Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Category

Soul Food

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Since I won’t eat actual chicken anymore, I’m hoping these down home-style Chicken & Waffles potato chips are, somehow, weirdly vegetarian.

Whoever in Minneapolis finds me a bag first will become my boo.

Modern Vampires of the City

Monday, February 4th, 2013

So the album cover’s gonna be all moody and un-vibrant, and its title is appropriated and appropriately baroque.

VW hasn’t released a song yet that I don’t like, so May 7th has a good shot of being the bestest day of this entire year.

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.

There’s Always Next Year

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Last year, too late in the holiday season to be of use, though, I finally bought bubble lights. And then this October, I finally got a tree skirt since the one I’d tried to get last year sold out the second I decided I wanted it. All that pre-prep and then come this Christmas, for the first year ever, Hurly and I didn’t put up a tree.

But I’ve already got plans for next year, I think. And I’m gonna use this red and white American-made boating rope as garland.

Butch things up a bit. Like Baby Jesus would’ve liked it.

Long Time No See

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

It was a long, hard fall. I meant to keep in touch. Show you the midnight blue sweater I’ve been over-wearing, or photos of how our bedroom makeover turned out. But the bedroom’s still essentially bed-less and I’m too scruffy for a blue sweater photo shoot. Maybe Christmas will set things back on an inspired and accomplished track. For now, here’s how I spent some of the past couple months:

Driving to a casino just to eat at the buffet. Photographing jello I didn’t eat, and not photographing things I did eat…

Buying boots that looked like Red Wings but were actually Clarks. One of my New Year’s resolutions will be to kick my addiction to white crepe soled shoes. Enough was enough a long time ago…

Glamming up pumpkins with silver and brass thumbtacks…

Receiving this flashcard from my oldest friend. I considered making it my Twitter icon for a while. Maybe someday I still will…

Learning it was David Bowie who invented that over-used broken-back supermodel pose. The world is good and ready for a new position.

Attempting to bring more texture and pattern into Tudor “Mansion”…

Designing demonic new characters with my niece on our Wii U. This is the latest in our proud tradition of carefully crafted freaky female toddlers. We gave her the chic new Anna Wintour-ish hairstyle Nintento added to the design palette, and finished her off with a five o’clock shadow – and then we named her Jill.

Trying to plan a perfect Christmas…

But settling for something else instead.

Playing in the very first snowfall with Hurly and the gang…

And almost buying Hanukkah flowers, even though I’m 1/00th Jewish.

What is everyone else doing and buying and wearing and loving?

Life-Changer: The Tides South Beach

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

When traveling, I typically like to save all the splurging for the shopping or the sightseeing – and not the hotel room. But for our two and a half day stay in Miami, we reversed our position and booked a fine, fancy suite on the fifth floor of The King & Grove Tides South Beach.

We’ve stayed at some allegedly luxe establishments before, but The Tides was the first hotel Hurly and I have ever stayed in that completely silenced our (semi)-sarcastic snobbery. Revamped by design deity Kelly Wearstler, The Tides shimmers with brassy beauty from top to bottom.

Walking around Miami’s a bit like being bombarded with fireworks. It’s color, heat, light and noise bursting everywhere around you, so stepping into Wearstler’s dimmed and muted space is striking initially in its serenity and restraint.

As your eyes and ears adjust to the aesthetic hush, Wearstler’s signature boldness then shifts into focus through avant-garde furnishings like side chairs ensnared in sea rope, and table lamps seemingly snatched, half-finished, from some Caribbean potter’s beach-side studio.

The revival of Miami’s endless empire of art deco hotels tend to tether their redesigns too tightly to a 1930s rehash of old glamour, whereas Wearstler’s work with The Tides exudes a more eclectic and earthier aura of glitz that references everything from Druids to Dali to Dynasty.

Up in the air of the beach-view suites, the feel is lighter, cheerier, but still serene.

I spent quite a bit of time in our room wondering how many guests had, like me, considered swiping the pony-hide upholstered desk chair, and the arched brass lamp, and the fossilized wood cocktail table-ettes.

The quiet pool was situated in the shade of the mezzanine level in the rear. Capped by two epic cabanas on each side, the water was warm and reviving, and every time I dipped in I had a devil of a time ever getting out. (Even Hurly, a non-swimmer if I ever knew one, lapped it up.)

Eventually a snorkeling excursion in Key Largo pulled us out of The Tides, but before it did, I wanted to soak up a few more drops of paradise.

We stopped back into the main lobby restaurant for a made-to-order glass of fresh-squeezed carrot/apple juice, an old favorite I hadn’t enjoyed since before I got old.

Considering how much I enjoyed every single second of being at The Tides, one would think that I’d miss it immensely. But I sorta don’t – just because, I feel very grateful I was able to stay there at all (thanks, Hurly), and moreso: because already I can tell that I’m carrying the peaceful, beautiful feel of luxury that The Tides has perfected into how I’m gonna live from now on.

Florida For The 14th Time

Monday, June 4th, 2012

There was a wedding in Sarasota last weekend I initially attempted to weasel out of attending. When that didn’t seem to be working, I bartered with Hurlyburt for a post-wedding splurge of a sidetrip to Miami as my reward for smiling politely through the sweatiest marriage ceremony ever endured.

Florida is like my own personal mob. Every time I try and get out for good, something sneaky always pulls me back in. If nothing else, the sunshine state’s one enormous set for the photo shoot that my life basically is.

I mean, even the airport elevators and same lame chain drug stores that we have in Minnesota tend to be more beautiful in Florida.

Also working in Florida’s favor is the presence of Krispy Kreme donuts/shops – completely extinct in my state since about 2006.

Shopping-wise, this trip was a bummery bust. I bopped optimistically to Zara, and Armani Home, and 1111 Lincoln Road, and, last but not least, The Webster Miami, and didn’t snag even a single souvenir during my six day vaycay.

I left with something a little better, though, I think. A serene and cinematic stay in my favorite hotel ever, The Tides South Beach, that I’d say was sorta life changing.

An entire Tides post is obviously in order (and on its way).

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.

A Downside to Upgrading?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Next week I’m eligible to upgrade my phone, which I’m only partially excited about because the subpar camera on my iPhone 3GS has taken some really above-par images the past year that it’s been stashed in my pocket. The fuzzed up photos it captures I’ve found to be rather dreamy and almost Polaroid-like. (With or without post-effects apps.)

I’m crossing my fingers that the three extra megapixels, better optics, and built-in flash that’ll be heading into my hand next week won’t perfect away all the awesome imperfections I’ve gotten so used to.

Because I don’t really want to document my daily life in crisp, accurate reality. I want to keep capturing it abstracted and veiled, like it all took place 25-extra years ago on the sets of strange Sissy Spacek movies.

Speaking of which, I now present a series of never-before-seen images from the past seventeen months, taken and never Tweeted while on the sets of strange Sissy Spacek movies while I lazily lived my life.

Goodbye, ol’ phone!

New York Stories pt. 3

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Saturday morning we wandered through Brooklyn and into a new shop called Goose Barnacle where I shuffled through thirty or so assorted packs of Afro-jelly bracelets to select the perfect color combination.

At the Barney’s Co-op we met up with Yuko whose lovely New York life I’ve followed on the internet and Twitter for years. She suggested we walk to an old Pharmacy turned Soda Fountain which sounded super to me.

I tried to select something that wouldn’t ruin my upcoming stop at the Shake Shack, so I went for the Red Velvet Twinkie Sundae. While we snacked Yuko told us about the dream-like shopping in Japan, and we recounted our survival story of being stranded in Paris last Spring at the hands of the Icelandic volcano.

We stopped into a few more hipster-worthy stores on our way back to the subway. Yuko mentioned she doesn’t actually venture into Brooklyn that often because she has a hard enough time stopping herself from buying clothes and shoes and important stuff like that all throughout Manhattan. That’s pretty much half the reason to know and love her!

Another New York blogger, Kwannam, told me about the Cured Olive Shortbread Cookies at a coffee shop called Abraco, so later in the day I tracked one down and adored its offbeat amazing-ness. I think I’ll try and bake some at home myself, sometime sorta soon.

Our final day in New York began at Barney’s where I’d wanted to see their R&Y Augousti accessories since I’m never fast enough to add any of them to my cart when they show up on Gilt. I’ve totally got a thing for shagreen, and after leaving the shop without anything, we trekked all the way back later in the day and bagged one of the boxes above!

I’m always way early for everything, so while wasting time until our lunch reservation we walked past the Apple Store to witness firsthand the fan memorials to the life and work of Steve Jobs. I actually got pretty choked up seeing all the people weeping and hugging and laying down their tributes to the man who changed the world. It’s been such an exciting and impacting decade or so; I guess my almost-tears were a silent little “thank you”.

Needing a AAA battery for the plane ride home, we then darted into a Duane Reader drugstore, where I added a bag of Utz Potato Chips to my souvenir stash. Cuz you don’t see Utz in Minneapolis very often, and Don Draper did do their creative, after all.

The day’s main event was a grand tour of Bergdorf Goodman’s, the retail kingdom where the turban-crowned Kelly Wearstler is now reigning queen.

Having just added clothing and accessories to her brazen line of brassy home goods, our tour climaxed with a two-and-a-half course lunch in the Wearstler-designed BG restaurant.

The best thing about a vacation to a big city is you can curate it with only the topmost shops, and the snappiest snacks, and the most atmospheric eateries, making it as if, for those four or five days, you live in a time and place where everything is beautiful.

Cause that’s the kind of time and place in which we should all be living.

Time Capsule: The NorthernGRADE Film

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

This is what we looked like.
This is what was important to us.

We went searching for boots and bags and better bow ties,
and on the way we found ourselves friends.

This is a document of what it felt like in our American-made world
when we came together for goods we believed in.

Thanks to Larry and to Mac & Kat for setting up this Minnesotan magic,
and for letting me capture it for everyone to see.

NorthernGRADE

Bar Keeping

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

When I first came across a pair of open Mountain Valley Spring Water bottles they were so Pre-War lovely that I assumed they were vintage props disguised as cocktail-hour carafes.

But I was wrong, which makes our world a little more right! Bottled at the source in Garland County, Arkansas in gorgeous green glass, Mountain Valley is available in sparkling or still varieties at the swankier of the Twin Cities supermarket chains.

So slap on some striped suspenders and mix yourself something super stiff with Mountain Valley on my behalf. I’m probably gonna just take mine straight.