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Avoid giving mere ‘stuff’ on mom’s special day


Highlighting two local, experiential gifts

Sure chocolates are delicious and perfumes smell sweet, but what does mom really want for Mother’s Day (May 14), more stuff — or an experience she can treasure as a fond, warm memory?

Although skydiving, kayaking or hot air balloon experiences cannot be found locally, it is possible to cap off mom’s day of breakfast in bed or dining with family more simple, nearby gift experiences in the form of vouchers, gift cards or certificates.

There are several local gems in South L.A. where readers can toast family matrons with experiences right in their familiar neighborhoods.

If the working mother rarely takes time for herself, gift-givers may wish to consider a certificate from Nails by SaVerne, a small shop located in Windsor Hills at 4429 W Slauson Ave.

“A sanctuary for your hands, feet, body and soul,” said owner SaVerne Smith, whose shop specializes in natural nail care, spa-style pedicures, manicures, reflexology, and massages.

Smith has been a seasoned manicurist and pedicurist for more than 25 years and in 2002, she followed her dream of opening Nails By SaVerne. Her goal was to utilize her skillset to pamper her clients in a very elegant and professional environment.

Who wouldn’t want a gift of relaxation? Certificates are available in the salon.

Or what about a little “retail therapy” for the overworked mother?

“Retail therapy is an emotionally driven act of buying for pleasure,” according to “It is a way to ease distress or enjoy doing and having something different. Retail therapy may activate neurotransmitters such as dopamine and endorphins that improve your mood.”

When was the last time mom shopped at a boutique store? C.J. ‘s Elegance at 4446 W. Slauson Ave. notes they have been “outfitting women of all ages and stages since 1969.” They can be reached at (323) 299-1141.

Beware, however, as it is easy to get hooked on the rush that comes with shopping for new items. On the flip side, more than half of US adults forget to redeem their gift cards, according to statistics by Bankrate.

Although 95% of people with unused gift cards lying in their drawers say they do plan to use them in the near future. According to the Federal Trade Commission, gift card scams are by far the most common type of payment fraud in the US.

There are two types of gift cards: closed-loop and open-loop. While the former can only be used at a specific retailer (e.g., Macy’s or Amazon), the latter runs on a credit card system like Visa or Mastercard and is accepted almost everywhere. To carry out their scams, fraudsters target people with closed-loop credit cards for popular businesses or retailers.

In a typical gift card scam scenario, the scammer pretends to be calling the victim from some company and asks them to provide the numbers on the back of their gift cards. They then use this information to collect the prepaid sum from the card balance.

Nevertheless, Mother’s Day experiences – whether a spa day or retail therapy with family and friends – can form fond memories to last a lifetime. Gifting an adventure is better than giving mom more stuff. Be sure to explore the treasures in South L.A. neighborhoods — especially the small, minority-owned businesses which commuters drive past every day. Mom will appreciate it.