eyeliner on a cat

eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Top 5 Cool and Covetable Valentine's Day Gifts: Fragrance and Beauty

This year, I was in the mood to put together a short but sweet Valentine's Day gift guide, which features goodies from the practical to just plain pretty. There's still time to order up your gifts, so I'll keep the intro short!

Shea Terra Argan Oil Beauty Kit ($26) and Divine Ginger & Orange Fair Trade Chocolate Bar ($3)

I am a HUGE fan of Shea Terra Organics and the brand's proprietor/globetrotter/mix mistress/Mom of 14 Tammie Umbel. While we enjoy her lavish products, she's sourcing ingredients in far off lands while 8 1/2 months pregnant, slipping and sliding down sand dunes. This Argan oil sampler has a lot to offer for a small price, giving you a taste of some of their best-selling products (which also happen to be some of my favorites). The Argan Oil Beauty Kit contains: Argan & Rosemary Cleansing Oil, Argan Oil, Argan & Rose Serum of Youth, Argan & Green Coffee Eye Serum (7.5ml each). The Divine Fair Trade Chocolate Bars they sell are all delectable and there's a wide choice of flavors-- and every one of them is $3 apiece. Shea Terra proves that thoughtful, earth-friendly gifts don't need to cost much at all.

Hamsa Perfume and T-Shirt Gift Set ($65)

Newcomer to the fragrance scene Hamsa by Celine Leora has a very cheery scent disposition with bright but rich notes of white lotus, frankincense, blackcurrant and coffee. It's clean and uncomplicated, and I would categorize it as "happiness juice". This lovely gift set which includes a bottle of the perfume and an adorable blinged-out girly t-shirt is begging to be given to a beloved University girl this year. This fragrance screams of youthful exuberance and hope, and  having a Hamsa-adorned bottle in her dorm room at all times is definitely stacking the deck in her favor. That can only be a good thing!

Aurelia Skin Care Relax & Repair Night Time Gift Set ($100)

This is one of Aurelia's brilliant gift sets that I love so much. This one contains a full-size bottle of Cell Repair Night Oil (which smells mainly of mandarin, orange blossom, lavender and rose) with teacup & saucer, special evening tea blend; all gift boxed and beautiful. I love and frequently use the Cell Repair Night Oil- it boasts a crazy-gorgeous list of exotic oils & extracts like Mongongo, Ootanga, Baobab and Kigelia-- I am a devotee of these uncommon African gems and what they do for my skin. I could spend the next hour expounding on my love of this product, but I must quickly mention the incredible blush-salmon-colored teacup and saucer and the specially blended caffeine-free loose herbal tea. Equally desirable is their gift set containing a morning blend of tea and a jar of their amazing Miracle Cleanser plus an anti-bacterial soft bamboo muslin cloth. That set goes for $85, which you can also get through Aurelia's website or Beautyhabit.com here in the States. If you have an adored friend, sister or co-worker who you are shopping for this Valentine's Day that is also a confirmed beauty snob, here's your chance to one-up them and blow their mind. Like, forever.

Jane Tran Sprouting Crystal Bobby Pins ($25 for 2) and Crystal Sprout Pony Box ($35 for 2)

In my tireless search for the cutest hair doo-dads in the world that don't annoy me, aren't juvenile, are super-attractive like jewelry but don't stand out too much, Jane Tran usually does it for me. Her prices are generally below France Luxe's prices, which is another hair doo-dad brand I love. These incredible Sprout accessories have charmed me completely. I must have silver, and prefer colors that don't stick out too much, but there are brights and gold-tones available as well. Jane Tran gets it. It's better to have a few killer designs with lots of color options than to have a bazillion of everything, or even worse, your entire line in one metal-tone or color palette, so that 50% of the world won't even look at what you've got to offer. Anyway, GO JANE! Whether your girl has a ponytail fetish or is a bobby pin freak (or both, like me), these are super-chic, day-to-night accessories that won't ever look wrong.

Cinq Mondes Aromatic Scrub With Spices- Java's Ritual: Indonesia and Kassa Glove ($60/$18)

CINQ MONDES! Where do I start? Okay, that's right. Short Valentine's gift guide. Breathe in, breathe out. I've recently had the chance to sample a bunch of Cinq Mondes products because I got a sweet gift-with-purchase sampler from BeautyHabit.com. I had a blast with everything, but this was in my top 3 must-have products from the lot of samples I tried. The Aromatic Scrub With Spices is one of the most heavenly things I've ever experienced. From the fragrance (mixed spices and herbs with plenty of resins and salts) to the scrubby, then melty texture and the way it feels on your skin- it's absolutely astounding. A complete sensory pleasure- and one of the only high-end spa bath products I would ever lay my money down for. I can spend on facial cleansers and masks without hesitation, but not nearly as easily for the bath/shower. I feel differently about that now. One or two indulgences of the highest order will only help your mind focus and your body relax-- and that's living out your full potential. Tell people that the next time they tease you for your beauty product obsession. They will still think you're weird, but your aesthetician won't.

This is the real deal, and used with the Kassa Glove for extra exfoliation (and so as not to tax the skin on the palms of your hands too much with rough textures), it's the perfect vigorous, aromatic scrubbing you need to begin or end your day. It softens your skin so well that if you're running short on time, you really don't need to moisturize unless you'll be facing harsh elements. This would make the perfect gift for... well, anyone with a nose who also takes showers, baths, steams, anything. That's probably a few people you know. If you plan on treating yourself for Valentine's Day (and why not?), this is the one product I would recommend the most. It's a self-love thing.

Now here's what else you should know: though I love and support BeautyHabit all the time, all Cinq Mondes products are less expensive at Dermstore.com. Plus, if you add the products to your shopping cart from your favorites list, that's an additional 10% off. Also, there's a nice gift with $60 purchase- a 15ml bottle of Cinq Mondes' Olivia Giacobetti fragrance called Eau Egyptienne (it's amazing). Good products, great deal!

I hope you have at least found my list entertaining if not informative, and best of luck to any of you who still have shopping to do. I'm lucky, because my Valentines (husband and cat) are very easy to please-- they both want noms and cuddles, and that's what they'll get!



  1. Argon oil is wonderful - I bought a small bottle from a local drug store (not a fancy brand) and it works wonders! That little beauty kit is adorable!

  2. OMG that KITTY!!! I've been eyeing the Aurelia cleanser for a while now. I'm sure one day soon I'll snatch it up!

    1. You can always count on a kitten or two or three when you come to my blog. :) The Miracle Cleanser is worth every penny, and it's SO refreshing. I can't say enough about it. I really think you'll like it!

  3. Ugh that kitty is so cute. I love these idea. Still such great ideas for birthdays or other holidays.
    xo, http://cheyenne-style.blogspot.com

  4. This list is cool! I really like it!