My 1st Visit to Los Angeles: The Manly Vegan Takes on the Sheraton Gateway Hotel (Near LAX)

My 1st Visit to Los Angeles: The Manly Vegan Takes on the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel

Though I’ve traveled the world, I’ve never been to New York City; and until a few days ago, I had never visited Los Angeles… unless you count a 30 minute layover at the airport on my way to Bangkok, Thailand back in 2004.

In the year 2018, I’ll be able to explain why exactly I was in Los Angeles this past week and how it all came down to a blog post I did back in the summer. But for now, I suppose all I can really say is I have now officially been shuttled through Los Angeles and visited an actual Hollywood set…

And when I wasn’t on set, I was at my hotel- the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel. It was undeniably strange being in California without my wife and children. After all, we were just in San Diego back in September; as my wife’s family is from California.

You might expect that I spent a good amount of my time in the pool, or the hot tub, or the gym… or at least hanging out upstairs in my room catching up on TV shows that I never have time for anymore.

But, nope.

I slept 10 hours my first night there and 9 hours my second night. As an actively involved husband and father, who not only has a full-time job but also this blog and my YouTube Channel, it is quite uncommon that I get the privilege of falling asleep at 8 or 9 PM, for two nights in a row.

Clearly, I took advantage of the situation. The room was like a sleep chamber for me.

At this point in my life, uninterrupted sleep has a much greater value than entertainment or leisure time.

I didn’t use my phone while I was there. I didn’t even bring my laptop. I just slipped into peaceful oblivion.

My 1st Visit to Los Angeles: The Manly Vegan Takes on the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel

Granted, I did have to eat. And as you know, I am a vegan. A manly vegan, to be exact- which is an exceptionally rare demographic.

For breakfast, I headed downstairs to Starbucks. I began the day with a fruit cup and some Evolution Sweet Greens cold-pressed juice; along with a Core Meal bar (made of oats and nuts) which I brought with me from Whole Foods back in Nashville.

For dinner, there were two stand-out vegan options on the menu at Costero California Bar + Bistro; which is located near the lobby of the hotel.

My 1st Visit to Los Angeles: The Manly Vegan Takes on the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel

For just $16, I was able to enjoy a luscious roasted vegetable pizza. (Of course, I specifically ordered it without the cheese.) I was perfectly pleased. In fact, I could totally consume another gourmet pizza like that right now.

Or if one might be in the mood for something a little more “beefy”, there is also the veggie burger served with fries.

My 1st Visit to Los Angeles: The Manly Vegan Takes on the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel

Honestly, between those two options, I’d be good every night of the week: I wouldn’t need any other options at the hotel for dinner.

I will likely be staying at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel a year from now as well. So it’s good to have a plan and know what to expect when I go back.

After a few nights in Los Angeles, I was shuttled back to LAX, where I stopped by Real Food Daily (Organic Plant-Based Food) for lunch for noodles, sea vegetables, and seitan.

http://www.evolutionfresh.com/juice/sweet-greens-lemon/

Thanks to American Airlines, where you actually get to watch movies for free on the flight, the 5 hour flight back to Nashville went by so quickly I didn’t even have to get up to use the restroom.

The next morning back at the cul-de-sac, my wife let me sleep in until 7 AM… which is when she allowed our 6 year-old son to start shooting me with his brand new fart-sound gun; to be followed by my wife lowering our 6 month-old daughter onto my chest, as our baby girl both smiled and drooled with the same intensity.

Clearly, I was missed.

My 1st Visit to Los Angeles: The Manly Vegan Takes on the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel

@SheratonLAX @corefoods @RealFoodDaily @AmericanAir #vegan #LAX

How to Know If Your Hairline is Receding

I remember when I was 19, asking the lady who cuts my hair if my hairline was starting to recede or not. She looked closely at my scalp, and confirmed:

“Yes, it is. See how this hair right here up front is shorter than the rest? That’s how you know.”

Like someone having just heard their own death sentence, I asked, “How much time do you think I have before it starts becoming obvious that I’m gradually losing my hair?”

(Because to a 19 year-old boy, the issue seems to hold that much weight.)

I took it like a man when she told me: “I’d say about 35. You’re probably safe until you are 35 years old.”

Vegans Don’t Get Enough Protein and the World is Still Flat

Being just 19 at the time, I remember what a scary thought it was to imagine that if she was wrong, since my receding hairline had definitely begun, that I could be a victim of early male pattern baldness before I was even in my mid-20s.

Fifteen years have passed since that day.

I’ve made it to age 34, just 7 months away from that fateful birthday when I turn 35. My genes have been good to me.

While I won’t make it to my 50s and still have a full head of hair and a “straight across hairline” like Brad Pitt or John Stamos, or Tony Danza in his 60s, I reached my goal of making it until at least the time I got married.

With all that being said, I now realize how it didn’t even matter anyway, as this video I made explains:

Life experience has taught me that hair loss is one of those things that guys allow themselves to worry about and even become preoccupied by.

Like worrying about your height. Or your size; I’m being discreet about that, in case you’re reading between the lines.

There are companies across the world who are eager to make money off you by selling you the false hope of giving you the “cure”.

They play on your emotions related to you losing your hair, or not being tall enough, or big enough (again, I’m being discreet); they will try to scare you with “the ladies agree size really does matter.”

That’s all garbage.

Are you a man who is sincere, hard-working, creative, caring, passionate, funny, and emotionally intelligent?

Those are the things that make you attractive and respectable and cool as a man.

It’s not about that other stuff.

Just imagine how liberated your mind can become once you accept this as truth, instead of the lies you allow yourself to believe.

I wish someone would have explained this to me when I was 19.

Why Tap Dancing is Officially Masculine (And Most Other Kinds of Dancing are Feminine)

Le tap dance; la clog.

Unlike the French and Spanish languages, English doesn’t have masculine and feminine nouns.  Yet still, there are subtle gender clues and accents if we look closely enough for them.  Like the way that Coldplay is masculine, while The Fray is feminine (because they got famous by having their songs featured on Grey’s Anatomy). And the way a Dodge Dakota is masculine; while a Nissan X-Terra is feminine (this was referenced in an episode of The Office).

During dinner a few weeks ago I happened to catch 20 minutes of So You Think You Can Dance.  It was a results episode so they were mainly filling the air time with professional tap dancers, all of which were male.  Mainly dancing solo, but there were a few duos.  Interestingly, after each of them danced, they were briefly interviewed.  I couldn’t help but notice that none of these male tap dancers were the least bit effeminate or sexually questionable in any way- they were ordinary, straight dudes.

I’m okay with being politically incorrect in stating this fact that we already know and recognize: It’s common for professional male dancers (especially on reality TV shows) to not be straight.  Which is ironic because as we watch these couples dance, the male is being represented by a man who in reality may not be sexually attracted to women.  Typically, straight men are not the ones representing the guy in the relationship in these dances.

Why are straight men typically inclined not to be good dancers?  Because group dancing and dancing in pairs, as a whole, are more of feminine acts.  Dancing as we know it today is free-spirited and emotionally expressive.  It often shows the ups and downs of relationships and/or life in general.  That doesn’t work for most men, because a man’s mind is wired to be formulaic and often emotionally repressive.  Most men have to “learn to dance”.  Tell me what to do so I can get this right. It’s more about straight memorization for a straight guy to learn to dance.  He’s learning to dance to make his girlfriend or wife happy- not to express himself in a new exciting way.

When I think of famous tap dancers throughout American history, I think of classy Italian, Jewish, and African-American men wearing black suits like Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gregory Hines, and of course, the legendary Tony Danza.  Although, this isn’t to say that all or even most tap-dancing men are straight.  But what I do recognize is 1) that because tap dancing is simply based on rhythm and formula (which are masculine elements- famous female drummers are a rare thing), and 2) that tap dancing only really evokes one basic emotional feel, which is always positive and upbeat.  I never remember seeing a tap dancing routine which went from happy, to sad, to angry, back to happy, to a feeling of loss, to happy, to acceptance of grief, to contentment, the way a typical 2 minute dance song on Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance typically does.

Clogging, on the other hand, though similar to tap-dancing, is not masculine.  It often involves groups, costumes, and festive music- therefore making it a feminine art form, since there is room for “artistic expression”.  But square dancing is masculine because, like in tap-dancing, the mood is always the same (upbeat) and there is no guesswork on how to do it, since the instructions are typically spoken to music.

So how could a man and a woman dance to music and it realistically represent them and their relationship?  I’m picturing a guy tap dancing in his own little world while the woman ballet dances around him, and the guy is seemingly oblivious to what is going on.

How to Wear Pink, If You’re a Guy

 

Because you’re old enough to know now.

The idea that it takes a real man to wear pink is a misconception.  Any guy can wear pink.  The question is, can that guy pull it off, or will he look stupid in the process?  He might look pretty stupid, actually.  And like he doesn’t know how to dress himself, which is an abomination against Italian men everywhere.  But not if he reads my advice on how to make it work.

It’s all about the pants. No matter what you’ve heard, don’t ever wear a pink shirt with khakis.  You don’t want to have a light colored shirt and light colored pants.  That’s too many weak colors; there needs to be a strong color to counter the pink.  Like black, dark gray, slate, or dark blue jeans.

Don’t talk about your pink shirt. If you yourself are the one acknowledging to others that you are wearing pink today, you are saying, “I don’t totally feel confident wearing this- it’s not what I’m used to”.  Let others do the “pink speaking” for you.  And if you’re wearing the right pants with the pink shirt, you are most likely to get compliments, not laughs or funny looks.

Limit your wearing of the pink shirt to once a month. Pink shirts are special.  If you wear your pink shirt every Thursday, you’ll become “the Pink Shirt Guy”.  You don’t want to bring too much attention to yourself by wearing it.  You want to be able to pull it off effortlessly.  Use it, but don’t abuse it.

Now, go buy yourself a pink shirt at TJ Maxx and be the guy that can always pull off wearing a pink shirt.

dad from day one: The Importance of a Man’s Shoes

Twenty-three weeks.

I blame it on my Italian heritage, which trickled down to me throughout my life thanks to my grandfather Metallo; of course, since I grew up in the South, he was simply “Paw Paw”.  I’ve inherited an instinct to incorporate just a little bit of peculiar character in purchased items.  It’s a careful balance of finding items that are slightly flashy and clashing, yet still classy, but not trashy. (Bet you can’t say that phrase five times real fast…)

In this American generation, the idea of a man caring much about his shoes is often considered to be related to gay or metrosexual culture.  But I don’t subscribe to that mentality.  In fact, I believe an important part of being a man is how he dresses; and as everyone should know, his shoes are the most important part of the wardrobe, since they ultimately set the tone for his clothing.

My mindset is more of an old-school class American idea; yet it is still a staple concept of any movie or TV show portraying Italian culture.  From The Godfather movies to The Sopranos, the way an Italian man dresses is well planned out.  Never an accident.  Italians are not slobs.

Paw Paw Metallo

Being that my wife and I both are one quarter Italian, our son Jack will also be one quarter Italian as well.  That means he will not get by with the typical American guy’s shoe collection: a pair of black dress shoes, a brown pair of boots, a pair of running shoes, and a pair of flip flops.  No, not my son.

Jack will be like me.  I own no less than 15 pairs of shoes, some of which are at least 10 years old, yet you would never know it because I take such good care of them.  And while Jack won’t be born for another three months, he already has two pairs of essential “flashy, clashing, and classy yet not trashy” shoes awaiting him.

Last week as my wife and I were registering at Target, we found some shoes on clearance that not only meet the criteria, but also are essentially identical to shoes I already own.  A pair of Kelly green sneakers (6-9 months, in time for Summer) and a pair of white leather loafers (12-18 months, just in time for Christmas).  Like father, like son.

*Jack is still the size of a papaya; no major change in fruit size this week.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

Official "baby bump" picture