For those of you who are doing the shipping this season to either your clients or your friends and family, you want to make sure that the address is correct and that the package reaches them on time. I have used their service many times for checking addresses in and out of the country.

This website will help you cross reference the address you have.

This is what they say : Simply type in the address you wish to verify, and click Verify Address. The results will be listed below. You can also choose between countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia.

Do you actually know:

  • How many dollars your company throws away on returned mail?
  • How much budget is wasted paying UPS and FedEx shipping address correction fees on packages?

If the addresses your Web site collects are deliverable?Address Quality is the result and benefit from using a Post Office™ certified process to clean and standardize your data, by correcting spellings, abbreviations, city, state and ZIP Code™ entries.Within your organization, address data is found everywhere. You encounter it when you interact with customers, prospects, vendors, donors and Web visitors. The basis of much of your business communication comes via the address data used for your contact. This interaction includes invoices, marketing campaigns, shipments, newsletters and general correspondence.The effectiveness of this interaction can be greatly affected by the quality of the contact address data you are using to conduct this business. If your data is inaccurate, your ability to communicate will be diminished.

Creative Wrapping Ideas ! Recycle Recycle Recycle !

This is a great article in Real Simple online. Since I love being creative this article really grabbed my attention.

Turn old jump rope, dish towels, newspaper, and more into great gift packaging

Wrap Wine Bottles with Dish Towels

Original Purpose: Drying dishes. Aha! Use: Transforming a bottle of wine into a gift. Reality check: A crinkly Mylar bag makes a wine bottle look like it came from outer space, not from the heart. By wrapping a bottle in an attractive dish towel (or linen napkin, fabric remnant, or piece of craft-store felt) tied with a nice length of ribbon, you can turn the perfunctory hostess gift into a proper holiday — or any-day — present. How to Do It: Place the bottle along one side of the fabric so that the bottle's top meets the top of the fabric. Fold up excess material at the bottom over the bottle, forming a pocket of sorts. Then roll it evenly and secure at the neck with ribbon. Reward: Good taste and tastes good.

Here are 5 More !

  1. Tie Up Kids' Presents with Jump Rope I love this idea. Its great to use a present to wrap another !
  2. Tie Up Gifts with Ponytail Holders If its a gift for a young clever is it !
  3. Wrap Presents with Newspaper I have been doing this for years. I love the comic section as it is colorful and vibrant.
  4. Greeting Cards as Gift Tags I think nowadays the cards are so nice and glittery and have so many pop-ups. My daughter saves those pop ups and uses them to decorate the present. But this is a neat idea too !
  5. Use Old Calendar Pages as Gift Wrap Ok this may seem easy but I think the calender pages are not that big and this might not be the greatest idea for large presents.

So hope you find an inexpensive way to wrap your gifts !

Happy Thanksgiving & A Poem ~ In My Dreams !

In My Dreams
by Steven Robert Heine

In my dreams
all wrongs are righted,
all sins are forgiven
all wounds are healed.

In my dreams
all lost friends are found
all loved ones are united
all pain is forgotten.

In my dreams
laughter replaces anger
smiles replace frowns
and love replaces hate and fear..

But then I awaken
and I realize that I cannot fix
everything that is broken in the World.
And I decide to try to make it just
a little better somehow.

Holiday Shopping Made Simple

For many people, finances and schedules are turned upside down during the holidays, and that can make get-togethers, gift-buying and even gift-receiving a stressful time. It can be difficult to smile when spending is out of control. Getting yourself organized and contentious of what you are spending can generate a lot of peace of mind.

For the nearly half of all shoppers who find gift-giving the most challenging aspect of the holidays comes some simple advice.
  1. Creating a budget early in the year, or at the very least, at the beginning of the holiday season. Include all holiday-related expenses in that list. Keep it from year-to-year, and write down actual expenses as they incur. Don't forget Holiday parties for which you have to buy hostess gifts too.
  2. Create a list of the people you plan to buy gifts for and establish your budget. Include notes on each person's hobbies and interests to help build unique or creative gift ideas.

  3. Combine shopping trips to minimize your store visits.
  4. Shop and browse online and see the new items for the Holiday season before you go to the store.
  5. Eliminate the hassle and pick up great gifts at "unexpected" locations that you are already visiting.
  6. Don't fall into the trap of trying to match or out-spend those with whom you exchange gifts.....Stick to your budget! Watching expenses in November and December can decrease stress in January when the bills come due.

So if you have done your planning right you will have the time to enjoy the holidays and the days that follow ! Happy Shopping !

How to make a Gift Basket ? Tips & Tricks

Gift baskets are extremely easy to assemble, but the final result looks stunning - a true labour of love (without the 'labour'). Suitable for any occasion, gift baskets can often be just the solution when you can't decide on a particular gift item. You can use different shapes of baskets, with or without a handle, and the size depends on what you want to put into it.

We at Elegantly Expressed use a lot of different kinds of git baskets. Decide what the basket 'theme' will be first, then look for a sufficiently sized basket, and purchase all the items for it.
  • Cut 2 yards of cellophane and lay it on the table surface, right side down, and place the basket in the middle of it.
  • Arrange all items inside the basket; you can place a cloth napkin or paper doily in the bottom.
  • Ensure that breakable items are secured or wrapped in cloth or tissue to prevent breakage.
  • Position tall items in the centre, with medium items on the outside, and small ones in between. Individually-wrapped candy sprinkled throughout the items, adds a nice sweet touch.
  • Gather up the cellophane, pulling up the short sides first, then longer sides, and secure with a long twist tie. A helper is great for this step.
  • Add the ribbon, making a nice bow with long curved tails. Or attach a ready-made bow. No need to remove the twist tie.
  • Attach the gift tag with string or tape it to the front cellophane.
  • If one of the short sides of cellophane is gaping, you may be able to adjust it by pulling gently on the top section, or secure with a small piece of clear tape.
  • Resist the urge to 'play' with the cellophane to get it just right - the idea is to gather the cellophane which produces an array of varying sizes of cellophane 'petals' - a unique 'bouquet'. If the 'petals' are too long for your liking, you can trim them with scissors.
  1. Cellophane is sold in either clear, colored, print or festive. The clear with a small gold pattern is very versatile for any occasion.
  2. Ready-made bows are great for taking the hassle out of making one, but make sure that the size is right for the basket - a large basket requires a larger bow. Likewise, don't hide a small basket with an over sized bow.
  3. Other items can be used instead of a basket, such as a casserole dish, pie plate, serving bowl, or gift box bottom. If the basket or container has very low sides, you may require a helper to gather up the cellophane.
  4. The gift tag can be attached by a string from the gathered bow, or taped to the front of the basket.
Its a great activity with your kids and family. For a professionally done Gift Basket, do come to us. We pack and ship baskets all over the US

Light Up Your Monitor with Cool "Hot" Christmas Lights

Gifts for your computer ! :)

Christmas is coming! You can celebrate this festive season while you are working. Decorate your working desk with this cute Christmas LED USB powered light kit!

Sling the string of LED lights across your monitor and voila you have CHRISTMAS!

This USB Decoration Christmas Kit contains a string of colourful LED lights, a cutie Christmas hat and a mouse pad for you to decorate your working desk!


PETS ! The Best Gift You Can Give Your Family - 10 Reasons Not to Buy a Puppy from a Pet Store ~ by Catherine M. Sheeter

Pets make great gifts. :) Scenes in so many Hollywood movies glamorize pet giving especially during the holidays. The puppies behind the glass, all floppy ears and paws, madly scramble over each other trying to capture the shopper's attention. The temptation is too great. The shopper whisks into the store and impulsively purchases an animal for her beloved.

But here are some great tips on why not to buy a dog / pet from a Pet Shop ! This is an eye-opener ! Below are the 10 points. You must read more.

  1. Health- That adorable puppy in the window of the pet store is hard to resist, but you may be paying a lot of money for a dog that you know very little about. Pet stores generally rely on impulse buys to sell their "product".

  2. The myth about AKC papers - Most pet shops would like you to believe that if a puppy is registered by the American Kennel Club, this guarantees the puppy will be healthy and a good example of the breed. This is not so. The only thing that AKC papers certify is that the puppy is a purebred and produced out of AKC registered parents.

  3. The pet shop guarantee - Many pet stores provide a form of guarantee for people buying puppies from them, but their guarantees may be as bad as none at all. A not-so-uncommon scenario goes something like this: after your family has become attached to your adorable new puppy you find out it is sick.

  4. What will that puppy look like when it is full grown? You may have seen specimens of the breed that you are buying, but this does not guarantee that this puppy will fit the breed standard. You do not know if the parents fit the standard either and cannot see the faults that each parent has. There is no perfect dog, but a good breeder will be willing to discuss the faults and strengths that each of their dogs possesses.

  5. What do you know about the breed? Employees of pet stores generally know very little about the dogs that are in the store. They can probably tell you a little bit about the breed and then point you to a rack of generic dog books. What do you do after you bring the puppy home, only to find that this breed is not the right one for you and your family? Good breeders are full of information about the breed of puppy that you are considering. They should be able to tell you the general temperament aspects of the breed and help you predict whether this breed of dog will fit into your lifestyle.

  6. Housebreaking and training problems- This puppy that you are buying from a pet store has most likely spent much of its life in a cage. Many pet store puppies have never seen carpet and may never have even seen grass or dirt. Due to the conditions that puppies are kept in at pet stores, they have been forced to eliminate in the same area that they sleep and eat.

  7. How about Socialization? Your pet store puppy may well have never been in a house before. If this is the case then everything will be new and scary for them. The doorbell, vacuum cleaner, and children playing are all new sensations that can be terrifying to an unsocialized puppy. Good breeders will expose their puppies to many situations so that the puppies are used to them by the time that they go to their new homes.

  8. What is a pedigree worth? Some pet shops make a big deal out of their puppies' pedigrees. This is interesting, as the pedigree is really just a piece of paper with names on it. Unless you know the dogs behind those names the pedigree is really quite useless to the new owner. Can the pet store tell you what your puppies grand- parents died of, or how long they lived? Do any of the dogs in your pup's pedigree carry genetic diseases? Most pet store employees do not know any more about your puppy's background than you do. A reputable breeder can tell you all of this information about your pup's family tree and more.

  9. Do you want to support puppy mills?
    Almost all puppies that are in pet stores come from puppy mills. These operations are exactly what the name implies. Most mass produce puppies with money as the prime motive. Their breeding dogs are often kept in very poor conditions and are sometimes malnourished. The dogs are almost never tested for genetic diseases and may not receive vaccinations. Puppy mills often obtain their breeding dogs from people in a hurry to get rid of their dogs for some reason, often through "free dog" ads in newspapers or public auctions.

  10. After the puppy goes home- Once you take the puppy home from the pet store they do not generally care what happens to the puppy. Most pet shops do not care if the dog is left to run loose and kill livestock, or if it dies of liver disease at one year old. If you have a training problem they will often be unable or unwilling to give you training advice. Most do not care if you take your dog home and breed it continually. Responsible breeders are more than people who sell puppies, they will also be good friends to you and your puppy. They care what happens to their puppies' once they are sold. Almost all good breeders sell on spay/neuter contracts or limited registration.

So please next time you are looking for a new puppy to buy, do your research. Please read the entire article here

If you have a pet please do come visit us to see how we can make your pet's Holiday wishes come true !

Housewarming Gifts ~ Advice for gift giving !

A new home comes with a brand new beginning for the new owners. Bringing them good luck and a welcome gift is usually given within the first year or even 6 months of them settling down.

It is a time honored tradition that new owners invite their friends, family and relatives over for a housewarming party of sorts to share this moment of joy.

Housewarming gifts are different for different person. For your closest friends, housewarming gifts can be personal, humorous, and special, while for new neighbors or acquaintances you may want to make more generic gift choices.

5 Good Gift Ideas
  1. Plants make great generic gifts.
  2. Platters are welcome by any hostess.
  3. Candles and aromatics make a sensual gift.
  4. Coffee Table books make great gifts.
  5. Gourmet Gift Baskets are perfect as they can be customized.

3 Bad Gift Ideas
  1. Paintings make bad gift ideas as every one's perception of art differs.
  2. Small Kitchen appliances are very personal and therefore should not be given, unless you are sure of the make, brand and kind the person wants.
  3. Cleaning gadgets ! :) Although there are so many cute and useful cleaning gadgets that you might want in your house, refrain from giving those.
The gift that you give will reflect your values and class. So choose something that is personal if you know the people well or something generic. But always give them a gift certificate so that they are able to exchange it if necessary.

Christmas Tree Trimming Party! Getting in the spirit of it all ~

There's something festive yet casual about a Christmas Tree Trimming Party. Although it is hard to go through the motions every year of setting up the tree and getting out all the ornaments, it sure marks the onset of the fun holiday season.

So lets go about planning the event. Plan it ahead of time, near the first week of December. Purchase your tree or take out the one you probably have - one of those gorgeous looking fake trees. Get out all the ornaments and decide on a theme. See what you need to replenish and what you need to purchase ahead of time.

Now that you have all that set.

Send out Evites or actual snail mail invites. The party can be held any time of the day, although I prefer a weekend after dinner - 7pm-10pm.

Menu ideas - keep it simple. Keep the food buffet style with appetizer size plates.
  • Plates of cookies and sweets with festive holiday drinks
  • Healthy appetizers - Fruit platters, Vege platters
  • Simple hearty casseroles
  • Large crock pot of chili on your buffet table, and serve it with sour cream, chopped onions, grated Monterrey jack cheese, chopped cilantro, tortilla chips and salsa.
  • For drinks - gourmet coffee, punch, eggnog with optional rum :)

As the guests enter hand them a special take home ornament as a remembrance of the party. Light a fire in your fireplace and play Christmas carols as background music. If you have a piano, place Christmas sheet music on it in case any of your guests feel inspired to play. I think this would be a great time to have your Christmas entertaining done so that this way you are free - to-be-entertained the rest of the season !