Valentine’s Came Early: Grave Before Shave Bundle

My lovely wife, bless her heart, admitted to me this week that she sucks at waiting when she has a gift for me. Personally, I enjoy holding gifts for her right up until the day the gift is intended for (if it’s a special occasion gift), but she, on the other hand, apparently cannot do that. Being a person that isn’t into “tradition” enough for it to bother me to get gifts on any day other than the special day it was intended for, I’m happy to accept these gifts that are burning holes in her hiding places.

While Valentine’s Day 2015 is still a few days away, Erin couldn’t stand it anymore and dropped her Valentine’s Day gift on me early (Monday, actually). And since it falls into a category I regularly blog about, I felt it was only appropriate to show it off here.

GBS_

Fisticuffs Mustache Wax seems to have it figured out when it comes to marketing toward bearded guys in a time when beards are “in”, the Lumbersexual is the trendsetter and guys like me have gentlemen such as Ricki Fuckin’ Hall, Chris John Millington, Levi Stocke, and Billy Huxley as style role models. It’s a great time to have a beard and an even better time to be shallow about it.

And make no mistake – I’m very shallow about mine. I’m not trying to make some kind of statement with my beard other than “I think guys with beards and tattoos look amazing”. Just like my tattoos, my beard is very much a vanity thing and I have no problems admitting it.

So Fisticuffs is there for the bearded population, shallow or not, with their selection of beard oils, mustache waxes, pomades, soaps, and balms. On the surface you’ll find artwork and packaging that are made to appeal to “that” demographic with its classic tattoo inspired designs and descriptions that boast of natural ingredients, pleasant aromas, and the most important thing: functionality. Thankfully they offer a nice variety of bundled packages for those that want to give their products a shot, and that’s what Erin has had in her gift hiding place.

Everything

From left to right:

  • Grave Before Shave Viking Blend Beard Oil
  • Grave Before Shave Bay Rum Beard Oil
  • Grandpa’s Famous Pine Tar Wonder Soap
  • Switchblade Comb

I’m looking for beard care products that are not only marketed toward me but also do what they’re supposed to do functionality-wise. So they’re definitely products aimed at my demographic but do they work?

While I’ve only had them for two days I have to say that thus far: YES. I’ve used the Viking Blend beard oil twice already and feel like it’s a quality product. It immediately gave my beard a refreshing look and feel – no longer so dried out and frizzy. The smell is lovely, too, with what can only be described as a combination of peppermint and Earth. My beard and the skin it grows on has felt hydrated and soft without being greasy. I also washed up with the Pine Tar Wonder Soap this morning and can already begin singing high praises for it, too. While it’s as refreshing as a bar of soap can be, what wins me over with it is its aroma. The soap proudly proclaiming to have a vegetable base is said to not contain any added colors or aromas leaving you with nothing but moisturizing naturalness that smells like dirt but in the most glorious way possible. I kinda just wanted to stay in the shower once I was engulfed in the cloud of steamy soil.

Kind of odd ways to describe items you actually like but like Ricki Fuckin’ Hall once said, (paraphrasing) a man should look like he smells like booze and cigarettes. Personally I think this is true but in addition should also actually smell like he’s been chopping wood and field dressing an elk or something.

I don’t hunt elk, chop wood or smoke cigarettes and I drink rather little these days but that’s not important. What’s important is if you have a beard, rock it, and if you make beard-care products they’d better be as cool, and functional, as the Grave Before Shave line from Fisticuffs!

oils

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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: GQ How To Entertain In Style

<gripe>

Let’s get something straight: If you’re going to use the #foodporn tag, your food had better be pornographic in some way. Gratuitous – maybe even exploitative. I hate scrolling through my Instagram feed and seeing people heating up jarred tomato sauce and pouring it over some chicken that was pre-breaded and frozen situated on an ugly plate and captured forever on a digital camera with the flash on. I felt like it was my job to make up for such a disservice to the #foodporn community by making my own chicken parmesan recently. I texted a friend Boys bake pre-breaded, frozen chicken and call it chicken parmesan. Men bread their own fresh chicken but not before they stuff that shit with mozzarella and chorizo. You just received a text from a man. And it was true and it was tasty.

But I didn’t take a photo, therefore no #foodporn, therefore I didn’t do my part to cancel out some other dude’s culinary laziness. I am a bad food pornographer.

</gripe>

Last month I got my first crate from Mantry, a monthly box-subscription service that delivers artisan tasties from all over the country to your front door. As you could probably tell from my review post Mantry aren’t messing around when it comes to bringing you food lovelies that are top of the line and not packed with typical grocery BS.

Last month’s box had a Euro Trip theme and featured food inspired by a true European culinary experience. For this month’s theme, Mantry have teamed up with GQ as part of #GQHowToMonth and put together some foodie staples meant to wow your guests. Erin and I rarely ever entertain so for the most part we’re wowing ourselves but at least the delights are classy. I can dig it.

Let’s get into this months box:

From left to right:
Chipotle Lime Peanuts from Bee’s Knees Food Co., Chicago, IL
Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned from Bittermilk, Charleston, SC
Raw Honeycomb from Savannah Bee Co., Savannah, GA
FDA Chocolate Salami from Dude, Sweet Chocolate, Dallas, TX
Whiskey Salami from Creminelli, Salt Lake City, UT
Porter Crackers from Beer Flats, Cincinnati, OH

As usual, I plan on reviewing these items as they’re prepared and start hitting my belly. I’m very excited about getting down on the whiskey salami and chocolate “salami”. We’ve already snuck a bite of the crackers and I’m looking forward to utilizing the honeycomb and the bitters because I’m a big fan of a classic Old Fashioned but I sometimes hate ordering them when I go out because I’ve heard some (lazy) bartenders complain about the few steps that are involved. Heck, maybe I’ll complain, too, after making one or two at home, who knows?

While I’m merely a home cook that just knows a little bit of something about food, I can still certainly appreciate the experiences provided by a nice culinary adventure whether it be trying a new restaurant, cooking a new food, or simply being surprised by the contents of the monthly Mantry crate and the enjoyment and inspiration it provides. It wouldn’t hurt if you did some of the same – you might even learn something!

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