Ebb & Flow Gift Set - VRAI Magazine

Francesco Bilotto -- VRAI Magazineby Francesco Bilotto

VRAI Magazine is excited to welcome Guest Contributor Francesco Bilotto. Be sure to check out our special Q&A in Part I and learn more about him.

Each year it gets more difficult to find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list. Myself included, It’s almost impossible to find something I would want or need. I wanted to challenge myself with sourcing the perfect gifts that would enhance a person’s life, space or in many cases, both! In order to do so, I had the daunting task (loved every second) of hitting the New York City Streets for a day (or two) of shopping. Traveling down Fifth Avenue, up Madison Avenue… back down to SoHo, and even a little searching in the Village.

After much success, my personal “gift giving spirit” has now been enhanced this season! I hope my curated “Five Favorites” do the same for you~

Happy Holidays, Francesco

1. For anyone who loves a GREAT candle or scent… as much as I do, Ebb & Flow

Ebb & Flow Gift Set - VRAI MagazineNothing makes a room feel more luxurious than a rich scent. Seriously, now that I have found Ebb & Flow, I can’t imagine my life without them. Their sophisticated packaging and remarkable attention to detail mirrors the aromatic atmosphere of each candle, reed diffuser and guest soap that they make. Ebb & Flow uses only exceptional natural ingredients, soaps are plant- and oil-based, soy candles are clean burning and have lead-free wicks, while diffusers use only the finest essential fragrance oils. Ebb & Flow prides themselves on infusing beauty to their collection to inspire both sight and smell and new scents and products are launching each year. “Ignite your senses and define the ambience in your home.” – Ebb & Flow

2. For the sophisticated and luxurious friend in your life… My personal favorite to add to any room – Artemisia pillow.

Artemeisa Pillow - VRAI MagazineTalk about CHIC – The Artemisia collections include fabrics produced solely from mills in Europe and the US, including linens designed by Rose Cumming, silk velvets from Scalamandre and the iconic “Les Touches” from Brunshwig & Fils. For the time being, all Artemisia pillows are animal print. While this may seem specific (and which I happen to adore), Rosemarie and Marcello found animal prints to be the one common denominator throughout centuries of interior design, whether it be traditional, modern and minimalist or eclectic. As patterns, they are truly versatile and can add a stylish and glamorous flair to any room, whether they are sitting on your modern sofa or your antique chair.

3. For the person who has everything, literally… MakeSpace. Can we just say collectively: “WOW, This is what I need” !

Makespace - VRAI MagazineMakeSpace is a next generation storage company that takes the pain out of traditional self-storage. With a few clicks, MakeSpace has bins or boxes delivered to users’ doors. Once users pack their belongings, MakeSpace gets them picked up and they also create a photo catalog of each box, so you can easily see what you’ve stored and retrieve it anytime to almost anywhere in the US (they don’t serve Hawaii, Alaska, or Puerto Rico, but they are working on it!). I love this personally because in a New York City apartment, after the holidays especially, it’s great to just “ship off” my decorations and clutter that I’ve collected. A perfect way to start the New Year and a perfect gift for anyone!

4. For the Fashionista & the Fabulous… Betty Halbreich, The Book: “I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist”.

I'll Drink To That - VRAI MagazineLaughter, knowledge, candor. This book has it all, not to mention a marvelous cover fit for any cocktail table! A Chicago Native, Eighty-six-year-old Betty Halbreich is a true original. A tough broad who could have stepped straight off Stephen Sondheim’s repertoire, she has spent nearly forty years as the legendary personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman where she works with socialites, stars and ordinary women off the street. She has helped many find their true selves through clothes, frank advice and her own brand of wisdom.

5. For the food lover… Lou Malnati’s Pizza.

Lou Malnati's Pizza Gift - VRAI MagazineAfter all my shopping, I just wanted a good slice of deep dish Chicago pizza! I love New York City and all it has to offer, but the one thing missing here is this… which finishes off my list of great gifts this season.

Taste of Chicago ships many “windy city” favorites nationwide, including pizza, right to your door (that’s a hint mom). A Chicago favorite for years, but is gaining national attention for being featured on shows like: Throw Down with Bobby Flay, Road Tasted, Pizza Wars, Chef Vs. City, America’s Test Kitchen and Food Wars!


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