Dec. 1 2010 09:35 AM

Where you can find the perfect gifts for the Cancer, Aries and others on your shopping list

Solo's bowful of letter
Photo by Clea Hantman

Initially I was going to divvy this up into a “Gifts for Guys” / “Gifts for Girls” listopedia, but—oops—did that last year. After much thought, I went with zodiac signs. I know they're for real, because as I was researching this tremendously scientific take on gift-giving, I came across an article that said Cancers are the only sign to never iron their clothes—and guess what? I'm a Cancer and I've never ironed my clothes. Ergo, truth! Oh, and this: “Cancers are the largest majority of criminals among all the zodiac signs. They are also usually very violent.” True, all true.

With an Aries (March 21-April 19), you have two choices, really: something sports-related or cash. They're active people, fueled by money. Since cash is (wrongly) considered tacky, think gift cards: REI, Runner's World, Adventure 16, Velo Cult, Adams Avenue Bikes, Soccer Fanatic or Ray's Tennis. Patagonia's outpost in Cardiff has Leucadia artist Andy Davis' lovely in-house line, Ando & Friends.

Tauruses (April 20-May 20) hate change and they're stubborn. Since they're the sign of the bull and there's that thing about bulls in china shops, I'm suggesting unbreakable wine glasses from Grounded: modern Living ( in the Lumberyard in Encinitas. They're cheap, which a Taurus will appreciate. Because they, too, are cheap.

I won't say anything bad about Geminis (May 21- June 20) because my Grandma was one. They're all sweet old ladies in spirit who are wonderful communicators with a thirst for knowledge. Therefore I have to go with books. Some new titles to consider: The Art of the Personal Letter by Margaret Shepherd (paired with some lovely stationary from Warwick's in La Jolla), The Emper or of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherje, the Keith Richards bio or the National Book Award-winning Just Kids by Patti Smith.

As I already stated, Cancers (June 21-July 22) are loveable, wrinkled little serial killers. What to get such a complicated soul? Comfort items to calm our ever-growing rage. A few thoughts: The White Peony Tea from Halycon Tea in South Park (, a vintage cookbook from The Cookbook Store in Kensington ( or a handmade apron from Sophie's Gallery and Gift Shop ( Liberty Station, which features the artisanship of developmentally-disabled adults who are part of the program at St. Madeleine Sophie's Center. Cool crafts abound.

I live with two Leos (July 23-Aug. 22). They want extravagantly crafty gifts, and it wouldn't hurt if said gift had an element of humor. The Museum of Photographic Arts store ( has Holga cameras, mini Dianas and this thing called the Digital Harinezumi (a small video camera that shoots what looks like old 16mm footage). What really caught my eye was the Blackbird—a colorful reinterpretation of a 1920sstyle twin-reflex camera. You can take a traditional pic, or you can use the included mask and take square-format shots.

Virgos (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) are neat and righteous, but also creative and helpful. And, apparently, they have a good eye, which is why you should head straight to Little Italy's Vitreum ( The store is filled with sublime design. I'm partial to the ceramic beer mugs with stone handles that, while pricey, are true works of art.

Libras (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) like to be in control but rarely are, and they like expensive things. R.D. Alchemy, also in Little Italy ( has a ton of gorgeous-smelling essential oils that start at $8. Go for something that will relax the Libra's uptight soul, like the Kranion oil, meant for the scalp. R.D.A. gives all their products slightly goofy names. Sadly, the fun of this will probably be lost on your Libra friend.

Scorpios (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) are intense, egotistical, power-hungry, mother-cussers. So might I suggest something ostentatious and large? The Bison Ring, a big ol' buffalo head rendered in sterling by Bandit Brand, can be found at Downtown's 5&A Dime ( Come to think of it, that would work for a Taurus, too.

The Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) is freedom-loving, idealistic and optimistic, with a bit of inner-hippy. That's why Ecotopiia ( will yield something perfect. This Encinitas shops has cards, bumper stickers, clothing, lunch boxes, pet supplies, chemical-free and paraban-free skincare lines, plus cleaning products you can pour into your own jars. If it's capable of being branded “eco,” it's here.

Capricorns (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) think they're better than everyone else, so it makes sense to theme the present around their name. North Park Trophy can engrave most anything. Architectural Salvage in Little Italy ( has old letters in wood, metal or plastic, from two inches to 12. You have to dig for the appropriate letter (and I took all the K's). Solo ( in Solana Beach also has a bowls-full of tin, wood and paper gift-ready letters.

The typical Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) is clever and wants to make sure the world knows it. So it's best if you give them something that proclaims their cool. The T-shirts at Sezio's online store ( do this well, particularly the Wes Bruce-designed Owl With Bowtie. Or perhaps a stunning print from Subtext Gallery (

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) have rich fantasy lives and cry a lot. A stack of the best CDs of the year is ideal—the Pisces will view this as a deep, thoughtful gift. Which will make them cry. Hit M- Theory ( in Mission Hills for a stack that might include Delta Spirit, Jonsi, The morning Benders, Los Campesinos, Broken Bells or Sufjan Stevens. Mine would…

Write to


See all events on Wednesday, Oct 26