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HSN Previews Holiday Gifts

The Academy Mansion was the ideal setting for HSN’s holiday preview back in the summer.  What an apt venue since it would take a mansion to showcase everything that HSN has to offer this holiday season. The spectacular four-story mansion was used to its full effect with thematic, fully decorated rooms with curated products from HSN, Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Garnet Hill, Grandin Road, Improvements, and TravelSmith, just to name a few. With so many items around the $100 mark (and many for a lot less), you’d be hard-pressed not to find something for your loved ones.

HSN opened up its doors to a main floor that was meant for entertaining.  First was the perfect dining room area, with a larger-than-life Nutcracker Soldier, flanked by two sentry, who oversaw a festive table filled with the perfect entertainment accoutrements.  Next came the recreation room, the perfect setting for an après-dinner soiree with a pool table, arcade games, tech accessories and of course the requisite drink bar.

Upstairs led to the HSN powder room – a must for every beauty junkie.  Well-known makeup and fragrance brands such as Lorac,Too Faced, Deborah Lippman, Benefit, Trish McEvoy, Korres and Lancome. Most of the brands had limited edition collection specially made for gift-giving.  

The best part of the HSN holiday preview was their “closet” – and what a closet it was.  From luxurious stoles, faux fur throws, chic evening dresses, contempary sportwear to finishing touches such as luxe bags and shoewear.  Sigh, if only my closet looked like this.

Enjoy pictures from the show!








Cheap But Chic X-Mas Gifts For 2013

With just a few weeks left before Christmas and after being completely burned out from Black Friday & Cyber Monday, where does one go to get affordable yet chic presents?  With the return of its TheGifter Campaign, the T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s and HomeGoods trifecta has you covered.  Where else can you go for unbelievable prices for name-brand and designer-brand goods?  No need to wait in line for doorbuster sales, you can shop for everyone on your list at any of these stores.

marshallsAt a recent 2013 holiday preview in NYC, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods showcased some of this season’s most coveted gifts and the latest trends. Given the amount of merchandise and range of names they carry, we only saw a smidgen of what’s offered.  

tjWith an endless supply of options, you’re covered. For everyone in your life - the fashionista, Martha Stewart wannabe, the gadget geek, babies, tots & toddlers, even for your pets, everything is there.  For wardrobe, accessories, beauty accessories, jewelry – head to TJ Maxx & Marshalls.  For inexpensive but so-expensive looking home furnishings, decor, and all-round home entertaining, head to HomeGoods.  

With so much savings, you’ll have enough left over to treat yourself.

2013 Gift Guide: Tech & Jewelry

The perfect gift is always hard to find.  You need to make sure that it’s something that’s unique and memorable, and of course within your budget.  

VelodyneAt the latest Accessories Council holidy preview, AC president Karen Giberson was joined by well-known style & fashion expert and commentator, Lilliana Vasquez. Lillian has been featured on numerous TV shows for her ability to be stylish on a budget and is now author to “The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style”. Here are their top-picks for the holiday season.


Fashion meets function.  We girls like technology as much as the next guy but we like to step it up a notch.

Velodyne vLeve On-Ear Headphones ($219)
Velodyne is a 30-year old company whose reputation was built on high-performance, low-distortion home theater subwoofers. Founder & CEO, David Hall, introduced a revolutionary technological breakthrough which minimized sound distortion.  In 2012, Velodyne introduced its headphones - a fusion of technical innovation and stylish industrial design, applying the same technology in a smaller scale without compromising on quality

According to, Velodyne’s first generation vPulse in-ear headphones was rated as the best headphones available for under $100. The latest generation includes the vLeve headphone ($199) - a wired on-ear headphone which offers comfort, freedom, and style with lightweight and customizable skins.  The vBold is an over-ear wireless Bluetooth headphone with optional wired connectivity similar to the vFree. Both models were created by international artist Marta Hall, and have the ingenious ability to collapse for on-the-go portability.

Iphone5 strapTrellie Phone Call Light Alert System ($49.99)
The smartphone is ubiquitous nowadays however at times, seems intrusive.  Don’t want to miss an important call but don’t want to appear rude? Even vibrate mode isn’t all that handy.  The Trellie is your smartphone beeper that lights up for incoming calls or continues to flash for missed calls. Attaches to your purse, so inconspicuous and stylish like a charm.

David & Young Style Strap Iphone 5 case ($20)
It’s a case, it’s a stand, it’s a bracelet! What?? Not only is your iphone 5 protected in a really cool case, but the detachable jeweled band allows you to carry your phone without needing to grasp the phone (it’s literally in the palm of your hand) or to be used as standing prop.  When detached, the band is also a bracelet.  Wow! Comes in a variety of colors and is a perfect stocking stuffer.


Andrew Hamilton Crawford: Dragonfly Cuff ($298)
For the fashionable entomologist who likes to make a bold statement, the Dragonfly cuff bracelet is a great choice.  Made of a translucent brown resin and a detailed 18K gold-plated overlay. Easy to put on and take off with its magnetic closure and spring hinge.  

Caroline Rocha: Hand crafted leather cuff ($159-219)
For those who like uniqueness, each leather bracelet is crafted, painted and adorned in Swarovski crystals by the designer herself. Available in slim “junior” to wide style.

Dragonfly CuffLeigh Ann Barnes: Cuff Change ($45)
Leigh Ann’s creations are all about double-duty.  Her line of reversible leather handbags and coin charms transforms the ordinary to the extraordinary. The Attache ($365) for instance, is a 6-in-1 convertible which turns a 2-side attaché into a envelope clutch, handbag, or crossbody.  

EvitaPeroniHer latest creation is reversible leather cuff bracelet with cufflink and signature good fortune coin charm. The bracelet can be worn “French style” – the kissing cuff with ends pinched together or “Barrel style” with one end overlapping the other.  Replace the cufflinks with your own to make it more personal.  One important thing to note, these American-made bracelets are handcrafted by survivors of domestic violence.    

Evita Peroni: Holiday Gift set ($271)
Evita Peroni offers a variety of finishing touches – from hair accessories to      fashion jewelry to eyewear. The Holiday Gift set evokes Old Hollywood glam with a trio from the Gold Collection - The Esther Hair Band, the versatile Eugenie Hair Clip, and the Fernanda Bobby Pin.

ArmitronArmitron: Gold Plated Timepiece with Swarovski Elements ($80)
Watches are the classic gift – they never go out of style, always handy and can be passed down from generation to generation.  Armitron watches have been featured before (as ACC’s Mother’s Day Picks), but with this creation, the warm gold plating case and bracelet compliments the rich brown mother of pearl outer zone and unique champagne-colored crystal center zone.

Sara Designs: The Editor Wrap Watch ($330)
The watch reinvented.  You already pile on the bangle bracelets. Why not add a watch with layers of varying gold chains?

Amazon Steps Up for the Holiday Season

AmazonFashionWhat started out in 1995 as an online bookstore has grown into a behemoth covering every facet of our daily lives.  Today, as it nears its 20th anniversary, it’s the Everything Store, a company with around $75 billion in annual revenue and a $140 billion market value. As the world's largest online retailer, it has 96 "fulfillment centers" worldwide that measure 1.2 million square foot (the size of more than 20 football fields) each, to meet the needs of its 225 million customers around the world. Its diversified range covers everything that you can possibly conceive - from electronics to fashion, furniture, apparel, fashion accessories, home goods, and food.  
Not only does Amazon has the breadth in terms of merchandise, but for the first time ever, Amazon is prepared to satisfy the need for on-time delivery.  Since November, Amazon, in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service, has been offering Sunday delivery service (at no additional charge). The combination of the two helped boost its bottom line with worldwide orders of 37 million items on Cyber Monday (this comes out to record-breaking sales of 426 items every second), its busiest shopping day of the year, representing a robust increase of 39 percent higher than figures from last year’s peak day.

At Amazon's 2013 Holiday Preview, we got a glimpse of what Amazon had to offer and we can certainly see why Amazon continues to grow in every way. With stations set up in its different categories, we had already started to mentally make wish lists.

Amazon is your one-stop shopping destination for everyone on your list this holiday season. In addition to economical stocking stuffers, Amazon also has unique and once-in-a-lifetime gifts ideas:  extravagant luxury gifts including fine art items like original artwork, top of the line electronics, amazing kids toys and more.

Make your life easier with Amazon's Holiday Electronics Gift Finder - a curated list of the latest, top rated, and most coveted technology items. Amazon covers the full range in computers, tablets, TVs, home audio, mobile electronics, wireless, camera, office, musical instruments, video games, software and so much more. Technology remains high on most wish lists.  For example, its Kindle tablet (with price ranges from $69-$399) continues to be extremely popular with more units sold during the holiday season than in previous years.  The recently launched Xbox One and PlayStation 4 gaming consoles were sold at rate of more than 1,000 units every minute during the peak period of their sales.

amazon toysToys & Baby:
A huge array of award-winning, as well as educational toys for babies to kids.

Sports & Outdoors:
For the sports buffs to the athletes and outdoor lovers, Amazon offers equipment from bikes, athletic gear and clothes, and camping gear.

Tools & Home Improvement:
Amazon has everything available for those who like the hands-on approach to home improvement, home repair and home renovation.

Home & Pets:
Shop for appliances, furniture, bedding and bath products, grills, vacuums, and other home essentials

Despite the popularity of e-readers, there are those who still like the look and feel of traditional books.  

Kitchen, Grocery & Gourmet Food:
Everything from appliances, bakeware, stocking stuffers, juicers, blenders, and gift sets from global epicurean.

Health & Beauty:
A one-convenient location for shoppers to discover new brands, find the latest in beauty trends and tips, and stock up on trusted favorites. This department includes well known beauty brands (Lorac, Paula Dorf, StriVectin, Dr. Dennis Gross) and the recently launched Amazon Luxury Beauty Store - featuring a curated selection of thousands of products across makeup, skin care, hair care, men’s grooming and fragrance from sought-after, high-end brands including Burberry, Dr. Brandt, Jack Black, Deborah Lippmann, NARS, and more.

Amazon Fashion:
While Amazon has sold apparel, shoes and accessories for years, the company has intensified its focus on contemporary and high-end brands since 2012, wooing fashionistas with a treasure trove of well-known designers such as DVF, Zac Posen, Elizabeth and James, Hugo Boss, just to name a few.  Amazon’s initial forays into the high end (which includes opening a massive photo and video studio to shoot on-model images) have helped raise apparel sales by triple digits.

amazon eleconicsAmazon Wine:
A vast wine-country selection from wineries throughout the US and sorted by regional, varietal, professional rating and more.  The broad selection of wines enables customers to easily find and buy directly from their favorite wineries.
Go Digital:
Includes Amazon Instant Video: a digital video streaming and download service, Amazon mp3: one of the world's largest DRM-free digital music store with a library of more than 24 million songs, Amazon Cloud Player for playing or downloading music from the cloud with Amazon Cloud Player and Amazon Appstore for Android.

DIY Holiday Gifts:
What's better than a home-made gift to show how much you care?  The Arts, Crafts and Sewing Store is your online resource for materials, tools and supplies.  Popular brands such as Martha Stewart Crafts, Brother, Fiskars and dozens more offer a variety of handicraft material and tools.

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