Thursday, May 30, 2013

Five Color Coordination Rules

Five Color Coordination Rules from

Does this tie match? What color shirt goes with these pants? These confusing, colorful questions burden every man, everywhere.

Gentlemen, to truly master the art of dressing, we must become learned individuals on the basics of color coordination. And learning to combine colors isn’t as difficult as you might think. A complete understanding of color and the color wheel is a time-consuming lesson, but thankfully an easier, more basic way for coordinating colors exists. While numerous, more complex rules are out there, here are five easy-to-use rules for color coordination.

1- White shirts go with everything

When all else fails, raise a white flag. A white shirt works with absolutely anything you have, especially those uniquely colored items you’re not sure how to match. Couple it with a bright, patterned tie or wear it under a pastel-colored V-neck sweater; either way you're looking sharp and perfectly coordinated. A classic, well-fitting white shirt is timeless, worth its weight in gold, and sure to keep you on the front line of fashion.

2- Gray complements bright colors

Use gray to control any experiment with color. Great for dulling down vivid colors, gray works well with almost any color out there. So, if you want to test the waters or add a punch of color without going overboard, use something gray (pants, sweater, jacket) to manage the boldness of stronger, brighter colors. Not only will you earn kudos for your strategic stylish use of color, but gray itself is a smart, sophisticated color that’s cool, classic and chic.

3- Don’t wear colored pants

No matter who you are, resist the urge to wear colored pants. Pants (slacks, chinos, jeans, etc.) are the one area of your wardrobe where you should always resist a color infusion. Loudly colored pants are clownish and obnoxious; never should your pants be more attention-grabbing than a shirt or tie. Since pants provide the foundation for every outfit, they should always appear understated, polished and refined: blue jeans and neutral-colored slacks only.
4- Wear different colors of the same value

For best results, all the colors in any one outfit should match in terms of their value. As a basic color concept, “value” represents the degree of lightness or darkness expressed in every color. One helpful trick is to imagine how the colors you’re using would appear in a black-and-white photo; colors that would have a similar gray scale are the ones to combine. Or, most obvious of all, you can simply pair bright colors with bright colors, pastels with pastels, etc.

5- Use complementary colors

Pull in countless compliments by pairing complementary colors. Colors directly opposite one another on the color wheel are considered complementary: red and green, yellow and purple, blue and orange. Matching complementary colors together is a sign of a confident, knowledgeable dresser, and doing so creates an impressive, color-rich palette. Go for gusto and wear an elegant orange tie with a tasteful blue checked shirt for a modern, sophisticated look.

Crash Course on Color

Coordinating colors can be a tricky business. But the fact remains that this is something we all must learn to do, even if on a very basic scale. That’s why the five simple tips above can serve as general rules of thumb to get you started. Go ahead and give it a try; prove to yourself and the world around you that you’re a snappy dresser with the color-coordination skills necessary to mix and match your way to a more dapper, color-savvy style.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shoe Care Tips

Shoe Care Tips
NuShoe has outlined 8 important tips to help you keep your favorite shoes, boots and sandals in pristine shape.
Tip #1 Use Cedar Shoe TreesDid you know during a normal day your feet produce over a 1/4 cup of moisture and up to a 1/2 cup when active? Cedar shoes trees can extend the life of your leather shoes up to three times their expected life span. They draw moisture out of try our shoes; re-awaken the shoe's natural structural memory; and prevent the leather from wrinkling and cracking.
Aromatic Cedar shoe trees have three basic functions:
The original shape of the shoe is maintained
Using shoe trees daily prevents shoe upper leather from curling and cracking. Leather shape is maintained by the tension of the shoe tree. NuShoe shoe trees are designed to fit properly and easily to nearly all shoe styles on market. Our spring action and split toe design allows the tree to fill the natural shape of your shoe.
The unfinished cedar absorbs moisture
Feet typically perspire an eighth of a cup of moisture everyday. Left unchecked, this moisture is absorbed into the linings of shoes permanently, thus decreasing the life of shoes. By placing shoe trees into shoes every night, moisture is absorbed into the shoe tree from the shoe.
The aroma of cedar deodorizes shoes naturally
Shoe odors are naturally negated with the powerful scent of aromatic cedar.

Tip #2 Rotate Your ShoesShoes need a day off. If you want your fine leather shoes to last longer, never wear them for two consecutive days.

Tip #3 Protective SolesAdding a rubber sole protector prolongs the life of your shoes. Stylishly thin, this rubber top sole protects the outer sole from wear and tear. Water resistant and skid proof, protective soles will greatly increase the life of leather soled shoes.

Tip #4 Use a Shoe HornAlways use a shoe horn when putting on your shoes. This saves the heel collar and counter from unnecessary wear

Tip #5 MaintenanceWe highly recommend cleaning your shoes on a regular basis, depending on frequency of use. The cleaning method depends on the shoe's material. Leather can be polished and conditioned with a leather lotion applied with a soft cloth (see steps below). Suede looks best when brushed; although special suede brushes are available, a clean toothbrush works just as well. Fabric should be sprayed with a stain guard.
Polishing Smooth Leather in a Nutshell
1. Clean the shoes with leather cleaner to get the grime off the top. Never use any type of cleaner that contains an acid or a detergent as both are damaging to fine leather and will age the shoe. When necessary, use saddle soap and water for a better cleaning. Be sure to rinse away all of the saddle soap. Residual saddle soap will damage leather, just as dried soap left on your skin will damage and cause excessive drying. Never use a detergent--it destroys the natural oils. Always use a proper leather saddle soap for cleaning.
2. Condition the leather to soften. While the leather is still slightly moist after a good cleaning, apply a leather conditioner to replace the leather's natural oils. We recommend Lexol conditioner or any good quality conditioner containing lanolin. Set your clean and treated boots aside for 24 hours to dry. It's always a good idea to use shoe trees so that your boots maintain their shape. Later, apply boot polish or wax, and buff to a shine.
3. Use paste, wax or cream polish to shine your shoes. Make sure the polish matches the shoes. Use a cream a shade lighter than the shoe to cover scratches. Neutral is the "color" for light colored shoes. Other colors may have to be matched by taking one of your shoes with you when you buy polish. Cream or Paste polish moisturizes fine leather, keeps it flexible, and soaks into the leather to allow leather to breathe. Wax polish shines leather better than cream, but it seals the leather and causes it to dry out. Avoid liquid polish, although it puts a fast shine on your shoes it can dry out and crack the leather. You can apply the polish with a soft, clean polishing rag; old socks will work fine. Wrap the corner of the cloth around your first and second fingers of your dominant hand. Twist the remainder of the cloth to tighten the portion around your fingers and hold that part in the palm of your hand. You can also use a horsehair brush dauber instead of a cloth; if you use a dauber, you'll need a different one for each color of polish you use.
4. Allow the shoes to dry (about 10 minutes) then buff the shoe with a polishing brush-- preferably horsehair -- and use a soft clean cloth to bring out a high luster.
5. Weatherproof your shoes. A protective spray is an excellent way to protect your shoes from water, snow, mud, and spills. The best way to protect your shoes is to wipe the leather with a damp cloth, following the instructions on the protector spray. Spray your shoes before wearing, and on a regular basis thereafter. Mink oil will waterproof and preserve leather, but it can darken lighter shades of leathers. A water and stain protective spray for leather, provides water protection, and doesn’t alter the color.
Suede can be cleaned with a clean soft brush (like a toothbrush), or you can buy special erasers (suede bars) to remove stains and dirt. Raise the nap on suede by applying steam from a steam iron from about 10 inches away. Also special brass-bristle brushes are available to raise the nap after cleaning. A protective non-silicone finish (like Scotchgard or Meltonian Water and Stain Protector) sprayed on new suede shoes will help repel water and stains.
Nubuck – (brushed leather similar to suede, but with a finer nap) treat the shoes with water repellent, use rubber-bristle brush (not nylon) or a suede bar. Use the bar damp to clean and condition, and use the brush to lift the nap

Tip #6 Avoid HeatAlways keep shoes away from direct heat to prevent the leather from drying out. Leather should always dry naturally. It's important to avoid drying them near a fire or heater. This overheating will literally cook the leather and cause it to become stiff and brittle. The best technique is to ensure that dry, room temperature air can circulate inside the boots.
Note: What should you do if your shoes or boots get wet? The first thing to consider is that shoes should be waxed or oiled so that they tend to repel water. The less water absorbed by leather, the longer it will last and the more comfortable you'll be. Wet leather will stretch and weaken, shrinking and becoming brittle as it dries. Once your shoes are wet, however, they should be dried as soon as possible with room temperature, dry air (Between 70-95 degrees Fahrenheit or 20-35 degrees Centigrade). If you're in a situation where you can't properly dry your boots, wear them in a dry area until they can dry out a bit before you take them off.
It's important to avoid drying them near a fire or heater. This overheating will literally cook the leather and cause it to become stiff and brittle. The best technique is to ensure that dry, room temperature air can circulate inside the boots.
If you let the boots sit in a wet condition for days without drying out, they can become moldy. This isn't good for the boot, and mold or mildew is nearly impossible to get rid of.

Tip #7 Shoe BagsWhen traveling, use shoe bags; this will prevent the soiling from getting in touch with your clothing. If you turn a shoe bag inside out, you can use it as a shoe mitt.

Tip #8 Shoe Care for Special Shoes and SituationsCordovan shoes (real shell cordovan, made from horse hide, not just shoes that are burgundy color) need some special care. Neutral cream or paste polish tends to leave a white film on Cordovan leather. Alden recommends using cordovan color paste wax polish, and not shoe cream. Also beware that the shell cordovan creases are usually lighter, not darker, in color.
Cordovan leather is vegetable tanned instead of the modern method of "chrome" tanning. Since cordovan leather already contains a large amount of oil/wax, the polishing requirements are different from calfskin. Use a damp soft cloth for cleaning shell cordovan shoes.
The most common mistake in shining cordovan shoes is using too much polish. The excess polish creates a layer of build-up, which has three negative effects:
1. it covers the natural beauty of the leather,
2. it creates a grainy texture in the creases of the shoes,
3. and the build-up of polish scuffs easily and attracts dust.
To avoid these effects, use only the thinnest film of polish when polishing your cordovan shoes. Just a very small amount, spread very thin over the shoe, is all that is needed to restore the color and luster. You should not have to polish your cordovan shoes frequently, and often all that is needed is to brush and cloth them in order to remove scuffs and restore the shine. After the polish is applied, let it dry, then brush it off with a horsehair brush. Next, wipe the final film of polish away with a soft buffing cloth.
Here are the "don'ts" of shell cordovan care:
  • Do not use "neutral" polish
  • Do not clean cordovan shoes using saddle soap
  • Do not attempt to clean cordovan shoes using petroleum distillates or cleaning fluids
  • Do not use any spray shines or aerosol type waterproofs
  • Do not attempt to dry wet shell cordovan shoes with heat or a heater. Wipe them dry, and allow them to dry naturally
  • Do not attempt to polish shell cordovan shoes while wet
Spewing, a natural milky residue of wax will often form on new shell cordovan shoes. This is a normal residue from the tanning of the leather. Wipe it off with a soft cloth or brushing. To remove the wax in difficult areas, such as between stitches, use a toothbrush.
Exotic skins can be treated like calfskin, or with special conditioners that keep the leather from cracking. Take extra care when brushing to prevent scratching the surface.
Fabric shoes can be cleaned with a mild spray fabric cleaner. Let the cleaner dry to a powder and brush off the residue with a stiff brush. You can also use Woolite.
Patent leather can be cleaned with a damp cloth using lukewarm water and plain soap or Windex. Shine with a smooth soft cloth. Don’t get any of the fabric wet (like the ribbon bow).
Salt on shoes – Damaging white salt marks should be rinsed off immediately with a 50/50 mixture of white distilled vinegar and water. Wipe dry, and follow the directions for wet shoes.

Memorial Day 2013

The Warrior's Tale

The Warrior's Tale

The warrior's tale is a simple enough thing. Strong as steel, but fragile as chance. It is the wind in his soul and the wall we build around ourselves to tell us who we are.

Before there were cities or nations, and railways and airports, computers and telephones-- the tale was told around campfires. Acted out in pantomime, dressed up in animal furs and cave paintings. But the tale was the same. The people were confronted with a threat and they called upon the best and strongest of their men to go out and fight it. These were their warriors. What they did in the face of that threat is the tale.

The tale has many variations. Sometimes there are many warriors, sometimes only a handful. They march into the village of the enemy in triumph, or they make a last stand on a rocky outcropping, spending the last of their heart's blood to buy time they will never know. There is the weak man who becomes strong, the strong man who becomes weak, the woman who mourns the man who will never return, and the man who goes off to battle with nothing to lose. These tales have been told countless times in the ages of men, and they will be told again for as long as men endure.

It is not only the warriors who need the tale, or those left behind. Future generation learn who they are from this tale. "We are the people who died for this land," is the unseen moral of each tale. "We bled for it. Now it is yours to bleed and die for."

The warrior's tale tells each generation that they stand on the wall against a hostile world. And that the wall is made not of stones, but of their virtues. Their courage, their integrity and their craft.  Theirs is the wall and they are the wall-- and if they should fail, then it will fail. And the land and the people will be swept away.

What happens to a people who forget the warrior's tale and stop telling it around their campfires? Worse , what of a people who are taught to despise the figure of the warrior and what he represents? They will not lose their courage, not all of it. But they will lose the direction of that courage. It will become a sudden unexplained virtue that rises to them out of the depths of danger. And their wall will fail.

It is the warrior's tale that makes walls. That says this is the land that we have fought for, and we will go on fighting for it. It is sacrifice that makes mere possession sacrosanct. It is blood that turns right to duty. It is the seal that is above law, deeper still to heritage. Anyone can hold a thing, but it is sacrifice that elevates it beyond possessiveness. And it is that tale which elevates a people from possessors of a land, to the people of the land.

Universalism discards the warrior's tale as abomination. A division in the family of man. Their tale is of an unselfish world where there are no more divisions or distinctions. Where everyone is the same in their own way. But this tale is a myth, a religious idea perverted into totalitarian politics. It is a promise that cannot be kept and a poison disguised with dollops of sugar. It lures the people into tearing down their wall and driving out their warriors.  And what follows is what always does when there is no wall. The invaders come, the women scream, the children are taken captive and the men sit with folded hands and drugged smiles dreaming of a better world.

The warrior's tale explains why we fight in terms of our own history. The Great Swamp Fight. The Shot Heard Round the World. The Battle of New Orleans. Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, Belleau Wood, Pearl Harbor, Heartbreak Ridge, the Tet Offensive, Kandahar, and Fallujah. Generations of sacrifices must be defended. And those who wage war on us must be made to pay.

Universalism demands that war must answer to universal aims and objectives. That there is a universal law higher than war. But this is a children's story. The laws of men derive from their own interests. Those who can rule by force or coalition make their laws to serve their own ends. This is the way of the world.

Those who pretend to live by universalism will still fall to the law of steel. Rhetoric is no defense against fire and lead, and international codes have no defense against those who will break them. The talk may go on, but it is the warriors who will end it. It is still the warrior's tale to tell, even if all others have forgotten it.

The warrior's tale is no happy thing. It is bitter as bile and dark as death. But it is also a grand and glorious thing. For even in its full naked truth, it is the story of perseverance in the face of every agony and betrayal. It is the tale of how we live and why we die.

Even when all others forget their tale, the warriors remember. Even when they are called peacekeepers and turned into an army of clowns for the satisfaction of their political masters. The armies may decay, but warriors still remain in their cracks, on their edges-- men who are not wanted, but are needed because they are the only ones who can do the grim work and do it well. They may only be a hundredth of an army, or a thousandth. A fraction of a fraction. But without them there is no army, only empty uniforms.

When the warrior's tale is forgotten, then they become shadows. Dangerous men despised and feared. Thought of as killers, dismissed as monsters and stared at like beasts in a cage. But the society cannot deny them. It cannot deny that part of them. When the warrior diminishes, the energy is directed elsewhere. Sport becomes an obsession and matches end in bloody violence. Crime increases. Prisons fill up. So do police forces.

As the external war fades, the internal one begins. Barbarians come from without. Buildings burn, mobs rage and there is a savagery in the air.

No law can protect a society that has forgotten the warrior's tale. It will turn outward, and adopt the warriors tales of outsiders. The samurai will replace the cowboy. The sports star will be an outsider. Its heroes will become foreigners. Men who will do understand the virtue of violence and will do what their own have been forbidden. Who have the vital energy that a society without a warrior's tale lacks.

When a people give up their own warrior's tale for that of others, they lose the ability to resist them. For each people's warrior's tale says that we are people, and they are enemies. We are warriors and they are murderers. When a people have no other warrior's tale but that of their enemies, they will come to believe that they are monsters. And that their enemies are brave warriors. 

The day will come when they are asked who they are, and they will not know. They will point to their possessions and the names of their streets and cities. They will speak of higher ideals and cringe for not living up to them. They will be asked why they fight, and they will say that they do not want to fight. That all they want is peace at any price.

Even the most powerful of civilizations with the mightiest of cities becomes prey when it forgets the warrior's tale. It takes more than weapons to defend a city, it demands the knowledge of the rightness of their use. It is no use dressing men in uniforms and arming them, if they are not taught the warrior's tale. And it is nearly as little use, sending them off to watch and keep, if the men above them discard the warrior's tale as violent and primitive gibberish.

An army of millions is worth little, without the warrior's tale. Strategy is technique, firepower is capacity, both begin and end with the human mind. "Why do we fight," is the question that the warrior's tale answers far better than any politician could. "We fight because this is ours. It is our honor, our duty and our war. We have been fighting for hundreds and thousands of years. This is what makes us who we are."

We are the people, says the warrior's tale. But we are every people, says the universalist's tale. All is one. There is no difference between us and them. And we will prove it by bringing them here. Then the walls fall and it falls to the warriors to make their last stand. To tell another warrior's tale with their lives.

This is the quiet war between the philosopher merchants who want trade and empire, and the warriors who know that they will be called upon to secure the empire, and then die fighting the enemy at home. It is how the long tale that begins with campfires and ends with burning cities goes. The story that begins with cave paintings and ends with YouTube videos. Whose pen is iron, lead and steel. And whose ink is always blood.

We have been here before. Told and retold the old stories. The forest, the swamp, the hill and the valley. And behind them the lie, the maneuver and the betrayal. The war that becomes unreasoning and the people who forget why they fight. And one by one the warriors slip away. Some to the long sleep in the desert. Others to secluded green places. And still others into the forgetfulness of a people's memory. The hole in the heart of a people who forget themselves and become nothing.