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.

                    April 2nd, 2015

                    Must Reads

                    It was a long summer drive from one side of Wisconsin to the other side, and so I decided to fill up some of the quiet miles by telling my family about a book I was working my way through and just starting to get the hang of. Life After Life.


                    The story tracks an unusual British girl named Ursula through various lives she could have led, or may have led, or did lead, in the ominous years leading up to World War II. As the story repeatedly resets both itself and when/where/who precisely our heroine is, initially the novel is a challenge to track and to attach emotionally to. But then once you do, you really do.

                    Every couple weeks I’d bring Hurly and my niece up to date on how Ursula had recently been living and dying, and literally every time I retold her unfolding tales to them, I’d have to pause for moments on end in order for my heart and throat to cooperate long enough to turn my stifled sobs into actual words.

                    My ceaseless near-tears weren’t so much centered around sadness in the story but around the humanity and warmth that radiates through the book no matter how grimly war and death continue closing in around Ursula’s world/s.

                    For deja vu and flukes and fate might haunt us all and lead us seemingly far off course at times, but Ursula’s soul has a compass, it becomes clear. Nothing can tamper with it for her (or, I’d like to now think, for any of us).

                    Life After Life is a thick, heart-throbbing mega-treasure and you must spend your April reading it!


                    The author Kate Atkinson, must’ve been as moved and inspired by the characters in the novel as I was because she’s releasing a sequel/companion story to Life After Life titled A God in Ruins which, if you do your assigned April homework, you’ll be ready for upon its release on May 5.

                    Ruins shifts the narrative focus to Ursula’s beloved little brother Teddy. I’m not sure if his life and times will reset, over and over, as Ursula’s did. Either way, he’s now coming to terms with a post-war life he seemingly was destined to never have.

                    I can’t wait to spend time with Ursula and Teddy and their friends and family again. There’s a dog running around their story too. It always gets named Lucky.

                      January 13th, 2015


                      One of the coolest gifts I received over Christmas was this Easy Mirror from American Design Club.


                      Made of a single sheet of polished stainless steel, you simply pop the leg backwards, peel off the protective film, and end up with one ultra-modern reflecting pane to pose yourself in front of.


                      As edgy and awesome as my new mirror is, I’m so far having a heck of a time finding a table/dresser/surface worthy of its austere chicness.

                        January 8th, 2015

                        Under A Single Sun: Arcosanti

                        Hurly’s been bee-ishly busy lately so the lull between Christmas and New Year’s was our only opportunity for a winter getaway this year. We flew to Phoenix mostly so we could check out an otherworldly architectural/anthropological experiment called Arcosanti.

                        RTH shot a video lookbook for their clothing/accessories line there last spring and when I first viewed it I thought they had somehow shot in on Luke Skywalker’s home planet. Had two suns appeared in the sky, I wouldn’t have been surprised – that’s how surreal and sublime the place looked.

                        But Arcosanti isn’t in a galaxy far far away. Just a three hour plane ride and a 70 minute drive was all it took for us two earthlings to arrive.

                        #rthonetrippassarcosanti from Jay Carroll on Vimeo.

                        And, in person, in color, it’s not quite so exquisitely utopic. I could show the photos I took, or mention the dozens of tattered thrift stores couches and unwanted VHS copies of Titanic that have come to Arcosanti to gather dust since the mini-city was first formed in 1970. But I’d rather think of Arcosanti the way RTH represented it. Telling the truth through lies of omission is what gives film and life their beauty and their power.