Christmas Wish-List, Part 3

Day-1 and Day-2 of my Christmas wish-list were pretty lame. Three out of four items on the wish-list, so far, are shoes. I’m old. Not like today’s gonna get much better, as I’m about to ask for a set of headphones to be worn at night so I can drift to sleep while listening to Podcasts or books on tape (sorry ladies …I’m taken). And I want copper pans.

81012Copper Chef Round Fry Pan Set: I have two non-stick pans and, like microwaving things in plastic containers, I know they’re giving me Cancer everyday. So, for now, until someone discovers copper lined pans are the worst thing for your health, and because 2017 was the year we did a total kitchen make-over, I want a set of these copper fry pans. I don’t know if you’ve seen the infomercial on TV, but these are the real deal. I think they burned something onto them awful and with just a paper towel, all that burnt mess just wiped away. On, the Cancer thing …I guess the longer you have non-stick pans, that Teflon coating chips away and we ingest it, and that can’t be good. And since cooking in Teflon non-stick is the only unhealthy thing I do (sarcasm), hellooooo 100th birthday, here I come.

man-sleeping-blue-bedphones-smallBedphones: I’m embarrassed to say (but only slightly embarrassed) that I’m on my 5th pair and their known flaw (the left side will stop working) isn’t a deterrent to me. For almost a year, I’ve been using just the one-ear version I have to listen to Podcasts or music at night. I love these things because they’re so lightweight and they sit on the outside of the ear like a mini on-ear pair of headphones. Their whole thing is they lay flat on your ear so you can sleep in them and they won’t jab into your ear like an ear-bud, and they’re not big and bulky like on-ear and over the year headphones. I’m not alone …sometimes I have trouble sleeping and it’s because my mind races and thinks of a million things at once, so if I fire up a book-on-tape about the life of Albert Einstein, lemme tell ya …I fall asleep fast. My fall-back always is, however, if that I still can’t sleep, I’ll learn a heckuva lot about Albert Einstein and insomnia won’t be a waste of time. However, I set the sleep-timer for a half-hour and I never hear much more than five minutes of whatever I’m listening to. Bedphones saved my life – I’m not exaggerating.

Now …enjoy a quick video about the pans.


New Deoderant, New Generation 3 Bedphones

I’ve always been an Old Spice kinda guy. But now …drum roll …I picked up a new deodorant and I think I’m in love.

I’d like everyone to meet Every Man Jack. Maybe it’s a little pricey (actually, at $6 for a stick, it’s not that expensive, really).

Why the switch? Well, I had been using Old Spice antiperspirant for a while then read an article about the harmful chemicals it takes to actually block perspiration and said, screw that, I’ll go with regular Old Spice deodorant. But it consistently failed me every afternoon about 3 o’clock. Fascinating stuff, right?

I’d swipe and swipe and I started keeping an extra Old Spice stick at work and kept thinking, this can’t be right. Something’s not right when you swipe a half-dozen times under each arm in the morning and by 3 o’clock in the afternoon, you’re smelling like you just ran a 5K.

Every Man Jack claims the following:

No harsh chemicals. No unbelievable promises. Just naturally derived products that get the job done.

Two days in, so far, so good. The reviews on the website say it doesn’t last an entire day, but none of the reviewers said what they do for a living. I’m a sales guy who spends 60% of my time in the office at a desk and 40% of my time on calls. I wear a cotton dress shirt (when I’m not wearing my Mizzen & Main shirts) and a blazer over it when going on appointments. It can’t be worse than the Old Spice.

The next thing . . . I got my new Bedphones, Generation 3.  These are supposed to be more durable and the in-line microphone is up higher on the chord and my first call this morning was well received by the co-worker on the other end of the line. She said, “sounds clear and I can’t tell you’re not holding it up to your ear.”


Remember when I wrote that “I Won Christmas?” I made such a bodacious claim because I asked for a buncha utility items for Christmas and it wasn’t really a vanity play. What are “utility items?” Because I’m an old man, it means I’ve started to ask for things I “need” versus “want.” And it feels good.

I got a dog last year. When it’s rainy or a little snow outside, I won’t want to walk in heavy boots for long distances. And tennis shoes get wet. Enter the BOGS Urban Walker. Utility.

Which brings me to one of my favorite things I own – the Bedphones.

I bought them to listen to music while sleeping or trying to get to sleep, and they’re popular for that because they are thin and lay on the outside of the ear so as not to jam deep into your ear canal. But, I like them better than all my ear-buds (because they’re comfortable and the bendy-wire design makes them bend exactly as you need them to fit around your ear). They serve their purpose, but …what I missed is that they have a microphone, too, so I can use them while walking or driving and talking on the phone, and the sound quality is terrific – so I wear them almost exclusively. An earbud won’t ever be used again if I can help it. And I’m not longing for over the ear Beats by Dre or Bose noise cancelling headphones.

If I still traveled, these would be my music-listening earphones, my talking-on-the-phone head-set, and my “I can’t sleep in hotel rooms” sleep remedy. Heck, I’d chat up people at the airport or on the plane just to talk about my Bedphones.

What is the point of this blog entry? Maybe so the Bedphones people will send me a free pair? Or because I just love them that much? Mashable’s review says, “you’ll probably forget you’re wearing them.” That’s spot on. I get up at 5 a.m. and start breakfast and listen to podcasts and I literally forget they’re on my ears.

My life is better for having Bedphones. And because I have a blog, when my life improves …guess what. I write about it and you get to read about it.

If you travel alot. Get Bedphones. If you like to or need to listen to music or any sort of audio in bed. Get Bedphones. If you frequently work remotely and join conference calls and sometimes need to talk. Get Bedphones.

I’ll fight any man who says they have something better.

When your Christmas, Father’s Day, and birthday wish-list are designed around the concept of making your life better, and your well-researched items actually perform as (or better than) advertised, it’s worth blogging about and sharing.

Yes. I like these better than my BOGS, I think.

Follow me at @donkowalewski.

I Won Christmas!

I won Christmas. But not in the same way I usually win Christmas, which I usually measured statistically with measurable metrics like “most gifts” and “cost of gifts” and “percentage of list.” But not this year. This year, I measured it in here (pointing to my heart) and up here (pointing to my head).

We live in a material world and I try my best to fit into that world, worrying about (a) me, (b) myself, and (c) what other people think of me. I typically want other people to base their judgments on the things I have and the money they believe that I have. For most of my life, this worked out just fine. I walked around picturing everyone jealous of me.

Then, I approached 40 years old, then I turned 40, and then I went zipping right into my “40s” (the decade, not the beer bottles) and it all changed. I started to realize, nobody cares, Don. Nobody thinks about you and envies you as much as you hope they do. They have lives and families and concerns of their own.

I had to shift my entire world view. And with that came new (and probably healthier) perspective. Which brings me to my Christmas list.

My sister has laughed quite a bit about my Christmas wish-list. Everything on it was practical and boring (to the outside world). Usually my list is filled with items that make the outside world think I’m doing all sorts of awesome things …like dressing in high fashion and expensive clothes, or exercising and being awesome, or into expensive hobbies because I’m soooooo upper middle class. Not this year. My list, in a nutshell was (a) keep my feet warm, (b) help me sleep, (c) replace something I had and used up, and (d) drink – in style.

Guess what? When you ask for things, and get things, that enrich the lives of those around you, it’s actually way better.

My new world view is shifting to, if I get this, I can make Person(s) A happy by __________.

I got waterproof Bogs (slip on shoes) rated to 20 degrees below zero for walking the dog or for quick chores outside. This makes my life better by walking more. Makes my dog’s life better by walking more. Makes my wife’s life better because I don’t track dirt and mud into the house. Yes. I have running shoes. But on a 35 degree rainy day when the neighborhood is all puddles and wet grass, having these quick slip-ons is brilliant.

I got warm, boot high socks. I didn’t even know I wanted them, but my wife did, and they are cozy and warm and when it gets really cold (which I’m sure is coming soon), my feet will be warm (while walking that damn dog the kids wanted so badly …do you see them walking the dog? 10-9-8-7-6 …OK …I’m better).

I got a “#1 Dad” wallet, which means all my hard work in 2014 elevated me from “All American” to #1. Woo hoo! It’s probably because I bought this particular daughter a dog, come to think of it.

I got Bedphones. Hey. I have trouble staying asleep. I was trying to fix it by (a) reading in bed whenever I woke up (which meant a 1/2 hour or more of wakefulness in the middle of the night). Or (b) I tried heading downstairs and sleeping in front of the TV, which meant bad sleep in the glow of a TV (that’s horrible). I (c) tried getting up and making lists (of the things I was worrying about). That didn’t help. But I found the best idea was to have a few (boring) audio books ready on my iPhone. When I wake, I quickly pop in the headphones, set the sleep timer for 30 minutes, and then try like hell to stay awake and listen. But when the book is something like the epic “John Quincy Adams” biography and it’s detailing the letters he received from his mother about how to dress in public …trust me …it’s a cure of insomnia. Sorry, history buffs …it was interesting, but not that interesting. Ear buds hurt my ear canals, so I read about these Bedphones wish are soft and lay gently against my ears, but not in my ears, and I can sleep on my side or back and I can’t really even tell I have earphones on.

And lastly, I got a new sea salt block for grilling and cooking (which I love and love doing it for my family and I love when my wife says, wow, this tastes so good), and my Secret Santa at work got me a growler (32 ounce beer bottle) which I can get filled at local breweries. I’m not a “craft beer” guy, and rarely will I pick up a bottle of micro brew, but the style and flair of bringing a growler into a brewery and having them fill it up …OK …so this was the one gift that still screamed, “look at me …I do cool things. Envy me.” The growler is cool.

Can this non-selfish, and non-ego gratifying outlook on gift-receiving last into the rest of my life? Not sure. But for now, getting things that improve my life and improve the lives of those around me …it feels pretty good.

What if I really adopted the motto …help others in order to help yourself. That sounds like a pretty good resolution. And I’ll hope, maybe, somebody reads this blog entry and doesn’t see it as self adulation, but maybe they say, hey, me too.

Follow me at @donkowalewski on Twitter.