Wednesday, December 5, 2012


In the frenzy of day-to-day goings-on, shopping for gifts might be the last thing you want to squeeze into your already tight to-do list.  Or perhaps by now you’ve succumbed to the pre-Halloween onslaught of “holiday” shopping, and have already completed your shopping, or so you think.  Maybe you’ve completed shopping for some, but there are still last-minute names on your list, including your own.  So, what do you do now?  Hopefully, not panic.  Breathe deeply and strategize!

If you’ve been reading my articles for the past three years, you’ll know that whenever I’ve reviewed a spa, beauty or wellness related product, my reviews have been objective, but more importantly, I’ve presented quality products for your consideration.  This year’s Gift Guide is no different.  With one slight modification, the majority of the products I’m including in the Guide are from companies I’ve dealt with in the past and didn’t find it necessary to actually review the product listed.  Those I have tried and tested will be so noted.  The good news is that most of these products will remain available year round and appropriate for gift giving, regardless of the season, reason or occasion.  Keep that in mind as the Christmas Carols fade, the eggnog vanishes and the tree gets recycled.  Enjoy checking out some of my top gift picks!

 ~ Festive & Sparkly ~

Crabtree & Evelyn ~
The holidays wouldn’t be the same without limited holiday edition items.  They’re always festive, shimmery and sparkly and capture the aromatic essence of that special time that only happens once a year. This year’s collection include delectable Golden Petals and Golden Fig collections that capture the warming essence and glow of these iconic holiday scents.  Golden Petals captures the scent of berries, rhubarb, florals and musk.  Golden Fig captures the scent of figs, citrus, mangosteen, amber and musk.  In the Golden Petal collection, I had the pleasure of trying the Eau de Parfum Fragrance Rollerball, the Bubble Bath Body Wash and Silkening Body Nectar.  In the Golden Fig collection, I had the pleasure of trying the Eau de Parfum Fragrance Rollerball and Shimmering Body Mist.  The aromas of both collections were subtle and layered nicely without creating a clash or off-scent.  I also loved how gentle the Body Wash was and how smooth my skin was after using the Body Nectar.  Adding the Body Mist after applying the Body Nectar left my skin glowing.  The Fragrance Rollerball aromas were also subtle and long lasting.  Lastly, I had the chance to try their Red Sparkle Shimmer Lip Gloss.  This super hydrating Lip Gloss is formulated with shea butter, caster and grapeseed oils; a delicious scent of candy cane and vibrant candy cane red complete this lip treat.

Jane Iredale ~ Jane Iredale knows how to add that special sparkle and glow to anyone’s holiday.  The brilliant shimmer of newly fallen snow as the glow of moonlight deflects off of it reminded me of the gorgeous Limited Edition Triple Pearl Powder Finishing Powder, which I tried.  After applying it over makeup, it added a shimmer and radiant luminosity to my face; applied to shoulders and décolleté, it also added a subtle shimmer to those areas.  I enjoyed how my face looked brighter, naturally.  The Triple Pearl Powder comes beautifully packaged in a silver reusable box.  The compact is beautiful and has a natural shell top; the luxuriously silky applicator, generous sized mirror and twist top dispenses just the right amount of powder and is suitable for all skin tones.

~ Face, Body & Beyond ~

Aveda ~
Packaged in handmade Lokta bark paper from Nepal, the lavender aromatherapy based De-Stress Gift Set comes complete with Body Lotion, Bath Salts and Fragrance Rollerball.

Darphin ~
For luxe skincare, Darphin’s Predermine Gift Set includes Predermine Firming Wrinkle Repair Serum and travel sizes of Predermine Anti-Wrinkle Cream and Eye Serum.

Eminence Organics ~
A special collection of nine travel sizes of Eminence Organics most popular skincare and body care products is their Beyond Organic Gift Box; presented in a special re-usable presentation box.

Essence Cosmetics ~
Need to get some stocking-stuffer ideas, then look no further.  This popular retail budget brand has everything you could think of to stuff those stockings. ~
Last minute shopping or just being stumped for making purchasing a gift can easily be taken care of by shopping online at this all-things giftable website.

Jurlique ~
This popular Australian brand offers their natural Hand Care Essentials Gift Set with tubes of their most popular hand treatment creams, including Rose, Lavender, Jasmine and Citrus.

Kate Somerville ~
Innovative skincare guru Kate Somerville offers their Get Gorgeous Kate Gift Set that includes ExfoliKate, Somerville360° Self Tanning Body Towelletes and Face Pads, DermalQuench Liquid Lift Advanced Anti-Wrinkle Treatment and Daily Deflector Moisturizer Anti-Aging Sunscreen.

Kerstin Florian ~
Just in time for sweet dreams is the Kerstin Florian Lavender Dreams Kit complete with their new Turkish Body Scrub With Eucalyptus, Lavender Eye Pillow, Lavender Body Oil, Lavender Body Spray and Soothing Mineral Bath.

Liz Earle ~
The popular Holiday Limited Edition of Cleanse & Polish will naturally and gently dissolve even the most stubborn makeup and mascara without irritating or stripping delicate tissue.

MyBody ~
Luxuriate with this MyBody Pamper Me Gift set of Probiotic Shower Gel and Probiotic Body Lotion; choice of Rose Chamomile, Revitalizing Citrus Coconut or Energizing Bergamot Lime.

SpaFinder Wellness ~
The Essential Beauty Gift Box comes with six indulgent spa products plus a $50 SpaFinder Wellness Gift Card, or get The Deluxe Beauty Gift Box, which comes with six products plus a $100 Gift Card.

Votre Vu ~
Your holiday feet will thank you with Votre Vu’s Trés Magni-Feet Gift Set complete with Exfoliant Pour Les Pieds and Crème Pour Les Pieds.

 ~ Destinations ~

International SPA Association (ISPA) ~
ISPA is the largest and most prestigious of any global professional spa organization and its various member properties are offering special holiday promotions and incentives at their properties.  They include Hiatus Spa+Retreat (Austin and Dallas, TX); Kelly’s Spa at the Mission Inn (Riverside, CA); Spa Réveil (Austin, TX); Glen Ivy Hot Springs (Corona, CA); Ponte Vedra Inn & Club (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL); Four Seasons Hotel George V (Paris, France); Silverado Resort and Spa (Napa, CA); AWAY Spa (Austin, TX); Bloom Spa Toya (Abutagun, Hokkaido, Japan); Mirabeau Inn & Spa (Skaneateles, NY); Sundara Inn & Spa (Wisconsin Dells, WI); Solace Spa at Boyne Mountain (Boyne Falls, MI); Four Seasons Hotel Toronto (Ontario, Canada); and, The Umstead Hotel and Spa (Cary, NC).  Be sure to check other favorite destinations for special holiday pricing between now and the New Year.

~ Budget Buys & Beyond ~

For quick, last-minute stocking stuffer items that won’t break your holiday bank, don’t overlook the brick and mortar stores or their online equivalents; even specialty food stores or local grocery stores have gift possibilities.  These might include Target, Kohl’s, Sears, Penney’s, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS and Osco Drug.  Then there are the biggies like Amazon, eBay, Zappos, etc.   

Lastly, remember that while a tangible gift can be a sign of love, friendship or gratitude, the giving of oneself to others is the greatest gift anyone can give.  The gift-giver and not the price tag is the most important thing! 

May the blessings, peace, hope, joy and promise of Christmas be with you and your loved ones throughout the coming New Year.

That’s it for this edition.  Until the next one, remember to take care of yourself and those you love.

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker.  She also serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa.  She also serves as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz.  You can email her at


(Opening photo credit, Christmas at my childhood home c1960s; all other photo credits as represented by the specific brand.)

N.B.  Google’s blog platform is incompatible with my Mac OS X and Firefox browser latest software versions, which is why some web links appear in different colors and why when attempting to have embedded images their sizing is consistent and/or can’t be sized. 

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