"My experience at Angel's has reinforced my love of all things New Hope/Lambertville, reminded me of the importance of shopping small and local, as well as realizing how important it is to stay focused on people and their stories that would otherwise go untold or overlooked."
Not sure if you have noticed, but it has been difficult for me to head into town. Since starting this new blogging venture, I've found that I don't go into New Hope as much as I'd like, not nearly enough to have a constant flow of experiences and content to write about. In my defense, having the freezing temperatures and below negative feels we had in the first couple of weeks of the new year certainly didn't help (although there were some brave souls out there getting great shots of the Delaware that I really enjoyed from the comforts of my warm Ringoes home, but I digress).
In an increased effort to come into New Hope and Lambertville, I went on the LNH App to search for places to buy gifts for two cousins of mine, one turning 7 and the other 8. Now, I could've gone to Toy R' Us or Walmart, but let's face it, I would much rather support these communities, their businesses and families.
Thankfully, through this App, I came across Angel's Cards and Gifts which is in New Hope, but just outside of the main hub, where parking is free and plenty! What used to be a general Hallmark store long ago is now this sweet little gift shop in a mini strip mall sandwiched between a True Value hardware store and Staples.
Angel's Cards and Gifts (not to be confused with Angel Hearts which is located more towards the heart of town) is owned by a lovely woman named Angel, who originally worked in the pharmaceutical industry. As soon as this retail space became available, Angel didn't think twice about leaving the industry behind and moving towards her dream of owning a gift shop where she would be "surrounded by the most beautiful and prettiest of things." Angel hand picks everything in her store and she makes sure that there is truly something for everyone! As I walked up and down the aisles, I found something for almost everyone in my life, "this would be great for my mom" or "how sweet for the baby" even the more elusive memento and card for dad that were just right. Many of the items she chooses come from smaller businesses or companies that you would normally not come across at your typical gift store or big box store, which in my opinion makes it all that more special.
Amidst all of my meandering, there were two displays in particular that caught my eye, both of which came from Arte Italica which included pieces of fine dining tableware. The platters, mugs and canisters were so rich and beautiful, they reminded me of something my mother would just absolutely cherish.
As if I wasn't already impressed by this sweet woman and her unique little gift shop, she then disclosed something to me which I feel should be a well kept secret! She didn't tell me not to tell anyone, so.... with that in mind, Angel tells me that typically in the first week of December one of the artists comes from Italy and hand paints some pieces here in the store, even signs them for customers! To watch an artist at work on a piece from the "Natale" collection - what an incredibly remarkable gift to witness, let alone give! (Mom, I got you covered next year!)
Ok, so after wandering around in awe for a several minutes, I brought my focus back to my two cousins, no longer babies, but very active children in the 1st and 2nd grade. I was able to find an aisle of children's books and toys that were all so darling and unique that I couldn't help but feel nostalgic and attached to each item. Many gifts were for toddler and pre-school age, so I was afraid that finding something just right would be a challenge, but I was able to find some items that I knew they would enjoy! Regrettably, I didn't take any pictures of the gifts I purchased (really kicking myself now for it), but I got them each a eeboo Jefferson Plane, very cool Scratch and Sketch Books (one Vikings and the other Unicorn Adventures), and a charming little metal box charm with a mini heart inside (really kicking myself because now I cannot find it online anywhere).
Shopping at big name stores can be so incredibly overwhelming, with the tonnes of options that they carry, I always feel like kids already have most of what's on their shelves. I realize that isn't reality, but that's what my mind thinks when choosing a gift and there is so much to choose from. Then, I second-guess if I am making a good choice because they could already have it or just might not really be into it (yes, I have some retail anxiety. Is it obvious!?)
When I shopped at Angel's Cards & Gifts, I felt like I already had a personal shopper who simplified gift giving and narrowed it down to a few great options for me to choose from. Angel has an incredible eye and taste for what people are looking for. She chooses beautiful items that are timeless like Arte Italica dinnerware pieces, trendy little closet monster plushies for the babes of new age parents...
Angel can even make the traditional gift of a scented candle a bit less obvious and expected when it is accompanied with a glass jar of wooden matches.
My experience at Angel's has reinforced my love of all things New Hope/Lambertville, reminded me of the importance of shopping small and local, as well as realizing how important it is to stay focused and centered on people and their stories that would otherwise go untold or overlooked. I gained more perspective by choosing to come here for gifts and talking with Angel than I would have had I gone somewhere that is more "convenient." I'm just going to end this by calling it an overall huge win.