Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Touring Tinseltown

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

Ace Hotel Los Angeles

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

Homemaking Granola

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

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.

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.

Taking The Cake

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

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!

Ace Hotel & Swim Club

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

Adventure Time

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

As soon as the snow sticks around, I’m giving up (for a while) on Anna Karenina and cracking open my copy of Shadow on the Mountain.

I spotted it at a Scandinavian pie shop in Wisconsin this summer and the first sentence and a half of the synopsis sold me.

Norway has been invaded by Nazi Germany! Fourteen-year old Espen
is quickly swept up into the world of wartime espionage…

That was it. That was all I’d needed to know. Shadow is just the kind of old-school boys adventure story I like to read once Christmas time starts a comin’ and winter picks up speed. 

And I didn’t even know/notice until literally six minutes ago that the inside is inked with Moonrise Kingdom-worthy maps, and lyrics, and pronunciation keys!

I really never figured I would’ve spied something so treasurable in an otherwise tasteless little pie shop.

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!

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?

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.