This Pooping Unicorn Will Make You Question Reality

Image result for squatty potty unicornThere are a lot of reasons to question the reality we are fed – from parents, peers, schools, government, media, food, medical, blah, blah, blah.

Conspiracy theories abound.

More importantly, conspiracies abound.

Everyone is selling the idea they believe in.

But does anyone actually “know?” I mean reaaaalllllly know.

I don’t.

And I think we’re all guessing. At just about everything.

We talk like we know. We discuss “facts” as if they are factual. We try to fool ourselves into believing we know.

But we don’t…

Universe came from the Big Bang?

Oil comes from dinos that died to give us Netflix?

Oh look, here’s a man-made structure that’s 47,600 years old!

Yeah, but hunter-gathers were still just roaming chasing food 10K years ago, right?

At least we know how our current worldview was created – like money and debt…

  • Then again, tracing Debt back 5,000 years offers a different perspective.

We reaaaalllly don’t know. And that’s awesome.

Life is wide open. One big treasure hunt.

Be open. Be aware. Be ready to learn from anyone at any time.

But don’t believe the “facts” just because they’re fed to you.

Think for yourself.

Here, I’ll get you started.

You know how to poop, right? Sure…we all do. #2 has been our close compadre all our lives.

But maybe we’ve been doing it wrong…at least since the brainwashing potty-trainers got a hold of us.

Don’t believe me? The below pooping unicorn will make you change your life…and question reality.

If we don’t know how to poop, then what do we know?!

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The Yin & Yang of Being Beaten by Your Kid

I have three claims-to-fame in my 39 years on this lovely planet.

  1. I once placed 2nd in a BMX bike race. Seven years old. My first BMX bike. A brand new birthday helmet. A big dirt track with hills and jumps. Early 80’s when BMX was super cool. And I came in 2nd…in my very first race! There were only two riders. It was also my last BMX race. But I did hang my red 2nd place ribbon on my wall.
  2. In the 8th-grade yearbook, I was selected as “Best Dressed.” The climax of my life – and the height of my style – was only a short 25 years ago. Not too shabby.
  3. At six, I was the youngest green belt my YMCA Karate instructor had ever encountered. I stopped shortly thereafter. A local YMCA record seemed sufficient.

There are no BMX tracks near us.

8th grade is still a long way off.

But…

On Saturday, Little Dude captured his yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do. He’s only five.

My meaningless YMCA record has been crushed. By my prodigy.

Sort of.

There’s a bit of a technicality.

As “they” say, every great teacher wants their student to be better than them.

I love seeing Little Dude kicking ass and taking names. It literally warms my heart – yes, literally, as in my heart is physically warmer watching the awesomeness of my offspring.

But…

Dad’s don’t like to be beaten. Especially by their kids. At anything.

The technicality…

In the generic YMCA karate of my youth, the green belt followed the white belt. In Little Dude’s TKD class, green follows yellow.

In Little Dude’s mind, Dad is still in the lead. And I’m keeping it that way.

I have the green belt (thanks Mom), and I’ll pass it down when the time is right – IE when Little Dude is 7.

Long live the Dad champ!

Congrats Little Dude…

And for contrast…

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The Mysterious Life of Bob Ross…Still a Mystery. But Now We can Watch the Very First “Joy of Painting” Episode.

A gross disservice. A disservice to you – dear reader, to me, and most of all to the legend himself, Bob Ross.

I have spewed 312 posts on this very blog, and not one of them has referenced the venerable Mr. Ross.

However, as Bob would say, “there are no mistakes; just happy accidents.” No need to dwell in the past. Let’s celebrate the present.

A present that now offers the ability to consume the very first Bob Ross episode of The Joy of Painting

Awesome.

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In fact, we can now joyously watch the entire first season of The Joy of Painting

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Actually, 70 full episodes of Bob!

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I’ve missed Bob. His soothing voice, cool as a cucumber attitude, amazing afro…and happy trees.

I was coming up during Bob’s heyday. I’m pretty sure he was my babysitter on a few occasions.

I didn’t paint. I just watched. That’s how cool Bob is.

I never knew any backstory on Bob. He was just a groovy dude jamming out rad paintings at the speed of light.

Turns out he’s a bit of a mystery. And that just adds to his cool.

Here’s a great article about Mr. Ross: The Surprisingly Mysterious Life of Famed Artist Bob Ross, and some interesting Bob facts…

  • Nobody ever really asked Bob Ross to do any interviews and he only gave a handful of them over the course of his life. “I never turn down requests for interviews. I’m just rarely asked”.  Missed opportunity!
  •  PBS once lost track of him until Ross called to let them know he’d moved to Orlando after the fact.
  • His company, Bob Ross, Inc, today is fiercely protective of their intellectual property and Bob Ross’ privacy, even in death.
  • Ross left school in the 9th grade to support himself as a carpenter with his father.
  • When he hit age 18, Ross joined the Air Force which saw him relocated from Florida to Alaska.
  • He disliked the job because it forced him to be “mean.”Ross left the Air Force after two decades of service, supposedly quipping that he’d never yell or raise his voice again.
  • Ross found inspiration after watching a show called, The Magic of Oil Painting hosted by artist, Bill Alexander.
  • Ross would later use an almost identical format for his show, The Joy of Painting, which greatly annoyed Alexander.
  • After leaving the Air Force, Ross returned to Florida in the early 1980s intent on seeking out Bill Alexander to learn the finer points of wet-on-wet painting. Alexander, who was an art teacher in his spare time, happily taught Ross everything he knew about painting, blissfully unaware that he was training his soon to be arch-nemesis.
  • With money tight, Ross made the bizarre decision to have his hair permed, exchanging the military crew cut he’d sported for two decades for his now iconic afro. Ross’ reasoning was that if he permed his hair, he’d save money in the long run because he’d no longer need to pay to have his hair trimmed once a week. Ross kept the ‘fro for the rest of his life, though grew to dislike it in his later years.
  • Exactly how Ross went from “perming his hair to save five dollars” to “being on TV” isn’t clear.
  • When the time came to film the first episode of The Joy of Painting, Ross made the conscious decision to speak as though he were talking to a singular viewer, giving the illusion that he was giving a private lesson.
  • Ross almost exclusively wore jeans and a casual shirt throughout the show’s run, a look he felt would be “current” regardless of how many years later an individual episode was aired.
  • Ross was never actually paid for appearing in the show and he never sold a single painting featured on it. The show was instead used as a vehicle to promote Ross’ teaching business, interest in which exploded after the show first aired. Over time, the business expanded to include Bob Ross branded brushes, paint, supplies, etc., all making Ross a millionaire.
  • As for his paintings, with the exception of the ones he sold to tourists during his time in Alaska, Ross gave away virtually all of them made during the show’s 403 episode run. As for the thousands of other paintings Ross made during his life, many of them were similarly given away or, when Ross became a household name, given to various charitable causes to be auctioned off.

Interested in hanging an original Bob Ross in your humble abode? Good luck.

Bob may have been charitable with his paintings, but the general public sure isn’t. Here a screen shot of the top two B. Ross paintings on Ebay – yes, that’s $20K+!!!

Related Bob Ross links…

 

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Life Lessons from the End: What can Aging & Death Teach Us?

Considering the recent post about my Grandfather, this seems like a good time to share some life lessons from the end of a life well lived.

We push through our daily lives struggling, clawing, fighting for…????

We are continually distracted by all of the things we think we need to do. Places to be. People to impress.

In the end, what really matters?

  1. Marcus Aurelius on Mortality & the Key to Living Fully – Brain Pickings: Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations is an all-time classic. Sits on the table next to my bed. A few thoughts on the end of a life well lived…
    1. Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter.
      Cold or warm.
      Tired or well-rested.
      Despised or honored.
      Dying … or busy with other assignments.Because dying, too, is one of our assignments in life. There as well: “to do what needs doing.”
  2. Top 5 Regrets of the Dying – Guardian:
    1. I wish I’d had the courage to live the life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
    2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
    3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
    4. I wish I had let myself be happier.
  3. What Can a Man Lear from His Grandparents –  Art of Manliness: You have their genetics. They are you. You are they. Learn from their…
    1. Work.
    2. Idiosyncrasies.
    3. Gifts to you.
    4. Activities with you.
    5. Strengths.
    6. Aging.
    7. Legacies.
  4. 7 Questions You Will Ask at the End of Your Life – Marc & Angel:
    1. Am I proud of how I lived?
    2. What did I discover?
    3. How well did I play the hand I was dealt?
    4. Did I take enough responsibility?
    5. What struggles did I conquer?
    6. How sincerely did I live through love?
    7. How much of my story did I actually write?
  5. 25 Life Lessons from a 100-Year-Old: Here are my top 5…
    1. Always maintain a good sense of humor.
    2. Your family is the most precious thing you will ever have in life.
    3. Education is important, but not necessary. Life can be an education in itself.
    4. Explore your world and stay curious.
    5. Life is a gift that you must unwrap. It’s up to you to determine if what’s inside will lead you to happiness or dismay. You have the power to make that decision for yourself.
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The Death of My 99-Year-Old Grandfather Made Me a Better Person [Lead by Example & Choose Your Examples Wisely]

That is what love is made of...

That is what love is made of…

My Grandfather passed away last week. 99!

Actually, 98 and 337 days…28 days shy of 99. I’ll round up.

One heck of a run.

Here’s what our train ride looked like to/from the funeral…

 

2 1/2 year old in car seat for 12 hours or the train for 12 hours? Neither.

A whirlwind of travel misery and death.

And profound life lessons.

A little background on the legend that is Pop-Pop…

  • December 5, 1916 – November 7, 2015
  • Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Four children, 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren.
  • Didn’t swear, smoke or drink.
    • The only drink he ever ordered was when he proposed to his lovely bride – Grandma, at Rockefeller Center. He ordered a whiskey sour, and “if you look there now, the full glass is still sitting there.”

Pop was an awesome dude. Cheerful. Kind. Always there with a joke and a smile. The most steadfast and consistent person I’ve ever met. If he said it, you know you could count on it.

He expected a lot out of you. But he didn’t make demands. He led with his actions, and you knew to follow suit.

He would say things like…

  • If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
  • The Marines have landed and the situation is well at hand.
  • The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.

Before giving a reading at the funeral (verse below), I said…

Pop is an amazing person. I’m honored to be up here. Gram and Pop are the example I live by every day.

Love you Gram

Love you Gram

With the passing of Gram and Pop, I’m left with the realization that I am now responsible for carrying on that example. Their legacy.

A bit cliché, but real.

It’s easy for examples to fade away. It’s difficult to choose the right examples. And even more difficult to follow that example.

When the end is in the future, examples remain examples. Ideals. When the end arrives, those ideals must be carried on. Or fade fast.

I’ve chosen the best possible example, and now it’s my turn to lead in the same way.

  • Always a smile to share.
  • Never a bad word for anyone.
  • A fighter for what I believe, but fight in the most loving way.
  • No complaints, angry faces, or mean-spirited actions.
  • Family is always the top priority, but love is all inclusive.

I am who I am, on so many levels, because of Gram and Pop’s love. I am the husband, father, and person that I am because of the lessons they passed on to me.

The brilliance of it all is Gram and Pop never once “taught” me a lesson. They passed on everything I need to know to live a good life and be a good person by just being themselves.

I am their legacy.

I wrote an essay for my college application about my Grandfather. I closed with…

I hope to make my Grandfather as proud of me as I am of him. 

20 years later, this is more important than ever.

The ideals that Gram and Pop lived by are in my hands. Their lessons live on through my actions.

An immediate jolt to responsibility.

I am a better person because Pop was in my life. The best example I’ve ever met.

Love you Pop. You will be missed. But your  legacy is safe with me.

1 Corinthians 13

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Posted in Family, Grandparents, Life, Life Lessons | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

You Should be Listening to Podcasts [Awesome Recommendations to Get You Started]

A monotone voice drones from the worn-out speakers.

Wa wa, wa wa wa…

Miles of road ahead.

Grandpa at the wheel.

Glazed eyes of bored youth melt into the faux wood paneling of the giant Buick.

Ever been trapped by talk radio?

It’s the pits.

Podcasts are NOT your grandpa’s talk radio.

Podcasts are the next wave in media consumption. And you need to tune in. Yesterday.

Blogs are rad. Social media has some nifty perks. But podcasts are where the cool is headed.

Free format. No rules. A niche for every interest. All sorts of unknown talent.

In the past couple years podcasts have moved from fringe to mainstream. With the best yet to come.

Ditch mass media. Control your consumption.

Podcasts are time well spent.

But where to start?

The Dude’s Top 10 Podcast Recommendations

  1. The Tim Ferriss Show: Awesome guests. Great questions. Amazing ideas to improve. The only podcast I can say I’ve listened to every episode.
  2. Hardcore History: History is boring, right? No way – not with Dan Carlin leading the charge. Could be the best podcast out there. Start with the Wrath of the Khans series…you will gladly listen to 7+ hours of history!
  3. Serial: It’s been talked about a lot. Perhaps the podcast that pushed towards the mainstream the most. Awesomeness abounds.
  4. The Moth: Listening to amateurs tell real stories without notes is amazingly captivating – funny, sad, honest.
  5. This American Life: Longtime public radio show turned podcast. The Moth + Serial. Real life stories with professional journalism.
  6. Death, Sex & Money: Great topics, interesting people, endearing interviews.
  7. StartUp: Listen to a podcast startup business…start up. Connections to This American Life, Serial, and other great podcasts…
  8. Reply All: StartUp’s first off-shoot podcast. You didn’t know the Internet was this interesting.
  9. Bulletproof Radio: I’ve chatted Bulletproof in the past. Great info on cutting-edge health ideas.
  10. Psychedelic Salon: Looking for out-there ideas? This is a great place to start. The first podcast I listened to 3+ years ago. Podcasts were definitely fringe. A grandfather sharing psychedelic ideas – mostly Terrence McKenna.

Podcast Recommendations from Around the Interwebs

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Dude’s Book Review: Dead White Guys [Because Parental Units are Expected to “Know All About Life.”]

Little Dude ~ Yes you do; you know all about life!

I dig philosophy.

We’re all philosophers at heart.

Whether we realize it for not, we search for answers to life’s unanswerable questions. At some point, we realize that we don’t know…and no one does!

At that crossroads, we can throw on the blinders and slip into the cultural norms guided by powers beyond our control, or we can dig deeper and build a personal philosophy that can guide our life.

This personal structure is unique for everyone. Where to start? Who to trust? What is really important?

Luckily there have been very rad dudes (and ladies too) raising these same questions for a loooong time. Dudes like Plato, Socrates, Machiavelli, and many more.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to be swept away by the cultural stream, and for the vast majority of us, we’re not exposed to great thinkers until it’s too late.

Perhaps this is by design.

If people think less and follow more, it sure is easier to guide them.

In the end, we are all responsible for ourselves. And self-education is a primary responsibility.

However, as every parent knows, for the first 18 years, it is our responsibility to mold those young minds. And those young minds depend on us to “know all about life.”

Little Dude: Why can’t girls have boys names?

Dude: I don’t know. (It was early; I weaseled out.)

Little Dude: (Offended now) Yes you do; you know all about life!

How cool is that?! Our kids actually think we know all about life! Awesome.

Perhaps we didn’t get a great education. Or pay attention to that education. But it’s not too late. Not too late for you, and not too late for the little ones that think we have a clue. It could be years before they’re on to us!

Take the blinders off and start to build your personal philosophy. As a result, the little ones will start to build their philosophy too.

A few weeks ago I was asked to review a book called “Dead White Guys.” I’m asked to review books from time to time, and most of the time I decline without much thought.

I have enough to do/read without spending time on unsolicited books. But this one grabbed my attention. As the subtitle says, “A father, his daughter, and the great books of the western world.”

That’s got Dude written all over it. And it didn’t disappoint.

The book is written as a father passing down advice to his child. The advice just happens to be based on some of the greatest minds in history. The book is filled with compelling stories, heart-felt examples, and the loving guidance that only a parent can share with a child. It felt like me, talking to my kids, through the book.

Matt Burriesci is a talented writer that shares a great view of brilliant historic thinkers.

We all need to spend time with these philosophers. But our kids who depend on us to “know all about life” need this guidance now more than ever.

The world is a crazy place. Powers are fighting for your kids’ attention. If you don’t take it, someone/thing else will.

Build your personal philosophy, and help the kids start to build theirs. “Dead White Guys” is a great place to start.

Nice work Mr. Burriesci.

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Grooming the Next King of Foosball: One Ridiculous Don King Quote at a Time

“Gonna beat your face to outer space!” – Little Dude’s foosball trash talk.

Don King? Or does that American flag top hat put him in Apollo Creed territory?

Either way, Little Dude is on the path to greatness. Foosball greatness.

Are you aware there are foosball greats?! Yep, a pro tour, tournaments, world champions, $65,000 prizes, and some scandal too.

But, it’s a shadow of it’s 1970’s prime when the pro tour offered player trading cards, groupies, coke parties, sports cars, and a $1M prize purse.

A rec room legend has been on a long decline.

Perfect opportunity for the rise of the next king.

Last year I transitioned a dirt mound under the deck into a patio. As part of this mastermind landscape creation, I purchased a $50 foosball table on CraigsList and hauled that beast to it’s new home in the Dude casa backyard.

I have no idea how to play foosball.

Why get a table? Simple. Mrs. Dude whipped my unskilled butt on our 2nd date….years ago. Dudes remember these things. Dude pride is at stake.

The perfect addition to the backyard patio.

To pay the bills back in the day, I worked at a dive bar in Boston that was lovingly described as the “star wars bar.” Perhaps the best dive bar…eva. This dive bar rocked a foosball table, and regulars rocked the foosball table. I’ve seen some nasty foosers.

But I never put the foos time in…the dudes seemed waaay too good. And unfortunately, I never realized I could have made it my (alcohol/drug fueled) occupation. Until I read about The Party Boy King of Foosball.

I’ve been sitting on this Men’s Journal article for a year because the foosball table has been sitting idle on the patio for a year. But a couple week’s ago the foos frenzy began.

For some reason (great summer weather, time to kill, threats from Dad?), we’ve started an evening foosball tradition – Dude & Little Dude vs. the Princess.

None of us had a clue at the beginning, but we’re catching on fast. Flick of the wrist here, pass off the wall there, power shots galore.

We’re definitely catching our foosball groove.

Watch out competitive foosball world, Little Dude is sharpening his skills…and his trash talk. 

I just hope the convention hall tournaments and Trans-Am prizes can last long enough to fulfill the dreams of a future foosball legend.

Give the MJ article a read…it’s equally ridiculous and awesome.

Long live foosball.

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Dudeist Priest Wedding Officiant: How to Rock Your First Wedding Ceremony [Bonus: Script Include]

As you may glean from the name of this blog, I dig the Big Lebowski.

Wit, dialogue, deeper meaning…it’s tough to beat The Dude.

In honor of The Dude and his Zen-like ways, I joined the fellowship of the Dudeist Priests many moons ago.

In addition to a few chuckles and reminders of classic Lebowski quotes, I became an ordained Dudeist Priest.

No cost and two minutes of my time, why not?

Ordained priest; check off that bucket list.

In the back of my mind, I contemplated making use of my ordained status…someday, but never dedicated too many brain synapses to the mental image.

A few years ago my cousin asked me to be the officiant at her wedding. But it was a long trip, kids in tow, blah didi blah blah. I declined. I figured my next bucket list check had passed me by.

Turns out my sister-in-law is also a poor judge of character and requested my ordained presence as well.

A beach vacation/beach wedding with the entire family. Hard to turn that request down.

It got really real, real quick.

So, a few weeks ago I performed my first (last?) wedding ceremony. And if I do say so myself, I think I may have rocked it.

Well, I didn’t fall down and I wasn’t booed off the beach. Rocked it? I’d say so.

Lessons for the first time officiant? Sure, how about a Top 10…

  1. Abide. Chill, Dude. I’m a Dudeist Priest…you should have expected that one.
  2. Search flow and scripts online (see below).
  3. Watch officiant videos on YouTube.
  4. Know the bride and groom. Talk about their wishes for the wedding, but more importantly, about themselves and their relationship.
  5. Take time to prep. The great Dude in the sky hooked me up with a 20 minute t-storm to give me added memorization time…much needed.
  6. Memorize, don’t read.
  7. Be comfortable in front of the crowd. Practice…use a mirror.
  8. Keep it short and sweet.
  9. Mix a hint of humor with a whole lotta love.
  10. Tell the bride she’s beautiful. 😉

Marrying two human beings was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had. Bucket list, checked.

And afterwards, we danced our faces off to a kick-butt funk band, and watched Little Dude dominate the dance floor with his sweet break dancing skills.

Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Newlyweds.

Wedding Ceremony Script

Here’s my rad wedding ceremony script. Feel free to use, but use with caution…it’s pretty awesome.

Greeting

Welcome everyone. Welcome on this gorgeous day to the celebration of the marriage of XYZ and ZYX.

On behalf of X and Y and their parents, Z and W, I’d like to thank you all for being here to celebrate this special day.

In the wise words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it.”

It’s easy to get lost in the details of the day and lose focus on the big picture.

I encourage us all to stop and look around.

Relax, take a deep breath of the salty air, enjoy this lovely location, enjoy this special moment on this special day as we launch X and Y on their lifelong flight together. (Groom is a pilot, you like that, right?! :))

Exchange of Vows
(Luckily, they wrote their own vows – not included)

X and Y, the words you are about to say to each other will change your lives forever. It’s an honor to be here to share this moment with you.

X, please share your vows with Y…

Y, please share your vows with X…

Ring Exchange

For X and Y these rings are a symbol of their commitment to each other. By exchanging these rings, X and Y declare their eternal love for each other.

X, repeat after me: “Y, take this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment to you.”

Y, repeat after me: “X, take this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment to you.”

X, do you take Y to be your wife?

Y, do you take X to be your husband?

Closing

This ceremony may have only lasted minutes, but your promises to each other will last a lifetime.

It is my great honor and privilege to now pronounce you husband and wife.

You may kiss your bride.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. XYZ.

Yes, I did quote the great Ferris Bueller. Classic Dude.

Go forth and marry Dudeists!

Posted in Dudeism, Dudeist Priest, Wedding, Wedding Officiant | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

MenEssentials: Smell Waaay Better than Your Grandmother on Fire.

MenEssentials Beard Gear

A few weeks ago the Dude was in need of some new beardscaping products.

I conducted the perfunctory Google investigation and turned up too much and too little. Too many options with too little details.

I quickly turned to Amazon and their highest sellers. Mistake.

The first time I oiled up the beard and slapped on some aftershave, Mrs. Dude responded with…

Sniff. Sniff. “What’s burning? You smell like a camp fire.” Sniff. Sniff. “And those spicy candies my grandmother always had. Pretty much my grandmother on fire.”

Not the review I was hoping for.

Thankfully, MenEssentials sensed a bearded bro in need.

A well-timed email, and the Dude had a box of beard gear waiting on the doorstep. Rad.

MenEssesntials gear is solid. Natural ingredients. Sweet smells. Healthy beard.

Waaay better than your grandmother in flames.

A couple favs: Bluebards Beard Wash + Bluebeards Wonder Beard

Happy bearding matey.

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