Monday, May 10, 2010


The No. 1 Longevity Food
in the World

Did You Know...

... that the world's most incredibly sweet, decadent and satisfying food is actually good for you? Once considered the "bad guy"! in the world of food, chocolate has turned into a national he! alth-foo d phenomenon. Read on to find out why and how chocolate is considered the "No. 1 longevity food in the world."

Chocolate is formed out of raw cacao seeds, the product of a fruit grown on the cacao tree (theobroma cacao). Cacao trees are exotic -- growing naturally in the shade of tropical rainforests in South America and the West Indies. According to researchers, "The raw cacao bean is one of nature's most fantastic superfoods due to its mineral content and wide array of unique properties."

No wonder experts like nutritionist David Wolfe, author of Naked Chocolate, are extolling the benefits of the world's most popular comfort food.! Its benefits are far-reaching:
* Chocolate is good for sufferers of asthma, as it contains the anti-asthmatic compounds theobromine and theyophilline.
* Cocoa, a component of chocolate, contains flavonels, antioxidants that increase blood flow to the brain.
* Cacao also contains high levels of sulfur and magnesium, increasing your focus and alertness.
* Chocolate can actually make you happier, longer. That's because cacao enhances the amount of time the happiness-inducing compound anandamide stays in your system.
* Chocolate decreases your anxiety and stress levels. A clinical trial demonstrated that! dark chocolate reduced the production of stress hormones in a! s little as two weeks!
* Chocolate is good for your teeth; the theobromine compound contained in chocolate kills the bacteria that cause cavities.
* Chocolate contains zinc, a key mineral that contributes to the health of your immune system, liver, pancreas and skin.
* Chocolate ensures your blood stays healthy, as it contains the key mineral copper.
* Chocolate is considered by many nutritionists to be the best food for your heart. A study conducted by the German Institute of Human Nutrition found that chocolate consumption lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, in part due to chocolate's ability to reduce blood pressure.
In addition, a 15-year study involving men ages 65 and older, scientists studied the! eating and exercising habits of 470 men, tracking their chocolate intake as well. Their results? "The men in the group that consumed the least cocoa were twice as likely to die from a heart attack than those in the group that consumed the most cocoa." Additionally, "Men in the study who consumed the most cocoa were less likely to die of any cause."

Just because chocolate is good for your health doesn't mean you should indulge in the rich, calorific, sugar-laden chocolates that are widely available. Many commercial chocolate bars contain ingredients such as refined sugar or unhealthy sweeteners, trans fatty acids and artificial flavors. The key to gaining the most benefit! from the world's No. 1 longevity food is to choose chocolate ! that is< b> ...

==> organic
==> dark (as opposed to milk chocolate)
==> raw
==> stone-ground and/or cold-processed

... with a minimum of additives that can negate the health benefits.

Friday, April 23, 2010

479 Popcorn

I just tasted a sample of to-die-for popcorn! My tastebuds are excited and they feel like dancing!! The compay is 479 Popcorn from San Francisco. The founder is Jean Arnold, who has an international upbringing and trained at Le Cordon Bleu in London. Jean says that the ideal temperature at which to pop corn is 470 degrees fahrenheit, thus the name of her company.
You may be thinking, "what's the big deal about popcorn", so here's the scoop. There are eight different flavors of 479 popcorn, and as I said earlier, I just tasted one, namely Ginger Sesame Caramel. The sales rep for 479 Popcorn brought the GSC for me to taste and I didn't think I would like it. When I popped a kernel into my mouth, I was very pleasantly surprised. The buttery carmel and ginger erupted with a zesty, zing and tingle and lingered in my mouth long after the popcorn was gone! Wow! I haven't tried the other flavors, but based on my experience with the GSC, I have a feeling they will be a real treat! Other flavors are just as exotic: Vietnamese Cinnamon Sugar, Black Truffle & White Cheddar, Chipotle Caramel & Almonds, Fleur de Sel Caramel, Madras Curry Coconut & Cashews, Pimenton de La Vera and Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt. I think 479 Popcorn would be a good fit for my gourmet section in my gift shop!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Today is Administrative Assistant's Day. I am creating a gift basket for a client's AA, and it includes aromatherapy shower steamers, chocolates, cozy socks, a candle, a purse hanger and a notebook. Who wouldn't like to receive such a gift! Gift baskets are, in my opinion, so much more fun to receive than flowers or a plant! The shower steamers are wonderful! You just place them in the shower away from direct water spray and the steam generates a wonderful aroma that soothes and relaxes. No explanation needed for candles, socks or chocolates, except that the chocolates I offer in my gift shop are superior in quality to the supermarket choices. The notebook is from Marie Osmond's collection and the purse hanger is a unique lady's accessory that has become very popular. With a purse hanger, there is always something to hang your purse on so you don't have to place it on the floor! It attaches to a table and the weight of the purse keeps it firmly in place. When I am at business meetings or luncheons, I always use my purse hanger and I always get comments on it..It gets noticed and people will visit my gift shop afterwards to pick one up!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I am researching new products to offer in my gift shop and I received info on some new lines, including TCHO, which was one company I found interesting enough to blog about, thus the previous three posts. I enjoy fine chocolate and sharing my finds with my customers, and this company is one that I am considering. The chocolate is made in America with top-of-the-line products. I sent away for some tasting samples..Geee, tough job but somebody has to do it!!!

TCHO: Our Chocolate - Recipes - TCHO Turtle Brownies

TCHO: Our Chocolate - Recipes - TCHO Turtle Brownies

Posted using ShareThis

TCHO: Our Chocolate - How to Pair Chocolate Series: Chocolate and Wine

TCHO: Our Chocolate - How to Pair Chocolate Series: Chocolate and Wine

Posted using ShareThis

TCHO: Our Chocolate - How To Taste Chocolate

TCHO: Our Chocolate - How To Taste Chocolate

Posted using ShareThis

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Home baskets are a great way to say congratulations. It is nice to have a gift basket to welcome the new owners on that first day in their new home. Contents vary depending on customer preference. The one I completed today included a garden stone (welcome bunny) along with bee towels, coffee, biscotti and candle. Other ideas may be kitchen theme; wine theme (with wine glasses, coasters, wine pourers, openers, etc); garden theme (birdhouse, suncatchers, bird seed, flower seeds, garden tools, etc), or food items which can include breakfast fare (pancake mixes, coffee, tea, muffin mixes, jams, syrups, etc. The list is endless, really. A popular gift basket is one that includes products made locally. Another popular gift basket in my area is a huckleberry gift basket. This theme-type of gift basket is a good way for customer to put together their "gift expression". Some other ideas for a theme - lemons, apples, coffee, tea and region.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Today I am working on an order for gift baskets that I received a few days ago. Gift baskets are a great way to say "Thank you", which is what this customer had in mind when they were ordered. There are several baskets in this order, and the employees of this organization are being thanked for a job well done. If you are wondering what contents you would include in a "thank you" gift basket, I can tell you that you can include anything that I carry in my gift shop, or if I don't currently have something, given enough time, I can order items to include. Items can be food, wine, bath products, books, games, teas, teapots, coffees, etc. In this instance, the gift baskets are gourmet food items. I have created gift baskets with parfum lamps, flip flops, wedding items, baby blankets, handbags, and so on. Sometimes, I don't use a basket at all, but instead a container, such as a bowl, becomes the "basket". Popular uses for gift baskets are: Fund raisers, wedding, birthdays, anniversaries, baby, graduation, employee appreciation, thank you, sympathy, holidays, customer appreciation, retirement, and any other event you can come up with.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I just finished uploading some new Webkinz onto my website, Ginger cat, beaver, weimaraner, tree kangaroo, daisy turtle, clover puppy, and marshmallow bunny.

Webkinz are fun plush toys that have a secret code that you enter on Once you enter the code and name your pet, you have access to Webkinz World where you play games and quizzes to earn Kinzcash to purchase items from the Wshop for your pet. I have 15 pets on my webkinz account, and I do play in Webkinz World so I can communicate with my young Webkinz fans.

Soon to arrive at my gift shop, Franni's Gift Expressions, are newly created endangered species Signature pets in a smaller size. The original Signature pets are much larger and realistic looking than the regular Webkinz pets and have a much larger price tag. These newer, smaller signature pets are still more plush and realistic, but in a smaller size and price. This is great for our customers struggling with the present economy. Signature pets come with special items when registered online at All items that come with pets are virtual.

Marie Osmond Life Style Collection Promotion

Marie Osmond launched her Lifestyle Collection last fall and I picked up her line of bags and jewelry to offer in my gift shop. These bags are high quality quilted bags that include laptop cosmetic, duffle, and messenger bags along with wallets, handbags, and luggage tags that can be easily washed. Her jewelry is nickel and lead free. All jewelry is antique silver finish or rhodium finish that will not tarnish.

From March 1st through May 9th, when you purchase any quilted bag from the Marie Lifestyle Collection, you get to enter for a chance to win a V.I.P. Las Vegas trip to see The Donny and Marie Show and meet Marie in person!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Today is the first day of blogging, a new experience for me. Will anyone be interested in this and read it? We'll see...
Franni's Gift Expressions is a gift shop located in the beautiful Northwest on the Olympic Peninsula. The idea of a gift shop actually began as I was working in the Public Defender's office about ten years ago. I was not thinking "gift shop" then, only that I wanted to create gift baskets. The creative abilities I have been endowed with were not being fulfilled where I worked, and I was getting restless. I obtained my business license in 2001 and began a gift basket business out of my home. With inventory piling up in my home, I knew I needed to find another location to conduct business. My husband, Bill, and I found a small house on the main street going through town and purchased it for the gift basket business. We added a storefront to the building, and opened for business on November 1, 2004. At first there was so much room, that I knew I needed to add gifts to the mix and the gift shop was born!