Standard Recommendations – Jack Black – Turbo Body Bar Scrubbing Soap w/ Blue Lotus & Lava Rock

Alright, allow me to address a significant detail that could prove to be problematic for some gentlemen: The Jack Black Turbo Body Bar is going to cost you $15.00 per bar. Yes, there is not a need to reload the page and read the previous sentence again – you read it correctly the first time. Now, I won’t gloss over the price-tag and pretend that this would not pose an issue for the average gentlemen. Because, in all likelihood of a gentleman’s standard shopping practice, he can procure an 8-10 count of regular soap for far less and utilize it for far longer. Without any doubt, the Jack Black Turbo Body Bar is a specialty soap. So, what makes this soap so special that a gentleman is willing to drop $15.00 on a single bar? Well, I am happy that you posed that question, let’s discuss the why in more detail.

As I have become more comfortable, relaxed, and confidant with my grooming regimen; I have settled upon the reality that it perfectly fine for a gentleman to pamper himself. Disabuse yourself of thoughts that include fanciful affectations accompanied by a long, drawn-out preoccupation with a mirror. Seriously, it is not that serious. Caring about one’s appearance need not be complicated; it only requires thoughtful, detailed attention to hygiene and health. Now, regarding the Jack Black Turbo Body Bar, this is one of the best body bar soap that I have ever used. First and foremost, the lather that it generates is absolutely incredible. It is wildly rich and ridiculously foamy. With only 3-4 circular rotations in your washcloth, a gentleman will certainly enjoy a lather that builds and builds during his entire time in the shower. The bar itself is gigantic – it didn’t fit into my meager plastic soap dish. It is double the size of average bar soap by far.

And with its brawny body, the soap’s fragrance is powerful and robust without being too heavy. Its pungent aroma will surely dominate your bathroom, but in a good way. The exfoliating qualities arrive with a modest granular texture that isn’t overly abrasive, however, a gentleman can expect soft and smooth after exiting the shower. It is gentle on the skin, but it gets the job done. Now, the label does tout the ability of this soap being a pain exfoliant, but I cannot attest to that fact. At the time of usage, my back was really sore, but I did not enjoy any noticeable difference in pain levels after using this soap. Nevertheless, the Jack Black Turbo Body Bar will leave no doubt that it is working hard, generating a superb lather, and dutifully scrubbing away dirt without leaving any nasty residue. And actually, I did notice the absence of soap scum that sometimes builds up from regular soap.

Now, let’s revisit that price-tag. One can argue that $15.00 for a bar of soap is steep. In the interest of full disclosure, I was able to use a single bar for approximately 1 month before I had to open another bar. Sure, your standard soap from Target will perhaps last longer. However, as I stated before, this is a specialty soap and there is nothing wrong with a gentleman that pampers himself. The Jack Black Turbo Bar would make a great Father’s Day gift or really a gift for any occasion. This is a product that I definitely recommend for a gentleman that wants to experience an invigorating washing experience – you won’t regret it.

Product Specifications

Natural Lava Rock: gently polishes skin, leaving skin supple, smooth and clean

Blue Lotus and Ginkgo Biloba: help combat fatigue and stimulate the senses

Murumuru and Shea Butters: nourish and hydrate skin

Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Palmate, Water, Potassium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Palm Kernel Acid, Pumice (Lava Rock), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Glycerin, Potassium Palmate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Sodium Gluconate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Protein, Sodium Chloride, Palm Acid, Nymphaea Coerulea (Blue Lotus) Flower Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Bran, Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Echinacea Angustifolia Extract*, Cymbopogon Schoenathus (Lemongrass) Extract*, Juniperus Communis Fruit Extract*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*, Alvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract*, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extract*, Rumex Cripus (Yellow Dock) Root Extract*, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Petroselinum Crispum, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Tetrasodium EDTA, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492) *Certified Organic

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

Review – Kenneth Cole – Kenneth Cole Black Bold

kc-blackWell, to fully admit the absolute truth, I am woefully behind on reviews. With Father’s Day steadily approaching, no time seems better than the present to dive into some grooming products for some deserving dads around the globe. Therefore, let us begin with a familiar brand that most gentlemen tend to favor – Kenneth Cole. The spotlight today shines upon a Kenneth Cole offering titled Black Bold. Now, Black Bold is the evolution of the brand’s signature house fragrance for men – Kenneth Cole Black. Bold Black was launched in 2016 with perfumer Harry Fremont at the helm. I’ve actually had this latest incarnation in my collection for an extended time now. Allow me to offer a few thoughts and you can decide if this scent best suits you or that special father in your life.

Observations

Top Notes: zesty mandarin, frozen ginger, chilled watermint, and tonic 

Middle Notes: ancient cedarleaf, ground nutmeg, lotus flower, and incense smoke  

Base Notes: black & blonde woods, suede, violet leaves, soft musks, and ambergris 

  • Despite the labeling, Kenneth Cole Black Bold scent is actually quite modest and simple in its delivery. The top notes begin with a slight jolt; retaining a mild, zesty flavor from the beginning before settling quietly during the middle notes. The hints of citrus is crisp, cool, and distinct –  but again – not too powerful that the senses are overwhelmed.
  • The middle and base notes proceed hand in hand with spice and wood being the notable aromatic highlights. The dry-down is full in nature, but not necessarily heavy or weighty.
  • Arriving in a short, jet black flask with a leather composite encompassing the wider body of the body, a gentleman can calculate between 4-5 spritzes to enjoy the fullness of Bold Black.
  • Kenneth Cole Black Bold does not exhibit an extended stay after its initial application. However, I would not advise reapplying this scent as the layers may result in an unpleasant smell. Some scents can be applied twice during the course of the day, but I fear the overlap of notes presented here would not yield positive results. If you want this scent to stick with you during the latter part of the day, I would humbly advise applying it closer to evening.
  • A gentleman can dutifully deploy this fragrance in both casual and business casual settings. Due to its spicy and woody dry-down, Kenneth Cole Black Bold would probably work best if applied during the evening.
  • Kenneth Cole Black Bold 1.7 fl oz. $60.00, 3.4 fl oz. $76.00 – available at Kenneth Cole, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and other fine men’s department stores
Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. Item was purchased for personal use. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.

Daddy Diary – Fatherhood Is…

Fatherhood is having a frank discussion with the nursing staff to switch your daughter’s room because the adjacent occupant is disruptive and your child needs her sleep.

Certainly, this will not be a surprise for many individuals, but fatherhood does not arrive with a meticulously crafted how-to manual that addresses every parenting contingency. It is simply impossible to document every circumstance that may or will arise. Now, I was inspired to write this post after a fellowship meeting with other men from my congregation. It has almost been two years since I have been in the presence of like-minded men; exchanging and offering wisdom to ferment personal growth.

Fatherhood and manhood were the main topics of discussion. Now, if a man is so blessed to become a father, he should understand that the responsibility is not merely a novelty – it is a serious undertaking. And so, here, I offer a brief testimony with hopes of offering wisdom and clarity to a newly minted father or one that is already in the game. If the tone seems a bit serious, don’t fret, I plan to pen a more upbeat post soon.

1. Fatherhood is singing and cradling your baby girl to sleep in a noisy emergency room until a hospital bed becomes available in the pediatric unit. Fatherhood is then entertaining baby girl for a full day as she must remain enclosed in a hospital crib for care.

2. Fatherhood is rising in the early a.m. to get your daughter on the potty, showered & groomed, dressed, fed breakfast, and then dropped off at daycare. Fatherhood is situating your own shower, groom, and dress routine between the aforementioned child tasks before speeding off to work.

3. Fatherhood is facing down criticism from individuals that negatively question and undermine your parenting. Fatherhood is understanding that one should not seek the approval from those individuals that diminish your character. Rather, fatherhood is knowing your reward lies with a higher, greater power.

4. Fatherhood is creativity – as in carrying a high chair into the bathroom while you shower so you can seat your child nearby for comfort. With fatherhood, you have to think outside of the box.

5. Fatherhood is setting the alarm on one’s phone to periodically wake up throughout the night to administer required breathing treatments for your child. Said mission must be performed quietly and discreetly, therefore, a pillow must be employed to muffle the loud hum of the nebulizer while twisting one’s body to ensure successful delivery of medicine.

6. Fatherhood is knowing that discipline requires the presence of love. Fatherhood is understanding that discipline is followed with a hug, kiss, and explanation of why discipline was required in the first place.

7. Fatherhood is feeling anger, pain, and fear when you discover a child does not want to interact with your child because her hair does not look like his mother or sister. Fatherhood is having wisdom to instill strong self-esteem and confidence in your children.

8. Fatherhood is cleaning up a diarrhea related accident from your son’s car seat at 2 a.m. – only to discover that your washing machine is down because your daughter’s sock has obstructed the washer pump. Fatherhood is repairing said washing machine for the second time – the first repair was not child related.

9. Fatherhood is maintaining a well-groomed lawn, washing dishes, packing your daughter’s lunch, ironing your children’s clothes, shoveling snow, killing renegade insects, etc. Fatherhood is maintaining all of your mental faculties as you head into work to deal with an array of madness.

10. Fatherhood is doubt. Fatherhood is making mistakes. Fatherhood is learning. Fatherhood is fear. Fatherhood is love, patience, dedication, and sacrifice.

Hustle

hustleDo not be deceived by the theatrical bluster – albeit woefully dangerous and misguided – that is currently emanating from the oval office; it is but an obfuscation of leadership wrought with ineptitude, ignorance, and arrogance. Unabashed and shameless for all to bear witness, policy and nominations have been clumsily introduced, and not with the much-needed objective of improving the nation’s stature, rather the current direction is to monetarily expand and solidify a family legacy – country first be damned. And what remains is a wholesale rejection of basic decency, critical intelligence, and any semblance of reality.

Thus far, the political sleight of hand is seamless, executed with guile and purposeful duplicity. The goal is to pacify and placate a constituency – comfortable with ambivalence, content with apathy, or desperate for a return of days past  – with promises barren of commitment, truth, and logic. And so, a varying class of individuals, indoctrinated with privilege and inalienable rights, have been seduced by showmanship devoid of substance. However, time will eventually become the bearer of truth, and when thundering rhetoric does not equal tangible results, the puppet strings will be laid bare for all to see. And when the realization of how badly the nation has been played is apparent, the biggest and longest con game will have been successfully executed by history’s foremost confidence man – Donald J. Trump.

Black Thought

frederick_douglass“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

-Frederick Douglass

As a parent, it is absolutely paramount that you ensure your child’s maturation is nurtured and cultivated for maximal, positive growth. To be certain, there are a myriad of unfortunate realities that work tirelessly to undermine and hinder your child’s development. Harsh realities such as poverty, crime, low self-esteem, bullying, and poor academic performance can lead to self-destructive behavior that regretfully transitions into adulthood. Moreover, if that adult decides to have children, there is a high risk that self-destructive behavior will be consciously or subconsciously transferred to the subsequent generation.

Truth: Some of the biggest bullies, critics, and abusers live right in the household. And that is a reality that we cannot tacitly accept. We have to do better. We must become increasingly more active by protecting and educating our youth, ensuring that they are intelligently prepared for the life that awaits them. We have to encourage. We have to impart meaningful wisdom. We have to enlighten them. We must unconditionally love them. We must fortify the integrity of their spirit and reinforce the foundation of their character. They deserve our parenting best – let’s get to work.

The Road

supervisorTo be absolutely certain, the year 2016 presented quite the series of challenges that taxed me both mentally and emotionally. If a gentleman is so fortunate to live long enough, he will undoubtedly realize that life is lived through adversity and attrition. And so, I discovered myself during such a season, fighting against a torrent of unfortunate and distressing circumstances. Sure, I attained personal triumphs that varied in significance and impact, however, I registered a monumental disappointment that reduced me to tears of defeat as I sat on my couch – September 2, 2016. I remember that date very well because it was a day prior to my birthday. And it was also the day I received a rejection notice regarding a position I applied for at work.

Now, I am not a stranger to receiving bad news in my employment history. I have had certain benefits suspended. I have lived under the specter of unemployment and I have been terminated. I have received the unfortunate news that I was not selected for employment. Nevertheless, this moment of rejection resonated in a fashion that was tinged with hopelessness and defeat. The strain of fatherhood and being a husband was tremendous, and I was in the midst of collapsing under the weight. The position I sought was intended to help alleviate the burden and start correcting the course with a strong finish for the year.

Preparing for the position, I took all the necessary steps – or at least I thought – to be successful in my bid to secure the promotion. I identified the position a year before a vacancy would present itself. I periodically followed up with a team member to learn more about the position. I continued to work diligently in my role at the time; I even earned a promotion within my own department. So when an opening unexpectedly became available, I sought out to take advantage of the opportunity. I met with the director (the position was in another department), increased my research regarding the new role, and earnestly prepped myself for the impending interview for nearly a month. My performance during the interview was executed to perfection. Nonetheless, it was deemed that I was not the best candidate for the position. I was devastated.

As I opened my e-mail and read through the generic reasoning for not being selected, I sat in disbelief as if suspended in time. In my mind, this was my last gasp gambit at turning around a less than stellar year and beginning anew. I was lost. I was shrouded in uncertainty and I was terrified. And so, I sat in solemnity and solitude in tears. Later on that week, detailing my intense job preparation, my pastor told me the Lord was simply arranging something better for me and my family. Honestly, the conversation did not leave me hopeful; I was dealing with the immediate reality of confusion and doubt. Wallowing in misery is certainly not productive, so I was back on my work grind within the same week. Soon I was seeking other opportunities and networking throughout the organization. And then something amazing happened – a supervisor in my department surprisingly decided to leave the company.

And then something else amazing happened – my own supervisor encouraged me to apply for the position. Even though I have been referred to as a leader and many individuals have solicited my advice both on professional and personal levels; I never fancied myself a supervisor. When I hired into the company on an entry-level, I firmly dismissed the notion of pursuing upper management despite others urging me to do otherwise. Yet here was an opportunity that suddenly materialized in the wake of my previous disappointment. Fortuitously, I was already in grind mode from the previous job prep, so transitioning my mindset toward a new job goal was seamless. Subsequently, I earned a promotion to supervisor. I was being prepared for something greater after all. A gentleman’s failures are but a crucible, a laborious journey designed to forge character and strength. Because, even when times appear to be their most dire, failure can be success that has yet witnessed fruition.

Style & Substance – Drake’s – Donegal Lambswool Beanie

drakes-beanie-greyYes, dear gentlemen, the time has finally arrived, cooler temperatures are upon us and no head is safe from the nippy elements outdoors. And especially true for gentlemen dealing with the circumstance of barren scalp follicles, it is paramount that some form of protection be employed to negate the cold as much as possible. Options are plentiful, however, a gentleman must display caution and intelligence when choosing a hat. Trust my word, athletic caps fail to deliver the level of sophistication required for a gentleman of your stature. A felt fedora may regretfully boast a grandfatherly feel to it. And a beanie embellished with a playful pom-pom on top – maybe best worn during one’s middle school years. Now, an investment in a fine knit beanie will lend a touch of elegance without hindering your presentation with a dull, boring feeling. This particular beanie, delicately woven with lambswool, showcases an array of fanciful, colored wool flecks that infuse visual character and uniqueness. Whether married to a formal, navy double-breasted overcoat or ruggedly handsome shearling bomber jacket; the selection of a luxurious woolen beanie is but a natural choice to a measure of warmth and style to your cold season wardrobe.

Black Thought

paul-robesonSometimes, when sequestered within moments of quiet solitude, thoughtful ruminations reveal how incredibly fortunate I am. Fortunate, not in regards to monetary value, rather, fortunate in regards to the many blessings I have reaped tremendous benefit. Yes, I have been given much. Now, I understand that some individuals hold fast to the belief that they earn everything with no, if not minimal, assistance required. Well, sometimes success acts as a vanity whose reflection never grows tiresome to the person looking at it. Look, one cannot be merciless, yet expect mercy. One cannot embrace avarice, yet expect generosity. One cannot espouse hate, yet expect love.

Only speaking for myself, I have been granted favor and opportunity. I have been afforded mercy and forgiveness. I have been given love and grace. And because of those realities, it is of the utmost importance that I give back. Giving back – it could arrive in the form of your time, an inspirational word, a much needed hug, or an important professional opportunity. No one ever truly does it on their own. Someone, right now, needs you. And you may need someone. Go ahead, give of yourself and surely you will be given.

Style & Substance – Cole Haan – GrandRevolution

cole-haan-grand-revTo be quite certain, if ever falsely charged with creating boring or lackluster designs, Cole Haan would fully exonerated because the venerable shoe brand is lacking neither innovation or creativity. Actually, the brand could be rightly accused of producing shoes that push the boundaries of aesthetics too forward for some gentlemen. And although they have long parted ways from Nike, the shoe brand is still producing hybrid footwear that fuses the traditional cosmetics of classic office sensibilities with urban street flair. The latest offering, a compilation of shoes from their GrandRevolution series, delivers a contemporary revision of a traditional oxford with the comfort and styling of a sneaker.

Embellished with laser-cut perforations along the quarters and vamp, the GrandRevolution series is equipped with Cole Haan’s now signature Grand.OS technology. The Washington Grand Laser Wingtip (pictured above) is listed at a retail price of $400.00. Now, innovation and comfort can certainly deliver some style points in the present, but gentleman might be a little hesitant to commit to a look that may be dated within 1-2 years. And while I appreciate a shoe that affords flexibility, support, and comfort; I am afraid the presentation is too bold to be paired with a conservative pair of trousers and will inevitably reveal its age in a year or so. So, I am curious, will Cole Haan’s latest offering simple become a hot trend of the moment or enjoy stylish longevity in the office?

Review – Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue – Beauty of Capri

D&G Beauty of CapriDo not be mislead by the day on the calendar. Do not be mislead by the gradual proliferation of woolen and textured fabrics at your favorite men’s store. Do not be mislead by the steady progression of lessening sunlight and shorter days. True, the calendar might indicate that autumn commences September 22, 2016, however, summer is far from over gentlemen. Without a doubt, his summer has featured some scorching temperatures. The life and death struggle my grass has been experiencing these past few months is proof positive. Therefore, with summer positioned for an extended run into early October, I am examining a cologne I was introduced to in late May. General hardships associated with life have not eased for me, and a few unexpected curve balls have resulted in some blogging downtime. Nevertheless, Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue Beauty of Capri resonates beautifully today just as it did months ago. Adding it to your rotation of fragrances will yield not only immediate benefits, but it can also be placed on standby for Spring 2017 – yes, I am thinking ahead. Until then, let’s get down to business.

Observations

Top Notes: Cedrat, Sicilian Bergamot, Bitter Orange

Middle Notes: Neroli, Marine Accord, Sichuan Pepper

Base Notes: Cedar Wood, Vetiver, Myrrh, Musk

  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Beauty of Capri begins with a light introduction, but it does retain an energetic feel so it would be wise to exhibit restraint with applications. It is not terribly aggressive, but there is a definite presence of citrus notes that dominate the beginning. It will draw attention for all the right reasons.
  • The transition toward the middle notes is a seamless gravitation featuring a fresh, aromatic tone that compliments the top portion very well. Its presence is still very subtle and cool as it begins to deepen and settle into its base notes. Unsurprisingly, even the base notes are relatively sedate. Sometimes the base portion leans heavy and strong, but Light Blue Beauty of Capri keeps things moderately weighted with citrus notes of vetiver rounding out the overall fragrance, tempered by spicy touches of cedar. It’s a nice blend, as neither overpowers the other.
  • The presentation is clean and unremarkable. The curved bottle is standard-fare; a transparent light blue flacon houses the selected scent topped by an ivory cap.
  • Strictly a casual daytime cologne, I humbly suggest 5-6 applications, as this scent has a moderate lifespan before it begins to dissipate.
  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Beauty of Capri is intended for the gentleman that prefers relaxed, mellow environments that complement a quiet, smooth demeanor. Inconspicuous in its delivery, however, able to be distinguished amongst a crowd; Beauty of Capri works well during the summer and early fall. And as the temperatures begin to decline, don’t forget to put this scent on standby to be unearthed in the springtime.
  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Beauty of Capri 40 ml $55.00, 75 ml $68.00, 125 ml $78.00 – Available at Dolce & Gabbana, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and other fine men’s department stores
Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. Item was purchased for personal use. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.
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