The delightful smells of cinnamon, Christmas cookies, and fresh pie are such lovely associations with this time of year. I love walking into the warmth of a home from the grey cold outside to be enveloped by laughter, holiday scents, and the promise of fun to come. philosophy captures the nostalgic smells of the holidays in the form of beauty (no calories!)- lotion, lip shines, and my favorite 3-in-1 Christmas cookie shower gel (also a shampoo or bubble bath) packaged in an ornament box. This adorable stocking stuffer is age-versatile as it would certainly bring a smile to a little girl’s face and same for grandma. philosophy gives back to the community by donating 1% of all philosophy.com sales to mental health efforts- so your gift gives gives back!
I am definitely an overpacker. I can admit it. From shoes to clothes to makeup, if I even have a hint that I might need it, it’s usually going in my suitcase. But I’m trying to get better because not only are my suitcases always ridiculously heavy, but I never, ever use half the stuff I bring with me. So this Christmas when I head back east, I’m throwing caution to the wind and only taking two (that’s right – TWO) eyeshadow palettes. It’s not as crazy as it sounds though because they’re both filled with tons of amazing shades that can get me through both day and night.
Smashbox’s Full Exposure palette has fourteen different shades, ranging from light ivory to deep black, with most of them falling into the brown/bronze category. It’s a great selection for daytime looks, but the four darker shades also allow you to create an amazing smoky eye, so it’s super versatile. And I love the fact that the shades come in two different finishes – there are mattes and shimmers, so unlike some palettes, you can choose how much you want to shine. There are a plethora of hues in this one and I know I’ll use it almost every morning to create a neutral, daytime look for when I’m shopping or visiting friends. As a bonus, it also comes with a dual-ended brush and a mini Full Exposure mascara, so I can just toss the entire package in my suitcase and be good to go. Genius!
For my more colorful looks, I’m also packing Laura Gellar’s new 20 Shades of Baked. This one is exactly what it sounds like: 20 shades of their baked eyeshadow– that can be used wet or dry–everything from blues to greens to purples, with some neutrals thrown in for good measure. With this palette, I’ll be able to create the looks that are a little more creative and fun – maybe for a night out with friends or a holiday party. I’ve always loved the formula of Laura Gellar’s shadows – they’re smooth and blend well – and this collection is pretty close to perfection, shade-wise. (And it’s a $215 value for $49, which is amazing).
And think of how much lighter my suitcase will be without the twenty or so palettes I usually drag with me! My back (and baggage fees) are already happier!
Looking for a last minute gift? I don’t know about you, but I love to receive a good coffee table book. It’s not something that I often splurge on, and it’s always a great addition to any home. Here’s a couple of books that would be beautiful on anyone’s coffee table!
Blow Me a Kiss by Alice Harris – Provocative and sensual, this book celebrates and explores the iconic “red lip” by featuring notable art and photographs – including those of celebrities. Boys, perhaps this makes a great gift for a new girlfriend?
National Geographic’s World’s Best Cities by Annie Fitzsimmons – This visually stunning book is a tribute to the cosmopolitan destinations. Ideal for the jet-setter in your life, the book reveals gorgeous photos and vital stats, best local foods, oddities and more on chic cities around the globe.
There isn’t too much about motherhood that’s truly glamorous, unless you’re Victoria Beckham and can balance 5 inch heels, a bundle on your hip and have a bodyguard to carry your diaper bag. Despite all the spit-up and exasperation, there’s more than enough love and joy to cause amnesia so procreation can continue! With some anxious thoughts on my mind about my little-one to come, I was more than a little excited to come across Little Dream Bird, a sweet company offering a little luxury to moms on-the-go who have a penchant for chic design.
As the weather gets cooler and your mind starts wandering to warm vacations, make sure Costa Rica is on your list of places to check out. The country, one of the most prosperous and safest in Central America, not only offers gorgeous scenery and relaxation, but an abundance of activities to satiate even the most adventurous member of your travel group. We recommend experiencing the Pacific side of the country–a providence called Guanacaste–which is renowned for its white sand beaches and surf, set against a backdrop of active volcanos. Plus, there’s no such thing as hurricane season here! Book your ticket into Liberia’s Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport, and read on for all the things to see and experience.
Where to stay
As one of only two resorts on the posh and picturesque Peninsula Papagayo, the newly opened Andaz offers guests one of the most gorgeous stays in the country. Although it would rather bill itself as a “lifestyle” property instead of a “luxury resort,” the Andaz doesn’t skimp on a single detail, offering private open-air spa suites that overlook the ocean, indoor/outdoor walk in rain showers, multiple pools, complimentary minibars, and rooms outfitted with sleek and modern technology. The design of the property is inspired by the organic natural beauty of Costa Rica, and guests will often find themselves coexisting with the local flora and fauna–whether that’s sharing cocktail hour with a howler monkey or the road with a family of pizotes, a South American mammal commonly spotted in the region. Service here is friendly and attentive–but never pushy or invasive–and everything is accommodated with a genuine spirit that embodies Costa Rican pura vida.
All the rooms are spacious, but the best ones to book are in the Bay View category, which offer floor to ceiling views of the pristine waters of Culebra Bay, and a private furnished balcony from which to take it all in. Local design touches such as woven textiles and wood furnishing reflect the Costa Rican aesthetic, but modern amenities including floor light sensors and sleek tech products make staying here as comfortable and convenient as it is authentic. The architecture and interiors are minimalist and soothing, and while beautiful in their own right, do an exceptional job of highlighting the splendid natural beauty of the local terrain. If this all sounds like a feast for the eyes (and naturally, Instagram), you’re right…and you’re in luck because the resort-wide (high speed, really) WiFi means you can share every breathtaking snap on social media to your heart’s content. READ MORE
I’ve said it a bunch of times here, but I love Marc Jacobs. Just… everything he creates. So I get giddy with excitement whenever I can own any of the makeup items in his collection (if only I could afford the shoes and bag too!) And when I managed to get my hands on a few pieces for the holidays, I couldn’t wait to share. The Sky Liner, a new 7-piece set of petite-sized eyeliners, is super adorable and a great deal. For $45, you get a wide assortment of shades – five previously released bestsellers and two new limited-edition hues. And the limited-edition shades are stunning – Sunset is a Golden Bronze Shimmer and Midnight in Paris is an Inky Indigo Blue – both colors that I see myself reaching for again and again. I love the formula of the liners themselves too – they’re a gel texture that blends easily and they’re super pigmented (and waterproof!) so they stick around forever. I’m really in love with this set – it’s perfect as a treat for yourself, but the sleek black box the liners are housed in also makes it great for a gift.
I also managed to get my hands on a few shades of Marc’s Kiss Pop Lip Color Sticks and those are great too. I love, love, love the shape of them – they’re so adorable and so different from any other lip product I already own. Every time I take one out of my bag, every woman around oohs and aahs (and rightly so). They’re all infused with honey so they’re soothing on your lips, and again, I’m totally obsessed with the shades I tried. I tested out Tangerine Red, Strawberry Red and Burgundy Berry and they were all great. (I’m especially into Strawberry Red – it’s the perfect bright shade for the holidays). One of these would make a great stocking stuffer for any of your makeup obsessed friends.
And a new Marc Jacobs bag would make a great holiday surprise for me too. Just throwing it out there, universe…
Naked Undies. This is the perfect gift for the girl in your life that knows how to unwind and relax in style (or needs that incentive to do so!). The essential loungewear line is unbelievably light and feather-soft, not to mention sexy! The Carly T is my favorite long-sleeve tee for its creative back opening- think two graceful semi-sheer panels overlapping for comfort and ease. This piece fits true to size and is flattering at just the right length without trying too hard. The fabric hugs skin but doesn’t feel constricting in the least, so it’s perfect for traveling, lounging, and rewarding oneself for getting through the holidays! The chic pieces can be machine laundered with care and come in a variety of neutral shades. Naked Undies was founded by two fashionable ladies from LA whose eco-friendly philosophy and charity go beyond the luxurious threads. I love their ideas for giving back, and ten percent of proceeds go directly to the animal rescue organization Banfield Charitable Trust. Naked Undies is a treat for a woman of any age, and makes every day into a spa day whether that’s on the to-do list or not!
My office wall has a vintage print of Paris hanging in the center, and it’s not uncommon to hear strains of Edith Piaf in the background. When I daydream, my mind will wander the cobbled streets of my beloved city and I’ll start checking flights. One New Year’s Eve I spent there was especially glamorous, with a decadent meal at Le Cinq, an evening walk amidst twinkling lights on the Seine, and of course beaucoup de champagne. At this time of year, pastries are even more beautiful, dresses are at their chicest, and makeup is divine. Lancôme has introduced the most gorgeous head-to-toe holiday collection which embodies quintessential French richness and sophistication, bringing Paris to us no matter where we celebrate the holidays.
I’m totally having a Flashdance moment right now…longer sweaters that slip over your shoulders? Nothing sexier for a cozy winter evening. Gearing up for the chillier months just makes me want to pull out skinnies, leggings, boots and cozy oversized sweaters. Enter Athleta, who we all know makes great athletic wear; but did you know they also make beautifully luxurious sweaters? They’re just perfect for slipping over post-yoga or post-pilates class, but you can also just wear them for everyday, too! READ MORE
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