The Standard #29

MountainHumility. The act of possessing a modest opinion of one’s importance, understanding the complex context of life, and respecting the reality that other individuals may be better at some things than you. Gentlemen, please don’t be mislead by the boisterous musings of silly folk; so enamored by their own greatness that they cannot recognize their own shortcomings. Sometimes a man must recognize his faults and limitations. There is no shame in that. One must understand that embracing humility does not make a gentleman weak, actually, humility strengthens you. It keeps you grounded. It keeps you focused – on the important things in life.

It is brazen arrogance that renders a gentleman vulnerable. Trust this: Keep living and life will eventually happen to you. And life can be the greatest administrator of humility. Recognize your position in life, and even if your station ranks well above others, discipline yourself in humility, as the folly of vanity can ultimately become your undoing. You don’t want to discover this bit of wisdom the hard way, but I am sure that you won’t. Maintain the standard my friends; catch you later.

Style & Substance – The Dotted Dress Shirt

Ted Baker Dot ShirtAdmittedly, a considerable length of time has elapsed since this unconventional trend has become popular. Well, presently, this unorthodox utilization of a dress shirt is starting to influence my sartorial, conservative leanings. True, I am not wholly opposed to stylish risk, nevertheless, I tend to avoid outlandish trends that are more runway spectacle than meaningful, useful style. And so, behold, the dotted dress shirt. Now, this may appear as a European transplant, but I vaguely remember my grandfather owning a dress shirt discreetly speckled with small dots. Not yet of teenage years, and therefore not fully appreciating the function of a dress shirt, I dismissed the oddly patterned shirt as something only my grandfather would wear. Now here we are today, and that peculiar dress shirt that my grandfather once wore has received a modern update. Definitely rakish, totally uncommon; the office has probably never seen a bold dress shirt like this in the boardroom. I may have to take the plunge. The risk is relatively low, and the reward is high on style, smoothness, and attitude. Stay stylish gentlemen.

Daddy Diary – My Best Moments of Being a Dad (Year 1.5)

IMG_2956Continuing in the tradition of my inaugural documentation of my first-year best moments as a father, I wanted to revisit the subject, only this time we are winding towards the 1 and 1/2 year mark. Yes, the terrible-twos will soon upon me and Stephanie. Nonetheless, there have been some really awesome moments that I would like to share since the last time I wrote. And again, in no particular order, here are some of the best moments that I have experienced as a newly minted father. Enjoy.

  • Crawling has slowly transformed into walking, and walking has given way to running. Incoherent babbling has transformed into long strings of incoherent babbling. Thus, the moments when I walk through the door after work and I am greeted with excited squeals and the hurried scamper of feet, the feeling of overwhelming joy is one that is unparalleled.
  • Now, on the contrary – this may seem slightly odd being listed here – when I depart, Ava has taken to the practice of producing a few salty tears, whining with discontent, and even attaching herself to my leg (on occasion both legs) in an attempt to thwart my exit. Now, this was an act only exclusively performed when my wife readied herself for departure. I was now the benefactor of such treatment. No parent wants their child to launch into tirade when they leave – it’s not healthy. Nevertheless, at this stage of the game when the words I love you have not been properly formed, this small act of loving defiance is a reassuring confirmation that my little girl doesn’t to see daddy go, and it slightly warms the heart.
  • Nothing strengthens the bond between father and child more (perhaps I’m exaggerating) than engaging infant bodily fluids in battle. Sure, Ava initiated me into fatherhood with a nice, warm spray of baby urine, but that was nothing. Every father should encounter a bodily fluid moment that pushes him to the limit. I have three good ones under my belt thus far. First episode: The entire family had a bout with the stomach flu. It started with Ava, moved on to my wife, and partially claimed me. That weekend, Ava probably hit me with streams of vomit on 5-6 separate occasions. Coupled with runny diapers – it was a wild weekend. Stephanie was incapacitated, so the entire weekend I was either at the laundromat with our soiled bed comforter, changing Ava’s soiled bed & clothing, going to CVS for medicine & Pedialyte, or trying to stay healthy myself – I was feeling queasy, but the good Lord kept me healthy enough to hold it down for everyone else.
  • The second episode saw me engaging fecal matter that had cleverly escaped Ava’s diaper – Shawshank Redemption style – and totally flooding her onesie with smelly, renegade poop. Changing a runny diaper is a challenge. And stopping a child from reaching into soiled nether regions is also quite a task itself. So, off to the laundry basin I whisked Ava away and armed myself with some latex gloves. I skipped the surgical mask, as it was too cumbersome and hot. It was messy. It was smelly. It was an adventure. Nevertheless, all contaminated articles of clothing were successfully extracted and said infant daughter was thoroughly cleansed of most unpleasant bodily waste.
  • The third episode witnessed me once again engaging infant regurgitation. Except at this juncture, Ava had graduated to adult food, and this wasn’t that adorable little spit-up that infants produce. No, out of nowhere, I was hit with a green, chunky blast that would make Linda Blair of Exorcist fame blush. Even though we were on tile, I instinctively tried to “catch” the contents of my baby girl’s upset stomach with my body to avoid getting it on the floor. I know…I wasn’t thinking at all. Crying out like a baby deer with a busted hoof, I beckoned rescue to my wife upstairs, as I could not move in any direction for fear of tracking the digestive remnants of kale and squash with me throughout the house. In what seemed like an eternity for help to arrive, Ava and I just stood in the middle of the hallway looking at each other, covering in green muck. You have to appreciate moments like those.
  • Okay, on to something more pleasant. I love when Ava runs to a table, grabs a book, and then hurries back to me as she motions for me to read to her. It’s really cute.
  • Feeding my little lady has been a very interesting process. Teaching her how to use utensils and communicate her needs begs patience, but it so very worth the instruction. I even taught her how to “feed” daddy some of her yummy food. That’s really cute too, well, at least to me.
  • Art FairAva had her first art fair in daycare and I bought up what I could that she was involved with – a very proud daddy moment for me. Yes, this picture to the right of her little feet as butterfly wings almost…almost made me cry.
  • In daycare, daily progress reports are given at the end of the day so a parent can read about their child’s day. I love reading about the new things Ava is being introduced to and her interaction with teachers and classmates. I hope I don’t turn into a hoarder, but I have a folder that I keep all her reports in. She’ll probably get a kick out of reading them when she is older.
  • I love daddy and daughter time when we take strolls around the neighborhood either in the stroller or simple walking to and fro, up and down the block.
  • It is simple amazing to watch a child develop the necessary cognitive skills to fully interact with you. One morning, Ava had once again found her way into our bed. Armed with the capability of scaling and traversing any human obstacle in her path to freedom, she attempted to vault over me and onto the floor. Nevertheless, I prevented each attempt. Exasperated and irritated; she suddenly stopped, crawled over to me, gave me a kiss on the cheek and just looked at me. I let her out of the bed. Damn it –  foiled by daddy’s little girl!

Blog Appreciation – Please feel free to share on your social network of choice. Spread a little positivity. Not all fathers, especially fathers of color, fit the mold of a negative stereotype. There are plenty of fathers handling business as men.

 

Gent Hints – PreShave Oil – Head Shaving

Zirh PrepareToday, I would like to share with the audience an amazing discovery. Actually, it perhaps is not that amazing at all. It was a bit of grooming commonsense that apparently wasn’t common to me at all. Revealed during a perusal through Men’s Health Magazine, I was awakened to the practice of rubbing pre-shave oil into the scalp before shaving. Now gentlemen, in all seriousness, I cannot begin fathom why I never employed the services of pre-shave oil for my head shaving endeavors. I would like to think that the remainder of the civilized, grooming world has long been up to speed with such a ritual. And so, the first opportunity I had to shave, I readily employed the advice as dispensed by Men’s Health – and what a difference it made. The finished product – my freshly shaven bald head – was smoother with far less irritation than past adventures in shaving. Shame on me for not utilizing this tactic long ago. Well, if you are reading this, none of us (assuming you are a fellow bald gentleman) have an excuse going forward with our shaving regimens. The pre-shave oil in concert with your shaving cream will provide a comfortable glide across your scalp, absent the nicks and burn. Happy shaving gents!

The Standard #15

jobsThe following is a gentleman’s public service announcement: An intelligent gentleman understands and appreciates the delicate nature of a recovering job market. Certainly, the employment forecast is becoming brighter, but an astute gentleman demonstrates due diligence during his job search. Never stagnant, he works tirelessly to improve his chances of landing his job of choice. And once the moment arrives when a gentleman is standing before a potential employer, he fully realizes what his primary role is at that time-salesperson. He is a salesperson and the product that he is selling is himself. He soundly demonstrates that his experience and expertise are viable commodities that a future employer wants…no…needs at their company. His career goals are perfectly aligned with the company’s mission and vision. He is supremely confident, yet humble. He superbly demonstrates the ability to work independently, but he is a team player. He clearly shows the drive to continually improve himself and become a valuable asset to the company. By the time his pitch is done, the job is his. No questions about it!

The Gift of Grooming – Late Hour Gift Ideas for Dad

Father's DayOkay, we’re not here to levy judgement, however, you have procrastinated and procrastinated, now the day has finally arrived – Father’s Day. Life’s chores have successfully thwarted any and all shopping plans, and now you’re down to Father’s Day Eve attempting to conjure up an appropriate gift. You are not alone. Trust, that parking lot is going to be filled to capacity today. However, don’t beat yourself up over the matter, surely there will be individuals shopping for a gift on Father’s Day itself. Nevertheless, you don’t want to be that person. But I digress, it is last-minute, and you don’t want to purchase a gift that screams last-minute. Well, where do you begin? In my humble opinion, one can never go wrong with a good grooming gift. It is something he will use and it is something that he will appreciate. Check out these gift ideas from reputable brands that I have enjoyed success with in the past. And even if these specific gifts are not what you are looking for, each respective site will surely have other gift ideas to consider. Happy shopping. Continue reading

Black Thought

james baldwin 2“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin

The knowledgeable gentleman is reconciled with the reality that anything worth the attempt of transforming could ultimately result in failure. Nevertheless, the very real possibility of failure does not deter or dissuade him from focusing his efforts to bring about change. He understands that change is not fully realized when absent an active catalyst. Please note: Fruitful, bountiful harvests are not born to barren soil. Work must be done. And so, if a gentleman desires to see a difference, he must ultimately commit himself to making a difference. A gentleman must steel his resolve and confront what needs to be confronted, failure be damned. So, the question for you is: What do you want to see changed, and just exactly what are you doing about it?

Black Thought

George_Washington_Carver“In these strenuous times, we are likely to become morbid and look constantly upon the dark side of life. We spend entirely too much time considering and brooding over what we can’t do, rather than what we can do. Instead of growing morose and despondent over opportunities that are shut from us, let us rejoice at the many unexplored fields in which there is unlimited fame and fortune to the successful explorer.”

George Washington Carver

It is important that we approach life with a positive attitude and outlook. Life can be intensely stressful and tends to narrow our focus on only the negative aspects of life. Think of the many awards that can be reaped if we transfer negative energy into more constructive avenues that are beneficial to our physical, professional, and spiritual being. Don’t hesitate, there is uncharted territory awaiting to be discovered. Realize the potential in positive thinking and discover success yet to be reached.

Style & Substance – Burberry – Crocheted Lace

Burberry Crochet Lace CoatSo, regarding what best could be described as uniquely experimental, Burberry unveiled a look unlike anything I have ever laid eyes upon – at least in regards to menswear. Employing the decorative art of crocheted lace, Burberry has transformed menswear articles such as neckties, dress shirts, and outerwear into sartorial pieces of ornate artistry. I would be dishonest if I denied the beauty of the visual intricacy displayed here – it is most certainly stunning. However, its usage is what I am calling into question. To be blunt: Burberry is doing far too much. Has menswear become so boring that gimmicks have to be utilized to coax interest within the gentlemanly community?

Burberry is trying to reinvent the proverbial wheel, and I reckon this venture will fall flat and disappear within months of its availability. And woe to the gentleman that will be stranded with a $4095.00 crocheted lace coat in his closet. Yes – it is quite an expensive risk to undertake. Perhaps this material would be better served as a pocket square; perhaps even a scarf. In the real world – and by real, we’re talking non-celebrity realms – I highly doubt this usage of crocheted lace would be sartorially functional. Nevertheless, I could be incorrect. What say you? Is Burberry onto something, ushering in a new era of style, or is this just gear aimed at the likes of Dwyane Wade or Pharrell Williams, hoping that the regular gentleman follows suit?

Review – Sebago – Crest Collection Docksides

IMG_3010It was an interesting concept that I had to ready my mind to absorb; I never fathomed that the intersection of luxury and a boat shoe was attainable. A boat shoe was, well, a typical boat shoe – a preppy staple reserved for outings on bodies of water or outings on land with a smoking barbecue grill nearby. Simply stated: It is the ultimate casual shoe with a small touch of style in some rare cases. Now, casual and luxury are not exactly synonymous. Nonetheless, Sebago is making the case that a boat shoe can be dipped in luxury by benefiting from rich materials and well-crafted construction. The Sebago Crest Collection strives to create an amalgamation of both casual and luxury with polished details and impeccable, tactile elements. Given the opportunity to slide into a pair, today we’re going to determine if the Sebago Docksides boat shoe is as good as advertised. Continue reading

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