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Holiday Gift Guide – Gift Sets

Gift giving season is officially upon us and while some people are easy to gift, many are not which is why many people end up not very happy with their gift. Hopefully I can help you give the perfect gift this year. Let’s start with beauty lovers and miscellaneous people (you know – your child’s teacher, office mate, etc – the people that are more acquaintances rather than friends).

Makeup/Beauty lovers will go wild for the Sephora Color Daze Blockbuster, a limited edition set that only surfaces once a year. Need a last minute gift or a gift for someone you’re still getting to know, the Melvita Rose Gift Set and the Cleanlogic Royale Orange Blossom 9-pc Gift Set are excellent options for when you’re stumped on what to get.

Holiday Gifting with HomeGoods & Carson Kressley

Tis the season of gift giving and in this crazy economy, you want to get the most for your money while still giving friends and family a most fabulous gift. A great place for amazing gift options that makes getting that special gift an easy task, is HomeGoods, an off-price home fashions store, which provides a spectacular selection of high quality, on-trend, eclectic home décor for merchandise for every room. It’s selections include brand and designer name merchandise at prices that are 20 – 60% less than finer catalog, specialty and department store prices, every day. HomeGoods recently held an event at their store where we learned lots of tips and gifting ideas from gifting expert, Carson Kressley.

The 25,000 square feet, HomeGoods offers an ever-changing assortment of Bedding, Decorative Accents, Gourmet Kitchen, Bath, Kids Furniture and Accessories, Home Office, Gifts for Pet Lovers, Gifts under $10.00, $25.00 and $50.00, etc. Check out a bit of video of Carson Kressley introducing just a small sampling of gifts for under $10.00


Carson Kressley Introduces HomeGoods Holiday Gift Ideas – Glasgow Skinner from Glasgow Skinner on Vimeo.

Along with the Gifts under $10.00 featured above, check out more of HomeGoods’ gift suggestions below.

Whether you’re shopping by your budget, or your gift recipient’s tastes, you’ll get something special at amazing, wallet friendly prices.

Real Simple Holiday Pop-Up Shop

Real Simple Magazine and Citi invite you to get holiday ready at their Holiday Pop-up Shop at Citi Pond in Bryant Park. The open to the public event features holiday gifting and holiday entertaining ideas, food tastings, fun giveaways, shopping and special guests.

The Real Simple Holiday Pop-Up Shop is open December 8-13, 2011 at Citi Pond at Bryant Park with DonorsChoose.org as the Real Simple Holiday Pop-Up Shop’s Charitable Partner. The opening day ribbon cutting ceremony featured Celeb Stylist & TV Personality, Carson Kressley, Good Morning America weather anchor Sam Champion, DonorsChoose.org founder Charles Best, and Real Simple Managing Editor Kristin van Ogtrop

The Real Simple Pop-Up Shop will go on all week with an amazing array of activities:

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Blogger Preview (invite only)

11:00 – 12:00 p.m.
Cupcake-Decorating Demo:
Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Make Your Holiday Real Simple:
Gifts with Home Editor at Large Danielle Claro

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Make Your Holiday Real Simple:
Holiday Recipes with Staff Food Editor Dawn Perry

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Gift Wrap Wonderland:
brought to you by The Container Store

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Make Your Holiday Real Simple:
Holiday Decorations with Senior Market Editor Kelley Carter

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Cooking Demo:
Real Simple Executive Editor Sarah Humphreys talks holiday recipes with Gail Simmons, Top Chef judge, Food & Wine Special Projects Director, and author of the upcoming memoir Talking With My Mouth Full

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Gorgeous Holiday Looks for Evening:
brought to you by L’Oréal Paris

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Q&A and Book-Signing:
Dylan Lauren, author of Dylan’s Candy Bar: Unwrap Your Sweet Life

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Gorgeous Holiday Looks for Day:
brought to you by L’Oréal Paris

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Cooking Demo:
Todd English, award-winning chef, restaurateur, and author of Cooking in Everyday English

2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Cookie-Decorating and Icing Demo:
Daniele Fiori, founder of Sweet Dani B
Great for kids! Children are invited to stay and decorate after the demo.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Cooking Demo:
Chef Ian Friedman of Celsius at Bryant Park

MONDAY, DECEMBER 12
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Gifts for Baby:
Ali Wing, Founder/CEO of Giggle

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Q&A:
Real Simple Managing Editor Kristin van Ogtrop chats with Mario Batali, chef, restaurateur, TV personality, and author of Molto Batali

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Simple Packing for Holiday Travel:
Brad John, Co-founder, Flight 001

Guests are able to shop some amazing gifts from Vera Bradley, books by Chef Mario Batali,online on zappos.com and stocking stuffers as well as sip delicious hot apple cider, get makeup touch-ups and hair consultations from L’Oreal

Cupcake Queen and Founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, Candace Nelson, was on hand at the opening to demo how to make some creative cupcakes for the holiday

So if you’re looking for something fun to do or if you’re taking a break from ice skating at the Citi Pond rink, why not hop over to the Real Simple Holiday Pop-Up Shop and indulge in the amazing activities and of course bring your camera and your holiday spirit.

All I Want for Christmas is My Sweet Tooth – Sweet Holiday Treats

You may think Halloween is the only time to indulge your sweet tooth but if you think about it, that day is only for candy. For something a bit more indulgent, the holidays are the perfect time to experience, share and enjoy some decadent desserts.

Godiva Parfait Chocolates

These absolutely delicious bite-sized pieces of heaven combine your favorite multi-layered dessert fillings: ganaches, mousses, and chocolate glazes, in a delicate chocolate cup. The incredible flavors include Strawberry Cream Trifling, Chocolate Spice, Eclair, Mocha Almond, Pear Almond Tarte and Death by Chocolate. These delights are available in an 8-pc Gift Box ($22.00) and an 18-pc Gift Box ($50.00), perfect gifts the chocolate lover in your life.

Godiva Holiday Barks

What’s better than the combination of melt in your mouth chocolate and the cool crunchy peppermint that is the Peppermint Bark or dried cranberries and crunchy almonds with warm cinnamon and a hint of orange that make up the Cranberry Spice Bark. Whether its for Christmas or Thanksgiving, these treats which retail for a mere $25.00 per tin, will be a huge crowd pleaser.


Baked by Melissa Cupcakes

You will fall in love at first bite when these delightful amuse bouche cupcakes meet your lips. These minis are about the size of a quarter but are packed with grand size deliciousness which is why they are a staple on the must-have lists. Flavor favorites include Red Velvet, Tie Dye (my favorite), Smores, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Cookie Dough and Mint Chocolate Mint. You can even get your cupcakes customized into a Christmas tree, but if you’d like to create your own design, Baked by Melissa has introduced a Cupcake Art feature where you can turn your own designs into cupcakes – turn your company logo into edible art that’s perfect for holiday parties. Indulge in 25 cupcakes for only $20.00.

Crumbs Cupcakes

Continuing on the cupcakes road, Crumbs is another go-to for amazing cupcakes. The lines are usually long and one bite tells you why. You’ll feel like a kid again when eating a Crumbs cupcake. For this holiday season, they have introduced some delectable flavors. Some notables include the White Hot Chocolate

An angelic delight of Vanilla Cake filled with white chocolate mousse topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting edged with mini white chocolate chips and topped with marshmallows and white chocolate drizzle…yummm, it will indeed be a white Christmas. Or if you prefect something a bit more sinful, the Chocolate Snowball

Decadent Chocolate cake with chocolate fudge filling topped with chocolate mousse covered with chocolate ganache and edged with chocolate sprinkles. Other holiday must haves are Candy Cane, Egg Nog, Gingerbread, Peppermint Hot Cocoa and S’Mores. Did you know that Crumbs cupcakes come in four sizes? Get your favorite flavor in Taste (bite size), Classic, Signature (double the size of the Classic) or the Colossal (at 6 1/2 inches tall, its perfect as a birthday cake) .

Entice and delight your family and friends with these edible forms of rapture, just make sure you have enough because they will go quickly. Cheers to a happy and delicious holiday.