Gift Guide: Beauty ($85 and under)

Gift Guide: Beauty

It was so hard to narrow down items for this gift guide! There are so many amazing beauty products and brands out there (Glossier, Colourpop, Besame, Sunday Riley, Drunk Elephant, Ilia, RMS beauty, and on and on…), but I stuck to items from the more mainstream brands that can easily be found at Ulta or Nordstrom because we’re only 9 days away from Christmas now! These are gift-worthy items I personally use and love or would really like to receive.

  1. Tarte Blush Bazaar Palette ($44) – These blushes are really pigmented, blendable, and long-lasting. I think this palette makes a great gift, especially with the cute packaging and tons of colors.
  2. Lorac Ocean Sunset Palette ($42) – I love the mix of shadows in this palette. It’s an unexpected gift that you can get a variety of looks out of and it comes with a mini primer. Lorac eyeshadows are soft, buttery, and pigmented as well.
  3. L’occitane Almond Gift Set ($52) – This is a bit of a splurge for bodycare, but I think it’s worth it because the products are so luxurious and you get minis for travel. The Shower Oil helps soften skin while the Milk Concentrate is really moisturizing and they both smell amazing.
  4. Chantecaille Save the Rainforest Palette ($85) – I love the philanthropic aspect and the amazing gorilla print on these eyeshadows. The color combo is stunning as well. This is one I haven’t tried but would love to receive.
  5. Deborah Lippmann Color On Glass Set ($24) – The colors in this trio are so pretty and I think nail polish makes a nice gift for someone you may not know well enough to choose eyeshadows or lipsticks for.
  6. Bare Minerals Mini Lipsticks ($26) – The Gen Nude Radiant Lipsticks are one of my absolute favorite formulas. They feel smooth on the lips, are moisturizing, but pretty long wearing, and smell nice. This kit is great because it has a mix of the neutral and statement colors at an affordable price.
  7. Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics ($27) – This is one of my most used eyeshadow palettes and is a great deal at Ulta right now. The matte colors are beautiful for every day wear and you have some deeper shades for liner or going out. There’s also one shimmery shade that’s perfect for the lid. I highly recommend it!
  8. A custom gift set! This one features some great haircare items and this adorable Velvet Bow Hair Tie ($18). The Living Proof No Frizz Oil ($20) is amazing for hydration and taming dry hair. The mini size will last for several months as well. I also love this R + Co Shine Cream ($27) which I use on wet hair to define curls. The packaging definitely makes it gift worthy.

There are a dozen more items I wanted to add and now my personal wishlist has gotten longer! What’s on your beauty wishlist or gift guide?

December Birchbox

Unboxing and first impressions

I received my December Birchbox really early this month which was a happy surprise! I chose the curated box because I really wanted to try the LOC Liquid Shadow, Marcelle Mascara, and Whish Primer. I haven’t been too impressed with the sample choice options recently (mostly because I’ve already tried many of them), so this is the second month in a row I’ve chosen the curated box. I believe everyone received this eyelash curler as well which is a useful gift!

Look at this pigment! I’m newly obsessed with the LOC Liquid Shimmer Shadow in Stardust. It’s a perfect champagne color that’s shimmery without being chunky or glittery. I wore this for almost 10 hours yesterday and it didn’t crease at all, but it easily washed off at the end of the night. I’m definitely looking into the other colors.

Next up is the Marcelle Ultimate Volume Nano Mascara. The brush is teeny tiny with short bristles, so I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but it does give serious volume! Unfortunately, after one coat it’s super clumpy and you can’t comb it out because the bristles are too short. I’ve only tested it once, so I’m going to give it another go. I do love it for the bottom lashes so far though.

I tested out the Whish Botanical Primer this week as well. I love that it feels like a gel moisturizer, but it also blurs pores thanks to dimethicone. If you generally hate that silicone feel, you might want to try this because it doesn’t pill. The rest of the ingredients include natural hydrators like argan oil, which is perfect for the dry weather we’ve been experiencing here in New York. I don’t really wear foundation, so I generally don’t get excited about primers, but this one is great!

I’ve tried the NuFace Prep-N-Glow cloths before and was happy to receive two more in this box. They’re great for quickly removing makeup, light exfoliation, and adding some moisture with hyaluronic acid. I’ll definitely be using them during my trip to Chicago next week.

The only item I haven’t tried is the Aveda Thickening Tonic which is supposed to plump strands without leaving a gritty residue. I love that it’s 97% naturally derived, but the scent is strong and almost minty. Certain scents tend to give me a headache, so I want to try this for the thickening effect, but I’m a little nervous.

I’ve been subscribed to Birchbox for five years and I still look forward to my box every month. I love that there are customizable options and enjoy the discovery aspect as there are always new brands to try. I also haven’t received a repeat sample yet (unless I chose to because I loved it so much!), so I highly recommend this subscription. You can sign up here if you’d like!

What did you get in your December Birchbox? Do you like being surprised or choose the curated box so you know what’s coming?

Gift Guide: Home/Hostess ($40 and under)

2017 Gift Guide: Home
Gifts for the home are great because they’re generally useful and can be really thoughtful as well. I think these options work well for family and friends or for a hostess you’ve never met before.
  1. Ceramic Picture Frame from Target ($13) – This is pretty but relatively neutral, so it should match most home decor themes. I’d recommend printing out a meaningful picture if you know the recipient.
  2. Mini Waffle Maker from Urban Outfitters ($18) – How adorable is this tiny waffle maker? It’s a fun gift that doesn’t take up too much room – something I’m hyper aware of in our tiny NYC apartment.
  3. Kate Spade Trinket Tray ($40) – I’m always dropping my rings, keys, lipsticks, etc. in mini dishes and love the “odds and ends” print on this one.
  4. Hot Chocolate and A Pretty Mug ($20 and $14) – Edible gifts are the best! This would also make a great gift for teachers.
  5. Cookies and Recipe Cards from Rifle Paper Co. ($12) – Again, love a gift that is edible and these recipe cards are so cute.
  6. Hammered Coasters from World Market ($20) – Coasters are a pretty useful gift, especially for a party. I love the gold color and hammered details; these look way more expensive than they are!
  7. Reversible Throw Blanket ($30) – It’s always nice to have a new, cozy throw. I love this blue one, but maybe stick with cream or gray if you don’t know the hostess’ color theme.

Let me know your favorite item from these home/hostess ideas and feel free to link to your gift guides as well!

Ulta Haul Update

Three new affordable favorites

I’m obsessed with this Hask Volumizing Dry Shampoo from my recent Ulta Haul. Being on crutches, my hair is not getting washed too often, so trust me when I say this stuff works. It absorbs oil, smells great, and does add a little volume to my thin hair. The best part is that is doesn’t leave a white cast at all! Even on day four hair, I just massage my roots a tiny bit and nothing is left! It’s seriously impressive and one of my favorite new finds because it was only $4!

I’m also loving this Real Techniques brush duo. The “Base Shadow Brush” is actually perfect for fluffing shadow into the crease. It blends color so nicely and effortlessly. Then the “Deluxe Crease Brush” is actually great for packing on color because it’s so dense. I think the naming is funny because I use them for the opposite purpose, but the brushes themselves are high-quality. The bristles are soft, the handles are a great length, and they feel sturdy. This was also only $5! For two brushes! I need to start shopping at Ulta more often.

Last, but not least, we have the Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Body Milk. This smells delicious – perfectly sweet and warm for the winter months. It is described as Almonds, Oats, and Brown Sugar scented and I definitely get that baked goods vibe. The lotion itself is really moisturizing, but not greasy and it sinks in quickly. I usually transition to a thick body butter around this time of year, but this is working well enough and I absolutely love that it comes in a convenient pump.

I’m so glad I picked up these items as they’re turning out to be staples! Have you hauled anything recently that turned out to be a favorite? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to check it out!