The Most Difficult Thing In Life


When my father was in high school, his English teacher gave a creative writing assignment to the class. They were each to write an essay on what they believed to be the most difficult thing in life. My father did the assignment and turned it in at the end of their time. They received their graded papers a little while later and to Dad’s amazement, he had received 100%. This perplexed him. He had not finished his essay when he turned it in. In fact, he was unable to conjure any lines past the first sentence. There were twelve words on his paper when he turned it in and there were twelve words on his paper when he got it back, yet he made an ‘A’?

“The most difficult thing in life is whether or not to try.”

He could not think of anything else to write. He tried. He wanted to. He tore at his conscious thought, digging for something to surface in his mind so it could surface on his paper. But nothing did, and nothing needed to. He could pull no more words to back this statement because there were no more words to back his statement. It was rational in its logic and philosophically-definitive in its abruptness; it was true.

Every great idea is clouded with self-doubt. For every minute spent day-dreaming about the goals and successes awaiting ourselves on the outset of our plans, there are three minutes spent doubting ourselves and imagining all the various potential downfalls to begot us and our amazing dreams. We fantasize ourselves implementing everything we believe we can, then we terrorize ourselves into doubting we can succeed. We anti-believe.

Doubt is natural. It is our conscience making us double-check what we are doing but it has become so readily rampant in ourselves, boiling just under our bravado society-wide, that so few are still even TRYING to fight it. We sit and wait, wanting to try but complacently never doing so. Days are spent not fulfilling ourselves. Evenings are depressed, spent thinking of the things we didn’t do but should have. We then climb into bed, tucking ourselves in with pepped thoughts of how we can right today’s laziness with tomorrow’s productivity. We imagine how self-fulfilling we will spend the day, because tomorrow is a new day and it has new potential and possibilities. But then morning rises and with it comes a dreadful forethought: what if I can’t do it? We rise immediately doubting our abilities and our plans. We look at all the potential that waits in the day and it becomes daunting. We get discouraged that there is so much to be done in a day, that how could I ever hope to attain everything I planned. We bed with an itinerary of production and wake with a lackluster drive for the day and the potentials we had seen in it the night before.

So many lives and potential have been squandered on self-doubt. We are living in a world where our self-fulfilling prophecies are self-doubted out of existence. Where every dream we have for ourselves is drowned in tide after tide after tide of doubt. We cease trying because we are scared we will fail, and quitting is always easier than failing.

The worst part about trying–the most difficult thing about the most difficult thing–is it cannot be taught or given. Trying must be learned on one’s own. It must be fought for. It is the Phoenix, rising from the ashes of our own doubts and failures and birthed in the light of our own perseverance.

In the end, I do not fully agree with my father’s paper. I do not believe that the hardest thing in life is deciding whether or not to try.

The hardest thing ever in life is to try in the face of self-doubt.

The Vita-C Riser

Juice vita riser prep topdown

If you’re like me, you don’t like to be sick unless it’s with pink eye. Yeah, pink eye is gross but it doesn’t hurt, it’s not expensive to treat, and you get a couple days off of work so why not and the best way to keep from getting sick is by upping that vitamin C.Juice Vita Riser

Making a vitamin C juices and smoothies are so easy to make–everything with C in it tastes great together. That being said, I do just that to make mine.  I try to get at least three or four different colored vitamin C fruits plus a couple non-fruits like carrots and kale.  It’s a great, easy-digesting juice and the carrots add a good serving of fiber.

I combined all ingredients in my Ninja Master Prep and put it to work.  Below are nutritional facts and ingredients in an image for ease of use.

Vita C Riser Nut facts

The Banana Slow-Sip Java

Banana Slow-Sip Java

Java banana slow sipThis is an early morning java to get your metabolism started and is great to for people like me who drink waaay too much coffee in the morning. My mornings typically last about two or three hours of social media and Netflix the whole while I’m casually sipping cups and cups of coffee. It makes for a very easy-going morning but my early-afternoons are frequently stomach-cramped and jittery, and as I am a creature of habit, this happens often. I blended this java to keep my coffee intake regulated but still give me something to sip on all morning long.

The banana and yogurt are the biggest players in this. Bananas are an easy way to give potent flavor and are a natural sweetener, helping me use less sugar. The yogurt is to add consistency and a little protein, and the banana and yogurt together make a great stomach-starter that’s quick to start digesting but complex enough to keep my metabolism rolling through the gym or until an early lunch.  Pair with some some almonds or a slice of wheat toast for an even more well-rounded breakfast.

I combine all ingredients into my Ninja Master Prep and blend completely then blend a little more. The java is whipped into a very soupy froth; pour into pint glass before settling and drink. The thick froth keeps me from inhaling it, as a small sip has a lot of volume. As the drink settles, the bottom will be much more coffee-like consistency and the top will be a more traditional froth and it’s great to drink this way as well. Or you can slurp the top and bottom layers at the same time and it will instantly mix it back into the thick froth.  Stirring also works.Banana Slow-Sip Nutr Facts



Presidents’ Day; The Retail Holiday

DP Prez collage 1Sales are awesome. They are amazing. They are magnificent ways to upgrade a wardrobe on a budget and being someone who always operates on a budget, retail holidays are game-face holidays. And among aaalllll the wonderful retail holidays that our commercialized society has become privy to, Presidents’ Day is above and beyond the most useful of these holidays because it comes at the most opportune time a sale could come—the end of winter.

Two scarves, both H&M. The plaid was $10 and the striped was $12. Both were marked to $3 each.

2 scarves, H&M. Plaid was $10, the striped was $12; marked to $3/ea.

Blue suede driving shoes, H&M, marked down to a steal at $10. Wood print wafers were the most expensive. Full price at $10.

Blue suede driving shoes, H&M; marked down to a steal at $10. Pair of wood print wafers, H&M, most expensive item; paid full price at $10.

See, obviously we wear more accessories in winter than any other season: scarves, jackets, hats, gloves, sweaters, boots. Summer just doesn’t offer as much. For a guy, the most eccentric August outfits won’t come close to a December ensemble—if it does, he very well may be trying too hard. So while winter can be drab and dreary, it lets us add plenty of options to our wardrobe and it’s much simpler to adjust an outfit by changing a scarf or switching shoes than it is to change a shirt or some pants. You don’t always need a new shirt to add an outfit to your deck, changing the jacket and adding a scarf can completely switch your vibe without switching any of the meat. “More options means more options” and a cheap, quick, efficient way to get more options is to clean up during retail holidays. Or more specifically: President’s Day, because it’s my absolute jam.

Quick Trivia: Originally on February 22 to celebrate G. Washington’s birthday, Presidents’ Day was moved to February’s third Monday in the early 70’s. Along with President’s Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, and a few others were also moved in the same fashion as part of a bill to create more three-day weekends for America’s workers—that’s crazy polite of Unc. Tom, right?—and as a bonus, these three-day weekends became a great opportunity to increase revenue with retail sales.

Oh, Brooks Brothers, the apple of my eye. Tweed wallet, from $25 to $10.

Oh, Brooks Brothers, the apple of my eye. Tweed wallet, from $25 to $10.

So why am I so pro-Prez when, thanks to the Uniform Holiday Monday Act, we have ample retail holidays every few months? Because unlike others, President’s Day falls into a sweet spot right at the cusp of the end-of-season-clearances but still having enough time left in the season to wear your new winter duds. What that means is all the winter stuff that’s been hitting the shelves since November has already been going on sale, so now that it’s a retail holiday, we are getting the clearance/retail holiday combo—absolutely perfect time to rack up on some extra scarves, gloves, socks and coats. Taking a little time and a little money to build a selection in these smaller categories will keep your outfits varied and help them stand out.

Fleece jacket, Calvin Klein, $90 marked down to $20.

Fleece jacket, Calvin Klein; $90 marked down to $20.

And stand out they will! Since it’s only February, most people still have four to eight more weeks of winter left and these sweet new grabs won’t have to be stuffed in the chill closet until the next calendar… There’s nothing worse than jackpotting some sales only to have to fold it away because that dope deal was way off-season.

All-in-all I spent less than $60 and saved $125.5 while adding 2 scarves, shoes, shades, and a jacket. So take some time and money and invest in some Prez. Day. The variety you begin to build for yourself will snowball quickly and cheaply and will increase your drobe situation exponentially before you know it. Those plain button-ups you’ve been wearing for five years may be getting stale to you, but adding some fresh lines, colors or patterns on top of your same-oles will give you a fuller-feeling In that fleet of outfits. Our fore-fathers fought to give us the chance to upgrade our duds on a cost-effective budget, so let’s not let them down.


Sock Game Tidy, Sock Game Punctual, Sock Game Strong

DP sock to popOver the last couple of years, dress socks have really hit the limelight. They are becoming available in an ever-widening array of designs and patterns. My buddy Mike has a pair of both Superman and Batman dress socks and loves them so much he occasionally wears both pair at the same time (that’s a true story). Nifty and interesting socks are more available than ever, therefore I will not be discussing styles or patterns but rather I would like to throw out a few tips to help keep our sock games tidy and punctual.

1. Turn it down. Not pattern and color specifically but more in terms of how wild the design should be…

See the natural progression of a fashion trend is usually started by people trying to stand out a little. As it catches on and more and more people begin following suit, those OG trendsetters push the envelope again by adding more design to reestablish their statement. And again, that more elaborate version catches on and people continue trying to wear funkier and niftier styles. This continues until the trend gets watered-down or it gets so extreme or ridiculous that it just ruins it for everyone except Kanye and Gaga.  So stop. We don’t HAVE to get crazy with it. Keep it tasteful and always make sure it matches something in your outfit.

Variety is your friend, but keep it tasteful.

Variety is your friend, but keep it tasteful.

Socks don’t make statements, they add punctuation. Whether we’re planning on socking-to-pop or socking-to-style, socks should never be the subject of the sentence. Pants and shirts are the noun and verb of any outfit; bracelets are your commas and colons; jackets and shoes are independent clauses and prepositional phrases; socks are the end mark. You set the tone for your outfit with a well-placed period or exclamation (I haven’t figured out interrogative socks yet—feel free to comment on this if you have an idea).

So how do you know whether to make a declarative sentence or an exclamatory statement? It’s super simple: just use your “inside/outside voice” rule.

  • -Would you yell in church? No, inside voice, declarative sentence, Sock to Style.
  • -Would you yell at a Bed, Bath & Beyond? No, declarative sentence, Sock to Style.
  • -Would you yell at a Chistmas Ball? Hells yes, outside voice, Sock to Pop!

You get the idea. Set the tone for the outfit to match the setting. And another easy rule of thumb: if you can get drunk, you can use your outside voice.

Your sock game is now punctual.

If we look closely, we can see that the article is colored into sections. This helps create a simplified application to foot.

If we look closely, we can see that the article is colored into sections. This helps create a simplified application.

2. Watch the heel. One of the biggest slip-ups with dress socks is the heel. Socks don’t usually come in specific shoe sizes and fall into small, medium and large groupings. That being said, socks can often be too long, which leads to the amateur-hour “heel tuft.”So what do we do to fix it? Pull your sock down, bro. That’s it. When you put your socks on don’t stretch them as far up as they’ll go. Don’t even stretch them at all. The calf shouldn’t be wrinkled but there’s absolutely no reason to make knee-highs out of this. And pay attention to the heel!

Socks make it easy for us. They are fitted; there’s a spot for your toes, your ankle, and your heel. Put the right pieces in the right places and you’re good to go. And if you have some leftover hang-off at the toes like I usually do, just fold it under or above and put your shoe on—it’ll stay in place (I prefer going above, the wrinkles annoy my toes when I fold it under).

Your sock game is now tidy.

DP sock right1DP sock wrong13. Solid color, solid choice. You don’t have to have a crazy pattern. Argyle or stripes can look really nice, but solid colors are outstanding at giving a sharp contrast between your shoe and pant-cuff. And it’s a safer bet when you’re on the fence. A brightly patterned sock is almost always going to be exclamatory, but an equally bright, solid-colored sock can easily be declarative or exclamatory since the lack of a pattern makes less of a visual impact.

Your sock game is now strong.

Socks are just a small amount of fabric but they can carry a lot of weight. They shouldn’t be intrusive and the eyes shouldn’t be drawn to them. A well-done sock should catch the eye, not keep it. So just keep it tasteful and think about the tone you want to set. And work in some solid colors, you’ll be surprised how easy it is—just not black or white socks. Seriously, it’s 2016; never black or white.


Credits: Shoes: Ox-blood, Cole Haans, 110; Socks: Grey/navy chevron, J. Crew, 8; red/white/blue criss-cross, J. Crew, 8; dark grey, J. Crew, 8; red/white/blue stripes, J.C. Penney, 5.

Welcome to The_Dapper_Pig

The stage a Man goes through from his mid-twenties to his mid-thirties is tough. It’s an awkward transition from who you were as an aging child to who you will become as a young adult. Just like puberty, it’s a time of self-doubt and trying to understand where you fit in and find your place socially. Unlike puberty, we don’t grow out of it automatically. Technology and society have made it so that an individual never truly has to grow up. People can live a life through its existence never learning a trade applying themselves to anything that betters their community. Thrifty ones can live off of welfare and not work at all. Grown men are wearing backwards hats, calf-socks, or board shorts. It’s becoming acceptable to live with your parents well through adulthood and I’ve wasted countless hours of my life playing video games I will never remember or benefit from when I should have been cleaning my house, doing schoolwork and showing my dog some love.

My point is that technology allows us to fill our time doing nothing of importance and a society favoring consumerism makes it acceptable to do so. And how that relays to our manhood? It puts us in a situation where we don’t have to grow up. We can skirt the responsibilities of adulting and unless some drastic life-altering event forces us to mature—like going to prison or having a kid—we can continue that whimful lifestyle indefinitely.

So what does it take to trail the path that is becoming less traveled? To find the attitude, style, and responsibilities befitting a Man?

At 29, I’m still learning myself and so I’m putting my experiences here–successes, failures and lessons learned–to help us find where to start.

Welcome Sir, to your prospective Manhood.

Welcome, to The_Dapper_Pig.