Here’s What You Should Wear This Fourth of July

June 28, 2016
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Fourth of July is almost here and with it comes the usual BBQs and outdoor picnics. I always find Fourth of July to be a very long day. You start around lunchtime and spend the rest of the afternoon gorging on food and beer. Usually the day leads into the night so you can enjoy fireworks or a nice bonfire. It all makes for a fun, but very long day that can easily end in you being hot, sunburnt and exhausted if you don’t dress right.

The Outfit

Since you’ll most likely be out in the sun keep sunscreen handy and find simple ways to stay cool. Shorts are an obvious choice for staying cool. A lightweight t-shirt is another great way to ensure you don’t overheat. This henley from Mizzen + Main is a great option because it has the ability to roll the sleeves up if you get hot but can roll them back down if you get too much sun or it starts to cool off as the sun goes down. For that same reason I also recommend bringing a light outer layer when doing anything outdoors at night. Even if it’s a million degrees during the day temperatures can drop once the sun sets. For during the heat of the day a bandana around your neck is a stylish accessory. For one, you can get it wet or freeze it to keep you cool, but it also protects the back of your neck from the sun.

Another tip for dressing for the Fourth of July is to be careful with your color combinations. I am totally on board with embracing the holiday and the color scheme clearly. However, I’m not big on looking like you’re an American flag. I always err on the side of subtlety. Let one color outweigh the others. In this instance, the red shorts are more prominent than the blue bandana so that the two colors don’t compete making you look like a flag yourself. Plus, the chambray adds a tone of blue but isn’t overpowering. One of my favorite things about this look is the white Sebago docksiders. Made from white nubuck, they’re the perfect addition for a stylish summer Fourth of July look.

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 Henley: c/o Mizzen & Main // Shoes: c/o Sebago // Watch: c/o JORD // Shorts: Forever21 // Bracelet: Giles & Brother // Chambray: Forever21 // Bandana: vintage // Sunglasses: Spitfire

How To Wear a White Tee

June 23, 2016
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When it comes to style I’m a pretty simple, straightforward guy. I think every man should fill his closet with staples and find “new” ways to wear them. I say new because there’s nothing too revolutionary happening in my daily looks. But you know what I mean… learn to take basics and wear them in a variety of ways. One of my favorites is the white tee.

how to wear a white tee shirt-2how to wear a white tee shirt-7A great basic that every man has (or at least should) is a white t-shirt. I’ve got a drawer in my dresser that holds only black, white and gray tees and another drawer that holds all the other colors. The white tees have definitely taken over as of late as I’m finding I’m always grabbing a white tee. I’ve got crewnecks, v-necks, and roundnecks you name it. But this season I’ve started adding in white tees that have a little something else going on.

how to wear a white tee shirt-4how to wear a white tee shirt-10Take this one for example, it’s a longer style which is on trend at the moment, and it has the added stripe detailing near the hem. It takes a plain old white tee and makes it a little more interesting. Those two things made it different from any other white tee I had making it easier for me to justify adding it to my already very large collection.how to wear a white tee shirt-8 how to wear a white tee shirt-9how to wear a white tee shirt-13

If you’re looking for new ways to rock a white tee, try mixing up the other pieces too. Pair it with black jeans for a high contrast look. Or add another layer like a button up over it. I went for the monochromatic look and rocked this white tee with white denim and, another closet must-have, white sneakers. Monochrome looks are always a good idea—they’re easy to execute (just one color, duh) and always look like you know what you’re doing.

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SHOP THE LOOK

Tee: Forever21 // Jeans: American Eagle // Shoes: c/o SeaVees // Watch: c/o JORD // Bracelet: Giles and Brother // Sunglasses: Vuarnet (vintage)

Looking for more white t-shirt inspiration? Check out how some of my blogger friends from around the world are rocking a white tee:

Rodel // Nognog in the City

Nog Nog in the City

Martin // The Graceful Gray

The Graceful Gray

A Stylish Guide to Father’s Day

June 8, 2016
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Father’s Day is right around the corner (I actually thought it was earlier in the month but turns out it’s not). Shopping for some dads can be hard but for mine it’s actually pretty easy. For one, neither of my parents are ones to be unhappy about a gift. They’ll never tell you you didn’t spend enough or put in enough effort. With them it’s truly the thought that counts (at least I think it… they’ve never actually said it wasn’t so let’s go with that). Second, in the case of Father’s Day, my dad is like me. He has a variety of interests so there are always tons of viable gift options. I’ve put together a Father’s Day gift guide full of items that my quite stylish and interesting father would be happy to receive.

Tools

As a kid I always thought it was so weird to give gifts like tools because they seemed like they were always associated to work, never fun. But as I’ve gotten older and become a homeowner I’ve begun to truly appreciate getting tools as gifts because A) they are usually quite pricey and; B) you actually need them! I received a drill from my parents a couple of years ago as a Christmas gift and I’ve used it way more than most of my other gifts I received that year (except my Cole Haan boots… those guys have gotten worn more than I’ve used my drill, but that’s besides the point). Tools like a quality measuring tape or a sharp new retractable utility knife are always welcome because you always need them and every once in a while they need replaced.

Cocktails & Food

Like me, both of my parents can appreciate a good cocktail or a glass of wine. Cookbooks are always a great gift idea, and ones that can double as coffee table books are even better. Shake is a great book for anyone looking to up their cocktail game with simple, quality ingredients. It’s full of seasonal recipes that implement fresh herbs and fruit and each page is an art piece in and of itself. Another great gift for a booze enthusiast is a new set of cocktail glasses. Most people already have a set so they can’t justify purchasing additional ones. I received these copper plated Moscow Mule mugs as a gift a while back and I would never have bought them for myself but my wife and I use them all the time.

Socks

For years dads everywhere have received ties and socks for Father’s Day, but finally getting a pair of socks as a gift can be fun. Bright colors and fun patterns make giving and receiving socks a great option, especially if you have a stylish father. Plus, sites like Ties.com offer up sock packs so you can easily order and have them shipped directly to your dad. Again, who doesn’t love a gift they can actually use?

Grooming Products

Restocking your dad’s favorite grooming products, especially if they’re specialty products, is a great way to get in his good graces. If he hasn’t upped his grooming game in a while it’s also a great way to introduce him to some of your favorite products. Currently, I’m loving styling my hair with these styling products from Julien Farel. And if you’re really looking to pamper your dad, or you’re feeling guilty about missing last Father’s Day or crashing his car back in high school, gifting a quality fragrance like the natural scents from ODIN might be the best option. I’m currently loving ODIN’s 00 which has notes of berries and pepper and combines to create a truly unique fragrance. Just a small spray goes a long way too so it’ll last forever.

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SHOP

Stanley Tape Measure // Shake Cocktail Recipe Book // Julien Farel Flexible Paste // Julien Farel Sculpting Gel // Ties.com Socks // ODIN cologne // Copper Mug

I’m Not a Fashion Blogger, But Let’s Discuss Spring Style

June 7, 2016
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I am not a fashion blogger. I like to consider myself a personal style blogger. Or a menswear expert. Or better yet, a mens lifestyle blogger. Sure, I like to talk about my clothes and show simple ways of becoming a little bit more stylish, but I do more than that. I’m just offering up things that I’ve experienced and things that have helped me become a more stylish, more well-rounded man. It’s clothes, it’s grooming, it’s my favorite recipes, it’s a love of cocktails. It’s my closet, my medicine cabinet, my pantry and my home. It’s pretty much everything. You won’t see me attending fashion shows or discussing the latest up and coming designer. What you will find is your average guy offering up some seasoned advice for other average, everyday guys. Don’t get it twisted, I am not a fashion blogger.

Now that I’ve convinced you I’m not a fashion blogger, let’s talk simple spring style. No matter where you look I’ve been seeing menswear influencers denouncing sandals, banishing the feet of men to oxfords and sneakers. And I just don’t understand that at all. Now I get if sandals aren’t your thing and you want to lace up in some leather shoes on the daily but I like the freedom sandals provide me in the spring and summer. I’ve totally jumped on the bandwagon of Birkenstocks (my collection has grown this year) and I think they are the stylish version of a flip-flop. They’re comfortable and they’ve also got a bit of an earthy edge that I think translates perfectly into my So Cal style.

I’ve talked about it forever, but spring and summer can be some of the most difficult times of year for me to get dressed. It gets hot and I’m not a guy that likes to be hot (because I sweat profusely but that’s a story for a different day), so I’m not about to layer up in sweaters and pants unless the temperature outside allows me to. So that leaves shorts. Luckily, these days it’s easy to find shorts in a variety of colors that have stylish detailing. Whether it’s stripes, prints, polka dots or even pleats (like these) always try to choose a pair of shorts with a little something else going on. Same goes for shirts (especially short sleeve shirts); you’ve got less fabric so make it count. I love a good chambray shirt so obviously I’m loving this striped one because it combines my two loves: chambray and stripes.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (I’m serious)… personal style is personal so if you want to wear sandals, wear sandals. You want to look dapper every day, do that. Be you and make sure your clothes are you too.

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SHOP THE LOOK

Shirt: Forever21 (similar) // Sandals: Birkenstock // Shorts: old (similar) // Watch: JORD

Casual Style is Still Stylish

May 24, 2016
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It’s almost summer and I’m itching for a trip. I’m in the process of nailing down some details for a trip to Hawaii in the fall because my wife and I are dying to try to recreate our honeymoon which we took in Maui. Quick back story, we went to Hawaii and my wife got food poisoning our second night and was in bed pretty much the entire time. So we thought we deserved a real vacation to try to make up for the awful trip that was our honeymoon. So we’re in the process of finalizing that trip but I’m ready to take a weekend trip somewhere–I’d literally go anywhere. You know when you realize you haven’t had a day off in like a year and finally you’re beginning to understand why you’re slowly losing your sanity… yeah I’m there right about now.

Aside from my sanity, the other reason I’m ready for a weekend getaway is this awesome leather weekender, accurately called the Explorer bag. I just want to stuff it full of all my favorite things and escape somewhere. The bag can fit quite a bit and comes with a longer shoulder strap so I could probably pack enough for like a long weekend trip, I’m thinking 4 days. Maybe Palm Springs? Or Santa Barbara?

This outfit is exactly how I dress when I travel–comfortable, casual and, I think, pretty cool. 🙂  I’ve completely loaded up my spring wardrobe with all sorts of elevated tees like this one. It’s a thick terry material and brings a little more to the table than your average tee-shirt. It’s comfortable and perfect for travel but still looks nice. And speaking of comfortable, these slip ons are lovely. I’d been searching for a leather slip on for this spring/summer and these guys are perfect. They conveniently match my weekender so they’d obviously come with me on my trip too, how could I separate them? I love the saddle color and the braiding and tassel detailing on the back are a nice detail and it’s always all about the details.

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Shoes: c/o Coach // Bag: c/0 Coach // Jeans: c/0 Mott & Bow // Tee: Forever21

FOOD&DRINK

Simple Kale Pesto & Seafood Pasta Recipe

May 20, 2016
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My wife and I have a good solid rotation of healthy, delicious meals that we love. They’re easy to throw together after a long day at work and are always satisfying. I’m going to start documenting them here because I think it can sometimes be difficult to find easy recipes that are actually easy. My wife makes this amazing BLT salad that we literally eat a few times a month because it’s so good–way better than any salad I’ve ever had out. That being said, every once in a while you need to mix it up and try something completely new. Enter my new favorite meal.

I’m not sure what provoked me to try a meal that was all so new. I’m a pretty seasoned cook at home, my wife and I basically split up the week so I tend to make at least 3-4 meals a week. But this recipe had tons of firsts for me. It was my first time making pesto. My first time cooking scallops. And my first time cooking sole. But that’s what I love about cooking, you just take a chance and see what happens. In this case, it turned out delicious.

The pesto was great and it’s packed with so many nutrients it’s almost ridiculous. If you have kids this pesto would be a great dip for them to use on almost anything and I can pretty much guarantee they will love it. If you’re not a fan of seafood you could easily replace it with a nice lemon chicken or go vegetarian and remove the meat altogether. I will say, the most difficult part of this recipe is balancing timing. Getting everything to be done at once, especially with seafood which can cool off quickly, was a balancing act. My recommendation would be to finish the pesto start to finish first. Then move on to the pasta. I used whole wheat pasta which takes quite a bit longer than regular old pasta so if you do the same make sure you don’t start your seafood until the pasta is basically almost ready.

Check out the simple recipe and let me know how it goes for you–I’d love to hear from you all on Instagram or in the comments section.

INGREDIENTS

4 scallops

2 dover sole filets

Pasta (choose your fave)

1/2 lemon

Butter

Fresh ground pepper

1-2 heads of broccoli (depending on how large they are)

1 clove minced garlic

KALE BASIL PESTO INGREDIENTS

1/2 lemon

1 bunch of kale

Handful of fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

A dash or two of both salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. First, make the pesto which is super easy! Remove kale leaves from stems and then add all the ingredients to your food processor–I added the whole half lemon cut into slices, rind and skin and all. It added a nice full flavor but do what you want. Once it’s all blended you can add more of anything to your taste. Add additional olive oil to get the consistency you like. I didn’t add parmesan cheese but most pestos include it so you can add if you like.
  2. Boil your water and cook your pasta. Cut your broccoli into bite size florets. When your pasta only has a few minutes left, add your broccoli florets to the boiling water. Once your pasta and broccoli are cooked (broccoli should be bright green and still crisp) remove from heat and pour through colander to remove water.
  3. For both the sole add a pad of butter to a pan and let it melt. Add the garlic and let it heat in the butter for a bit. Add your fish or scallops and squeeze some lemon juice over it. Season with a little ground pepper. Oftentimes sole filets are super thin so they only take about 2 minutes on both sides. If the fish shreds when you are flipping (as mine did) don’t sweat it because you’re just going to crumble it over top your pasta.
  4. For the scallops, like the sole, add a pad of butter to a small pan. Add some garlic and let it heat in the butter. Keep in mind that this is where all the flavor for your scallops is coming from so ensure there is enough butter and garlic in the pan. Cook scallops on each side for about 2 minutes ensuring you get a nice sear on both sides.
  5. I added the sole atop my pasta and had the scallops on the side. I topped my pasta, broccoli and sole with pesto and a little parmesan cheese. Then I proceeded to eat everything very quickly because it was so good but that’s just me. Eat at your own pace. 🙂

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Getting Creative With Casual Menswear

May 15, 2016
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I’ve written about it before but it’s definitely worth repeating… I’m not your run of the mill dapper men’s blogger. You won’t catch me running around town in a shirt and tie or sporting a three-piece suit on any average Friday night. No, my style is a little more casual and a little more laidback but that doesn’t mean it’s any less stylish. I just like to be comfortable and don’t take my style too seriously. And, ever since I’ve started working at a more casual office, there is even less of a reason to formalize my daily looks. However, that’s only opened up the possibility for me to try mixing some of the more business-centric pieces in my wardrobe into my casual rotation.

This outfit is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. I took what would be generally considered to be a business pair of slacks and paired them with a relaxed v-neck tee to create the perfect combination of pulled together and casual comfort. This way I’m able to wear nicer pieces, like these linen suit trousers but in a way that’s more my style. Plus, this lightweight, breathable linen tee is a great way to dress down a pair of trousers.

This is a great way to think about your own closet. Don’t compartmentalize your pieces into categories like wear to work, weekends, travel, etc. Mix it up and get creative. I totally get that not everyone has the freedom to wear a t shirt to work but who says you can’t wear a pair of trousers with slip on sneakers on the weekend out to lunch? I don’t like boxes and I don’t like rules, especially when it comes to getting dressed so take a risk and have some fine. Remember, personal style should reflect you so try and inject a little bit of your personality into every outfit.

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Pants: c/0 Banana Republic // Tee: c/o Banana Republic // Shoes: Sperry (old) // Watch: JORD

Upgrade Your Grooming Routine with AVEDA

May 11, 2016
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My wife will testify that I am always on the hunt for new grooming products. I love testing out and trying new things because after a few months of using anything my skin and hair seems to get used to it and be less effective. It might just be in my head but it feels very real to me.

I’ve written about my hair routine before, but as a quick refresher, I only wash my hair a couple of times a week. This came after I realized I hated the way my hair felt after shampooing and conditioning every day. I initially switched to shampooing twice a week and conditioning on the off days to feel like I was doing something. Instantly my hair felt healthier and less dry. I recently embarked on testing out AVEDA’s new invati men™ shampoo and scalp revitalizer. It claimed to thicken hair and make it stronger. After a few weeks of mixing it into my grooming routine I have definitely noticed thicker, healthier hair which is huge. I still only use it a few times a week and mix in the scalp revitalizer on the days that I wash but even that has yielded great results. The nice thing about these products is that they seem gentle enough to use daily–nothing harsh in them that leaves hair feeling stripped and lifeless. Learn more about them here.

I even tried out their grooming clay and I’ve been pretty impressed. It’s a soft, pliable cream that has pretty good hold. I use it on days when I want a slightly looser look with less hold.

I was so thrilled with the way the shampoo and scalp revitalizer worked that I started using their other hair grooming products and a few of their skin products too. The aftershave is awesome–it’s creamy and moisturizing which I love and I’ve noticed less ingrown hairs where I use it on my neck which is key for me since I have sensitive skin. Speaking of sensitive skin, have a I also mentioned that I have extremely dry skin too? Ugh it’s the worst. But, I’ve been lathering this composition oil on my arms and shoulders, basically anywhere I’m a little dry, when I hop out of the shower and it’s been a lifesaver. You can also use it on your scalp to moisturize and promote healthy hair (I like to use it on days when I shampoo my hair as it adds a little moisture and body back to my hair).

Something else to note, AVEDA uses the best ingredients. They all include only the best ingredients, including certified organic essential oils and you can definitely tell. I feel a little spoiled now because I’ll never be able to settle for less. #lifeishard #justkidding

While I was provided AVEDA products, the opinions and thoughts expressed herein are most definitely my own. 

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Striking a Stylish Balance

May 4, 2016
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I am a firm believer in building a stylish wardrobe based upon classic pieces with additions of bolder statement pieces throughout. To help you visualize what this should look like when it comes to your closet, stick to my 70/30 principle. Seventy percent of your wardrobe should be classic, unassuming pieces that can be worn time and time again and thirty percent should be trendier pieces that make a statement or add some interest. This balance is important to creating a wardrobe that’s both current and updated without looking like an idiot. Think about all the male fashion collaborations out there these days, and it’s easy for guys to get confused about how to dress. Keep in mind that while trendy fashion pieces are great, they’re hard to wear on a daily basis and you run the risk of looking plain ridiculous. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave the house in head to toe Yeezy. It’s just a bad idea. Take a piece like that and mix it with something more toned down and classic.

I like incorporating base, quality pieces with unique pieces to create a great look that is simple and stylish to pull off time and time again. For example, these awesome Red Wing boots are a great staple to have in your closet because you can wear them so many different ways. In the winter you could literally only wear them every day and be fine. These Uniqlo chinos have become one of my favorite pair of pants because they not only fit great but are so easy to wear. I’ve worn them to work, out at night and everywhere in between.

In order to add a little bit of interest to a pretty straightforward look like this I added this awesome shirt. It’s a classic gingham but has a little pocket detailing for added interest. It’s a product from the bearded geniuses over at Beardbrand and Urban Beardsman. They know men and know how to make men look great so this shirt is awesome. Side note and shameless plug: I write fashion and style pieces for Urban Beardsman so if you’re interested make sure you check them out here.

All in all, keep in mind that you really shouldn’t think too much about all this fashion and style stuff. That’s why combinations like this are a great way to grab and go from your closet. Need more inspiration? Check me out on Pinterest.

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No Shows + New Shoes

April 27, 2016
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You know when you get a new pair of shoes and you’re super excited to slip them on and just show the world your new kicks? And then you remember that your feet hate you and your need for stylish footwear and love to get all cut up and blistered just to prove to you that comfort is more important than personal style? Add on top of that now it’s spring and you want to wear no shows which are great because you can’t see them, but then that usually means that the backs of your shoes just cut into your ankles. Sheesh, if I had a dollar for each of the times it’s felt like I’ve almost severed my Achilles tendon from a new pair of leather shoes… I’d have like a hundred dollars (good thing I have a day job).

Since I’ve obviously never learned to take it easy when breaking in a pair of shoes I buckled up my new Halsey shoe from CAT Footwear and headed out to enjoy running around town getting things done. I am proud to report that my Achilles tendon is not only intact but made it through the day completely unscathed. Not only are these shoes comfortable but I love their unique look. I own the Halsey boot and I was excited to see what the buckle closure looked like on a oxford and I’ve got to say, I’m digging it. They remind me of my old velcro shoes I had in elementary school but these look so much nicer. These have and will continue to be worn on repeat all spring and summer (and I think into fall and winter) long. CAT Footwear Spring 2016-1 CAT Footwear Spring 2016-3CAT Footwear Spring 2016-9CAT Footwear Spring 2016-8 CAT Footwear Spring 2016-4 CAT Footwear Spring 2016-6CAT Footwear Spring 2016-11CAT Footwear Spring 2016-2 CAT Footwear Spring 2016-7 CAT Footwear Spring 2016-10 CAT Footwear Spring 2016-5

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Shoes: c/o CAT Footwear // Jeans: c/o: Mott&Bow (save 20% with code BRICKANDVINE) // Shirt: J.Crew // Sunglasses: Nectar // Watch: JORD (click for $25 off)

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