Editors’ Gift Picks
What the Diablo editors are wishing for this holiday season.
Wish Walnut Creek
Editor in Chief
1. Save Water/Drink Beer glasses from Wish Walnut Creek
I love the whimsy of Wish Walnut Creek’s Save Water/Drink Beer glasses. And I definitely want to do my part and save water, if you catch my drift. These would be perfect under the tree for me! $17.95 each, 2333 Boulevard Cir., Walnut Creek, (925) 322-7109, facebook.com/WishWalnutCreek.
2. Elaine’s Toffee from the Red Rooster
I sure hope there is some Elaine’s Toffee in my stocking. This family-run business is based in my hometown of Clayton and its developed a cult following, as evidenced by how quickly it flies off the shelves of Red Rooster. As a lover of everything local, I’m a big fan. $7.25–$29, 1028 Diablo St., Clayton, (925) 672-2025, theroyalrooster.com; elainestoffee.com.
3. Donation to Community Concern for Cats
Finally, I’m asking my friends and family to donate to Walnut Creek’s Community Concern for Cats, for its work rescuing kittens and spaying cats. That’s important work. And the nonprofit rescued our adorable Romeo. Communityconcernforcats.org.
Senior Editor/Senior Writer
1. Gift certificate to Oakland Floats
I had a bad car accident a few years ago, and have a lifetime of back and neck pain to look forward to as a result. One of the most helpful and relaxing treatments I have found is floating in Epsom salt baths in the tanks at Oakland Floats. These 75-minute floats are escapes into blissful tranquility, and I find that I’m extremely relaxed and creatively inspired each time I do one. I should go more often—so I’d love to receive a three-pack of floats for $180, or (even better) a 10-pack for $500. 344 40th St., Oakland, (510) 423-8772, oaklandfloats.com.
2. Wilco box set from Rasputin Music
I love Wilco, and the band just released a four CD box set packed with 20 years worth of B-sides, demos, and live cuts. At $39, it’s just pricey enough that I would love to get it with a gift certificate from Contra Costa’s best record store, Rasputin Music. $39, 1035 Contra Costa Blvd., Pleasant Hill, (925) 827-2900, rasputinmusic.com.
3. Donation to the Contra Costa County public library system
This year, I used the Contra Costa County public library system more than ever before. I love to visit various branches, from the gorgeous new facilities in Hercules, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek to the charming little old school branches in El Sobrante and Pinole. Thanks to the ccclib.org website, I can reserve books, CDs, and DVDs, and have them sent to the most convenient branch for pickup. Also, the free wi-fi at every location means I have an auxiliary office in every town in Contra Costa. How on earth is this free? Maybe someone should make a donation … ccclib.org/donations/donate_library.html.
1. Exercise wear from Athleta
I always need more workout clothes—and why not look cute while I’m sweating, right? 5652 Bay St., Emeryville, (510) 463-0121; 1166 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek, (925) 588-0227, athleta.com.
2. Penny lace-up booties from Francesca’s
My mom says I have an addiction. I like to think of it more as a hobby. Collecting shoes totally counts as a hobby, right? Locations in Berkeley, Danville, Lafayette, and Pleasanton, francescas.com.
3. Massage gift card from Massage Envy
I think this gift speaks for itself. Locations in Concord, El Cerrito, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek, massageenvy.com.
4. Cookbook from Orinda Books
I love to cook and I love to eat. It’s like a two-in-one gift, really. 276 Village Sq., Orinda, (925) 254-7606, orindabooks.com.
1. Barefoot Dreams Lounge Pants from Venture Quality Goods
Let’s be real: When I'm off the clock, all I want are some stretchy pants and a healthy dose of terrible T.V. A few years ago, I fell in love with the übersoft Horny Toad Hangover Fleece Pants when I bought them for my boyfriend at Lafayette’s Venture Quality Goods. I had planned on scoring a pair of my own this holiday season, but Horny Toad decided to be a dream crusher and discontinue the pants.
Luckily, Venture owner Tom Stenzel assuaged my fears of a comfy pants–less existence by letting me know Venture carries the female equivalent—Barefoot Dreams’ equally as enticing lounge pants, made from a supersoft bamboo knit. “The fabric is made of bamboo, but it feels like you’re wearing pants made of kittens,” says Stenzel. (He assures me no kittens were harmed in the making of these pants.) $98, Venture Quality Goods, 3571 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 385-0259, venturegoods.com.
2. Navy kimono tunic from Ali Golden
I interviewed Ali Golden for a story a few years ago, and fell in love with her Temescal Alley workshop and airy tops. I’ve worn my sheer gray tunic, a sample I picked up on a visit, countless times, and have been dying to check out her new Oakland location. While I definitely need a new tunic to add to my rotation, I may also add one of her shawl coat collars or popular reversible bags to my wish list. $136, Ali Golden, 484 49th St., Oakland, aligolden.com.
3. Ambassadors of Sour Beer Club Membership from The Rare Barrel
It’s no secret with friends and family that I love sour beer, and that I have a soft spot for Berkeley’s The Rare Barrel, since it was founded by two fellow UCSB alums. You’d think that would get me some sway in scouring a membership to its bottle club (which includes 10 750ml bottles of beer), but no dice—the 2015 iteration is full. It’ll truly take a holiday miracle to get my name on that list, but in the meantime I'll consider a visit to the taproom a sufficient gift. I’ve also signed up to be notified when the 2016 club is open for enrollment. Consider this a super early hint for next year’s gift season. $priceless, The Rare Barrel, 940 Parker St., Berkeley, (510) 984-6585, therarebarrel.com.
1. The Holiday 2014 mug from Peet's Coffee
I’d love a cute mug from my favorite coffee shop to hold my hot tea or cocoa. $6.95, only available at peets.com.
2. Hot Chocolate on a Stick from Crate and Barrel
It’s a simple and fun way to enjoy a hot sweet beverage on a cold winter day. $2.77 each, 1785 Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 528-5500; 1115 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek, (925) 947-3500, crateandbarrel.com.
3. Run With Me ear warmer from Lululemon
This headband is the perfect thing to keep me warm at my next race. $26, 2956 College Ave., Berkeley, (510) 666-0418; 1201 Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 274-1253, lululemon.com.
1. Polar FT 4 Heart-Rate Monitor from Athletic Outpost
This thing is simple but powerful: It keeps track of calories burned and also tells you when you're improving fitness. It can even be worn while swimming. $100, 1528 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-6453, athleticoutpost.com.
2. Sorel Snow Boots from Sports Basement
Let's face it: Snow gear isn't typically known for being stylish. These boots are rugged but include cute details such as laces and replaceable fur lining. Maybe I'll head to Sports Basement's brand new Berkeley store to try them on. $125-$150, 2727 Milvia St., Berkeley, (510) 984-3907, sportsbasement.com.
3. Donation to Fuck Cancer
The holidays remind us of family members and friends who are absent after losing their battle with this disease. This organization was founded to get young people involved in the fight. Donate at letsfcancer.com.