Trying out Forestbare

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

So, yet again, one of my favorite men’s style websites, Well Spent, clued me in to a company selling exactly what I’ve been looking for. It might seem banal to you, but, as part of my quest to buy more American-​made stuff & focus more on natural foods, cleaning supplies & grooming supplies, I was really excited to learn about this all-​natural, American-​made men’s grooming shop: Forestbare.

So far I’ve been really impressed with the quality and price of the things I got from them. And I especially like that the ingredients and manufacturing location is listed on every page. I guess I’m kind of becoming that guy.

So here’s a quick run-​down:

Abraham’s Face & Beard Wash

This was reasonably priced enough that I basically bought it because Abraham is my son. I’ve been using it for a week now, and due to the salicylic acid/​jojoba oil combo, I have had no beard/​shaving related pimples. It barely has a scent, but matches up nicely with the awesome Duke Cannon hair wash I’ve been using. (I found that via Lodge Goods, another one of my new favorite online retailers of American-​made stuff.)

Craftsman Soap Company Activated Charcoal Soap

I’d stopped using soap because that shit dried out my skin and moved on to body wash. It’s actually nice to be using soap again, and this stuff doesn’t dry out my skin or leave a noticeable residue. I’m down.

Puur Beard Face Beard Balm

Despite all my beard oil tomfoolery, I hadn’t bought anything, uh, gooier to put on it, but this stuff looked promising. As it says, it’s not a moustache wax, but I’ve been using it as such. My beard is so wiry, that I’ve been taming the bits around my face with this. I like it, and might upgrade to a moustache wax eventually.

Puur Fireman Fresh Scent Beard Oil

So of course I bought the beard oil. I was stoked to see that, where most beard oils start out at $10/​oz, this one was $7 for 2oz. That’s because the oils used are pretty common, but the scent is just the right blend of smoke & citrus, and it’s working just as well to keep my beard shiny & happy. I’m definitely using this as my daily beard oil, unless I’m feeling fancy.

KOTFW Hair & Beard Pomade

I’m not real sure about this one. It’s basically an odorless wax. I have to use the edge of my comb to get any of it out, and then rub my hands together Mr. Miyagi-​style to melt it enough to get in my hair. Once in there though, it does a great job holding my hairstyle without a wet look. I wish it came with a little scraper tool to get it out & smelled a bit more like the Iron Society pomade I won from Cloak & Dapper.

Live Beautifully Fresh Mountain Timber Deodorant

This is the stuff I was most eager to try. I’ve been stuck using a salt block as a deodorant because my armpit flesh is extra-​sensitive due to all the chemical burns other deodorants have given me. Even Tom’s of Maine irritated me. And the salt block killed the stink (unless it is really hot out) but did nothing to stop me from pitting out. I’m happy to say that this stuff is amazing. Smells a bit like an all-​natural Old Spice, no burning, no full-​on pit sweat, and it only needs to be applied very very sparingly to get the job done. Definitely buying this again and again.

So if you’re a dude who’s into any of the stuff I just wrote about, give this shop a try. They also have great customer service and ship quickly.

Fulcrum

Saturday, 3 May 2014

I have some very wise friends. One of them has managed to discern and articulate an understanding of who I am that I, in my subjectivity, cannot. I am too close to myself to see all of me. I have been able to apprehend bits and pieces, but never comprehend the whole. Some aspects for change have been put to me, in words carefully chosen, but that are essentially: Be less sensitive. Be less serious. Take less responsibility for others.

I’ve been pretty damn sensitive/​serious my whole life, and a responsibility-​taker since about the time my parents divorced. The serious & the sarcasm have been an too effective armor for the sensitive. My tendency to assume control of any situation has been borne of my arrogance and impatience. If there’s a goal, I don’t have time to wait around while everyone dithers about who should be in charge or how something should be done. I’m about praxis over pedagogy.

The way this combo has played out in my personal life is that it is nearly impossible for anyone to get to me. I’ve isolated myself, which has only made the sensitive bits more sensitive. I’ve forgotten the meaning of my favorite piece of the Tao Te Ching on my About page.

The postures and performances I assume for other people are a coward’s walk. I have pretended so well that I even convinced myself. So I am beginning the work of removing my armor and accepting imperfection. It’s probably going to take awhile.

Karma Repair Kit: Items 1 – 4

1. Get enough food to eat,
and eat it.

2. Find a place to sleep where it is quiet,
and sleep there.

3. Reduce intellectual and emotional noise
until you arrive at the silence of yourself,
and listen to it.

4.

from The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster by Richard Brautigan

Kintsugi

Thursday, 1 May 2014

This is the ritual each
time I visit

my father's thinning hands 
inscribe the air in an economic collation 
of tools: flame pot spoon powder milk and 
mug. A lifetime efficiency of sympathetic magic.

I sit in a silent halo under the
kitchen light, watching while my 
father speaks words. The spoon dips, lifts, 
sifts and stirs, stainless steel maintained 
for years, glints and light clinks, milk and 
powder measured in a perfected practice
but
    that mug was blue when
I gave it to him as a child, it has chipped, 
clipped, smashed and shattered - the ceramic
a speckled white from his
meticulous repair. I have given him
new ones and they sit in unopened
boxes because 
              he says
"they are
too nice to use." 
                  and
                  smiles to himself. 
 
I ask him about that and 
                         he just says 
"your great-grandma used to say
the same thing."

My father gives
me the broken cup.

It does not leak
but it is not easy 
to drink from.