Just like everyone else, Riane and I have had to figure out how to compromise and meet in the middle throughout our entire marriage. This picture in itself says - we have different styles, different interests and even different values (to an extent) but we make it work.
In case you forgot, Father’s Day is Sunday. Which means I’m will be eating French Toast for Brunch and celebrating with our family with lunch and way too much dessert! Riane already shared with you a top 10 ‘to get’ ideas last week, but I’m going to give you ‘@Stello_Fello's Top 3 Last Minute Down to the Wire Winners for Cool Dads’. When I say ‘cool-dad’ I don’t mean that if the dads your life don’t like this they aren’t cool… All I’m saying is, these are some cool things that some Dad’s can pull off and other’s don’t even want to. Which makes us all unique and worth celebrating :-)!
1. Joggers -
- My boys at Biink are making a killer pair that are more than affordable. This is a great new up and coming brand based in Australia (who have great customer service) These joggers run $48 a pair, and they sent me a 20% off code to share with you just in time for Father’s Day! They also have, hoodies, long tail tees and great shorts for summer. All of which are great for the gym, running around, and for those who dare - paring with some dressier options for date night if you like the street wear look that is so popular right now. These are going to come late if you order them now because of where they are coming from, but I like them far better than my expensive joggers and they are more than worth the 2-3 day wait. Note: these do run a little snug - which I like, but if your man likes them a little baggy then order 1 size up.
- The artist formally known as the ‘Iniki’ - now termed the I-5923…These usually run $120, but they are 30% off right now = $91! This is the cheaper option in the boost line, but is super comfortable, great for the gym and I reserve a pair just for date night - when I’m rocking my joggers and a nicer shirt or some cool ripped jeans and my hoodies or tees. Adidas obviously has a rush shipping option if you need it for Sunday. (Avail in multiple color ways)
3. Back Pack -
- This is one of the coolest back packs I’ve run across as of late. I’m a huge bag fan, and am always looking for a good deal on a great bag that is going to last. We were in NordyRack the other day when I came across this gem. Nord does express shipping 2 day for $9 and Overnight for $15. Depending on when you order and where it comes from you can also get a same day ship for $20 but only in certain circumstances, so it all depends on when and where you order and ship.
As I’ve said before, we love movies. We always have. Since we first started dating to after 15+ years of marriage we’ve watched movies together. We love spotting actors and being able to name previous roles they were in years before. It’s a game to see who can out movie trivia the other. ie. Kevin Hart - played a camera man in the fake film crew in ‘Along Came Polly’.
In the last month or so, Riane and I have become tired of the nightly “find something on Netflix” routine and have gone back to the old days of getting out our dvd’s and selecting from some older movies that we’ve not seen in a while but really enjoy. So…we are going to give you some of our throw back movie reviews to give you some great flicks to re-catch or see if you missed them the first time around.
One of the first films we did this with was - Under the Tuscan Sun
I will say that this is not a movie that 10 years ago I was really excited about seeing. It’s definitely a chick-flick, but after actually going to Italy I now love watching movies that are set in Italy and we keep throwing in those dvd's as of late. Rotten Tomato’s gives it 62% and the Audience reviews a positive 78%…
We grade it out at a 94.5 - (based on: story line/scenery/entertainment value/& will we watch again)
Story Line (90): Who doesn't like a story about someone who experiences tragedy in their life and somehow turns that into an opportunity to live out their dreams that they didn’t even know they had? Yes, this is not a story that is going to keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen or “how’s it going to end?!” - but I smiled throughout the entire movie.
Scenery (97): Italy, wine country… what else is there? It’s hard to miss on this one. You shoot a movie predominately in a vineyard in Italy along with an old house you are renovating… it’s hard to do better. Again, we love to travel and we love Italy so this is a perfect movie for us to relax and enjoy the scenery and get more excited about our next trip across the pond.
Entertainment (93): I often find myself distracted during movies now with: the news, my phone, the computer, Riane’s phone, etc… We are typically working and watching at the same time, so we don’t always feel like we’ve sat down to relax and unwind, but more like we just moved work to the bedroom, sat on the bed with a movie on and worked more. Sometimes that’s because the entertainment value of what’s on is just not real high. Not so with Under The Tuscan Sun. We pretty much gave the movie our attention start to finish and really enjoyed pulling out an 03 throw back.
Will We Watch Again (98): Absolutely. We didn’t give it a 100 here because I won’t watch again tomorrow, but I will throw it back in there in the next 30-90 days without hesitation.
It's Friday! If you aren't going out tonight and you love movies, this is a great one to kick off the weekend! So, if you missed Under the Tuscan Sun, felt like it was too girly for your man, or it’s just too early 2000’s - I encourage you to give it a try and for a fun little flick that has phenomenal scenery, light and easy entreatment that will have you smiling and feeling like booking your next trip to the wine country as soon as it’s over.
Yes, men need to clean out their closets too. This is always a huge blog when Riane drops the seasonal closet purge, and guys need to do the same. Men don’t typically put as much effort into what they wear and why (for the most part) - but at the same time, we should make an effort a couple times a year to clean out what we don’t wear, to update the wardrobe (which will make the wife happy that you made an effort to dress a little more trendy) and simply make some space in your closet. We spent about an hour and half this last weekend purging my side of the closet and not only has created some good space in cleaning out what I didn’t need, but it just looks and feels nicer in there now. We are clean freaks, Riane more so than I am, but it’s always so much nicer to have a clean space in your home…
I try and follow the guidelines that Riane sets forth for her clients:
If you haven’t worn it in over a year - get rid of it.
Try on all the pants you are questioning and make a decision based on “Will I always grab something else over this?” - if so, it goes. Same thought and question can apply to anything you are on the fence about.
If you don’t love it, you wont’ wear it. Most guys don’t “love” their clothes. It’s just not the normative thought. Some do. I would be one of those guys, and I have been most of my life. If that bothers you, I’m sorry…it doesn’t bother me. Even though I’ve been a clothes fan most of my life, my tastes and horizons have changed since meeting Riane. I don’t mean I’ve understood it, I’ve not. But I was always a fan of cool clothes. Which means, if I don’t like something, I’m not going to wear it. Whether you like fashion or not, if you don’t like something you probably wont’ wear it. If you hate skinny jeans, you aren’t going to wear them and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t buy them.
What you need:
Nice jeans:If you have 3 pairs of nice jeans that last then you are fine. I have been buying Topman lately because they don’t cost as much as the jeans I used to buy. I’m sure they won’t last as long, but they are trendy and I don’t mind grabbing a new pair every year or two and getting rid of old ones that either don’t fit or aren’t in style. - If you are wondering what’s in style, you can refer back my ‘3 Things Your Man Needs in His Wardrobe’ post.
Shoes: Shoes help mark your style - whatever style you are. Streetwear guys where cool sneakers. The fancy fit guys are rocking the nicer boots these days with a skinny jean. The “little bit older - but still stylish” guys are mixing a little bit of the hipster look with boots and rolling up their jeans that aren’t near as tight as the 20 year old hipster. Regardless, whatever your style is, get a good pair of shoes and wear them out!
Fitted tees: I use my fitted tees with just jeans, as an under shirt for my button ups, under my custom vests, with my sweaters and scarfs when it’s colder. These things are extremely versatile and a great way to update your closet and only spending $20 to grab a quality add. (great colors to have: white, black, grey and one brighter color - like a blue or purple if you are fairly confident…) Now that’s it’s starting to warm up, I will utilize these babies more and more in a variety of ways.
Man adjustment rules:
It’s ok to have old t-shirts. I totally dig putting on my old comfy t-shirts at night. Surf shirts, Mickey shirts, sleeveless shirts, etc… Not everything needs to be date night and insta-post worthy. I have a whole section of my closet area designated just for this. (“area” meaning, small corner of the closet…)
I always keep ripped jeans and a couple of pearl snaps to work in. I typically do any work on the cars that needs to be done as well as house updates, improvements and the like. So it’s great to keep a couple of old pairs, but don’t keep more than 2. (I just tossed 6 pairs of jeans in the latest clean out) - due to fit, style and just plain worn out.
Hats - they can all stay. I love hats. I collect hats. And, clearly I wear a lot of hats. I don’t clean them out often and I will wear them for years before I’m willing to toss one. So, no rules here. Keep em if you want to and don’t if you don’t.
At the end of the day, it’s always good to go through your things and clean out your closet 1 or 2 times a year. Use some basic guidelines and don’t be too manly to like things to be clean.
It has been crazy ride the last 3 years of our life, and in all honesty it actually started about 7 years ago. We were comfortable living in our “life-space”. We had recently built our first new home, Riane’s business was continuing to grow and I was in a place where I thought I was going to continue my career and move ‘up’ so to speak in the church world… We thought that would be our life for the next decade or 2. However; we were wrong...
Riane and I went out last week and decided to try on some new creative date night ideas… I don't mean like... you know, but new/creative as in - something outside of dinner and a movie.
Riane and I try to go out on a planned date night at least 2 times a month. We used to go once a week on date day Fridays, but then we went "all in" working for ourselves which means date day Friday became workday Friday and our weekends off changed… drastically. So, much like most of you, we are really really really busy. So we have to schedule time on purpose and make an effort to spend quality time together on a consistent basis. We are a couple that just do better together the more time we spend together and the less time we spend together - well...
We typically hit dinner and a movie. Not out of boring habit but we just love dinner and movies. We find places we really like and we go back. We love getting to know the people that work at restaurants by being "regulars" and take a sense of pride in being locals. It’s always been something we did and a way to relax and enjoy life. We also really enjoy movies. (and I really enjoy movie snacks…)
A couple of weeks ago over Spring Break the kids spent a night with Nanny and Papa, so we had a full 24 hours of date day… We got some work done and had a fun lunch in Dallas, and then decided to do some new things that evening to mix up our normal Dinner and Movie night out.
Escape Room - we hit the Red Door Escape Room in Southlake for something different. Neither of us had been but had heard from a couple of friends that it was fun. If you’ve not tried an escape room out, it’s a really fun way to spend an hour of a date night and gives you an opportunity to use your minds together in a fun creative way. Definitely more expensive than a movie but we laughed a lot, got to solve some problems and are planning on going back at least once with some friends. - It’s probably better going in a group of friends, we went just the two of us and ended up in a group of people we just met, which was fine, but would be more fun with a group of friends.
Dinner in downtown Roanoke - We lived in Roanoke for 8 years and truly miss the small town feel and the main street restaurants being just 5 minutes away. We dropped in at Inzo’s (used to be known as Brick’s) - my favorite pizza place in the states. However; this time we opted for Salmon and Spaghetti, which is not our norm at my favorite pizza spot, but we’ve committed to spending some time trying new things when we go out, so a new order it was. The salmon was great! Highly recommend if you are looking for a healthy lean option that is fairly inexpensive.
Movie run - As I said before we love movies, but we were really wanting to do something more creative… so, instead of our norm trip to Tinseltown off Main St in Grapevine we headed to Target. We set a timer for 10 min. we literally ran in the store and each searched for a movie that:
We did not own or had not seen
Was as cheap as possible
Was something we wanted to see
We set the timer because 1. it always takes us forever to pick a movie and 2. we love to compete and this made a fun game to see who could find the best deal on a movie. We ended up with 4 $5 movies and grabbed a couple of deserts at Eatzi’s Market. Grand total we spent about what we would have spent at the movies or maybe a little less. Plus our movie snacks were way better and we had wine instead of Icee’s. And, we added to our movie collection! And we gave ourselves another 4-8 nights of entertainment not including any time we might re-watch one of them.
Date nights are a must for us. The more time we spend together the better we do together and vis versa. 15+ years of marriage, 2 kids, and owning a business together can be a challenge. But, there truly is no other person I would rather be in this thing with than Riane.
So, if you’ve missed out on date night for a while, plan one. If you need some ideas, steal one or all of these. If you don’t like any of them, do what you do like. Simple or extravagant, do whatever works for you two!
Rome - Rome was my second favorite of our stops. Again, I absolutely love the beach with great hikes and hours to relax, but as far as major cities with so much to do, Rome was a blast. We walked in Rome more than anywhere else we went and is one of our favorite memories of exploring a new place together. And without a doubt, Rome offered the best food of all 5 places we stayed.
The best things we did:
Rick Steve’s Walking Tour of Roman Forum: Riane loves watching Rick Steve’s travel videos. Honestly, hats off to the guy. I don’t know how such a nerdy dude ended up being the travel guru he is, but dear goodness that man has done a good job. After a flop of a tour guide that we splurged on for the Colosseum, we opted for the Rick Steve’s tour of the Forum. We had a blast. We only had one iPhone head set, so we each had one ear bud. It’s rather comical trying to walk for an hour looking at ancient history but you have to stay within like 12 inches of each other or your ear buds will rip out. This is a total tourist move, and we not only had a blast doing it, but laughing at the other couples doing the same thing every time they ripped an ear bud out too…
Gruppo Di Rienzo: This is our favorite place in the world to eat! It is in the same Piazza as the Pantheon and we just stumbled onto it on our first afternoon in Rome. We were looking for a place to grab a snack after doing some shopping and seeing the Pantheon and we ended up staying for dinner after our snack. I think we literally ended up sitting there eating and talking to the people around us for like 5 hours. The Risotto here is, and I can’t say it enough, AMAZING! We ate there 3 nights in a row and I had the same thing each night, except I got the asparagus the first and last night and the mushrooms the 2nd night. (The mushrooms are double the price!!!) We had a habit on this trip of finding somewhere we really liked to eat and then when we would try somewhere new it just wasn’t as good. So… in Rome we decided we didn’t want to fix what wasn’t broke, so we didn’t… The wine was amazing, the beer was amazing, the Risotto and whatever Riane had was amazing, the desert was amazing, the waiters fighting in Italian over who got to serve us the last night was amazing… All to say, if you are in Rome - eat here. Get the Risotto!
The Vatican at Night: Best decision for a major attraction! We had the last avail ticket time slot and almost missed it. We were literally running from San’t Eustachio (right next to the Pantheon) to the Vatican because we had stayed at dinner to long and were still committed to not Ubering unless it was absolutely necessary. On the way there, Riane decided she had to use the restroom… So we are now somewhere in Rome, searching for a place to pee all while trying to not miss our time slot because the gates are going to close on us. So we finally find this hotel and try to run in to use the bar restroom. Unfortunately it wasn’t on the bottom floor. Long story short - we end up getting separated on an elevator mishap and somehow we walked into the middle of a wedding reception on the rooftop bar… Riane finally got to go and we barely made it to the Vatican on time. The Sistine Chapel was probably the most impactful peace of art I looked at the entire trip. Not because my neck hurt from staring up at the ceiling for so long, but the entire experience brought about one of those surreal moments when you walk away and have to wrestle with the existence of God, the depravity of man and our desperate need for Jesus. Throughout my years, no one piece of art has caused such a stir in my soul as the Sistine Chapel did that day. - The walk back from the Vatican at night was just as amazing as the Vatican itself. The Piazza area at night, all lit up without the crowd was maybe the best way to end our last day in Rome.
Rome was top notch in my opinion and one of those experiences that you leave with so many memories that you can’t wait for the next adventure. Thanks for joining us on our highlights from our Europe Travel Blog!
Florence - I will say that we were not ready to leave Vernazza when we did. I could have stayed another week and been completely content, but on this trip we were trying to hit as many places as we could but still spend some quality time at each. We stayed in a cool little chic hotel close to the Duomo because we were committed to not taking an Uber the majority of the trip. The Glance Hotel Firenze was our favorite actual room that we stayed in. It was fairly inexpensive and was the largest of the rooms we stayed in by far. It was new, clean, close to everything and they had a really good breakfast each morning that was included.
The best things we did:
Piazzale Michelangelo: some of our favorite things on this trip were things we not only didn’t plan, but just happened by mistake. We were supposed to meet a friend at another Piazza that was close by. We took a wrong turn, worked our way up a steep heel and a bunch of steps and landed in front of this church (Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte) with maybe the best view of all Florence…and there was NO CROWD! After listening to the church bells, watching the priests do something priestly and catching the view of the city, we made our way back to meet our friend in the correct location and off to dinner.
Boboli Gardens: this place was beautiful. I’m not much for walking around garden type places. That stuff just kind of bores me, but I was really impressed with how well everything is kept, how big the place is and it really just felt like “the things in here are old and important.” The day we visited happened to be on a day they were having a rehearsal for an Opera that was being performed in a theater area and we just happened to walk in a side door and catch as much of the show as we wanted for free, standing maybe 50 ft away from the stage. - However; I couldn’t understand a word of what was going on, but it def. gave us the VIP feel for the 30 min. we stood and watched.
Gelato: I love ice cream. The Gelato in Florence and Rome were the best! We had it every day, and sometime (most times) multiple times a day. Riane rationalizes and says “we are walking so much it’s totally fine.” I however didn’t care one way or the other and just ate a lot of it! However; we did learn some things about Gelato:
1 - not all Gelato is created equal
2 - do not, I repeat do not get it from a store that has massive cones!
3 - find the places that are off the beaten path and not in the “direct tourist routes”
4 - the best Gelato is actually dull in color and not bright
My favorite flavors are: Pistachio Almond, Chocolate, Vanilla, Banana, Strawberry, & Raspberry
Florence was a great place for site seeing, ice cream and the city views… but it doesn’t compare to Rome.
On to stop 3. We flew from Prague to Milan and then hopped on 2 trains on our way to Vernazza. This was my first actual train ride and I really enjoyed it. The trip from Milan to Vernazza was 3+ hours, so we had 1st class tickets that included a meal. Originally we were sitting across the isle from one another, but this sweet Australian couple had been split up, so we gave up one of our seats so they could sit together and I sat toward the back while Riane sat up with a group of Italians and by the time we were able to sit together 3 hours later she had become best friends with them like normal... One thing I truly love about Riane is her love for people and how quickly she can connect with others. (It's part of what makes her so good at what she does...)
Vernazza - If Prague was my least favorite of our 5 cities to visit, then Vernazza was my favorite. It was also our only beach stop, and... I love the beach. Vernazza is one of the 5 towns in Cinque Terra and is the only one that cars are not allowed in. We grabbed an AirB&B right off the water and had a blast. We ate b-fast at the same little cafe/bar each morning and hiked each day to the surrounding towns. Vernazza was a perfect mix of hiking/outdoor activity and then relaxing on the beach.
The best things we did:
Hiking to the other towns: There are trails along the coastline that connect each one of the towns and the views are absolutely amazing. Massive cliffs, basically aerial views of the towns and each trail has at least one or two little unique things along the way. Between Vernazza and Monterosso there was an old man making fresh squeezed orange juice that I’m assuming was hand picked from his orchard. I don’t know for sure because he didn’t seem to speak English and there was a long line at the time so I didn’t want to interrupt him from his work to ask. There’s also a really cool little cafe/coffee shop on the hill side between Vernazza and Manarola. We stopped on the hike there and we took the hike back partially to stop there again for another round of lemonade and pastries.
Sea bass at dinner: I don’t typically try new things at the dinner table but Vernazza was the perfect place to try some fresh sea food. Our last night there I had the Sea Bass (which is not too abnormal) but it came with Octopus as well! If you’ve never eaten an Octopus, it’s like sticky chicken with a little bit of a fish after taste to it. Not my favorite, but the Sea Bass was incredible!
The cafe outdoor patio between Vernazza and Manarola: Like I said earlier, we made 2 stops at this place in the same day. They had great snacks about mid-way through the hike and the view from the outdoor patio was…
Afternoons at the beach: Each day we would get out, eat breakfast and then hit a big hike. Grab lunch in the neighboring town and then either rest at the beach there or make our way back and go to the beach in Vernazza. Vernazza has a fairly small beach area that was typically crowded while we were there, but we managed to land a big rock 2 days in a row. We would get all settled and then spend the afternoon relaxing and reading before getting ready for dinner each night. We had a great spot to relax in Monterosso as well, but we had to pay for our chairs, the beach however, was much bigger and was all sand as opposed to the small beach area in Vernazza. Both were amazing and I would do again in a heartbeat!
I could have spent the entire 15 days in Vernazza and been thrilled to be there. If you love small, quaint places where you have the opportunity to get to know some of the locals, enjoy some amazing food and love outdoor adventures, then Vernazza is a great place to visit!
With 15 days to celebrate 15 years, we spent 3 in each city... after 3 fun filled days in Paris and all the macaroons we could find, we headed to Prague!
Prague - Every one I talked to said Prague was the best. It’s now being referred to as the “New Paris”. Don’t get me wrong with what I'm about to say…the city itself truly is amazing. Just the buildings, the age and the history is incredible to see. However; the crowds remind me of the 5 minutes in-between classes in high school when the halls were shoulder to shoulder, jam packed. There are people EVERYWHERE! We spent 3 nights in Prague right on the square and I honestly would have been good flying in, taking the fat bike scooter tour, grabbing a burger and a beer on the square, spending the night and then flying out to Italy the next am. If you love crowds, museums, tour guides and literally hundreds of school field trip groups…this is the place for you. If you like peace and quiet at some point during the day…make it a day trip, hit the fat bike tour and move on to your next stop.
The best things we did:
The fat bike scooter tour: This was a ton of fun. Yes our first 2 cities we did some type of bike tour, and this was the funniest Prague activity for sure. Again, Riane is not the best on 2 wheeled modes of transportation, so half the fun was watching her. We spent a few hours scooting through old town, the parks and stopping for a quick snack. Again, it was a great way to see a lot in a short amount of time on the first day.
Symphony concert: (@Obecni Dum, Praha) Riane loves classical music and I love to sleep during it. So she got to hear some amazing music in a really old building and I took a nap in a small chair. It worked out really well for both of us.
Hiking through Petrin Gardens: We really enjoy hiking and we got a ton of it in throughout this entire trip. One of our favorite places was the Petrin Gardens. It is massive, green and overlooks the city at certain points. (It also has a tiny version of the Eiffel Tower too). We actually had scooted through the area on the fat bike tour, but it was even better the second time because it was a beautiful day and we got to take more of the view in on our hike than we did on the tour. - You definitely want to take some snacks along the way and then plan on stopping on your way back on the river for a burger and an incredible view of the Charles Bridge.
Prague was a really fun place to go and I’m glad we did it, but it’s not somewhere that I’m putting at the top of the “To Do Again”. 1. there are so many other places to check out and 2. because I enjoyed Vernazza so much more because it's so laid back! (which happens to be next...)
Last summer to celebrate our 15 year anniversary we took a 15 day journey that we had been planing for the last 5 years. Riane and I decided at 10 years that we would plan a major trip every 5 years to celebrate milestone anniversaries. 10 years was Costa Rica and 15 was Europe.
When we first began discussing this trip, we never thought it was going to be a “working trip” for fashion and travel. If you are a fashion and travel blogger, Europe is a must. Why? Because you have to take a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower and you have to Insta story all your macaroons and your gelato. So… we did. If you followed along for 15 days, we visited site after site after site, ate gelato shortly after b-fast and dinner and walked 120+ miles all while visiting 5 different cities to celebrate 15 years with 15 days in Europe…
So, over the next 5 weeks I'm going to give you a quick snap of the 5 stops of our first Euro journey.
Paris - Paris feels like NY, except you can find a trash can and they speak better english. Our favorite breakfast place was in Paris by far. It was a nice little cafe right outside our hotel where you could get eggs, pastries, coffee or hot cocoa, and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice for 13 euro’s. The hot chocolate was pretty legit, they brought you hot milk and a block of chocolate to drop in your cup and melt to give you a rich chocolate taste. By far the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.
The best things we did:
Bike tour through the city: Shortly after we arrived we took a 4 hour bike tour all over the city that hit the majority of the highlight spots you want to see. We were able to see a lot in a short amount of time because we were on bikes and had a guide. It was a great way to kick off the trip and get an idea of the area you are going to be in by covering it with a guide on a bike… The only down side was that we went shortly after we landed from an overnight flight that I did not sleep at all on… So I was pretty tired and missed the majority of what our guide said simply because I was half asleep for the entire tour. If I were to do that again, I would take that tour the next morning instead.
Picnic in The Luxembourg Garden: We were with some of our favorite friends when we were in Paris and grabbing a pizza to go, as well as some great wine, and picnic foods from a nearby market and picnicking in the gardens was a blast! The weather was beautiful, the scenery was as well and we had so much fun eating, talking and people watching before we grabbed yet another gelato after lunch.
Eiffel Tower: You can’t go to Paris and not go to the Tower. If you are an Insta husband, this picture is the one you’ve been waiting for! Why? Because every other freaking blogger chic has posted her pic in front of the tower and now it’s your turn! We did go up the Tower as well, however I stopped on the 2nd floor because I’m scared of heights and floor 2 was about all I could handle. Riane went to the top with our friends and I sat on a nice little bench on floor 2 looking over the city which really was an incredible view. Riane said the view from the top was cool, but the trip time was fairly long ridding the elevators and waiting in line to actually make it to the top. Again, the Tower is a must, but probably not on the repeat list.
Rented bikes from the city bike racks: Our last night in Paris we ate in Montmartre by the Sacre Coeur (which means across town and up a hill by an old church), so we decided to use the city bikes to get there because the walk was so long. Problem was we went during rush hour and ironically on the day that Putin was visiting… By Putin I mean Vladimir… If you want to get a feel for what it’s like to be a local, then rent a bike and ride through the busiest streets during rush hour when a Russian President is visiting the city. Riane was an absolute mess. I mean, I’ve never seen her shaking and so mentally distraught during an event. Our 20 min. bike ride up town actually took an hour and 20 min and Riane needed about 30 min to recover from the whole ordeal.
Overall Paris was a blast. We still talk about our little breakfast spot and laugh with our friends about our bike trip the last night, and we do plan on going back again. Stay tuned, next week is Prague!
What do I get my wife for Valentine's Day... Part 2! Many of us are just now beginning to ask this all so important question because we are T-minus 6 days to V-day launch. Luckily, because of 'WDiG4VD' part 1, I am so ahead of the game! As I said in the last post, I am just not a planner. I don’t naturally think in advance, but Riane feels loved when I do… Which means there are times when I’ve got to work hard to do that. So after making my list of 14+ options on things to do that I shared last week - I took that and began to break down what I could actually get done.
I got 37 gifts. Yes, 37! - WHY?! Again, Riane absolutely loves presents. Anything, literally anything that you take the time to wrap and give Riane makes her feel special. It doesn't necessarily mean she’s going to keep it… it may get returned. But the event of getting a wrapped package to then anticipate and open is what makes Riane feel loved. Now, I didn’t have to drop thousands to accomplish this. What I did do was take my list I wrote from the last blog and begin to work through each item or point and come up with creative ways to accomplish this…
I’m going to share a few of those here with you: only sharing a few because all 37 would take a long time to write and you probably don’t want to read all that either…
I got her a set of pajamas - they are not too expensive and she loves Pj’s. Again, keeping in mind what she likes and not what I like. I have always had a tendency to get Riane what I like and it’s a fight to get what she likes instead. I had to not buy the tiny tank and panties and instead grab the soft button up top with shorts that she might actually sleep in…
I got her a coffee mug she loves - Riane loves coffee and tea. She drinks it every single day. I think it helps her relax and I know it’s something she looks forward to every day. This special little thing keeps your drink of choice at the temp you want it from “first sip to last drop”… This is one of those gifts that I was willing to spend a little more on than normal simply because she will use it sooooo much!
I got her a pure silk beauty pillow case - Riane posted this thing in one of her Insta stories last week. So, I took a screen shot of it when she posted it and then ordered it after I started working through my list. Here’s a great tip for gift buying… If you will pay attention during normal life, she will often tell you what she wants. Riane not only feels loved when you give her a gift, but when you took the time to pay attention and then went back and got what it was she talked about one time.
I set up a girl’s night - Ok, a lot of guys have pulled this move off. The surprise, night off from the kids, work, and me and a chance to hang out with her friends. Riane has always been the girl in the middle of the party. She never wants to miss out and is for the most part re-charged by people, and even better when said people are there to celebrate her ;-). So, 5 of her friends are meeting her for a surprise dinner/night out. This one was the easiest of them all to plan because all I did was reach out to 5 friends to schedule a day that would work for everyone and then let one of them handle the details. That’s called leadership 101. Get the right people on the bus and then let them sit in the right seats. Then, get off the bus - unless it’s a party bus. Then stay and take pictures…
I got her some things that smell nice - Riane has candles everywhere in our home and loves things that smell good. I went a head and got a couple of things that go together in the “smell good” department. I went with this Prosecco Rose Diffuser and a Prosecco Rose candle to match it…because she likes prosecco and she likes roses. I honestly don’t know if that’s going to be a win or not, but at least I made an effort and there was a strategic thought process behind what I got in choosing girly things that I know little about.
I got her a new suite case - I grabbed this Hershel suite case because 1. Riane loves to travel. and 2. because our suite cases get messed up all the time when we go places, so we are always getting a new one/s every 2 years or so. This Hershel bag is fairly inexpensive, can be returned to Nordy if anything happens to it and it will match my bag because I have to carry them all anyways. This one was more of a long term strategic plan. Riane has been saying we need new luggage, and we were going to have to get it anyways. This way I was able to include it in the 37 gifts, because 37 is a lot.
I wrote 37 little notes - I'm going to give these to Riane throughout the week of her birthday that are specifically things that I love about her. Some are just quick little notes that are nice, others are not so nice (if you know what I mean) and then there are others that are more in depth and well thought out. Again that idea of thinking about it makes the effort noticeable to her.
(yes they are arranged in a cheesy little heart shape, that's not easy to do you know…)
I got her some new workout shoes - haha! I did it again! That’s 4 blogs in a row that list shoes in some form or fashion. ;-) (one of my top 5 goals in consistently guest blogging for StelloStyle is to somehow incorporate a shoe into every blog…) But seriously, Riane has been asking for a new workout shoe, so I went back to my fav workout shoes for 2018 and got her one of those!
Ok, so there’s 8 of the 37 for you as examples. The other 29 gifts are smaller and not as $$, but there is thought and effort behind each one, which truly is the difference maker when it comes to Valentine’s, birthdays, or really any gift giving when it comes to your spouse. Thought and effort go a long way in showing someone who is a “gifts love” person love.
Hope you all have an amazing Valentine's Day!
Yes! Once again we are days away from the most important unimportant holiday ever! Valentine's Day!…and many of us fellas are now asking “what do I get my wife for Valentine's day?". For me it’s a double whammy because it also happens to be Riane’s birthday. For the last 20 years of my life I’ve had the pleasure of trying to figure out what the heck to get Riane for Valentine's and her birthday all while making it a week long event, because you can’t celebrate them both on the same day. Some years I’ve done really well…other’s I’ve waited until the last minute and pretty much botched the entire ordeal… So this year I am getting a jump on my planning. I’m going to do a 2 part blog where in this one I share with you my planning thoughts, and the next one I will let you know where it all landed.
To start brainstorming I’m just going to make a list of things Riane loves: After I listed out a good number of things that Riane loves, I started making notes beside them along with a (yes/no/maybe) column to move the thought process along.
shoes - she has a lot and just got new ones (no)
bags - we need a new travel bag and she likes those (maybe)
candles - she always has one lit in the house and I’ve actually never got her one (yes)
books - she loves reading and is always picking up the next book (i need to find out what she is eyeing next… (maybe)
clothes - Riane loves super comfy pjs (maybe) I probably have a higher chance of success of not returning pajamas
flowers - I never buy flowers on valentines because of the price mark up, so (maybe) because it would be totally unexpected
trips - any kind of trip to look forward to Riane loves. Whether it’s one night, one weekend, or a trip we’ve planned for years, Riane loves to pack and travel.
friends - a surprise dinner or something fun
food - Italian food (maybe) - find a new place we haven’t been and go there…
fun - dancing, hiking, date nights,
movies - recent movies out on dvd? (maybe)
lots of little gifts - candy, gum, things that smell nice, earrings, gift cards, snacks, etc… (I’ve heard of guys doing like 40 gifts for the big 40, but Riane is turning 37. Still could be a cool idea to do 37 gifts…)
thought out plans: surprises, notes - maybe 37 things I love about her, or 37 memories from our relationship, 37 favorite things she does…,
Tea - she loves tea and drinks it every night (maybe)
This is completely new approach for me on planning out Riane’s Valentine's Day and Her B-day. I don’t make lists, I don’t do strategic planning and I don’t typically think about what’s coming up until it’s already here. I typically default to undies and/or things I would like to do when it comes to the romance holiday. However; my plan this year to “up my game” is to really utilize this next week, doing some decent research to find the best option or how they could all work together to make a really special day/week for her. That way I am making sure I am thinking about how she feels loved and working from there rather than my norm, “what does she like that I can order or grab quickly and get it wrapped up?” I think the point is to spend quality time figuring out what to do which serves as a gift in itself as well. It’s like with any thing else. You can typically tell when something is slapped together or done half heartedly and that just isn't going to do this year. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to communicate the depths of my love for her in the way she feels loved. So, wish me luck. If you have any great ideas please send them my way. - I will do the follow up the week of the big day/s and let you know the surprises that are in store!
Happy planning to each of you as you prepare to share your love with those you love :-)!
Yes I am a dude. Yes, I am a #instahubs to the fullest extent. I think there's only like 8 of us who are "all in" with this thing with our wives. Regardless, men it's fair to say, are not widely known for fashion sense. However; we're now in a time when men's fashion is a thing. Even if you think it's not... your wife does.
For the most part, wives notice what you wear. My wife thinks it's hot when I make an effort. Yours will too. Let me repeat this. Your wife... WILL. THINK. YOU. LOOK. HOTTER... if you will make an effort to dress. It really is that simple. Women like it better when you look better. They can say all the emotional stuff they want, which i get. I'm on board, but at the same time, she's going notice in a way that she won't if you don't. So, here's 3 pieces that will get you started.
1 - A custom suit. Even if you buy it from the department store and have it tailored. And I don't mean tailored at the department store. Like find someone that knows what he's talking about and let him take your suit and tailor it to YOUR body. Seriously, when you are getting ready for an event, or a meeting, or a wedding, etc... Whatever you are going to, you are going to feel 100x's more confident when you slide on that suit that was custom fit to your body. Seriously. Or even better, call my boy Jason Smith (817-937-0318) from Andre Phillipe (url) @Andre Phillipe (insta) and get him to come get you set up. Skip all the, "it's just as good at Nordy or Neiman's or Men's Warehouse"... No, it's not. Not with suits. These guys do all of my suits now, as well as my button down shirts and my dress shoes and belts. The first time I jumped in was about 7 years ago and I've not looked back since. Have them come measure you, let you pick literally every part out and then bring you your glove, and tell me you don't freaking love it. You do that, and you will never buy another off the rack suit again. And then you will thank me... and I will say "you are welcome". The best part is that the entire suit can be used in multiple ways. You can use the jacket as a sport coat with jeans and a nice button down, you can use the pants with a v-neck tee and some clean kicks, throw the vest on over a nice tee with jeans and nice shoes or kicks... It can be used all together and in pieces, so it's extremely versatile.
2 - Skinny jeans - "I'm not wearing skinny jeans!" Fine, don't. But I am. Listen, you don't have to be 22, 132 lbs. and work as a barista to wear the skinnies. Skinny jeans don't make you a hipster. Being a hipster makes you a hipster. "My legs are too big." I guarantee you there are guys that out squat you by 200lbs that are rocking some skinny jeans. It's not cause your thighs are too big. It's because you think it's stupid or you will look stupid. And yes, in the wrong pair you probably will. Some guys just aren't made for skinny jeans. ie. My dad can't wear skinny jeans. Just can't. won't, shouldn't and I'm good with that. His fashion fits where he's at and what he does. However; you are not my dad. You don't live in the country outside of Amarillo. You're not a retired West Texas boy. So let's up your game then. If you really are just too big, then just do a slim fit or straight leg jean. Grab something you can cuff on a boot or a shoe. It doesn't have to double as a compression tight, just let it give you a little more squeeze on the keester, tapper down on your shoes and not lap over your boots like you're in a 90's grunge band. If you want to push it a little more and be more on trend with your fashion, grab some skinnies. I personally recommend doing something with some stretch though. I've got a pair of Levis and a pair of Topman that both have some stretch in them, so I can move. I don't mind a tight jean nor does my wife, but I hate it when I can't move in them. If you've never given something a little more Euro a shot, the skinny jean is a great one to start with.
3 - Workout gear. What? Now you are busting on my gym gear? Listen, I'm all about comfort in they gym. If your clothes get in the way of your lifts and sweat, then change them now. But in all seriousness, we are in a time when hoodies and joggers are in. There are multiple companies making some great stuff and Adidas and Nike are literally taking over in the shoe department in all facets of the game. Fashion, high end fashion now includes workout shirts with tails, hoodies with split sides, and joggers that are great to bench in or throw on with some chucks, a cool v-neck and your custom sport coat from #1 above. Seriously, this stuff is being mixed and matched like crazy these days. Utilize that to your advantage. My favorite athleisure brand right now is Aesthletic Revolution (ASRV)... Most of my joggers are ASRV as well as my fav long tail shirt. These guys are new to the scene in the last couple of years but make a great product. They are on the pricey side, and yes you can get joggers for half as much, but the quality just isn't the same. I wear mine all the time, so it's worth the investment for me. You may not, and that's fine too. There are multiple cheaper options. (In fact I list some for you below ;-). And again with the shoes. Yes, the last 3 blogs I've written have had shoes in them, but they are being used for so much right now! Workouts, casual wear, dressy wear, etc. Literally, ALL. THE TIME. Guys are wearing Adidas Stan Smith's and Converse Chucks with suits night now, or even throwing on a norm tennie shoe (not that I recommend taking it that far). Adidas is literally rocking the world with the yezzy, boosts, nmd's, eqt, I-5923. And when I mean rocking the world - Adidas is now being labeled "the fastest growing sportswear brand in North America". Again, if you are like, "dude your crazy, I've got no interest in this." that's fine, but if you like fashion, the athleasure craze has made a major move on the male side of things and these are great brands to catch you up.
I'm only giving you 3 today...so pick one and get it done.
It's January and the gyms and fitness clubs are full again. What a great time to share my favorite workout kicks for 2018!
I love to workout and I love shoes. That may sound douchy, but it is what it is. I think it comes from being super small when i was young and from my Jordan infatuation in the 80's. Regardless, I wanted to give you my thoughts on my favorite workout shoes for 2018. New kicks are always a great motivator for me, and shoes really do matter. It may sound strange, but I've tried A LOT of shoes and there is a noticeable difference in what I'm able to pick up depending on what shoe I have on = your shoes matter... So here a few of my favs.
1. Adidas Boost
Seriously this is my favorite shoe I've put on since I was 17 years old. Adidas made a trail shoe in 97 that was amazing. I literally took my nmd's out of the box, put them on and said, "Yes Adidas you've done it again!" This shoe has great comfort, is lightweight, has a flat bottom for lifting, providing a solid foundation, but I don't have to forfeit the ability to walk as I would a hard core power lifting shoe. This shoe is great for any workout where I need a solid foundation (like what lift do you not need that?...). Adidas is rolling out their boost line pretty quick these days, meaning they drop them and then they are gone, and then they drop a new version. So, if you see a pair you like, get them because they will be gone in a week. - if you miss, then wait a month and there will be a new color/version out. (If I only had 1 shoe to workout in, this would be my choice because it's versatile enough that I can wear for anything I'm doing in the gym.)
Some argue this is the best workout shoe there is. I would have agreed until last year - see again #1. The chuck is $50 and has been a staple shoe for over 50 years. It's light, flat, durable, and you can throw them in the wash and not worry about them. I've worked out in chucks for years now and still have the first pair I bought. Now if you are running, jumping rope, doing anything where you move a lot... do not wear these that day. They will kill your arches and it's just not a good idea. But the chuck is a phenomenial shoe if you are strictly lifting weights that day.
The air max is a bulkier shoe, however I've always lifted well in these things. They have a nice flat surface and give a good amount of support. Now I don't ever run in them because they are significantly heavier than anything else I work out in, and when I run I want the least amount of weight on me as possible. - But on lifts days for whatever reason I've always been able to pick up more weight when I'm wearing this shoe. I haven't been able to wear mine in the last couple of years though, because I stopped wearing socks with them... and then Riane threw them away ;-(. - So if you go with the air max 1, wear socks. (I found my last pair on sale at Urban Outfitters for $30, so I always keep my eyes open at places like that in the event I can score another cheap pair. Anytime you can grab another quality workout shoe for $30 do it!)
4. Nike Sock Dart -
The sock dart is a fun little 'mix it up' shoe that I get more comments on than any other shoe I have. It does not have a ton of support, but is a shoe that I will throw on for arm day or shoulders/abs day... I don't need as much support as I do on leg or chest day, so it's a good way to help keep my main gym shoe from stinking by giving it a day or two off during the week. (you might want to go a half size down in these since they are a sock feel and flex more than your norm workout shoe. Of the 4 this is the least versatile and is only in my workout rotation to give the other shoes a break and because they look so cool.
5. Nike Huarache -
The Huarache is a cool shoe that's very light and easy to run in. I usually use this shoe when we go on hikes or something outdoors and active. These are easy to slip on, easy to clean and they have a ton of color combinations and variations of this shoe. You will find the widest variety of this shoe at Nike, but all the major department stores will have at least 1 version in stock.
At the end of the day its all about what's comfortable and what you like putting on before you do what you do. So, if you need a little extra motivation 19 days into the new year, grab you some new shoes and keep showing up.