Thank You & Happy 3rd Blogaversary!

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Hi everyone! I just wanted to send you all a quick note and thank you for reading, viewing and sharing MANE MAN over the past few years.  This blog has been a little labor of love and is as much about you as it has been about my journey into afros and grooming.   I’m thankful for all your continued support and encouragement.  Again, I can’t say it enough, I’m so grateful for your support I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

 

Guys’ Night Out Rockport Challenge Giveaway

giveaway - maneman

As promised in my previous post, A Guys Night Out with Rockport,I’m happy to bring you our latest giveaway!  Sponsored by Rockport shoes you can win a  pair of Rockport Parker Hill Desert Boots for yourself (or a friend you really like).  All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post to enter.  That’s the only mandatory option!  Follow me, @manemanblog and Rockport shoes @Rockport for an additional entry each.  Winners will be announced on Monday, September 29, 2014.  Please enter the contest via the widget below.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Product Review: Kinky Curly

Kinky Curly product

I’ve long been a fan of Kinky Curly products from my early fro-growing days. I once tried the Kinky Curly Curling Custard and found that it worked pretty well but eventually opted for cheaper gel alternatives.

Today, I’m checking out the entire brand in a little more depth, including Kinky Curly’s newest deep conditioner, Stellar Strands.

First up is KC’s Knot Today leave-in conditioner which is well-known among the natural hair community as one of the best conditioners out there. In short, I have to say that I agree. While Knot Today isn’t great for deep conditioning, the benefit lies in its superior ingredient list and usability that is all but unparalleled in the hair care industry. Knot Today moved easily through my hair, which is thick and porous. It’s also a pretty effective moisturizer that always leaves my hair feeling soft and moisturized. This is definitely a superior performing product.

Kinky Curly’s Spiral Spray is another story altogether, unfortunately. The spray gel doesn’t seem to be suited for type 4 hair like mine. It’s consistency is thin and almost snot-like. I didn’t have a particularly good experience with the product and to date haven’t had any luck using it to my benefit. Spiral Spritz is no match for my thick mane and while it’s ingredients list is superior (like all Kinky Curly products) it just doesn’t work at all for me.

Perfectly Polished is Kinky Curly’s nourishing hair oil which works as a pre-shampoo treatment and finishing aid. Formulated with apricot and argan oils, among others, Perfectly Polished is a potent oil blend that offers a lot of nourishment and softness. In my experience, the oil blend was the perfect last step to de-crunchify gelled hair. It’s also great for scalp massages. At 4 oz. for $18, Perfectly Polished is a pricey, yet effective and luxurious product. If you’re in the market for this type of product, I can’t imagine you would have any buyer’s remorse. Plus, it just smells so good.

Similarly, Kinky Curly Gloss Pomade is a finishing aid to help tame fly aways and offer softness. While I enjoy this product as well, I would have a hard time choosing this over Perfectly Polished.

Finally, Stellar Strands is the newest kid on the Kinky Curly block. Labeled as a hydrating deep treatment, Stellar Strands is designed to be used with heat for 15 minutes or 30 minutes without it. Before I say anything else, I should note that I have done neither. I just can’t see myself walking around with goop in my hair for a half hour, but then again maybe I’m really missing out.

That being said, Stellar Strands does well even if left on for 10 minutes in a long shower. It definitely softened my hair and I felt it left my mane feeling a little more moisturized as well. My biggest negative about the product, is its overall difficulty of use. The time commitment notwithstanding, Stellar Strands isn’t nearly as silky and smooth as I would have expected. It doesn’t have that magical “slip” like Knot Today, which would quickly change it from a good deep conditioner into something really special and worth the investment. At this time, the product sells for $13 for 8 oz., and I can’t say that I would spring for it on my own dime just yet.

Overall, Kinky Curly has a good collection of hair care product offerings. While Perfectly Polished is an obvious standout, Spiral Spritz completely failed for me and left me wanting something much more usable. The Gloss Pomade is also a good product, and Stellar Strands, while good, leaves a little bit to be desired. All in all, I can still say without reservation that I like the Kinky Curly brand with its cruelty-free and ingredients lists that any purist would likely fawn over. It’s totally up to you if you think the products are worth the investment.

To learn more about Kinky Curly, you can visit the website at www.kinky-curly.com.

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored review by Kinky Curly. Products for review were provided for the sole purpose of this review. All opinions listed herein are mine, and mine alone and have not in any way been influenced by Kinky Curly.

Weekly Obsessions 9.19.14

Here are this week’s latest obsessions…

I’m a little late, but I previously shared this speech by NFL commentator James Brown that really resonated with me about domestic violence.  It’s really one of the best discussions on intimate partner violence that I’ve seen in a while.  The fact that it aired before a prime time game makes it even better.  Well done, sir, well done.

Recently, natural hair blog Black Girl with Long Hair featured me on their list of 5 Men with Crushworthy Natural Hair.  It’s such a great list which includes some guys who were previous features here on MANE MAN. Thanks for the shout out BGLH!

And finally, if you’re in the NJ, NYC or Staten Island area you should find yourself eating at Potatopia after 4 PM. The restaurant (which I love) is running a promotion where all month-long (September is National Potato Month) you can receive a $4 meal after 4 PM at any Potatopia location. It even includes a small fountain drink!  Do yourself a favor and check it out, it really is delicious.  And is there any better way to carb load than to eat a deliciously stuffed baked potato?

potatopia collage

 

 

A Guys Night Out with Rockport

One of the hardest things (see: #firstworldproblems) about going out and socializing, is for me, deciding what to wear.  As a guy, we often have limited options to choose from and have less acceptability in attending a function wearing a glorified t-shirt.

That’s why it’s always fun to take advantage of a guy’s night out every once in a while, but that’s no excuse to look like a slob (especially in a place like New York City).  One of the things I actually like most about style here is how everyone manages to have this  cool work/sleek/stylish/comfortable wardrobe that seamlessly transitions from days at the office to happy hours to date nights.  I guess it’s because we’re often running right from one event to the other.  I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing, but that’s neither here nor there.

I’ve found the perfect style combination for me that usually includes dark jeans, a button up shirt, some chukkas and a nice jacket. Substitute a blazer or cardigan for the jacket and a polo for the button-up shirt and you pretty much have what I wear 90% of the time.  Yes, sadly I’m not that inventive.  I do try and switch up colors a bit from time to time, however.

guys night out

If you can’t tell, I’m all about comfort and function.  If a shirt hugs just a little too tight I’ll toss/donate it.  If my shoes hurt my feet I’ll never wear them.   That’s one of the reasons why I’m really glad to have partnered with Rockport shoes for this post. Their Parker Hill Desert Boot comes with ADIPRENE technology which basically means you feel like you’re wearing tennis shoes/sneakers but with the look of a boot. They are just awesome.

So for me, guys night out can consist of drinks, likely some carb-heavy food and maybe a movie.  Sometimes that plan devolves into  a variety of things, but hey I guess that’s one of the down upsides of living in the Big Apple with so many options.

That’s a quick look at my guys’ night out style.  Check back here on the blog soon with a really special offer from Rockport. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Rockport shoes.

Book Review: Jack Icefloe Jackson’s Romance for Men

jack iceloe jackson pandora's boxRomance for men? Well, sort of. This book (I can’t bring myself to call it a novel) is the brain child of Hollywood writer/producer Dean Lorey and is not for the faint of heart.

Romance for Men: Pandora’s Box is without a doubt, the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. The book follows the author, Jack Icefloe Jackson, on his journey to save the world. Yeah, really.  Jack is tapped by President Obama to “meet with” Pandora  before her infamous box destroys the world.

But what exactly makes this book “romance for men”? Well, Jack Icefloe Jackson only ever has one thing on his mind, which is also central to his mission, ironically. The book is graphic, distasteful and completely inappropriate. It’s pretty much what you might expect from a book that refers to itself as romance for men.

The book’s genius lies in its satire and ability to make even the filthiest of guys uncomfortable at times. I was even a little weary of reading it on my daily commute because even the cover is just so…Icefloe.

Chances are that if you don’t like being politically correct (or embrace that part of yourself) you’ll likely enjoy what Romance for Men: Pandora’s Box has to offer. It’s definitely for mature audiences only and would probably make the perfect gag gift for your buddy on his next birthday. Admittedly, I reluctantly say that it am a little curious as to what Jack Icefloe Jackson encounters on his next journey in “SUCKubus”.

For more depraved, explicit and horrifically inappropriate stuff, you can visit icefloejackson.com.

Disclosure: A sample copy for review was provided courtesy of the book’s publishing and marketing team for the sole purpose of this review.

Weekly Obsessions 9.5.14

Here are this week’s latest obsessions…

If you haven’t seen this adorable video by now, chances are you’ve been overwhelmed with other responsibilities, but just take a look as a little tyke gets his hearing aid and can really hear his parents’ voices for the first time.

And now because bathing suit season is over, I wanted to share with you this incredibly sinful delicious collection of recipes by Buzzfeed, “27 Salted Caramel Desserts That Will Make Everything Better”.  I made a rendition of a recipe that I hope to be sharing on the site soon!

Watch this woman beast a flying garbage bag at the U.S. Open.  I love the commentary and crowd reaction.  PS…nice hair!

And finally, the world just lost one of its funniest truth-tellers, Joan Rivers.  While I didn’t always agree with all her jokes, she is one of a few comics that can get me laughing out loud on a consistent basis. Check out this nice little tribute to her life’s work:

A Good Ol Fashion Rant

It’s very appropriate that this post is coming to you in the middle of Fashion Week because I’ve been holding on to this one for a while. Let’s go down the rabbit hole, shall we?

I AM TIRED WITH FASHION’S OBSESSION WITH VANITY. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, “isn’t fashion all about looking good and well…vanity?” Well, yeah. But I’m not upset about looking good. It’s the vanity part that really gets me going.

If you shop at inexpensive big box stores or chains like (Old Navy, Gap, H&M, Banana Republic, etc…) then you’ve likely felt the pinch too, especially if you’re a dude and of a particular body type.

Vanity sizing, which I’ve written about before, is now firmly a big part of shopping for men. For guys like me, we have found ourselves having a harder time finding clothes that fit like they used to, especially amid America’s current obsession with “slim fit”.

So I’m going to say it now. Slim fit is not for everyone. But if you’re shopping at those big retail chains you probably wouldn’t know it judging by the racks of clothes staring at you in the face. Classic cuts like “regular” fit or “straight” fit are increasingly more difficult to find so sometimes I find myself having to choose slim fit but a size up, and this is no fun.

Some guys have beer guts, athletic legs and sizable backsides. And some guys don’t. This post isn’t a tirade against super slim men, not in the slightest. I’m just a little concerned.

I know that this territory of grossly inaccurate sizing and inability to find clothing that works for you has long been a female phenomenon/problem. Trust me, that’s not lost on me. Now I’m finding myself, along with a bunch of other dudes, I’m sure, right in the same boat. And it’s annoying…really annoying.

A New Way to Say Hello

Today I bring you my experience using hello oral care products. Read on for the review!

hello

Hello products were created to offer customers reasonably priced, vegan and cruelty free oral products. Hello prides itself in offering tasty and delicious options to create a more enjoyable daily experience, and that’s exactly what initially drew me to their products.

The product line has a variety of flavors for each of their product offerings: mojito mint, supermint, and pink grapefruit mint. Luckily I had the opportunity to sample all three!

The small breath sprays are handy little canisters (see above) that fit just about anywhere. They’re perfect for a purse or work messenger for easy access.

I was able to try the breath spray in all three flavors and I would have to say the mojito mint was my favorite. It’s pretty reminiscent of the cocktail, but like all hello products, its alcohol free. Pink grapefruit has a slightly sweeter and brighter flavor while supermint boasts a particularly powerful serving of minty-goodness.

The real surprise was the Supermint Mouthwash which was infinitely more powerful than the breath spray, so much so that I actually felt a pretty solid “burn”. That quickly quelled my fear that hello products wouldn’t be effective dental care because of their pleasant taste. Needless to say, I was impressed.

Overall, I have two words to describe my experience with hello oral care…surprisingly delicious. And trust me, that’s the last thing I thought I would say about an oral hygiene routine.

To learn more about hello, you can visit them on the web at hello-products.com.

Disclosure: This is a post sponsored by the folks at hello oral care. Products were provided for the sole purpose of the review and have not been unduly influenced in any way.

Carb Overload! Perfect Pasta Dishes

Check out Pasta Overload: Perfect Pasta Dishes

by Jor-El at Foodie.com

Have you been looking for the perfect pasta recipe to try?  Look no further! Here are 12 Perfect Pasta Dishes that you should make tonight!

Like most people, I’ve long had an unhealthy obsession with pasta. Sometimes I try and convince myself that I’m due pasta because I try to run regularly but I know in my heart of hearts that’s usually just a silly excuse to go into full-fledged carb-beast-mode. But that’s neither here nor there.

Today, I’m sharing with you some of my favorite pasta recipes, which include everything from light summery salads to incredibly rich and indulgent cheesy-pasta fests.  Hey, they both have a perfectly valid place in the world, right?!

I’m a Southern boy at heart so I would be remiss not to include a classic southern mac & cheese recipe although since relocating to NYC years ago, I have to say I don’t eat it nearly as much as I used to. Yes, there are restaurants that serve it here, but there’s nothing quite like mom’s mac & cheese that has way too much butter and cheese, right?  Nonetheless, it’s still my much welcomed go-to for pot luck dinners so I must be doing something right.

Here are some of the best/most intriguing pasta recipes around. While I haven’t made all of them, several have found their way into my tummy over the years and the rest, well, they’re on my short list of things to cook up.

Here are the recipes included in my collection:

  • Artichoke Spinach Cannelloni with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
  • Chicken Picatta
  • Missouri Toasted Ravioli
  • Roasted Vegetable and Spinach Lasagna
  • Ranch BLT Macaroni Salad (SUPER easy and good!)
  • Rotini Salad with Kalamata Olive Dressing
  • Easy Lasagna
  • Classic Macaroni Salad
  • Baked Ziti Casserole
  • Classic Southern Macaroni and Cheese
  • Creamy Philly Beef Stroganoff
  • Pesto Pasta
  • Pasta Salad (made with Rotini)
  • Easy Tuna Casserole

HAPPY EATING!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from my friends over at Foodie. Check out their site for a plethora of recipes that you can collect on your own.  There’s tons of inspiration!

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