The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills Celebrates the Feast of Saint Valentine


Contact: Linda Arroz

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The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills Celebrates The Feast of Saint Valentine

Four Gift Baskets Feature Unique Chocolates and Champagne

Don’t wait for Cupid to spread the love. Treat friends and family to delightful and delicious gift baskets designed to make loved ones smile. Each basket is a feast, full of sweets and treats in the form of luscious chocolates, champagne, cheese and other gourmet goodies perfectly suited for Valentine’s Day.

One of the featured stops on the Beverly Hills Chocolate Walking Tour, The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills stocks some of the very best chocolate in the world, including Terry’s Toffee, which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has chosen as an exclusive, sweet treat in the Oscar® Green Room for over ten years.

All the treats in this year’s Valentine’s Day gift baskets are made with premium ingredients, including Coco Suisse, created by a fourth generation chocolatier from Switzerland, and made in Los Angeles.

Images are available upon request.

  1. Three of Coco Suisse”s most popular offerings: Nonpariels, Truffle and Chocolate Lovies are paired with a split of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne. $65
  2. Hand dipped dark chocolate California apricots, caramels from France, Clif Family Smoked Paprika Almonds from Napa Valley, along with an assortment of sweets and a split of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne. $70
  3. How many ways can you say red? Savannah Bee Company’s Winter Honey paired with Lula’s Rocky Road and Poco Dolce’s Super Chile Toffee and a split of Rose Champagne by Nicolas Feuillatte. $75
  4. Terry’s Toffee, the favorite sweet treat at the Oscars®, helms this basket, with some of our best chocolates, including Poco Dolce and Revival. $90


Dressing For Your Body Type: Melissa McCarthy

Melissa McCarthy looks polished and proportioned on the red carpet. The balance of the right neckline, length and texture of her necklace, hemlines and shoe shape project confidence and style.

Melissa McCarthy looks polished and proportioned on the red carpet. The balance of the right neckline, length and texture of her necklace, hemlines and shoe shape project confidence and style.

I’m frequently asked for tips on dressing different body types. The other day a childhood friend called. She’s an instructor at a posh, private, prep school in Georgetown and she’s a plus sized petite. Barely 5 feet tall, she struggles with proportion. I recommended she taper her pants, which she prefers to wear for work.  Tapering her pant legs, determining the place for the hem to hit her ankle, and the best shoe shape could shave pounds and add inches visually.

Here’s a perfect example of a pretty, plump and petite woman working her curves with the right formula of shape and lines to create a slimmer look. Popular actress, Melissa McCarthy wasn’t looking svelte at the Oscars, but she looks polished and proportioned on this red carpet. LA

How Abercrombie keeps customers thin: The retailer’s sizing system has a slimming effect

By Kelli B. Grant

Abercrombie & Fitch’s ANF +0.98%   aversion to more full-figured folks seems to be more in the marketing than the measurements.

The clothing chain is in the spotlight this week after comments CEO Mike Jeffries made in 2006 to resurfaced. At that time, Jeffries said the retailer — whose sizes famously top out at large, and size 10 in women’s pants — was actively marketing to “cool, good-looking people.” He told Salon: “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” Or, as summed it up: “As far as Jeffries is concerned, America’s unattractive, overweight or otherwise undesirable teens can shop elsewhere.” (A&F declined to comment for this story.)

But while the marketing may emphasize thin and good-looking, a comparison of A&F’s sizing chart against those of other retailers indicates the brand might not be as exclusionary as it claims. There’s a little vanity in the sizing. At brands including Abercrombie, Old Navy, Express and Uniqlo, a woman with a waist measuring 26 to 27 inches would be a size “small.” But Abercrombie describes its small as sizes 2 to 4; Old Navy, Express and Uniqlo call it sizes 4 to 6. A 2 to 4 at H&M, meanwhile, measures 24 to 25 inches at the waist and is considered “extra small.”

And at the top of A&F’s range, a “large” 30-inch waist is a size 10. That’s a size 12 at Uniqlo and, experts say, still within range to be considered a 12 at Old Navy and Express. Both J. Crew and Banana Republic call that same measurement a size 10, too, but classify it as a “medium” — and of course, go on to sell sizes ranging up to a size 16, which measure a 34.5-inch waist at J. Crew and a 33-inch at Banana Republic. (Abercrombie does list in its size chart a 31-inch size 12, but none of the pants, jeans or shorts currently on sale online are offered in that size.) “So much for truth in advertising,” says Robert Passikoff, founder and president of New York-based marketing firm Brand Keys.

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Experts say such variable sizing is a common problem. Unlike men’s fashion, where sizing specifies waist, inseam and chest measurements, women’s sizes aren’t standardized, says Linda Arroz, a personal stylist and co-author of “Affordable Couture.” “Twelve, large — these sizes don’t mean anything to anybody,” she says. “Designers and retailers come up with their own systems, and there’s a long history of companies tweaking the number because there’s nobody looking over their shoulder.” Plus, stores’ online sizing guidelines don’t always translate to a perfect matchup with individual pieces. Depending on the fabric and cut, some pieces have more stretch or give than others, blurring the size lines further, Arroz says.

As a marketing tactic, it makes sense, says Passikoff. Shoppers have both rational and emotional needs, and vanity sizing plays into the desire not just to buy a new pair of pants, but a pair that makes them feel attractive. “People have their own sense of self image, and that’s going to come into play,” he says. “No one wants to think of themselves as overweight.”

Get more cash for your old clothes An abundance of new websites enables shoppers to sell their unwanted clothing.

Smart Spending

Get more cash for your old clothes

An abundance of new websites enables shoppers to sell their unwanted clothing.

By MSN Money partner Nov 6, 2012 11:48AM
This post comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site MarketWatch.

 MarketWatch logoThe seasonal closet clean-out — in with sweaters and boots, out with summer attire — is turning into a potential moneymaker for consumers.Web marketplaces for secondhand clothes have been multiplying, with recent entrants including, 99Dresses, ThreadFlip, Material Wrld, The Cools and iPhone app-based Poshmark.

African-American woman shopping online © Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty Images

Each site differs in its fashion vision. Some accept only pieces from big-name designers, and a few open their doors to let consignment shops and other retailers sell, too. But the underlying premise is the same. Users snap a picture of their unwanted item and create a simple listing, and then ship the item when it sells. Payment follows.

“Your closet becomes your store,” says Linda Arroz, a co-author of “Affordable Couture.” But there are limits: Sites only want items in good condition. Moth-eaten blazers, pilled sweaters and the like won’t be accepted.

Experts say the proliferation of these sites is a reflection of the still-struggling economy. “Apparel spending has been topsy-turvy. One month it’s up, the next month it’s down,” says Pam Danziger, the president of Unity Marketing, a luxury-market research firm. Clothing marketplaces can help consumers monetize the things they’re no longer wearing, she says.

They can be a boon for bargain hunters, too. The idea of “shopping your closet” for outfits instead of hitting the store is popular when money is tight, and the social setup lets people effectively shop other users’ closets at a steep discount, says Michelle Madhok, the founder of fashion sale-tracker

At first glance, the sites can seem like a smart option for consumers looking to sell items from higher-end brands. Most boast that they’re easier than eBay, with a simple fee structure and a fast listing process that takes just a minute or two and can often be done via smartphone. They’re also cheaper than in-store consignment, where the store’s cut can be 40% to 60%, says Arroz.

Material Wrld and The Cools, for example, both charge sellers a 15% commission, while Poshmark takes 20%. Listing an item is free. Most sites also cover shipping charges. Plus, unlike consignment, sites usually let you hang on to items (and continue wearing them) until they sell, Arroz says.

Or, rather, if they sell. With so many new sites in competition, it can be tough to gauge how active their user base actually is — and in any case, it’s definitely smaller than eBay. “You want to make sure they have enough audience to sell your clothes,” Madhok says. She suggests would-be sellers review the site for a few days to see what’s listed and how much inventory changes from visit to visit. Turnover indicates people are actually using the site.

It’s also worth assessing which marketplace has other users with similar taste in brands and styles, which increases the chances an item will sell. Some sites also clean up user-submitted photos, which can help showcase an item’s appeal, Arroz says.

On the buying side, shoppers searching secondhand sites for bargains should look at policies on returns before buying. In addition to concerns about items that don’t fit or are damaged, counterfeits could be a problem, says Alina Halloran, a vice president of online brand protection for security firm OpSec. “If an item is in demand and there’s a reasonable value attached to it, it’s absolutely targeted,” she says.

Halloran suggests perusing the seller’s other listings. The risk of fakes is higher if the seller is hawking a wide range of items and sizes, indicating they didn’t all come from his or her closet. If there’s feedback available from previous buyers, check that, too.

The sites say that their return policies are generous and that they aim to keep counterfeits off the sale rack through staff reviews of items. “In 99% of cases, we’re able to prevent those items from ever making it on the site,” says Tracy DiNunzio, the chief executive of Tradesy. The site accepts returns from buyers for any reason, offering either store credit (say, if the buyer just changed her mind) or cash (if the seller misrepresented an item).

Article Source

Smart Money: Moths Got Your Clothes? by Kelli B.Grant

SmartMoney Logo Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 1.11.13 PMBy Kelli B. Grant

It’s a seasonal tradition many consumers could do without — unpacking winter garb only to discover some has been rendered holey.

Guy J. Sagi /

The usual suspects for the damage, the two species of clothes moths that menace innocent garments worldwide. Experts say infestations become more or less common as natural fibers like wool, down and silk — the bugs’ preferred snacks — go in and out of favor with manufacturers of clothing and home furnishings. “As long as we’re using natural fibers, it’ll be a problem,” says Jason Dombroskie, coordinator of the Insect Diagnostic Lab at Cornell University. (Moths are less active in the cold, but if your home is heated, they can wreak havoc year-round.)

Consumers are likely to find there’s little hope for salvaging damaged duds. The odd hole may be fixable, but the moth larvae doing the actual eating tend to leave wide trails of damage, which are in many cases impossible to repair, says James Kirby, chief analyst at the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute.

Protecting one’s wardrobe, however, is possible. Preventing the expensive damage comes down to good cleaning and storage habits. Moths are attracted to small stains from food, sweat and perfume, so regularly washing or dry-cleaning clothing can make garment’s less appealing to the pests, says Linda Arroz, co-author of “Affordable Couture.” Be sure to similarly clean any clothing bought secondhand before transferring to your wardrobe. (Freezing items helps in a pinch as well, Dombroskie says.) Damage is more likely to be incurred while garments are in out-of-season storage. Clean clothing before packing it away in airtight bags or plastic containers when possible, and consider tucking in cedar or lavender sachets — moths don’t like those scents, and will usually stay away, she says.

Keeping the rest of one’s home clean helps too. Rugs and couches are other common sources of moth infestations, Dombroskie says, but even a few dust bunnies under the couch or a rodent nest in the attic could provide enough food to keep a moth population alive for years. “Regular vacuuming will cut down on the amount of debris and dust that they can feed on,” he says. Apartment dwellers may be at greater risk, since their neighbors’ cleanliness matters, too. If you suspect a specific piece of furniture in your home is the source of the infestation, you’re probably better off throwing it out, since typical solutions like freezing or dry-cleaning are less feasible.

Already infested? An exterminator might be your best recourse — but even that could be iffy. As a columnist for The Guardian recently put it: “It is possible to defeat moths. You could, for instance, burn your house down.” Experts concur. “Once they’re in there, they’re hard to get rid of,” says Dombroskie. (One of his clients has a home infestation of moths that are typically found in poultry barns, and inspections have failed to find the source of the problem.) Moth traps are only helpful in determining whether moths are really the culprits of noted damage — other pests, like carpet beetles and silverfish, also eat holes in clothing, and require different treatments, Kirby says. Many anti-moth insecticide products are meant for use only in unlived-in areas of your home, like an attic. Mothballs can kill them, but the chemicals can also be damaging for clothes and irritating to your skin. Other products containing cedar and lavendar only repel them. Plus, even if you successfully eliminate the pests from clothing or get a whole new wardrobe, as noted above, there are usually plenty of other things in your home that they can go after.

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Smart Money: Going To An Outlet Mall? Wear A Thinking Cap by Kelli Grant

Smart Money Linda Arroz
Smart Money: Going to an outlet mall? Wear a thinking cap.

Going To An Outlet Mall? Wear A Thinking Cap.

by Kelli Grant

Outlet malls have a reputation for big-name brands and low prices. Now, shoppers can add Bloomingdale s to their list of potential bargains.

Parent company Macy s announced last week that it will open four Bloomingdale s outlet stores before fall, in Paramus, N.J.; Miami; Sunrise, Fla.; and Woodbridge, Va., with more locations planned for 2011. The outlets will sell clearance items from the mainstream Bloomingdale s stores.

Considering that competitors Saks, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom already have booming outlet divisions (Off 5th, Last Call and Nordstrom Rack, respectively), Bloomingdale s move is more about opportunity than desperation, says Kim Picciola, a senior analyst for Morningstar who covers the retail sector. They can really use outlet locations to unload excess inventory, she says. Bloomingdale s outlets will also expand the brand s customer base, because outlet malls tend to draw more value-oriented crowds.

But in the struggling economy, the eye-popping deals shoppers have come to expect don t always materialize, says Howard Davidowitz, the chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, a national retail consulting firm and investment bank based in New York. Retailers and designers have scaled back inventory amid slumping sales, which leaves less overstock. Some of that may go instead to discount stores such as TJ Maxxsample sales and even charity. Many brands — including Coach, Ann Taylor (ANN: 26.23, 1.21, 4.84%) and Brooks Brothers — fill the gaps with outlet-only lines that they sell at full price. You bought a Coach bag for $200; well, OK, but is that the same bag that s in stores for $600? he says. You have to be sure you re getting a comparative value.

Use these six tips to make sure you re getting the best deal:

Dig for discounts

A few minutes at the outlet mall s web site can yield savings of 30% or more. For example, outlet mall developer Chelsea Premium Outlets offers a free VIP Club with coupon booklets, exclusive online coupons and sale notifications. On an impromptu outlet mall visit, stop by the visitor s center or office first. That s where you ll find coupon booklets and details about current sales and discounts.


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