Posts in reader's choice
GROOM: Phlur Fragrances & the Quintessential Gift

Small and niche as they may be, Phlur is not joking around when it comes to concocting scents for noses that are in the know.  By allowing guests to purchase two small sample vials of fragrance for the low cost of $10 (that’s a ticket to ‘Office Christmas Party Party’ you guys!) Phlur is taking the BS out of the beauty industry. 

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VIBES: The Small Faces

Formed in East London circa '65, The Small Faces were a seminal English mod-rock band that created pioneering sounds for four short but explosive years. For their very first and extremely raucous 1965 single 'Whatchya Gonna Do About It,' band members Steve Marriot, Ronnie Lane, Kenny Jones, and Jim Winston borrowed heavily from seminal American soul and R&B artists like Otis Redding and Bobby Bland. The group's unique blend of soul-based guitar riffs coupled with call-and-response choruses garnered them immediate attention within the London mod-rock scene.

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SHOP: the Foundry Home Goods 

For me, the Foundry Home Goods has been that very sort of special shop since opening in 2012. It is beautiful, yet simple. Accessible, yet aspirational. There is a distinct sort of compassion and care that emanates from the shop which cannot be ignored. There’s usually some sage burning and Ruby -- the requisite chocolate lab shop dog -- will be padding around the floorboards. A busy Saturday at the shop means Anna -- the owner -- will float down the stairs in an ethereal white dress and offer everyone inside a Popsicle --- or a beer. Or both. Depending on their age.

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Garza Marfa Furniture: How A Husband + Wife Design Duo Craft a Life Of Their Own in West Texas

Enveloped in the endless space of Presidio county, with it’s boundless sightline of grassy scrub and heaven-scraping Sotol plants, lies the studio of Jamey Garza and Constance Holt-Garza. The couple launched their line of modern furniture in 2012, during a debut show at San Francisco’s Heath Ceramics titled ‘Marfa Amigos.’ Shortly thereafter photos of the pair’s oval chairs and exquisite pillows made from Bolivian frazadas began populating both my blogroll and my daydreams. I made a photo of their saddle leather chair my desktop screensaver, and taped images of Garza Marfa’s unique and zen-like Southwestern silhouettes to my refrigerator. I fell in love with the minimalistic, high-desert design language of their pieces -- so distinctly expressive of the arid and expansive landscapes I love.

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SHOP: The Wrong Store

I was making my way from Alpine to El Paso and needed a diversion before a long and meditative drive along I-90 through mesquite scrub. This is when I stopped by a church on sleepy West Dallas Street. It's monastic profile was almost entirely obfuscated by clusters of prickly pear cacti and statuesque blue agave. A five-foot tall neon horse shoe stood sentry not far from the entrance. Part bordertown iglesia and tourist trading post, the church belongs to artists Buck Johnston and Camp Bosworth. The two relocated to Marfa on a whim, purchased the abandoned place of worship, and have since turned it into their private residence, studio space, and storefront.

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DAILY PRACTICE: Winter Grit

The weather here in the high plains of Minnesota has been brutal. Black ice, strong winds, blowing snow. These, along with other conditions of the spirit have driven me further into my already very reserved world of writing and reflection.

At night when work can be carried on no longer the stash of dog-eared maps come out. New Mexico, Arizona, Texas. I circle border towns with my pen -- Taos, Sedona, Terlingua, Bisbee, Chimayo -- tracing the sinewy scenic routes to each through mountains, deserts, and reservations with nail-bitten fingers.

Despite modern convenience this cold has sent me into a reptilian state of shock. Will I make it out alive? Will everyone? And how? These are the questions that fester for some time, until the warmer weather and longer spells of sunlight appear as promised.

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Finisterre: How A Cold Water Surf Brand Became the UK’s Greatest Innovator in Design + Sustainability

Monocle has forthrightly dubbed Finisterre as ‘The Perfect Brand’ and GQ has proclaimed their Anabatic shell as one of the one hundred best things in the world.  In addition to design, the company has been applauded for their initiatives around sustainability, with their efforts winning them both the Volvo European Sport Award For Eco Design as well as the Observer Ethical Business Award.

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