Hi there, my darlings! This week, despite my best intentions, I was inexplicably struck with a case of the lazies combined with a severe case of the sleepies. Being a total night owl, who thrives when the sun goes down, can you believe it if I told you I kept falling asleep before midnight? And that was after I had slept most of the day and napped a good bit too. I can't explain it! But the consequence of such a Rip Van Winkle syndrome was that I managed to miss all my posting windows, which are hard enough to stick to with the time difference! But I managed to rouse my butt today and here's hoping there's a few of you who are last-minute shoppers, much like yours truly, and are still in search of the perfect gift! And hey, even if you're not, I'm hoping these gift ideas will give you inspiration to treat YOURSELF! So, here's a round-up for 9 holiday gift ideas, all for under $50!


1. RITUALS Hammam Secret Candle ($35)

A vitalising scented candle that burns for 50 hours.

Combines the scent of refreshing Eucalyptus with Rosemary that gives a sensationally revitalising fragrance experience.

Burn this candle in your livingroom, bedroom or bathroom to create a special atmosphere.

Good candles can be an expensive affair but this one is worth the price tag. Not only does the refreshing scent uplift your living space but it's pretty large and will last you a good bit of time. When discussing candles and wax, the most important thing I've learned is throw--that is, how well the scent permeates the average room and this one does a great job of that! Perfect for a hostess gift or for your own home, if you're looking to spruce things up in the New Year!

2. RITUALS Vanilla Orchid Fragrance Sticks ($35)

A natural and stylish way to fragrance your home.

Lasts for approximately three months.

Ideal for use in every area of the home: from living room to bathroom, kitchen and toilet.

Combines the aromatic scents of Myrrh and soothing Vanilla.

Want to walk into a beautifully scented home but too nervous to leave candles burning or a wax melter on? Having lived alone for much of my adult life, I can feel your pain! These fragrance sticks are the perfect solution! Incredibly long-lasting, this will scent the room of your choice with a lovely fragrance. Another perfect hostess gift!


3. PUR COSMETICS Joystick Exfoliating Deep Pore Cleanser ($26.00)

Get a smoother, brighter and healthier-looking complexion this winter with this exfoliating deep-pore cleansing stick. This all-in-one cleanser, exfoliator and toner foams on contact to instantly draw out dirt, oil and impurities with charcoal and Moroccan Lava Clay. In a cute and convenient travel size, pop this stick into your loved ones stockings and bring them some joy!

If you haven't tried this yet, you're really missing out! This stuff is amazing! Not only does it exfoliate, cleanse and tone on contact, but the travel-friendly packaging makes it a travel bag essential. Perfect for those jetsetting girlfriends who care about their skin!

4. FROWNIES Aromatherapy Body Lotion ($25.00)

100% PURE steam distilled, organic,therapeutic grade essential oils, organic aloe blended with silky lipids,make up daily rich full body lotion. You will quickly become committed to the sweet floral fragrance of the essential oils and the soft, silky feel of your skin. 

This lovely lotion became the first casualty of my move. While I was packing, I managed to put this on with stuff to ship to me rather than in my suitcase, even before I managed to take a picture! Which is a shame since I had been using this de-stress after the worst of the packing and was really looking forward to using it here too. Anyways, if you love florals and are looking for a moisturizing body lotion that soothes the senses too, give this one a whirl!


5. PUR COSMETICS The Perfect Matte kit ($34.00)

Your lipstick shouldn’t hurt your lips, so skip the drying lip formulas. The Perfect Matte Collection includes four of our blogger-favorite velvet matte liquid lipsticks and a nourishing lip oil. These Matte Liquid Lipsticks do not flake or dry lips and provides a long-lasting true matte finish. Soft, kissable lips and bold colour – we call that The Perfect Matte.

If you're like me (and the mothership) and matte lippies are your jam, then you definitely need this kit! Super affordable, this kit contains four super pigmented, incredibly wearable shades that glide on velvety smooth and feel absolutely amazing on!

Shown below, from left to right, Addiction, Oh Bae, Agave Lip Oil, Obsessed and Key Red. Me being me, my faves are Addiction and Key Red!

6. MALLY BEAUTY Season of Sparkle Evercolor Shadow Stick Extra 5-Piece Collection ($29.25)

All of your holiday eye shadow looks in one place! This five-piece collection of Shadow Stick Extras features wearable, buildable shades. Refreshingly easy to apply, they will take your makeup from day to evening holiday party in a flash.

Shadow Stick Extras are the queen of multi-tasking and stay looking gorgois from the minute you put them on until you decide to take them off! You have 45 seconds of play time and then after that, your eyeshadow is going to be smudge-proof, transfer-proof and crease-proof! Go for a light, sheer wash of color, or layer for more intensity. You can even use them as a beautiful smudgy eyeliner for a smoldering, smoky eye, so it’s super easy to go from day to night!

Also available at Ulta and QVC in five shades: Bliss, Brownstone, Mahogany, Moonlight and Timeless Taupe

Can you even beat that price?! 5 gorgeous, wearable, blendable shades that look fabulous whether you use them as eyeshadows or line your waterline with them. I love how soft yet pigmented these shades are and they truly do not budge once you let them dry! If you're a makeup lover, this needs to be in your stash!

Shown below, from left to right, Bliss, Moonlight, Timeless Taupe, Mahogany and Brownstone. I really couldn't pick a fave and believe me, I tried!

7. MALLY BEAUTY H3 Lip Gloss Trio ($18.75)

Hydration, hydration, hydration. It’s key, especially when it comes to your lips! Designed to give lips a perfectly smooth finish, this high-shine hydrator packs a triple punch of moisture. The ultra-glossy formula feels feather-light on lips and adds an extra dose of shine leaving lips looking perfect every time. Try each color on its own, or layer on your favorite hues to create your own signature shade.

These weightless, hydrating lip glosses will give lips a moisturized, smooth, long lasting patent finish! Created to hydrate and treat lips every time you apply, these must-have glosses are the perfect finishing touch to your look!

Trio includes:
H3 Lip Gloss in Shimmering Nude, Orchid Berry, Pink Daisy

I have to admit I don't reach for glosses very much anymore, preferring my mattes. But if you love your glosses, these feel so good! They are light yet pigmented and not overly sticky. Layer one over your fave matte for added dimension and shine!

Shown below, clockwise from top left, Orchid Berry, Perfect Nude, Tea Rose. Orchid Berry definitely stole my heart!

8. REAL TECHNIQUES Bold Metals™ Collection: Spotlight Essentials Set ($40.00)

Create a fresh, beautiful look with the help of our Spotlight Essentials. We’ve combined three uniquely cut brushes to help you draw attention to your eyes and cheeks. Each brush has multiuse bristles designed to work with cream, powder, and liquid makeup.
  • 300 tapered blush: specially-designed tip highlights and sculpts across cheeks for seamless finish
  • 102 triangle concealer: flat edge highlights the tops of cheekbones and angled edges contour around eyes, nose and chin to mask imperfections
  • 203 tapered shadow: densely packed and precision cut for blending shadow into the crease and eyelid for a seamless finish
  • exclusive brush roll: store your brushes in this brush roll that doubles as a clutch

Unless you're a professional makeup artist, a couple of good brushes is all you need, especially when on the go or traveling! This handy little trio of super soft yet sturdy brushes should meet your needs quite well. Plus the metallic handles and lovely brush roll means that you can stay uber chic even while you're getting ready!



This last one on the list is a bonus--a 3-in-1, if you will! I had the opportunity to try out 3 separate styling tools from Gold N Hot--the Ceramic Flat Iron, the Spring Curling Iron and the Gold Barrel Hair Dryer. Read on to hear my thoughts on each!

a. GOLD N HOT 24K Gold Spring Curling Iron ($20.99 on clearance)

Gold ’N Hot 24K Gold Spring Curling Iron distributes even, high heat and has an easy glide to a deep and silky shine creating long lasting curls. The golden barrel provides superior heat conductivity with a gold clamp that easily holds hair in place and with an release lever for easy styling. This spring curling iron also features a cool tip for two-handed styling.

Curling irons and hot air brushes are what I reach for most often so I was happy to add another new one to my stash. I loved the barrel of this baby and the protective tip--when I wanted big, bouncy curls, this iron really did a lovely job!

b. Gold ‘N Hot Professional 1875 Watt Ionic Ultra-Lightweight Dryer with Tourmaline ($39.99)

This ultra-light dryer outputs tens-of-thousands of negative ions to dry hair faster with less damage resulting in healthy, shiny, beautiful hair. Tourmaline conditioning emits negative ions heat to reduce static frizz and seal in moisture. With 2 Speeds and 6 heat settings, you can achieve any hair style.

This is a pretty good hair dryer, for the price. Nothing too fancy, it will get the job done quickly and efficiently. Great for everyday use!

c. GOLD N HOT 1″ Professional Ceramic Straightening Iron ($39.99) 

This iron’s ceramic floating plates are made to eliminate gaps between plates and create the ultimate polished look. With a quick 60-second heat-up and easy access controls, your styling time is cut down. Ceramic plates distribute heat evenly for fast styling and seal in moisture leaving your hair shiny, silky-soft, frizz-free.

I don't often use straighteners, preferring to smooth and add waves to my hair. But every once in awhile, I do straighten my hair and I really liked this one. Lightweight and easy to use, it left my hair straight and frizz-free but not totally flat. It's a shame it wasn't dual-compatible so I gifted it, along with the dryer and curling iron, to a friend.

So there you have it, my darlings! I hope this little list helped you if you're still shopping for that perfect gift! Tell me in the comments section below if you decide on one of these!

Here's wishing you and your family a very Happy Holidays!

****Products were sent to me for an honest, unbiased review. All opinions are my own.****

Hi there, my darlings! Have I mentioned just how much I'm looking forward to the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017? This past year was...challenging to say the least but I'm looking forward to new beginning, as I'm sure many of you out there are! So, the first The Holo Hookup box for 2017 and its theme are both particularly apt! The theme for January 2017's all-holo The Holo Hookup collaboration box featuring Jill of Glisten & Glow, Missi of Different Dimension, Sara of Cupcake Polish and special guest, Colores de Carol is "New Year, New You". Here's a little peek at their inspiration pic!

Happiness from Cupcake Polish is a "light green linear Holo with pink shimmers". Easy formula and application--the swatches below show 2 coats topped with 1 thin coat of Glisten & Glow's HK Girl topcoat. I'm not usually a fan of green but I love the shimmers in this baby!

With flash!

Simplify from Different Dimension is a "light lavender linear holo with added blue shimmers". Lovely formula and application--perfectly opaque in 2 coats, I added an third for extra oomph. The swatches below show just 3 thin coats topped with 1 thin coat of Glisten & Glow's HK Girl topcoat to bring it all together. I love the interplay of blue and lavender in this polish! So gorgeous!

With flash!

Love from Glisten & Glow is a "light pink linear holographic polish with added light rose and light pink microflakies". Fantastic application and formula--the swatches below show 2 easy coats topped with 1 thin coat of Glisten & Glow's HK Girl topcoat. This pretty, delicate pink is so perfectly named!

With flash!

The Extra Mile from Colores de Carol is a "medium blue linear holo with gold and blue shimmer and gold flakes". Perfect formula and application--the swatches below show just 2 easy coats, topped with 1 thin coat of Glisten & Glow's HK Girl topcoat. The gold flakes in this blue really make it special!

With flash!

So there you have it, my darlings! Pre-orders for January 2017's box will begin Wednesday 12/21/2016 at 9 pm EST at the Holo Hookup's website HERE, and continue through Wednesday 12/28/2016 at 9 pm EST. This collection of 4 exclusive, all holographic polishes will be priced at $40. Both domestic and international shipping will be available!

For more swatches, sneak peeks and all the latest info, don't forget to follow The Holo Hookup through the social media outlets below :


What are your faves in this box? Will you be grabbing one of these exclusive boxes this month? I'd love to hear from you in the comments section below!

****Products were sent to me for an honest, unbiased review. All opinions are my own.****

Hi there, my darlings! If you're still Holiday shopping, I've got a treat in store for you today! Speaking of the Holidays, you know, one of the things that most surprised my friends and acquaintances in the US was just how big Christmas is in Calcutta (Kolkata). While there may not be a Christmas tree in every house, the city is still gearing up for the big day, just like in the US. With lights extravagantly decorating some of our busiest streets, people shopping for Holiday gifts, the younger crowd planning all-night revelries and the in-between generation planning lavish lunches, there is much going on in the City of Joy. Oh and let me not forget about the sales! What is it about the Holidays that have people around the globe maxing out those credit cards? I think it's because the joy of giving and receiving a great gift during the Holiday season far surpasses the satisfaction of shopping for yourself during the rest of the year. So, with that thought firmly in mind, I've been gathering together some fabulous gift ideas for the last couple of months and I'm finally ready to start sharing today! Since we're all working with different budgets and different needs, I've decided to break up my gift guides into a few posts. Today, we'll be focusing on some of my favorite gift ideas for under $25! Whether you decide to use these as stocking stuffers or as a sweet stand-alone gift is completely up to you!


LATHER Vanilla Bath Fizz Combo ($18)

This effervescent mineral and emollient-rich bath set features two different aromas, each inspired by the balancing properties of vanilla. The vanilla tonka blend releases a sweet, comforting and relaxing aroma, while the vanilla citrus blend includes a bright, cheerful note. Epsom salt (sodium bicarbonate), long used by trainers and wellness experts to help relieve sore muscles and promote relaxation, is combined with moisturizing botanicals including jojoba, coconut, sweet almond and kukui nut oils to condition skin.

You've heard me raving about my love for LATHER products before, right? So it should come as no great surprise that there are several adorable sets from the brand on this list!

The bath fizz combo is the perfect gift for these cold Winter nights. Because what can be better than a warm, inviting vanilla-scented bath or foot soak? I love this one so much that it came with me in my carry-on, just so I could plan a couple of at-home spa pedicures with the mothership. An affordable but oh-so-indulgent gift!

LATHER Soap & Candle duos ($18)

Stuff the stockings of aromatherapy lovers on your list with these naturally scented delights for home and bath - a naturally moisturizing olive oil soap paired with our 100% soy wax candle infused with essential oil.

Available in 4 enticing scents of Mint, Lemongrass, Vanilla and Lavender, these little sets are the perfect hostess gift for all those Holiday parties you're sure to attend! Or send one along with your kid for a favorite teacher--I know I would appreciate one of these rather than the usual box of chocolates!

LATHER Sugar Plum Kisses ($15)

Visions of sugar plums will dance through your head while using this indulgent lip scrub and lip balm duo featuring nourishing plum seed oil, rich in antioxidant vitamin E and oleic fatty acid, and a delightful, natural plum aroma .

The lip-smoothing exfoliator uses sugar cane crystals to gently buff away flaky skin from dry, chapped lips. In addition to plum seed oil, the emollient-rich base also contains argan, coconut and olive oils, and beeswax to restore moisture and softness and provide a protective layer to help prevent future dehydration. Also, prepares lips for an even application of lip color. The conditioning lip balmcombines cocoa butter with coconut, sunflower and plum seed oils to moisturize, soothe and soften lips. Lightly dusted with mineral pigments and beet root powder, the balm has a subtle plummy hue, giving your lips a healthy-looking sheen.

Winter temperatures and chapped lips seem to hand in hand but if you're like me (and my sister), that's not something you're comfortable with...at all. With regular use of this divine-smelling duo, your lips will stay hydrated and soft all Winter long! Slip this lovely set into the stocking of your favorite lip-balm obsessed family member and watch as their eyes light up!

LATHER Tinted Lip Balm Trio ($18.50)

These all-natural lip balms do double duty, conditioning lips while also delivering subtle color. Organic plant oils including argan, sunflower and coconut are combined with organic cocoa butter and beeswax to moisturize, soothe, soften and protect lips. Derived from natural mineral pigments, the 3 colors glide on smoothly and evenly for the prettiest of pouts. Paraben-free and carmine-free.

The obsession with lip balms and moisturized lips is becoming pretty evident, huh? You can blame it on my sister! But let me tell you, no one likes chapped, painful lips and these balms feel absolutely wonderful! Plus I love that they give you just that little hint of color for those days when you just don't want to bother with lipstick. Another great little stocking stuffer!



PIXI BY PETRA Fairy Dust Favourites (Matte) ($12)

Our bestselling Fairy Dust Favourite kit is back! These satin effect powders come in neutral, suit-all shades that create a soft focus finish. Use to shade and shape eyes, enhancing for the most flattering look.

Kit contains: Fairy Dust in Sheer Cream, Matte Nude, Velvet Fawn, Bark Brown and Matte Black

Pixi by Petra has fast become a favorite brand for me not only because of the quality of their products but also because of how affordable they are! I mean, come on! $12 for 5 matte shadows, all packaged in a cute, twist-and-stack package. Perfect if you're on the go!

PIXI BY PETRA Endless Silky Eye Pen Kit ($22)

This limited edition kit includes some of our classic bestselling shades, along with a super-brightening white gold exclusive to this collection. This kit of our bestselling vitamin-enriched liners delivers the most prettifying & eye-brightening hues-it's a must-have in your eye makeup wardrobe. Our Endless Silky Eye Pen formula glides like seamless silk onto lids, creating a lit-up & defined effect that truly lasts. Water & smudge proof, these pens deliver the most lusciously pigmented line.

Palette contains: Endless Silky Eye Pens in Black Noir, Black Cocoa, Slate Grey, Opal Overcoat and Gold Glow

These super-soft liners are so wearable while being so very pigmented. The exclusive Gold Glow is my favorite and is perfect for the Holiday season, when you want to add a little bling to your look! A gift that any makeup lover would be happy to receive!

BELLISMISA Masterful Eyes Mascara and subscription ($16 monthly)

Our signature mascara lengthens, shapes, and defines your lashes, giving them an immediate volumizing effect with a water-resistant finish. Film-forming agents provide maximum quality and staying power while vitamin E and peptides keep your lashes healthy and conditioned. Masterful Eyes™ Mascara is safe for sensitive eyes and cruelty free.

First of all, as I've mentioned before, I LOVE fat, plush brushes and that's exactly the kind of brush Bellimisa boasts of. There's something about a thicker brush that works really well for me personally--my lashes aren't skimpy but they definitely need extra volume and length to be noticeable. This brush distributes just enough product to make my lashes look fuller, longer and beautifully thicker while still looking quite natural. Great for every day wear!

Now, the unique thing about this product. Have you ever fallen in love with a beauty product and used it so much that you didn't even realize when you ran out? Do you remember that bereft feeling as you scrambled to get a back-up or waited for a delivery? Well, forget that happening with this particular mascara! If you fall in love, you can subscribe to have it delivered to you on a regular basis! Now how cool is that?!
You can either purchase a Monthly (30 day cycle) or Bi-Monthly (60 day cycle) subscription for $16. Billed and shipped monthly, Exclusive pricing, No commitment, & Free shipping. Also with the subscription service, you have the option to add on other products such as the Natural Fiber Brow Gel ($14), Hydrating Silk Remover ($10) or Facial Cleansing Sponge ($4) These cannot be purchased separately. But wait! Use code bblogger for a $2 discount, which will bring your monthly subscription price down to just $14. More information about subscribing can be found HERE.



The Savvy Travelers collection of designer beauty wipes, are curated for the sophisticated on-the-go travelista. Savvy Travelers keep ladies fresh and fabulous from head to toe, one swipe at a time, offering products in convenient kits and single-use packets that are disposable, eco-friendly and made in California! 

As someone ho just undertook a grueling 26-hour cross-continental trip with 2 separate layovers, believe me when I say--wipes are your BFF when traveling! From personal hygiene wipes to nail polish remover wipes, Savvy Travelers has a wipe for your every need. That too, packaged in individual packets that are beyond useful. Grab handfuls of these for your jetsetting girlfriends!

EO Botanical Hand Sanitizer Spray ($4.99)

Stay fresh and clean with the EO Botanical Hand Sanitizer Spray in calming Lavender, refreshing Peppermint, and Sweet Orange. Tough on germs, but gentle on skin and the environment, the EO Botanical Hand Sanitizer is the perfect addition to your bag or backpack.

Being a scientist at heart, I tend to stay away from over-using hand sanitizers (super bacteria are real, people! Don't kill the good bacteria!) but sometimes a girl just has no choice, especially when away from home and the luxury of running water. This spray would be the perfect stocking stuffer for the sporty friend who loves to go hiking or camping but doesn't want to have grubby hands!

SWIPE Deodorant Wipes ($2.99)

Swipe® is a pocket-sized, biodegradable, single use deodorant wipe infused with a natural tea tree extract that not only provides protection, it also eliminates body odor. The new eco-friendly and paraben freeformula for Swipe®, a fresh, innovative product in personal hygiene with a new active ingredient, Saccharomyces Ferment, anatural bacterial enzyme that combats odor. Founder of Forever Fresh Inc., Marielle Sainz says “I wanted to reformulate the product to make it safe from any potential harmful ingredients for the consumer and environment.” The small and discrete packaging makes Swipe® travel-friendly and ideal for gym or hand bags and even pockets!! Swipe is also available for purchase at Urban Outfitters.

You don't realize just how much you take a hot shower for granted until you're in the economy class on an international flight. Let's just say, sitting in one place for several hours leaves a lot to be desired. These little sachets come in handy big-time then! Your girlfriend will thank you on her travels for this thoughtful little addition this Holiday season!

ROBIN McGRAW Me Oh My! collection ($1.25-$19.99)

Create memories with these whimsical products that are everyday essentials for you and your family this winter. Inspired by her grandchildren, Robin McGraw created this line that is dedicated to making the ordinary extraordinary! The Me O’ My line brings to life the simple idea of taking the things you use most in life and turning up the fun. The collection includes Nosey Cozy Pocket Tissues, Handy Candy Hand Wipes, Kissy Permissy Breath Mints, Lippy Lovey Heart-Shaped Lip Balm, Chickee Chew Bubble Gum, Flossy Glossy Floss Picks, Sticky Stackers Notepads, and Owie Meowie and Dog-Gone-It Band Aids.

This collection is all about everyday essentials...in bright, fun packaging! Perfect little stocking stuffers for the younger people or just to bring a little cheer to a friend of any age, these affordable additions will fill any stocking with lots of love and fun!


RITUALS The Ritual of Samurai collection ($7.50-$19)

For centuries, the ancient Japanese Samurai warriors paid great attention to their personal appearance. Their careful grooming traditions were aimed at creating an appearance that builds power, control and confidence to support their battles and challenges. Inspired by these warriors, gift the Samurai collection this holiday season for the men that will help you face the challenges of everyday life by being groomed to perfection. With foaming shower gels, moisturizers, shaving creams and hair products, you will find something for any man in your life looking for the perfect grooming products.

The hardest person to shop for is probably a special guy in your life, whether it be your dad, your brother, your new boyfriend or your husband of 20 years. So, I had to add at least one idea to help make your life easier! The Samurai collection is not only affordable but smells great! The body wash already got a huge thumbs up from my own dear old dad!

So there you have it, my darlings! Which of these products do you foresee picking up? Tell me in the comments section below!

****Products were sent to me for an honest, unbiased review. All opinions are my own.****
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