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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

5 Unconventional Things to do This Fall

Robert Manni - Thursday, October 20, 2016

When the leaves start turning red, gold, and brown most folks pull out the sweaters from the back of their closet and slide back into their tried, true, and predictable pattern of fall activities.

Now, there is nothing wrong with football games, pumpkin pie, picking apples, or taking a long drive to bask in the peak colors of the autumn foliage. Folks who live in the Northeast love having four seasons and they know how to make the most of the myriad activities that take place at this wonderful time of year. Some call it cuffing season, when the swimsuits get packed away and it’s time to snuggle with your partner for the wintery months.

 So, are we in too much of a routine now, folks? That’s where your Guy’s Guy comes into the picture. As somewhat of a contrarian when it comes to following set rules, I’ve cobbled together a handful of ideas for you to consider as we head deeper into autumn. So in no particular order here is my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Unconventional Things to Do This Fall.

Drum roll, please… 

1. Hit the Beach – Yes, you read that correctly. After Labor Day, most people snap into that back-to-school mode way too quickly.  The Hamptons crowds return to Tribeca and the “Bennies” finally pack up and leave the Jersey Shore towns to the locals. But, guess what? With climate change scientifically proven and the warmer temperatures going deeper into the year, September now feels like summer. If you hit the beach in September and October, the traffic is minimal, the water is still warm, and there are no crowds. And, the beach is peaceful and calm. Just the way we like it when we want to get away for a few days. And, September and early October have a number of holidays that can make for a number of three-day weekends. As I write this, we are in the latter stages of October and it’s 82 degrees in New York City. There is still time for a swim. And when the water gets too cold, you can always take a nice long stroll along the boardwalk.

2. Change Your Eating Habits – Just because summer is over and you’re more apt to cover up your body more it doesn’t mean it’s the time to binge and pack on the pounds for the next six months. In fact, the new season is the perfect time to review your dietary habits and make a commitment to a lifestyle change, namely in your relationship with food. Please note that I did not recommend going on a diet. If you want to knock off some poundage for a short time, diets are great. And, there is no better time to diet than in the late spring so you can show off your stuff all summer long. What I’m suggesting is a complete review and potential overall of how you eat and relate with food. It takes time to make real changes in this area, but if you give yourself six months you will see miraculous results that will stay with you next summer and beyond. If you can cut way, way down on meat, fried foods, dairy, bread and pasta and pizza, and of course, sugar, you will find yourself be bursting with energy while your carnivorous friends are loading up on comfort foods, becoming more sedentary and probably getting a bit chunky. You know this happens every year. So don’t be that guy. Change your relationship with food.

3. Take a Trip to the Zoo - There are two times of the year to go to the zoo—in the spring and in the fall. My first preference is the spring because the animals are lively and pretty randy, too. But fall is also a great time to check out the Bronx Zoo. The foliage is gorgeous, the crowds are manageable, and the animals are fairly active as the weather cools down. In the summer and winter you rarely see the animals doing anything beyond sleeping or briefly lumbering over to their food tray. 

4. Train for a marathon - Yes, I realize that the NYC Marathon takes place on the first Sunday of November. A year before running my first marathon, I was running on a Sunday morning listening to the marathon broadcast on the radio through my ear buds. I decided right then to run in the New York City Marathon the following year. And I did. Instead of cramming three months of training into a grueling summer, I began laying down my training base and running foundation a year in advance. I’m really glad I did this because by the time race day came around I was in tip-top shape and ran a faster time in my second thirteen miles. Having that strong foundation of running for a solid year also gave me time to cultivate some personal discipline and learn how to listen to my body when those inevitable tweaks and injuries sprang up.

If you don’t fancy yourself as a marathoner, you could start a fitness regime in the fall with a goal of getting into the best shape of your life by the following summer. If you stick to your program, most likely you will.

5. Make a List, Then Do Your Holiday Shopping Before Thanksgiving – Some folks love that scramble for presents during those frantic final weeks and days of December. Not me. I prefer to think things out in advance, set my budget, and scour the e-tailers for the best prices on the items I want to buy for my peeps. Yes, this is a bit anal, and you may get slightly better deals if you wait until the last minute, but who needs the hassle? If you try shopping early some time, you’ll realize how much easier it is to shop, how much money you can save, and how much more time you have on your hands during the holidays that you can spend partying with your homeys and loved ones.

There will be plenty of days ahead when you can you curl up in that chunky sweater with your honey in front of the TV. This year, consider trying on a few fresh ideas for fall. As DT says, “What have you got to lose?” If you don’t see me, I’m probably at the beach.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Robert Zimmerman, better know to most as Bob Dylan, folk singer and the voice of our generation, for his being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Well-deserved.

The 5 Most Important Pieces of Advice I've Ever Been Given

Robert Manni - Monday, October 17, 2016

In most cases opinions are like, well you know what part of the body I’m referring to. Hint: everyone has one and you are probably sitting on yours while you’re reading. But on rare occasion a pearl of wisdom is bestowed on each of us that truly resonates and helps guide us to a better experience in life. These nuggets are memorable and stick to our ribs. So when a fellow Guy’s Guy suggested that I write about the best pieces of advice I’d ever received, I first asked myself if anything quickly came to of mind, and sure enough, five bits of helpful advice almost instantly popped up in my mind. And I think you will agree that these are truths that have stood the test of time. So in no particular order, here they are, along with whom they are attributed to. Drum roll please….

1. PAY ATTENTION – At the end of the third date with my future wife, I said something like, “I’m really enjoying our getting to know one another. I’ve dated quite a few women and had ongoing relationships, but obviously they did not work out. What can I do to be a good boyfriend?” Without even a moment’s hesitation, she replied, “Pay attention.” I raised my eyebrows and said, “That’s it? Anything else?” She looked me in the eye and said, “No.” In a flash I got the message. I realized that I, like so many men, was too focused on me and my world and not paying enough mind to my partner and the “little things” that women keep a handle on. I decided right there that I would work on being more attentive. We’ve been married for six years, so I must be making progress. But, make no mistake about it. Paying attention is a way of life that transcends romantic relationships into every key area of our life- work, family, money, friendships. Basically, all of our human interactions.

2. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF – About twenty years ago I was in the midst of a personal crisis due to a job loss. I’d built up a sterling resume, but for some reason had not connected to my next gig yet, and it was driving me crazy.  I often visited my folks in Jersey during this time, just being a good son. But, I was obviously giving off an anxious vibe due my frustrations.  My father always asked me about work and it became annoying to keep telling him I was not back in the saddle yet. I guess he was paying attention though, because he sent a card to me in the city that really hit home. On the cover was a drawing of a young boy on a stage facing a huge crowd. He was holding a violin behind his back. I opened the card curiously and stopped in my tracks when I read the inscription. It simply said, “Believe in yourself”, Love Dad. I placed the card on top of the doorway that led into the main room and it remained there for a decade. I landed a great job pretty soon thereafter, but left the card perched on the molding as a reminder. It’s tucked away somewhere now, but the message still burns in my consciousness. I believe in myself and will always be thankful for my father’s sensitivity to me and his support and encouragement. My father traveled quite a bit during my younger years and I had to figure out a lot of things on my own, so it was heartwarming to receive this gift from him.

3. THIS TOO SHALL PASS – Many people are under the impression that this famous quote comes from the Bible, but it doesn’t. Some scholars attribute it to King Solomon or Sufi poets, but its origins remain unknown. It came to me from my mother. I’ll bet she thinks it comes from the Bible, too, but what matters is the underlying truth in this statement that is often shared with someone going through a tough time. The bottom line is that it’s true—this too will pass. Things eventually change. That means everything, the bad and the good. The lesson is to not get too caught up in what we are currently experiencing because it is temporary. Life is transitory. And although you might not always get want you want, when you think about some of those things you may have missed out on a few years later, we often realize that the thing, person, or opportunity we were obsessed with was probably not right for us and we are better off that it did not happen. And when you think about it, there really is no past or a future. The only thing that matters is right now. So, try not to get too hung up on what looks like a bad situation. Things change, life is transitory, and you have free will.

4. IT’S ALL CONNECTED – Probably my all time favorite job to date was at a small, hip, and now defunct NYC ad agency. I can honestly say that I never once got up in the morning and dreaded coming to work. In fact, it was just the opposite. I actually looked forward to every new day at the agency and the challenges my team faced rebuilding a global vodka brand and catapulting a now world-famous gin to new heights. Every day was an adventure. The agency had a wonderful work ethic and environment with great people who got along, as well as fifty or so advertising people can get along. And we did great work and succeeded in building our clients’ businesses. What else could you ask for? Well, maybe a higher salary, but I made enough and had a nice expense account so no complaints. Like most situations in the ad game, at a certain point the landscape shifts.  If you're smart you can see the changes on the horizon. So, I accepted a bigger job on a massive global account at another agency. On my last day, my boss, the agency’s owner, stopped by my office. He was a man of few words. But he said two things that stuck with me to this day. First, he said, “good job”. That was high praise because he wasn’t one to dole out the flowery compliments. I knew I had kicked ass and he validate it. Then he leaned in and said, “Remember, it’s all connected.”  Then he shook my hand and walked out. The message did not sink in at that moment, but it still resonates with me until this day. He was right. Everything we are and do is connected, and we are surely connected to each other. That was been a huge gift and I remain appreciative of this gift of teaching me about “Oneness” as it applies to career, people, and our lives.

5. NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON THE OCEAN OR ONCOMING TRAFFIC – (another reminder about paying attention). Sounds pretty obvious, right? But often even the simplest common sense tenants are ignored and often times followed by dire consequences. I’m not sure where I heard these two tidbits, but I keep them in mind each time I go for a swim at the Jersey Shore or step off of the curb in New York City.

We’ve all seen pedestrians rush across city streets in traffic without looking both ways. And virtually every time I go for a swim in the Atlantic, so many people turn their backs when the waves get rough.  And we all know how many accidents there are in the city and in the water. I think this advice also applies to all aspects of our lives. It’s always best to pay attention and look before you leap.

So there you have it. Five pieces of advice that have helped me live a better life. I hope they will help you, too. That’s all I’ve got for right now. Peace out.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Serge Manni, my Dad, for having my back when I needed a boost and for always being there for me, even if at times it was only in spirit. 

Teachings of a Three Year Old

Robert Manni - Wednesday, October 05, 2016

I foolishly thought that raising a little boy would become much easier after the terrible twos had run their course. Boy, was I in for a surprise.  The third year brings new layers of complexity to a child’s growth. Witnessing this phenomenon can be exhilarating, eye opening, and downright confounding. As toddlers grow they become more grounded, layered, interesting, and unique. Just like little people!

Here are some personal observations and what I’m learning as my son enters the second half of his third year.

The transition from age two to three - When kids are one or two, they are the ones being jostled and pushed on the playground, but things change when the kid turns three. Toddlers stand firmer as they develop a sense of ego and self. By the time they’re three, the roles change and parents now need to watch that their kids are nice to the other kids. That means “kind hands and feet”.  I think the transition is easier when a child receives lots of love at home. Another thing that stands out for three year olds is how the mental and verbal skills begin to sync up as the kids talk more freely and start communicating using more expressive language. As this occurs we hear random, unrelated comments and answers to the many questions we ask them. Over time, kids pull it together, but what stands out for me is how much they hear and already comprehend regardless of how challenging it is for them to verbalize what they’re thinking and feeling.

Pre K3 - The goal for our son in school this year was socialization. There are a lot of “only” kids in NYC, so during the many transitions it’s been comforting to know that we are not alone. Many other parents face the same challenges when socializing their kids. That said, for a confident kid with an outgoing personality, Pre K3 can be a bitch. For all of our direction and talk about “kind hands and kind feet” the transition from a small, intimate daycare environment to joining a group of twenty new kids can be challenging. My son has a confident, friendly personality. When I’ve dropped him off at school he goes up to almost every kid in his class while we are waiting outside. He always has a big smile and does his best to engage with all the other kids. Unfortunately, although he eventually finds another kid to hold hands with and walk up the stairs together, some kids are shy and they hide behind their Moms and Dads when my son approaches. I just hope he does not get discouraged and always maintains his confidence and friendly ways when he grows up. The world can always use more loving, positive personalities.

Still cleaning up – One glaring routine about parenting that is rarely discussed the amount of time parents spend cleaning crap up. Little kids are so random and sloppy. Anyone who has kids has spent a number of years of their adult lives bent over picking up toys and assorted items that their kids tossed aside. Sure, this comes with the territory, but had I never realized how much actually time I would spend picking up after the little one. No wonder so many parents are tired. Speaking of… 

Relentless energy – This was another major surprise for me. My son is up at 6am and keeps rocking non-stop until 8pm. In fact, he would play and entertain himself until he passed out if we didn’t set a bedtime routine for him. Thankfully, he loves his bath and bedtime story, and most nights he sleeps like a rock until morning. 

Tantrums – Another surprise. As the little guy gets a better sense of his personal power, he occasionally throws a major fit over seemingly insignificant issues. My son’s pet peeves are centered on our traveling around the city. For some reason he strongly prefers the B train over the C train and he insists on sitting by the smallest window on the train and the bus. “The little window” is mission critical for him so I frequently have to scramble onto the train or bus while moving at breakneck speed so I can claim our magical seat by the “little window”. My son has had a few major-league meltdowns on NYC’s crowded trains and buses, so if you’ve heard a toddler screaming bloody murder on the C train it may have been us weaving down the aisle in search of the right seat. Sorry about that. Now I know what other parents go through.

Consequences – If all this sounds like my three-year old has been running a game on me, it might be true in some instances, but I have a weapon. A strong, powerful psychological weapon called “consequences”.  It’s when parents take something away from the kid when he’s acting up. If he throws a tantrum on the train, there are consequences. No Thomas the Train video. No ice cream. No pizza. No play date with his homey. You get the picture. And, “consequences” work like a charm. As soon as my boy hears the word, he immediately pays attention and behaves. But, he’s no dummy. Now he asks for what he calls a “positive consequence” when he does something right. Fair enough. So if he follows direction and does something right, he might get a positive consequence. This might come after the successful completion of…

Potty time – How long should it take for little people to learn how to pee or poop? A pony doesn’t need instructions. Neither does a duck, a goose, or a turtle, but humans are slow to learn in this area. So parents develop patience and also frequently clean up some more. By now my son has good aim though. I can’t tell you how many times I have held my son up over the toilet in a public bathroom, but I am eagerly waiting for him to grow tall enough to be able to pee into the bowl on his own. Patience, Dad, patience.

Unconditional love and trust – Beyond the grousing I do about parenting and the investment of time spent paying constant attention every minute we are together, there is something my son has taught me that is more valuable than gold. It’s his unconditional love. No matter how a bad day he’s had or if Mommy or Daddy or his teacher chewed him out, he always, always, always wakes up in the morning in a great mood. He never stays pissed off or holds a grudge. Every morning he is filled with smiles and brimming with love and affection for my wife and me. He is one happy kid. Thank you, son, for teaching me the importance of forgiveness, gratitude, and unconditional love. What more can I ask for?

This week’s GUY”S GUY of the WEEK is my son, Sky Manni. He is my teacher and I thank him for all of the lessons he has and will bestow on me. As we say to each other every night before I lay him down, “I love you, Sky.” “I love you Daddy”.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Aging - Part 2 (The Good News)

Robert Manni - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Life can change at any second. That’s right, amigos. Every new day brings an opportunity.

But to make change, we must be open-minded and try new ways of doing things. This is one of the keys to adapting as we age.

Remember when you attended your high school reunion? Quite an eye-opener. Some of your classmates still look fantastic and full of life while others appeared much older than their age. What happened? With each subsequent reunion the differences in how people we know age grows. For some, it’s a reflection of an individual’s life-experiences or genetic makeup. But in most cases, it’s indicative in how these folks have taken care of themselves. So it’s critical to approach each new day as a fresh start and take stock in how we are treating our mind, body and soul. In my last post I focused on all of the inevitable bad news and challenges we’ll face as we age. But, like I stated, it doesn’t have to be all bad news. Sure, we’ll all get old eventually, and faster than we expected, but there are steps we can take along the way to ease our path as we approach our senior years. Here are a few tricks your Guy’s Guy has learned along the way.

1. Pace yourself.

I’m a runner, and although I’ve completed three marathons, I still struggle with my weekly treks around the outer loop of Central Park. That run never seems to get easier, and running is hard on the body. Many runners switch to another form of cardio as they get older due to the pounding and the nagging injuries that often occur. And as we get older, those tweaks take longer and longer to fully heal. So what’s the answer? First, make a decision about running or any intense fitness activity you are involved in. Is your body still up to the challenges and pounding or is it time to find a replacement workout? Maybe add yoga, but at least incorporate stretching into your routine.

Everybody is different, so each one of us needs to take an honest stock of themselves and ask if running or whatever your most intense workout is can remain part of your regime. If the answer is yes, like it was for me, be smart and take it easy on yourself. Sure, I can still do those log runs, but now I take the time to recover between these runs and make sure I stretch after every run. When I get a tweak in your hammy or meniscus, I back off and hop on the elliptical trainer for a few weeks before hitting the pavement again.

I pulled a hammy this summer and wisely made the switch to the elliptical for a month. I also stretched every day and massaged my hammy until it was back to normal before running on it again. Ten years ago, I might have foolishly continued running and risked really hurting myself. It’s about being smart, amigos. You can do most of the same things, but as you age, you need to be smarter about how you work out.

2. Watch your weight.

Let’s face it. The food in our supermarkets is mostly processed and loaded with hidden sugars and GMOs. It wasn’t always that way, but it is now, so we need to use our noodle when choosing what foods we eat and how much of it we consume. I used to think that as long I kept running I could eat whatever I wanted in the same portion sizes as I consumed in my twenties. Twenty pounds later I began to take note of how quickly the pounds were sticking to my frame. And once us guys get that roll of abdominal fat around our waists, it becomes more and more difficult to shed it completely.

Over the years I’ve slowly, but consistently, adapted my diet to fit my aging body and lifestyle. I’ve always started my day with a set of at least fifty push-ups, but there have been times when I have skipped the gym for a few months and stop running outside when the roads were iced over during our northeast winters. What I ate became the X-factor in how I managed my waistline and health, so I had to make some changes.

I decided to stop eating meat eight years ago. At first it was hard, but now I don’t even think about it. I quit smoking over twenty-five years ago and still regret ever taking that first puff. Thankfully, I didn’t gain any weight when I stopped smoking, probably because I exercised more. I switched to a cleaner diet that has over the years evolved to predominantly green vegetables, fish, pasture raised eggs, and green smoothies, while avoiding sugars and simple carbs including breads, pizza, and pasta as much as possible. Another consideration is when I eat. Eating meals earlier in the day is better for our health and waistline.  I try not to eat after 8pm so I do not go to sleep with a full stomach. Has it been a challenge? Sure, but I like how I feel weighing twenty pounds less than I did twenty years ago. I have more energy and my clothes fit better, too. I’m happy with my choices and healthier as a result.

The key to success in managing your diet is to try a few different routines, including fasting (if you can hack it), put in the necessary time to get real results, and then make lifestyle changes based on what you’ve learned and what works for you. Do I enjoy a glass of wine or top shelf tequila now and then? Sure, but I’m doing my best to avoid the boomer habit of drinking my way into old age.

3. Consider natural solutions.

The last time I had a check up, the medical assistant administering the tests asked what meds I take. I told her, “Nothing”. She asked me the same question two more times. Same answer. I’m not suggesting that you do not take medication your physician prescribes, but in some cases, you have a choice of forgoing the meds by changing in your lifestyle and dietary choices. For example, two years ago, my doctor told me my cholesterol was on the high side. He suggested a statin pill. I said, “No, thanks”. He suggested that I return in six months. If my numbers were unchanged he wanted me to take the prescription. I asked if there was anything I could do to lower my numbers. He suggested a vegan diet. I told him I’d see him in a year. I quit eating meat and drastically improved my dietary choices by avoiding processed and acidic foods.

When I returned a year later, my numbers had dropped by ninety points. After two more years my cholesterol numbers are bordering on low.  Why? I looked for a natural path to wellness and stuck to the program so my body could heal itself. I also reduced my blood pressure significantly through diet and exercise. The point is; if you take charge of your choices, you can make positive changes to your health and well-being. Your doctor will let you know when things are going wrong, but they rarely tell you how to stay healthy. Do your own research and take charge of your health as best you can. And, make sure you don’t miss your check ups.

4. Mediate

Let’s face it. The endless onslaught of negativity spewed at us by the media, movies, and advertising can lead to an overload of mental monkey chatter that turns our lives into an endless loop of reacting instead of having vision that we act on. Starting the day or finding time for 15-20 minutes for quiet meditation connects us to our higher selves. This connection with the divine is there for all, but it’s up to each one of us to make the time to forge a connection to consciousness. Your higher self, sometimes coming through as that little voice inside of your head or heart, knows all about who we are, what we are, and how we serve. It’s there to help us. But again, it’s up to us to take advantage of our connection with divinity. 

Ultimately, no matter what diet or physical programs you incorporate the key to aging well is through love— self-love, love for your neighbor, love for humanity, and a love for the God that’s in each one of us. If you want to age gracefully, make smart choices and seek consciousness. Love and a connection to your divinity can help your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being while bringing you joy, gratitude, and peace.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Jack La Lanne. This true Guy’s Guy was a humanitarian who helped create today’s fitness revolution and healthy lifestyle. During his show he also shared much wisdom about keeping the spirit and mind strong and positive while training the body.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Aging - Part 1 (The Bad News)

Robert Manni - Saturday, August 27, 2016

A seventy-three year-old Mick Jagger once sang, “Time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me.” Although he was correct, he’s still vital, in great shape and killing it in concert.

If we play the cards we’re dealt the best way we can, it’s possible to extend our time here on Earth and age with vigor, class, and élan. But, in order to live long and prosper there are some rules to follow. Aging impacts everyone¾ millennials through boomers. So in an effort to cover as much ground as succinctly as possible, I’ll break down the bad news on aging here before returning next week with the good news, including the steps we can take to ease our path into a healthy future.

The Bad News

After we reach the age of twenty-five, we begin to notice things starting to slow down. I’m sure many of you have woken up with a hangover while in your mid-twenties and noticed that for the first time the effects of the previous night took a larger toll on your well being than usual. A feeling like your head was hit with tiny ball peen hammers, aches and pains in new places, and your needing an extra day or two to get back to feeling one hundred percent again. Amigos, that’s the first step in what can be a long, uncomfortable slide into middle age if we are not mindful about our body and our lifestyle. Make no mistake about it. Once we hit twenty-five, our metabolism slows down and continues its slow descent for the rest of our lives.

From that point, it takes longer to manage our health and recover from partying, sex, sports injuries, illness, increased mental monkey chatter, and energetic blockages. Compounding all of this is the disturbing fact that too many Americans live reactive lives driven by fear, pessimism, and the current news cycle and propaganda spewed by our media. The majority of the media and advertising is focused on creating a mindset based on feeling of lack and what we don’t have. You need this. You could lose that and if you do, you’re screwed. Unless, of course, you buy this and do as you’re told. As we age, the burden of carrying around all this made-up nonsense becomes more burdensome until the dam bursts and we succumb to chronic illness.

And, along the way, we gain weight. When I was a kid, there were a handful of “chubby” kids in school. And, being cruel, we’d call them names. But now that we’re older, who isn’t waging their own personal battle of the bulge? If you take a stroll through any shopping mall, you’ll see a lot of obese kids and adults. It’s usually due to the food they eat, sedentary lifestyles, meds, and stress. As we gain weight, we slow down. And as we slow down, if we are not mindful about our diet and lifestyle, we’ll keep gaining weight. Then, we’ll get sick and slow down even more when we start taking meds for this, for that, and to combat the side effects from the first meds we took. This easily becomes a vicious downward cycle.


Want some more bad news about aging? As we get older, we can’t do all the things we have been doing for so many years, like eating the same foods in the same quantities, having sex three times a night, or working out as intensely and often as we did when we were in our early twenties. That does not mean we can’t take steps to combat all these limitations, but it’s not easy to change life-long habits and it requires discipline. Unfortunately, not a lot of people wake up and make the necessary choices to evolve their life-long habits until it’s too late.

Couple this with what was once your perfect vision weakening, bouts of insomnia, anxiety over work, getting up to pee three times an night, money anxiety, job loss, worrying about things we can’t control, and yearning for “the good old days”. And there’s more. Death, taxes, childcare costs, a shaky economy, Donald Trump being a step away from the presidency, and climate change. If we fall prey to the hype and swallow the swill served us in the form of GMO foods, fear-based media, ultra-violent entertainment, aging parents with chronic illnesses, loneliness, and a diminished quality of life, life can look bleak.


For every question there is an answer and for the biggest questions in life the answer is always based in love. At our source we come from and are created with love. With love for ourselves in mind, next time I will review each one of the troubling aspect of aging and offer concrete ways of addressing the issue of aging gracefully and purposely, while living a fulfilling life deep the our senior years. 

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is spiritual teacher Tony Robbins, who said, “People overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, and underestimate what they can accomplish over a decade.”


Here’s to a pledge for decades of good health and well being for you.

How to Find Peace Anywhere, Even New York City

Robert Manni - Friday, August 05, 2016

“If you can find peace here, you can find peace anywhere”.

That’s not Frank. It’s your Guy’s Guy. And it’s true. It’s possible to live a serene, drama-free lifestyle in New York City.

One way to find peace is to sit near the ocean watching the sea and listening to the waves crash against the shoreline. After a few short minutes you will definitely calm down. Another surefire way to quiet the mind is resting under a lotus tree on a remote mountainside. But how can we find bliss when we spend portions of our day, not on a mountaintop, but wedged into a sweaty, overcrowded 6 train during rush hour?

No worries. Finding peace in New York City is not as difficult as you may think. Over the years I have found a number of ways to stay calm and find tranquility, even in the city’s unusually stressful environment. So, I wanted to share are a few tips to help you chill. I’ve included a few of my faves and old standbys, and some new techniques I’ve recently picked up. And, trust me amigo, they all work if you have the right mindset and truly want to slow things down, even if it’s only for a short time. So without further adieu, here are your Guys’ Guy’s Tips for Finding Peace Anywhere, even in New York City.

1. Limit your media consumption – Everyone in New York is inundated with an endless barrage of media—internet, iPhones, television, text messages, Instagram, radio, podcasts, video games, newspapers, and all of the advertising that accompanies it. Every day we're clubbed and have our faces rubbed i[ a mixed mush of Trump, Isis, Hillary, and the damn Zika virus. You can’t even take a piss in a bar without seeing ads selling you the beer you just eliminated. It’s a vicious cycle.

In advertising, our aim is capitalize on feelings of lack to sell crap you really don’t need. Media takes things to another level. It preys upon our fears. Their strategy seems to be, “let’s scare the shit out of them so they’ll stay tuned”, hoping for a solution to the world’s problems. But as we know, whenever one problem is solved, lots more enter the trending news cycle. When people fall under this spell of doom and gloom it becomes close to impossible to find peace or solace.

There is one thing you can do to help alleviate the issue. Make sure you find the time to unplug every day. Be mindful of your work, but afterwards make it a goal to go old school. Don’t check your the phone every ten seconds, take a breather offline, have a real conversation, and see if you can leave the office without plugging in your ear buds. I know that’s tall order for millennials in a hyper-connected city like ours, but unplugging can make a big difference in elevating your mood and soothing your feelings of anxiety.

2. Replace it with literature, music, film, and art – One can argue that surfing the internet is reading, and most of the time, surfing the internet does consist of reading. But let’s consider what we’re reading when we’re online. Snarky Facebook posts about the election, what people had for lunch, or the latest news about Bernie Sanders, Kanye, Beiber, or the Kardashians probably won’t help your inner peace or sanity. Books and other art forms can help you find the peace you're seeking, if you consume peaceful content. Porn, ultra-violent graphic novels, speed metal, and Tarantino films are not recommended when you want to add peace to your day.

3. Walk more – Buses are slow. Subways are filthy and curtailed by delays. Taxis and Uber can get expensive quickly. And all these modes of transportation create stress. Want some peace? Over the years I have found that walking whenever possible does wonders for your heart, relaxes you, helps you learn the city, and is a great way to either start your day or de-stress after a tough go at the office. Of course there are times when we need to take public transportation or call Uber. But if you pay attention, you’ll find ample opportunities to walk instead of riding that stinky C train. And, over time you may find yourself steering your walks towards the more scenic urban landscapes like our wonderful parks. 

4. Meditate, do yoga, get physical – I find that twenty minutes of meditation or yoga helps alleviate stress and fosters peace. If a high intensity cardio workout can help get you into a zone where you can find clarity, then go for it. Any physical activity that requires focus also works to quiet that noise and monkey chatter in your mind.

5. Find tranquil settings – I’ve worked in most areas of Manhattan except for Wall Street. And having traversed almost every inch of Manhattan, I know enough to avoid Times Square, Midtown, and the financial district whenever possible. Between selfie-obsessed tourists, cartoon characters, and workers marching to and from the office texting and yapping into their cellphones, I steer clear of these over-populated sections of the city. If you are forced to spend time in one of these congested areas because of your job, if you look you will find a few mini-oasis and quiet places to sit, some with urban waterfalls. Weather permitting; stepping outside during your lunch hour or on a break does wonders for your mood.

6. Breathe – If you only do one thing to help you find peace in the city, make it being conscious of your breathing. Each time you can sit quietly for a moment, walk down the street, or when you’re feeling angst creep in, focus on your breath. Concentrate on breathing in and breathing out. Do this for a minute or two and I assure you that you will find a brief respite from your daily struggles. Simply pay attention to your breathing. The more you do it, the more bliss you will find. It’s that easy, amigos. Peace out.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Sri Dharma Mittra. He is a wise and peaceful yoga teacher who has an amazing studio on 23rd Street in Manhattan and followers worldwide. 

Why I Stopped Eating Meat

Robert Manni - Saturday, July 30, 2016

Nothing beats the taste of a well-cooked steak.

The grill marks, the dripping juices, and the scent of seared beef are enough to drive any carnivore insane. Add a fresh tossed salad, a side of grilled veggies, baked potato, and a glass of a full-bodied cabernet sauvignon and you have the components of a perfect meal. That’s what I thought until eight years ago when I first eliminated meat from my diet. Over this time I slowly but steadily dropped beef, pork, lamb, and then poultry from my menu. Although I’ve gone strictly vegetarian for a few months here and there, I still eat fish. I know that habit will become permanent, but I’ll only go there when it feels right.

I’m not suggesting that eliminating meat from your diet is right for everyone, but I’ll tell you this. I have never looked back and have never felt better nor had more energy any time in my adult life.

So what happened? Eight years ago I met the woman who would become my wife on a first date. We’d met online and in person at the little restaurant at the 79th Street Boat Basin. She told me she was a vegetarian, so when it came time she ordered a salad, a grilled Portobello mushroom, and a glass of white wine. I was hankering for a juicy cheeseburger and fries, but before ordering something came over me. It was an actual sensitive thought! I considered what blood dripping down the side of my burger and across my mouth might look to her. It could make her uncomfortable and might be a major turn off. So I ordered something else. After dinner we took a walk on the path along Riverside Park. The rest is history.

During our next few dates I inquired about her choice to become a vegetarian—why she chose it, what she ate, how long she had been a vegetarian, and if it made her feel any different. She told me that she been a vegetarian on and off for years after being a meat-eater for most of her life. She casually filled in the other blanks, but did not tout or try selling me on the virtues of going meat-free. I liked that. I also decided to give it a try. After a few rough days, it was relatively easy switching from beef burgers to turkey or tuna burgers. But, I still missed my steak. After a few weeks, I mostly forgot about meat and became more comfortable with the many alternatives.

Then I got sick. I developed a weird bronchial condition that sapped me of my energy at about 5pm every day. I would leave work soon after, usually drenched in a heavy sweat. I’d go home and lay on my bed still sweating, but with chills. I’d wrap myself in a blanket and cough a lot. It wasn’t fun and I wondered if this had anything to do with my diet. Thankfully my future wife visited and comforted me. She said my body was “detoxing” and the toxins from the stored meat molecules in my system were releasing into my system and challenging my immune system. At least I knew the cause. Finally, I took a powerful antibiotic and was soon back to normal. That short bout of what I can only refer to as “detoxing”(for lack of a better term) subconsciously convinced me to never eat meat again. A few months later I eliminated poultry and that was it.

Over time, my weight fluctuated due to my replacement of carbs for meat, but eventually I got a handle on how my system was reacting and handling the change from carnivore to “pescatarian”.  I eat wild-caught fish whenever possible to avoid the toxins in farmed fish.

How do I feel? My energy feels light; I am more active, and clocking better times in my runs than twenty years ago. My strength level is steady, with no loss even with the added eight years. Additionally, my digestive system feels less taxed after a meal than when I was eating meat. I really can’t think of a down side to the change.

Initially I did not stop eating meat because of the stress on the environment or the cruelty of factory farming. But, it’s true. Farming animals is inhumane, unhealthy, a cause of pollution, and unnecessary. There are lots of tasty alternatives to meat and no reason to kill animals for food unless you live in a remote part of the world where wild animals are your only choice for sustenance. Additionally, farmed animals are fed poorly. Cows are meant to eat grass, but are usually fed cheap GMO, grains sprayed with pesticides. Steroids and sedatives like Prozac are given to the animals to help eliminate stress. These poor creatures have good reason for their stress. And, we consume all of the crap the animals eat along with the toxicity from their stress hormones. If that’s not enough, the beef you buy in the supermarket is often injected with chemicals that change the color of the meat from brown to red. But, don’t let me sell you. Your Guy’s Guy is simply sharing his experience in eliminating meat from his diet.

And guess what? My wife now eats fish so we share a happy little household. There is no meat either cooked or stored in our home and it really makes the energy more peaceful. What about our three-year old? We’ve decided to feed him healthy organic foods whenever possible and no meat when he’s with us.  We allow him to have poultry at day care, but no beef, pork or lamb. When he gets older, he can make his own choices. That said, he’s a healthy, happy kid so we must be ding something right.

I hope this sheds some light on the virtues of eliminating meat from your diet. It’s not necessarily for everyone, but it worked for me. Whatever you decide to do, eat healthy, amigos. And, there is nothing as tasty as a well-cooked steak.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK are Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Leonardo da Vinci, Prince, Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, and all the other people who helped change the world without eating meat.


17 Ways You Can Save Money in NYC

Robert Manni - Friday, July 22, 2016

Money comes and money goes. And when it goes, it can go quickly.

So, for many of us living in these uncertain economic times, every few bucks saved can add up. That’s why every now and then your Guy’s Guy likes to share some of his hacks for saving coinage, even in a big, bad city where everything seems to cost more than anywhere else in the country. Although most of you thrifty-minded peeps will recognize some of these tips, let’s hope that you can garner a few new ideas while also refreshing your memory about the ones you already know, but may not be executing. You can talk about saving money all you want, but if you take a taxi to and from work each day you either have money to blow or when it comes to saving bucks, you are not doing a good enough job. So, here are seventeen go-to tips for keep money change in your pocket and seeing less go down the drain.

1. Walk whenever possible – New York is a great walking city and hoofing it is an excellent way to stay in shape and burn unwanted calories.

2. If you can’t walk, take public transportation  Another no-brainer that most New Yorkers have figured out. Plus, with so many of us on the trains and buses at all hours of the day and night, mass transit travel has never been safer relative to the amount of people using the MTA.

3. When necessary Uber, Via, Lyft, etc. instead of cabs – Hey, sometimes we all need a ride home. Sorry taxis. You did not adapt to a changing culture. Maybe you will now.

4. Don’t buy a newspaper – Everything is online in real time anyway. Who wants to toke the Times around on a crowded subway and who has time to read it except on the weekends? If you can’t get online, the two free daily papers will do just fine during a quick ride to the office.

5. Bring your lunch to work – There certainly are a lot of hot women in short skirts standing on that long line for Chop’t, but is it worth it to pay $12 for a salad in a plastic container that you eat at your desk while working up another Excel spreadsheet? Make lunch at home and bring it to work a few days during the week. You’ll live, and you’ll also eat better. Use the savings to buy drinks for those women on the Chop’t line.

6. Bananas  They are really good for you (potassium). And, you can still get a nice big one for a quarter if you buy four in a bunch. Bananas taste great and they become more nutritious when their skin begins to turn.

7. Happy hour – I don’t think I need to explain this one. But how many times have you walked into a bar ten minutes after happy hour ended? Drinking in bars is expensive, amigos. Getting a head start will save some cash. Who knows, you might get free apps with that cocktail, too.

8. Drink at home before going out on weekends – I’m not pushing alcohol, but if you do drink, top shelf drinks can run you $20 a round. That adds up.

9. Buy top shelf booze in large sizes at discount stores – Your Guy’s Guy only drinks the good stuff, so I did my research and found some liquor stores that have deals on discontinued items. In fact I recently bought a $54 bottle of tequila for $18.99 at Broadway Discount off Astor Place. That’s a $35 savings for a tasty tequila.

10. Movie Matinees – Believe it or not, you can still score a deal to see new movies on the big screen. AMC theaters offer a $7.50 price for before noon.

11. Netflix – Everyone has access to Netflix. But, have you thought about how much you can save using it?  If you enjoy binge watching Marco Polo you can get a whole season of the show for a song versus what you pay for a movie in the theater or for premium cable.

12. Books, CD’s, DVD’s – I recently purchased a returned hardcover copy of the brand new best-selling book about the Rolling Stones for half price at Strand. Now that I’ve read it, I will sell it back again along with my CD’s and DVD’s wherever I can get a fair shake for my goods. It adds up.

13. Coupons – Maybe Mom really did know best. Since I don’t buy most of the processed crap they sell down the aisles of the supermarket I rarely use grocery coupons. That said, with my trusty Coupon Sherpa app I can always get a deal when shopping for clothes at J.Crew, Gap, Levis, etc. There are also coupons for eyeglasses, travel, and a few dining options that are palatable to a New Yorker’s tastes.

14. Bring your coffee from home – For the investment in a quality lightweight thermos you can reap major savings by buying a top shelf brands of coffee or tea and making batches at home. I always keep a big jug of chilled home made organic rooibos tea or organic coffee on hand for the summer months. It saves me hundreds of dollars.

15. Free stuff – The free daily newspapers usually list the free things going on in the city over the coming weekend. It could be yoga classes, concerts, and other things of value. And these events are great ways to meet new peeps with similar interests. Worth a shot...

16. Lasker Pool – There is a gorgeous outdoor swimming pool open all summer at the northwest end of Central park near the Harlem Meer. The pool is spotless and you can swim laps early in the morning. Most people have never heard of it, but it’s real.

17. Quit the gym in the summer- Unless you are going four or five days a week, the gym can be a major waste of money in the summer. There are lots of ways to stay in shape outside and on your own.  And if necessary, you can always take a class or buy multiple classes at a bulk discount. Now put on those running shorts and shoes.

There are lots more ways to save, but this feels like a good place to stop for now. The point is that although NYC can be a very expensive place to live, there are always ways to save money if you use that same big brain that scored you that cool job in the Big Apple to save a few bucks hear and there. It all adds up. See you at Happy Hour.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the Week is Asa Candler who launched the first coupon in 1887. He was also the owner of Coca-Cola. Very smart guy.

See also: Money Hacks from your Guy's Guy

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Getting Married - Part 3 (The Wedding)

Robert Manni - Thursday, July 14, 2016

When it comes to weddings, I’m no expert. In fact, I avoided marriage like the plague for years until I met my wife.

However, throughout my decades of bachelorhood, I attended quite a few wedding ceremonies and have a few ideas to share about what I have seen working for the bride, the groom and the guests. There are thousands of resources you can tap and articles you can read about how to handle every aspect of your big day. So, I’m not going to get into picking out dresses and all of that. I’ll simply tackle the big picture from the perspective of a Guy’s Guy. This key to this special day is making sure the setting and ceremony are ideal for your bride and yourself. After all, if you’re lucky, you’ll only be doing this once, so why not make it a day to remember in a good way?

I got married later in life to a woman who was previously married for ten years. She told me that she didn't have fun at her first wedding because she allowed her Mom and sister to take charge of the process. In their zeal, they exceeded their duties and took over every aspect of the celebration. You may ask, “whose blame is it when this happens?” I wasn’t there, but I’ve heard this story before. I guess Mom and sis were given too much input on the venue, dress, food, photography, and just about everything else. In the end, my wife felt that the wedding was actually for the benefit of her mother and sister. The bottom line is that it was not a joyous day for her, and the marriage got off to a rocky start. So when it was our turn to tie the knot, my wife was looking forward to making her second wedding day something she could look back on with love. So with that, let’s begin our Guys’ Guy’s insights on wedding right here:

1. Start the marriage on a positive note. 

I had never been married or given much thought to the actual wedding beyond my showing up. But, I wanted to be there for my wife, be open to ideas, and show her support. And I am glad I did. She was super cool about every aspect of our wedding day and we had a great time. I believe that's one of the reasons our marriage has been successful to date.  

So when you are stressing the details of planning out your special day, keep in mind the love for your partner, the importance of keeping an open mind, and making sure that you do whatever is necessary to have a joyful wedding day. Consider your bride’s priorities and what will it take to make her day special. Whatever those things are, I suggest you go for it and don’t look back. Anything that gets your marriage off to a strong start is a wise investment.

2. Plan in advance.

This goes without saying. Venues get booked years in advance so you need to make a check list and get started early. Between the venue, food, booze, invitations, photographers, transportation, changes, etc., etc., etc., weddings can be incredibly time-consuming. I repeat; you need to plan your wedding well in advance.

3. No destinations, please.

I’ve attended a few destination weddings and they were fun, but I’ve also passed on a few of these affairs also. Nowadays, with time being such a premium and the cost of travel, it’s a lot to ask of people to hop on a plane to the Caribbean and invest a few grand and three days of their time devoted to your wedding. I know that sounds harsh, but is it possible to make your wedding somewhat accessible to the people attending? In some way, everyone has to travel to your wedding, but that does not have to include also jetting off to the islands. We’d all like to get married on the beach in Hawaii, but will you attend all the destination weddings you get invited to? This is something to consider. If you really feel it’s necessary and can pay for the guests’ rooms, then do it.

4. Keep it simple and think outside of the box.

Our wedding was very simple—we decided to get married at 11am on a Saturday morning in late June at a quaint chapel on the Jersey Shore. We keep the list of invitees to our closest friends and relatives to give the ceremony a sense of intimacy. We held our reception at a nearby restaurant. That night we held a barbeque on the beach and a blow out at our beach house with a larger group of friends and family. We were lucky. We had perfect weather, a wonderful ceremony, a great reception, a fun barbeque, and a party that lasted until 3am. It was a blast. We kept things simple, because it was what worked for us. I have been to a number of big weddings that were equally as fun; it’s really up to you and what will make you happy.

5. Go on your honeymoon right away.

I’ve heard of couples putting off their honeymoons for a few months due to work and other obligations. Try not to do this. Your marriage is a priority, and in my mind, part of the ceremony is the honeymoon. Do whatever it takes to get away with your bride within a week of the wedding. This keeps the momentum going and will pay off in spades when you look back on this milestone. The whole wedding enchilada counts, and that includes the honeymoon. As for where to go and what to do, I’ll leave that to you. After the stress of the wedding, and it is stressful, my wife and I wanted to chill at a resort with a beach. So it was off to Turks and Caicos. And we had an awesome time.

So that’s my three cents in a three-part series on when to get engaged, married, and having a great wedding. The key to success for all of these steps is to always remember the reason that you are tying the knot with this person. She or he is the one you love most and with whom you want to share your life. If you maintain this as your top priority and a major consideration in all decisions, you’re on your way to a successful engagement, wedding, and marriage. Good luck, amigos.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Getting Married - Part 2 (The Engagement)

Robert Manni - Saturday, July 09, 2016

I like to keep things simple and try things once. That includes getting engaged, being married, and having a kid.

Been there done that. I’ve read a lot about putting a ring on it, most of it from the female perspective. Women have invested lots of psychic energy into the details and finer points of popping the question and the wedding. And they should be applauded for all the articles and posts, and also for putting up with their guys throughout all the ceremonial hoopla. The actual process of getting engaged is the trickiest aspect to getting married because in most cases it’s the guy who is doing the asking. With that in mind, a few young bucks have asked me to write about managing this process, so I wanted to share my Guys’ Guy’s point of view about this important milestone.

Let’s begin by clearing stating that there is no set blueprint to getting engaged. There are a lot of ways to do it right and just as many to screw it up. You can post your intentions on the scoreboard of Yankee Stadium or get down on one knee on the beach at sunset. It doesn’t matter where or how you do it, as long as it feels romantic and holds meaning for both of you. Ultimately it’s about following your heart, and then using your mind to make getting engaged a memorable event. Here are a few considerations for each of the critical steps.

1. Make sure she’s the one – There has never been a truer old adage than “fools rush in”. How many friends do you know who got married too soon to the wrong person only to find themselves in a divorce a few years later? There is always at least one broken heart and often kids involved. So what’s the hurry, people? I don’t believe in starter marriages. Instead I say wait. Wait and wait until you are sure you have found the right person to share your life with. You’ll need check marks for companionship, kindness, values, sex, and a shared sense of humor for when you’re both faced with life’s random occurrences. Then to be sure, double and triple check your heart again. If everything feels right, then go ahead, amigo, and make your move.

2. Buy a ring – If you have step one in order and you know that she is ready to commit to spending her life with you, then I suggest buying ring before asking for her hand in marriage. Some people still follow the tradition of asking her father ahead of time. If that works for you, then do it. But first ask yourself what you are going to do if he gives you the thumbs down. Hmmm. That’s tricky. In any case sniff around to see if you can sort out what type of rings she prefers. I’m not sure it’s wise to ask her friends or sisters because they might blab. But whatever you determine to be the right fit for her and your spending limit, add another twenty-five percent to your budget. You never want t take the chance of looking like a cheapskate for the rest of your life because you wanted to save some coin on the ring. Another tip is asking your married friends where they bought their rings. If you’re lucky, you might score a contact in your local Diamond District that could save you a few grand on your purchase.

3. Pop the question- She’s the one, check. Got the ring, check. Now it’s time to ask her for her hand. There are endless ways to do this, but make sure it feels romantic and special to the both of you. This way you’ll always share a great memory of when you got engaged. I asked my future wife out to dinner on a sultry summer night. We headed to an old school, cash only Italian joint in Brooklyn Heights. After our pasta and red wine, we took a walk along the Brooklyn Promenade. When we stopped to enjoy the lights of Manhattan I reached for the ring and dropped to one knee and proposed. I told her that I loved her and that she was the one for me, or something like that. Then I said, “How about it?” She laughed and said, “yes”. Okay, it wasn’t perfect, but we both have a funny memory of that wonderful evening. And she still loves her engagement and her wedding ring. We picked out the wedding band the following week.

Now, I’m not suggesting that this is the way to do it, but it worked for us. There was great food and wine, a starry summer’s night and then me on my knees. So use your noggin’, come up with a plan, buy the ring, and be ready to look into her eyes and pop the question

4. Set a date and stick to it- How many young couples do you know who say they are engaged, but never seem to lock down a date to actually get married? My advice is to do your very best to find a date within a year of your engagement. If necessary, add a few months. But that’s it. If you guys really want to get married, you’ll make locking down that big date a priority. If your timeline keeps getting pushed back and back and back, it’s not a great sign.

5. Keep it fun- After dealing with all the pressure of deciding on the right person, picking out the perfect ring, coming up with a memorable way to pop the question, and then finding a date and all of the other wedding details, it’s important to remind yourselves that the reason you are going through all of this is because you love this person more than anything and you want to have a happy, fun life together. Don’t ever forget the fun factor. If you are finding that the process is more a chore than a pleasure, remind yourself to keep it light. If the whole thing becomes a total drag, then buyer beware. Because you ain’t seen nothing yet, and by that I mean the final step in the process— the wedding.

Until next week…

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