For the holidays, here's a merry, motley assortment of gift suggestions pulled from various parts of the L.A. Times and illustrated as animated GIFs. To see a gift idea in action, roll your cursor over an image. For more information on an item, scroll over its name.
The shimmer and glitz of these party-perfect pumps conjure up a celebratory mood and insure that the recipient is always prepared for last-minute soirées. And nothing is more luxurious to give (or get) than red-soled heels — the signature of renowned French designer Christian Louboutin, whose designs are worn by style-setting stars from Rihanna to Victoria Beckham.
For the gadget-loving kid, a cool light for real camping or forts built in the dining room with blankets and furniture. BugLit, an LED flashlight, is shaped like a bug with legs that can wrap around backpack straps, table legs or branches. Or it can sit on a surface as a book light.
I lust after luggage the way many women lust after handbags. Can you really have too many suitcases? You can, especially if storage space is an issue, as it is for me. That's what I love about this Biaggi Contempo four-wheeler: You can collapse it so it fits under a bed. Useful for a cruise, useful for a cramped home, this 20-incher has another great aspect. It weighs only 7 pounds, thanks to its nylon exterior and aluminum frame. So far, I've taken it only on a weekend trip; if you're a Scrooge-like packer, you can probably pack it for a much longer stay. Or you could buy a larger size; you can find foldables up to 30 inches and several sizes in between. Comes in several colors too.
Inexpensive blow-up animals are sold as flat-pack stocking stuffers at the gift shop of the Japanese American National Museum, in downtown Los Angeles.
Price: $2.50 to $3
Where to find: Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 625-0414, janmstore.com.
Pack and Plug
Pack and Plug
Want to be the most popular kid in the class (or attendee at the conference)? Carry a power strip — one whose size is manageable as it is in the Pack and Plug, from GUS (Great Useful Stuff). When outlets are limited, you'll have star power. That's just one of the functions of the Pack and Plug, a roll-up home for that power strip and the other assorted lightning connectors and mini- or micro-chargers as well as a mesh pocket for that thumb drive, batteries and other assorted gear. It also keeps those various connectors neat and tidy; you plug them into the power strip and the power strip into your hotel outlet. No more snarls. Its blue protective case makes it easy to find in the recesses of your bag. Its sibling, the Cotton Cord Roll, does the same thing, minus the power strip. But this organizer, which is coated cotton, is lighter (no power strip) and has labels for the tablet, phone and computer cords. My bag no longer looks like Charlotte's web, which takes some of the bite out of travel.
Carefully handcrafted by local perfumer and aromatherapist Persephenie Lea, this prayer bead necklace takes up to three weeks to make and is created from a putty of organic rose petals, Indian sandalwood, rose oil and aged orris root. Each of the 108 beads is hand-rolled, dried and then strung on a 14-karat gold chain. Packaged in a handmade deerskin pouch with a vintage ebony-and-sterling medallion and accompanied by 4 milliliters of rose essential oil to re-scent the beads, as needed.
Where to find: 155 W. Washington Blvd., Studio 907, Los Angeles (open by appointment), (323) 658-7507, www.persephenie.com.
The multi-colored ornaments of the Themis mobile from Poketo are easy to assemble and a pleasant way to decorate the ceiling space of any room. Package comes flat-packed and thread, metal wire and paper are included.
Candle maker Lisa Carrier, who created her first candle for Cher and counts Oprah and Christina Aguilera among her clients, has added more brilliance to her designs. Reusable glass soy candle canisters are adorned with clusters of lustrous minerals, such as quartz crystal and pyrite. With top notes of sandalwood, myrrh, amber and black copal, the scent is derived from incense used at daily mass in Paris' historic Notre Dame Cathedral since the 1500s.
For the person who has everything and doesn't really want anything else? How about pretty soap. The soaps, made by DWC, are scented with essential oils and created in small batches from organic materials such as mango butter. The stamp on the wrapper reads: "This product was handmade by the women of the Downtown Women's Center. 100% of the proceeds from this product will help fund vocational training and support services for homeless and low-income women in downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row Community."
For 30 years, retailer Fred Segal has crafted bespoke, custom-blend fragrances for the likes of Kate Moss, Rita Ora, David Beckham and Rashida Jones at its Santa Monica location. Now, thanks to the arrival of the brand's new blending kit, anyone can concoct their own one-of-a-kind scent by mixing a combination of 10 pure perfume oils from sleek rollerball bottles. The kit includes a display stand, travel case and 10 recipes for popular blends.
Where to find: Fred Segal, 500 Broadway, Santa Monica Blvd., (310) 394-7535, and 8118 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 651-4129 or www.theblendfragrance.com.
Wind-up toys from Wacko
Wind-up toys from Wacko
They don't have motion detectors or hard drives, but these little wind-up toys still manage to inspire awe when you see them perform. Adults will appreciate their simple complexity. Kids will love their comical movement. Wacko sells dozens of varieties.
Price: From about $5 to $15
Where to find: Wacko, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 663-0122, soapplant.com.
Vintage cocktail ware
Vintage cocktail ware
For the avid collector, nothing makes a classic cocktail taste better than a vintage receptacle. Whether you're looking for themed glass or Bakelite shakers, vintage Tepco skull tiki mugs or a set of Senor Pico ceramic (" honi honi "-style) glasses, almost anything can be found on the Internet. Even Holt Howard winking Santa Mugs, perfect for hot chocolate or something a little stronger.
Nothing better than feeling like a kid again, especially during the holidays. The 3-D "America's National Parks — A Pop-Up Book" evokes that feeling when you turn a page and up pops the Grand Canyon in all in its blazing-red-hued glory. Five other parks (yes, Yosemite is one of them) are given the pop-up treatment, and a dozen other parks are highlighted as well. The National Parks Conservation Assn. receives $8 from the sale of each book. From the signed, numbered, limited deluxe edition, $80 goes to the organization.
There's no excuse for a droopy hemline or spinach in your teeth with this teeny-tiny (3-by-2-by-2-inch) tool bag. The Transportation Security Administration-compliant Minimergency Survival Kit is packed with 17 items — double-sided tape, dental floss, stain remover, mending kit and more — to help you cope with fashion, beauty or personal predicaments while away from home. The zip-touch pouch comes in glittery pewter or fuchsia, making it easy to find in your carry-on or tote bag.