P.C.Pop with Pablo

Posts Tagged ‘Fashion’

Under My Umbrella – Creating a Happy Place

In color, dolly parton, dollywood, Fashion, rain, rainbow, smoky mountains, umbrella, Uncategorized, WHUS on April 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Red Heart Umbrella

The way I see it, if you want the Rainbow,
You gotta put up with the Rain

If you take the time to find the perfect umbrella, choosing one with a bright and bold color, you will love the rain — and have a much more joyful life with plenty of rainbows. Here is a guide to Creating a Happy Place – Under My Umbrella (Ella Ella, Ay Ay Ay).

On our recent Spring Break Trip to Eastern Tennessee, we took our kids to Dollywood.  I must admit the first time I went to Dollywood, I was not expecting to enjoy myself. A self-proclaimed New England snob, what could Pigeon Forge, Tennessee have to offer me by way of entertainment and thrills. Our first visit to Dollywood was pre-Kids and was a day-trip with the in-laws. I must admit we had a blast at Dollywood. I now triple love and admire Dolly Parton from Nine to Five to Dollywood. So, recently when we were discussing our options for Spring Break 2012, we realized our kids had not ever been to Dollywood, Gatlinburg or the Great Smoky Mountains.  Of course the kids only know her from her role as Aunt Dolly, Miley Stewart’s godmother, on Hannah Montana. Since our first (pre-Kids) visit to Dollywood, the park has grown and grown and grown.  Plus — the week of our designated Spring Break 2012 was also the week of the first public launch of Dolly’s new rollercoaster, the Wild Eagle. After a week of exploring all of the “must-see” attractions in Eastern Tennessee, I can honestly state that our Spring Break trip was a big success, and the kids loved Dollywood.  Our kids shared that they were surprised that Dollywood was way better than they thought it would be and they admitted some initial apprehension. I would call that —  Success!

Laurel Falls -- Great Smoky Mountains

Even though it was only the sixth day of the 2012 Dollywood season, the park was ready to go and filled with beautiful flowers, blooming trees, wildlife roaming freely or in natural habitats, and the weather was perfectly delightful.  It was a sunny, breezy, spring day.  Until the thunderstorm moved in, that is.  The storm passed through quickly but it did force us to be creative during that time (and my mother-in-law decided to head home). It would have been so easy to be angry with the rain and thunder for ruining our afternoon, but we chose a positive outlook instead.  It was then that I noticed a quote, from Dolly Parton herself, craftily painted over the threshold of one of the many theaters on Dollywood’s Show Street.

The way I see it, if you want the Rainbow,

You gotta put up with the Rain

(Dolly Parton)

I read it to myself and reread it and smiled.  Dolly Parton strikes again.  You may not believe it but try as I might to dislike everything associated with country music and (the University of) Tennessee, I admire Dolly Parton — and here she goes again.  This quote was what I needed at that very moment. This experience and this quote reminded me of a theory I developed years ago as to why most people hate the rain.  Regular listeners to my weekly WHUS radio show, PC Pop with Pablo, heard the theory often — as often as it rained, actually.  Not to be confused with my stories about how college students, when they get wet from the rain, smell very much like wet dogs — the theory has to do with your choice of umbrellas.

As you know from my previous PC Pop blog posts, I see that the moods and behaviors of us all have to do with a phenomenon referred to as self-fulfilling prophecy.  We choose our attitudes and we use self-fulfilling prophecy to prove and justify our negativity, impatience, anger, and moodiness — including behavior that is hateful, bigoted, intolerant, and disrespectful.  Some of us are so bound and determined to be miserable that we create an environment for it to thrive. We want the rumors to be true so badly that we wait for and find justifications and information to support our lies.  I have met individuals who would not know what to do if they didn’t have something about which to whine or someone about whom to despise; and others who direct every conversation and every situation to how they are the only true victims in this world. How utterly exhausting. Remember — we have complete control over our attitudes and our moods. Furthermore, only you can give others the power to put you in a bad mood and ruin your day and hurt you. You choose your attitude, and you choose your umbrella. (See how I brought you back to my theory about rain — clever, aren’t I.)

Basic Black UmbrellaNext time it rains take a look at everyone’s umbrella.  You will see what I have for years; and agree that it is no wonder we hate the rain. Most umbrellas are black. Now don’t get me wrong — I like black but I also like color.  I have never been afraid of bright, bold colors — especially in my wardrobe.  In fashion, black has its proper place.  Most of the time when you wear black it is a very solemn, serious moment.  Whether it is a formal evening function, a serious business meeting, or a funeral — black is not typically associated with cheerfulness. And even when you must wear basic black or formal black you usually have the option of adding a smattering of color. But a black umbrella is a black umbrella.

So when it rains — and it is a given that you already hate the rain — you can really make sure that it is a miserable experience by covering your heads in a black canopy — the Umbrella. How absolutely and utterly depressing.  It makes sense that we end up dreading rainy days — even harmlessly delightful, misty rains. Imagine the next time it rains if everyone was smiling, smirking, giggling, laughing, joyful, exuberant — making others wonder what’s up and what they’re missing. My theory is that you can get this done simply by picking a better umbrella. Now Degas Umbrellathere isn’t going to be one umbrella that works for everyone.  So, first you must know what personally makes you giggle and smirk.  Once you have a list of giggle-irresistible characters, images, animals, and colors; choose those that would make you smile in your private umbrella-place without being too corny (like a photo collage of your family). Then the fun part — finding the umbrella. I would suggest starting with a quick internet search — but if you prefer the social experience of the good ole brick’n’mortar, then go shopping. Be creative — think unique, colorful, bright, and funky. Some of the best umbrellas can be found in the most unlikely places like candy stores, museums, ice cream shops, bakeries, amusement parks, comic shops, toy stores, art collective studios, book stores, garden shops, and even pet stores.

Remember what you’re looking for is an experience and an attitude — an umbrella that you can’t wait to use and makes you pray for rain. Be forewarned that once Pink Flower Umbrellayou get excited for the next opportunity to strut around town with your new umbrella — it won’t rain for days. But when it does rain, you will be ready. The first few times, I would suggest choosing that parking space that’s farther away to give you the maximum impact. And how will you know you have succeeded? When you push that button, pop open that umbrella, and swing it over your head — you will have succeeded if you get lost in the joy of your new private umbrella rain space. Ka-POW!

You probably know where I am going with this.  Yes. It is about your attitude toward Mickey Mouse ears umbrellarain or rainy days.  We all know (April) showers bring (May) flowers and also give us life — and rainbows — but we still dread seeing rain in the local weather forecast. We blame rain for a lot like ruining our entire day, canceling the parade, flooding our basements and giving us mold, destroying our vacation, giving us rain delays, and dangerous driving conditions with blinding conditions and hydroplaning. BUT — the deeper meaning is about more than rain. If we can laugh and sing and dance in the rain merely by choosing a colorful umbrella — just imagine how we can make many of the clouds we create in life disappear.

The concept is best described in the book, the FiSH! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results (2000, Lundin).  FiSH! Philosophy is basically a Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results (2000, Lundin)leadership and customer service model but the concepts transcend the workplace. The four principles of the FiSH! Philosophy are Be There, Play, Make Their Day, and Choose Your Attitude.  All of them are powerful concepts and collectively, if practiced consistently, can transform a team. The one that really impacts me day to day though is Choose Your  Attitude.  According to the FiSH! Philosophy, Choose Your Attitude means taking responsibility for how you respond to what life throws at you. Once you are aware that your choice impacts everyone around  you, you can ask yourself, “Is my attitude helping those Lady Umbrellasaround me? Is it helping me to be the person I want to be?”  (2000, Lundin).

The power is within all of us.  The power of choice. Choosing to love the rain. Choosing the best umbrella. Choosing a positive attitude. Choosing to give ourselves permission to giggle, to smirk, to laugh, to smile, and to be exuberant.

So the next time it rains — grab your umbrella and join me Under My Umbrella – Creating a Happy Place. We’ll laugh and sing and experience life and joy — looking forward to that rainbow and enjoying those (May) flowers.

Lundin, Stephen C. (2000). FiSH! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results. New York: Hyperion.

For a list of some of the better Leadership books, check out the PC Pop blog post: Leadership Books – Recommended Reading.

Bonus — Enjoy Rihanna’s “(Under My) Umbrella” Orange version featuring Jay-Z


Mad Men Style

In Fashion, fatherhood, GQ, life, Mad Men, Malavenda, metro, metrosexual, Movies, Pablo Malavenda, parenting, Pop Culture, Rat Pack, Sinatra, TV, Uncategorized on March 26, 2012 at 10:25 am

Growing Up with GQ — Part 2:

Either You’ve Got or You Haven’t Got STYLE!

Robin & the 7 Hoods

This is the second PC Pop blog post in a series called Growing Up with GQ.  As you know from previous PC Pop blog post (Growing Up with GQ), I grew up surrounded by men who took great pride in how they looked, smelled, and were proud to be one step ahead of the latest fashion.  Every man in my family was voted “Best Dressed” in high school; and someone in our family has continuously subscribed to GQ magazine since the early 70′s.  We were metro before there was a word for it.

Robin & the 7 HoodsRecently I have realized that my son is the sole heir of this marvelous legacy.  He’s the only Malavenda male in his generation.  That’s a lot of pressure on him — and me. I have been looking for inspiration in many places and searching for opportunities to make the point without triggering the “oh, dad” so typical these days.  Not sure if you have noticed but men are dressing better in movies and TV — and men and fashion is once again acceptable.  And thanks to shows like Mad Men and characters like Don Draper there is a renewed interest in the classic fashion styles of the past — even the ’60’s. One thing my son and I do have in common is our love of “black and white” movies and TV — classic cinema and television.  He and I (to the dread of my wife and daughter) watch a lot of the Dick Van Dyke Show and movies on the classic movie channels. He loves the George Clooney – Ocean’s movies; so, we watched the original from 1960. Last weekend, we stumbled on a movie similar to the original Ocean’s 11 that featured amazing fashion — Robin and the 7 Hoods starring the Rat Pack.

Robbo played by Frank Sinatra is a mobster from Indiana who is now in control of Chicago’s north side during pre-prohibition times. Robbo and his band of thieves which features Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin are different from the other gangsters (Peter Falk) and corrupt Sheriff (Victor Buono).  With some of his money Robbo with theSinatra, Dino, Bing help of an orphanage director (Bing Crosby) creates a nonprofit social services initiative.  In addition to the orphanage, they run a homeless shelter and soup kitchen. The movie is a great vehicle for the Rat Pack with great music, dancing — and great costume design. The movie score features some of the most memorable Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen songs like “My Kind of Town,” “Bang! Bang!,” “Any Man Who Loves His Mother,” and “Don’t Be a Do-Badder.”

Ole Blue Eyes, Bing, Dino and Sammy are also dressed to kill the entire movie. Mad Men - Men's StyleThe fashion and style of this movie are classic, mobster, glamorous 1910’s style with a Technicolor – 1960’s – Vegas – Rat Pack swagger. More importantly the fashion in this movie has helped me make sense of my family. I forgot about the connection between the appreciation of GQ style with the men in my family — and the Rat Pack. The song and dance routine, “Style,” from this movie says it better than I. As the song goes, “Either you’ve got – or you haven’t got – style.” It would even inspire Don Draper.

Watch this clip from Robin and the 7 Hoods.  I think it speaks for itself.

Today, with the recent fascination with everything Mad Men and Don Draper — perhaps there is hope for my son to be more conscious about fashion and how he looks, smells, and dresses. A father could hope for a kid whose “got it” — yes?

Growing up with GQ — Never Stack Up Your Patterns (and other fashion rules for men)

In College Students, Fashion, GQ, Malavenda, metro, metrosexual, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture on June 18, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I grew up surrounded by men who took great pride in how they looked, smelled, and were proud to be one step ahead of the latest fashion.  Every man in my family was voted “Best Dressed” in high school.  Buying a suit off the rack was unthinkable.  And it didn’t stop there.  They wore the best athletic shoes, ironed their under-shirts and jeans, never wore jeans or t-shirts to school, tweezed eyebrows, and had their own signature cologne. Someone in our family has continuously subscribed to GQ magazine since the early 70’s.  We were metro before there was a word for it.  These men were also tougher than anybody in the neighborhood but never afraid to wear pink. (My uncle wore a pink suit to my confirmation as he served as my sponsor and got a compliment from the bishop.)  Everyone wanted them on their team, wanted to be their friends, and envied their sense of style — and their mojo.

GQ was a must read.  GQ is great if you have tons of money and have the ability to be dressed by a designer.  GQ is useful for knowing what color is the new brown; how skinny or wide your tie or lapel should be; or if your pants should be plain front, straight leg, cuffed, pleated or skinny. (I could go on and on about skinny jeans but we’ll save that for another time.)  So you can imagine my horror when I see men mixing the patterns.  Every day it seems I see someone with a plaid shirt with plaid shorts or someone with a pattern tie with a plaid shirt and a striped suit.  Now I am told that it is the latest fashion to mix your patterns — that it is the current fashion rule that is OK to break. GQ calls it “stacking your patterns.”  Designers are promoting it and famous folks are wearing them.  But you have to be brave to defy such a long standing fashion rule.  And not everyone, strike that, very few can pull it off.  I have yet to see someone in my small town pull it off.  So Stop.  Please.  My advice is to follow the rules.  Here are a few, if you missed that lesson growing up.

  • Don’t mix patterns — if your shirt is plaid, striped or patterned, everything else should be a solid color
  • Tuck in your shirt and Wear a belt
  • Your belt should match your shoes — black belt with black shoes, brown shoes with a brown belt — and your watch band should match your belt
  • Only wear white pants and light suits between Memorial Day and Labor Day — never wear white after Labor Day
  • Don’t wear suede or leather in the summer
  • Wear socks
  • Socks should match your pants
  • White socks with athletic shoes only
  • Flip flops only at the beach or in the locker room
  • No socks with sandals – or should I say mandals
  • Iron your shirt, at least
  • Polish your shoes
  • Learn to tie a tie with a dimple — and never wear a tie too long or too short
  • Tie should complement your shirt and suit
  • Don’t be afraid of color
  • Undershirts should remain under your shirt
  • Sweatpants are for the gym only
  • Pajamas, lounge pants, and slippers are for bedtime not to be worn in public
  • Never wear camouflage
  • For nicer occasions (wedding, interview) wear a white shirt
  • Never take off your suit jacket at an event, meal or meeting
  • Don’t button the last button of your suit jacket
  • Suit jackets should be snug on your shoulder — pants should break once not gather on your shoes
  • Black with black; Blue with blue — black pants with black socks; blue pants or blue shirt with blue socks
  • Never wear black with brown or navy
  • Don’t mix metals — all gold or all silver — not both
  • Unless you’re in the NBA or a professional clown — Never wear blue with orange; never wear red with green; never wear purple with yellow
  • Comb your hair, use some product tame it but not too much so it looks slick or stiff
  • Shave, shower, and don’t wear too much cologne

If you want to be more fashionable than the rest of the neighborhood kids, then here are a few things to remember.

  • No pleats — only plain front pants
  • Straight legs — no flared legs
  • Medium width to skinny ties with medium sized collars
  • Leave the really skinny ties for the younger generation — but wide ties are out for all ages

Now you may after reading this think that I fancy myself a well dressed man but I don’t.  I’m a state worker.  I’ve worked for the state for many years and stopped trying to be the best dressed at work.  I do however know the rules and follow them and appreciate when others do as well.  I also cringe when I see the rules being broken.  I secretly wish I never knew the rules.  What a carefree life you might have if you didn’t know about the rules, didn’t care about the rules, and just dressed as if no one was watching.  Walking around with plaid shorts, a plaid shirt, flip flops, and not so fashionable messed up hair — Oh the freedom.

But for me — oh the pressure. So for now, please, please stop stacking up the patterns.

Good luck.