Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

Gifted: Sparkling

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Gold and silver and other metallic-ized gifts.

Notebook

1. Postalco Jotter Notebook.
I had really needed this as all year I had been scribbling phone numbers and directions on a stupid stocking stuffer from last year: a box of little loose (and easily lost) sheets of paper printed with a light orange graphic of man climbing a cliff or jumping over a river or something (I’ve blocked the beyond-dumbness from my memory) and the words “The will to succeed.” (Yesterday I easily mustered the will to successfully toss them in the trash!)

2. My dog Aesop looks like a fox, so thus this door-knocker looks like my dog.

3. My mother gave me the vintage spoon, along with a story: When we moved from England back to America when I was nine months old, the movers had accidentally packed up my baby spoon and my mom was in a panic about how she was going to feed me during our week long sea voyage back to the states. She said every restaurant in England had these little silver spoons in the standard brown sugar tins set on each table. So she guiltlessly stole one with which to feed me at sea. Flash forward 30 some years and she comes across the spoon somehow in my sister’s kitchen and steals the spoon (once again!) and gives it to me for Christmas.

Nails

4. Ultra-chunky pretend nails, perfect only for laying around looking pretty.

StampsBook

5. Another vintage English gift, though not stolen. A stamp sheet cover from the 1940s. Trying to figure out how/where to display it as it doesn’t really fit modern American stamp books.

Pyrite

6. A hunk of Brazilian pyrite now giving gritty glam to the top of a stack of books.

With all these shining, sparkling gifts, my digs are one big disco ball!

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.

Top

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.

Middle

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.

Bottom

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.

PumpkinSeeds

2. Mexican Bingo Boards & Cards.

BingoBoards

BingoCards

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

MrGoodbar

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.

Pass The Buck

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

My favorite friend came back from a business trip with a mad stack of expensive, imported men’s mags for me. My favorite was the British-based BUCK.

buck1

I find the majority of higher-priced men’s mags rather irrelevant to my life. Waifs with chin-length bangs, shirtless on sand-dunes, slinking around in seven-hundred-dollar cigarette jeans just does not dial anywhere near my frequencies.

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BUCK chucks away with all that junk and instead offers pages upon pages of street-style standouts, low-cost covetables, sartorial showcases of pseudo-celebs, and even retro-tinged recipes.

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If I still lived across the pond I’d be certainly swapping pounds for BUCKS month after month.

The Gift of Ohio Knitting Mills

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

It was December 22nd, and I’d just visited the Ohio Knitting Mills website for the very first time. Their offering of deadstock sweaters from 1947-74 were just what I’d hoped for: vivid, vibrant windows into the fashions of the past. The truncated waists, the short-sleeve cuts, the glassy-glossy buttons…every piece offered on the site seemed lifted from the dressing room of a Bing Crosby musical. In no time I knew my own winter wardrobe would be needing just such a blast of Bing-y coziness.

But the bold blue cardigan which had become my favorite offering on the OKM site was nearly $150, and with Christmas just three days away, the old “Tis the season of giving not receiving” guilt threatened to thwart my Crosby-colored dreams.

ohioonline

Worse yet, I had already gifted myself with the Lomo LC-A camera for the holidays, so I couldn’t even use that guise as my excuse. It took but a minute though for me to twist my mid-January birthday into a perfectly legitimate opportunity to buy myself a knitted treat a few weeks early.

Within a half hour of ordering my birthday cardigan, a Steven from OKM rang me up, kindly concerned if my order was a gift that needed to arrive instantly for Christmas. I assured him it wasn’t, no need to rush the delivery, after which Steven excitedly described how the sweater I’d ordered was the same variety Mr. Rogers was often supplied with. Awesome to know, and awesome of Steven to provide such great customer service at every step!

ohiolabel

When my birthday present to myself arrived, I was concerned I had been sent the wrong sweater. On-line the cardigan had appeared so electrically blue, but the sweater sitting in my box was more subdued in its saturation. More of a cornflower blue, like a Perry Ellis golf sweater from 1992. I wasn’t digging it like I had dreamed and, for $150, I felt I needed to return it.

ohiobutton

But those darn glossy buttons reminded me of a sweater my German grandma had knit for me as a youngster back in the 70s. So I decided-to-decide that the outdated-ness of the yarn’s blue made the sweater more evidently vintage and rare-seeming, not just something I fell into at The Gap two winters ago. I knew I had it in me to give the sweater a safe and loving home, after all.

ohiotwins2

The exact shade of this much-debated blue never quite registers accurately in any of the photos I’m presenting here, so trust my written descriptions if you’ve become confused. And though I had originally wished my sweater would seem more Life Aquatic-like in its coloring for when I’d pair it up with my recently-acquired red cap, I think my Team Zissou homage will pop just perfectly.

ohiochristmas

You’re welcome, me.

…Paper Packages Tied Up With String

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

It’s not something I’ve done before, but this year I did gift myself a Christmas Present.

Some of us hunt for the ultimate denim jeans, or the perfect pair of trainers – filling our lives with formidable contenders but somehow never meeting up with that one true champion.

I’m becoming that way with cameras. The cover story from this issue of Monocle magazine last spring put many of my personal feelings into perfect focus – that the output of digital cameras never seems to glow with the rich warmth of that from old-school film cameras.

monoclecamera1

Digital vs. analog, flash vs. non-flash, clarity vs. surrealism, my camera-oriented allegiances have wavered and ruptured violently over the years. My office closet is now littered with the sad corpses of cameras I wanted desperately to rescue me from myself but that never quite did.

So this December, my best guess for what might finally end this camera-based turmoil turned out to be the Lomo LC-A, a 35mm device some consider a “toy camera”. From glowing descriptions and photographic examples, I began to trust that if armed with such a camera myself, every image I captured from then on would appear as if snipped out of some vibrant Steve Zissou-like scrapbook.

Being that the LC-A in its peak form and specs is now out of production, I bopped over to e-bay and ordered a slightly vintage, mint-in-box device from St. Petersberg, Russia.

cameralomotemperature

24 days later, and a full week after Christmas, my lustworthy Lomo arrived via air-mail. I’ve mooned over every layer of the box and tape, paper, string and packaging that it arrived in.

cameralomoboxblue

I’m smitten as well with the way it looks, how the name-brand is printed in Russian rather than English lettering (butches it up a bit, I feel), and I appreciate the rock-like sturdiness the device suggests when I grab it in my hands.

cameralomoitself

I need now to take a test roll to determine whether I can salute the camera’s actual photographic capabilities, or if the LC-A is destined to die in the closet with the previous generations of fallen contenders.

Please, please, please…let this be the one!