Yearly Archives: 2021

Holiday Gift Ideas under $25

holiday gift guide | Christmas gift ideas under $25 | Lady in Violet Blog

One of my most requested gift guides this year was holiday gift ideas under $25.  These gifts are perfect for gift exchanges and secret Santas.  You can bundle a few together or give them individually. These would also make great stocking stuffers!  Stay Tuned,  next week’s gift guide will be ideas for him.  What other gift shopping help do you need this year?

Best of the Sephora Sale

best items to buy in the sephora sale | Houston Beauty Blogger Lady in Violet

It’s that time of year to stock up on your beauty favorites during the Sephora Holiday Sale! The sale opens up in tiers based on your annual spending at Sephora, and you must be signed up for their Free Beauty Insider program.  The first group started shopping last Friday, and the final two groups start this week.

The holiday sale is a great time to stock up on favorites, try out a few new items and pick up a few holiday gifts.  If you don’t know where to start, I’ve rounded up some of my favorites in skincare, makeup, and hair care below.  I’m also sharing a little peek at what new to me products are on my wish list.

Rouge Members save 20% from 11/5-11/15
VIB Members save 15% off 11/9-11/15
Insider Members save 10% off 11/11-11/15

sephora holiday sale | best skincare products for antiaging | Over 30 Beauty Blogger Lady in Violet

ultra facial cream | protini cream | c-firma serum
3 phase reversal retinol system | eye cream | microneedling tool
midnight recovery concentrate | advanced night serum | pumpkin mask | firming serum

Skincare products can be pricey, especially good skincare products.  A sale is the best time to stock up on skincare in my book.  This list includes some of my favorites over the years in a few different skincare categories.  I’m linking some of my past blog post reviews on a few of these products below if you want to read more on my experience with them.

Retinol System
Microneedling Tool
Firming Serum

I’ve mentioned this pumpkin mask in a few previous beauty roundups.  It’s one of my favorites and leaves my skin so smooth!  I’ve been trying out different Vitamin C serums, and I still haven’t found one I like over this Drunk Elephant one. Same thing for the night eye cream.  Some have come close, but this is still my favorite for reducing fine lines and dark circles.  For night serums, the three I listed all left me with glowing skin in the morning and improved uneven skintone and redness over time.

sephora sale roundup | best hair products for frizzy hair | Texas Beauty Blogger Lady in VioletHAIR FAVORITES
recovery shampoo | recovery conditioner | no.3 hair perfector | scalp massager
humidity shield | dry shampoo | styling cream | hair balm

I’ve been dealing with damaged hair for awhile now, and a few of the products listed have been part of my hair repair journey.  I’ve noticed an improvement using this shampoo and conditioned a friend recommended.  I’ve already re-purchased because my results were good.  I just started using this treatment mask and loving the results.  I also added scalp massaging into my routine to help clear out the buildup on my scalp and improve circulation to help with hair growth.

My hair is naturally curly.  I live in a humid climate and love wearing my hair straight.  This humidity shield works! It’s not perfect, but it does make a huge difference! I dive more into hair products for heat and humidity in this post which also includes the hair balm.

This dry shampoo is still one of my favorites! It is on the higher end for dry shampoos, so a good item to stock up on during the sale.  Learn how I apply it in this blog post.

sephora holiday sale | best makeup products at sephora | Southern Beauty Blog Lady in Violet

better than sex mascara | monsieur big mascara | rose lip balm | contour kit
pink blush | brow power | finishing powder
pat mcgrath eye liner | KVD eye liner | advanced therapy lip balm | cc+ cream foundation | double wear foundation

And now the makeup!  I listed a few different options for mascara, eye liner, and foundation.  For mascara, better than sex is still one of my favorites.  I recently tried this Monsieur Big and fell so madly in love.  The volume and length were amazing and no clumping issues!  For foundation, these are my top 2 for coverage, and I love that they don’t feel super heavy on.

For the two eyeliners, I like both liner pens for different reasons.  The Pat McGrath tip is little more flexible which is great for creating winged looks and has a lighter feel when applying.  The KVD one has a slightly stiffer tip and helps me apply a straight and even line every time.  Both have staying power and no cross transfer issues.

I’ve raved on this contour kit before and have a tutorial on using it in this blog post.

The blush, brow powder, and finishing powder are staples in my makeup drawer!  That loose finishing powder gives the best airbrushed finish and helps give a matte look all day.

I transitioned to more lip balms over lip sticks after staining multiple face masks.  The advanced therapy has been a go to for years, and the rose tinted one adds the perfect natural color to you lips.

top picks from the sephora holiday sale | Houston Beauty Blog Lady in Violet

concealer | depuffing face mask  | bronzing powder | flawless filter
hyrdrating shampoo | hyrdrating conditioner | detox shampoo | dream coat

Outside of a few restock purchases, what is on my wish list??

I’m planning to stock up on hair products that have been recommended to help me continue on my hair repair journey.  (and yes a blog post will come once I have the best plan in place!)  This hydrating shampoo and conditioner were recommended to use every few washings since repair shampoos and conditioners can sometimes be drying over time.  I’m also getting this detox shampoo to use monthly to help clear scalp buildup which will hopefully help with hair growth.

I mentioned having naturally curly hair that I always want straight.  This dream coat came highly recommended as being similar to a keratin treatment to give me low frizz straighter hair for multiple washings and a little heat protection.  I’ll report back if it works!

This depuffing mask has a cult following and is often sold out! Great for using the day after an overindulgent night out.  Fingers crossed it is still in stock when I’m ready to place my order!

The makeup products all came recommended from makeup artists, so I’m planning to get one or two pending availability of the color I need.

Are you shopping the sale?  What’s on your wish list?

Holiday Gift Ideas under $50

holiday gift guide | christmas gift ideas under 50 | Lady in Violet Blog

Oh Hello November! Every year it just sneaks up on me!  ‘Tis the season to start crossing off those on your holiday gift list, and I am here to help!  I’m kicking off the shopping season with holiday gift ideas under $50.  Be sure to save this page because I will be adding more ideas all month long!  I will also be sharing extra gift guides over in my newsletter, so be sure to sign up here and get on the list!


What to Pack for an All Inclusive Resort Vacation

what to pack for an all inclusive resort vacation | beach vacation outfits | one piece bathing suits | US Fashion Blog Lady in Violet

After a year without traveling, I had two big trips this year both to all inclusive beach resorts.  My first was a big family trip to Dream Jade, and the second was my honeymoon at Secrets St. James in Jamaica..  It was my first time vacationing at an all inclusive resort, and I loved it!  I used to do a cruise every year, so I went in with the same packing game plan along with a few tips from family.  Since both trips were similar and about 6 weeks apart, I packed many of the same items for both.  Most of these pictures were taken at Dreams Jade in Mexico.  The lead pick was the only outfit photo I snapped on the beautiful Jamaican beach at Secrets St. James.


Before you start planning outfits, be sure to check out the restaurant dress codes at the resort.   Some require long pants for men, no tank tops during the day, and certain swim coverups.  You will spend most of the day in a swimsuit and coverup, so you may not need much else during the day unless you have excursions planned.


  • LOTS  of swimuits!  I packed bikinis and strapless suits for laying out by the pool, and  a few that would be comfortable for activities like snorkeling, kayaking, or excursions.
  • Swimsuit Coverups: I packed a variety from skirts that I could tie around my waist, shirts to toss over, and a few dresses.  I would pack at least one dress or shorts/top combo that you can wear into a lunch spot.
  • Beach and Pool Shoes: I packed an old pair of Old Navy flip flops that I didn’t mind wearing in the sand and that don’t get slippery when wet.  My patent leather Tory’s get slippery when wet.  I also packed a pair of water shoes for any water excursions like visiting caves or waterfalls.  These also come in handy if the beach has lots of rocks or shells.
  • Workout/Excursion Clothes: Even if you don’t have any excursions pre-scheduled, I would still pack something you could go hiking or wear on day trip just in case you change your mind once you get there.  I packed leggings, workout shorts, sports bra, tank tops, and sneakers.
  • LOTS of dresses! I preferred loose fitting and flowy maxi dresses for the evenings.  I also brought along a few shorter dresses.  You spend lots of time walking around outside, so flowy or short help with warm evenings or restaurants with no to little a/c.
  • A few other dinner options: I also packed some maxi skirts, tank tops, jeans, and bodysuits that could be mixed and matched into different dinner outfits.  I like my options.
  • Shoes for Dinner.  I packed wedges, comfy caged sandals, and my Tory Burch sandals.  Choose comfy shoes in case you have to walk to the other side of the resort for dinner.
  • A Breakfast option:  I packed a pair of shorts and tank top with built in bra to throw on each morning for the breakfast buffet.  It was quick and easy, and I didn’t have to be completely ready for the day.  I like my coffee as soon as possible, so this is a must for me.  You could also wear a swimsuit and beach coverup as well and head straight to the pool after eating.
  • Accessories including sun/beach hats, sunglasses, and a little jewelry.  I didn’t wear much jewelry, but I like having a few options for the evenings.


what to pack for beach vacation | black amazon swimsuit | black sun hat | Texas Fashion Blog Lady in Violet

black one piece bathing suit | black sun hat

what to pack for an all inclusive resort | blue one piece bathing suit | white shirt coverup | Houston Fashion Blog Lady in Violet

blue one piece swimsuit | white cover up shirt

what to pack for mexico vacation | burgundy swimsuit | black bathing suit cover up | Petite Fashion Blog Lady in Violet

black coverup dress | burgundy bikini top and bottom

what to wear on a catamaran boat | star print one piece swimsuit | white coverup skirt | Texas Fashion Blogger Lady in Violet

star print one piece swimsuit | white skirt cover up

what to pack for beach resort vacation | colorful mini sun dress | black sun hat | Houston Fashion Blogger Lady in Violet

colorful mini dress | black hat | sandals | sunglasses

what to pack for an all inclusive resort | dreams jade resorts | long black bathing suit cover up | Petite Fashion Blogger Lady in Violet

black dress cover up | black hat

what to wear on beach vacation | brown mini dress | caged sandals | Southern Fashion Blogger Lady in Violet

mini dress | sunglasses | c/o pink stone bangle

resort vacation outfits | teal maxi dress | Popular US Fashion Blogger Lady in Violet

what to wear to dinner at all inclusive resort | black maxi skirt | striped navy belt bag | Petite Fashion Blogger Lady in Violet

black bodysuitbelt bag | necklace | c/o teal bracelet | c/o clear bracelet

beach resort outfit for dinner | black embroidered maxi dress | Texas Fashion Blogger Lady in Violet

It rained on the night I wore the last one, so I didn’t get to snap a resort pic.  This maxi is perfect for a warm weather but want to look dressed up!  I also wore this outfit to dinner on my honeymoon.


  • Lots of Sunscreen and After Sun Lotion!  It’s expensive in the gift shop, so bring more than you think you will need.  Depending on your location, you may need Reef Safe sunscreen.
  • Be prepared for humidity! I skipped on straightening my hair and brought a curling gel along with hair ties and bobby pins for lots of fun pulled up and back hairstyles.
  • Towel Clips: You can find these on amazon and they are great for holding your towel in place when a breeze rolls in.
  • Yeti cup and a reusable straw: The resorts don’t really have straws.  We did get paper ones in Jamaica, but these weren’t the best in a frozen cocktail.  We filled our yeti cups with water and ice throughout the day, so we would always have cold water to sip on with our cocktails.  You can also put your cocktails in your cup.
  • Cash: Bring small bills for tipping and purchasing souvenirs.
  •  A pool floatie: This comes in nice if you want to relax in the pool, it and can fit flat in your suitcase.  We also saw balls and pool noodles.
  • Small bag to carry around: I packed a super cute belt bag that I could wear day and night.  I liked that I could just toss it on my waist, have my hands free, and not have to worry about where to set it during dinner.
  • Beach Bag: Bring a good size bag that will fit a towel, books, sunscreen, sunglasses, and anything else you might bring to the pool.
  • Books or Tablets: I love reading on the beach, so a few books were a must!  I preferred a book to a tablet, so I didn’t worry about it getting wet.

I’m sure I’m leaving a few things out, so I will keep adding when I think of other items.  If you have a must have, be sure to leave it in the comments so we can all add it to our list!