In the Mirror

12 Christmas Presents to Play Up Her Beauty

By Charlotte on December 9, 2016 2:53 PM

Merles Kisses 2 250.jpgWhen I ask my mom Patsy what she wants for Christmas, she usually says "Just anything," "I have everything I need" or "You always pick out something nice."

Sound familiar? If you need a gift idea for a special woman in your life, try one of these bodacious beauty buys. They're great alone, as stocking stuffers or tied to the bow of another present when you want to do a little something extra.

Beauty-flattering finds like this glittery ornament from Merle Norman will be among her favorite gifts.

Even those that come in smaller packages will play up her assets in a big way, helping her look and feel her prettiest now and in the New Year. Plus, with prices ranging from $12 to $120, you might just be tempted to pick out something for yourself.

IT Cosmetics Superhero Ornament Without Reflection 175.jpgIT Cosmetics Superhero Ornament

What it is: A fun, new decoration containing a mini version of IT's Superhero mascara. Made with Elastic Stretch Technology, this eye opener wraps each lash with volume-boosting, lengthening and conditioning color.

What I like: This cute, limited-edition ornament offers a nice way to test drive Superhero Mascara. True to its name, this sassy stocking stuffer makes lashes look much longer and fuller in a flash. The super-black formula is packed with powerful anti-aging ingredients like peptides, proteins, biotin and collagen.

The full brush encourages curl and works to separate and define even the tiniest hairs. Although one pass provides a significant boost, I like going over my lashes several times to up the drama. The silky, super-buildable formula adds more volume and length with every coat. And the color stays put morning to night without fail. Developed with plastic surgeons and dermatologists, this ophthalmologist-tested champ is a wonderful choice for those with sensitive eyes like mine.

Loaded with anti-aging ingredients, IT Cosmetics' Superhero Mascara saves the day by plumping, lifting and strengthening your lashes.

On the Shelf: $12 at itcosmetics.com, Ulta Beauty and Ulta.com

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Ornament 350.jpgIT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Ornament

What it is: A super-moisturizing face cream packaged in an appealing ornament. This concentrated complexion rescuer combines collagen and hyaluronic acid to plump skin and fill in lines and wrinkles.

What I like: Perfect presented alone or as a stocking stuffer, this travel-size treat will give her skin a healthy glow. The light, nourishing cream absorbs quickly so it's easy to wear under makeup, at bedtime or both (my choice).

Girls of any age will adore the intense hydration boost they get from Confidence in a Cream.

Great for all skin types, this anti-aging powerhouse helps guard against winter's drying effects. Plus, it softens the look of lines, pores, redness and other discolorations instantly. Even better, Confidence in a Cream promises more dramatic results over time.

On the Shelf: $16 at itcosmetics.com, Ulta Beauty and Ulta.com

Miracle Skin Transformer Lip Rewind

What it is: A high-shine gloss infused with lip-pampering ingredients as well as a touch of color.

What I like: This nourishing, new formula makes lips shimmer. Though nice alone, the subtle color blends easily when used as a topper for other lipsticks. Plus, it's not drying. The Shea butter- and vitamin E-powered blend conditions like a balm so it's splendid for chilly weather.

You can choose from two sweet shades: Adore (nude with gold specs shown below) and Sublime (dark mauve). Both are delicate so you really can't go wrong selecting either for your BFF.

On the Shelf: $20 at Ulta.com, Nordstrom.com, Dermstore.com, Skinstore.com and other fine beauty retailers

This soothing gloss comes in a silver click pen with a soft tip, designed to deliver the perfect amount with a turn of the wrist.

mst-liprewind-sublime-productshot 346.jpgArbonne Glossed Over Lip Gloss in Cardinal

What it is: A new, plant extract- and peptide-infused gloss that leaves lips gleaming with rich, red color.

What I like: Arbonne's chic Cardinal red shade is ideal for holiday get-togethers and beyond. Although it looks quite bright in the tube, the color goes on soft and sheer to give you just enough impact. I'm wild about wearing it alone but you can increase the drama by using it as a top coat to deepen another red lipstick.

This creamy scene stealer also hydrates, helps smooth and plumps lips leaving them feeling moist and not at all sticky. Your pucker looks fuller without any tingling sensation and the color stays put without feathering.

On the Shelf: $24 at Arbonne.com

Arbonne's hypoallergenic Glossed Over Lip Gloss has been tested by dermatologists so you know it's skin kind.

Arbonne Cosmetics Glossed Over Lip Gloss Cardinal 600.jpgUlta Beauty Brilliantly Beautiful Color Essentials Collection

What it is: A do-it-all makeup set including a cute case packed with 24 look-enhancing musts, a link to Ulta beauty tutorials and a money-saving coupon.

What I like: You get everything you need to get gorgeous in one pretty package. Talk about a sure-to-please gift!

This impressive beauty blockbuster offers a lot to envy, including:

On the Shelf: $24.99 for the $130-value set at Ulta.com

Overflowing with cool beauty finds, this sensational set will have you feeling fresh and fabulous in no time.

Ulta Beauty Brilliantly Beautiful Color Essentials 600.jpgMerle's Kisses Ornament

What it is: Two holiday-right shades of Merle Norman's Pure Color Core Lipstick enclosed in a glittery, ball-shaped ornament.

Merles Kisses 250.jpgWhat I like: You get two stunning, full-coverage lipsticks in a decorative container - no wrapping required. A natural for her stocking, this twosome includes a sultry, deep red that leans towards burgundy plus a sassy, coral-based red. Both easy-to-wear shades are wrapped around a unique, tawny-colored center that helps up the interest.

Besides looking lovely, these beautiful colors keep your pout feeling soft and smooth. And the effect lasts even when you're a coffee drinker like me.

On the Shelf: $25 at Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios

Arbonne It's All in the Eyes Shadow Duo

What it is: Two high-performance Arbonne eye shadows infused with minerals and botanicals to guarantee long-lasting color.

What I like: You get two alluring hues that blend easily to create both natural daytime and smokey-eye looks. Put them on in the morning, and these richly pigmented shades will see you through the day and on to the season's best parties.

I tested this stocking-worthy pick in go-everywhere Fog/Sienna (shown below) which pairs an eye-brightening yellow with rich brown. (Love that combo!) But you can also opt for Quartz/Truffle or Opal/Driftwood. Whatever your choice, the shadows come in a classy, black mirrored compact ideal for gift giving. As a bonus, they can be popped out of the case and replaced with others when you're ready to refill it or simply want to change shades to suit your mood.

On the Shelf: $40 at Arbonne.com

In addition to providing non-stop color, Arbonne's new It's All In the Eyes shadow duos help moisturize, condition and smooth your lids.

NEW Eye Shadow Duo Fog&Sienna (open).jpgIT Cosmetics Je Ne Sais Quoi Your Complexion Perfection          

What it is: An award-winning face palette infused with anti-aging hydrolyzed collagen, silk, peptides and Perfect Lighting Technology to illuminate, revitalize and improve the appearance of your complexion.

What I like: You can forget agonizing over choosing the right powder, blush and bronzer. This handy present combines four, complementary face savers in one large, rose-gold mirrored compact that makes an elegant gift:

On the Shelf: $42 for the $80-value kit at itcosmetics.com, Ulta Beauty and Ulta.com

Developed with plastic surgeons, the four, universally flattering selections in this new palette will help you create contours, add dimension and brighten your look with makeup artist-like results.

IT Cosmetics Your Je Ne Sais Quoi Complexion Perfection Palette.jpgRusk Designer Collection Holiday Box Set

What it is: A trio of top-rated, Rusk solutions for making hair look thicker.

What I like: A thrill for anyone with fine, thin hair like mine, this gift set includes three effective volumizers:

Together, this talented threesome from Rusk promises many good hair days in the year ahead.

On the Shelf: $45 at Ulta Beauty, Ulta.com and salons nationwide

Merle Norman Perfect Advanced Skin Gift Set

What it is: Three of Merle Norman's top Anti-Aging Complex products for fighting lines, wrinkles and other pesky side effects of getting older.

What I like: This skin-pampering present contains three, travel-size goodies that work for all skin types:

On the Shelf: $70 at Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios

Dermatologist-tested, this super-hydrating, anti-aging system makes a fine gift for anyone who longs for a younger look.

16 WIN Perfect Advanced Skin Gift on white.jpgJurlique Rose Body Oil

What it is: A deluxe edition of the best-selling body oil from Jurlique, a brand known for its belief in the healing power of nature.

What I like: This lightweight oil babies my skin with intense moisture. Putting it on after showering leaves my body feeling silky smooth while giving me a festive glow. The highly nourishing oil soaks in quickly so you don't have to fear it getting on your clothes. But the softness lingers.

Infused with Rose Essential Oil, this body beautifier has a soft and utterly delightful scent you can't help but admire.

On the Shelf: $72 at Jurlique.com

Tie a ribbon around the attractive red box and Jurlique's sumptuous Rose Body Oil is ready for gifting.


Nerium Age-Defying Night Cream, NeriumAD Formula

NeriumAD_Night_Bottle_Front 250.pngWhat it is: A compelling night cream containing exclusive, patented ingredients clinically proven to fight lines, wrinkles and other marks of Father Time.

What I like: To turn back the clock, this innovative treatment targets both the visible signs of aging and the root causes. It uses potent antioxidants to combat age-accelerating free radical damage while boosting the cell renewal process.

Unlike other face creams that tend to rub off on your pillow, NeriumAD clings to your face like a mask. The unique consistency acts like a seal, allowing the age-defying formula to remain in place and go to work while you rest - the best time for repair.

A guaranteed hit with Boomers like me, this go-getter has an aloe vera base, which boosts hydration (yes!) and helps it stay put and continue working all night for the best possible results. Applying it to my face and neck before bed has helped my skin feel soft, smooth and healthy.

Ideal for all skin types, this powerful, dermatologist-tested night cream makes an impressive Christmas gift for any woman concerned about aging.

Even better, with time, this winner been shown to significantly improve the appearance of wrinkles, radiance and discolorations while reducing uneven skin texture, enlarged pores and sagging skin. 

On the Shelf: $120 at Nerium.com

We'd like to shout out a big "Thank You" to the brands in this post for providing free samples for review and testing.

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Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

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