Winter outerwear

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We are deep into the winter season in California and whether you believe it or not it gets cold! Snow in the north, rain and frost can make anyone want to spark up a fire and just stay inside for the entire day.  However, most of us do not have the luxury to stay home each day the weather isn’t pleasant (bills need to be paid, ya know) so the proper outerwear is needed to get you from point A to point B as dry and as fly as possible.  Keep in mind one good quality coat is all you need to make it though any winter. Putting down a few extra dollars for a jacket that will last for several years is definitely a smart investment. But with all the brands, styles and fabrics to choose from what will work?  Choose what is comfortable, affordable and keeps you looking sharp.  The coat doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest you see in the store.  Why? Because another latest and greatest coat will be in the store next week. We suggest that you save your money and go with what works.

Here are a few options we like to rock on those cold nights and frigid days:

Wool coat: Whether it’s a top coat, peacoat or duffel, a wool coat will keep your body at the right temperature while the world around you is freezing. Wool coats these days are made to be lightweight and durable so you don’t feel as if you placed an extra 40 pounds on. Also a wool coat just looks good in either casual or professional settings. After you close that business deal you won’t miss a beat as you head out and get a couple of drinks with the fellas later in the evening.

Leather jacket: Rugged, stylish and timeless the leather jacket should be a staple in every man (and woman’s) closet. Perfect for the cool weather months and just an all around smooth piece of attire. What more needs to be said? Just be sure to be mindful of quality and price.

Puff coat: Some call them parkas, bubble jackets, or even down jackets but whatever the name this coat is a great choice. To put it another way, if you experience winters where the high temperature gets to about 10 degrees and the low is in the negative numbers then this coat is a requirement. It is lightweight and insanely warm, so much so you wouldn’t mind taking on a blizzard as you walk to work.  Please don’t actually do that though.

Trench coat: This item right here is vintage attire. A sleek and iconic coat so much so that movies had you believe if you had a trench coat you could move faster than bullets (the Matrix), romance any woman (Casablanca) and be the baddest detective ever (Inspector Gadget….okay, maybe not). By wearing a trench coat you have a duty to uphold, to exude coolness and a smooth sense of style like no one else because no one else can be like you. Wet weather will no longer be an annoyance as you head out to your job ready to take on the day.

Keep it smooth.

Hello Just Means Hello

Fellas, here we are, deep into the autumn season.  Halloween has come and gone, the weather is cooler, sweaters are in the wardrobe rotation and intimate, close encounters with our female counterparts have taken on a new perspective.  In our quest to find a woman who suits our personality, tastes and overall zest for life, it is crucial – even mandatory, to remember one basic nugget of information in man and woman relationships.

Let’s say you cross paths with a delightful woman at a church function, at the grocery store, buying food at the farmer’s market, or where ever; and by chance for a moment she looks your way and says, “Hello” she means just that. Hello.

Do not try make this moment more than what it is because most likely you’ll either embarrass yourself or just freak her out.  If you watch the show Big Bang Theory – the character Raj lacks confidence when dealing with the fairer sex.  In one particular episode Raj was in a coffee shop, approached a woman and said “Hi”. She responded in kind but unfortunately he took that as a cue to tell her his entire life story in minutes and then out of desperation strip naked in front of her.  A pain to watch and without a moment’s hesitation the young lady ran away with the quickness.

Now we know you’re thinking to yourself that’s just television and it’s just an extreme case but too easily the above scenario can become reality if one is lacking self-assurance. If the universe for any reason beckons her to utter the word “Hello” go with a conservative approach and positive outlook – she is a nice person acknowledging your existence.  That is all, no subliminal messages or female mind games at work, she just wants to be.  Don’t be coy, say hello right back, strike up a conversation if she’s in the mood and see where it goes.

Above all else keep it simple show interest not desperation by asking engaging questions (i.e. if she was reading a book ask about that) and have a fun time . Forcing her into your zone is only a trigger for her to become tense, distrustful and ready to turn the other way.

Remember, when you next meet a woman and a “Hi” is all you get take it for what it is.  Women notice us before we realize anything concrete about the situation so take it easy and let it flow. The less you do may be the best approach for good things to develop.

Keep it smooth!

DIY Moment

There is something personally rewarding and immensely satisfying about building/creating anything with your own two hands. Knowing you don’t have to depend on store-bought items for all of your needs is a reminder that humans are more than just mindless consumers.  That is empowering!

Use your hands and build something, make something, tinker with something, break something, mess up an experiment discover a new process.  Some of the best inventions were created accidentally or were created because someone wonder and asked “why?” and tried to find an answer. These DIYers changed the game in their respective industries. You never know what you’re capable of until you get in that garage, basement or outdoor shed and put in work!

To those with children here is a book that fosters the DIY spirit and if nothing else you’ll spend good time with your kids.

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Don’t let the title fool you (I admit it’s a bit of a misnomer, there are no DIY projects for creating pipe bombs or anything dangerous like that) it’s not dangerous in the methods but dangerous in reminding kids that being outside and using your hands to build and other activities can be achieved without the aid of a computer or smart phone.  Using your brain is the most dangerous accessory at one’s disposal.

The other book is Handy Dad.  IMG_3791

If you are a weekend warrior or just a humble hand tool person this book is quite useful in practicing your manual dexterity and bonding with your kids.  There are projects where you can build a half-pipe for your aspiring skater, a zip line, even a go-kart. We also are huge fans of Make magazine the mecca of DIY where you can see many projects that you can do at home and even modify yourself be it woodworking, metal working, electronics or the like.

All right you get the idea now, right? Good, now get your hands involved and make something and get away from the computer for a moment.

Sparking Up the Grill

Memorial Day in the United States usually sparks the beginning of the “BBQ season” throughout the country. Parades were on display, families spent much-needed quality time together and glorious BBQ’s were grilled to perfection. We kept our BBQ simple. No homemade sauces, no 2 day marinades, no ribs, no 10-hour smoked pork or award-winning spice rubs.  Just an easy and simple gathering of food, charcoal and people to ring in the festive warm weather and great outdoors.IMG_4321 However, do not be fooled by the simplicity displayed here.  When it is time to throw down on some major BBQ, Smooth Vintage knows how to make your grill skills the talk of the neighborhood. Every smooth person should know how to put together a BBQ without creating a disaster (to yourself or others). IMG_4320

Below are a few pointers for a near flawless BBQ:

1.) Relax on the lighter fluid. Actually, don’t even use the stuff.  The worst, absolutely worst thing that can happen to a BBQ, next to undercooking the food, is having ALL the food taste as if it was marinated in lighter fluid.  We’ve all been to a cookout, BBQ hosted by a friend, family member or whoever that is a tad heavy-handed when it comes to that lighter fluid.  I’m talking about a good dousing of the stuff on the charcoal, a torrential rain of lighter fluid.  Don’t be that person.  There are many alternative methods to sparking up your grill rather than using lighter fluid. A mix of wood chips soaked in water and added to charcoal is one of the best options to go with.  It’s safer than lighter fluid and you can experiment with different wood chips to see which flavors work best for the food on your grill.  Chimney starters are a fantastic grill lighting accessory and will aid in your road to BBQ glory. Just place newspaper underneath the starter and charcoal on the inside and you are good to go within minutes. Remember humans have been staring fires for thousands of years and didn’t need lighter fluid then. Why should you?

2.) Navigate the hot spots of your grill. It may sound strange but yes your grill has varying degrees of heat once the charcoal is ready for use.  The closer you are towards the center the more heat you’ll have and depending on what you are grilling you may not want too much heat to start out with.  Vegetable kabobs don’t need much grill time, you can place them in the center for a brief  period and then reposition them towards the outer sections of the grill. If you want to experiment with coal placement you can move the coals to the outer edges of the grill and leave the center open.  Place a drip pan in the open area and grill your food as normal.  This method (indirect) cooks the items on the grill at a slower pace and won’t sear your food as it cooks.

3.) Thermometers are your friend. Most of us just “guesstimate” as to when our grilled food has reached a suitable level for all to eat and enjoy.  Some wait until the chicken has clear juices, the burgers don’t ooze out too much or the corn has that ready smell.  By all means if you’ve been grilling for a while and that works more power to you.  However, being 100% sure the food is done with a thermometer sure beats out a night of food poisoning because your guesstimate was off a few degrees. The best world-class grill masters have no shame in using a thermometer and neither should you.

4.) Rotate, rotate, rotate. That is pretty self-explanatory.  Keeping an eye on your food and rotating it ever so often will maximize the heat and provide an overall taste to the food. However don’t overdo it because too much rotation will not give enough time for the heat to do its job.

5.) Rest your food.  The best flavors come together after they’ve had a chance to simmer and settle in once the heat has turned off. You can eat your grilled delicacies once you’ve immediately taken them off the grill but you’ve robbed yourself of a unique taste experience. Lasagna ALWAYS tastes better the next day it has been prepared, soup and chilis seem to taste more vibrant after they’ve mellowed out after the cooking has finished.  Same concept to consider when you have finished grilling your foods.  After cooking, place the food in an aluminum tray and cover the tray sith foil or just wrap up the food in foil for 5 – 10 minutes.  Guaranteed the meats will be even more delicious afterwards. More to come as the summer progresses and don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles of BBQ, sauces, wood chips and charcoal. Keep the grill sparking.

Father’s Day

A Happy Father’s Day to all of the good fathers, step fathers, father figures, foster father, mentors and the like who have taken the responsibility to raise, cultivate and educate children so they become well rounded, contributing men and women in life. This is the first Father’s Day post for Smooth Vintage (woohoo) and we decided to not put together a list as to why dads are great, influential and so on. Or even what gifts would be suitable for the type of dad you have. Instead we decided to share, with permission, an inspiring and touching story of one photo. A photo that brought reassurance and closure to somone and really brought home the importance of having a father around:

This is a picture of my father and my grandmother. It was taken in December of 1989.  At the time, he had no idea that he had an eight-year-old son living in North Jersey. He died in 2002, without ever knowing I existed.
I spent my entire childhood wondering things about my father: What does he look like? Is he smart? Is he tall? What does his voice sound like? What if we met? Would he accept his Black son? In 2006, thanks to the Internet and an online genealogy database maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was able to find out some basic information, including that he died a few years earlier. I reached out to his uncle, and a few weeks later his niece contacted me to let me know some information about his health history she thought I should know. She was understandably skeptical, and did not seem like she wanted to take any steps toward building a relationship. I did not expect to hear from any of my father’s family ever again. So I was pleasantly surprised when my father’s aunt sent me a graduation card in 2008, along with this picture. For the first time, I saw what my father looked like. It is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.
This isn’t a sob story. My life is fantastic, and I have been fortunate enough to have some great father figures in my life, liked Donald Dyson. But on this Father’s Day, I just wanted to remind everyone not to take your relationships with your fathers for granted. Because some of us only have a picture.
Photo: This is a picture of my father and my grandmother.  It was taken in December of 1989.  At the time, he had no idea that he had an eight-year-old son living in North Jersey.  He died in 2002, without ever knowing I existed. I spent my entire childhood wondering things about my father:  What does he look like?  Is he smart?  Is he tall?  What does his voice sound like?  What if we met?  Would he accept his Black son?  In 2006, thanks to the Internet and an online genealogy database maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was able to find out some basic information, including that he died a few years earlier.  I reached out to his uncle, and a few weeks later his niece contacted me to let me know some information about his health history she thought I should know.  She was understandably skeptical, and did not seem like she wanted to take any steps toward building a relationship.  I did not expect to hear from any of my father’s family ever again.  So I was pleasantly surprised when my father’s aunt sent me a graduation card in 2008, along with this picture.  For the first time, I saw what my father looked like.  It is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.   This isn’t a sob story.  My life is fantastic, and I have been fortunate enough to have some great father figures in my life, liked Donald Dyson.  But on this Father’s Day, I just wanted to remind everyone not to take your relationships with your fathers for granted.  Because some of us only have a picture.
Appreciate, honor, and love that father you have. He’s the only one you get. Keep it smooth people!

 

Hey, Hey….Hey Girl

Ladies, in your day-to-day travels and experiences I’m sure it is safe to say that many a guy has uttered some kind of witty, or useless line to get your attention.  Most times we genuinely want to get to know you and build a good, long-lasting relationship because we can’t always hang out with the fellas.  Also, we might take a while to get our act together (for many reasons) and let you all know that we want to be with you but we have good intentions, seriously we do.

However, there are those on the other side of the guy-hooks-up-with-girl spectrum, the ones unfortunately you woman have to deal with the most often the ones that all the relationship magazines and blogs warn about. Simply put, you are the “hey girl”. These dude have no motive other than to spit game to you, serenade you with coy phrases, handle business and then move on to the next sweetheart. You know how the flow goes, as you walk around the mall, shopping plaza or the like you hear it. “hey, hey girl let me talk to you right quick” or “hey baby, can I get some of your time” and the straight to the point “hey, let me get your number?”.

To some degree the pursuit of the fairer sex is more of a game than anything else and to be honest most guys have done this in their lifetime because we do like the “chase”. That being said, fellas there is a point in life when you have to just need to let it go. Why? Because you can’t seduce every pretty woman you ever come across and woman want a companion not a Casanova. Find a woman you can actually have a conversation with instead of seeing what lines work the best on a Friday or Saturday night. Do you really want to be hollering at a woman with tactics you used when you were 19, 20 when you are in your thirties?

So, what are some method to get a woman’s attention in a way that is mature, convincing and interesting? Her’s a quick list:

  • Start with a compliment: take notice of her style, her earrings, the way her tattoo is colored,  her nail polish color, anything a guy wouldn’t commonly mention.  Use your observation skills for other than for her curves.
  • Ask for directions: Yes, we normally don’t do this but that’s your ticket in.  You can spin a conversation out of where you’re going and ask what her favorite spots are.  Eventually ask for a date. See how it goes.
  • Food: Food brings us all together. If you’re out and the woman of your dreams is eating, be kind of slick and say something along the lines of “that looks delicious, is that your go to dish?” Strike up a convo from there.
  • Bookworm move: If you see her reading, ask her how she likes the book, what she thinks of it what other books excite her and strike up a conversation.

These are just a few suggestions but be creative and use your style to be that cool cat who knows how to talk to a woman.

Keep it smooth.