Remarqed

naples, florida

April 14, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Marni & others at Marissa Collections

Marni & others at Marissa Collections

Oh my grandmother has a place there!

Heh, don’t they all? Naples is quite elderly. There is no denying that. But is it anything else?

I visited this weekend – first time since I was under 10.

Not much has changed.

It is a relaxed town snuggled in the corner of the State, awash with funding from other places: Canada, the Northeast. Overseas. I met and heard plenty of German, Polish, and Spanish during my two nights.

It feels a lot like other places in Florida. Sarasota for its foreign appeal. Palm Beach for its polish. If you get excited by large homes, tropical landscaping, and exotic motors, Naples doesn’t disappoint.

Jordan & Evan

Jordan & Evan

I get excited by higher standards of dress and aesthetics. In the handful of hip spots to eat and drink, there is plenty to spectate. Plus, the single-story Saks Fifth Avenue store in Naples is stacked. Average price point much higher than the store that was in Tampa, or of other Saks stores I’ve been in. More Isaia and Loro Piana than Theory. It reflects the population.

On the other hand, the mood on the whole is really quite transient, somewhat dulled. Famous people live or have homes there, but you’re not likely to see them. People come to be pampered and look pretty, but they will return to their important lives elsewhere.

I found myself excited by the idea of the Ritz-Carlton…but we were the youngest people by nearly 20 years!

Over the two nights I had flashbacks to living in Sarasota, and feeling invisible to most people.

Sunset at La Playa

Sunset at La Playa

Would I live there? No. Is it a unique place to visit? Sure – but prioritize beach/R&R over socializing. Next time I’ll make sure we book a spa day and have more money to blow at Waterside Shops…

Post-script: If shopping (for female couture) is what you’re after, Marissa Collections is a must-do. One of my favorite independent retailers of luxury fashion and clothing. The curation is fabulous, dear.

Naples Spots Google Map

Much thanks to my host Jordan and trip-mate Evan for a fun weekend.

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summer sandals

April 4, 2014 · Leave a Comment

My new babies: Valentino Rockstud brown strap sandals from Gente Roma/Farfetch

My new babies: Valentino Rockstud brown strap sandals from Gente Roma/Farfetch

On to a more important topic: sandals!

Fellas, there is a fine line between embarrassing and sexy open-toed footwear, and we are going to walk it.

NO: Adventure Sandals.

YES: Gladiators.

Since I’m beginning to embrace the fact that I can’t, with a straight face, wear boots year-round, I figure why not spend the money on nicer sandals?

open toes board on Pinterest

open toes board on Pinterest

There are plenty of options. I have been pinning a ton of them, so make sure to check out that board.

In Tampa and the South, you’ll mostly see Havianas and Rainbow flip flops. These are considered staples.

The Brazilian brand of rubber thongs are inexpensive, durable, and come in a bunch of punchy hues. California-based Rainbow makes more substantial leather shoes that have a lifetime guarantee of construction quality.

But let’s think outside that box.

If you’d like a subtle change from standard two-strap thongs, to raise a couple of eyebrows at the BBQ, you might consider…

K. Jacques. This brand specializes in leather sandals, and are hand made in France. Is there anything else to say?

K. Jacques leather thongs for SUMMRETIMES

K. Jacques leather thongs for SUMMRETIMES

I’ve been lusting over these Ralph Lauren canvas thongs, as another variation. Made in Spain.

Ralph Lauren Collection Paxhill thongs in tan/washed blue

Ralph Lauren Collection Paxhill thongs in tan/washed blue

They also come in a black sole with various colors of neon straps.

Moving away from this shape, you can find plenty of back-less slides. Less for walking, more for brief trips to fetch sunblock and drinks with little umbrellas in them.

For a decidedly pool-ready look, try Dan Ward.

Dan Ward criss-cross slides

Dan Ward criss-cross slides

This season, Dolce & Gabbana makes some adventurous woven-leather slides that evoke shopping in a dusty medina.

Or, having lunch.

Dolce & Gabbana woven burnished slides at MR PORTER

Dolce & Gabbana woven burnished slides at MR PORTER

I’ve always loved the look of strappy, fully-buckled sandals the most. I grew up on rope sandals. Wore them everywhere and hated washing them, though they stunk.

This resulted in their premature disposal at the end of the summer each year. Tear…

Rope sandals are made for hammocks, and for being 10

Rope sandals are made for hammocks, and for being 10

In the spirit of those jesus sandals, I’ve had my eyes on these Jimmy Choos for a bit – though at $600 they are quite lushhhhurious. Also come in camo.

Jimmy Choo Hayman sandals

Jimmy Choo Hayman sandals

Of course, with anything strappy, you can easily look too feminine. If you don’t exercise your legs, and have pale calves…read on.

Thicker straps are more rugged, and from a classic men’s footwear brand, Salvatore Ferragamo. You won’t be mistaken for wearing espadrilles in these.

Ferragamo Rexton sandals

Ferragamo Rexton sandals

Ted Baker makes a more accessible pair, with a zingy blue sole.

Ted Baker Tuxee sandals

Ted Baker Tuxee sandals

Now, here are my absolute favorite this season. Holy Grail, here…

Jil Sander boot-sandals :)

Jil Sander boot-sandals :)

Just kidding ;-)

I can’t go through all my 2014 favorites – see my Pinterest page for a curated selection. And, get in touch if you want to discuss the pros and cons of a rubber vs. leather thong, or a buckled vs. slide sandal. Cheers!

Diesel Splish thongs, made in Italy, $40

Diesel Splish thongs, made in Italy, $40

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on staying put

April 3, 2014 · 2 Comments

“God I can’t wait to get out of this place.”

Edgewood Road in Parkland Estates, Tampa

Edgewood Road in Parkland Estates, Tampa

Yes, yes, you never want to be stuck where you grew up. Forced to face those who’ve known you since birth, and carry on the legacy (or infamy) of your family. It’s tough to reinvent, seek anonymity.

You never left?? You must have some flawed resume or inability to cut the umbilical cord.

Segway-ing around Channelside over Christmas break

Segway-ing around Channelside over Christmas break

Coming from a place like Tampa is a mixed blessing. On one hand, it’s politically moderate, relatively integrated, historically relevant, and covered in fluffy oak canopies.

On the other, it lacks many cultural and quality-of-life amenities you get in other, more ‘global’ metros. Namely: reliable mass transit service of some sort, and a fresh hipness that makes places like Portland and Austin so appealing.

Having been to both, I can say that it has a lot to do with youth, and with a liberal majority, neither of which Tampa has been known for. There is too much South in South Tampa.

Conservatism by definition is disposed to preserving existing conditions…maintaining the status quo. Limited novelty, limited change.

But how do you measure a place?

Wine & tapas at Cru Cellars

Wine & tapas at Cru Cellars

Since 2009, I’ve talked a lot about leaving. “I need to be inspired by my environment, not stifled.”

But where to go?

I have a dual-pronged dilemma: move away from Tampa, AND find a career that suits me. See my post from late 2012 on the matter. Doing both at once has proven challenging – no one wants to hire an inexperienced unknown, from far away.

If you’ve followed this blog, you’ll know I have a slight city obsession. New York, San Francisco, Austin, New Orleans. Chicago.

And yet, none so spectacular that I just had to uproot, leaving my contacts, my friends. In going with my gut, I know not to make unresearched, unweighed decisions. And unlike all my friends that have left, I hate moving with the masses.

Somewhat detached from this internal struggle, and mostly out of boredom, I have become more involved here in town. Little ole’ Tampa, I used to think.

Except, it’s not really little anymore.

Crowds at the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in March

Crowds at the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in March

Or, maybe my perspective has changed.

What I learned in the past five years is that there are a lot of sharp, unpretentious people here, mostly working behind the scenes. These are youthful, educated, socially liberal people, who just want the city, which has strong bones to begin with, to be better.

Not for profit, or for personal notoriety…just for a better collective existence.

Ella Bing bow ties & accessories Spring 2014 photoshoot at the University of Tampa's Plant Hall

Ella Bing bow ties & accessories Spring 2014 photoshoot at the University of Tampa’s Plant Hall

Sure, everyone has a global awareness these days, and most focus on building a career in their twenties…but there is a core group of civic tastemakers that are pioneering speedier renewal and evolution here. It’s an open forum, welcoming a mix of transplants and natives in the most natural form of “networking.” (a word I hate)

And, I almost take for granted having a fabulous group of friends, and a harmonious family (that won’t be around forever). Being with and learning from the people who love you, counts.

My mom & baby Louis Borchers

My mom & baby Louis Borchers

Having friends around the country to crash with on vacation doesn’t hurt either, so I’m not entirely tore up that they all bailed…

Tampa’s scrappy history has been marked by a runt’s share of the Southeastern United States investment – most of which goes to Miami and Atlanta. That may always be true.

But of late, we’re riding a tsunami of urban residential and commercial development, job growth, and increased appetite for multi-modal (car, transit, bike/walk) infrastructure improvements.

That’s long-hand for livability, my friends. Quality of life.

The Epicurean Theatre in SoHo, part of the Epicurean Hotel complex

The Epicurean Theatre in SoHo, part of the Epicurean Hotel complex

And, as of this writing, I have accepted a significant position of leadership with the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, one of the most important cultural events for the city. It will be tons of work, but it feels like a real opportunity to lead an effort, one I might not get if I lived in a much larger pond, with lots of fellow fish.

Fireworks at New Years at the mouth of the Hillsborough River

Fireworks at New Years at the mouth of the Hillsborough River

In observing friends and visiting other places regularly, I know how they live.

They’re surviving, and only just. Climbing the corporate ladder, working insane hours. Coping with crowds, unaffordable housing, crushing student loan debt. It’s a clusterfuck (pardon me) of circumstances that stifle our generation’s need to have a work-life balance, and to be introspective on what they truly value.

Sunday night is family dinner night

Sunday night is family dinner night

I have learned that I need room to breathe. Space to think. To live free from imprisonment by any entity (job) or condition (debt), as much as possible.

I relish my time working on what I’ve deemed most important to my own happiness. This blog…exercise. Style consulting. I love to be busy, but hate when it prevents me from necessary catharsis.

Personal growth shouldn’t be traded for anything, even if it means being still once in a while.

Browsing at the Oxford Exchange

Browsing at the Oxford Exchange

Sometimes I muse that this transformation has nothing to do with Tampa. It’s been all my own internal growth.

And yet, it does. The people are here, and the moderate pace blends with a mounting pressure to change and evolve for a higher standard. A new generation is moving into positions of influence – many of whom I know personally.

The Equalove movement, spearheaded by my friend Brian Adams

The Equalove movement, spearheaded by my friend Brian Adams

I’m not asserting that Tampa is any better than anywhere else. That determination can only be made on a personal level. Intrinsically, and from a momentum perspective, I have a bias to stay.

What I can say with authority is that I can be involved here, I can help improve this place, and I can do it without sacrificing myself.

For my own debate whether to leave or to stay, the answer in the short term is to happily, and without insecurity, call Tampa my home.

Will I stay forever?

Hopefully not. The world is just too big to be stationary.

Is it right for right now? Totally.

Thank you for reading, friends.

Sunset over the Beck Group's building

Sunset over the Beck Group’s building

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aluminum-free deodorants

March 30, 2014 · 6 Comments

 

Menscience Advanced Deodorant

Menscience Advanced Deodorant

I’ve dabbled with fringe offerings from the best of hippie, all-natural brands, but have never had real success with aluminum-free deodorants.

The common concern is that aluminum is bad for the body, absorbed through the skin under your arms. Causes cancer…etc. (along with everything else?)

I just don’t like the way my armpits feel with convention antiperspirants. They feel gummy, not smooth. Almost like the pores have been clogged with chemicals.

The problem is, if you switch to a natural, then you stink like BO as soon as you sweat hard. I am an instant sweater, so I know. And it’s embarrassing!

While browsing one of my favorite online stores (Barneys.com), I came across Menscience. Their deodorant stick had great reviews, so I sprung for the $19 stuff.

It’s unscented, and integrates many of the botanical elements that are known to be anti-microbial (tea tree), and good for the skin (aloe).

It does do a nice job of just letting you smell like you, and unless you’re exerting yourself at the gym, keeping BO under control. I do have to reapply throughout the day, and especially before exercise.

I also bought the Menscience Body Powder, thinking I could use both products simultaneously. OK great idea, but how IN THE HELL do you apply powder without getting it everywhere?!

Aside from Menscience, you can find high-end deodorants as extensions of some mainstream colognes. Terre D’Hermès, Tom Ford Neroli Portofino. I’ve had a stick of Dior Homme deodorant for about a year, and use it occasionally in the cooler months when I’m less likely to sweat, but want a nice underarm smell.

Kiehl's Deodorant Cream

Kiehl’s Deodorant Cream

Still on my list to try is the Kiehl’s Superbly Efficient Anti-Perspirant and Deodorant Cream. A different application method and consistency may be the key to better all-natural underarm control.

Or, it will fall into the same pile as all the others – nice but not a true substitute.

If you’ve tried products with better results, I would love to hear about them!

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driving the bmw i3 electric city car

March 29, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Reeves Motors BMW i3 Driving Experience

Reeves Motors BMW i3 Driving Experience

I woke up terribly hung over from two glasses of terrible wine last night. Like, the worst I’ve felt in quite a while.

I don’t know enough about the mechanics of vino, but if the cork is dried out/crumbly, does that mean the liquid is oxidized, and therefore AWFUL??/sigh

I am on every e-mail list known to man

I am on every e-mail list known to man

I did gather my brain enough to shower and head to Reeves to see the new i3. I was a little self conscious, showing up in my Beetle. My tastes and knowledge far outweigh my means, pretty much across all genres of my life. But, what am I supposed to do…not go?

The i3 is a brand new model and new territory for BMW, akin to the Tesla, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, etc. AKA, joins a sparse market, and it has the opportunity to define its own niche.

Yes I stopped mid-test-drive at a liquor store (the neighborhood isn't fantastic...)

Yes I stopped mid-test-drive at a liquor store (the neighborhood isn’t fantastic…)

It does look odd. Many will not like it.

It does look odd. Many will not like it.

LED headlights are standard

LED headlights are standard

First impressions: great car. Solid, well built, and quality. All the eco-friendly surfaces inside worked in concert to give an airy, modern feel. Two high-def displays that function as gauges and infotainment looked crisp. Leather felt great.

Sumptuous brown leather on Tera model

Sumptuous brown leather on Tera model

Looks funny, but works

Looks funny, but works

Great open-pore wood and stitched leather on dash

Great open-pore wood and stitched leather on dash

But, it’s a BMW, it should drive well too. Ahh, you’re correct there. And, it does, actually. Weighty steering, lower perceived center of gravity, and effortless acceleration. There are fewer engineering barriers to power delivery from a bunch of batteries, so it really is quite linear and WHOOSHY.

Also, super quiet. Same reason behind lots of power…no small explosions to control and sound-dampen.

My single gripe: steering felt good but turned in too rapidly. Like “fluid, controlled moving and TOO FAR!” I had to adjust to that, it wasn’t natural. May be due to such skinny tires, which are for better aerodynamics. (in fact, much of the car’s styling, down to the rims, is for a slicker drag coefficient)

Cute, different key than standard BMW fare

Cute, different key than standard BMW fare

The $45,000 question: would I buy one?

Well, since I have a lease until 2016, no. But, were I to not…

No, I still wouldn’t. But, that conclusion doesn’t come simply.

For one, the i3 does make a convincing case. Aside from apparently “fugly” styling (per my Instagram followers), it is a comfortable, stylish package. Easy to operate, fun to drive. Very green, of course.

And, pretty much at the poor end of BMW offerings these days…so no huge premium for electric vs. a basic stripper 320i. Especially given the federal tax credit for this type of model ($7,500).

Fillerup!

Fillerup!

The drawbacks really are the range (80-100 miles per 3 hour charge), and finding those pesky charging stations. In Tampa, there are many in public parking garages, but if you live in a single-family home, that could be trickier. A DC charger connection can be had for $700. Think about how much your iPhone runs out of juice…

In the low $40s, there are a million other choices…and they’re just too good. Diesels (328d, for an alternative way to get better mileage and lower operating costs), manual rowers (320, 328, 228, etc.), and just about everything is sexier. Not necessarily as unique…but with lines to die for. I love BMW design.

Suicide doors open for a surprisingly spacious 2+2 layout

Suicide doors open for a surprisingly spacious 2+2 layout

Maybe the 2nd generation i3 will be the one everyone goes gaga for.

As a second car, I think it would be great. I can’t conceive of that now, but many people can. It’s a compelling choice for environmentally- and style- conscious folks with the extra dollars to throw at something different. For the rest of us, it’s just a glimpse of the future.

Thanks to Reeves BMW for inviting me to drive the i3, I had a blast!

 

 

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