Five days of sweet and affordable Secret Santa Gifts!

Five Days of Secret Santa Gifts!
Do you have a Secret Santa exchange at your work or with your family? I LOVE them. I love plotting my gifts, tying them all together with a great theme, then putting them in a strategic place for my pal to find. Last year, my pal was the school librarian, so every gift had some sort of deer in it – think reindeer – and had a punny message with ‘deer’ instead of ‘dear’. Because I love beauty products, I also made all the gifts about pampering herself, which was perfect because she spends an incredible amount of time taking care of everyone else. Of course, with five gifting days you want to keep your treats affordable, so here are five ideas for wonderful Secret Santa gifts that won’t break the bank and will definitely thrill your pal.                                                                                                *samplesClean Fragrance OrnamentClean Fragrance Ornament

You can’t go wrong with an ornament, especially one that has beautiful fragrances inside! The Clean Reserve Rollerball Layering Trio ($10 – a $24 value!) is a super cute ornament that has three Clean fragrances that can be worn alone or layered for different unique scents. It includes Reserve Blonde Rose, a subtle and sophisticated floral; Reserve Sueded Oud, a fresh and creamy oud (which is woody musky sceent); and Reserve Warm Cotton, a blend of floral and cotton accords, plush lily, amber, and musk. You can find this at Sephora and CleanReserve.com.

KBShimmer Grin and Gerbera It

KBShimmer Grin and Gerbera It

KBShimmer Grin and Gerbera It

grinandgerberaitWho doesn’t want to find a beautiful new nail polish inside a pretty gift bag? My Secret Santa pick is KB Shimmer Grin and Gerbera It ($9.25), from their Fall 2016 Collection. This cream nail polish is a deep warm pink with just a hint of red, which makes it a perfect polish gift because it will work in any season. The bit of red makes it different from the standard pink cream, perfect for that beauty loving Secret Santa pal.

Zoella Bath FizzersZoella Bath Fizzers

It doesn’t get any cuter than these adorable limited edition Zoella Gingerbread Bath Fizzers ($12). You may be familiar with the U.K. based vlogger Zoe Sugg. I am obsessed with her YouTube and Instagram, as well as her beautiful website at zoella.co.uk. Zoe launched her own line, ZoellaBeauty, in the U.K. in 2014 and now you can find it at Target in the US!

Trust me, your Secret Santa pal will squeal with delight when she finds these simply darling Gingerbread Man Bath Fizzers. The three little guys are meant to be broken in half, giving her six yummy and spicy warm baths of total ‘me time’. Snap, fizz, and relax….aaaahhhhhh.

Carmex Colloidal Oatmeal LipbalmCarmex Colloidal Oatmeal Lipbalm

Small but mighty, your secret pal with thank you every day she uses her Carmex Colloidal Oatmeal Lip Balm ($1.59). This is one of my most favorite lip balms, especially during brutal winter months. It hydrates lips without any stickiness, and it provides SPF 15 sun protection. One application protects lips for up to 80 minutes – it provides a long-lasting wear and hydration, plus it acts as a water barrier. The light flavors include original, cherry, and my favorite – strawberry.

Nail-Spirations Limited Edition Holiday Collection

Nail-Spirations Limited Edition Holiday Collection

All That Glitters

All That Glitters

Ugly Sweater

Ugly Sweater

Some people like quick and easy nails, others are more artistic and like to make their own designs. These options from KISS Salon Secrets will satisfy the instant gratification junkie as well as the do-it-yourselfer. Check out these delightful Nail-Spirations Limited Edition Holiday Collection imPRESS Manicures by KISS ($5.97 at Walmart). All That Glitters has shimmery light colors along with sparkling accents for a party vibe, and Ugly Sweater has awesome snow scenes, Santa heads, and Santa belts. Instant holiday!

KISS Salon Secrets Ombre Design Kit

KISS Salon Secrets Ombre Design Kit

KISS Salon Secrets Ombre Design KitKISS Salon Secrets Ombre Design Kit

For those who love getting creative, you can’t go wrong with the Kiss Salon Secrets Ombre Design Kit ($9.99). This all in one kit comes with a peel-off nailbed protector, fur different polishes, a sponge stamp with refills, and a sticker sheet. The fun is endless with this and KISS makes it easy to create professional quality designs even if you are a total rookie like me. You can find KISS products at Walmart and K Mart.

There you go – five days of Secret Santa gifts that don’t cost an arm and a leg! Have fun gifting your pal with treats that will give her lots of ‘me time’ moments.  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

Get centered with Scentered Therapy Balms Ultimate Survival Kit!

Scentered

Oh, if you only knew how much I need my Scentered Therapy Balms. I need some of these mood enhancing body balms more than others, but every single one has saved me time and again. October is, by far, the most stressful month for a high school guidance counselor (my day job…I am a beauty blogger by night). The craziness of college applications, letters of recommendation, student anxiety and mental health issues…and in order to be a good counselor I need to be calm, collected, and centered. So all throughout the day I pull out the appropriate Scentered Therapy Balm to quickly get me back on track.                                                                              samples

Scentered Therapy Balms

Scentered Therapy Balms

Scentered Therapy Balms are fragranced solid balms that are applied to pulse points…or for real immediate gratification I just take a deep inhale. They go to work immediately, calming me down and restoring my mood back to center. There are five different Scentered Therapy Balms from which to choose. Each one can be purchased individually for $24, or for those of us who have stress times fifty, there is the Ultimate Survival Kit for $80.

Scentered Therapy Balm in EscapeSometimes I just need to escape from my current reality. Ok, who am I kidding….I OFTEN need to escape from my current reality. When that happens, I reach for ESCAPE, which is a combination of musky oud, woodsy frankincense, and warm sandalwood. Add in a little vanilla and some smoky birch and cinnamon and it’s an instant escape to an exotic vacation. Aaahhhhh.

Scentered Therapy Balm in LoveWhen I need a hug, I get some LOVE.  Love comforts and calms me with bright orange and clove, romantic rose and jasmine, and rich patchouli and cedarwood. This is especially good for soothing anxiety and opening your heart.

Scentered Therapy Balm in FocusI often find myself so preoccupied with problems that I can’t seem to get anything done – I’m just running around in circles. That’s when I pull out FOCUS to get my head clear and my mind laser focused. The fragrance is crisp and green, with refreshing peppermint, clary sage, spearmint and thyme.

Scentered Therapy Balm in Sleep WellDo you ever fall into bed dead tired, but then can’t sleep because you just can’t shut off your mind?? That’s when SLEEP WELL will become your best friend. There is nothing more relaxing than this magical combination of lavender, chamomile, and geranium. One whiff and you will soon be off to dreamland.

Scentered Therapy Balm in Stress LessMy favorite of the six is the one I need the most often – STRESS LESS. I am a stress puppy. I thrive on excitement and that adrenaline from deadlines and helping others in crises, but a body can only take so much. At some point pretty much every day I think, dang, this stress is going to send me right over the edge. STRESS LESS really and truly helps, with a super relaxing combination of chamomile, neroli, orange, and jasmine. It automatically resets me back into balance and peace.

I think all of the Scentered Therapy Balms are fabulous fragrance balms. If you can only afford one, there isn’t a bad choice among them. If you can afford the Ultimate Survival Kit, go for it — I can promise you there is a balm for every time you find yourself a little off-center.  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

www.us.scentered.me

@iamscentered

Katy Perry’s Mad Love

Katy Perry's Mad LoveThere isn’t much more fun than being madly in love. Does Katy Perry’s Mad Love ($29.95 at Kohls.com) fragrance make me feel head over heels?

pr sample

Mad Love is a sequel to Katy’s Mad Potion fragrance from last year, her first since beginning her collaboration with Coty. The concept is Katy Perry as a flirtatiously mischievous cupid, shooting arrows into unsuspecting mortals with her beautiful perfume. One sniff and it’s not just true love, it’s mad love!

Katy Perry's Mad LoveThe bottle is super cute and whimsical, that’s for sure. It’s a pale pink flacon with a marble-looking ball-shaped cap. A love arrow wraps around the neck of the bottle, and the body has a heart that contains the name of the perfume. The box is even beautiful, with the same pale pink and white marble.

Katy Perry's Mad LoveKaty Perry's Mad LoveCalled a floriental fruity fragrance, top notes include Lady Apple Sorbet, Mara Strawberry, and Pink Grapefruit.

Middle notes include Peony Petals, Sun-Kissed Jasmine, and Bleeding Heart flower.

Base notes include Coconut Wood, Skin Musk, and Sandalwood.

Mad Love is a sweet, musky, creamy scent. It’s a sugary vanilla that isn’t a sickly sweet, along with a bit of strawberry and just enough bite of juicy grapefruit. The drydown is warm and velvety, with notes of jasmine, sandalwood, and coconut. I really appreciate the excellent longevity of the scent. I know when I have a winner because I keep stealing sniffs throughout the day and I am happy to say that I think this fragrance is true love.

Katy Perry's Mad LoveHere’s a fun fact: there was quite a bit of speculation in the media about the inspiration for the name.  Many thought it may have come from Taylor Swift’s song, Bad Blood:  “Cause baby, now we’ve got bad blood; You know it used to be mad love”. Considering they are both bad ass chicks, I like to think Katy was paying homage to Taylor.

I most certainly do have mad love for this scent. It’s so much fun to be in love and this fragrance has me head over heels.  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

Summer scents that spark nostalgia: CLEAN Warm Cotton Breeze and Sunkissed Skin

CLEAN PerfumeSummer is my favorite season. When the weather is balmy and I am relaxing outdoors, I savor every moment. When it isn’t summertime, I love fragrances that take me back to long, lazy days.  CLEAN Perfume has two fabulous new summer splash scents that are summer nostalgia in a bottle –  Summer Splash Warm Cotton Breeze and Summer Splash Sunkissed Skin.

pr samples

CLEAN Summer Splash PerfumesCLEAN Perfume is a lifestyle brand that launched in 2003 with products that are simple, nostalgic, and eco-conscious. Some of my favorite all time scents are from CLEANSummer Sun, Summer Escape, Cotton T Shirt…it’s easy to see that I have a ‘type’! Their two new summer splash fragrances are beautiful scents to mist on before hot summer days and cool summer nights…or any other day during the year that you just wish it was summer.

CLEAN Warm Cotton BreezeCLEAN Warm Cotton Breeze is an interpretation of their Warm Cotton signature scent.  This is a fun, playful version of the original. Top notes include aldehydes (these have a lemony/floral effect), mandarin orange, orange and bergamot; middle notes are lily-of-the-valley, hyacinth and pear blossom; and base notes are musk, amber and white wood.

Warm Cotton Breeze smells just like you think it should – bright and fresh, rather citrus but also warm from the amber and musk. When I smell this, it makes me think of that feeling I have after a long day playing at the beach — that perfect moment after showering, feeling fresh and clean and happy while watching the sun set.

CLEAN Sunkissed Skin

I think I love CLEAN Summer Splash Sunkissed Skin even more. This has top notes of ozone, lotus and melon; middle notes of flowers, coconut and dew drop; and base notes of musk, amberwood and vanilla.

The fragrance smells like warm, bare skin in the midst of a flowering summer meadow. It’s a delicate, creamy scent that makes me think of bare feet, lazing in a swing, and drinking refreshing sweet tea.

Clean Summer Splash Duo

These two scents are available at Ulta as a duo for $50.  Be sure to pick this up – you will love both scents while in the moment and appreciate them even more after you made those memories!  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

Make some memories with Arquiste Florals Fragrance Stories

smelling something goodDid you know that smell is the very first sense you use when you are born? Up until you are 4 years old, nothing smells bad…just interesting. After that, your palette becomes more discriminate and you have preferences. There is no other sense that conjures up memories as quickly as scents and nothing will cheer you up as quickly as smelling a fragrance you love.

Arquiste Florals Fragrance Stories

Arquiste Florals Fragrance Stories: An awesome travel kit of fragrance that evokes memories, keeps me happy, and is truly convenient is the ARQUISTE  Florals Fragrance Stories travel kit. This kit has four beautiful fragrances that were inspired by different places throughout the world.                     (pr sample)    

 

Flor y Canto

Flor y Canto delivers the heat and passion of an Aztec festival in the summer of 1400, featuring intoxicating Mexican Tuberose, Plumeria, and the sacred Marigold. 
Fleur de Louis

Fleur de Louis transports the wearer to the Isle of Pheasants on the French-Spanish border in 1660, where young Louis XIV meets his bride for the first time amid a bouquet of Orange Blossom, Florentine Orris, and Jasmine.Infanta en Flor

 Infanta en Flor lets you experience the feel of the 17th century Spanish Court. This fragrance features Bright Orange Flower Water, rich Spanish leather and Immortelle.Boutonnière No. 7

 Boutonnière No. 7 embodies crisp Gardenia against the scent of Italian Mandarin, Bergamot and French Lavender, all set in the Parisian Opéra-Comique in 1899Arquiste

All four fragrances are really beautiful. While they are all floral, they are definitely different from one another.  Flor y Canto is the heaviest of the four with a strong plumeria note. Fleur de Louis is a divine mixture of orange blossom and jasmine, two of my favorite flowers. Infanta en Flor is a truly interesting marriage of orange floral and leather…fabulous! Boutonnière No. 7  is a gardenia lovers dream with elegant notes of mandarin, lavender and refreshing bergamot.  

ARQUISTE’s Travel Kits retail for $70. What an amazing idea for a graduation gift, a teacher gift, or a wedding shower gift! If you are a traveler and love your fragrance, I think this is a stellar treat for yourself.  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

WWW.ARQUISTE.COM

Feeling the love! Loving by Revelations

Loving by RevelationsCharity does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Helping children with cancer, as well as their families, is near and dear to my heart. Marcia and I have been involved in charities for this cause for many, many years and I am downright thrilled to be telling about an outstanding fragrance that will not only make your heart flutter, it will fill your heart with love because of all you’ve done to help.                                                 PR sample

Loving by Revelations

Loving by Revelations

Loving is a new scent for women that was created by the fragrance house Givaudan and master perfumer Michael Carby. This is not a typical fragrance…there is so much more to it than pretty packaging and a beautiful scent (although it has those too!). There are five main reasons I love Loving:

  1. LOVE.  This fragrance promotes love with its scent, its packaging, and its cause.  There is so much negativity in the world, particularly it seems during every election season. I applaud any cosmetics company and any beauty product that has a goal of celebrating human beings and spreading love.

    Loving by Revelations

    Loving by Revelations

  2. HOPE. Loving is one of the fragrances made for Revelations and it’s truly unique because it gives hope to some very special people. Revelations has teamed with The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) and one half of the selling price goes directly to the NCCS. Loving sells for $100 for a 3.4 fl. oz. bottle of eau de parfum, and $50 is donated to the NCCS.
  3. CHARITY. The NCCS, (a 501C3) non-profit organization, provides emotional, financial and educational support to children with cancer, their families and survivors.  By providing valuable assistance to help families meet the needs most people are unaware of such as transportation and housing at an out-of-state cancer treatment facility, the NCCS fills a vital niche.
    Loving by Revelations

    Loving by Revelations

    Loving by Revelations

    Loving by Revelations

  4. BEAUTY.  The bottle is truly outstanding. It’s so gorgeous,even my tough 23-year-old son was oohing and aahing over it. Just look at it…it looks like a big shiny diamond ring. The sides of the round bottle are silver so it looks like a band, and the top is the diamond in a silver setting. I can’t even begin to describe how impressive and cool it is.

    Loving by Revelations

    Loving by Revelations

  5. PASSION.  The fragrance is a passionate, delicate, and sensual. It’s a floral scent with notes of rose, jasmine, Indonesian patchouli, creamy amber and ethically farmed vetiver. Other notes include Italian bergamot, green leaves and mulberry, making an incredible mix of floral and green that is wonderfully refreshing.

Loving is an extremely impressive fragrance for many reasons. It smells fantastic, looks beautiful, and spreads love to everyone, including children with cancer. You can find Loving online at RevelationsPerfume.com.  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

Great graduation gift: Mediterraneo Eau de Toilette by Carthusia I Profumi di Capri

CarthusiaI remember when I got my first ‘real’ perfume. I grew up in the eighties and the fanciest perfume I ever used were drugstore fragrances like Love’s Baby Soft and Jean Nate. When I graduated from high school, a guy I was dating gave me a beautiful, grown up, adult perfume in a gorgeous glass bottle. I was more excited and happier about my beautiful fragrance than I was with the envelopes of cash. When I saw – then tested – Mediterraneo by Carthusia, I remembered that special moment. If there was ever a perfect graduation gift, this is it.

Mediterreaneo by Carthusia

Mediterreaneo by Carthusia

Mediterreaneo by Carthusia

Mediterreaneo by Carthusia

 

Carthusia is an Italian perfumery favored by George Clooney, amongst other fashionable people with excellent taste. The glass bottle that houses Mediterraneo is classic, timeless. It is definitely adult but not in a boring or stuffy way. I love the logo on the front of the bottle.
The bottle has some heft but it fits perfectly into your palm…so many of this type are too large so they make application awkward.Carthusia
Mediterraneo is a lemony scent that also reminds me of green tea. Top notes include mint, lemon, eucalyptus, bergamot and red thyme. Mid notes include Sicilian mandarin, cardamom, wild flowers, and jasmine. It has a base note of white musk.  Mediterraneo has the optimistic freshness of citrus and mint, and the femininity of jasmine, wildflowers, and musk. The lemon is like sunshine in a bottle. Lemon fragrance can be tricky…too sharp and I’m suddenly 7 years old, smelling the Lemon Pledge with which my mom coated every piece of wooden furniture.
Mediterreaneo by Carthusia

Mediterreaneo by Carthusia

Mediterraneo smells amazing on, and if you are giving this as a graduation gift you might want to also include these tips. This fragrance is beautiful sprayed directly onto pulse points. Don’t rub the fragrance though – skip that classic patting your wrists together – because it crushes the delicate nuances of the scent. A great way to apply is to spritz some into the air in front of you, then close your eyes and mouth – very important! – and walk through the spray. This gives a wonderfully even distribution that won’t overwhelm other people in an elevator.
Another useful tip that I just love — after washing bed sheets, spritz them with this perfume before putting them in the dryer. The dried sheets smell fantastic and make for an incredibly relaxing bedtime.
Mediterreaneo by Carthusia

Mediterreaneo by Carthusia

 At $140, Mediterraneo by Carthusia isn’t cheap…but a graduation marks years of very hard work, and a special fragrance is a perfect way of honoring that time and commitment. If you have a grad in your life, give her something she will use and love and remember, like Mediterraneo.  – Lisa
*sent for editorial consideration