Dressing Well for the World Wide Web

2012 was a mon­u­men­tal year for me, both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally. One of the things that was trans­for­ma­tive for me was learn­ing to dress well after sev­eral false starts. If you know me, you know I came from a world of rock tees and torn jeans. Like many guys, the tran­si­tion to work wear was painful. I strug­gled with ill-fitting busi­ness casual, wore bad shoes and only got it right if I picked the wardrobe out with help from my wife. Jesse Thorn’s Put This On changed all of that for me in 2012.

I don’t remem­ber when exactly I started watch­ing and fol­low­ing Put This On. I devoured Sea­son 1 and have been fol­low­ing Sea­son 2 with great inter­est. I even bought a Sav­ile Row suit on eBay and had it tai­lored for me! Quite a leap for a guy who used to wear a torn (and awe­some) Sonic Youth “Sis­ter” tee to the office on a rou­tine basis.

Need­less to say, the series changed the way I viewed menswear. The mes­sage that clothes are impor­tant never sank in until I started to see that you didn’t need to spend a for­tune to present your­self in a man­ner that makes you stand out. Just know­ing how shirts, pants and jack­ets should fit goes a long way toward look­ing bet­ter and project con­fi­dence. The best part? I already had lots of great pieces hang­ing in my closet! You may, too.

As my col­lege buddy Tom told me once, “There’s no such thing as being over­dressed; there’s only look­ing good.” It was great advice, and I’m sorry I waited so long to take it. Please take this advice: if you’re a guy who wants to improve his wardrobe and doesn’t know where to begin, please visit putthison.com, watch all the videos and read it every day. You’ll be glad you did.

I Went to the Gym

Not earth-shattering news by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion, but for this dad, a major step toward get­ting back in shape after an ardu­ous two-year hiatus.

Now that Charlie’s sleep­ing more nor­mally, I’ve decided to hit the gym three times per week in the evenings. I’m not quite ready to give up the addi­tional sleep that I just recov­ered, so I’ll hold off on wak­ing up early to run for the time being.

Feels great to be back in the gym, even if I feel like a stranger there. I kept try­ing to remem­ber my reg­i­men from, um, sopho­more year of col­lege to no avail. If you have rec­om­men­da­tions of a decent work­out pro­gram, be in touch!

Charlie Turned Two!

What a won­der­ful party in the park! Feels like it was only yes­ter­day that he turned one: the But­ter­cream cup­cake truck; a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher; tons of friends and fam­ily and a hot day on Lemon Hill for a very excited (and sleepy) one-year-old boy. Now he’s two and the changes are so dra­matic it’s hard to keep up. He’s pick­ing up more lan­guage every day, express­ing him­self more ver­bally than phys­i­cally, which is a relief for all per­sons in his vicin­ity, espe­cially house pets.

It was so great to see Mark and Erin out with Elena at almost two weeks and to see Armando and Rebecca with Lily when they were just hours from being par­ents again. Wel­come Rio! Char­lie was thrilled as ever to see his aunt Eileen and her puppy Jax as well as his “Damma” and Grandpa, not to men­tion my mom, who man­aged not to get too lost in Straw­berry Man­sion before find­ing us on Lemon Hill. GPS is a won­der except in some urban envi­ron­ments apparently.

It was so nice to encamp on Lemon Hill for a lovely June after­noon spent with friends and fam­ily and food. Bit­ter­sweet that we say good­bye yet again to our friends Tony and Katie as they embark on a cross-country trip to Seat­tle for a few years. Can’t wait to visit! I’ve seen a few episodes of “The Killing” so I just know it’s going to be a beau­ti­ful place to live and work.

We’ve man­aged to sur­vive two years of very lit­tle sleep to raise a beau­ti­ful lit­tle boy and I can hon­estly say I’ve loved every minute, even when I’m awake at 4 am watch­ing reruns of “Golden Girls” on the couch.

We’re Updating Our Kitchen

If you’re a home­owner, then you know how hard it can be to work on the projects you want to ver­sus those you have to. We’ve been talk­ing about mak­ing changes in our kitchen since before Char­lie arrived. Now the time has come!

It’s hard to tell in this pic­ture, but it’s some­thing of a big, dumb space. It’s a long, wide rec­tan­gle with all the cab­i­nets on one side and an open shelf from Ikea on the other. Not ideal.

So we’re work­ing with our friends Chad and Nic at Post­green to update it ele­gantly and afford­ably. I’ll post reg­u­lar updates on the project, along with tips on how to sur­vive a kitchen remodel with­out spend­ing a month at restau­rants. Get ready for some guerilla recipes out of crock­pot, rotis­serie and rice cook­ers, people!

Charlie After Ear Tubes

Char­lie got ear tubes last week to help solve his chronic ear infec­tions. Turns out what every­one says is true: his speech improved imme­di­ately and he’s much hap­pier now that his ears don’t hurt. What a relief!

Now if he’d sleep past 4:30 in the morn­ing we’d be on Easy Street.

In Praise of December

It’s cliche, but hav­ing a baby really changes every­thing. I’ve been see­ing our hol­i­day prepa­ra­tions through Charlie’s gleam­ing eyes and it just fills me with joy. Hear­ing him say “Hanta” or “ho ho ho” puts a smile on my face. Can­not wait to see his reac­tion to the tree once it’s com­pletely decorated.

Thing I can’t recap­ture is that feel­ing of life slow­ing down. Decem­ber used to feel so long to me as a kid. Not sure if it was that the days were grow­ing shorter, or if the time spent inside meant more time with fam­ily, but the sea­son could really sink in. Feel like I could just soak up the Christ­mas music blar­ing out of our lit­tle GE cas­sette player, the smell of cook­ies fill­ing our old farm­house. It was a warm, safe, wel­come feel­ing that maybe only a kid can feel.

Try­ing to re-create that magic isn’t easy, but we’re try­ing. Helen and I have been burn­ing obnoxiously-scented hol­i­day can­dles, crank­ing up the Christ­mas tunes on the TV and get­ting every­thing together for our annual Christ­mas party this week­end. Really look­ing for­ward to see­ing friends and enjoy­ing their com­pany. Can’t wait!

No Marathon for Me This Year

I had big plans for the 2010 marathon sea­son after my marathon mess last year. Instead I won’t be run­ning at all. Sit­ting this one out. And I’m majorly bummed.

What hap­pened?

For starters, snow. Lots of it. Even if I wanted to get out­side and gear up for spring races I couldn’t have as Philly was besieged by a record 73″ of snow. But that shouldn’t mat­ter, right? Skip those spring races and train for fall! That’s the ticket!

Wrong again, sadly.

Morn­ings are a tricky thing in our house­hold. Char­lie still wakes up to nurse around 4 AM or so and can­not ever set­tle him­self back to sleep. And Helen’s not a morn­ing per­son, so morn­ings are Daddy’s duty. So instead of knock­ing out 3 or more miles a morn­ing, I’m chas­ing Char­lie around the house try­ing to feed and clothe him before he’s off to daycare.

Much as I’d like to be Super Dad and find a way to work out either dur­ing the work­day or after­wards, I just can’t. Run­ning at night in Fishtown/Port Rich­mond is worth your life sim­ply because of vis­i­bil­ity and traf­fic. And who wants to run after din­ner? Not me, that’s who.

I like to think that once Char­lie weans he’ll be more will­ing to sleep later sim­ply because he won’t have the urge to nurse the moment he wakes at the crack of dawn. Maybe then I’ll be able to sneak out, fire up my Garmin watch and get in a few miles before I have to get him dressed and ready for preschool. Fin­gers crossed!