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Queens Chronicle

Mother’s Day Gift & Travel Guide

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Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013 3:50 pm | Updated: 3:56 pm, Mon May 6, 2013.

It is impossible to express your love for the woman who raised you and made you who you are today through one day of recognition and a gift. Nonetheless, we should all put a little thought into a thank you — even though mom will probably say that it’s not necessary — and here are just a few ideas.

Woodside native Jim McAnn started what has become the most famous name in the floral industry, 1800Flowers, in 1971. Back then the idea of purchasing floral arrangements through a toll-free phone call was revolutionary. Over the years, McAnn has expanded his business to include all kinds of gift baskets.

When 1800Flowers began operations, every Queens neighborhood had several florists. But as with neighborhood bakeries and other shops, high rents and the internet have put many local florists out of business. Ironically, 1800Flowers is trying to revive the brick-and-mortar store, as it has opened shops in Howard Beach, Ridgewood, Astoria and Woodhaven.

Harry & David’s is known for its sweet confection gift baskets, but the company also has a fruit-of-the-month club for which you can buy a membership for mom.

Jewelry can run the gamut in price and quality. Ippolita.com sells glamorous earrings, necklaces and rings for a wide array of prices. Long Island jewelry designer Nancy Rosen has been working with Bravo’s “Housewives” franchise for years, and her Housewives Jewelry website has numerous offerings. She combines style with a sense of humor in her OC Elegance Statement Necklace, which contains Swarovski crystals. Nancy dubs this admittedly over-the-top look as the perfect present for a mom “who wants to look as if she is dripping in jewelry.”

New York designer Nophar Haimovitz has created somewhat less ostentatious jewelry with her Reason To Be Pretty collection (reasontobepretty.com) of embroidered rings, necklaces and earrings.

Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian and Kate Young are celebrities who have lent their names (all claim that they were in on the design process) to clothing and jewelry lines that are on sale at Kohl’s, Kmart and Target, respectively.

If mom is an adventurous type, check out liveworldly.com, a website that sells skirts, dresses, handbags and jewelry that reflect the cultures of such faraway places as Thailand, Brazil and Madagascar, among many others.

If you are going to buy mom jewelry, be sure to pick up a can of Colle, available at colleproducts.com, a cleaning mousse that keeps valuables from getting tarnished by age.

For those on tighter budgets, Aeropostale, Fossil and Lands End all offer quality clothing and various accessories. Watches are the most popular form of jewelry, and the great news is that companies such as Timex and Long Island City’s own Armitron produce quality timepieces for under $75 that look as if they cost three times that amount.

If you are willing to spend more to get a high quality timepiece, the House of Horology (hohwatches.com), founded by Forest Hills High School alum Lawrence Leyderman, has watches that rival Rolex and Tag Heuer but at less than half the cost of those respected high-end brands — though they’re every bit as good.

Handbags are always popular. Olivia & Joy makes fine clutches, satchels and totes. Vera Bradley is known for its lively cloth pocketbooks and weekend duffels. If you want a handwoven tote, log onto McKenzie-Childs.com. If a leather bag is more your mom’ s style, Kooba has plenty of options for you.

Tommy Hilfiger’s wife, Dee Ocleppo, is almost as famous in the handbag world for her designs as her husband is for his eponymous clothing line. Dee has also devoted a lot of her time and energy into finding a cure for autism. Now through Mother’s Day, her company will donate to the cause 100 percent of the proceeds from handbags that are purchased online at shop.autismspeaks.org.

There is no shortage of perfumes on the market, but choosing the right one is not easy. Sephora has a gift box that the company smartly calls “Favorites,” which contains perfumes from Dolce & Gabbana and Versace. Former Jackson Heights resident Tara Durkan started a fragrance company in LA called Dossage, and Dossage 8 for Her is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to Chanel No. 5.

There was a time when one might feel self-conscious using any kind of skincare product. Not anymore. These days folks of all ages are using antiwrinkle cremes and antiaging serums.

There is no shortage of quality producers of these products, and that has led to competitive pricing in a very upscale industry. Avon’s Anew Clinical Absolute Even Multi-Tone Skin Corrector is a mouthful to say or write, but it purports to remove discoloration caused by freckles, acne from when you were a teen or a variety of recent dermatological problems. Dr. Brandt Skin Care products, founded by New York dermatologist Dr. Frederic Brandt, has a wide array of highly regarded moisturizers and facial cleansers.

For those who find comfort in the term “organic,” an Australian company, Nvey Eco, makes a full line of cosmetics free of any harmful chemicals.

BMR, Vbeaute, Clarins, Turo, Tilth Beauty, Dermelect, Glo Minerals, RejuveMD and Shiseido are also highly regarded companies that make quality dermatological products, but they can be pricy. A fairly new company, H20+, sells a “Skincare Must-Haves” package consisting of mineral scrub, makeup remover, toner, cleansing gel and mask for under $30 at Ulta, located in the Rego Center II mall.

Mineral Fusion is quietly rivaling Avon, Maybelline and Estee Lauder as a full-service manufacturer of beauty products, as it makes its own line of lipsticks, eye shadow, mascara, moisturizers, body lotions and shampoos. Mineral Fusion products are sold at Whole Foods and at MineralFusion.com. Other one-stop personal care websites are beauty.com and luvocracy.com.

Summer is coming, and that means so is sandals season. Ocean Minded and Havaianas both make sandals that can be worn as part of everyday fashion as well as on the beach. The same can be said for those durable clogs made by Crocs.

The arrival of warmer days means that the sun is out for more hours and that its rays are quite direct. Coola, Coppertone and Dr. Brandt all make sunscreens with high SPF counts that maximize skin protection.

Sunglasses are also a must, to prevent damage ocular damage. Mom will surely love fashionable Carrera shades. Newcomers such as Flutter, ICU, and Zeal also make fashionable eyewear at a fraction of the price of the bigger names in the optical industry.

Artwork makes for creative gifts. The MoMa Design Store sells prints, sculptures and other products such as dining ware and decorative clocks that can double as art. A new company called Grillie makes offbeat ornaments that can be attached to the grill of a car.

The days when only guys wore the apparel of their favorite sports teams are long in the past. It has been estimated by the various professional sports leagues that women comprise nearly 40 percent of their fan base. Reflecting that fact is that companies such as New Era, Sportiqe and NFL Women’s Apparel (which licenses to Victoria’s Secret and other retailers as well as selling its wares on the website of its corporate owner, the National Football League) make jerseys, T-shirts, jackets and caps specifically for women so that mom can show off her pride in her beloved teams.

Every mother deserves pampering combined with a change of scenery. There are a number of spa resorts located within a three-hour drive of Queens. The Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch, New Jersey is located a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean and thankfully was not badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Other nearby spa resorts are the Spa at Norwich Inn in Connecticut, and, for those in a New York State of mind, the Emerson Spa near Woodstock and the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz.

The success of the Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct has forced both of Connecticut’s casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, to offer better entertainment, restaurants and spas as well as deals on hotel rooms. The same can be said for Atlantic City. While hipster types will want to flock to the Borgata or the under one-year-old Revel, my guess is that mom will feel more at home at the Trump Taj Mahal. The Taj may not have the bells and whistles of its newer rivals, but it’s easier to navigate and has terrific amenities such as a rooftop indoor pool with an outdoor deck to catch rays on a warm day. And yes, it has a spa as well.

If you want to give mom a change of scenery after Mother’s Day, here are some ideas.

South Florida hotels are heading into their off-season. The Turnberry Isle in the Aventura section of Miami-Dade County and the nearby Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Broward County both offer heavily discounted golf, spa, food and room packages, compared with the December through early April peak season.

Of course when you think of South Florida, you think about its gorgeous beaches. You couldn’t blame mom if she wanted to just wanted to relax on the sands of a luxury property. In the Palm Beach area, you can’t do better than the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach, which is located in the town of Manalapan. If mom wants to be treated like a queen in the heart of the Miami Beach action, she can choose between the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, and, without argument the most famous hotel name in Miami Beach history, the Fontainebleau.

An alternative to staying in the hustle-bustle of Miami Beach while still having easy access to it is offered by any of the fairly new resorts located five miles north on Collins Avenue in the city of Sunny Isles Beach. Not only is Sunny Isles Beach quieter but it has a neighborhood feel with supermarkets, local stores, restaurants and public transportation similar to that of Queens.

You can’t enjoy the beach without having quality swimwear. Jantzen and Nautica are great for basic bathing suits, but if you want mom to feel like a celebrity at the resort, Marie France van Dame and Sophia Graydon both sell high-end resort apparel and sleepwear as well.

The tradewinds that grace the United States Virgin Islands serve as a buffer against summer heat and humidity. The Caneel Bay Rosewood Resort and the St. John’s Westin Resort both have pristine sandy beaches on the sparkling blue water of the Caribbean Sea.

Now that Queens’ own JetBlue has started daily service to Albuquerque, NM, you may want to send mom to the La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa (Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital, is an hour drive from Albuquerque). This charming Southwest city is renowned for its art and culture. Its arid climate and high elevation make Santa Fe an ideal getaway from the sweltering New York summer heat and humidity. La Posada is a charming adobe-style property that is in keeping with the area’s heritage.

While that disastrous Carnival cruise in the Gulf of Mexico this past winter rightfully garnered a lot of bad press, vacation cruises are more popular than ever, as the excitement that greeted the arrival of Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Breakaway, into New York this week proved.

The biggest danger about cruises, however, is that if you or a loved one such as mom gets seriously ill, there is a good chance that the services of an air-medical transport will be needed and the cost can begin in the five digits. Medjet Assist sells memberships for its services that greatly reduce these costs. You can think of Medjet as a cross between an insurance company and an auto club such as the American Automobile Association.

Of course mom can have a lot of fun just staying in our area. The Spirit of New York, which docks at Chelsea Piers, may not be the Breakaway, but its three-hour dinner cruise and cabaret entertainment has made it a popular venue for celebrations of all kinds. World Yacht, located four blocks west of Times Square at Pier 81, also has brunch and dinner cruises.

The warmer weather makes it easier to get around and enjoy New York’s many attractions, such as taking a boat ride around town on the Circle Line, going to the Empire State Building Observatory and visiting our world-famous museums such as the Metropolitan, MoMA, Natural History and the Guggenheim. Both CityPASS and its chief competitor, New York Pass, sell booklets or cards that will allow mom and a guest access to all of the aforementioned for a price far less than the total of paying for each attraction individually. The trick is that you have a limited amount of time, anywhere from three to nine days, once you get started.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

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