Friday, May 29, 2009

Lips Together and Blow

But not for a kiss. This gift is for either sports nuts or the constantly vigilant, take your pick.

This genuine Acme (no, NOT the Acme from Looney Tunes) whistle does everything a whistle should. It's sturdy, shiny, has the real McCoy wooden ball inside it for maximum noise, and has a no-nonsense string. Believe it or not, these Acme whistles are hard to come by. In fact, the picky site that carries it is Swedish, precious, and prices everything in Swedish kroner (don't worry, the price isn't steep once you've done the Google conversion).

This is not a whistle for children. It's a whistle for people who appreciate good, solid, unchanging design. Or just want to make the most noise in the most stylish way possible. Order the Acme whistle at And get ready to blow.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pygmy Picnic

Although ostensibly picnics are supposed to be casual and carefree, there's no real reason to not inject some organization and whimsy into the mix. Especially when you're buying a gift for a constantly barbeque oriented friend who always has outdoor events.

So here's a condiment corral that's honestly adorable. The little picnic table and benches holds unbreakable plastic bottles of mustard, catsup, salt and pepper. It'll look great in the middle of kid and grown-up tables alike.  And it works with virtually any outdoor theme (except, perhaps, some ladies' tea, but then why would anyone need condiments with fussy crust-off sandwiches, anyway).

The little picnic ensemble includes the bottles (your gracious friend/hostess will have to perform filling function herself). Locate it at

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Have Tripod Will Travel

So, how many times have you and your friends gone on a trip, intended to take lots of pictures, and ended up with a sad scattershot assortment? Forget complete group pics (please don't count the ones taken by the eye-rolling waiter at the restaurant booth), because someone has to hold the silly camera.

Well, no more. This tiny tripod holds that silly little camera, atop any bottle, for easy all-inclusive group snapshots. And since someone in the group will always be a hydration freak (requiring many many bathroom stops), their ever-present water bottle can now serve a new and noble purpose of holding the tripod. It's easy and brilliant and takes up next to no luggage space.

Of course, now you (or some other tech genius) will have to learn how to program the timer on the camera to actually nail a decent group shot. For that, I have no advice except "good luck." Find the bottletop tripod at

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fleabag, Schmeebag

No, this entry has nothing to do with your dog. In fact, this entry, unlike virtually all the others on Find a Toad, is a rant about a product I find, frankly, absurd and an affront to shoppers everywhere.

I realize there's money to be made from this new era of parsimony. I'm willing to accept, and even embrace, the idea of cutting back on wants and needs, become fiscally and environmentally responsible, and shop with consciousness. But this product takes all that and distorts it in a particularly cynical way. 

Meet the "Fleabag," a kind of handbag "responsibly" manufactured in New York City of "non-toxic" substances (you know how poisonous the ordinary handbag can be; my daughter almost died from opening mine just the other day). I'm all for American-made products, but this bag, monikered the "Fleabag" because it's supposed to tote your bargain-priced flea market purchases, is "responsibly" priced at only... $395.00.

What is going on? How could anyone, anywhere, think that this Fleabag (unlike a homeless puppy) is a good purchase? Who buys a four hundred dollar bag to take to the local flea market? But just wait: you'll see half a dozen dopey celebrities marching proudly around with this thing prominently displayed for the camera, feeling virtuous about their "responsible" expenditure. All I have to say to that is: Bitch... please.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stamp Out NYC

No, this is definitely NOT a rant about one of the world's favorite cities. Everyone loves New York, but no one whines about missing it more than a NYC transplant. This gift should soothe the whining beast.

These Muji stamps (Muji being the wonderfully minimalist Japanese design company) bear the skylines of the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State building. Reduced to simple yet instantly recognizable outlines, the stamps work well on virtually anything (stationery, envelopes, as part of a signature). So your transplant, pining for good bagels, falafel on every street corner and the great culture, can stamp the NYC likeness all over their less satisfying life.

Best of all, each stamp is just six bucks! With that price point, you could buy them both and throw in ink pads in many colors (or not, since BLACK is the only appropriate NYC shade). Order them at And let the skylines shine.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Capsule Culture

It's a pharmaceutical world, baby. Ever since that camp classic, Valley of the Dolls (fine, a cautionary tale, but the caution wore off), popping pills for what ails you has become more and more acceptable. Why not give your favorite medical fan a permanent present?

Like this "Doll" capsule necklace. Made of either silver or gold vermeil, the pill wobbles on a delicate chain, rather beguilingly in your friend's valley. She may not be able to take this pill when necessary, but it's a reminder that help is only a drugstore visit away. It's hip, it's cool, and, if you partake of the therapy yourself, it makes a great present for your psychiatrist, too.

The "dolls" are available in earring form, too, but that seems a bit too disco for everyday wear. Get the prescription filled at

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mean Green Jellybean Travel Theme

Visiting season is rapidly approaching. You know, the warm (or even sweltering) summer months during which transplanted east-coasters and mid-westerners travel to their native lands. You must know at least one transplant, getting ready to brave the chaos of the skies and the tyranny of the carry-on bag.

There's not much to do about flight cancellations, but you can supply the carry-on. Take this green Jellybean carry-on suitcase, for instance. This hard-shelled little gem (I personally think it looks more like a turtle than a bean), fits perfectly into the lilliputian bins airplanes supply for luggage. It may look small, but you can stuff at least four days worth of clothes into it. The glossy shell guarantees no one will crush your belongings. And it rolls with unparalleled ease. In short, it's everything anyone would want in a carry-on. Plus, there's that kelly color. NEVER lose track of luggage again.

I believe it comes in screaming yellow as well as the aforementioned green. Find it stowed away at And send them homeward in style.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Piece of Land

There's this great moment in Woody Allen's film, Love and Death, in which the narrator describes his father carrying around his "piece of land" (literally a square of sod). "He was an idiot," Allen states. In this case, the piece of land I'm recommending is merely decor, not legacy.

The Chlorophylle grass square simply offers a glimpse of greener pastures for the deskbound. You know the type: stuck in an fluorescent-lit box with their back to the window, trying to avoid that occasional reminder of the great outdoors. This lovely square is like a mini park or a small organic sculpture. It's a do-it-yourself project (as in plant the seeds and water the thing) for the very very busy. And if you're so inclined, you can add some small figurines of playing children and a miniature swingset (any model train supply store has this stuff in stock).

Order the Chlorophylle through Because everyone (even the office idiots) deserve a piece of land.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Give Them Great Face

I have never "repeated" a post topic, but I'm making an exception now. With the new Los Angeles humid weather, along with tons of pollution, faces need more care and "facetime" than ever before. This is the time to call Arielle.

Arielle Snyder is a Los Angeles facialist extraordinaire. When you place your favorite face in her capable hands, Arielle will cleanse, massage (with hot rocks, no less), exfoliate, extract, and mask it to perfection. Her facials are, honestly, the only facials I've ever found relaxing and enjoyable (ok, maybe not the extractions, but they are a necessary evil). Her products are French, fabulous, and smell fantastic. The environment is dark and quiet, almost womb-like. I have passed out in her chair. And, Arielle performs other beautifications such as brow shaping, lash tinting, and waxing. She's like this one-stop grooming spot.

Give a gift of an Arielle at Club Prive facial to your favorite face. And see it glow for weeks afterward. You can reach her at 310-470-4708.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Adore Le Chat Decor

Redecorating, in this time of thrift, is often not the happy lark it used to be. And when you're redecorating your kid's room, you really DO have to wonder if it's worth the cash. Here's a quick, inexpensive (although rather image-specific) solution for a girl's room.

These are basically big stickers you apply to the wall. Called Guinot Wall Cats, these sleek felines, in various states of action and repose, can stalk about your daughter's (or son's, whatever) room. These aren't creepy Halloween, unlucky black cats. Rather, they're refined francophiles who act as gentle companions. Ok, maybe that's a bit much; they're just very cool wall art. And did I mention they just stick right on, so you can make a little fun afternoon project out of the redecorating, to boot.

The Wall Cats are an exclusive product found only at As temporary decor, they're just purrfect.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Have you noticed it's spring? Have you also noticed that you have a friend or relative with limited space who never has a vase? What's the point of celebrating spring if they can't bring a flower or two inside for glorious display?

Meet the Vasemaker. This handy little item can turn virtually any vessel into a vase. Even your lamest friends (decor-wise, anyway), can find a Tupperware, slap the Vasemaker atop it, stuff some flowers in it and call it an arrangement. Of course, they don't have to resort to mini-storage. A pretty wine glass will work wonders, or a vintage drinking glass. You get the drift. The Vasemaker is, indeed, the Bouquetfaker.

You can locate the Vasemaker at Order it for some fast home improvement.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Show That Note Who's Boss

Ah, the fridge note leaver. Everyone has a friend or relative whose fridge is covered with notes, articles, and shopping reminders. So give them this gift and let them attach their paper in style.

Ninja style, that is. These ninja shuriken magnets are dead ringers for the real deadly weapon. They are ready to hurl at the fridge door (or magnetized surface of choice) at will. Old Grasshopper will not have to instruct them for years in throwing technique (a big plus). Save them for truly urgent and serious messages, ones that require a bit of a statement. With one of these lethal looking babies sticking out, it's a virtual guarantee that the "pierced" document will be perused.

Find these magnets, two to a pack, at They help dominate the domestic domain.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cake Trio

There seem to be many, many birthdays. And they require, of course, many many cakes. Why not send your long-distance birthday person three cakes?

Coffeecakes, that is, from Zingerman's famous deli and bakery in Michigan. "Coffee cake," you ask. "Coffeecake isn't for birthdays." Well, I beg to differ. This coffeecake has been praised to the stars by none other than Mario Batali. Their coffeecakes keep for about a week after being unwrapped, and can last months in the freezer (for year-round birthday celebrations). Plus, the flavors are all awesome: classic sourcream, hot cocoa (deep dark chocolate that's not too sweet), and a lime and coconut version perfect for warmer temps. They are simply delectable.

Rush this tantalizing trio to the lucky birthday boy or girl by speedy jet; order thc coffeecakes at

Monday, May 11, 2009

Say It's Their Birthday

Maybe it's just me, but I know a lot of people born in May. Why the tons of Tauruses? No idea. 

So if there's a birthday, a cake is required. And even if you can't bake from scratch to save your life, you can open a boxed mix and produce a reasonable facsimile of a homemade cake. Especially if you use this cake pan. It very clearly spells out, in no uncertain terms, the reason for your domestic labor. You just can't buy a cake that looks like this! Plus, it spares you the even more difficult task of trying to write in cursive with icing (something best left to the professionals on "Ace of Cakes"). And a fancy homemade cake, in this age of the easy and storebought, is indeed a great gift.

Order this Happy Birthday pan at And don't worry: the thing's non-stick, just so you won't present the birthday honoree with "appy irthda."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Their Own Small Country

Every child would like their own small country. But some, little control freaks that they are, actually NEED their own fiefdom. 

This personalized map by Kidlandia (shown at right is "Amiland") at least gives them some hope. Just go onto the website, fill out a quick form, and Kidlandia will create and print the perfect personalized map for little Conor or Ava or Lola (Lolandia???). It's a pretty cool way to decorate a room for a child who already thinks the world revolves around them. I suggest hanging a real map of the US or the world next to it, just so the kid can get a grip on reality.

It may even be possible to convince the geographic wizards at Kidlandia to fashion your child's very own continent. Check it out at And map your kid's personality in living color.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

All Ears for Mother's Day

Ok, so this is the LAST Mother's Day post, because after today it will be far too late to order anything for your mom and she will be soooo disappointed in you and you'll live with guilt forever and ever, the end.

But I just had to mention this so cute coffee/tea cup. It's so fanciful (and yet practical) with its little ears instead of handles. Just like you're all ears for whatever your mom has to say, right? Plus, this cup is part of Moma's new Brazil line (all the products hail from this South American nation), which means that no one else will have it yet. Scarce and cute is always a good thing. You could even throw in a pound of superior coffee or a box of premium tea, just to gild the lily.

Order this witty cup and saucer at And then say goodbye to Mother's Day 'til next year.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Give Your Momma Some Obama

Before this post goes any further, let me just say that if your mother voted for McCain, you can stop reading now because it's probably a waste of your time. However, many of us have mothers (whether we agree with them or not; I'm trying to be fair here) who developed "consciousness" in the 1970's, worked for equal rights, fought for civil rights, and were downright elated (and relieved) when Obama won last November. This Mother's Day gift is for them.

This super cool, very loud and official Obama plate is quality commemorative Obama merchandise. It's a collector's item. It's something your liberal mom can either serve cheese off of or hang prominently on her kitchen wall. It's true political art that'll last way longer than the average flowers. All in all, a swell gift for a certain type of mother.

Locate this fine china at And make a political statement (and celebration) this Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Yoga Momma

Maybe you have a funky momma. You know: she came of age in the 60's, maybe thought about going to Woodstock, forced you to eat raw peanuts and carob when all the other kids had Twinkies in their lunches. Fine, you didn't get your sugar share. But you have a cool mom who happens to (apropos of her generation) practice yoga. 

Here's a great Mother's Day present a yoga momma will really appreciate. This very funky, super lightweight yoga bag is made of recycled commodity bags from Cambodia. It's even made by actual Cambodians, so ordering it is a worthy and helpful act. And it looks very cool. Plus, it does exactly what it's supposed to do, which is carry your yoga momma's mat from home to studio and back. Sometimes there's genius in simplicity.

Order this bag through Because even if your well-meaning mother carries the weight of the baby-boomer world on her back, she shouldn't have to haul her yoga mat without help.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Enchanted April in May

This isn't a movie review blog, so normally I wouldn't mention a movie as a gift. But this movie is so perfect as a Mother's Day gift. Plus, it's just been released on DVD. 

The movie is Enchanted April. This lovely, mannered British production is actually a romantic, slightly feminist fairytale (an almost impossible combo). Plot synopsis: a group of romantically dissatisfied Englishwomen, some married, some not, rent a fabulous castle in Italy for an early spring vacation. The dissatisfying men eventually invade their stonewalled solitude, but it all works out in a most delightful way. The dialogue is never contrived, the characters are sharply drawn, and Brit beauty Polly Walker plays the most gorgeous flapper suffering from ennui. It's just a wonderful watch.

Order Enchanted April on DVD at Even though it's May, it's never too late to celebrate love.

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's What She Wants

Money money money. In one form or another, it's practically all people talk about these days. And I'm sure you have a friend who's extremely preoccupied with her lack of filthy lucre.

That's why you should order her this tote bag, immediately. This extremely arty bag sweetly, colorfully, and succinctly delivers her main message, up front. That way, you don't have to discuss the subject anymore (since it's already been established) and you can get on with talking about more important things (what those are is up to the two of you. Like I know anything about your relationship?). Plus, tote bags are so "in" now, for carrying veggies from the local farmer's market to carrying your overpriced groceries from the regular market (after one shopping session at Whole Foods, this tote's message is really in its element).

Pick up this financially savvy tote bag at Because it's not just what she wants, it's what she needs.