Last Minute Gift Guide

Published on Nov 27, 2021



Gift Guides. Everyone’s got one. As do we. This is our 2021 Holiday Gift Guide, but with a little twist. In this first posting, we’re concentrating mostly on products that are available locally, right here in Pasadena, either at independent or locally owned stores, or perhaps a branch of a larger chain, but again, based here in the City of Roses.

As the days and weeks continue through the holidays, we’ll continue to update and add to our selections. We’ve got a wide range of products here that we’ve personally tried and love. Let’s have a look, shall we?
—Pasadena Now Staff

Bombs Away

The Patagonia Men’s Zemer Bomber Jacket is the perfect jacket for Southern California winters. It’s light and thin, but made  with Silent Down shell fabric and insulated with Thermolite 92% recycled polyester. 

Wear it with a sweater and a scarf, or just a t-shirt, and it’s perfect. This is gonna be your favorite jacket. It’s already ours. 

Patagonia, 47 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA. (626) 795-0319.


Read All About It
Do you have a really special friend? One interested in history and all things important? You might have found their gift. But you’ll need to move swiftly.
This is the third submission to the Gift Guide from Whitmore Rare Books, a Pasadena bookseller. The first two sold before we could publish. What do we learn from this, class?
Here’s the official listing:
Churchill, Winston. The Second World War (Finely bound in 6 vols.)

London: Cassell and Co. Ltd., 1948 – 1954. First editions.A lovely set bound in half morocco over marbled boards, with gilt spines and raised bands. Buff endpapers. Complete with all half-titles and all maps. In Near Fine condition overall with some fading and spotting to the top-stains. The six volume classic includes: The Gathering Storm; Their Finest Hour; The Grant Alliance; The Hinge of Fate; Closing the Ring; and Triumph and Tragedy.

Churchill’s immensely popular history of The Second World War. Churchill’s work is, unsurprisingly, mostly focused on the British perspective of the conflict – and the book is as much memoir as it is history. Churchill was already a well regarded and popular writer when he ascended to the Prime Ministership in 1940, and he made no secret of his intention to one day write a history of the conflict which was only then beginning. “I will leave judgments on this matter [World War 2] to history, but I will be one of the historians.” Interestingly enough, Churchill was permitted by Clement Atlee and the Labour government – which had come to office in 1945 – to be allowed access to many of the government archives, in order to help furnish his narrative. (Though he was not allowed to reveal any official government secrets.) The book was a bestseller, and would make Churchill – for the first time in his life – a truly wealthy man. It is also the work that supposedly secured him the Nobel Prize for Literature. ‘So with Triumph and Tragedy end the Memoirs of the Second World War by Winston S. Churchill, a gigantic contribution to history by a historical giant…’ (Contemporary New York Times review).” Near Fine (Item #4453)

Price: $2,950.

Whitmore Rare Books, 121 East Union Street. Pasadena, CA. (626)


Softest of the Soft

You might know the new Avocado store in Old Pasadena for its wide range of organic green mattresses. But they also have a range of comfy women’s clothing—Haas Apparel..  This is their Women’s Baby Alpaca Ribbed Sweater, made from 100% baby alpaca fiber, the finest, softest wool on the animal. (Regarded for its lightweight, silky texture, durability, and moisture- and temperature-regulating properties, it’s also naturally hypoallergenic, breathable, renewable, and biodegradable, they tell us.) and sourced from a regenerative farm in the Peruvian Andes.

But reader Nancy Pfeffer said it best when she wrote to us, saying,  “Mmmm. Soft, soft alpaca yarn, chic ribbing, beautifully made. Like a warm hug every time I put it on. Knowing it’s sustainably made is even better.” We could not have said it better ourselves. 

Avocado, 87 W. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 911057. Open Weekdays: 11 am to 7 pm.


Soap Pretty

While we might think about soaps being made in huge factories in Indiana or India somewhere,  there is  a little soap making operation in a corner of a little storefront shop on Fair Oaks in Pasadena. Owner Dali Yu and her mom have been making their own designer soaps for years, right under our noses. We really should have been able to smell them coming. Ahem…

But this is their holiday offering: “Soapretty it Hurts!” 

The gift box comes with two 4oz soaps, a wooden soap dish, natural sisal washcloth, and mini loofah. You can choose a soap preference, ribbon color, and gift tag . How easy is that?

“More thoughtful than a bottle of wine, and fewer calories, too!,” she tells us.

Here’s the link:


Color it Yours

Some gifts are just perfect for just about any age group. The cool pottery items available at Color Me Mine Pasadena fall right smack in the middle of that category. 

Here’s how it works: There’s a wide range of pottery items, from coffee mugs to vases and plates and a range of serving dishes. Pick one out, have a seat, paint it any way you like, and create your own very personal gift for someone you, or maybe just  like a whole lot. There are also gift kits available that hold everything you need from the pottery to the paints and tools and instructions. 

When they ask, just say, “Yes, I made that.” Meanwhile, we’ll post a new pic of our own, when we finish painting ours. 

Color Me Mine Pasadena, 81 S. Fair Oaks. Pasadena, CA.  (626) 298-6765.


Come Fly With Me

Maybe you’ve noticed the opening of this suddenly-everywhere-brand-of-sneakers shop on Colorado in Old Pasadena. We picked up a pair of these shoes  (The Wool Pipers) in late August and in early September, we left for five weeks in Europe. Guess what we wore just about every single day? 

After one day of a possible blister, everything settled and we wore them in Madrid, Vienna, Malaga, and Paris. They are supremely comfortable, and when they’re dirty, just toss them in the washing machine, and dry them in the sun. 

Even better, the company is sustainable in its mission. Here’s that story from their website: “We’re able to maintain a small, tight-knit supply chain. We build deep, multi-year relationships with factories and keep in consistent contact—we visit them, they visit us. In addition to conducting our own audits when necessary, we accept third-party, mutually recognized standards to reduce audit fatigue at factories and ensure safe, lawful, humane, and ethical manufacturing practices.”

Cool, comfortable and conscious. You’ll be picking up a pair for yourself, as well. 

AllBirds, 77 West Colorado Blvd. Pasadena, CA.


Bring the Power

We’re news geeks. We’ve seen a lot. And most certainly in the last two years. One thing we’ve learned is that anything, and we mean anything, can happen. It pays to be prepared. So we are. 

When the power goes, we’ll be ready, at least for a few days.

Which brings us to the  Jackery Explorer 100, one of the most powerful portable power stations you can find. With a 1002Wh capacity, it can supply 1000W of power (2000W surge power) using multiple output ports. 

Here’s the technical stuff:

  • Larger Capacity and Higher Wattages: It features a 1002Wh(46.4Ah) lithium battery capacity, 1000W continuous and 2000W surge power.
  • Multiple Output Ports: Two USB-C, two USB, one DC car port & three pure sine wave AC outlets. Go off-grid and power your cameras, computers, communication devices, CPAP, and electric grill.
  • Green Outdoor Power Solution: Efficient solar charging with a built-in MPPT charge controller. The SolarSaga 100W solar panels (sold separately) also allows fast eco-friendly charging. You can completely charge the battery with full sun in just 8 hours.
  • Portable and Compact: It weighs only 22lbs and has a solid handle for easy carrying.
  • Safe and Easy To Use: Features an LCD screen with charge/discharge data and battery life status for safety and ease of use.

Brownout? Blackout? You won’t even notice.


Winter is Relative

A Southern California winter may not be the winter you left behind in the Midwest, before you watched the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, and moved out here. But they’re still cold, relatively speaking. And who doesn’t love a soft comforter accompanying them to sleepy town? 

The Coyuchi Diamond-stitched Organic Cotton Comforter is the ideal weight for winter (and summer) sleeping. While slim, it’s got a good weight to it. And on a personal note, on the night that this arrived, we were eager to give it  spin. Something about the weight, the feel, the everything of it, but I slept like a baby. 

That may be all you need to know. 


Don’t Lose Stuff Anymore

By now everyone is familiar with Tile and similar products. Attach these item trackers everywhere or put them on a key ring, and you’re good. 

For our money, the original is still the best, and we are serious Apple people. We’ve got Tiles on two key rings, in a wallet, hiding in a seam of the car console, in our day pack, in a guitar case, and attached to an iPhone. We’re covered. 

While you might be replacing batteries after a year with some of the models, the newest model, Mate, has  a bigger range and longer lasting battery. As with all the Tile products, attach it to everyday things like keys and bags, and use the free app to find them. There are also  multi-packs, and they make really smart gifts anytime. Here are the Mate specs:

  • Up to 250 ft / 76 m Bluetooth range
  • Up to 3-year non-replaceable battery
  • Water-resistant
  • Works with Android™ and Apple® devices.
  • Voice-assisted finding with Alexa, Google and Siri
  • Attach and go

Also,  the available Premium membership will alert you if you leave something behind and will even pay you if Tile doesn’t find your lost object. Go. 

Available everywhere.


Light the Way

Aren’t you tired of looking ghostly in your zoom meetings, or your FaceTime chats with your peeps?

By now we’ve all seen those sleek ring lights that help you look more human in all your digital communications, but as we here have sadly discovered, most are cheaply made, and even worse, they have to be plugged in.

The Lume Cube 18” Ring Light completely elevates the ring light accessory to a professional level, and comes with everything you need, including a case (!), which is the second most important thing in the package, after the light itself.

After too many lights breaking off in transit, this pro-level case is a godsend. The construction is first-rate, the light brightness is adjustable and a breeze to operate. And there are two, count ‘em, two, rechargeable batteries included along with a charger.

You don’t have to be a Hollywood lighting designer to appreciate the Lume Cube Ring Light, but now you can be.

Keep checking on the Pasadena Now Holiday Gift Guide as we add more items through the holiday season. Happy Everything!



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