Sunday, May 29, 2011

Issue #42 - What you need for this spring!

Issue # 42 - What YOU need for this spring!

Well gents, the weather has broken, the snow is gone, and the leaves are in full bloom, and that means spring has sprung. Time to start breaking out all things spring, and putting away all things bleak, bland and winter-esque. If you're like me and have been preparing new looks and new ideas to break out once the snow has gone, then now's the time to do it! A few days ago, I began compiling a list of things you're going to need to fully embrace all that spring has to offer. Some of these things may not be to your taste, but i guarantee if you try them out, or put your own spin on them, then you will be as breezy as an early june afternoon.

Spring is an earthy season. Everything is coming out of its winter long sleep. Animals shed their winter coats, and you should as well. Indulge in the freedom of not having to wear layers and finally feel a breeze on your skin that won't give you frostbite.

Boat Shoes -

First thing first, get yourself a pair of boat shoes. I believe i mentioned these last issue, and there was some confusion as to what these were, and how to wear them. There were also a couple "are you serious?" comments. My only response to those is, Stop living in a cave, and pay attention to what's going on around you. Boat shoes are NOT just for boats. They come in a massive variety of colours, fabrics and styles and are insanely versatile. They can be dressed up or down, but are most useable in laid back atmospheres, where casual is the word of the day, but you can bring your own style to the table. The shoes pictured here are almost identical to the pair that i own, and i love to pair them with a slim pair of jeans, and a slightly messy dress shirt and an equally slightly messy tie. Try it out. You can wear socks with these if you wish, but i would completely advise against it. Showing ankle is actually a very cool thing to do.

Straw Fedora -

If you don't own at least one of these, GO. GET. ONE.
these hats are insanely versatile, super stylish, and add a certain flare to most outfits. * There are so many different ways to wear this hat; tilted far back, tilted low and forward, etc, each one giving a different vibe to your entire look, and changing peoples' perception as well as your own attitude. This hat is a complete throwback to the golden era, and is just as perfect with a shirt and tie as it is with a white t shirt and beer while mowing the lawn. So go make yourself a manhattan, light your pipe, and let summer come to you.

* This hat is not magical. It will not add flare to ALL outfits. By this, i mean do NOT wear this hat with a cheesy graphic tee, bad sandals (with socks especially), or anything that doesn't match the colour of your hat. Versatile or not, this hat is still an accessory, so colours and fabrics need to be taken into account. If you're dressed like a slob, this hat will only make you look worse. Trust me.

Coloured Wayfarers -

These have become essential spring/summer wear. They're overly simple, durable, and add a great pop of colour to your outfit. It's important to think spring here, and use these as a focal point, and not as a matching piece. You want them to be a statement, not matchy-matchy, which will look like you've tried way too hard. However, if you want to match a pair to your belt or shoes, then go for it! They're an idiot proof way to add flare without even trying. Oh, and don't worry about the name tag; Ray Ban made the originals, but if you don't have, or don't want to shell out the cash to get the real thing, there are a lot of accessible, super inexpensive knock offs that do the trick just fine. I own several myself, and trust me, when they get crushed in the bottom of your beach bag, or your buddy sits on them in your jeep, they're much less painful to replace.

The Linen Shirt -

Yes, it's finally time to break out your light colours again, which makes it finally ok to wear your crisp white shirts again. Or if you're like me, then you can continue to wear them. But why stick to the same old crisp cotton shirt, when you can opt for a light, airy linen shirt? It breathes excellent, and gives you that 'i'm in the tropics' feel when you're just sitting in your back yard. They're ok to look a little bit wrinkled, and also seem to hold fragrance a little bit better than most shirts, in my opinion.

The Right Music -

Music is completely a matter of preference, and this need for Spring is simply an opinion. When i think of spring, i think of Paris, and when i think of Paris, i think of sitting on a cafe patio, watching people walk by, sipping on a glass of wine, and listening to some vintage traditional French cafe music. I don't even know if that's the correct way to describe it, but that's how i describe it. I searched for a collection of these types of songs, and was totally lucky enough to stumble upon "Cafe De Paris", a compilation of the EXACT music i was looking for. Yes, it is very french, and it's totally an acquired taste, but for the right occasion, the right guests, the right drinks and the right atmosphere, it will set the scene of your party perfectly.

A good white wine -

You don't need to be a wine pro to know what tastes good and what doesn't. In today's world there are SO many options available, that wine no longer has to be an intimidating foe. I use white wine as an example here, but by all means, a good red wine is also a must have for the season. I try to have several bottles on hand at all times, usually of different types. White wines generally give the vibe of light airy sunny days, while reds, I find, are more intimate and formal. Just an opinion. For white wines, I usually go with a riesling, or an Unoaked or Lightly Oaked Chardonnay. I prefer Life is Good Unoaked Chardonnay, and also STRUT's Chardonista, pictured to the left. These wines are super inexpensive, and go really well with any afternoon patio or dinner party. Quick note, a lot of people "like" wine, but only if they're super cold. This is improper. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind for white wines, is to take them OUT of the fridge about a half hour before serving. They will be at approx. perfect temp for serving. The reason: Having your whites too cold will numb out the flavours of the wine giving a bland, watery taste. For red wines, do the opposite and put them IN the fridge a half hour before serving. The reason: Although many drink reds at room temp, sometimes this can cause the alcohol in the wine to take over the taste, not allowing the drinkers to get the full flavours. Chilling it allows the alcohol to mellow out a bit, and the real taste to come through.

At the end of this issue i will give you guys a great recipe for white wine, and some other treats.

NEW Eau de Lacoste (L.12.12) -

Of course, no issue of seasonal needs would be complete without a fragrance. In this case it is the fantastic new fragrance from Lacoste. The Eau de Lacoste line is brand new, and has 3 fragrances in the collection; White, Blue and Green, each with a distinctive personality. Similar to the 2010 release of Ralph Lauren's Big Pony line, except much, much better. After taking a little while to sample each scent, it was a hands down decision to go with White; a decision i have not regretted for a single moment. It's exactly how you would expect it to smell from looking at it; Pure, simple, clean and fresh. It starts out bright and airy, and unlike most new scents, it doesn't fade within an hour, it actually lasts. The more i smelled this on my skin, the happier i got. It brings to mind the sensation of a summer breeze blasting through the car windows as you cruise carelessly down the highway listening to death cab for cutie, or the excitement and anticipation of a first kiss on a windy summer night.  It's an absolutely perfect release for spring/summer 2011, and it's definitely becoming one of my go-to fragrances. My next purchase (if you care to know) would be the green scent. Then the blue.

Well gentlemen, there you have it! My list of items you need to own for this spring! Did you notice anything? If not, go look again, i will wait.......are you back? And? ok fine, i will tell you. all of the above can be used together, and will work perfectly! Now if only you had a fantastic drink recipe and maybe a super easy light dinner idea for you and that certain someone on your patio...

The Summer Breeze (a style guy original)

1 oz Fragoli Strawberry Liqueur
4 oz white wine (chardonnay preferably)
splash of soda

Pour fragoli into wine glass, allowing some of the baby strawberries to fall in. These make a great visual garnish. Add wine, top with a splash of soda water. Garnish with a strawberry slice or lemon twist. This is a perfect pre dinner cocktail, or after dinner drink. It's light and fruity, and insanely easy to make. But your guests don't need to know that.

Effortless Brie -

1 wheel of brie cheese
2 red onions
6 large white mushrooms
1 large white french baguette

this meal is insanely easy to make, but will taste like you're a pro, and impress the heck out of her. I guarantee it. Chop onions into strands. Chop mushrooms. Sautee them in butter until golden brown and translucent. Reduce to a slow simmer, to keep them warm. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place Brie in oven in a pyrex bowl or casserole dish. While brie is heating, cut the baguette into small squares. after about 20 - 25 minutes, stick a fork in the brie. If the centre is gooey, it's ready. Remove brie from oven, and cover with the onion and mushroom mixture. Cut brie open, letting the cheese ooze out. Serve immediately with bowl of bread squares and a spoon. Add pepper if desired. It's easy: dip the bread into the cheese and eat. It's a perfect meal for a romantic night and is guaranteed to spark conversation. Pair this with an Unoaked or Lightly Oaked chardonnay for an unreal taste combination. You can thank me later.

Until next time gents,

Monday, May 9, 2011

issue # 41 how to be a man in 2011

Issue # 41 - How to be a man in 2011

Hello gents! Well it's been a while since my last issue, and what can i say, i have been busy. But today, in the little free time i possess, I decided to write a new issue based on something we've only really touched upon in the past; how to be a man. Now, I am not saying this literally of course so don't go running for your axes and plaid shirts, those trees don't need to be chopped down today. I am speaking about how to be a Man in a different way. Now most of you know that I have always been one that's against stereotypical Macho masculine ideals. In my eyes, they are horrible out dated, out of fashion, out of style, and need severe revamping. If only every ball cap wearing, running shoes with jeans caveman out there would watch a season of Madmen, they would see what real men looked like, how real men acted.

So here is a list of things that a man should read, learn and apply if he wants to be a real man. Some of them are things you should DO others are things you need to STOP DOING. So pay attention, read carefully and realize that you're not all the man you should be.

1 - Speak like an adult. Yes, this refers to proper grammar, spelling, and context of words, but this point is directed more towards your use of typing. Times are changing, and electronic "talking" is a very dominant source of communication. This is fine and wonderful, but as a grown man, you should not be using TXT speak, you should be typing in proper words. The use of juvenile 'words' such as "ur", "u", "l8tr" and any number of the millions of these tween sayings, is far too pathetic to even put into words. Gentlemen, you are GROWN MEN. The use of words like these makes you look immediately and instantly immature and incapable of holding a real conversation. Sure, maybe some of you are doing it because you're driving, or you're pressed for time, or whatever. But SHE doesn't know that. the SHE i am referring to is the lovely lady you are texting who now thinks you're a 16 year old. Guys, do yourselves a favour and take the time to write full, proper words. Your appeal will increase instantly. Now, that being said, if you have to use short form for WHATEVER reason, texting is the only place you can do this. If you use short form words in online messaging or emailing, you're just plain lazy and juvenile. It takes literally 3 additional seconds to use proper words instead of short form. If that's too long to wait to be perceived as a well read and educated man, then you get what you deserve.

2 - CULTURE YOURSELF - Gents, you NEED to know about a wide variety of things. Sure, you may be really interested in sports or cars, but if that's ALL you can talk about in depth, then there's an issue. A woman likes a man who knows at least a little bit about a lot of things. And if he doesn't know about something, he admits it, then asks to learn. If your knowledge revolves around hockey, video games, and cartoons, chances are you're not going to have very in depth conversation with your lady friend, and if it continues, you won't have a very in depth relationship either. Learn about things around you. Know a little bit about world events. Check out what music is in right now, Immerse yourself, and educate yourself! Gents, women like an intelligent man. So be intelligent.

3 - DON'T ONLY drink Beer - Beer is awesome. It's cold, delicious and says MAN. But in the 40s through the 60s, beer was a weekend drink in the backyard. That;'s where it should stay. Wanna crack a cold one at a BBQ? go ahead. Home from work? crack one and relax. but if you're out, especially with a lady, try something other than a tacky brown bottle. Be able to order something other than beer, and your image and appeal will immediately boost. Having a base knowledge of wine doesn't hurt either. Sure, she might be a beer drinker as well, but if you want your style to take that extra inch forward, order something with a bit of style to it like a gin and tonic, or rye and ginger....if you're a little more fashionable that evening, be brave and ask for a manhattan or an old fashioned. She might not know what it is, but i guarantee she will be intrigued and ask...there's your conversation starter gentlemen.

4 - DRESS LIKE A MAN - There is a time and aplace for every outfit. But if you want to LOOK like a man, and not a boy, then take a couple tips, and tidy up your look. Whatever your style may be, tidy it up, especially if you are taking out a lady, or just want ladies to pay attention to you in general. Ties don't have to be for formal occasions! now that it's nicer outside, throw on a slim tie haphazardly with a dress shirt, jeans and some boat shoes, or if you're partial to shorts and a tee shirt, then upgrade them. get a good slim pair of shorts that look like something a man would wear, not something a 14 year old would wear to a punk show. Get a great fitted t shirt with something other than a stupid saying or a cartoon character on it, and make sure you don't look like you're swimming in it. Remember, if you're one of those guys who thinks everything is too tight, then it's probably just the right size. And skip the flip flops. They're lame, unless you're at the beach. Opt for a pair of boat shoes. They're cheap and add instant style to anything. I have a pair of grey ones i bought at the GAP in Mississippi. they cost me $15 and they are the most versatile shoes i own...and they only have one rule: Never wear socks. In fact, the more you can get away with no socks, the better. Wearing a pair of slim jeans or khakis? Flip up the cuffs a couple times, and show some ankle. Again, instant style.

bottom line guys, if you want to look like a man should look in today's world, then it's as simple as spending a few bucks, picking up a GQ magazine, and making some notes. Trust me, you will look and feel better about yourself, and i am sure you won't mind the additional interest from the ladies.

until nex time,