Archive - February 2015

1
Time for Some New Shoes: Get Your Kicks!
2
Your Signature Drink
3
Hey… Do you want to feel better? Tips for Healthy Living
4
Fix your face!
5
Refrigerator Oatmeal
6
Your New Happy Hour Shirt
7
Divorced Dads: It’s time to get your swagger back
8
Do shoes make the man? Heck, yes!
9
The $100 Freaking Four-Foot “Hunka Love” Teddy Bear
10
Homemade Energy Bars

Time for Some New Shoes: Get Your Kicks!

cool shoe

You should buy these shoes

It’s Friday.. and that means it is time to get your fashion fix.  At the risk of seeming like I have a foot fetish, let’s grab a pair of shoes,  I’m thinking these Bostonian Men’s Pavillion Oxford are the perfect fit.

Three Tips for Buying Shoes

TIP NUMBER ONE:  Stay on a budget but don’t be dumb about it

Shoes are not a place to go total bottom dollar.  You can get some shoes that look awesome on the sale rack at Marshall’s only to have sore feet and a bill for new shoes in a few months.  Find a brand name you have heard of, a brand name of a company that actually MAKES SHOES.  I saw some Van Heusen shoes that looked nice, but they probably don’t even make them.  Even worse, shoes made by Apt 9?  That sounds more like a place you would see the Law And Order team searching for the murderer!  You are going to wear them a lot so be frugal but be savvy.  The shoes I have listed above are ones I just ordered.  About $80.00 fetched me some Bostonian Oxfords.  This is a brand that has a great reputation and I have bought them many times in the past.

TIP NUMBER TWO:  Get a versatile shoe

If you’re on a budget and need to buy things like food, Internet, and green fees make sure one shoe can do the work of two.  You have already bought a better quality shoe so you should get greater wear.  This shoe will look great with your Khakis at work and will dress up your cool jeans after work.  There are different shades, but the darker brown will be more functional if you need to go with a suit and tie at some point.  This little number is dressy and casual.  It is your little black dress, Mister.  Later, as budget and creativity allows, start adding shoes with different styles, tints, hues, and funk.  For now, get a good utility pair.

TIP NUMBER THREE:  Take care of them

I will have a post coming soon where I enlist a shoe care expert to give the details on what polish, cream, brush, and processes to make those puppies both last and look smashing.  A few bucks worth of TLC can save you looking ratty and can save your beer money.  We will add to this tip in a future post since it needs a fair amount to time dedicated to it.

There it is, do something about it…

Let’s Go!

 

Your Signature Drink

Your Signature Drink

I AM SO FIRED UP!  I have been writing all sorts of nonsense for the last few weeks and money shot is finally coming.  I get to write about having a cocktail!  I can barely contain myself.

Here is some background information.  I have owned a couple bars and still work as a bartender, sooooooo I know a bit about this topic.  OK, more than a little bit about this topic.  I also have a drinking problem (Alright, that last part is subjective — Sorry, Mom).  Here’s what I do know:  It is so lame for people to come to the bar say one of these things: “What kind of drinks to you have?” or “What’s on special?” or “What kind of rail vodka do you use?”  Basically all of the questions are interpreted as: “Why am such a big pussy?!”.  One of the best places to assert you manhood is the BAR.

Here is what you need: a signature drink.  Don’t go in to a bar without a plan.  I am all for a Captain coke or tap beer once in a while.  But c’mon… those drinks have no moxie.  NONE.  You need to have a drink that represents you, something that you can throw out at the bar without looking like a clown.  Let’s get you cool in the bar, Big Fella.

My first recommendation is whiskey water on the rocks.  I don’t care if you don’t like whiskey, it isn’t about that.  It is what Whiskey represents: confidence, bravado, testosterone, and flavor.  You can work your way to a brand you like best, however, don’t go all obscure either.  That can backfire and usually ends up making you look like a snob.  Ask for Crown, Jameson, Windsor, or Jack… something that every bar will have.  By choosing a quality standard you won’t have to stammer and argue and make everyone wait for you to grow up.  Part of being the man is bar etiquette, more to come on that…

Don’t overthink this.  Just get some whiskey (beer is cool too, but that wrecks my entire post and it doesn’t have the same vibe).  You have confidence, you have a plan, you look larger and you seem smarter.  All that makes it worth learning to drink whiskey.  Cheers.

Let’s Go!

 

Hey… Do you want to feel better? Tips for Healthy Living

Health Tips

Health is a massive topic that generates billions of dollars and twice as many so-called experts who “have it all figured out”.  Everyone is searching for an easy answer, but it’s not that simple.

Three Tips for Healthy Living

I am in my late 40’s and in relatively good shape (although my peers have set the bar damn low).  I am not a personal trainer, I am not a nutritional expert, and not the guy that can turn you into a world class athlete.  However, I am someone who can help you get started down the road, point you to resources that can help you grow, and show you that all you have to do is make it part of your day.  Because I have done just that.

TIP NUMBER ONE:  QUIT EATING EVERYTHING

If you do nothing else in the beginning, simply try eating until you are comfortable and not until all of the food is gone.  Try use a smaller plate for starters.  Easy.  We are programmed to fill our plate for some reason and then we are required to finish it.  Our well-intentioned parents said, “Clean your plate, there are starving kids in Africa!”.  While the last part of the statement is true, along with most of the world; cleaning your plate will have zero impact on them and you will get fat.  No problems are solved, but one (it’s called obesity) is created.

TIP NUMBER TWO:  STOP EATING CRAP

Here is a great rule of thumb:  If it comes from the middle aisles of the grocery store it is probably crap.  Exceptions: The things that are not crap (brown rice, couscous, almond milk, etc.).  Spend most of your money on produce and your grocery time shopping the perimeter of the store and you are off and running.

Each week there will be a little more detail and some very tangible examples to drive the point home.  But start with baby steps and start thinking about what you eat and how much goes in the yammering cake hole.

TIP NUMBER THREE:  PLAN FOR SUCCESS

If you want some great focused plans for meal planning stop over and visit Team Beachbody.  They have a cool system to organize quality and quantity (their 21 Day Fix is a GREAT program to get you accustomed to eating right).  If you want a laser-focused plan that is completely scripted I recommend learning about Favao.  We will dive into the merits of each one very soon as well.

Go on now…. Get off the couch and walk down to the grocery store.  You can get some exercise and the bags of produce will be quite light so you can make it back.

Let’s Go!

Fix your face!

Facial Hair GuyAll day, every day on every social media platform, and somewhere on every website, there are unkept men talking about women and focusing on every detail.  We expect women to look perfect for us in all aspects, but don’t demand the same of ourselves.  GO GET A MIRROR. Don’t get me rolling on the clowns that used to have the “no fat chicks” bumper sticker.  Most would be lucky if the female that would actually spend time with him didn’t live in the barn!

Here comes a rant:  We watch the red carpet interview at the Oscars where brilliant, beautiful women are whittled down to who they are wearing.  Endless magazines and talk shows rate these women as “10 Best” and “10 Worst” without a single mention of their body of work – just the body.   Don’t misunderstand.  As a big fan of the body, I am just certain this is quite #sexist.  Here is the rub: Some knuckle-dragging sasquatch of a man lumbers up and we ask him about his philosophy on life.  We don’t even notice his bushy-ass gross eyebrows or ear hair that is just a smidge longer than the chest hair curling up from under his collar.  WTF.  How about who he is wearing?  …Duck-frickin’ Dynasty?

DON’T BE THAT GUY!  You are not a Hollywood heart-throb.   You are plumber, a sales rep, a dentist, a rodeo clown and hopefully much more evolved than that.  This is all part of having your game.

Go and invest a few bucks in a detail trimmer to at least fix the face.  It is not hard.  Eyebrows, beard, neck, ears, nose.  Do it in that order for reasons that should be obvious.

Some tips to help you:

  • Use the little tiny comb that comes with it to ensure you don’t slip, and take a chunk out of your eyebrows
  •  If you have fears, have a stylist do it the first time and then you will have a template
  •  If you keep a little stubble (or even a manly beard) use the detail trimmer around your lips to catch the strays
  • Clean rogue hairs regardless of location: The long one on the cheek, neck nonsense, or even that mullet growing out of your ears
  • Do the nose hairs last, and don’t be gross — clean it when you are done

Wahl razorThis is all part of the mix, guys.  Women are watching you as much as you watch them– and the attention to detail is critical.  They notice, trust me.  They notice.  So your choice is leave your face a grizzled mess and live a desperate life of can cheese and crackers or… eat a giant T-Bone with your manly hands as women swoon – swoon I sayYou will have to beat them off with a stick.

Look:  You can even buy this Wahl 5545-400 Wahl Ear Nose & Brow – 3 In 1 Trimmer for about $10.00 without even having to go to the mall!

Let’s Go!

Refrigerator Oatmeal

Oatmeal3The alarm goes off and it is time to get things done.  Fuel up that body on the way out the door.  I recently saw a recipe for crock pot oatmeal and it looked amazing.

Here is the deal:  Not everyone has a crew to feed.  I mean oatmeal is good, but ten days of leftovers may not be part of your morning vibe.  That’s understandable. Here is a quick – no-cook recipe that tastes fantastic and can be made before bed – not when you are scrambling to get out the door (you’re welcome Mr. Snooze Button).

Grab somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of quick cook oats.  Buy the fancy ones with the dude’s face on the container, something organic, or something generic.  It’s oatmeal – the kind doesn’t really matter.  Then toss in some “stuff“.  I put in about a tablespoon each of almond slivers, brown sugar, and diced green apple.  Cover it with almond milk and put in the fridge.  BAM!  Two minutes and you are ready for tomorrow.

A little editorial note here: I love the marketing description that calls for steel-cut oats.  It is a combine, people. They are made of steel and they drive through a field.  Of course it is steel-cut oats.  So are my whiskers when I shave.

One of my favorite things are recipes you can mess with.  Put whatever strikes your fancy right in the bowl, go on, live a little.  Put in some dates, raisins, pears, kiwi, cinnamon, flax seed, sunflower seeds, protein powder, heck I don’t care, if you like it try it.

Refrigerator OatmealThis little ditty can be made in any quantity, so when you have that morning meeting  with your posse to go over the spreadsheets and crap, fill a cake pan and go for it.  This should go without saying: up the ingredients.  The key is simply covering the ingredients with almond milk.

I realize this is not a glamorous picture but it is OATMEAL.  It’s not the most photogenic food. So give me a break.

 

 

Your New Happy Hour Shirt

Happy Hour Shirt

Try this on for size

It’s time to go to Happy Hour.  I beg you to not look like a tool, please?  You need a cool happy hour shirt.  This should be all I need to write, but I hear the clamoring for details.  Ok, ok…here is a good rule of thumb:  If any female, any female (I don’t care if it’s your mom – insert joke here) compliments the shirt, you are heading the right way.

A couple key things to consider when you are getting dressed:

Ditch the t-shirt.  If are thinking a trying to match your baseball cap, you should stay home.  You need to try a little bit.

Let’s grab a shirt with buttons, run a comb through your hair and be somebody.  Here’s a shirt I think is cool and REASONABLY PRICED.  You don’t have to break the bank to look like you have a checking account at the bank.

Iron the shirt – I’m not gonna go into that now – another post is coming for those who are challenged in that area.

Start with a simple step, get a shirt.  You can purchase this Tom’s Ware Casual Shirt on Amazon for less than $30.00 so you have money left to buy a drink.   Cheers!

Divorced Dads: It’s time to get your swagger back

Get your swagger back after divorce
Source: Tapiture

Many of you are just like me. You used to be somebody.  You were a kick-ass dude with his life tightly pulled together.  Of course,  we all know you are still freakin’ awesome. But now, it’s more like the watered-down divorced kind of awesome.  The after divorce kind of awesome.  And that doesn’t feel the same at all.  You work hard, fall behind, miss out on great events, and you doubt yourself.  Divorce is a crazy thing for everyone. Everyone. I know because I have firsthand knowledge.  It’s my story too.

There is an endless stream of shows, articles, books, and resources to help newly-divorced women learn to cope without a man (as if they need the help).  I’m sure you’ve also heard people yammer on about the virtues of putting the kids first.  BTW… if I had a dollar for every clichéd “I am doing it for my kids” line of BS I would be a sitting on a giant pile of cash instead of this office chair.  But there is deafening silence when you bring up a discussion about how Dad should deal with the mess that’s left behind after divorce.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

It’s time to recognize that it is not a sign of weakness to want to be a man.  I am not talking about chopping-wood-in-your-flannel-shirt-while-drinking-whiskey man.  I am talking about a man who is part of the experience.  A man who has a heart and a soul, a man who doesn’t have to measure his worth in machismo.  Don’t misunderstand, it is bad ass to chop wood while drinking whiskey– but it’s so much more than that.  You are not a criminal if you fight to be a great dad.   You are not the bad guy if you fight for more time with your children.  You simply need to GET YOUR SWAGGER BACK.

Here is a cursory list of things you can do to get your emotional swagger back. 

Go to a counselor

This step was critical for me.  I waited until I was in a really bad place before I went to a professional.  Do not delay this step!  Most psychologists are wicked smart about what you are going through.  You would not sit at home and stew about your car not running, you would go to a mechanic.  Dr. Perrin was my mechanic.  I don’t think there was any magic, he just showed me a path.  Maybe he just listened with no pre-conceived notions about me.  Maybe he was a safe place for me to be honest.  Whatever it was I cannot stress this enough.

Show your kids the real you

You can shed a tear at your kids first dance because that is major life event.  Your kids need to know you are fully engaged on many levels.  It is very hard to understand what is going on in their minds.  They are generally younger than you (right) and don’t have much life experience with emotions.  Hell, as grown men we have not generally been given permission to even have emotions let alone understand them.  It is critical that they hear from you about life.  Not to preach or even teach but to remind them, even subconsciously, that you care and are interested.  There could be terribly inaccurate information pouring into their brains daily from well intended people about your relationship with them.  They are smart, they know what you say and what you DO.

Don’t forget all this stuff!

Or course you can hit the gym and regain your body which helps your confidence and all that goes with that.  You can be super effective at work and solidify one part of your life.  You can get a grip on your budget (or at least try).  Don’t forget to read a book, a non-fiction book.  Build some great play-lists on Spotify and shut off the TV.  And… you can share a beer with your inner most doubts, in your garage, and explain why you can’t hang out anymore. Send that stupid inner voice packing and be awesome again.  

This is the first of many posts that point toward potential fixes.  Life goes on after divorce.  It can be better than ever, but it does take time and effort.  I am not a PhD in “manology” nor do I have a team of psychologists backing my research.  My degree in divorce is from the school of hard knocks.  I am a divorced dad who struggled mightily with my place in the world and still do.  I am a regular working guy trying to make ends meet and reset myself.  Most importantly I am currently busting my ass to get to a great place.

There will be no vitriol and hate, no low-hanging fruit pointed at former spouses or blaming the system.  This is a place to grow, think, love, and come up with some cool shit.  Stay tuned for a long-running dialog on being somewhere between functional and a rock star after divorce.   Jump on and come along for the ride.

Let’s Go!

Do shoes make the man? Heck, yes!

Do shoes make the man?  Shoes and SocksDo shoes make the man?

Be honest.  No really.  BE HONEST.   You look at people who rock differently than you look at slobs.  I can hear the naysayers now, “But it’s what is on the inside that matters!”  Bullshit.  Don’t tell me you would go to The Avengers if the cast was made up of 4 fat dudes in sweat pants and a woman with crazy eyes who uses the moped to travel.   We totally dig people with swagger.  Swagger is a freaking cool-ass thing.  Swagger rocks and swagger comes in all sorts of forms.

Let’s break this down into one little chunk for brevity.  I had a man-crush on a dude’s shoes and socks at a meeting the other day.  Straight-up teenage vibe, you know, like a little girl watching that stupid vampire series.  No, I don’t have a poster of his feet.  However, I did take the picture when he wasn’t looking, sneaky style.  (Full disclosure: I eventually told him so the photographic evidence of his footwear has been given the full approval to publish.  He wasn’t even troubled because HE KNEW he was awesome.)

So does it matter.  Heck yes, it matters!  Shoes do make the man.  Studies even back this up. A study conducted by Researchers at the University of Kansas back me up. Respondents accurately judged characteristics such as age, income, and political affiliation of an unknown person, based solely (pun intended!) on his shoes.  I kid you not.  I feel validated.

Your kick-ass shoes give you credibility.  They are an indication of your self-respect. If I am listening to someone yammer on about a topic they love and they have stupid shoes, I tune out.  To me, shoes are an easy way to say he cares.  You don’t have be rolling in cash to look good.   Just care.  Regardless on income, any guy can consciously choose to keep them polished and pick out some cool socks.  You cannot mail this one in.  Trust me when I tell you shoes are critical.

I am not totally in the dark.  If he was an idiot and spit while he talked and the shoes were cool he would also lack credibility.  I am a fan of language, ties, smooth conversation (conversation is sexy), posture and rock-hard abs.  But the shoes are the foundation.  Take that first step, fellas.

Next week we talk about your damn creepy eyebrows.

Let’s Go!

The $100 Freaking Four-Foot “Hunka Love” Teddy Bear

The $100 Freaking Four-Foot “Hunka Love” Teddy Bear

I just saw a Valentine’s Day commercial that made me freeze in my tracks.  While I’m not going to dive into the commercially made-up holiday that is Valentines Day, I do think this advertisement deserves a little discussion.

A beautiful woman gets a teddy bear for Valentine’s Day from a great looking man.  A FOUR-FOOT TALL FREAKING TEDDY BEAR.  She is sooooo happy and the look in her eyes clearly demonstrates that she is in an amorous state based on her feelings towards “Captain Thoughtful” and this amazing romantic gesture.

Oh wait,  it gets worse.  Then, they show a hottie in a spaghetti-strap tank top turning up her nose at a box of chocolates because you, the stupid man, are trying to get her fat.  How dare you give her chocolate?  How insensitive.  Don’t you know that her silicone is very new and there could be a dangerous reaction?  Dude, you are an ass.

Flowers – Ha!  DEAD in a week, just like your love life.  Clearly, no woman wants flowers because if they don’t last forever they’re no good.  Isn’t that why people don’t want pets or kids?  No woman wants anything that doesn’t live forever.  Insert perfect gift NOW.

Vermont Teddy Bear HunkaThe four-foot teddy bear will, and I quote, “…take care of her when you are not around.”  What?  Is this stuffed menace also anatomically correct?  Is it a twisted, yet erotic, combination of Ted and Chuckie?  I mean, I like a teddy bear as much as the next guy, but for $100 this fluffy guy should do something to earn his keep.   Surrogate Phallic Teddy never fails, and you Zippy, fail all the time.

I wonder how long the relationship will last?  Sure ,Teddy never comes home drunk or gets fired for hitting on the bosses wife.  Sure ,Teddy never says anything stupid in front of that special someone’s parents.  And of course you would not catch fur ball “accidentally” locking the cat out of the bedroom.   The good news is that I think that will wear off FAST.

There will come a day when Teddy does not take out the garbage or will not be around for the toilet seat blame-game.  He will be laying there like a dolt in the corner when one of her friends was passive aggressive on facebook and she needs to talk about the two-faced bitch.  And Teddy, flawless Teddy will commit the ultimate sin by not noticing the new haircut.  BOOM! You’re back in, my friend.  You take the fall for the seat indiscretion, you call out the former friend, and swoon over the cut.  Back in.

I realize there is no perfect gift.  I have some very real and irrational fears about this 99.99 “Act Now” parasite, but there is great hope in it as well.  Sometimes it takes great evil to see great good (or at least average good).  Eventually when Teddy lets her down, she’ll realize that you are not a giant buffoon.  She will realize that you are just a flawed monkey.  Her monkey.  Had you bought her flowers or some transitory junk there would have never been such an epiphany.  It took the $100 Fur Ball of Evil to teach her that.

My final advice is to never buy a human-sized beanbag.   Maybe buy her flowers?  Doesn’t sound like much advice, but it is.  You can do so much more by being home now and then, noticing her haircut (and lie about it if you don’t like it – bonus advice!), be anatomically correct yourself (even if not perfect) and see how that works out.  Plus, that hundred bucks could buy some pretty damn good scotch.

Of course don’t take my word for it, buy the bear, and then let me know how it works out.  That’s why I have a comment section.

Let’s Go!

Homemade Energy Bars

Energy Bars

Energy Bars

This recipe is fantastic… and scary!

I think I may have created a false sense of ease with my last post.  I am the guy with very few rules regarding food. I lied.

Homemade energy bars are fantastic, delicious, and so good for you.  However, the planning stage is ridiculous to the point where the recipe is moot.

Homemade Energy Bars

Step One: Get a 13-year-old child to help you.  Right?  I have made these a few times and each time my 13-year-old son has been the catalyst.  Soooo…. you need to really plan ahead.  If you have a kid, wait until they are 13. Simple.  If not, maybe godsmatch or Zoosk or something can assist you. You need to either get knocked up or get someone knocked up.  Then, about 13 years later, make some energy bars.  Seems like a lot of prep, and it is! Now get to work.

Here is his hand – Of Course I will share Yes – have some!

Honey BearOnce that is done, the rest will seem really easy.
Grab a cup of oatmeal and mix it with 2/3 cup of honey. What makes honey awesome, besides the taste, is the cool little plastic bear it comes in.   Fun… really fun. Add a cup of peanut butter. I used Jiff last time for the simple reason that I had some Jiff. Toss in 1/2 cup of flax seed (go ahead and grind it up because that makes you feel organic). I use 1 teaspoons of vanilla and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

Can we talk about the chocolate? Purists will tell you to buy semi-sweet. Ha!  Milk chocolate is soooo good. I also like butterscotch chips, which are old-school fantastic.  Here is where you can get it done. Mix-and-match, live on the edge, challenge the status quo, stick it to the man, whatever you like to do… do it now. This is your chance to create magic! (don’t tell anyone, but raisins would probably work too.)

I hear what you’re saying, “Dave, I see sunflower seeds in the picture.”  Yep, I was short a little flax seed and I had those in cupboard.   Get real kids.  This ain’t rocket surgery, so make some damn bars.

The hardest part is the coconut. Spread some on a cookie sheet and bake it at 350 for about 10 minutes. You have to watch because this little delight is like my family tree on vacation. One second everything is fluffy and white – the next minute – really burned, like really burned. These puppies go from white to burned in no time, so don’t be lazy.  PAY ATTENTION.

Once it is all mixed, put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes so it can congeal. I just love the word congeal. It is probably not the right word for what is happening now, but it pleases me oh-so-very-much. Press the mix into balls about the size of ping-pong balls.  Gently cup the balls while rolling them in your hands.  Gently, yet firmly.  Wait…wrong blog. Make some balls and you are done.

I recommend these anywhere you go that requires a contribution to the trough. Anywhere you see five or more crock pots on the counter, and especially anywhere where processed liquid cheese is the most common ingredient. I also recommend them anytime you want to eat. They are super-good and good for you.

So, in conclusion: Make some protein balls, impress the ladies, save your life, build some muscle, look cool, eat well, and use the word “balls” enough to create confusion amongst your friends.

Let’s Go!

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