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We’ve MOVED!

July 11, 2012

Thanks for visiting, but while you were gone, we’ve moved! Please visit us at our new home Have the Best Christmas EVER! We’ll have loads of tips, decorating ideas, and of course great giveaways.

Simply CLICK HERE

Love word games? WIN a $75 You’ve been Sentenced! game prize pack for guaranteed family fun!

April 23, 2012

I’m a huge fan of the award-winning word game You’ve been Sentenced! and now there are even more reasons to be excited to play — Themed Add-On Decks guaranteed to spice up the game and tailor it to whatever interests you and your family.

For example, there’s a Sports Highlights Deck (my 15 year old son’s favorite). This deck contains the lingo of the field, court, and diamond, legendary sports heroes, technical terms, and favorite teams.

If Sci-fi and Fantasy are your favorites, then warn your kids to set their phasers for stun and prepare for a warp speed ride through the popular sci-fi/fantasy deck! This one is very popular with my Star Trek/Star Wars/Harry Potter/Twilight obsessed tween daughter.

I personally like the Pop Culture Deck. Do you know Lindsay from Jen? What’s an IM? And how do you crump? If you don’t know yet, you may just learn something from this deck.

Plus, any budding Rachael Ray or Emeril Lasgasse will appreciate the Gourmet Cuisine Deck which is filled to overflowing with famous chefs, exotic spices, and all of the kitchen gizmos necessary to cook up some fun!

You’ve been Sentenced! and the themed add-on decks are available online or fine retailers nationwide.

Want to win your own You’ve been Sentenced! game, plus six themed add-on decks? 

TO ENTER SIMPLY “LIKE” THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER ON FACEBOOK (BUTTON ON THIS PAGE, TOP RIGHT). LEAVE A COMMENT HERE. YOU’RE DONE! ENDS 5-20

The You’ve been Sentenced! giveaway is open to The Best Christmas Ever! readers in the USA who are 18+. This giveaway is available in the USA only. The odds of winning are dependent upon the number of entries received. Giveaway ends 5/20/2012.

Photos: Used with permission, by McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds.

3 lucky winners! Family favorite Twisted Fish is a great game for the young …or simply the young-at-heart!

April 10, 2012

If you are looking for a great gift or stocking stuffer, look no further. Twisted Fish, by McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds, is a game that’s adored by young and old alike.

Twisted Fish’s game play takes the traditional game of Go Fish and adds new, essential twists and offers laugh-out-loud fun for the entire family.

  • Suitable for ages 8 and up.
  • The whole family will love Twisted Fish for its hilarious game play and outrageous characters.
  • Unique “Zinger Cards” ensure that the game is always exciting and fresh.
  • Cultivates memory skills as players track cards that “swim” around the table from player to player.
  • Both skill and luck are needed, making it fun for all ages and skill levels.

You’ll fall hook, line, and sinker! 

3 LUCKY WINNERS!

TO ENTER SIMPLY “LIKE” THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER ON FACEBOOK (BUTTON ON THIS PAGE, TOP RIGHT). LEAVE A COMMENT HERE. YOU’RE DONE! ENDS 4-30

The Twisted Fish giveaway is open to The Best Christmas Ever! readers in the USA who are 18+. This giveaway is available in the USA only. The odds of winning are dependent upon the number of entries received. Giveaway ends 4/30/2012.

Photos: Used with permission, by McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds.

WIN! This stunning animal print scarf by Fraas with just 1 “Like”! $40 Retail!

March 24, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars ended last night. If you follow the show, you’ll know that Mondo was declared the winner, but I admit to harboring a soft spot for Michael Costello. Michael’s final collection of the competition was comprised of a variety of sensual animal prints that turned the runway into his own personal Serengeti fantasy.

I love animal prints of all kinds – leopard, zebra, python — but they can be a bit tricky to pull off once they leave the runway. That’s why I was so thrilled to find this animal print scarf by Fraas!

This versatile scarf is generously sized (28 x 80 inches), so that it doubles as a wrap. For work or play, this scarf is the simplest way to add a touch of trendy animal print to your wardrobe.

This particular style comes in its three unique color palettes, so you are sure to find exactly the combination you need. Retail: $40

You might be unfamiliar with the Fraas brand, but the firm was actually founded in 1880. There are Fraas offices worldwide in New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Berlin, Denmark, Italy, India, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, so an international point-of-view is a given.

In fact, the firm’s design teams regularly travel to major shows and forecasting seminars across the globe to identify new trends. The firm’s research team, meanwhile, works unceasingly to develop and discover new yarns, fabric and methods of manufacturing products that are of truly outstanding quality.

The result? Fabrics, colors, and styles that are attuned to both fashion and customer demand. Fraas products are distributed globally via department and specialty stores, as well as online retailers.

In addition to the luxurious new animal print, Fraas also has more than 30 brand new scarf/wrap styles debuting this season. To see the entire Spring / Summer collection, visit Fraas.

To find a store near you, visit the Fraas Store Locator.

TO WIN A STUNNING ANIMAL PRINT SCARF FROM FRAAS, SIMPLY “LIKE” THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER ON FACEBOOK (BUTTON ON THIS PAGE, TOP RIGHT). LEAVE A COMMENT HERE. YOU’RE DONE! ENDS 4-19

ALREADY “LIKE” THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER? CLICK THIS LINK TO WIN A STUNNING $72 SPRING TOTE BY FLAUNT! ONE COMMENT AND YOU’RE DONE!

The Fraas scarf giveaway is open to The Best Christmas Ever! readers in the USA who are 18+. This giveaway is available in the USA only. The odds of winning are dependent upon the number of entries received. Giveaway ends 4/19/2012.

Photos: Used with permission, by Fraas.

WIN a cheery red tote by Flaunt ($72 retail); Makes a perfect gift… or keep it for yourself! ENDS 4/19/2012

March 18, 2012

During the frantic holiday season, some girls live out of their car – I live out of my bag!  So a stylish tote is an absolute necessity.

Packs of holiday cards bound for the post office? Check. Lists and coupons, coupons, coupons? Yup. A bottle of water to stay hydrated while braving the crowds at the mall? The right tote handles it all, keeping you stylish and organized during the craziness of the season!

One of the best totes I’ve found is from Flaut and it’s just the perfect size to carry along everything you need. Measuring 5” x 16” x 13” the tote has two sturdy handles that double as shoulder straps, plus a metal magnetic snap to keep all that extra “stuff” stashed neatly and hidden. Six inside pockets and an outside pocket make organizing essentials easy – never lose keys in “the black hole” again!

The Flaunt tote comes in a huge array of colors like Palazzo Pink, Broadway Black (black and white) Safari Chic (animal print), plus solids like basic black and stunning teal. But my favorite for the holidays (naturally!) is this cheery lipstick red. This darling tote simply can’t help but lift the spirits of a weary holiday shopper! Retail $72.00

In addition to these adorable totes, Flaunt also offers coordinating sunglass cases, cosmetic rolls, cross body bags, trains cases – plus so much more. You can even purchase matching key chains, lanyards and luggage tags — great gift ideas for the fashionistas on your list!

This amazing firm was successfully launched just one short year ago and has quickly become one of the industry’s hottest women’s accessory lines on the market! In addition to great designs and fantastic prints, the fine craftsmanship and attention to detail means one thing – the Flaunt line is here to stay.

If you like to shop online, Flaut accessories are for purchase at the web site. To see the line in person at a store near you, simply visit the Flaunt Store Locator.

HOW TO WIN: 1 easy entry! Simply LIKE The Best Christmas Ever on Facebook (BUTTON ON THIS PAGE, TOP RIGHT). Leave a comment HERE, and you’re done!

ALREADY “LIKE” THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER? CLICK THIS LINK TO WIN A STUNNING $40 SPRING SCARF BY FRAAS! ONE COMMENT AND YOU’RE DONE!

The Flaunt tote giveaway is open to The Best Christmas Ever! readers in the USA who are 18+. This giveaway is available in the USA only. The odds of winning are dependent upon the number of entries received. Giveaway ends 4/19/2012.

For the perfect Christmas ornament, Christina’s World has hundreds of choices

June 22, 2011

The Botticelli Madonna ornament would be a stunning addition to any tree and the perfect gift for any art-lover!

One of my favorite places to pick up unique gift items is in museum gift shops. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art to Longwood Gardens, museum gift shops always seem to have that “certain something” you just can’t find anywhere else.

But did you ever stop to wonder where all of the fabulous items actually come from? Well, I finally found out!  From stunning jewelry, to handcrafted wood, to sparkling glass, the recent Museum Store Association Retail Conference and Expo in Chicago was a veritable treasure trove of perfect gifts. And, despite the soaring temperatures, Christmas reigned supreme!

Although we were surrounded by beautiful and often exotic items, one booth easily stood out from the rest. Christina’s World is simply a mecca for the Christmas obsessed! The sheer number of different ornaments was astounding. The quality was unsurpassed. Clearly, I was hooked.

These Russian "egg" ornaments are inspired by the legendary Carl Faberge.

The inspiration for Christina’s diverse designs comes from many sources: her extensive travels in Europe, Russia, and the Orient; her studies in Italian and French; her former life as a ballet dancer, and her 10 years of experience with Creative Art Flowers – just to name a few!

You will find the most wonderful and unique limited edition Santas in Christina’s line, like the Fur Hat Santa trimmed with real marabou, the Button Santa from a 1940’s button cover, and Windswept Santa from a Russian paper Mache ornament.

There are also whimsical beaded ornaments, animal figures, old-fashioned clip-on birds, bead garlands and finials for every budget.

Delectable fruit slice ornaments look almost good enough to eat!

Christina’s specialty, however, is elegant and oversized glass ornaments. I’ve pictured a few of my personal favorites, but the choices are so varied – Arabian Nights, Birds of a Feather, Fabulous Faberge – you really must view Christina’s World online catalog to see the hundreds and hundreds of other options.

So, just how early can I set up the tree this year?

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur and the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait. In addition to The Best Christmas Ever! Susan also writes the fashion blog Susan Said What?!, McNeill Designs’ corporate blog It’s how you play the game! and the official blog for Success Won’t Wait!

It may be June, but I am busy Christmas shopping!

June 9, 2011

The temperatures are expected to hit 100 degrees today, but all I can think about are Christmas gifts! This week, I took advantage of some amazing clearance sales and cleaned up for my three teenaged kids at Kohl’s, Sears, and Old Navy.

If you know what styles you are looking for, have a good handle on sizes, and are sure of what’s already in the closet, winter clearance at this time of year can be a treasure trove for holiday gifts. For example, at Kohl’s, much of the winter clearance is now 70, 80 and even 90% off of the original price! For basics like cardigans, tanks and tees, you can stock up!

At Sears, the clearance is marked down to literally pennies on the dollar. Since I know my oldest daughter’s dramatic, slightly bohemian style very well, I splurged on some higher-end jewelry – stunning chandelier earrings, long ropes of Murano beads, and several ethnic-inspired bangles – that will become “extras” in a box with a matching sweater, vest or scarf.

Old Navy was just as lucrative! I purchased a striking “waterfall” sweater that I had eyed up at the start of the fall season. In October the price tag read $39.50. This week I nabbed it for only $6.97!

Of course, shopping this far ahead means that you need to stay organized. (have you ever lost a bag of gifts hidden somewhere in the garage or attic?) I have my designated  “gift closet” cleaned out and ready to go, my list (detailed by person) on the computer, and a budget for each family member firmly set. Now all that’s left is to tick off the items one by one!

So while my friends are sitting by the pool, I am in the mall. But, shopping early allows me to make the holidays so much more meaningful to my family. Avoiding the crazed rush in the fall creates less stress and gives me more time to focus on the fun elements of Christmas — like baking cookies together, decorating and visiting family and friends. Plus, I save so much money, I usually end up giving everyone much, much more (when Ralph Lauren earrings are only .99, why not, right?).

So, where do you shop for winter clearance?

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur and the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait. In addition to The Best Christmas Ever! Susan also writes the fashion blog Susan Said What?!, McNeill Designs’ corporate blog It’s how you play the game! and the official blog for Success Won’t Wait!

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