July 8th, 2016

Copper Beech

Although I’ve only visited interior designer Thomas O’Brien’s New York City shop AERO but once, I’ve had probably at least a dozen dreams since then that I’m there again, fawning all fanboy-style over the vintage/modern treasures Thomas is personally pointing out to me.

After 25 years of AERO, O’Brien is launching a brand new store inside a beloved old building.


What was once Wallen’s Market in the Long Island town of Bellwort Village, has been thoughtfully transformed by O’Brien and his partner Dan Fink into Copper Beech.


Stocked with AERO-like antique accessories and furniture, Copper Beech sets most of its attention to the kitchen with an earthy assortment of utensils, vessels, and baskets, as well as pantry-packing canned, jarred, and dried goods.



It’s small town living at its flax-y ‘n foxiest. There’s three weekends left this summer to suss out Beech’s chic seeds and antiques before the shop is fully functional next summer.



I probably won’t be able to pop in to check it out ’til 2017, but odds are I’ll dream I’m cruising through Copper Beech basically any night now.

    July 5th, 2016

    The Little Things

    Interior designer Dan Fink creates serenely handsome homes made of (of course) room-sized rooms. But a smaller scale is celebrated in Fink’s introductory web presence, with his website’s landing page presenting a series of sublime little still-life studies.



    Miniaturized models of iconic furniture designs rest amongst the other essential elements of an elegantly orchestrated space.


    Mood boards transposed into table-scales, these images illustrate boldly how the perfect room is the sum of diverse, pretty-darn-perfect parts.


    While Hurly and I anxiously and endlessly wait to discover our next (more perfect) home, our frustration with our current, imperfect home festers and intensifies.


    These Dan Fink tableaux are a welcome reminder that while an entire home, or, perhaps, a certain room might feel flawed or unfinished to a homemaker, in narrowing in on one perfect vignette or a single sublimely designed shelf-scape, we can give to the eye, mind, and soul nearly everything we’re wishing our future or fully-finished homes will someday hopefully exude!

      May 31st, 2016

      Point Break

      It’s basically summer, which basically is the season that bores me most. I end up needing especially exotic and chic internet inspiration I’m able to priority ship to myself so the season passes less languidly.

      A hot minute ago I impulsively ordered some man babouche shoes. They’re twice as androgynous as might be wise, and I’m probably gonna need some new pajama-y pants to pair with ’em to pull off the Brideshead Revisited world-traveler look I’m leaping into.


      But what the heck else would I do with myself all summer?

      I couldn’t decide if I should get black or indigo. Indigo seemed a little less harshly Helmut Lang, so indigo it was. They’re arriving from London next week and If I end up ballsy enough to wear ’em in real life I’ll upload the evidence to Instagram.

        October 9th, 2015


        Woolpower’s been spinning out its cold weather layering garments since 1972. I never heard of the brand, and then in one week I suddenly started seeing it on multiple webshops/sites.


        Each Woolpower garment is produced in the company’s Ostersund, Sweden factory where they know plenty about dressing for frigid conditions. As must Minnesotan me. Obviously not as warm as a long sleeve crew or their zip-up turtleneck, I opted to induct myself into the Woolpower world through their Base Layer Tee 200 since the length of its demi-sleeves seemed the most 1960s and Scandinavian.

        Woven with polyester, polyamide, and elastane these base layer woolens feel almost like a thin, open-weaved terry; and so softer than they are scratchy.


        Every Woolpower piece is sewn by a single seamstress who stitches a tag bearing her name into the finished piece.

        Woolpower NavyTee

        My nifty little navy number was fully sewn by Eleonor Lubell and knowing that makes me feel like I’m wearing a wink or a friendly handshake whenever I have it on.


          October 1st, 2015

          Pleasure Print-siple

          While waiting for our server to bring us our food at restaurants, sometimes Hurly and I play this game where we pretend GQ is demanding we each provide our own 10 Essentials list. The products/items/edibles we think are incredible and couldn’t live without.

          A slowly realized update to my 10 Essentials list would be the coincidentally named Essential T-Shirts from The Gap (always/only) in Heather Grey. They’re not too thick or thin, or short or long, or tight or baggy. They just read as classic, university athletics department-issued tops, and they look good ‘n guy-ish with whatever. Like the You Don’t Even Care At All type of whatever.

          The Gap isn’t exactly anyone’s chic little secret – but I’ve tried a lot of T’s in my years of me-ing along through my materialistic life, and these Gap shirts are the ones I ain’t got no complaints with.

          I order them with pockets, and I like them without (although, I’m panicking that as I go to post this they don’t have the seemingly permanent pocket-less version online in Heather Grey. Uh ohhhhh….)


          Last weekend I had Hurly help me punch up a few fresh Essential T’s with some screen-printed text that might look military or macho to most, but subversively has a dance-diva source of inspiration. (what about me doesn’t?)

          “We turned right and I said wrong which brings us to a stop” is the final clue before I usher you elsewhere to confirm my shirt’s music video muse.

            September 25th, 2015

            CAA Hotel: The Rest & The Restaurants

            The night we checked into the CAA Hotel, we spent but two minutes in our suite before sprinting back down to the lobby level to make our 9:30 dinner reservation at The Cherry Circle Room.


            There was squid-ink-tinted pasta and fish that felt like chicken. (Which was a definitive treat for pescetarians like us.)


            And mood lighting radiating from every direction.


            The antique heradlry banners added to the secret lair flare of the establishment – the symbols and motifs recurring in the embossing of the menu covers and stitching on the table napkins.


            Scanning the shelves around the S-shaped bar was basically like window-shopping a perfectly curated antique store.


            The built-in clock from the Association’s original restaurant was still ticking, if not a bit tarnished. Someone be a sport and buy me a book about built-in clocks in last-century public spaces, or at least start a Tumblr about ’em. They’re everything!


            Since we were in Chicago to celebrate the ultra-successful launch of Hurly’s new computer coding school, and reward ourselves for the ceaseless weekends we’d all spent Allen-wrenching the campus into existence the past year, we asked for the Cherry Circle Room dessert menu up front. (And then, shocker – rushed down for malts at Shack Shack instead.)


            For breakfast, both days (cause Hurly and Kaya were so hooked) we took the elevator all the way up to Cindy’s Rooftop Bar and ordered family-size portions of pancakes and bagels with lox. In the club’s original days Cindy’s was…notably…um, nothing. Just a roof. But who needs history and decorative relics when you have a swath of skylights as your ceiling, and the maple syrup comes spiked with rum?


            Face-stuffing aside, the beds up in our suite had Faribault Mills blankets folded atop them and pommel horses stationed beneath them.


            The hallway art was often of fleets and always on fleek.


            Without a doubt, it was a truly winning visit to the windy city.


            I don’t or won’t leave a space/place I love without taking its energy home with me as ongoing inspiration. Since we returned home I’ve already picked up a set of old Indian clubs that look like they were sculpted from the planks at the fancy Shake Shack, and this weekend I’m coaching Hurly on how to recreate my favorite of the abstract paintings from the hotel’s drawing room.

            Souvenirs in spirit only are souvenirs even so.

              September 21st, 2015

              Chicago Athletic Association Hotel: Game On

              If slumping around, staring at chesterfield sofas isn’t enough action for you, there’s peppier fun to be had in the CAA Hotel’s Game Room.


              With pool and foosball and shuffleboard tables to take on…


              And an indoor bocce court that always seemed already occupied.


              I quite enjoyed the opportunity for some friendly competition, but still spent most of my time gawking at the green leathers, high-glossed tables, and built-in trophy cases the space had been spruced up with.


              Friday night the Game Room roared with the flirting of Tindr-trained hipsters and yuppies, but during the day there was plenty of peace and elbow-room to be found.


              The bar menu offered Cream Soda Floats and Raspberry Beignets(!) that our daily Shake Shack-snacking sadly prevented us from ever ordering.


              Just outside the Game Room is the Milk Room – which was given its name during Prohibition when whisky and rum weren’t wetting anyone’s whistles.


              Today, The Milk Room serves coffee and tea and donuts and such. I only ever got around to the tea, but I’ve learned from my mistake, and will go harder next time.

                September 17th, 2015

                Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

                It was a men’s athletic/social club built in 1893, now newly resurrected as a grand hotel, with interior design courtesy of the team behind the ACE New York. I mean, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t drag Hurly to The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel for an investigative getaway.


                The first floor of the building is somewhat of a gateway to the true hotel above, but retains the club’s original Euro-style tile and impressive marble stairways.


                Also at ground level, for public over-indulgence, is the most glorious and glossiest Shake Shack in America.


                Shakes and/or super malty malts were ordered all of our three days in Chicago. On the handout for the self-guided architour I later gave myself I learned that “What is now Shake Shack used to house the club’s Turkish bathes.” Definitely the best and most swoon-worthy sentence I’ve read in quite some time.


                To rise above the black + white shakes and get to the hotel proper guests take one of four elevators paneled with original court flooring featuring the old Fencers Club insignia. How’m I supposed to truly live now, knowing that old club is dead?



                Then the elevator doors open and you walk into a tartan and turkish-rugged wonderland.


                Lots of leaf-colored leathers, and electric Edison bulbs. The hotel’s a working time machine with just enough mid-century and modern tweaks to lead the eye back toward present day.


                I spent a lot of time just purring at all the swanky grandeur while Hurly and my sixteen year old niece traded amused glances at my decor-oriented rapture.



                But when a space’s fireplace is huge enough to incorporate two conversation seats within it…


                …and features wooden relief sculptures of century-old footballing brutes, how can you not freak for the majestic chic of it all?


                The morning after we arrived my niece’s allergies hit like bricks, so she and Hurly lazed up in our suite all afternoon. I didn’t mind having to entertain myself though. I hunkered down in the library-like room one step up from the hotel lobby and studied my favorite of the club’s decorative arrangements: large leather daybed, kilim pillow piles, and odd-coupled oil paintings arranged gallery wall style.

                Whole hours of my life passed, exactly like that.

                There’s lots more club to show, and I’m a gonna show it all!


                  September 10th, 2015

                  Fiele For Fall

                  The bottles come tied up in earthy little satchels.


                  And the labels are made of linen-y fabric, lending your dresser top tray an extra dose of luxe.


                  I usually pick out a new fragrance for fall and this year I went with Fiele’s Pogostemon. It looks so rich, and with its Indonesian patchouli base it smolders with a spiced, camp-fiery scent perfectly mood-enhancing for the season ahead.

                  Fiele offers four other wildcrafted and organic scents including Cedrus (cedar) and Myrrha (myrrh), but Pogostemon definitely had my name spritzed all over it.

                    September 3rd, 2015

                    I Shouldn’t Have

                    I almost didn’t buy it. It was a last-season, last-minute, add-on purchase that my wardrobe definitely didn’t need, and therefore I felt gun-shy and guilty about going for it.


                    But in person, on this person, it looks brag-ily cool and actually will probably get much more wear this fall than the initial item in my Uniqlo cart that I’d ordered with way greater gumption. The v-necked cardigan shape of it is neatly Japanese-y while everything else about the jacket is Maine-y and military and familiar. It’s lean and light and layer-able, to boot – lending it tons of versatility.

                    So, phew!

                    More and more I make fashion purchases with such a strategic, slow stringency. It’s a rush to remind myself that careless impulse buys can occasionally pay off as well.

                      July 30th, 2015

                      Dot Dot Dot…


                      The sun is setting on Unionmade’s spring/summer sale – but in the early dawn of its launch I took a gamble on a dice-like button-up collab with Gitman Bros. Vintage.


                      I made a conscious decision to buy way less clothes this year. I pre-permitted myself just four pieces for spring, four pieces for fall. (And a new coat and pair of shoes for each season.) I’ve more or less stuck to my limits so far, I’m shocked to report – and these limitations have helped me narrow in on pieces I’ll really need, will definitely wear, or are truly distinct.


                      So though I’m stricter and more sober about my sartorial spending these days, I don’t want my wardrobe to simply stumble into snooze-ville.


                      Organic cream polka-dots on inky, thick-linen-like material seemed an art-poppy way to plant some Brandon Flowers-style flair into my newly-parched purchasing habits.


                      Strutting around just one bolero-tie away from reading as a full-on Reno casino scenester is a risk I’m in no way afraid to make.


                      I try to navigate End of Season Sales by aiming for pieces that are gonna work as well, if not better, in the season we’re revving toward as opposed to the one entering the rearview mirror. The crispy duck-cotton-like thickness of this Unionmade x Gitman offering is almost too meaty for summer – it’s gonna feel fantastic, though, against the cool thrust of fall!

                        July 27th, 2015


                        Over the past year my Instagram feed has spun into an almost-solid column of images from ceramic artists. There’s so many talented designers pushing the medium of modern ceramics away from the mundane tea bowls peddled in farmer’s market pottery tents toward something broader, bolder, and more brutal(-ist).

                        The past months I’ve invested in quite a few pieces, ranging in price from $45 to upwards of $300. These are the artists whose output I’ve been most excited to bring into my home.


                        Bari Zipperstein’s drippy, un-hippie pieces are architectural, textural, and a little bit 80’s. I became a repeat customer right away.


                        Another L.A. artist like Zipperstein, Eric Roinestad’s work ranges from the graphic and geometric…


                        …to the organic and primitive.


                        The taller version of this red-clay Pinna Jar by Natalie Weinberger is my favorite find of the summer.


                        Jacob Cannon Wilson’s set up two etsy shops, selling two totally different styles of work. (Currently he’s sadly shop-less.) I bought a black banana vase in the same vein as this palm tree number for a hint of Afro-Cuban chic.


                        And arriving in the mail any day now is this asymmetrical bowl by local artist Adam Gruetzmacher. I politely pestered him for four months to make me a piece like the one pictured above. Pestering pays, let me tell you!

                        All the mags tell you to invest in up-and-coming artists whose work you admire and which might be worth millions some day. They usually mean paint and canvas type stuff, but I’m more keen on kiln-y creations.