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The annual News-Sentinel Gift Guide

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Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012 11:12 am

News-Sentinel staff share their wish lists for Christmas.

Marc Lutz: Design Editor, Cartoonist

Asking me what I want for Christmas is akin to asking me what I want for dinner. No matter what I’ve been craving, my mind goes blank. Thank goodness we have Downtown Lodi. There’s no end to the fix I can receive as a consumer junkie.

Finger decor

I dig big unique rings. Ducez has these skull rings, plus lots of other items with personality outside the norm. Ducez Clothing & Accessories in Downtown Lodi. $22.

Heavy (coffee) drinker

It’s coffee, people! Fourteen cups-worth to be exact. The KitchenAid 14-cup Coffeemaker is a top-of-the-line kitchen product. Plus, it’s pretty in black or red. $99. Lodi Cooks in Downtown.

Where Lodi readers go

A gift certificate to Tom’s New & Used Books in Downtown is my kind of gift. There’s no better way for me to pass a day than by sipping coffee and reading an old book with character.

Lauren Nelson: Lodi Living Editor

Give the gift of sweat

I was scared to death to try Bikram (hot) Yoga in Stockton a few months ago, but quickly learned that it’s fun to stretch it out in a 105-degree room with 40 percent humidity for 90 minutes. The same owners are opening a studio in Lodi soon, and a gift certificate for the a full month of Bikram yoga would be an awesome personal challenge. $39 for first month.

Get that rustic clean

I love the simple earthiness of homemade soaps. One of my favorite handmade artisan soaps made in Lodi is by Blissed Out Soap, which is available at The Dancing Fox in Downtown. $6.

Olive oil snob

After touring a local olive oil company, I have learned that not all olive oil is created equal. Now, I only buy local and fresh. One I would like to try is the Basil Crush Olive Oil from Lodi’s Calivirgin Olive Oil. $16.95, available at The Dancing Fox.

Give me beads

I almost always choose beads over diamonds. That’s why I fell in love with the handmade, fairtrade beaded bracelets by Kharmic Creations at Sea Salt Cottage in Downtown. The owner/bead artist was stranded in Indonesia after the overthrow of the country’s president, and made beaded jewelry to raise money for a flight back to the states. Now her company raises money for good causes. $16.

Deck the halls ... with vintage

Someday I want a Christmas tree covered entirely in those beautiful glass ornaments from the ’50s and ’60s. I’ve spotted them at Lodi’s antique stores, like Secondhand Rose and Antiquarium, both in Downtown. Starting around $5.

Going Dutch

You may think outdoor cooking is only for grillers and campers, but I’ve been experimenting with cooking outside in a Dutch oven — and it’s fun, I tell you. Anything you can make in an oven can be made outside with some coals and tasty ingredients. $50 and up. Different variations available at Lodi Cooks and

Take iPhone anywhere — even in the pool

The iPhone Scuba Suit is an airtight armor for your iPhone so you can take it in the pool, in the ocean, in the Delta — wherever — and use it as an underwater camera. $60.

Julie Govette: Creative Services Director

Tablet time

I’m ready to switch to an iPad. My phone is fine, and my laptop is often just too heavy to haul around the house. $450-ish.

Bling, bling

Jeweled iPhone Case: Because a little bling will probably make all my phone conversations a little more interesting. $20. Fashion Safari, Downtown Lodi.

Put your feet up

I would like to add some color to my living room with the Ikat Sari Pouf Ottoman. This looks like the perfect fit for my teal leather club chair. $110. Pier One Imports.

Philosophy for your body

Amazing Grace by Philosophy Perfumed Body Butter and Parfum Rollerball: This is my favorite fragrance and I have most of the products except these. Clean and fresh scent that works any time. $28 and $18 respectively.

Give a little Green

Green Day Uno and Dos: (Yep, I still buy CDs) I’m sure that Tres is on its way and Billie Joe Armstrong has to get out of rehab. But these first two CDs got good reviews, so I’d like to give them a try.

Cashmere for your fingers

Since it’s quite cold when I walk my dog in the morning and regular gloves make it hard to open the bag for the doggie droppings, why not wrap my hands in cashmere to do the delicate task with fingerless gloves? Cashmere Fingerless Gloves by Marc Jacobs. $35.

Top it off with local wine

After walking my dog in cashmere; talking on my blinged-out phone; listening to Green Day while trolling Facebook on my new iPad and smelling fabulous with my feet up on my colorful ottoman, I’d also like to be enjoying a good glass of wine. Michael~David puts out one of my favorites — 7 Deadly Zins. One of the best, modestly priced local Zins at around $14 almost anywhere wine is sold in Lodi.

Jordan Guinn: Writer for Sentinel Media Services

Call me obsessed

Anyone who has been to my place knows all too well it’s draped in Giants merchandise. A life-size cardboard cutout of Barry Bonds greets you at the doorway and the motif is completed with orange and black towels in the bathroom. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do live alone. So if you’re looking to further feed my addiction, please feel free to grab any merchandise related to the San Francisco Giants World Series victory. Examples: Pennant, sweatshirt, poster (I’ll get it framed; I’m 28, I don’t shove tacks in my wall). Prices vary. Lodi Sporting Goods.

Fondue, anyone?

I’m a pretty private person but still enjoy the occasional gathering at my place. And those evenings almost always involve some moderately intoxicated guests huddling around a cauldron of simmering fat.

 I think it’s called fondue. I’m all squared away on the vessel to keep the oil hot; I just use a portable deep-fryer and keep the lid open. Yes, to literally every firefighter ever: I know exactly why that’s a bad idea. Anyway, I’m looking for a fondue pot to keep my cheese or buffalo sauce heated through. Nothing expensive. Just something practical and well-built; cast iron is always welcome in my home. Cheese Central in Downtown.

Brew for brisk weather

Continuing the trend of my wish list being related to vices, I am asking for beer. Sure, you may occasionally find it during the summer, but it’s really at its best when the temperature is south of 50. So from November to about March of every year I like to have a steady supply of 1554 in my refrigerator. This malty black ale from New Belgium Brewing is ideal for the holidays. Its rich chocolatey taste plays off desserts like fudges and cookies. The richness and body also enable it to stand up to Christmas classic dinners like prime rib. BevMo!

Kyla Cathey: News Editor

Start a hockey tradition

It’s not Christmas without some Stockton Thunder tickets! They’ve become a holiday tradition with my family, and I’m hoping it’s one that continues this year.

Historic art

Lately I’ve become fascinated with the beautiful, artistic fruit labels that farms used to put on their crates before shipping fruit around the country. The San Joaquin County Historical Museum at Micke Grove sells prints of a few of the local labels in their gift shop. I’d love two or three to hang in my kitchen.

Get artistic in Lodi

Getting crafty is fun, but it’s even more fun in a group. I’d like a “ladies day out” with my sisters and some of our friends at the Mud Mill in Downtown Lodi. We can kick the day off with lunch at Alebrijes, Shangri-La or Moo Moo’s.

Planters and grass for cats

My cats, who managed to go six years without bothering my houseplants, broke that streak in November. I gave away everything unsafe for them to chew on, but it’s left my windowsills very bare. I’d love three windowsill planters and a trip to Weigum’s Nursery so I can fill them — and some cat grass from Discount Pet.

Maggie Creamer: City Hall Reporter

Gift an experience

For years, I have been fascinated by the Sausalito house boat community, so I would love an up close and personal tour. offers a variety of tours throughout the Bay Area for anyone on your list, from learning what it’s like to be homeless to making paella, a rice dish, on the beach. $55, Tour Sausalito Wooden Boats.

Floral inspiration

While I probably already own too many necklaces, I could not help but fall in love with this Midnight Garden Triple Floral necklace made with fabric buttons on an antique brass chain. $40., search for the vividotstore.

Some help in the kitchen

Here’s a secret: I never really learned to cook. For example, I recently found out the correct way to chop veggies. So, as I’ve been experimenting with new dishes, this “Fresh from the Garden: Food to Share with Family and Friends” book would sure help out. $17.98. French at Heart Home & Garden, 22 S. School St., Lodi.

Perfect timing

I’m not one to wear watches regularly, but The Wanderlust — tribal, well-designed, cute time piece from Feral Watches might change that. $40.

Frolicky feathers

It’s always great to support local artists, so I would like this print called “Fiona’s Heart” from the River Luna shop on Etsy. The artist, Marisa, lives in Lodi with her son, River, and they often go on nature walks, where he helps select feathers, leaves and stones that appear in her work. $24., search for the RiverLuna shop.

Giving back

One of my favorite stores, West Elm, is offering adorable multiple Charity Mugs with the proceeds going to different nonprofits, including Heifer International, an organization that gives animals to people around the world as a way to provide for themselves. $10., search “Charity Mugs.”

A little relaxation

After buying a pair of these for a friend who was pregnant, I have not been able to get these Hollywood Fashion Secrets Spa slippers off my mind. They have gel inside that softens and smoothes your feet and would be perfect after a stressful day at work. $24, Sea Salt Cottage.

Brighten up your wardrobe

The Sunset Stripe Cardigan makes a cheery statement on rainy, dreary days. $39.99., search “Sunset Stripe Cardigan.”

Perfect pomegranate port

A new sauce might inspire me to bake some new recipes, so this pomegranate pear with port culinary sauce would be perfect. You can serve this delicious sauce on poached pears, on fresh fruit salad or on pear tart with ginger ice cream. $8.60. The Dancing Fox.

Finding the pretty in life

This past year, I have recently become obsessed with Kinfolk, a magazine about opening your home for small gatherings, and would love a subscription. It has beyond-lovely photospreads and short essays about everything from bee keeping, to surfing on the Lost Coast, to employees who work at restaurants that serve only locally grown foods. Everytime I open its pages, I’m immediately in my happy place. $65.

Sara Jane Pohlman: Education Reporter

This will be the first Christmas since I moved out of my parent’s home. As such, my wishlist is a collection of items neccesary for a respectable adult existence. Like potholders. I swear I’m not boring.

Silicone in the kitchen

I really do need some potholders. Right now I’m using whatever dish towel is on the counter to pull popovers and pizzas out of the oven. These GoodGrips are made of silicone, so I can’t destroy them. $9.99. Lodi Cooks.

Make a date

I am forever forgetting minor appointments if I don’t jot them down. It’s time for a desktop calendar with a classy design. Target has a good selection.

Animal house — literally

I share my apartment with a sweet pet rat named Kitty, but she could use a new habitat. Discount Pets on Stockton Street stocks plenty of colorful options. Prices vary.

Straight locks

My hair has finally grown long enough for braided updos. I’d love to have a quality straightening iron to style my locks. Target.

Tea is the new coffee

I love curling up with a warm drink and a hefty book. A loose leaf tea strainer, and maybe some tea samples would be perfect. $3. Lodi Cooks.

Nerds need ice, too

My cheap ice cube trays from the discount story have cracked beyond use. But these alphabet ice cube trays are just right for an education reporter. $14.50.

Kendra Shipman: Advertising Representative

So charming

Randall’s in Lakewood Mall has Charming Charms, which are similar to Pandora. You can purchase the bracelet for only $42 or the necklace for $48.  

Can’t go wrong with jeans

Fashion Safari in Downtown Lodi has Grace In LA jeans for only $58.

Atmosphere with your coffee

House of Coffees has great drinks and I love the atmosphere. A gift card there would be fantastic!

Relaxation is key

Perfect Balance Day Spa, also in Downtown Lodi, offers amazing spa packages.

Coolest shoes on the block

Pret has TOMS, which I love, and I want a new pair. They start at $44.95.



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