Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Holiday 2009 Gift Guide: Gifts Under $10

I must admit that finding fun gifts to give (or receive) under $10 (and mind you, I was strict about it being under $10… so nothing that was even $10 would do!), but I managed to find a few items to my liking!  Not too surprising, but I found Bath & Body Works to be the best bet for finding cute gifts under $10.  What are your favorite beauty gifts to give under $10?

Bath & Body Works Deep Cleansing Soap ($4.50 for 8 fl. oz.) are extremely affordable at-home-with-beauty options that work well in just about every household. B&BW has a whole slew of scents to choose from, but one of my favorites to keep in the household is Kitchen Lemon. I just love me a fresh lemon citrus smell in the kitchen!

C.O. Bigelow Mini Mentha Frosty Trio Set ($8.00) includes three mini-sized Mentha Lip Shines in Original, Cinnamint, and Spearmint.

Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 ($6.50) is a 0.5 oz. tube lip balm that helps combat the cool winter winds and keep lips looking their best. One of my favorite lip balms when you’re not looking for color but just moisture.

C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine ($7.50) are available in several different scents, but my personal holiday favorite is Warm Spiced Cider! There’s also Hot Buttered Rum, Triple Hot Chocolate, and Vanilla Cream Eggnog for the holiday season.

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Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Holiday 2009 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for the Girl Who Has Everything

I have to admit; when I was putting together this selection of gifts to give (or receive!), I considered and chose a lot of gifts that I thought would make sense for me–because beauty wise?  I am kind of this girl.  I don’t think it’d be honest to try and downplay that I have a respectably sized beauty stash, so let’s not sugarcoat it:  I don’t really need more makeup (in fact, need has long as since been replaced with want).  So I thought to myself, “What could others give me that would still excite me?”

I am also notorious for my lack of patience, so when there’s something I want (beauty or otherwise), I tend to buy it myself if I really want it.

What are your picks for the girl who has everything?

My picks:

Holiday Cookbook ($35.00) is a six-piece shower gel set (each with 2 oz.) housed in a cardboard “cookbook.” It contains the following scents: Red Velvet Cake, Cinnamon Buns, Spicy Pear Cobbler, Pumpkin Spice Muffin, Gingerbread, and Double Rich Hot Cocoa. Delicious! You can find this gift at: Nordstrom, Philosophy.com, Sephora.

Urban Decay Show Pony Shadow Box ($30.00) contains six shades of eyeshadow – a good mix of funky, brighter shades with more neutral toned shadows, plus a miniature-sized 24/7 Eye Pencil in Zero and Eyeshadow Primer Potion. The shades included in this palette are Snatch, Mildew, Flash, Painkiller, Smog, and Toasted.  I do have this already, but it’s a palette that some beauty buffs may overlook in lieu of the BoS II.

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. II ($48.00) is a palette that’s big on value and big on color. For the person who’s been extra good this year, you may find yourself wanting to give this collection of sixteen eyeshadows to them. It includes new/exclusive shades: AC/DC, Nylon, Mushroom, Sphynx, Jinx, Homegrown, Misdemeanor, and Perversion; as well as existing/best-selling shades: Sellout, Gunmetal, Ecstasy, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, Twice Baked, Half Baked, Flipside, and YDK. Also included are miniature-sized Zero and Bourbon 24/7 Eyeliner Pencils and a travel-size Eyeshadow Primer Potion–all three fit nicely within the palette to boot.  Like the Show Pony Shadow Box, there are some of us who felt like we just couldn’t justify the price tag on this palette or felt it was “too similar” (though I don’t think it is!) to last year’s.

Urban Decay 24/7 Super Stash ($36.00) is a superb collection of miniature-size eyeliners in a variety of bold shades. If you’ve been reading the blog for a bit, you’ll know that I favor these liners quite a bit–they’re often my go-to liner. I absolutely adore their holiday sets, because practically speaking, most of us won’t finish an entire pencil of blue, but half the size and cheaper? Yes, count me in! The set contains nine different shades: Binge, Corrupt, Eldorado, Graffiti, Oil Slick, Ransom, Rockstar, Stash, and Zero.  Everyone can use more eyeliner!

Smashbox Wish For The Perfect Pencils ($32.00) includes five, full-sized and stunning limited edition shades of pencil eyeliner (Celebrate, Dream, Hope, Love, and Wish). Smashbox did a tremendous job formulating these eye pencils–they are definitely a top formula and wear so well.  These are so fantastic in quality and only available for the holiday season that I think the seasoned beauty shopper would appreciate this surprise.

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Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: An Introduction

Today, this lovely post introducing us to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is written by Jen Meade.

When not adoring her daughters, Ara (3) and Lulu (6 months), Jen works as a freelance makeup artist in the VA, DC, MD area. She is obsessed with Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, legal dramas, custom-mixing lipglosses, writing her blogs, and schmoozing on Twitter.

She runs two blogs:  Beauty School Blog (about beauty, duh!) and The Nail Ninja (bet you can’t guess what this one’s about!).

Is it possible to bottle the scent of Heaven?

I suppose that depends on what “Heaven” smells like to you, but I’m willing to bet the answer is “yes” and that proof lies at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

You may or may not have heard of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab before. Known as BPAL by it’s many fans, the line has a definite edgy feel that may intimidate some people – but I wish those folks would poke a little further. Once you really take a look (and hopefully a sniff!), you’ll see that there’s beautiful poetry to be read, quirky pieces of art to be seen, and delectably well-blended scents to be worn.

More than 1,300 scents have been created by The Lab since it opened, though some were Limited Edition or have since been discontinued (making them super collectible). You think you’ll do anything for that old LE MAC blush, but would you pay the $800 someone spent on eBay buying a bottle of BPAL a few years ago? That’s how good these scents are! Don’t worry: a bottle fresh off the site retails for approximately $15, though some LE items may be more. You’re bound to find your “Heaven” in the array of scents The Lab has available, and if you’re looking for something a little more naughty than heaven well, you can find that there too!

Learn more about BPAL! Continue reading →

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Holiday 2009 Gift Guide: Best Luxury Gifts

When I think luxury, I think of products that feel like an experience–decadent, luxurious, and satisfying–and often are items I wouldn’t myself purchase but would love to receive.  In that vein, I’ve missed the price range from as low as $45 to as high as $249.  At the end of day, luxury can be incredibly personal, but these are some of my personal favorites.

Guerlain Le Rouge G de Guerlain Lipstick ($45.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a creamy, smooth, pigmented lipstick formula that applies and clings to lips without drying them. It has the most subtle, yet noticeable, shimmer that really shines without being garish. It’s really a top formula, but the price tag definitely slots it into the luxury bag.  (See some of my reviews here.)

Bliss Softening Socks ($48.00) are these awesome socks that pretty much come with this gel lining that soothes and moisturizes your feet while you wear them. Bliss says that a pair of socks lasts for up to fifty uses (not too bad!) and you wear ‘em for about twenty minutes. (You can even get them in a nifty holiday gift box at Bliss.) You can also give the same technology, but for hands (gloves, rather than socks, duh!).

BURN Candles ($60.00 for ~100 hours) come in amazing, complex scents that really waft throughout the room/rooms. I’ve found that I’ll burn one in the office, and the scent will be in the living room/kitchen and even in the bedroom. The scent is just enough to enjoy without being overwhelming. For the holidays, they’ve added the following scents: Firewood Embers, Grenadine Pomegranate and Sugar Pine Balsam. (They also have candles that burn for approximately 150 hours for $95.00 a pop.) You can also find BURN at Barneys.

Chanel Les Tissages Lames de Chanel (Shimmering Tweed Highlighter) ($60.00) is a beautiful composition of a tweed patterned highlighter that’s golden and bronze without being too much.  (You can read my full review here.)

See more of my favorite luxe gifts! Continue reading →

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Holiday 2009 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for the Minimalist

Sometimes us beauty addicts just love to share our love for all that is beauty, but not everyone in our life is nearly as dedicated as us… enter beauty-themed gifts that are great to receive, even if you’re not a beauty buff.

Whenever I look to give a beauty-ish gift to someone I know doesn’t wear makeup much or isn’t big on spending that much time getting ready, I like to compromise and include a beauty gift alongside something else, so I tend to look for affordable beauty gifts that are fun to give and receive, but I won’t be devastated if they don’t use it much!

Philosophy’s The Recipe Box Set ($18.00) is not only good for your friends, but it’s something that even a minimalist might enjoy since showers aren’t reserved only to beauty addicts. It’s a cute little set in a gift-ready box and red bow tied on top. It contains two 6 oz. shower gels: Sweet Creamy Frosting and Red Velvet Cake. It is available at Beauty.com, Nordstrom, Philosophy.com, and Sephora.

Philosophy’s “A Kiss and a Wish” Set ($15.00) is a cute, easy-to-give gift that’s compact and affordable. It includes four miniature lip shines in the following scents: Raspberry Sorbet, Red Licorice, Pink Bubbly, and Candy Cane.  These are just comfortable, very sheer color that keeps lips moisturized, so even those who have no desire to pump up their lip color can enjoy these. You can find this set at Nordstrom, Philosophy.com, and Sephora.

Bath & Body Works Deep Cleansing Soap ($4.50 for 8 fl. oz.) are extremely affordable at-home-with-beauty options that work well in just about every household. B&BW has a whole slew of scents to choose from, but one of my favorites to keep in the household is Kitchen Lemon. I just love me a fresh lemon citrus smell in the kitchen!

See more of my gift picks… Continue reading →

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Holiday 2009 Gift Guide: Best Gifts for the Newly Addicted

Whether you’re shopping for a gift to give a younger sister, a darling niece, maturing daughter, or your newly-turned-beauty-addict best friend… these are some of my favorites to give to someone who’s just beginning their journey into the realm of beauty.

These are the types of gifts and products I look out for when I’m giving beauty products to someone who is just starting out:

  • Palettes/sets – particularly if they come with explanations or obvious color combinations
  • Sheerer lip color, easy to work into any look
  • Affordable, products with more bang for your buck
  • Color – particularly if I’m giving to someone younger, I always try to give gifts with lots of color, so they can experiment

NARS Love Me Set ($49.00) is a great introduce-yourself-to-NARS set with a blush/highlighting duo featuring Orgasm (yes, the famous shade!) and Albatross, along with Orgasm lipgloss. I also find NARS Cosmetics Palettes make great gifts with their sleek, no frills packaging and the shades included. Just in time for the holidays, NARS launched two to celebrate their 15th anniversary (Everlasting Love and Wild at Heart–each retailing for $75). However, my top palette pick for the newly addicted is their Essential Eye Palette ($55.00), which includes eyeshadows in Unconditional Love, Night Star, Galapagos, Nepal, Ondine, and Thunderball. You can find NARS’ palettes at NARS Cosmetics and Nordstrom, and Sephora.

CARGO Essential Eye Shadow Palette ($32.00) is totally makeup-made-easy. These palettes include four shades of eyeshadows, and they’re set-up in a way that’s pretty much paint-by-numbers… just with eyeshadow instead. It contains a shade for the brow, lid, crease, and outer corner.  The palette is available in three variations: Warm, Cool, and Dark.

Stila Barbie Loves Stila Palette ($28.00) is one of the most amazing eyeshadow palettes I’ve had the pleasure to come across. It’s vibrant, has a good variety of shades housed inside of it, and the quality is superb. They’re ultra soft, smooth shadows with incredible pigmentation that blend seamlessly.

See more gift ideas… Continue reading →