Gifts for girlfriends

Being a good gift giver isn’t easy – balancing generosity, thoughtfulness, and not breaking the bank can be difficult – especially if you have a bunch of people to buy for. If you have a few women in your life that you’ll be giving gifts to – this post is for you.

The idea is – this time of year there are so many great gift sets – but why give one person 4 lipglosses, 3 pairs of socks, or 5 pairs of underwear? Not saying that’s a bad thing BUT –  why not buy a couple/few of these sets, break up the contents, and mix & match to create more diverse gift sets??

Below are a few of my favorite sets by category – some of these items come in ‘miniature’ form in their respective gift sets – making them travel and purse friendly! Check it out!

Fancy polish: Deborah Lippman Nail Lacquer Trio (set of 3; $25 @ Nordstrom)

Deborah Lippman polish mini trio in ‘She’s Always a Woman’ set

    • Deborah Lippman polish is fancy – typically, sold at higher end dept stores and with a hefty (for nail polish) price tag –  but let’s admit it, a fancy polish is a fun indulgence. Especially DL polishes that come in funky colors (including amazing glitter polishes), and with better staying power. This set comes in a set of 3 mini 0.2 oz bottles (regular size is 0.5 oz. $16-$18). Why not split up the bottles? Pop into a couple different stockings to mix it up?? Most women appreciate a new polish (tip: you can always bring your own polish to a nail place – most will be more than happy to do your nails with a color you bring in yourself)

Comfy/lacey undiesHanky Panky Low Rise Thong (5 pack) (set of 5; $89 @ Nordstrom)

Hanky Panky Low Rise Thong set in ‘Stars Variety’

    • My all time favorite undies – in my opinion, the most comfortable, durable (i.e. won’t stretch out) thong you’ll ever wear. HPs come in many different colors. This gift set (among others they have) mix together a few vibrant colors/patterns – break up this pack of 5 and give a few girlfriends a chance to try a comfy, high quality pair of undies. Not only are they comfortable but they are also cute – hello, they’re lace! – and you won’t have to worry about the dreaded ‘VPL’ (visible panty line) when wearing this thong with dress pants

High-class scented candle: Molton Brown – Langour Piccolo candle set (set of 4; $58 @ Saks)

Molton Brown Langour Piccolo gift set

    • Another thing people resist buying themselves = fancy candles. If you put them in your bedroom or around the bathtub, a nice scented candle can really set the mood of a room. This set comes in a beautiful box but why not break up the 4 candles, wrap each in tissue paper, and drop one in a gift bag or bring alongside a bottle of wine as a romantic hostess gift?
    • Tocca candles; set of 4 – another great set!

Cozy socks: Nap Socks (set of 3; $19.99 @ Brookstone) OR Victoria’s Secret PINK Sock Set (set of 3; $19.50 @ Victoria’s Secret)

NAP Socks in ‘Eggplant’ set

Victoria’s Secret PINK in ‘white/heather/grey/purple’ set

    • A new pair of socks is typically an appreciated, practical gift. Both of these sets offer function alongside style. The Nap socks are super soft and great for lounging – while the Vicky socks are perfect for boot-wearing or layering in cold weather. Break up the 3 pack of socks and pair (pardon the pun) with a candle, and give somebody a relaxation package – kick your feet up, light a candle, and relax…

Luxurious mini hand cream: L’Occitane Hand Indulgences Hand Cream Set (set of 3; $28 @ L’Occitane)

L’Occitane Hand Indulgences gift set

  • A purse must-have in the winter is a moisturizing hand cream. L’Occitane is known for rich and pleasant smelling creams. This set comes in a trio as well. You could pair one of these creams with a Deborah Lippman polish to create a hand pampering package

Purse-size scent: Victoria’s Secret Eau de Parfum Gift Set (set of 7; $40 @ Victoria’s Secret)

Victoria’s Secret Eau de Parfum set

  • Another purse essential is a mini perfume for quick fragrance touch ups. This set by VS comes with 7 mini perfumes – complete with beautiful bottles. Each scent is different which is great, so you can split up and not worry that everyone will suddenly be wearing the same scent 😉 Pair a perfume with the hand cream to create a purse essentials gift kit or maybe pair with the undies for a more sexy gift set

Cute lip-gloss: MAC ‘Guilty Passions’ Cocktail Coral Lipgloss Set (set of 4; $32.50 @ Nordstrom, MAC etc.)

MAC ‘Guilty Pleasures’ lipgloss set

  • I truly believe, a girl can never have too many lipglosses. This set by MAC combines 4 fun colors – in various shades of pink. Break up this set and pair a gloss with the purse-size scent and hand cream to create a fuller purse essentials gift kit or pair with the DL nail polish for a mini make-over gift set

Overall, gift sets make it easier to sample. Combining a couple of these items with a thoughtfully written holiday card would be the perfect gift for a female friend, family member, or co-worker!

thank you, Robyn! for being the inspiration behind this post.

Purse essentials – don’t leave home without them

Most women have them – ‘purse essentials’ – those few beauty items we have to carry at all times. Unless of course we’re going totally minimalist and all we need is a debit card, license, and lip gloss…there are those nights. But for the nights when we want to be prepared…

I’ve thought long and hard about my essentials…and which ones have been the most handy and why. Below is the VIP list

1. You need a handy pouch to keep it all together in your purse. Without this everything flies loose and can’t be accessed easily…leaving you helpless in the ladies room

My favorite: Bloomingdales ‘Little Brown Cosmetic’ Case ($12 @ Bloomingdales.com)…just the right size, zip top, it’s vinyl so if you drop it it will wipe off easily

THE case

2. A good cover up. Since typically, I already have make-up on at the point in the day when I need my beauty essentials kit – I need something that’s good for touch ups and not super thick. It needs to be easy to apply. An open pot of concealer just won’t do it for me when I’m in a rush. I’d rather not stick my fingers into a pot of concealer and close it back up.

My favorite: Chanel’s Highlighter Face Pen ($40 @ select dept store – Bloomies, Nordstrom etc.) this product boasts: “In a single stroke, adds new radiance to makeup and dark areas of the face. It reduces the appearance of fine lines with an optical effect and lightens dark circles.” courtesy of Bloomingdales.com. Couple swipes under the eyes and on either side of the nose and I’m immediately more refreshed looking. I use the color ‘Light’

3. A blush to add some color to a ghastly complexion at the end of a long work day. Nothing like looking in the mirror and feeling drab – with a couple pats of this blush, you’ll literally look ready to head out to a dinner date

My favorite: Koh Gen Do Fresh Face Cheek Color ($41 @ Barney’s) I use the Pink Coral color. Why does this absolutely rule? You don’t need a brush…you just pop off the top and use the puff-top applicator to dot on your cheeks. Not sure about you…but I’ve broken multiple blush compacts in my purse, so sad. This is bust proof because the blush is already in powder form. Lasts forever too!

Koh Gen Do Fresh Face Blush

4. A lip gloss that doesn’t need your finger for application. If you know me, I love lipgloss and have many favorites – my current go-to’s:

For a natural hint of color and really good gloss/moisture: Mineral Fusion Liquid Lipgloss (~$5.24 @ Drugstore.com) I like the color ‘Enlighten’ – which is a light pinky nude

For a bit more color and some glitter: Chanel’s Levres Scintullantes Glossimer ($29.50 @ dept stores Macys, Bloomies etc.) – in layman’s terms, this is the lipgloss wand. I like the color ‘119’ which is a fun glimmery pink

5. A good MINI mascara…and frankly, I’m not too tied to a brand here. Recently, I’ve been alternating between a Bobbi Brown sample and a Laura Mercier sample. Either does the trick…I got them in free gift sets and they’re perfect purse size!

I like Bobbi’s mini ‘Party Extreme’ mascara in Black

Thanks for the free sample, Bobbi! Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara mini

6. Travel size perfume this is another item you can get for free. Nordstrom is good about putting out free Joe Malone perfume samples. I like to carry a purse size of my favorite perfume which I splurged on for my wedding…

What: Byredo Gypsy Water ($110 @ Barneys for a set of 3 purse-size spray bottles)…why I like and why I splurged = I wanted a perfume ‘no one’ had for my wedding. I walked into Barney’s which is THE place to find unique/harder to find pefumes…I tried so many and landed on this scent. It’s light but it also has some deeper notes. I’ve never smelled anything like it and therefore, I knew it would always remind me of my wedding day. The pack includes 3 pretty good size bottles – one for my purse, one for home, and one for my gym bag…or, as back up for when one runs out. Most perfumes run you at least $50-$60 these days so I was willing to pay a little extra for something more unique. And the regular bottles are beautiful – the whole line is super creative and offers many different scents: Byredo website

Byredo Gypsy Water regular sized bottles – gorgeous

7. Last but not least an extra hair band…better known to me as a twistband ($5 for a 3 pack of solid hair ties @ Thetwistband.com)! This is clearly an essential – if you don’t need it, a friend will. Nothing sucks more than not having a hair elastic when things heat up and you feel your hair start to puff. I am a huge advocate of THE TWISTBAND – these elastics keep your hair back and don’t snag at strands. And they look cute on your wrist 😉

Details on the Twistband: http://wp.me/p1kq6s-bv

Twistbands! so many pretty colors

And that’s it…a few essentials…something to cover up blemishes and discoloration…something to give your cheeks a pop of color…something to lighten up the lips and freshen up the lashes, a scent to kick off the night…and a cute hair elastic in case the night ends with a wild dance party.

What are your purse BEAUTY essentials?

Tried & True: Covergirl Lipslick

A lot of us have that one make up or product we’ve used for years…

One such item for me is: Covergirl Lipslicks Lipgloss* in Cutie

The tried & true CG...this thing has been through war with me

I have literally used this since high school…and keep it in my purse at all times. It costs less than <$5 at CVS (link below to find on drugstore.com).

Cutie is a neutral color – I use it year round. It looks good on a variety of skins tones – I know, because it has been successfully shared over the years (how many times do we borrow each other’s lip glosses at the bar? Germy or not, sometimes you have to do it)

I took the above picture of my CG Cutie gloss while out to dinner the other night…I was trying to show that I use cosmetics/products available at a variety of price points. I am willing to pay more for better quality…but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy, and continue to purchase high quality products that also happen to cost much less. My goal is to share a variety of products, at a range of price points…it all comes back to the quality. I also like to share paraben free/healthier alternative products when I find something good.

This gloss is a great go-to, and won’t break the bank.

Do you have a ‘go to’ beauty product that you’ve used for years? If so, please share!

*for reference, this gloss, it is not paraben free