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Unique LA’s Local Love- Where Savvy Angelenos Shop for Valentines Day Gifts!

Unique LA held a smaller, more focused event this weekend to help last-minute Valentine’s shoppers find that perfect gift for their special loved one. There were plenty of regular vendors, as well as some new ones. As always, it was very well curated, with a top-notch selection of Los Angeles-made clothing, jewelry, gifts and food. Above is The Rice Creamery, which makes delicious rice pudding and rice crispy treats.

There weren’t as many fashion lines as usual, perhaps because many of them are busy with New York fashion week (many LA designers have their collections in showrooms there this week). The online store Future:Standard has a great selection of eco fashion, and had a booth at Unique LA.  One of my favorites, Love Nail Tree, was back, and I found the perfect Valentine’s gift for myself! I love their tees and jewelry, it’s all very cool. Here’s their booth:

Designer Alison Iwamoto explained to me that she uses actual fruits and vegetables to make the molds for these vases, giving them a truly lifelike texture.

It’s unfortunate that Unique LA only happens twice a year, as there are so many great designers to choose from. However, the website gives links to all the vendors’ websites, so it’s easy enough to find them the rest of the year. There are plenty I’ll be looking up when I have more money to spend.

The one thing I did really splurge on was completely unexpected. I’ve never been much of a salt eater, I use it very sparingly. However, Hepp’s Salt Barrel was irresistible! Their salesman gave me a taste of their white truffle salt and I knew I had to have some. Then I smelled the applewood salt and was immediately transported to a small town in North Carolina, the smell of a smokehouse drifting through the forest on a crisp autumn day. It was so good I’ve used it in every meal this weekend. The scent is almost more intoxicating than the Further candle I was glad to scoop up as well. Further candles and bath products were in every bathroom at the Opportunity Green conference, and I fell in love with the scent. The story of how they’re made is even better.

Unique LA is a wonderful celebration of American-made products, and plans to expand to NYC and San Francisco this year. What’s great is to see how the show has evolved over the years. When I attended the first show, the eco products were in a separate room. With each subsequent show, including the one I covered here and here in 2010, the eco products are in the main room, and commanding a larger percentage of the total floor space. I can’t wait to see what they have in December!

Written by Susanna Schick

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in Los Angeles for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles' streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she's converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.

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