What is That Noise Your Brain Makes?

A young, handsome, amazingly successful guy sometimes feels like you feel.

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Reviewin’ Dollar Shave Club

I guess it’s about time I weigh in on my initial thoughts on Dollar Shave Club. Recall, for I Love Don Week, I joined the club and my first set of four razors arrived on July 10th and I started right away. Some people (namely K.C.) said they aren’t quite as good as the Gillette Fusion 5s I’d been using. I replace those about every four months.

K.C., and some others, said they use their Dollar Shave Club razors for about a week before changing. I am still using the same blades I installed on day-1.  We’re on day-30, if anyone’s counting.

I shave at night. I have a complex pre-shave ritual, and I gotta tell ya …when I’m done shaving, my face is smoooooooth and doesn’t feel like I’m scraping sandpaper across my face at all.

It’s all about the pre-shave ritual. Regular readers might remember after participating in No-Shave November last year, I treated myself to a straight razor shave from The Barber Pole in Birmingham. That shave from a barber taught me one thing – I’ve been destroying my face my entire life. No wonder I had so many breakouts, dry skin, and random irritation.

If you care to know how I’ve managed to keep the same Dollar Shave Club blade for an entire month (and I’m prepared to go another week), and how I’ve gone more than six months without a shaving cut, irritation, or adult acne, here’s the (my) ideal shave routine.

  1. Use about a teaspoon of coconut oil and massage it vigorously on the area you’ll be shaving. Massage it in. Take a good minute or two. Pretend someone is going to check that you didn’t miss any spots and that each pore and each hair follicle needs to be covered.
  2. 49473-honey-mango-shaving-creamSoak a washcloth in the hottest water you can stand and then press it against your cheeks, upper lip, chin, and neck (everywhere you’re about to shave). Leave it there for at least 30 seconds each time.
  3. Repeat step two at least two more times – I’ve been going four times. This will really soften the stubble.
  4. Then apply your shave cream (I’m using Trader Joe’s Honey Mango Shave Cream – it’s delightful).

Then, shave. Slowly. Start under the nose and work out towards the sideburns. Short strokes going over every surface once or twice before a looooong stroke over a larger area. Feel it with your fingers to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

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Post shaving, it’s time for cold-water rinse. A thorough rinse to the point you can’t feel any shave cream slipperiness and then use a good, cooling face wash (I use Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash) and lather up, and rinse off, with cold, cold water.

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Finally, when done, use some Vitamin E oil (I use Trader Joe’s little bottle) on the spots you know you might typically get red bumps, acne, or irritation.

You do this and I promise you, you’ll use a blade a month, you’ll get your daily meditation out of the way and enjoy the me-time (it takes about 12 minutes), and your face will never be the same.

I Won’t Complain!

7db895312950fe2cff968b845e69a8d6_400x400Of the following things, what is the hardest thing?

  1. Stop complaining about anything, ever.
  2. Write 300 or more words on a topic.
  3. Pick up the phone and call a stranger and ask for their time/money?

Each of my readers will have a different answer. Each of the items on the above list is difficult. The difference? The fear and anxiety are different with each.

I used to call myself a “writer” and then I stopped writing. Yesterday, a co-worker caught me Blogging and said, “I used to write a Blog and had about 3,000 monthly views.” She made me feel “less than.”  I thought, “I never had 3,000 monthly views,” but then again, I don’t have to say, “I used to write,” or, “I used to have a Blog.”

I still write. I have about a dozen people who read my Blog entries. Why don’t I have more? Every day I see some Facebook link or article that promises I can make, “$1,000 monthly writing a Blog.”

Fear?  Self doubt? Or perhaps I haven’t found that million dollar idea that makes my soul burn to keep writing. When I do, I’ll write until my fingers fall off and the world will want to read what I write.

I love this quote pointed out by super writer and coach, Rochelle Melander:

In his book, The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch wrote this about complaining:
If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out… Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.
Over the years (maybe currently), I’ve had co-workers that, I believe, make themselves feel better only by complaining.
Fear of failure won’t get you anywhere. Fear of rejection won’t either. Complaining about what you haven’t done and blaming someone for your current state won’t fix things.
Tomorrow, in my journal, I’m going to list everything I could be complaining about, and then I’ll flip it a challenge or a goal.
Complaint: I can’t lose weight because my workload is crushing me, I have no time to workout, and society is built around white flour and fattening foods.
Complaint: Why is everything so expensive? Ugh. Seems like every time I save a little money, it suddenly isn’t enough to buy the stuff I want.
Goal: Create an exercise and weight loss plan, write it down, schedule it, and lose weight.
Goal: Save $$$ every month, ask a finance expert what to do with even a modest amount of extra income, and leave a portion available to buy that thing. Oh, and start selling the hundreds of things I don’t use, wear, or want that sits around my house collecting dust.
So maybe complaining is good …for creating change and an action plan.

Obsessed with Sia

Is Sia pop music? Is she over dramatic? Or is she edgy and artsy? Can I let myself get past the very, very weird videos?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, and I know I’m a little over two years late to the Sia party, but how amazing is this song? Haunting, I tellz ya.

And another one bites the dust
But why can I not conquer love?
And I might’ve got to be with one
Why not fight this war without weapons?
And I want it and I wanted it bad
But there were so many red flags
Now another one bites the dust
And let’s be clear, I trust no one
You did not break me
I’m still fighting for peace
Well I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart
But your blade it might be too sharp
I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard
But I may snap when I move close
But you won’t see me move no more
Cause I’ve got an elastic heart
I’ve got an elastic heart
Yeah, I’ve got an elastic heart
And I will stay up through the night
Let’s be clear, I won’t close my eyes
And I know that I can survive
I walked through fire to save my life
And I want it, I want my life so bad
And I’m doing everything I can
Then another one bites the dust
It’s hard to lose a chosen one
You did not break me (You did not break me, no, no)
I’m still fighting for peace
Well I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart
But your blade it might be too sharp
I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard
But I may snap when I move close
But you won’t see me move no more
Cause I’ve got an elastic heart
Well I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart
But your blade it might be too sharp
I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard
But I may snap when I move close
But you won’t see me move no more
Cause I’ve got an elastic heart
Well I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart
But your blade it might be too sharp
I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard
But I may snap when I move close
But you won’t see me move no more
Cause I’ve got an elastic heart.

Clothes Mountain and Litter Gulch

I’m not perfect at following through on things, but something I really stick to is changing all the bed sheets once-a-week, no matter what. I’ve read enough articles on Mind Body Green and linked in Tweets to know a dirty bed is a horror that will lead to bed bugs, asthma, poor quality sleep, and skin issues. Call me “OCD” or a hypochondriac, but I took on this phobia about 7 years ago and have never looked back.

It is my belief that my kids have fewer colds because I do this. I also think there’s nothing much better than crawling into a clean bed. It’s like a hotel.

Every Sunday the sheets. And once a month the mattress pad and blanket.

Now, for the comedy. My girls share a room. My girls are slobs. They might argue they appear to be slobs because they are two people living in one room, but truly, their room is consistently messy because they are slobs.

I built an elaborate and huge closet system with more than enough room for all their clothes, shoes, and clothes. But the clothes mostly go on the floor. I applaud them protecting the nice hardwoods, but trust me – they have a place for worn clothes.

They also have two desks, each with waste can underneath but guess what – trash rarely gets into the trash can. It’s a crazy phenomenon and every week, when I strip, wash, and make the beds, I “organize” the madness.

I call it Clothes Mountain and Litter Gulch. And a new Clothes Mountain and Litter Gulch are created each week. You gotta believe me, on Sunday evenings, the beds are made and Clothes Mountain and Little Gulch are torn down and thrown away. A fresh start. Fresh, clean sheets. A clean room. Usually, the laundry is mostly clean, folded, and put away.

Then, in the course of a week, an unnatural disaster happens. And funniest (to me) is that as I strip the beds, it’s not just blankets and pillows, but somehow, random articles of clothes and tags and trash and gum wrappers, pen caps, hair ties, socks (usually only one of a pair), tissues, ear buds, and so much more are enveloped into the sheets and blankets.

I’m a great Dad (just ask me), but I’m in charge of a nice, clean bed because I’ve made that my mission, but I will not pick up and sort all their clothes and trash items.

So I make Clothes Mountain and Litter Gulch in the middle of their room and now I’m Blogging about it as to embarrass them somewhere later in life (or right now).

I worry I’m raising future pack rats who will collect newspapers and fast food bags for decades. Or maybe, I simply have teenagers who share a room and don’t have enough space.

Clothes Mountain and Litter Gulch tours start at 10:00 a.m. and leave every half hour beginning Sunday at Noon. $5 donations accepted and you get a free “I Survived Litter Gulch” window decal for a keepsake.  See you Sunday.

I Love Don Week, Recap

At work, we set goals, we launch initiatives, we have budgets and we work to make them happen. After a time, we review and assess performance. I Love Don Week should be treated the same. Let’s look at the good and the bad and next year, make it even better.

My Dollar Shave Club razors and shave butter arrived today. Hooray. Can’t wait to shave in the morning.

I received the following items, too:

  • brandybigBlack iPhone charging cord
  • A new desk
  • Barsmith Old Fashioned mix
  • Tickets (from my sister in law) to Cedar Point for her whole family and mine and it turned out to be the best day ever at Cedar Point – no lines. Seriously. No. Lines.
  • Patriotic Detroit Tigers T-shirt
  • Loud dress socks
  • (2) outdoor chairs and outdoor lights
  • Hosted a small gathering at my house (I like having people over, what can I say?)
  • Lusty Claw Bourbon (from my co-workers)
  • Dinner of my choice on my birthday

I gotta say, with the trip to Cedar Point, the amazing Saturday evening hosting friends, and then the strolling, progressive series of birthday meetings that started my day at work on Tuesday, bookended with a quick happy hour with more co-workers, only to arrive home to homemade Chick-Fil-A (my daughter found the secret sauce recipe online and, shhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone) …hard to imagine a week could be much better and end much better.

The only thing I might say could be better is more random gifts from random people, which is really on me. I should’ve posted a more comprehensive list. So that’s something I’ll do next year. Also, because I pretty much stole the entire concept from my brother-in-law (a week devoted to himself prior to his birthday), I might as well steal his idea of having I Love Don Week t-shirts.

So, next year, let’s keep doing what we’re doing, people. Gifts. Over-the-top recognition and praise. And …next year, we’re making and selling t-shirts.

If you have other ideas on how to improve I Love Don Week, please leave a comment. No idea is a bad idea. Green light thinking.

Thank you, everyone, for playing along with my birthday madness.