Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Over $50


Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Over $50

The last part of the Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy section of the guide features the more indulgent gifts to give this holiday season. These may be luxurious, or they may offer tremendous value but will be an investment for years to come. Next part of the guide will focus on limited edition holiday color favorites. If you missed it, I already posted the under $30 and under $50 guides! 🙂

A Few Tips on Breaking the Bank for Gifts

  • Typically, the thought really is what counts, and if you have the budget for it, great gifts can be pricey gifts, too, but make sure you’re still thinking about the person you’re buying for and getting them something indulgent that they want.  Similarly, just because it’s a gift you’d love to receive doesn’t always translate to one your recipient would love to receive.
  • Not all sets are created equal–I picked my favorites (across all the holiday kit/set guides) that I felt were good overall, both for quality as well as value, but sometimes kits have minimal savings or it might be in a product you’d never use (maybe it’s a mascara or primer or whatever).  It’s easy to get caught up in “savings” when it’s plastered all over the kit/sale page but remember to read the fine print and see what’s really inside.
  • Sometimes buying full-sized products is better if your budget is bigger.  For instance, for the price of the NARS set ($125), you could purchase five full-sized, individual NARS lipglosses–and you could hand-pick the colors or shades.  You can also mix up brands, product types, and whether something it’s limited or permanent that way.

Eyes: One of the ultimate gift sets this season is Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Cream Collection ($175.00), but it presents a good opportunity to have several full-sized Aqua Creams at less than retail; I love Aqua Creams in general, and this set is mostly neutral, so it’s workable across skin tones and preferences. If you thought that was indulgent, check out Make Up For Ever’s Wild & Chic Collector Case ($330.00), which contains an instant makeup stash (it’s valued at $616 in product), just at a rather hefty price tag. For Bare Escentuals fans, one of my favorite kits from their holiday offerings is Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Oh La Luxe ($79.00) which contains fifteen shades for eyes/face. They come in a metallic zippered bag, too, which is nice for travel.

Cheeks/Face: There didn’t seem to be very many cheek/face kits/sets this year in this particular price range, but I did like Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Best of Make Up For Ever Kit ($55.00), since it contains several of their ultra-popular products without having to shell out fully for it–like their HD Powder, Aqua Cream, and Primer. Let me share with you a fantastic Hair kit since this category is a bit barren, Blow Out in a Box ($200.00), which features my favorite T3 Featherweight Hair Dryer, along with a T3 AntiGravity Barrel Brush and Wide Tooth Comb, plus Living Proof Full Thickening Cream and Straight.

Lips: NARS Kudoki Kabuki Lip Set ($125.00) is one of those products that very few of us actually buy but something most of us would appreciate receiving as a gift; it’s decadent, intricately designed, purposefully made–it’s pure luxury and a collector’s item.  I cannot comment on its quality, as I don’t have it and haven’t seen it, but I see this as that, “ooh, ahh” item for the season. Chanel Les Deux Levres Scintillantes ($55.00) contains two glossimers (Spark and Liaison) along with a miniature-sized Nude Lip Definer all housed in a black Chanel-emblazoned makeup bag; the set is fairly neutral and should work universally, and because it’s Chanel, it can impress (for instance, my aunt would much more appreciate a designer brand, because she would never buy it herself).

Skin/Body: The ever-popular Clarisonic has several year-round kits/sets, but they do put a few more together for the holidays. They all tend to be a good value overall, and it’s really a matter of what accessories/bonuses you’d like with it (or what color!).  LUSH has a fantastic offering of holiday gift sets and boxes, including plenty over $50 (and plenty under!), and I love giving LUSH sets for anyone I know who likes to take baths or extended showers to relax–also great for younger teens!

Fragrance: When you’re not quite sure what scent someone wears, or if you know they’re looking for a signature scent or just getting into fragrance, I love the sets Sephora puts together. This year’s Sephora Favorites Rollerball Collection For Her ($65.00 for 7×0.20-0.34oz.) includes popular favorites in rollerball format, so they’re small, travel-friendly, and very convenient; for the fragrance collector, you might consider the collector’s edition, which features miniature sizes of popular scents. I also love fragrance sets like Jo Malone Fragrance Combining Cologne Collection ($95.00 for 5×0.3 oz.) because they can be used individually or together–it’s a great opportunity to pick-up Jo Malone scents in smaller sizes (and for lower prices!).

Do you have any suggestions for readers looking for a really big ticket item to add to their wish list or to splurge on for a loved one?

Dior Versailles Rouge Dior Lip Color

Dior Versailles (527) Rouge Dior Lip Color ($32.00 for 0.12 oz.) has a pinky-coral base color with peachy-gold shimmer finished with a glossy shine. The color coverage is semi-opaque–there’s some translucency but looks better from afar (the translucency is harder to detect). It does have a bit of a frostier finish, but there is also a fair amount of shine to it. MAC Mellowarm is more orangeand lacks the golden sheen, Dior Coral is a bit more orange with less of a sheen, Korres #18 is much pinker but has a golden sheen, Guerlain Gems is a touch more coral (less pink) and has the same golden sheen, and (finally!) MAC Fresh Salmon is much pinker.

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Dior Versailles Rouge Dior Lip Color
Dior Rouge Dior Lip Color (Discontinued) Versailles
B+
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9
Longevity
8
Application
4
Total
87%

Holiday Gift Guide: Guy’s Guide to Gifts

The Tech Guy
Shaun, aka The Tech Guy, aka my boyfriend, was wrangled into doing his take on a “gift guide.”  He’s twenty-nine with normal-to-dry skin and suffers from no more acne (much to my envy!).  He has no dedication whatsoever to his writing duties here on Temptalia, given his absence of years (or however long it’s been) but, thankfully, is more attentive to keeping the site alive and well.

Shaun enjoys long walks on the beach, vegging out on the couch watching chick flicks, and cuddling with Mellan. Or maybe not! He handles all the behind-the-scenes action here at Temptalia, from tech support to server woes.


Holiday Gift Guide: Guy’s Guide to Gifts

The key for shopping for a dude, at least this dude, is not buying him anything he doesn’t trust or hasn’t used. He will generally make it pretty clear what he likes or dislikes. If he wants an iPad or any other Apple product, he will have mentioned his love or want for said iPad, but if he falls into the Android camp, then he most likely despises Apple and everything they stand for. We like the brands we like, and we don’t always have a good reason for liking said brand. It worked in the past, why shouldn’t it continue to work?

Aveda Men Pure-formance Dual Action Aftershave ($35.00 for 2.5 fl. oz.) | I haven’t tried a lot of aftershaves, but I really like this one. I’ve been using it for a long time, and it has never run out; that might be because I shave once a month and usually look like I emerged from a cave to check if it’s time to harvest. This has a fresh scent and goes on very smooth, and more importantly, it doesn’t burn like you stuck your face in alcohol after a shave. Another benefit is that it moisturizes so you don’t have to slather two creams on your face if you are comfortable enough with yourself to moisturize.

MACH3 Catridges (price varies depending on brand/quantity) | These are literally the most expensive things on the planet. Every time I start to feel my face being ripped off while shaving, I have to have a debate with myself about whether or not I should change the blade. Generally, due to blood loss, I will yield and switch out the cartridge only to curse myself later. These are a great buy, because we hate buying them, so if we don’t have to look at the price it’s all the better.

Amazon Kindle ($79.00) | This thing sells itself these days, and if your man is somewhat of a reader it might be time to send him into the digital age with an E-Reader. The Kindle is ridiculously cheap and most people are hooked into Amazon one way or another.

Batman: Arkham City ($59.99) and/or Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ($59.99) | Ladies, let me tell you a little secret that will probably get me in trouble with men everywhere. If you want something and your man has been putting the kibosh on it, get him one of these games. Let them get addicted, and while they are playing, ask them for the aforementioned item. He’ll be so engrossed in the game that he’ll just grunt, thus giving you the approval to go obtain said item! Then when he asks about it later, just say he agreed to it while playing the game. He won’t be able to remember and you win! These games are both incredibly solid–Batman especially–just make sure that he doesn’t already own them. You’ll be able to tell if he has been holed up in front of a computer or TV for ridiculous amounts of time recently.

Dior Merveille Vernis Nail Lacquer

Dior Merveille (651) Vernis Nail Lacquer ($22.00 for 0.33 fl. oz.) looks like a fiery orange-red in the bottle, but it turns out a little less fiery and more coral-orange on the nails. Nubar Pink Flame is closer to the shade I expected from the way Merveille looked in the bottle (it appears redder on the nails than Merveille). There is faint golden-copper shimmer, but it doesn’t show up much in natural light–only in really bright lighting does it arrive (fashionably late) to the party.

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Dior Merveille Vernis Nail Lacquer

Tarina Tarantino Delightful Jewel Eyeshadow Palette

I reviewed Dreamy initially, which I was really digging, and I like this one a lot, too–it’s not my personal favorite just by preference, but the quality is lovely and lives up to my readjusted expectations for Tarina Tarantino’s beauty line. I think Sephora is doing these palettes an injustice by not even taking the time to describe each palette’s colors! You just get this ridiculously tiny photo of the palette, but I think with a smaller brand like this, more would be better. I noticed this mostly because I like to start off each review with the brand’s official description of the shade as well as the formula. It helps me to breakdown what I should be looking for and hit on in the review.

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Tarina Tarantino Delightful Jewel Eyeshadow Palette

Tarina Tarantino Delightful Jewel Eyeshadow Palette

A+
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
10
Longevity
10
Application
5
Total
99%

Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $50


Holiday Gift Guide: Totally Holiday, Totally Gift-Worthy and Under $50

This part of the holiday gift guide shares my favorite just-for-the-holidays palettes and kits over $30 but $50 or less–not over-the-top indulgent gifts but we’re getting there. If you missed it, I already posted the under $30 guide! 🙂

Eyes: Long-time readers know I’m a huge fan of Aqua Eyes, and the Make Up For Ever Wild & Chic Aqua Eyes Collection ($36.00) contains five travel-sized (I’m guessing 0.02 to 0.03 oz.) and one full-size (0.04 oz.) eyeliner; for the price of two full-sized eyeliners, you’re getting six shades to try of a fantastic formula. Urban Decay also has two Eyeliner Sets ($32.00 each) that contain five travel-sized 24/7 Eyeliners; there is also a Shadow Pencil Stash ($34.00). At this price point, you can find some excellent palettes that came out just in time for the holidays, like Urban Decay Mariposa Eyeshadow Palette ($39.00) and Bare Escentuals Ready 8.0 Eyeshadow Palette ($40.00).

Cheeks/Face: Too Faced In Your Dreams Makeup Collection ($39.00) is an eye, cheek, and lip palette that’s great for someone new to makeup; I like it because everything is presented in an easy-to-digest manner, and the colors coordinate with each other, so there is no guessing. Benefit Project Flawless ($32.00) is a cutely packaged set that contains a highlighter (Girl Meets Pearl), mascara, lipgloss (Foxy Lady), and blush (Bella Bamba). If that’s not quite to your taste, you could check out Romancing the Mirror ($39.00), which contains That Gal, Sugarbomb, and BADgal Lash.

Lips: I’ve been really digging Bobbi Brown’s High Shimmer Lip Gloss Trio ($38.00); they’re fairly sheer, but they had so much dazzle and shine without feeling gritty–I’ve been reaching for these (because I need to do lip swatches for them!) to layer on top of other lipsticks. Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Gloss to Go Set ($32.50) comes in a cute red faux leather zipper cylinder case with six holiday-appropriate glosses, and I like that it’s ready to give (there’s also a lipstick version).

Skin/Body: I love the way Estee Lauder set-up their skincare gift sets this year; they categorize them based on theme, like even skin tone or anti-wrinkle. Clinique has an excellent set for dry skin (Moisture Surge has saved my skin before!) called Total Moisture ($44.00). Consider giving a decadent, luxurious body cream in the form of this Laura Mercier Souffle Body Creme Sampler Set ($50.00 for 4×3 oz.).

Fragrance: Elegantly packaged, convenient to use, and full-sized, Tocca Beauty Rollerball Trio ($48.00 for 3×0.33 oz.) contains three different scents (Florence, Cleopatra, and Colette), which can be gifted as a set or easily broken up. Juicy Couture ($35.00 for 3×0.33 oz.) also has a trio of fragrance sprays of their signature scents. Fresh Sugar Obsessions Rollerball Trio ($35.00 for 3×0.34 oz.) contains popular Fresh scents, and if you have a foodie friend, this might be a good one for them. What’s really great about rollerballs is they’re easy to give, and they can be re-gifted, too–if you give your friend a kit, and they dislike one scent, it’s so easy for them to pass along to a friend/family member.

Do you have any suggestions for readers on the prowl for holiday gifts this year that came out just in time for holiday gift-giving?