Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 Resolution: Break Out The Horn

 Self Portrait 2003

After looking at the pictures of HDS in the last post, it quickly reminded me of my trumpet playing days in Cambridge. I was so exhausted and burned out after the first year that I decided to take up an instrument and since I always wanted to learn how to play the trumpet, I picked up a cheap one online.
To my surprise, the trumpet is not an instrument that you can just pick up. Fortunately for me, Berklee College of Music was only a T-ride away. And after finding a instructor and 4 lessons, I was ready to start playing on my own. The funny part is that I actually started to get good.

I eventually got a better horn (Bach TR300) but once I entered law school, the trumpet was tossed aside for Property outlines and Civil Procedure note cards.  But since a new year is upon us, I finally think its time break out my horn.

I love the fact that my Bach was made in America.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Life Archives: Harvard Divinity School


My years at Harvard Divinity School (M.Div 05) was the most challenging and equally rewarding time of my life. As the year comes to an end, my thoughts turn back to a simpler time when I had everything figured out (or so I thought).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Navy's Golden Thirteen

(seated in front row, left-to-right):Ensign George C. Cooper, USNR;Ensign Graham E. Martin, USNR;Ensign Jesse W. Arbor, USNR; Ensign John W. Reagan, USNR; Ensign Reginald E. Goodwin, USNR; (standing in back row, left-to-right): Ensign Dennis D. Nelson, USNR;Ensign Phillip G. Barnes, USNR; Ensign Samuel E. Barnes, USNR; Ensign Dalton L. Baugh, USNR;Ensign James E. Hare, USNR; Ensign Frank E. Sublett, USNR; Warrant Boatswain Charles B. Lear, USNR.

In January 1944 sixteen black enlisted men gathered at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois to begin a cram course that would turn them into the U.S. Navy's first African-American officers on active duty. The men believed they could set back the course of racial justice if they failed and banded together so all would succeed. Despite the demanding pace, all sixteen passed the course. Twelve were commissioned as ensigns and a thirteenth was made a warrant officer. Years later these pioneers came to be known as the Golden Thirteen, but at the outset they were treated more as pariahs than pioneers. Often denied the privileges and respect routinely accorded white naval officers, they were given menial assignments unworthy of their abilities and training. Yet despite this discrimination, these inspirational young men broke new ground and opened the door for generations to come.

Their story is retold in Paul Stillwell's book, "The Golden Thirteen."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Currently Available @ Partners & Spade

Via: Capturing the Seven

Store inventory currently at Partners & Spade. The hand drawn pictures reminds me of a Wes Anderson movie.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What Christmas Is All About

Merry Christmas From Alex Grant!

Inside Look: Skull and Bones

Although this may look like a low budget Blair Witch Project (click on 'Inside Look' to see video),  it's actually "the tomb" of the Skull and Bones at Yale University. I can't vouch for the members today but their depiction of style in The Good Shepherd was nothing less than classic!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Travel: Adirondack NY

Adirondack NY

There is something special about 2005. Besides the Vitals spring 2005 issue that we all hold so dear, I also came across an article that same year in Ralph Lauren's online magazine (RL) about travel destination Adirondack N.Y. The article titled, "The Point: Bliss In The Adirondacks" always struck a cord with me (even almost 5 years later).  I don't know if it was the exclusive idea of staying in a "former Rockefeller estate tucked deep in the Adirondack woods of upstate New York," or the cool factor of sleeping in a cabin straight out of The Great Outdoors, but either way, the pictures always reminded me of a Norman Rockwell photo. And isn't that what we all strive for: "A picture perfect vacation."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Alex's Pick: Linus Blanket

Evey child needs a security blanket.

Alex is usually a good sleeper but a month ago, he started cutting his naps a little short. I quickly remembered that I wanted to buy him a Linus Blanket from Urban Outfitters before he was born, and when it arrived, Alex was instantly attached to it. He's been sleeping like a baby ever since.

BTW, A Charlie Brown Chirstmas is now streaming on Hulu.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Boy Scouts - Nantucket or Bust

Boy Scouts Rowing to Nantucket

One of my favorite memories as a child was winning a Swiss army knife for selling the most popcorn in my den as a Cub Scout. I still remember the Cub Scout promise as if it was a security blanket from my toddler days. I can't wait to introduce Alex to the world of Scouting and hopefully I'll be a den leader in his pack.  I think my parents still have some pictures of me in my uniform and I will gladly upload them whenever I dig them out from their basement.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Den of Inequity

Hollister Hovey

A den/study is a must for our next home. Inspired by Hollister Hovey's Frontier Motif for the holidays, I was wondering how I would decorate our den for the holidays to come. Below is TOPH and Vitals (Sp 2005) guide to decorating your study. Is there anything you would add? What do you have in your study?


Monday, December 7, 2009


Back in March of 2008, ACL (one of my daily reads), scanned a few pages of his favorite Japanese magazine Free & Easy and I stumbled upon them this past weekend. This issued covered everything U.S. Navy and was aptly named Navy-ism. Free & Easy had a follow up issue to Navy-ism called Cadet Style, which appears to examine military style from a college and academy perspective. Check out Mister Freedom's Navy inspired apparel at Self Edge.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rover For The Holidays

I forgot about the 80s trend of dressing up your vehicle for the holidays until I saw this post at Easy & Elegant Life. And after making a quick trip to the dollar store, I am totally in season.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Navy Shawl Collar Sweater

The Life Aquatic

I love the idea of a cotton/wool sweater with a shawl collar. Martin + Osa and Land's End Canvas has some good options.

Martin + OsaAs some of you might have guessed by now, I'm totally obsessed with the U.S. Navy and Sailing gear. I fell in love with the Navy in 9th grade with my school's annual trip to Annapolis and I've been married to the Sea ever since. Well, after watching The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou this morning, I was reminded of how much I love the Sea as well as the clothing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Alex's Picks: French Cartoons


I can't put my finger on it but for some reason or another; I always loved French cartoons as a kid. Tintin, Madeline, and Babar were a few of my favorite cartoons growing up and I'm slowly introducing them to my children. Alex already loves Madeline and he has a Babar book and toy that we picked up at Riley's Reads the summer before he was born. And although he's not quite ready for Tintin cartoons, maybe I'll get him this for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Harvard Club of Delaware

I finally did it. I finally put the check in the mail to become a member of the Harvard Club of Delaware. As a fairly recent graduate of Harvard Divinity School (my picture is still on the Alumni page), the membership fee was only $10 and since the Harvard Club of Delaware basically paid for my masters degree; I totally feel obligated to join.

When you first apply to Harvard (at any school in the University), they give you an Financial Aid sheet full of potential scholarships that you may be eligible for. Most of the scholarship are obscure such as the Robinson Scholarship in which eligible is based on having the last name Robinson and growing up in the most northeastern(est) part of South Dakota. After searching up and down on this sheet, I finally came across the Harvard Club of Delaware. The criteria for their scholarship was that you had to be born and raised in Delaware. Once I applied, I had to show them a copy of my birth certificate as well as my High School diploma from Tatnall. Three years later, I basically left Harvard with no loans and they even gave me a stipend each year.

I'm not sure what to expect from this side of the Harvard Club of Delaware but I do love the fact that I get to interview local students who wish to attend Harvard. I will definitely keep you updated, especially if we visit other clubs such as the one in New York and Boston.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Pea Coat

Schott's Navy Pea Coat

As seen in earlier this month in Valet and GQ, the Pea Coat should be a stable in any man's wardrobe and I would totally agree with that statement. I've been eyeing J.Crew's Pea Coat for some time now but my new found love of American Made Products compels me to take a hard look at Schott's Pea Coat. Schott's history and description of the coat reads like a Edmund Morris novel and if the specifications for a great coat is good enough for the US Navy than its good enough for me.

Click here for The Selvedge Yard's tribute to the Navy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

AG GuestPost: The Bean Boot Project

Sartorially Inclined

Last week, L.A.S. of Sartorially Inclined embarked on an ambitious quest to pay tribute to the iconic LL Bean Boot. Describing The Bean Boot Project in his own words,
Without getting all academic on you, my goal was to frame an essay around how the boot's unique and shared reality is relatable to a lot of different people. The plan was to reach out to a bunch of my favorite bloggers and have them comment, be it through pictures or the written word, on their own experience with the iconic footwear... The new vision for the project is to highlight not only the Bean boot, but also the individuals that continue to inspire me on a daily basis.
After flipping through a couple of pictures, I humbly submitted a picture of Alex trying on my mocs and L.A.S. responded with one of the most flattering piece of prose I've ever seen. I am truly honored.

I once wrote after one of his post that he gained a reader for life...well, he can now make it two life times. Click here to read the post and check out the other entries on my impulse shelf.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Alex Grant in We Love You So

One of my favorite blogs of all time, Spike Jonze's We Love You So, posted a picture of Alex in his Max costume for Halloween.

Toggles Are My Friends

J.Crew linen-cotton toggle sweater

Great find by Ryan of [you_have_broken_the_internet]. Although some quality issues has arose, I'm still smitten with the overall look of this toggle sweater. I used to have a extremely long Polo toggle coat but at 5'6 it never truly worked out so I gave it away to the good will.

Since then, I've been looking for a shorter toggle coat such as the one below from Band of Brothers but the J.Crew sweater might be just what the doctor ordered. Click here for more toggle coats.

Band of Brothers Wool Toggle Coat

Monday, November 23, 2009

Alex's Pick: LL Bean Kingfield Hooded Sweater

Click above to see more pictures

LL Bean's Kingfield Hooded Sweater was a big hit last Christmas and would make a perfect gift for that special little someone in your life.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jack Spade Moose Hat

It's probably been five years since I blew the chance to purchase this hat from Jack Spade and it still smarts. From the red, white and blue colors to the funny Moose depiction, this hat was perfect in every way and I let it slip through my fingers! I didn't realize how exclusive some of the item were at the time until it disappeared one day from the site. Lesson learned.

I was thinking about writing Andy an email to see if Jack Spade could bring the moose hat back to celebrate their new clothing line. Wish me luck and have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

GQ for Iphones

Click above to purchase GQ app

For those of you with Iphones, GQ has gone paperless. For $2.99 (the actual magazine cost $4.50), GQ is now offering the entire December issue through a new application.

Although I do love having the actual magazine in my hands; I often find myself scanning my favorite articles (Vitals Spring 2005) and putting them on the web so I can read them on the go.
Maybe I'll give this a try and report back to you in the near future.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our Secret Fort

Fort Brooks

While checking twitter this morning, I came across Bethdunn2's tweet (from Social Climbers) about helping her children with homework and fort building. This quickly reminded me of the fort I built for Alex last week. Click on the picture to see more pics.

Although the contest is over, We Love You So had a fort building contest to celebrate the opening of Where The Wild Things Are. Click here to look at some great entries and maybe it will inspire the Wild Thing in you to build a fort.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Izod/Lacoste Scarf

My old Izod Lacoste scarf

One of the few articles of clothing that my mother actually saved from my childhood is this Izod/Lacoste scarf. I hope to give it to Alex someday in the near future.

According to Wikipedia, the history of Izod/Lacoste seemed like a match made in heaven:
In 1953, David Crystal, the owner of Izod, bought 50% of the rights to market Lacoste in America. The "Izod" brand was already established there. "Lacoste" was added to enhance the brand's prestige and introduce the name to American markets. The resulting union of the two companies was the piqué polo/tennis shirt. When the shirts began to sell well, Crystal decided to keep the combined name. The brand hit its peak popularity in the late 70's and early 80's when the "preppy" look became mainstream, with many nationwide department stores featuring separate "Izod/Lacoste" shops, with jackets, sweaters and a wide variety of other apparel. During this period annual sales reached $150 million for the shirts alone.

The name was split in the early 1990s when Crystal sought to expand company sales. Lacoste moved upmarket in an attempt to recapture its "elite" status. Meanwhile, Izod was re-introduced as mid-range apparel.
Maybe Izod and Lacoste should come back together to make affordable clothing and accessories for us on a budget. I think both companies could use some positive blogger buzz.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spread The Love

Disaffected Prep took this picture and thought of me. Wish I was there!

Friday, November 13, 2009

LL Bean Rubber Moc Tongue Fold

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been on the quest for some time now to keep the tongue folded down on my LL Bean Rubber Mocs (just like the ones in TOPH)... and finally, with a little help from Nicholas, I figured it out using my rubber band method.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

HBO's Bored To Death

Bored to death

Giving the fact that I would watch Jason Schwartzman in about anything, I'm happy to report that his new HBO show, Bored to Death, is a must see. If you love witty comedies and detective stories then this show is for you. And although I can't confirm it, I'm pretty sure that a lot of the clothes Schwartzman wears on the show is from Band of Outsiders. Check out the interview in TheWall Street Journal with Schwartzman about the show and his style.

Watch full episodes here.

Happy Veterans Day from Alex Grant

Go Navy!

Lands' End Canvas

Lands' End Canvas

Great find by Sartorially Inclined. As in the vein of LL Bean's Signature Collection, Land's End is stepping up their game with Lands' End Canvas, and from the looks of the items already far, so good!

Classic in the making?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

LL Bean Rubber Mocs

Alex Grant trying on my duck mocs

I tried to hold out as long as possible on posting about LL Bean's Rubber Mocs, but the picture in my last post struck a cord with some of you so here we go.

Nine years ago, these boots were the first item I've ever purchased from LL Bean and I have been totally devoted to the company ever since. I was a college student and in desperate need of some boots. After looking online for a little bit, I decided to consult the TOPH (that I acquired the year before) and came across the moc boots in the shoe section.
From The Official Preppy Handbook

I questioned the low cut of the shoe but I quickly realized that they would be a good investment since they could be worn year around. And I was not disappointed because I basically wear them every other day (not an exaggeration) of the year. However, I never wore them without socks (suggest by A Trip Down South).

Experiment: How to get the tongue on the Rubber Mocs to stay down (see picture below)?
From The Official Preppy Handbook
One reader (Nicholas) commented last night that he always have trouble keeping the tongue folded down on his mocs. As any leather goods, like a fine baseball glove, leather has to be trained. So as a experiment, I going to start with some rubber bands around the tongue and the sole to keep it down at night. I'll keep updates on the progress.

*Update: Special thank you to ADG of Maxminimus for schooling us on how to fold the tongue in the comments. I'm looking forward to reading his old post that compares the old rubber mocs to the new ones. I will post the link when it becomes available.
**Update: Happy to report that Nicholas tried my rubber band method and it worked! He ran it under hot water for a minute or two and let it sit overnight. 11/11/09

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Balance 574s

New Balance 574

Super comfortable and made in the U.S.A., my New Balance 574's got a lot of wear this past summer. I looked all over the place for the basic gray but nobody had them in my size or color. Foot Locker and other sneaker stores carried multicolor 574s but hardly anybody had the basic gray in decent sizes. So I did a really smart thing and tried on a few pairs to determine my size and then went home to purchased them on the internet (NB ships them for free).

I got the idea for the orange laces from Andy Spade's 10 essentials on, but for some reason or another its not online anymore. Best Life has some of his picks but its not as succinct as the GQ one. And let me tell you, it was no small feat trying to match the orange with Andy's shade. It's basically the Jack Spade Orange that I tried to duplicate on the title of each post. But after months and months of searching, I finally found it at We Love Colors. Maybe when Alex is older, I'll get him some orange laces for his NBs.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Alex's Pick: Land's End Fox Boots

Land's End Snow Flurry Boots

For those of us who are fortunate enough to have children, I decided to start an Alex's Pick section on this blog which will feature great products for children. And since the temperature is beginning to drop, I think it would be appropriate to dedicate the first couple of picks to winter gear.

I received the Land's End Kids catalog the other day and one of the few items that stood out to me was the Snow Flurry Character Boots. Deer, Bunny, and Fox are the choices but I love the whimsical nature and color of the fox boots (now $22).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Other Hat: A Plea for Minor League Baseball

Wilmington Blue Rocks

As baseball season officially ended last night, I wanted to make a quick plea for Minor League Baseball. Being from the small state of Delaware, all of our sports teams hail from Pennsylvania, so you can only guess how excited I was when the Kansas City Royals chose Wilmington as a place for their farm team. I have fond memories of attending Blue Rock games as a teenager and I truly believe that attending a minor league game can gives one a glimpse
of what baseball used to be before it became the big corporate machine. With great prices, tons of fun, and terrific baseball; I beg each one of you to support your local minor league team next spring! You could have a future MLB star in your backyard and not even know it (like Johnny Damon).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Andy Spade's How I Get My Style: Shoes

J.Crew Suede MacAlister Boots

Back in the September issue of GQ in 04, Andy Spade was featured in the Tastemakers section of the magazine with a list of thoughts and stories that shaped his style. By then, I already knew who Andy was so I was very excited to see this list. Under the shoe section, Andy wrote,
"In college, I wore cordovan Alden loafers. Kate got me my first pair. I've worn brogues a lot, desert boots, the Tretorn tennis shoe."
The article was accompanied with three pictures on the left hand side. The picture on the top was a pair of Classic Desert Boots with the caption "Not by Jack Spade." With this picture in mind, I went out to find a pair at the local mall in Cambridge MA. It took some time but eventually I stumbled upon a pair of Desert Boots at J.Crew. Till today, these are still the most comfortable shoes that I own. Thanks Andy.

Monday, November 2, 2009

LL Beaning It Up

Ready for the winter

After featuring Alex Grant on their Facebook page "Blogs We Love," my affection for LL Bean grew exponentially. From my first pair of Rubber Mocs in college to the cool tweets from @LL Bean PR, LL Bean will always have a special place in my heart. Plus, I hardly ever leave the house without wearing or carrying at least one item from Bean. And although I have yet to take a pilgrimage to the Freeport Maine Mecca, it is definitely up there on our list of family trips (along with Disney World and Fenway Park).

Saturday, October 31, 2009