Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Best Travel Buddy

I don't know about you, but I'm already gearing up for the summer. And summer, of course, usually includes travel, which has only become more complex as our arsenals of electronics and accessories grows exponentially.

That's why I'm so thrilled with this travel accessory (yes, another accessory), GRID-IT!. This simple tool keeps all those chargers, devices, old fashioned pens, chapsticks, and other odds and ends firmly in their place. You can order it in different configurations and price points, but I felt this one, for about 25 bucks, does the job. Because it's flat, you can easily slip it into a carry on for the plane. Elastic bands hold all your stuff in place for easy access. And, once you arrive at your destination, you can tuck it in a drawer, hang it from a hook, or leave it out on the kitchen table. It's the ultimate modern clutter keeper.

Plus, at such a reasonable price point, it makes a fabulous present for the traveler of your choice. It would also make a terrific Father's Day gift (far, far more useful than a tie). Find a vast variety of GRID-IT! products at Cocoon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Almost Instant Summer Refreshment

When I think of summer, I think of iced drinks. And while iced tea is nice, iced coffee packs a much bigger punch. I've been looking for an efficient iced coffee method for a while now, and I think I've just found it.

Hario is a Japanese glass making company that makes a lot of coffee and tea gadgets. While you might think the Japanese are all about tea (as in ceremonies), they are actually total coffee freaks and perfectionists. Take this Hario Iced Coffee Maker, for instance. It's simplicity itself. Put ice in the large glass carafe and use the filter on top to make coffee using hot water. Yes, you heard right: hot water. By pouring the water in a spiral pattern over the grounds, the water is more slowly distributed, runs down into the odd plastic cone underneath, and enters the icy carafe at a cooler temperature, resulting in less meltage. This thing makes a carafe of iced coffee in about four minutes, which is probably faster than the Starbuck's line for considerably better iced coffee.

This lovely summer tool is under $40, and makes a fabulous hostess gift. Find it at Amazon and stay cool and caffeinated all summer long.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lazy Beauty

As I've stated so many times before, this is not a beauty blog. Sometimes, though, I find a beauty product that fits perfectly with my main beauty goal: to look as lovely as possible with the least amount of effort.

This YSL creme blush is such a product. Nothing makes a woman look younger like a healthy, dewy flush, especially once we're climbing north of 40. Nothing takes less beauty effort than smearing on some good blush and getting on with your day. This blush is formulated to go on like a cream, but with the longevity of a powder. Somehow, though, it doesn't have that powdery look I associate with fragile old ladies. Plus, although all the colors look pretty clownish in the pot, they go on quite translucent. Almost any of the colors, ranging from peach (my pick for light olive skin) to blazing pink and bright red, would work on just about anyone.

The one bad part? These little pots are 40 smackers each. Admittedly, that's a lot. But we're talking about a summer's worth of healthy outdoorsy glow here, either for yourself or a friend. Try out this ultimate lazy beauty product at Nordstrom.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Manly Accessory

Upon review, I realized that I've really fallen down on the job scouting gifts for men. After all, men need gifts, too. And they're often notoriously difficult to shop for.

Perhaps the reason is that men, generally, don't want exciting or trendy or current. They just want stuff that works. Or electronics (which should also work). So I went out and found this wallet. Exciting? Well, maybe not. But it's so practical and sturdy. Made of ultra-soft yet tough leather, this zipper wallet by MAKR holds not just cash and cards, but an iPhone as well. This is good design, made by a small company in Florida that carefully sources materials. And while it's priced at $125, that's a pittance for an accessory the guy will use every single day (and way cheaper than those fancy designer twee wallets).

Find this most current and manly wallet at Thaylor, for cash and carry.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Grooming Gift

Weather is finally getting warm, and with it comes, at least in L.A., flip flops and disgraceful feet. You know what I'm talking about: horny toenails left too long in socks, then clipped to ribbons with one of those drugstore clippers that leaves sharp, possibly lethal nail shards all over the floor.

Sounds gross? It is! That's why I've tracked down this excellent grooming aid for the man in your life. There's precious little for the average man to do to himself to look acceptable in public, so spending a bit on tools shouldn't be an issue. This Klhip nail clipper is such a tool. Between its ergonomic design and super sharp cutting surface, this Klhip cuts nails clean through (which is good, because you know damn well the man isn't going to file after clipping, resulting in ragged edges which can cut you to ribbons). An added plus to the Klhip is the manufacturer's claim that the clippings stay in the clipper instead of shooting everywhere. This is grooming technology The Toad can wholeheartedly support.

The Klhip isn't cheap: about $80. But, since it's one of the few grooming tools most men use on a regular basis, and it's a gadget, it should hold lasting appeal (translated: he might not lose it). At Klhip.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

You Better Remember Mama

Because of my first ever fabulous Mother's Day Giveaway, I couldn't post constant Mother's Day gift recommendations. So, I'm sort of cramming them in now before the buzzer goes off on Sunday and we're all officially Bad Children. You might have to visit the stores to buy the gifts, or opt for 24 hour shipping, and I'm awfully sorry about that. You could, also, just send an incredible card and then have the gift show up a bit later. 'Cause let's face it: any gift, even a belated one, is better than none at all.

The Emergency Mother's Day List

You know Mom needs coffee. And if she doesn't need coffee, she probably needs tea. This ingenious french press serves up both beverages (not simultaneously, mind you; I never said it was magic). And for under $40, you can include the coffee or tea of your choice in the bargain. At A+R.

This is for the Mom who doesn't take her beauty routine too seriously. This taco cosmetics bag totes extra lip gloss and sunscreen just as well as a ziplock, but with a bit more humor. Plus, it reminds Mom that she really values a little junk food more than skin food. Did I mention it's $16? At Fred Flare.

Is your Mom into medication? In this day and age, it's not such a naughty question. If so, she might as well store them in style with Jonathan Adler's irreverent Medicine Chest. At Jonathan Adler.

Flowers are the old standby, and lord knows they'll suffice. But a flowering plant lasts, reminding your mother of your lifelong love and devotion, instead of dying (thus just reminding her that she won't get this much attention again until next year). Try an orchid plant. They're easy to care for and absolutely gorgeous, and at $95, cost less than many soon to be dead flower arrangements. At Orchid Wrangler (sorry, LA only).

What about sending Mom off to a hot, soothing bath? If your mom likes to kanoodle in the tub, I think Laura Mercier products should accompany her. I'm really fussy about scents, but I've liked all of Mercier's bath product scent choices, from the classic Creme Brulee to the new Creme de Pistache. They smell yummy. So yummy. At Sephora.

So, speaking of yummy, how about chocolate? Unless Mom is constantly on a diet or is just food phobic, chocolate is a great choice (hey, they say it even has health benefits). This truffle assortment from L.A.'s own Compartes Chocolatier is certainly impressive (sooo pretty), and probably tastes good, too. Maybe she could devour them while lounging in the bath. At Compartes.

Even if these exact picks aren't quite working for you and your Mama, all these sites have many wonderful choices. Just make sure you do remember Mama.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

And the Winner is...

Ladies (and gentlemen?), we have a winner for the first ever Find A Toad Mother's Day Giveaway. The lucky, lucky, lucky participant wins two gorgeous bracelets from Plan Bee Los Angeles. Congratulations to the Anonymous (yet, of course, complete with email) commenter who won the goods.

And thank you to all of you who participated in the giveaway and made it such a success. Expect more in the future.

In meantime, The Toad encourages you to visit Plan Bee Los Angeles's site and consider an addition to your accessory wardrobe. Because these handworked leather cuffs are so very very cool.