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Prentious Product Review: "Harry's Razors"

   I have not done a blog in quite some time, mainly because I barely have time to breathe.  I have returned to do a review on a product I bought listening to an ad on a podcast that I listen to.  I've seen similar companies advertised, like "Dollar Shave Club", but that to me always sounded like a lower quality product.  It might be great, who knows? I just know that, for me, it came across as a cheap product from the advertising.  So for my entire life, I've used "Gillette" Razors.  Occasionally when I didn't feel like draining my wallet buying them, I would go and get the knock off brands, which were still expensive, but not THAT expensive, and they aren't very good.
   When I heard the ad for "Harry's", it came across as a great product.  A classy advertisement, about this blue collar razor company making a great product at a lower cost.  Plus at the time, I had a coupon code that got me a free 4 pack of razors, which if they were "Gillette", would have cost me $12.49 at the store.  So I went onto "Harrys.com" and read a little about the company.

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    Pretty much when I saw this, I knew I had to try it out.  This guy looks awesome, and the company looked awesome.  The website is incredibly well done and loaded with information on the product.  The pricing, even better.  If you go online, I'm sure you will find a coupon code to use, but basically this is what I got.

One of these packs of razors was free with the coupon code.


The packaging was super impressive!  The product was attractive and slick.  I was really impressed.  The shave? Terrific!  I found that I barely had to push down on the razor.  My beard hair is intense.  This razor mowed through it like a knife in warm butter. 
    So what was the cost of this? The handle was $10.00 which comes with one razor.  They allow you to choose from a variety of colors.  They also have more expensive handles ranging from $10.00-$35.00.  The blades start at $8.00 for a 4 pack, and then get lower (cost per blade) the more you buy.  The best part?  Free shipping.  Straight up.  Harry's rules.  When I first ordered these, my wife rolled her eyes and said "pretentious"..... Is it? Maybe? Or is it just flat out smart.

Yeah......smart.

Cheers!


Blade Runner Shirt

    This week we have a few new items hitting the shops.  The first is the new Blade Runner inspired design.  Any fan of this classic book/movie will love this design featuring Deckard (Harrison Ford) and the origami unicorn.  This shirt is for die hards.  The shirt is available in all of our shops (Etsy, eBay, and Supersweetshirts.com) and you have the option to get the American Apparel Cotton  version or the Standard Cotton version (cheaper), both in grey.  Use promo code: BLOGRUNNER for a $3.00 discount on this shirt at our main website only!




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   Today I ran my first 5K race since becoming healthy.  I used the Couch to 5k program which over 9 weeks got me running over 3 miles at a time.  This was going to be my first test to see if the training had paid off.  I had been running longer than 9 weeks, so i didn't just finish the program or anything like that.  The actual results were not posted yet but I think I roughly hit about 8:45 per mile.  It felt great to not only complete the run, but to aggressively try for my best time.
   Another thing I have started doing is reading.  I know the way I just phrased that sounds a bit ridiculous.  What I meant was, I started reading things that matter.  Normally if I sat down to bury my face in a book, it would be non-fiction or science fiction.  One night I was laying in bed reading "Reamde" by Neil Stephenson, when I started thinking about my baby daughter.  You know that thing that happens when your reading a paragraph, and at the same time your thinking about something totally unrelated, and your actually not absorbing anything that you're reading because of it?  It was one of those.  I was thinking about classic literature and how when I was in high school and in college, I never read any of it.  It was assigned, and I would basically find a way to cheat, or find some way to get around reading it.  And I was good.....I could make anyone believe I read anything.  Looking back on it, I was kind of filled with regret.  Not only did I feel regret, but I suddenly had this urge to just start taking in everything I could think of.  Like a cyborg.  In my head I created a mental list of books that I wanted to read as soon as possible, Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby", Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" and "The Old Man and the Sea", Keuroac's "On the Road" - it occurred to me that I hadn't really read anything that actually mattered.  I wanted to be able to one day talk about books like these with my daughter.  It's crazy what having a kid does to you.  It has an effect that I can't really describe.  All I can say is that it makes you want to become the best you can be as a person and as time passes, the more I watch her grow, the more drive it gives me to be the best I can be.  A sappy blog entry, but the truth.
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    A while back I stated that I wanted to get into shape.  The Dr. gave me a high cholesterol diagnosis at my yearly and basically said I needed to get it down or go on meds.  I hate meds.  So I decided to start running every other day, and started using the "Couch to 5k" app, which puts you on a program for 9 weeks to safely prepare you to run 3.1 miles.  I am proud to say that I finished the program and consistently run 3.1 miles every day, in fact I am in the process of increasing that distance.  This is one of the few things that I have completed exercise-wise.  I've tried so many things to get into shape, workout videos, Nintendo Wi, exercise bike-all of which I found to be insanely boring which was followed by me quitting.  Running unexpectedly became an addiction.  I had heard people say that it was addicting in the past, always wondering to myself how anyone could ever find it enjoying.  It's actually amazing, and very addicting.  Why?  Because you start seeing results in a very short time.  It's not 100% about weight loss, in-fact, most people start running thinking that they will lose weight.  You do, don't get me wrong, but if you're like the type of person that reads about the newest extreme diet guaranteed to shed off 10 pounds in 2 days, or whatever, it's not for you.  Weight-loss, real weight loss, is a slow process with big rewards.  You don't have to go to extreme measures to lose weight, you just need to change a few things and get into portion control.  When you run, you burn a lot of calories, but most people quit when they run for a week or two and then barely see the needle move.  Truth is, after your finished running, your muscles repair themselves and you retain water.  You can't get into this worrying about moving the needle a pound or two hear and there.  You have to not pay attention to the needle, and pay attention to your workout.  Focus on the program, and focus on your running.  I've followed this since I started and have now lost almost 20 pounds.
    2 years ago I did weight watchers and lost almost 30 pounds.  The program is amazing and it teaches you how to eat good foods, how to maximize the amount you eat, all while learning correct portions.  It's an amazing program that I am still on.  The difference between when I lost 30 pounds back then, and the 20 I have lost now, is that my body is different.  Running completely transforms the way you look and it gets more and more addicting.  Pretty soon I will look like this:

    
Ok, maybe not like this...but probably a little better....
I'll keep this topic updated as I continue my routine!  If your thinking of getting into running, give this app a chance!
BombFell to the Rescue.

    It's been so busy lately.  There was a time when days dragged, but now they go by so fast, that it's impossible to get everything done!   I rarely write about other clothing companies, but its fair to say that this one isn't exactly a direct competitor of mine.  I'm just like everyone else that buys stuff from the Super Sweet Shirt Company.  A t-shirt and jeans kinda guy.  I haven't really changed that aspect of me, but occasionally I need wear something a little more on the dressy side.  I cant wear a Steven Seagal shirt to dinner, or family gathering.  I can't take my wife to dinner wearing a Death Wish shirt.  If you do want some of those things, I suggest you head over to supersweetshirts.com, but if you are in desperate need of some fancier clothes, head over to Bombfell.com.
    These days, I'm so busy with work, making shirts, raising a kid with my beautiful wife, and working on the house, it's impossible to find the time to find some nicer things to add to my wardrobe.  Bombfell takes all the effort out of it.  You basically sign up, tell them a bit about yourself, what kind of clothes you wear, and what you hate, etc.  They then assign you a stylist.  That's right. I have a stylist.  After you do all of this, in a few days they will tell you what's coming your way.  You can select the types of things that you are looking for them to send you (pants, jeans, shirt, dress shirt, etc.) Once you see what they have chosen, you can decide weather or not you want them to mail the stuff to you or if you want something else.  Once you get the clothes, you can try them on, if you hate them, they pay for the return shipping, and the return supplies are all included.  It's pretty awesome.  They sent me 4 things, the first, a pair of grey chinos.

This isn't me.
   I was looking forward to getting these.  Once I put them on, I stood proudly in front of my wife, showing her how they fit.  She was just staring at my mid-section and then pointed out that the pants gave me male camel toe.  I looked down, and sure enough they did. Dammit.  I like the pants, but I wasn't going to be able to make male camel toe look fashionable.  These had to go back.
   The next item was the "Ben Sherman CLASSIC GINGHAM MOD SHIRT."  I liked the look of this shirt when they told me it was coming.  The fit was perfect, they nailed this one.
   The final two items where "Mavi Matt Mid Rise Straight Jeans" and my favorite, the "Original Penguin FULL-ZIP MOCK-NECK CARDIGAN"



Both of these items fit incredibly well.  The jeans especially.  Normally I wear a 34, which every time I buy myself a pair of 34's, they are tight.  These fit awesome.
    My first experience doing something like this was great.  I know what you're wondering, "Is it expensive?"  Its not bad.  When I first looked into something like this I tried Trunkclub which was a similar service.  I received a call from one of their stylists who told me the clothes ranged from $100-$300 per item.  That was way out of my range.  Bombfell is more like $60-$100.  Basically your paying the ticketed price on the clothing, (where as normally you could get it at a department store on sale.)  You basically pay the full retail price and that's how the stylist gets paid.  It's a price I'd gladly pay to not have to put any effort into getting some nicer threads.  Definitely something to think about if you have something coming up where you need a few fancy clothes.
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    I love days where I capture the true benefit of being a Spotify subscriber.   As I get older, it gets more and more difficult to find new music.  When this happens, I venture over to the "Discover" section where they analyse everything you normally listen to and suggest new music.  Occasionally they insult me by trying to choose music based on my age like:

"Back when you were in high school, this album was popular..."





I'm pretty much never going to see this suggestion and go, "Oh man that album was amazing.  Looks like I'm set for music today!" 
    Further down the list there was a suggestion that I would possibly like a band called "Biffy Clyro", so I decided to take a listen at the most recent album (2013) "Opposites." Biffy Clyro is a Scottish band formed in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire with a huge variety of influences like Metallica, Rush, Foo Fighters, Sunny Day Real Estate, Fugazi, and Weezer.  I'd say from listening to this album, the Rush and Weezer influences really stand out.  The first song on the album, "Different People" had me hooked.  The guitar work pounded with a mixture of solid, power chord rock, reminiscent of Weezer/Jimmy Eat World, and was also loaded with complex off beat drums/base/and lead guitar.  It was a great combination of stylesThe rest of the album is just a solid, which is pretty tough to maintain when doing a double disk.


If you are in the mood to try something new, give this album a try.  It's one of the better albums I've listened to recently.
It's Big Girl Time

   My daughter Amelia is now 4 months old.  Its crazy how fast time goes by.  We've learned so much about being parents to a new baby.  Some of our knowledge came the easy way, some came the hard way. Here are a few things we have picked up along the way.  We're not experts at all, but have taken the advice from many books written by numerous specialists about sleeping, feeding, breast feeding, everything!  There are so many books out there, its tough to know what works and what doesn't.  The truth is, every baby is different. Ours came at us with everything she had to throw us off.  She would confuse us with new behaviors, develop knew quirks, and throw us a few change-ups now and then.  The one thing we dreaded was sleep training!  Commercial baby world is loaded with ridiculous products, each product telling you in their own way, how much they will change your life.  Everything will be so much easier if you use "this" or "that."  What they fail to tell you, is that each expensive thing that you get, is another thing you need to ween your kid off of like a junkie on heroine.


    Let's rewind.  When we first brought the baby home, she was swaddled and slept on a "Rock and Play."  This is a little device that you can put next to your bed that the baby sleeps in.  It's on a reclined angle, its cozy, and comfortable.  The baby loved it.  She slept in it soundly for hours at a time.  So here we have two vices that the baby now has.  This sleeping device and the swaddle.  At the time, we didn't look at it this way.  We were just happy the baby was sleeping, and things were going our way.  As time went on, everything we were reading was telling us that you didn't really want to use the swaddle for more than 3-4 months at the most.  I started to look at this as judgement day.  Each day that passed brought us one day closer to perhaps a disaster.  While this realization set in, it also occurred to us that the countdown was on to get her out of the rock and play.  She probably could have used it longer, but the way I looked at it was, "the longer she uses it, the harder it will be to get her into her crib."  We decided to act fast.  We tried to put the kabash on the rock and play.  We were failing miserably.  She would fall asleep in our arms, then we would set her down in the crib, and in 10 minutes she would be wide awake!  We would try over and over, eventually caving in because we needed a break and this baby needed to sleep! We would bring the rock and play back out and she would sleep for hours.  This wasn't helping.  A few weeks would go by, and it was eventually starting to get better.  She would sleep longer (occasionally with a 15 minute nap here and there).  Eventually we broke the rock and play crutch and she was in the crib.  Now for phase 2...the swaddle.
   We had tried a few test runs without it.....barely being able to get her into the crib without her waking up.  The arms would go crazy, like they had minds of their own.  It's like her arms were separate beings that wanted to just hit her in the face at all costs.


It seemed hopeless.  We tried some techniques.  One of them being, swaddling her with one arm free.  Occasionally this would work for maybe 10 minutes.  Our pediatrician suggested that we loosely swaddle her, so that she could move her arms around in the swaddle.  This was perhaps the dumbest of ideas.  She wouldn't relax at all doing this.  Her goal became to get her hands up out of the swaddle thus getting stuck in their final destination-under her chin.  Then she would just start screaming and would be awake.  I asked around, speaking to people we knew for advice.  One set of friends that we know recommended the "Magic Merlin Sleep Suit".  They had luck using this thing.  Their kid hated being swaddled, so she never developed the addiction.  It was funny because our kid hated it as well, but couldn't sleep without it.  According to Amazon, this Magic Merlin Suit suit is described as a transitional piece to help get the baby out of, specifically, the rock and play and swaddle.  This sounded like a sure thing!  And for only $40.00!  I'm being sarcastic.  This was like placing a $40.00 dollar bet on black or red at the roulette wheel, and I had that gut feeling that I was pretty much going to lose.  I tried to be optimistic.  My wife laughed at me and laughed at the suit.  She pretty much knew I had just blown $40.00.  I wasn't convinced.  I put her in the suit.....






Amelia was confused every time I placed her in this thing.  She would try to move her little arms and legs as this thing muffled all movements.  After numerous attempts with no luck I was about to throw this thing out a window. Then all of a sudden....


What a miracle product! I couldn't believe it.  All of our problems were solved.  Then 5 minutes later, she was awake, and angry.  The attempts to use this for future naps were even worse as she would never fall asleep, and she hated how uncomfortable she was in it.  This thing was a bust.
    Fast forward to a week before the 4 month deadline.  She was still swaddled.  No signs of hope and she was occasionally bursting out of it.  I had to make a decision.  My wife leaves me with the baby 2 days a week for about 2 hours while she tends to appointments.  The next time she was to step out, I was going to experiment.  I wouldn't try this when she was home, because I knew she wouldn't be able to stomach the baby crying for more then a few minutes and then veto my plan.  I had to convince her that I could do it.  So one day Nicole had left, and it was time for the baby to nap.  I brought her upstairs, put her in her sleep sack (not the Merlin Suit, just a sleep sack, which is like a sleeping bag vest), gave her a kiss, and then let her go to work.  I fired up the camera and watched her as she occasionally cried...but nothing major.  She wouldn't do it for that long.  She would then suck her hand and thumb, try to roll over, yell a little, and then repeat.  30 minutes had passed, and all of a sudden it got quiet.  She had fallen asleep.  I was super excited.  I felt like a champion.  A 30 minute nap, like a big girl.  I didn't want to push my luck.  I left it as a one time thing for that day and she slept swaddled at night so that she could get rest.  With only a few days to go, I was going to try it a few more times in hopes of preparing her.  The next few days, I was able to sneak in another round of this, and my mom was able to as well.  I started to tell Nicole that I had a feeling this wasn't going to be that terrible.  I think I even had her somewhat convinced that it may work.  She, like any mother, was horrified at the fact that this could possible be a horrible "cry it out" sort of thing, when the the truth was, she normally screamed and cried way worse when I would hold her to try and get her to fall asleep.  This wasn't nearly as bad!
    The day finally arrived.  A Friday night.  We were mentally prepared to have a terrible night.  A night were she was going to cry a lot, fall asleep off and on, and I was prepared to have to calm Nicole down as I was sure she wasn't going to be able to stomach the crying.  We were going to be following the sleep training schedule from the book:


The book promises to have your baby sleeping independently in roughly 5 days.  The first day being the worse, and than gradual improvement - until eventually, shes sleeping like a champion.  The rules were pretty straight forward.  Basically you set up a bed time, a routine (tell a story, dim the lights, etc), then lay her down, kiss her goodnight, shut the light, close the door.  If the baby starts to go nuts, you wait 5 minutes, then you walk in and let her know you are there.  You are not allowed to touch her, you simply say "I'm right here."  You cannot stay more then 30 seconds.  You then don't return, regardless of how bad it is, for 10 minutes.  So with that mindset, we began the routine.  Amelia was pretty angry and tired before bed.  I tried to read her a story while she just struggled and screamed at me.  The story portion was out of the question.  It was bed time.  I laid her down and left the room.  The crying began but it wasn't too bad....it was on and off bursts of crying, almost to the point where I could tell it was more "whining".  We toughed it out, and after about a half hour, she fell asleep.  She ended sleeping about 30 minutes and then woke herself up.  This was going to be the tricky part.  We were to rough this out and she was to put herself back to sleep.  She was able to do this in about 30 minutes and this time slept for a little over an hour, then woke back up.  Then she did it again!  This time she slept most of the night, only waking for a legit feeding!  Not only was she sleeping like a big girl, but it was easier than we ever imagined! 
   I guess if I learned anything from this, its to be careful how many vices you introduce to
your new kid.  Also, don't believe what you read when it comes to "Cry-it-out." Everyone makes it sound way worse then it really is.  You kid may be only 4 months old, but give her a little credit, let her learn to sooth herself and grow a little.  In the long run, it will be a hell of a lot easier on both of you.