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Friday, June 23, 2017

Mind, Body, Spirit And Moringa: Dr. Smood Review


Spring has sprung.  Has the metamorphosis begun?  That seasonal shedding of Winter's pounds and ounces for Summer's abs and pecs.  If not then have no fear, since I realize that it's easier proposed than executed.  After all, until you can get into the swing of exercising daily, many men find it much easier to grab a cold cocktail than to grab a free weight.  However, as many a trainer will tell you, exercising is key, but if you don't control the way, when and what you eat, then all your efforts slide down the drain much like that sweet roll slides down your throat.  There is hope though.  In-between workouts, spin classes and afterwork jogs, your food choices don't have to be the ones that turn on you.  They can be the redemptive, restorative, nurturing and honorable kind that'll make your trainer not give you the side-eye.

How do I know this?  Well I am almost two months vegan now.  Let me be the first to tell you that this is quite an undertaking especially from someone who was once the proverbial carniverous bully on the lush green vegan playground.  Why vegan?  Well, this being my 40th year of existence, I wanted to challenge myself and on the brain lately have been thoughts of my own humanity and equipping myself to be around to better help others.  

That brought front and center the very personal ways in which I looked at my behaviors, mannerisms and choices.  A very personal thing is what one puts into their body and after 40 years of getting it right, wrong, and all the in-between I thought a great way to see what my character is made of was to test the very personal connection I have with what goes into my body coupled with how my body responds post-consumption.  I've had ups and downs with various meats and dairies so I decided one Sunday to say farewell to the meats and cheeses and up the intake of greens.  What I discovered was a couple days became a week then that became a month and now I'm approaching the two month mark and I must say on this journey I've had better digestion, more energy, better brain function, better workout results and more peace of mind.

So with peace of mind in full swing and the fact that I live in a city that often tries to rob you of it, I delight in little oases where I can properly indulge and escape the manic energy until I can return to the confines of my abode once again.  One such place I recently discovered was Dr. Smood with their appropriate slogan 'Smart Food For A Good Mood'.  My first encounter with Dr. Smood was two days ago as I previewed their newly opening Soho NYC location at 470 Broome Street.  I would classify Dr. Smood as a holistic culinary experience to cleanse, simplify and beautify by promoting natural foods, nutrition and wellness.  They achieve this by offering a bevy of fully organic, non-processed, sustainable ingredients made into wonderfully enriching foods, drinks, beauty products and programs.  

On this particular day I got a chance to sample an array from their Live Menu of fresh organic juices like the Energy Juice with apple, red bell pepper, pineapple and ginger and their delicious organic smoothies like the Healthy Smoody-Tropical Twist with cashew mylk, almond, banana, strawberry, pineapple and Himalayan salt.  Also on tap at their bar are signature brews using the cleanest of coffees and pure ingredients as well as the option to add-on superfood combinations with names such as 'Anti-ager', 'Medicinal Power' and 'Cleanser' featuring ingredients like maca, a├žai, moringa and lacuma. 

Then I jumped on over to their selection of Power Sandwiches that offer a delicious vegan option and others that use ingredients like antibiotic-free turkey and wild pole-caught tuna.  These are freshly prepared on super-tasty locally-baked Performance Bread made with spelt & millet flakes with organic delectable add-on options like vegan cream cheese, hummus and pesto.  Accompanying these decadent fresh assortments are wonderful organic coffee and organic mindful tea bars.  Their Grab & Go menu offerings feature energizing Organic Green, Fruit and Detox Juices as well as Organic Boosters made from sourced ingredients and Organic Mylk options made from combinations of fragrant spices and Brazil nut and almond mylks.  A full and impressive Organic Raw Breakfast section offers up raw pancakes, raw oats, probiotic yoghurts and matcha & mama chia pudding.  The Organic Power Salad section works with a bevy of ingredients centered around kale, quinoa, sprouted black lentils and tabouli while cold drinks to grab & go feature refreshing selections like high alkaline water, organic iced tea blends and beauty water made with rose petals. 


Rounding out what Dr. Smood has to offer is a full beginner to advanced & post-detox Detox Program, recommended by Dr. Etti, the head of R&D, to accompany the company's holistic offerings and to create what she calls a "clean environment for body, mind and spirit".  What's really nice about Dr. Smood is that they don't just operate under the guise of fresh and organic, it truly is fresh, clean, organic and backed by the expertise of nutritionists and doctors to ensure a full-circle health experience.  Dr. Smood has five locations in Miami and now three in New York, with the newly opened 470 Broome Street location with two more to open in NYC soon.  For more information on all the wonderful products, programs and locations they have to offer, head to their website here at DrSmood.com.  Maybe a nice hearty Cacao Shake and nourishing DrS Veggie Pattie can tie you over until you become inspired for a Soul Cycle class.

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.