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The Essentials: Southern Style

What!? Brian is doing a Southern-inspired edition of 'The Essentials'?

In a word: yes...well, sort of.

1. FireFly 'Sweet Tea' Flavored Vodka, $18 (750ml), fireflyvodka.com

A product of Charleston (Wadmalaw Island, to be exact), FireFly Sweet Tea Vodka is an amazing development that is being hailed as “the first artisan vodka of its time”. I had the liberty of trying for the first time several months before its release at a Guerilla Dining event--which we are not supposed to speak of--and I must say, it is probably one of the smoothest, and oddly, satisfying drinks I have ever consumed. A perfect attribution to Charleston style that mixes our two favorite things: sweet tea and alcohol.

2. Blue Crabs from Crosby's Seafood, $8-10 a pound, 382 Spring St., 937-0029

An established staple of the southeastern seaboard, blue crabs usually tend to come into season between the months of June and September and Crosby's is the best place to get quality seafood of all sorts (they've been around for decades, people). Unbelievably essential for any backyard gathering (and there are a lot of them down here), blue crabs need very little preparation before going into the pot. All you really need is a large, boiling pot of water, a pound or two of crab, a few Old Bay seasoning bags and a few, good friends; the rest kind of just falls into place.

3. The Oxford Shirt, $300, turnbullandasser.com

The Oxford shirt found commonplace among many Southern wardrobes over the past several decades and for good reason. The Oxford is a very durable, lightweight shirt that is versatile enough to go from the office to a dinner date a few easy steps:
  1. Wear a t-shirt under your Oxford for it is unbecoming of a man who sports sweaty pits.

  2. Opt for the standard white version. Nowadays, men have taken upon themselves to search for button downs in every shade of pastels imaginable. There is a reason why it is called a ‘classic’, guys.

  3. Have a relaxed, cotton blazer on hand just in case. “No matter where you go always remember: It’s better to be overdressed for an occasion than under.”

  4. For Christ’s sake, please tuck in your damn shirt. I am not going to repeat myself.

4. Eva Longoria-Parker

Oh. My. God. Errm...Oh yea! She's from Texas, too.


This is Me

Enough said...

All in all, people have been curious as to what DubiousOne looked like. So, here you go; to please the masses.

Questions? Comments? Criticisms?


DubiousOnTheWeb: Another HCS Contribution

After a few, ummm...mishaps, I finally got a new entry into the annals of HCS history. Hopefully this one is as much of a success as the first (if Caroline doesn't destroy the very fiber of my being in the process).


The Essentials: Week of May 19th

O.K., so I guess it is official. I am going to do make this a weekly thing. It’s just too hard to resist; an opportunity that has too much potential to pass up. So, without further ado, here we go:

1. Breitling 'Chronomat' Chronograph Watch, $1,350 (quartz models) to $7,300 (steel-cased models), breitling.com

I tried my hardest to describe this piece of hardware in one word, but I couldn’t, and conceded to the idea that perhaps that’s a good thing. There are actually not enough words in the dictionary to accurately describe the ‘Chronomat’ other than the fact that it can be purchased in nearly 100 different combinations and has a very sleek—and surprisingly lightweight—frame with the option of swapping out the default, tempered steel case for 18K rose, yellow or white gold.

2. Tivoli Audio 'Model Satellite' Table Radio, $299.99, tivoliaudio.com

Tivoli is known for creating some of the most aesthetically pleasing electronics the world has seen in a very long time. Along with that, they are no strangers to integrating up-to-date technology into their tastefully artistic designs. Enter the Model Satellite Table Radio. With its fully functional electronic display and larger-than-life control knobs, you will have no problem incorporating this device into your home’s décor.

3. SHUN 10-inch Damascus Blade Chef’s Knife, $132, knifecenter.com

Many budding cooks and gourmands in this country are convinced that the true indication of their culinary prowess lies in the number of cutlery they possess. This could not be farther from reality. Truth is, you only need one good (and I mean really good) chef’s knife—not five or six. The SHUN series is considered the Ferrari of knives and this 1o-incher is absolutely no exception. Get one as soon as possible and you’ll find yourself making up any excuse just to slice, chop and dice. Hell, you might even find yourself trying to julienne…

4. ‘Terryworld’ by Terry Richardson and Dian Hanson, $13.40, amazon.com

Considered one of the most prolific (and raunchy) photographers of our time, Terry Richardson released a 25th Anniversary edition of his most popular, yet controversial, photography book ever. ‘Terryworld’ contains pages of some of his best work you may—or may not—have seen since the original version’s release back in 1983 that I recommended for any contemporary’s coffee table.

5. Converse ‘Jack Purcell Vintage’ Sneaker by John Varvatos, $110, shop.nordstrom.com

Combining one of my favorite designers and absolute favorite shoe brand, the ‘Jack Purcell’ is everything a sneaker should be; nothing more, nothing less. Get two pairs if you can: one, primary pair for the day-to-day and another, you know, in case of an emergency.



New Music Review: Big Boi feat. Andre 3000 and Raekwon - "Royal Flush"

It was a long time coming for the Savannah-born rapper to finally release his solo LP, but then again it’s very hard to call “Sir Lucious Left Foot” a ‘solo’ effort considering the fact that Andre 3000 had a hand in both producing and guest appearing on several songs of the 12-track album.

Either way, the newest single to drop, “Royal Flush” is nothing short of a bona fide hit for anyone who is a true follower of Southern-fried hip-hop. If the simplicity of the one-two bass drop doesn’t get you going, then I’m sure either the guest appearance by Raekwon or the sample of The Isley Brothers’, “Voyage to Atlantis” are sure to put you over the edge.

Overall, the beat is amazing, vocals are top notch (thanks to the support of Outkast’s better half, Andre 3000), and the production is out of this world; an instant vintage in my book.


photo credit: mtv.com


The Manual: Summer Fragrances

When attempting to achieve a more respectable roster of fragrances, it would do you some good to follow these important steps:

1) Dispose of every can or bottle of ‘body spray’ that you, or any one that you associate with, may possess. NOW!

2) Keep your mouth closed and your mind open.

3) Take a look at these sure-fire recommendations.

4) Repeat.

  • Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrian, $113.00, fragrancenet.com
Considered a staple of the warm weather months, Goutal is a very classic, citrus scent that contains hints of Sicilian lemon, cypress, grapefruit and citron. A very exquisite, yet casual, fragrance that should be used when trying to make a statement.

  • Hermes D’Orange Verte, $46.00, fragrancenet.com

First launched in 1979, D’Orange Verte has managed to carve a niche for itself with very minimal tones of citrus fruit and heady greens. This scent is perfect for days when a more subtle aroma is needed.

  • YSL L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent, $79.50, ysl-parfums.com

An absolute favorite in my book, L’Homme has all the makings of a top-notch scent with elements of both floral fragrances and sandalwood. Lasting about 8 to 10 hours, this particular scent is perfect for everyday use.

  • L'Eau D'Issey by Issey Miyake, $70.00, fragrancenet.com

Designed in 1994, D’Issey is meant more for an evening fragrance than anything else. It contains high citrus and spice notes with hints of musk, amber and woods; including a scent life of about 6-10 hours.

  • Armani by Giorgio Armani, $67.00, armani.com

Considered a throwback, of sorts, Armani possesses a very complex scent that comprised of everything from lemons, oranges and bergamot to clove, coriander and nutmeg. Even though it was developed back in 1984, Armani still has the ability to compete with the products of today almost 25 years after its creation.



DubiousOnTheWeb: "Men and Linen" HCS Blog

As much as I like having my own slice of heaven here on the Internet, I have determined that in order to truly get my point across I must branch out to the greater blogging community. So, check this out:


Tech Review: LG Prada Edition Phone

Never being one to allow function to follow form when it comes to technology, I found myself “turning over a new leaf”, as it were, when I stumbled upon a techno-site that had recently did a review on a sleek and rather sexy phone that looked like, and then didn’t look like the Apple iPhone. Its mysteriousness alone conjured up images of a Bond-type character sipping a martini at an exclusive bar in Monaco and then receiving a phone call from Q about the newest ‘007’ weapon he’s been working on.

Either way, the LG Prada is a device that effortlessly combines the innovative touch-screen technology made popular by the folks over a Apple and a streamlined style that even Adriana Lima would be jealous of.

The Prada uses a GSM network (when it’s not being unlocked by hackers around the globe), so anyone who is not on the Cingular/AT&T, Alltel, etc. networks are pretty much up the creek; then again, the phone would lose a sense of exclusivity if suddenly it were readily available to--gasp!--everyone!?

The LG Prada Edition Phone (LG/PRADA, $600, thepradabylg.com)

As far as its abilities/specifications are concerned, the Prada can do pretty much all the things an iPhone can (document viewing, Bluetooth, WLAN, FM radio, etc.), but again, with a flair and overall style all its own.

The price tag for this beauty weights in at a hefty $600, but you know as they say: "Can you really put a price on love?"


Photo credit: gsmmag.com, st8tohoops.com


DubiousTrend: Men's Designer Jewelry

Exposure to the exuberant—almost costumed—hip-hop approach to jewelry has left many men carrying more on their necks, ears and fingers than in their heads—which might explain their choices in accoutrements.
When it comes to mastering the fine art of men’s jewelry, there are but two options: either you wear it in understated moderation or not at all; simple as that.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. The past few days I have spotted individuals sporting very classic and minimalist jewelry that are far from the leather cuffs and forearm bands that you would see on a Hollister employee. Instead, this class of jewelry boasts a slick and sleek, yet masculine, attitude which makes wearing it easier to pull off than expected.

Rings, necklaces, watches, bracelets and money clips (yes, even money clips) have all been getting the star treatment and there designs are being placed in the hands of some of the most talented in the business.

My personal favorite would have to be the David Yurman collection which can be found in a Nordstrom’s or Saks Fifth Ave. near you.

Fossilized Dinosaur Bone Ring (David Yurman, $650, davidyurman.com)

Alligator, Rhinoceros and Web-style dogtags (David Yurman, $580, Neiman Marcus)

Keeping in mind, if you don’t have the bank roll to take home a few pieces of your own, there are up-and-coming designers that are more than willing to provide you with just as much of the same quality at half the price.


New Music Review: Busta Rhymes - "Don't Touch Me"

Ever since his appearance in Zhane's video for the song, "It's a Party" back in 1996, Busta has always been known as the funky, eccentric rapper from Uniondale, New York with the signature dreadlocks.

Unfortunately, somewhere between the release of "The Big Bang" and the shearing of his locks, Busta lost his 'way'. The same 'way' that brought us hits like: "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See", "Woo Hah! Got You All in Check", and many more.

Regardless of his previous shortcomings (including the recent collaborative effort with Linkin' Park) Busta is back at it again with a new album, I'm Blessed, and backing by big-name rapper and producer, Dr. Dre. His flagship single, "Don't Touch Me", has a hot music video that is very reminiscent of his earlier, off-the-wall days and is a welcomed change from his pre-packaged, mainstream flop.

Welcome back, Busta...


Photo credit: remixes.net

The Essentials

It took me a rather long time to determine how I was going to kick off my fledgling blog and then it came to me in the form of a convenient quote: “Why don’t you do a piece on what this site entails? The essentials.”

“Brilliant!”, I said…to myself. After that, the rest was easy.

As much as I like to say I am not the authority on what is fashionable, more and more I’m starting to find that my fellow men (especially my peers) are slowly staring to backslide into a realm that found somewhere between sneakers-with-a-suit and jackets-three-sizes-too-big…

With that said, I offer up these brave and misguided ‘dudes’ a solid foundation onto which they can hopefully regain footing:

1. GQ Magazine (2-year subscription, $9.99, gq.com)

Anyone who truly knows me should also be aware that this publication is a considerably important facet of my life (read: the Bible). Gentleman’s Quarterly is more or less the authority on men’s high-lifestyle but do not be alarmed when first flipping through one. The overly expensive ads that inundate the F.O.B section are quickly balanced out by their wallet-friendly fashion research pieces found in the B.O.B areas.

A quintessential ‘guide’ to all things male, GQ covers topics ranging from home décor, style/fashion and sports to politics, food/wine, and sex; but this is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill magazine. Quarterly is definitely for those who have graduated from the brown-socks-match-with-brown-shoes days.

If you do manage to pick up the latest copy of this religious text and you find yourself somewhat overwhelmed, fret not! GQ has a brother magazine, Details, which tends to cater more to the younger, post-high school crowd.

2. The Nina Simone Anthology (2-disc, $22.99, amazon.com)

If James Brown was ‘the Godfather’ and Elvis was ‘the King’, then Nina Simone was definitely the ‘Grandmother’ and overall ruler of the jazz/folk world (no joke).

Simone’s career spanned almost 50 years when she finally settled down in her final months along the French countryside; in her prime, though, she churned out some of the most haunting renditions of music classics and several of her albums and compilations have been on top-selling lists for years. Don’t believe me?: Everyone from Common to Talib Kweli have sampled Simone’s songs for their own tracks.

Among her hits, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” is a must, hands down. Whether you’ve just been in a fight with the missus or just have a bad day (or good one), just sit back, relax and enjoy one of the most prolific performers of our time.

3. 10 Cane Rum (750ml, $36.99, winedelight.com)

As much as it may pain you to hear this: There is definitely life after Captain Morgan. I have spent years sampling various spirits from all over the world and although Puerto Rico may be renowned for their expert rum-making skills, the true gold lies with the small, understated island country of Trinidad. 10 Cane Rum is a very gradual step up from the Castillo and other lower grade rums that you may be used to imbibing.

Made by the pressing virgin sugar canes, instead of molasses, to produce the purest sugar, 10 Cane goes great with…nothing else. With its sweet undertones and light body, you will find it hard to muster the strength and add a cube or two.

4. Cotton Navy Blazer (Ben Sherman Fowler Blazer, $185.00, bensherman.com)

Like a broken-in pair of jeans, the navy blazer is (and should be, if not) a very essential part of a man’s wardrobe. Originally, the ‘blue’ blazer was a staple in the day-to-day, country-clubber’s uniform, but now it has expanded its repertoire to cover a night out on the town paired with a nice pair of dark jeans, a crisp polo and loafers (sock-less, of course) or with fitted khakis. True American style at its best, I promise.

5. The Lacoste 2-Button Polo ($75, 248 King St., Charleston, S.C., 843.723.0256)

Speaking of American style, the Lacoste polo has become somewhat of a national icon. There are several variations on the classic shirt but the solid-colored pique polo has always been the go-to piece for the humid, Charleston summers and anywhere else your days (or nights) may take you; but two rules come with wearing any polo: 1) Make sure it is the correct size; it should hug your biceps and show off some of that hard work you put in all year. 2) Get it in black, jet black. No substitutes.


Photo credits: Amazon; Lacoste USA; Zappos.com; DarkSideBar; GQ.