Holiday shopping

Guest Blogger: The Perfect Family Gift

December 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm , by

It’s getting down to the wire for holiday shopping (only 10 shopping days left ’til Christmas!), so this week we turned to Merrier Shopping‘s June Pfaff Daley for some expert gift-giving advice. She tackled one of the trickier items on most everyone’s list: the family who already has everything.

A few weeks ago, the following reader e-mail came my way:

“Ok, I need help! My kids have it all (I am not bragging.) I want to give them time together as a family. I have 3 daughters with 3 children each and a husband. I would like to put together a package of things to do together. (movie tickets, events, etc. ) not a lot of money, but maybe  $100 per family. Any ideas?
Thank you, Sally”

I thought this was a great question. After all, many of us are in the same boat, wondering what to buy a family on our list that already has pretty much everything. I admire Sally for wanting to give them time together as a family. What better gift? Here are several ideas to assemble the perfect family gift:

Family Night Out
One of our favorite family date nights is dinner out and a trip to the bookstore. You could gift a similar evening by purchasing a gift certificate to a local pizza parlor along with a gift certificate to a bookstore. Package the certificates with a classic book like Curious George and the Pizza or More Spaghetti, I Say! to tie the two together. After pizza, the family could go to the book store where every family member gets to pick a book.

Movie Night In
Purchase several classic family-friendly DVDs like The Sound of Music, Annie and The Wizard of Oz. Include a popcorn making machine such as the West Bend Stir Crazy (we love ours!) or the Presto Hot Air Popper. Include popcorn kernels along with movie-size boxed candies. You could also include cups with lids so drinks can be enjoyed with no spills on the family carpet.

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Cyber Monday Deals: Sharing the Gift of Beauty

November 29, 2010 at 9:48 am , by


Charlotte Ronson ‘Lolita’ makeup bag

You’ve survived the crazed crowds on Black Friday, but you still can’t find that perfect gift for the beauty-lovers in your life. Don’t fret; I’ve searched high and low for the top 12 websites to find beauty swag from the comfort of your desk:

  • Beauty.com – Spend $100 or more at Beauty.com and receive a limited edition Charlotte Ronson Lolita makeup bag filled with samples of 13 top-selling brands. Sure you can re-gift it, but you deserve a present too, right?
  • Macys.com – If you aren’t sure what to get the hard-to-shop-for person in your life, head to Macy’s Top 10 Favorite beauty gifts as voted by hundreds of Facebook fans.
  • Sephora.com – When shopping for a teenager, you can’t go wrong with Sephora. The best part is that there are tons of gifts costing $25 or less.
  • QVC.com – While perusing the jewelry, electronics and whatever else on the  QVC website, make sure to spend time in their beauty section to find the perfect stocking stuffer for women of all ages.
  • Anthony.com – Men can be tough to shop for, but Anthony Logistics for Men is offering 20% off your entire purchase and a free Anthony ‘Tool Kit’ and ground shipping if you spend more than $50.
  • Ulta.com – If you’re looking to give a friend her favorite fragrance, shop Ulta’s extensive collection. Buy at least $30 of fragrance products and receive two candleholders (valued at $50) to give a different aromatherapy-loving friend— Shhh, I won’t tell!
  • LordandTaylor.com – If you’re shopping for the more sophisticated ladies in your life, click your way to the Lord & Taylor website to find gift sets at every price point from favored high-end beauty brands.
  • BathandBodyWorks.com – Build your own gift set at Bath & Body Works. You can buy all the gifts you’ll need, and the gift bags, boxes and baskets are only a click away. Plus, everything on the website is 25% off for Cyber Monday.
  • SpaceNK.com – Space NK adds laughter to the holiday cheer with their signature Laughter Fragrance collection sets. The citrus scent with musk and ginger undertones will bring a bit of summer sun to the cold winter days.
  • Bluemercury.com – While perusing the perfect beauty gifts, make sure to check and see where your closest Blue Mercury Holiday Shopping Party will be— who doesn’t want to sip champagne, talk to beauty experts, and collect free samples?
  • HauteLook.com – If flash sales are your cup of tea, head to Hautelook. You could save 50-75% on designer beauty brands, and their free iPhone app allows you to shop without being attached to a computer.
  • Groupon.com – Help the people you love relax after the holidays. You can receive between 50% and 90 % off a spa treatment when you buy it on Groupon this Cyber Monday.

Which websites are you visiting today?


Holiday Gifts for Your Favorite Gleeks

November 19, 2010 at 9:21 am , by

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m a gleek. Never heard of a “gleek” before? That’s the nickname Glee followers have adopted since the hit musical-comedy about a high school show choir exploded onto the television scene last year. Glee has had a myriad of guest stars (from Olivia Newton John to Josh Groban), the cast sold out a 13-date live tour this past summer, and over 17 million songs from the show have been digitally downloaded (one recent hit was the cast’s rendition of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” which I urge you to check out for yourself here). Needless to say, the show has quite a following with kids and adults alike, and you’ve probably got a Glee fan or two on your holiday gift shopping list (or maybe you’re a gleek yourself!). Luckily, several Glee-themed items recently hit stores and make great holiday gifts.

KRGlee_3D_BoxFront_revised2Karaoke Revolution: Glee for Wii, $58

Gleeks can now sing their favorite Glee songs at home karaoke-style! A microphone comes with the game, and you can test your singing ability as video montages with exclusive content from the show run in the background.

Glee_S1_GleekGiftSet_DVD_ldscGlee Season One Gift Set with collectible journal, $40

As if the first season of Glee on DVD with over two hours of bonus footage isn’t cool enough, this gift set comes with a special Glee journal that kids will love.

att16314Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album, $10

Whether you’re a gleek or not, you’ll enjoy listening to the cast’s renditions of holiday classics including “Deck the Rooftop” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

Now tell us, are you or is someone you know a big fan of Glee? Will you buy any Glee gifts this year?


Beauty Coach: Best Beauty Shopping Sites, Part 2

December 10, 2009 at 1:45 pm , by

3811031103_6d7254a2e7_tYikes, it’s two weeks until Christmas! The window for finding the perfect gift is getting smaller and smaller. I’m way behind on my list, but I have a plan of action:  sleep in on Saturday, make a big cup of coffee and then shop in my pj’s. As usual, I will be giving the gift of beauty to my loved ones. (In my experience, you can never go wrong with a gorgeous palette or a pretty candle). I covered a few of my favorite beauty websites in a previous post, but I realize I left out some good ones, so here goes!

Best for a Budget: I love Bath and Body Works‘  great fragrances, especially the Twilight Woods scent. The quality and packaging is on par with expensive department fragrances. When it comes to makeup, I’m toying with Victoria’s Secret for a fun lip gloss set or a dazzling eye palette.

Best for Impressing: These boutique brands are a bit pricier, but they never fail to wow.

L’Occitane.com’s fragrance offerings and shea butter formulas are amazing. These hand creams are the perfect hostess, teacher, neighbor, etc gift. Or  keep one for yourself and give the other two as stocking stuffers.

I have lots of favorites from Fresh.com (the Soy Face line is to die for), but I would highly recommend this gorgeously wrapped soap or a luxe candle.

Spoiler alert! The dudes nearest and dearest to my heart will most definitely get something in their stockings from Kiehls.com.

Best for Nervous Nellies: If you tend to experience first-time jitters when ordering something from a new site, then stick to sites where you already shop and trust. As a founding member and president of Nervous Nellies Anoynomous (oops, the cat’s out of the bag), I was thrilled to find out that my favorite websites Amazon.com and Zappos.com also carry a great selection of boutique beauty brands.

Check out our holiday gift guide for more easy shopping ideas and happy holidays, ladies!

Photo by Risager