Casual Style is Still Stylish

May 24, 2016
Coach Leather Luggage and Shoes-9

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
Banana Republic Blue Casual Menswear-7

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
AVEDA Men Grooming Products-4

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
Urban Beardsman Beardbrand Shirt-7

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
CAT Footwear Spring 2016-11

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)

Spring Stripes + White Soles

April 21, 2016
Rockport Total Fusion Rocksand-3

Spring is in full bloom and I couldn’t be more excited. The days are getting longer and their full of sunshine and warm weather. You can’t help but have a smile on your face in the springtime. For me the beginning of seasons is always my favorite–I love getting to transition from sweaters and coats to tees and light layers. And while everyone else was chilling at Coachella I was hanging out at home and all was right with the world. I’ve never been to Coachella but for me it sounds like an absolute nightmare–I hate crowds and I hate how Coachella fills my Instagram feed with so many obnoxious pictures. If you’re into, cool for you. I’m just not.

While I might not be a music festival kind of guy, I do like getting new clothes (unrelated, but it gives you a little insight as to what I’m all about haha). This time of year I always pick up a few new pieces that I know will get worn a ton and carry me through the season. That’s why I’m loving these new shoes. They are 1) so incredibly comfortable it’s almost illegal (if comfort were a legal issue) and; 2) they have all the athletic inspired style one could ask for. I love that they’ve got the sole (and soul) of a sneaker but the classic qualities of an oxford. And the color is perfect for spring. Almost as perfect as this Bougainvillea is as a backdrop (I mean, what?!).

And if stripes had a season it would definitely be spring–they start to pop up everywhere (I’m wearing them now as I sit here and write this). Style note: If you find yourself doing a ton of stripes as I tend to do, try finding pieces that mix it up a bit. This Forever21 mesh baseball shirt is a great twist on a classic pattern.

Discount Alert! Save 20% off a pair of Rockports by clicking here (discount taken automatically at checkout). Enjoy!

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Jeans: c/o Mott & Bow (use code BRICKANDVINE for 20% off) // Shirt: Forever21 // Chambray: J.Crew // Shoes: c/o Rockport (click for 20% off) // Sunglasses: Nectar // Watch: Citizen // Bracelet: Giles & Brother

Jeans For All Seasons

April 18, 2016
Mott and Bow Jeans Zara Coat-5

Coat season is officially coming to a close in So Cal which makes me sort of sad. I picked up this coat from Zara this year and it didn’t get worn nearly enough. As I packed it up I kept telling it next year would be different but I’m not sure it believed me. And how could I expect it to when I don’t believe it myself. You just don’t need that much outerwear here in So Cal. The cool seasons are short… I mean it’s already ninety degrees here right now!

One thing I never feel guilty stocking up on are jeans. I work in a pretty casual office environment so jeans are a staple in my everyday wardrobe. Some guys love a nice suit but give a nice pair of jeans any day. They’re versatile and the slightly worn in wash goes with pretty much everything (even a coat you can hardly wear), no matter the season.

Get your own pair of Mott & Bow jeans (I promise you will love them!). Your first pair is 20% off when you use code BRICKANDVINE. Get em, wear em, comment below how much you love em! Mott and Bow Jeans Zara Coat-2 Mott and Bow Jeans Zara Coat-9Mott and Bow Jeans Zara Coat-3 Mott and Bow Jeans Zara Coat-10Mott and Bow Jeans Zara Coat-5Mott and Bow Jeans Zara Coat-4Mott and Bow Jeans Zara Coat-8 Mott and Bow Jeans Zara Coat-6

Make sure to pick up your own pair of Mott & Bow jeans. Use code BRICKANDVINE at checkout and get 20% off your first pair. 

FOOD&DRINK

Supercharged Turmeric Tea Recipe

April 15, 2016
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I’m always on the hunt for a natural way to get healthier. I’m not a big fan of medications and would always prefer to treat any ailment with proper nutrition or natural supplements. That’s why I’m so excited about this super simple Turmeric tea recipe. Turmeric has been gaining in popularity over the past couple years but has been around forever. It’s a root similar to ginger, that contains natural compounds that have numerous health benefits. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Fights cancer-causing inflammation in the body
  • Scientific studies have proven that it is as effective in treating depression as Prozac (this is insane to me)
  • Can actually inhibit cancer cells from growing
  • Can help improve brain health and memory function
  • Good for skin balance and fighting blemishes and signs of aging
  • So much more!

If you’re looking for a natural way to get a little bit healthier or could use a boost in dealing with any of the symptoms above this Turmeric tea is perfect. Or if you just like things that taste good it works for you too. Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments below!

TURMERIC TEA RECIPE

Ingredients 

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 Tablespoon raw honey

1.5 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Filtered water

Directions: Juice lemon into a mug and add ground turmeric, ground ginger, and honey. Add your boiling water and stir. That’s it. You might have to stir every so often as the ground turmeric and ginger has a tendency to settle to the bottom.

Enjoy everyone!

 

Disclaimer: I am in no way a health professional so please consult a physician or nutritionist for personal health guidance. Turmeric can have side effects so please use discretion. Click here for more information. 

Back To Basics With Banana Republic

March 31, 2016
Banana Republic Spring Shorts and Tee-5

For me, weather almost always dictates what I wear. I hate to be uncomfortable so you won’t often see me layering up when it’s over eighty degrees and you won’t see me in shorts unless it’s warm enough to warrant them. I really hate when you see these outfits of guys running around in a shirt and tie, sweater, and blazer and it’s supposed to just be a casual “everyday” look when it’s 100 degrees out. No, I’m more into basics. Shorts were made for a reason people—get on board and let those legs see the light of day. Normally I’m not ready for springtime and shorts but these past few months have given us a good dose of winter and even some rain so I’m definitely looking forward to the warmer months more than I would think I would be.

Every season I like to stock up on a few new staples so with the warmer months on the horizon shorts have been on my mind. This pair from Banana Republic is a great option because they have a slight dot pattern that separates them from the crowd but it’s subtle enough that it’s easy to mix and match with almost any color that’s in your wardrobe. I try to add little styled touches to simple outfits like this so I cuffed the bottom of the shorts a couple times to give them a shorter length and it just gives off the impression that you take the time to care about the details. Personally, I also think it looks better so maybe that’s why I do it? Haha.

Pairing an interesting short with another great staple, a classic baseball tee, is always recommended. Mixing in basics like the tee makes you look stylish without looking too pulled together—I don’t like taking myself and my personal style too seriously so I try to follow the high low rule religiously. Exhibit B: pairing the look with some work boots and ensuring that the socks show just a bit. All of this combines to make a perfectly pulled together look that doesn’t look like you spent hours in the mirror deciding what to wear—no one wants that.

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Shorts: c/o Banana Republic // Tee: c/o Banana Republic // Boots: c/o Cat Footwear // Watch: Skagen // Bomber: Gap (old)

Special thanks to Banana Republic for collaborating and providing product! All opinions expressed are my own.

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