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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Beating the Winter Blues

Robert Manni - Tuesday, February 23, 2016


It’s dark and cold when you wake and darker and colder when you go home.

Welcome to another endless winter in the Northeast. And for some strange reason, many choose to stay put and endure these dreadful winters year after year. They say we have four seasons in these parts, but doesn’t it feel like two? Six months of awesome weather, six months of ice rain, snow, cold and slush. And here we are again in the vortex. Some Guy’s Guys insights are in order. So here are my tips for beating those winter blues, GG style.

Get outside.

If you can’t get away for a Caribbean holiday, don’t fret. Think about how much worse the winter seems when you step outside with sunburn after landing at JFK. So if you routine resembles this: getting up at the crack of dawn, marching like a lemming on and off of the C train, grabbing coffee, disappearing into your office, staring at the computer for the next 10 hours and then returning to the cold dark streets, it’s important that you break up the day and get some fresh air and sunshine. So, if you can break free for even twenty minutes, take a walk around the block and if the weather permits, find a sunny spot to take a short break. Remind yourself that it’s just a job, she’ll call you back, and the Knicks will win another championship someday or whatever it is that’s buzzing around your mind. I assure you, this quick respite can work wonders.

Exercise.

When I woke up yesterday it was cold, dank, slushy and all around horrible. But, it was Sunday and for your Guy’s Guy, that means another 6.2-mile trek around Central Park’s outer loop. It’s all sloping hills and it never seems to get any easier. I wanted to disappear under the covers, but I knew that I would feel one hundred percent better after my run, and I did. Whatever your preference is: cardio, high intensity workouts or yoga; they all combat the winter blues. Your body will thank you.

Watch your diet. 

We all crave warm, gooey, crispy comfort food during the winter months. And how we worship the bacon. But unless it’s organic, this piggy meat is filled with cancer-causing nitrates. I know, it tastes F-ing great, but bacon other so-called comfort foods ultimately make you uncomfortable. Winter is a great time to get disciplined about your diet. If you can deal with making the right food choices now, it will be easier once spring rolls around. And, speaking of rolls, if you can get a head start on your diet during the colder months, you probably will have less around your midsection to burn off when the weather breaks.

Stay positive.

We define ourselves internally. It’s what’s in your head that sets up your mood, your perspective, and ultimately your life.  And with all those cold, dark days it’s easy to succumb to a bleak outlook and a “whoa is me” attitude. And we’ve all allowed our more negatively skewed friends to throw up their emotional junk on us. You know, that’s when afterwards they feel better? The problem is, you have to wipe their toxicity off by taking an Epson salts bath. The point is, remain mindful of your thoughts and the people around you in general, but especially during winter.

Read, write, sing, create.

We spend more time indoors during nasty weather. And it’s too damned easy to sit on your butt and binge watch your favorite cable series. Sure, that’s what 54-inch LED’s are for, but be careful not to allow the media to hypnotize and numb your mind. Reading is a wonderful tonic and it helps us think more creatively. So is creating, and it doesn’t mater what it is that makes your juices flow. Get out your laptop, sketchpad, ukulele or whatever and make a statement, even if you never show it to anyone. Just the simple act of creation nourishes the soul. Hey, I just created something here, didn’t I?

This weeks’ Guy’s Guys of the Week are all the skaters at Wolman Rink or the rink in your neighborhood. Get out there, amigo.

Are you winning your battle with the winter blues?

Saying Goodbye to Summer

Robert Manni - Monday, September 14, 2015


The media began bemoaning the end of summer on September 1st.

Guess what? We've still got another week of summer left. Let’s stay positive and recognize a handful of reasons why September is a great month and fall is a great season, Guy’s Guy style.

Farewell, tourists.

As a fan of the beach and the Jersey Shore, nothing pleases local inhabitants and beachgoers more than the disappearance of what are referred to as “Bennies”, tourists from northern NJ who come down the shore, go crazy and then leave after Labor Day. More parking spaces, no waits at restaurants and fewer drunken dudes from Staten Island pounding shots of bubbleberry vodka all make up the fall dream. The same can be said about the overload of summer tourists in fanny packs clogging our NYC sidewalks. Have a nice day and goodbye.

The weather rocks.

It’s summer for three more weeks, amigos. The beach is empty, the temp's perfect, the water warm and clean and it usually stays this way through October. In the city, the days are spectacular and the nights are no longer hot and humid.

The Women.

In NYC, the women’s fashion parade begins in full swing in September and for a Guy’s Guy, it can be heavenly. Women in NYC have style and go to great lengths putting together cool outfits. Beyond their $400 jeans and designer dresses, Manhattan women have made an art of putting together their hair, shoes, and bags and the results are pleasurable to the eyes of any Guy’s Guy. It’s all in the details, so let's give it up for the ladies.

Sports.

The baseball season is rounding third base and heading for home while at the same time football and the accompanying fantasy football drafts are in full swing, making this the best time of the year for sports. Football has never been so popular and fantasy football has taken the game to a new level of fandemonium. Let’s face it—football is built for television viewing and now is the time to get our fill. And let’s not forget the US Open tennis and the NYC Marathon.

The Arts.

Film, books, television, the Met, the museums, Broadway and even the dreaded DWTS all kick off new seasons at this time of year.

Okay, these are but a few obvious reasons why they we can say “yay” to the end of summer. What I like about September and the new season is that it reminds me how each day is a new beginning filled with new opportunities. If we live in the now and focus on what can be, and tune out the media’s incessant ringing of the doom and gloom alarm, we can savor life as it’s meant to be, one beautiful day at a time.  And then we can watch the holiday sales ads.

Are you saddened over the end of summer or pumped up for the fall?

This week's Guy's Guy of the Week is Sir Thomas More, an old school 16th century Guy's Guy, and the subject of the Oscar-winning, "A Man for All Seasons."

6 Ways to Brighten Up Your Summer

Robert Manni - Monday, July 13, 2015


It was late June when I marched through Penn Station and saw the first fantasy football publication on display at the newsstand.

Wow. We live in a “can’t stand still” culture where slowing things down is a real challenge. And in summer it’s critical to find the time stop to smell the flowers before their bloom gives way to autumn.

Guy’s Guys are optimists, and we love summer. The days are longer and the skirts are shorter, but that’s just one reason why your Guy’s Guy has pulled together a handful of nuggets to help you make the most of summer. I won’t be breaking any new ground here. Think of it as Guy Guy cheerleading. You see, I don’t want to imagine you hunched in your cubicle on a rainy day this October, slurping ramen noodles and wondering what the f-ck happened to summer. So here goes, amigos:

1. Get Outside – For context, I know it’s no fun walking around in the city with the temperatures in the nineties and that a hint of a breeze only wafts the smell of the rows garbage bags lined up along the sidewalks. That can drive any urban dweller indoors to the comforts of a cold shower, a frosty brew, and binge watching your favorite show. But before you close the curtains and turn up the AC, let me remind you that there are many wonderful respites from the heat outside.

In New York, we have the wonders of Central Park, the cool breezes along the Hudson River Walk, sexy outdoor cafes, and just a reasonably short ride to one of our local beaches. But regardless of where you live, summer is the best time for outdoor activities like running, tennis, softball, fishing, kiting, a long walk or even a quiet meditation under a shady tree. Your choices are endless. But at the same time, when you live in the Northeast, you’re on the clock when it comes to the seasons and the nice weather.

So make the most of those short summer months and get your butt outdoors. Trust me, even when it’s hot, if you’re in decent health, your body will acclimate to the heat. Personally, I rarely use the AC. My body adjusts naturally and I find that even the slightest breeze cools me off. In fact, I feel cool and refreshed while perspiring profusely during a long run.

2. Seek Water – There is something relaxing about water. Even my two-year-old son often takes a break from his wandering to sit by the Harlem Meer and watch its tranquil waters. I love sitting by the ocean and quieting my mind with the crashing waves providing a calming soundtrack to my thoughts. Swimming, surfing, sailing, water-skiing, fishing, rafting… need I say more? There are so many things to do when you are in the proximity of water. And if you prefer relaxing, pull up a blanket and catch some rays, people watch, or take a nap.

3. Get Physical – Spring blows by quickly these days. Here in NYC it seems like the temps jump from the 50’s directly to the 90’s. There is no smooth slide into summer anymore. So many people get caught off guard when out of the blue the temps hit the 80’s. They panic, thinking, “oh shit, I’m so out of shape and it’s summer. It’s too late to get in shape. I’ll just stay covered up.” Nonsense. The long days of summer provide a perfect opportunity to begin a new workout program or turn your current fitness regime up a few notches. Summer mornings are great for a run or any physical activity. The key is getting out there and doing something. In no time, you’ll see results. And even if the weather turns cold earlier than usual, you’ll have built a solid foundation and jumpstarted your efforts for staying fit in shape and looking good for the holidays.

4. Read – Most of us are glued to the computer screen or the television. How do we find the time to kick back with a novel? The good news is that summer often harkens a more leisurely pace at work due to vacations and in some industries a slowdown. With a little effort, I’m sure you can find time during the summer to crack open a good book. May I recommend my novel, The Guys' Guy's Guide to Love?

5. Fall in Love – If you ask me, people seem to let down their guard a bit and act friendlier when the weather is pleasant. Take advantage of it and paste a smile on your face, amigo. Once Old Man Winter comes calling, there will be plenty long cold nights where you will not want to bundle up and venture outside, no matter how bored you are. Summer is the perfect time for making new connections. It doesn’t mean you have to get serious, but I met my wife on a sunny day in July and we were in love by the end of the summer. Anything is possible, especially in the summer, but you’ve got to get out there and mix it up to make it happen. There are many other people out there like you looking to make new friends. You’ve got to be in it to win it.

6. Hit the Road – There's no better tonic for the blahs than a spur of the moment road trip. And summer is the perfect time for hitting the highway. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do, just meeting up with your buds with get the sparks flying. Whether it’s camping, hitting a music festival, or checking out a new city, you’ll have the weather on your side all summer. Make the best of it. And if you want to travel somewhere exotic, summer is off-season in the Caribbean so you can score great rates on airfare and lodging.

So next time you hear yourself complaining about the heat, stop and think about the ice, snow, and bitter cold that will be greeting us this winter. So close that laptop, throw on your favorite shorts and a polo shirt, shut that apartment door behind you, and roll.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week are The Beach Boys. Like the Rolling Stones, this American musical institution, also recently marked their fiftieth anniversary with a tour. And their infectious songs celebrate the coolest things about summer like women, surfing, beaches, cars and fun, fun, fun. 

Celebrating the End of Summer

Robert Manni - Friday, September 06, 2013


The media began bemoaning the end of summer on September 1st.

Guess what? It continues for another few weeks. Let’s stay positive and recognize a handful of reasons why September is a great month and fall is a great season, Guy’s Guy style.

Farewell, tourists.

As a fan of the beach and the Jersey Shore, nothing pleases local inhabitants and beachgoers more than the disappearance of what are referred to as “Bennies”, tourists form northern NJ who come down the shore, go crazy and then leave after Labor Day. More parking spaces, no waits at restaurants and fewer drunken dudes from Staten Island pounding shots of bubbleberry vodka all make up the fall dream. The same can be said about the overload of summer tourists in fanny packs clogging our NYC sidewalks. Have a nice day and goodbye.

The weather rocks.

It’s summer for three more weeks, amigos. The beach is empty, the temp's perfect, the water warm and clean and it usually stays this way through October. In the city, the days are spectacular and the nights are no longer hot and humid.

The Women.

In NYC, the women’s fashion parade begins in full swing in September and for a Guy’s Guy, it can be heavenly. Women in NYC have style and go to great lengths putting together cool outfits. Beyond their $400 jeans and designer dresses, Manhattan women have made an art of putting together their hair, shoes, and bags and the results are pleasurable to the eyes of any Guy’s Guy. It’s all in the details, so let's give it up for the ladies.

Sports.

The baseball season is rounding third base and heading for home while at the same time football and the accompanying fantasy football drafts are in full swing, making this the best time of the year for sports. Football has never been so popular and fantasy football has taken the game to a new level of fandemonium. Let’s face it—football is built for television viewing and now is the time to get our fill. And let’s not forget the US Open tennis and the NYC Marathon.

The Arts.

Film, books, television, the Met, the museums, Broadway and even the dreaded DWTS all kick off new seasons at this time of year.

Okay, these are but a few obvious reasons why they we can say “yay” to the end of summer. What I like about September and the new season is that it reminds me how each day is a new beginning filled with new opportunities. If we live in the now and focus on what can be, and tune out the media’s incessant ringing of the doom and gloom alarm, we can savor life as it’s meant to be, one beautiful day at a time.  And then we can watch the holiday sales ads.

Are you saddened over the end of summer or pumped up for the fall?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Sir Thomas More, an old school 16th century Guy’s Guy and the subject of the Oscar-winning “A Man for All Seasons”.    

How to Keep Cool When the Heat is On

Robert Manni - Thursday, July 25, 2013

Whether it’s pressure from your job, family, finances or the weather, when you feel the temperature rise on the back of your neck there are ways get your chill on. This morning I ran the outer loop of Central Park at 7am. It was already sweltering at that early hour following a week of ninety-degree days. As I passed the reservoir on East 96th Street, I began telling myself, “I am cool. I am cool. I am cool.” As crazy as it sounds I began to feel a slight breeze and I felt better. When I returned home, I realized that regardless of the season there are lots of ways we feel the heat, so here is your Guys’ Guy’s mixed bag of nuggets for finding a little shade when you need it.

It starts inside.

We’ve all faced down the hot streets during a July heat wave, but have you ever noticed how some people look like they are going to drop in front of you while others maintain a cool spring in their step? Some of our engines run hotter than others, but your mind can play a major role in keeping a cool under fire. And it can help you on that hot asphalt in Midtown or in the confines of a freezing air-conditioned conference room for a business meeting. If we are mindful that everything is about the now and importance of not taking things too seriously, it makes a difference in your dealings and how people view you. I think we’re all learned that it’s possible to be too passionate about a project. Cooler heads do prevail.

Hydrate.

Studies show that over 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration. Please read that again and let it sink in because most of us are dehydrated and dehydration is the major symptom in the aging process. So, if you like wrinkles and getting old too quickly, by all means, don’t drink water throughout the day. I know it can be tough to keep chugging water, but it’s really important. It will also keep your thoughts a tad cooler.

Learn to sweat.

I feel much better when I’m into a long run or workout and my body explodes in perspiration.  I feel natural, free and alivelike when you take a long drive on an open highway blowing out the carbon in your car’s engine. Everything opens up and all systems are go. And perspiration keeps you cool. Of course it doesn’t look so great when you are melting through your suit on the subway platform, but at least it’s a sign of health. I’m not a huge fan of air conditioning. I prefer to let my body adjust to the heat when possible. And, there are fun ways to sweat indoors. Just remember to draw the curtains. Make sweat your friend. It’s good for ya.

Be mindful of what you drink in hot weather.

Hydration, take two. I love a cold beer or an iced coffee on a summer day, but after a few rounds, I don’t feel that spunky. That’s because alcohol and caffeine are diuretic. Let’s not get too crazy. A tall iced tea or coffee or a few brews are fine, but when it gets excessive, your hydration is impacted and you might get a bit cranky, too.

Movie theaters and malls.

Okay, most summer movies focus on super heroes, zombies or sequels to bad movies. And how many pairs of shorts do you need? That said, damn they keep those stores nice and cool.

Affirmations.

Whether it’s the weather or the pressure of daily life, as mentioned in the introduction, affirmations can work to put that chill on a heated situation. If you believemake that if you know what you are affirming is a done dealyour chances of success skyrocket. For me, the key is making sure that I believe that I deserve whatever I am affirming. It’s about canceling the negative and knowing that things will turn out right. “I am better and better.”

How do you stay cool when your world gets red hot?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Paul Newman for his portrayal of “Cool Hand Luke”, one of the greatest movie characters of the 20th century.


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