I had the good fortune to meet BillyKirk’s Chris and Kirk Bray shortly before they wrote an entry for my on-going series, The Things My Father Taught Me.

Since that time, I have made a point to stay in touch with them getting together on my trips to New York City where time and place allowed, and as I said upon first meeting, you’ll never meet two nicer guys. Earlier this year, I brought them a bottle of Basil Hayden’s, and we hung out in their Jersey City office space. Chris ran around like Willy Wonka in his chocolate factory, and Kirk spoke poetically about art and commerce, and we all raised a glass together. You can read all about our experience with Whiskey. Among Other Things…. on Basil Hayden’s blog.

And after you’ve done that, head over to Flickr for a behind-the-scenes look at their space.


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Astrid Chastka and Kalen Kaminski are the creators of Upstate, a line of clothing and accessories that feature Shibori, a Japanese method of dying using various techniques. Where I come from, we call it tie-dye. They make every piece themeselves, turning each one out in their new studio space in Brooklyn, which makes every piece one of a kind.

I’ve become a fan by watching my girlfriend wear the scarf my mother bought her for occasions of all stripes. I’ve also admired their collaborations with Archival Clothing and Fairends. Recently, they shared their fall lookbook with me, and I was compelled to interview them.

The result is below.

Wood & Faulk’s Guitar Strap


I first picked up a guitar in college, and since then, I’ve searched and searched for the perfect strap, comfortable on the shoulder and yet low profile, as not to distract from all the thrashing.

Music. Personalities. pic: circa 1957. American singer, songwriter and pioneer of rock Buddy Holly (1936-1959) who with his group "The Crickets" was one of the most popular entertainers of the 1950's. Buddy Holly tragically died in a plane crash in 1959.



Growing up in Saint Louis, this image of Chuck Berry was inescapable, and yet, his slim strap has eluded me until now.


In conjunction with Currie Person, owner of Spartan, Wood & Faulk’s Matt Pierce made these straps as a keepsake for those who headed to Austin for this year’s South by Southwest Music Festival, arguably the most influential of its kind. On his blog, he said he made them “partly to commemorate the music festival, but mostly because I love Austin and Spartan.”

Remi Canarie

Recently, Liz Patelski and Lisa Panza, two designers I’m fortunate enough to call friends, launched the first collection for their line Remi Canarie. To say the two LPs have had an eventful year would be an understatement. Not even a full 365 days after graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, they have traded in their mortar boards for something a little more elegant, a well-thought-out, complete line of classics for today’s world-wise, modern young woman.

Birchbox Man: Natural Haircare

Shortly after I moved to Chicago, I asked Jessica Herman, then a co-worker and now my girlfriend, where I should go to get my haircut. She’d recently interviewed Ryan Babbitt, a graphic designer-turned-hair stylist and thought we’d hit it off. Fast friends, as so often becomes the case with barbers, I entrust Ryanwith more than my haircut. We discuss everything from design to dating (then-co-workers, in my case).

Since then, we’ve seen each other through a lot: break-ups and make-ups, and a few different job opportunities. And as meaningful as those have been, they pale in comparison to the results his natural haircare methods have had on my frizzy ‘do.

The dude makes all of his own hairstyling products.

Earlier this year, I spoke of my head regimen to my friend Martin Mulkeen at Birchbox Man, and he asked if I’d write about it for their blog. I happily obliged, and I’m pleased with the results.

Head over to Birchbox Man for the full story.

Oh, and if you live in Chicago and need someone to cut your hair, Ryan is awesome.