4 underrated romantic destinations you need to take a loved one to


Traveling can be one of the most romantic things you can do with a loved one. It can also be a real test of your relationship – after all, if you can still love someone when you’re both jetlagged, a bit haggard from the journey, someone has forgotten something important, and someone else refuses to ask for directions, you might just be in it for the long haul! Instead of just taking your beau to somewhere cliche like Paris, why not check out one of these underrated romantic destinations instead.

Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

With stunning turquoise waters, untouched white sand, and beautiful coral reefs, Zanzibar is an intimate haven, perfect for a romantic couple. For a bit of adventure, why not go snorkeling or diving, and be sure to enjoy some local food from the Darajani market. If you are animal lovers, be sure to check out Changuu to see some absolutely enormous tortoises, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, and, of course, head out on a safari. There is just so much to see and do in Zanzibar; it’s a beautiful romantic destination.

Photo: Unsplash

The Azores, Portugal

Some of the views in the Azores have to be seen to be believed and experiencing a sunset on one of these nine islands is one of the most romantic things we can imagine! Take a romantic bike ride with your love to experience the stunning views, and cool off afterward at the hot spring in Ponta da Ferraria. Be sure to head to São Miguel to see if you can spot any whales or dolphins too. This is a romantic trip full of activities and adventure and certainly one to remember for years to come.

Puglia, Italy

The unimaginative among you may book a break to Venice or Rome for a romantic Italian trip, but if you want something a bit different and underrated, Puglia is the place to go. You still get to experience the important parts of Italy, such as delicious food, fantastic culture, breathtaking scenery, and passionate locals, but you can also explore the Gargano National Park which is full of rare and beautiful flora and fauna. Alternatively, get active together and climb the summit trail of Gargano mountain.

Photo: Unsplash

Puerto Rico

Right in the middle of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico has a lot to offer a couple, whether you want to soak up some history and culture, relax by the beach, or get active. El Yunque National Forest is worth a visit as it is the only tropical rainforest that is part of the National US Forest System and home to bats, birds, lizards, and tree frogs. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could go spelunking at the Rio Camuy Caves, or a night kayak tour to experience the Bioluminescent Mosquito Bar for some fantastic stories to take home and share!

So, either book a surprise trip for you and your other half or print this out and leave it somewhere to drop a hint… Who needs Paris, anyway?

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Brown: The Most Underrated Color in Menswear

Seen widely in nature; in everything from soil to wood, animals to human hair, eyes, and skin, brown is a color that naturally evokes rustic settings and connotations. This can promote a homey or cozy feel but it can also sometimes be seen as plain or common. Today, we’re going to do a deep dive on the color brown and discuss why we think it deserves more credit and more attention from men who are seeking to assemble stylish outfits.

Tussah Silk in Brown
Tussah Silk in Brown

History Of Brown

The word has its origins in the old English word brun meaning any dark or dusky shade of color. The first recorded use of this word, at least in writing, was in about the year 1000 CE. The current meaning developed in Middle English throughout the 14th century. Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, the words in other languages for brown are often sourced from brown foods. Commonly, things like coffee or chocolate. Brown has also been used in art since prehistoric times.

cave painting in Lascaux France
Cave painting in Lascaux, France

Speaking in terms of color theory, brown is a composite color made by mixing together red, yellow, and black, or by mixing complementary colors such as blue and orange or red and green. Paintings using a natural clay pigment called umber have been dated to as early as 40,000 BCE. Take for example, the famous cave paintings located in Lascaux, France and the ancient Greeks and Romans produced a reddish-brown ink in a color they called sepia that was sourced from the ink of cuttlefish. It was used commonly by them and can still be found in some art applications even today.

Franciscan Monks Procession
Franciscan Monks Procession

Let’s turn now specifically to brown clothing though sticking with the ancient Romans, first of all. In ancient Rome, brown was associated with the lower classes or the poor. In fact, the term for the plebeians or the urban poor was Pullati, literally meaning “those dressed in brown”. Similarly, monks of the Franciscan Order wore brown robes in the Middle Ages as symbolism for their humility and poverty. For example, Friar Tuck in the Robin Hood myth is often depicted wearing a brown robe and as decreed in a statute put out in 1363, poor English people were required to wear garments made of russet which was a coarse fabric that was often dyed to be a gray brownish shade.

Brown was the color of military uniforms
Brown was the color of military uniforms

All the way through the 19th century, the color brown did retain this connotation of being associated with the lower classes or with workwear. Think for example of the old phrase “No brown in town”, speaking of that phrase though, you don’t have to adhere to it anymore. Also, brown has been a popular color for military uniforms since the late 18th century because of its low cost to produce and it’s good use as camouflage in a wide variety of settings. Examples would include the khaki colored uniforms of the corps of guides in British India in the 1840s, the US military from the Spanish-American war onward, and the German forces in world war II.

Over the course of the 20th century and up to the present day, brown has shed some of its more negative connotations and developed a more positive reputation being associated with things that are natural, healthy, and hearty, and while recent surveys in the United States and Europe indicate that few people list brown as their favorite color, it’s unassuming dependability makes it one of the staples of any true gentleman’s wardrobe.

How To Wear Brown

The simple answer is relatively easily and across a wide spectrum of outfits in the overall scale of formality. With the only real exceptions being black tie and white tie. Brown and its various shades serve as one of the core foundational base colors in any man’s formal wardrobe along with shades of gray and shades of blue. In other words, brown works to ground an outfit complementing various other colors and counterbalancing any particularly bright hues you may be wearing elsewhere.

Brown & Blue

In particular, brown plays nicely with one of the other base colors we mentioned, blue. First of all, orange and blue are opposite of one another on the color wheel, an example of complementary colors. Because brown very often has orange tones in it, it works to complement blue in a similar fashion and secondly, because both brown and blue come in a wide variety of shades, it should be easy for any man to find shades of each color that work well for him.

Gray and brown combination with Fort Belvedere accessories
Gray and brown combination with Fort Belvedere accessories

Brown & Gray

Similarly to how brown pairs well with blue, it can also be paired with the other foundational base color, gray. While it’s a little bit less conventional to pair these two colors together, just make sure that your garments are harmonizing in terms of both formality and seasonality and you’ll be good to go. As an example, some gray flannel trousers paired with a tweed sport coat featuring brown tones would be good base pieces for a winter ensemble.

Denim shirt with green jacket and brown tie
A denim shirt worn with a green jacket and brown tie with blue polka dots

Brown & Green

One more color with which brown pairs especially well is green. This is likely due to how often you’ll see both of these colors pairing together in nature.

Brown In Different Levels Of Formality

Smart Casual

Classic Khaki Pants
Classic Khaki Pants

Khakis, of course, are a staple of any smart casual wardrobe as are any similarly colored chinos. And while brown shirts are a bit less common, brown sweaters in various shades and styles are also seen a lot in smart casual ensembles.

SRS in a brown turtleneck sweater
Sven Raphael Schneider wearing a brown lambswool turtleneck sweater from Uniqlo

Moving up to business casual, brown is also a great color for more rustic jackets in fabrics and patterns like wool, tweed, houndstooth, and herringbone. Meanwhile, a shade called tobacco brown is often seen in linen and other lightweight fabrics particularly for summer wear. Also, having a few pairs of medium brown slacks will similarly open up several doors for you in terms of more versatile outfits.

charcoal brown suit
charcoal brown suit

Business Attire

And of course, brown is even making an entry into more formal business settings with things like darker charcoal brown suits such as the one I’m wearing in today’s video and of course, brown accessories abound for all of these different levels of formality. As an example, a brown knit tie or one in grenadine would be smart pieces to have in your wardrobe.

British warm overcoat paired with cognac colored gloves from Fort Belvedere
Sven Raphael Winter wear in shades of brown

Outerwear

Also, brown outerwear including hats, gloves, and overcoats is a great way to stand out in a sea of black and gray. As a personal example, I get a great deal of use out of both my camel hair overcoat and my mustard brown short brim fedora.

Brown - Dark Brown Two Tone Saddle Blucher by Shoepassion Model 535
Brown – Dark Brown Two Tone Saddle Blucher by Shoepassion Model 535

Footwear

Oxfords, derbys, loafers, and monk straps are all available in various shades of brown leather, some with red tones as well, and suede can be another good option which you’ll also find in brown.

CONCLUSION

As you can see then, brown is something of an unsung hero in the world of menswear. Almost always present but doing the dependable work of grounding other more flashy colors. Still, we hope that this overview of brown’s versatility will encourage you to give it more thought when assembling your outfits.

Speaking of which, what’s your favorite way to wear and pair brown? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The most underrated places to visit in America

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Everyone has heard of New York and Los Angeles, so it’s little surprise they are big tourist hotspots. America is one of the most-visited countries in the world, and not everyone wants to see the major attractions. We’ve found some of the most underrated places to visit in the USA that are sure to satisfy both native and foreign tourists. Want a real taste of America? Check these places out.

Glacier National Park – Montana

Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon are the most popular national parks in America, but there are plenty more that offer as much if not more. Glacier National Park divides America and Canada and is one of the most scenic landscapes you could ever be in. The views rival Switzerland and those who love to hike can really explore the land with their own two feet. There are over 700 miles of trails for hikers to trek across and to give you that Swiss feeling there are a bunch of cabins you can stay in too!

San Antonio – Texas

San Antonio is home to the legendary story of the Alamo. It is where 200 brave Texans held off Mexican troops in a standoff for 13 days. You can visit the site where the battle took place, and some of the oldest architecture found anywhere in the USA, with buildings that date back to the 18th century. If you feel like taking a stroll, you can amble alongside the San Antonio Riverwalk, famed for its views and restaurants.

Chicago – Illinois

Yeah Chicago is one of America’s biggest cities, but people always overlook it for New York or LA. Those are great cities, but Chicago has a vibrancy about it that is hard to find elsewhere. There are a million and one great places to eat, and it’s home to the deep dish pizza. Trying one of these pies will change your life, and the way you look at pizza forever. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a minute, you can take a stroll to the beach on Lake Michigan. There is no shortage of culture here either, and Chicago has some of the best museums and galleries in the world.

Devil’s Tower – Wyoming

Devil’s Tower is a giant rock formation jutting out high into the sky. It looks like something from another planet. Devil’s Tower was the setting of the sci-fi movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and it’s something you’re unlikely to forget if you visit. Every night there are screenings of the iconic film in the shadow of the famous rock formation. If you’re on a road trip, then this is a great place to camp. It’s far enough off the beaten track that the campsites always have a spot, but not so far that you’re driving for hours to get there.

America is a huge place, and there are more places to explore than the ones everyone goes to. These are the most underrated places most people forget to visit when traveling in America.

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Brussels: Why you should visit this underrated city

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Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is located in Belgium’s northern center. Belgium borders the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and France. A well-known fact about Brussels is that this is where the European Parliament is based. Apart from that, it’s a beautiful city and ideal for a European weekend vacation or even a longer trip. The journey from London to Brussels doesn’t take much longer than one hour.

When listing the major cities in Europe, such as London, England, Paris, France, and Berlin, Germany, Brussels doesn’t seem to be mentioned. However, we’re here to tell you that Brussels is severely underrated, and you should definitely check out this great city. Here’s why.

1. European Parliament

We’ve already mentioned the European Parliament, and the actual building where it all happens is quite an outstanding piece of architecture. It can be a fun day out for kids and adults alike, just to go there and experience what’s happening. Children even have the opportunity to take part in games where they can pretend to be politicians.

2. Brussels Town Square

This is something quite unique to Brussels, and is located in the center of the city. You will find the Town Hall alongside other lavish buildings. This former market area is a popular meeting point for tourists, and in 2010 it beat Russia’s Red Square as the world’s most attractive square.

3. History lovers

Brussels is steeped in history, and is the site of Napoléon Bonaparte’s last stand, which took place not far from Waterloo. Visiting this site, you will come across all kinds of museums and exhibitions. It’s also well worth catching up on a bit of history – if you’re not familiar with this battle zone – to really understand what went on many years ago.

4. The food

The people of Brussels have high standards when it comes to food, and this is reflected by the excellent food prepared in restaurants. Brussels is a great destination for those who enjoy a good meal and getting to know global cuisine, and there is a huge selection of renowned restaurants to check out.

5. Other delicacies

Whilst on the subject of food, Belgium is well known as one of the best places for chocolate in the world. Chocolate lovers simply have to taste Belgian delicacies – they bring this delicious treat to a whole new level. And don’t forget to taste Belgian waffles and frites while you’re at it!

Brussels has a bit of everything for everyone. Even though many people skip this city when they’re traveling through Europe, we think you should put it right at the top of your list of destinations. There’s so much to see and do here, and it makes for a great vacation spot no matter what your preferences or budget are. If you make the trip, you won’t regret it.

It really is time for this underrated major city to step out from the shadows and compete with other big cities like Paris, Berlin, London, and Rome. Brussels has wonderful attractions, great food, and fascinating history.

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5 Underrated Mecha Anime You Should Check Out

Thanks to groundbreaking shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion (EVA) and Gundam, the mecha genre successfully crossed over to the West. These series opened doors, making way for many new robot-focused anime — perhaps, too many. With such an oversaturated pool to draw from, it’s no wonder anime fans overlooked a few great titles. So we found several hidden gems for you to enjoy. Here are five underrated mecha anime you should check out.

Argento Soma


underrated mecha anime Argento Soma

In the future, a mysterious race of aliens invades Earth. To better understand these creatures, Dr. Noguchi and his assistants, Maki Agata and Takuto Kaneshiro, try to revive a giant metal-being named Frank. But during the process, Frank unexpectedly comes to life and escapes to the wilderness — but not without killing the doctor and Agata, leaving Takuto as the sole survivor.

Soon after the incident, the military organization ‘Funeral’ takes the biomechanical creature into their custody. Meanwhile, Takuto wakes up in a hospital.  With his face disfigured and his girlfriend, Agata, dead, Takuto appears to have lost it all. That is until a mysterious man offers Takuto a new identity as a Funeral officer, and his plan for revenge is set in motion.

While EVA opened a lot of doors for Japanese animation, it also cast a large shadow on mecha series, especially those involving a distressed young male protagonist in a mecha suit. Fortunately, Argento Soma sets itself apart by not heavily drawing from EVA. Instead, the underrated series focuses on telling an extraordinary tale about human interactions and relationships — with a few creative twists to keep things interesting.

Bokurano


underrated mecha anime Bokurano

One of the most popular underrated mecha anime is, undoubtedly, Bokurano. Countless anime fans believe the series deserves the top spot on many mecha anime watchlists. But for some reason it never does.

Bokurano follows a group of children who discover a cave full of computers and electronic equipment. A mysterious man named Kokopelli then makes them an unusual offer — to take part in a game where they’ll defend the Earth from evil aliens. The children accept the challenge without hesitation. But soon come to regret their decision when the game gets a little too real for them.

Like many other shows on this list, Bokurano suffers the fate of being too similar to EVA. But despite the many parallels, Bokurano goes a bit deeper when it comes to playing with the emotions of its young protagonists. It’s a fantastic psychological horror that keeps you entertained until the final second. You should definitely check out this hidden gem right now.

Galaxy Express 999


underrated mecha anime Galaxy Express 999

In the future, humanity swaps their organic bodies for mechanical ones in order to live forever. But immortality is an expense not everyone can afford. Enter Tetsuro Hoshino, a poor little boy who hopes to purchase a ticket for the Galaxy Express 999, a train that travels throughout the universe. A the end of the line, those aboard the train each get a mechanical body for free. But his hopes are dashed when machine-man hybrid Count Mecha kills Tetsuro’s mother.

A mysterious tall woman steps in and saves the young boy from certain death. Surprisingly, she offers Tetsuro a Galaxy Express ticket under the condition that they travel together. So begins Tetsuro’s journey through the stars to obtain a mechanical body.

Galaxy Express 999 has many sequels, but they sadly weren’t easily accessible to fans outside of Japan. The mecha series lost popularity over the decades and eventually fell into obscurity. Now, with shows like Darling in the Franxx dominating the airwaves, it’s even more difficult for hidden gems like this one to stand out.

Zegapain


underrated mecha anime Zegapain

Kyo Sogoru is trying his hardest to keep his swimming club alive, but there’s one problem — he’s the only member. To drive membership up, Kyo asks his friend Ryoko to shoot a recruitment video starring the beautiful Shizuno Misaki. Misaki agrees to do the role, but only if Kyo pilots a mecha unit.

Unknowingly, Kyo gets dragged into two different worlds: one where’s he’s a normal student and another where humans and aliens are at war with each other. What’s even weirder is Kyo gets the feeling he’s done this before. The more the young man fights, the more he uncovers about his life. But will the truth set Kyo free or destroy him?

Despite its unusual title, Zegapain contains the usual mecha tropes about reality, psychology, and, of course, aliens. But it also adds various plot twists to keep you intrigued throughout. So, if you’re interested in a bit of mystery, giant robots, and a young man trying to figure things out; then give this underappreciated series a try.

Fafner in the Azure


underrated mecha anime Fafner in the Azure

In the middle of the Japanese archipelago lies the island of Tatsumiyajima. Every day is the same on Tatsumiyajima, with the island’s children believing that their life will forever remain peaceful and undisturbed. Or so they’ve been taught. The reality is actually much different. Humanity is on the brink of extinction, and Tatsumiyajima serves as the last line of defence against a race of aliens called Festum. When a Festum discovers the island, the children band together to fight these hostile aliens with giant mecha units called Fafner.

Like the other shows on this list, Fafner in the Azure is a fantastic series that sadly gets overlooked in favor of mainstream mecha anime. The original anime borrowed too many elements from classic shows such as EVA and Gundam, which made it impossible for Fafner in the Azure to distinguish itself as a proper mecha series. Even so, the anime has some awesome-looking robots and amazing visuals thanks to the great work of studio Xebec (Break Blade and Heroic Age).

5 Mecha Anime That Will Make You Fall in Love With the Genre

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