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.

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Ultimate Breakfast, Daily Supplement, and Post-Breakfast and Post-Dinner Supplements

Morning

One egg, scrambled, with a tablespoon of coconut oil and a handful of shredded leaf spinach. I chase that down with 3 ounces of orange juice mixed with a tablespoon of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, and I mix in a teaspoon of Green Vibrance, a teaspoon of Chia Seeds, 50 mg of Magnesium, and a baby aspirin.
Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, and even a little bit of protein, these tiny seeds can elevate just about any meal or snack to a nutritional powerhouse. More here.

During the Day

I put MCT Oil in my late morning cuppa coffee (for my brain).

Dinner and Evening

After dinner, I put a half scoop of Green Vibrance mixed with a teaspoon of Maca Powder in some water and wash down another 100 mg of Magnesium.

Maca is packed with many nutrients, including fatty acids and amino acids. It is an excellent source of protein, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and fiber. More on Maca here.

It’s Never a Bad Morning with Wisdom from Tim Ferriss

I’m calling the next 6-months the “Don Improvement Project.”

I’m gonna try the “get better by 1% each day” approach, and today started with actually  getting out of bed when I wake up, versus laying their and doing nothing. If I can’t go back to sleep and get back into R.E.M. sleep, I might as well get up. And so I did. Then I took a 15-minute walk, and then I swung a kettle-bell around for 15-minutes. I emptied the dishwasher. I enjoyed a cuppa coffee. I relaxed while shaving and showering.

It was good. And then I listened to Tim Ferriss dole out some bits of wisdom during my 25-minute commute and am better for it.

Tim Ferriss never disappoints and I’m devouring his new book, Tools of Titans, because it’s an enhancement of the years of his Podcasts I’ve enjoyed. I’m going to use it as a personal improvement manual …because that’s how he wrote it. To be used like a users-guide to me (you).

Here’s a little sample of Tim talking about his book and answering some fan questions. Enjoy.

 

 

Up and At ’em!!!

drew-mikeMy Outlook and remote logon didn’t connect (or was spotty), but I walked the dog. Gave her a good brushing. Enjoyed a nice cuppa coffee. Listened to the Drew & Mike (or Marc) Podcast, cleaned up my Yahoo! Mail Inbox, and moved about a dozen things to my daily To-Do List on Evernote.

Do you use Evernote? Talk about staying in control. Evernote (for you Microsoft folks) is like OneNote, but just know OneNote was created as a response to Evernote. Evernote invented the cloud-based Franklin Planner. I don’t think Evernote thinks of themselves as a Franklin Planner in the cloud, but as a former Franklin Planner addict, this is how I use it.

One of my “power moves” was to create a Notebook called “DAILY” and each day I start a new note and a checklist of all my tasks and phone calls. It allows me to stay “Inbox Zero” over in my Outlook Inbox.

Do you care about my “power moves”? Want to know more about it?

Even just accomplishing the simple to-do of getting out of bed early has started the day with me feeling in control

Sleep is Important

Wanna know who my nemesis is? My ultimate rival? It’s Night-Time-Don. That guy is completely out to sabotage Morning-Don and Daytime-Don.

Let me tell you about Night-Time-Don. He eats like shit. He loves cookies, chips, beer, ice cream, and Halloween candy. And not just a little bit. Sometimes all of the above. Calories on top of calories, and sometimes more than one alcoholic drink and Night-Time-Don makes it impossible for Morning-Don to wake early and get the day started on the right foot.

Night-Time-Don is also like a spoiled child and refuses to go to bed. Not because he’s doing anything productive or is engrossed in a work project or an amazing book. Nope. Night-Time-Don stays up to watch mindless TV. To check Facebook. To watch sports. Games, in fact, that don’t even involve a team he roots for.

Night-Time-Don knows that Morning-Don and Daytime-Don need sleep to function at their peak performance levels. Morning-Don likes to wake up, drink some water. Put the dog on a leash. And then take a 1/2 hour power-walk. It’s good exercise for the dog and for Morning-Don and gets his juices flowing. He listens to a Podcast or, more often than that, he’ll meditate over the Rosary while walking. But when Night-Time-Don doesn’t head to bed until midnight(ish), well, Morning-Don can’t drag himself out of bed at 5 a.m. . . . nor 5:30 a.m. . . . and not even 6 a.m. Morning-Don, instead, hits the snooze and starts stressing about the day and cursing Nighttime-Don.

And don’t even get me started talking about Daytime-Don and how that guy curses the choices that Night-Time-Don makes and how disappointed he is in Morning-Don.

Daytime-Don, too often, finds himself tired, unfocused, and unable to cope with the tasks and demands of the day. Daytime-Don simply doesn’t function well on less than 7 hours of sleep. Well, you ask, why doesn’t Daytime-Don and Morning-Don agree to sleep-in until 6:30 or 7:00 a.m.  Ahem. Don (all versions) has kids and a morning routine. Morning-Don needs to shower and be ready for the day by 6:55 a.m. when he wakes his kids and starts their 6:55 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. morning sprint out the door. That’s non-negotiable. OK. Yes. Morning-Don could set his alarm for 6:45, spring out of bed, handle the morning routine of his kids, and then at 7:40 when they leave (along with his wife), take a walk, shower, and then head to work, but that’s not realistic either. His work-day starts at 8:30 a.m. Morning-Don’s commute is 25-minutes. So that means if Don waits until 7:40 to get ready, he only has 25-minutes to shower and leave his house by 8:05 a.m.

Working backwards. Let’s say Night-Time-Don could live with an 11 o’clock bedtime. In order to get 7 hours of sleep, he would need to sleep straight through to 6:00 a.m. So, yes, that’s an option and will be taken under consideration. But understand this. Morning-Don, not by choice, has a bad habit of waking up at 5 a.m. anyway. He’s not sure why this is. It just is.

The point is this: when Nighttime-Don isn’t so dang selfish and heads to bed at 9:45 and spends some time reading or listening to a Podcast, and gets to sleep by 10:15 or 10:30, and then wakes up at 5:00 a.m., it has a profound impact on Morning-Don and Daytime-Don.

Wow. What a long blog entry. Nobody read it, I’m sure of that. But if they did, they know all I’m doing is beating myself up about the fact I stay up too late and then fail myself by neglecting my morning routine and lacking energy and focus throughout the day. Everything suffers when Don (all versions) neglect sleep, which is really neglecting his brain.

“Early to bed. Early to rise. Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”  -Ben Franklin

How come nobody lives by that, anymore? You can’t Google search “morning routines” or “power of sleep” without reading about the benefits. Damn you, Night-Time-Don.

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#22Kill 22-Day Push-Up Challenge, Day 5

I’m a little envious of my man H.F. who’s not only doing the #22Kill 22-Day Push-Up challenge, he’s doing it in a much more entertaining way than I am. He’s doing push-ups in the back of a moving pick-up truck. On the roof of a Ferrari. He’s on top of a wall. He’s doing it while tennis balls are launched towards him. But I guess, in the end, it’s all for the cause of bringing awareness to something that I wish never happened – on average, 22 Veterans take their own lives every day.

Below is as creative as I can be and it’s probably way to up-close and personal.

If it weren’t for the push-ups, what would I be doing with this blog? Usually I try to point out something interesting. I try to learn something new every day. Really, I do. Can you imagine if every day for 365 days I actually found something new and exciting, or added a good habit to my routine, or ended some bad habit or behavior? That would mean 365 new things or changes each year. 720 self-improvements over the course of two years. I’d make 4,000 discoveries or improvements over the next 11 years. Wow! That means, by the time I turn 53 years old, I’ll be 4,000x better than I am, today.

So, you ask, what did I learn, change, or fix, today? OK. Don’t laugh. I committed to loading the dishwasher and running it right after dinner and emptying it before I go to bed as part of my bedtime routine. My morning-self will thank my nighttime-self. Do you know who the morning-self and nighttime-self are? The nighttime-self is the enemy of the morning-self. Nighttime-self stays up too late, has a second or third beer, and doesn’t do anything productive. He’s lazy and selfish. Morning-self hates nighttime-self because when morning-self wakes up, he has to clean up after and undo all the damage nighttime-self did. Basically that’s my way of saying that I get made at myself in the morning when I wake up and I have to unload the dishwasher and it starts my day off in a bad mood. And when I wake up tired and can’t get outta bed at 5:15 because I stayed up until 11:30 or Midnight, it makes my whole day worse.

“The greatest danger occurs at the moment of victory.” -Napoleon’s warning

Back to the topic and my day-1 of 4,000-days of improvements. Today, I’m committing to doing the chore I hate doing before I got to bed each night to make my mornings better. I believe this (doing one thing daily) is called the Kaizen Way (1% better every day).

Little strokes fell great oaks.” –Benjamin Franklin

And now …my push-ups.

“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens — and when it happens, it lasts.” —John Wooden

#22Kill 22-Day Push-Up Challenge, Day 3

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You gotta watch today’s video. You’ll see my dog goes nuts right around my 20th push-up. More crazy than she ever acts. Guess why? There was a skunk waddling across the street. Apparently my dog and I spooked the skunk outta my bushes (I could smell it before I walked outside) when we came outside. OK. So if that sounds crazy, watch it. You’ll see I couldn’t get her to sit-stay.

Now, for my blog post and my philosophical ramblings. I’m working on my morning routine. I wanna be one of those, “I get more done before 7am than most people do all day,” types. I hit the snooze, today. Doh! The snooze is such a silly thing. I know that in my heart. If I’m not in R.E.M. sleep, what’s the point? Nobody ever said, “oh, well, at 5:15 a.m. I was sooooooo tired, but 9 minutes later at 5:24 a.m., I felt incredible!!!” Sleep specialists don’t say, “if you’re struggling with sleep, set your alarm for 3:00 a.m. and then hit the snooze for two hours and you’ll feel rested.”

I’m banning the snooze-button in my life. Oh, snap. The “snooze button” as a business and life philosophy. That could be my book. Would you read it?

Then again, I think there’s a way you can use the snooze. Been reading alot about meditation and prayer. I think the snooze button should only be a safety net. When that first alarm sounds, it’s OK to lay there and think, reflect, and get your mind ready for the day. Tomorrow, I’m going to try this . . . my alarm will go off at 5:15 a.m.

I’ll hit the snooze.

Then I’ll practice my breathing, practice being aware of my thoughts, think about my day, think about my workout, say a prayer or chant over some Chakras, and then when my next alarm goes off, attack the morning.

Here’s my push-ups.