Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

Hot and Cold

Monday, January 6th, 2014

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.

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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.

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

A Few of My Favorite Things

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

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.

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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.

Stocking Unstuffing

Friday, December 28th, 2012

The thing with me is: No one, not even the great and powerful Hurly, can ever be sure which gifts will really wow me, and possibly earn their way into the hallowed archives of The Treasury. Here’s what tickled my 2012 fancy and made the final, blog-worthy cut!

I don’t know if any of these Asian candies will even enter my mouth. But their packaging is totally eastern on the front, and then Helvetica-banal western on the sides. I told Hurly they belonged in a movie I could’ve once made about a sour but sweet-toothed U.N. representative circa 1973.

Hurly played no part in the gifting of this vintage Madonna pin. My sister did. Since, after all, it was she who I’d taught the dance in the “Vogue” video to after I’d carefully learned it myself back when we were kids.

This Welsh Corgi figure was the present that brought the biggest smile to my face for the longest spell. It looks just like our goofy guard dog, Aesop, and I knew instantly it was a gift I’d have laying on the various dressers and bookshelves of every home I’ll ever live in until the day I die.

I also got some carrot-y scented hair gunk from the brand that has the same name as my dog. I didn’t smile as big or long about it. It sometimes takes a lot to melt my freezing little heart.

A few Christmases ago I received a Mexican Bingo game that I love playing with my niece and nephew because it teaches me Spanish. I can now say Watermelon, Canoe, and Black Man in Spanish – La Sandia, La Chalupa, El Negrito. This set of rhyming dominoes might be less educational for me, but my nephew turned six on Christmas so he and I should get a few years worth of joy out of them.

One night after one of my niece’s school plays we went out for pizza and some of her sporty schoolmates were wearing these pom pom hats with the name of their school on it. I liked the retro, suburban, athletic look of them, said so, and now I have one for myself; allowing me to accessorize just like the jock-y, hockey-loving boy that I totally never was back in my own school days.

This tooth brush’s jet black bristles are made partly of charcoal, which is a natural purifier. Color me intrigued!

I don’t know what I love more. Gymnastics, or playing Wii, or watching Shawn Johnson “Aw, shucks” her way through the Norman Rockwell poster that is her life. Now I can combine all those loves, plus the thrill of “designing” my own video game gymnast with this possibly life-affirming Wii game.

And then lastly, a happy pack of HawCakes. Whatever those are. The first ingredient is something called haw, if that at all helps.

I hope that your holidays were wondrous and filled with pins of pop stars you learned the dances of when you were 14, and candies you’d make movies of, if you ever made movies. I am pretty positive 2013 is gonna be better than 2012 was. It’s gotta be.

All Wrapped Up

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Christmas has come and gone – although, per tradition, it will live on a little longer through upcoming Treasury entries.

First up, one of my gifts was from Barney’s – and arrived swaddled in layers of this delightful Disney-designed tissue paper depicting the princes and princesses of life’s true Magic Kingdom: The Fashion Industry.

I spotted Franca Sozzani and Suzy Menkes…

And Nicolas Ghesquiere, looking like Belle’s bearded babe of a brother…

Steven Meisel made the cut…

As did naughty Naomi and her odd duck of an uncle, Alber Elbaz.

Peeling away each sheet of tissue paper from my Christmas gift animated a little G-rated movie musical inside my mind. Not bad for disposable department store wrap.

Up next – actual peeks at actual presents!

Santa Tracker 2011

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

St. Nick must’ve sent a team of his elves to Mumbai this past year to set-up a satellite workshop in order to stuff my 2011 stocking. Cause he ended up leaving me a stash of beautiful Indian treasures this Christmas, like this nano-sized pill box and citrus-scented soap.

And this sparkling vintage cricket ball!

My household Santa rejected this box of Elephant brand noodles as an “official” Christmas present, so I was handed it, unwrapped/unceremoniously, early on the 24th as a reject gift. But its packaging was so cheery and charming, it’s earned “official” status in my heart.

I don’t drink soda pops all that much anymore, but I still have a super strong sweet tooth for unique, extinct, or international soft drink (bottles). We’ll see what this CocaCola branded, coconut water-colored Limca goes down like.

After departing India, Santa’s sleigh must’ve stopped in England somewhere along his journey to my house to pick up this vintage postcard book featuring the small town in England in which I was born. Although it was a gift for me, it was my Mom and Dad who most enjoyed flipping through the photographic reminders of the first place they called home as husband and wife.

Santa didn’t forget to Buy American this year though, and these Thurmoc Slippers from Hickorees are not only puppy belly-soft, inside and out, but they’re packaged in the greatest, grandfather-ish box.

Kris, Kelly, and Sabrina showed up on Christmas too…

With a 34-year old piece of gum and a sticker of Kris on one of her earliest cases.

Petrified, deadstock chewing gum is quickly becoming the hipster sweet of the year, if no other blog’s told you so just yet.

Refresher Course

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

There’s nothing novel about even the rarest bottle of cologne – not compared to these scented Spanish towelettes.

Combining extracts of Lemon, Bergamot, Geranium and Eucalyptus, swiftly refreshing your personal space with one of these Agua de Colonia packets during your holiday travels would instantly make any dreary layover or traffic jam as spiffy and spruced-up as a Mr. Ripley thriller.

Holiday Haul pt. 3

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

And now, the very best present for last!

An original 8 x 10 promo photo from 1990 of Audrey Horne brooding in the halls of Twin Peaks High School the morning the blue body washes up, and everything starts to change.

And so with that, on to a new year!

Holiday Haul pt. 1

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Two years ago, I felt I had to meticulously photograph all of my Christmas gifts before I could properly use or enjoy any of them. And out of that sudden, strong urge I launched The Treasury just a few days later.

The way I see it, there’s no point in something being delightful unless it’s dutifully documented.

My yuletide tradition continues for a third year. I present to you (and, really, to myself) a selection of the Christmas gifts I was lucky enough to have given and received this happy, holiday season.

1. Vintage French Workbooks.

2. Rogues Gallery Key Fob.

3. Gem-like Game Dice.

4. Bandit Boy Screen Print.

5. Retro-Perfect Stabilo Pens.

6. Not Chocolate-Covered Cherries, but Chocolate-Flavored Cherries!

7. Vintage Book on Style.

8. Made-In-America Robin’s Egg Colored Duct Tape.

More and more it’s the little things – the ones that typically show up in my stocking – that give me the biggest smiles at Christmas.

Gift Guiding

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Sadly, I already sent off my list o’ wishes to Santa and his many elves this past weekend, so it’s too late for me to hope St. Nick will stock my stuffing with any of these re-printed military pamphlets from WWII this Christmas.

At under 10 bucks a pop, they’re cool and classic for either getting or gifting, packed with wartime wisdom (possibly) worth remembering today.

From what’s sure to be the best of the bunch, the 1944 Germany Manual: “Don’t be too ready to listen to stories told by attractive women. They may be acting under orders.”

Even today, in our lives of relative peace, that’s an arch little instruction worth following still.

The Week-End Book

Monday, February 8th, 2010

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I’ve been treasuring away for over a year now and I can’t believe I never posted about this book before. My sister gave it to me as a gift a few years back, and really I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy receiving a copy.

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“First published in 1924 this delicious book is a peek at life in England between the wars, and is a useful mini-encyclopedia, filled with games, recipes, bird-spotting information, first-aid instructions, and random, often wacky trivia. Learn the proper way to kiss in the ocean, eat mice, play ‘Human Sacrifice’ and more.”

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Flipping through my copy, I imagine getting holed up at some countryside cottage for months on end, my only source of amusement and information, my Week-End Book. Stocked with miscellaneous sonnets, tips on etiquette, maps of the stars, and retro tips for preparing tinned British foods, the days and weeks would ripple rapidly away.

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It’s a true Swiss Army Knife of a book – there’s even a checkers ‘n chess board and a ruler printed on its inside cover.

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My copy states that the publisher intended to update the book with all new content for 2006. Looking online, it doesn’t appear that that ever happened. But I did find its re-printed sister book, The Week-End Problems Book, which is set to arrive in the post tomorrow!

Gifted: A Final Glance

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Before it’s totally untimely: the final remnants of my much-adored Christmas Stocking.

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1. Chinese New Year Kit. The gold bars say Hell Bank on them. Anyone know what that’s all about?

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2. Flowery, fragile sesame cookies. Crunchy, crumbly, crave-worthy.

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3. A rainbow’s worth of macaroon-like soaps.

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4. And a bin of macaroon-colored Taro wafers.

(Everything on Earth reminds me of macaroons these days.)

Un-Boxing Day

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Last Christmas was the first year I specifically gifted myself a treat (my Russian Lomo LC-A film camera). It wasn’t a ritual I had specifically intended to turn into an annual holiday tradition, but after recently re-posting my year-long fascination with the Beams Plus work oxfords, I wound up indulging myself in a fancy, foreign find for the second Christmas in a row.

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Like practically everything worth wanting these days, men’s fashion-wise, my Beams had been trapped in Japan, for what I thought would be forever. But Treasury reader Vadim K. commented that a proxy such as JapanGoodsFinder.com could make my Beams Dreams come true. (For a not-small fee.)

So on Saturday December 19th I submitted an inquiry about my shoes. The next morning a brief, polite e-mail was in my in-box as well as a PayPal invoice which tacked on about 25 percent of the shoe’s regular retail price. Hmmm….

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I agonized over whether it all was worth it, and if I had requested the best size, and wondering what I would do if my shoes didn’t fit. But by the afternoon of Sunday December 20th, I pulled the trigger via PayPal and less than four days later, on Christmas Eve, my shoes arrived fresh from the Beams shop in Harajuku. (Packages from J. Crew take longer than that!)

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I waited until after Christmas to unbox my risky gift to myself. I didn’t want the possibility of them not fitting to fowl up my holiday. But everything turned out perfect. My dweeby oxfords looked just like I’d dreamed they would, fitting roomy and right. I can’t wait to lace ’em up properly and poke around like Pete Martell.

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Many thanks to Japan Goods Finder and to regular reader, Vadim K!