Archive for the ‘Objects’ Category

Summer Getaway – Camp Wandawega

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

From Prohibition-era brothel to 1950s lake resort to 1970s summer camp for the children of Latvian Catholics, Camp Wandawega’s been working its woodsy magic on all kinds of folk for almost ninety years now.

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In its current incarnation, Wandawega’s the semi-private playground of two Chicago-area advertising execs who open up their Moonrise-y Kingdom for wedding parties, clothing catalog shoots, and corporate retreats. Lower-key kids like me just looking for some outdoorsy fun in a Pinterest-worthy paradise can book left-over nights/cabins/beds through AirBnB.

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Hurly and I and our niece/honorary daughter Kaya booked a Wednesday through Friday stay in the three bedroom “Raccoon” cabin.

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But we were the only guests at the camp the first night, so our host Joe took us on a lengthy historical tour of every cabin, every guest room, every tree house, every pup tent and every tepee on the site and said we were welcome to sleep wherever we wanted.

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We ended up sleeping in our assigned cabin both nights, but we napped indulgently one afternoon in the American Indian tepee, and Kaya helped herself to what we goofily called a “hooker’s bath” in the women’s restroom at the old brothel, and we wandered all around Wandawega freely, wowed by the wall-to-wall antiques which were just begging to become the backdrops for photoshoot after faux-catalog-style photoshoot.

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Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

We enjoyed plenty of un-posed fun too, scout’s honor. From shuffleboard to board games, hatchet throwing to canoe rides, we did everything the spirits in Lake Wandawega could’ve wanted us to.

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Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Everyone’s favorite activity was swooping over the lake on the two rope swings. One had a wooden plank on which you could sit and sorta relax. The other was Tarzan-style, set-up for shooting yourself out and into the sorta scarily shallow waters.

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From the fonts on the front gate, to the travel-sized soaps set atop your beach towels, every aspect of Camp Wandawega resurrects the retro charm and hospitality honed during the golden age of American road-tripping and long since lost.

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Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

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There’s even an old-school souvenir vending machine from which I picked out a Wandawega motor-lodgey keychain and Hurly and Kaya selected an Indian arrowhead necklace.

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By artfully assembling in one place all the Kodachrome-y, memory-building traditions that family vacations should be made of, as Camp counselor/curators David and Tereasa have, my little troop’s settled on making summer trips to Wandawega a tradition of our own.

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Next time I hopefully won’t travel three hours back toward Minneapolis before realizing I’ve left my military duffel bag full of Teva’s and T’s from Hickorees back on the bunk beds at our Wisconsin summer home-away-from-home. (D’oh!)

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

New York Stories pt. 1

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

I’ve returned from my whirlwind trip to The Big Apple, having attempted to spruce up both my home and my closet through five jam-packed days of carefully scheduled shopping. I hadn’t visited the city since 2005, and I don’t recall exactly what was going on in menswear at that time – but the fact that I can’t remember probably says it all.

We stayed at the famed Algonquin Hotel, the oldest operating hotel in New York City where Dorothy Parker snarked her afternoons away at the round table during the 1920s. The entire lobby is essentially one large club filled with wheelers and dealers slowly sipping Manhattans before rushing back out again to rule our world.

The hotel is so old that the footsteps of thousands upon thousands of guests have worn down the marble stairs over the years into a rippled time-lapse image of time passing. The steps at Versailles in Paris were like that too, and I always find it beautiful; the way it makes one think about what lasts in this life, and what does not.

After check-in, the first day was spent in a string of stores not far from the hotel. First on seven full floors of the ABC Home department store…

Then at the epic Eataly emporium, filled with edibles both imported and in-house, where elbowing your way through the crazy-making crowds will reward you with fantastically floppy anchovy pizzas and sparkling Euro drinks.

Late in the afternoon I manhandled some mid-century pieces in the loft area of Nepenthes…

Then caught my reflection in a pair of crazy copper Duckie Brown wingtips. But after my first full day of treasure hunting, I returned to the hotel empty handed.

Our first dinner was enjoyed at Schiller’s Liquor Bar on Rivington Street.

There, in the candlelight, I tried to figure out if any of the old-looking subway tiles were original to the location. Stumped, I scanned the next day’s itinerary, hoping extra hard that a splurge-y purchase was just one good night’s sleep away.

Holiday Haul pt. 2

Friday, December 31st, 2010

The second batch of Santa’s bounty.

1. Wasp Queen Honey Flavored Syrup (in the sweetest jar ever).

2. Quirky-Colored Prize Ribbons.

3. Imported Indian Bowl & Spice Spoon.

4. Yesterday’s Candy (edible today).

5. Little Bottles of Liquid Luxury.

6. Military Grade Notebooks.

7. Sweet Potato Chocolate Bar (I’m enthralled yet half-afraid!)

8. Letterman Jacket Patch (to attach to almost anything except, probably, a jacket).

I’m saving my favorite present for last. (Be sure and check back!)

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.