Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What's Summer Without The Music In Tow: UE Roll 2 Wireless Speaker

So I'm sitting in Central Park a little over a week ago and it suddenly hit me, "Why don't I do this  more often?"  Could it be due to the fact that the city, of which Central Park is a part of, has become way overcrowded?  Perhaps.  However, siting on that bench watching the rowboats go by reminded me of dating and the impromptu picnics I used to enjoy in the park.  I remembered the ritual of staking out food, packing my biggest towel and having my trusted sketchbook in tow.  Well with all this modern technology, what about the tunes?  Getting your healthy dose of Vitamin D, fresh breezes and summer sights whether by the shore or in the park, music sets the soundtrack for a memorable summer day.

This is why I am so happy I discovered the UE Roll 2, a portable wireless bluetooth speaker.  Not only does this speaker pack bass and full rich sound but it also come equipped with a super durable cording on the back the affix it anywhere like to the front of your bike, to your beach chair's arm, to the strap of your picnic bag or to a fitness apparatus in your gym.  To sweeten the pot, the UE Roll 2 has up to 9 hours of battery life, a 100 foot bluetooth range and comes with an inflatable floatation device just in case you want it to float around the pool...because it's waterproof!!

Your handle on summer music just became that much more manageable.  The UE Roll 2 is available now in various fun colors from select retailers like Amazon, Walmart and BestBuy.

Monday, June 19, 2017

I Rant, You Read: Rebraiding The Ties That Bind

A funny little thing happened in the couple of years leading up to the recent US presidential election.  One could liken it to an inner-democratic alarm clock going off of sorts in the psyche of some Americans.  Well, the funny little occurrence was what I began to notice from people with moderate to high positions of power to local teen angst-filled revelers trying to be heard before adulthood pulled into the station.  What I began to notice was that people were becoming emboldened.  Now while you can query "haven't there always been bold individuals?", my response would be that "yes there has, but the emboldened behaviors now seem to be not out of an inspiration to be different or a visionary.  Rather, for better or worse, many today seem to be emboldened by exhaustion."  

Exhaustion as in being tired or fatigued you ask?  Yes, in a sense.  It seems that people are realizing that they are exhausted mentally.  American society has a way of making unbelievable strides to keep   their version of democracy in its pretty little red, white and blue packaging.  However, to borrow a phrase from my dear friend Robert's auntie, "what doesn't come out in the wash, comes out in the rinse".  It seems as though America is in its rinse cycle despite many refusing to accept that the washing machine has even been running.

Just what does that rinse cycle mean in regards to exhaustion mentally?  Well, many Americans are tired.  Tired of having to keep on a good face, keep up appearances, tired of having their democratic safety threatened.  Ironically there are other conglomerates of Americans who feel the exact same way for the exact opposite reasons.  For example, you may ask a random white American their view of race relations in America and that can very well vastly differ from the answer of the same question posed to a random black American.  I feel like the people who are tired of having the proverbial 'pink elephants in the room' of racism, equality, poverty, crime and gentrification consistently and blatantly side-stepped are just as tired as the people who are being accused of injustice, apathy, racism, objectification and privilege.  However, who's right in feeling tired and who's wrong?  The answer may be as clear or as murky as trying to understand the various cultural takes on American history through empathetic objective eyes rather than through opinionated subjective eyes, but who is going to listen, who is going to give ear first?  That in itself, in my opinion is the exhaustion some Americans are going through.  Society and its hasty pace has made it so hard to listen to and understand each other before the next popular culture phenomenon comes along and distracts us over towards an escapist dessert before we've even tasted our national meat and potatoes.

So whenever I see love & acceptance championed, people rally for the meek underdogs and people unify in positive ways to see change, it gives me a hopeful set of eyes towards the ill-feelings I can have towards blatant racism, subconscious objectification, unapologetic privilege and the blind eye many have to situations where the victim or victims don't look like them, worship like they do, live like they do or speak the language they speak.  

So I round this out to what I see going on in the world and since my area of expertise is mens fashion, I relate menswear's connectivity to what I have aforementioned and this exhaustion.  Modern men are getting exhausted of the same repackaged narrative and perspective over and over again and they are not falling for it as they once were.  So what you have now are men waking up the the restorative powers of color & print, their dismantling of the outdated rules of dressing and infusing individuality into their choices rather than blindy or nervously subscribing to gender norms and tradition.  Those who wished to keep you in line determined the status quo before, but as annoying as it can be at times, the public's voice speaks louder than any merchandiser's or buyer's declaration.  Just ask Michele at Gucci and his gender-bending emperor's new verve and Gvasalia at Vetements & Balenciaga and his cult status wears that are reshaping the machismo male silhouette and challenging the outdated runway-to-rack cycle.  Look at Raf Simons, JW Anderson, Virgil Abloh and Heron Preston whose championing of the underdog combined with an unpredictable youthful zeitgeist seem to move at the unprecedented coveted pace of the next Instagram challenge.  

My thinking is that if we can elect an unapologetic president like Donald Trump that claims to want to unite yet causes so much division and if the British government can turn a blind eye to the horrific incident with the inhabitants of the Grenfell Tower then voices need to be raised, minds need to be changed.  If courts and certain Americans think nothing is really wrong with police reactions to people of color and situations like the death of Philando Castile and if box-office numbers seem more important than the US decision to back out of the Paris Climate Pact then rules and those behind it need to be challenged.  If the higher ups believe that taking away the choices of minorities is democracy then perspectives and attitudes involving heritage, tradition and visual signifiers, such as hairstyle, clothing and adornment also need to broaden.  Change, not just for something different to do, but because those exhausted voices and fists raised will need to be heard & seen and not further cajoled into believing that those who can't even handle their own imposed systems know what's best for them.  Welcoming and embracing a newer or often overlooked, downplayed, chastised or neglected perspective can be the first step to welcoming necessary change in society, race relations, justice, equality and yes, the often-considered affectatious personal power of fashion.

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Bit Of The Briny For the Beau: Maritime by Tommy Bahama Fragrance Review

I remember that Seinfeld episode from a while back where Kramer had this brilliant idea for a cologne that smelled like you do when you just come back from the beach.  While I always thought I knew what he meant in theory, in reality, with everyone's different body chemistry, pheromones, etc. (not to mention the kind of sea water), I always thought that it's good that this is just a sitcom.  Imagine trying to capture a scent that smelled like you had just come from the beach?  Keyword is you.  Everyone is different so my thinking is that everyone would each register that fragrance as something different altogether.  My sensibilities always asked 'why not make a scent that reminds you of the oceanside' with the fresh, sometimes sweet, saltwater in the air mixed with the crisp breezes not laced with city pollution.  At least evoke a scent that conjures up the thought.

Enter Maritime by Tommy Bahama for Men, the latest scent from the tropical print and warm-weather wear wunderkind.  This newest scent was created by senior Firmenich perfumer Frank Voelkl.  Inspired by the entrancing beauty of the ocean's waves, this is a delightful and exciting fragrance for the season.  It features top notes of citrusy bergamot, sweet lavender, fresh pink pepper, clary sage, violet leaf, geranium and ambergris.  Cutting those top notes are cedar wood, sandalwood, musk and moss.  You've got the full oceanic experience here.  The tropical citrus and herbal coastal greens together with the heady woodsy notes mash together the seaside environs of the tropics all the way to New England in a familiar and pleasant way.  The beauty of the notes have a warm lingering waft while the deeper bottom notes are more sensual and subtle by causing you to sniff deeper like the briny depths flanking this scent's inspiration.

Maritime by Tommy Bahama for Men is a great scent on its own or for layering.  I have Tommy Bahama St. Kitts fragrance and it layers so nicely with that as well.  This will be a nice addition for you or for dad's collection this Summer or this Father's Day to get to the seaside if only through an olfactory journey.  Maritime by Tommy Bahama is available now at Belk, Lord & Taylor, Dillard's and at TommyBahama.com.  Father's Day is Sunday June 18.

Monday, May 15, 2017

No More Excuses (For Feet That Is): Silipos Active Foot Care

Are you still sitting on the couch binge-watching 'Stranger Things'?  My friend, that's what the Winter was for!  Need I remind you that in just a couple of weeks every news outlet and everyone who has been patiently waiting for it will be all too happy to announce the unofficial start of Summer.  So you've procrastinated and it's almost Memorial Day, but have no fear.  All it takes is the will to get up off of the sofa and turn off the AppleTV or tell Alexa to disengage the Firestick, take a walk over to your closest mirror and realize that since the season is practically upon us, it's now or never to start a routine to rid yourself of that channel-surfing, comfort-eating paunch.  

Most will now say, my aching this or my sore that, but maybe it's to rely on those who know to put you in the know.  Since I know a thing or two about footwear, let me put you at ease and let you know that your aching feet need not talk you out of even the simplest of fitness plans this season.  This is due to my discovery of a line of ergonomic foot pampering that'll make it easier to jog, run, sprint, lift, cross-train, walk, squat, lunge and hot-skip-n-jump this season.

Silipos Active has a wonderful line foot care accessories tricked out for sport-related activity to help cushion everything from your on again off again bunions to chronic heel pain.  Their Active line is equipped with gel protectants covered by materials that are the same as your smartphone armbands and ankle-weights to ensure added comfort while being pressure-alleviating, hypoallergenic and latex-free.  The Silipos Active line consists of Gel Corn Pads, Sandal Gel Toe Protectors, Heel Spurs/Cushions, Ball of Foot Gel Cushions, an Active Gel Bunion Sleeve and a Gel Toe Protector with Spreader.  I think they've got your foot malady covered, not to mention cushioned and relieved. 

The Silipos Active line is available here at Silipos.com.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Love For The Skin You're In And The Planet You're On: EmerginC Skin Care and Cosmeceuticals

I remember years ago when the shift happened in fashion marketing.  All of a sudden it wasn't just about the product they wanted you to see since many times the product was more hype than helpful.  It became about the lifestyle you could have (or should have) if you decide to purchase this product.  Ads and even fashion editorials painted a picture of beauty not too much centered around the product, but had more of a fixation on the prospective buyer to delve mind-first into the world that this product encompassed.  This shift created, if you will, a greater consciousness for the consumer as to what was behind the creation of the product and thusly the utilization and aftermath of experiencing the product more than a focus on the product itself.  All the questions, the where's, why's, and for whom it was created, seemed to be the selling point in convincing the consumer that they needed it.  The conscious consumer was being cultivated to not just accept a pretty face holding a pretty package in the age of global warming,  fair wages and carbon footprints; they were being cultivated to actually begin to take deeper stock and care about not just spending their money, but investing it in order to add to their happiness and sense of humanity.  

With that said (along with the recently leap into my 40s) I asked myself after looking at my four closets full of clothing, leaning towers of shoeboxes and bathroom drawers filled with various skin care endeavors, what really matters?  A new-found consciousness made me realize that, as you age, the real things that stick with you are things like beliefs rather than feelings, quality rather than quantity and longevity rather than temporal.  I tried to combine this thinking with the aforementioned  to balance with how I spend now and a desire to find a personal contentment.  

So I'm a more conscious consumer with a belief that whatever initiates my spending must inevitably lead to good investments.  This is exactly why when I hear of companies like EmerginC, my interests are peaked.  I had the distinct pleasure of discovering EmerginC last week in a roundtable discussion with its founder Ian Lirenman and his dedicated energetic New York staff.  Here's what I discovered.  Scoff if you will, but there is much truth to the fact that we humans are slowly ruining this planet.  Further, if the planet is being ruined then what we borrow, utilize and ingest from it is not excluded.  I, for one, do not want to damage myself too much before my end-date so the philosophy of EmerginC spoke volumes to me in its adherence to sustainable skin care birthed out of a concern for the planet's natural abundance.  

What began in 1996 with a small run of the most effective Vitamin C serums on the market has since grown into a full line of pure and potent cosmeceuticals ethically sustained and formulated to have a three-fold effect.  How three-fold?  EmerginC helps bring the best out of your skin by 1) bringing the best to your skin, 2) not harming the planet in doing so and 3) ethically involving, not exploiting, those involved in its mission.  The company works with top chemists and state-of-the-art labs in using medical grade and expert natural cosmeceutical ingredients, active botanicals and marine extracts to ensure sustainable and stellar visually rejuvenating, scientifically proven and spiritually renewing products.  Since synthetics are not their thing, for every product bought from EmerginC, a tree is planted in many of the countries they source from and they have even started the EmerginBees and EmerginCeeds programs to involve the conscious consumer in their mission and to create and source fair trade ethically and sustainably wherever possible.

The company has even started tree-planting initiatives in countries such as in Madagascar where since 2014 has planted over 200,000 trees, restored 100 acres of land, and created over 400 days of employment for planters on the African island country.  This gives products like their Kombucha Cleanser, Coconut Argan Body Oil, Vitamin C Retinol Mask and Spirulina Toner that full circle credibility by not only giving its consumers the best but also creating a livelihood for a country to ensure that they can provide their best for their families and  helping give back to the planet.  What a fulfilling way to do your part to thank the planet and keep it going by creating and showcasing a beautiful you.  

For more on the amazing restorative products, technologies and initiatives of EmerginC head on over to their website here.  Be inspired to live and do better and inevitably look better!