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Elevate Your Gift Giving with Towers

It seems that the “unboxing” is all the rage these days. We have to admit, it is so fun watching someone open up a box to the surprises inside. That’s part of the reason we love gift towers! When a gift basket feels a bit too buttoned-up, many gift-givers opt for our gift towers. Most of them are five (yes – FIVE!) boxes tall, and super fun to unpack one by one. Here at GiftTree, our collection of gift towers is awesome.  Here are just a few of our customer-favorites – see for yourself!

Five Fan Favorite Gift Towers

The Winchester Savory Tower

 Definitively savory, crunchy, chewy and sweet, this collection of cheese, crackers, snacks and candies is a celebration of tastes and textures in a tower of six gift boxes designed exclusively by GiftTree. A special occasion will be made all the better when they enjoy opening one box of delicious fare after another.

Good Times Candy Tower

Which candies do you remember loving as a child? From Pop Rocks to Big League Chew, Fun Dip to Bottle Caps, it’s all here in a tower of five colorful boxes, ready to surprise and transport them back to the good old days at the roller rink.

The Sweet Life

Sweets and treats abound in this beautiful gift tower that’s ready to uplift any special occasion. Tied up with a gold satin ribbon, your recipient will absolutely love opening each and every box to see what gourmet delight awaits them inside.

The Bear Hug Tower

Welcome the new baby and congratulate the new parents! Four adorable boxes (that spell B-A-B-Y) they’ll want to repurpose in the nursery are filled with gourmet snacks, cookies and candies for grown-ups, plus a super soft plush bear for the little one.

24K Gold Gratitude

Caramel and white cheddar popcorn, chocolate creme cookies, Almond Roca and zesty red chili peanuts are just a few of the delicious delights waiting inside this tower of thanks.

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What kinds of yummy treats would you like to see inside GiftTree’s tower collection?

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Medical News Today: Brain structure may play key role in psychosis

New research finds that having a larger choroid plexus, which is a vital brain structure, could be involved in psychosis.
brain illustration
Research finds clues about psychosis in a brain structure that scientists have not yet fully studied.

Variations in the structure of the choroid plexus, which produces cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), could play a key role in psychosis.

A team that Dr. Paulo Lizano — of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA — led has now investigated this vital structure.

In doing so, they found that there could be a link between its size and the development of psychosis.

The choroid plexus and its product, CSF, are crucial parts of the neurological system. CSF helps cushion the brain within the skull, and the choroid plexus forms a barrier between the brain and the CFS, which helps filter out toxins and keeps blood components from entering the brain.

It also allows some molecules to pass through, including those involved with the immune system.

This study — which now appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry — involved three groups of people: participants with a diagnosis of psychosis, one of their first degree relatives, and people with no history of psychosis (the controls).

Each participant underwent a structural MRI brain scan, and the researchers found that the volume of the choroid plexus was larger in those who had psychosis.

They also found that the volume of the choroid plexus among first degree relatives was larger than that of the controls but smaller than that of those with psychosis.

Additional findings

However, these were not the only significant findings from the group with psychosis.

The researchers also found that larger choroid plexus volume correlated with reduced gray matter, smaller amygdala volume, lower cognitive scores, larger ventricle volume, and lower levels of neural connectivity.

Although they cannot yet say with certainty, the researchers believe that these findings could also offer clues as to the pathology of psychosis.

The team also found that people with an enlarged choroid plexus had high levels of a signaling cell associated with the immune system, called interleukin 6 (IL-6).

IL-6 can cross the barriers between the brain, blood, and CSF. The results are noteworthy; the team explains that people who have schizophrenia and bipolar disorder often have higher levels of IL-6. Dr. Lizano and colleagues conclude:

Our findings suggest the involvement of the choroid plexus across the psychosis spectrum, with a potential mechanism involving the neuro-immune system, which functions in regulating the brain and interacting with the body’s immune and inflammatory systems.”

What is psychosis?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, psychosis refers to a group of conditions that affect the mind when someone experiences a “loss of contact with reality.”

During a psychotic episode, a person’s thoughts and perceptions are disturbed. They may find it difficult to understand what is real and what is not.

Some symptoms of psychosis include:

  • delusions, or false beliefs
  • hallucinations, such as seeing or hearing things that others do not
  • incoherent speech
  • inappropriate behavior

Experts say that there is no single cause of psychosis. It can be a symptom of a mental health condition such as schizophrenia. There are also several other potential causes, including some medical conditions, drug and alcohol use, certain prescription medications, and sleep deprivation.

There were some scientific discussions in the 1920s about the possible role of the choroid plexus in schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. However, there had not been much specific research on the topic before this study.

Although much more research is still necessary, this study suggests that there is probably a link between an enlarged choroid plexus and psychosis.

Medical News Today: New research may explain why evolution made humans ‘fat’

Scientists have compared fat samples from humans and other primates and found that changes in DNA packaging affected how the human body processes fat.
close up of hand drawing evolution of humans from primates
Evolution made humans the ‘fat primate,’ researchers suggest.

Our bodies need fat to store energy and protect vital organs.

Fat also helps the body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones.

Dietary fats include saturated fats, trans fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats, all of which have different properties.

People should try to avoid or only consume saturated and trans fats in moderation because they raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, however, can lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body. They store excess energy from the food we eat. During digestion, our bodies break these down and transfer them to the cells via the bloodstream. Our bodies use some of this fat as energy and store the rest inside the cells.

Fat metabolism is key to human survival, and any imbalances in the process can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that almost 18 million people died from the condition in 2016.

How humans became the ‘fat’ primate

Modern eating habits and a lack of exercise have contributed to the obesity “epidemic,” but new research highlights the role that evolution played in the increasing formation of human body fat.

The scientists found that changes to how DNA is packaged inside fat cells reduced the human body’s ability to turn “bad” fat into “good” fat. The results of the research now appear in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution.

“We’re the fat primates,” says study co-author Devi Swain-Lenz, a postdoctoral associate in biology at Duke University in Durham, NC.

The researchers — who Swain-Lenz and Duke biologist Greg Wray led — compared fat samples from humans, chimps, and other primates using a technique called ATAC-seq. This analyzes how fat cell DNA is packaged in the bodies of different species.

The findings revealed that humans have anywhere from 14% to 31% body fat, while other primates have less than 9%. Also, DNA regions in humans are more condensed, thereby limiting accessibility to the genes involved in fat metabolism.

The researchers also found that around 780 DNA regions were more accessible in chimps and macaques compared with humans. This means that the human body has a reduced capacity to transform bad fat into good fat.

Not all fat is the same

Swain-Lenz explains that most fat is made up of “calorie-storing white fat.” This is the type of fat that accumulates on our bellies and around our waistlines. Other fat cells, called beige and brown fat, help burn calories.

The results of this new study revealed that one of the reasons humans carry more fat is because the DNA regions that should help convert white fat into brown fat are compressed and do not allow this transformation to take place.

“It’s still possible to activate the body’s limited brown fat by doing things like exposing people to cold temperatures, but we need to work for it,” Swain-Lenz adds.

The team believes that early humans may have needed to accumulate fat not just to protect vital organs and warm up, but also to nurture their growing brains. In fact, the human brain tripled in size during evolution, and it now uses more energy than any other organ.

Scientists have been working to understand if promoting the body’s ability to convert white fat to brown fat could reduce obesity, but more research is necessary.

“Maybe we could figure out a group of genes that we need to turn on or off, but we’re still very far from that,” Swain-Lenz concludes.

The Iconic (& Woman-Owned) Champagne Veuve Clicquot

Welcome to the Friday Wine Down! What a week it’s been – doesn’t a glass of wine sound perfect right about now? Here at GiftTree, we’re collectors, sippers and enthusiasts, and when we find a very special bottle, we just can’t keep ourselves from sharing! From Chardonnay on a casual night out to a rare Pinot Noir for special occasions, every week we’ll feature a fantastic wine available in our gifts. Onward!

This Week’s Friday Wine Down: Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne

About This Wine

Clicquot’s signature non-vintage Brut is loved all over the world for its crisp, full flavors, consistent quality, and celebratory yellow label.  But did you know that this iconic and loved French Champagnes, came to its fame by one very business-saavvy lady of great taste? Read all about the fascinating story of Madame Clicquot here.

Tasting Notes

Medium straw, yellow color; complex aromas of ripe apple and light cream, excellent depth and persistence; layered on the palate; dry, medium acidity, well balanced; bright and beautiful ripe fruit and cream in the flavors; medium finish, lasting impression in the aftertaste.

Blend

Predominantly Pinot Noir, with Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.

Serving, Pairing & Gifting

A toasty Champagne like Veuve Clicquot has all the perfect depth and smokiness for fish and shellfish, such as raw oysters, poached prawns or Petrale sole in a sauce full of fresh herbs. At a mid-level price point, Veuve Clicquot makes a wonderful gift for so many occasions!

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Have you had a chance to try Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne? What did you think? What’s your favorite Champagne?

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Medical News Today: How does tumor size relate to breast cancer stage?

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Prime Day Prep with Sellery on Independence Day

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As we mark 243 years since the USA claimed its independence, let’s not forget that Amazon turns 25 tomorrow. And it’s pulling out all the stops for Prime Day 2019. Here are some last-minute Prime Day Prep tips for the two-day birthday bonanza.

When it comes to cost and convenience, Amazon is the first choice for many. It’s the ecommerce leader, as this Visual Capitalist’s giant infographic puts it. But with Prime Day 2019 inching closer, the retail giant is ramping up even more awareness this 4th of July.

Trying to outdo itself once again this Amazon Prime Day, it’s been reaching out to a wider audience. For one thing, the Amazon News channel posted several new videos this month. Most show how technology goes hand-in-hand with happy entrepreneurs, customers, pets, and employees.

Then there’s the celebs. As this press release slash Prime Day invite shows, Amazon enlisted the help of A-listers to promote off-to-college and Prime Day deals. And just as the sales kick off, there’s a Prime Day concert in N.Y. headlined by Taylor Swift, and a Prime Day Party in London featuring Rita Ora.

Amazon also extended its pickup network with the Amazon Hub Counter service. Now Prime members can collect their orders not only from a locker, but also from their nearest Rite Aid store. And while they’re there, they can do some shopping. Over a hundred of these stores are primed for Prime Day 2019, with thousands to follow.

Never before has the retail giant put so much effort into promoting Amazon Prime Day. And as sales pick up momentum, the race is bound to get ugly. But not if you heed our advice and apply these last-minute Prime Day Prep tips:

  • Monitor your competitor’s stock and raise your prices as soon as they run out. Sellery does it in real time with a simple setting, so you never skip a beat.
  • Offload anything you don’t want to pay long-term storage fees for. You have until the 15th of July before monthly LTSF fees apply.
  • Consider making a modest loss on slow-moving items to avoid paying overage fees if your IPI score drops suddenly.
  • Check your Lightning Deals dashboard for recommendations on qualifying products. If you missed your deadline, at least you know what products your competitor is likely to promote.
  • Make sure that you have at least five feedback ratings this month and your score is at least 3.5 if you’re a seller or 3 if you’re a vendor. Otherwise, you can’t submit a Lightning Deal.
  • Remind people on social media to download the app, watch the deals they like, and join Lightning Deals waitlists.
  • If you’re a vendor paying for a ‘Deal of the Day’ promotion, time it right for a workday.
  • Set a reminder for your coupons, since they become active at least 2 days after you create them.
  • Prime Rewards Visa cards come with $80 credit on approval. If you’re selling an add-on item, make sure your product’s price doesn’t take buyers above that.
  • Look for Prime Day deals that qualify for tax-deductible expenses. That way, even if you fail to resell them, you can recover some of the cost.

Speaking of resale, it’s important to know that Amazon doesn’t tolerate every type of arbitrage. Also, eBay banned drop-shipping. So, don’t buy anything with Prime delivery thinking you can flip it in a couple of days. It’s against Amazon rules, as seen below. You’re free to resell on eBay, if it goes through your warehouse first.

Amazon Limitations

That’s the last of our Prime Day Prep tips for the year. We’ll leave you to your Fourth of July celebrations now with a friendly reminder to follow our blog. We’ll soon be sharing Amazon Prime Day results, as well as the latest news and more private label tips. Happy Independence Day!

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed

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Friday Wine Down: Bridlemile Pinot Noir

Welcome to the Friday Wine Down! What a week it’s been – doesn’t a glass of wine sound perfect right about now? Here at GiftTree, we’re collectors, sippers and enthusiasts, and when we find a very special bottle, we just can’t keep ourselves from sharing! From Chardonnay on a casual night out to a rare Pinot Noir for special occasions, every week we’ll feature a fantastic wine available in our gifts. Onward!

This Week’s Friday Wine Down: Bridlemile Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

About This Wine

Fed by cool winds from the Columbia Gorge, Dundee Hills AVA is the perfect climate for this cuvee, produced in collaboration with renowned Oregon Pinot Noir maker Archery Summit. Expansive and expressive, this Willamette Valley Pinot Noir shows a completeness – a stylish comfort in its own skin.

Tasting Notes

Aged in new French oak, this premium Pinot opens with wood violet and cocoa aromas, uncovering flavors of black cherry and spice.

Blend

100% Pinot Noir

Serving, Pairing & Gifting

Framed by chewy tannins and lingering impressively, this Pinot Noir pairs exceptionally well with grilled vegetables, herb roasted pork tenderloin, blackened chicken or oven baked salmon filets. Bridlemile should be decanted for at least 30 minutes before tasting, and cellaring will reward the collector. Give Bridlemile Dundee Hills Pinot Noir as a gift, in a number of gorgeous presentations! (Our favorite is the Burl Wood box).

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Pack the Perfect Picnic Basket

It’s SUMMER! The sun is out, the breeze is perfect and since we’re not in the dog days of summer quite yet, it’s not too hot or buggy yet. Therefore: it is picnic season! Picnics are so awesome – what a great way to relax and enjoy nature! But a fun picnic can go south quickly, when it’s discovered that some key equipment or ingredients were missed. To help avoid that, we’ve come up with the Picnic Basket Checklist! It’s a great way to learn how to pack the perfect picnic basket.

The Ultimate Picnic Basket Checklist

⬜ Lightweight Basket, Tote, or Cooler Make sure it is easy to carry, waterproof and durable.

⬜ Blanket to Spread Out You’ll need it if there are no picnic tables at your destination. A table cloth will work, too!

⬜ Low-Seated Beach Chairs Not needed – only if you prefer, but we love having a backrest!

⬜ A Trash Bag or Two Makes cleanup SO much easier!

⬜ Paper Towels Double duty – cleaning up and mealtime napkin use.

⬜ Moist Towellettes / Baby Wipes If there are kids, sauces or both in the picture, you’ll need these.

Plates Lightweight and eco-friendly are the way to go! If you must get disposable, try compostable bamboo!

Utensils Depending on what you’re having, you may need serving ware, too. The link above might be perfect!

Cutting Knife, Small Cutting Board You can pre-chop everything if you’d like, but you may want it for cheese and salami.

Corkscrew or Bottle Opener If your picnic destination allows alcohol, these are essential!

Shatterproof Glasses or Cups Glass is heavy to transport and dangerously delicate.

Ice Packs or a Bag of Ice Line these on the bottom of your basket or cooler and you’re good to go.

Drinks Avoid carrying too much glass if you can – and remember to bring plenty of water.

Salt & Pepper, Condiments Hint, hint – it’s the perfect use for all those packets in the miscellaneous kitchen drawer!

An Easy-to-Eat Menu of Foods in Resealable Containers & Jars Here are a few ideas…

  • Sandwiches or Wraps (Chicken or Tuna Salad, Turkey, Veggie, PB & J – just keep those sammies cool.)
  • Pre-Made Green Salads (Jars are perfect for this!)
  • Fresh Fruit & Veggies
  • Cheese, Salami and Crackers
  • Chips or Pretzels
  • Cole Slaw, Pasta, Potato, Bean or Macaroni Salads
  • Cookies or Bars

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What’s your favorite thing to eat on a picnic?

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ASIN Crackdown – Bad Product Titles Beware

Reading Time: 3 minutes

With all this talk of an ASIN crackdown on Amazon, it’s easy to overreact. But there’s no reason to push the panic button. Amazon is simply shushing loud and obnoxious product titles. Here’s how to fix ASIN violations and protect your listings.

With only weeks to Prime Day 2019, Amazon is cracking down on listings with bad product titles. The announcement has had mixed reactions. Some sellers welcome the ASIN crackdown, while others think it’s a heavy-handed approach. 

Posted on the Seller Forums, the notice says Amazon’s research found a link between poor customer experience and bad titles. So, Amazon is giving sellers an ultimatum: clean up your act by July 22, 2019, or your listings will fall off the radar.

ASIN Crackdown

Seller Forums post announcing ASIN crackdown

But there isn’t a consensus among sellers over what an ASIN violation is. Those who resort to “keyword spam” are the most troubled by this change. They believe using keywords in titles makes a great deal of difference to the product’s visibility. They fear their sales will suffer.

And sellers who comply are also puzzled. Those who sell books, for instance, have no control over their product titles. Also, third-party sellers who add their offer to a pre-existing listing can’t change the title. So, Amazon suppressing listings left, right, and center is their worst nightmare.

ASIN Crackdown 2

Screenshot of moderator post explaining common title issues

Luckily, Amazon soon clarified, as seen above. And it’s not all doom and gloom. The ASIN crackdown will only apply to a selection of product titles. Anything with over 200 characters, non-readable symbols, promotional keywords, or no real information about the product is an ASIN violation.

The FBA Product Title Requirements page spells it out. You should capitalize the first letter of each word, except for conjunctions and prepositions less than 5 letters long. Emojis, abbreviations for units of measurement (e.g. ’ for foot or ” for inch), and virtually all characters outside the English alphabet (e.g. -, &, ©) are not allowed.

The Dos and Don’ts of Amazon product titles

So, all non-compliant sellers will see their titles suppressed from search results starting July 22. Some will be able to review any ASIN violation using the “Suppressed” tab on their Inventory page in Seller Central. The rest will simply notice a sharp drop in sales.

You may not have time to check your listings before Prime Day. But as soon as you have a moment, update your product pages. A sales slump coupled with Prime Day returns and refunds could spell disaster for your business, especially with the Q3 IPI evaluation period starting mid-August.  

If you find it challenging, reach out to other sellers on the forum and let people know. For instance, one seller there claims their private label listings are locked. To make any changes, they need to open a case with Amazon. That’s clearly something Amazon should look into.

Are you having a hard time spotting your ASIN violations and fixing your product titles? We’d love to hear your take on this, the challenges you face, and your workaround. Just drop us a line below, and we’ll do our best to help raise awareness.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed

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