Big Impact, Modest Price! Luxe Holiday Gifts They’ll Really Covet

Everyone wants to know that the gift they’re offering will receive an “oooh!” moment. But when your budget is modest, you’ve got to really think about what kind of gift your recipients will really want, and use.  Tchotchkes that cost hundreds of dollars are a thing of the past!  For holiday 2012, bring “comfort & joy…. to the world” with gifts that are luxurious, but within the realm of reason. Who wants to be paying off 2012’s bills all throughout 2013?  Here are some items The Advice Sisters know will get that “ooooh!” when the gift wrapping is removed, without the “ouch!” for you, later on.
 Can a watch be elegant and ruggedly high performance at the same time? Yes, if it’s the Avalon by Freestyle Watches Style:101802 $135.00 .  This is a female specific divers watch featuring a durable crocodile embossed silicone strap (our in vivid, trendy purple also in white). The Japanese movement features a one-way ratcheting bezel ( a tiny button moves the bezel clockwise around the dial in 5 point increments), and a  3-hand movement with date. Like all Freestyle Dive Watches, The Avalon is water resistant to 100 meters and backed by a  limited lifetime warranty.

In case you’re wondering why a watch might need a one way ratcheting bezels, it’s that the bezel dial is used as a count- down timer. You  rotate the dial to the desired number of minutes past the current time, and when the minute hand gets to the 0 (12) position, time is up. Diver’s watches contain these to prevent a diver from believing s/he has more air time left in the tank than they have.  The reason the bezel moves in only one direction is to ensure that it isn’t bumped or moved back while in a dive, thereby changing the amount of time the diver thinks s/he really has. It’s a safety feature. If you aren’t a diver, you can still use the ratcheting bezel to set up to an hour.  But really, the main thing for non divers is that the Freestyle Avalon is a  very fashionable watch that will get you plenty of envious stares. It’s different from the same-old, same-old, and yet it’s a minor investment for a big fashion statement. The only thing that I wish this watch had was actual numbers on the face, but it’s very elegant with the shiny silver markers. This substantial watch will last you, or your lucky recpient, for years to come. And yet, it’s reasonable!

The packaging for the Freestyle Avalon is also exceptional!  The watch comes in a hard plastic divers locker box with padded interior that is totally cute, and totally re-useable.  Consider it a gift within a gift!  Visit to learn more about all the Freestyle Dive, Active, and Workout style watches and to order your favorites. There is also a retailer locater on the web site so you can run and get yours, nearby.



Is life good to you these days?  Is your guy a good catch?  Wear a Life is Good tee, and spread good cheer and happy thoughts, plus other optimistic sentiments, during the holidays, and all year long.  Life Is Good is a cute company that creates cute tees and other wearable items for men, women, children, even dogs.  Life isn’t always good, but a great tee is always a good gift idea. The Advice Sisters looked at all the cute items, and had a hard time suggesting just a couple. You can get plenty of short sleeved tees, but since it is getting colder (for many, anyway), I love the ladies Life Is Good tee with the four-season heart ($32.00)and long sleeves, to chase the chill. The relaxed fit tee is 100% cotton, piece dyed and pre-washed to make it soft.  Instead of the baggy tees the guys wear, this one has a slight waist shape, narrower cuff and hem, and ribbing at the neck, plus details like herringbone twill taping from shoulder to shoulder and double needle stitching.  The “Jake” logo (smiling face with beret)  that made Life Is Good famous, appears on the back collar of every shirt. Another cute detail is the “Do What You Like. Like What You Do” patch on the front side. The sizes are XS to XXL and very generously sized. Whether you wear it for layering, lounging, or sleeping, it’s a lovely gift and a nice little treat for yourself. There are plenty of other positive saying to choose from, all with cute graphics. For guys, the Advice Sisters chose the “Good Catch” long sleeved tee ($32.00) that is also generously sized and has all the same details as the ladies tees. This one is available in sizes S to XXL and also generously sized.  There are so many different items, you just have to get over to the Life Is Good web site and check them out. There’s something for every season, every reason (even just married items) and every good feeling. Express yourself!

Fragrance is fabulous, but it can be difficult to tote around. Tocca’s Profumo Veloce is a new fragrance travel atomizer set that is not just beautifully packaged, it packs a big impact for a modest price.  The set arrives in a hard sided ” cardboard cylinder, that you might be tempting to re-use for little treasures or mini makeup brushes.
 Inside the box, there is a beautiful, elegantly festooned,  travel-sized atomizer case, and three 3 x 7.5 mL Spray Vials of  either  (one of my favorites) “Cleopatra,” a floriental with notes o f Italian Bergamot, Grapefruit Leaves, Green Pear, Apple, Ivory Gardenia, Crushed Violet Petals, Jasmine Tuberose, Blue Iris, Blonde Wood, White Musk) or the equally lovely “Stella” , a soft fruited floral with Bitter Orange, Watery Accord, White Freesia, Wild Diamond Orchids, Spicy Lily, Sheer Musk, Sandalwood. These look like they should cost a lot, but they’re under $50.00 at a mere $48.00 a set.  You can’t help but feel special, elegant, pampered, when you pull the travel flacon out of your purse or tote. They’re a great gift and a very good value, available exclusively at Sephora and .

Candles are always a welcome gift, but these from Tocca are so elegant and precious looking, they make a special gift for special people, or just to scent your own home for special occasions. The candles come in just about every single sent Tocca offers. THe sea green outer carton is beautiful, and the interior votive is fluted and lined with a creamy, dreamy white interior that makes a dreamy background for the equally milky white candle. a slight indentation in the front of the glass bears the special colored Tocca label  associated with the name of the scent.  This is high end, luxurious home decor at it’s best. A 10.6 oz. candle is $48.00, but these “Candelinas” are 3 oz. for just $20.00 and they make an impressive gift.  One to try for men and women, hosts and hostesses, is “Havana,” a softly spicy mixe of sugarcane and run, masterfully blended. Tip: Trim the cotton wick after each use to ensure the best scent diffusion.   Visit to check out all the home and body fragrances Tocca offers (plenty of other bath/body/home/fragrance goodies) and order them for your favorite , good little “boys & girls.”

At an editor’s preview at Anna Magnin PR a while back I saw this delicate little necklace, and fell in love with it.   Privileged was founded in 2006 by fashion buyer and designer, Jennifer Ondyak. Her jewelry line features a variety of stones and embellishments, with mostly small necklaces and earrings, easily paired with some of Privileged bolder cuffs and chain bracelets, or a knock em dead modern take on “cameo” rings.  This  necklace, featuring a 1″ brushed gold plated single clover necklace, can be given to someone special for just under $50 around $5.00 with 18″ inch chain and a spring ring clasp.  Get a trio of  clovers for $65.00.  For more information and to order, you can visit:

This Automatic Scarf by Foxhead is not just neon pink, it will “automatically” dress up any outerwear and make you good good (get it?).   The Advice Sisters love the chunky 100% acrylic knit that won’t make those with sensitive skins, itch, but it will keep you toasty. Although the scarf is just $34.50, it looks like it costs a lot more, with details like cable stitching and a rolled hem. If bright pink is too much you can also get it in basic black.  We like the little black and white fox head logo patch, too! Visit to get this scarf and see all the other covetable clothing and accessories they have to offer for both women, and men. I got a sneak peek at the Spring fashions for men and women at a preview. The mens board shorts are going to please guys and their girlfriends, who are sick of dull and boring on their guys. For the girls, work out now, because Foxhead bikinis are body conscious.  You’ll want at least one for your holidays and beach days.

Who says hair tools have to be boring? Certainly they’re not, if you have this gorgeous (and re-useable) leopard print box that holds two must-have hair tools  From BaByliss Pro.  There are several different sets in the BaByliss Pro Leopard Collection,  and the lines includes a Mini Straightener, a Mini Trimmer, two ultra-thin Straightening Irons, Ionic Dryer,  “Conicurl® Iron, an 8-Roller Hair Setter, and more. The sets,  for the holidays and beyond, will make an otherwise routine chore a lot more glamorous. The tools in this set are engineered in France, made in China and designed in Belgium!

Since waves are the sexy alternative to super-straight styles, braids and chignons for holiday, I tried out the BaBylissProNano Titanium Designer Giftbox featuring a  2000 watt iconic dryer, and a 1 1/4″ ConiCurl clipless curling iron.  As you already know if you read my columns regularly, Nano Titanium is an exceptional conductor of heat and it stays stable, even when the temperature goes up to 450″ ( as it does with the ConiCurl iro)n. Nano Titanium also offers far-infrared heat, that penetrates the hair from inside out.  All of this means less frizz, and more efficient styling and drying,  thereby reducing damage to your hair.

The Nano Titanium hair dryer looks amazingly sexy, but it is no toy. It’s a pro-style dryer that delivers 2000 watts of power, with six heat and speed settings and  an integrated ion generator to add shine and reduce frizz.  A cool shot button, remove-able filter, and nozzle, are included as well. But it’s also streamlined and lightweight, so your arm doesn’t get so tired, so quickly.  If you have a lot of long, thick hair to dry (and I do) this is a feature I appreciate even more than the sexy leopard spots on the dryer!   The 1-1/4″ ConiCurls Iron is tapered;  1-1/4″ wide at the handle & 3/4″ at the tip so (with a little practice) you can create just about any size curl. A Turbo Heat Button Instantly Boosts the heat to 450 degrees, and there’s an  8-foot Tangle-Free Swivel Cord.   The iron has what BaByliss calls “Sol-Gel” technology. According to Conair, this makes the barrel surface 37% harder and 22% smoother than traditional irons. That, plus the fact that the iron features an amazing 50 different heat settings and a turbo-heat boost, up to 450° makes it something any professional would covet. *Important Beauty Tip:  If you’re going to use a clip-less curling iron at home, take a tip from me and be safe and wear a heat glove Unless you truly are an expert, you can get badly burned. A heat glove isn’t included in this gift set because pros can manage without it,  but I’ve burned myself very badly more than once testing clipless curling irons. It is just too easy to lose your grip while trying to wrap your hair around the barrel.  I am still wearing the scar. Buy a heat glove at your local beauty supply store, or perhaps you already have one from another set.  You can find these sets online at places like, and, and also at Professional beauty supply stores, Specialty beauty retailers and Salons. Get more information at:  Prices vary, from around $29.00 for just the mini flat iron, to 99.00 for the conicurl and hair dryer set I sampled to $139.99 for some of the other sets and items. .

About Advicesisters

Alison Blackman Dunham aka. “Advice Sister Alison” and “The Advice Sisters” is a writer, photographer, online advisor, and lifestyles consultant. She has built her reputation offering readers a unique perspective on life, in print, in person and through the camera lens. Her focus is on advice, beauty, fashion, lifestyles, relationships and things that help make life easier, more successful and more fun. Please follow Alison on Twitter @advicesisters and check out her other web (advice-related) sites: &

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