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The Best Nail Polish Gift Sets to Give This Holiday Season

Best Nail Polish Gift Sets to Give in 2021  Holiday Gift Guide

Allure / Soleil Summer

Nail polish sets, perhaps more so than any other type of beauty product, are quite possibly the perfect holiday present. They are truly the gift that keeps on giving — the recipient gets multiple shades, all of which last and last as they're used over and over again. And considering that the public-health circumstances of the last couple of years turned many of us into well-practiced at-home self-manicurists, they serve as an opportunity to keep up our recently improved nail-painting skills. Nail polish is loved by people of all ages, and really, can you think of any other non-edible product better suited for an advent calendar? 

Thankfully, all of your favorite brands are offering awesome kits that will get rave reviews from the folks on your gift list. Should you find yourself stumped over what to buy for your perfect stranger of a Secret Santa designee or your beauty-loving best friend has expressed interest in doing their own gel manicures, we've found fabulous nail polish sets at every price point and in a huge variety of colors. 

Our picks will give your recipients fun shades to choose from for months to come. But don't be surprised if they crack the bottles open immediately, especially considering how festive some of the selections are.

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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I Cooked at Home for Two Weeks—Here’s What I Made

Source: Alaina Kaczmarski for The Everygirl

When the little delivery monster calls out to me when the clock strikes 7 p.m. and everything in my fridge just “doesn’t sound good,” I can rarely resist. I live alone; eating out is honestly more economical sometimes, and there’s always less clean-up than cooking at home. Win, win. But I was getting to a point where I craved getting coffee and a bagel in the mornings, a burrito bowl for lunch, and sushi for dinner—and my body and wallet were straight-up begging me to cook a damn meal for myself.

I embarked on a journey to eat at home for two weeks (coffee runs not included), and I’ll be honest: It wasn’t easy. Will I ever be the person who cooks everything at home and only goes out for a little special treat? No, I will always make impromptu Pad Thai runs whenever it strikes my fancy, but I learned a few tricks to combat the delivery demon once and for all. Here’s what I relied on the last two weeks: 


Source: Alaina Kaczmarski for The Everygirl


1. Meal Kits

I was always under the impression that investing in a meal kit would be just as expensive as getting takeout except with all the clean-up I don’t want to deal with, but Blue Apron made me a believer. I get a takeout-worthy meal for cheaper than I’d spend ordering out, get to flex my cooking muscle, and can always try new things. Blue Apron makes eating at home feel like you’re doing something special. I live alone, so I always eat one portion for dinner and the other for lunch the next day, so I get two meals out of each, which saves me a massive amount of time and money in the long run. And every meal is truly as good as something I’d get delivered, but I rest assured that my wallet will thank me afterward. 

Blue Apron introduces me to tons of new ingredients and recipes that I otherwise would never pick up for myself—like a vegetarian pasta or a fish I’ve never cooked before. They have a variety of meals and new foods that I’m always excited to try (but admittedly get excited when my favorite recipes pop back up too!). This week, I tried a pasta dish with pancetta and breadcrumbs. If I saw that on Pinterest, I’d skip right over it because I wouldn’t know what I was doing, but now, I put the recipe card in my kitchen cabinet and already have plans to make it again.

When cooking got a little old, my Blue Apron box revived me again. If you want to try Blue Apron too, sign up to get up to 14 free meals (!) and free shipping on your first box!


2. Meal Planning

I am the first to admit that I do not like meal prepping, but I stand by planning my meals. While this isn’t necessarily food, it’s truly what kept me accountable. I keep a planner with my meals for the day, and every Sunday, I plan my meals and make a grocery list simultaneously. Then, I know I have everything in the fridge to make what I want and I’m not scrambling to get all the ingredients when the day comes (á la the French). 



3. Frozen Meals

I would live on frozen gyoza and rice if that wasn’t super weird. I am the first to admit that even on my best day, I don’t want to spend a bunch of time in the kitchen prepping, and I really don’t want to buy a ton of veggies and produce that’ll just go bad in my fridge when I inevitably don’t use them up. I relied heavily on frozen options to get me through the nights when I didn’t have anything prepped. 

I did a big haul of frozen fruits and veggies, rice, meat, and easy one-pan meals to get me by, and I used at least one of them every single day. This alone saved me so much money instead of letting food—that I really had intended to eat but just didn’t get to in time—in my fridge go bad. This also was a godsend when it got to the end of the week. When I’m “out of groceries” (AKA all my favorites) is when I really fuel the delivery monster, but having stuff in the freezer once I’d used up all the meat and pantry items I had at the beginning of the week kept me on track. 


4. Pasta

There are about a thousand variations of pasta out there, and I’ll be honest, I’ve cooked probably 800 of them. Noodles are always on the docket because I can keep a few different types on hand with all the classic sauce combinations. I love classic vodka rigatoni, spaghetti, udon or soba stir fry, spicy garlic noodles—I don’t discriminate. All noodles are good. To make them feel special, I always add a protein and doctor them up with seasonings and sides, like a salad or steamed broccoli. 



5. Bagged Salads 

If you were a fly on the wall during my workdays, you would see me eat a plethora of pre-made salads. It’s a running joke that I bring it to the office pretty much every single week. They’re so easy, and if you ask me, a good bagged salad tastes as good as the $15 salad the rest of my coworkers go for. I always add a good protein (I swear by frozen air-fried chicken nuggets—don’t knock it ’til you try it) and make sure the package has all the fixings, like croutons, dressing, and toppings. These are so easy to pick up from my local grocery store every week, so I never have an excuse to order out my lunch. Plus, they pack up easily to take to the office. 

I usually stick to ones that have good toppings, like Asian Crunch or Bacon Ranch, and I eat a Caesar (with either romaine or kale) once a week.


6. Comfort Food

While I love a fancy quinoa bowl or a $12 smoothie as much as the next person, the majority of my takeout budget is just on comfort food. You know, pizza, late-night mac and cheese, tacos, and burgers. But keeping versions of my favorite comfort foods at home made it easier to not order them out. When I knew I’d want to order pizza during a movie night with friends, we opted for a frozen one with a bunch of appetizers instead. I keep frozen mac and cheese in my fridge for late nights, and I made sure to add a taco night into my weekly rotation. Once I tuned into what I spend the most time craving, I made sure to keep it at home so there were no temptations (this really helps if you crave a 10-piece chicken nugget and fries after a night out—trust me).


What happened after 2 weeks?

Well, first, I went to an epic sushi dinner. But then I looked back at everything I’d spent over the previous two weeks compared to before I tried this experiment, and the result was astonishing. I had been spending so much money eating out, whether on my own or as a social activity with friends, that I could pretty easily curb. There’s no reason to order out every time my friends want to have a night in or when I’m walking home and something (@burrito bowl) sounds good in the moment, and now I have a solid list of options for when those moments strike. 

Plus, I can’t deny I feel eons better when my diet isn’t exclusively carbs and sodium, but I think I knew that and just pretended I didn’t. Hopefully, this reminder will actually stick. 


Craving Fast Food? Try These 15 Homemade Options Instead




This post is sponsored by Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.

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Why Everyone Should Watch ‘Only Murders in the Building’

Source: Hulu

Crime podcasts, YouTube channels, TV shows—you name it, and I’m there. So when the Hulu original true crime and comedy hybrid Only Murders in the Building dropped, I was intrigued. An avid Nancy Drew fan (and self-proclaimed lock picker) in my childhood, I knew this show would be right up my alley. And once I saw that Selena Gomez would grace me with her presence in every single episode of the series? Well, now I had to watch.

The murder mystery TV show stars Gomez along with renowned actors Steve Martin and Martin Short as an unlikely trio of friends in the exclusive Upper West Side Arconia Building as they solve the murder of fellow resident Tim Kono. As any true crime junkies would, the three realize the police are wrong in their ruling of Kono’s death as a suicide. With a passion for uncovering the truth and searching through a dead neighbor’s apartment, they take the mystery into their own hands. Documenting their progress, the three create a podcast called, you guessed it, Only Murders in the Building. While each member of the group possesses a deep love for true crime, their conflicting personalities and ability to turn any situation into a hilarious exchange create a thrilling yet quirky adventure. It’s heartfelt, it’s funny, and there’s a dash of danger—a perfect recipe for a true-crime show.

Though the anticipation of having to wait for new episodes every week week nearly killed me, I made it to the final episode and just need to talk about all of the best moments from the series (and the plot twists!). Here are the best moments and takeaways from Only Murders in the Building—and don’t worry, you won’t find major spoilers here!


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1. Selena Gomez Can Do No Wrong, Ever

While this may have been a well-established fact if you ever paid any attention to anything Ms. Gomez has worked on, from her own makeup line to her most recent acting gigs, it’s clear that Selena can truly own any role she gets. In Only Murders in the Building, Gomez plays Mabel, a mysterious yet sassy and wicked-smart city girl whose affinity for solving mysteries makes her all the more drawn to the case of Tim Kono. Describing sneaking into a dead guy’s apartment and going through his stuff as “an afternoon,” Mabel doesn’t shy away from danger. I mean, our first introduction to Mabel is seeing her relish in a dream of stabbing a man to death with her knitting needle, so we know we’re in for a powerhouse of a woman.

While Gomez does an impeccable job of playing the witty, independent woman we all want to be, she also flawlessly shows a more vulnerable side to Mabel. Let’s take, for example, Mabel’s relationship with Charles (Steve Martin) and Oliver (Martin Short), two “olds” who make up a caring yet, at times, awkward remainder of the mystery-solving trio. When Charles commits a 21st-century faux pas of signing his name at the end of a text to Mabel, we see our first instance of a smile from the tough-as-nails New Yorker Gomez portrays. I even found myself chuckling as she responded, “FYI, you don’t need to sign your name.”


2. We Need More Parodies of Crime Shows

Regarding the story itself, Only Murders in the Building is a show I never knew I needed in my true crime love life, but wow was I happy Hulu brought us together. Even in the first episode, the lively theme song is our first clue in seeing that this isn’t going to be the dark, serious murder mystery we’ve grown accustomed to. From our introduction to Charles, a Hollywood has-been, and Oliver, an absolute theater-geek looking to make a quick buck anywhere he can, we can see that though the show depicts a grisly murder, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. And as a viewer with a love for the kind of humor this comedy-meets-drama supplied on the regular, I was happy to sit back and laugh.

On the surface, Only Muders in the Building appears to be a crime drama. If you look past the clever dialogue and utterly absurd situations each character finds themselves in, it is about solving a murder. But, with a deeper look, we see that the show is genius in that it actually satirizes other murder mysteries. Completely self-aware of 2021’s influencer culture, our characters don’t want to simply solve a mystery, they want to create an entire podcast centered around the death of a neighbor—and, of course, get rich while doing it. With references to murder mystery tropes like following a cab around a city to a plethora of old-school Hardy Boys references, this gives us a refreshing take on the classic crime drama genre.


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3. You Don’t Have to Have Everything Figured Out, No Matter Where You Are in Life

This show was more than I expected in its perfect blend of comedy and crime, but what I really didn’t expect was the show’s depiction of Charles and Oliver. While Charles is an ex-actor of a somewhat forgotten TV series, Brazzos, Oliver hasn’t had much luck in his theater career despite seemingly giving it his all. Both men clearly want more out of their lives, and, as unconventional as it seems, solving a murder together was just what they needed to finally find a larger purpose.

Only Murders in the Building makes a bold choice to focus on the personal growth and, as I have dubbed, a second coming of age story of two characters you would think would have everything figured out by now. Instead of giving us the worn-out narrative of the ambitious 20-something-year-old trying to make it big in their career, we see Charles and Oliver struggle with decision-making in their family life and financial situations. Charles grows from a socially anxious loner to the level-headed, sure-of-himself leader of a podcast. Who would have thought a retired actor and Oliver, a theater director who hasn’t had work in ages, were the perfect recipe to run such a successful podcast? If anything, Charles and Oliver show us that you don’t need to have everything figured out early in life; you just have to roll with the punches and follow your passion.


4. Sting Really Should Have Done More Acting

The cast of Only Murders in the Building is star-studded, with the likes of Tina Fey and Jane Lynch accompanying the already impressive main roles. However, just four episodes in, in an episode appropriately titled, “The Sting,” we see former frontman of the Police, Sting, appear as one of the murder-fearing residents of the Arconia. The “Every Breath You Take” singer stars as himself—because seriously, who else could Sting play?—and for a brief minute, he even becomes a suspect of the murder.

Each scene with Sting made me laugh, from the moment our mystery-solving trio brought him a turkey dinner to Sting’s several diva-esque outbursts. We’re able to join Charles and Oliver in their starstruck excitement since, they too, make a big deal out of the fact that the music icon is in the show.

Though the show didn’t bless us with his presence in every single episode (sigh), we do learn that he can hold his own as an actor. I mean, seeing that he depicted a slightly more aggressive and cocky version of himself, I was considering if Sting could really be a cold-blooded killer. Bottom line: I fully expect Sting to do more acting in the future because it’s clear that he has the acting chops.


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5. You Really Don’t Know Your Neighbors

With a title containing the word “murder,” you already know that the show is going to give twists and turns and a healthy dose of betrayal. And let me tell you, we get all that and more. Throughout the series, the show slowly introduces us to every Arconia resident—AKA a possible killer—and their backstories and alibis as Oliver, Charles, and Mabel come closer to revealing the murderer. At first, each character appears normal and even bland, but we come to find out what makes each person tick, what they may have noticed the night of the murder, and in the case of Howard, the father of a recently deceased cat, what’s in their freezer.

While I’m all for seeing the residents of the Arconia bicker, banter, or yell at each other—pure entertainment—I began to wonder how well I really know my own neighbors. Only Murders in the Building goes to show that not everyone appears as they seem. While I’m not a proponent of running around thinking my neighbors are murderers (my life is far too boring for that sort of thing), the true crime genre makes a point of saying you never know that much about a person from mundane elevator small talk or passing each other on the street.

Truly, we never know what someone else is going through, so shouldn’t we make it a point to get to know our neighbors a little better? Without a trio of strangers talking to each other, we never would have gotten our favorite podcasting group. So maybe take this as a sign to strike up a conversation with your neighbor—just hope that they don’t have a cat in their freezer.


6. Don’t Listen to the (Podcast) Haters

A little cliche in and of itself, if the characters of Only Murders in the Building can teach you anything, it’s to focus on what you know is best for you because you know yourself best. If Mabel would have listened to her mom and stayed away from the investigation, she wouldn’t have solved the murder. If Oliver would have listened to literally anyone around him, he wouldn’t have initiated a podcast that became one of New York’s favorites. Sure, facing danger like this may not be the best advice to listen to, but there’s some truth in that you can’t listen to what everyone else says you should do. Sometimes, you have to go off the beaten path.

Oliver, especially in his own eccentric way, can be a handful and sometimes completely cringey. I mean, trying to sell your murder podcast merch at a resident meeting about said murder? Not the move. But the way he marches to the beat of his own drum, fearlessly making a scene but getting stuff done everywhere he goes, basically made him my role model. It was his own idea to look into the case when the police ruled Tim Kono’s death to be a suicide, and it turns out, he, along with Charles and Mabel, were right in doing their own investigation.

Oliver, while unconventional, is a reminder that in all you do, going your own way—whether it’s to create your own podcast, start your own theater production, or maybe even cook a turkey for a dinner party with Sting—can be just what you need.


Selena Gomez Elevator GIF by HULU - Find & Share on GIPHY


7. Bonus: Trust Your Gut Feeling

Without giving any *major* spoilers away, the last episode of the series comes with a huge plot twist. Though our favorite trio has taken down Tim Kono’s killer, we still see Mabel feel a little uneasy as everyone around her celebrates a closed case. Over a glass of champagne, she asks, “Doesn’t it feel like there’s still a few loose ends?” That’s when I knew in my gut that something wasn’t right. Of course, the finale of the episode reveals a bloody truth and we know Mabel was right in trusting her own intuition and keeping her guard up, even as Charles and Oliver relaxed.

And what can us mystery fanatics learn from this? Whether you’re searching for a killer or wondering if you kept your garage door open, trust your gut feeling. You’ll thank me—and Mabel—later.


Final Thoughts

Only Murders in the Building is what I would call a joyous yet dark misadventure of what has to be the most lovable trio of amateur sleuths. While at heart the show is a story of a murder and an unpredictable mission to find a killer, there’s so much more than that. Mabel is tough as nails and totally an inspiration to me (and my closet), Charles shows me that letting go and taking a breather are necessary, and Oliver is a reminder to not care about what other people think.

Whether you watched the series along with me or needed a reason to start it, you’ll definitely want to solve the mystery of what happens in season two. Hulu confirmed Only Murders in the Building for another season, and while it may be wrong, I can’t wait for more murders and misadventures at the Arconia. So, while we wait, pick up a Hardy Boys book, grab your knitting needle, and pay attention to your neighbors—you might even find your own mystery to solve.


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How to Style Your Wardrobe Like a French Girl

Source: @sezane

French style is effortless, distinct, and has the rest of the world wondering if there’s something in the l’eau. Women around the world have tried to emulate French girl style for years, and I am no exception. In fact, I’m such a Parisian-wannabe and so into French fashion that one time I moved to Paris for six months to intern for ELLE France and take classes on the history of French fashion (shameless plug, but whatevs). The truth is that the cliché is right: it really is that special je ne sais quoi. But until we can identify the quoi in their style, here are six styling tips I picked up while in Paris that you can use, no matter where you live. 


1. Stay simple

Because I idolize her (and had a lot of exams revolved around her in my fashion class), one of  Mademoiselle Coco Chanel’s famous style rules was “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” In other words, it was the old school version of “do less.” French style is about simplicity, which means letting a few key pieces speak for themselves, like a few delicate pieces instead of stacks of jewelry. If you want to wear a statement piece, choose only one, whether it’s a hat, statement pair of shoes, or scarf (very French, non?), and pair it with the best Parisian accessory: simplicity.

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2. Have a go-to uniform

Every Parisian celebrity and style star, whether it’s Jeanne Damas, Clémence Poésy, or Audrey Tautou, have an outfit formula that they wear over and over again. In fact, this might be the secret to their unfailing style–they know exactly what works, what they like, and what they feel comfortable in. In other words, when you got a good thing, why change it? To make your own uniform, have a go-to outfit combo like skinny jeans, a tee, and a blazer, that you know you feel great in, and buy multiple different styles and colors in those same pieces. Can’t think of a go-to outfit formula? Check out our French Capsule Wardrobe for inspo. 

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3. Use the element of surprise

Model and style icon Ines de la Fressange said that the key Parisian style secret is to “Always keep them surprised. If they think you’ll wear heels, wear flats. If they expect flats, wear heels.” I’ve been a personal fan and follower of this rule ever since my mom and I got in fights because I wanted to wear high heels to high school (true story). Bottom line: even if you have a uniform, don’t let it make you predictable. Add an element of surprise in every outfit you wear, whether it’s a single rip in your otherwise brand new jeans, or a fancy jacket with your casual tee.


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4. Try relaxed silhouettes

That “effortlessly chic” style is hard to fake, but I learned that a big proponent of the “I woke up like this” style has to do with the silhouettes. You won’t find many tight or bodycon silhouettes in French fashion. Instead of tight skinny jeans that you can hardly move in, Parisians opt for slightly straight legs and a relaxed fit. Instead of a bodycon dress for a night out, a Parisian might opt for a pair of trousers or maxi dress. When a tight pencil skirt is worn, it is well-tailored, perfectly fitting, and paired with a loose fitted top so the silhouette is not too skin tight. Play around with whatever silhouettes you feel best in and then rock it, knowing that the “effortless” comes from what we genuinely love.


5. Mix dressy with casual

Ines de la Fressange offered ways to master the “offbeat look à la Parisienne” to the New York Times, saying, “Wearing jeans with gem-encrusted sandals, not sneakers; a pencil skirt with ballet flats, not heels; an evening dress with a straw handbag, not a gold clutch; a chiffon print dress with battered biker boots, not brand-new ballet flats; a sequined sweater with men’s trousers, not a skirt; a tuxedo jacket with sneakers, not femme fatale stilettos.” In other words, the key to Parisian style is sophistication mixed with imperfection. Always add a casual element to a dressy outfit or a dressy element to a casual outfit. Never try to make anything too perfect, whether it’s your outfit or yourself.


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6. Perfect how you wear it

“[French style is] more the way you mix the clothes and how you move, how you open your bag, how you cross your legs—just little things that make a difference,” French fashion editor Carine Roitfeld, famously said. “With French women, you first see the woman and then you see the clothes.” Perhaps the most important way to achieve Parisian style is to work on the aspects that are more mental than exterior: perfect your posture, feeling confident everywhere you go, and never forgetting to smile. Clothing can only do so much–Parisian style is more than skin-deep.


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