Review – Tommy Bahama – Tommy Bahama Compass

Tommy Bahama CompassIt has been quite the busy month here at The Gentlemen’s Standard. I have been blessed with the opportunity to examine a bevy of products and offer personal insight to the reading audience. It has definitely presented a challenge, as the luxury of time is scarce nowadays, but I am extremely thankful nonetheless. Now, today we are evaluating another fragrance that perfectly complements the progression of warmer temperatures. Allow me to frame the picture for the audience: cream linen suit, open collar dress shirt, brown loafers – no socks, and a Panama hat. That is what I envisioned upon my initial introduction to Tommy Bahama Compass. This looked like a bottle that should be sitting on top of a sharp gent’s dresser while getting attired. Flipping open the top (an interesting feature) of the diamond-shaped bottle, I was wondering if this current offering compared favorably to a previous favorite of mine – Tommy Bahama for Men. Well, let us take a gander.

Observations

Top Notes: Lemon, Grapefruit, Violet

Middle Notes: Pimento Lavender, Clary Sage

Base Notes: Cedarwood, Amber Gris, Tonka Bean, Cistus

First impressions: The fragrance is resolutely smooth and effortless. Of all three notes, none overly dominates the other. Each note cascades into the following note quietly and discreetly. This is not a fragrance that is going to commence with an abundance of loudness, rather, this is a scent formulated for more intimate quarters. So, due to its distinct lightness, a gentleman does not have to be bashful with its application. However, it is still advised that one should not bathe in it either. Depending on your preference and body chemistry, I would guess 4 sprays from the nozzle should suffice.

Tommy Bahama Compass appears to best worn indoors during the daytime. Standout notes include lemon, grapefruit, and lavender. And no, the smell is not too feminine, just soft and pleasant. The ending notes definitely won’t go unnoticed, but they won’t be in your face either. If the affair is mellow and relaxed, this may be the summer cologne for you. This scent will not go unappreciated indoors. It can probably work outside as well, but you may want to apply just a touch more if that is the case. And even with an additional spritz or so, the scent is so light, you won’t have to worry about burning nearby nostrils. This is a sure thumbs up for the summer.

Tommy Bahama 1.7 oz  $54.00 or 3.4 oz $69.00 – Available at Tommy Bahama, Macy’s, Dillards, Lord & Taylor or any fine men’s department store

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved

Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes only. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Review – Vince Camuto – Vince Camuto Homme

Vince Camuto HommeWell, spring has settled in nicely, and summer is patiently awaiting in the wings for its annual, highly anticipated appearance. As temperatures have reached a pleasing and comfortable range, the gentleman will surely discover himself enjoying the beauty of outdoors; perhaps near a cool, refreshing body of water. With that possibility taken into account, the timeliness of today’s review could be fortuitous for some gentlemen with outdoor summer excursions scheduled on their calendar. Introduced just this year, Vince Camuto Homme promises a fragrance that will ” liven your spirit and whisk you away to a land of beloved scents and gorgeous landscape. A place you will always want to be, a scent you will always want to wear.” Recently, I’ve been tapped to sample the new 2014 offering and offer some insight. I am always humbled when I am chosen to offer insight. So, let’s get to work.

Observations

Top Notes: Lemon, Ozone Accord, Gin

Middle Notes: Fennel, Blue Cypress, Juniper Berry, French Lavender

Base Notes: Atlas Cedarwood, Hot Musk, White Birch, Artemisia

Opening the package, one cannot help but recognize the beautiful bottle. The bottle itself, encased in what appears to be blue leather, is a rather heavy and dense glass. Don’t make a mistake and drop this on a toe! Centered right in the middle of the bottle: a metal seal of approval from the Vince Camuto brand. Gorgeous. It should be noted that my wife thought the bottle to be too opulent. I thought is displayed a great touch of sophistication and masculinity. Now, while presentation is key, a gentleman isn’t buying cologne to look at the bottle – no matter how pretty it is. Unless, of course, you keep it on the dresser to impress a visiting lady friend. But, I’m married, and my wife wasn’t impressed with the bottle. So, let’s explore what the actual fragrance smells like.

The introduction is refreshingly sweet and clean, as there is an aquatic feel to it when you spray it on. The notes of citrus are fresh and very dominant throughout the top note. Now, the beginning is not terribly strong, and you might be tempted to liberally coat yourself with the fragrance, but I would not recommend such a generous application. The transition to the middle and base notes is pretty swift, and both those notes are far stronger than the top note. So, I would advise administering some restraint and afford yourself 3-4 sprays around the wrists and neck. Again, don’t go overboard. Otherwise, you will carry the risk of the scent being obnoxiously strong during the close of the fragrance, which is deep and woodsy.

Vince Camuto Homme would probably work best either indoors or outdoors, transitioning from late afternoon to early evening. Because of its warm dry-down, I would definitely lean towards wearing this cologne outdoors. Pool. Beach. Lake. All of these options would be a great complement to this scent. It displays an extended longevity, so a gentleman won’t have to worry about it disappearing throughout the course of the day. Now, if you are looking for something new for the year, especially this summer, I would definitely recommend visiting a department store nearby and sampling a spritz or two. It could be a nice addition to your collection.

Vince Camuto Homme 1.7 oz  $57.00 or 3.4 oz $70.00 – Available at Vince Camuto, Macy’s, Dillards, or any fine men’s department store

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved

Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes only. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Review -Lacoste – Eau De Lacoste L.12.12 Pure White

 

 

Lacoste Pure WhiteEau De Lacoste L.12.12, inspired by the original polo tennis shirt designed by founder Rene Lacoste, was initially launched by the eponymous company in 2011. Now in 2014, Lacoste is celebrating their tradition with a limited edition relaunch of that fragrance. Borrowing from the simplicity of the white L.12.12 polo tennis shirt; the fragrance itself is housed within a discreet white bottle with the iconic crocodile affixed to the upper right hand corner, and with L.12.12 Limited Edition stamped in neon yellow in the bottom corner. The bottle also sports a textured pique panel running down both sides. And now, lets examine the fragrance itself.

Observations

Top Notes: Grapefruit, Cardamom Seed, Rosemary, Cedar Leaf

Middle Notes: Tuberose, Ylang Ylang, Olibanum

Base Notes: Atlas Cedar, Vetiver, Leather, Suede Accord, Georgywood

Upon the initial application, one will discover that the top notes are remarkably intense – especially the hints of citrus. With an unabashedly bold introduction, a gentleman might be astonished and alarmed by the heavy notes in the beginning. With those facts on the table, it would be wise to employ a feather-light touch when dispersing the aromatic contents. For best results: Direct the spray nozzle center mass, an arm’s length away from the body, and fully depress the spray nozzle once. Trust – you only require one light mist.

The transition to the middle and base notes is a little smoother. As long as you don’t get overzealous with the initial blast, the remaining notes will settle nicely with a long-lasting, masculine scent that will be noticeable without being overbearing. The wood, leather, and suede lend an earthy splash, but it is very subtle. Personally, I would recommend this scent for any function that transpires outdoors. The fragrance is afforded the opportunity to breathe a little, and it is strong enough to stand up to the varying smells that await outside. With Father’s Day approaching, this may great gift idea to consider.

Eau De Lacoste L.12.12 Limited Edition 3.3 oz. $65.00 – recommended retail price at any fine men’s department store

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved

Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes only. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Black Thought

booker t washington“Never get to the point where you will be ashamed to ask anybody for information. The ignorant man will always be ignorant if he fears that by asking another for information he will display ignorance. Better once display your ignorance of a certain subject than always know nothing of it.”

-Booker T. Washington

Well, as the expression goes: there is no such thing as a dumb question. So true. As sometimes stubborn gentlemen, we retain this idea within our thick skulls that we know everything. Nothing could be further removed from reality-we simply don’t know everything. Yet, some gentlemen live their existence as if they do. When faced with subject matter that bewilders the mind, they occasionally conjure up imaginary facts and present them as truth. Listen, there is absolutely nothing incorrect about asking questions and increasing one’s knowledge. Better to look the fool once than be a fool forever right? Set aside the arrogance. Put away the pride. We all can benefit from the blessings of another with greater knowledge than our own. Weary are the legs of the gentleman supporting the weight of his own hubris. We don’t know everything. It’s wise to cease acting like it.

Review – Mission Belt Company – The Gentleman’s Belt

Mission BeltUnder the sartorial microscope today, I will be closely scrutinizing a standard gentlemanly accoutrement with an unexpected twist. Now, the gentleman’s belt is an indispensable accessory whose sole pragmatic function is securing one’s britches at an acceptable level, thus preventing the undesirable sight of dingy undergarments or ashy butt cracks. Dreadfully – it could be a combination of both. The standard issue belt arrives simply as a flexible strip of leather, dotted with incremental holes, with a buckle attached to one end so that a gentleman can fasten it around his waist. And so, that brings me to the product I am examining today. In the interest of fairness and honesty, when I first spied Mission Belt Company on the television show Shark Tank, I was thoroughly skeptical. A belt with no holes? I was not sold on the idea.

So, it was very surprising when a representative from Mission Belt Company reached out to me for a review. It was the perfect opportunity to address my skepticism. Perhaps my initial assessment, albeit by way of television, was unfounded and without appropriate merit. Could a belt absent its signature holes actually be worth the investment? Sure, there are hole-less belts on the current market in the form of d-ring and braided belts. However, this particular belt, with its unique ratchet mechanism, was unlike anything I have personally utilized. So, I decided it was worth a fair perusal.

Now, I would be woefully negligent if I did not mention the “mission” portion of Mission Belt Company. I don’t want to butcher their vision and mission, so what follows is their philosophy for the company:

“Here at Mission Belt Co, we don’t just want our customers to look good – we want them to feel good too.  That’s why a dollar from every belt sold goes to fight global hunger and poverty.  Having lived and worked across the globe, we’ve seen firsthand the struggles of those who aren’t as fortunate in their circumstances through no fault of their own.  There are so many industrious, motivated men and women striving for a better life for themselves and their families. Sometimes, the only thing holding them back is a little capital to get started and break the poverty cycle.  A few hundred dollars to buy a cow, a few chickens, or supplies to sell, can mean the difference between unemployment and a productive, independent business.

So we decided to start a company that is so focused on fighting world hunger and poverty, that you’ll know about our “Mission” from the second you hear our name.  We’ll be the first to admit that our no-holes belts are pretty awesome, and you’d probably want to have one regardless of our Mission.  But even more important than producing the world’s sleekest, most stylish, and most comfortable belts, is making sure we can do it in a socially responsible way.  Every time you put on your belt, and hear the ‘click click’ of the perfect fit, you can remember that you too are a part of the Mission.

So that we can focus on making our world-class belts, we searched around for a well-known and respected organization to work with, and found just that in Kiva (www.Kiva.org).  Kiva is a non-profit, peer-to-peer ‘micro-lending’ organization that helps provide opportunities to support economic development and entrepreneurship, mostly in developing countries, as part of its efforts to alleviate poverty and create more economic opportunity. Before you think we’re loan sharks, Kiva doesn’t collect nor pay us any interest on our funds.  Rather, we help to increase the supply of credit for borrowers who might not have access to traditional banking services in their home countries.

As stewards of our time, talents, and resources, we take our Mission seriously.  We aren’t Sally Struthers preying on people’s emotions and we aren’t charity-tourists taking a trip around the globe to hand out school supplies to starving kids. We’d rather avoid the airfare and the photo-ops, and get the most bang for our belts by focusing our Mission on three key aspects: sustainability, transparency and impact.”

Honestly, I think their mission is very admirable. I cannot speak to its impact or magnitude, but its concept is admirable nonetheless. For more information regarding Mission Belt’s social entrepreneurship, please visit HERE for details. Now, on to the observations.

Observations

  • True story: Upon unearthing the mission belt from its package, I jokingly remarked to Stephanie that it spelled and felt like real leather. And to my amusement, as I turned the belt over for inspection, engraved on the underside: Yeah…it’s real leather. I surmise Mission Belt anticipated the doubt. Clever.
  • So, addressing the quality of leather, it is definitely soft and extremely pliable. This is certainly not some stiff, plastic piece of imitation leather that you will be securing your trousers with.
  • The stitching is tight with no noticeable frays or loose threads.
  • For leather selections, the standard register of business colors are available: black and brown. For more adventurous, fashion-forward gentlemen; colors such as red, blue, and even gray can be purchased.
  • The buckles are seriously heavy-duty. A gentleman is presented with options of brushed stainless steel, gold, or brass. The designs are varied, yet simple; ranging from plain solids to colored solids to a three bar design with color.
  • The underside the belt is embedded with a small rigid track that “catches” a small metal clip that is housed within the belt clip. Think of a roller coaster on its ascent, you can hear the belt clicking as you insert it into the belt buckle.
  • To release the belt and remove, there is a small lever that sits on the side of the buckle. Pull the lever away from the body, and the belt easily releases.
  • If a gentleman loses a little weight, the buckle can be removed, and the desired length of leather can be cut off to accommodate the difference in waist girth. Simply re-attach the buckle and you are good to go. This is probably cleaner than punching more holes in a standard belt, or perhaps just going to buy another. However, once you cut that leather, it is no going back. So, if you are a gentleman that has weight fluctuations, it may not be a good idea to go slicing your belt.
  • Speaking of width, there are two belt widths currently available: 35 mm and 40 mm.
  • A gentleman can expect to pay between $26.99 (kids) to $34.95-39.95 (adults).
  • Usage is relatively simple. Just insert your belt to fasten, and then pull the release lever to loosen. While the buckle is really sturdy, the release lever could be prone to wear and tear if your touch is heavy-handed.


In conclusion, I think Mission Belt Company has presented the gentleman with a great alternative to the standard belt. Given a gentleman does not change out belts that frequently, the investment could be worthwhile. The leather is quality and the sturdiness of the buckle and the ratchet mechanism should provide dutiful service without breaking. Again, be aware that if one does decide to size down due to weight loss, any leather cut off cannot be recovered – so tread lightly. So, despite my initial doubts, I have to give Mission Belt Company a thumbs up for a quality, innovative product. Check them out for yourselves: http://missionbelt.com/

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved

Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes only. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Daddy Diary – The Gentleman’s Guide to Awesome (Hopefully) Labor & Delivery

Baby AvaDisclaimer: Please be advised that the following testimony is based solely on my experience alone; I do not purport to be an expert in the field of childbirth. This autobiographical entry is written to function as a gentle guide for that father-to-be, or perhaps, that father who could benefit from a few new suggestions. But first, allow me to articulate this thought: The birth of my daughter ranks number 1 on my list of greatest days in my life – like seriously. After all of the doctor’s appointments, diligent research, scouring of books, attending birthing classes, etc.; the culmination of those arduous 9 months provide a mental euphoria that is unlike any feeling one could anticipate. So, how did my wife and I arrive at that point? Well, let’s get to story.

However, before I dive deep into the details, I must formally announce that my wife is truly a strong woman. We opted to deliver our daughter naturally – meaning no drug intervention unless it was medically necessary due to unforeseen complications. Let me reiterate: no drugs. That translates to no pitocin, no epidural, and no narcotic would be used during delivery. So, again, my wife is an extremely strong woman, and she deserves every bit of praise for what she endured for nearly 24 hours of labor. Yes – 24 hours. Because, without the usage of drugs, and to paraphrase Ray Charles, you have to let the body “do what it do baby”. The level of mental and physical fortitude required is unfathomable. Yet, my wife endured until the end and never wavered, never relented, and never crumbled. She’s my champ (wink, wink – inside joke).

Now, the way I envisioned the birth of our daughter went down like this: Stephanie would wake up in terrible pain in the middle of the night and we would go speeding to the hospital at 3 in the morning. It didn’t go down like that. However, my nervous energy precluded any restful sleep for nearly 2 weeks heading into showtime anyway. There was one night when she woke up screaming, but that was a charley horse in her calf. Scared the living daylights out of me. I’m fumbling around under the sheets, half asleep, trying rub out a charley horse in the dead of night. But I digress, how her labor did go down: While at work, in the throes of Polar Vortex 2013-14, I received the phone call. Yes – that phone call. Actually, it was two phone calls that I received from Stephanie. The first went something like this: my contractions are starting ramp up, I will keep you posted. The second call (approximately 30 minutes later): you better start driving home now!

And with that, I notified my supervisor that it was go-time and I bounced out the door. Was I nervous? Well, nervous in the sense that I was about to be a father for the first time; I was excited. You have to understand that at 37 years old; after mentoring other people’s kids, being a godfather, and volunteering in children’s ministry – I was to finally have a child that I could call my own. I was ready! So, I drove safely home, retrieved our bags, and set out with Stephanie to the Alternative Birthing Center. We made our way to the second floor and the nurse looked at me and laughed. Well, I was lugging two bags on each arm with one extra scheduled trip back to the car to retrieve more. “How long do you think you’re staying?”, she bellowed. I responded, “Just following orders maam.” And so, the night had just began.

The first few hours of labor was spent waging battle against the fierce onslaught of contraction after contraction. Retrieving an exercise ball, Stephanie and I ducked into the shower for a 3 hour marathon meant to assuage the intensity of the contractions. With a soft meditation soundtrack on a continuous loop playing on Stephanie’s tablet, I darted back and forth from the water & ice machine to fill Stephanie’s water bottle to keep her hydrated. What followed next was a medley of birthing exercises that we had learned from classes. And then walking up and down the hospital hall. And then more birthing exercises. Next was jacuzzi time, as the warm water would act as a soothing and relaxing agent. Somewhere around 5 a.m. I blacked out in a creaky wooden recliner. Comfy.

The next morning was a rotation of the previous night. However, baby Ava was still in the same position and had even rotated to a weird position. The nurse had an idea. It would be painful, but it was worth a shot of making baby rotate to an optimal birthing position. The nurse called it the knees to chest position. Stephanie would probably call it hell. As close to a fetal position as one could get, Stephanie was instructed to lie face down, palms flat, posterior arched in the air, with her knees pulled up as close to her chest as possible. Remember – she’s pregnant and doing this. Oh, I failed to mention that she had to hold this position for 30 minutes.

I say this with all seriousness. To get through with what we had to get through; a wife and husband need to be on the same wavelength. Mentally. And emotionally. For my part, I had to be part drill sergeant and part supportive husband. For my drill sergeant part I implored Stephanie to fight and ignore the pain. I called out 10 minute intervals as a countdown, gently coaxing her to the finish line. As a husband I ran back and forth from the bathroom with cold rags to cool her down. I re-purposed the hospital menu into a fan to wave over her sweaty brow. I waved that flimsy menu like a madman. And I continuously reminded her that her strength lay within our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and she could do it. And then – the 30 minutes were up. Exhausted, she collapsed into the bed and cried tears of joy.

At this time, I would like to send a special shout-out to my sister-in-law Brandi for shoveling the sidewalk at home while we were holed up in the hospital. Brandi had flown in the previous night and had went home to freshen up. It was during that time when Polar Vortex 2013-14 decided to wallop the Detroit Metropolitan area with a fresh blanket of 8-10 inches of snow. The trooper that she is, Brandi armed herself with a shovel, waved a middle finger to the impromptu blizzard, and plowed through the glacial hell with reckless abandon. And I would be remiss if I didn’t send another special shout-out to our adjacent neighbors who used their snow blowers to cut through the heavier paths. We were all #TeamAva.

Next on the agenda, yes, more birthing exercises! The natural birthing process is not a joke people! Now, sometime during the afternoon, I needed to refuel, so I dashed to the cafeteria for a turkey burger with pepper jack cheese, red skin potatoes, and an orange juice. That hit the spot. Up until that point, I was so pumped with adrenaline, I had not eaten since the previous night. So, I bounded back to the room and the contractions were starting to intensify. Stephanie dove back into jacuzzi for physical and mental respite. However, the jacuzzi was not having any effect, Ava was on the way. Involuntarily, Stephanie’s body started to push. But after all that hard work, Stephanie was not dilated enough. At that point, Stephanie had the are-you-$#%^*-kidding-me face going on. Nurse Dee instructed Stephanie to hold tight. A few minutes later, Stephanie looked at me and instructed me to call Nurse Dee back into the room. Stephanie could not halt the arrival of our beautiful angel any longer.

I beckoned Nurse Dee from the hall. She entered and checked Stephanie for progress. And then things started to move very swiftly. When nurses start clearing tables and moving furniture to make room for more staff and hospital supplies, you know it is go-time for real. Dr. P. was phoned in and Stephanie was moved from the jacuzzi to the bed; it was time to deliver our daughter. Allow me to digress a bit and speak to the room itself. Given that we decided upon the natural birthing route, our room was specifically designed to mimic an at-home experience. It was more of a hotel room than hospital room. Stephanie was able to move around with freedom without being hooked up to a machine that constrained her movements. It is designed to make the woman feel less a patient and ease her stress a little. Now, back to the bed.

A majority of the deliveries that I had seen usually goes like this: Woman in bed with a big white sheet draped over her, nurses are off to the side, the physician stands at the foot of the bed, and the husband (if he’s not camped out in the hallway) is by his woman’s side for moral support. My experience: Same scenario, but delete the big white sheet, enter my sister-in-law & mother-in-law, and place me in the bed with Stephanie. Yes, the nurse directed me to jump right in the bed with her! Ladies and gentlemen, I was right in the thick of things. So, I grabbed left leg, a nurse grabbed the right leg – and then the pushing began.

The team work was unbelievable. Nurse Dee, firm and concise, would look Stephanie square in the eye and enforce that Stephanie had all the tools as woman to deliver Ava into the world. Dr. P., calm and collected, called out instructions, and directed everyone where they needed to be and what they needed to do. Brandi shouted on encouragement, telling Stephanie to smile, because one can’t tense up when you’re smiling, as it forces you to relax. I was to Stephanie’s left, whispering encouragement and reinforcement all the way. You can do it baby. You can do it baby – I said over and over. Ava was still traveling sideways, but through the hard work of Stephanie, Dr. P. and the nursing staff (one of whom tossed Stephanie a towel and leveraged herself in a tug-of-war position with Stephanie to grant more pushing power) delivered Ava at 5:03 pm – almost 24 hours after the labor had begun.

The moment was surreal. One minute your wife is pregnant, the next minute, this little baby is looking at you like – what’s up? The nurse placed Ava on Stephanie’s chest. There were hugs. There were tears. There were high-fives. The jubilation was unreal. I had escaped with all my phalanges intact. Stephanie had not called me every profanity known to man. It was nothing like they warn you about or what you see on television. It was quite beautiful. As a new family, the nurses let us chill out in the bed as Ava lay on Stephanie. And then I got to cut the umbilical cord. Then Ava was wrapped up and placed in my arms. I could relive that moment over and over. There is nothing like it. Nothing. It wasn’t until hours later that Ava was weighed and measured. In the Alternate Birthing Center, they are firm proponents of leaving baby with the parents for as long as possible, barring any medical need to separate. The next day we were discharged. I could not have asked for a better labor and delivery. Now, every gentleman’s experience will be different from the next, but I have compiled a few suggestions that a guy may not think of as the main event draws near. So, here you go gents:

Gentlemanly Hints For Labor & Delivery

  • It is paramount that a gentleman not only attend birthing classes with his mate, but it is also important that he absorbs the knowledge that is being offered. If her water breaks, it would behoove you to know what color it should be and if it is odorous. Vaginal bleeding – recognize if there is any sharp abdominal pains associated with it and how heavy is the bleeding. Discern false labor from active labor. Time contractions. Understand when it is okay for your infant to sleep on his or her stomach. I was shocked to discover that SIDS is highest in the black community – by a considerable margin. Look, there is plenty of information that can be extremely beneficial for the both of you. Don’t be like the guy in my birthing class who paid more to his smart phone than he did his woman or the instructor. Proud Daddy Moment: As Stephanie was trying to focus through painful contractions, I suggested we employ the exercises we learned in class. To which she looked at me and said she couldn’t remember. Understandable, performing single leg lunges was probably the furthest thing from her mind. Luckily during class I wasn’t texting and actually remembered what the instructer taught us.
  • Pack your bags early. We learned in our class that around the 36-37 week of pregnancy, baby can arrive well before the due date. So it is best to be prepared. And yes, that means packing a bag for yourself. You are going to be there right? Pack comfortable clothes and shoes. This isn’t a fashion show, so don’t stress too much. My wardrobe consisted of tee shirts, track pants, sneakers, and scrubs. Oh – and fresh underwear & socks! Pack the usual gentlemanly toiletries that will suitably prevent manly funk from creeping in.
  • Ensure that both of your bags house a cadre of small snacks and beverages. Hospital food is expensive. So, it would be wise to grab a couple of bottles of Gatorade (or whatever sports drink of your choice), some snack bars, and some fruit. You might be in for a long night, so you will need the energy as well. You don’t want to be drained and irritable as your lady is experiencing probably the most mentally and physically taxing day in her life.
  • You want this moment documented, so don’t forget camera and video camera!
  • And speaking of early preparation, ensure that baby essentials such as the crib, any swinging or vibrating contraption, and tummy time play mats are assembled well ahead of time as well. And don’t forget to install that car seat. Call your local police or fire station and inquire about a possible inspection. Our local station checked to ensure it was properly installed.
  • Squeamish around blood? Get over it friend. If you dive into the trenches of birth, you will be exposed to any and all types of body fluid that will expel from your woman’s body. But since you’re in a tee-shirt and scrubs anyway; who cares right? Proud Daddy Moment: Okay, this is going to sound weird. Stephanie drank a ton of water during labor & delivery, and consequently, numerous trips to the little ladies room was needed. However, during her extended stint in the jacuzzi, her surroundings precluded her dashes to the bathroom. Now, before I go any further, a little background on me. I worked as a laboratory assistant for 3 years where I handled sputum, blood, fecal matter, pleural effusions, urine – if it was a fluid that came from the human body, I probably handled it. That being said, when it was time to tend to matters of the bladder, I gloved up, grabbed a plastic bed pan, manned up, and tended to my woman. My daughter was coming into the world, a man does what he has to do.
  • You and your mate have to be on the same page. There cannot be any surprises. Sit down and discuss how you would like the day to proceed. Discuss topics such as whom will be allowed in the delivery room, how many visitors is acceptable, etc. If I can make a suggestion, that first night post-delivery should consist of you, mother, and baby. That’s it. This is bonding time. This is the time where you look at your mate, she looks at you, you both look at your baby…and just say wow. It really is a special time.
  • Lastly, you have to get your mind right. Meaning, your focus must be sharp and acute. The media, sometimes, likes to portray men as incompetent and buffoonish during childbirth. Please, avoid being that stereotypical nincompoop. Sure, a gentleman cannot prepare for everything, as life rarely goes 100% as planned. Nevertheless, you can position yourself to handle labor & delivery better by performing your due diligence and prepping for the big day. So, watch videos (there are a ton on the Internet), read as much material on childbirth as you can, pray and get your mind right with whatever deity you believe in, and most of all, communicate with your mate. The lines of communication must be open at all times. A continuous, positive discourse between yourselves can certainly add ease to a jam-packed day.

Now, of course, these are just my suggestions. You may not follow anything I recommended and still have a beautiful labor & delivery. And there may be things that I did not even think of. If you are a father, please feel free to chime in with your own suggestions. It is a learning process. We all can benefit from the knowledge. Well, hope you enjoyed the passage, and I hope you were able extract at least one nugget of wisdom from my experience. Be easy, talk you good people later.

*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.

The Standard #29

roadHumility. 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.

Daddy Diary – Ava, Me, & Kenny G

Ava P ToesIt has been widely documented that newborn babies maintain an extremely sporadic sleeping schedule during the early months of their infant lives. If a parent is fortunate enough, perhaps, they will be blessed with a child that can string together 2-3 good hours of sleep during the late night. Otherwise, be prepared to wake up at least 4 times during the night for various baby activities. Anticipating my impending initiation to sleep deprivation, I requested 2 weeks off from work to spend time with my newborn daughter and lend husband support to my wife. Now, first-time parents are usually briefed on the horrors of coerced insomnia, but nothing really prepares you for what is to come. Nothing!

During those early sleep starved days, you will become painfully desperate for a full night’s rest. You will find yourself at 5:32 a.m. walking around the living room like you’re auditioning for The Walking Dead; pacing in a zombie-like trance, rocking and pleading for your dear child to go to sleep. Your head will continuously ache. Your eyes will be afflicted with a dull burning. Trust me, it will not be pretty. You will resort to any and all recommendations you find on the Internet or hear from friends & family. You will try anything. And just when you think you have solved the sleep problem, your baby will switch it up and reject your advances for bedtime.

Many nights I found myself in the laundry room singing Always & Forever by Heatwave – over and over again. Don’t judge me – that worked for about 3 weeks or so! My wife and I employed the use of a white noise machine. We used a toy that played lullaby music and projected colorful stars on the ceiling. I even utilized the vibrations and sounds from the washing machine to induce slumber. Stephanie broke out a Michael Jackson jazz CD. All of it worked until it didn’t work. However, it was something about that jazz CD that was special. And then Kenny G entered our lives.

It was something about that jazz music that would put little Ava to sleep. Sometimes it seemed more like a battle of attrition between Ava and us before she finally acquiesced to the Sandman. One night, again – desperate, I recovered some of Kenny G’s greatest hits from a YouTube channel. I turned off the lights. I turned off the television set. Gently, I steadied Ava into a car seat position in my arms, and I slowly cascaded (don’t bounce) across the living room floor to Sentimental, Sister Rose, and Alone. Sometimes, I held my lips to her curly locks and hummed the tune of choice. Every night for the past 2 months; it is our ritual. Stephanie even started tuning up Kenny. We’ve probably never listened to so much Kenny G in our lives! Within 10-15 minutes, Ava is usually asleep. Sometimes a little less, sometimes a little longer. Nonetheless, a little over a month ago, our little darling slept through the entire night! Stephanie and I freaked out.

Promptly I phoned the pediatrician that day. I mean…I understand that babies eventually sleep through the night…but Ava wasn’t even 3 months yet. The pediatrician said we should count our blessings – we are amongst the few parents that have a newborn sleeping all the way through the night. No rice cereal. No secret baby formula (Ava gets breastfeed anyway). Now, I don’t have  scientific proof that purports the tunes of Kenny G can knock a baby out cold, so please be advised that results may not be typical and may vary from child to child. However, you can best believe that Kenny G will be in heavy rotation for the forseeable months to come. Thanks Kenny! The Palmer Family appreciates you!

 

 

Standard Recommendations – Suede & Nubuck Cleaner

Suede Eraser BrushYes, it is official, the time has finally arrived when the gentleman can confidently retire his snow boots; at least until Polar Vortex 2014-15 commences later this year. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, now is the time to welcome and appreciate our current spring weather. Sure, it will be a little rainy, but given what some of us experienced from December 2013 until late March 2014 – we won’t complain. That being stated, stylish gentlemen everywhere are more than ready to emancipate their suede walking companions from their shoe boxes, priming them for daily jaunts around the city. Now, more likely than not likely, a few scuffs and smudges will discreetly materialize over the course of your many excursions around the block. As with your calfskin leather kicks, the necessary maintenance must be employed to keep your suede looking fresh and new.

Readily available at any reputable shoe store or department; a nubuck & suede cleaning kit should be able to properly address the occasional scuff. Because, as you very well understand – scuff happens. The kit should contain a small brush with stiff bristles and a gum eraser – sometimes both are offered as a combination 2-in-1 tool. The eraser is equipped to clear away marks and scuffs, and the brush is purposed for fluffing the nap and removing dirt. The result: suede that looks almost as good as when you first lifted your shoes out of the box. If you have suede shoes (we’re sure you do with the plethora of colors out now), it would be wise to have this nifty kit in your possession. It will cost you no more than 6 to 8 dollars for this gentleman cleaning essential. And that is small cost in the promotion and extension of healthy suede, so ensure you have a kit in your possession if it is not already there.

Black Thought

Booker T Washington & Family“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

-Booker T. Washington

Sure, it would be easy enough to become enamored by the seemingly authoritative, accomplished status of a wildly successful individual. The mere presence of seductive visuals such as expensive status symbols have tremendous influence as they elicit, sometimes, misguided deference from the admirer. However, I challenge the reader to momentarily ignore such material objects. Instead, please divert your attention to the process that granted such accomplishment possible. What did that individual experience during their journey to success? Trust this: The strength of a gentleman’s character is forged on the anvil of adversity. Through weathering distress or difficulty, prosperity is procured by he who believes a challenge is an opportunity. An opportunity to steel your will and seize achievement despite any obstacles you might encounter. Don’t be impressed by person’s materialistic results. Those are nice and fine to look at. Nevertheless, be more impressed with the vanquished adversity that withered in the face of impending success. And then go forth and forge your own.

Gent Hints – Neck Maintenance

Drake's Madder NecktieRitual: a detailed method of established procedure that is faithfully or regularly followed.

 Now, with respect to a gentleman’s wardrobe, maintaining a set of rituals can be greatly beneficial, especially with regards to preventative maintenance. Nothing can subtract years off the life expectancy of a particular item in your closet more than neglect and ambivalence. A gentleman must adhere to a rigid, set rule of practices that ensure proper upkeep and preservation, or he may witness a wardrobe that prematurely succumbs to irreversible disrepair. Today, we are focusing on the necktie. In the following paragraph, you will find a tried and true method that will definitely extend your necktie’s longevity. Every evening after work, I follow the same ritual as I remove my necktie. Trust, it works.

Now, neckties are delicate creatures to begin with, and the continual knotting process can administer a brutal toll on its fabric. Therefore, it is paramount that a gentleman develops the habit of rolling his necktie after he has finished wearing it. First, it is wise to loosen your necktie and carefully reverse the knotting to return it to its untied form. Next, and this is the important part, start at the narrow end and tightly roll along its length. Given that I have enough neckties to endure until the following week, I usually leave my neckties coiled until I unroll them, smooth out the remaining wrinkles, and either hang or place in my dresser drawer. The timetable is up to you. Nevertheless, the key is rolling your necktie nice and tight to hammer out those wrinkles. And never, and we mean never, leave your necktie knotted when you’re not wearing it. You’ve been warned.

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