Category Archives: Lifestyle

For those without citizenship

After all, we are all visitors.

A new collaboration between surf legend Kelly Slater and Quicksilver has forged a new lifestyle brand built for the journey.

Wherever it may lead you.

I haven’t seen much of the collection but I did catch a glimpse at one of the best looking packs I’ve seen in a while.

The waxed canvas bag is big enough to fit weeks worth of gear and has storage compartments for days.  Don’t feel like lugging the entire pack with you everywhere you go?  No worries.  The small compartment on the front is detachable, perfect for a laptop bag or other day-to-day use.

One of the coolest features, which may also be the least practical, is the included hammock – tucked away in a small compartment somewhere.

Can’t say I’ve been in situations where I’ve really needed a hammock but little details like this really reinforce the brand’s pedigree and lifestyle it was made for.

I’m a sucker for rugged gear that is just as functional as it is attractive.  Same goes for interesting collaborations.  Just so happens that the combination of the two in this situation shows a lot of promise.  I find it really interesting to see trends in minimalism intersecting with utility.  VSTR quotes William Blake:

“…We never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough.”

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Innovation meets old-world style

Growing up my mother always made sure my brothers and I were well dressed.  For more formal occasions this often meant elaborate outfits constructed from multiple layers.  I remember one particular Sunday sitting on a pew complaining to my mom and a friend of hers about how uncomfortable I felt in whatever fruit suit she had me wearing that particular day.  Not sure why it made such an impression on me but for some reason their response has stuck with me for 20-something years:

“It’s not about how you feel, it’s about how you look.”

For far too long people have considered comfort and style to be mutually exclusive.  This just baffles me.  I find it hard to believe that in the 21st century we are unable to create a good looking product that is also comfortable and easy to wear.  Well, wouldn’t you know as soon as I started getting flustered about this very topic I come across the latest from one of the biggest names in men’s footwear, Cole Haan.  They put a classically designed brogue dress shoe on top of an ergonomic outsole for pure podiatric bliss.  You can see a definite nod to CH’s parent company NIKE who brings serious innovation and tech to the table wherever they go.

I love the design and am happy to see more menswear brands pushing the boundaries of acceptable style with great color combos and a fine integration of classic and modern aesthetic.  Here are a few pics of the shoes that will be available only at the Cole Haan store in SoHo starting next week.

And my personal favorite…

The gray/yellow might be a bit much for some but I think they are incredibly cool.  I’d love to get my hands on a pair of these someday when I’m not a broke grad student.  Pipe dreams.

I knew Cole Haan was a NIKE brand but there’s something about seeing such a blatant integration of both brands’ style that really rubbed me the right way.  I couldn’t help but think of one of NIKE’s maxims:

“If we don’t lead it, we don’t need it.”

I love their commitment to greatness.

The LunarGrand Wingtip is a perfect example of NIKE & Cole Haan leading their category.

Now, some of you that read the blog may have heard that I just recently had an opportunity to interview with NIKE for a potential summer internship.  The timing of this post is unintentionally ironic!  What are the odds that I find these shoes the same day I interview?!  I know there is little I can do at this point to escape the heat I’m going to get for this but I just want to come out to my peers and say that this was in no way strategic.

If by some chance someone at NIKE finds this,

I hope it worked 😉

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Been thinking a lot lately about picking up a record player and starting a record collection.  No doubt the digital age has made music much more accessible and far more convenient.  But there is something about the vinyl, the spinning record, the scratch of the needle as its dropped into place.  Its all very organic.  Very raw.  And in my mind’s eye it seems like the best way to unwind and listen to music.  Assuming you really want to listen.

Any advice from those still listening to records?

Which albums seem to be made just for vinyl?

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The Burning House

Some may remember a few months back when I added a site to my blogroll called The Burning House.  I really loved the idea of collecting all the things that are special or important (and capable of being carried out of a burning house with very little time) and laying them all out.  Its a much more difficult task than I initially thought.  It is amazing how much you can tell about people by what they choose – their priorities, interests, beliefs.  After first coming across this TBH I really wanted to try and pull all my things together for a photo but I never took the time to do it.  I have been thinking about it for quite a few weeks and today bit the bullet.  The photo quality isn’t great (thx iPhone) but shame on me for not having a real camera.  I did attempt to spruce it up with good ol’ Instagram.  Either way, I thought I would share here.  Who knows how long it will take to make it onto the site if it ever makes it at all.

You can be sure if it does I will post a link.

Here are the items I would take with me if I had to run out of my burning house without notice…


Action Journal – I use this notebook to record all my thoughts, goals, inspiration

Watch – Timeless style and functional, how could I not?


Magic wallet – All my ID and all my cash…which unfortunately isn’t much

Vintage leather plaque belt

Brown leather bomber – Gift from my brother

Trifecta chain – I had this made after my youngest brother passed away about a year ago.  I have 2 brothers and we are incredibly close.  I wanted something to symbolize this and help keep him near my heart.

Ray Ban Wayfarers

Macbook Pro – Gotta take all my work, music, and pictures

Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway – This is the book my father used to read to me in adolescence and was the book that really taught me to love  literature.

Favorite picture of me and my best buds – My dad and 2 brothers

Jack Purcell’s – best sneakers ever

Favorite pair of raw selvedge denim

Wooden carving sculpture – Picked it up in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Not Pictured:  Beautiful wife & 2 mangy boys.  They would obviously be out before any of this stuff 🙂

So there you have it.  After much thought this is the list I came up with.  Its an interesting mix of sentimental & practicality.  I’m sure I could come up with a different list every day but I think this is a good representation of me.

The funny thing when you step back and ponder the burning house question is that really all this stuff is replaceable.  Its just stuff.  Sure it means something to me and has sentimental value but at the end of the day all I really need I carry with me in my mind and in my heart.


Brand Alliance – Levi’s & Urban Outfitters

I came across this campaign recently and after putting aside my disappointment that no stops will be made in RVA I realized what a great example this is of creating alliances to strengthen brands.  I found it especially interesting to see a partnership between two brands that could in some ways be considered competitors.  Not in all categories, but certainly in some.  Very refreshing to see them rise above that and recognize the benefits of putting together an awesome collaboration.

Maybe this just seems extra cool to me now that i am a bike commuter.  Or that I appreciate the fashion industry and am very interested in it, Levi’s being one of my favorite brands.  Likely the combination.  I was watching a short video Levi put together highlighting the features of their new commuter jeans and while initially I wasn’t a big fan of the large loop on the back of the pants intended to act as a holster for your u-lock, they really are very cool.  “Form. Function. Cycling.” is their tag-line and it works.  I cant tell you how many times in the past few weeks of biking around in the Virginia heat/humidity I would have liked to have been wearing a pair of jeans that were both stank and moisture resistant.  The 3M reflectivity on the inner cuff is a nice touch too (thats the 3rd participating brand here!).

Check out the video below and get more info on the Levi’s/UO traveling bike shop here.

The mobile bike shop has already made its way through part of the trek but if you are in one of the upcoming cities and this seems cool to you definitely go check it out.  Come back and report too because I’d love to hear about it.  You know if they were coming to Richmond I would be there getting some new tape and maybe a patch or 2.  Looks like the on-site tailor would probably even sew them onto a bag or something.

Interests aside I would love to check it out in person just to witness the execution of what I think is a very intelligent branding play and a good example of something I hope I can do in the next few years at the Brandcenter.

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Independence Day

Yesterday our nation celebrated its independence from those tyrants across the pond.  I did my best to celebrate like a true American….

by enjoying foods from other countries…
Chorizo and Cheese Omelette Smothered in Green Chile
exercising my right to bear arms…


 and chillin with my little homie.

All in all it was a great day. 

I’m thankful for my freedoms and express much appreciation to those that have fought for our liberty and those that continue to do so. 

a little competition

For years Mini Cooper has had the “tiny euro car in the US” market monopolized.  Quite a few auto makers have put out small cars in an attempt to compete but have had little success.  I chalk this up to the fact that Americans are enthralled with 2 things (amongst others): Europe and all things “vintage”.  Mini Cooper came into the US market and offered Americans the opportunity to drive a car that was associated with being British (despite being made by BMW…which is not necessarily a bad thing) and loaded with vintage charm.  Something that could only come from a heritage brand like Mini.  Well the gig may be up for Mini. 

I had been hearing  rumors that the Italians, as the new owners of Chrysler, would be launching a revised version of the Fiat 500, an italian car that is positioned very nicely to compete with Mini Cooper.  I had forgotten about this until a few weeks ago when my neighbor brought one home.  I have been seeing it in the driveway for weeks and have to say my inital uncertainty has been slowly migrating to a lingering curiosity.  I must say, the car is pretty cool!  It’s well designed, the engine has a nice little rumble, and I would assume it drives like its on rails. 

Here is the real question: Mini or Fiat?

Mini Cooper S

Mini Cooper S

Fiat 500 Abarth

Fiat 500 Abarth



Originally I was pro Mini in this debate but not sure I am still there.  Granted it is a result of the Fiat being brand new, but I feel like the Mini Cooper fad is reaching that played out point.  The Fiat is pretty unique and possibly the only Italian car to ever hit US auto lots that didn’t cost six-figures and demand driving loafers. 

Either way I am in favor or abandoning the giant SUV’s, lifted trucks, and gas guzzlers that are so stereotypical of the US.  I hope to see more cars like this….small, fuel efficient, fun to drive, and well designed.  Not to mention the fact that Americans could certainly stand a little petrol diet.  


Joe Pug

I’m not too cool to admit that I don’t know every awesome band or musician out there.  Thats why having a homie like Bert pays off.  He tipped me off the other day about a guy named Joe Pug. I have basically spent all my time since then listening to his songs and loving them all! 

I contest that music hasn’t seen a lyricist like Joe since Bob.  That might be a hard bridge for some to cross but its worth considering.  Listen to these songs and tell me you disagree…

We need more musicians like Pug.  

Musicians that sing the contents of their heart.  

Musicians that are passionate about their craft. 

Musicians that are raw.   

 I really hope Joe Pug goes places and continues to put out music like this.  It may seem counter intuitive to promote a guy whose charm is partially attributed to being unknown and I am sure there are those who will be pushed off the bandwagon by an increase in popularity because they only listen to “indie” musicians.  To each their own.  Joe doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that would sell out for fame. 

He says himself, “the more I’m bought, the less I cost.”

Next time his tour crosses my path know where I will be. 

Man Den

I came across something that tickled my fancy in a big way just now.  Perhaps this is the innate desire of a habitual tennant to own my own space but something tells me that when the time comes for me to purchase my own house I will be battling for every square foot to establish my fantasy Man Den. 

 I don’t need anything elaborate.  Just somewhere to do my thang, so to speak.  Listen to music, hang posters my wife disapproves of, stock a mini fridge of….sodas.  And perhaps most importantly, scratch without persecution. 

GQ just published a sweet article on these little prefab cabanas (essentially glorified sheds) that would be an ideal man den.  Stylish yet simple.  Sweet design, sweeter function.  Just throw it down in the location of your choosing and get busy being a man.       

If you need me I’ll be in my man den….at least I hope to be some time in the not too distant future.

homeless no more

As many of you may have heard I have recently decided to go back to school.  This statement has acquired multiple meanings this week as we finalized a place to live in Richmond.  We will be living in an old school house that was built in the early 1900’s and converted into lofts and apartments about 5 years ago.

The apartments are very cool – big windows, exposed brick, hardwood or cement flooring.   We are very excited to have found a place in a great area in the city and are looking forward to our urban dwellers lifestyle for the next few years. 

Here are a few pictures of the new hood.