Birchbox Man Favorites + Let’s Do This Thing Unboxing

When I ran the New Year’s Day 5k I was sort-of ridiculed about how matchy I was. Gray shoes with highlighter yellow laces and highlights, black tights and shorts, black tee with highlighter yellow design and a highlighter yellow long-sleeved technical shirt under it. My sunglasses were black with yellow/green sides and I even had clips on my earbuds that converted them to over-the-ear fit that were also that awful yellow color. When asked why I didn’t have a toboggan on my response was my running toboggan didn’t match so I didn’t wear it. The rule is, always has been and always will be: Looking good is more important than feeling good.

Now I’ve got the clothes under control and Birchbox Man is there to take care of my face, skin and hair. Thank GOD. Last month’s Birchbox Man was a pretty good one, though inferior to the month before. Either way, my favorite items from last month were:

  • Fantastic Face Wash by Ursa Major.

    I’ve fallen in love with Ursa Major. When I got the face balm in my first box I could tell they were all about quality and last month’s face wash met that standard, too. I depend on a good face wash throughout the week to keep me scrubbed up but not dry afterward and this face wash by Ursa Major did just that and smelled lovely, too.

    Buy It Here

  • 3oz Flask by Izola

    I’m not going to say that this flask was a life saver or anything but it came in handy while visiting family over the Christmas break. I’ve never owned a flask before so this was sort-of exciting from the get-go. I topped it off with some Jim Beam and found that it fit perfectly in the skinny pocket of my camera bag. It also helped keep me in a good mood despite the typical stresses the holidays bring. Maybe that was the JB but we’re just going to say it was the flask so thanks Birchbox Man and thanks Izola!

    Buy It Here


Unfortunately these Birchbox Man boxes can’t last forever but thankfully they send me one every month :-)

This month’s theme is Let’s Do This Thing and is looking to assist us in making our new year happier and healthier. And here’s how they intend to do it:

From left to right

Fuzzy Logic Hair Strengthening Shampoo by Billy Jealousy

Classic Eau de Toilette for Men by CLEAN

First Thing First Scrub by Do The Right Thing (DTRT)

Charcoal Bar Soap by Mt. Sapola

Altos Headphones with Mic by Icon Q

Another favorite from a couple of months ago was the beard wash provided by Billy Jealousy so I’m anxious to try this shampoo by them. I’m also interested to see what these headphones are all about since I’ve been wanting to try some new ones and these were offered as a special addition to my box that I gladly accepted. I’m not familiar with the brand but I’m hoping it’s only because they’re just getting started or something. More to come on that (I hope) as I learn.

Stay clean and remember: looking good is more important than feeling good :-)

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Mantry Unboxing: Bourbon Breakfast + November Favorites

So I missed posting about my favorites from the October Mantry box, GQ: How to Entertain in Style, but looking back, I don’t think it was as much “I forgot” as it was “I wasn’t that impressed.” The salami was good, as most cured meats are, and the chocolate “salami” was as tasty as it was an interesting concept but nothing really hit right-on for me. Thankfully our November Mantry box, Leftovers, was different and I want to share some of the things I enjoyed most:

  • Good News Cashews and Coconut Granola by Hudson Henry Baking, Co.
    Just before starting on this blog post I ate about a handful and a half of this stuff. Something about granola makes me think it’s going to be a terrible snack but if you can look past how messy it can be if you eat it by itself, it’s really not. I paired it this morning with a bit of blueberry Yoplait Light yogurt. The bag it’s delivered in is sizable – probably one of the most impressively large items I’ve had delivered via Mantry, and the flavor it provides is not lacking in either the cashew or coconut categories it draws its name from. Fresh and crunchy, this is some A+ granola!
    Buy it Here

  • Maplewood Smoked Bacon by Broadbent’s
    This was the first thing I tore into upon receipt of the box. The bacon is thick-cut and fries up beautifully. I added nothing to it or the pan aside from some fresh-cracked black pepper and even it wasn’t necessary. Mine and Erin’s tastebuds were assaulted with the strong, salty flavor you’d expect from country ham with a texture that was much thicker and sort-of chewier than your average bacon. There’s very little grease when you fry it up, likely because of how it’s cured, so you feel like you’re getting a nice fatty protein without as much of the fatty part. I enjoyed this bacon so much I ordered some for my parents and for my sister and her husband for Christmas.
    Buy it Here

  • “Ragin’ Rooster” Sriracha Mustard by Green Mountain Mustard
    Last week I made up some hamburgers that were equal parts lean ground beef and breakfast sausage. With a side of hand-cut cheese fries, the burgers didn’t need anything extra to assist with flavor but the addition of this Sriracha Mustard was a wise one. The mustard was a nice flavor compliment to the spice in the sausage while the Sriracha aspect provided a spicier “kick” while also adding a hint of sweetness that you don’t normally find in your average hamburger. We were both big fans of this one!
    Buy it Here

  • Spicy Maple Bourbon Pickles by Brooklyn Brine
    Also going on the aforementioned sausage burger, these Spicy Maple Bourbon Pickles stood well against the strong flavors of the sausage and Sriracha mustard, allowing for an even fuller range of tastes that basically attacked the palate on every front. I’m not a huge pickle-eater but these pickles along with the tiny onions floating around with them brought forth a nice extra bit of spice (but not too much) and a sweetness to the table. Again, not a big pickle eater, but I think these would stand well even on their own, let alone a kick-ass burger.
    Buy it Here

I’m trying to keep up the practice of utilizing my newborn Pinterest account to maintain a list of the Mantry items I’ve reviewed. You can find that board here.


December’s Mantry crate’s theme is Bourbon Breakfast and aims to give us a legit reason to look forward to waking up in the morning, especially during these cold, dark winter mornings most folks are currently experiencing (I say most because it was 53 degrees on the way to the gym at 5:30am here in east Tennessee). So maybe it isn’t as cold here as it is other places and maybe I’m more of a morning person than most but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to enjoy some of these bourbon-infused and inspired breakfast delights in this month’s box! Let’s get going:

Going left to right:
Hazelnut Whiskey Cookies from Whimsy & Spice, Brooklyn, NY
Bacon Spread from Skillet Street Food, Seattle, WA
100% Pure Vermont Maple Syrup from The Syrup Shop, Burlington, VT
Hazelnut Pancake Mix from Freddy Guy Hazelnut Farm, Monmouth, OR
Bourbon Blueberry Jam from Jam Stand, Brooklyn, NY
Spicy Borsellino from La Quercia, Norwalk, IA

Saying I’m excited to get down on some of these breakfast goodies is an understatement. I struck out when I made these Pumpkin Chocolate Chai Protein Shakes from PaleOMG this morning – a little too bitter for my taste and, according to Erin via text message, adding honey doesn’t do it any favors. I do intend to give these another shot on Wednesday, though, and will be adding some things I think will make them taste better (and still keep it Paleo-esque) since serving them in our Butterbeer cups we picked up in Diagon Alley back in October apparently didn’t do the trick on its own!

Fingers crossed for good results from everything and tasty breakfasts!

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Mantry Unboxing: Leftovers

So much gets me down anymore. I’m an extremely blessed, extremely thankful and extremely happy guy but when I dwell on the news of murderous, racist police offers attacking with impunity, I get bummed out. When I think about collegiate athletes raping young women, the news getting out and society at large, especially the local community, are so willing to turn their heads or jump right into victim blaming all in the name of making it to a bowl game, I get pissed. Or professional footballers getting away with domestic abuse while the heads of the league twiddle their thumbs and practically show their female fans they mean nothing to the league but dollar signs. Sometimes at the end of the day I’m left with nothing but pure outrage and a broken heart.

It isn’t healthy to ponder this stuff as often as I sometimes do and so I like to indulge in the few things that do the total opposite for me. One of them being shopping. Another: spinning records in the den. Another: being active. As an early birthday present Erin got me a membership at the local Title Boxing Club and I’m about to jump out of my skin I’m so excited. Also: technology. I recently bought a Raspberry Pi and I’m very excited to begin working with it in the coming weeks. Finally: FOOD. But you all already knew that.

With that reasoning one could argue that my monthly Mantry subscription is, indeed, healthy for me. And I’d support that argument. This month’s theme is Leftovers and is meant to assist in the upgrading of one of a man’s favorite things: Thanksgiving leftovers. The cold turkey in the fridge next to the potatoes. The cranberry sauce chilling out next to the pumpkin pie. While a couple of days ago I mentioned that I have the turkey and the pie, our Thanksgiving is far from traditional and our leftovers were minimal, but that doesn’t mean I won’t make good use of this month’s goodies. Let’s dive in!

box

From left to right:
Maplewood Smoked Bacon from Broadbent’s, Kuttawa, KY
Chili Spice from Oaktown Spice Shop, Oakland, CA
Good News Cashew and Coconut Granola from Hudson Henry Baking Co., Palmyra, VA
Chef’s Cut Turkey Jerky from Chef’s Cut, Naples, FL
“Ragin’ Rooster” Sriracha Mustard from Green Mountain Mustard, Richmond, VT
Spicy Maple Bourbon Pickles from Brooklyn Brine, Brooklyn, NY

The back of the booklet that came with this month’s box illustrates a usage idea that incorporates the “Ragin’ Rooster” Sriracha Mustard, the Spicy Maple Bourbon Pickles, the Maplewood Smoked Bacon, what appears to be avocado and “leftover” cranberry sauce and turkey on two slices of thick bread all coming together to form the Ultimate Thanksgiving Club Sandwich. It looks heavenly. If I buy the items to make this sandwich is it cheating since I’m not using true leftovers? I guess no one has to know.

Except you, faithful few blog readers. You’ll probably know.

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