February 25th, 2014

Touring Tinseltown

The Ace hotel was our main excuse to return to L.A., but Hurly and I spent plenty of time out and about.

CaliforniaSurplusMart

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One of the stores we hadn’t checked out during last year’s visit was the California Surplus Mart which is where U.S. military goods go to live/die once they’re honorably discharged.

TheLastBookstore

TheNowhereCity

Downtown at The Last Bookstore I picked up a small stash of trashy old B-movie worthy paperbacks I’ll wait to crack open ’til summer sizzles on in.

JamesDean

Most mornings while we’re vacationing I excitedly rustled Hurly up out of bed hours before shops are even open. We try and kill time best we can, but often times we’ll just sightsee the outside of closed tourist spots, like the cold, misty exterior of the Griffith Observatory, three full hours before doors unlock for the public.

Fonuts

Other than the CW stars we saw on the Ace’s rooftop, our only other real celebrity sighting was technically just a Bravolebrity. We went to Fonuts as featured on Eat, Drink, Love and the lovely Waylynn herself filled our box with half a dozen of the yummiest and most moist non-donuts we’ve ever had.

It was an amusingly unscripted little scene for Hurly and I, and though he isn’t much into donuts at all, he was way into the donuts, fo’sure. Those things stayed un-dry for days.

HeathCeramicsCopperBowl

Last year it was some candlesticks at Lawson Fenning I most regretted not bringing back to Minneapolis from L.A. This year it was this heavy handled copper bowl at Heath Ceramics. It weighed a ton and cost even more…

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Whether it’s early in the morning, or too early to head to our dinner reservations, Hurly and I have found that another good way to kill time and see swanky sights is to wander through other guests’  hotels.

BeverlyHillsHotelCabana

We looked at the famous palm-wallpapered coffee shop and hand-stenciled signage at The Beverly Hills Hotel one night.

AvalonHotel

AvalonHotelPool

And enjoyed a quiet breakfast at the Kelly Wearstler-designed Avalon Hotel our final morning.

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WillReesAvalonHotel

I’ll skip pretty much any museum visit if it means I can scope out and pose in yet another handsome hotel.

    February 18th, 2014

    Ace Hotel Los Angeles

    Our last three getaways were to California. And we’d just visited Los Angeles less than a year ago. But I had such a transcendently sublime time at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs this fall for our non-honeymoon that I really wanted to check out the newest Ace location in L.A. basically A.S.A.P.

    And so Hurly kindly jetted us off to the Golden State for the fourth time in under 12 months so I could scope out the just-opened awesomeness.

    AceHotelUnitedArtists

    The L.A. Ace is located, notably, downtown – helping shift the area’s once shady status from down-and-out to up-and-coming. A majestic movie theater/office tower Charlie Chaplin and his colleagues built in 1927 to showcase their United Artists’ films is the Ace’s set of bones.

    AceLosAngelesTheater

    The grandiose theater lobby I thought would act as the lobby/public space of the hotel – but the theater is solely/separately dedicated to Ace-curated public concerts/shows and unfortunately closed off otherwise from the hotel and its guests.

    LAChapterRestaurant

    The hotel proper is carefully crammed into the theater’s adjacent thirteen-story office tower. There isn’t even barely a proper lobby, just the front desk/gift shop and then the hotel’s coffee shop/bar/restaurant called LA Chapter.

    AceLosAngeles

    But Ace’s strength is creating striking visual moments at every scale, and assembling beauty from mixing the old and the new with the high and the low.

    AceHotelPendleton

    In the rooms, the little things bring big rewards. Southern California was crudely cool when we were there and the color-blocked Pendleton co-branded wool blanket on our bed was a soothing, snuggly comfort that I keep thinking a ton about, back here in the blizzards of Minneapolis.

    HelloMrMagazine

    The in-room reads aren’t just generic city-centric publications, but indie zines about girl drummers and man-dating men. 

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    AceHotelSheetMusic

    HurlyGuitar

    Ace locations are famous for their in-room turntables, which our 12th-floor suite indeed offered – as well as our very own guitar and a stack of blank sheet music we used to effortlessly transform Hurly from a simple tourist into a soulful little troubadour!

    AceHotelLosAngeles

    Nodding to its Hollywoody past, signage at Ace DTLA is stenciled atop schlocky old screenplay pages.

    AceLosAngelesLAChapter

    And the walls of its restaurant are professionally doodled in images of tinseltown’s richest and most famous.

    LAChapterFood

    Diners can sit around and order ricotta pancakes or avocado toast while subtly trying to celeb spot (pencil sketchings of) Keaton and Dern and Schwarzenegger.

    LAChapterBar

    AceLAChapterRestaurant

    Or do as I incessantly did and gawk at all the ivy leather and tricky tilework and beautiful brass tabletops that makes LA Chapter so aesthetically delicious.

    AceLosAngelesUpstairs

    If you ride the elevator up the the roof the sign for the sorta Less Than Zero-seeming Upstairs bar beams bluely at you.

    AceLosAngelesRoofBar

    WilliamRooftop

    AceDTLARoof

    But once you step into the sun the scene gets a little less Less Than-ish. There’s countless kilim pillows, cement knick-knacks, a shrimpy swimming pool and, on our last day there, a chic from the last three seasons of Gossip Girl and a dude from the only season of Ringer.

    WilliamReesAce

    Other places, two semi-celebs from old CW shows might be the coolest and most beautiful things around you – but at an Ace, they just fade blandly into background players since its the hip-chic scenery that really shines.

      February 13th, 2014

      Homemaking Granola

      I was never very into fancy granola. And neither GQ nor Gwyneth Paltrow nor any Tumblr-ing styled blog has recently told me I should start getting into grandiose granolas. But in the past few weeks those expensive bakery bags of granola I never would’ve bothered paying for before suddenly started seeming crazily cravey to me. Still not enough so to pay like $9.75 a bag for though, and so I thriftily and swiftly made my own.

      And it tastes totally like Christmas cookies!

      HomemadeGranola

      Barely sweet and loaded with pebbles of pecans, it reminds me of butter cookies or sugar cookies or something like that, but its obviously way better for you – me.

      I based my base recipe off this one - just cause it popped up first on Pinterest. For the fat I used coconut oil, for the sweetener I used some agave syrup I’ve been trying to get rid of for years, for the nuts I did sunflower and pepita seeds plus chopped pecans, and for the spices I used just a whisper’s worth of cinnamon.

      I wanted my granola a little on the dark side so I kept baking mine for four or maybe more minutes. Next time I may add some dried fruit – but this time all my body and mind cared about was over-toasted oats and uber-roasted nuts.

        January 16th, 2014

        Cherry On Top

        To you she’s maybe just the chick that sang “Buffalo Stance”.

        But I had the time and the mind to pay better attention when the 80s were turning into the 90s, and so “Kisses On The Wind” might’ve been a less buzz-worthy follow-up to her name-making smash, but not an unworthy one. And then came the dark “Heart” video which freed Neneh from her green-screen cell and placed her in the brilliant spotlight of David Fincher. And then came the rap clip about AIDS, insidiously infecting the old, cold format of the PSA with the youthful sizzle of MTV so that worrying about HIV became less a matter of Life Or Death but of Hot Or Not.

        Neneh-Cherry-Blank-Project-608x602

        Neneh always had too much to worry about, too much to school us all on, to waste her time getting us to majorly like her by cuddling mer-boys or tapping with animated skat cats like her pop diva contemporaries did. She’s been lying pretty low for the past twenty years, but she’ll be rising back up in February with her album Blank Project and she sounds like she’s still got pages of personal and social woes to alert us on.

        She might’ve stomped into our world via the dance floor but she’s too urgent and acid-jazzy to bop around in such feelin’-good grooves these days.

        However she needs to sound now, whatever she wants to say, I’m listening. Old friends will tell you things no one else can.

          January 6th, 2014

          Hot and Cold

          Last night, as Daisy and Mrs. Patmore swirled into the modern world with the arrival of an electric mixer in their Downton kitchen, I myself took a step back.

          SangerHotWaterBottle

          Hurly said temperatures the next few days in certain spots in Minnesota were going to be colder than on Mars. He knows everything about almost everything, but I didn’t believe him until that moron that knows almost nothing about nothing (AKA Siri) proved him right. Last night Mars was -51 or something and this morning Bemidji had a windchill of about -52.

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          Friends in my Facebook feed have dubbed it the Freezepocalypse and so to ensure Hurly and I didn’t frostbite-the-bullet in our sleep, I filled up the German hot water bottle I received at Christmas and tucked the sunshiny little thing under our covers right before bedtime.

          HotWaterBottle

          Battling the apocalypse-ish elements really isn’t so bad if you can do it in retro rubbered style.

            December 5th, 2013

            A Few of My Favorite Things

            I know all of y’all a little bit, but since I’ve never met your Sweetheart or your Sixteen Year Old Cousin or your Self-Defense Instructor, I wouldn’t know better than you what to go and gift any of them this Christmas. But I love the way Holiday Gift Guides shine spotlights on selections and shops which readers might not come across otherwise – and so I’m issuing out the first ever Treasury-approved Gift Guide, highlighting items I’m sure someone in your life would probably treasure.

            HolidayGiftGuide2013

            1. Geneva Travel HiFi System
            I demand my iPhone speakers white, un-ugly, and non-gigantic, and this is the most handsome little-ish device I’ve come across in my thirteen months of hunting. It’s got Bluetooth, of course, plus an FM clock radio, tuckable within a future-retro travel case.

            2. Manjukaza Painting
            Far across the sea, Hong Kong artist Majukaza strokes out a never-ending series of affordable ink wash paintings, all of them black on white, each one a little different than those that have come before, and all of them modern masterpieces.

            3. Minuteman Watch
            I grew up in Swatch Watches, and now tend to wear vintage timepieces off etsy. The aesthetic of Squarestreet’s Minuteman watches span both sides of the spectrum, and then settles somewhere in between. Some designs offer brown lizard print leather bands, others sport see-through candy-like cases. Whether your style is pretty Poppy or more Papa-like, Minuteman’ll tick with every look.

            4. Vermont County Store Short-Sleeve Sweatshirt
            Short-Sleeve Sweatshirts used to be a thing, then they basically stopped being a thing. And I just LOVE things like that. These sweatshirts appear to be cut a little on the big and baggy side but I’m gonna just go with it (like in the movie Just Go With It) and make ‘em look casually cool anyways.

            5. Monoi Tiki Tahiti Coconut Oil
            The Line is a freakily chic shop in New York that sells some pricy little prizes. These bottles of Tahitian-made Coconut Oil cost but twelve tiny bucks though and they’re just the thing to make you feel dewy and tropical when winter turns you all dry and dreary.

            6. Nate Berkus Aluminum Box
            Online, almost everything Nate Berkus designs for Target looks lust-able. In person, that’s not always the case. It all comes down to (it always comes down to!) material and finish, and these shining ebony and ivory enameled storage boxes could pass for “good vintage condition” 1977 Pierre Cardin pieces. Hurly-the-Hubby thinks they’re cool too.

            7. Cupid Deluxe CD by Blood Orange
            iTunes gift cards are a’ight, but a real CD you can handle with care feels so much better un-stuffed from a stocking. Blood Orange’s album (I swear) is like the seductive soundtrack of some Pacific-set romance starring Mia Sara and whichever heartthrob looked hunkiest in bolo ties back in ’88. It’ll turn your half-lame life into a montage of hair-flips in hot tubs and kisses in corvettes. (Wouldn’t “Kisses in Corvettes” be the BEST name for a song? Someone go off and make that happen.)

            8. Musco Orange Amber Shaving Cream
            I haven’t considered straying from my praise-worthy Proraso brand of shaving cream for six or seven years now. But the Hermes-y citrus-colored tube of this orange and amber-infused Musco cream is telling me it’s time to at least consider letting something new come between me and my Mach 3.

            So Happy Holidays, friends! Go give and receive with all your heart.

            And for year-round insight into all I’m basically wish-listing, peek at my Pinterest boards.

              December 4th, 2013

              Duck ‘n Covered

              A few falls back I picked up a Pointer Brand chore coat and I don’t think any item of clothing I’ve ever bought caused so many strangers to come up to me with compliment-covered questions.

              PointerBrandTag

              Pointer Brand’s been pretty busy updating and expanding their offerings since then, and the new-ish debut that’s piqued my interest the most are the line’s Raw Navy Duck Jeans.

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              NavyDuckJean

              Crisply canvas-like, they’re a terrifically yesteryear shade of moody blue, and a great escape from the life sentence of unwashed denim.

              PointerBrandDuckJeanATreasuryOf

              Although Pointer Brand’s products are designed for the down ‘n dirty daily lives of workmen across America, I always tend to dress ‘em up a little bit. (I’ve only sorta heard of elbow grease, so I don’t want my outfits getting too gritty and giving anyone the wrong idea about me.)

              PointerDuckJean

              I am handy enough, however, to take an X-Acto knife to any visible branded labels on all of my pants since I generally want my wear as era-less and obscure seeming as possible.

              DuckJeanSide

              PointerBrandNavyDuckJean

              But something about these Duck Jeans’ ‘lil labels, both front and back, work just perfect for me. Obscure’s good, but looking like half your outfit came off the shelf of a South Dakota hardware store sometime between 1953 and 1981 is even better.

              I’m telling you – for me it’s just way, way better.

                November 26th, 2013

                Taking The Cake

                NapaCakes

                Revered as the original power bar, Panforte literally means “strong bread.” Solidly spiced and tougher than hockey pucks, Panforte packs nuts and dried fruit into a dense little disc of dessert-worthy nutrition.

                NapaCake

                I’d never had Panforte before, but since the makers at Napa Cakes wrap up their sugar-coated power pellets so sweetly, I thought I’d get a jump on the holidays with some Sienna-style fruitcake and give one a try!

                  November 21st, 2013

                  Now I’m Laying Around In The Dark

                  I guess when you suddenly go from neglected ‘lil sista to heiress of indie-queen fortunes, you only have enough time to put out a music video like once a year, tops. The main thing I love about this Salon-Jay (as Hurly pronounces it) clip is it takes not much of anything and makes it definitively something.

                  Every film I ever made, back in the day, followed that same secret recipe. We used way less metallic shirts than Solange now does, but fat regrets are a fact of life.

                  There’s also a making-of video where Salon-Jay cites choreographical inspiration from Minneapolis masters The Time. Girl gots taste.

                  (And in even newer news, Baby Knowles also has a slow-burning brand new single out. Cash In.)

                    November 18th, 2013

                    Totes Naked

                    For at least as long as I’ve been posting here on The Treasury, I’ve wanted an all-leather tote to take around when my everyday bag isn’t quite big enough. Something caramel colored, I always thought, and sufficiently sturdy.

                    AmericanApparelLeatherTote

                    This fall I spotted these Sturdy Leather Totes halfway across the store at American Apparel and almost ran right toward them. Crafted in black or natural, they’re hard and hefty, with an envelope pocket in front, and an invisible magnetic closure on top.

                    AmericanApparelLeatherBag

                    Almost overly understated, if you want the bags to read as southwestern or workshoppy they certainly will, but they just as easily evoke a more modernist, man-about-town mode. Tell someone they’re by Alexander Wang and I bet you’d get away with it.

                    AmericanAparelLeatherBag

                    The natural colored tote that I preferred, the American Apparel website explains, will darken over time to a rich Kentucky bourbon color from wear and the application of mink’s oil. I’m in no rush for that. I like the naked fleshiness of the bag as it is now and will be interested to see how long it stays this lite/brite.

                     

                      November 13th, 2013

                      Ace Hotel & Swim Club

                      We’re still deciding exactly when and where to do our official honeymoon, but the day after we got married Hurly and I headed to Palm Springs for a four day pre-honeymoon – or “honey’muse-bouche” as I dumbly dubbed it.

                      AceHotelPalmSprings

                      Most people want to visit certain countries or celebrated cities. Part of me does too, but more and more my soul is centered around wanting to stay in certain hotels. We chose Palm Springs for a number of reasons, the main one being it’s where the Ace Hotel & Swim Club is located.

                      AceHotelSwimClub

                      Built as a Howard Johnson’s in the 1960s, the complex remains true to its roadside motel roots. It’s the majorly stoned site of the next five Lana Del Rey videos, the cinder-blocked setting of that sweat-stained Matthew McConaughey movie you never got around to seeing cause it never got around to being made.

                      AceHotelCheckIn

                      Being an Ace, I knew it’d be hip. But having never stayed at an Ace, I didn’t know if it’d be dickish and douchey.

                      AceHotelKingsHighway

                      We arrived on site a few hours before our room was ready, so we headed to the hotel’s re-did restaurant, King’s Highway, for a lazy lunch. Originally a Denny’s, the restaurant has maintained its diner-style counters with swiveling stools, refrigerated dessert case, and breakfast-all-day menu.

                      JamaicaPie

                      The food as well nods to the site’s greasy spoon past but updates it with a Californi’organic twist. Fish tacos, kale and date salads. Sunshiny stuff like that. They had something called Jamaica Pie which was key lime with hibiscus and worth a try just for its name alone.

                      WilliamRees

                      They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and it must be true, because after two bites of Jamaica pie I was in full-on crush mode for King’s Highway and falling hard for The Ace all around.

                      AceHotelLight

                      We’d reserved a honeymoon-worthy suite. It was big, but the little things made the biggest impression on me like the Red Nosed Reindeer double bulbed sconces over the bed…

                      HaveaCornChips

                      And the happy bag of Have’A corn chips stocked in our mini bar.

                      AceHotelWindow

                      After we got settled in our room we explored the grounds, armed with no less than three cameras with which to mount the first of our many Married-Men photoshoots.

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                      FiberArt

                      LimeTree

                      Our suite had two patios. The larger one had a citrus tree growing over the wall…

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                      And a fireplace I’d enjoy each morning while waiting (and waiting and waiting) semi-patiently for Hurly to eventually wake up.

                      FeelGoodSpa

                      One day we hit the Feel Good Spa. I considered a hippie-dippy spirit cleanse involving crystals, but went for a clay wrap instead. It basically felt like getting massaged by melting butter and some warm maple syrup and there ain’t nothing not delicious about how that feels.

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                      The Amigo Room, the hotel’s dark and divey bar regularly books live musical acts.

                      TheAmigoRoom

                      Hurly and I stayed up way past my bedtime our last night at The Ace to check out some cigarette-jeaned band that was scheduled to go on at 10. While they set up their instruments I stayed busy by super-modeling mob-boss style.

                      AceHotelSign

                      I’m usually ready to head back home after a vacation winds down but leaving The Ace was absolutely awful. It wasn’t the least bit dickish or douchey. Every staff member was warm and normal, not icy or intimidating. Every sign, and sofa, and song, and french fry, and bathrobe, and cactus at the complex was perfect and magical.

                      AceHotelMarkWill

                      It’s bar none my favorite hotel I’ve ever been to. And it doesn’t make tons of sense to go back to it right away, instead of finally going to Japan or seeing what Africa is like or visiting the town they filmed Twin Peaks in, but I mostly don’t care.

                      I just wanna go back to The Ace, ASAP.

                        November 5th, 2013

                        Tied

                        On our tenth anniversary of being together, Hurly and I drove to the ritzy courthouse in St. Paul and got hitched. Like legally!

                        For someone who can hardly buy a bottle of spring water without wonder-worrying about its aesthetic impact on their life, I was surprisingly intent on keeping our big day totally low key. I wanted the focal point of our nuptials to be us and our love, not how expertly/obnoxiously art-directed and Design*Sponge-y every needless little detail was. Enough of my life is sacrificed ritually to the Style Gods above. A wedding day seems like it should be void of all that ego-driven energy.

                        I mean, I own American Apparel tote bags more expensive than my suit was. And I looked at dozens of rings but the one that excited me the most was a vintage, twenty-buck thing off etsy. From top to bottom, our wedding day remained remarkably immune to my otherwise omni-present materialism.

                        And although we had small-scale simplicity in mind from the beginning, that isn’t to say that plotting our wedding day was easy or stressless. Being among the first same-sex couples to be married in our state, Hurly and I were working without a template or set of traditions to follow that reflects our generation’s revamped definition of marriage.

                        We kept it simple, partly just because we’re two dudes who grew up figuring weddings were for everyone but people like us, but I really hope in the coming decade that same-sex couples will begin to establish their own thoughtful traditions for future generations to adopt. And that it gets easier and clearer to envision what a Guy on Guy wedding should/could be.

                        Once it finally went down, our own Guy on Guy day was great. I don’t remember what words our judge used to tell Hurly and I that it was finally legal and that we could kiss, but after we kissed, all I wanted was a hug. Not from my new husband, exactly – but from my old friend, from my favorite friend.

                        My first pet name for him was Treasure and the name of this blog actually (plus my whole life) is a wink and a nod to him.