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Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Copper Beech

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Although I’ve only visited interior designer Thomas O’Brien’s New York City shop AERO but once, I’ve had probably at least a dozen dreams since then that I’m there again, fawning all fanboy-style over the vintage/modern treasures Thomas is personally pointing out to me.

After 25 years of AERO, O’Brien is launching a brand new store inside a beloved old building.

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What was once Wallen’s Market in the Long Island town of Bellwort Village, has been thoughtfully transformed by O’Brien and his partner Dan Fink into Copper Beech.

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Stocked with AERO-like antique accessories and furniture, Copper Beech sets most of its attention to the kitchen with an earthy assortment of utensils, vessels, and baskets, as well as pantry-packing canned, jarred, and dried goods.

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It’s small town living at its flax-y ‘n foxiest. There’s three weekends left this summer to suss out Beech’s chic seeds and antiques before the shop is fully functional next summer.

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I probably won’t be able to pop in to check it out ’til 2017, but odds are I’ll dream I’m cruising through Copper Beech basically any night now.

I Shouldn’t Have

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

I almost didn’t buy it. It was a last-season, last-minute, add-on purchase that my wardrobe definitely didn’t need, and therefore I felt gun-shy and guilty about going for it.

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But in person, on this person, it looks brag-ily cool and actually will probably get much more wear this fall than the initial item in my Uniqlo cart that I’d ordered with way greater gumption. The v-necked cardigan shape of it is neatly Japanese-y while everything else about the jacket is Maine-y and military and familiar. It’s lean and light and layer-able, to boot – lending it tons of versatility.

So, phew!

More and more I make fashion purchases with such a strategic, slow stringency. It’s a rush to remind myself that careless impulse buys can occasionally pay off as well.

Dot Dot Dot…

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

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The sun is setting on Unionmade’s spring/summer sale – but in the early dawn of its launch I took a gamble on a dice-like button-up collab with Gitman Bros. Vintage.

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I made a conscious decision to buy way less clothes this year. I pre-permitted myself just four pieces for spring, four pieces for fall. (And a new coat and pair of shoes for each season.) I’ve more or less stuck to my limits so far, I’m shocked to report – and these limitations have helped me narrow in on pieces I’ll really need, will definitely wear, or are truly distinct.

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So though I’m stricter and more sober about my sartorial spending these days, I don’t want my wardrobe to simply stumble into snooze-ville.

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Organic cream polka-dots on inky, thick-linen-like material seemed an art-poppy way to plant some Brandon Flowers-style flair into my newly-parched purchasing habits.

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Strutting around just one bolero-tie away from reading as a full-on Reno casino scenester is a risk I’m in no way afraid to make.

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I try to navigate End of Season Sales by aiming for pieces that are gonna work as well, if not better, in the season we’re revving toward as opposed to the one entering the rearview mirror. The crispy duck-cotton-like thickness of this Unionmade x Gitman offering is almost too meaty for summer – it’s gonna feel fantastic, though, against the cool thrust of fall!

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.

Flecks Appeal

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

I love and therefore own a number of dreary-hued tweed blazers and ties with flecks of techni-colors in them. But I almost never wear blazers or ties, and I’ve been wanting the same speckled effect in something more summery/less seasonal.

This confetti-laced cream chambray is just the thing. Vintage-y and vaguely Japanese-seeming.

The Men’s department at the Minneapolis Club Monaco store is a little…little – it’s sometimes better to search online, which is where I spotted the super shirt made out of this marvelous material.

I went up a size with it, so I could actually button the top button and look like some guy Melissa would’ve taken to an art gallery opening on thirtysomething in 1990-something.

Hurly says I just look Amish – but I can live with that vibe too.

L.A. Story pt. 2

Friday, March 1st, 2013

My body-clock remained on Minneapolis time our entire stay in Los Angeles, which meant I’d wake up at 5:30 each morning, with empty hours to fill before any worthwhile shop would bother opening. So crazily early on Saturday morning we drove to the Chateau Marmont for an old-Hollywood style breakfast.

Two summers ago I’d slowly read a book all about the legendary hotel, so it was interesting to see it in person. It was more Gothic-y and Grandma-ish than I’d thought, but it was a dreamy reminder of the beauty that comes from keeping something the same, for years and years and years.

After I ordered my almond-crusted french toast, I tested the service bell on the wall behind me in the restaurant/bar and wondered how many times Dean and DeNiro and Dunaway might have done the same thing.

Once regular business hours resumed we hit Heath Ceramics hard.

Then swung by the other Lawson Fenning location where I flirted with at least five different chairs, especially this mesh ‘n leather one.

Since chairs don’t ever seem to stash that well into carry-on bags though, I opted instead for this vintage, volcanic-rock pot.

As far as our visit to Charlie’s Angels Headquarters, here’s a close-up of the bolt-holes where the Townsend Detective Agency sign had once hung to!

But the iconic building that was once the pretend home to the sexy sleuthing of Tiffany Wells, Kelly Garrett and the Munroe sisters is now a G-Damned vacuum store.

What a fucking karate-kick in the gut.

During our visit Hurly said, “I guess it’s true. You can’t go home again.” No, I can’t. And neither can Sabrina or Julie or Bosley! Obviously I miss everything about 1980 all the time, but never moreso than the day I stood, slump-shouldered, under that moronic Miele logo.

Ouch.

L.A. Story pt. 1

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

A lifetime ago I lived in Los Angeles for half a year. I’m nothing if not a nostalgist, so it finally seemed time to book a flight to LAX so I could stroll down Memory Lane/Ventura Boulevard.

The dozen or so retail spots that made up the bulk of the itinerary, however, weren’t a part of my past, but the path to future treasures, I hoped.

Straight from the airport, Hurly chauffeur-ed me to Silver Lake, where the first shop we stopped at was The Mohawk General Store. They had a Gitman Vintage shirt I almost bought, and bundles of sage to burn, and liquid soaps so super-natural there were actually chunks o’ stuff floating within.

Next up was the first of two Lawson Fenning furnishings stores we visited. The Silver Lake store was more affordable and antique-filled. They stocked incredible lamps, and hempy pillows, and tarnished wind chimes. So so So-Cal, I so totally loved it!

The store I was most excited to check out was RTH Shop, with its New Mexican brand of crafty chic. I was scolded by two separate staff members for taking photos, but I’m a rebellious little rascal when I want to be.

I thought I might buy all sorts of smocks and suede totes from RTH, but in the end I just picked up this over-sized greige pin I’ll probably fix to a duffle bag or display in a dish or something.

Sometimes a site is worth it just for its signage alone. Fred Segal’s font and ivy-covered storefront are throwback-y classics, and shap-shooting musts.

Our second day in L.A. brought us to the Santa Monica pier, where further font-fueled photo shoots were mounted.

And then!!! Not until we arrived in L.A. did the lightbulb go off in my head that we totally needed to visit the location they used as the exterior of The Townsend Agency in Charlie’s Angels, and shoot me in front of it for fourteen or fifteen hours.

Before we got around to that though, we drove past The Sportsmen’s Lodge near where I used to live in Studio City, and I was almost certain it’s where they filmed the episode of Angels where Jill goes undercover as a hotel maid, Sabrina poses as a near-sighted waitress, and Kelly makes a joke about Pat Nixon and a pot of chili.

So I had Hurly pull a sharp right into the parking lot, and we stormed inside. I don’t know for certain yet if The Lodge was indeed where they’d shot that episode, but the place was so gloriously stuck in 1977 still that the clues certainly seemed to add up, don’t they, Bosley?

Tune in tomorrow-ish to see what happens when I finally arrive outside the Angels’ office. It’s quite the shocker!

Snug ‘n Snuggly

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

There’s a good month or so in Minnesota when getting dressed in the lightless morning has about zilch to do with trying to look good and everything to do with surviving the sub-zero temperatures outside.

I knew the happy-patterned Portuguese Flannel shirts from Gitman Vintage that Unionmade started selling right before Christmas would make getting dressed this January not only practical but purdy as well.

I ordered the shirts in two different patterns. One was super Me, one was refreshingly less Me – but the Me Me one looked better, and I’ve finally, just recently accepted the fact that you have to buy clothes based on how they actually look on you, not how you wish they would look on you. Optimism trumps realism in a lot of spaces and places, but don’t let it dupe you (and by you, I mean Me) when you’re making up your mind in front of a mirror.

I knew the boppy blue shirt I ended up keeping was gonna shoot me through winter’s darkest hours looking right and bright-eyed. The vintage flannel is thick but utterly un-stiff. Super, super soft – to the point that strangers start and then won’t stop snuggling you.

Winter’s really hard. Soft snuggles never hurt.

Eastern Time

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

When it comes to timepieces there’s nothing as handsomely Gastby as a vintage watch, but big name American-made watches from sixty or seventy years back can typically run hundreds of dollars on ebay (or more).

My thrifty get around has been to set my sights further east, over on etsy. Searches for Vintage Soviet Watches always uncover dozens of dapperly-designed watches for under eighty bucks whenever I look.

This discreetly dapper little Zim watch is my latest such selection. For me, choosing which un-American, espionage-evoking logo I want glimmering across my wrist (Zarja, Raketa, Poljot) is a major part of the process – and half the stylistic thrill of wearing a foreign timepiece.

For anyone spying you up close is gonna spot those exotic, eastern characters peeking out from the cuff of your coat and understand instantly whether or not you’re someone worth messing with.

Think Global, Shop Local

Monday, September 10th, 2012

I haven’t been out of the country in almost two years, but the home accessories I’ve found thrifting the past few weeks will help convince visitors otherwise.

Weathered Roman busts, Balinese brass and bamboo basket-bowls, crackled Chinese pots, and wooden Mongolian pipsqueak shoes are but some of the little treasures giving Tudor Mansion a sense of worldly beauty.

Although I never really left, it’s definitely good to be home.

As Seen On TV: End of Century

Monday, August 27th, 2012

It’s a little too early to tell if the ambitious art tarts on Gallery Girls will finally fill the Lauren Vs. Heidi-shaped holes in our unscripted television-fueled hearts. I mean, The Hills, at its apex, was truly a thing of back-stabby beauty.

One thing Miss Conrad’s show never provided, though, was a store-within-a-show curated by half its cast; offering the opportunity for us boring beings outside the reality TV bubble to cyber-shop ourselves closer to the center of the catty chic action.

Thanks to the End of Century website, I can bring spiky-nippled black cups, and speckled ceramic-spoons, and alien aloe-plant inspired pots into my life.

Their edgy, organic, lower west-or-whatever-side beauty is the real win. Being able to say they came from the shop of those BravoTV mega-bitches is just a merry, meta little perk.

Fall’s First Find

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Usually by mid-August I have all sorts of fuzzy, nubby, woolly goods I swear I’ll need in order to gear up for fall in proper fashion. But this year, for such a long while, I could hardly find a thing.

Having carefully clicked through my desktop folder of the thirty or so online shops that suit my style, the only item to have caught my eye was a pair of overcast blue Tellason x Smith & Butler utility jeans.

With their re-enforced front-leg panels, and decidedly wider cut, I thought they’d be a bold breakaway from all the bone-tight denim we’ve (over-) worked our wardrobes around the past few years.

Double cuffed up, with brown boots, and maybe a Natty Gann’s Dad-style hat, the pants provided my fall outlook some much-needed shape and direction, at last.