Man Cave Ideas: Creating a Space For You

When sharing a space with a significant other, roommate, or family members, having a space of your own to relax, unwind and enjoy your favorite hobbies is a must-have. Below we have a few tips to help you design your own retreat, also known as the man cave! It doesn’t necessarily have to be a “cave” per se, leaving you living as a basement dweller – barely seeing daylight. It can be any room in the home.

Apartments can be difficult to navigate depending on the size of your family, your vacant space, or resources you have. However, you can create a man cave out of anything, it just takes some time, and the ability to be accepting of shifting some items from room to room.

Out with the old

Often times people have a room dedicated to storage, where moving boxes and holiday decorations sit until the next year, taking up space in a perfectly usable area. It becomes time-consuming sorting through every picture album and costume bin, but luckily it can be as easy as taking your current storage and moving it into a small storage space like ones that Spare Foot offers for a small fee. This way, you have room to contribute to your apartment, while also freeing more storage space for any other items you’d like out of your hands (but aren’t quite ready to get rid of just yet). If you don’t want to move your items to additional storage, place any items on shelves above eye level, or under furniture to tuck them away. If you have valuables, wrapping them in newspaper and bubble wrap will keep them safe, and out of your way.

Invest in quality furniture

You want to create a man cave that reflects the quality of time you will be spending inside. Often times the furniture in a personal space is overlooked, but it’s important to invest in a quality couch, like these options here, or a durable coffee table to supplement your new space. Also, ensure that your electronics are up to date as this is key for the ultimate relaxation zone. While you’re laying on a soft, snug sectional with your TV, you can do anything from playing video games to taking a nap. The man cave is your space!

Embrace the man YOU are

Every man is different, which means every man cave shouldn’t be the same. When you’re working with a smaller area, like an apartment, keep in mind that your personal space needs to have the essentials, and nothing more. Something simple, like mounting a TV, will open floor space that can be better used for other thing. Items to consider would be: a fully stocked mini fridge, a small bookshelf filled with video games, a foldable ping-pong table, or a mini bar. These things could add a lot to the space without overcrowding. You can even decorate to your interests using things like posters of your favorite sports teams, hunting mounts, and hung-up drinking games (but only if you’re of age!).

A man cave is ultimately a “choose your own adventure” depending on your interests. Some men want a quiet place to read and browse the internet. In that circumstance, having a room with some quality lighting, a desk with a computer and chair, and possibly a coffee station would require little to no space, but be incredibly satisfying. Some men might want a space that is appropriate for all family members, but has a unique twist like a favorite guitar hung on the wall, or a main area for video games. If you aren’t able to dedicate a full room to a single person in the house, at least make it a space appealing to their color interests and hobbies, so they feel the sense of importance in the room, and can adequately relax.

If you already have a man-cave, what are your favorite parts about it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

Product Review: Old Spice Foamer

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Old Spice.

I have long given up on most traditional soaps as I find that they can be incredibly harsh on my skin, leaving me feeling super dry. It’s not fun, especially during the cooler, drier months (and here we are!). When the opportunity to try out the Old Spice Foam came along – I was interested and curious about how it might stack up to the average soap and other body washes.

Old Spice Foamer (middle) with other gems from the OS lineup.

The cleansing foam is a relatively new offering from Old Spice. It’s this type of ongoing creativity that makes the brand an old-time favorite of mine. Like many guys, it was one of the first grooming brands I ever came across (maybe the first deodorant I ever used?!) so it has a special place in my heart. It’s been interesting to see the changes over the years.

The thing I like most about the foamer is that it feels pretty good on the skin. It has a smoothness that many soaps don’t have.  It feels luxurious but not in a heavy way. The one downside, I think for a lot of people, would be that it doesn’t create a ton of bubbles for effect (which many soaps do). This makes it a step up in my opinion, but I know that of people think that bubbles = clean. Expert tip, sudsy lather just means (more often than not) that the product is harsh and drying out your skin. The foamer doesn’t feel heavy but also isn’t too thin or flimsy. The consistency is pretty good.

The sample I tried came in the Captain scent, which I generally enjoy, and would describe as a clean, masculine scent. The great thing about Old Spice is that if you like a certain scent you can get the range of products (most of the time) in that scent.

Overall, I like the foamer but don’t know that I would use it perpetually at the exclusion of other soap. Maybe, I’m a product junkie who just likes to switch it up from time to time. Maybe I get bored?!  Who knows! However, the smell and finish on the skin (so smooth) are definitely its biggest selling points. And well, it’s a bit fun too!

 

 

Product Feature: A Look at the New Tani SilkCut Collection

I have a love-hate relationship with underwear. On one hand, who really likes to wear an extra layer of clothing? On the other hand, when you find a really good pair isn’t it kind of amazing?!

Today, we’re taking a look at Tani’s new SilkCut Collection.

Back in 2014, I tried out some of Tani’s offerings and found them to be pretty solid. Obviously, if you’re used to wearing underwear that comes in under $10 and in a multipack, trying out more luxurious options is going to feel starkly different.  Recently, I was interested in trying out Tani’s new SilkCut Collection, which is reportedly SOFTER than silk, itself.  Needless to say, I was intrigued and skeptical.

Here are the product’s key selling points:

  • The only underwear made with MicroModal® AIR

  • The fabric is thinner, finer and more durable than silk

  • Naturally wicking fabric keeps you cooler and dryer

  • Quick Dry, Lightweight, Breathable, 8 Way Stretch

  • Patented “No Grip” Waistband

Having tried out the new, patterned trunks (who needs boring solid colors all the time?) on hot and humid NY days, I can absolutely vouch for the comfort and cool factor. These products breathe well which is great for all guys, especially those who run a little hot like I do. I didn’t recognize any bunching or discomfort whatsoever, which in all honestly, is rare for me.

I can’t say whether or not Tani SilkCut Collection is actually softer than silk or not, because frankly I could probably count on less than one hand the number of times I’ve held silk fabric in my hands. However, I have to that I am incredibly impressed by the craftsmanship from the folks over at Tani. The products are good. It’s a whole different standard that I’m most often exposed to, and that’s a great thing.

And did I mention the technology used to create this amazingly soft fabric is CO2 neutral. How cool is that?!

That being said, Tani products are luxurious and are quite an investment. You might end up spending upwards of $50 for a pair of underwear, but somehow it’s still a solid value considering the quality and feel of their products. I still have, and can wear, the products I reviewed back in 2014 and they have no signs of slowing down.

I know all of us (at some point) have joked about getting socks or underwear for presents, but man, I think that any guy would consider himself pretty lucky to having any of Tani’s products on his body, especially the new SilkCut Collection.

You can shop the collection here.

 

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Tani. All opinions listed herein are mine, and mine alone.

Getting Started in a New Pad: My Picks

I HATE moving. Does anyone actually like that process? I can’t imagine anyone does.

The one thing I do like about new spaces is creating the feel and layout of the room. I’m sensitive to my environment so I’m much more intentional about the layout and feel of a room than the average person. When it was time to move into a different (much bigger) space I knew I had to make some new purchases and considerations.

After the move was over and new furniture/decor was ordered I waited..and waited. It seemed like forever. I’m one of those people who likes to moving done and all boxes unpacked within a day. I know, it’s a bit unreasonable, but hey it’s just how I roll.

Thankfully, the movers worked fast and now I’m all settled into the new pad. Today, I want to share with you some of my favorite buys that helped my new place feel like home.

Textiles

Image source: Amazon

 

The new place gets a LOT more sunlight and I’m basically a vampire, to be honest. But my bedroom needs to be super dark in order to fall asleep (plus I’m not an early riser). In order to get good rest I got these blackout curtains which work incredibly well. They’re my saving grace!

Rugs are incredibly important parts of a new space. They help anchor a room and can help provide an opportunity to balance out colors as well. I chose this reasonably priced low pile rug from Ikea mostly because the color was neutral and it was one that my dog couldn’t easily dig into.

Decor

Image source Displate.com

I like really simple walls, believe it or not so I like to see a lot of white space to really appreciate a space. Otherwise, I just feel overwhelmed with wall clutter.

I’ve long been a fan of Displate.com because they have so many cool pieces that are out of the norm, like this Hitchcock themed one. The other great part about these pieces is that they don’t damage walls, which makes them great for renters! There are no brackets or tacks to speak of. They hang via adhesive magnets and work really well!

Furniture

Baxton Studio shell chair from Wikibuy.com

I realized that my old desk chair was just not cutting it. As someone how works from home regularly, I knew I needed to update from a plush office chair to something much more functional and not bad for my back. I picked out a black mid-century modern shell chair from Wikibuy (https://wikibuy.com/), which has a lot of great deals on the site. Because I bought from Wikibuy I spent about 40% less on it that it was advertised on other sites.

The new place gave me the option of a nice, new entryway so I took this as an opportunity to find an entryway table that could hold my keys, loose change and have a place at the bottom for my messenger bag (which I take with me daily).  I landed on something pretty similar to this gem and its worked out well. It’s funny how much the little things make a difference!

If you’re shopping for your new home, then good luck! Hopefully you can find some affordable pieces to make your new pad feel like your own.

 

Disclosure: Wikibuy has provided compensation for their inclusion in this post. Wikibuy operates as a website and Chrome extension that finds you the best deals across the web on products you love! They match you with the best prices check out this video for a 60 second rundown: https://wikibuy.com/about.

Product Review: Redken Brews Pt. 2

You may have read part one of my Redken Brews adventure earlier this week. Here are my thoughts on the lineup’s stylers and finishing products. Read on for more!

Pastes, Gels and Creams

Dishevel Fiber Cream: I haven’t had a lot of success with creams in the past as most creams aren’t created with afro-textured hair in mind. With that, I was pleasantly surprised by Dishevel Fiber Cream. It’s a bit tacky on my hands and doesn’t really distribute well. But for those negatives, it does give a decent amount of control so it manages fly-aways pretty well.

Get Groomed Finishing Cream: I found myself continually visiting with this product despite it not providing a lot of control or shine. To me, it just feels good. If I were to compare it to anything, it kind of feels like a thick leave-in conditioner although I never used it as such. It’s a solid finishing product and make my hair feel soft and moisturized. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t deliver in the control department which makes me shy away from it for everyday use.

Stand Tough Extreme Gel:  I’ve long been a fan of hair gels since I started growing out my hair many years ago. But, I have been using them less and less over the years. When I do opt for gels, I always look for a product that provides a good amount of control (I have a LOT of hair) and shine as my hair tends to appear dull even when it’s well-moisturized.  Stand Tough Extreme Gel delivers on both fronts as promised. It’s not my favorite from this grouping but definitely does a respectable job.

Working Hard Molding Paste: Surprisingly, I think this might be my favorite product from the Redken Brews line up. The product comes in this handy pump container which, for my thick mane, gives out the perfect amount needed to add some extra control. I think that this product works great on day 1 hair, but I mostly used it to refresh and reshape on days 2 or 3. It always left me with moderately lustrous hair that stayed perfectly in place. I highly recommend this one!

The Pomades

Clay Pomade: Designed to give maximum control with a gritty finish, The Clay Pomade does a pretty good job at that. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t meet my preferences most often. I like a product that helps my hair shine a bit more and this gritty finish just doesn’t do it for me. That being said, if my hair is all over the place and I need to look presentable in minutes, this one does work really well. The control is also off the charts so this one works well for those who have trouble styling and keeping their hair put on long days.

Outplay Texture Pomade: This one is relatively similar to the Clay Pomade. It works very well at providing control and to me, does a bit better on the finishing touches front. The end result is a matte finish which, for me, is a bit better than the Clay Pomade.

Maneuver Cream Pomade: This, by far, is my favorite of the pomade bunch. Despite it only offering medium control and a smooth finish, I find this product really nice to use. It feels great in my hands and helps create a nice, clean and smooth finish that works well for everyday use. My only qualm is that the control isn’t as strong so on days when my hair is a bit frizzier than normal it’s not the best bet.

All in all, Redken Brews does an excellent job at creating a line of products for the modern man. Some of which come with the power of malt housed in these slick little bottles which does wonders for improving hair and scalp health, as well as adding a little extra shine. If you’re looking for any of those benefits for your mane, give some of these products a try! Every product may not be to your exact liking but the line up is diverse enough that it offers something for everyone. And if you have any concerns about the products working on afro-textured hair, you have my testimonial. I still use many of these products and will for a while!

 

Which product from the lineup do you think would work best for you? Sound off in the comment section below!

Product Review: Redken Brews Pt. 1

Have you heard about trend of drinking beer in the shower? I’m not so much a fan of that idea – a hot tub maybe – but a shower, not so much. I much prefer trying out Redken Brews.

Redken Brews is a line of products with the modern male in mind. Many of the products come in neatly designed beer bottles and boast malt as hair-healing ingredient. Malt and hops are known to nourish hair by providing extra protein which helps repair hair tainted by heat and exposure to the elements. They also add a bit of extra shine, which is particularly important for those with coily hair types as light doesn’t reflect quite as well due to the structural nature of the hair.

I’ve been using the Redken Brews products for a while now and I’m glad to share my thoughts with you. Read on if you’re thinking of trying them out yourself!

The Redken Brews lineup. Image source: Redken.

Shampoo & Conditioner

Mint Shampoo: I love the tingle of a mint shampoo. I always have. It just makes my scalp feel happy. Much to my dismay, I didn’t feel a lot of tingle when using Redken Brew’s Mint Shampoo. That signature tingle was something that I missed. Despite that, I think the shampoo works fine overall…and it smells great too! This shampoo is great for those who need a little pick me up along with a little extra scalp-TLC.

Daily Shampoo: Meant to be used as an “everyday” shampoo, Redken Brews Daily Shampoo works just fine, but is nothing to write home about. It has a nice, refreshing smell but I found that it can be a bit drying to my hair.  However, I found that the Daily Conditioner does a really good job at replenishing after cleansing. More on that in a minute.

3-in-1: If you’ve been a reader of this blog for sometime then you know that I’m not a huge fan of 3-in-1 or 2-in-1 products for hair. My hair is often simply too thick and coily to use one product for. But, this 3-in-1 is billed as a shampoo, conditioner and body wash. As a shampoo it works fairly well. As a conditioner for me, it was a no go. As a body wash, it’s great! The smell the 3-in-1 is masculine and warm, which are some of my favorite scent profiles. I think that most guys would get a lot of mileage out of this one, particularly if you have fine hair. I think everyone will love it as a body wash too.

Daily Conditioner: I’m surprised to write this, but Redken Brews Daily Conditioner is one of my favorite products in the line up. I admit that I’m usually pretty skeptical about hair conditioners because well, my fro can be pretty particular. And if I’m really looking for a deep scalp clean I need to make sure that my mane gets some extra lovin’ right after. This daily conditioner says its made for all hair types and it absolutely is. It’s thick and luxurious and handles my dense, coily kinky hair really well. It’s an exceptional product and I highly recommend it without reservations. It’s awesome!

Check out part II of this post for my thoughts on the rest of the Redken lineup!

 

Skincare in Transition: Winter to Spring

Anyone who knows me well knows that I hate the feeling of dry skin, particularly dry hands. I work hard to take care of my skin and along the way I’ve found some products that work pretty well at keeping me from battling dry skin all the time. As we (hopefully) start this transition from winter to spring, I wanted to share some thoughts on my favorite products just in case you need to update your grooming arsenal.

Body

I think that every good skin care routine starts with a good body wash. When I want to ensure that my skin is well-moisturized, especially during less humid, cooler months, I always circle back to SheaMoisture Three Butters Wash & Scrub from their men’s line. It’s luxurious, and with three butters (shea, cocoa and mango) it always leaves my skin feeling much better than without it. It’s a great winter product that transitions through the early stages of spring.

Once we get deeper into spring and the summer months, I make the change to less creamy options. I’m looking forward revisiting with my all-year favorite (and inexpensive option) Trader Joe’s Oatmeal & Honey Soap. It’s light, yet moisturizing and I use it from head to toe.

I feel similarly about SheaMoisture’s Ultra-Rich Moisturizing Lotion (w/ Vitamin E & Aloe). This is a great all over body moisturizer that has been awesome for me during these cold, NYC winter months. It lives up to its name of being “ultra-rich” so much so that I tend to always find my way back to it throughout my day. It is likely a bit too rich for spring and summer months so instead I’ll be opting for something a bit lighter. SheaMoisture’s 100% Tamanu Oil & Organic Shea Butter Extra Dry Skin Body Lotion is also a great, and lighter, alternative.

**My secret weapon** I haven’t used this during the spring and summer months just yet, BUT I’m curious if I’ll need it because LUSH Lemony Fluttery Cuticle Cream is the business!  If you have cracked cuticles and horrible nail beds, which a lot of us gents do, this is an AMAZING product and kept my from feeling insecure about my hands during the winter months. I hear it’s also great for severely dry skin on feet and elbows too. Give it a try!

Face

I have sensitive skin and I’m very particular about what I put on my face and the products I use definitely change depending on the time of year. For winter, I’m a huge fan of Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer. It just works.  But, for summer I tend to opt for something a bit lighter that provides some shine coverage, which is why Lab Series Pro LS All in One Face Treatment still gets my vote after all these years!

Generally, when you’re looking to switch out your products as the weather changes for the spring, try opting for lighter formulations that don’t include as many butters but more so lighter oils that help seal in moisture.

As with anything, we all have our personal preferences so always take that into consideration when reading product reviews or researching products.

Good luck and let me know what your favorite skin care products are for spring in the comments below!

 

Keeps Helps Men Halt Hair Loss

Did you know that 66% of American men experience hair loss by the age of 35 (American Hair Loss Association)?

It’s no wonder that so many men are terrified at the prospect of losing their hair as they move throughout their 20s.

Keeps, Minoxidil (topical solution).

In the past, if you were concerned about hair loss most people waited too long to talk with their doctor out of shame or embarrassment. Keeps helps you avoid the embarrassment of meeting with someone face to face and having to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. Keeps offers you convenience and the ability to consult with a medical professional who will diagnose your  problem online and send your treatments right to your doorstep. It’s hair loss prevention for this day and age.  And Keeps comes in a very cool, clean package that will fit right in on your bathroom shelf.

Keeps helps provide their customers with prescriptions for  Finasteride and Minoxidil which help men  hold on to their hair and stave off hair loss related to male pattern baldness (sorry ladies, Keeps won’t work for you).

One huge benefit of Keeps is that the prices are extremely reasonable. Imagine paying $35 or less per month to help keep your hair. With Keeps, you don’t have to imagine, it’s a reality. And you pay nothing for your initial doctor consultation and just $30 thereafter (which can cost $100+ for traditional face to face appointments).

To learn more about Keeps and start your consultation, you can visit their website at keeps.com.

 

Product Review: SheaMoisture Beard Care

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of SheaMoisture.

Beards have come a long way in the past decade or so. What was once a style relegated to Dads has turned into one of the modern-day staples of masculinity, even for young gents.  And it’s not just hipsters either.

Image source: DrugstoreNews.com

To help men care for their beards, SheaMoisture developed a comprehensive beard care line for all beard grooming needs. The line-up includes:

  • Maracuja Oil &Shea Butter Face & Beard Wash ($9.99) – Deeply cleanses beards of dirt, flakes, and odors without drying out facial hair and skin.
  • Maracuja Oil & Shea Butter Full Beard Detangler ($9.99) – Conditions and softens thick, coarse facial hair, providing great slip to ease out knots without tugging.
  • Maracuja Oil & Shea Butter Beard Conditioning Oil ($9.99) – Absorbs quickly to soften and condition full beards, while restoring moisture to dry facial skin.
  • Maracuja Oil & Shea Butter Beard Balm ($9.99) – Shapes, smooths and defines facial hair for a well-groomed beard all day long.

I’ve long been a fan of the SheaMoisture line for men. And more broadly, the brand, as it helps empower women through Community Commerce in sourcing product ingredients. It’s a call back to the brand’s roots when grandmother Sofi Tucker sold shea nuts in Bonthe, Sierra Leone. Their shaving products are particularly good and you can read my previous reviews here and here.

I was excited about the new beard care line-up for SheaMoisture but the reality is that I don’t keep a beard often. It’s a very rare thing for me to have anything beyond a stache and goatee so I asked a close friend (who is always bearded up & rarely uses products –  we’re working on him folks!) to weigh in and here’s what he had to say:

My favorite thing about the products is the scent. The beard wash lathers up well so you don’t have to use a lot of it, which means it should last a while. The beard detangler is great after showering. It makes combing my beard easier and helps make it look neater. I imagine it’s even more helpful when you have a fuller beard.

I found it superfluous to use both the balm and the conditioning oil at the same time. I took turns using each product and prefer the oil. The balm is a little too hard and takes a while to soften in your hands before you can apply it. Overall, I would definitely recommend this line of products.

There you have it!

SheaMoisture has to be one of my favorite personal care brands. The variety of available products is well, incredible. There is something for everyone. Every brand has its hiccups but with its founder Richelieu Dennis’ acquisition of Essence, its clear that SheaMoisture (and its parent companies) demosntrate a big committment to communities of color, and Black women in particular.

You can buy SheaMoisture products online at their website or at most drugstores and large retailers.

 

Product Review: Tommy John Men’s Underwear

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Tommy John for the purpose of this review. All opinions listed herein are mine alone.

A lot of men dress for comfort and I’m definitely one of those guys. Yes, I like to try to look put together on a daily basis, but not overly so. Most days, I just want to look like I tried (LOL) and feel comfortable.

Over the years I’ve learned that comfort stays from your base-level clothing, your underwear. If those items are comfortable and fit properly you’ll probably be uneasy all day, and well as Sweet Brown would say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Today, I’m sharing my thoughts of some offerings from underwear giant Tommy John. Read on for my review of two items from their Cool Cotton line up.

Cool Cotton Crew Neck Stay Tucked Undershirt

I’m perpetually on the hunt for the best undershirt because, well, I tend to sweat a lot honestly.  It’s not my favorite physical quality but is unavoidable, especially during the times of the year when the weather is at its most extreme. Whether it’s 90+ degrees and humid or I’m suffering inside due overwhelming heating systems, having a good undershirt is a necessity.

Long days at the office require something that helps me stay cool and wick away sweat. By and large, the Cool Cotton Crew Neck Stay Tucked Undershirt works really well for me. The fabric is pretty soft, smooth and comfortable. That is, with the exception of the form-fitting nature of the belly area. It’s not disruptive or restrictive at all, but when you’re used to keeping your shirts untucked (even your undershirt) anything touching your skin can feel too close. After I tried the shirt a few times, I found that my preoccupation with being hugged went away.

The biggest benefit, by far, is the shirt’s stay cool technology. It does help you keep a little bit cooler throughout the day. It also stays put so you don’t get any weird movement or bunching throughout the day, which is definitely a bonus. This feature, in my opinion, is what really sets Tommy John apart from the rest.

Cool Cotton Colorblock Brief

When I came across this item in the Tommy John line-up I immediately got excited. It’s not often that men’s underwear, especially briefs come with a bit of design.  The colorblock design made for an interesting departure from the typical tighty whities that everyone tries to avoid like the plague. These are stylish, sophisticated and not over the top. They’re a good pair of briefs.

But, what is most striking about the Cool Cotton Colorblock Brief is that it is so comfortable. It has a similar texture to the undershirt, but somehow feels softer against the much more delicate skin. They are incredibly comfortable, supple even, so much so that you probably won’t want to take them off (even when you need to!).

Right now, my only qualm, frankly, is that I don’t currently have a drawer full of these puppies. They’re expensive underwear, but boy are they comfortable. They move with you as well, which make them comfortable for long periods of time.

Also, there’s a cool horizontal flap for easy access for quick bathroom breaks. Genius.

You can find both items from Tommy John at their online store here.

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