Friday, August 31, 2012

Sneaker Punch: What Kind of Fashion Fools Are We?

The humble Adidas teams up with Opening Ceremony... for $235. What a bargain!
So, this post isn't a gift idea, unless you're one generous and frivolous gift giver. This is more a rant about the latest fashion trend, one which is currently making the high end fashion rounds, but will inevitably filter down to lowlier brands.

This Golden Goose pair has been pre-chewed for you by specially bred hamsters... only $535!
Only fashion designers could take the humble high top sneaker, uniform of punk rockers, street kids, and basketball players everywhere, and render it both outrageously priced and uncomfortable. The whole point of a sneaker is that it's comfy, right? You can move in them, walk miles in them, hurl yourself into a mosh pit wearing them. Well, not these sneakers. These sneakers are ultra high end, mostly over three hundred clams a pair. And, wait for this: some of them, actually the majority of them, boast wedge heels hidden in the sneak's inner architecture.
Just because they're French doesn't mean they're good. Isabel Marant sells you style for just $675.

Now, wedges might be considered the most comfortable category of heel by many (although I have enough horrible wedge filled nights on record to dispute this), but adding a wedge to a sneaker intrinsically changes the nature of the sneaker. I would argue that the addition of a wedge transforms a sneaker into a high heeled boot, albeit a puffy, stiff high heeled boot that makes the wearer look like she has developed massive cankles.

So, if you have over 300 bucks to burn and a desire to fall off your sneakers, these choices above are for you. Except for the Golden Goose pair above. I just included those because I couldn't believe that anyone would shell out that kind of money for something that looks like it's been run through a garbage disposal. Maybe I'm wrong. At Barney's.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

This Bag Will Not Make Your Arm Fall Off

I'm the first to admit that a purse is a very personal subject. Some women like status bags and spend big bucks. Some like a huge bag for schlepping their complicated lives around. Some of us would like some style, and would like some quality, but would rather not handicap either our bank accounts or our bodies for it.

This very functional bag comes in primary colors and classic brown, too!
I've been hauling around this medium sized bag all summer. It's from a lesser known cult brand, it's white, and it holds a lot. It really holds too much. I know this because my arm started to hurt from hauling it around. Yet, when I looked inside it, I realized that I don't need half the crap that's in there. It was just ridiculous, the amount of loose change and extra glasses and loose receipts I had rattling around in there. The only solution, I decided, was to force myself to downsize. One smallish cross body bag should do the trick.

I found this bag at Coach, of all places. Yeah, I know... it's our mother's purse store, even though I realize it's tried to be more stylish for years. In a way, Coach's striving for hipness made it even stodgier; it was trying so, so hard. This Legacy line, however, is different. They went back to the '70s, to the archives, for classic, streamlined bags. Then they added new colors and, like the one I purchased, color blocking. Somehow, this bag is transformed from stodgy to classically ironic. Although it holds only the essentials (a wallet, a phone, some keys), I've been managing just fine without carting around the contents of a filing cabinet.

At about $278, this bag is a bit over the Toad maximum, but not by much. And, for a quality bag that will probably never truly be out of style, it seems like a bit of a bargain. At Coach.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Best Designed Tote EVER!

So many ways to schlep your stuff!
Every once in a great while, I run across an everyday object that's been truly redesigned. This seemingly ordinary tote bag is a perfect example of this rare phenomenon.

Antiatoms is a design company in Spain that delights in redesigning, indeed perfecting, ordinary bags, totes, and other methods of object transport. This tote bag is a case in point. Constructed as a tote version of a Mobius Strip, the bag can easily hold a bunch of stuff from your local farmer's market (the main reason to have sailcloth tote bags in the first place), keep your sweater you schlepped "just in case" in the center, hold a paper, magazine, or even bunch of flowers horizontally on the outside, and still feel comfortable. The thing is perfect. It would make an ideal gift for either a constant farmer's market lurker or a New Yorker who's forced to carry her life with her everywhere.

It's a Spanish company, so you'll be paying in Euros, roughly 39 of them. That's not too bad for a tote bag that can hold an entire morning or afternoon in one small totable space. At Antiatoms.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This Planter is Perfect for The Purple Thumb

This planter and a camel have one thing in common.
Yes, I have a purple thumb. That means that I buy plants and care for them with the best of intentions, but their survival is still hit or miss. Perhaps I'm a bit neglectful in terms of weeding or watering? I do my best, but when it comes to growing little seeds, The Toad needs help.

I've looked at many different self watering planters, but most of them seemed ugly or just faultily designed. I have high standards; I want live plants that have stylish homes. This self watering planter from Joey Roth delivers the goods on both counts. Made of lovely porous ceramic, it operates very simply. Plant around the middle cistern. Fill the cistern with water. Forget about it for a while. The plants will happily grow as the water seeps through into the soil. And they will do so while looking simple and modernist. It works for me.

Planted with herbs, this planter would make one killer hostess gift. It's just $45 at Joey Roth, and might turn that purple thumb a lovely shade of green.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Keychain to Sanity

It's pretty, pink, and secure.
Perhaps this headline is a tad hyperbolic. A keychain can't really help you maintain your sanity, but an ineffective keychain might help you lose it.

Case in point: my keychain I've carried (and written about for this very blog) for the last two years or so. It's a Bisoni black leather and brass model, and it's quite stylish yet utilitarian. It seemed like the perfect design, until it developed flaws. Like, one side unscrewed seemingly under its own volition, dumping my house key somewhere in or around my car. I was not pleased. In fact, that's putting it mildly. After several more of these annoying incidents and close shaves, I've decided that Bisoni might be baloney. I'm going with this Baggu keychain instead. It's like a mini leash for your keys, but in bright pretty colors. I can stuff it easily into my purse, and find it easily, too. And, apparently, the keychain can be used as a strap attachment for Baggu's cute little pouches for a casual evening out.

At $18, I think this keychain might indeed save my sanity, or at least retard my journey down the road to lunacy. At the amazing Silverlake store, Hemingway and Pickett.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thumb Drive As Currency

These coins' currency is your info. Don't spend them at Starbuck's!
I know: you're wondering what the hell is so exciting about a thumb drive. I could argue that information is the most valuable currency on the planet (at least some information; the US magazine variety could be consigned to the garbage without the world losing out). And for you and yours, your own information might be the most valuable of all.

While I know all about Google Docs and the Cloud, there's still something comforting about having physical possession of your information. The ubiquitous thumb drive gives you just that. Sure, you can go to Staples and purchase any number of stylish, plain, and downright silly renditions of the thumb drive, but I like this Lacie drive best. Shaped just like a coin, the Lacie is easy to carry in a coin purse or pocket without the poking of sharp edges into your tender flesh. They have a certain spy like appeal; this is the thumb drive Bond would use, without question.

At 20 bucks, the Lacie isn't too horribly expensive. My daughter needs a thumb drive for school, and I'm considering getting her this, as long as she doesn't accidentally spend it at lunch. At Here Is Object.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Best Scrub Cloth EVER!

It doesn't look like much, but this is a magical cloth.
I know, I know: it takes almost nothing to get The Toad excited. But, as we enter the dog days of summer, our skin starts to build up crud. Old tan, old sunscreen, dryness, irritation, all of it leaves our late summer skin less glorious than it should. I'm always on the lookout for a product that will tame the scaly.

This Hydro Exfoliating Towel by Earth Therapeutics is the best body scrub aid I've found. Given to me by my product fiend friend Alison, it worked its magic almost immediately. Simply squirt on some creamy body cleanser (Alison strongly recommended the creamy kind for extra slip and moisture), and then scrub away. Scrub everything. The towel's extra long length allows for the all important back access. After using this towel in the shower for a couple of days, my skin was about as soft as after one of those brutal Korean spa scrubs administered by a no nonsense Korean woman (in black bra and panties), but without the price tag (or, alas, the milk and honey rub down).

The best news of all is that this vital skin aid is just nine bucks. That means you can purchase them for hostess gifts, stocking stuffers, or bridesmaid favors and not break the bank. Or break your skin. I recommend a good lotion post scrub, like Goe Oil. At Amazon.