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Leadership Institute: Capitol Hill Staff Training

The Leadership Institute goes above and beyond when it comes to investing in the future of conseravtives living in DC. I attended several programs after arriving in the city in early 2017. I finally received the opportunity to pay it forward by presenting to 80 people for an hour at their two-day...

ALEC SNPS 2022 – Article V Convention Workshop

Posted on Feb 4, 2020 and hosted at The Modest ManOn November 30, 2022, I had the privledge of sitting in for my boss, Senator Braun on a panel with former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and former U.S. Comptroller General, David Walker at the American Legislative Exchange Council's...

ENEMY Eyewear Review: Premium or Overhyped?

In this review, I take a look at two pairs of sunglasses by the emerging brand, Enemy Eyewear.  I’ll admit, I didn’t wear sunglasses for most of my life. As a child of the 90s, everybody was about ‘The Blue Blocker’ sunglasses advertised on TV. My dad picked up whatever was at the local...

Leadership Institute: Capitol Hill Staff Training

The Leadership Institute goes above and beyond when it comes to investing in the future of conseravtives living in DC. I attended several programs after arriving in the city in early 2017. I finally received the opportunity to pay it forward by presenting to 80 people for an hour at their two-day Capitol Hill Staff Training event. My presentation was focused on the ‘street smarts’ of 1. How to get to the Hill. 2. What to do when you get there and 3. How to move up or move on. I received several questions afterwards and this was one of. mymore enjoyable back and forth public speaking opportunities.  

ALEC SNPS 2022 – Article V Convention Workshop

Posted on Feb 4, 2020 and hosted at The Modest Man

On November 30, 2022, I had the privledge of sitting in for my boss, Senator Braun on a panel with former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and former U.S. Comptroller General, David Walker at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) State and Nation Policy Summit (SNPS) in Washington, DC. We discussed issues related to our nation’s dire fiscal situation and how to put it back on track. I shared the work Senator Braun had done on the Budget Committee and is efforts in taking on deficit and the national debt. The conversation put us on a path to pursuing an Article V Convention of the States to propose a Balanced Budget Amendment.

ENEMY Eyewear Review: Premium or Overhyped?

In this review, I take a look at two pairs of sunglasses by the emerging brand, Enemy Eyewear

Enemy Eyewear Review

I’ll admit, I didn’t wear sunglasses for most of my life. As a child of the 90s, everybody was about ‘The Blue Blocker’ sunglasses advertised on TV. My dad picked up whatever was at the local gas station on our way out to various hunting and fishing trips — we must have had several pairs.

Following several professional athletes during high school, I got hooked on the idea that Oakley was the top dog in this space.

While in Florida for a school trip in 1999, I spent over $100 on a pair of Oakley sports frames, which was a TON of money for a blue-collar kid, and it took me forever to save for those things. Needless to say, I never told dad about this status-oriented expenditure and hid my newly prized possession from him indefinitely.

Fast forward, and I’ve been in the menswear space since 2009. As I learned more about brands, I easily defaulted to the Ray-Ban camp. Their styles were classic, and given the shape of my face and complexion, I found them to be the go-to play. 

I’ve long been a fan of both the Clubmaster as well as the New Wayfarers. With that being said, in this review, I decided to pick the two frames from Enemy Shades that I thought would follow this same theme: Enemy 1 Wayfarers and the Enemy 2 Clubmasters, both in Tortoise with Gradient Lenses.

Given my long and narrow bridge, I decided to pass on reviewing the Enemy 3 Aviators. I also skipped over the Enemy 4 oversized box frames since I’m more of a traditionalist in this space. 

Table of Contents

ENEMY SUNGLASSES: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

When I opened the Enemy box, I was immediately impressed by the packaging, a very solid and durable box that would probably support my weight. I  doubt these glasses could get broken during shipping!

Enemy sunglasses gradient lens

Inside, the glasses came in a beautiful black hard case, a soft travel sleeve, and a cleaning cloth. As a guy with a long and narrow bridge, there are few sunglasses I like, but soon as I put these on, I knew it was going to work out. 

DESIGN & MATERIALS

Enemy Eyewear has four styles with 3-4 different models with different lenses and the option of silver or gold details. This is an expansion from their original release in which they had two styles for each of their three models or a total of 6 options.

The shades I picked up included the gradient lenses, but they also offer a blackout option. Unlike similar websites I’ve visited, on Enemy.com it is easy to navigate and find what you are looking for. 

Enemy eyewear gradient lens

Upon first inspection, I was impressed by the quality of both the lenses and frames. The frames are made out of a plant-based acetate that comes from Italy. The lenses are made by Zeiss Optics and have 100% UV protection.

All of the hardware is stainless steel as well, no cheap stuff rusting after a splash in the pool. I’m not going to go into a long sermon here, but basically, they didn’t cut any corners regarding the manufacturing aspect of these guys.

While size doesn’t tell you everything per se, given the uniqueness of all of our heads and faces, I’m 5-7, 165lbs, and about 18% body fat at the time of these pictures. In the Enemy 1 Wayfarer, I selected the standard size 52-19. In the Enemy 2, I picked the standard 51-18.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT ENEMY SUNGLASSES

One of the things about Enemy Shades is the price point is a tremendous value. At under $100 a pair, I can’t think of another brand I have tried on at the mall without this level of style and durability.

By far, my favorite thing about both pairs is the gradient lenses. They allow me to ride my bike to work here in DC while keeping the sun out of my eyes.

The lower part of the lenses is clear, making it easy to read while outside. Personally, I always choose function over fashion and the gradient lenses offer the best of both worlds.

Enemy eyewear style

Oh, did I also mention they come with a six-month warranty?

Lastly, I like that the lenses are taller than some other brands. As a guy with a high bridge, this really helps the glasses to look more balanced on my face. 

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Quite frankly, this is nitpicking and mere personal preference. The hardshell case is a bit big, and unless you’re stuffing these guys in a suitcase for a long trip, the case is a bit much. 

In addition, the cloth sleeve merely offers scratch protection. I strongly recommend picking up their Slim Black Sunglasses Case. It’s low profile and somewhat soft, but it provides the best of both worlds. I tend to use this case a lot on trips, both short and long.

The second critique is more about the selection. Enemy sunglasses only come in two sizes. I guess they prefer to do a few models well instead of several styles poorly. If you are very picky about the width and length of your frames, Enemy might not have exactly the size you’re looking for. 

OVERALL RECOMMENDATION

I foresee Enemy Eyewear carving out a special niche in the sunglasses world. While limited in selection, they offer a quality pair at a fair price. I consider that to be one of the ‘best bangs for your buck’ in the industry.

Also, seeing how the brand started with fewer styles in the beginning, I would keep an eye on this company and look for more products as time goes on.

I’m a big proponent of practicing what you preach, so with that being said, if you see me around the DC area or on the social media channels, I can guarantee you’ll only see me in Enemy Shades.

Five days and 450 miles to Washington D.C. — a bicycle odyssey without politics jamming their gears

Reposted from Chicago Tribune, June 7, 2022

Five days, 450 miles, on bicycles, from Alliance, Ohio, to Washington, D.C.

“No politics for a week was nice,” Robert Ordway said after completing the multi-state odyssey.
This is quite a confession for Ordway, a 37-year-old Northwest Indiana native who works as a policy advisor for U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Indiana) in Washington, D.C.

“It was the best part,” said Ordway, who normally peddles politics without breaking a sweat.

He made the daring bike trek with three friends, Ben Hobbs, Andrew Cooper, and Brady Howell, who designed a 100-mile custom route from Alliance to Pittsburgh, through the Appalachia region. Ordway described that first-day stretch as “brutal.” From there, they took the Great Allegheny Passage to Cumberland, Maryland, where they jumped onto the C&O Canal Towpath all the way to D.C.

Why? Because they could.

“We didn’t train at all for this,” Ordway said. “However, my quads were sore for seven days straight after the fact.”

The four men documented their trek with hundreds of remarkable photos and videos, illustrating their determination, stamina, and adventurous spirit. They pedaled through water, over hills, around national landmarks, and into the lives of everyday Americans who reminded them that, despite our political differences, we are united states of
friendliness.

“We talked to locals and got a real good sense for other parts of the country,” Ordway told me.

He moved to D.C. five years ago to continue his sprawling political ambitions after growing up in an 864-square-foot house in Lake Station, raised in a conservative Democrat, union-supporting, working-class family.

“While I didn’t have much growing up, my parents instilled the values — hard work, discipline and patience — that are needed to reach the American dream,” the River Forest High School graduate told me 10 years ago for a column regarding the Republican National Convention.

Because he now works for a Republican lawmaker from Indiana, Ordway is still legally a Valparaiso resident though he lives in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington D.C.
He credits the pandemic for the rediscovery of his passion for cycling.

“When COVID popped, I used my stimulus check to buy my first $1,000 bike. The rest is history,” Ordway said.

His cycling history isn’t so simple, or painless.

Like many kids in the 1990s, Ordway was a BMXer who pretty much lived on his bicycles. They were part of his identity. And then, at 16, he got his driver’s license, followed by his first girlfriend. His forgotten bike started dating cobwebs.

After relocating to D.C. in 2017, Ordway sold his car and began bicycling again in the bike-friendly public areas of our nation’s capital. Unfortunately he was in two bike accidents, ending up in his first stitches and traumatic brain injuries.

It didn’t deter him.

Last fall, Ordway finished the Seagull Century 100-mile race in Maryland. Since then, he began thinking about a bike-packing trip, prompted by memories of camping with his late father, who died when Ordway was a teenager.

After their recent 450-mile bike-packing trip, Ordway and his friends are submitting their unique route to
Bikepacking.com, a popular website warehouse for enthusiasts.

“It’s about venturing further into places less traveled, both near and far, via singletrack trails, gravel, and forgotten dirt roads, carrying the essential gear, and not much more,” the website states. “Simply put, bikepacking is the synthesis of all-terrain cycling and self-supported backpacking. It evokes the freedom of multi-day backcountry hiking and travel off the beaten path, but with the range and thrill of riding a nimble bicycle.”

Ordway’s bike-packing journey also included the consumption of four pounds of gummy bears, which aren’t noted on that website.

“Since the heart rate is elevated for extended periods of time, simple sugars like gummy bears are key to keep moving,” he explained.

“The key takeaway is that cycling is very different than running, and one does not need to be in great shape to go long distances due to the mechanical advantage of being able to change gears,” he added.

He and his biking buds changed a lot of gears on their trek, mostly along dirt, gravel, fields, and wooded mountains, without many paved roads to make it easier.

“The Pittsburgh GAP to D.C. is a common easy-to-ride route, but a friend wanted bragging rights to say he rode to D.C. from his home, so we started another 100 miles out from his Ohio farm,” Ordway said, noting they camped outdoors and stayed in hotels.

For anyone who’s interested in making a similar multi-state cycling trip, the four men suggest first designing a planned route, including where to stay, when to eat, and what to do if things go sideways.

Judging by the hundreds of photos they shared with me, they seemed to bike sideways at times to get through tunnels, creeks, and floods. (View more photos on my Facebook page.)

I asked Ordway if he plans on ever returning to Northwest Indiana.
“I will move home when I can bike it,” he replied.

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