Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Alix Klingenstein

...The kind you fill with little presents

My task was to talk about one of the best moments in life, which, personally, would be eating, and the great edible finds around us. However, now advancing into this Christmas and holiday season, I feel sidetracked by potential gift ideas. There have been many times when my girlfriends and I have sat or walked together and discussed our favorite products. The conversation begins with a favorite French shampoo and conditioner then proceeds to wind its way around the world with a scrub from South Asia not to mention a magical stain remover.

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I thought it might be useful to start with such a column, ideas turned into packages to stuff our light, saggy stockings on Christmas Eve. Needless to say, it took some gentle persuasion to calm the husband on the global purchasing here, but he is beginning to rescind his objections based on some of these goods.

At a winery in South Africa a few years ago, I picked up a small white bottle with a red label 'Oops-Red Wine Stain Remover.' This is a secret Australian concoction that the vintner raved about. Fast forward now nine years later... It is true to its name and has removed many other stubborn or dangerous spills, spurts and dribbles. Its New World counterparts pale miserably by comparison. Initially it was very difficult to find but is now easily bought online with efficient shipping directly from in Australia.

Kérastase shampoos and conditioners: the silky gold of the hair cleansing world. I was initially attracted by the gorgeous smells of these products, but their quality cast its spell and called us all back again and again. In the Upper Valley we are fortunate to find them in Hanover at We're Makin' Waves, 34 S. Main street. I would take a moment to read about the series online because there is an abundance of choice.

One of my favorite discoveries in some of the world's hotels is the line of soaps. This is especially exciting in India, where we discovered Forest Essentials products in the lovely bathrooms. The company specializes in shampoos, conditioners, body milk, soap and bath gels. Their Ayurvedic motto maintains that if you cannot eat it, then why take a chance applying it to your skin. In fact those who have read a little Indian history may remember that this land was one of the centers of perfumery many centuries ago, masters of scent along with the ancient Persians and Arabians. The highlight of my day was digging two fingers into a carved wooden bowl filled with an oily, sugary scrub that worked wonders on the skin. These are their line of what they call body polishers with cane sugar and tamarind or burnt orange and cinnamon, but two of the unique scents. The glycerine soaps share the same rich aromas. Some of the products are available at amazon but there is a better, fresher choice directly at

Closer to home and now with a display shop right in Newbury Market, 5 S. Main Street in downtown WRJ, there is Flourish. They do a line of natural body care created from their own wildflower infusions grown in their fields. This local company also has its own sugar scrubs that are cleansing and fresh: honey blossom sugar body polish and the lemongrass sugar body polish are my favorites but there are two others, a lavender mint and a patchouli tangerine. You can feel the skin sigh with moisture.

I wonder how many people know about emu oil. I went to the Upper Valley Food Co op to ask the all-knowing Sunshine, star of this store's homeopathic section, about something for scars/scrapes/blemishes and so on. She directed me to the small white bottle with apple green lettering: Vermont Premium Emu Oil. This is a must-have for anyone's cabinet. It speeds healing for said scars, scrapes, mosquito bites and minor lesions and apparently has a whole other-worldly list of valiant claims!

And finally, heading west on Route 4 to the Bridgewater Mall, what better way to cap the season than one of the loveliest, most delicate decorations: the Miranda Thomas porcelain ornament. It is a hand-painted, small white porcelain sphere with 24 karat gold hand-painted scenes; the animal scenes vary and something about a look in their wee eyes feels so alive. Each one is magical.

Here's to happy shopping and happy holidays! 

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