David Reali is the founder and designer of LYF SUPPLY, the apparel and custom embroidery line of hats and clothing. Started in Schenectady, Reali’s roots, many designs pay tribute to the city’s Native American culture and origins. (The artist is now based in Troy.) Other designs focus on artists and inspirational people of color as well as the overarching brand “Love Yourself First,” promoting self-love and individuality. Since LYF SUPPLY began, Reali has designed custom embroidery and merchandise for local artists, businesses and musicians. Check out his collection at lyf.supply. With such a deep connection to the arts scene and its players, we solicited Reali’s favorite shops and one-of-a-kind gifts for your wish list:

Invest in local artists: 

I’ve purchased a book from D. Colin (author of two poetry collections: “Dreaming in Kreyol” and “Said the Swing to the Hoop”), who also makes very nice jewelry under Empress Bohemia that I’ve purchased twice for my sister. Poet Liv McKee has a book called “Bulb” and Karyn Dyer AKA poetik also has a book that I’ve purchased twice as gifts, “Labyrinth of the Melaninated Being.”

We have a bunch of dope photographers out here. Booking a shoot with any of them would be a great gift for anyone. I might even put that on my list (jotting that one down). Give our thriving photographers and emerging photographers some business for the holidays.

Get your energy right

Hippies, Witches & Gypsies at 33 2nd St. is very great. They have sage, incense, Palo Santo (wood from a South American citrus tree prized for its energy cleansing properties) and many other things to meet your energy needs … or if you just want your home to smell really good.

Indie Vibez, in Watervliet, makes great soaps and body butters that I really love. The soaps come with different stones in them.

You can never go wrong with gift cards

I live in and love Troy, so I definitely want to get people out here to enjoy a lot of the spots that have character: Superior Merch has a great balance of atmosphere and drink quality, so a gift card is a great option. They have awesome locally made products and it’s one of the places that embodies Troy in a hip sense. Check out Little Pecks cafe. Go to Root3d on S Pearl Street in Albany for wellness. They have gift cards or you can purchase a two-week pass. 

Local businesses 

I do really love Positive Ink’s stuff. They have a great variety of shirts and hoodies that have pretty dope messages. They have a few classic pieces that really stick.

Though I haven’t been yet, I will definitely be going to Looks Albany, a vintage and streetwear shop; and Camp, a recycled clothing and footwear shop, both on Lark Street in Albany. 

Second Scoop Gelato on Broadway in Troy makes homemade ice cream and it’s really good. They have a lot of holiday events, including popups. Check them out. .

Shameless Plug!

You can never go wrong with LYF SUPPLY. We have lots of pieces that HIT, if you’re a HITTER.