One of the things that gives Toluca Lake its truly unique character is the small businesses that surround us. From artisanal home goods to eco-friendly fashion, the selections offered by nearby boutiques and specialty shops are second to none, meaning they’re the perfect places to get your holiday shopping done. You’re likely to experience personalized service and discover surprising gifts you can’t find anywhere else. Beyond their wares, however, these places are hubs for our community. They bring people together and support the people who support them, either by participating in neighborhood events or donating to local causes. By shopping close to home, we can make a big difference in encouraging and sustaining all the things that make our community so great. Here are just a few of our favorite local stores to check out this season — and throughout the new year.
Pergolina has been a community standby for one-of-a-kind gifts from local and international artisans for nearly 30 years. With every corner of the store brimming with items — from cookbooks and kitchenware to art pieces and home décor — “you never know what you’re going to find,” owner Paulanna Cuccinello says. But for those who need some direction, she suggests a gift that allows you to give and give back, like the SAINT modern-day prayer candle, which includes a prayer to a patron saint, holy oil and an Italian prayer coin. A portion of all candle sales goes to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to support its mission of finding cures and saving lives.
As the name suggests, mag.pi houses a whimsical assortment of goods for gifting. But this isn’t your average gift store. The Studio City boutique is “hyper-focused on items that are 100% meaningful,” owner Lauri Carleton says. “We support small manufacturers and many local artists, and the items we carry are ethically sourced, organic and give back in some form.” For example, the proceeds from the Parks Project T-Shirts fund preservation projects in our national parks, and mag.pi’s line of handmade necklaces and keychains give back to Angelenos for Trees, a local group dedicated to the preservation and regeneration of L.A.’s tree canopy. The shop also carries its own unique collection of clothing and accessories, all handcrafted in Los Angeles.
You might think of blossoms as a spring thing, but winter floral arrangements can bring festive flair to your holiday entertaining or gift-giving. From cherry red ilex berries in silver containers to velvety crimson roses, sleek and modern monochromatic, monobotanical designs are in right now, says Sarah Cioni, owner and lead designer at Toluca Lake’s Belle Terre Floral, who hand-selects blooms from L.A’s finest floral markets to create artful arrangements large and small. “If fragrance is key, watch for fresh cedar and pine boughs tucked among David Austin garden roses,” she suggests. “And for us Angelenos dreaming of snow, try a tablescape of crisp white centerpieces accented with bay laurel, cedar and cotton mingled with the candlelit ambiance of silver and gold votives.”
“Our top holiday gifts are always our cozy knit scarves,” says Soraya Ardakani, owner of women’s lifestyle boutique Rose & Sage. And for another surefire seasonal selection, she adds, “Who doesn’t love a new set of pajamas?” Sets from comfy luxury brand PJ Salvage have been crowd-pleasers since they were introduced at the store last year and are sure to be perfect picks for those who yearn to snuggle up by the fire with a cup of eggnog. But in SoCal we aren’t confined only to warm winter wear, and neither are Rose & Sage’s hand-picked fashions. For holiday entertaining or year-round partygoing, Ardakani recommends satin-finish midi skirts in a wide variety of colors and prints.
Brighten the holiday of those at the top of your list with a shiny keepsake. Whether you’re in the market for dainty necklaces or statement rings, there are plenty of styles, colors and types to choose from to suit every taste. Head to the trusted neighborhood jewelers Generales & Generales for advice on picking the perfect jewelry. Owner Peter Generales says you can never go wrong with a timeless timepiece, like the unisex Rolex Oyster Perpetual that’s perfect for both men and women. Or opt for one of the shop’s handmade pieces; the 14K rose gold diamond star pendant is a “lightweight yet durable lasting treasure,” Generales says.
As you make your shopping list, don’t forget to include the four-legged members of your family. Show your feline or canine love with a new toy, bed, bag of treats or pampering session, all of which can be found at á la Mutt — one of the favorite destinations for the pets of Toluca. Treat your furry friend to a professional grooming session complete with a relaxing bath, haircut, nail trim and other feel-good treatments. Afterward, spoil them with a stylish new collar and delicious snacks, such as CBD-infused pet supplements, which owner Laurie Bliss says are in demand this season. Bliss also recommends giving fellow pet parents (and their pets) a gift card for merchandise or a grooming session.
Amid the bustling boutiques on Studio City’s Ventura Boulevard lies “Hollywood’s best kept secret” for all things beauty — The Beauty Box. Owner Regina Tseikhin prides herself on stocking the latest cutting-edge cosmetics, skin and hair care, and fragrances, along with beauty tools that’ll make “your skin glow, your hair dance, your nails claw and your atmosphere radiate.” The shop also carries elegant and stylish home décor to beautify your living space, such as candles, vases and kitchenware. This season, Tseikhin recommends items from Michael Aram’s intricate Anemone Collection. Inspired by anemone flowers, “which in some cultures are said to bring good luck and offer protection,” this collection of homeware exudes “beauty and gracefulness; the curving stems and vibrant blooms are feminine and deeply alluring,” she says.
A bicycle is a gift that keeps on giving. Whether commuting to work, running errands, hitting the trails or exploring the neighborhood, it’s a healthy, fun and environmentally friendly way to get around. To pick the perfect bike for yourself or others, visit North Hollywood favorite Metropolis Bikes, which carries something for nearly everyone, with a huge selection for all types of riding styles. The store’s experts will help you choose the right sizing, style and more; they are also on hand for tuneups, repairs and bike customization. Accessorize your bike with a wide range of tires, locks, pumps, baskets and saddles — and keep safety in mind with plenty of colorful helmets to choose from.
Cannabidiol, or CBD — the non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis and hemp plants — has taken the world by storm in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a pain reliever, mood enhancer, anti-inflammatory and more. For the uninitiated, there’s no better place to learn about and purchase CBD products than North Hollywood’s Hemp World USA, which cultivates a wholesome and educational atmosphere. Owner Brett Kloepfer recommends gifting the shop’s special holiday bundle of CBD RxCannaCare skin-care products. These creams are formulated to help reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles and fine lines, stimulate blood flow, boost collagen production and more. In addition, the shop offers locally made hemp clothing and accessories, including pet leashes and collars.
Instead of fighting crowds at the mall, in-the-know locals head to Dana Drug Store for friendly, helpful service and one-stop boutique shopping that offers both everyday necessities and special treats. Give the gift of a luxury cosmetics set, like the Estee Lauder Holiday 2019 Blockbuster containing 12 full-size skincare and makeup favorites and a limited-edition travel case. Shop the large selection of jewelry, or select from self-care items like bath and body products, fragrances, candles, robes, neck pillows and more. You can finish it off with the perfect greeting card and gift bag, or the shop offers gift-wrapping service to make your holiday even easier.
For many families, picking out a Christmas tree is a heartwarming holiday tradition, one that Tina’s Trees owner Tina Callas loves being a part of every season. Located in Sherman Oaks and Calabasas, Tina’s Trees offers a robust inventory of noble fir, Douglas fir, grand fir, Fraser fir, Nordmann fir and silvertip trees that are guaranteed to last all season long. Callas says the most popular pick is the classic noble fir, which is known for its sturdy branches, full and layered appearance and distinctive blue-green needles. For even more ways to deck your home, Tina’s Trees also carries wreaths, cedar garland and more.
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