Review – Jack Black – Eye Balm Age Minimizing Gel

Eye BalmDesperate times – more specifically sleep training an infant – beckon desperate measures. Now, despite the gradual adaptation to sleep starvation a parent’s body will undergo, inevitably, that does not mean the repercussions won’t eventually present itself – namely in the face. It is true that as the body summons the fortitude to forge through the day, it is the face that lags, and mostly sags, behind. Thus, I decided to think outside the box a little and adjust my grooming regimen. Now, over the past year, it was not uncommon for me to drowsily stagger into my cubicle, eyes burning with puffiness and heaviness. In needed something to assuage my sleep-deprived eyes. Enter Jack Black Eye Balm – Age Minimizing Gel.

As I have matured, previously held reservations have granted ground to open-mindedness. In my late 30s, I am more receptive to the notion that personal grooming is more so preventative maintenance, rather than selfish exercises in vanity. Mentally, looking your best can certainly yield positive results regarding attitude and outlook. A gentleman can look his best, feel his best, and in turn – be the best gentleman he can. A little exaggerated? Perhaps. Yet, the possibility of dark circles around my eyes, accented by deeply-entrenched wrinkles can be a definite downer when looking in the mirror. And so, I decided to give this offering from Jack Black an opportunity to address my eye dilemma. So, let’s dive into my experience.


  • Arriving in a 14 mL tube, the Jack Black eye balm is clear in its appearance and odorless with a light gel consistency.
  • The application of the gel is smooth, quickly absorbing into the skin without bothersome residue.
  • The area underneath your eye is relatively small so only a pin-sized amount is required to provide suitable coverage.
  • The frequency of use is totally up to you. Jack Black recommends a daily regimen of morning and night application. Personally, I usually apply a dab to each eye in the morning. Going forward, I may integrate some usage at night, but currently I am fine with my morning usage after I apply my moisturizer.
  • Even if a gentleman cannot visibly discern an immediate difference, he will however be able to feel the difference. Upon application, my eyes were relieved of their puffiness as the skin gently tightened and were refreshed.
  • Some gentlemen may allow the price to deter them from investing in this eye balm. However, a gentleman will be able to extract prolonged usage from a single tube, simply because of the small amount required to treat the eyes.
  • Available sizes: 0.5 oz ($24.00)

Product Specifications

Eye Balm Age Minimizing Gel with Vitamins A & E

This high-potency eye treatment contains advanced ingredients and soothing extracts to provide three key benefits–it helps reduce puffiness, softens the appearance of dark circles and helps alleviate fine lines and wrinkles. Intense moisturizers penetrate tissue and help it maintain critical moisture, keeping skin hydrated and younger-looking. The lightweight gel formula soaks in immediately, leaving no trace on skin or greasy after feel.

Key Ingredients

  • Vitamins A and E, beta-carotene and vitamin C, high potency vitamins known to help ease the signs of aging. 
  • Grape seed extract to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Chamomile extract, camellia extract and cornflower extract to help soothe and calm skin.
  •  Panthenol to condition and soften skin.

For more information about Jack Black products, please visit Jack Black HERE for more details.

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.

The Villain in Black

van heusenWith utter incredulity, I intently listened to a guest on CNN, unabashed and absent shame, posit a theory that perhaps since Eric Garner could articulate the fact that he could not breathe, that he could in fact, breathe. And with that level of doubt in place, the officer reasonably could surmise that Mr. Garner was being untruthful, and therefore the threat had to be neutralized despite impassioned pleas to the contrary. So, if I am grasping this line of thinking correctly, if I ever encounter an individual in physical distress, perhaps experiencing shortness of breath or tightness in the chest; if said person can communicate that distress, then obviously they must not be in that much distress to begin with. Commonsense really isn’t all that common nowadays. Eric Garner died on July 17th, 2014 in Staten Island, New York after being placed in a choke-hold and being forcibly restrained face down on the concrete as he pleaded he could not breathe. He was accused of selling loose cigarettes.

In the United States, it has been an enduring practice to denigrate, vilify, and cloak the black male in villainy. This is not opinion, this is historical fact; please Google Black Americana if you reside in the camp of the unbelieving. We have been assigned the caricature of Brute – savage, animalistic, destructive, and criminal. And just because this historical fact is ugly does preclude it from being fact. Seriously, research the subject. The brute caricature has been methodically and systematically embedded into the American psyche for decades. And because of this racial indoctrination, it has unsurprisingly birthed a hyper-response from people who feel the brute must be rendered powerless, usually through violent means.

Now, contemporary times have witnessed a discreet application of this prejudiced practice, but make no mistake, whether the disgusting caricature is perpetuated by media, various companies, or even our own people within the African-American community; the lens through which some Americans view black men has become so distorted, even the most irrational acts of mistreatment and violence are made rational with conjecture and conflation. Look no further than the increasingly all too common incidents of unarmed black men being killed by law enforcement.

Now, I carry and conduct myself in a respectable, gentlemanly, and upright manner. And if you know me personally, you will understand that to be fairly accurate. During my lifetime, I can count at least four encounters with police – all minor traffic stops. None of them resulted in tickets, and apparently, none of those encounters resulted in my death. However, I fully recognize that I have experienced good fortune. I have not had any encounters with an officer, maybe on edge, with visions of Nino Brown, O-Dog, or maybe the last unsavory black guy he had dealt with driving his actions. As potent as any mind-altering substance, medicinal or otherwise, perception can negatively augment a person’s opinion of reality if the atmosphere is right.

Despite meaningful advances in race relations here in the United States, we cannot ignore the existing cruel irony that our country remains largely in part racially segregated. And unfortunately that segregation isolates the African-American experience from certain groups in our nation, thus leaving them to formulate a racial ideology that relies heavily on antiquated stereotypes and prejudices that dictate judgment, all from a perspective of privilege and general societal acceptance. At best, this line of thinking can result in uncomfortable, clumsy conversation; or at worst – a fatal encounter. The power of perception cannot be underestimated.

So, let’s begin an honest dialogue. I have had numerous conversations, mostly entirely with coworkers, where the proverbial foot became lodged in someone’s mouth due to racial indifference or ignorance. The conversations were sometimes brutal, always frank and always candid. Nonetheless, a mutual understanding was accomplished. And that understanding: My narrative should not be scripted by a media bias that traffics fear and misinformation. My narrative should not written by some indiscriminate black male that is not conducting himself with integrity, righteousness, and virtue. Most of all, my narrative should not be written by an institution of racism that marginalizes, reviles, and disparages my character.

Are all people in America driven by racial fear? Of course not. But there are enough people driving the subconscious commentary that black men such as myself are to be feared – until we prove otherwise. Denial or ambivalence to this problem is but tacit complicity to the problem itself. Years ago, I recall leaving work, broad daylight mind you, when I walk outside and find a coworker was standing by the door. She turned around, looked at me, and let loose the most primal, blood-curdling scream one could ever hear. She was scared – hell – that scream scared me too. I am not exaggerating, she let loose a continuous scream that lasted for about 3-4 seconds.

Now, everyone has been startled at one point in time in their life. But how many of you actually screamed like someone was trying to murder you? Seriously, all I did was step outside the door. Did I mention this was in broad daylight at a public building and we were coworkers? Well, I was obviously the Invisible Man because as I had seen her around the lab, my presence undoubtedly went unnoticed. I am fortunate that 1) She didn’t have a Glock 19 9mm and shot me because she feared for her life. 2) There weren’t police in the area that swooped in guns blazing because they feared for her life. 3) There weren’t some overzealous good Samaritans that swooped in guns blazing because they feared for her life.

The common thread – fear. Am I being hyperbolic? Well, it only took a Cleveland officer 2 seconds to assess a police situation, and then  fatally shoot 12 year Tamir Rice. Described as a 20 year old black male when the officer radioed in the shooting, Rice was brandishing a pellet gun. I am not a brute. I am a man – a black man. My life matters. There is a troubling racial disconnect afoot. It has been for a long time, but it’s an ugly topic few want to discuss. So, let’s talk.

Standard Recommendations – Merona 4 Pocket Wool Utility Coat

Target Field JacketIt was but a short time ago – September 18th to be exact – that I proudly proclaimed my adoration for the gentleman’s field jacket. A robust option employed to engage gradually declining temperatures before they totally bottom out, I declared the field jacket as an essential piece for fall/winter outerwear. That being said, I would like to direct your attention to Merona’s stylish interpretation of said piece of outerwear. Wait – Merona? Yes – that Merona.

Now, before I offer my unsolicited endorsement to the audience, I would like to address a misguided belief circulating throughout the style universe for men. Some dapper gentleman will have you believe that if you’re not wearing an expensive, brand name article of clothing, somehow you cannot be stylish. That is simply nonsense. Yes, in the midst of our renaissance of sorts for men’s style, style snobs have become rather aggressive with their critiques of what is and what isn’t stylish.

Granted, there will be occasions when a gentleman will have to lay down some serious coin for quality and aesthetically pleasing menswear. Nevertheless, true style is more so the how a gentleman artfully arranges his ensemble rather than the what he is arranging. And now, back to that Merona jacket. Yes, it is a Target house brand. And yes, it is probably manufactured in China. However, those facts do not disqualify this jacket from being a great jacket. I know this from first-hand account.

True, I have items in my closet that can be considered expensive. However, I am not a gentleman that will shun any particular brand due to its origins. This offering from Merona is a fantastic choice for moderately cold weather. It delivers in the department that it was manufactured for – warmth. It is neither slim or bulky, but it is sufficiently heavy. The construction is tight and is excellent at blocking out arctic wind, or as some people like to call it – the hawk. With a heavyweight wool & polyester twill shell, this jacket will definitely keep you warm when the temperatures fluctuate between the high 20s to low 40s.

And for style, the shoulder epaulets and 4 pocket design certainly lends an air of no-nonsense masculinity. It doesn’t have a hood, so ensure you equip your person with a hat and scarf. Offered in charcoal heather, ebony, and dark grey; this jacket can be obtained for a ridiculously low $79.99 with 60% off a second jacket if you choose to splurge. Don’t allow the price, or the fact that it is a Target jacket mislead you, this is a great value. If you are in the market, at least afford yourself the courtesy and check it out if you happen to be in a Target. You won’t regret it. Stay stylish gentlemen.

Daddy Diary – Enter the Sandman…Please

Ava P ToesWell, quite some time has elapsed since I last posted an entry here at The Gentlemen’s Standard. However, my absence does not arrive without good reason. My darling Ava is approaching the tender age of 10 months, and she is in the beginning stages of formulating her own little precocious personality. Emboldened with the newly acquired skill of crawling and standing, Ava has become what we like to describe as – busy. Her infant cries have gradually evolved from primitive distress signals to sophisticated screams of coercion. Fully cognizant of the presence of her upper limbs, she has adroitly mastered pushing away both objects and people who encroach upon her personal space. And along with my daughter’s attempts to exert her tiny will, my wife and I have also dealt with the dreaded, obligatory bout with baby sickness.

Now, if chasing down a 9 month old traveling 5 mph across the floor and up the stairs isn’t distressing enough; receiving an e-mail notification that hand, foot, and mouth disease, along with chicken pox, has invaded Ava’s daycare center certainly does not help to assuage the preexisting stress levels. Add in a high fever for approximately a week and then a trip to the emergency room due to an unexpected allergic reaction (scary) to scrambled eggs, yes, life has been very hectic. My blogging duties, usually performed during my lunch break, is still being replaced by afternoon naps. So desperate for sleep, despite plunging temperatures, I still traverse the parking lot to a warm, waiting car for some shut-eye. Thank goodness for remote starters. Well, hopefully, life will slow down a bit so I can hop back on the blogging horse more routinely. I just wanted to check in with everyone. I hope everyone has a blessed and safe Thanksgiving. Be careful out there during Black Friday – this guy will be sleeping.

Black Thought

booker t 2“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.

Daddy Diary – 6 Ways to Bond With Your Baby During the First 6 Months

Ava & DaddyBluntly stating the obvious: Parenthood is certainly not an easy task to undertake. Through a myriad of trials and copious amount of errors; parenting a newborn child requires enduring patience, understanding, and dedication. Being the product of a single parent household with no father for guidance, unfortunately, I was not educated in the loving art of rearing a child – at least not in a fatherly way. And truthfully, there are some gentlemen that are reared in households with the benefit of a father being present, but are still bewildered and confounded when blessed with a child of their own.

Now, this is not too say that a gentleman cannot glean a wealth of knowledge from his mother, grandmother, aunt, or whomever is present during the maturation process. Nevertheless, for the fatherless son, it would certainly be beneficial to have some wisdom passed down from a male perspective. Therefore, for those gentleman whom could utilize the advice, I have decided to pen an entry regarding bonding with your little. Yes, some of the following points may appear as commonsense, but I have learned not to take knowledge for granted. What I may know and understand; you might not know and understand. And the same statement can be directed towards me. That being said, let’s jump in and explore 6 ways to bond with your little bundle of joy within the first 6 months.

Show Some Affection

This simple directive may appear to be too obvious, but it is not surprising that many adult men are conditioned to hide or reject their emotions, and that denial of a base human trait can directly impact on your child. Please don’t be distant with your baby. Newborns need that loving skin to skin contact, and it is imperative that they receive it from both parents. Your child needs to become accustomed to your scent, to your feel. Prime example: My wife took a trip to New York for her sister’s graduation and she took Ava with her – she was 4 months old or so at the time. When they returned, my daughter didn’t want anything to do with me.

Momentarily wounded, I made sure Ava and I secured some much-required daddy/daughter time. Make sure you have allotted more than sufficient time to shower your little one with hugs and kisses. And yes, that goes for baby boys as well. It would be wise to resist any inclination to “toughen” up your baby boy. A man can certainly show affection and emotion without sacrificing his masculinity. You don’t have to be “hard” all the time.

For more, scroll down a bit for the remaining pages.

The Standard #34

MountainA wise gentleman understands that while he may be incapable of altering certain burdensome circumstances that surround him, he is certainly capable of changing the manner in which those circumstances are handled on his behalf. It is true, there are just some realities and eventualities that stretch beyond the scope of a gentleman’s ability to resolve. However, sometimes it is not the situation that requires resolution, not at all, it is a gentleman’s spirit that demands an internal resolution to properly engage the matter at hand. Trust, the way a challenging circumstance is viewed and managed can dramatically refashion its complexion. If your mind and heart have predetermined a situation to be hopeless and lost, it should not be surprising if that reality remains unchanged. However, a positive and constructive approach can have a meaningful influence and substantial impact. Do not expose yourself to unnecessary stress in an attempt to change what cannot be changed. Instead, focus on strengthening yourself with patience, perseverance, integrity, thoughtfulness, and love. Empowering oneself with the proper tools for positive growth, both mentally and spiritually, is the best remedy for any adverse event you may encounter.

Dress Code – Florsheim – Suede Grey Wingtips

Grey Suede FlorsheimIt has become painfully apparent that the winter season is delicately moving in closer and closer as the weeks drift lazily away. Bright and sunny Michigan mornings have gradually regressed to cold and dreary. Blackened skies, usually associated with late evenings, are arriving a smidgen earlier in the afternoon. The road ahead is clear. Soon it will be the season of heavy overcoats and snow plows. So, with a complete understanding of the reality ahead, I finally decided to liberate a suede pair of Florsheim wingtips from its box underneath my bed. Yes, before the sidewalks become inundated with snow, slush, salt, and whatever wintry debris is present, I broke out the suede while the streets are still clear of cold mush. 

Now, out of the box, the wingtips arrived with a standard set of unspectacular grey shoe laces. However, I wanted to jazz up the presentation a little, so I eagerly retrieved a pair of bright yellow, polka dot Happy Socks and yellow 1901 shoe laces that I also had tucked away from a summer purchase. Sidenote: If you don’t have a pair of colorful socks or shoe laces in your life, I highly recommend procuring a few pairs. It’s an adventurous venture from the norm, but it’s a venture worth taking. Here, I selected a more aggressive polka dot to pair up with my wingtips. It’s not often that I get too wild with color and pattern, but I thought pairing some loud socks with an understated wingtip would be nice. However, some may argue that a grey suede wingtip is pretty rakish as well. Perfect for a casual office settings, I received plenty of compliments over the course of the day. Unfortunately, I may have to return these suede beauties back to their box – at least until spring arrives. That is months away, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I have to deal with this winter first – oh joy. Stay stylish gentlemen.

Review – Robert Graham – Footwear

Robert GrahamNow, before I launch into my latest review featuring Robert Graham’s first ever men’s footwear collection, I must extend a sincere apology to the public relations agent that presented the opportunity to trial two offerings from their newly minted, 14 style collection. Fatherhood has reached a whole new level; complete with morning trips to daycare, last-minute scrambles for babysitters, and my little one experiencing her first bout with a cold. Baby snot sure is fun.Therefore, my attention has been seriously diverted from my usual blogging duties. Nevertheless, here I am, writing, hoping to put the finishing touches on this post while my princess is soundly asleep. So, let’s get into some background details first shall we?

Grounded in New York, Robert Graham was introduced to the masses as a luxury clothing brand in 2001. Founded by Robert Stock and Graham Fowler, the clothing brand is widely recognized for its aggressive utilization of bold color and pattern. Up until recently, that rakish signature was relegated to dress shirts, sport shirts, knit-wear, polo tops, etc. However, Robert Graham is now bringing that eclectic charm to footwear. Yes – footwear. Honestly, I have encountered Robert Graham clothing in the past, but I never purchased any of the merchandise. The clothing was a tad busy for my personality. I am a little low-key with my style. So now Robert Graham is delivering that same vibe with their shoe collection. So, let’s dice in and see what they are offering the public.

RG LoaferProduct Specifications – The Worth Pebble-grain Loafer

  • Pebble-grain Cowhide Leather
  • Medium Width
  • Stained tooled floral sole
  • Embossed Signature bowler logo in shank
  • Hand sewn box stitching
  • RG Gerard print on tongue lining
  • Cushioned foot-bed for comfort and support
  • Retail – $328.00

The pebble-grain leather loafer is definitely the standout amongst the two shoes up for review today. With a robust sole and rugged exterior, this pebble-grain offering is the perfect complement for the fall season. Instantly, this became the casual workhorse of my loafer rotation. This particular loafer should be worn during informal occasions, perhaps with a pair of corduroy pants or woolen odd trousers. Pairing them with denim jeans would be a great combination as well. The loafer is pretty stocky, so a casual setting is probable the best environment to showcase its form.

The calf leather is reasonable supple and pliable with very minimal creasing. Of course that would depend upon the amount of usage. I will estimate that I wear these at least twice a week. The stiching is pretty tight and it has maintained its form pretty well. Still – use a shoe tree gentlemen! Now, upon sliding into a pair, it took a few strides to and from work to sufficiently break them in to a comfortable level. Adhering to the signature Robert Graham aesthetic, one can find a whimsical splash of color and pattern hidden underneath the tongue. Nice touch for the gentleman that appreciates discerning style.


RG Monk StrapProduct Specifications – The Madison Double Monk Strap

  • Calfskin leather
  • Medium Width
  • Double buckles with elastic goring
  • Screen-printed leather lining
  • Argentinian buffed leather outsole
  • V-cut leather stacked heel
  • Retail – $328.00

 Now, I am a definitely a fan of a good monk strap, however, this particular monk was a little ornate for my tastes. I am also a fan of brogue detailing, but the pattern presented here did not suit me well. I think this monk strap is best equipped to be worn in creative work environments where sartorial freedom is embraced. Again, the calfskin leather here is standard issue, and it will need a few trips around the neighborhood to adequately break them in, but that should not be a huge problem. As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, a gentleman has 14 styles to select from the collection. Some are definitely more funky than others. Actually, there is a wingtip laden with a floral print that caught my attention. It certainly does not mesh with my personality, but I admit that the design is pretty ballsy. As per usual, the pricing may place a fright in the customer; both shoes clocking in at $328.00. Nevertheless, it is a luxury brand, and the price point isn’t far off from other brands. Your decision may ultimately hinge on your lifestyle and profession if you choose to part ways with your earnings. Once again the choice is yours. Stay stylish gentlemen.

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

maejemison“Failure to recognize possibilities is the most dangerous and common mistake one can make.”

-Mae Jemison

We must recognize the possibility. In the absence of possibility, we run the great risk of aborting our own aspirations. We must realize that through Him, our Lord and Savior, that no goal in accordance to His divine plan is unattainable. Now is the time to stop reciting the word can’t. Self defeating attitudes act only as obstacles erected by our own fears. We cannot make the mistake and believe we can’t accomplish whatever task that we bring into mental focus. Your dreams do not have to lie prone on the bed of dreams deferred and goals deterred. I implore you to stir yourself from your current state of self hindrance. Sometimes in life, we as people can be our own greatest brick wall. The moment is now to scale that wall and introduce yourself to the possibility that awaits you on the other side. Talk to you later.


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