John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Product

jyb_musingsTonight for the first time in my life –and at the considerable age of 51 — I bought and used “Product.”

For my hair.

The friendly and talkative hair stylist kept asking me what kind of “product” I used and I politely explained I had never used product before and wouldn’t need any, thank you.

But she persisted.

Finally, she had me pull out my phone and Google Patrick Dempsey (who is an actor and plays a character named Dr McDreamy in Grey’s Anatomy) and told me that with the right product I could look like him.

“His hair,” she clarified.

That was good enough for me.

So tonight I look like a doctor. Who doesn’t look like Patrick Demspsey. But who does look like he uses hair product.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Favorite Things

jyb_musingsFavorite things….

At dinner tonight, No, we weren’t discussing Julie Andrews but were brainstorming for our “Top three” favorite lists in a bunch of different categories. 

It’s fun to play along. Here are some of mine. 

Comedy Series (Cable) — 1) Ali G , 2) Chapelle Show, 3) Curb Your Enthusiasm. 

Drama (Cable) — 1) Sopranos , 2) Six Feet Under (never got the credit it deserved, IMHO , 3 ) Breaking Bad and House of Cards (tie) I know that is cheating by having a “tie.”

TV Series– 1) Columbo 2) Twilight Zone 3) Beverly Hillbillies

Musical Groups — 1) Steely Dan, 2) Traffic, 3) R.E.M./Pearl Jam/RHCP ( 3-way tie). Honorable mention to Black Crows (Totally cheated on this one. I struggle to be succinct.)

Movies — 1) The Twilight Saga (Not really, of course. I joke. But mostly because my favorites don’t seem very congruent. I just like them a lot) Real favorites: 1) Annie Hall, 2) ‘O Lucky Man, 3) About a 10- way tie but am unsure which 10 movies but might include Pulp Fiction, My Dinner with Andre, Little Miss Sunshine, Raging Bull, The “Up” Documentaries, Magnolia, Goodfellas, American Beauty, Casino, and Gandhi. And had an honorable mention category that included Forest Gump and Owning Mahoney. Drugstore Cowboy and American Hustle. (OK. I really, really cheated on that one. But I love movies.)

Classic books: 1) Inferno, Dante. 2) Odyssey, Homer, 3) Huckleberry Finn, Twain. Honorable mention to Candide, Voltaire and Gulliver’s Travels, Swift. (Didn’t cheat very much on that one.)

Modern books: 1) Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell; 2) A New Kind of Mind, Pink 3) World is Flat, Friedman (With not to self to start reading more recent books.)
Honorable Mention: Musings from the Middle I and II. (I mean, c’mon. Whaddaya expect?)

Best kitchen investments: 1) Nespresso 2) Vitamix, 3) Panini Press,

Worst Kitchen investments; 1) Doughnut maker, 2) Fondue, 3) Snow Cone machine.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Desiderada

jyb_musingsMany years ago I was visiting my uncle who was a voracious reader and I was perusing his library of classic books. I picked up a collection of works by Ralph Waldo Emerson, cracked the book open near the middle, and began reading. 

As I read I became enthralled by the sense that this writer was tapped into something almost divine. I recalled learning that holy books were written by individuals who were inspired by God — that they were in some sense just moving the pen. I wasn’t necessarily thinking Emerson’s writing was inspired by God, but as I read I did feel he had a channel into something beyond himself and his words were an inspiration from this divine source.

This morning I stumbled across Desiderata. I have read it many times and always felt the very same thing about its author. That the words he wrote were in some way delievered to, rather than formulated by, the author, who served primarily as a channel to a source of wisdom beyond his own.

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Julie Rath: Stain Removal Hacks

Palm Beach Men's Image Consultant: How to remove ketchup stain

As I assume your plans this summer may involve some combination of burger-eating, alcohol-imbibing, and grass-sitting, I’ve decided to share some stain removal tips to help keep your holiday fresh and clean. Below are 5 main offenders and what to do if you have a run-in with them:

1) Red wine: dab with white wine.

2) Grease: add a can of Coke to washing machine.

3) Sweat: apply a paste of 3 aspirin tablets mixed with two tablespoons of warm water and let sit for 1 hour.

4) Ketchup: (this one’s a little more complicated) a. working from back of stain, flush with cold water; b. pretreat with liquid laundry detergent and let sit for a few minutes; c. rinse well; d. apply white vinegar with sponge and rinse well;  e. repeat steps b-d a few times until you’ve removed as much as you think you can; f. pretreat with a pre-wash stain remover and launder; g. if stain persists, rub with liquid laundry detergent and soak in warm water up to 30 min; h. launder again.

5) Grass: soak in vinegar for 30 min then machine wash.

-Content provided by Rath & Co. Men’s Style Consulting. Read more: http://rathandco.com/2014/07/stain-removal-hacks/#ixzz38ftCqpUI

Saul Kaplan: Vacation By Design

photo-saulI tried.  I really did try to take a break from all the design and innovation buzz while on vacation last week in Spain.  It didn’t work. Throughout an incredible ten-day sojourn across northern Spain design and innovation reminders were everywhere.  It wasn’t premeditated.  I am sure the lens through which I view the world has a lot to do with it but I also credit Spain, which has a clear case of the design and innovation bug.  Then again maybe my perspective was colored by all of the great Rioja wine.  Here are the design highlights from this innovation junkie’s summer vacation.

We started our Iberian adventure in the great city of Barcelona.  On our first day we set out to see Casa Battlo and La Sagrada Familia designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. Both were on our must do list and unanimous recommendations from many Twitter friends who had been to Barcelona. Goodbye jet lag.  Wow.  I wasn’t familiar with Gaudi before our trip but will never forget his work after seeing it.  Gaudi was ahead of his time.  He was more modern than the Modernist Art Nouveau period in the late 19th early 20th century he lived and designed in. Throughout Gaudi’s life, he studied nature’s angles and curves and incorporated them into his designs.  His works are iconic and seem to flow directly from nature. Gaudi said, “The great book, always open and which we should make an effort to read, is that of nature”.  Amen.

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Casa Battlo, or as the locals refer to it Casa dels Ossos (House of Bones), has a skeletal, visceral, natural feel throughout.  I don’t think there is a straight line in the entire house.  The way Gaudi used color and light to draw you in is amazing.  He devoted the end of his life, unfortunately cut short in 1926 by a tram accident, to the monumental church La Sagrada Familia.  He completed the amazing design but barely saw the work started.  The work continues on today and the iconic church spires define the Barcelona skyline.  There aren’t enough times in your life when design takes your breath away.  Visiting Barcelona and seeing Gaudi’s work took my breath away.

 

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From Barcelona we drove into Rioja wine country for some rural relaxation and leisurely wine tasting.  Surely my obsession with design and innovation could take a rest there.  No such luck!  The concierge at our beautiful Relais & Chateau advised us to visit a couple of wineries in the small village of La Guardia.  As GPS guided us toward the Marques de Riscal winery there was no mistaking the iconic design of Frank Gehry as we pulled in.  I had no idea that Gehry did Rioja.  But there they were, those signature metallic ribbons that remind me of the ribbon candy that we ate and got stuck in our teeth when we were kids.  I knew we were going to see his famous work in Bilbao later in our trip but wasn’t expecting to see it in Rioja country.

 

As we visited the winery it began to make sense.  Marques de Riscal is attempting to create a new positioning for the winery and its wines to blend tradition with innovation.  What better way to execute a transformational positioning strategy targeted at employees, visitors, and customers than to hire the iconic architect Frank Gehry.  I would like to think that wine is about grapes and fermentation but the business is all about brand, customer experience, marketing, and price point. It makes great sense to differentiate brand and customer experience through the power of design.  As a bonus the Rioja was pretty darn good.

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After several days in wine country the last leg of our journey took us north into the Basque region.  We headed for San Sebastian and took a side trip to Bilbao.  This time it was by design that we visited the Guggenheim Museum to see Gehry’s iconic work and its great collection of modern art.  It was wonderful to visit and I couldn’t help but think about the power that iconic design can have on a community.  Bilbao is an old industrial port city that has been transformed in part by the iconic Guggenheim into a design and innovation center in northern Spain.

 

I will spare you the details of every tapas bar, pintxos crawl, great restaurant, and winery we visited.  Trust me when I say that a good time was had.  Batteries are recharged and inspiration to advance the mantle of purposeful design and innovation is renewed.  Gracias Espana. El gusto es mio.

John Y. Brown, III: Fashionista

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Rebecca and I were honored to be participating last night in the Kosair Charities Fashion Show.

Great cause.

Great people.

Great fun.

 

Some highlights:

Two things about me: 1) I have never modeled before. 2) Love the movie Little Miss Sunshine. So when the pressure was on to "work it," well.....let's just say I remembered the grand finale scene from Little Miss Sunshine and knew exactly what to do

Two things about me:
1) I have never modeled before.
2) Love the movie Little Miss Sunshine.
So when the pressure was on to “work it,” well…..let’s just say I remembered the grand finale scene from Little Miss Sunshine and knew exactly what to do

And, yes, as you can see at this moment I was really feeling it and went for the "Double finger gun" model move.

And, yes, as you can see at this moment I was really feeling it and went for the “Double finger gun” model move.

Julie Rath: Look Taller with these Ten Tips

julie-rath-bio-photoDo you ever wish you looked a little taller? Many of my clients, even if they are above average height, list this as an image goal. At 5′ 1″ myself, I appreciate the sentiment. Luckily for us vertically-challenged folks, we can use clothing as smoke and mirrors to achieve (or at least get closer to) the look we want. Below are 11 tips on how to dress so you look taller:

Patterns and Color
1) Wear the same color (or at least similar tones of color) on top as you do on bottom. That way, you avoid the horizontal line of a color break across your middle, which would cut you in half otherwise.
2) Similarly, you should avoid wearing a belt that contrasts strongly with the rest of your outfit, as it will abbreviate you.
3) Wear socks in the same color as your pants. It makes your legs look longer.
4) Everyone knows to wear vertical stripes, but did you also know that diagonal lines create illusion of length? In addition to vertically striped pants, suits, jackets, and socks, try a repp (diagonal stripe) tie.

Lines of Clothes
5) Dressing in layers allows you to add lots of elongating verticals. Think a hoodie or sweater with a zip or a cardigan left open (try under a sport jacket or a casual jacket).
6) Wear a pocket square. It draws the eye up to your chest favorably.

Sportcoats or Suit Jacket Details 
7) Opt for peak lapels, as the detail and upward-pointing angles guide the viewer’s eye in an upward direction, making you look taller.
8) As in #1, the diagonal lines of a suit jacket or sportcoat’s lapels will extend your height. Choose one with a “low button stance,” which means it buttons lower on your body, extending those diagonal lines.
9) The gorge on your jacket is where the collar meets the lapel. If you’re buying custom, tell them you want a “high gorge,” which will have the same upward-orienting effect as in #7.
10) Buy your jacket on the short side (or have it tailored that way) so that it just covers the curve of your seat. This makes your legs look longer.
11) When you have your jacket sleeves tailored, ask for at least 1/4″ of shirt cuff to show. If not enough or no cuff shows, it can make your arms (and the rest of you by proxy) look short.

Is there anything about your appearance you’d like to balance or camouflauge? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll tackle it in an upcoming post.

-Content provided by Rath & Co. Men’s Style Consulting. Read more: http://rathandco.com/2014/05/look-taller-with-these-11-tips/#ixzz32ecGeINS

Julie Rath: Sales Finds

This week’s style briefing is  all about saving you some dollar bills. I’ve scoured the interwebs with you in  mind, looking for deals to help keep your pockets lined. Below are 6  sale finds I’m rather excited about. Remember, selection is limited  when it comes to sale items (particularly those that come in sizes), so if any  of these appeal to you, don’t sit on them for too long.

Men's Personal Shopper: Tote Bag1) Mismo tote bag $477.15 $334

Both the linen blend and blue color of this bag make it a no-brainer for  Spring. If you haven’t heard of the website Farfetch, check it out. It’s an easy way to get hard-to-find items from small boutiques around the world. It also makes ordering from overseas cost-effective and simple because import duties are included in their prices.

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Men's Personal Shopper: Zanellato Bag2) Zanellato satchell $875.95 $613

Looking for a more conservative and mature bag than in #1? Check out the  Zanellato bag above. I am loving the rich brown leather and weathered gold  hardware. Another bonus about this bag is if you’re tough on your things, its  grainy leather can withstand a beating.

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Men's Image Consultant: Boglioli Sweater3) Boglioli sweater $1150 $459

When looking at sale items, it pays to be flexible. Sure, a heavy sweater is  something you’d mainly think to wear on cold winter days, but a cardigan like  this is also good for transitional months where it’s too warm for your winter  coat, but there’s enough of a bite in the air that you need something. On top of  that, Boglioli is one of my favorite brands — sprezzatura at its  finest!

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Men's Image Consultant: Billy Reid Polo4) Billy Reid polos $88 $61

It strikes me as odd for polos to be on sale now, at the start of Spring, but  perhaps these are left over from last year. Either way, it’s a good deal on a  staple. These polos from Billy Reid fit trimly but are comfortable.

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Men's Image Consultant: Rag & Bone Pants5) Rag & Bone pants $185 $130

I stocked up on these soft pants with a one-on-one client at the Rag &  Bone store in NYC last week. This is another sale item that has me scratching my  head, as the material feels quite Spring-y. Note: the material on these pants  stretches, so if you’re in between sizes or unsure, go down a size. Also, they  come in other colors like grey and navy.

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Men's Image Consultant: 7 Jeans6) 7 for All Mankind jeans $189 $129 + 10% off if  you sign up for their newsletter

The start of a new season is a good time to reassess your staples. Do you  need a new pair of dark rinse jeans? If so, I like the color and non-contrast  seaming on these from 7 for All Mankind. If the standard classic fit isn’t for  you, there are plenty of other cuts on sale (for my primer on finding flattering  jeans, click here). $20 from each pair purchased will be donated to Movember.

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Keep in mind when shopping sales to look at the fine print. Often items on  sale (like the cardigan above from Barney’s) are not returnable.

Have you had any exciting sale finds recently?

Sunset in Kentucky

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Photo by Rudolph Tobbe

Julie Rath: Simple Home Blemish Treatment

No matter how tempting it might be to squeeze, dig or pick at a pimple, word life: don’t do it. It will only irritate the area and make it more likely to spread. Below is an anti-zit concoction I discovered a few years back, and it always comes through. It’s made up of items that are probably hanging around your kitchen already and is super easy to assemble.

Materials:
cotton swab
hydrogen peroxide
1/8 cup powdered oatmeal
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 c egg whites
3 drops honey

Directions:
1. Dab cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide and clean blemish area (this keeps the pimple from spreading).

2. Mix everything else in a small bowl to create a paste.

3. Cover pimple with mixture and leave on for twenty minutes.

4. Rinse with warm water.

5. Apply twice a day until zit disappears. (Leftovers will keep in fridge for up to one week.)

-Content provided by Rath & Co. Men’s Style Consulting. Read more: http://rathandco.com/2011/07/simple-home-blemish-treatment/#ixzz2vU55SVRk

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