Ordinary Heroes

Kuya (1 of 1)

Below is a birthday greeting I posted to my larger-than-life big brother, Luiz.  I never told this story before today, and I get a good chuckle out of this one of many moments I tried to be like him.  And for all you little siblings out there: that’s totally ok.  

When I was a freshman in high school, I tried to run for class treasurer. I had no desire or knowledge of handling money, but my big brother had the position with his alma mater.

I was severely uncool in my first few weeks, but I had to present a campaign speech to the class of 2003 anyway. My big brother offered his speech totem: an orange hazard vest with the motto C.R.E.A.M. taped on the back. I didn’t know what whipped dairy had to do with managing accounts, but he helped me plan a speech and rehearse. 

Came speech day, I grabbed the mic from my opponent, and I said the words “CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME,” in the most suburban of inflections.

And the class of 2003 went wild.

I used to get a lot of shit for trying to copy my big brother, but first of all, IT’S LUIZ; everyone wants to be him. But most of all, because everybody has a hero.

Confessions of a Dough Nut

Your typical Sidecar: fresh, crumbling, and about to be inhaled.


Everyone has their comfort food.  Donuts be mine.

Every Sunday of my adolescence started in a hellfire of procrastination, running the no-huddle offense to make 10am mass.  “As long as we’re there by the gospel reading, we’re on time!” mama would reason with us.  Clean shirt, a dollar in change in my pocket, and we were out the door by 10:05.

After finding an open pew, the weekly motions and recitations put my hands and lips on autopilot as my mind wandered to the entrance of St. Mary’s.  Out the door, I’d approach the adjacent picnic table, peer into the pink box, deposit my tithe, and enjoy my ritual brunch.  Donuts were Sunday’s blessing.

Now that I’m a big boy and can enjoy maple crullers at my leisure, I look for what the wonderful world has to offer.  Last year, I guarded my cardboard carry-on from Manila to take home Bronuts.  Last month, I made a point to stop by Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee.

The final three: blackberry & rose geranium, Madagascar vanilla twist, butter & salt.

Look Out! Proud Uncle Over Here

Attention: you may have noticed my Instagram on feed on your right as very baby-heavy.  Well, I guess that’s the way it goes when you become an uncle for the first time.

I guess I could say that this belongs in my site’s category of Purpose, since now all I could think of is serving the little guy as a sage uncle from the far East.  But really, this is just my version of slapping you over the head with wallet photos of my grandchildren – don’t worry, I’ll do that, too.

So without further adieu, please meet Lincoln!

He’s totally gettin’ spoiled.

The Red Cloud label explained

I’ve noticed many questions about Red Cloud’s goat patch label, and what exactly it all means.  After all, Chinese and English are notoriously awful at using each other’s language.

During our discussion, Raymon admitted that foreigners are at least confused, at most frightened by the label and its wall of mysteries.

So again, with the help of my beautifully bilingual bride, here is the translation of the Red Cloud & Co label.  Please note: characters read top to bottom, right to left.  Please do so here.

Red Cloud label translation

La Nouvelle Vague de la Maison Corthay

If you have yet to see in-person a pair of leathers from the famed Parisian bottier Corthay, you must make a point to.  Though not exactly in line with my more conservative wardrobe, one can nevertheless appreciate their collections of unmatched patina as fine works of art, in or out of the shoemaking world.  I rubbernecked their Landmark Hong Kong window display on my inaugural visit, and I’ve since made a point to admire the gallery when I’m nearby.

Next month, I’ll pay special attention to Maison Corthay when two new models, the Brighton and Twist, arrive to Hong Kong.  The pair are brothers of the same chord, as they draw their inspiration from the tastefully brazen youth of sixties rock ‘n’ roll.

She Wears the Pants (Wah-Pah)

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 11.36.40 PM A recent Valet article reminded men about that old tune: we love seeing our women in our clothes.   I don’t think I need to explain.  Just think of high school and all the cold morning hoodies we’ve never seen again in the name of getting her to crush on you back.

But even recently, there’s been a surge of women taking men’s classics out the front door.  And as usual, they beat us at our own game.  With a spectrum from Sarah Ann Murray‘s rakish overtones to Lauren Yates‘ baggy & beautiful throwbacks, the fairer sex can cut into a male silhouette with disarming effectiveness.

A Museum for All Us Kids

Stained glass Totoro

Making a trip to Disneyland always holds that certain power over our inhibitions to awaken some inner child that, whether we admit it or not, kept us from sleeping soundly the night before.  Once you make it through the entrance, any reasonable adult will transform into a ball of giddiness for spinning cups, high-fives from Goofy, and on hotter Anaheim days, animatronic presidential addresses.  And that’s okay.  Within the walls of the Magic Kingdom, it’s okay to wear  monogrammed Mickey Ears and challenge Gaston to a pushup contest.  That’s why we go there.

It’s hard to think of other places that hold such gleaming nostalgia for its visitors, until Laura and I headed to Mitaka to visit the Ghibli Museum.

Snow day in Hakone


With my third year of living abroad halfway complete, I’ve learned how to adapt to and appreciate the particularities of a certain culture.  Of course, I stumble often, but there’s always moments when you’re running away with the environment.

On our first full day in Japan, Laura’s extended family treated us to a day of immersive local experiences.  A surprise among them was the chance to spend the night in a small, private onsen hot spring inn.  The onsen we expected, but the accommodations . . .

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 3.34.58 PM

When You HAVE to Relax

Hour Eleven:
Hour Eleven: was able to steal ten minutes of shuteye before final call.  Note to self: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE DAMN AIRPORT LOUNGE.

I’m a suit guy, one hundred percent.  I feel most comfortable, most daring, and most myself in a spread collar Y-back braces, and notch lapels.  Me in a suit is me in my skin.

Among other sartorial applications, I am a habitual follower of flying in a suit.  But in my few years’ experience of the three-piece lifestyle, there’s always a time and place in which it belongs.  Definitely not in a time of nineteen hours and a place of two planes, three airports, and  one makeshift fort at a food court.

Closer look at the jacket, which I reattributed as my hotel room.
Closer look at the jacket, which I reattributed as my hotel room.