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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?

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Dior Versailles Rouge Dior Lip Color

Dior Versailles Rouge Dior Lip Color
Dior Versailles Rouge Dior Lip Color

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.

I liked that the color glided across my lips easily and pretty evenly (especially given how much shimmer it has!). Versailles wore for four hours well enough not to need an reapplication, but it did need one by the sixth hour. I wouldn’t call it a long-wearing shade, which is what the Rouge Dior line-up is supposed to be. It’s good, solid wear, though, and what is really important is that it’s comfortable and hydrating to wear–no chapped lips after it fades away.

On a personal note, this is one of my favorite coral lipsticks (it’s very similar to my all-time favorite,  Guerlain Gems), so as one coral fiend to another, I definitely recommend it on the basis of color alone.

Dior Rouge Dior Lip Color (Discontinued) Versailles

A Few Canadian Beauty Product Must-Haves

By Rae Chen, Canada, Global Expert

Rae, the easily-distracted Canadian blogger behind theNotice: a beauty blog, is neither the brains nor the beauty of the operation. (The subjective existence of either has yet to be determined – we’ll get back to you on that one.)

She is, however, a rather relentless makeup junkie with a camera, a lack of a filter, and a writing style that’s rather more snark than sycophant.


A Few Canadian Beauty Product Must-Haves

When I think “Canadian products,” my mind goes promptly to Annabelle and Marcelle, gets stuck in a rut, and refuses to move on. It’s probably the result of some sort of secret frontal lobe damage, but I’m just going to pretend it’s because they really are stellar lines. (Which they are – but I’m long overdue to check out more Canadian products! This is clearly ample justification for a trip to Shopper’s.)

Must-haves for… Lips

If you’re a gloss girl, you have to check out Annabelle’s. They do three different formulas (Le Gloss, Le Gloss Star, and Volumelip), and honestly, all three are worth checking out. Basically: they’re scent- and flavour-free, ridiculously shiny, less than $9 apiece, and non-sticky. I’d love them even if they weren’t Canadian drugstore products!

My other lip love at the moment are Marcelle’s cream-finish Rouge Vitality lipsticks, which pack a ridiculous amount of pigment, a buttery, moisturizing finish, and scent-free, paraben-free formula. Most of the shades wear best on neutral-warm skintones, but the brights would make a gorgeous statement lip on just about anyone! (They’re really lovely on the cheeks, too – I tend to use mine as 3-in-1 lipsticks, lipstains, and cream blushers.)

Must-haves for… Eyes

Marcelle’s Waterproof Eyeliners are often compared to Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eyeliners, and while I can see the similarities… for me, these ones come out on top, every time. The formula’s more solid, so it’s easier to create a sharp line – and, unlike with the Urban Decay pencils, I can get all-day wear with absolutely no transfer or smudging. (They don’t apply well to the waterline, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay!)

I’m head over heels for Marcelle’s Lux Liquid Eyeliners, too, in both the Diamond and Metallic formulas. I adore the Diamond ones, but they really are just your traditional glitter liner – the silver one’s an exact dupe of Annabelle Plutonium (a Glitterama liner), but in better packaging 😉 The Lux Metallic liners, however, are something I’ve never seen before. Instead of chunks of glitter, they deliver a gorgeous, liquid-metal sheen – not quite opaque on their own (not in one pass, at least), but absolutely stunning when layered.

The Quick List

Lips: Annabelle Le Gloss Lip Shine ($8.95  CDN) Annabelle Le Gloss Star Lip Shine ($8.95 CDN), Annabelle Volumelip Plumping Gloss ($8.50 CDN), and Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipsticks ($11.95 CDN).

All four formulas are scent-free, but the Volumelip and Rouge Xpression lines are paraben-free, as well. I’m particularly fond of Annabelle’s Flash Dance (a shimmery medium-rose Le Gloss Star) and Cherryoké (a bright, sheer cherry red Volumelip), and find myself reaching for Amour, Cleopatra, and Paris Rose a lot (the three Rouge Xpressions in these photographs – a semi-matte true red, a bold violet-fuchsia, and an intense pinked-coral, respectively.)

Eyes: Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliners ($10.50 CDN), Marcelle Lux Diamond Liquid Eyeliners ($11.95 CDN), and Marcelle Lux Metallic Liquid Eyeliners ($11.95 CDN).

These ones are all paraben-free, too, and they’re quite gentle on the eyes. My favourite Waterproof Eyeliner shade is probably Indigo (a rich, shimmery navy blue), and I get a lot of wear out of the Pure Gold Lux Diamond eyeliner. (They look amazing together, actually – I’ll do a small kitten flick with former, then outline it with the latter). Jade is probably my favourite Lux Metallic shade, but honestly, they’re all knockouts!

See more photos & swatches!

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.

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