Lady GaGa

I know people think she's all-of-a-sudden overexposed (thanks American Idol), but you gotta love Lady GaGa's eclectic blend of form and function, artistry and excess.

All that aside, the girl can flat out sing- which makes all her idiosyncrasies forgivable (nay, even likable) in my opinion.. Nothing shows that fact off better than her Cherrytree Sessions acoustic set. Check out Ms. Ga's acoustic version of "Poker Face" below.



A little while back I had a post about Alex Ovechkin being the best the NHL has to offer right now (sorry Sidney). Check out this E:60 coverage of Alex and, if you are like me, you appreciate his uniqueness even more.

I'm not a Capitals fan (Bruins fan born and bred), but I will root for the Caps in Game 7 of Round 1 versus the Rangers, and to meet my B's in the Conference Finals. Check out the footage below:


The Problem with JoS. A. Banks

I will admit, once upon a time I bought a Suit at JoS. A. Banks (Joseph A. Banks). I was young, somewhat naive, and on a limited wardrobe budget, yet in need of new suiting. I ended up at JoS on a sale and it provided me a decent suit at the time. I still have it in fact, though I would never wear it (yes I should donate it) as my tastes over the decade since have matured as has my style acumen.

I would put JoS on the level of, say, Men's Warehouse- not for size or scope, but level of regard. In other words, you typically would shop there if you: a) are on a budget b) do not understand what you like versus what you need and c) have a somewhat difficult time understanding what the underpinnings of a good suit are (e.g., cut, fit, fabric, composition, etc.). Ten years ago, I would say I met criteria "a" and "c", respectively, but I am glad to say I have since evolved. Most guys will meet all 3 criteria early on in their careers and for some time thereafter; if not for an extended period of time- say, forever. Some guys meet at least 2 of the criteria for a long while. The lucky fall into only 1 category. The few, the brave and the proud to whom none of these apply? Well that is elite company indeed.

The last note about JoS A. Banks and other like clothiers... the salespeople are simply that: commission-based employees. They are not attuned to style, not attuned to your likes or dislikes. They couldn't care that you have $400 to spend instead of $500 and that 25% increase is big to you. Or whether spending that $400 on a shitty suit is a better play than doing right by you and your wardrobe and showing you WHY the extra $100 is worth it, even if you have to wait and save for it another month. In other words, they are not there because they have a passion for men's clothes and a commitment to you as a customer. They live paycheck to paycheck and that is (unfortunately) all that matters.

Case in point. I was out shopping with my family last weekend and happened by the local JoS A. Banks. Big sale that day- 3-Day sale. Get THIS: Buy 1 Suit, Get 2 Suits FREE. (Hellooo economic downturn.)

OK, stop. I do not care who you are. If you know what to look for and know how to wear a suit- I mean really "Wear. A. Suit." then anyone can make an opportunity like that work, right? Right?


I tried. I walked out disgusted. Everything about the visit was wrong- the store aesthetics, the selection, the help- let's just say everything was a bit lacking to anyone younger than 50. The rep who tried to help me, "John", met the template suit salesmen demo to put it mildly- polite, yet completely disconnected and unknowing of today's fit and style. He questioned my choice in sizing, scoffed at my reasoning, and dismissed any notion to appeal to me because nothing was in stock that met my specifications. I requested a look at their "Joseph" line- their attempt at a younger, updated look. This was met with agitation and deflection. They did not have a single suit in stock. He said there were 2 sport coats in that line somewhere on the racks, but he could not find them and he assured me they were not the size I wanted anyway (a subtle criticism of my size/style choice). That pretty much ended my visit. I walked out at that point.

It reminded me why I have never gone back to that place that sold me a suit 10 years ago when I knew almost nothing about suiting. Because the store, like its clothes, does not fit me. Fortunately, I learned that without having to spend a dime this time. With age comes wisdom.


Kitchen Essentials

I promised I would be reporting on my trials and tribulations with our new home design. Here's the latest. Is it possible to design our entire kitchen around...


Cuisinart brick toaster oven with convection
Love it.

Absolutely love it.

I love the combination of modernity, yet retro feel. I am definitely not a modern/contemporary style guy- more traditional, neo-classical (think New England architecture, or easier still, old art museums or the White House). But in my opinion this appliance is the *cough* toast *cough* of the town .

Like I said in my previous post- the kitchen is the center of our family universe. So why not make the toaster the center of that center? As long as it's a piece as stylish as the Cuisinart Brick Toaster Oven with Convection, I say, yes! You could design almost any kitchen around it and in so many variations that your own personal style would easily push through any underpinnings of design this toaster has. My point is, it's a piece for inspiration, not the total package.

$199, cuisinart.com

See more inspiring pieces @ men.style.com's kitchen essentials


Tear Down the Walls

Part of the "joy" in owning a new home is making it your own. There is no better place to start to do that than in the kitchen. We spend A LOT of time in our kitchen- eating, socializing, working, eating, talking, eating (did I mention eating?).

A bonus to the new home we have is the kitchen overlooks the Family/Media Room and backs against the Dining Room. Here are a couple "Before" looks to get the idea.

Looking in from the Family Room. (Dining Room beyond.)

Looking from the Dining Room entry to the Media Room

Why is it a bonus these rooms are connected? Because all the things that happen in our kitchen actually span the range of a family of the 21st Century. We have the need to congregate for such a variety of activities that the lines of utilization have been blurred between dining, socializing, interacting, media, cooking, schoolwork, business, family time and so many not-yet-named activities (eating eating eating).

This dynamism has figuratively torn down the walls of a traditional home and made the need for separate rooms very- well- useless, at least for us. So we are gutting the kitchen and making it the center of our universe with the Family Room and Dining Room incorporated into the overall space. Here's a couple of template designs that we are using as inspiration (though not as literal translation) for our kitchen. But we will literally tear down the wall that separates the kitchen and Dining Room- a nice metaphor to the dynamic family life-style we are accustomed to versus the traditional nuclear family "dynamic".

The Dining Room will be nearly cut in half to extend the kitchen cabinetry and bar/island that will sit perpendicularly to the exterior wall, thus still creating some form of separation from Dining area to kitchen. A mere formality really. The backside of these pictures, where you cannot see is our eat-in-kitchen overlooking the Media Room. When all is said and done, you will be able to stand at the far wall in the Media Room and look all the way down the house to the other end wall in the Dining Room.

One big happy family in one big happy living space.