Archive for the ‘Non-Material Good’ Category

Tied

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

On our tenth anniversary of being together, Hurly and I drove to the ritzy courthouse in St. Paul and got hitched. Like legally!

For someone who can hardly buy a bottle of spring water without wonder-worrying about its aesthetic impact on their life, I was surprisingly intent on keeping our big day totally low key. I wanted the focal point of our nuptials to be us and our love, not how expertly/obnoxiously art-directed and Design*Sponge-y every needless little detail was. Enough of my life is sacrificed ritually to the Style Gods above. A wedding day seems like it should be void of all that ego-driven energy.

I mean, I own American Apparel tote bags more expensive than my suit was. And I looked at dozens of rings but the one that excited me the most was a vintage, twenty-buck thing off etsy. From top to bottom, our wedding day remained remarkably immune to my otherwise omni-present materialism.

And although we had small-scale simplicity in mind from the beginning, that isn’t to say that plotting our wedding day was easy or stressless. Being among the first same-sex couples to be married in our state, Hurly and I were working without a template or set of traditions to follow that reflects our generation’s revamped definition of marriage.

We kept it simple, partly just because we’re two dudes who grew up figuring weddings were for everyone but people like us, but I really hope in the coming decade that same-sex couples will begin to establish their own thoughtful traditions for future generations to adopt. And that it gets easier and clearer to envision what a Guy on Guy wedding should/could be.

Once it finally went down, our own Guy on Guy day was great. I don’t remember what words our judge used to tell Hurly and I that it was finally legal and that we could kiss, but after we kissed, all I wanted was a hug. Not from my new husband, exactly – but from my old friend, from my favorite friend.

My first pet name for him was Treasure and the name of this blog actually (plus my whole life) is a wink and a nod to him.

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).

In Bloom

Monday, April 5th, 2010

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A mixed bouquet of images to celebrate Spring.

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It’s not my favorite of the seasons…

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…to me it usually feels like Things Ending, rather than Things Beginning.

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But this year I’m feeling unusually excited and optimistic…

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and I’m planning little plots to keep everything rolling.

Survival Kit: A Pinochle Deck

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Whenever I have to survive something in my life, be it a boring day at a mindless job or a brutal midwestern winter, I tend to cinema-tize the experience. I art-direct my challenges visually or dramatize them emotionally in order to enjoy what otherwise seems unenjoyable.

Surviving the recession this winter was quickly becoming a flat and un-fun affair, so I decided to heighten the experience into something atmospheric and ultimately enriching. I romanticized an escape from the material wants and worries of our current times by revisiting the old-school sources of a man’s wealth: family, friends, and family-friendly games.

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I endeavored to have my mother re-teach my Pinochle over the Christmas holiday. As a daughter of German immigrants growing up in post-war Detroit, it was an important part of my mother’s childhood and heritage. “We Germans take our Pinochle very seriously,” she said, as she led my family through the ins and outs of the game at my sister’s kitchen table. “When in doubt, play a Queen,” she instructed.

Gaining this knowledge from my mother was only half of my recession-fueled master plan. The other half was inviting friends I should’ve spent more time with these past years into my house for a self-made supper and Pinochle lessons from a newly-minted master: Myself.

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Watching my friend Matt mumble to himself, “When in doubt, play a Queen,” just as my grandpa had taught my mother, and she had re-taught me, and I had now taught my sorely missed friends…well, it was just the kind of cozy, connecting scene I had set out to direct and delight in amidst this economic hassle everyone’s hoping to survive.