Canvassing LA
Brandon Roosa

12 Best Gifts for People Who Love L.A.

See also:

*Best L.A. Novel Ever: The Tournament

*5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Continue Reading

*Our Best of L.A. issue and our Best of L.A. app

What do you get someone who has everything: a beautiful home, great food and legal marijuana? From endless gift certificates to countless books and DVDs, there's no shortage of things to buy that special someone who lives and/or loves the City of Angels, even if that person is, well, you. In fact, it can all get a little overwhelming.

So instead of turtle doves, French hens and a partridge in a pear tree, we've compiled a wish list of 12 items people can actually use -- just in case the ladies dancing and maids a-milking have a casting call.

12 Best Gifts for People Who Love L.A.
Lefty Joe / Odd Job

12. Winnie-the-Pooh California T-Shirt

After the last California grizzly bear (aka California golden bear) was shot and killed in 1922, the species became extinct, only to be quickly revived as a lovable little honey-eating boo-boo, Winnie-the-Pooh. A.A. Milne's creation is the very symbol of the laid-back, down-to-earth SoCal lifestyle, just like the bear that's proudly featured on the state flag and this shirt -- the result of a collaboration between Disney and the Japanese creative agency Odd Job. $36, BLENDS.com.

12 Best Gifts for People Who Love L.A.
Tanja M. Laden

11. RAEN Optics

Everyone needs a decent pair of sunglasses, especially in Los Angeles. Given that most eye-wear is made entirely in China, it's refreshing to see a company like RAEN Optics do business out of California. Libre Design alumni started RAEN in 2008, designing not just sunglasses, but prescription sunglasses and apparel, too. Various prices, RAENOptics.com.

12 Best Gifts for People Who Love L.A.
Simon & Schuster

10. The Big-Ass Book of Bling

A writer, designer and style expert, Mark Montano gives readers the lowdown on the high life in the The Big Ass Book of Bling, which includes more than 150 DIY tutorials on how to look good without paying the price. Isn't that the California state motto? $11.99, SimonandSchuster.com.

Up next: Fashionable headphones

12 Best Gifts for People Who Love L.A.
We Are Frends

9. We Are Frends

Speaking of bling, these headphones aren't just a piece of equipment -- they're a fashion accessory to boot. We Are Frends designs stylish modules for private listening, including three kinds of glitzy white-and-gold earphones along with comparatively understated denim ones, too. $99 - $199, WeAreFrends.com.

12 Best Gifts for People Who Love L.A.
Capitol / EMI

8. The Beach Boys Christmas Harmonies

Love 'em or hate 'em, there's no disputing the fact that the Beach Boys helped define the so-called California sound. And since Angelenos need some tunes to go along with their fancy new headphones, The Beach Boys Christmas Harmonies should help put everyone in the holiday spirit -- especially when there's no snow around for miles. $13.98, Amoeba.com.

12 Best Gifts for People Who Love L.A.

7. Tonx Coffee

LA's own Tony "Tonx" Konecny is the man behind this eponymous brand of local coffee, and since most Angelenos love caffeine almost as much as weed, it's a nice alternative to store-bought mega-brands like Starbucks. The Mad Libs-style gift subscription guide helps locate the ideal caffeine-themed present within a specific budget, so you can get your friends amped without breaking the bank. $24 - $38, Tonx.org.

Up next: Road trip idea

12 Best Gifts for People Who Love L.A.
Amit Desai

6. America Sutra

America Sutra is a web-based exhibition and seven-volume visual essay that chronicles Amit Desai's 10-year-long journey across the United States. For anyone itching to go on a road trip, America Sutra should help retrace the steps made by California-bound homesteaders in the midst of Westward Expansion. Pay-what-you-can, AmericaSutra.com.

5. Lytro

Click anywhere on the picture above. Go ahead, just do it. You'll notice that the focus adjusts to include subjects located within the depth of field, which is fucking awesome -- not to mention necessary for capturing celebrities during the walk of shame. Makers of the first consumer light field camera, Lytro also just launched the Lytro-izer, which invites people to upload their photos for a chance to have them recreated in claymation as a kick-ass holiday greeting that promises to blow those quasi-customized JibJab e-cards straight out of the water. $399 - $499, Lytro.com.

12 Best Gifts for People Who Love L.A.

4. Lomo LC-A+ Silver Lake

For anyone who prefers analog to digital technology, there's Lomography -- a film-based photo empire that's flourished while other bigwigs such as Polaroid and Kodak haven't. Modeled after a compact Russian camera from 1984, Lomo's LC-A+ has evolved into a sophisticated mechanical marvel that recalls the anticipatory excitement associated with developing 35mm film, and it comes in a special Silver Lake edition, too. Lomography also makes a low-speed film called the Color X-Pro Sunset Strip, designed to help capture the sun-soaked city in all its bright, glaring glory. $399, Lomography.com.

Up next: L.A. neighborhood pride

3. Canvassing LA

After graphic designer Brandon Roosa and his family moved to L.A., they launched a Kickstarter project called Canvassing LA. These retro-inspired cloth bags are meant to reflect the city's myriad neighborhoods, from Malibu to Burbank and (almost) everywhere in between. Pledge $15 for a tote bag, or pledge a higher amount for even more swag on Kickstarter.

12 Best Gifts for People Who Love L.A.
Rabbit Air

2. Rabbit Air

Obviously, UCLA and UC Berkeley aren't the only universities in California, but they're two of the best. For anyone lucky and/or intelligent enough to attend one of the most competitive public schools in the entire state, the achievement itself redefines what it means to have "bragging rights." But all that boasting can make an overachiever winded -- not a good thing, given the often dismal quality of the air on campus. Rabbit Air is a Pasadena-based company that understands how smart people like to mix form and function, especially people living in L.A. What's more, their sleek, sexy and slim air purifiers don't just come in university editions, in case hard-partying high-school days got in the way of a college career. There's also the Paul Frank edition, the Peanuts edition, and the Artists Series -- all of which make breathing fresh air just as easy on the eyes as it is on the lungs. Various prices, RabbitAir.com.

12 Best Gifts for People Who Love L.A.
California Porcelain Company

1. Branch Pipe

In L.A., nothing is what it seems, and neither is this pipe. It might look like wood, but it's actually an expertly crafted piece of ceramic art from the California Porcelain Company. And since "weed (er... medication)" is the number-one reason why Los Angeles is the best Effing City in America, it only makes sense that this clever little example of trompe l'oeil should be number one on this list, too. $90, TheGoldenStateStore.com and CaliforniaPorcelainCompany.bigcartel.com.

See also:

*Best L.A. Novel Ever: The Tournament

*5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week

*Our Best of L.A. issue and our Best of L.A. app

Tanja M. Laden manages Flavorpill Los Angeles and blogs at Pop Curious. Follow her on Twitter at @PopCuriousMag and for more arts news follow @LAWeeklyArts and like us on Facebook.


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