Thursday, February 26, 2009

Slick Solution

Dusty, dingy, and dull. No, that's not how your house looks right now. We're talking skin here. Winter skin, ravaged and ruined by frigid outdoor winds and below-Sahara humidity levels. "They" tell us that sunshine and warmth is just around the corner, but there's no way you and your friends can expose your scaly selves without some help.

Well, you can forget pricey spa salt scrubs. Reach for this Jojoba oil instead. It may look like an oil slick, but this golden liquid is more like wax, sealing and protecting that crabby skin from the elements, imparting moisture, but not causing dreaded breakouts (now that really would be adding insult to injury, wouldn't it?).

Put it in baths, slather it on after, remove makeup with it, pat it on your face. Jojoba really does the trick. And, at under 20 bucks a bottle, it's easy to distribute to your friends. Order it online at

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Not Your Funeral

Obviously, it's not your funeral. Because if it were, you'd have other concerns (or be, perhaps, beyond all concerns) besides what your funeral attendees want to eat. It's one party where you don't want to be the honoree.

But for the rest of us, standing at the grave, sitting shivah, attending the wake, we all need food, particularly the bereaved family. So what do you supply or send? Forget flowers; they die. How about a bereavement gift box from the famed Zingerman's? It's stuffed with bread, cheese, salami, an excellent coffeecake and pastries. It's easy to leave out for a crowd or squirrel away for the immediate family. And it's about $100.

Order it online at And remember: food is a way to celebrate life, even in the midst of sadness and grief.

This is written in honor of Rachel.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scrubber Ducky

There hits a point during the middle of winter when skin becomes a dull and dusty coating, all that hearty comfort food sits in brick-like fashion, and the mind slows to a hibernating tortoise pace. Now is that time.

Everyone needs a good, brisk brushing. Body brushing increase healthy circulation, rids the body of pesky dead skin, and offers stimulation for the brain. And what better way to brush up and away winter blues than with this tough yet decorative ducky brush. Made of wood rather than rubber or plastic, this super-groomer evokes the past while bowing to our green future. Not bad for a duck.

Order it at It'll help everyone clean up their act.

Monday, February 23, 2009

No Free Lunch

There really isn't any free lunch, even where kids are concerned. After all, hauling lunch to school might be cheaper, but it certainly isn't FREE, especially if you want the kid to carry in style.

Introducing the OOTS lunchbox. Resembling a recycled plastic Indian tiffin, this lunch set holds anything and everything your child might wish to consume, from PB&J to last night's stir-fry. And even though it's plastic, this set is the right kind of plastic, not adding any chemicals to your child's meal AND helping you avoid all those wasteful plastic bags. 

It's also easy to carry and easy to clean. Check it out at Cause, as it turns out, lunch might really be the most important meal of the day.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Victory Garden

Remember the concept of a Victory Garden? You plant veggies and other edibles, you use the bounty for your own household, you save money. It's an old (relatively, anyway) idea that's experiencing a resurgence. And this gift's an easy way to feed a friend or relative with limited space but lofty self-sufficiency goals.

Introducing the Soup Garden. Easy to grow on a fire escape or windowsill (or on a deck or front porch), this tiny planter is packed with herb seeds for a savory finish in soups and more. And even the blackest of thumbs can probably master this little garden plot: just water, grow grow grow, and clip to eat.

Find Soup Garden at It's the yummiest way to go green, like a renewable Cup 'O Soup.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Getting Soaked

So, just because you need to save some money doesn't mean you can't find an achy, crabby friend a great gift for less.

Take these Masada bath salts. Collected from the Dead Sea and often infused with relaxing oils and scents, these bath salts can be pricey.  Really, like fifteen bucks for three heavenly soaks. But here's the ultimate bath bargain: one 64 ounce bottle (that's jumbo) of Masada salts in various permutations for just $19.99.  That's hard to beat for night after night of relaxation.  And it guarantees your workout fiend friend some welcome relief from muscle stress and strain.

This incredible bargain can be found at And by all means, buy two, keep one for yourself, and take advantage of their free Super Saver shipping. It's one soaking that won't leave you all wet.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sucky Snack

Crumbs.  There are crumbs in your officemate's keyboard. There's also dustbunnies morphing into elephants behind the CPU. Not to mention the effluvia from a thousand deskbound lunches.

Here's a lunch item to the rescue. This plastic hamburger is actually a tiny handheld vacuum. It'll suck away the crumby dirt and grime clogging up your office buddy's life. And its perfectly stacked burgery layers are a reassuring reminder that lunch is right around the corner (hopefully OUT of the office instead of in).

So grab the burger that consumes calories rather than creating them. It's available at, and it's only $20.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Toffee Break

So Valentine's Day is over, and there's many, many people you know who didn't receive candy. What a shame.  But you can remedy that, and in the nicest way.

Littlejohn's English Toffee is the answer.  This "toffee house" is somewhat of an LA legend, tucked away inside the famous Farmer's Market (where you can watch them actually make the sweet stuff).  The candy is crunching, but not jaw-shattering.  They're liberal with the chopped nuts.  And the toffee is so buttery and perfect, it doesn't even stick to your teeth, just melting away into a burnt sugar memory on the tongue.  A box full is ideal for an after dinner party nibble, or with tea and a good book on a rainy afternoon.

Order it through Sugar hounds everywhere will thank you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Squeeze Box

Perhaps you're not meticulous, but odds are you know someone who is.  The sort who straightens everything perfectly as they pass it, cleans up right after a party, and tries to use every drop of toothpaste in the tube.

We all know the latter is impossible, at least without help.  Enter some official help, in the form of this old-fashioned, sturdy little tube wringer.  It's perfect for getting every last little bit of Crest out and on their toothbrush, but it's just as handy for squeezing out kitchen ingredients like tomato paste or harissa, too. Plus, it's attractive in a funky, lower-tech sort of way.

Find this feat of household engineering at Then squeeze away.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Romance with the Trader

Ah, the romantic, home cooked meal.  It's a major indicator of serious relationship potential. Especially around this most romantic of holidays.  Unfortunately, it fills some with terror and foreboding; they can't cook.

So get help from the Trader!  Trader Joe's, that is, the amazing food superstore chock full of already prepared goodies.  The Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's cookbook helps you make mincemeat of meal minutiae. With the good Trader's assistance, you can pump out appetizers, main courses and desserts at warp speed.  It'll all taste good, and your dinner guest will never be the wiser.

You can probably find Cooking with Trader Joe's at your local bookstore, or on  A caveat: avoid the veggie gyoza.  The later results are less than romantic by any standards.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bitter, Party of One

While this time of year is nice for those in love or serious like, the spurned, angry and broken hearted are left out in the cold.  Should you ignore their plight?  Or approach it with some dark, nasty humor to warm their cold souls?

I always opt for the laughs.  And, on this Valentine's Day, a little violence in the name of healing and closure should be permitted.  Take this toothpick holder, for instance.  It's fully functional, indeed a perfect place to display toothpicks for picky purposes.  But it's also the voodoo doll of kitchen accessories.  She'll practically hear Bob or Brandon or Zed scream each time a pick pierces his clay frame.  It will satisfy.

Find the little masochist at  And include a box of toothpicks for instant gratification.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Sometimes, you just want to know your relationship is hammered down.  This necklace is a sure way to communicate just that.

This Martin Margiela silver nail necklace is a fabulous unisex gift (ok, it's really for men, but I see no reason why a woman couldn't receive and wear it).  It's simple yet hardcore.  Elegant in design yet not precious in any way. And its heaviness communicates importance.

I don't, however,  recommend purchasing this gift for the commitment nail-gunshy.  But if you mean business, it's excellent.  Check it out at

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

She Can Eat Her Hat

First, if you've purchased your love a hat for Valentine's day, hang your head in sorry shame. Hats are for Easter, silly!  Plus, there are too many variables in size, shape and style to ever fully satisfy a giftee.

But a hatbox?  A totally different story. Especially when said hatbox is brimming with candy from Boule.  Normally, I'm against candy for this Hallmark holiday, but this stuff is an exception.  Imagine lots and lots of sugar and chocolate, enough to keep her happily occupied for hours, nibbling and sampling before dissolving into a woozy yet compliant heap at your feet.  Now that's a Valentine's Day gift.

And the hatbox?  Look, she probably already has a hat she never wears, and needs someplace to store it.  I've also heard hatboxes make great lingerie storage, too (hint).  Order the whole thing at  Maybe she'll even save some for you.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

House of Hope and Love

Ok, maybe not completely.  Or not for everybody.  But for many, the Obama White House comes pretty close to a true house of hope and love.  

So give your Obama fan some concrete proof of the hope living under that roof.  This tiny democrat blue Obama White House looks perfect on every liberal-loving mantel.  And it's a far more hopeful (and much more tasteful) departure from the other scale models in this line, "Buildings of Disaster," featuring the Pentagon, The Watergate, etc.

It's good in times like these to remind your politically minded friends for whom they voted and why.  Repainting the White House might just do it for them.  Grab the Blue White House at

Friday, February 6, 2009

Jumbo Valentine

Yes, the "Love" poster might be a bit of a cliche.  But, aren't cliches ultimately what Valentine's Day is all about?

At least this particular "Love" poster comes in wonderful bright colors that would look pretty stylish in almost any home.  This is not a V-Day gift to give on a whim, or to someone you just met.  It's going on their wall, after all; a reminder of your confession of emotion in perpetuity. Or at least until your cherished one changes the decor.

Locate this wall candy at  And remember, at least for the time being, that a love poster is all you need.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dirty Knickers

I'm not suggesting that you buy your love dirty knickers for V-Day.  Sad fact is, those fancy pants tend to get laundered incorrectly after the deed and are destroyed.  It's a waste of silk and lace.

Instead, buy your love something to keep those knickers clean!  The Laundress is loaded with useful cleansing products for delicates.  Go for the delicate wash, a mesh bag to protect said delicates from snags, AND some spanking clean knickers (to be discussed in a later post).  This stuff is hypoallergenic, and those clean-freak ladies at The Laundress have washing advice galore.

Find these romantic and practical scrubbing bubbles at  Her knickers (and other delicates) will thank you.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Really Great Read

This is not a book review blog, but I felt I had to make an exception for this particular novel.  

I first heard about Elizabeth Strout's "Olive Kitteridge" on the radio station KCRW.  The author Pam Houston (a wonderful writer in her own right) was waxing rhapsodic about the book.  She said she got so into the characters, she didn't want to betray their secrets by talking about them. She turned out to be 100 correct; this is a killer book.

The whole book is like a series of vignettes based in a small town in Maine.  Every vignette includes the character Olive, who's impossible and irascible (and not usually in such a charming way).  It's beautifully written but not overwritten.  And it crosses gender lines; this is NOT chick lit.

I highly highly recommend this book for any reader on your gift list.  It'll give them a wonderful few hours of both escape and contemplation.  You can find it at, or in bookstores everywhere.  And my apologies for the lack of a photo.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Now Love Stinks?

Yes, there seems to be a fairly stinky theme on Find A Toad these days, but this item is especially for your love on Valentine's Day.  And no, it ain't perfume.

It's roses.  Not overpriced real roses, grown in a hothouse somewhere and smelling vaguely of air. These are paper roses that look real, but won't die on the love of your life anytime soon.  And, on top of that, they're constructed of a completely renewable resource: elephant poop.

Yep, you heard right.  Pachyderm poop piles are transformed into visions of loveliness.  And why not?  It sure beats cutting down trees for paper, or growing mutant roses using tons of pesticides. Plus, if your relationship is unfortunately on the skids, it proclaims, loud and clear, "love stinks."

Grab a non-fragrant bouquet today at