Sunday, December 28, 2008


It's such a cliche: everyone toasts the new year with champagne.  All those fizzy bubbles heading straight up your nose, the silly glass, the instant headache (and you're not even hungover yet). There must be some relief.

How about tequila?  And we're not talking that poison yellow Cuervo crud, either.  Present your New Year's Eve host or hostess with a bottle of Corvo Silver tequila.  First off, it's an excellent "sipping" tequila, so you don't have to worry about shots and salt and limes to suck.  Second, have you ever seen a prettier bottle? Seriously, it looks like a lovely New Year's ice sculpture.  So stylish on a bar.

It's available at fine liquor stores everywhere, for around fifty bucks (just try getting a decent bottle of bubbly for that price).  You can also order online at

The Two Faces of Time

Sometimes time flies and sometimes it drags.  Time's your friend one minute and your enemy the next.  And never is that more true than once you've had a baby.

The new moms in your life know this well. Baby time moves like a tortoise on Valium, yet
those babies grow up in an instant.  So here's a "baby" present that seems most appropriate for that new mom: two clocks for baby's room.

One angel clock and one devil clock, set exactly how mom wants them.  The angel can show the current time, the devil Bangkok time (or the devilishly fun venue of her choice).  They're both very cute and very affordable.

Spend some time online at and check them out.  Because with this gift, time might really be on your side, after all.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Taurus, Toro, Bull

Another holiday season has just ended.  The candles have burned (maybe at both ends), Santa is taking a much-needed vacation at Club Med, and you're given the needle-strewn task of dismantling the tree and overloading recycling bins all over town with holiday remnants.  But it's not done yet.

You still have New Year's!  And hostess presents!  And yes, while a bottle of booze is always an acceptable gift, it's not the only one to proffer. How about a New Year's bull?

This sweet yet dignified bull bookend fits the year's end perfectly.  It lovingly supports all the novels and cookbooks your hardworking hostess received for the holidays.  It looks beanbaggy and friendly on the shelf.  And it adds that wishful longing for the coming year: a bull market.  You can definitely toast in the New Year to that.

Order him at  He might be a bull, but this gift sure isn't.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Baaaaaaa Humbugs

So it's Christmas Eve-- the zero hour and you're behind.  It's still not too late to give the gift that really will keep on giving.

Gift your yet-to-be-gifted with an e-card and donation from Heifer International.  This excellent non-profit organization gives milk, meat, and wool producing animals to very poor families in third world countries.  The result?  Through production of said milk, meat, and wool, the families earn extra income and nutrition, becoming self-sufficient in the process.

And, it's economical, too.  Heifer gives you tons of choices.  Give a flock of ducks or geese for 20 bucks.  Thirty smackers buys a hive of honeybees (the honey's great for the family, and the bees are just great for the environment).  Or, you can be a big spender and give a goat, a pig, and even a water buffalo.

This is a truly wonderful method of introducing the idea of charitable giving to children in a way they'll understand.  Heifer International sends them an animated card explaining what their gift does for families around the world, and you get to explain the importance of helping people everywhere.

Go to for more information.  It's a way to give a gift with real staying power.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ring In Your Sweetie with a Ball and Chain

At this late date, it's probably impossible to get anything shipped in time for Christmas, but what about New Year's?

Ringing in the New Year is a much honored (and hangovered) American tradition.  And you can get extra bonus points by giving your loved one a ring to ring in 2009.

Even better, this is a subtle, stylish, non-engagement type ring, so there will be absolutely no misunderstandings during Auld Lang Syne.  This gold bauble is designed just like one of those ball chains you used to use for your key ring (before key rings became a fashion statement and cost a mint).  And it really lets you know that she is, after all, your ball and chain.

It's also at a pretty decent price point (being, like almost all items on Find a Toad, under $200.  See it in all its glory at  And then spring for an honorary economy sized bottle of Advil to accompany your New Year's Eve ring of devotion.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Funny Bunny

Or maybe not so funny.  To some, this bunny cookie jar looks menacing and plotting, adding drama wherever he is.  

Here's what makes this bunny so special: as well as being ironic, it's a limited art piece.  

Designed by Japanese artist Momoyo Torimitsu, this bunny is a large scale object specifically intended as a commentary on Japanese small living spaces, a sort of size protest, if you will.  It's also an art multiple, meaning only 1,000 of each color was produced.  So once they're gone, they're gone.  This is perfect for the Japanese anime fan in your life, or a fledgling art collector.

He's also reminiscent, in U.S. circles, of the cult film Donnie Darko (one of my personal favorites).  And, he just looks great hanging around in just about any kitchen, spreading his lapinesque vibe.

You can find him just an online hop, skip, and a jump away at

Friday, December 19, 2008

Take This Bag Advice

So I'd kind of sworn I was going to avoid the ubiquitous canvas bags that are so popular for environmental reasons.  You know, all those bags with their self-righteous "I am not a plastic bag" proclamations (often seen in malls stuffed full of plastic junk doomed for the landfill; at least it's all being carried in a politically correct fashion).

I do, however, like these canvas bags.  Emblazoned with a city map of your choice, the bag either proclaims a serious case of tourista or a definite amount of hometown pride.  Either is superior to the "who's the greenest of them all" contest.

Choose from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Chicago.  They're only $15, so they're great for a stand alone gift or one stuffed full of biodegradable products.  Or, stuffed full of cans of hairspray and oven cleaner.  Your choice.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Serve 'Em a Big Bowl of Cuteness

This is a super cute, multi-giftee sort of gift.  It could even work for your pets, although they probably won't appreciate it (unless your animals have an extraordinary aesthetic sense).

These are japanese rice bowls with just the cutest animal faces on them.  And I don't mean cute in a creepy, sexualized Hello Kitty sort of way (well, maybe the cat looks a little like an alien, but in a nice way).  I mean whimsical, sweet, adorable, how your favorite pet looks on its best day kind of cute.

This would be a wonderful gift for a little girl who loves foodie pretend play (go the multicultural route; it can't hurt).  It's great for any animal lover.  Or, you could just buy a set for yourself and your pack or pride.

Check them out at  

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Match Game

I'm about to divulge the greatest gift idea.  It's always gotten rave reviews.  It's personal yet funky.  And it's an idea I freely admit I ripped off from an ancient Domino magazine issue.

It's personalized matches.  Now, I know what you're thinking: "Ewww... nasty weddingesque favors."  But trust me, it doesn't have to be that way. lets you design your own matches, from the size and type of box to colors, fonts, and print content.  It's surprisingly easy to do.  And it's so easy to "match" the style up with your giftee.  There's just one caveat: don't do a straight, conservative match box.  Mix up colors for a funky combination.  Pick a great font.  And keep the content offbeat (like, instead of giving an address, put just the apartment number, or just the city).  

This is an ideal hostess present for a weekend invite, or as a New Year's Eve bash extra.  Check out for all your options.  And match them up with the gift of light for the coming year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Self Creation

There are those who live to do projects, and those who run screaming at the sight of a hot glue gun.  This present is for the former.

Normally, I'm against giving personalized gifts.  They seem cheesy and lazy, not to mention looking disturbingly like something out of The Preppy Handbook.  But this personalized key chain is different.  It's really a project.

And no hot glue gun is required!  This needlepoint-it-yourself key chain kit comes complete with stencils of the entire alphabet, so your busy bee friend can label the thing with whatever letter. Completed, it looks cute and homespun in an Etsy way, not an annoyingly perfect Martha Stewart fashion.  

Order the handy dandy kit at  And keep their idle hands needlepointing away this holiday season.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Slug of a Different Color

A slug of coffee, that is.  Or maybe tea. 
Whatever.  The graphic (arts), creative people in your life are usually wandering around with a mug of caffeinated beverage permanently attached to their hands.  With this gift, they can combine work with reinvigoration.

These mugs feature Pantone color swatches.  Pantone is the official color wheel of choice for virtually every graphic endeavor.  They're classic.  Bright.  Pretty.  Pleasing.  And the mugs are good-sized to hold a good supply of whatever good stuff the artist wants to imbibe.  And, until quite recently, they were only available in the EU.

Pick up the mugs at  They also feature an espresso set in various Pantone shades of brown, really cute for the continental creative director in your life.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Prissy Little Cookies

There are two types of cookie lovers.  Those who love perfectly neat, tidy, often decorated cookies, and those who like cookies in any form, even if they look like tiny trash heaps.  This cookie gift is for the former.

The Japanese are known for many culinary delights, including sushi, soba, and skewers.  But who knew they were such fans of butter cookies?  And these are fussy butter cookies as only the exacting Japanese can manufacture.   Uniform, elegant and perfect, the cookies also beat the pants off the traditional "butter cookies" you get every year in that eponymous Danish blue tin.

Order them for your uptight cookie fan, along with a tea cup or two and maybe some tea.  All can be found at that tower of exactitude,

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pretty, Golden, and Impossible to Lay

Obviously, you're not equipped to lay the Golden Egg, but you can at least be the person to give it.

This is a beautiful necklace.  It's made out of an actual quail's egg that's been coated on the inside with sumptuous gold, then plasticized on the outside for endurance.  It dangles delicately on a thin gold chain.  Frankly, it's unlike anything I've seen before.  So pretty and lovely in a fairy tale kind of way.

It's also at a decent price point for a golden item: about 200 bucks.  Give to someone special, perhaps your favorite Goose Girl.

Find it at  It'll garner a gaggle of compliments.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hanging Out with the Kids

Yes, Find A Toad has been a bit kid-gift heavy lately.  But, in case you didn't notice, it's the holiday season, which is presumably mostly about the kids (how many of you have written a personal note to Santa or Hanukah Harry recently?).

One item almost always present in any baby's room is the mobile.  Some are padded with quaint duckies.  Some squeal tinny music.  Most probably drive the poor baby crazy and are nasty for the adults to view, too.  

These mobiles are the exception.  They're very simple.  Very lightweight (in case the installer is sloppy and the thing plunges into baby's crib).  And rather abstract.  Sure, there are balloons and planes, but there's also silhouettes of seahorses or a whale with babies in its tummy.
Plus, they're inexpensive.  What a relief after all the high-priced stuff for a kid's room.  

Check out the enormous selection at  It'll make hanging out with the kid just that much more esthetically pleasant.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Mouse in the House

Normally, I'm not a huge fan of overly cute kids' furniture.  It seems like a wasteful expenditure with a limited shelf life.

But not so with this ultra-cute Mouse beanbag chair.  It looks comfy and cozy for kids, yet quirky and offbeat in a way that adults can appreciate.  It seems to seamlessly work with everything from modernist to traditional kid room decor.  Plus, it's easy to move from room to room, creating a nice little mousie "nest" anywhere in the house.  This is a great gift for your favorite kid who's still too young to succumb to the evil lure of the Nintendo DS.

I've only seen this special chair at Takashimaya in NYC, at  It's on the pricier side, almost 200 bucks, but shipping is free.  

Monday, December 8, 2008

Compliments of Secret Santa

Ah, the annual office ritual of the Secret Santa.  What a beloved tradition: pull some random co-worker's name out of a hat, and get them a fun gift that costs under $15 (plus, it has to be office appropriate.  No fart jokes, no sexual innuendo, no profanity... you get the drift).

What to do?  Why not combine nostalgia with a little self-esteem building?  The Affirmation Ball is like a classic Magic 8 ball, but evolved for the deeply insecure.  Forget cryptic answers to pressing questions.  This perpetual happy face of positivity only gives good news, like "You have minty fresh breath!"  Stuart Smalley couldn't do any better.

You can find this happy (and cheap, just eight bucks) little item at  It's just Secret Santa's way of saying, "Yes you can!"

Friday, December 5, 2008

Animalistic Drinking Tendencies

It's definitely the drinking time of year.  And while many go for the civilized glass of wine or elegant cocktail, there are those who like their poison in one shot.  This is the gift for them.

Going on the animal trophy theme so popular for a few years, these shot glasses serve two purposes.  Upside down, they look like miniature pewter trophy heads.  Right side up, they rest on their heads and function as fabulously dark and dangerous deliverers of magic elixer (drinker's choice, of course).

The great thing is, these glasses look fabulous single or in multiples, so you can spend just a little ($36/each) or more.  Choose from an assortment of woodland creatures ranging from the typical (stag or moose) to the more exotic (an outraged rhino).  

Look up these pewter beauties at  As a popular gift, it's a sure shot.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lefty Literary Stocking Stuffer

Just when you think you're done with the holiday gift shopping, the reality of stocking stuffers hits you.  Yes, you'll need to purchase at least three more little gifts per immediate family member (not counting those Trader Joe's truffle bars thrown in as filler).

So here's a suggestion for the reader (probably female).  This dog tag style necklace can function as a pendant, or a key chain, or as a zipper pull on a purse.  And emblazoned across it (clearly visible in the picture) are the words "I read banned books."

The even greater thing about this gift is that it's handmade at  Look under the artist "JJ Backman."  If you wanted to gild the lily, you could even include a copy of The Catcher in the Rye.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Goy Toy for Christmas Joy

Admit it.  When you think "Christmas," you envision some Tudor home embellished with twinkly lights and graced with everything that is traditional.  But there are actually Christian modern homes aplenty.  With residents throwing holiday parties.  And you need to bring something cool.

Here's an idea.  Help them celebrate the big J.C. in a mid-century modern fashion with this ultra-stylish nativity scene.  The manger has a Hollywood Dome appeal.  The major players look a little like Weebles.  And it's small enough to display on the Eames coffee table instead of the front lawn.

If you really love the party throwers, throw in this literary extra: Lamb by Christopher Moore.  
Definitely the funniest take on the life of the Christ ever.  And an irreverent Yuletide accompaniment.

Find the book at, and the nativity scene at  It'll make Christmas come alive.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Eat Them Up, Yum!

It's never too early to teach kids a lesson.  Especially when it comes to something as fundamental as natural selection.  Learning that the big guy can swallow up the little guy is vitally important, especially if you grow up in Hollywood or on Wall Street.

Take these Food Chain toys from that old classic toy purveyor, FAO Schwartz.  Sure, they're cute, fuzzy, and of unidentifiable species.  But they also teach, in a beautiful (and perhaps brutal) way, the order the eating game tends to go in the natural world.  

These ravenous co-dependents come in two lovely colorways, to fit any kid's decor.  You can order them at  Then let the munching and lunching begin.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Client Nibble

Client gifts are tough.  You know they are, since every year you receive a mountain of 6 million calorie Mrs. Beasley's Muffins, a bushel of grease-covered popcorn, and enough cheese and salami that you couldn't hide it if you worked for the FBI.  

The holidays are working against you for sure, both in the clientele giving and receiving categories.  But in the case of female clients, anyway, there's a way to give something sweet without the collateral thigh dimple damage.

These super cute pendants are gold dipped representations of real snacks you might actually want.  You can choose from sweet (a cupcake) or salty (a pretzel), depending on your client's food fetish of choice.  And you can explain your gift choice in a witty card, while subtly putting down all those other food whores who went for the real thing.

Hop over to and order some junk food.  Everyone (thighs included) will thank you.