December 13, 2010 Slideshows » Shopping

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Exceptional Gifts 

Francophile, Anglophile, road-tripper, or all three? Scriptura has the essentials for free spirits with an urge to roam. Travel notebook, $14.50; vintage London postcards, $12; Paris magnets, $24 at Scriptura (5423 Magazine St., 897-1555; Lakeside Shopping Center Annex, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 219-1113;
Whether the recipient is devoted to Catholicism or kitsch, this bejeweled Virgin Mary figure will elicit praise. Mater Dolorosa statue, $30 at The Herb Import Company (711 St. Peter St., 525-4372; 712 Adams St., 861-4644; 1311 Englewood Drive, Slidell, 985-643-8007; 5055 Canal St., 488-4889;
Antique bottles lend a hint of seductive mystery to any scent, and they're just as alluring on their own, $11 each at Discoveries Furniture & Finds (120 E. Morris Blvd., Hammond, 985-345-2577; 318 N. Rampart St., 569-0310;
Whether vegetarian or carnivore, a foodie with an inquisitive palate is sure to appreciate a gift certificate for classic Indian cuisine at Nirvana (4308 Magazine St., 894-9797;
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With rich emerald and turquoise hues, this vintage brooch looks positively peacock-inspired. Brooch, $55 at Trashy Diva (829 Chartres St., 581-4555; 2048 Magazine St., 299-8777;
Students at this beauty school administer spa-caliber pampering, including manicures, pedicures, facials, haircuts and coloring. A special promotion effective through Dec. 31 — buy a $100 gift card and get a $20 gift card free — means you can give extra indulgence to your loved one, or pocket it for yourself at the Aveda Institute (1335 Polders Lane, Covington, 985-892-3826; 3330 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 454-1400;
Give creativity a workout. Based on the concept of a fitness club, Piece 'a Work: The Art Gym offers its members art classes, studio space and a gallery where they can show finished masterpieces. Memberships, $80 per month, day passes $25 at Piece 'a Work (3436 Magazine St., 301-3868;
Who says grown-ups have to abandon their childhood dreams? Certified flight instructors are available to teach aspiring pilots and hobbyists alike, or take a private sunset flight as a sightseer instead. Sunset Photography Flight, $160; five hours of flight instruction, $700 at Fly by Knight Flight School (Hangar 19, 800 Judge Leon Ford Drive, Hammond Municipal Airport, Hammond, 985-340-8800;
In a sea of holiday confections, the praline stands out as both classier and more distinctly New Orleans than a bundle of candy canes or a tin of snowman cookies. Joyce's New Orleans Style Gourmet Pralines Gift Box, $15.99 at Breaux Mart (citywide;
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For the sexy woman on your shopping list, frumpy sweats just won't do. Instead, give her a Hustler hoodie, $50, and pants, $46 from Hustler Hollywood (111 Bourbon St., 561-9969;
Fashion is cyclical, and the Brag (Bra-Bag) handbag is evidence that the outer-underwear trend pioneered by Madonna is back. Available in two sizes, the surprisingly roomy Brag gives new meaning to the term "over-the-shoulder boulder-holder." Brag, $49.95 at Bra Genie (2881 Hwy. 190, Mandeville, 985-951-8638;
This elegant pendant by local artist Jose Balli is the perfect gift for the one you love: oyster pearl pendant in sterling silver, $135 at Jose Balli (796 E. I-10 Service Road, Slidell, 985-690-5990; 800 Metairie Road, Suite R, Metairie, 832-8990; 1201 E. Judge Perez Drive, Suite A, Chalmette, 279-7338; 70360 Hwy. 21, Covington, 985-892-8990;
Whether vegetarian or carnivore, a foodie with an inquisitive palate is sure to appreciate a gift certificate for classic Indian cuisine at Nirvana (4308 Magazine St., 894-9797;
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