The Standard #46

Because, upon discovering himself in the midst of uncertainty and disquiet, the confident gentleman understands that indecision cannot be an absolute decision. This is exactly where I discovered myself, as a supervisor, this month at my place of employment. Over the course of two years, it has been an enlightening, humbling experience wrought with anxiety, stress, and self-doubt. At times, finally feeling a self-assured comfort with my leadership abilities, and other times, arrested by a sense of failure and inadequacy within my profession. However, when confronted with extenuating circumstances on a myriad of fronts, the definitive, resolute decision-making of a leader was required, and I would either excel or succumb to my professional fears. As reason and logic stood in ambiguous contrast with emotion and empathy, only prayer and deep meditation could grant sound thinking and measured action. And in the end, I was the leader that I had difficulty embracing. Sometimes, the Lord allows tribulation to have a season to reveal self-assured abilities, integrity, and character within oneself in the face of debilitating self-doubt. Faith is trusting the Lord even when life’s challenges are perplexing and burdens appear too heavy to bear. You are the leader that you know you are; trust in Him and fortify yourself in His strength.

Style & Substance – Ford Motor Company – 2018 Ford Mustang

And then there was that time that I discovered myself, apparently slightly off-course, somewhere in Allen Park, Michigan with a 2018 Ford Mustang. Hello good people, today I will be detailing part two of my test-drive adventures with the 2018 Ford Expedition and Mustang. You see, that faithful morning at Ford World Headquarters – lovingly referred to as the Glass House – instructions were distributed among our media group directing all drivers to follow a predetermined course around the immediate area to induce a familiarity with each vehicle. Well, everything was proceeding as according to what was planned until Interstate 94 was introduced into the test-driving equation; along with a few indiscriminate semi-trailer trucks to make the situation more interesting.

Suffice it to say, I missed an exit and unexpectedly discovered myself separated from the group. Instead of lamenting and panicking about the situation, I resolved that this was a prime opportunity to examine the speed and agility of the 2018 Mustang. I did not want to stray too far away from Ford World Headquarters, so I needed to get back on track – and in a hurry. The 2018 Ford Mustang is well-suited to perform such a task. Equipped with a turbo-charged 5.0 liter V8 engine, 0-60 miles per hour in 4 seconds flat is possible. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine boasts 310 horsepower and 350 pounds of torque while the 5.0-liter V8 engine kicks out 460 horsepower and 420 pounds of torque.

The 2018 Ford Mustang has four active exhaust (equipped with quad exhausts) modes that a gentleman from which a gentleman can select. A beautiful, illuminated 12-inch instrument cluster displays the options: quiet, normal, sport, and track. The all-digital LCD instrument offers varying screen layouts, 26 color options and displays for up to eight gauges. The gentleman can take note of his favorite preferences regarding suspension, steering, and exhaust by saving them in the MyMode settings. New to the world of sports cars, I opted to drive in normal mode. First driving through residential streets, some concrete that had seen better days delivered a bumpy ride. It was not until Interstate 94 afforded the opportunity to unleash this beast on the (nearly) open road.

The Mustang did not have any issues responding to my request to swiftly accelerate around the semi-trailer truck in front of me. The handling was responsive and agile as I dipped around and emancipated it from the obstacle ahead and bolting for the nearest exit to turn myself around and get back on track. Despite its power and speed, I never felt as is I wasn’t in total control of the vehicle. I remained gripped to the road with each acceleration and nimble turn. Eventually, aided by the GPS on my cell phone, I was able to find my way back to Dearborn and Ford HQ.

2018 Ford Mustang Standard Specifications

  • AutoLamp Headlamps (automatic on/off)
  • Dual Bright exhaust with rolled polished tips
  • LED Headlamps with LED signature lighting – LED front park turn lamps – LED sequential tail lamps
  • Mirrors – body-color with integrated blind spot mirrors
  • Rear-window defroster
  • 2.5″ front brake rotors with 2-piston calipers
  • 12.5″ rear brake rotors with single-piston calipers
  • AdvanceTrac® with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) – Electronic Line-Lock (track use only)
  • Independent rear suspension – Selectable-effort Electric Power-Assist Steering (EPAS)
  • Vented 4-wheel disc brakes
  • 2.3L EcoBoost®
  • 3.31 limited-slip rear axle – 6-speed manual transmission – Standard 17-inch EcoBoost®Wheel
  • Air extractor hood vents
  • Launch control (track use only; requires manual transmission)
  • P235/55R17 A/S tires
  • Tire Inflator and Sealant Kit

2018 Ford Mustang Standard Specifications

  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Manual climate control
  • Active Noise Cancellation
  • Satin Chrome Instrument cluster, register vents and cup holder surrounds
  • Carbon zag instrument panel applique
  • Cabin air filter – Center console with full armrest – Map Light
  • Chrome-accent 4-gauge instrument cluster
  • Cupholders (2) – Driver footrest
  • Easy Fuel® capless fuel filler – Floor mats – carpeted, front
  • Illuminated, locking glove compartment – Intelligent Access with push-button start – Interior trunk release
  • Leather-wrapped parking brake handle – Leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls and tilt and telescoping steering column
  • Map pockets – backside of driver and front-passenger seats (N/A with optional RECARO® seats)
  • MyKey®
  • Power driver and passenger windows with global open
  • Powerpoints – 2
  • Dual Illuminated Visor Vanity Mirrors
  • Track Apps™
  • 6-speaker sound system, AM/FM Stereo with single CD
  • SYNC®
  • Two smart-charging USB ports
  • 2-way manual front-passenger seat
  • 4-way adjustable front head restraints – 4-way manual driver’s seat – 50/50 split folding rear seat – Cloth front bucket seats

Mark Schaller – Mustang Brand Manager

Gentlemanly Pros

  • The 2.3 and 5.0 liter engines both pack enough punch that will satisfy any lover of sports cars. The Mustang handles well and excels in speed effortlessly when presented with a clean, unobstructed terrain.
  • The all-digital 12-inch LCD instrument cluster is next-level technology that grants a personalized feel that is unsurpassed and does nothing but heighten the driving experience even more. It is definitely eye-catching and engaging.
  • Customized option to program your Mustang to start utilizing one of the four exhaust modes: quiet, normal, sport, and track. Be nice to your neighbor and start it up in quiet mode.
  • Beautiful interior and exterior. The exterior is sleek and confident in its appearance while the interior is modestly handsome with its approach to styling.

Gentlemanly Cons

  • Without the upgraded performance package – MagneRide – rugged streets could possibly reduce the smoothness of the ride.
  • If you are a novice in the arena of muscle cars, it would behoove you to become intimately acquainted with the owner’s manual. Given its high customization, a rookie – such as myself – will find the controls a little complex.
  • For a gentleman my size, the cockpit was a little tight. The plush interior certainly provided a measure of comfort, however, a brother such as myself could benefit from some elbow room. And no one over 5 feet would probably be able to be seated behind me, as my seat would most likely be as far back as possible.

The 2018 Ford Mustang is designed for the rakish gentleman that appreciates power in presentation and is unafraid of announcing his presence with an assertive, bullish selection for his transportation. With the ability to incorporate a customized touch with bold new technology, the aforementioned gentleman will truly be capable of making the 2018 Ford Mustang uniquely his own. The starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $25,585 is honestly quite modest given the intricacy of control and power. The price stars to climb as more customization packages are added. If you are a muscle car enthusiast, the revamped Mustang arrives with all the sexy, chiseled, and aggressive features the performance-minded gentleman would desire.

For more information, please visit https://www.ford.com/cars/mustang/ to learn further details.

Black Thought

“Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to live with life as they find it and make it better.”

– Carter G. Woodson

To be absolutely sure, a gentleman’s life earns new significance when he not only identifies his purpose, but he also cultivates that purpose into something tangible that benefits other individuals. It is tragically irresponsible when an accomplished gentleman attains a certain degree of success, only to be miserly and penurious with his blessings. For the blessed gentleman that enjoys prosperity and favor, it is critical that he utilizes his influence to encourage, empower, and educate the under-served, often neglected sects of our society.

When benevolence and compassion no longer exists in the hearts and minds of men, the quality of life for both the fortunate and less fortunate gradually diminish. And the best quality of life is something we should all strive to achieve – for everyone. So, operating within your domain of achievement, I urge the gentleman to re-purpose his purpose and seek to promote excellence and success in the lives those whom are underprivileged. And going forward, hopefully, they will perform the same charitable act for someone else.

Style & Substance – Ford Motor Company – 2018 Ford Expedition

Sheer, utter disbelief is perhaps the best way to describe the emotions that welled inside me as I opened an e-mail correspondence regarding a personal invitation to join Ford Motor Company at an exclusive media drive program. The focus of the event: an up close and personal viewing of the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition and new 2018 Ford Mustang. The 2-day event entailed a private media dinner at The Henry in Dearborn, Michigan; presentations from the chief program engineers for both vehicles; and the opportunity to experience both vehicles on the road. And what an opportunity – a truly unique opportunity – this proved to be; driving around metro Detroit during winter would surely place both vehicles under detailed scrutiny.

Fortunately, for the event, Mother Nature was merciful and blessed the day with temperatures in the 40 degree range. If the event had been two weeks prior, we would have been in serious trouble. Nevertheless, copious amounts residual slush and unforgiving potholes still remained to present a suitable challenge. But, with an opportunity to network, capture my experience with some cool photographs, learn about these two new additions to the Ford family, and test them on the urban landscape – I could not help but accept the invitation. So, lets dive directly into the experience.

First impressions of the 2018 Ford Expedition: It is simply a behemoth, and an elegant one. Nevertheless, despite its massive body, the all-new Expedition sheds nearly 300 pounds because of a redesigned high-strength steel frame and aluminum-alloy body. The sexy result is a fuel efficiency that delivers 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway. A combination of both yields approximately 20 miles per gallon for the gentleman. Now, such a reduction in weight does not equate to diminished power, actually, quite the opposite. The Expedition’s new 3.5 liter EcoBoost® engine and 10-speed automatic transmission is capable of producing up to 400 horsepower and 480 foot pounds of torque. Towing capability boasts up to 9,300 pounds that can be hauled around the countryside if required.

Now, being a father of one handsome son and one beautiful daughter (much love to Ava & Miles), my natural gravitation towards the Expedition was unsurprising. An aficionado in all things concerning car seat installation & removal, diaper bags, stuffed animals & baby dolls, and any other children-related accouterments; the spacious interior teased a comfort and ease that every parent wantonly covets. And clocking in at 6’1″ and 250 pounds, the Expedition affords space that any robust gentleman can truly appreciate, especially when climbing into vehicle and securing the aforementioned car seats. The doors even open at nearly a 90 degree angle. The second row tip & slide seating allows the seat to move at a slanted pivot to grant access to the third row without removing the car seat entirely – excellent!

With pleasing interior ergonomics & aesthetics, the 2018 Ford Expedition is designed for the everyday gentlemen that appreciates utilitarian luxury. A user-friendly console provides an intuitive touch that neither confounds or confuses the gentleman. And for the technology-savvy crowd, the 2018 Expedition features wireless phone charging, a 110 volt outlet, four 12 volt power points, a 360 degree camera system, a Wi-Fi hot-spot that supports up to 10 devices simultaneously within 50 feet of the vehicle, and an entertainment system that accommodates an effortless smartphone integration. Optional: dual front row headrest entertainment system that can play Choo Choo Soul for Miles or PJ Masks for Ava.Again, a gentleman can drive this vehicle right off the lot without detailed instructions.

So, speaking of driving the Expedition off the lot, I decided to take it into the city to test the urban terrain. The model I selected was the Max XLT 4×4. With its partially plowed side streets and punishing pot holes, I wanted to gauge the smoothness of my commute when faced with a brutal landscape. Powered by their Terrain Management System (4×4 only), a gentleman can select between 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive depending on your preference and the road. There are seven special drive modes between 2WD and 4WD for your selection: normal, sport, tow/haul, eco, grass/gravel/snow, sand, and mud/rut. As for my travel, the ride was surprisingly smooth. Surprising, because if you have not visited inner city Detroit, the pot holes and even road can be vicious. Nevertheless, the big-body Expedition confidently absorbed every jolt that was thrown its way. It also handled the slush and snow very well with no sliding or slippage at all.

2018 Ford Expedition Standard Specifications

  • 8 person seating capacity – 3 passenger rows – front cloth bucket seats – Second-row 40/20/40 split bench manual reclining fold-flat seat with CenterSlide® and Outboard Slide Seats -Third-row 60/40 split bench fold-flat-to-the-floor seat
  • Miles per gallon – up to 17 city/24 highway – 3.5 liter EcoBoost® engine – Transmission – 10 speed automatic
  • Best-in-Class 9,300 pounds maximum towing capacity
  • ABS with Brake Assist and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)
  • Auto Stop-Start Technology
  • Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Fully boxed frame
  • Suspension-Multilink Independent Rear suspension
  • Electronic Power-Assist (EPAS) rack-and-pinion steering
  • Front and rear stabilizer bars
  • AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control (RSC® )
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Non-limited-slip 3.15 rear axle (4×2 only)
  • Selectable Drive Modes
  • Traction Control
  • SYNC® – Enhanced Voice Recognition Communications and Entertainment System – Audio-AM/FM Stereo, Single CD Player, MP3 Capable, SiriusXM® Radio and Nine (9) Speakers

Todd Hoevener – Chief Program Engineer – Overall Cool Gentleman

Gentlemanly Pros

  • Expedition: A journey or voyage undertaken by a group of people with a particular purpose. The 2018 Ford Expedition is household comfort mounted on 4 tires. Your commute is not merely travel from Point A to Point B, it is an experience in understated class and convenience.
  • Despite its large frame, the 2018 Ford Expedition is pleasantly nimble and agile when cruising on the highway. And because of its large frame and Terrain Management System, bruising roads are handled with confidence.
  • Bold & robust presentation without appearing too bulky and boxy. Its lines are clean and tailored; resulting in a handsome, refined appearance.
  • Large cabin for occupants in all three seating rows. The second row tip & slide seating is especially useful for access to the third row (the third row also reclines as an added bonus). In cases of installed car seats; they do not have to be removed. The LATCH System is available in the second and third rows. The dual moon-roof is a beautiful finishing touch.
  • Seamless and smart integrated technology with Wi-Fi hot-spots for up to 10 devices within 50 feet. I loved the touch screen functionality and ease of navigation.
  • Automatic lift-gate with generous cargo and storage space. With the push of a button, the 2nd and 3rd row seats fold flat, offering ample space to accommodate a gentleman’s bulky purchases from Home Depot, 60+ inch flat screen television sets from Costco, or just about any bulky item that requires transport. Groceries are kept secure from both forward and backward motion. A rear bulk head folds out and up to prevent items (basketballs, watermelons, etc.) from rolling out. And rear camera spray wash to clear obstruction from the elements outside.

Gentlemanly Cons

  • True to form, the 2018 Ford Expedition is quite massive. For the uninitiated, wielding such a large vehicle could prove to be a daunting objective. Smaller vehicles on the road may go unnoticed, however, the Blind Spot Information System can be helpful. However, the driver assist feature should not displace attention to one’s surroundings and judgement. As a personal preference, I would have loved the inclusion of integrated blind spot mirrors, as it is my instinct to look first.
  • Narrow stretches of road could also prove to be a challenge, especially in spots where vehicles park roadside. A gentleman must be totally cognizant of his spacing while driving. Navigating 6 Mile was an exercise in caution because one must be aware of individuals parked roadside and exiting their vehicle before waiting for traffic to clear.
  • As far as parking goes, it would be wise to park far, or at least moderate distance away from concentrated areas of parking. Maximizing parking lot real estate, I can imagine other vehicles swinging their doors open haphazardly and denting your doors.
  • The manufacturer’s suggested retail price, even at the most base level, may be slightly stressful on the bank account. If a gentleman begins to add options, the sticker shock may trigger a cardiac arrest. Advice: Exhibit some financial self-awareness and proceed wisely.

To be perfectly certain, the 2018 Ford Expedition will decidedly resonate with the professional gentleman that values performance & functionality in tandem with grace & sophistication, appreciates comfort, recognizes that the amalgamation of entertainment & technology affords a premium driving experience, and most importantly, demands a vehicle that satisfies the many facets of family life while commuting. Sure, the MSRP, approximately $51,695, will give momentary pause, but this full-size sports utility vehicle should grant many years of service and grow with a family. If you are in the market for a large SUV to accommodate the daily travels of your busy family, and you can do so in style without monetary stress; I strongly recommend the 2018 Ford Expedition for your consideration.

For more information, please visit https://www.ford.com/suvs/expedition/models/expedition-xlt/for details.

Review – Dooney & Bourke – Florentine Medium Duffle

“Good morning Glen. So, do you plan on skipping town after work?” said a colleague of mine as I entered the department at work. The Dooney & Bourke Florentine Medium Duffle is so robust, one has to ponder if “medium” is an accurate descriptor of the aforementioned travel companion. Now, before I venture too far ahead of myself, please allow me to rewind the story for proper context. Approximately three weeks ago, I was contacted by a public relations representative with some intriguing information: Dooney & Bourke, leading American designer of fine accessories in leather and fabric, was revitalizing and reintroducing their men’s collection from the mid 1970s. Furthermore, I could inspect and review a selected piece of merchandise for my reading audience.

Honored and overjoyed by the invitation, I perused their current inventory and decided the Florentine Medium Duffle Bag would be an excellent choice for a gentlemanly evaluation. Not too familiar with the brand with the exception of purses and handbags, I was thoroughly impressed by the exceptional quality and craftsmanship upon opening the package. After its arrival, I resolved myself to traveling with it to my base of employment to gauge the reaction of other gentlemen. Capturing a photograph with my Samsung Galaxy and sending it to a few male coworkers; it was likened to an oversized purse. Unfortunately, the bag’s true scale was not sufficiently captured by my camera phone. Full disclosure: Founded by Peter Dooney & Frederic Bourke in 1975, gentlemanly accessories were a part of its introductory collections before women’s accessories became a signature for the brand. And so, with Florentine in hand, I stepped out onto the 4th floor in my building, looking to prove the naysayers incorrect in their assumption, and examine its style and practicality.

So, first, allow me to examine a primary point of concern that most gentlemen share when purchasing a duffle bag – functionality. In other words, the duffle bag of a gentleman’s choice must be able to comfortably house all of his clothing and small personal effects – fair enough. The Florentine is billed as a duffle bag that will satisfy the needs of the gentleman traveler through any particular weekend. Perusing my own wardrobe, I thoughtfully selected a group of clothing items that would surely test the Florentine appropriately. In the interest of context, I excluded items such as socks, underwear, neckties, and other small items because it would have little to no effect on maximizing the capacity of the Florentine.

Proceeding with the theory that I am working with a three-day weekend trip (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday), I packed the following: 1 pair denim jeans, 2 pairs of khakis, 1 wool crew neck sweater, 2 cotton shawl collar sweater, 4 long sleeve sport shirts, 2 pairs of pajamas, and 1 pair of casual shoes. I wanted to pack bulky and heavy items to gauge if the holding capacity was sufficient. Of course, the selection of what one may choose to pack would be dependent upon lifestyle. I reside in Michigan, and right now the weather begs for items that retain warmth and comfort, hence the addition of sweaters and long sleeve sport shirts. The bag was full, but not tight and could still be zippered without issue.

Now, filled to capacity, a gentleman may have issues with any attempt to stuff the Florentine in an overhead bin during air travel. Although its dimensions – H 13.5″ x W 8.5″ x L 21.5″ – are less than the total allowed maximum of 45 inches, the weight may play a factor as well as the Florentine’s shape as it is packed, given the lack of fixed size like a small suitcase. It would be prudent to verify this information and travel policy according to your airline of choice. Personally, I would check the duffle bag and perhaps employ a stylish book-bag as a carry-on for smaller items, as it does come standard with a luggage tag in addition to a lock & key.

Cosmetically speaking, the Florentine boasts a buttery smooth leather exterior. Soft and pliable with no unsightly creasing, the leather has all the attributes to age with character and charm. The interior and exterior zippers are solidly constructed with a dual closure across the top. Embracing a minimalist approach with its design, the only noticeable embellishment resides with its extended zipper closure on each opposite end that button down the side. The are two pockets on both sides of the body, one zippered and the other a straight jetted pocket. The leather handles are assisted by a buttoned leather closure that affords a comfortable grip, as some duffle bags utilize velcro to keep both handles together or shun a closure entirely.

Now, I absolutely love the design of the handles, as they are not attached directly to the bag’s body, rather, the upper handles are attached to square metal links which in turn are attached along the upper sides. This should provide much-needed support surrounding this area of concentrated stress due to bearing the weight of its contents. Sporting plaid fabric on the inside, the interior is equipped with 1 bifolded compartment, a regular jetted pocket, and a zippered deeper pocket.

As for the finishing touch, the Florentine’s bottom arrives with metal “feet” or studs so your bag is never in total contact with the ground. And speaking of ground, there is approximately a 12 inch drop in strap length, so the bag is approximately 10 inches off the ground when holding the bag with one’s arm totally extended down. However, the audience should consider I am 6’1″ so that approximation will vary from gentlemen to gentlemen. So, to the unnamed gentleman that likened the Florentine to a woman’s purse; I humbly submit that you are woefully mistaken.

Retailing at $548.00, the Florentine is not an inexpensive travel companion. And many gentlemen with humble means will scoff at the price-point, and that is perfectly acceptable. Most likely, there is a duffle bag that will suit any lifestyle accordingly. Nevertheless, the Dooney & Bourke Florentine is designed for the cultivated gentleman that appreciates a refined piece of luggage that becomes more exquisite with age, exudes an understated presence of sophistication, and considers such a purchase a quiet investment in elegance. This bag should last a lifetime. After a long hiatus, resurrecting their collection of fine accessories for stylish, contemporary gentleman; Dooney & Bourke should be able recapture a market of men that will surely explore future collections with newfound excitement.

Please visit https://www.dooney.com/home for purchasing information.

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.

Style & Substance – J. Crew – Cashmere Cable Beanie

To be perfectly honest with the audience, I simply cannot understand how some gentlemen are capable of confronting the elements, of course referring to bone-rattling glacial winter temperatures, without dutiful protection of some form of headgear.  I quietly, painfully observe my fellow gentlemen commute across frozen, urban tundras; their cranial follicles crying out for a warm, merciful intervention. Alas, toasty relief is but an unfulfilled dream of comfort. As a bald gentleman, venturing into frosty weather is definitely not – and I passionately repeat –  is definitely not an option. I can vividly hear my late grandmother now: Boy, put something on that head before you catch pneumonia! Therefore, my winter wardrobe is stockpiled with the necessary accessories to combat plummeting temperatures.

In the more recent years, I have heavily favored beanies, generally cotton, to shield my head from cold, unsavory conditions. This winter, I wanted to switch it up and experiment with woolen fabrics. Enter the J. Crew cashmere beanie. At the time, I did not own any J. Crew merchandise, but their cashmere offering was on decidedly tempting discount, so I embraced the risk and purchased a burgundy selection to complement a pea coat I favor during this time. I was not disappointed. The delicate reputation of cashmere may elicit trepidation in some gentlemen, but the J. Crew beanie offers a heavy, robust knit while retaining the signature softness of this chosen woolen fabric.

The weave is suitably tight enough to deter chilly, sneaky wind from penetrating through the surface. And the fit allows for a slight stretch without losing its body and allowing for a cozy hug of the cranium. It grants warmth without being unnecessarily clunky. Now, the cable knit is a departure from the plain weaves of my cotton beanies, but it is a welcome change that affords an elegant presentation. Simply stated: This hat is a winner and J. Crew will certainly be added to my list of preferred brands. The quality of the beanie at the current price-point is fantastic. And if you are fortunate to take advantage of a sale – as it is currently – you will not regret your purchase. Your head will thank you later.

The Standard #45

A wise gentleman understands that his reward and blessings in life are not entirely his own to selfishly possess. Rather, his reward and blessings are meant to fuel his purpose, and his purpose – in some form or another – should be enhancing and adding value to the lives of other people. To be sure, a gentleman’s objective in life should not be driven by a concerted focus to facilitate personal gain, especially at the costly expense of other individuals. The wise and prosperous gentleman understands that material wealth is meaningless if it is not utilized to cultivate prosperity with other members in society. A gentleman’s service may arrive in the form of monetary value, educational and knowledge sharing, or granting valuable time with his presence. Truly, however, whatever a gentleman gives of himself to bless the life of another person is wholly his own decision. Surely the accomplished gentleman understands that his own blessings are most likely have been assisted by a helping hand – seen or unforeseen. Today, identify and recognize your own blessings and how they can positively impact the life of someone who could really reap the benefits. Someone is in need right now.

The Standard #44

An emotionally intelligent gentleman fully understands that the regular practice of deep introspection is vitally crucial to personal learning and growth. Affording oneself a quiet interval of thoughtful reflection is a fantastic opportunity to reveal truth and awareness critical to your development. If but for a brief moment, freedom from the daily rigor of life can open a personal alertness that can cleanse and rejuvenate the mental faculties. A gentleman can thoughtfully evaluate his state of affairs, calculate the necessary adjustments if required, and determine the best course of action to facilitate progression.

Now, the personal objective of sequestering time may present itself as an implausible, almost impossible feat. However, that is certainly not a reality that a gentleman should allow himself to be deceived. Procuring time can be as simple as silencing the radio during your commute to work. It can be as easy as allowing temporary disconnection from social media to concentrate on yourself, or as painless as momentarily shunning television programming – do not fret, DVR has you covered. All of that is to say: Time is available and ready to be smartly utilized. One cannot underestimate the importance of proper maintenance to one’s mental and spiritual state. The time is now, start today.

Review – Dolce & Gabbana – Light Blue Intense

To be perfectly honest, this particular review is woefully long overdue. Managing both my professional and personal life is still quite the challenge. Nevertheless, with the holiday season officially underway, I determined that there was not a better time to share my thoughts on Dolce & Gabbana’s aromatic offering Light Blue Intense. Intimately introduced to Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue a little over a year ago, I was pleasantly surprised when afforded the opportunity to sample the Intense version of the previous offering. For more than a few months now, Light Blue Intense has quietly become my preferred cologne of choice. Boasting a robust melody of aromatic notes, coupled with a sustained, mildly pungent presence, Light Blue Intense should be in your rotation of cologne. Allow me to provide a detailed explanation for you.

Observations

Top Notes: Mandarin Orange, Frozen Grapefruit

Middle Notes: Juniper, Aquatic Accord

Base Notes:  Amber Wood, Musk

  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Intense arrives in the same bottle as Light Blue Beauty of Capri – unadorned and simple. The delicately curved bottle is standard as most cologne bottles are presented. Short, stout, and dense; the transparent light blue flacon houses the selected scent topped by a powder blue cap.
  • A lively commencement of notes begin with a foundation rooted in sharp tones of citrus. Immediately, a gentleman will recognize that Light Blue Intense is definitely stronger than its predecessor. The introduction is a playful balance of bitter and sweet as the dry-down is mellow and smooth.
  • The progression toward the heart of the fragrance reveals a fresh and light personality. The fragrance definitely slows down before regaining momentum during the latter end of its notes.
  • The fragrant finish is slightly heavy with deep wood flavors. The base notes are surely pronounced, but not obnoxious. However, moderate applications are recommended. I applied too much on one occasion and later in the day, it was a little overbearing on the senses.
  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Intense is at its best when properly deployed for early to late evening occasions. Because of its intensity, I would recommend Light Blue Intense be saved for cooler temperatures. If you choose otherwise, please be advised that its scent will probably be greatly magnified if the environment is warm or hot.
  • Eschewing pretension, Light Blue Intense affords a touch of sophistication that should be befitting of any dapper gentleman. A gentleman will enjoy moderate to long longevity, as the spicy woody tones are robust and full. I would estimate that 4-5 applications of Light Blue Intense should suffice.
  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Intense 3.3 fl. oz. $88.00, 6.7 fl. oz. $125.00 – Available at Dolce & Gabbana, Macys, Nordstrom, and other fine men’s department stores

Style & Substance – Magnanni – Jamin

With excited preparation for the fall season, I have dutifully embraced the task of scouring the gentleman’s marketplace for the perfect pair of monk strap shoes. Currently, I own two pairs: the standard, traditional black and brown pairs. Nevertheless, my heart’s desire begs for an elegant selection that falls outside of the usual boundaries of accepted style. Enter a Magnanni monk strap – the Jamin. Chiseled. Rakish. Red. Sexy. However, its sex appeal gives way for a momentary pause due to the asking retail price – a not so modest $435.00.

So, unsurprisingly, the Magnanni Jamin won’t secure a slot in my footwear rotation until Nordstrom is merciful enough to lower the price. I hope it is sooner rather than later, as this monk strap possesses all the style required to round out a well-heeled presentation. The reddish hue adds just enough pop to separate itself from pack without being too obnoxious, and the extremely sleek silhouette dressy enough for workplace, but rebellious enough for after-hours excursions. Definitely keep this shoe, or perhaps a similar style with a scaled down price tag, on your sartorial radar.

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