It's clear we've all been high jacked into the holiday season slightly early this year, and I'm here to tell you there's no turning back. I feel your pain. I too can barely stand the sappy holiday tunes blaring out of every retail store and coffee shop. The thought of shopping right now gives me hives—I really need Frosty and Rudolph to back off a bit and give me some space to procrastinate. At this point, it's best we accept that the holiday syndrome of seeking out the perfect gifts is upon us all and it's game time.

With the economy where it is, resourceful shopping is the theme this season. This is the perfect time to sit and think quality versus quantity. The easiest way to conquer your holiday shopping list painlessly and successfully (and on time!) is to tackle it bit by bit as you make your way through various business bound destinations during the next few weeks. Multi task if you will. Stop looking at your list as if it's a three-hour root canal, instead, consider it a self-guided retail adventure in a cool city.

No matter what your business destination, wrap up that last meeting as quick as you can, grab a cab and get your shop on. Below are a few of my favorite spots to shop while on the road in various cities.

San Francisco

San Francisco is one place you can truly experience the joy of ditching the miserable shopping malls in exchange for pounding the pavement to more creative and cultural destinations. Say bye-bye Union Square and hello Mission District. No matter who is on your list, one afternoon in The Mission will guarantee everyone on your list is covered.

The Curiosity Shoppe 55 Valencia Street 415.671.5384

This is the essence of inspired shopping. If you have time for only one shop pre-flight make it this one. This little wonder of whimsy is really a one stop-shopping emporium. If the most interesting object in your home is your television, than you really need a dose of curious. You will find things like vintage books, one-of-a kind jewelry, an apple jacket, (yes folks apples get cold too!) or perhaps your spouse deserves their very own colorful mermaid bottle opener--who doesn't! For the tots, grab an uber cool wood yo-yo for a great deal. The shop has letterpress art prints and other irresistibly affordable works for art enthusiasts and budding collector.

826 Valencia 826 Valencia Street 415-642-5905

When I want to channel my inner Johnny Depp I slide into this haven of pure pirates booty. Novelist Dave Eggers launched this shop as a way to promote creative writing and the arts. It's a very under the radar spot. This self-proclaimed pirate supply store hawks everything you can imagine: from cool Jolly Roger Flags, and dice, to eye patches and even peg legs. 826 Valencia has a treasure trove of options.

Paxton Gate 824 Valencia Street 415-824-1872

Let me warn you, this is truly an "only in San Francisco" store. It doesn't really get any more irreverent. It's likely the most unique and fun filled shop you'll ever buy anything from, so enter with an open mind and embrace the quirkiness of it all. Grab some azure butterflies under glass, gorgeous rare potted plants, dinosaur teeth, or skeletons of all sorts. It's a Goth slash taxidermist slash antique shop. I secretly want to have a birthday party here.


Texans know how to get their shop on and I'm in training whenever I travel there. The mix of savvy shops listed below will bring your in-laws around to finally liking you.

Madison 45a Highland Park Village 214-528-8118

There's a gift I want at Madison purely for how coffee table worthy it is, but the wordsmith in your life will adore it for it's actual purpose. It's a must have sexy leather bound edition Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary. These come in happy and bright colors that might actually have you ditching Google and turning pages to spell check, old school style. If your boss is on the brink of a breakdown after all the layoffs give her an alligator-embossed Think Pad – for all her genius ideas and inspire her to find a way to move the company forward. Madison is packed with wondrous gifts for everyone from design gurus to chefs, traditionalists and those like you, on the go.

The Fitting Room 4111 Lomo Alto Drive 214-520-3600

For the fellow jet setters on your list, help them catch some zzzs on their next flight with Armand Diradourian's swank cashmere travel sets. Go ahead and grab one for yourself-- you deserve it. You can give your girls the gift of pretty with Baekgaard's hot pink mini-manicure kit or for the girl who has everything: a snakeskin wallet from Zina Eva-- maybe even slide in a few Benjamin's just to close the deal.

Forty-Five Ten 4510 McKinney Avenue 214-559-4510

This just might be the mother lode of high end shopping--8, 000 square feet of world-class goods. I personally need someone to hold my hand in here. It's a cool mix of fashion, accessories, and collections for the home, all merchandised with its own sassy point-of-view, along with its own café, the T Room. Your mama always said to say please and thank you --Well here's a nice way to say both--The Lucky 7 note cards, featuring horseshoes, four-leaf clovers, and monkeys are a nice treat. Pick up some soft and fuzzy cashmere balls, or Apothia's Chrismukkah candle. Random but also brilliant.

Los Angeles

Hollywood and Highland is so over. Abbott Kinney in Venice is where the real action is. Not only is this boulevard of retail loveliness only a few minutes' walk from the surf, sand and a handful of sales, it's also only a 15 minute drive from LAX. Score. I'm going to go ahead and say call in sick and make a whole day of it. Act like a local, shed the suit, grab some coffee, hit the beach for a splash in the surf, and then mosey on back to the boulevard for some pre-flight shopping. Start off at Westminster Avenue and Abbott Kinney and make your way towards Venice Blvd. This street is packed full of chic clothing boutiques, quirky shoe shops, unique house wares stores and eco kids shops. It even sports a rare bookstore. And there's a whole bunch of pretty, sunny people to stare at too!

Strange Invisible Perfumes 1138 Abbot Kinney Blvd 310-314-1505

This is not your grandma's perfume shop. Strange Invisible Perfumes most closely resembles the sort of scent-making Willy Wonka would whip up. Owner Alexandra Balahoutis has concocted 22 ready-made, all-natural essence perfumes to tickle your senses. And if you want to really go the distance, (and you should) book a consultation with a perfumer and swirl up a custom scent for her that you can't resist.

Surfing Cowboys 1624 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice 310- 450-4891

I'm a collector of Hawaiiana, so this spot is on my top ten list. Surfing Cowboys is part vintage furniture showroom, part vintage photography shop and part pop culture bookstore, with a little modern-day jewelry thrown in for no reason at all. If anyone on your list owned a surf or skateboard back in the 80's slide in and scoop up a cool board for memory sake. If you're seeking a perfect Hand Tinted Yosemite California Print, look no further.

1413 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
310- 450-6288

Let's face it none of us need anymore of anything. Firefly makes you want to give not only to friends and family but also back to yourself. Grab a pair of sparkly and colorful Haviana's slippers for the tween on your list, or one of the cooking or coffee table books. There's lots of comfy clothing for women and babies, as well as silly cards and yummy bath products by La Luz and Mistral. And once you've crossed everyone off your list, there's a nice slab of sidewalk out front, too—perfect for a last minute bask in the California sunshine before boarding your flight home.