gift, and the possibilities that he’s created for their life together. He’s got it all planned ..He’s asking her to marry him at Christmas, her favorite time of the year and he wants to pick the piece of jewelry that really reflect his feelings for her and his dreams of her response.   If he doesn’t feel as wonderful purchasing it as he does giving it then he’s missed out on an important part of the whole experience. I always felt that if every customer that came into our store didn’t feel as wonderful through the act of giving as they do receiving that we hadn’t done our jobs. 

I have heard it said that the specialty store is outdated, a relic of the past from a lifestyle  that exists for few anymore, and yet people flock to Europe, hungry for this sort of shopping experience! The gorgeous boutiques on the streets of London or Paris continuously give us

us wonderful examples of merchandising. They are lovely to explore, and their seasonal merchandise, always beautifully presented, is a joy to the eye and a truly engaging experience for the customer. Maybe, what we enjoy so much about these stores is that they maintain a natural relationship to the rhythm of the seasons, not the artificially induced shopping cycles that we have created in this country.   I really believe that this is the way that a store offers the most significant value to its customers. By keeping the atmosphere relaxed and closely aligned to the natural patterns of our lives, we stay happier and less frantic, and more able to enjoy the true essence of the holiday season!

This holiday season, try to shop in stores that care about you, and the experience that   you’ll have sharing yourself with people through the gifts that you choose! Remember, that the gifts that you choose this holiday season or anytime will always convey the essence of you, the gift giver! Gift giving in its purest form is artistically inspired by love and the desire to provide for the recipient a special moment of beauty and timelessness. It is my wish for you this season that your needs for a truly relaxing and wonderful gifting experience are met with elegance, beauty and enchantment, through stores that continue the tradition of providing for you , the customer, all of the quality and expertise that you desire, along with LOTS of fun!

If you remember to request the service and style that you deserve, you will create a space where the exceptional can occur and the possibility of extraordinary retailing and inspired gift giving will continue to exist in the world, through the vision of stores who are committed to  providing you with quality and joy for many decades to come!

Glad tidings to all of you, my best wishes for a sensational New Year!