This year, instead of loading up on a bunch of holiday gift guides, I decided to keep it simple.  I recently shared a guide covering a variety of categories (check it out HERE) and today, I’m sharing some of favorite products from small and niche brands.  I’m happy to see a few have recently been picked up by more well-known retailers which really helps them grow their business and continue to develop new and amazing products.

**You can click on all of the underlined words to view each item + Stay tuned to my Instagram as I will be sharing a very special giveaway with one of my favorite items in this gift guide later this week**

1. The first on my list is not an actual brand but one of my favorite speciality boutiques, P.O.S.H. CHICAGO.  At P.O.S.H., the owners have curated the most special and unique assortment of new and vintage French items for sale at their Chicago boutique and on their e-com site.  It’s a Francophile’s dream boutique!  You’ll find kitchen accessories, decor and books, a gourmet selection, kids items, the BEST selection of Mariage Freres tea and accessories that I have seen in the US (including the tea pots) and more.  I highly recommend stopping in when you’re in Chicago or shopping on their site.

2. You may know Thimblepress from their best-selling Push-Pop Confetti; which are the best out there!  I also love their Greeting Cards, Journals and Glitter Guide Collection.  Founder and Creative Director Kristen Ley is not only a great artist (all of the artwork is her creation) but she’s a genius and developed Confetti Tape.  It’s so cute and a must for your friends who have an obsession with gift wrap. (Like Me!)

3. If you read my White Wine Feature, then you know how much I love South African Wines.  They are delicious and will be a special holiday or hostess gifts, especially since it’s not the wine region your friends may think of when buying it for themselves.  My favorite red is the Kanonkop Pinotage. If you watch my Instagram stories, you saw that I enjoyed a bottle Thanksgiving weekend and it was oh so delicious.  For white, my favorite so far is the Fleur du Cap Sauvignon Blanc.

4.  A growing business category in recent years are niche gift box companies where you can select an already made gift set by category (ie: Beauty lover or Home Cooks) or you can put together your own box set choosing the speciality items on the website.  A brand new one and my personal favorite is Avec Amour.  Founder Heather Teger has curated the most beautiful gift boxes with lovely products from small artisinal companies.  I received the La Reve Gift Box full of indulgent and relaxing beauty items and I was blown away by the products inside and how pretty the gift set was.  I’ll be re-using the box to store trinkets from my travels. *They are currently offering Free Shipping if you order by 12/31*

5.  What started as a small boutique in one of my favorite NYC neighborhoods, Nolita, Bag-All designs the cutest collection of storage bags for any and all of your travel needs.  From beauty, makeup, shoes, lingerie, men’s products and travel cords, you will never be more organized.    I also LOVE this adorable French Collection

6.  Hi, I’m Angie and I am a CHOCOHOLIC.  One of my favorites to buy in Paris is the adorably packaged Le Chocolat des Francais.  Recently available in the US, this brand of delicious chocolate also has such fun packaging, using artwork they commission from a variety of artists.  They make such fun gifts for your chocolate loving friends or just buy some for yourself!  I have a soft spot for their dark chocolate bars.

7.  One of my favorite Paris fine art photographers, Georgianna Lane captures the streets, scenes and flowers of Paris in the most dreamy way.  On her ETSY shop, you’ll find a variety of gift ideas from notecards, wall prints, 2018 Calendars and more.   I also highly recommend her book PARIS IN BLOOM.

8.  Uncommon Green makes fantastic glassware etched with maps of your favorite cities and college towns. I own the Paris wine glasses and this year I’m gifting the University of Florida College Map pint glasses (where I went to college).  These are great for the men in your life who are tough to shop for.  Santa, if you’re reading this I’d also love the Paris Map Wine Carafe.

One of my favorite artists and NYC friends is Katie Rogers of Paper Fashion.  Her “Shadow Dancers” are ethereal and dreamy and I love watching them float around her Instagram.  You can now purchase her work in a variety of ways:  Art Prints of her dancers and gowns, Pajamas and robes for woman and children (I love my fashion week print PJs with Eiffel Tower), Casetify iPhone cases and even Wallpaper (which can double as wrapping paper).  Any pieces featuring her art will make a great gift for the girls and woman in your life.  This year, Estee Lauder selected Katie to design their holiday packaging & they literally brought her Shadow Dancers to life in their holiday commercial.  It’s amazing!  You can see her work in just about every department store around the world at the Estee Lauder counters.  Read all about the collaboration HERE.

SPECIALITY BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Over the past couple of years, I have really made more of an effort to take care of my skin and prepare for that fun aging process :). Having lived in Paris with access to so many different skincare brands has taught me a great deal about the importance of skincare.  I use products from a few brands but especially thanks to Darphin, my skin has never looked and felt better.  Along with high quality skincare, I’ve been paying more attention brands who make organic and vegan products. The US does not set high standards for the ingredients in beauty and skincare products and a lot contain toxins so it’s extra important to know what’s in the products you are using.  Fear not, French brands have very high standards for their hair and skincare products.  Here are a few of my favorite items that I use on a daily basis and also make great holiday gifts:

Darphin 8-Flower Nectar:  Institut Darphin is my go-to in Paris for facials and they do wonders for my skin.  I use (and am hooked on) several of their products including this Essential Oil Elixir.  They have a range of 8 elixirs and after the 8-flower, the Vetiver is my 2nd favorite and great for relieving stress.  I never travel without one of these elixirs and always apply once I’m seated on a flight and at night before going to bed.

Dionis Goat Milk Hand Cream:  Goat milk is extremely hydrating for your skin, full of vitamins and Dionis has spent over 30 years perfecting their line of hand creams, lotions and body wash.  Their scents smell delicious and I keep the small travel size hand creams in a few of my purses so I always have one with me.  You can buy them separately or in this great gift set.  My personal favorites are the Lavender Blossom, Peach Delight and they also have unscented.

Kypris Antioxidant Dew:  Earlier this year I was introduced to Kypris, a holistic and organic beauty brand founded in Los Angeles.  I am really enjoying their products, and especially LOVE using the Antioxidant Dew at night before I go to bed.  It has a light milky feeling which to me feels cozy. It’s also perfect for sensitive skin which mine tends to be in the winter.  This is a great gift for someone who loves using luxurious skincare products that are organic and free of toxic ingredients.

Bastide aix en Provence: A French brand full of history that Frederik Fekkai and his wife recently resurrected and relaunched.  The packaging is lovely along with their collection of soaps, body lotions and eau du toilette sprays.  I’ve loved watching the brand grow and become a cult favorite.  It’s a great gift that brings a bit of Provence into your home.

Osea Malibu Ocean Cleanser:  An natural organic and vegan beauty brand that I started using this year.  I really enjoy their shower scrubs but my absolute favorite item is their Ocean Cleanser with Seaweed.  Your skin feels amazing both during and after you’ve washed it.  I bring the travel size with me on every trip and just refill it as needed.  The Everyday Essentials Set is a great introduction to the brand and also perfect for a friend who travels often.

Olika Life Hand Sanitizers: Hand sanitizers don’t usually smell that great and I hate how they dry out my skin.  Suffer no more at the sake of ridding your hands of germs as my new friend BIRDIE is to the rescue.  These adorable hand sanitizers not only look modern and fun but the spray smells great and ACTUALLY feels hydrating even long after you’ve used it.  When you need extra help getting sticky stuff or makeup off your hands, just pull out one of the wipes found at the bottom.  You can buy BIRDIE in multi-packs or as singles.  Either way he makes a great stocking stuffer that your friends and family will surely love. Order by December 17th to ensure he arrives in time to make his way under your tree.

Last but not least, for the ladies in your life who love Paris and Francophiles in training, gift them a copy of my book,
xx, Angie

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE ROUNDUP / HOLIDAYS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD / FAVORITE WHITE WINE