Monday, August 31, 2009

For Heavy Duty Phone Calls

I recently read an article regarding the link between brain tumors and cell (and cordless) phone use. I have no idea if it's accurate, but I do know that cell and cordless phones lack a certain style in the home. And for your modernist, stylish friends, what could be better than remedying that situation?

These British phones (vintage yet fully functional) are, by far, the greatest rotary phones I've ever seen. These shots are just two of the many, many color combos available. They look like vintage cars, or fabulous Vespas. Can't you just picture one sitting upon a little Saarinen or Kartell Gnome table in an entryway? Sure, you can't walk far and wide while gabbing, but some phone calls are worth a bit of stasis, especially now that we know multi-tasking is less, not more efficient (yet another recent article). Plus, in an emergency (like an earthquake), rotary phones will still work, while the cell and cordless phones become dead ducks.

You will have to contact the sellers at for pricing info; they very well may be over the Toad's price point, but I just couldn't resist this call of temptation.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Main Tweeze

Here's a secret every woman knows: one of her best friends is her pair of tweezers. Seriously, how else can a woman pluck herself to perfection (and we also all know that the car, with its unforgiving light and close mirror proximity, is the ideal place for a tweezer session).

So if you have a best friend, you should give her another pal she can take with her, where ever she may go. I'm speaking of the new Agatha Ruiz De La Prada Tweezerman tweezers. They're just so damn cute, all dolled up in colorful glory. And that color serves a valuable purpose, allowing the tweezers to be easily found at the bottom of a purse or toiletry kit. Access is, after all, key to grooming success. Plus, they're Tweezerman, which means they actually tweeze just about anything (including splinters from a child's quivering foot). What a great, thoughtful gift.

These special edition tweezers are only sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, or at Buy them and look sharp.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Not For The Parking Meter

There are some people who are just impossible, gift wise, to please. In their case, you must always gravitate toward the unusual, bizarre or at least non-generic gift choice.

For example, check out this bizarro Spy Coin. Yes, it looks a great deal like an ordinary U.S. coin, but it houses a secret compartment for transporting messages (hopefully, secret messages and not some grocery store list). I suppose you could give this to your more crime-driven friends, for smuggling stuff (albeit very very small stuff) across international lines. It evokes espionage and intrigue, both things which are tragically missing in the every day fracas. It's certainly not a typical present; it might just please the fussiest friend on your gift list.

Order this Spy Coin under the cover of darkest night at

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Little Anti-Stinker

Cooking is a wonderful activity, really. But sometimes the after effects, as in hand stench, are palpable, powerful and undesirable.

Here's what you give your favorite cook: this little bar of steel. Shaped to imitate soap, this special bar scrubs away horrible odors left by good ingredients like garlic, fish and onions. It's so easy to use: just rub on hands exactly as you would soap, and the nastiness becomes merely a memory. No more sniffing at garlic cuticles come 3 am (unless your friend likes that sort of thing).

This amazingly practical "little bar of soap" can be found at Just don't let your friend use it to banish garlic breath; that requires a completely different kind of product.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Labor Day Pork Out

It's official: summer is almost over. But with the end of summer comes the end-of-summer, Labor Day weekend barbeques, and that's reason enough to celebrate with a little pork-out in hand.

Like this unbelievable letterpress poster from San Francisco's 4505 Meats, home of the best chicharrones ever, and thus home of the most enjoyable lard in America. You, of course, can just order the aforementioned chicharrones (deep lard-fried pork rinds, seasoned and spicy and going down so easily with any refreshing summer drink), but one of their hilarious posters is a nice bonus gift to the serious carnivore cook of your choice. Yum.

There are three posters to pick from, but I've featured the funniest one that just might win a place in my breakfast nook, as we are all great lovers of the magnificent pig. Order at And get ready to squeal with delight.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Killer Plates for a Big Date

The Big Date as in, the big wedding day. And this present isn't for the wedding party, it's just a delightfully offbeat present for a funky couple of kids who just got hitched.

These plates are fun, fun, fun. They are the Attack of the Evil Killer Bunny plates, complete with a different Killer Bunny on each, trying to impose his homicidal will on the diner. They're simply goofy. And unusual. In fact, if you give these plates to your friends as a wedding present, I can pretty confidently guarantee that there will be no duplicate gift. N0w, that's something special.

These plates are standard sized for anything from chinese takeout to rabbit food. Find them hopping around in a rage only at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stinky Jewelry

There's always a prankster in your little group of friends. Someone who delights in the practical joke and gets away with it. Someone who still laughs at the incongruous sight of sneakers dangling atop a telephone wire.

This is the perfect necklace for them. Two lovely, scent-free (but not stinky prank-free) sneakers all tied up and dangling around the neck of your funny friend. They're made of silver, not cotton. And they're done up as ultra-cool Converse high-tops, rather than just some poor schmo's basic white Reeboks. Although this necklace looks like a bolo (remember the 80's), artist Victoria Mason has artfully strung them securely together using two different silver chains, so there's no risk of flying miniature foodwear.

This necklace is about $200 AU dollars. Thus, it's at the top of the Toad's price point. But it definitely is a pair of the coolest sneaks in town. Order at

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back to School Reporting

Yes, it's sad. Summer is almost over, and school, that harbinger of doom, is upon us. But it's not just kids who face this dilemma. What about your adult friends planning to dive back into the academic scene for career improvement?

What better to send them off with to the lecture hall in style than a Moleskine reporter's notebook. Moleskine is a far cry from legal pads and crummy memo notebooks. These carefully bound, protected books are shaped just like a reporter's notebook, for very quick and efficient note taking. They're black and elegant (like all serious students) and come with a band to keep them shut (no flurry of notes lost on the quad). And, they just make a nervous reentry student feel just a bit more serious and ready to start the book learnin'.

Order them a three-pack (at for all their rigorous studies. They'll thank you. Tutoring, however, is extra.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Elegant Morning Repast

Ah, breakfast. At my house, that usually consists of umpteen cups of coffee and a semi-burnt bagel half, but every once in a while, it's nice to dress it up. And if even lazy me wants to dress it up, then so will friends and relatives come brunch time.

This breakfast set does that so beautifully. The butter dish protects that fancy european butter from the usual fridge stench. The cute crocks work perfectly for honey, or jam, or even salsa (huevos rancheros, anyone). And the long handles make it easy to pass the morning condiments without excessive spillage. There's just nothing wrong with that.

This set is also reasonably priced, at around 26 dollars. Not bad for serious table style. Locate it at Fancy butter sold somewhere else.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Clear Pour

There's still time to snag that Labor Day weekend invite to some wonderful property. And yes, you'll still need to bring a hostess gift.

These dog days of summer have been fog and rain days of summer for many. Forget iced tea, think hot tea. Thus, this very witty and adorable creamer as a hostess gift. It's so coy, done up as a crystal clear version of a little half pint of half and half. It's just the thing for a modern tea party to mark summer's conclusion (and ponder its never arrival. So weird, that global warming thing).

The half pint creamer is dishwasher and microwave safe (if it does turn out to be a scorcher, use it to pour hot caramel sauce over ice cream). And did I mention it's just fourteen bucks? Find it at It's a clear choice for a righteous pour.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Ultimate Key Home

You must know someone with a passion for really good design. You know, design that lets the utility of the object shine, while maintaining a certain elegant aesthetic.

Meet the Il Bisonte key chain. Yes, it looks so simple, and even a bit retro. But it works like a dream. Keys easily come on and off the individual rings with ease, thanks to convenient openings that screw open and shut (no more chipping nails trying to jam keys onto those terrible rings). The leather is available in different finishes (as is the metal), so it can look preppy, molto italiano, or even biker according to your color selection. And the large ring that holds it all together is, well, very easy to hold. In short, this key ring functions just as a key ring should. You get to use your keys, not fight with the ring. Excellent.

Il Bisonte is hard to find; there's only two retail stores in the U.S.. Order it for your design conscious friends at

Thursday, August 6, 2009


There's medical emergencies, and then there's fashion and grooming emergencies. Hopefully, you have insurance for the ones involving the E.R.. This gift is insurance against the rest of it.

Called the Shemergency Kit, this handy package contains everything a working woman needs to keep her wits about her in cases of popping buttons, green stuff in teeth, a carpet of pet hair on skirt, garlic breath from hell, or a surprise visit from old Aunt Flo. In short, it's all the stuff men NEVER think about, but women worry about, because when a shemergency happens, it directly effects credibility and self-esteem. Does this make the feminist hairs stand up on the back of your neck? Yeah, mine too, but life's unfair and gender roles aren't going to change anytime soon, so you might as well be prepared.

This is an awesome gift for a college grad starting her first office job. She can keep the kit in her desk drawer or corner of cubicle, just in case. Find it at

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Jigger Me Drinkie

Summer's rapidly coming to a close, but there's still plenty of time for parties and summer drinks. And you know what that means: hostess gifts!

For a summer cocktail party, I think this fantastically practical jigger cube is one of the best offerings. Each side of the cube has a different measurement for different drinks, making it the all in one cocktail tool. It's cast aluminum, so you can even chill it and it'll stay cold, helping that alcoholic elixer along to perfect summer soothing temps. Pina Coladas, gimlets, mint juleps and lemon drops can all benefit from its measuring magic. And the infamous Long Island Iced Tea? If you can handle imbibing it, the cube will make short work of it.

Find this useful bar tool at It'll help soften the end of summer blues.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shoulder Strain No More

Have you noticed the bags these girls have been hauling around lately? They're like hardware loaded feedsacks full of lead. It's as if every hot girl in L.A. is training for a Survivor episode (given that this is L.A, that possibility cannot be dismissed). Well, I say forget the huge bag. Rebel, and go small.

Take, for instance, this most excellent small Rachel Nasvik Eleanor bag. It's big enough to fit phone, keys, wallet and glasses. What it can't squeeze in is all the stuff no one really needs to carry around all day, like extra bottles or a full makeup set or a Manny Bobblehead. All of us should just leave those things at home, or let them reside in our second abode, the car. Anyway, the Eleanor bag is slightly evocative of a Chanel purse, but with less fuss. And it's so small that the chain handle won't dig into delicate shoulders.

This gift will release the recipient from many chiropractic encounters, as they gambol, lightweight and unfettered through the mall. Find it, on sale no less, at

Monday, August 3, 2009

Luscious Lippage

I know that this isn't a product/makeup blog, but sometimes, if I've test-driven a product long enough and think it's fab, I'll pass on the info. This is one of those products. It's perfect for your makeup obsessed friends, but it would work equally well for the makeup minimalist (like yours truly).

The problem I have with lip products is that they tend to:
1. Taste bad
2. Smell bad
3. Feel bad
4. Screw up my natural lip color and LOOK bad
Thankfully, this YSL Rough Pur Shine (I know, such a snotty french name) has not one of these terrible traits. Indeed, I'm now on my fourth (!) tube, going for my fifth. There's something about this product. It glides on so smoothly and feels light yet protective, which it should be since it's loaded with SPF 15. The smell is a lovely, faint rose scent which for some reason, even though I hate synthetic flower smells, is very pleasing. It has no discernible taste. And, finally, its super-sheer formula offers just enough tint without any radical changes (I like #25, a very light brown, but that's totally up to you). It's just great. You should buy it.

YSL isn't always easy to find, but it's always available online at Order today and stop that pucker pout.