Get a Room…or 2…or 3?

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I wasn’t initially even invited on this Italy trip. It was a girls family trip that sprung out of thin air. Then randomly a few weeks later, they decided to open the invite to the boys of the family, and I was the only one to accept. So I ended up booking a separate flight, a separate hotel, and basically a separate trip to Italy. I would meet the girls for dinners and drinks, but otherwise we were legitimately on two separate trips to Italy. Sounds a bit unorthodox (like my general thought process), but man it was awesome! I do not have enough time to give you the full run down of the trip, so I am just going to let you in on last Sunday.
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Let me first tell you how my brain works. When someone tells me anything, in this case “I’ve been to Italy and this is what you should do”, I immediately ask myself 4 things. Does this make sense? Is there a better way to do this? Are there options I haven’t thought about? Is this what I want to do? Someone was nice enough to provide a “Things to Do” kind of book about Venice, which was home base for the week, so I scanned it briefly to acquaint myself with the area, but I then put it away. I basically was interested in soccer, fashion, pasta/pizza, and red wine, so if there is a book club about that, sign me up! Otherwise, I like to write my own book, so that is what I set out to do while I was in Italy.
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I woke up at 5:45am on Sunday morning after a late night of pasta and red wine, and set off to the Venice train station in the pouring rain. I had the clothes on my body, my wallet, my Passport, and most importantly, my phone charger. I wouldn’t be back to Venice for a day and a half, but that was part of the adventure. I bought a train ticket to Milan, where I was planning to watch the Inter Milan soccer game that kicked off at 12:30pm. So I got on the train, and some two and a half hours later, I was in Milan. It was about 45 minutes until kickoff, so I decided to jump into a cab with some other Italians headed to the game too. They quickly learned I was from America, and asked me from where. I told them North Carolina, and they started talking to me about whether Duke or UNC basketball was better (Duke, of course). The cabbie then proceeded to name every single player from the old time Celtics-Lakers rivalry, which was rather impressive. They then started singing and chanting at me as we got closer to the famous San Siro Stadium so I could get the full experience, which really put me in the mood. I offered to pay the fare if the other gentlemen would help me find my seat, and then I got settled in on Row 3 for a wonderful, wonderful experience I will never forget. Inter won 2-0, and I hit the team store for some goodies as I walked back out into the pouring rain. I had allotted about 2 hours to then take the metro to downtown Milan and check out the fashion scene and a couple of stores. That was a cool experience, partially dampened (no pun intended) by the rain. But soon after, it was time to get back to the train station to jump on a train to my next destination: Bologna.

IMG_3711I arrived in Bologna about 6:30pm and the Bologna-Napoli soccer game was set to kick off at 8:45pm. Luckily it had stopped raining, and I immediately went and checked into a hotel smack in the middle of the town square. My plan was to get a cab to the stadium since it was about 3 miles away, but I got my second wind and decided to grab a couple of slices of pizza and walk with all of the locals down to the stadium, again to get the full experience. My impression of Bologna was that it was a middle class, blue collar kind of town, which was a little different from the posh Milan experience I had had a few hours earlier. Once I got to the Bologna stadium, I legitimately had no idea where my seat was. So I found someone who looked like they had been around the block, and he ended up inviting me to sit with him and his family, as long as I pulled for the right team. This game was my favorite experience of the entire trip. The fans were insane, rowdy, smoking, and singing the whole game (check my Instagram @benjbostic for the video). Bologna lost 3-0, but I could care less (don’t tell my new friends). It was almost midnight by now, and I had two things on my mind: more pizza and that the Panthers had just kicked off in San Francisco. I popped into a cafe and thought I was ordering 2 slices of pizza. I waited for a few minutes, and they brought me out 2 entire pizzas (gotta work on my Italian). So just picture this: it’s midnight in Bologna, Italy and some random American is carrying 2 full pizzas in one hand and trying to watch the Panthers game on his phone in the other! As I was almost back to my hotel, I saw a local walking his dog wearing a Charlotte Hornets t-shirt, and I couldn’t have gotten more excited. He thought I was an idiot.

IMG_3720I awoke Monday morning with no toiletries and wearing the same rain-soaked clothes I had been wearing for the past 30 hours (not my best fashion moment). I walked to the train station, grabbed a ticket back to Venice, and arrived back at home base around lunchtime. I walked back into my small Venice hotel, and was greeted by the concierge, “Someone didn’t come home last night:)” I tried to explain, but it fell on deaf ears. From that point on at my hotel, I was the American that never came home on Sunday night.
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The Italian shopping was an excellent mix of high and low end. I bought 2 new ties: a lovely violet Hugo Boss and an exquisite navy and pink Kiton, the highest of high end. I bought some Nike training gear from the soccer games, and a handful of presents for folks back home ranging from scarves to handmade earrings to handmade cufflinks. I picked up a cool patch for the jacket I am making, 2 handmade glass bracelets, a handmade glass charm, and a pair of handmade cufflinks. It was roughly 10 pieces in all if you don’t count the Ferrari I got my son, and all 10 are just so unique. Italian style is so effortless, and I’m hoping to bring a little bit of that back to Charlotte with me.
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If you take nothing else from this post, I want you to understand that there is no book on the perfect Italy trip or on life in general. Make your own path. I went rogue, and planned this 36 hour excursion by myself. I knew I was going to be dirty and exhausted when I finished, but that was okay. I knew there might be some twists and turns since I didn’t know the language, but that was okay. It turned out to be one of the most exhilarating and memorable days of my life, and I am so glad I did it. Classic risk vs. reward. Economics and Style 101.

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Have a great week.-Benj

I Get It From my Momma

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A couple of months ago, this article popped up in one of my social media feeds called “Your Facebook Life Doesn’t Fool Me”. Google it. It’s very interesting, witty, and basically says that all the perfect posts that people put up on social media are a façade for the real, gritty, imperfect lives that everyone leads. I was intrigued, and for the most part was in agreement. But then I read this one line that stuck with me that addressed the reader and said “You’re hanging out in Middle American hell with the rest of us.” And I literally stopped and wrote that down, because I am not on board with that. Never will be.

Okay, so remember when you were a kid and you wanted to grow up and be a professional athlete or fireman or whatever? It was a dream. So why, at some point, do we stop chasing our dreams and just grind into Middle American hell?
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I want you to stop what you are doing right now. I assume there are only adults reading this, so the professional athlete dreams now may have morphed and consist of wanting to be a lawyer, a father, owning your own business, and so on. I want you to ask yourself as you sit here right now what your current dreams and goals consist of, and if you are chasing them. I am 35, and my dreams are alive and well. This year, I am doing the marathon. Next year, I want to play PDL or minor league soccer (yes, at 36). I made it to the final stage of tryouts with the Columbus Crew of the MLS when I was 24, but never fulfilled that dream. By 2019, I want to be a scratch golfer. I want to help the Charlotte style scene become more prominent, and immerse myself in the style/fashion scene in as many ways as I can. I’d like to see more of the world, and possibly travel regularly for work. These are bona fide goals that I have in addition to my family and career. And I’m gonna go after them.

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I get this mindset from my mom. She is a professional pianist, and has been her entire life. She teaches at Wingate University, plays concerts, plays at church, funerals, weddings, pretty much anything. I didn’t realize until I was a young adult that not everyone grew up with a beautiful piano in their living room. I thought that was the norm. See, piano is my mom’s passion, and for her entire life this is what she has done. She found a way to weave her passion into her career, and I admire that so much. I asked her recently if she ever got tired of playing, and that was the quickest “no” I have ever heard. And through this, I realized that one of the qualities I most respect in people is their choosing to go through life their way, not some template prescribed by society.

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Society has a way of leading everyone into doing the same thing. That’s what I see, at least. Get married. Have 2.5 kids, whatever that means. Buy a big house in suburbia with a white picket fence. Wear khaki pants. Now, if that is what you want, go bananas. But if that is not what you want, you don’t have to be like everyone else. Your dream is your dream, not society’s. I ask my wife periodically what she individually wants out of life. As my son gets older, I will encourage his unique interests. I, personally, could care less about what society (or anyone else for that matter) tells me I should do. I’m doing what I and we (my family) want to do.

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I like to be unique. I don’t do it for the attention. It’s who I am. It’s exhilarating. It’s fresh. I wear my watch on the “wrong” hand. I carry a turquoise Gucci wallet every day. I change my hairstyle 2-3 times per year. I may add 1 or 2 tattoos each year. My jeans could be covered with holes. You will see me in a huge straw hat. I might let my beard grow for 2 months. And I may wear 10 bracelets one day, along with my black diamond skull ring. I’m starting to get more and more messages each week from people wanting to slowly step outside their comfort zone now that they are hearing a voice saying that it’s okay. I say, not only is it okay, it is encouraged. When I walk through a crowd where everyone looks exactly the same, I just yawn and carry on. But when I see someone that looks or acts a little different, I want to know more. I admire eccentricity and the courage to be a little different.

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I have this quote that I love that reads, “When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” It is applicable to some things and not applicable to others, but it has served as a good guide for me to always be myself. This week, think about what your own unique desires are in life, and how you can position yourself to achieve them in the future. Family is important. Group stuff is important. But paying attention to yourself and achieving some of your unique individual goals is too. It’s not selfish. It’s vital.

I’m headed to Italy this week and part of next, so who knows if next week will have a post?  Between the soccer, fashion, pasta, and red wine, I may never come back. (I likely will, but don’t put it past me.)

Have a great week (or two).-Benj

The Beautiful Game, and Why it Matters

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I’m starting this week out with a quote I read a couple of weeks ago. It is credited to someone named C. Bukowski, but I simply read it on an email I got from the Nashville store Imogene+Willie. “Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous day. To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without style. To do a dangerous thing with style, is what I call art.”
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I’ve got soccer on my mind this week because, well, I always have soccer on my mind. But even more so this week because the EPL has started and my team Manchester United is flying. Wingate Soccer kicks off this week. I have been in Salt Lake City and was able to catch a Real Salt Lake game that my pal Luke (Wingate grad) played in. And lastly, I’m headed to Italy next week and trying to figure out which game I am going to see. I started playing soccer when I was 3 years old, and I was immediately hooked. I played all the other sports throughout my youth and still enjoy most today, but nothing even comes close to my love affair with soccer. It has a flair, a grace, and an art that is inimitable. The nuances, angles, and small details can make even a 0-0 draw enjoyable if you know what you are looking at. I have a tattoo on my left arm of a soccer ball on a bed of roses that reads “Style Passion Beauty”. Pretty much sums up how I think soccer should be played and life should be lived.
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I talked about numbers in last week’s blog, and they are important because we live in a results-based world now. I am on board with that. But here’s my argument this week: the “how” you do something is just as important as the result. There will be a lot of people that disagree with me on this, and that is fine, but think about it for a minute. Let’s start with soccer, or any sport for that matter. Ever watched a game that your team won, but it bored you to tears? On the other hand, ever watch a game that your team tied or maybe even lost that was super exciting? I remember a couple of United-Barcelona games years ago that ended 3-3. I could have watched them on repeat because of how the games were played, not the end result. Great goals. Excitement around every corner. It can be applied to so many things in life. There are people that I have worked with that I listen to how they talk to people. How they negotiate. The results usually come, but it is the how that I pay attention to. We are having a big party at our house on Saturday, and my wife goes all out. In her eyes, it is either “let’s do it right or not do it at all”. Usually ends up being a great party, and I very much admire that quality in her. It should extend to the other realms of life too. Either do it or don’t…no mediocrity.
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One other point on the end result versus the journey along the way. I’ve been doing a fair amount of travelling, and plan to continue that into the foreseeable future. I have no end goal, but I know some people do. Visit all 50 states. Visit every major league ballpark. So on. Cool goals, but it is really the “how you do them” that is the enjoyable part. Y’all know I’m running the NYC Marathon November 5th, and that is an end goal I suppose.  Fine. But along the way, here is what I decided. Run a 5k in Charlotte. A 10k in Nashville. A half marathon last weekend in Salt Lake City. Enjoy new places. Eat and drink locally. Visit friends. Try new things. Shop. Run hard. Test your limits. The end result is hopefully a strong finish time in NYC. But when I get my new tattoo soon thereafter on my chest (already designed) commemorating the journey, it will be the full experience I think about, not just what happens on November 5th.
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Right now, soccer stars along with NBA players and other athletes are some of the most stylish people in the world. Y’all know I love David Beckham. But google Andrea Pirlo real quick or check out his Instagram. You’ll never see these cats walking around in baggy khaki pants. Their clothes fit. They wear scarves and cool hats and cardigans for casualwear. When they need to get dressed up, they get dressed up. I know they have enough money to do whatever they please, but take a few cues. When I’m stumped for a night out, I will take a peek at these guys for inspiration, not the guy across the cube farm. I truly believe that your attitude takes on the same persona as the clothes you are wearing. Wear a cool pair of sunglasses, a perfectly tailored suit, anything with a little pizazz and you will get a little pep in your step. Walk around with ill-fitting items, a bland outfit, or looking like everyone else, well…
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This week, think about the quote above and the “how” you do life. No reason to be average. Dig in, and get after it. On the clothing side, check out some soccer players and Italian companies for some inspiration. I just opened my Instagram, and up popped Beckham, Pirlo, and the companies Kiton and Isaia. The stuff is crazy expensive, but just put your eyeballs on it. Style. Swagger. Flair. Then find your price range, and use their stuff as a guide to try something new. I wore a bandanna as a scarf all weekend in Utah…had never done it before…loved it.

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Have a great week.-Benj

The Numbers Never Lie, Except for when they Do

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Social media baffles me. See, I am just young enough to understand parts and pieces, and just old enough to have not a clue. So we have hit the 90 day mark for my blog, and I want to share some things with you. I have 377 Facebook friends, 193 Instagram followers, 307 LinkedIn connections, 103 Anything but Khakis followers, and 75 email subscribers. Considering I was completely off of social media this time last year, well, who cares. My website provides analytics, so by my analysis I have 300-600 regular readers each week, 25-50 new readers each week, and much more if I do something out of the norm like write an article for some publication. Speaking of, my article for Charlotte Agenda has 28,833 reads. It was picked up by a second online publication and received a 100% read rating, whatever that means. Approximately 420 people (based on comments) think I am a complete moron. My actual website has had 5,509 reads and 2,892 unique visitors. Thousands more via my friends’ shares and reads on LinkedIn. 5 continents. 24 countries.
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So what’s my point? I have no idea what to make of any of that above. Seems like a good start for my first 90 days. But here’s the deal, all I care about is actually helping people with style, creativity, fashion, and being the best version of themselves. In the first 90 days, I’ve learned that I hate constantly taking pictures of myself, I really love writing, and that it can be (very) uncomfortable to put myself out there. But every week when I get social media messages, emails from complete strangers, or texts from friends asking me questions or telling me how the blog impacted their life that week, it is all worth it. Even if it is just one freaking person. I started this blog because people told me I had style, and because of that, people paid attention to me. So I decided, it was time to speak up and help. Fashion seems like such a surface subject. But style…style is so much more. It’s how you live your life.
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In college, I majored in finance and economics and minored in mathematics. I’m a numbers guy who loves fashion. Weird combo. Anyways, my economics advisor Dr. Caudle and my math advisor Dr. Russell were cut from two different cloths, but man did they have an impact on me. Dr. Caudle went to Duke, so he was smart as a whip. He then did his graduate work at Colorado-Boulder, and thus he was as laid back as they came. I had never encountered that demeanor, but man was he cool. He wore jeans and tennis shoes most days. He taught me a ton of actual useful information, but the one that sticks with me today was how to read the Wall Street Journal. Like legitimately how to get the most useful info from a daily publication that would take all day to read. That was style to me…laid back, brilliant, how to read a newspaper. On the other side, Dr. Russell may have never worn the same outfit twice in my four years. He was either in suit and tie or blazer and tie 99% of the days I saw him. He was also a sports nut. I was mesmerized from Day 1. He would walk in with a pinstripe suit and perfectly tied tie, and we would snap to attention. He commanded respect. He would start every class by looking each of us in the eye, and then rattling some crazy statistic from SportsCenter the night before to get us talking. This was the guy who was teaching me Calculus III?? My lasting memory of him is one day he was teaching us, and we all had simply had enough. There were about 20 minutes left in class, but he could see it in our eyes. He crumpled up his notes and tossed me the paper ball and said, “Benj, if you can throw that in the trash can across the room, class is dismissed.” So I did. And class was over. That man was the epitome of style.
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I got introduced to this guy a few weeks ago, and I told him I wrote a style blog. The first thing he said was “How many Instagram followers do you have?” I told him the small number, and he was ready to walk away. Not one to be dismissed that easily, I then told him about the sizeable number of readers I had in such a short period of time, and then he wanted to be my best friend. Had no idea what the actual blog was about, just judged me on random numbers. I find it fascinating that random Joe’s can have a bazillion followers. I could care less…I am not trying to become a cult leader here. I sincerely hope that I help a few folks each week become a more confident, better version of themself. Whether it is the clothes or the life piece makes no difference to me. If I can help one person find a new tailor in Charlotte, or make 29,000 people take a closer look at themselves, it’s all worth it.
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This week, think about what your unique gift is and how you can use it to help others. I’ve had mine for years but used it to help others rather sparingly. I’m 90 days into changing that. Also, keep thinking about and developing what your unique style is. I talk about two folks I admire above that are on different ends of the visual style spectrum. But how they did things…couldn’t have been more stylish. More on my definition of style next week, but first I’m headed out West again for another chapter of “work hard, play hard”.

Have a great week.-Benj

Turning Water into Wine

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First off, I know I am not Jesus. Need to get that out of the way. I can see some of you who don’t really know me asking who this guy thinks he is. Heck, probably some of the people who do know me. Anyways, due to popular demand, this week I am going to let you all in on the secrets of how I shop, with the focus on finding bargains and making them look like a million bucks. Similarly, I’m gonna slip in a few nuggets about encountering tough situations and keeping a positive attitude. See what I’m doing…water into wine.
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I’ve written in a previous post about some of my clothes being expensive and some being rather inexpensive, and today I’m gonna give you the method to my madness with the focus on the inexpensive stuff. I buy about a third of my wardrobe on my travels, and these are typically the rather expensive pieces from high-end stores in other cities. Tom Ford. Gucci. Hermes. I get another third online, and these are typically staples like jeans, sweats, dress shirts, etc. I keep Ralph Lauren, Uniqlo, J. Crew, Charles Tyrwhitt, and others saved in my favorites, and update those pieces 2-3 times per year. The final third I get here in Charlotte at two specific locations. And guys (and girls), I don’t like to shop any more than you do, so I will pick a random day a few times a year and hit the Marshall’s at Blakeney and the Outlets off of I-485 in Southwest Charlotte. At the outlets, I spend most of my time at Saks Off 5th and Nike. But they also have a pretty strong Cole Haan store, Coach Men is on fire right now, along with some others. At Off 5th and Marshall’s, I will dig, and there are always hidden gems if you know where to look. In the past I have picked up Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci. Suits are often buy 1 get 1 free. I will even go to these two, find something I love, wait a few months for no one to buy it, and come back for it to be even more heavily discounted. I have been doing this with huge success my entire adult life. Some examples in the pictures this week: 2 ties from John Varvatos USA and 1 from Hugo Boss. $10 each. A blue woven belt from Italian powerhouse Canali for $35. White Nike trainers for $20. A fuchsia tee from American Apparel. $4. A Levi’s Western shirt for $29 and blue cardigan from Marc Jacobs for $40. A charcoal fall blazer from Calvin Klein Collection for $50. I could go on and on. The outfit of the week this week is $30 for the Diesel shirt, $20 for the Saks pants, $30 for the Vans shoes, and $35 for the Canali belt. You just have to be willing to take a little time at these two places and dig. They might be last season, they might be off season, or they might simply be an overrun from a designer. But I have filled my closet with these pieces for years, received compliments, and then said to myself “Welp, that only cost 15 bucks”.
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I also like custom pieces. Like literally things that no one else in Charlotte and possibly the world has. Most of the time I associate the word custom with expensive, but here recently I’ve been getting creative for almost no money at all. Ya’ll have probably seen the USA denim jacket. Got that at Marshall’s for $30 because the right shoulder was ripped. Actually made it more awesome in my opinion. I’m starting to sew patches from my travels onto the back, making a truly unique piece that will be a work in process for years. I just made a custom teal and pink baseball cap. The actual cap was given to me. The patch cost $5. Boom. The only one in the world. I covered one of my nicer hats with lapel pins from LA and Miami, and I made a bracelet out of a strip of denim used to wrap a gift I bought in Nashville. Trash to treasure. Water to wine. Get creative. Be unique.

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Finding quality, inexpensive clothes and wearing them with confidence is something that indeed matches my personality. Similarly, I am also very keen on finding the positive in any situation. Unless it is truly life or death, I honestly live by the phrase “It’s gonna be okay”. And the reason I live this way is because of two things that were told to me in my teenage years, and they are basically the same thing. I was a kicker for my high school football team, and in one particular game I missed 2 relatively short field goals. I thought I was going to die, if one of my teammates didn’t kill me first. My coach was none too pleased with me, but offered these words after the game. “Benj, the situation is never as good as you think it is, but it is also never as bad.” He could have told me to just quit missing easy field goals, but instead I got something that is now a guiding principle for my life. My brilliant older brother told me a similar thing numerous times. “You are never as good as you think you are, but you are also never as bad.” These words serve double duty as they keep you humble when you are high but pick you up when you are low. Good times come and go. Bad times come and go. Make some more good times. It’s gonna be okay.
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You now know some of my shopping secrets, so take a look. There is nice, reasonably priced, designer level stuff at these places. Sometimes I wonder to myself why I look at some of the clothes I see every day that are mediocre at best, and know that they cost more than this stuff I am telling you about. Take a few hours and get you some stuff, and as always, please make sure it fits. We are getting close to fall, so this is a perfect time to get some new pieces for the closet. Consider taking my advice above. It’s worked very well for me for 20 years. Also consider taking a more positive outlook on life. It’s good for the soul, and people like being around you much more.

Have a great week.-Benj

14 Weeks of Hell

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Ever been on a vacation where the recovery period was as long or longer than the actual trip? Well, that just happened to me here recently. Vacation out west was 5 days. Finally got my mojo back 6 days after I returned. So needless to say, during that 2 week period, I didn’t get a whole lot of physical activity in. And that normally wouldn’t be any issue, except that I am running the NYC Marathon in 14 weeks. You know that saying “1 step back, 2 steps forward”? Well, that didn’t apply here. More like 16 steps back…oh well.

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I ran a 5k in June in Charlotte, and a 10k in July in Nashville, so I have been doing some training. But starting last Monday, it was time to dig in, and so I did. I’ve made a deal with myself that come race day November 5th, I am going to be in the best shape of my life…at the age of 35. Which is a tall task, as I was in pretty darn good shape for years as a collegiate soccer player. So the first thing I need to tell you is that I do not like to run. Not even a little. But I wanted a steep physical challenge to prove a little something to myself, and tough tests are what make you stronger in life. So I’m doing a half marathon somewhere in the US in about a month, and then NYC in November.
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Okay, so I started serious training last week. I lifted weights 4 days, did core training 5 days, played golf one day, and ran and biked about 25 miles. As I sit here, I feel like Floyd Mayweather is continuously punching my upper body, and Conor McGregor is kicking nonstop at my knees. I woke up last Wednesday to play golf, and I couldn’t raise my left arm above my head. (Made 2 birdies.). But here’s the thing, I am happy as a lark. The phrase “hurts so good” is applicable here, and I feel so accomplished every day. This is going to be the ultimate test of grinding for months behind the scenes for what I hope will be one spectacular experience. For those who know me, I’m not headed to NYC just to finish, I’ve got a time in mind to beat.  So I have to put the work in.   No shortcuts.
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Since I’ve started back to the gym, it has allowed me to see what people are wearing to workout these days. And per usual, the girls look nice with their tights, short workout shorts, and tanks, and we guys are wearing t-shirts that we got sophomore year of college. If you are going to workout, get some proper workout clothes. The stuff for guys these days is fantastic. Proper training or running shoes. Athletic socks. Workout shorts that hit mid-thigh or slightly below. A light tank or tee in the newest technology and the correct size. This stuff is not only functional, but also stylish. I’m not a fan of the crazy neon stuff as I feel it has had its day, but definitely toss the old, cotton t-shirts and the shorts that double as capri pants. Ditto the white calf socks with holes in them. I can’t even believe I have to say that.
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We’ve got a big week for the readers in Charlotte this week, with the Panthers first preseason game Wednesday and Quail Hollow hosting the PGA Championship all week. Re: the golf, quick reminder that you are not playing in the tournament, so there is no need for you to dress like you are. Leave the golf shoes at home, and unless you are under 13, please do not dress like Ricky Fowler. I’ll be in a simple polo, a nice fitting pair of shorts, and a clean pair of Vans. Perfect outfit to grab a few drinks, walk around the most stunning property, and watch the best golfers in the world.
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So as you enjoy this week, do you have some goals set for yourself and your life? Are you willing to put the work in to get better, whether the goal is physical or otherwise? Sometimes you gotta grind and feel a little pain to get to the promised land. And as you hit the gym, run the streets, or head out to the many social events happening this week, feel free to work a little style into your plans. I’ll be out on the town all week, so I hope to see you around.

Have a great week.-Benj

Million Dollar Suits

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Ever heard of a million dollar suit? Yeah, me neither. Sounds ridiculous, so it’s a good thing that’s not what I am talking about this week. I don’t watch much TV. Mainly sports, and then two shows. But my two shows…I love them! Million Dollar Listing and Suits. Both shows have two characteristics that keep me glued week in and week out: the main characters are hungry and love to win, and they are impeccably dressed.

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So let’s get down to business this week. Suits is about a corporate law firm based in New York City, and the lead character is a high-powered attorney named Harvey Specter. Some of the words that I think of when I think of Harvey are confident, winner, leader, and closer. He loves a good battle and a good negotiation. He may come off as brash on the outside, but deep down he really cares about people. I can relate. I love to do deals, but I also care about my clients and my co-workers, and I love to see all of their successes. And I take it all very seriously, including the way I dress each day. 95% of the time you see Harvey on the show, he is impeccably dressed in a custom suit. He means business, and his presentation conveys that. Dark, custom suit fitted to perfection. White dress shirt with a stiff, tall collar. Dark, thick tie with a nice dimple that hits right at the belt buckle. Black lace-up shoes. Simple, white pocket square. Always clean shaven with a professional haircut. That’s his style, and he has it down perfectly. Every single episode.
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I am not required to wear a suit to work. But I like to. It’s like my body armor, and I’m as comfortable in one as I am sweats. With the world having gotten increasingly more casual, I think people appreciate someone in a nice suit. Makes you stand out. But for me, I feel the quality of my work and my professionalism is much higher in a suit than just rolling in wearing some chinos and a button-down. I can’t imagine closing a deal, negotiating a deal, or even having some of the tough conversations I have to have in business casual. Just feels weird. So my go-to is similar to Harvey above. I love the dark suit, white shirt, dark tie, white pocket square, and professional haircut. But I do brown shoes, not black, and I am never clean shaven. Not my style. Always a nice watch. Even in 2017. I know your phone tells you the time, but it’s just not the same.

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So the point of this week is to encourage everyone to embrace their own individual style. Harvey has his. I have mine. Hopefully, you have or can develop yours. I wore the “required” black dress shoes for years in my twenties, but every day I wore them I felt off. Turned out it just wasn’t me. So I canned them. Find “you”, and then invest in the best stuff in your style that you can afford. In the current season of Million Dollar Listing New York, there is a new real estate broker named Steve Gold that has joined the show. He is super casual. Long hair. Wears t-shirts, sweaters, skinny jeans, and so on. Yet he closes multi-million dollar deals, and I love his swagger. It took me a week to get used to him, but he is my new fave. Harvey and Steve have completely opposite styles, but they both have style. I read something this week about how no particular style is any better than the next, and I agree 100%. You would have no clue if you saw me on the weekend that I was a banker during the week, and I like it that way. The key is to just have some style, and if you are lacking it now, it can be developed. A little effort, attitude, or swagger added each day is a great start. So is a nice watch or belt (see my Pics and Details page).

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I know we are talking about TV shows here, but my hope is that it might inspire you or at least make you think. Do you take your livelihood seriously each day? Are you still hungry? Do you wake up and want to win? As ya’ll know, I believe seriously that a piece of that attitude involves how you present yourself each day. Look better. Feel better. Do a better job. Win. And there ain’t nothing wrong with winning!

Have a great week.-Benj