Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A modern old-fashioned gentleman

Thank you, Tom Ford. Finally someone respectable, successful, and truly debonair is teaching men how to act like a gentleman in today's world. What happened to taking off your ball cap when singing the national anthem? What happened to pulling out a lady's chair or opening up the door for her? And do men ever wear suits (besides for work) anymore?

There's a certain amount of class and breeding associated with well-mannered gentlemen. No movie star of the modern era can ever hold a candle to the legends that were Cary Grant, Jimmie Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, and Gregory Peck. They abided by a golden standard of behavior that radiates an aura of class and dignity. And with impeccable manners, they reached a level of attractiveness that good looks (even Brad Pitt level good looks) can never achieve on their own.

Luckily, Tom Ford is bringing "class" back.

Tom Ford

Tom Ford – fashion powerhouse, film mogul and old school romantic – is the cover star of the spring/summer 2011 issue of Another Man. AnOther presents Tom Ford's five easy lessons in how to be a modern gentleman, taken from Jefferson Hack's intimate conversation which appears in full in the issue.

1. You should put on the best version of yourself when you go out in the world because that is a show of respect to the other people around you.

2. A gentleman today has to work. People who do not work are so boring and are usually bored. You have to be passionate, you have to be engaged and you have to be contributing to the world.

3. Manners are very important and actually knowing when things are appropriate. I always open doors for women, I carry their coat, I make sure that they're walking on the inside of the street. Stand up when people arrive at and leave the dinner table.

4. Don't be pretentious or racist or sexist or judge people by their background.

5. A man should never wear shorts in the city. Flip-flops and shorts in the city are never appropriate. Shorts should only be worn on the tennis court or on the beach.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just Like Riding a Bike

Isn’t that what they say? When you haven’t done something in an extremely long time, but you’ll be able to pick it up again right away -- it’s just like a riding a bike? 

Well, I put that saying to the test this past month when I got back on the bike saddle again after about 15 years of not riding. As a kid, I used to love riding my bike. After school or on weekends, I’d strap on my helmet and ride around the area for hours. I’m sure I was racking up miles upon miles. As often happens, however, I grew up, went away to college, started working in the real world, and soon forgot about the one activity I really loved to do.

Well, this year, in honor of entering my thirties, I decided to stop, take hold of where I’m at, and really examine my life and where (and who) I want to be. I made a little 30 things to do when I’m 30 list. But, there are also more serious, life-changing goals. The first step in my transformation, if you will, was to concentrate on my health – specifically, eating better and developing an exercise regimen.

The eating better part was easy – I love food and cooking. I’m addicted to the Food Network, Top Chef, and the countless Gordon Ramsay cooking shows on FOX. As a gift to myself, I got a subscription to Food Network magazine (it’s actually a really good magazine - tons of cool stuff besides just recipes). After months of trying different recipes and learning as much as I can, I’m really developing into a quite a little cook. I try out new recipes all the time and I’m finally at the stage where I’m beginning to put together my own little concoctions – and they actually taste good. I use almost all fresh ingredients and I really try to make my dishes as healthy as possible. 
**Disclaimer: In the beginning, I did make a ton of Paula Deen recipes (“now just add another whole stick of butter, y’all”) but I’ve since learned to adapt them into low-fat, healthier versions of themselves.

Anyway, part two, the exercise part, was a little trickier. It’s been a while since I really took working out seriously. Sure, I had a gym membership for years and I would log in some cardio/weight work a few times a week, but I never enjoyed the experience. I noticed that although I was always happy after I completed my workouts, it was always hard to motivate myself to actually get there in the first place. I would come up with any excuse for why I’d have to put off the gym til tomorrow – “If I go to the gym now, then I won’t make it to Publix in time to pick out the freshest head of lettuce… guess it’ll have to wait til tomorrow.” Seriously, ANY excuse.

So, I got to thinking – if I’m gonna really get in shape and stick to my workouts, I need to find something I WANT to do. Plus, it has to be something free, convenient, and accessible. I used to ice skate and I love skating, but being limited to the hours of the skating rink, plus having to drive there, plus paying to skate each time, would just put me back in the position of always having an excuse not to go. Plus, I want the freedom to work out whenever I want. I shouldn’t have to worry about gas mileage or paying to exercise every single time.

Eventually, I remembered – I loved riding my bike! Cycling is perfect for me. I can take out my bike whenever I want, it’s free (to actually ride), and I enjoy it. So, after years and years of not touching the pedals, I put that little saying to the test. And guess what… it’s absolutely true. I got on the bike and started pedaling. I felt the wind on my face, and although in reality I was probably going pretty darn slow, it was thrilling. I felt more alive and active than I have in years. “Now this is something I can get into,” I thought.

And so here I am, becoming a cyclist. I may just have a little mountain bike for now and I may not be the fastest rider out there. But, I do love it. And, being inspired by my cousin, Erica, who ran her first marathon this past year, I decided to set goals for myself and join an awesome website called DailyMile. DailyMile is an awesome online community full of athletes - runners, cyclists, triathletes, swimmers, etc. And they’re all at different levels. There are people who have been running for years and have completed tons of marathons and there are people just starting the Couch to 5K program who haven’t run a mile in their lives. I have only been on the site a couple of days and I’ve already made a bunch of new “friends” who are so supportive and motivating. The site is designed to keep you motivated and keep you out there exercising. The people are ultra-friendly and are always quick to keep your spirit up and motivate you to keep on going!  They’re also full of advice for all of us beginners out there.

Anyway, for now I’m just enjoying the thrill of being back on the saddle again. I finally feel like I found a way to exercise and actually enjoy it. I feel myself getting stronger, both physically and mentally, already. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Crazy Dog Lady

I'm officially obsessed... with Figment! I've totally morphed into one of the people I personally find most annoying -- "look at my baby" women!

Believe me, I get it - no one else is as interested in your dog/baby/cat/other-cute-living-thing as you are. And I hate when people always want to show pictures and tell you about what their baby did that day. But now, look at me -- I've become totally obsessed with everything Figment. I'm like the Wheaten Terrier paparazzi at this point.

Granted, I've only had him for two weeks so I have a bit of a right to be super excited for a little while. I'm sure it will die down eventually. But, for now, please bear with me as I continue to document his every move. Ha ha...

And yes he has a Twitter and Facebook page (I know, ridiculous, but I couldn't help myself)

Find him on Twitter: @FigmentDog
Find him on Facebook: (use email: jenchummy@yahoo.com)

It might be annoying --  but for all my fellow dog owner friends out there, I would love the opportunity to talk about things with you and meet up for playdates!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

One of Those Days

I'm just having one of those days... It may be sunny out, but it feels gloomy and grey.
I'm just having one of those days... I wanna hide under the covers til it all goes away.
I'm just having one of those days... I'm not even laughing at Charlie Sheen anymore, it just seems sad.
I'm just having one of those days... If my dog doesn't run to greet me when I come home, I may cry.
I'm just having one of those days... That seems full of goodbyes.
I'm just having one of those days... Where I depress people by writing blog entries like this one.

"It's been a long December (and January, and February) and there's reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last." It better be, Adam Duritz. It better be.