'Tis the seeeason....FOR ALL THE HOLIDAY RELEASES. To be honest, the only reason I'm excited for this time of year is because of the holiday releases...just kidding (not really). On Tuesday, Mecca dropped all of their gift sets so I bought the last thing I wanted from this round of releases (can I just say though that Mecca's holiday decoration is BE-YOU-TI-FUL. THE BAG IS DRIPPING GOLD). I would say I was fairly restrained? Fairly??!? Well, none of my purchases overlap (ie one set for eyes, lips and face!). There are a bunch of things that tempted me but I've managed to resist (thus far). Things like the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit, the Laura Mercier baked trio palette with the highlighter/bronzer/blush, the Too Faced and Bare Minerals sets (the set of 10 mini lipsticks for $53 is amazing value!) and a bunch more. Here are the three things that actually made my basket...

When the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette was announced, I was SET on getting my hands on it. Then...this sucker from NARS was announced. I was so torn between the two because, well, I couldn't get both!! (could I, I still could. NO I MUSTN'T). So ultimately I decided on the NARS for a few reasons. The biggest one being: value for money. And you KNOW I'm all about dat value for money. This palette retails for $100 and contains 29.5g of product..that's a regular value of around $244.13!!! Compared to HG which contains a measly 8.4g (not even a full Ambient Lighting Powder) and retails for $117. It's terrible value for money. And also, I think I got caught up in the hype? The only things I really wanted to try out of that palette were the blushes. It would've been great to try the other products but I just really didn't need them or have an overwhelming want. I figure, one day I'll just buy a full size HG blush!

Anyway, onto the actual palette at hand! This contains a BUNCH of different products, this thing is really jam packed. And can we talk about the packaging? It's gawjus. It's super solid, weighty with a secure closure and a big ol' mirror. I actually love the photograph on the front, I think it's really futuristic and cool, plus I like the colours. Some of the photographs on the other products are a bit riqsue though (or just plain creepy?)! The palette contains the Paloma contour blush, Laguna bronzer (containing more product that the full size, wut wuuuut), and four blushes - Robotic (LE), Blasphemy (LE), Luster and Dolce Vita. I will definitely be doing a full review with swatches, but so far, Laguna and Luster have been getting the most use from me! I've aaaalways wanted to try Luster - it's such a gorgeous gilded bronzey-peach! Laguna has actually exceeded my expectations. Despite being so hyped, I've never really taken an interest to it. I always thought it seemed a bit sheer and too shimmery. It actually gives off a lovely subtle bronze warmth, and like everyone says, the shimmer isn't too obvious!

I consider myself a beauty addict, and yet, before these, I had like zero truly matte, liquid lipsticks. Shaaaame (*rings bell*). I truly intend on remedying that on my US trip though (helloooo KVD and Sephora liquid lipsticks). This set though contains six of Stila's Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks; Caramello, Patina, Aria, Como, Chianti and Fiery. I believe Chianti and Fiery are limited edition? Don't quote me on that. Patina and Aria were really the ones that drew me to this set though, they are GORG. Como, the suuuuper ultra violet shade, looks daunting but I've been loving purples lately. Plus I think it would look amazing mixed with Chianti or Fiery. I have actually heard mixed reviews on this formula of liquid lipstick. Some people say they are amazing; non-drying, long-lasting, while others say pretty much the opposite! I'll have to see for myself hey. This set retails for $57 and I actually haven't done a value calculation yet (shock horror!). Full size contains 3mL and retails for $34. However, the packaging is quite conflicting here because these mini tubes say they contain 0.05 fl oz (1.5mL) but the box says 0.03 fl oz (1mL). Regardless you're still getting a good deal, and for me, it's about being able to try all of these different shades!

If there's a brand that KNOWS how to do a Holiday collection, it's Laura Mercier. Dayum gurl! She has some fyyyne sets and palettes out this year. Plus, that tortoise shell packaging? I DIE. Like I said I was super tempted by the Blush & Glow face trio (I aaaaalmost bought it because there was only one left. I resisted though (snaps for me) because I have a million bronzers (holla Too Faced) and I plan on having a million highlighters). The Sleek & Chic eyeshadow palette is also a stunna. I opted for the Caviar Stick collection though because I missed out last year and I really wanted to expand my eyeshadow stick collection - and these li'l guys get raves! They've upped the price this year unfortunately ($65 vs $55 last year) and I don't think the shades are as good, but they are gorgeous nonetheless. The set contains six minis (1g each) in the shades Sugar Frosted, Rose Gold, Amethyst, Khaki, Ganache and Aubergine. I believe Ganache and Aubergine are LE/exclusive to this set. I am super glad of the inclusion of these though as they have a creamy matte finish - no shimmer at all. They pair really well with the other shades to add definition, act as liner and just break up the shimmer. So far I've been LOVING Rose Gold, Amethyst (da classsics) and Ganache, and a full review is coming your way soon! In summary though, super creamy and pigmented, and pretty amazing lasting powder when coupled with primer and/or a powder shadow.

Phew! Hope you enjoyed my mini essays on each of these three products! Definitely let me know what your picks for Holiday 2015 are...but don't you DARE tempt me! :P

(Sidenote: this is my 300th post! Wowza, that is a lot of posts...who knew I would keep at this for so long haha. It's fitting that it's a haul though :P)