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News-Sentinel Gift Guide

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Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 8:13 am

Once again News-Sentinel staffers have selected the absolutely best gifts (Lodi bacon or Wonder Woman mixer, anyone?) to give and to receive this holiday season.

Pam Bauserman

Features Editor

If you enjoy cooking individualized meals, these ramekin dishes are for you. You can find various sizes at Lodi Cooks from $1.90 to $2.80.

From jewelry to home decor, if you like everything vintage, get a subscription to Victoria Magazine. The magazine features special hideaway places and recipes. Subscriptions are $19.95 for six months. Order at

Tired of wearing earbuds to hear your favorite music on your iPhone or iPod? Check out various docking systems, some that include alarm clocks, at Radio Shack. Prices run from $42.99 to $99.99.

For a heartfelt story about the true meaning of Christmas that will make you laugh and cry, try the movie “The Christmas Shoes.” It can be found at Vine and Branches Bookstore for $8.79.

Dan Evans

Chief Photographer

Last year my best friend’s mom made my a green scarf. It’s awesome. This year, I’d like to get an oversized knit hat — preferably tan or off white. Possibly free from any grandmother in Lodi who can knit.

Lodi has a lot of nonprofits, and this year I would like to donate to LOEL Center & Gardens. Tough economic times have made it difficult for everyone, but even small donations help.

I am tall and very skinny. It’s nearly impossible to find any dress pants that will fit me without at least taking out my sewing machine and taking in the legs. Dickies are one of the rare companies that make them skinny enough in the waist and long enough for my legs. Joe Hassan’s in Lodi, $20.

It’s no secret that I am a Disneyland fanatic. Even though I have visited the happiest place on earth many times this year I have only purchased one souvenir. An Abe Lincoln Vinylmation toy. But good luck getting one. They can only be purchased at Disneyland and they come in blind boxes, so you don’t know what you’re getting. Disneyland, $18.99.

Aztec and Native American designs are big right now. This Kato Pattern Stripe sweater is already sold out, but the cardigan version is still available. With any luck ol' Santa will pull trough and find the pullover version for me., $59.

I love Mexican food. I would really love a $50 gift certificate to Alebrijes Mexican Bistro. Soon they will relocate to Downtown Lodi, right down the street from my apartment.

I’d like a deep fryer because I like deep-fried foods. Homemade doughnuts, battered chicken and fish, bacon — all foundations of a healthy diet. Lodi Cooks, prices vary.

I recently received an older Amazon Kindle and I fell in love with it. I haven't read an entire book on it yet, but I’ve used it enough to know I want a new and thinner model with a better screen and wi-fi., $79.

Stephen King has become my favorite author over the last few years. His latest book, “11/22/63,” has received fantastic reviews and I’m excited to tackle it. Tom’s Used Books special order, $31.

Sara Jane Pohlman

Education Reporter

As an amateur bacon activist, I revel in sharing my love for candy meat with others all year round. If you’d like to share that love with me or the bacon connoisseur in your life during the holidays, here’s a few ideas:

Spice up a pot of bacon and baked beans with chipotle seasoning salt. $7.50 for a 4 ounce jar, Sea Salt Cottage, 13 N. School St.

Snack on a wedge of smoked cheddar from King Island Dairy in Australia for that smoky bacon taste in cheese form. About $6 for a small wedge, Cheese Central, 11 N. School St.

Beer aficionados recommend the Plowshear Porter to wash down a few crispy strips of bacon. It’s not too hoppy, and coffee undertones complement that salty tang. $18 for a 64- ounce take-out growler, Lodi Beer Co., 105 S. School St.

Chocolate-covered bacon is a festival rarity in Lodi. To make your own at home, pick up a block of semi-sweet chocolate, melt it down over a double boiler on the stove, and start dipping. About $7 for 1⁄3 pound, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, 115 S. School St.

The best bacon treats aren’t cheap. Save up with a smiling pink piggy bank and wallow in the irony. $8.95, Lodi Junction, 111 S. School St.

Bacon asks us to painfully sacrifice for the right to enjoy it by attacking the chef with spitting hot grease. Avoid sacrificing your favorite tee by donning this apron. $24.50,

Order this bacon print wallet to be reminded of your true love every time you break out some cash. $11.99,

You knew this was coming. Whether you prefer an old school skillet or microwaveable ease, don’t forget the actual meat. Around $6-$8 for a pound, at every grocery store in town.

Amber Dodd

Circulation Assistant Bookkeeper

I am most definitely wanting to trade in the ol' iPhone for the 8MP camera and Siri personal assistant on the Apple iPhone 4S. $199 at

A Wonder Woman Kitchenaid mixer would make my eyes sparkle with glee. Want, want, want. $199-$299 from Lodi Cooks (find the wrap online).

I need a sweet ride. If I’m going for one of the two-wheel persuasion, a beach cruiser is a must. $200-$400 at City Bikes in Lodi.

Once I found Mr. T Teapot, my mouth dropped and I fell in love. $10.50 by Lennymud at

I feel like a disappointment for not already owning the “Star Wars Complete Saga.” This could be the year that I redeem myself. $99 at Target.

A snare drum. Every drummer needs one. I’d love to have either a Crush Chameleon Ash snare, or this Pork Pie 13-inch-by-7-inch Little Squealer Snare Drum. $249.99 at The Music Box or

Another necessity of a drummer is decent headphones, like these Beats By Dre studio headphones. $229.95 at Best Buy or

It’s been more than three years since I moved to California from Texas. It’s also been more than three years since I’ve attended a Texas Rangers baseball game. I would LOVE tickets to a 2012 San Francisco Giants game versus the Texas Rangers. $28-$186,

My poor Chucks have nearly met their demise. It will take one good rain for me to admit that the gaping hole in the side is an issue and that they should be replaced. $50-$60.

The OCD in me cries out with a big wish for the OXO Good Grips Food Storage Pop Container 10-Piece Set. $99 at Bed Bath and Beyond.

What better way to support my college team than with a Texas Longhorns garden gnome? $16.99 at

Lauren Nelson

Lodi Living Editor

Keep your coffee hot on your commute and free from that plastic-mug taste with a Coffee & Dog Hair ceramic travel mug with lid from It’s a Grind in Galt. $14.

Polaroid is dead, but the Impossible Project has brought back instant film for those of us who love the dreamy effects achieved with those beloved Polaroid cameras. $21.99 at

I’ve been coveting “Home Made” by Yvette Van Boven, a cookbook with delicious recipes and photographs. $26 on Amazon.

My friend and News-Sentinel reporter Maggie Creamer has written a chapter in “Whimsy for Wendys,” an inspirational e-book I can’t wait to find under my cyber Christmas tree. Find it for $20 at

I love large bowls, and there are few as cool as those rustic wood turned bowls made by Lodi artist Glenn Robison. Find one at the Lodi Community Arts Center (prices vary).

I’m recently obsessed with camera apps. I don’t think anything would be more fun than playing with fisheye, macro and wide angle lenses made specifically for the the iPhone. $20-$25 at

Kyla Cathey

News Editor

I love to eat out (no dishes to do!) so a gift certificate for one of my favorite Lodi restaurants — Alebrijes, Oz, Casa Mexicana or Shangri-La — would be fantastic.

As a tea addict, I would love a beautiful cast iron tea kettle ($50-60; Shangri-La Asian Bistro), and some loose-leaf tea to use with it, especially the Market Spice Tea at Sea Salt Cottage or the Ginger Peach from Republic of Tea, available at Lodi Cooks.

Speaking of Sea Salt Cottage, I love grabbing a couple of Shower Bursts to tuck into gifts for other people while I’m there, and wouldn’t mind getting a few myself ($4).

I’m a pretty dedicated Stockton Thunder fan, so I would love tickets for two to one of their games. ($16.15-$36.10 via Ticketmaster) Or a jersey to wear to them! ($110; Stockton Arena)

I love showing my geeky side, so a World of Warcraft Horde Cutout Sticker to slap on my laptop ($3.99;, or a Hero of Light Hoodie for the chilly days ahead ($35.00; would be perfect.

I’ve been getting “crafty” lately, so a quilting class at the Quilter’s Friend would be a lot of fun. (Prices vary from $30-$50, with the occasional free workshop; 521 W.

Lodi Ave..)

Ross Farrow

County Reporter, Religion Editor

I’m a big-time coffee snob. I like my coffee dark and strong. Lodi has three independent coffee houses, and Galt has one, too. One good way to wake up in the morning is with a piping hot cup of coffee from Java Stop, 321 S. Hutchins St., just south of Lodi Avenue. They have whole bean and ground coffee available at $5 for a half-pound and $10 per pound. Decaf coffee is slightly higher — $5.50 for a half-pound, $11 for a full pound.

And what makes a cup of coffee even more delicious on a cold winter night? A dash Bailey’s Irish Cream in the coffee warms the tummy like nothing else. Prices vary among stores, but it’s generally $12 to $13 for 375 milliliters, and about $16 for 750 milliliters.

For healthier fare, Sheri’s Sonshine Nutrition in Downtown Lodi has some food that’s very good for you, such as whole grains and other vegetarian fare. A gift certificate would work well for a friend or loved one. It’s at 6 N. School St., at the northeast corner of School and Pine streets.

Maggie Creamer

City hall reporter

I’m a sucker for a cute skirt, and this adorable one from Mata Traders also supports a great cause. This fair trade company educates, employs, and empowers women in India. $46,

Everyone on my list (including me) are getting one of these posters with some of the life mantras from an e-book I wrote with 11 other lovely ladies. $8,, search shops: happinessadvocates.

My TOMS are getting worse for the wear, and these red canvas women's classics make my heart skip a beat, and I know another pair is going to a child in need. Pret in Downtown Lodi, TOMS start at $44.55.

As a California transplant, I know I will find Joan Didion's Slouching Toward Bethlehem fascinating. It’s a compilation of short stories about her life in The Golden State during the 1960s. $15, Tom’s Used Books, 108 N. School St.

Especially during the winter, I would love to relax with Lollia's In Love Shower Gel and the Little Luxe Eau de Parfum. $22 gel, $9 perfume, The Perfect Pear, 1306 Lakewood Mall.

Who says you can’t love stuffed animals if you are an adult? A crocheted penguin pillow would add to my feathered-friend obsession and look perfect on my couch. $45,, search seller: peanutbutterdynamite.

Sometimes gifts can be as simple as allowing someone to express themselves. I would love a Strathmore Sketch pad and some Prismacolor Art Pencils. Sketchpad: $12.95, Pencils, $1.75, Art and Artists, 204 E. Lodi Ave..

For the last month, I’ve been decorating a new apartment, and I would really love a Mini Yellow Organic Alibangbang Leaf Table Lamp to accent my living room. Plus, Eangee Lamps are made from all organic, green materials. $50 through

Giving donations to charities is something that has become a ritual in my family. This year, it would be great to support the Relay for Life team for Elissa Loocke, a local 9-year-old who has cancer, or help the family with expenses. You can donate at

Katie Nelson

Cops and Business Reporter

I thought long and hard about what I might like for Christmas this year. As the business reporter, I thought, “What better way to create a Christmas list than go out and see what Lodi businesses have to offer?”

Focusing my search on Lodi thrift stores — trying to stay frugal, here — I found some worthwhile items that I realized I would love to find under the tree.

At Secondhand Rose on North School Street, I found a great coffee sign for just $12 that would look great next to my coffee pot at home. I also found a collection of TIME magazines, ranging from $15 to $20, which would satisfy my love of reading.

New and Again on South School Street also proved to be a store with some great, unique gift options. I found a Coca Cola cookie jar for $25 that would fit right in with my kitchen and would be a great place to house the copious amount of cookies I bake during the holidays.

And even though I said I was trying to stay frugal, I could not help but want the Steinbach nutcracker sitting on the windowsill of Hummelking Antiques on West Pine Street. Growing up, it was tradition for family members to get nutcrackers at Christmas, so we have quite a collection.

But the nutcracker in Hummelking was unique, and I would not mind starting my own collection here in Lodi.

Jen Howell


For Christmas, I’d like peace, love and happiness. But if I have to get something tangible ...

I love the works of Paulo Coelho and he’s come out with a new book, “Aleph.” It is available on Amazon for $15.54.

I also need more film for my Fuji Polaroid camera. It is available at the PhotoJojo store online for $22.

From Lodi Cooks, I would like a cupcake hollower. And a spice rack. Magnetic, preferable. 

I would like a gift certificate to Lodi Stadium 12, so that I can take the kids on a date.

I am a total foodie, so a subscription to “Bon Appetit” magazine would be awesome! $12 for the year. 

I would really like an iPad this year. Price varies.

I would also like a donation made to Bear Creek Water. The program has help fund 30 wells so far around the world providing fresh, clean water to people. You can donate here:



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