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Archive for December, 2009

Gifted: The Sweetest Sweats

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

I don’t hear that much about Alternative Apparel on the boy blogs, and I’m not sure why. Not to be confused with American Apparel (and it’s hard NOT to get confused what with their super similar brand names, penny-pinchy pricepoints, and certain design elements of their respective websites) Alternative Apparel skips the geeky sleaze of the AmAp aesthetic for something earthier and more earnest.

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Alternative Apparel incorporates recycled and organic materials, the use of low-impact dyes, and energy conservation in its manufacturing facilities for an eco-conscious line of simple, sportswear basics. Which is totally, totally great, but only half as great as their sweatshirts look and feel.

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Their Champ Longsleeve Eco-Fleece Raglan comes in five heathered shades. Their slim yet somehow boxy fit and their cotton/poly blend create a convincingly vintage looking piece, as if left over from a late 60’s Ivy League athletics office.

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I stumbled across an eco-grey one last spring and requested an eco-red one for Christmas (…and am having a hard time not jumping overboard and netting myself an eco-blue one too).

Topping the rare, retro appeal of even their long sleeve raglan, Alternative Apparel also offers a short sleeve version! That Steve McQueen in ’69 shape is especially hard to find in ’09 and will spring up in my warmer weather wardrobe in at least one shade.

For certain.

Gifted: Stocking Stuffers

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Due to the particulars of my personal life, “Santa” stuffs my stocking three times each Christmas. The stocking I traditionally dig through last each year is always the best one. Void of flat filler like Dilbert desk calendars or uninspired drugstore deodorant, my final stocking of the season always overflows with treasures vintage, exotic, or branded beautifully. Some of this year’s top-performing stuffers:

1. Indian Salted Pumpkin Seeds.

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2. Mexican Bingo Boards & Cards.

BingoBoards

BingoCards

3. New Mr. Goodbar bars in old-fashioned wrappers.

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4. A zoo’s worth of Cracker Jack creatures in red and wintery blue.

CrackerJackers

Because of a big-ticket item that was given to me back in November as my early, main Christmas present, most of my December 25th gifts were all tiny and thrifty stocking stuffers, actually. But I didn’t mind at all, and my materialistic core didn’t even really notice the absence of splurgy goods, believe it or not. All the small-ticket treasures in my sparkly stocking brought me huge heaps of giant-sized joy.

…I’m gonna keep that in mind at Christmas next year.

Gifted: Gravel – A Man’s Cologne

Monday, December 28th, 2009

I had intended to share my own Holiday Wish List here, just as many Treasury readers so graciously had done over the past few weeks, but December never ends up large or long enough to fit in all we want to do with it – does it?

But maybe that was for the best.

Because I’d like to take a moment to sweetly (re)state that one of the original intentions of this Treasury was to shift the energy of a materialism-based blog away from what was desired and toward what was treasured. Away from the emptiness of wanting things toward the energy of enjoying things.

It’s not easy to do this. Not easy, especially, for me to do this.

And, arguably, it’s not money that makes the world go round, it’s wanting things that makes the world go round. I like sharing what I want, I like just as much hearing what you want and wanting things leads to creativity and hard work and pleasure and a myriad of non-shallow, non-evil pleasures.

But in this season of riches, in our privileged world in which we troll down glowing screens on thousand dollar machines to cherry-pick from a forest of fashiony blogs all the pretty things we swear we need, I just wanted to remember part of the original purpose behind my Treasury. And to non-naggingly remind myself and my far-off friends to appreciate and value and treasure all we each have – now, already, and inherently. Because there are many in this world who are not so lucky to live in the luxury that we cherry-pickers do.

Okay. So, instead of my Holiday Wish List, over the coming days I’ll post my Gifted List and share what, now that Christmas 2009 has passed, the things I am now lucky enough to actually have! I promise to slowly savor each and every item on this list before I start salivating over anything newer and seemingly shinier.

So here goes.

1. Gravel – A Man’s Cologne

GravelBottle

Somewhere down the rabbit hole of blogs this fall, I learned about this singular scent. Created in Germany in 1957 and offered at only one retail location in each city in which it’s available, each bottle is anchored with a seabed of pebbles inside which dissolve slowly over the years, lending the cologne a salty, silty, sailor-like hit.

A scent’s actual…um, scent sometimes has little to do with why I step under its splashy haze. Often times simply its name, and thus the time and era it transports me to is the crux of its intoxication. Other times, like a shimmery sculpture, its the fragrance’s bottle that seduces – demanding to displayed as a dresser-top objet d’art.

With Gravel cologne, its these attractions plus its “sweat ‘n cocktails at a cliffside campfire” scent that set me into a spritzy-fit. Everything about it is just so awesomely outré.

Reader Wish List: Yuko

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Here are the Holiday Wishes of frame shop employee Yuko from NYC. Her own blog details her love for frocks and food trucks and is always fun and mouth watering to read.

1) Sonya’s Shopping Manual (#202~301). I have the first two books (#1~101 and #102~201) and just noticed that a new one is out. These books are a great list (even if i cannot read Japanese) of the most perfect items.

Book

2) Conroy and Wilcox prasiolite ring. Totally a fantasy ring…I love everything that they make, very simple and classic but unique-looking jewelry.

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3) Arts & Science rib dress. Anything from this brand I would absolutely love.

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4) Pyrex! I bought some bowls and containers this past summer at flea markets…and now I want more!

Pyrex

5)  Saint James “Ouessant” shirt (ecru & red stripe). I know I am a little late to this game…

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6) Dickson’s Whole Beef Punch Card. This one is a bit crazy… but who doesn’t like to get food as a present? And…it kind of sounds like a deal, right?

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_ _ _

Wow. All these Wish Lists make me feel really lucky to have such cool and quirky people as readers and phantom-friends. It’s been really nice to stop blabbing about my own world and hear about yours!

Reader Wish List: Peter-Frank

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Peter-Frank sets The Netherlands on the map for the ongoing Treasury reader Holiday Wish List series.

“1) A TENORI-ON. It’s the sweet sound and old skool feeling. Some pick up a guitar in my group of friends – this will be the thing to be picked up and played with!

2) A proper coffee grinder, it should be old but this is the closest we like for our photostudio. The coffee machine is already heaven but the search for the matching coffee grinder is on!

Afbe 5

3) It’s my biggest wish to find a climbing pole for my cats Ed and Dizzee. Everything I have seen so far is U G L Y and makes your house look stupid, for example see picture.

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4) More respect and less judgement on each other life styles, the Netherlands used to be very tolerant but it has been changing, I wish for more common sense and just accepting of each other, it sounds cheesy but it is high on my priority list. If I can enjoy my life with my boyfriend than I can also enjoy the material things in life. Otherwise I would be unhappy and grumpy and all nice things wouldn’t matter.

5) Always good to have a bike, this one will be for my boyfriend. He always has problems with his bike and I have a bike that always rides, this will be so good for him.

Vanmoof

6) For my best friend, Jojan, single mum and raising her daughter Beer (almost 2 years now – I’m her gaysitter, as she always calls me) that she will have a Nr. 1 record as a DJ.

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Pffffttttttttt. That’s it, Ciao !!!!!”

_ _ _

Well, God bless Peter-Frank for thinking about other people this Christmas besides just himself. Remember what that was like?

Before his entry and especially after I’ve wondered about launching a spin-off series of posts about what we’re all excited to GIVE this year too.

A Me That Shall Never Be

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Additional Treasury reader Holiday Wish Lists are still to come but I wanted to divert the attention back to me for just one brief post. Or rather, a version of Me That Shall Never Be.

An itemized list of my thwarted evolution:

1) Spurred on by the styling of the Fine and Dandy Fall lookbook I risked my reputation to proclaim that beréts were back to see another fashion day. I ordered a seven buck blue one but no matter how I folded or flopped it I never looked like a fine or remotely dandy gentleman, I just looked like a 1980s lady.

Beret

2) The Avantguard frames by Han at Blackbird are the kind of algebra instructor eyewear I’d like to wear regularly, but irony is essential to the equation and if there’s one thing my hard-faught moustache of 2009 has taught me it’s that my face just doesn’t do irony.

Glasses

3 & 4) This winning Wilson jacket and these Beams Plus oxfords I could wear, and I would wear, constantly probably, if only my home shipping address was way less American and way more Japanese.

Wilson

Shoes

5) And finally, I can’t change where I live or what my head can and can’t do with boy beréts and Mathlete frames. Though I very easily could’ve added this red Filson Sportsman bag to the Me I’m Trying To Be. But I waited too long and Context sold out.

Filson

So, dang it. For now, I’m stuck just being the Old Me.

When I get the inspiration and ingredients for a Me I Could Actually Be, I’ll introduce you to him. He’ll probably be pretty swell.

Reader Wish List: Saucy

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Saucy, the afore-mentioned awesome Aussie is the author of today’s Reader Wish List. She’s like the Liz Lemon of the Down Under, Under 30, Stylista set.

To me, at least.

“Number One:
I will forfeit all other previous items on this wishlist if I get this one. In fact I won’t need a christmas present for the next 20 years if I get this one. I am referring, of course, to an American Greencard.

Greencard

Number Two:
I need a new camera body and this is the one I have had my eye on for awhile, the Canon 5D Mark II. It also records HD video.

5d-mark-ii

Number Three:
These mustard Swedish Hasbeen peep toes in the super high style. I love any shoe that is mustard. Wait, except crocs. Gross.

super_mustard

Number Four:
A mini short haired daschund (but my cat will kill me so this one will probably stay a dream).

minidaschund

Number Five:
This retardedly awesome horse lamp.

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I have about a billion other things but these are the first that popped into my head. I have to go pass out now, I just ate the weight of a small child in cake related products.

Saucy.xox”

_ _ _

If the holidays have you feeling bogged down in too much holly jolly and good will toward men, read a few entries from Saucy’s Cigarette Jeans Blog. Her acerbic sass will instantly jolt you back into your original, jaded state. A precious, rare gift to be handed this treacly time of year.

Reader Wish List: Mitch

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

The latest in the line of Treasury reader Holiday Wish Lists: Mitch Frank, a who-knows-what from who-knows-where who clearly has a taste for the finest things both man and nature has to offer us.

“Rounding out my kit:

1. This coat. I dearly hope that Folk expands to the US in the near future. I dig them to death. Their priorities are straight and I’d buy almost anything they make. They have the fabric, the fit, the details….This coat in pertickler is beautiful, and I need a beautiful coat in pertickler.

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2. A pair of boots. I think the Alden plain toe boot is basically the boot. The Boot. I want any of them.

ShoesTwo

3. These wingtips. I’d like to throw my weight behind some young, new shoe outfit. But as long as Alden makes shoes like these, there’s no point.

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4. A sweatshirt that fits right. A sweat like this could split duty as a nice sweater and a grease-monkey pullover. When you think of it that way, it’s a steal at twice the price! No it’s not. It’s absurd, but I still want it.

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Literacy:

1. These nature ID books are the most useful ever. They’re like choose your own adventure books, sort of: ‘if the tree you’re looking at has rough bark, go to page 3. If it has smooth bark, go to page 5.’ And so on, until you narrow it down to the tree you see. Super easy, super gratifying. Plus, trivial knowledge is my favorite accessory.

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2. Charles Causley is the most accessible good poet of the last century. I am telling you so. You’ve never heard of him because he spent his life teaching grade school in Cornwall. Where is that, even? I don’t know. King Arthur is from there, I guess? Anyways, the important people of poetry say that Mr. Causley wrote nursery rhymes for adults, but the man himself said he recognized no distinction between his children’s poems and adult poems. And they’re really powerful because of that — because they walk and talk like nursery rhymes, but then all of the sudden you’ve read a poem about destitute, bombed-out southern England after WWII and you feel pretty bombed out yourself. And that is how I like to spend my afternoons, sometimes.

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3. Dinosaurs are so cool. I want to be one when I grow up.

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4. Aldo Leopold intended to write a textbook for the newly formed US Parks service, but he ended up writing this, which should be America’s claim to philosophical fame instead of that highfalutin’ stuff from Emerson and Thoreau. I mean, the ethics of nature is one of America’s great contributions to the world, and this books is the best expression of it. Oh my gosh, it is so much better to read than I am making it sound. Anyways, I love it but I don’t own a copy, so I want to fix that.

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Breaking The Bank:

1. A really good camera. There were some game-changing developments in the digital camera world this year, and I’d really like to own one of them. It’s probably good that there’s no way I’ll get one of these in the foreseeable future — by the time I can afford one, maybe they’ll have all the bugs worked out.”

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_ _ _

There’s still time to send me your Wish Lists, fellow Treasurers. I’m pretty much open 24/7.

Reader Wish List: Kate

Monday, December 14th, 2009

The next Holiday Reader Wish List is from a local reader. Minneapolis represent!

Name: Kate Levine
Occupation: Architect-In-Training

“My Mom starts her Xmas shopping in October and religiously asks me for a list, so throughout the year I put things I like in an online list so I don’t have to scramble when Autumn arrives.”

1.  Nixon Iris Watch – white/gunmetal
“I tend to wear a lot of black and gray (that architect stereotype exists for a reason…) but I like to have some relatively funky accessories. I also don’t wear leather, so I’m always looking for a nice non-leather watch.”

Watch

2.  Bodum Columbia Tea Press
“Is there anything more homey than a tea kettle on the stove? This one is exquisitely detailed, and yet understated.”

Pot

3.  Recycled Felt Portfolio Bag
“For meetings with clients, I often need a smaller bag to carry just the essentials.”

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4.  Architectural Graphic Standards
“This is the go-to book in my field for pretty much everything. Plus, it’s beautiful.”

book

5.  Matt & Nat Bauhaus Bag
“Often, non-leather means cheap. But not with Matt & Nat. They have fabulous attention to detail and materiality. They also have a lot of unisex pieces that are good for smaller people (like me).”

Purse

6.  Asics Ultimate 81 Vegan
“I love colorful footwear.”

Asics

_ _ _

Thanks for breaking up the boys club, Kate.

Whether near or far, male or female, keep sending in your Wish Lists, folks!

Anytime, But Now

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

There’s a trick, and I’m figuring out how to master it, in creating a head-to-toe timeless look that says to the world “Anytime” and yet still whispers clearly enough “But definitely right now.”

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My best guess is keeping everything square and standardized, and then finding one focal feature to totally flub.

Any other theories?

Macaroon Mission

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

I don’t live near Paris or within a storybook or in the year 1913.

So I thought I never could and never would live in the same world as magenta or mauve or minty blue macaroons but, alas, I do!

Braving the first midwestern blizzard of the year, I drove out to the newly opened Sweets Bakeshop in St. Paul to cram a cardboard box full of technicolor treats. Just look at the rainbow of brave flavors their website promised!

Flavors

Anything sweet but salted totally wags my tail, and Chile Pepper and Lavender flavored desserts introduce intrigue and adventure to a world bogged down in the vanilla-ness of boring chocolate.

StoreFront

The Sweets Bakeshop site was part Dessert Depot, part Baked Good Gallery with delicious displays of its custom cupcakery-as-art ordered for weddings, wingdings, and whatnot.

RedGreen

Cupcakes

The daily goods counter was not as endless as I’d envisioned. Only three varieties of macaroons were available that day but I ordered two of each, plus one each of the Caramel Corn, Peanut Butter, and Red Velvet Cupcakes. And a brownie.

The supremely sweet shopkeeper said they hoped to replace their display case soon with a larger one so as to expand their daily offerings, and that a schedule of which flavors will be baked when will post to their website soon.

AtHome

Either way, I’m going back again and again to try and nab a Mint Basil macaroon. And a Feisty Goat (cheese cream-frosted) Cupcake. And…well everything they make.

How else will I be able to state with any authority what my favorite frosted find really is?

Reader Wish List: Damien

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

The next in the ongoing series of Treasury reader Holiday Gift Wish Lists: Damien D. of California and author of his own aesthetically obsessed blog.

1. Kanye West’s Tour Book GLOW IN THE DARK. “Because no matter what he always makes you want to look.”

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2. Makr Horween Leather Wallet. “Simple, functional, beautiful.”

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3. Calabrese Washbag. “More leather (I know, cows hate me.)”

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4. Hover Board. “My affinity for 80s nostalgia begins and ends here.”

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5. This Guy’s Life, The Sartorialist.

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6. His Girl. Jane Birkin.

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_ _ _

I find it interesting that in both Reader Wish Lists posted so far there’s always the inclusion of some dream/fantasy item(s). I guess it’s the time of year to dream big if you’re gonna bother dreaming.

Keep sending me your Wish Lists, friends.