Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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!

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).

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. 2

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Our first full day in New York began at the Doughnut Plant. It wasn’t situated near any of the shops we’d assigned ourselves to visit, but when there’s playful Pistachio, Creme Brulée, and Peanut Butter Frosted/Jelly Filled doughnuts baked fresh in the city I’m waking up in, I’m gonna do whatever needs to be done to try them out.

The bulk of the day was spent in Soho. There were very few shops I cared to return to from my 2005 visit to New York, but Opening Ceremony was definitely one of them.

Although last time the shop was just a floor and a half worth of inventory, and now its spread out over two adjacent buildings with staircase after staircase leading to endless levels of sequin bow ties for him and lucite pumps for her.

The two-headed or pinata-topped mannequins throughout were every bit as kooky-cool as the merchandise. I’d thought about picking up a Carhartt blazer for myself there, but like every blazer manufactured anywhere in the Milky Way since the early 1920’s, even the Small was way too Not-Small for me.

To keep up our strength we stopped into the Mariebelle Chocolate shop where I ordered a hellishly hot Banana/Milk Chocolate drink.

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced Hot Chocolate so thick it needs to literally be chewed, but now you at least know someone who has. I almost needed a damn fork to finish my “drink”.

Near the end of the day, my shopping dry-spell was broken at last when a mix-matched set of vintage Italian dishes were snatched up at Aero, and a sparkly slab of pyrite was unearthed at Evolution. On the subway ride back to the hotel, I started to realize I was going to need to base the success of my New York trip on something other than how many shopping-bags worth of sweaters and bookends I slammed into my suitcase once it was over. I vowed to enjoy my visit, and my hunt for new treasures, regardless of how much I ended up buying/not buying.

While still in Minneapolis, I’d made dinner reservations for Friday night at the Oyster Bar under Grand Central Station.

It seemed just the sort of place Holden Caufield would’ve weaseled his way into and then out of, filled with all sorts of over-drawn characters.

In fact we sat at a table next to two college prep pricks who, now that I think about it, I know Holden would’ve royally hated.

But watching the almost fictional-feeling Taiwanese tourists, and lackadaisical latin waiters, and jock-itchy jerks around you is exactly what makes dining at The Oyster Bar so Salinger-esque, and so New York.

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.

Fashion Getaway pt. 2

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

All that was worn way down where it was warm…








Fashion Getaway

Monday, January 24th, 2011

I’ve just returned from a week down in Mexico having learned two things. First, I tend to be more successful in shopping FOR my vacations, rather than shopping ON my vacations.

And second, a vacation, to anywhere at all, is the perfect excuse to stop dressing so exactly like yourself and try to have some fun.

To jump-start both my souvenir shopping as well as my escape from my aesthetic self, I special-ordered a variety pack of rugged accessories from Los Angeles’s RTH Shop six days before my departure.

The Deep in the Desert gift-shop vibe of RTH’s branding as well as their merchandise (which includes ultra-simple totes and envelope bags in ever-changing shades of leather and suede and handmade beaded jewelry) I find to be really extraordinary.

It’s everything we’ve decided to care for these days: Hand-crafted, American-made, Nostalgia-tinged goods, presented with a pure and peerless sense of understated style. The fact that they don’t have a tattered U.S. flag hanging behind their cash register like every other selvage ‘n chambray store anyone’s blogged about in the past 18 months is but one of the reasons I find RTH so refreshing and rare.

Unquestionably, I thought their Arizona summer camp approach to cool was the perfect starting point for an ol’ gringo like me, heading south of the border.

Somewhere else’s sky and a sea you’ve never seen…

…Are raging reminders what a wide, wild world it is out there. And there’s just got to be more to one’s wardrobe than dark dressy denim and ties cut real trim.

Plus when you’re staying in a sun-struck pink and purple hotel, going trad with plaid and cordovan and all the rest of that makes no sense at all.


So I slipped a bit of sailor into my suitcase…

And met up with a crazy caballero later in the week, deep inside a Mexican flea market.

The three of us, plus my mean, dead grandfather shared clothes & my new suede envelope bag the rest of the trip. Whether we should regret it or not, tomorrow’s snapshots will soon show!

The Best of Twenty Ten

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

An editor by nature, and by trade, I’m a real sucker for any “Best Of” list since they efficiently illuminate what was or still is relevant and radiant, while whittling away the extraneous.

Unless we count my nearly two years of Treasuring as one giant list itself, I’ve never posted a proper list. I thought I’d look back through the digi-pics of 2010 to tally up the top 10 treasures I’d measure as “The Best of The Year”.

1. Favorite Accessory
My new, U.S. issued Aviator Kit Bag. After one machine wash, and one mini-trip to New Orleans, it’s proven itself to be the perfect carry-on suitcase in terms of size and studly style.

2. Favorite Flashback
A TV junkie, just about everything’s been re-runs since early December. But Universal’s HD cable channel, roster-ed with random re-runs of hits from all eras, has been providing me with a dozen Charlie’s Angels episodes a week. It was my first favorite show as child, and it’s finally aged enough now to no longer seem dated and dull (which it did to me a few years back). Now every single tunic, discotheque, and Tom Selleck cameo highlights how chic and swanky the late 70s and early 80s were.

3. Favorite Finger-Painting
The J. Crew shorts I cropped myself then coated in 5 different colors earned me internet high-fives as well as veiled death threats, but I wore them rogue-ly and regularly all summer, to that magic point on the far side of self-consciousness. These shorts and the sideways glances they brought on taught me that if I’m not making someone’s eyes roll over what I’m wearing, I’m just not doing my job.

4. Favorite Follow Up
After two whole albums and a boat-shoe-box’s worth of B-sides, I’ve never heard a Vampire Weekend song I didn’t like. The CONTRA album was more Californian and yet noticeably colder than the New York band’s debut disc, but the sound of shivers in the sunshine made me happy and happily sad, over and over and over this year.

5. Favorite Mistake
I’ve ordered a lot of treasures over the internet these past years, but these vintage black boots were the only package that never arrived. (NOOOO!) I’m still too torn up inside to tell why I loved them so much, or type up all the outfits I would’ve worked up around them. Rest in peace, black boots. I know, without you, that I won’t.

6. Favorite Flavor
The black licorice macaron I chewed in slow motion on the windy steps of a church somewhere in Paris.

7. Favorite Escape
No one saw this coming, not even me, but somehow I became a fan of prison break books. Papillon is the ultimate, the tall-tale-sized autobiography of a Parisian criminal’s repeated escapes from prisons in French Guiana, including the Devil’s Island colony. The protagonist’s will is so strong and sturdy that even when he must endure years/chapters trapped to sunless, solitary confinement, his tone remains brave and bright. The Steve McQueen movie version of the story isn’t criminal, but it lacks the disarming charm of Papillon and his incredible adventure.

8. Favorite Fad
Reddish-orange pants, or orangey-red jeans. But we all already knew that.

9. Favorite Forty-Four Minutes
The best “hour” of TV I saw all year was Mad Men’s season four episode “The Suitcase”. There’s always been a “Will they or won’t they?” tension to Draper and Peggy’s relationship. Not “Will they or won’t they?” fall into bed, but “Will they or won’t they?” fling aside the stressed charades of their 1960s social roles for forty five seconds, and just look at one another for who they actually are. In “The Suitcase”, they finally did just that, puked-on dress shirts and all. It was a long time coming, and it was a sweet and needed relief.

10. Favorite Fantasy
Lying on the beaches of Mexico on an extra large, linen deck-towel– shaped island. I got the towel in August, the plane ticket in November, and soon enough my fantasy will turn reality!

2011 has a lot to live up to.

Time Travelling

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Up in Northern Minnesota, time stands still in a way that wouldn’t be possible down here around home. And even when something you loved up there finally moves on or fades away, signs of it will still remain for many summers to come.

I’m trying to comfort myself here, but honestly I feel a little bit blue.

Fenn Fest

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Landing its juiciest celebrity ever, TV’s tartest cherry plucker Ms. Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) has committed to attending this year’s annual Twin Peaks Fest in Washington state. If Audrey’s showing up, then maybe I should too, finally.

Lucy, Bobby’s Mom, and The Little Man From Another Place will be hanging round the donut table this year as well.

Wow (Bob) Wow!

Paris Prizes pt. 2

Monday, May 10th, 2010

– A chunky clunk of metal from Porte de Vanves. An old dye embosser is our best guess.

– Happy cans of canned goods from a small sidestreet market.

– Fancy, Franc-ish coin dish from the Musee d’Orsay gift shop.

– Flea market, vintage beaded flowers for my sister.

–The gilded glam at Versailles inspired me to luxe it up more in my own life, so I picked up handfuls of golden flatware at Zara Home.

– Strawberry tinged tater chips we ate for lunch in our hotel room after we were stranded by the volcano. They were actually nice and quite light and unbelievably un-odd tasting.

– And lastly, an alien pod vase from my favorite of the big department stores, Printemps.