I try to find products that I can review well. I don’t just buy anything. I want to be an actual consumer here: I want to buy things that I actually have a chance at liking. That requires a good amount of research before I even make a purchase. And then, once the purchase is made, I have to wait for shipping, use the product for some good amount of time, and then sit down and write. All this is a good time: everyone loves getting new things, and I’m enjoying the writing. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it takes a lot of time between blog posts, and I wish I could update more often.
I could purchase more than one thing at a time, obviously. That is an option I’ve mulled. But again, at the end of the day, I’m a consumer. You don’t go on shopping sprees constantly, and neither do I. While I’d love to have some wealthy backer, the truth is it’s just me, some dude, buying stuff online and meandering around some point until I eventually get to a review on some socks or underwear. I don’t have unlimited money.
So, in order for you all to not forget I exist, I’m going to write about some other stuff as well. I’ll probably continue aiming at consumer-ish ideas.It’ll be fun. Come along for the ride.
It used to be that I could truthfully say that every week, but ever since the new year rang in I’ve been trying to make it a habit to be more active and watch my diet. I think I’ve mentioned this before. This means that, on my Todoist every Monday Wednesday and Friday, it says “30 Minutes Cardio”, and as another New Year New Me goal, I try to empty out my Todoist, by either doing or rescheduling, every single day. I also use MyFitnessPal to track calories, and that works fairly well, until this past Monday.
They say it takes 6 weeks to make a habit stick. I don’t know who “they” are, but I made it to week 6, and I don’t feel any more habitual. On Monday I went to fill in my food for breakfast (a hearty 0 Calorie Energy Drink, if I recall that day), I found that I had apparently already filled it out the day before. I immediately realized that I had been working on Tomorrow’s food the day before, and now it was a big hassle. Filling out food for tomorrow probably shouldn’t be an easy thing to do, MyFitnessPal Developers, but my subconscious found no trouble at all.
So Monday, instead of fixing my mistake or using my 0 calorie previous day to fill in today’s calories, I decided “No, you’re not hassling me, yesterday’s mistake. I’m not filling this out”. And so it was done. Habit gone. I’m trying to force myself to fill this thing out as we speak, and I’m having a hard time remembering what I just ate. This failed habit, which was working well (18 lbs down), is going to take a mountain of effort to get back. And it pulled the gym with it. I haven’t been on an elliptical in like 10 days because of MyFitnessPal and also shear laziness.
Last week, however, I did go to the gym. I did it mostly to listen to my books on Audible, and try out a new pair of underwear from Mack Weldon.
As a whole, I prefer wearing boxers to any other sort of undergarment. I don’t want to be bound. I was born free, I want to live free. Murica. Boxers.
However, as I’ve found over the past 6 weeks, this creates a sort of, ahem, problem that I’ve never dealt with before when jostling about for 30-60 minutes. There is such a thing as too much freedom. Lawlessness is not an optimal situation. Regulations are needed in order to preserve the mobility of all society, if you get my metaphor.
If you don’t, I’m saying that my jibblies start bouncing and rubbing the wrong way and it hurts. Not just hurts. Chafes.
So after realizing this problem wasn’t going away with more freedom (I know, America was wrong all along), I coasted over to Mack Weldon, who had an interesting advertisement, telling me that their underwear had silver embedded in them. That’s intriguing, mostly because it sounds like something the super-rich would do to one up each other, but there’s actual science behind it. Turns out, silver is naturally antibacterial, and bacteria are what cause your nether-regions to stink. So these underwear do their best to regulate your BO. Not bad at all.
Mack Weldon’s check out process was really straight forward. They have lots of different products to look for, and so I bought a pair of boxer briefs and a normal set of boxers. These were pricey, I think I paid over 50 dollars for the pair. Another interesting thing is their deal set up: They don’t do coupon codes. Their process is simple: the prices are on the site, if you order over a certain amount all at once, you get 10, 15, 20% off. No sales, no gimmicks. I respect this business set up, even though I still habitually look for codes and offers before buying. There are none.
The shipping was great, they came USPS ground in a few days. And the packaging!
They really want you to know that you’re buying premium stuff here.
So…here’s the thing. I’m not going to show you pictures of my underwear. You know what underwear look like, in the very vaguest sense. I don’t need to show you what underroos I’m wearing. I can tell you that these underwear are really comfortable, and they definitely helped with the chafe at the gym. I think the silver thing works too, though I’m not putting my sweaty boxer briefs up to my face to tell you definitively. I didn’t notice a smell after I was done. They seemed good. And look!
Says it right there, you can wear these every day. Definitely recommending Mack Weldon.
If you’ve never been, please check out that link above. They market lots of different products that have a “modern” appeal. Stuff like house decor, watches and other clothing are popular on the site. Sometimes they have a particularly adventurous dildo for sale. It’s really a mixed bag. The one thing you’ll notice is they have fantastic photographers. Every product looks like something that I absolutely must have. It’s a wonderful site to browse around and look for your newest addition.
The products themselves…well, I’ve had different experiences.
The first thing you should know is their shipping lead times are often extravagantly long. It might take 6 weeks for them to start shipping your product. It’s like we’re ordering off the sears catalog. The reason for this is Touch of Modern tends to feature crowdsourced or otherwise underfunded businesses: the company’s wait for ToMo’s deal to be over, and then start producing whatever number is needed. This reduces their upfront cost. But in the age of the internet, this can be a bit unnerving. I can happily say that I’ve never not received an item. But I’ve been disappointed in the quality before.
See, Touch of Modern is also not a bargain basement site. Many of their items are particularly expensive. I spent $90 dollars on some cityscape art, shown here:
Only to receive 2 rolled up posters. It’s not that they didn’t describe what I was getting, it’s just that…the photographer really sold this thing to be more than it was. It looks like I could hang it without a frame. I still like the pictures, but I wanted more.
The most interesting experience with the website was buying some more interesting wall art. I found these through a Facebook ad some months back, and thought it would be perfect for my wall.
Now, that’s a weird thing, but it’s super interesting for a wall decoration in my apartment. The fiance and I were in love from the moment we saw it. I’m going to quote the actual description from the sales page:
“Inspired by classic animal trophies but informed by Postmodern art and origami, PAPERTROPHY is easy, eco-friendly art perfect for the home or office. Using a complex polygon structure to create minimalistic, cubic renditions of animal busts and bodies, these easy-to-assemble pieces are made in the highest-quality, FSC-approved paper”.
We were in. FSC approved paper?!? That’s a big deal. (Please note, I’m not really sure what that means, but it sounds like it’s a good thing). So I spent something around $60 and ordered, and waited 4-6 weeks for them to ship. The anticipation was killing us. When I finally got the notice that the package was at the mailbox, I ran down right away.
As I think you probably know, It was not exactly as I expected.
First, I expected a box of pieces of deer-head to assemble. What I got was an envelope, inside was several pieces of construction paper, and a directions sheet with 4 steps. I was to take the pieces, and fold them in directions noted by the type of dotted line (In for just dashes, out for dots and dashes). Each edge on the deer was either a fold, or a tab + edge that I was to glue together. The edges were labeled with numbers: so the tab labeled 1 should glue to the edge labeled 1, 2 with 2, and so on. The directions said “you should start with 1 and keep going from there, but you don’t have to”. A casual glance at the numbers showed that they went well into the hundreds, so I was going to need a lot of glue. They didn’t mention what type of glue I should try to use. Elmer’s glue sticks didn’t hold at all, so I went with crazy glue applied with a brush, which worked well enough in the beginning.
So, I waited until the first Saturday I had available to piece this thing together. I spent 8-10 hours that first day, straight through, and only got about half of the thing finished. There were several rips and tears that day. I glued tabs to the wrong side a few times and had to rip and re-do, causing marks. I over-glued by accident causing stains to the paper. The next day I spent another 4 hours before I had to stop the insanity. “Easy To Assemble” means something different at Touch of Modern.
I kept the partially finished bust in my office for a few more weeks. It took a while for the sting of the sunk cost to fade enough for me to throw it away. It’s gone now, and I still consider ordering another one. It’s not a good idea at all, the thing was a huge waste of time, but I can’t get the challenge out of my head. I think papertrophy might be my Everest.
So, should you order a Papertrophy for yourself? Do you like being disappointed in yourself and the things you spend your money on?
However, I would recommend a cursory browse at Touch of Modern. Mostly because these are all affiliate links, and I’d love it if you found something there you really wanted after clicking one of them. But also because it’s a site that I enjoy browsing, even if some of the products are a bit lackluster. Those photographers really know how to do it.
I believe it was Lieutenant Daniel Taylor who first said “Two standing orders in this platoon. One, take good care of your feet. Two, try not to do anything stupid, like gettin’ yourself killed.” Wise words.
I’ve bought my shoes on Zappos.com for the past few years. I like it not only for the convenience, but the selection. As a twenty-something, I used to think sneakers were the only shoes I’d need. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown in taste. “Oh, chukka boots would be a great addition” is something I’ve said out loud. I probably buy new shoes every 2-3 months, not because I need them, but because it’s easy. I figure if I don’t like them, or they don’t fit, I can just snobbishly hand them to a FedEx driver and Zappos will happily send me another.
However, vanity is a hard vice to overcome. I choose to embrace it, instead.
I bought a pair of shoes through Zappos by the clothing company Ben Sherman early in 2016. Upon putting them on the first day and wearing them for an hour, it occurred to me that Mr. Sherman may have been born with less toes than I currently have (10). As unfortunate as that thought was, I kept on, as I was in an office and no one likes the guy that takes his shoes off at the office. In the next few hours, I’d discovered his ankles must also be a peculiar shape, as the skin on mine was being removed rather quickly. Getting home was a delight that night. I went online to start the return process…
As I said: vanity is hard to overcome. These shoes look great. “These shoes will definitely wear in”, I said to myself.
I wore them for about a week before realized that, because those toes are made of hard rubber, there isn’t going to be any “wearing in”. I have to find another solution. “I’ll buy better socks”.
So, it’s about a year later. I, obviously still have Satan’s hooves up there, and I’ve tried a few different brands of socks I found in different parts of Amazon and Zappos. I try not to go for the socks you find in 12 packs at Target: I’m no sock plebe, and they’ve got to make these shoes wearable. I’ve found the problem with buying a nice pair of socks online is that they generally come in 2 sizes, Small, which must be for small children and leprechauns, and Large, which fit shoe sizes US 7-12. My size is US 13, so I generally have to really stretch out a 12 to make it fit. Those shoes up there kill my ankles, which makes that no good.
A dream come true. They have a few different options for sock purchases. The best part is their large is for US 9.5-13, which is rather compelling for a guy like me. I purchased a 6 pack of their assorted color ankle socks for $64.80, minus a first time purchasers discount, which put the total slightly under $50. 64,80 makes it over $10 per pair, which is definitely pricey for socks, but Lieutenant Dan has never steered me wrong. I waited a reasonable amount of time for ground shipping, there was a 2 day option but I opted out: I can wait on socks.
So they got here, and the next day I put them on. And for you, dear reader, I put these socks through the ringer, and wore those Ben Sherman’s all day to see how they held up. That’s something I haven’t attempted in months.
The short answer is: those shoes still kill my toes. However my heel still has all it’s skin. Achilles would love these.
The pictures on the website don’t really tell you the whole story about Bombas. They’ve built their socks with an ankle guard: a stuffed back ankle to shield your foot from rubbing shoes. They also have arch support with a beehive design, which feels nice and probably helps out people with flat arches, or shoes that don’t have that support built in. The cotton is high quality and very comfortable to wear. There is even extra toe protection as well, it felt like, but I’m not sure that anything could help those shoes. It was worth the challenge though. The socks fought valiantly, but evil won this day.
I wore the rest of the socks throughout the week in more normal shoes, and was very comfortable. In any reasonable shoes these will be fantastic. I’m very happy with my purchase. The only issue I’m a little worried about is their longevity. I put them through the laundry one time, and the bottoms started fraying a bit.
They are still perfectly wearable and comfortable, and hopefully they will hold up; only time will tell.
Another really great perk about buying from Bombas is, as you can see from the graphic above, they donate a pair of socks to the homeless for every pair of socks you buy. You might not know that for the homeless, socks are a precious commodity: they generally don’t have a way of washing clothes, so socks stay on their feet until they are completely worn out (a couple of weeks, tops), and then hopefully replaced. Obviously socks aren’t going to solve homelessness, but you can at least feel a little better that your purchase is going to a reasonable cause.
I highly recommend Bombas. Take Care Of Your Feet.