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Holiday Gift Guide 


Page 5 of 7

Image Makeover

Indulge your inner diva at Burlingame's Persona Imagemakers, a unique professional photography studio-cum-beauty salon. You can select from a wide range of individual salon services including hair styling, hair color and highlights, makeup application, and airbrush tanning services or choose one of the "Transformation Packages" that include photography and a style makeover. The salon specializes in non-traditional, cutting-edge portraiture of women (and men), offering a pampered makeover and photo session that promises to enhance the subject's natural beauty and reveal a reflection of their true personality. The idea is that you (or your giftee) will leave with a new look and a new attitude to reveal to the world. - JLM
Services range from $60-$500. Persona Imagemakers, 236C Hatch Lane, Burlingame (650) 579-5665,

iPod Holder

While wrapping the sleek, futuristic sophistication of the iPod in the refined elegance of Louis Vuitton's LV monogram may sound a bit extreme, it actually provides a perfect -- albeit expensive -- gift for all of those music geeks/fashion victims on your list. The high-couture love child of Apple maven Steve Jobs and fashion guru Marc Jacobs, the Louis Vuitton iPod holder includes a grained calfskin leather lining, a hole for the headphones cable, and a belt loop in the back. But what you're really buying it for is the monogram. - SC
$210 at Louis Vuitton, 150 Stockton Street, 391-6200.

Pop-Up Wonderland

What do you get when you transpose the cut-and-paste pastiche of modern pop art and the Doctor Demento kiddie acid trip of Alice in Wonderland onto old-skool pop-up illustrated books? One truly scary children's book, apparently. The heart of this book is big-in-Japan illustrator J. Otto Seibold, whose past work includes Space Monkey; Olive, the Other Reindeer; and Penguin Dreams. Seibold's interactive, multi-dimensional collages bear a closer resemblance to Takashi Murakami than they do John Tenniel. With a large pop-up of the hookah-smoking blue caterpillar atop his mushroom, it's the sort of "children's book" that will probably appeal more to 20-something hipsters than to 4-year-old pre-schoolers -- unless they're preternaturally hip. Lewis Carroll purists beware: Seibold has sliced and diced the story to fit the format, although the story's psychedelic undercurrent remains firmly intact. - SC
$19.95 at area bookstores.

"Feel Good" Gifts

Fitness Boot Camp

We've finally found the perfect New Year pick-me-up present for those who've tried countless diet and exercise regimens (all protein, all carbs, all popcorn) and wasted thousands of dollars on gym memberships only to spend most of the time in the sauna. The OutFit Fitness Boot Camp program requires a mere five-week commitment (although drop-in classes are available) at (gasp) 5:50, 6:00, or 7:00 a.m., Monday through Friday. Yes, that's a class every weekday. And if you try to catch a few extra Z's one day, the rest of the class drops for endless push-ups while the class leader calls you at home to wake your lazy ass up. Talk about motivation. Various programs are available including prenatal and new mommy classes, mind/body combined meditation/fitness classes, and one-on-one personal training. Get up, get out, make some new friends, and feel good about your body. - CP
$230 for new students, $210 for returning students; locations around the Bay Area; call 441-4631 or see

Spa Radiance

Picture yourself on a bed of roses, dreaming sweet dreams of Denzel Washington -- or even George Washington -- while the soft, attentive hands of a massage therapist work out the knots of harsh realty. You then completely forget your boss is a jackass as warm milk and lavender embrace your hands and feet and you wonder if this is indeed heaven. Well, it may not be heaven, but Spa Radiance is as close to a heavenly experience as you can get in the city. Their La La Land Package is created to chase away your troubles for five glorious hours, but even if permanent residency isn't an option, we recommend you take a moment and smell the roses. - AG
La La Land Package is $510 at Spa Radiance, 3011 Fillmore St., 346-6281,

Spa Seven

No one knows bliss better than Spa Seven. The evidence comes in the form of the Journey to Bliss Facial. If you know someone who fawns over facials, this is a great gift. If you know someone who's never had one before, it's even better. Spa Seven, a cozy and unpretentious three-year-old spa in Pacific Heights, offers a ridiculously wide array of services, most of which are performed by super down-to-Earth owners Sally Adams and Gunilla Eisenberg. The favorite, the Journey to Bliss Facial is two otherworldly hours of countenance exfoliation and full body invigoration. While lying on a massage table and listening to meditation and chanting rhythms, your face is cleaned with an herbal cleanser and microderm abrasion scrub, and then thoroughly steamed. A cinnamon exfoliation peel is then applied, followed by two other protein masks with various herbal barks and roots, potato powder, and chlorophyll to stimulate toxins and rejuvenate skin cells. All the while, you are getting your hands and feet rubbed with a Rosemary Tri-Crystal scrub and receiving a combination of shiatsu, Swedish, and reflexology massage on your hands, feet, shoulders, scalp, and face. The finale is a Silver Ion mask that makes you feel completely reborn. - KM
Two hours of Journey to Bliss is $195 at Spa Seven, 2358 Pine Street, San Francisco. Call 775-6546 or visit


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