Archive for the ‘Sources of Inspiration’ Category

The Little Things

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Interior designer Dan Fink creates serenely handsome homes made of (of course) room-sized rooms. But a smaller scale is celebrated in Fink’s introductory web presence, with his website’s landing page presenting a series of sublime little still-life studies.

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Miniaturized models of iconic furniture designs rest amongst the other essential elements of an elegantly orchestrated space.

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Mood boards transposed into table-scales, these images illustrate boldly how the perfect room is the sum of diverse, pretty-darn-perfect parts.

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While Hurly and I anxiously and endlessly wait to discover our next (more perfect) home, our frustration with our current, imperfect home festers and intensifies.

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These Dan Fink tableaux are a welcome reminder that while an entire home, or, perhaps, a certain room might feel flawed or unfinished to a homemaker, in narrowing in on one perfect vignette or a single sublimely designed shelf-scape, we can give to the eye, mind, and soul nearly everything we’re wishing our future or fully-finished homes will someday hopefully exude!

Pleasure Print-siple

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

While waiting for our server to bring us our food at restaurants, sometimes Hurly and I play this game where we pretend GQ is demanding we each provide our own 10 Essentials list. The products/items/edibles we think are incredible and couldn’t live without.

A slowly realized update to my 10 Essentials list would be the coincidentally named Essential T-Shirts from The Gap (always/only) in Heather Grey. They’re not too thick or thin, or short or long, or tight or baggy. They just read as classic, university athletics department-issued tops, and they look good ‘n guy-ish with whatever. Like the You Don’t Even Care At All type of whatever.

The Gap isn’t exactly anyone’s chic little secret – but I’ve tried a lot of T’s in my years of me-ing along through my materialistic life, and these Gap shirts are the ones I ain’t got no complaints with.

I order them with pockets, and I like them without (although, I’m panicking that as I go to post this they don’t have the seemingly permanent pocket-less version online in Heather Grey. Uh ohhhhh….)

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Last weekend I had Hurly help me punch up a few fresh Essential T’s with some screen-printed text that might look military or macho to most, but subversively has a dance-diva source of inspiration. (what about me doesn’t?)

“We turned right and I said wrong which brings us to a stop” is the final clue before I usher you elsewhere to confirm my shirt’s music video muse.

CAA Hotel: The Rest & The Restaurants

Friday, September 25th, 2015

The night we checked into the CAA Hotel, we spent but two minutes in our suite before sprinting back down to the lobby level to make our 9:30 dinner reservation at The Cherry Circle Room.

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There was squid-ink-tinted pasta and fish that felt like chicken. (Which was a definitive treat for pescetarians like us.)

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And mood lighting radiating from every direction.

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The antique heradlry banners added to the secret lair flare of the establishment – the symbols and motifs recurring in the embossing of the menu covers and stitching on the table napkins.

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Scanning the shelves around the S-shaped bar was basically like window-shopping a perfectly curated antique store.

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The built-in clock from the Association’s original restaurant was still ticking, if not a bit tarnished. Someone be a sport and buy me a book about built-in clocks in last-century public spaces, or at least start a Tumblr about ’em. They’re everything!

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Since we were in Chicago to celebrate the ultra-successful launch of Hurly’s new computer coding school, and reward ourselves for the ceaseless weekends we’d all spent Allen-wrenching the campus into existence the past year, we asked for the Cherry Circle Room dessert menu up front. (And then, shocker – rushed down for malts at Shack Shack instead.)

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For breakfast, both days (cause Hurly and Kaya were so hooked) we took the elevator all the way up to Cindy’s Rooftop Bar and ordered family-size portions of pancakes and bagels with lox. In the club’s original days Cindy’s was…notably…um, nothing. Just a roof. But who needs history and decorative relics when you have a swath of skylights as your ceiling, and the maple syrup comes spiked with rum?

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Face-stuffing aside, the beds up in our suite had Faribault Mills blankets folded atop them and pommel horses stationed beneath them.

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The hallway art was often of fleets and always on fleek.

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Without a doubt, it was a truly winning visit to the windy city.

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I don’t or won’t leave a space/place I love without taking its energy home with me as ongoing inspiration. Since we returned home I’ve already picked up a set of old Indian clubs that look like they were sculpted from the planks at the fancy Shake Shack, and this weekend I’m coaching Hurly on how to recreate my favorite of the abstract paintings from the hotel’s drawing room.

Souvenirs in spirit only are souvenirs even so.

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel: Game On

Monday, September 21st, 2015

If slumping around, staring at chesterfield sofas isn’t enough action for you, there’s peppier fun to be had in the CAA Hotel’s Game Room.

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With pool and foosball and shuffleboard tables to take on…

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And an indoor bocce court that always seemed already occupied.

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I quite enjoyed the opportunity for some friendly competition, but still spent most of my time gawking at the green leathers, high-glossed tables, and built-in trophy cases the space had been spruced up with.

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Friday night the Game Room roared with the flirting of Tindr-trained hipsters and yuppies, but during the day there was plenty of peace and elbow-room to be found.

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The bar menu offered Cream Soda Floats and Raspberry Beignets(!) that our daily Shake Shack-snacking sadly prevented us from ever ordering.

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Just outside the Game Room is the Milk Room – which was given its name during Prohibition when whisky and rum weren’t wetting anyone’s whistles.

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Today, The Milk Room serves coffee and tea and donuts and such. I only ever got around to the tea, but I’ve learned from my mistake, and will go harder next time.

This “Making of Contra” video makes life worth it.

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

As you will soon see in this new documentary about the creation of a not-that-new-anymore album, Rostam, the band’s smirky keyboard player, blacked out the white letters “YAM” on his favorite little keyboard so that it just reads “AHA” instead.

AHA, for sure!

The lives of these musical brainiacs are one brilliant lightbulb moment after another and I’m locked in the ultra-bright glow.

Beach Bum

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

I’m not sure I have it in me to grow an eight-inch beard or completely curtail some strategic manscaping, but otherwise I’m totally adopting Quit Mad Stop’s homeless beach hobo look once warm weather finds its way to me again.

Q.M.S. bags are big enough to literally tote your entire life in, which is of utmost important to the shelter-less set.

And the line’s pared down selection of jackets, polos, and trunks pair up perfectly (randomly) with richer men’s discarded dress shoes rescued from your city’s chicest dumpsters.

These silver painted linen shorts may shatter, slightly, the illusion of the impoverished existence I’m out to orchestrate – but they’re awesomely insane, which isn’t an entirely unwanted undertone when you’re going for that broken-down bum look.

So I’ll see you guys soon, down in the harsh and sandy shadows. You’ll probably pretend you don’t see me at all, but that comes with my new territory – I won’t hold it against you.

 

Fashion on Film: Pollock

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Sometimes just switching the channel at the exact right moment can change your life. Or at least alter your wardrobe. Last week I clicked into the middle of the bio-pic Pollock just as its artiest and most stylish sequence played out.

In it, an early 1950s documentary filmmaker had traveled to Jackson’s Long Island country house to capture the abstract artist’s drip painting process on 16mm film.

Visually, the sequence was a mid-century masterpiece; the focal point for me being Ed Harris’s arty farmer-like costumes.

Ink-dark denim jackets, slim and trim T’s in black and white, and up-cuffed jeans in fits you can actually work in.

The sequence begins with Pollock changing out of his tobacco brown loafers into black, battered boots – but as the montage flickers on, he’s shown wearing both pairs of shoes, splattering each of them with the same inspired, uncaring abandon.

It was the juxtaposition of rural and urban in Jackson’s outfits, and of rugged and refined, that caught my eye. Whether a chore coat he’d picked up at some musty mercantile or a pair of spiffy loafers from his days in the big city, he wore everything with anything, and nothing was ever precious or premeditated.

Dressing like that is never easy, is it? But Jackson can show us how.

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).

Angels Across The Sea

Monday, April 30th, 2012

The dopest thing I’ve learned so far this year/decade/lifetime is that Charlie had a separate trio of Angels in Paris in 1980. Holy hell!

I don’t know how I never knew that previously, but I now spend 80 to 90 percent of my life imagining what the France-set spin-off would’ve looked like (chic sleek), and what the three Parisian Angels might’ve been named (Lu, Colette, and Therese maybe), and which one of the fatales would’ve had the hottest handbags, and prettiest pied-a-terre, and killing-est karate kicks (it’d be a three-way tie).

Oh, what could’ve been!

Toying Around

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Last week I was searching, I think, equestrian art and happened upon these Czechoslovakian toy prints from a 1950s catalog.

For 60-year-old sketches of children’s playthings, there was something rather grown up and modern about many of them.

So I picked my three favorite prints out of the dozens available, and my plan is to scan them in – combine, rearrange and minimize the layout(s), and create one perfect piece to print out and frame.

A timeless, un-traceable work with nods to Ancient Roman artifacts and to backyard games of Cowboys and Indians. Doesn’t make sense in a sentence, but on a wall, in a frame, I think and hope that it will.

The toy prints which I didn’t purchase can be found and enjoyed here.

Happy Heart Day

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Be a real romantic this Valentine’s Day. Get this First Aid Kit song stuck in your head, especially its brilliantly beautiful bridge, and then sing it for your sweetheart enough times that the two of you can perform it as a duet.

That’s what I’d do today, if I hadn’t basically been doing that the past two weeks or so.

Season’s Screenings: Downhill Racer

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Any day now it’s gonna be snow sport season across half the globe, so speed-screening the 1969 flick Downhill Racer is just the trick to slicken any stud’s winter style up quick – on the slopes and off.

In Racer, Robert Redford does his usual stoic-dick brand of schtick as Dave Chappelet, the newest member of America’s then-uncelebrated ski team.

From his dead-end hometown in Colorado to various mountaintop hamlets throughout the Alps, Chappelet’s wardrobe centers simply around sporty, proto-70s basics.

The powder blue chambrays and sherpa-lined overcoats of Chappelet’s farmboy past pair up effortlessly with the showier swank of his jet-setting future, through high-necked sweaters and mirror-lensed shades.

Essentially, as long as you stick to Chappelet and his teammate’s main palette of navy, red, and white, you’ll whip your winter look up to top speed in record time.

True champs will dare to go that extra mile and get their frostbitten hands on some old-school aftershaves, a perwinkle period van, and a Swedish snowbunny or two to slide around the slopes with.

Get ready ‘n set all like that and Coach guarantees your style’ll earn imaginary medals all winter long!