Every Autumn, our family enters the perfect cocktail of bleary-eyed sentimentality and complete climatic confusion. We wake up later, snuggling under the blankets for as long as time permits. We make insane Halloween/Christmas hybrid gift lists. We eat, drink, and laugh more often.
Yet, our family never really understands how it's honestly that time right now. The days blur into series of frantic exclamations: "How are we up so late? Why are we going to bed so early? Did the sun EVER come out today? What day is it?"
The house is stifling at night and frigid in the morning.
These aren't my pants.
Here, eat this.
...Tilda just missed her bus.
It's impossible for us to regulate at any level and it might be funny if it weren't so ridiculous.
Austin's arid weather and even warmer folk have yet to leave our hearts and minds and I know we haven't been too guarded about that opinion. The simple fact is moving is a process. We're learning small truths and deep realities along the way like: you can't wear a couple extra spring layers and be ok in the PNW. We have tried. It's as awkward looking as ineffective.
That being said, this is less a roundup of fall favorites as it is a jumbled toolkit to attack the ensuing cold, wet and dark.
The following are elements collected for my personal adaptation; the things that make me feel less like a Seattle-frozen zombie this time of year. Let me know if you ever feel the same and if anything else works especially well for you and yours - I'm all muff-laden ears.
Duke Ellington / Johnny Hodges: Blues Summit LP
Everyday Music is a new haunt for us. There are few things better than meandering through a record shop for something new and old while the rain beats down the Capital Hill pavement. Recently we purchased an LP that has become an obsession for our 4 year old. When it's on, it changes the entire space, and once it's finished is immediately flipped by quick little hands. The room is warm and alight once again.
(After hitting up Everyday Music, cross the lane to OddFellows Cafe for a warming nip. It's essential.)
This next one is obvious...but its importance cannot be overstated.
There is a distillery close by that makes a fantastic Rye. I love the recent movement in experimental distilling elements as well as microbarelled brands like Woodinville Whiskey.
First night out in Seattle, I latched onto Woodinville. Damn good stuff.
We plan to tour and document in the near months, but for now if you can get it, try it out and let me know what you think. One perk during the holidays: always have mulled spices in cider. No one will bat an eye when you casually toss a splash of brown in...no matter the time of day. Trust me.
SWEATPANTS - they aren't only for the lonely.
(Leading up to this...I'm reminded of a Patton Oswalt bit. If you're the twisted kind of sort, go here. (NSFW, probably))
Matt Baldwin played no small part in setting me on the path to being the man I am today. It's sounds melodramatic, but it's true. He introduced me to a lasting passion, taught me the importance of hard work, and gave me sound marriage advice. I worked for him in Kansas City at the then, Standard Style Boutique, when a denim line was something we all only dreamt about.
Today, Baldwin Denim has grown from a small curated elite selection of denim styles to a full lifestyle brand (including perfect basics) and I couldn't be happier to see it and support it.
These sweatpants are simply my working salvation when I wake up to a freezing house and hungry girls. Good, simple design, and premium materials go a long way.
That sound advice? It was simple yet profound: Marry your best friend.
MY ANTIQUE BEAVER HAT
I haggled like crazy to get my hat at a bargain. It was meant for me.
My wife hates the thing. It's the trouble in marrying headstrong people - they do what they want. My hat almost never leaves my head, and as a result is in clear need of a good wash and a new ribbon band. The trouble is, no one does it the way this was done. It would have to be all custom. Pricey, yes, but also kept away from me for some time. I'm still working through the decision.
I think The Stetson Open Road will be my next upgrade.
If you live or plan to visit somewhere that is prone to dropping water from the heavens, this is an absolute MUST. Invest and you will be repaid over and over. There's nothing like the kind of protection and comfort against the elements that a beaver pelt can bring.
We routinely have such offerings in our MWW sales. Keep an eye out and make sure you know what your size is when it comes up. They move FAST.
I hang onto boots. I wear them until they die several times and then I keep them around just to admire my handiwork.
I had a pair of boots I paid WAY too much for and had them resoled 3 times before I gave up. The seams won't hold any longer. It makes me proud and sad all at once.
I'm almost done with an old pair of Justin Roeper Boots. They've been great companions. They've taken everything i have thrown at them other than the wages of time. No matter how far or deep I might trod, my feet were kept dry and true to form.
It's time to upgrade footwear and face a new challenge.
I'm between the Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger and the Chippewaa Homestead.
Tell me in the comments what you think and why. I want to know!
DISCLOSURE: THIS NEXT ITEM IS MY CHRISTMAS LIST
I think it was that Sultan of Men, Brad Otts, who brought these talented people to my attention. Ever since I've spent many a sordid evening drooling over aluminum keys, staring into a pixelated abyss...wishing...hoping.
Though the sun may forsake you during these trying times, these will not:
Handmade in Detroit, Shinola decided to shirk the notion that American Made is a thing of the past.
Springing from the ghosts and relics of Michigan come the most beautiful watches this side of the pond, if not the world.
Look, I'm not a watch guy. Never have been. But, get me one of these and it will be a forever fixture on my wrist. Truly stunning.
Oh, and if they didn't already resonate with the Whiskey & Honey vibe well enough...they are doing pocket watches. Check it out.
one last thing...
These babies are a miracle. They will save your hands this time of year whether you are chopping wood or merely commuting to work. You can get the real thing from CC FILSON CO.
If the Filson isn't in your price range, you can find basic goatskin gloves at most feed and farm stores or even ULINE, oddly enough. Either way, you'll look good and feel even better.
Now get out there, all you adventuresome folk! Approach the new season with the new gear it demands.
DON'T FORGET TO TAG #CURATEDLIFE ON YOUR TRAVELS