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Ten Ideas for Autumn Enjoyment

 

  1. These Boots Are Made for Walking – Hikers and backpackers find this to be the perfect time of year for planning an outdoor adventure. Even couch potatoes venture outside during this time of year!  It’s impossible to resist the cool weather and beauty that can be found in nature during the month of October.   Use your weekends wisely and enjoy every magical moment while it lasts. 
  2. Fire in the Hole – Lower evening temperatures inspire backyard campfires with friends and family. There’s something so soothing and cozy about sitting around a crackling campfire at the end of the night, chatting with great company.  Grab your favorite brew and a comfortable chair and you’re good to go!
  3. An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away – Visiting an apple orchard is a yearly tradition that most people (especially in New England) really look forward to. There is a certain excitement and satisfaction that comes from walking among tree lined paths to pick crisp, tart (or sweet!) apples of your choosing.  If you’re lucky, the orchard will also offer plump pumpkins to pick, hot spicy cider to sample and fresh, hot doughnuts to buy.   All the activity and deliciousness you ever wanted in one afternoon.
  4. Boo-tify Your Home - Decorating for Halloween can be freaky and fun! Enlist your kids (and possibly Pinterest) for scary suggestions on how to transform your home and yard into a haunting Halloween adventure.  What could be more fun than digging graves, grouping ghosts and creating computer generated corpses to thrill Trick or Treaters?
  5. Kiss the Cook - Certain smells always remind us of October - baked apple crisp, pumpkin pie, cinnamon bread, succulent soups and roasted potatoes make our mouths water. Tie an apron around your torso, turn the oven on and tantalize your family with spicy, savory and sweet fall recipes.
  6. Bury Me In Blankets – Shut off your phone and snuggle up under the blankets with someone you love! Add a mug of hot chocolate, freshly made popcorn and a movie and you’ve got yourself an awesome autumn date night at home!
  7. Wrap Me Up in Your Love – It’s finally time to break out your favorite fall jacket. You know the one I mean.  The one that goes perfectly with any outfit you have, but is only comfortable in cooler weather.   Suit up and strut your sexy self while the season lasts.
  8. Run Like the Wind – This is the absolutely best time for running outdoors. The cool breezes and brilliant trees make a beautiful backdrop while you get your invigorating exercise.   Take your pet along with you and it’s a two-for-one treat!
  9. Let’s Give Them Pumpkin to Talk About - It’s Pumpkin EVERYTHING! For those of us who have a pumpkin palette, we are in heaven at this time of year.  Procure as many pumpkin products as you can…cookies, breads, bisque, lattes and, most importantly, pumpkin pies!   Praise the Pumpkin Gourds!
  10. Don’t Leaf It Alone – Scarlet maples, orange beeches, russet oaks and golden ash leaves are just a few of the inspirations for autumn leaf peeping.  You won’t regret the decision to bask in these breathtaking sights.  You only need reliable transportation, fun friends and your phone (or, if you’re old school, a competent camera). Take advantage of the fantastic foliage before the trees start trembling!

As you can see, there are no lack of fantastic fall features.  Finding the right route for you is your only responsibility.  In a pinch, just pack your car with healthy provisions, water and a warm jacket – you’ll be all set for a superb sunset expedition.   Enjoy the Season, Autumn Admirers!

 

 

July 29, 2016

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6 Sensational Ways to Keep Cool this Summer

 

Here in New England, it seems to switch from refreshing spring breezes to hot, humid conditions in a flash.  One minute you’re sporting an unzipped North Face jacket and then, the next minute, you’re heading outside in flip flops and shorts.  Sometimes all within a few hours!  Now that we’re facing summer on the street, we need to find ways to beat the heat.

Luckily, we have some simple solutions to help keep you cool all summer long.  These suggestions require either little or no cash – mostly common sense.  Before the heat creeps any higher, let’s get to the list…

 

  1. The Freezer is Your Best Friend

No, we’re not suggesting the “Homer Simpson Solution” of attaching a tent to your freezer, but something much easier.  Place items in the freezer for future body cooling purposes – you’ll be so glad you did!  Just fill a plastic bottle with water, wait until it freezes and then use it to place on the back of your neck to reduce your body temperature.  It’s also great for drinking once it starts to melt.  Another idea is to place your undergarments in the freezer for ten minutes or so.  You’ll get a very ZESTY feeling when you put them on, with the benefit of keeping your temperature lower for longer.

 

  1. The Fridge is also Your Friend

Placing skincare items in the refrigerator makes a refreshing change when you apply them later on.  If you store your body lotion, aloe vera or even a spray bottle full of plain water (cucumber water might be super nice, too!), you’ll get an amazing burst of cool freshness.  Apply often for best results!

 

  1. Hydration is the Higher Power

To keep your body temps in a comfortable range, make sure to drink water often throughout the day.  Other beverages are fine (especially drinks with no salt or sugar), but try to avoid too much caffeine or alcohol, for they are very drying to the body.  Fill up on seltzers, fresh fruit juices, watery fruits and veggies and, most importantly, good old H2O.  Tasty!

 

  1. Reduce Your Activity (and Altitude!)

When deciding on your plans for the day, keep in mind that it’s a good idea to stay away from the direct sun during the hours of 10-2 pm, when the sun is the most direct.   If the heat is high, take advice from our friends in the south and GO SLOW.  Walk instead of run, take rests frequently throughout the day, choosing light exercises (only in the early morning or late evening) and wear white (or light colored) natural fiber materials like cotton or linen.  Keep your head covered when outdoors, choosing a hat with a larger brim to keep the sun off the bridge of your nose.  And, in the evenings, try moving from your bed to the floor (where the cooler temperatures live) and have an impromptu camp out.  Fun times!

 

  1. Face the Fan

A portable fan is not only fantastic for making weird, robot noises, but it’s actually pretty practical.  A standing fan is great for a smaller room, where the oscillating action will bring some air movement to the area and reduce the temperature by at least a few degrees.  If you’re on the go, grab a handheld fan (some are battery powered or include misters) and hover over the places on your body where you feel the warmest.  Ahh, relief…

 

  1. The 3 Ms – Meals, Malls and Movie Theaters

When all else fails and you have no air conditioning to blast under your beard,  jump in the car and dash to your favorite restaurant, local mall or movie theater.  For at least an hour or two, you can take advantage of the refreshing temps and spend time with (hopefully!) your favorite people.  Even that short amount of time will do wonders to reduce your body heat, as well as any impatience and irritation from that uncomfortable, overheated feeling.

 

With any luck, these suggestions will quickly cool you down and help to counteract the heat.  If you’re desperate for coolness, you can always fall back on a childhood favorite – The Sprinkler!  Throw on your bathing suit, bust out the hose and stand under the spray until you are satisfyingly saturated with cold water.   Invigorating!

 

 

5 Everyday Ways to Connect with Your Dad

 

Whether your Dad is funny, smart, goofy or geeky (or all of these!), he is important to you.  He might have taught you how to ride a bike, how to put on a tie or even how to drive a car.  If he’s not the handy type, he might have bought your very first beer, taken you to a baseball game or showed you how to handle yourself in a tight situation.   No matter what type of dad you have, he is special.  He is unique.  There is no dad like YOUR dad.

 

We often forget that dads like to think they’ve done a good job raising you – and, even if they haven’t qualified for Father of the Year, they most likely did the best they could at the time.  It’s a hard job being a dad sometimes!  For these reasons, we want to share some ways you can celebrate Father’s Day – every day! 

 

Tip #1 – Thank Your Dad

A simple “thank you” is sometimes all that’s needed to make Dad feel appreciated and happy.  (A smile would probably be very welcome, too!)

 

Tip #2 – Admit Your Dad is Right Sometimes

Dads usually know what they’re talking about.  They may go about it in the wrong way at times, but dads have LOTS of experience and usually know you (and the situation) better than you think.  Perhaps give your Dad the benefit of the doubt next time and see what happens.  You might say, “Dad, I listened to you and, you know what, you were right!”   I bet he would be gratified (and maybe shocked!) to hear it.

 

Tip #3 – Talk to Your Dad about His Life

We often forget that our Dads had a life before we were born.   Ask him what goals he might have had when he was younger or what adventures he experienced – it may spur a great conversation (and laughter!) between the two of you that brings you closer.   You may view your dad in a new light and think of him more as his own person, as well as his role as your father.  Give it a try!

 

Tip #4 – Spend Time Doing Something Your Dad Loves

This might be a painful experience (if your Dad loves eating insanely hot food and you don’t!) or a fantastic experience (you both enjoy fishing and you go on a weekend fishing trip together) but, either way, do an activity with your Dad that HE will enjoy.  If you’re not sure, ask your Mom, his best friend or someone close to him.  Perhaps taking him to a  game where his favorite team is playing, buying tickets to a concert he likes, find a project the two of you can do together (wood working, gardening, building cars, etc), ask him to teach you his favorite card/board game or just go on a hike/walk together.  Any quality time spent with your Dad will be appreciated – and you might be pleasantly surprised if you both have a great time together!

 

Tip #5 – Tell Your Dad You Love Him

This last one is may be a bit tricky if you (or your Dad) are not comfortable with sharing emotions or emotional feelings.  It’s okay.  There’s an easy way to do this – WRITE IT DOWN.  One of the biggest regrets people have is not telling someone how they feel about them and wishing they’d just been brave enough to do it.  Father’s Day is the perfect time to bite the bullet and have a good “excuse” for sharing your feelings.  You can do it in a silly, funny or crazy way if being “sappy” doesn’t work for you.  Find a funny card (or even a very simple one) and write the words, “I love you, Dad”.  You don’t even have to acknowledge you wrote it, if that would be awkward for either of you.  But, he’ll read it and he’ll know.  Worst case, he’ll ignore it, but feel the love.  Best case, he’ll grab you for a hug and say it back.  Sharing the love is worth it.

 

No matter how you decide to celebrate Father’s Day with your Dad this year - it may be all of these things or even just one – keep in mind what your Dad means to you and conjure up memories of times that he helped you, taught you a skill, supported you, protected you or simply loved you.    Translate those memories into the present and celebrate the person that is your Dad.

 

Beardscaping

 

What, you may be wondering, is Beardscaping?

The Urban Dictionary defines the term beardscape as “the act of keeping ones awesome beard neat, tidy, glorious, full of greatness that the Gods Odin, Zeus and Thor would tremble in its epicness”.

Pretty specific, huh?  And, to be honest, what man doesn’t want to be described as an Epic God?

At Simply Great Beard Oil, we think of beardscaping as an art form.  Just as you might take care of the lawn outside your home with landscaping, you would use similar techniques to take care of your beard – replacing the lawnmower, pruning shears and fertilizer with a trimmer, scissors and beard balm!

Spring is the perfect time to start cultivating this art form.

And, luckily, we have a quick and easy outline to get you on track:

BEARDSCAPING 101 (according to Simply Great Beard Oil)

  1. Enter the bathroom, take off your shirt (rawr!) and turn on your favorite tunes.
  2. Grab a clean towel, scissors, razor, trimmer and Simply Great Beardscaping Bundle (wood comb, beard wash, shave oil and beard balm). http://www.beardoilshop.com/products/beardscaping-bundle
  3. Start off by inspecting your beard and deciding what you want to do with it. Maybe you want to try trimming it shorter?  Shaping it differently?  Have a definite idea of what you are aiming for before the beardscaping begins. (This infographic might inspire you: http://huff.to/1SpSESw)
  4. Comb your beard all over with a light hand (with the grain), untangling beard hairs when necessary.
  5. First step, use the trimmer to reduce and shape your beard into the perfect new look. Begin with the sides, move to the neckline, clean up the cheek area and then end with your moustache area – especially around the top and sides of your mouth.
  6. If desired, apply some shave oil to the cheek and/or neck area for creating a very defined look.
  7. Second step, use the scissors to make any necessary fine adjustments to the shape and get rid of all stray, weird hairs.
  8. When you are satisfied with the look of your beard, wet your beard with warm water, pour a nickel sized amount of beard wash into your palm and rub the wash gently into your beard – paying special attention to the thicker areas of hair. Rinse thoroughly.  Pat dry.
  9. Apply the beard balm by scraping some balm out of the tin, warm between your fingertips and smooth through your beard hairs. This balm has a great medium hold, so take advantage of styling here.
  10. Stand back and enjoy the view!

Prepare yourself for appreciative looks and downright admiring stares as you transform yourself into an Epic Beard God!

Honoring Earth Day 2016

 

We love our planet Earth. It takes care of us every moment of the day – warm sunshine, fresh air to breathe, nourishing plants to sustain us and precious water that is the basis of our lives. 

We receive these gifts of life daily and, sometimes, we forget to take care of the very place that takes care of us.

This year is the 46th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22nd) – isn’t that amazing? In celebration of this event, we want to share our 10 Tips for Saving the Planet, two for each day of the week.  

It may not seem like switching from disposable plastic cups to coffee mugs (or reusable glass bottles) would make a drastic change but, if everyone did that, imagine how much less plastic would be piled up in loaded landfills in every country of the world (not to mention how much it would help to improve the air quality by removing many toxic gasses from our atmosphere).

EVERY change, however small, makes a huge difference in the quality of life on our planet. 

And, with this list, we hope to help you find a small change that works for you.

So, let’s go!

10 Tips for Saving the Planet

You can drastically reduce your water consumption by making a few simple changes. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth, filling the sink for washing dishes and switching to a low flow toilet are just some things you can do to save water. For more information about home water conservation, visit this website:  http://bit.ly/1TWczJZ

 

As we mentioned above, the simple act of bringing a mug or reusable bottle to work or school can make a big impact on the world. (Not only that, but liquids just taste better coming from ceramic or glass.) Now, more and more companies are offering awesome reusable utensils and kitchenware, like these:  http://bit.ly/1qKeZjc

 This may be something you already do, or have always wanted to get into, so we found a link that will help to get you started and give you more info on what new things may be recycled nowadays. If you aren’t sure which things can be recycled, follow this link:  http://bit.ly/1qKf72c

 When you start despising that crazy t-shirt from last year (but it’s still in good condition), it’s time to help it move along to someone new. Collect a bag full of clothing and donate it to friends or local charity organizations. You could even make your old clothes into cool things that you’ll actually use, like these:  http://bit.ly/1qKfCJK

 

Everyone wants to live in a neighborhood that is clean, looks nice and is a place to enjoy spending time. Grab a garbage bag, gloves and a pointy stick (yes, one of those!) and feel good about picking up that trash on your street. Use this link to help you get started:  http://bit.ly/1qKhmCP

 

 Not only will you save money on gas and help the environment from less emissions, but you could use the time that you aren’t driving to catch up on work, reading, social media or shopping (perhaps on Sam’s Natural??). Here are some carpooling tips to check out:  http://bit.ly/1qKgVZ4

 

 If you live in an area where this is possible, totally take advantage of it. You’ll get sunshine (hopefully), fresh air AND exercise…and, more importantly, you might be able to skip the gym that day (yes!)  Some things to think about if you do decide to ditch the car:  http://bit.ly/1qKhd2b

 

 This may sound time consuming and maybe a little gross at first, but it’s much easier than you think and it’s actually fun. Keep a covered container in your kitchen to add vegetable & fruit scraps, egg shells, coffee filters, ripped up paper, etc. and then just dump it out in your compost pile when it’s full. If you’re interested, but not sure, read this quick article on what’s involved:  http://bit.ly/1qKfQRa

 

 There is a lot of pressure sometimes to buy organic foods, but it’s not always practical or affordable. If you are able to buy organic produce and/or dairy products or meat, that’s awesome. If you can’t, then maybe buying local would be a better option. You would be supporting local farmers and the land itself by buying foods made in your area. Plus, they just taste WAY better.  Yum. Here is a link to the most important foods to buy organically http://bit.ly/1qKh3bc and where you can find a local farmers market in your area http://bit.ly/1qKg2je

 

 Creating your own veggie garden doesn’t have to be a chore or something overly complicated. It can be as simple as one pot of tomatoes on your deck or a small container of lettuces. Once you feel comfortable growing those, you can always add more. Planting trees in your yard (or donating to places where they will plant a tree for you! http://bit.ly/1qKgKwT) will not only add lovely shade and wind protection, but also oxygen for the atmosphere and enjoyment for you and your family. Use this link to start your own veggie garden: http://bit.ly/1qKgsGd

 

 Instead of using harsh chemicals to clean your home, car and workspace, make your own! It’s not only a fun project for kids to help with, but it’s cheaper and better for the environment. Using natural ingredients like baking soda, vinegar and essential oils allows you to avoid toxic ingredients and the side effects of them, as well. Click here to discover great DIY cleaning recipes: http://bit.ly/1qKggqw

 

Spend the day away from the phone, TV and internet. Although the thought of this might freak you out, it actually feels really good once you do it. You start to enjoy the moment and go back to things you loved doing as a kid – spending time outside, playing games, and talking & laughing with other people.  This is a great resource for unplugging: http://bit.ly/1TWbKkf

Respecting and honoring the Earth can be something we can do every day. Small steps can be very powerful. It’s our hope that some of these simple and practical ideas will inspire you and your family. Our awesome team of earth lovers make every attempt to do their part in helping to keep our planet healthy.

 

What ways have you found to lessen our impact on the planet? We’d love for you to share your ideas!

The Time Has Come

 

Although the weather may not be showing it as much as we would like, it is a wonderful time of year. Baseball Season is upon us and we’ve whipped up the perfect scented oil for all the bearded brethren that wish they could stay at the ball park even after the game. We think the blend of a clean grassy field, the sweet smell of baseball gloves, and a bit of dirt is wicked awesome, and hope you do too!

http://www.beardoilshop.com/products/9innings-simply-great-beard-oil

Hitting the Road

 

While we’ve all been patiently waiting for Mother Nature to officially turn off the winter weather, The Manual brings us some inspirational road trip destinations to check out this year. My mind has already packed my bags and is ready to make the first trip to the Skyline Drive in Virginia, even after just seeing the breathtaking photograph. The author states the best time to visit is in spring, when the flowers are blooming, or in the fall. They claim that the foliage trumps the beautiful foliage we have here in Northern New England, which can be very debate-able. Still, we’d give it a shot. Follow the link below to see the other destinations!

http://www.themanual.com/travel/must-drive-us-road-trips-2016/

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