John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Lookin’ Good, Posthumously!

You know those conversations you have after a certain age that you didn’t see coming….and are mostly pointless and make you laugh at yourself.

These kinds of conversations begin happening after about age 40. Sometimes they begin just as a conversation with yourself. Other times another person or persons may be involved.

But they become a staple you rely on to fill up empty air.

Tonight after dinner with friends my wife and I were driving home and I had a few crumbs on my face from dessert.

jyb_musingsI told Rebecca that when I die and they are preparing my body to please make sure I don’t have crumbs on my face. I am still going to be a little self-conscious even though I have passed on. I don’t want people at my funeral talking about me (or remembering me) as a slob and their last image of me is as a sloppy eater. I think that was a fair request.

And then I pointed out to try to put an amused smirk on my face so it would look like I was thinking of something funny–even though I wasn’t still alive. I know it’s mostly for “affect” and that is supposed to be shallow. But when you are dead, I’m guessing, the whole shallow versus deep thing doesn’t matter as much. Looks are more important. Because that’s about all you can do. Be looked at. You can’t make up for a bad looking image with a winning personality at that point. I do often have that amused smirk on my face when alone like I am thinking of something mildy funny and I think it will be a good look for me, posthumously. It is certainly a lot better than the current norm of being remembered with absolutely no expression on my face like you are are indifferent to everything around you. Or bored to death. And certainly better than having dessert crumbs at the corner of your mouth and on your chin.

Erica & Matt Chua: PIctures that Capture the Color

When I saw the Capture the Color photo contest was going on again this year I was excited to dig through the photos from our trip and share a few with you.  Not only did this contest give me an opportunity to reminisce about all the places we’ve been by reliving memories through our photos but I love the theme, it’s so simple, capture the colors Blue, Green, Yellow, White and Red in your photos. I have to admit the deal was sweetened knowing I wouldn’t be competing against some of the travel blogosphere’s most talented photographers: Ken KamineskyAbi King,  Davefrom the Planet D, Christine Gilbert and Daniel Nahabedian, because they are the judges.  You can enter too and have the chance to win £3000, an Arc’teryx voucher or other great prizes.  Without further ado below are my five photos that Capture the Color:


Huyana Potosi, Bolivia (19,974 feet)

As we carefully inched along the snowy trail on the exposed ridge of Huyana Potosi leading us to the summit the sun just started to peek above the horizon.  It was a beautiful sight and a view I will never forget.  Once we reached the summit I looked back on the path we had taken in the dark to reach our goal and realized how precarious of a position we had been in.  As I watched another group of climbers descend I pulled out the camera to capture the trail with the sun highlighting the pristine white snow.  The moment I took this picture I still couldn’t fully comprehend what we had just done to be standing at the top of a mountain overlooking Bolivia.


Banaue Rice Terraces commonly referred to by the Filipinos as “The Eighth Wonder of the World”

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Erica & Matt Chua: PIctures that Capture the Color

Julie Rath: How to Change Your Hairstyle


Men's Personal Stylist: George Clooney Hair

Even George Clooney didn’t always get it  right.

I’m all about instant gratification. Give me the  choice between store-bought and homemade, and I will almost always go for the  quick fix. My family calls it “Rathness” to want to get things done yesterday. Unfortunately, in my line of work, there aren’t always  shortcuts. Obtaining a new wardrobe can take time, not to mention the  tailoring that’s inevitably involved. One place where I can satisfy my Rathness,  however, is with updating clients’ hairstyles. Call today for an  appointment tomorrow, and boom, you’re well on your way to a new and improved  you.

I get that the idea of changing your hairstyle can be intimidating,  especially if you’ve been rocking the same look for several decades. But it’s defeatist to assume that if you’re past a certain age it’s too late  to make a change. So what if you’re 40 years old and have been wearing  your hair the same way since you were a kid? That’s all the more reason to  consider an update, especially if you (and your spouse/partner) think it looks  stale. If you’re on this site, chances are you’re already thinking a change may  be in order, and perhaps hair is part of it. To that I say, dive in, go for  it. If you don’t like it, it will always grow back in a couple of  weeks.

That said, it’s key to go about your hairstyle upgrade thoughtfully  so that you get your desired results. Below are 8 tips  on how to do this.

1) Ask others with hair you like for the name of their hair  stylist. (A lot of people have a hard time asking questions like this,  but it’s not a big deal. Just say that your barber is retiring, and you need  someone new.)

2) Check on a user-review site like Yelp in your area for a  hairstylist who’s well-recommended for men’s scissor cuts (not clippers).

3) When you call for an appointment, see if you can go in for a  consultation first. That way you can discuss your goals in advance and  ask how s/he would go about achieving them before breaking out the scissors.

4) After you’ve found a stylist who’s the right fit, it’s imperative that you communicate clearly with him or her. Explain what your job is  (including how conservative your look needs to be and what you typically wear to  work), what image you’d like your new cut to convey, and how much maintenance  you’re OK with. If you’re a chameleon and want something hip for outside of  work, but conservative for everyday, tell the stylist. In many cases, all it  takes is a subtle difference in how you fingercomb your hair when you get out of  the shower to distinguish between looks.

5) Part of clear communication is bringing with you at least three  pictures of looks you like. Hair stylist James Hernandez of James Hernandez New York says, “Texture  and density play a big part in determining the end result. But where the visuals  help is in capturing the concept of the look you are after, both what you want  to achieve and what you don’t want. Any stylist that is opposed to you using  visuals, I would be little leery of their understanding of the craft of  haircutting.” Stylist James  Joyce agrees, “In the conversation before starting the service, the stylist  can decide what element of the pictures you bring is grabbing your eye.  Sometimes it’s the shape of the head, and sometimes it’s the texture of the  hair.  Either way it’s a big help to have a non-verbal idea. Pictures can  be printed off Google images or clipped from magazines.”

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Julie Rath: How to Change Your Hairstyle

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: That “In Between Place”

jyb_musingsThe existential angst of being at that “in between place” in life.

And Facebook.

I am at that point in my life where I am still hopeful enough about life to believe that changing my profile picture on Facebook will yield some small degree of new happiness or uptick of social meaning ; but yet wise enough to anticipate the harsh reality that will settle in moments after changing my profile picture –that I am, in fact, the same flawed person with the same human problems that I was before the change of Facebook profile pics only  now a little less dignified for believing something so inconsequential could add something of significance to my life.

And yet still shallow enough to respond to this existential grieving and shame  (a la Facebook) to believe that this inner pain can be adequately relieved by changing my profile picture a second time.


Aging is a funny thing in how it changes our perceptions and opinions on things.

The older I get, on the one hand, the less inclined I am to support capital punishment for murder.

And yet, on the other hand, the older I get the more inclined I am to support capital punishment for tailgating while driving.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Prodigies and pretending to understand art

The other day a journalist friend came by my office with her 11 year old son who was wise beyond his years. I learned he was a gifted student who liked science and art.

I responded, “Wow. That’s a rare combination. Like someone who is good at both math and verbal on the SAT” to show I understood smart sounding stuff too.

I tried to engage the young man and encourage him. I asked him what science courses he liked and he said, I believe, bio-technology and I maybe something about genetics. Finally he mentioned chemistry. Yes! I was back in the conversation. I said, “Yeah, chemistry….Yeah. It’s tough isn’t it. That’s the one with the Periodic Tables and all those hard to remember formulas. I mean….you know, ummm….little um…you know. Little uh…formulas.”

“You mean, chemical elements?”

“That I do,” I said. “Yes, I mean the chemical elements.”

Excited to be engaged by an interested adult, he pulled out some art work for me to see. I perused it and tried to interpret it so he would think I knew more about art than my weak showing with science.

jyb_musingsIt was a complicated drawing with war and chaos and peace and tranquility juxtaposed.

I suggested, “I think I get this.” Adding, “I’ve always loved to artistic mind and trying to understand what motivates it.” I offered, “I think I get what you are saying here. You are saying there is a war….battle of some sort….and then after we get through that….after we get through that …there is peace and happiness. Right?”

“Yeah” my young friend said.

Then I focused in on the one part of the drawing I didn’t understand. There were two rabbits. One drawn in the war zone and the other in the peace zone.

“I’m thinking….the rabbits. I’m thinking the rabbits probably mean, or signify…..I’m not.. …No….Hmmm. I’m guessing the rabbits are to symbolize…..uh….I don’t know. Tell me about the…So, what do the rabbits stand for.”

“Oh, nothing” my young friend explained. “I just like rabbits.”

And finally a breakthrough for me. “I totally get that” I said. “I like rabbits too.”

Julie Rath: How to Get Killer Headshot Photos

When was the last time you updated your headshot? What, you don’t have a headshot? No problem…read on for how to plan it, what to wear, and how to get it done with aplomb.

Having a good headshot never seems urgent until something like a speaking engagement comes up or someone is writing a profile of you, and then all of a sudden you really need one. Even though this may not be at the top of your to-do’s, trust me, people are checking you out online — and forming impressions of you based on what they see. And thanks to Google Images, any public pictures of you are going follow you around long-term. Below are 9 tips for getting headshots that would make your mama proud:

How to get great headshot photos

1) Wear solid colors as much as possible. If you’re wearing a patterned tie, make sure the pattern is not too busy or large in scale, since that will draw attention away from what people want to see to begin with — that handsome face of yours. Showtime’s CEO Matt Blank above gets it right with his clean, crisp look.

2) Speaking of color, make sure the shade you have on flatters your skin tone. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to wear the right colors. (You can figure this out by having a color analysis done — contact me for info, or more loosely by asking people whose judgement you trust what colors they think you look best in.)

Bonus tip: If you have light colored eyes, play them up by wearing a color that matches them.

3) Get your hair cut 5-7 days before photos. That’s about the right amount of time for a new cut to “settle” in, especially if your hair stylist tends to cut you very short (sometimes they do this to make the cut last longer if you have trouble fitting appointments in). You can also get it cut closer to the date of your headshot, and let him or her know you’ll be taking photos within the next couple of days and not to go too short.

4) Choose your outfit carefully depending on the purpose of your photos. For example, the whole idea of a business headshot is to show people that you’re trustworthy, professional and approachable yet self-assured. If you’re in a field like finance or law, go with a suit and tie. For more creative and casual fields like advertising or technology, you can wear a blazer and dress shirt, or just the dress shirt. Whatever you plan on wearing, bring a few options to the shoot.

How to get great headshot photos

5) Consider the background. For something traditional in feel, have your photos taken in-studio. For a more interesting vibe that’s still business-friendly, do them on location in your office — if you’re an executive, you might place yourself in front of a window overlooking the city, or stand powerfully in your office. If your photos are for personal use, or your industry is more casual, go outside and shoot in a park or in front of a cool background. See the image above of Jay Penske or my client Chris’s “after” photo for examples. Once you know what background your photos will be shot against, be sure that the colors you’re wearing don’t blend into that.

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Julie Rath: How to Get Killer Headshot Photos

Julie Rath: Are You Second-Glance Worthy?


Men's Dating Style

Sure, women are affected by what you’re wearing, but whether or not they swoon over you  is about much more than that. Whether you’re new to the dating scene and ready  to turn heads, or you’re in a relationship and want to show your partner the  best version of yourself, read on for 8 tips on taking your  attractiveness to the next level.

1) Don’t overdo the cologne. A small spritz on one or both  wrists then a dab, wrist to neck, will do the trick. Also, make sure the scent  you use works with your body chemistry. You can do this by testing it at the  store then seeing if you still like the way it smells on you after half an hour  or so. And if you wear aftershave, remember that has a scent too. It should not  be overpowering, especially in combination with your cologne.

2) Everyone looks better when they smile. In order to make  your smile as attractive as possible, it’s imperative that you take good care of  your teeth. Have them whitened professionally or use an at-home system. Consider  a retainer or Invisalign for crooked teeth.

3) Trim the hair around your eyebrows and ears as needed. Keep the rest of  your body hair in check, including having the back of your neck  cleaned up between haircuts.

4) Keep your nails clean and trim. Chewed up fingernails  will make you look nervous, and dirty nails are just plain unappetizing.

5) Use a tongue cleaner and mouth wash to combat bad breath  and carry breath strips or altoids when out on a date.

6) Be chivalrous. This one’s common sense, but it’s often  neglected. It’s simple: hold the door for her, open her car door, and tell her  she looks nice (in a non-slimy way).

7) I have a new client who mentioned that he has a flip phone. I’m not saying  you need to have the latest and greatest of everything, but make sure you at  least stay current with technology. An extremely outdated phone  is not a good look!

8) Be confident in your appearance. When you look good (and  you know it), you’ll naturally feel better about yourself. As a result, you’ll  radiate effortless, positive energy and confidence, which becomes contagious and  magnetic, and therefore others will respond to you with the same positivity that  you reflect.

Do any of these tips resonate? In the comments below, let me know what  strategy you’re going to try first and what tips you have to make yourself  attractive.

Erica & Matt Chua: He Said/She Said: Best Architecture

With several hundred cities around the world under our belt we have experienced many varied forms of architecture.  From the swooping roofs of Asia to the domes of the Middle East and castles in Europe.  Where have we enjoyed the skyline the most?  We each share our opinion.


During the worst times of rush hour, you can drive around the entire country of Singapore in less than two hours.  The country can be described as a long bike ride because it is only 15 miles wide by 20 miles long, yet it is home to more than five million people.  Housing, feeding and entertaining the 7,300 people per square mile requires creative architecture. While many cultures would approach the scale of the problem with utilitarian design, Singapore has made design a must, making it the modern architecture capital of the world in both quality and quantity.

This is the underside of a bridge.  In the USA design like this is reserved for modern art galleries, but in design-orientated Singapore, even hidden places feature thoughtful design.  That’s how it is here, designers run wild, making sure that there is no eyesore, that everywhere you look inside this forest of skyscrapers you will see creativity that leaped from paper into reality.

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Erica & Matt Chua: He Said/She Said: Best Architecture

Josh Bowen: The End All Be All — Tales of the Dreaded Scale

I’ve often wondered about certain strategies gym goers employ. The one strategy that has vexed my mind is a ritual of sorts and a lot of people do it every day. You know if you do something every day and expect a different result, that makes you crazy rightJ. It is at like the Holy Grail, the very reason people come to the gym and try to eat right, it’s the difference between a good day and a bad day, it is the end all be all. It is stepping on the scale! Don’t try to pretend you don’t do it because we all are guilty, especially in a place where there are scales and we are trying to lose weight, gain weight or stay the same. But the very fact people are control by this instrument, this measurement of body mass can be alarming and skewed. The end all be all may not be “all” its cracked up to be.

Let’s back track for a second. What are we trying to do? Most people? Answer is losing weight. Statistics show the most common goal for any gym goers is losing weight. But that should really be the goal? The answer is yes and no. If you are 50 lbs overweight and you need to lose 50 pounds then I would say losing weight would be a great goal for you. However, if you are trying to lose 10-20 pounds, does it really matter what the scale says as long as your body fat changes? Of course not! I use to tell clients all the time; if I could have you weigh the same weight you are today and look 100% different, would it matter what the scale said? 9 times out of 10, the number didn’t matter.

joshBut the number does matter to some people and it matters a lot. The measurement of success is housed on an electronically scale that measure your body mass. Forget about how you feel or how your jeans fit, its all about that number! If this applies to you (its ok!) here’s what I’d like you to remember, the most important part of the fitness process is the feeling of pride, confidence and of well being. These we will refer to as the immeasurable, meaning you can’t stick a number to it. Stepping on a scale just gives you a number and tells you whether you are below, above or at where you want to be. Definitely a cliff hanger that sometimes can hit you between the eyes and make you want to quit. My suggestion? Don’t weigh yourself, especially if you feel you begin stressing over it. The emotional impact and feeling of defeat is not worth it. If you want to know how you are doing in your fitness program ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I have more energy?
  2. Do I wake up and go to bed easier?
  3. Do my clothes feel looser?
  4. Am I stressed less?

Answer yes to any or all of those and you are on the road to success. A road that is not dependent on the little number on a little scale. It is not the end all be all.

Josh Bowen: Get Your Body Stage Ready

From The Lexington Herald-Leader:

Josh Bowen fitness expert and personal trainer at Fitness Plus 2 shares the secrets to Miss Kentucky Jessica Casebolt’s stage-ready body.

He talks the T.B.D.A.S workout, where people go wrong with their workout and the secrets to getting fit.

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