209 Mare : appropriate clothing for nice places near the water.

Federico appeared on our Zoom call wearing a light blue terrycloth robe with a black shawl lapel. Behind him were two paintings, one a recreation of a Dali mural, and the other a loosely rendered Basquiat-esque  image, possibly a skull but in light blue and orange. He speaks English with the sort of accent that is hard to place and often pauses between ideas as if he is mentally translating through three other languages in order to pick the right word. He is exactly what one would imagine the models in a 209 Mare ad would be. Cosmopolitan.

Federico was born in Bogotá but spent time growing up in Hamburg, then, when his family moved to London, he shipped off to a sports oriented boarding school in Florida. To play golf. From there it was on to University in Atlanta, a job in D.C. and finally an MBA in Spain.

After graduating business school Federico found himself in Chile, as one does, and while there he attended lunch at a beautiful beach house. He described the scene as a beautifully set table, in a wonderful place, but there they all were sitting at lunch in sloppy wet t-shirts. It just didn’t fit the environment. That is until a guest arrived at the meal wearing one of the resort’s bathrobes. It made more sense. It wasn’t perfect, but it gave Federico an idea.

That is how one starts a luxury brand based solely on resort wear made from toweling material. If you cruise the catalog you find blazers with shawl lapels, or notched. With piping along the edges or not, contrast lapel, double breasted, monogrammed- or not. Federico was looking to make functional beach or poolside clothing appropriate for fine dining. Or just stuff that helped you look nice in a nice place that might also be proximate to sand and water. It was simple cream single button notched lapel, no monogram, that fist caught my eye. I’m not afraid to admit I love it. But I don’t frequent posh places nor am I big on crested pockets, and my skepticism surrounding those who do, is in large part why I reached out to Federico. I wanted to know if what I was seeing was something dreamt up by Instagram branding hacks or maybe someone who lived in a world different than mine. I’m glad I did.

Dude checks out.

That is how I would say it. From my conversation with Federico, I think he would say something a little classier with no hint of snark. I found him absolutely lacking in snark or snottiness of any kind. He’s better than me in that way. He was more than happy to talk about his clothes, his brand, his business model, as well as art, travel, sports and food. He told me that the Monaco Grand Prix is indeed as cool as it looks whether you are a Formula 1 fan or not. He also admitted that, just like the rest of us, He found Formula 1 mostly through Netflix. I appreciated that.

I also appreciate the Paradiso long sleeved polo he makes in vanilla or navy blue. I imagine I would look much less kooky wearing that among the longboarding hippies at San Onofre or among the Doheny regulars… but I am a kook and would 100% rock that cream colored Solenzara blazer.

But oh, yes, there is also the name. 209 Mare.

Mare is Italian for ocean or sea. People in Monaco would probably know that. I did not. What they might not know, but I do now, is that 209 is a reference to the date September 20th. That is the day Federico fell from a 3rd story balcony in Spain, through a glass ceiling, landing in a paved parking lot- and lived. He described it as miraculous (despite his not being religious) and a date that for him, merits remembering. For me it paints a scene out of a James Bond film where the hero is at a fancy party filled with Spectre agents plotting to destroy the world, a fistfight ensues, and as Bond goes over the railing his descent stalls into slow motion flailing, Adele starts singing, and a large text reading 209 Mare is imposed over the screen. Once the song is over and the opening sequence credits close, our hero simply picks himself up off the pavement, brushes dust off his terrycloth blazer, then walks calmly onto a yacht headed that sails off into the night. Perhaps I’m a bit irreverent but, but then again so is wearing Kambuku print swim shorts under a double breasted terrycloth blazer with white piping.

Brohammas Goes to Wine Country: Temecula

Wine isn’t just a beverage, or even an industry, it is a country. It is of course those other things too, but since that first day a zillion years ago when someone decided to drink a bottle of spoiled grape juice the whole world has been spending inordinate amounts of time and real estate on grapes.

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Half way between San Diego and Riverside is Southern California’s version of Tuscany. Or maybe its another version of Sonoma, or Napa, wherever it is like, it is called Temecula and I went there.

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I spent three days at the Carter Estates and didn’t drink a drop of wine. I did however guzzle about a gallon of root beer and ate my weight in cheese. But I was not alone and there were plenty of others to make sure the wine didn’t go to waste.

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Any place that has that much cheese is great with me, and the idea that it might be the sort of place where an ascot could be worn made me a fan.

An ascot. In real life.

Wine helps people do all sorts of things.img_7456

Like fly in hot air balloons. It was more than a hundred years ago that some French folks broke humans free from Terra firma, and since that time we have developed other things like airplanes and the ability to steer. Yet somehow people still climb into combustible unsteerable baskets and go up into the sky.


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There was of course some swirling and sniffing, lots of toasting and nibbling, but most of all, there was an ascot.

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Is Somewhere to Sit Down Too Much to Ask?

It is a running joke in my home that all I ever say, or the thing I am most likely to say at any give time is, “I have no where to sit down,” spoken in an exasperated voice. This is due to everyone else in my home using every flat surface available, including chairs and sofas, as a desk or shelf.

Sometimes when a guy comes home from work (where he ironically spends all day sitting at a desk) all he wants is to sit down and relax for a moment without having to compete with backpacks, craft projects, and children for seating space.

For Christmas this year, I want my own portable chair.chair_table

Campaign chairs are not meant for the living room but rather are supposed to help create a living room when one is out and about… on a campaign.

I don’t campaign much, in any sense of that word, but in my mind I intend to go on numerous adventures and at the risk of going soft, I am not above some level of luxury.b667c3ea23820249c79153bf79903cd1

There are plenty of options in travel and/or camp chairs, but I am not interested in a primary or camo colored nylon contraption you pick up at CVS, I have those already. They work fine but don’t look fine.

How strange it is that we venture out into nature with hopes of appreciating its beauty, yet once we arrive in said beauty we vomit out the contents of our camp trailer in a large mismatched pile of trash called “camp”. I think we could do better.tripod-stool-medium-[2]-966-p

I like the idea of the leather and wood tripod. I like the idea that I could quickly fold it flat and slide it into the side-strap of my backpack. I could haul it up to the top of Angel’s Landing or to the beach bonfire and with little effort find a place to rest my weary bones and spoil the wonder of my surroundings.littlemopuntainbrothers

You see, I think there is room in the great out doors for both TR’s “Strenuous life” and the finer things. I’m not really going for the whole TR imperialist have a bunch of servants pack in my personal library and caviar, though I appreciate the aesthetic of that time but rather I think I picked this idea up from American Indians of the great plains. They were not camping per se, they were living.

I spent a large amount of my formative years living in a tee-pee. We called it camping but it wasn’t the same thing as the REI crews with their springbar tents and Bunsen burner camp stoves. We had nice sleeping mats, good chairs, a giant stove inside our “tent.” We were outdoors to enjoy the outdoors, not punish ourselves in some sort of nature flagellation.

I advocate the same in our modern world.XXX_MAIN-01 (1)

There is no law dictating that quick drying, lightweight, nylon and aluminum must be ugly… but most of it is and it would be nice to have somewhere to sit, in the midst of outdoor beauty, without spoiling the view with our presence.

The Mission Inn

Often times there are little bits of remarkable or fantastical things all around us and we pay them no mind. Sometimes it is because we aren’t paying attention. Other times we are simply unaware. We can look at things, walk right past them, and have no idea what they are. It isn’t always that we don’t stop to smell roses but more there is no one standing on the sidewalk saying, “excuse me, but were you aware that these plants right here are roses?”archesandstairs

That happened to me back in December.

I had a meeting to attend, a rather low key function, and I was emailed an address. Giving it no mind I punched it into the iphone/gps and hit the road. This is where it took me:

redumbrellasThis was not the office park I was expecting and I spent enough time wandering around in awe that despite arriving 30 minutes early, I was ten minutes late to the meeting.



The Mission Inn was built, or rather begun, back in 1902. That was back in the day when people growing oranges starting making money in the venture and wanted nice stuff, or nice places, nearby. This place qualifies as nice.

fountainandonetreeThe place is a decadent maze of arches and corridors. It changes styles and directions without warning but never fails to be interesting. It contains a cathedral, a collection of bells from across the world, and has a small museum of artifacts and items collected through the years. It has also collected quite the guest list; Booker T. Washington, Cary Grant, Einstein, Houdini, Barbra Streisand, W.C. Fields, Helen Keller, Joseph Pulitzer, Carnegie, Susan B. Anthony, Bancroft, and me of course.floweredarches

Richard and Pat Nixon were married at the Mission Inn. Ronald Reagan honeymooned there. Presidents Taft, Roosevelt, Harrison, McKinley, Kennedy, Hoover, Ford and W. Bush have all visited. So did the Governator.

presidentialsealI had no idea the place existed. Not a clue. Well, mostly not a clue. I had heard about it, people had told me to go there before. I didn’t realize people had told me about it because no one told me to go see the hotel.

They all told me to go see the Christmas lights. “Hey did you go to that place in Riverside with all the lights?”IMG_1275

I went back later to look at the lights. They were impressive, maybe a little gaudy.

But if all you go for is to look at the lights, I would argue you only sniffed the stem.